Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Duet Practice

I skated the Chandler coffee club for duet practice with Melissa.  We decided to emulate our warmup period for Autumn Antics, so we spent a couple of minutes on individual warmup, then did some side-by-side stroking and crossovers and practiced a couple of things (crossovers into M's mohawk, our "true love vow" section).  Then we ran the program complete w/entrance etc. Pretty good!  Some very small glitches but we lost very little from last week.

We talked through a couple of things, then ran it again w/some improvement.  Then we took some time to practice stroking and crossovers together, including doing some crossovers around the circle.  Then we ran the program again.  Pretty good!

We just have a couple of practices left.  The schedule for AA is out and we are skating EARLY Saturday.  Yuck.

Power Pull Prep; Backspin Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • power pull prep -- JJ was appalled (lol) last week to find that I can't do power pulls, so we spent some time on prep/exercises to teach that; basically forward and back slalom keeping the feet as close together as possible, then lift one foot.  Eeep.  I am doing a better job of getting my hips to move (I credit some moves Holly put in my Light program) but it's tough.
  • backspin prep -- we continued working on the 2-foot spin w/push exercise.   It's getting a lot better but still working to improve my weight transfer and especially to get the weight shifted to the right foot (yikes).

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Friday, October 25, 2013


I skated for 45 minutes at the Gilbert coffee club today.  

For the first 30 minutes I warmed up and worked on my Dramatic program, and ran it with music for the first time in... a long time.  It actually went pretty well, and I finished on time!  I must have picked up a little speed since last year, maybe.  Anyway I need to work on it a bunch in the next couple of weeks so I'm not thinking so much, but I'm encouraged.

I then had 15 minutes to work with Holly on the Light program.  I had most of my props to work with, although Holly says I need a bigger table and I don't have the chemistry stuff yet.  Anyway we ran the program 3 times and other than some issues with props and getting used to them, it went really well.  YAY!  I still need to work it some more, esp. skating with the glasses, but I am encouraged about this also.

Two weeks until Autumn Antics!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Duet Lesson

Melissa and I had our final duet lesson with Lynne today on the Chandler coffee club. 

We had some time to warm up individually, then we did a lap of stroking (I was a bit slow) and then we ran the program with music.  It was good but our timing was just a little off in places.

Then we started our lesson, and ran the program again.  Pretty good!  Lynne was pleased.  We talked through a couple things and made a small change near the end (M's hand position), then we ran it again.  This second runthrough was REALLY GOOD, our best-yet!  We were both pretty pleased with it.  We talked through some things including our schedule.  Unfortunately it looks like Lynne will probably not get to put us on the ice for Autumn Antics after all :-(.

We had time to run it one more time.  Not as good as the previous time (we rushed a bit) but still quite good.  And that was it!

I found my T-Birds jacket at the Halloween store and wore it today; it's a little large on me but is fine and looks pretty good I think.  We just have 3 more practices together before Autumn Antics.  Eeep!

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Backspin Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  Nice ice and just 2 skaters and 2 coaches.

We spent our whole time on the backspin prep.  First we worked on the exercise where I start with a 2-ft spin and then alternate pushing with the L foot backward and R foot forward.  I've gotten much better at this.  JJ said he'd like me to keep working it but instead of pushing once per rev (approx) to push and then spin for 2+ revs before pushing again.

From there we went on to work on the RFI3 exercise where I hold the RBO and bring it around with my arms inside the circle and free leg back.  This has gotten better also.

Next we worked on pushing into the RFI3 and trying to get into spin position.  This is tough and it's not quite happening yet.  I'm trying to cross my feet.  Finally JJ hauled me over to the boards and had me just work on trying to do the RFI3 and stay on the sweet spot and just bring the free foot in next to the skating foot.  I had some success with this!  And then we were out of time.

I'm really jazzed, I feel like we are making progress.  I wish I had more time to practice but Autumn Antics is taking up a lot of time right now!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Preliminary Test, Serpentines, 3s

I had my figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club today, moved up due to a duet lesson tomorrow.  Due to work commitments I was short on time so not much of a warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- actually pretty good.  2nd circle on the L was a bit uncontrolled but I managed to save it okay.
  • FI8 -- pretty good.
  • waltz-8 -- ugh.  We spent more time on this.  Actually despite my whining it is improving; I didn't cut into the circle so much on the BO edge, and my steps-forward were not out quite as much as they have been.
  • serpentines -- much better today!  I actually got around the first 1.5 circles on each foot!  Control was better on the FOI.  I really need to push harder when I change feet and learn how to make the FIO transition faster.  
  • 3s to center -- about the same.  The 3 itself is improving but still major issues with holding the FI edge after.
Due to various scheduling issues I probably won't have a figures lesson again for several weeks :-(.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Warmed up with edges, then FO8 and FI8.

After that I spent about 20 minutes on waltz-8.  What weirds me out on this is that occasionally I will do a really nice one and they only thing I can figure about how that happens is that I'm not thinking about it too much. GAAAH. I dunno.

After that I spent about 7 minutes each on BO8, BI8, serpentines and 3s to center.  BO8 was bad to start but improved; that L side is still pretty weak though.  BI8 is pretty crappy.  Serpentines were better and I actually made it around on the R foot, though I think my circles were smaller (no scribe).  3s were okay on the LFO3, RFO3 pretty ucky.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Choreo, Duet, Practice

I skated the Gilbert coffee club today to work on the choreography for my light program.  I just had 15 minutes with Holly but we ran it 4 times!  Yikes.  It's coming along well. We made one small change, after the half flip she gave me a different "blinded' gesture and I need to keep more to the center on the sway-sway-sway into the waltz jump so that I'm closer to the table.  Basically it makes the timing more doable.

After our time was up Melissa and I ran our duet once with music.  Not too bad but Melissa got a little confused at one point, and I was a little off in my timing in a couple of places.  Still not bad, really.  Melissa gave me some feedback from someone who watched us practice yesterday -- I need to smile more.  Of course that's true -- I need to work on that.  It's a weakness.

After that I took some time to work on walking through my dramatic program.  Yikes. It has been a while!  I didn't get a chance to run it with music but I must, must do that next week.  Still it did come back to me... and I have to say compared with the light program it seems absurdly easy!

For the last couple of minutes or so I worked on my backspin exercises but didn't have much success.  Oh well!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Duet Practice

Melissa and I met for duet practice today on the Chandler coffee club.

We warmed up individually, then did a lap of stroking and crossovers.   Next we ran the program including the entrance and bows; it was a little rough in places.  Nothing horrible, just things that weren't quite timed right.  We talked through some things and practiced a couple, then ran the program again and it was better.  Talked through some more things, and ran the program once last time.  Much better!  I was out of time and had to go.

I'm all registered for Autumn Antics.  The LOC sent out an email (Melissa forwarded to me) that the bulk of the competition is being moved to Saturday 6:30 a.m. (!) to 3:30 p.m., and then will finish up on Sunday afternoon (including the skate-off).  I assume there was an ice availability issue.  I guess we'll know more when the schedule is released.  I signed up to do the duet and both my artistic programs.  Eeep.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

FO8, Waltz-8, Serpentine, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.

As usual, warmed up with edges, scribed circles, and worked on the Preliminary test.  Unlike last week, it wasn't crowded at all, and nice ice.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- these were really nice!
  • waltz-8 -- Hmm..  we ran through these twice I think.  There may actually be some stirrings of progress on the step-forward.  Keys seem to be to slow down, stand up straight, and make the step forward one smooth motion (don't anticipate).  Hmm.
  • serpentine -- mmph.  These were better yesterday, but not too bad.  Only made it around once but the transitions are improving.
  • 3s to center -- the R side was pretty yucky.  L side the 3s were pretty nice but I still need to stand up straighter and watch the free leg coming out of the turn.
Schedules are going to be a bit wonky in the next few weeks so hopefully I'll get  a lesson next week, not sure about the 3 weeks after that.

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Backspin Prep, Cross Strokes Prep (Again!)

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson was much the same as last week's:
  • cross strokes -- we worked some more on getting me to skate and cross, skate and cross.  I was finally able to do it away from the wall!  Geez.  It's getting more comfortable though.
  • backspin -- we started with the two-foot spin again, first doing the shifting-weight-push exercise, then going to just doing a two-foot spin and trying to lift the L foot (some small success), then moving to pushing into an RFI3 and then trying to bring the free foot around.  We actually had some success on this last point (skating around the hockey dot).  I was pretty stoked!  Didn't actually spin but I can see how I might get there.  YAY!
That was all we had time for!

In other news... my new blades are ordered.  They are going to be the same as I have now (MK Pro Parabolic).  I should be getting them right after Autumn Antics.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  Warmed up with the Preliminary test, then spent about 20 minutes on waltz-8.  I actually had a few steps-forward that were much better; but not consistent!  Grrr.

Went on to work on BO8 (bad at first but got better), serpentines (actually made it around (barely) the first 1.5 circles) and finished up with 3s to center (ugh -- but the 3s themselves were better).  On the 3s I was making myself really lean into the edge before the turn and it really helped.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I worked with Holly briefly (just 15 min) on the Chandler coffee club, reviewing the choreography for the light program.

Eeep!  I ran the program 3 times w/music and of course a bunch of stuff in-between.  I also showed her my wig, sunglasses and Miss Sakamoto.  They are all fine w/her.  I ran the program w/the sunglasses... yikes.  Fortunately I don't have to jump in them, but I do have the one spin.  It's a bit nerve wracking, I will need to practice more with them on. 

All in all it's coming along well.  I need to work on my Dramatic!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Duet Practice

Melissa and I met for duet practice on the Chandler coffee club today.  We had a pretty good practice!  We warmed up with side-by-side stroking and crossovers, then ran our program with music (complete with entrance and exit).  A few things to fix (I missed the kneeling point) and so we worked on reviewing those until they were solid.  We also made a small change to the entrance to make it less confusing.

After a bunch of practicing chunks, we ran the whole thing again and it went pretty well for the most part.  Then we practiced one more small chunk and I was out of time.  Good stuff!

Backspin Prep, Cross Strokes Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson:
  • backspin prep -- JJ had me working on 2-foot spins which were not so great, but improved.  Then we went back and worked some more on the spin exercises he gave me a while back with the alternating forward and backward pushes.  Yikes.
  • cross strokes -- for the last few minutes JJ had me work on an exercise for cross strokes, basically a swizzle and then cross the feet over and hold.    Yikes.  One way is not so bad but the other way is really scary.  I couldn't make myself do them without holding onto the boards :-(  I'm such a chicken these days!

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

FO8, BO8, Waltz-8, Serpentines

I had my figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club as usual.  It was really crowded today!  14 skaters including a couple of dancers.  Yikes.  I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, and continued with FO8 and FI8.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- not too bad.  I'm not having to fight the L side as much, which was nice.
  • BO8 -- better!  The L side was actually not too bad, much better controlled.  I think I was bending my knees into the push a little more which made me feel more in control.
  • waltz-8 -- mmph.  About the same.  
  • serpentines -- a little better.  I actually made it around once on the R foot!  Finally!  Only once though.  At least the FOI is going better though, usually.
It's not clear to me that I'm really making progress at this point, which is kind of discouraging.  Hmph.

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Friday, October 04, 2013

FO8, Waltz-8, Serpentine, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  This was postponed from Wednesday due to Lynne's travel.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- meh.  About the same.
  • waltz-8 -- we spent a chunk of time on this trying to get me to stand up straighter etc. on the step forward without much progress.
  • serpentines -- still not making it around.   The change of edge is better but I'm still way forward on the blade when I come out of the FOI so I lose speed.  Grrr.
  • BI8 -- yikes!  R side is... well, it needs a lot of work.  L side is just kinda laughable at this point.  I did remind myself that when I worked on these before I wasn't using the scribed circles and so my circles were pretty small.  Eeep.

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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Backspin Prep

I had my lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.

We worked on backspin prep.  We reviewed the exercises he gave me last week, and then he had me work more directly on the entrance... RFI.. hollllld the edge,  then touch the L toepick down and kind of snap the R foot around and into the 3.  Hmm.  Kinda scary but I made some good progress.  He also had me try doing it from a BI pivot. Ugh!  That's scarier for some reason.  Anyway I need to work on this but I won't get to skate freestyle again before my lesson last week.  Grrr.

I don't think I mentioned it but we decided last week that I really need to replace my blades.  As soon as Autumn Antics is over I'm going to get new ones.  I'm planning on sticking with what I have now (MK Pro Parabolic).

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Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Duet Lesson

Melissa and I had a lesson with Lynne today to tweak our duet.

We got on the ice at noon and warmed up individually, then we worked a bit on side-by-side stroking/crossovers.  Then we worked on some program chunks and then did a runthough without, and then with music.

Once we started working with Lynne we ran the program with music again.  There are a few places where it seems like we have dead time that looks awkward, so we came up with some additional elements to fill in.  I really liked what we came up with!

After that we spent some time working on how we'll come on the ice, and our bows and exit.  You would think that would be nothing but it really took us about 10 minutes or so to work through it!  After that we ran the whole thing with music, including entrance and exit.

This has really come a long way!  I think we both are having a great time with it and it's just a lot of fun.  It looks like we will only have one more lesson with Lynne before Autumn Antics, the rest is just practice on our own.

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