Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Club Skate

I was down in Tucson to skate with my club for our club FS at TCC.

I had a reasonably good skate.  I worked on spins (forward and back), jumps and a little bit on moves (power-3s).

My first (fwd) spin was terrific!  3 revs and really nice.  Of course the subsequent ones were not :-).  I need to really think about why this happens...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BO8, FO8, Waltz-8, 3s, Serpentines

My lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.  We were moved to the South Pole today for some reason.

I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, then ran the Preliminary test and then worked on BO8.

Today's lesson:
  • BO8 -- we continued these since I had been working on them.  Ugh!  Very frustrating.  I am really having problems on the RBO side, especially, in getting and holding the position without rotating out of the circle.  This has been so much better!  Not sure why I am having these issues now.  Grr.  They did get better, though; and the LBO wasn't too bad.
  • FO8 -- in contrast, these were perhaps the best I've ever done -- I was really thrilled.  Good control and good flow and Lynne said I looked really relaxed :-).
  • Waltz-8 -- better than last week, I think.  Not great but a little better.  I did a better job of not cutting in to the circle on the BO edge and the 3s were mostly better.
  • 3s to center -- I'm getting better flow through the turn but I still need to work on not letting the free leg pop out during/after the turn; Lynne says I really need to think about the BI edge the way I do in my BI8 -- like I'm almost leaning *out* of the circle.
  • serpentines -- wow!  I got all the way around the first 1.5 circles on each foot!  I was really pleased.  I still need to work on really, really pushing when I change feet as I just don't have enough oomph!
All in all a great lesson!

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  I had not skated since last Friday :-(.

We spent all our time on the backspin!  First the usual exercises -- they are getting better.  Then working on the "usual" entry and about the same as last week, though I am doing a better job of (almost) crossing the free foot.  JJ had me work on entering with both hands in front instead of the usual L hand forward R hand back.  Not sure what that was exactly supposed to accomplish but it was about the same.

I really need to just find some time to work on this because I think I can actually get this!

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.

I went through all of my stuff, with extra time on waltz-8.  I did a really really good BO8!  I was really happy with that.  BI8 is a lot better though my circles were small.  Serpentines not as good as Tuesday :-(.  And 3s just so-so.

I think I am making a little progress on the waltz-8; it's been such a long disheartening slog!  But I am not stepping out as far out of the circle as I used to so I guess that's progress.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I skated Chandler coffee club for (a rare) freestyle practice.

I worked on a bunch of stuff -- 3s, backspin, spins, and even  a little time on toe loop.  Yikes, I have totally forgotten all the progress I made on toe loop :-(.  Grrr.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FO8, Waltz-8, BO8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club, as usual.

I warmed up with the Preliminary test and scribed my circles as usual.  Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- Not too bad.  My flow is not as good as it has been, and I need to push a little harder.
  • waltz-8 -- meh.  Not as bad as I feared, but the step forward, as always, is weak.  It was a bit better on the L side though.
  • BO8 -- the R side was not bad.  On the L side I kept cutting the circle off :-(.
  • 3s to center -- a bit better, actually.  Flow through the turn is a bit better and while I'm still curving in pretty badly I think it's a bit better than before.  We worked on not letting the free leg pop out after the turn.

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3s, Backspin

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

Today's lesson:
  • FO3s -- I had been working on power-3s before my lesson and so we worked on these a bit.  The LFO3 is not bad, but the RFO3 not so great.  We worked on getting me to not rush them (more like my 3s to center in patch), hold the position and then turn.  I keep throwing my hip around and dropping my R shoulder on the RFO3... keeping the R arm/shoulder up helped a lot.  I need to spend some time on these.
  • backspin -- started with the 2-foot spin/push/push exercise -- it's gotten a lot better.  Then on to the edge exercise and then the entry.  I've made a lot of progress... I almost got one!  Really excited.
I realized that I've not really worked on moves in a long time.  I need to refresh those and spend some time on them.  I also reminded JJ that we need to get started on my new free skate program; next competition is only 3 months away.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for patch practice today.  By my notes, I had not skated patch since 10/22.  Eeep!

It was a bit rough at first...I went through pretty much all I know how to do, which would be:
  • edges -- ok
  • FO8 -- had issues with rotation but fixed them
  • FI8 -- good
  • waltz-8 -- ugh
  • BO8 -- these were absolutely HORRIBLE. I worked 'em for some time but was always cutting the RBO circle in, and that's usually the best side! grr.
  • BI8 -- these were surprisingly good!
  • 3s to center -- not too bad, actually
  • serpentines -- I actually got around the first 1.5 circles a couple times on each foot!  Not sure where that came from but was really pleased. 
All in all it was a lot better than I was expecting.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I am in Oregon today and had a lesson with Sonya on the 8:15 FS at WSC.

As I noted, I picked up my boots with my new blades this morning.  I skated for 45 minutes (7:15 - 8), then had my lesson with Sonya and a little practice after.

Today's lesson:
  • stroking -- Sonya wanted to be sure my new blades were okay so of course she made me do a lap or two of stroking and crossovers.  No issues, but of course my extension could be better.
  • two-foot spin -- we spent a little time on two-foot spins, mostly concerned with getting me to hold my arms out longer before pulling them in.  These were a little rough at first but improved.
  • 1-foot spin -- mostly working on keeping the free leg back and get the arms extended out to either side before pulling them in.  I did some relatively nice spins!
  • backspin -- I showed Sonya my exercises that JJ had me doing.  She had me do some crossrolls and other stuff, then we worked on the entry.  Not much progress.
It was nice to be back at WSC again, and especially to see homegirls Sierra, Karly and Madison.  Also fun (a bit distracting, in a good way) to see the novice dance national champs (Lewis and Bye) there working.  They've improved a lot in the last couple years and are a joy to watch.

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New Blades!

I got my new blades mounted last night.  They are MK Professional Parabolics, just exactly like my old blades (but, as Sonya said, "with a rocker!").  YAY!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Backspin Prep, Still

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.

Today's lesson was all on backspin.  We ran through the forward-backward push exercise for a while, then the RFI3-hold the edge, and then worked on attempting the spin.  It seems about the same as last week; maybe a little closer.  JJ had me try an exercise on the boards to work on "snapping" the feet after the turn.  Hmm.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 Autumn Antics Skate-Off

Since I had been nominated for the Earnhardt-Hughes award, I had to come back and participate in the skate-off.  I would have had to be there anyway to help with sound, so it wasn't exactly an unplanned trip.  Still, time was tight as I had to be in Tucson in the morning to sing and traffic was heavy coming back.  I got to the rink just before 3 and the skate-off for singles was to start at 4:15.

For starting order I was 15th of 21, so I watched more great skating, then got my props in order, changed into my costume and finally it was time to skate!  I had taken the precaution of putting a spare copy of my music out with the music folks... so of course there wasn't a problem.

They called my name, and I went out with my table, set up, struck my pose... and off I went!

It was better than yesterday; nearly flawless except that for some reason that escapes me, in the very beginning instead of the back crossovers/step forward into the "deep as any ocean" move, I just turned and skated forward.  I don't know why.  Other than that everything was pretty much dead on!  I'm told the crowd really liked it, and I did hear some enthusiasm :-).

After I was done, I watched the last few skaters (awesome!) and took my skates off... which was a mistake, apparently, because for the awards they wanted everyone on the ice.  So they called us all up and I had to hurriedly put my skates back on.  eeep!  It was okay, though.

They had us come out and skate a victory lap, then we all lined up and they presented the awards.  I didn't win (aww!) but my buddy Brenna did so I was really really happy for her!

What an amazing experience!


Saturday, November 09, 2013

2013 Autumn Antics Duet Light

... so after the Light program I had some time to take pictures etc. and then I had some lunch that my stepmother had graciously brought me (yay!  I was really starving by that point).  Then a little more time to watch skating and then I got my costume and skates on and Melissa and I went to warm up.

We worked through some points we'd agreed to practice, although we didn't get to practice our stroking quite the way we wanted to at first (warmup a little too crowded and between us and Patti and Doug it seemed quite crowded) but we got around to it a bit later.  We were feeling pretty loose and relaxed (or at least I was).  Melissa was doing a great job of pretending not to be sick :-).

And... they called our names!  And we stroked out into our positions and struck our pose..




Again I get the "this won't play!" look.  I had warned M that if this happened I would go get my backup first, so I went and did that.  Got into position again, and off we went!

In general it went really well!  There were a couple places where I was a little sloppy, unfortunately -- I was a little early coming into our "loosy-goosy" dance move so I improvised and Melissa, God bless her, went with it and met me just where she needed to.  The rest of it was pretty much dead on! My spin was crappy, but oh well.   We finished on time, took our bows, collected a couple tossies, and escaped the ice :-).

As I expected, Patti and Doug were first and we were second.  I wasn't upset in the slightest, as they are an actual pairs team and have all kinds of stuff in their toolbox.  I was really, really pleased at how well it went and I had a great time, and I think the audience did too.



2013 Autumn Antics Showcase Light

... after my Dramatic program I took off my skates (ahhhh!) and changed into my costume for the Light program.  I had a few moments to watch skating, then I had to get my 12 bazillion props ready.  Had a brief moment to chat with my stepmother, then it was time to go warm up.  I was 4th of 5 in the skating order for the event, right after Melissa. 

When I got on the warmup ice the ice monitor let me put my table out next to the doorway for the practice ice.  I went through and warmed up although I was already pretty warmed up from the previous program anyway.  I did take some time to practice my spin with the x-ray glasses though.  Eeep.  I suspect I will have to practice with them a LOT more to get a good spin in them, it's so weird.

Finally Melissa went out to skate and I got my table moved ready to go on.  Melissa came off, they called me out and I pushed my table out into position, set it up, and got into my opening pose...




So Trish (the referee) tells me my music won't play (obviously).  I'm not surprised, for whatever reason.  I go back and grab my backup copy and skate it over to them.  They were not using the boombox (different folks than I had trained) so I reached over and turned it on for them and ran up the mixer :-).  Ha!

I go back and take my position and off I go!  I have to say I was having a pretty good time with it.  Off through the half flip, waltz jump, putting on the x-ray glasses, into the spin, which was okay.  Then off into the spiral and something went a little weird, because I was ahead of the music too much.  I might not have gone toward the audience enough on the spiral... anyway, I went into the 60s dance part and I had to turn around to do the next "blinded" move instead of it being on the same line as the 60s dance. Oh well.  I came out okay and I finished just fine.  People were very appreciative and I got a couple of tossies :-).  Pushed the table off and I was done.

When the results were in... I was SECOND OF FIVE!!  I even beat Melissa!  I was very pleasantly surprised and happy about such a positive outcome.  But there was something else...

I was nominated for the skate-off!!  Tawnya had told me that they didn't necessarily nominate the top finisher of a group, and that was true for me.  Woohoo!!!  I can't tell you what a great feeling it was/is.


2013 Autumn Antics Showcase Dramatic

[N.B. I will post about my programs one blog entry per program]

So... all the prep was done.  Friday night I was out at Peoria 'til about 10:30 setting up sound equipment and training people how to run music... this becomes important later :-).

Morning came and Melissa was at my house promptly at 8:15 so we could carpool to the rink (it's 40 miles).  We got there and checked in, took a few moments to relax and watch some skating and then it was time for us to get ready for our individual skates.  Since we had the exact same schedule it was pretty convenient, lol!.  We had 3 of us in our group for Dramatic -- Melissa first, then Anna, then myself.  The rule (apparently) at AA is that there are 6 skaters on practice ice at a time.  So when it was our turn we were on the ice warming up.  It's nice because you actually have a fair amount of time to warm up, and since you're behind the curtain no one is watching you.  On the other hand you have the same number of people to dodge on much smaller ice!

So Melissa skated, then Anna, then it was my turn.  They called my name and out I went!  Took my time to get in position, struck my pose.... and waited... and waited.  I look over at the music folks and they are frantically reloading my CD in the backup boombox.  Oh well!

Finally, the music starts and of course I was a little surprised because I was distracted.  Off I went through the first part of the program, into the LFI mohawk that weirds me out.. it was bad, but I survived (I've survived worse, mind you).  That was really the only thing in the program I was particularly worried about since I find myself unable, apparently to do that mohawk nicely when I have any speed at all in spite of having done some nice ones just yesterday, and even in the warmup. Oh well.

On into the waltz jump and the spiral and it was going really well; I felt like I was skating relatively fast but it wasn't scary.  Into the RFO3s->lunge->spin and the spin went really well so I was really happy, then on into the salchow.  I think I went into the salchow a little early, or came out in the wrong place, because I wound up heading right in the direction I needed to go for the next element instead of needing to skate around.  I realized if I went straight into it (the slow-motion punch) I would be waaay too far ahead so I made up something (not sure what, actually!) then on into the rest of the program and finished on time.


One slightly jarring thing -- as I came off the ice out the door my R skate managed to line up perfectly with the joint/gap in the rubber matting and went (briefly) onto  BARE CONCRETE.  AHHH!!  I was freaked out but I couldn't see or feel any actual problem.  I went back on the warmup ice briefly to see if it felt okay and it did, so I decided not to worry about it.

I felt like this skate was some kind of turning point for me because at some point (after the spiral, I think) I felt like I COULD DO NO WRONG.  I can't quite explain it.  I told myself not to get cocky, that in skating such pride usually comes before a quite literal, and often spectacular, fall... but it was a great feeling.  I wasn't really nervous.  A little anxious, but that was all.  Wow!

Results were posted and I came in SECOND! Melissa, then me, then Anna.  I had 3 "2" ordinals, a "1" (YAY!) and a "3".  This was THE FIRST TIME I didn't come in last!  I'm so happy! And it was a great skate so I was really happy about that too :-).


Friday, November 08, 2013

Final Practice

I skated the Gilbert coffee club today for duet practice and some touch-up on the light program w/Holly.

After a little warmup, Melissa and I ran the duet a total of 3 times with music.  In between we touched up some areas and also practiced our side-by-side stroking and crossovers.  As usual for us, the first runthrough had a few minor glitches that we ironed out the 2nd and 3rd times through.  It went really well.

After that I grabbed all my props and set them up and worked with Holly for 15 minutes on the light program.  I had a few fixes to make on the props, but nothing major.  In general it's going really well.  One of the rink guys wanted a picture with me in costume!  I had to laugh.  I'm feeling pretty good about this program.


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Program Practice

I skated the Chandler coffee club for practice today. Goal was to work on the Dramatic program since I've not had that much time on it.

I ran it 3 times with music and also worked on some of the elements.  First time was a little rough but it improved.  My spin is just so-so and the salchow's kinda crappy.  I really need to think about slowing down and taking my time with them even when I think I'm behind.  It will be okay.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


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

Before my lesson I did a 5-minute warmup and then skated the Dramatic program.  It was a bit off :-(.   JJ was on the ice and told me to run it again, and I did.  It was much better the second time!

We started off by playing the new cuts I have for my freestyle (I gave JJ a CD with both of them).  JJ seems to like them both but in different ways.

From there we went on to continue working on backspin.  We did the 2-foot spin push-push exercise and then the RFI3-hold-RBO exercise and then on to working the actual spin entrance.  I feel like it is actually coming along, very slowly.  Crossing the legs...eeek!  But I feel like we are continuing to make progress.

Next week's lesson is moved due to a work trip, and then I should be getting my new blades in a week.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Duet Practice

Melissa and I skated at Chandler coffee club for duet practice.  We wore our full costumes and practiced including a brief warmup.

The first runthrough was a little rough in places, but only a little.  The second runthrough was really good!  Then we ran a third time and it was not quite as good.  Still, I think we're in great shape.  Kudos to Melissa, she is still getting over a bug she picked up but she came out and skated anyway. 

We have one more practice Friday and then we skate Saturday.  Our duet was changed from 7 :10 a.m. (yuck!) to 2:15 p.m. (yay!!).

Friday, November 01, 2013


I went to Gilbert coffee club for more choreography and practice for my light program today.

I got there a bit later than I intended, but had about a half hour to warm up.  I ran my dramatic program once with music and once without and worked out some issues with placement on the ice.  Then I got into my costume and got my props set up for my light program and had my 15 minutes with Holly.

She's okay with my props and costume.  I have a couple of small things to do -- I need a cover for the table, need to paint my test tubes and mount the other blade on my old skates.  After some discussion, we ran the program... 4 times.  A total of 4 times.  Yikes!  4 times in like 10 minutes.  I was whupped.  It is pretty good though.  Had to make an adjustment on the sunglasses but other than that things are okay.

Autumn Antics is a week from tomorrow!  Eeep.