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Spoilers )

And now I shall look forward to the exhibition programs.
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Well, after watching a lot of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski commentating on the official NBC broadcast, I kind of miss the lower-key commentators on the online streaming site. (Johnny Weir, can you please stop talking about the ice dancers as peacocks?!) Though I will have to find pics of what Johnny Weir was wearing every night!

Also, based on Yuzuru Hanyu's outfit and one of the ice dancers' outfits (the woman from Azerbaijan?), I have decided multicolored, large sparkly jewels on an outfit always look bad.

Men's free )

Ice dance )
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OMG with the new team event, watching all the figure skating is like a sport in and of itself! I have not yet seen the men's free skate or the results: SPOIL ME AND DIE!

(CB just got spoiled by a well-meaning friend, and I have only barely avoided them everywhere! And this is when I'm trying to Google ice dance programs from five years ago!)

(apologies for all name misspellings; I am not risking Googling it right now)

Team skate )

Pairs )

Men's short )

For women's skating, I am wondering how Kim Yuna will do, since it sounds like she hasn't really been in the competition circle for a while, and I hope Mao Asada does well. I think the last I really watched her was when she was retooling all of her jumps, and it was so painful to see. Also happy to see Akiko Suzuki on the team. Aaand aside from that, I really don't know much re: what's going on.

It's so weird: I feel all the skaters I used to watch when I first started getting into figure skating are now retiring (or have retired), and I can't quite believe the new judging system is ten years old!
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Nationals were held in San Jose this year, and so for the first time, I splurged and bought tickets to an actual figure skating competition. The last time I was tempted was when Worlds was in LA in 2009, but I couldn't afford it. Now I am newly determined to watch an international figure skating competition live!

I haven't been impressed with US women's or pairs skating since I started watching back in 2004—still love Michelle Kwan and admire Sasha Cohen, but they were definitely on their way out. I've had fun cheering US men's in the past few years via watching Evan Lysacek go from senior debut to Olympic champ, but right now, most of the excitement in US figure skating has been in dance.

OMG. I would have KILLED to be able to see Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir competing with Meryl Davis and Charlie White, but I will take Davis/White, the Shibutanis, and Madison Chock over anything else in Nationals.

Anyway. It's odd watching figure skating live when you've been watching it on television for so long, and even weirder watching it in a crowd when you're so used to being one of the very few people obsessed with it. I don't think that many people in my dwircle watch regularly (*waves at [personal profile] littlebutfierce*), particularly post-ISU-score-change figure skating. But oh man. It was an entire rink full of mainly older women and pre-teen girls, many of whom had US Figure Skating jackets or lanyard, many many of whom were making detailed annotations on paper. I think they were recording people's scores and such.

Also, as I remarked to CB, this was the first time I've ever attended a live sports event in which I've actually even vaguely cared for the sport or the outcome. (Usually: "Who are we cheering for? Did we just score a point? What is going on?") And I am super glad CB now joins me in my enthusiasm for the Shibutanis, who are really cute and talented and adorable and did I mention cute? We call them Team Baby.

It's also nice seeing skaters that I usually don't see televised on the Grand Prix circuit, and will be keeping an eye out on Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Guiletti-Schmitt.

And of course, Davis and White were pretty awesome. I like their free skate program this year much more than I did last year, and I am also biased because I think Meryl Davis' outfit is very pretty.

Random things:
  • If I ever do this again, I am getting seats on the judge's side. I did not realize just how much skaters face the judges during their programs.

  • Watching all three groups was particularly interesting, because the difference in skill level is so obvious.

  • OMG the top-level skaters are so fast.

  • And I know this is such a cliche, but seriously, Davis and White and the Shibutanis make it look so easy. For the first two groups, you get much more of a sense that it's a competition, but by the time the final group takes the ice, I was just sitting back and enjoying the performances.

  • Please do not ever make me choose between seeing Virtue and Moir competing with Davis and White live versus Takahashi Daisuke live versus Kim Yuna live.


Sun, Dec. 18th, 2011 07:18 pm
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Alas, I spent this weekend doped up on cold medicine and waking up at weird hours of the morning to cough. Still v. annoyed to have missed friends in town this weekend, and seeing local friends I don't get to see that often (*waves at people*), but it's probably good that I didn't go in and contaminate things.

On the plus side, I did get to catch up a bit on figure skating during my few conscious hours, and was treated to Takahashi Daisuke in the NHK Trophy (ISU Grand Prix).

Video embeds )

oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
This is one of the major academic works on culture and figure skating in the US (at least, that I know of), and probably one of the first published on the subject. As such, Kestnbaum includes an introduction to the history of figure skating, and although she is not a competitive figure skater, she's been a fan of the sport and can skate a bit herself.

I read this back in March of 2010, inspired by the Vancouver Olympics, so insert the usual caveats here about my memory.

I have been watching competitive figure skating since around 2005, so basically everything I've seen and everything Kestnbaum writes about do not overlap at all, from the way the scoring system changed around 2004 to the top teams and athletes. That said, I watch recreationally, so it was nice to have a brief history of the sport—I did not even know why it was called "figure" skating!—along with a write up of all the different jumps, difficulty levels, what judges look for, and etc.

Kestnbaum then moves on to a cultural critique and reading of figure skating, from complaints of how young the female skaters in particular are to feminist critiques, readings of masculinity in the sport, and compulsive heterosexuality. The final chapter is about fannishness.

Kestnbaum acknowledges the problems of increasingly younger girls and women skating, particularly after the new age rules post-Tara-Lipinski, though she also notes that the shorter, thinner, and less curvy bodies of adolescent figure skaters are more suited toward jumping than that of older women. I don't know enough about skating to say anything about this, but Kestnbaum doesn't go far enough for me; the jumps and many of the ways the sport is judged comes from a time when men were the main athletes, and while I don't know enough to say that this influences all the rules, I also think about gatekeepers and who gets to set the standards. I had a similar problem with her look at masculinity in the sport and compulsive heterosexuality in pairs and ice dance; I agree with a lot of her critique, but I frequently felt she didn't go far enough. While she does read an ambiguous sexuality of many of the male figure skaters and notes the female gaze, my vague memories right now feel like she elided a lot of LGBTQ issues.

She also talks around issues of nationality, race, and ethnicity, and I really wish she had a chapter on that, particularly after Domnina and Shabalin's appropriation of Aboriginal Australian culture. There's also the fact that figure skating is a winter sport, and neatly excludes many Central American, South American, South East Asian, and African nations; I don't think it's a coincidence that figure skating is predominantly White and East Asian. Although there have been more non-East-Asian POC in figure skating from assorted European and North American countries, the number is still tiny. I have similar problems with the way the world competitions are framed as nations battling against each other, how skaters' routines frequently culturally appropriate, the predominance of European classical music, and the usual way different nations' comparative economic positions influence how well their skaters do.

It's not a bad book, and about up to par with most of the cultural critiques centered around sex and gender that I've read (mainly in the realm of manga), but I wanted much more. Still, I found it a useful read as a jumping-off point, and it probably serves best as an introduction.
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On a more serious note: via [livejournal.com profile] sanguinity, An Indigenous Olympics is a good look at the branding of the Vancouver Olympics and the problematics thereof.

Warning: the following commentary will have way too many exclamation points and allcaps and squee.

Spoilers for men's short and pairs )
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Ha, these are tags I don't use often!

I have been dorkily following figure skating ever since I got Tivo and realized I could program it to record figure skating, so now, I bore everyone by going on (and on and on) about figure skating come this Olympics!

(Also! Taiwan is in the winter Olympics! 1 luger, and I doubt we'll win, but still! TAIWAN! WINTER OLYMPICS! Even if we are still listed as "Chinese Taipei"!)

(Also also, I feel so bad for the poor technicians backstage going, "OMFG how did the OLYMPIC TORCH go WRONG at the ACTUAL CEREMONIES I AM SO SCREWED.")

(We won't go into my long-standing issues with the nationalist to-do that always seems to happen over the Olympics, the terrible quality of the US anchors, the way medals go to countries with enough dollars to pour into their sports programs, and etc.)

Much geekiness within )
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More shoujo fluff! I read volume 1 of this nearly a year ago, so I don't remember much, save that Nakajo had awesome sketches of figure skaters in the chapter breaks.

I'm also a little confused as to the status of the series. I thought it was a 2-volume series, and I'm fairly sure the Taiwan version has a "fin" character on volume 2, but Wikipedia hints otherwise.

So, Shun and Maya are working to save their rink! There is, of course, a nefarious plot against them, plus obstacles such as Maya's lack of money for a new skating outfit to surmount. Overall, nothing surprising happens, but I was still charmed by Maya's youth (she's 13, younger than most shoujo heroines I read) and Nakajo's knowledge of the sport. There isn't a ton of figure skating in here, but I enjoyed what I saw.

I think I mentioned it in my write up of volume 1, but I very much appreciate that the scope of this is so small, that it's not Maya turning into a figure skating prodigy and going to the Olympics or something. My impression is that Nakajo's figure skating fannishness works for her in that respect; she knows what's more within the realm of possibility. Although I still laughed when we find out Maya's Sekrit Power, because it wouldn't be a sports series without one!

I also found the lack of romance refreshing.

Cute but probably not interesting to people who don't care about figure skating, although it's possibly suitable for a much younger audience than some of the shoujo I read.
oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
Maya goes skating in her ice rink for the first time ever, and to her surprise, she ends up being scouted! The coach who finds her wants to pair her with Shun, who used to pairs skate with his sister, but Shun doesn't think much of her.

Unsurprisingly, Maya's talent and work ethic gets Shun to finally notice her and coach her.

Like so much of what I seem to be reading these days, this is not a brilliant manga. But hey, it's about figure skating! And while I found Maya's sudden talent highly unbelievable, at least she's 13 instead of the 15 or 16 that I first thought. I'm also guessing that pairs skaters can start older since their careers don't end as quickly as singles skaters? Particularly the women.

Mostly I read this and laughed at Nakajo's illustrations of her favorite skaters between chapters, most of whom I don't recognize, with the exception of Mao Asada. I think she's been watching skating for much longer than I have. And it's sort of awesome to have a fan write about it! She's got the bit on how you have to listen to the sound the skates make on the ice (the smoother, the better), and will probably have even more to come!

Enjoyable fluff, if you're a fan of figure skating like me.
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EEEEEE!!!!! Godchild 8 and Cantarella 9 and Emma 6 have finally arrived OMG I cannot contain my excitement I want to read Godchild rightthissecond! is work done yet?

Some links:

  • [livejournal.com profile] ladyjax is looking for links for the 8th POC in SF carnival. The theme is "What Lies Between Us: Intra-racial Dialogs," and links are due 2/24.

  • I thought I had already linked to this, but clearly that is a sign that LJ-as-external-memory-storage for me is more necessary than ever. The 7th POC in SF carnival goes back full circle to Willow, the person who began the carnival. Hers is on ENOUGH: The Anti-Street / Urban Anti - Exotic / Lit Carnival. I haven't had a chance to get through all the links yet, but there's a lot of good stuff in there.

  • [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija posts on Angel Sanctuary: 12-14, 15-17. I love that one of the cut-tags is labeled "Setsuna escapes on the back of a flying whale." The best part? I forgot about the flying whale! It is like the flying walrus, only larger and with fewer tusks.

[Poll #1130249]

US Figure Skating Nationals )
oyceter: (fuu woe)
  1. I hate my nose. Why does it not come with a return policy, as it is obviously defective? As a corollary to this, I feel like a six-year-old kid about to be yelled at by her parents, since I've been going to bed sucking cough drops and thereby not brushing my teeth, as I end up falling asleep with drop in mouth. I am deathly afraid that a) either I will end up dying comically in bed because I accidentally choked on a cough drop or b) all my teeth will get cavities and I will have to get a root canal in every single one and my dentist will yell at me. The sad thing is, I think b) is scarier than a), largely due to the dentist yelling at me.

  2. I am also afraid I am developing RSI, as my arms hurt, particularly my lower arms around the elbow. Of course, this happens when I haven't sorted out health insurance yet.

  3. OMG WORLD! I have bookshelves! The joy totally justifies the use of capslock! My manga! It is organized!! Alphabetically and chronologically within author! It is beautiful and orderly! Unfortunately, the B5 ones only fit on the upper two shelves, which means I do not have an intimidating shelf entirely stuffed full of Minekura (it must now be divided into two, woe). I am halfway through organizing all my mass markets and am already gleefully contemplating the organization of the hardcovers/trade papers. I have decided to not divide things by genre this time and to only separate fiction from non-fiction.

  4. I also finally have a new filing cabinet big enough to hold my files, which means I must painstakingly refile everything as my system has completely gone to hell over the past year when nothing would fit, which means I will be able to open all the mail that's been piling up, which means I need to sit my ass down one day and just do this. And! I will have my knitting books on top of it, as it is in my little living room with knitting, as opposed to sticking my knitting books in the bedroom, where I will have to run and get them anytime I have to look up a technique.

  5. I am also contemplating finally sticking all my books on LibraryThing and also finally getting into Bookmooch, as I do have things I don't want and am too lazy to bring them to the used bookstore.

  6. I have hit up Office Depot twice already, as all this organization has prompted me to finally file all my knitting pattern printouts into two giant folders, and they of course must be categorized by type and then arranged alphabetically, and my knitting magazines must go in tidy little magazine holders, and then I should file all my school stuff.

  7. Despite my insane obsessive-compulsive tendencies for categorization and alphabetization (check out my LJ memories and tags if you have any doubt), I am still incredibly messy. The Christmas tree is still up, to my ever-lasting shame. At least I managed to get the ornaments off on Friday!

US Nationals Figure Skating 2007 )

(no subject)

Thu, Feb. 1st, 2007 12:48 am
oyceter: (hitsugaya wtf)
Argh, Dick Button, I hate you!

(paraphrased) "It must be so wonderful skating in the US Nationals, an experience for these girls like no other. They're skating against people they've practiced with and known, not some random, almost faceless, skater from Azerbaijan or Japan."

oyceter: Pink ball of yarn with text "yet unmade" (yarn)
For some reason, my brain hasn't been up to handling anything remotely like my normal activities (aka, obsessively reading manga; obsessively reading, period; obsessively blathering on about my latest obsession; obsessively watching anime). Instead, I have been obsessively knitting and obsessively watching figure skating.

Granted, the second isn't that surprising, and since it's very easy to knit and watch figure skating at the same time (less concentration required for watching), no wonder I am obsessively knitting. Not that that means I have cleared my stash any....

I will finally give in and admit I am a closet sports fan, even if the sport is figure skating. Um, given that this is my third year obsessively watching the Grand Prix events and comparing each skater to what they were doing in the previous two seasons, it was a little hard to avoid.

Figure skating notes )

Knitting project pics )

Anime/manga figurine pics )
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I'm too lazy to type up anything substantial, so instead, you all get random things about my life.

1. I am so incredibly sick of packing already. Every time I want to do something or read something, it's in a box where I'm not. Cannot wait till I can finally unpack and stop living with boxes everywhere, though that will probably take an extremely long amount of time. Le sigh.

2. I finally watched the exhibition skates for Worlds, and man, Stephen Lambiel in loose jeans and a black mock turtleneck is really, really hot. He serves as an excellent reason to have more guys skate in jeans (though I suspect skating in jeans is tougher than skating in spandex?). Also, when he skates, he keeps showing little flashes of his tummy because the shirt is untucked. I never thought that would be sexy, and yet, it is. I think it's the sense of vulnerability.

3. "The Queen and the Soldier" has been stuck in my head for the past three weeks.

4. Not being able to cook is also driving me crazy. Am very sick of eating of having to buy lunch every time. So no more kitchen experimentation until I finish moving, woe.

5. I want to read a good, deep, quiet romance, but I can't seem to find a book that will fit this that isn't a reread. Sadly, all the romance novels I have aren't so good at quiet and deep.

6. On the plus side, I have finally finished my sister's purple scarf! Pictures to come as soon as I get my camera back. And so, I have started on a new project with green and gold ribbon. Ribbon knits funny, and it's much chunkier than I thought it would be. Yay summer projects! I love them because I'm too lazy to knit sleeves on sweaters.

7. I'm supposed to get a washer/dryer for the new place. Since LJ contains all knowledge, does anyone know anything about this? Thankfully, since it's my mom's place, it will be coming out of her budget, so price is as much of an issue.

8. Really, I just want to spend weeks on the sofa with my fat rats and watch TV and not pack anymore!
oyceter: (angry dieter's fork)
Figure skating irritation )

Kill Bill irritation )

Ok, am done ranting now. But yes, if Dick Button admires the way a skater looks one more time instead of directly connecting the "gracefulness" to the power to actually hold your leg up without wobbling, I will throw something at the TV.

Random notes

Fri, Feb. 17th, 2006 05:34 pm
oyceter: Delirium from Sandman with caption "That and the burning baby fish swimming all round your head" (delirium)
1. Woe. Brain has been eaten by Saiyuki and Olympics. Must find more Kenren/Tenpou fic. Hope desperately that two opposing zombie-like forces do not combine in one frightening nightmare involving the Sanzo-ikkou figure skating and snarking about their horrible spandex costumes, complete with Sanzo threatening to shoot the commentators, the judges, and his fellow competitors.

2. Yay Evan Lysacek! I am going to the special hell for ogling at his loooong legs. And yay Plushenko, even though he wasn't skating as well as I've seen him. I feel like sticking my tongue out at the commentators because I like his program when he is on. I continue to dislike Johnny Weir (oops, nearly typed "Johnny Weird") because of his interviews and his costumes. And yay Jeffrey Buttle, who I like!

3. Am greatly looking forward to ice dancing and rooting for Belbin and Agosto.

4. Am ignoring the fact that Tanith Belbin's free skate costume involves cutaways with pink underneath. I like them too much for mockage (well, at least open mockage).

5. Yarn market tomorrow! Wallet is doomed.

6. Finally got smart about book buying moratorium and headed over to the library, where I managed to get Midnighters 2, Queen of Attolia, the Sharon Shinn YA (I am giving her one more chance, hoping desperately that I just dislike the Samaria books), a book set in 1600s France and involving swashbuckling and somehow shelved with the new fantasy books, book 5 of Fables, and Rebecca Tingle's sort of sequel to The Edge of the Sword.

7. Have been thinking about the book posts and the oddness of not knowing how many people read my LJ or what they're interested in, and how comments are rather deceptive in this regard. This will probably come out as some giant, meta, totally incoherent post later, but right now, the general reaction on my end is: "Huh."
oyceter: Delirium from Sandman with caption "That and the burning baby fish swimming all round your head" (delirium)
Woe. Am at work. Oh well, should not complain, am going on vacation soon anyway.

Yay! Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are going to the Olympics! Ok, probably no one knows what I'm talking about, but they are a nifty cool ice dancing team that I like a lot and weren't sure if Tanith Belbin would get her US citizenship in time to make it to the Olympics. Unfortunately, basketball is evil and ran overtime so my Tivo only got a few of the ice dancing/pairs skating US Nationals and I missed them. And I can't find a rerun! Booooooo to sports that go overtime and cut into my TV schedule!

I am wearing my new knee-high boots today and feeling very cool. Also somewhat wobbly because the heels are higher than I am used to. But still.

I am not allowed to buy yarn for any new projects until I have reduced my stash somewhat. This makes me sad because I've already spotted at least two or three things I want to make out of Loop-d-Loop.

I am not allowed to spend more money on books for a while (manga doesn't count. Nor do gift certificates) because I need to save up for bookshelves so that all the homeless books that are currently randomly stacked around the house will have somewhere to live. Also, need to cut down since I probably haven't read about 50% of the books that I do own.

I am bored, probably because there's a ton of stuff I should do before I leave on Friday but don't particularly feel like doing. Sigh.

And now, more top five lists!

I'm just picking a few from the lists [livejournal.com profile] thomasyan suggested because I am lazy.

5 Favorite Shoujo Manga Series )

5 Most Embarrassing Moments You're Willing to Share )

Top five reasons to have rats )

Five books I wish more of my flist would read and/or discuss )

Five ways to cast on )


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