Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

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

Friday, February 28, 2014

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club for 45 minutes worth of patch practice.  I spent 25 minutes on Preliminary test stuff (mostly waltz-8) and 20 minutes on BO8, BI8, serpentines and 3s to center.

Waltz-8.. some of them were okay, almost.  Gaah.  So hard for me to be consistent about my problem areas.  Grr.

BO8 was really nice!  BI8... struggling a bit, though the push is better.  Serpentines I am not making it around the 1.5 circles, and 3s were about the same as they have been.  Oh well.

This was our last coffee club, and our last Friday lunchtime ice.  I'll miss it a lot.  There is Friday coffee club at Gilbert but it's a hike so who knows if that will happen or not?


I used up my last "old" freestyle sticker at Chandler this morning.  I skated for an hour and had a really good skate!

I spent almost the entire time on the free skate, working on different chunks of the program and running it with music 3 times.  I focused especially on speeding up the first part to try to get the waltz jump to be right on the music cue; after some hard work I did manage to get it realllly close!  I was pretty proud of that.  I really have to push!

I also spent a chunk of time working on the pivot at the end of the program to make myself really do it.  Yikes.  Good progress; the last time I ran it I really did it, so yay me!

There are still a lot of weaknesses in the program, in flow and just in general, but it's come a long way and this practice really helped.

At the very end of the session I ran my dramatic program just since I had not run it since Mid Winter.  It went pretty well.  Yay!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Preliminary Test, BI8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club.

I warmed up with edges as usual.  I forgot to bring my scribe, unfortunately :-(, but I went and ran through FO8, FI8 and waltz-8 and then it was time for our lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- we laid it out in staggered circles.  FO8 was reasonably good, though I had to correct my first RFO circle.  FI8 was pretty good.  Waltz-8 was about the same as usual.  We then spent some time working on waltz-8 and it actually improved a lot!  We got me to keep the free foot in front on the L side (the RBO edge) and it really helped me stand up straighter and keep the free leg close.  I know I've had that correction before so I'm not sure why it was different today.  Have to remember this for practice!  I tend to get going a bit fast after the first circle and then I get sloppy.  Grrr.  I do much better when I slow things down and keep it more deliberate.
  • BI8 -- some quality time on this.  I really struggle to control my upper body on the RBI after the push.  We spent some time just working on getting a better first push and it really helped, actually.  Still getting a small/short BO then flip to BI on the push, but I did better at realllllly getting my foot out there for the push so it's more perpendicular and closer (no widestepping).  When I do that I can get a pretty nice size circle.. awesome.
Starting next week we'll start the new "ice cafe" LTS structure on Wednesdays at Ice Den Chandler.  I signed up for the month of March.  We'll see how it goes.  In talking with Lynne, my plan is to skate the lesson (it will be patch!) as my warmup, then have 10 minutes to scribe my circles etc., then lesson with Lynne from 12:20 to 12:50.  Practice time other than that?  Who knows...

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My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  Just us and Jennifer and Allison.

For today we kept working on the free skate, polishing it up and working it hard.  We ran it twice with music, then worked on some points (salchow -> pivot was very rough) then ran it with music a third time.  Yikes!  this program is really tiring although there aren't that many jumps/spins.

The good news is that I am finishing pretty much on time!  I'm really not sure how that happened since I know that I am behind going into the waltz-mazurka.  I do know that part of the reason is that my spin is more or less not happening so that saves time (ha!).  That said, my footwork is still quite slow and transitions are not smooth.  Grrr.  So lots more to do.  I'm going to work with JJ twice more next week, then we leave for PCAS on Thursday.

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Monday, February 24, 2014


I was in Oregon and had a lesson with Sonya on the public session at WSC.  Very crowded, only 2/3 ice and crappy ice... but hey, it was a lesson!

For today's lesson we worked on the footwork sections in the free skate.  As usual Sonya's emphasis is on smoothing things out and removing extraneous steps.  So for example we worked on the moonwalk into the lunge, and she suggested rather than just step forward I should do a C-cut to get a little more speed/push.  She also suggested simplifying the entry into the spin by just going into the spin from the brush back (instead of the previous LFO3->BXOs).  Saves a little time.

We finished up by working on the salchow->pivot and finish. Going into this pivot really scares me (entry from a hockey glide).  Yikes.  We worked on it and it was much better.  She also gave me some suggestions for arm positions in the end that were pretty good.

All in all pretty productive for a public session!

A few minutes before the end of the lesson we had the following interchange with a boy (probably 10 or 11) wearing figure skates:

  • BOY -- Are you having a lesson!?  An adult, having a lesson?!
  • Sonya -- Yes!
  • Me -- Yes, it happens all the time!
It cracked me up.  I wanted to tell him that he just wasted a minute of my lesson, so he owed me a dollar!  Too funny.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Half N' Half

I skated the Chandler coffee club today; I tried something different. I skated the first half in my patch skates and then changed and skated another half hour in my freestyle blades. 

In patch, I ran through the test, then worked on back outsides and back inside.  Eeep :-(.  It's been a while.  BO8 wasn't that bad but BI8 was not so great, but it did improve, at least.

For freestyle, I worked on my footwork from the free skate, then ran it with music.  Hmmm.  On the positive side, I remembered and did everything!  On the negative side I'm still very slow and finished maybe 8 seconds late.  Geez.  Oh well.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Video From Mid Winter Warmup

Here it is!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Back At It

I had my first figures lesson with Lynne in two weeks on the Chandler coffee club today.  Yikes!  I had not skated patch at all in two weeks.  Things were a little rough in my warmup.

Today's lesson:
  • Preliminary test -- as we've been doing we laid out FO8, FI8 and waltz-8 on staggered circles.  FO8 was okay although my flow was not so great.  FI8 was pretty good.  Waltz-8 was not bad, all things considered, although I did put my foot down on the step foward on the middle R circle.  Grrr.  Oh, and I fell on one of the RFO3s.  Ha!
  • serpentines --ugh!  I didn't make it all the way around even once.  Grrr.
  • 3s to center -- the 3s themselves are pretty nice!  Still not holding that BI edge around though.
Good to be back on my patch skates!

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Werkin' It Some More

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

We continued working through the free skate.  I ran it once without music and then again with music.  In between we worked on a number of areas -- for example we changed the pattern slightly so that the lunge-3 was into the boards so that I come out and can go right into the alternating BXOs.  The lunge-3 was much better today though, so that was encouraging.

There are still some real problem areas; in particular the footwork into the spin -- I have trouble remembering it/executing it and it's too slow; also from the salchow into the pivot seems to be a bit problematic.    JJ reminded me I really have to squeeze out the extra steps I tend to insert -- they slow me down and get me behind.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Werkin' It

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

We spent our lesson working through the free skate.  Yikes! We ran it once without music and twice with music and spent a lot of time working through various pieces.  I am really, really slow on much of the footwork, and I'm having some trouble remembering what comes next.  The good news is that it did improve from the beginning to the end.  I have a lot of work to do, though, and I have to imagine that it will still be pretty rough by sectionals.  Oh well!

I had a costume fitting last night.  It's going to be good.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mid Winter Warmup 2014 Showcase Dramatic

I skated my "100 Years" program at the 2014 Mid Winter Warmup competition today.

I had practice ice (with Melissa) at 8:15 (how civilized!).  We got to the rink at about 7:45 and checked in, etc.  Practice ice was pretty busy!  I had a good practice, ran through all my elements and ran some program chunks that I was concerned about.

We were scheduled to skate at 9:20.  There was a withdrawal so it was only Melissa and I skating.  I went first (just like yesterday! Grrr).  It went pretty well in general, all my elements came off except for the salchow -- for some reason I didn't land it well and was all two-footed on it.  Yuck.

Melissa went and skated a flawless program (it was really nice!) so I wasn't surprised when the results came back and Melissa won and I got second.  Got our medals and took some pictures.

I spent the rest of the day volunteering -- first I was a music runner, then I did a shift of ice monitoring.  It was fun.

In the afternoon Morry Stillwell -- a judge, and one of the founders of Showcase as a skating form -- stopped me in the lobby and said that he really enjoyed my Light program yesterday.  "That was pure Showcase!" he said.  Wow!  That really made my day.

All in all it was a great competition and I had a great time.  Yay!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Midwinter Warmup 2014 Showcase Light Program

My day at Midwinter Warmup, hosted by the LA FSC, at the East-West Ice Palace in Artesia, CA.

I had practice ice at 7:15, and I was at the rink by 6:45.  Checked in and then really had a lot of time to do nothing... I ate an apple and got my skates on.  My practice ice went fine -- it was fairly full (about 16 skaters) but workable.  I had my full costume on, but didn't bring any props except for my glasses.  I warmed up my jumps and spins, then worked through some program chunks.  Then I worked on putting the glasses on and skating into the spin, since that's the worst part of the program for me.  I'm really glad I was in full costume, because in my practices lately I had adjusted the headband on the glasses to be smaller because it seemed too big.  Well, it was big to fit over the wig!  So I had to bring it out again. Good thing I didn't wait 'til the actual program!  My practice went well and I got off the ice.

I realized during practice ice that the judges were not going to be left of center (as I face them) as they were at Autumn Antics, but on the other side (right of center).  I decided to move the beginning (placement of table & props) to that side since it was important to be in front of the judges.  I was a little concerned about making such a change at the last minute but my gut told me it would be okay and was the right thing to do.  As it turned out, I had no problems with the adjustment at all and everything was fine.

After that I went and checked in, then brought all my props from the car and set them up and made sure everything was set.  Then I killed some time until my event.

As it turned out, I was skating first.  There were only 3 of us (myself, Melissa and Lory) as there was one skater who withdrew.  We went out for warmup and things were fine, I was pretty warmed up from practice ice.  Went off at the one-minute mark and prepped the table to move it on.  Warmup was over, and I pushed the table through the door, then they called my name and I skated the table into position, took my pose and started!

Everything went really well.  I felt pretty good.  The spin was only like one rev but it seemed fairly upright so I guess that was enough.  Timing was spot-on and I had a lot of fun with it.  I finished and then I almost forgot to bow!  Remembered at the last moment, bowed, grabbed my stuff and off I went.

Afterward I watched Melissa and Lory skate.  Melissa's cat program was fun and whimsical, and Lory's program was disco if I recall correctly.  When the results were posted, I was first!  Wow! My first-ever first place in competition!  I was blown away.  Although if ever I had a program I thought would be a winner this would be it.  We took our pictures and then I got out of my costume and put all my stuff away.  I spent the rest of the day watching some great skating!

Tomorrow -- practice ice at 8:15 (how civilized!) and then my Dramatic program at 9:20.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last Practice

I managed to get in 30 minutes of practice at Chandler coffee club today, my last practice before Midwinter this weekend.

I only got to run each program once with music, as well as working on some other stuff.  They both went reasonably well, better than I expected.  I even did an okay spin in the light program -- well, okay in the sense that, while short, it was controlled and I imagine looked like a spin. All in all a good note to leave for CA on.

I'm really going to miss the flexibility my annual pass gave me.  This kind of thing (skating for the last 30 minutes of the session) is precisely the kind of thing I won't be doing after the new rules kick in in March.  It's just way too expensive to do that.  Oh well!


My lesson with JJ on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert.  This was an additional lesson so we could work on finishing up the choreography for the free skate.

First we reviewed the choreography we have (about 55 seconds).  Then after the spin we added:
  • 2 FXOs curving back toward the middle of the rink
  • a lunge-3 turn (my idea)
  • 2 BXOs in alternate directions
  • Salchow
  • step forward to a RFI pivot
  • backward to a back snowplow stop
  • strike pose
Doesn't seem like 45 seconds worth of stuff but at the speed I'm going right now it is more than that.

So having worked all that out, we ran the whole thing twice.  Yikes!  First, it's definitely a lot to remember right now, and second... I get sooooo far behind it's not even funny.  Eeep.  Still, glad to have everything in place.  Now I need a lot of practice.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Program Practice

I skated the Chandler coffee club to work on my programs for the competition Saturday.  I worked on the dramatic first.  Worked on some pieces, then ran it with music.  It was okay except the spin was horrible.

Then I practiced wearing the glasses for the light program.  Eeeep.  Ran the program with music.  It was generally okay but geez, the spins were horrible today in general.

Feeling generally okay about the programs in general but not too thrilled with my skating right now.  Oh well.  If I'm lucky I will get one last practice tomorrow at lunchtime (short, I have a work meeting at lunch).  Then off to MidWinter!


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

We spent out lesson refining the first part of the program.  We made some changes to make things flow better, and JJ made some corrections to the ice pattern I was skating  (incorrectly) after the footwork at the beginning -- it's supposed to be a deep sine wave pattern and I was skating something much flatter.

The program so far looks like this now:
  • opening pose, then push to left
  • RFI mohawk, step forward
  • LFO(-ish) mohawk into a couple of BXOs
  • step forward, RFI3
  • step forward, LFO3
  • a couple of BXOs, arm movement ("Boom") -- palms outward circle out over head
  • step forward, RFI spiral
  • straight into mohawk (no push!)
  • waltz jump->mazurka
  • RFI mohawk
  • backward moonwalking, arms extended, palms up
  • step forward
  • LF lunge, hands down then in front/behind
  • RFI mohawk and cross (R - L - R)
  • step forward, LFI mohawk and cross (L - R - l)
  • brush back
  • spin
I am getting behind pretty quickly unfortunately -- too much time thinking about what comes next at this point.

Tomorrow we should finish it off.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Ice Den Invests In Chandler Rink

This is pretty exciting -- Ice Den Chandler Announces a $3 Million Repair and Renovation Project .  I'm really glad that they are willing to make this investment -- it means the rink has a good future.  4 months is a long time to shut down a rink, but clearly they have a lot to do.

The only part of that announcement that I'm not too keen on is their apparent intent to shut down one sheet of ice in the summers going forward, in order to run indoor soccer camps.  Summer is peak training time for figure skaters and to only have one sheet available will be a bit cramping unless there's absolutely no summer hockey.  Oh well.


I'm still getting over my darn cold/flu/crud but I went out at coffee club and skated anyway since, y'know, the competition is SATURDAY.

I ran my light program for the first time since November!  Yikes.  Actually, it was pretty good.  I spent some time practicing w/the glasses on since that's the part that throws me.  It didn't get much better, unfortunately, but I'll keep working it.

I ran the dramatic program as well.  Not so great.  My ice placement was a bit off and my spin was horrible (I did a terrific one when I was warming up, of course).  Grrr.

Lesson in the a.m., and Wed. as well.

Friday, February 07, 2014


I had another lesson with JJ this morning on the 8:15 FS at Gilbert to work on choreography some more.  He had me run through the program as we have it now -- geez, I fall seriously behind pretty quickly.  We spent most of our time today really just working on the footwork elements I have and trying to get them more solid.  It's a tough slog.

I have two lessons next week, the goal is to finish off the remainder of the choreography.  PCAS is 4 weeks from today :-(.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014


I managed to get to the rink for 30 minutes at coffee club today.  I worked on my Dramatic program. I had not run it since Autumn Antics in November!  Eeep :-(.

I warmed up, then just dove in and ran the program with music.  I was pleasantly surprised!  While I missed a number of small points, in general in went pretty well and I was actually ahead at the end!  This despite trying to stretch it out for ice coverage.  After the runthrough I ran through some of the segments that I'd had trouble with. 

I only have tomorrow at lunch and next Wed. at lunch (well, maybe another half hour next Thursday) to practice this and the Light program.  Eeep.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Preliminary Test, BO8, 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler coffee club. As usual I warmed up with edges, scribed my circles, and then worked through FO8, FI8 and waltz-8 before my lesson.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- a bit wobbly in places.  I'm not sure why -- practice Monday was *much* better.  Just a bit sloppy, and my LFO circle was a bit too large.
  • FI8 -- surprisingly, a little weak also.  Normally this is my best figure.  A bit sloppy mostly. Grrr!
  • waltz-8 -- actually the L side was not that bad.  I slowed it down and the step forward was on the circle more (not cut in) and actually not too far out!  On the R side I really struggled to not put my foot down :-(.  Lynne says that should be my primary goal right now in practicing these.
  • BO8 -- Urgh.  The R side was not that bad but the L side I was really struggling with -- not standing up straight, then going flat on the last part of the circle.  Yuck.
  • 3s to center -- the 3s are really improving.  I have better flow through them.  I'm still really weak on holding the BI edge after though.
All in all... lots of work to do.

I told Lynne no lesson this Friday as we'd originally planned, and no lesson next week -- between my work trip and getting ready for MidWinter, I have very little time and I really need to practice my programs for MidWinter.  Ugh.

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

We worked on fleshing out the choreography for the free skate.  We didn't get any further, but we filled out details for the first minute or so.  It looks something like this:

  • Opening pose -- L foot back, arms to right
  • Push to left
  • RFI mohawk
  • LFO mohawk (sort of)
  • BXO 
  • Step forward to LFO3
  • Step forward, RFI3
  • BXO (or 2), step forward
  • RFI spiral
  • mohawk into a waltz jump-mazurka
  • step forward
  • footwork -- RFI mohawk/repeat thing
  • LF lunge -- arms out/down, then crossed fwd/behind
  • RFI mohawk, cross step, stepforward
  • LFI mohawk, cross step, step forward
  • brush back
  • salchow
  • spin

Another lesson Friday, and two next week.  PCAS is 4 weeks from Friday!

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Patch Perseverance

I skated the Chandler coffee club today for patch practice.  Geez!  I had not skated patch in a long time!  I was out sick most of last week.

I had an okay skate.  After warmup, FO8, FI8, I spent about 20 minutes working on waltz-8, then some time on BO8, BI8, serpentines and 3s to center.  Serpentines were remarkably good!