elwen: (squee!)
I watched Pandora Unforgettable Moments of Love on Ice this afternoon. I saw a commercial for it during nationals and was kind of like, "What kind of cheesy figure skating crap are they airing now?" But I happened to be at the TV right when it started, so I thought I'd give it a try, and it was actually kind of cool because I got to see a lot of people I thought I'd never see again. Including Ilia.

I've always felt kind of torn about exhibitions and shows because you don't get to see skaters at their technical best, but on the other hand they tend to be more fun and mistake-free. I also hate the shows they do with famous singers because then the cameras focus on them like half the time and it's like do I really want to watch the person singing or swaying with a saxophone when someone is skating? But anyways.

It was fun. It's one of those things, you know, every now and then you stop to wonder what happens to these people after they get their medals. Nancy Kerrigan and Kristi Yamaguchi were announcing. And they had Kurt Browning and some old pairs (?) champions, plus some newer names like Joannie Rochette and Miki Ando. (It's weird to think I last really paid attention to figure skating two years ago, so I don't even know how fresh these names are anymore. Or who went pro and who didn't.)

And Ilia, of course. It was kind of exciting to see him again. He still has those beautiful, feather-light landings that I fell in love with. No more rosy cheeks, but there's still something in his smile that is very boyish. His second skate was to Usher's "Make Love In This Club" and was very cute. Taking the shirt of... well, I will count that as one of his "cheesy but irresistible gimmicks," along with the yellow giraffe shirt.

Ilia was one of the Pandora sell-outs, bringing his family on to talk about how this snowflake charm represented their vacation to Mammoth Lakes. I don't know if I caught all of the blatant Pandora plug "bio" segments, but I know Kristi had one, too. A lot of aspects of sponsorship of these things boggle my mind, from the perspective of any of the parties involved, but I suppose it must work.

I'm always nostalgic when I hear about or see Kristi Yamaguchi. I don't really remember the 1992 Olympics, but I remember that I watched it with my mom, and we were both cheering for Kristi and I felt a sense of kinship because my mom told me she was born in Fremont, just like me. That was the start of my long and erratic figure skating fandom.

Anyway, I'm just free-associating now. Suffice to say I'm glad I got to see Ilia and all the other people whose programs I paid attention to. (I was testing out our new iron and ironing board and sometimes got more engrossed in that with the music in the background.) I liked the first guy's program -- the one who did Muse's "Feeling Good," I think -- but I didn't catch his name. I thought it was Kurt Browning, but I don't think he was bald.

And on that "whaa?" note, I will end. :P
elwen: (Default)
I am a wayward fan of figure skating. Every now and then, I get really, really into it, like during the Vancouver Olympics. Then I resolve to keep following it, and never do. I never even watched the 2010 World Championships after making my dad tape it.

One afternoon, I saw a commercial for tickets to the national championships, which were in San Jose, and I noted that it was basically the week I was on vacation, but I would be back for the last day. I vaguely considered going. Then I forgot about it.

Then we got back from vacation, and James told me there was figure skating on TV. And there it was, the men's free skate. And I kind of wished again that I had gotten it together and managed to go. Mainly because I assume it's not often that a large competition is nearby enough for me to easily attend. Though this is probably one of those things where I should wait until something really awesome is here, like the Olympics or Worlds.

I don't really have much national spirit when it comes to figure skating. When I first became a fan in my own right -- versus watching and enjoying it with my mom -- I was enamoured of Russian skaters, starting with Ilia Kulik. But in general it's just whomever I find exciting or cute or intriguing in a particular season. There are American skaters I like, such as Johnny Weir. Watching this year's nationals, though, was kind of like, "Who are all these white boys?"

I guess Jeremy Abbott was pretty good. But I was kind of disappointed in how no one really had a clean program, and I think Abbott may have been the only guy who landed his quad. I liked Keegan Messing's energy, but I don't think he did well enough to make it to Worlds, meaning I won't see him again until next season at the earliest, by which time I'll probably have forgotten who he is.

But I know Worlds is March 25 to April 1 (spanning my birthday!) so I will do my best not to miss it.

Watching figure skating did remind me of Ginban Kaleidoscope and the totally awesome final volume. Someday I might get to translating it. Just like someday I might be a more constant fan...
elwen: (reading)
But this time, fictional figure skating.

So I decided to back up a little and reread the scene right before where I left off in Ginban Kaleidoscope before the real Olympics took over my life, and OMG. You know how I was talking about how Lia was going to [spoiler] and how she wasn't awesome enough to do it? Well, apparently she is just that awesome. And how!

You should just let me spoil you, because otherwise no one will read this. :( )

On a separate note, Lia is like those people I hate who are in line after you for DDR, then they do the same song you just did just to prove how much you sucked at it. XO
elwen: (Default)
I decided the gala deserves a post of its own. At first it was just so I could whale on Evan some more, but... I'll try to have other things, too.

But I'll start with Evan. I was going to say, "He cemented my dislike of him by doing Rhapsody in Blue." First of all, I really don't like that song. Second, Ilia does it better. (In bed. And with a quad.) But I'll let him off because his arrangement was mostly parts of the song that I can tolerate and not the parts that really annoy me. I still don't like him as a skater, though. The first announcer was like, "He won with his combination of athleticism and artistry" -- not. What artistry? At least the other announcer felt the need to add that it was also his work ethic. Yeah, you mean his robot-ness. Oh, and does he ever wear anything besides black? I really don't think it looks good on him.

Overall, I thought there were a lot of programs that were really beautiful or lots of fun to watch. For beautiful, I would put Pang/Tong and Davis/White at the top. The emotion in Pang/Tong's program was so intense and so infectious. For fun, I liked Mao Asada and, of course, Virtue/Moir, haha. So cute.

Also, there was Takahashi. *swoon* :D

And speaking of cute, OMG, Shen/Zhao and their little kiss. ^o^

Faiella/Scali seem to have a knack for picking these beautiful, emotional pieces to skate to. I forgot to mention it when talking about the free dance, but their program to "The Emigrants" was lovely. I don't think it's so much their skating as the music, though.

Miki Ando did Requiem again. The arrangement this time was really weird and all out of order. I couldn't tell what the first part was from, but the transition to Lacrymosa was pretty cool. Didn't think she should have had Dies Irae again, but whatevs. They can do whatever they like with the exhibition, I suppose.

Plushenko has grown on me over the course of this Olympics. Maybe in part I'm just catching the amused awe the comentators have for him. And in part I think his skating has matured since the last time I paid real attention to him (which was probably Salt Lake City, not even Torino). Too bad I had to figure it out now, I know. Well, there's Worlds.

Speaking of Plushenko, and others, what's with the guys deciding they can leave a bit of 5 o'clock shadow when they skate? Is it really because it's after 5 o'clock? Do they think it makes them look older and not like dancing little boys? [Doesn't save men's skating from the gay jokes. Even at my workplace, ugh.] I'm not sure how I feel about it. Though when combined with his slightly-too-long hair, it does make Lambiel look like the erratic, brilliant professor or something. XD

Do I need to say what would have made the gala even better?

Poker Face. ^______________^

And that seems like a good note on which to end my Olympics figure skating "coverage".
elwen: (Default)
I don't know if I'll have anything to say about the Exhibition Gala tonight -- it's enough to savor it -- so this might be my last figure skating post for the Olympics.

Picking up where I left off... another Firebird program. At that point, I really hoped one of the ladies did it, too, just to round things off, but if anyone did, NBC didn't air it. =/

Khokhlova/Novitsky's Firebird was alright. As I said, they had better costumes than Evan, though as I watched the program I didn't really like how it made Novitsky fade into the background -- a lot of times my eyes just slid over him like he wasn't there at all. I know that's how they work as a pair -- she's the star and the stronger skater and all -- but still. As for the music itself, I like how there was a bit of a rock section at the end. Really started sounding like video game music, particularly Black Mages.

Nothing more to say on ice dance, really. My eye isn't good enough to catch what should be distinguishing these skaters. I thought Davis/White were comparable to Virtue/Moir, but the scores disagree.

Oh yeah, and every time the announcers said "Tessa Virtue", I thought that was just her last name, like some classical composer or something. ^^;;

On to ladies' singles. I think going forward I will be rooting for Mirai Nagasu. Not sure what it is about her -- maybe I was just so excited when I realized she was skating to Pirates of the Caribbean for her short program. (But then she did the second Carmen for her free program. Shoulda done Firebird...) I really wanted to kill the announcers for their inability to pronounce "Mirai", though. They say it like "Mariah" without the "ah". *mutter* Also, they were saying nice things about her at the end of the free skate and quoted something she said at a previous competition, something like, "I don't care about scores, I just want everyone to know I'm the future." And they didn't get the pun, of course. Silly American commentators.

Miki Ando did a non-vocal Requiem for her short. (I didn't realize they aren't allowed to have vocals. When did that start? Are all the vocal programs I'm remembering from the exhibition? Like Todd Eldredge's "Go the Distance". So heartbreaking.) It was really weird because I'm rehearsing Requiem right now for some conducting student's senior recital. I couldn't help hearing all the words in my head. I forgive her for skipping Kyrie, which is one of the coolest movements, but really fast, which makes it hard enough to sing, much less skate to. And really, most of the Requiem movements are super-cool. If I didn't know the piece, I probably wouldn't think the transition from Requiem to Dies Irae was jarring at all.

Speaking of Miki Ando, since I seem not to really be going in chronological order anymore, I really liked her Cleopatra costume for the free program, too. Not very impressed with her as a skater -- it's like Plushenko's "I do jumps, and nothing else" minus all of his charisma and... other stuff -- but I might be too influenced by the commentators.

Kim Yuna. I'm not sure what to say here. I wanted her to win, if only because I was scared what her country would do to her if she didn't. And she seems like a likable person and skater. I thought it was funny how she's known as "Queen Yuna" -- I started comparing the real Olympics with Ginban Kaleidoscope, so you have to put her up against the invincible Empress Lia. At least she has more charm and audience-connection. Lia is just pure ice and technical skill. But more on Ginban comparisons later.

What I want to know is, how did she get the NBC people to put her last name first? They don't do it for any of the other Asian athletes. And the medal ceremony announcer, who has the most atrocious pronunciation I have ever heard, didn't do it.

The free skate was exciting because everyone seemed so happy and pleased with their performance when they finished. (Maybe a little less with Mao Asada, who did screw up pretty badly.) If there were twice as many medals -- two of each color -- I thought that would do everything justice. Then Mao would also have gold. And Mirai would have a medal. And Joannie Rochette would have a silver, which I'm sure everyone wants to give her anyway. (At the end of her short program... wow. Would make anyone cry.) But who am I kidding. If there were two golds, we wouldn't have the problem in the men's results, either.

So that was Olympics figure skating! I hope they'll have fun tonight at the gala, and put aside any bitterness and disappointment. (I think they're pretty good at that, when they're with each other and not face-to-face with the media...)

More generally, I started thinking about this last time -- or maybe 8 years ago -- but it kind of struck me again the gap [or perhaps I should say "difference"] between the men's and ladies' events. How with the men we're complaining that they won't do quads, while most of the women can't do triple axels. I wonder if it's entirely just a physical strength difference, or if it's because we also expect the women to be flexible enough to do those contortions in the spiral sequences and spins.

Which leads me to the first comparison with Ginban Kaleidoscope. Spoilers for volumes 7-8, but who of you are ever going to read those? )

Well, as you can tell from my spoiler cut being for volumes 7 and 8, and not 9, I haven't finished the series yet. I guess it will be my way of extending the Olympics excitement. Whether Tazusa will beat Lia is a harder question than any of the ones the real Olympics posed. (Except maybe whether Lysacek would beat Plushenko.)
elwen: (Default)
I'm really making up for the lack of posting last Winter Olympics, eh?

Watching the ice dance free dance as we speak, so no time to say much, but you might not hear from me again until Thursday or even Friday, so I thought I should say something.

Another thing I forgot about figure skating: ice dance always looks like so much fun. Makes me want to get on the ice myself. The moves are smoother and more musical than the other figure skating events. And no big, scary jumps. (Not to dis the difficulty of the sport.) For the music dork in me, it is more fun to watch. (But nothing beats men's singles for my inner fangirl.)

Not really cheering for anyone in particular, as we get into the second-to-last group. I liked Davis/White's Indian program, but there's no one standing out as a pair the way Krylova/Ovsiannikov did. Really enjoyed Kerr/Kerr's original dance, and their free dance was great, too, but they're not medal contenders.

I think that's about it from me for now. Just in time to catch another Firebird program. Not that I don't like the piece, but... I need more variety! At least their costumes are better than Evan's.

Over and out.
elwen: (squee!)
[Yeah, so I didn't have time during the week to both go online and watch the Olympics, so I was alternating. Will belatedly reply to comments after this.]

Evan won. Mneh. Not that I think the results were wrong, I just wish Plushenko had skated better and achieved his goal of being like Dick Button. I guess he's not as stone cold as he looks. Didn't he implode in Salt Lake City, too?

I was so pissed off at NBC that the moment Evan inched out Takahashi in the short program, they completely forgot that Takahashi existed. It was all "American guy versus invincible Russian!" And "his score is so close to Plushenko's!" Ignoring the fact that the delta between Takahashi and Lysacek was way smaller than between Lysacek and Plushenko. NBC never once showed Takahashi between his program and the medal ceremony, and didn't even say the stupid "he's guaranteed a bronze medal at this point" thing. I mean, it's Japan's first men's figure skating medal. It would have been super-cool for him to get gold, especially after Shizuka Arakawa in Torino, but after he fell on the quad... well. I would say, "He should have won gold." By which I mean the scoring system should be changed such that you get credit for attempting a quad, even if you fall. Not that I know anything about the scoring, like I said. But anyways, I need to go find a Japanese news broadcast or something, to see all the footage of Takahashi's reactions, rather than Evan's.

Before I leave the top 3 guys, I have to note that Plushenko made me LOL with his wiggling. Is that the stiff old fogey version of his Bielmann spin? XD

So, the others.

First of all, I forgot about Florent Amodio when I talked about the short programs. I don't really remember what it was about him, but when I saw his name again during the free skate, I remembered being intrigued.

And Nobunari Oda! I like him. He's so adorably serious and earnest. The NBC announcers said it was immature, like something out of a juniors competition, but I loved his Charlie Chaplin routine. And he handled the broken laces so well. I agree, [livejournal.com profile] solidark, that he doesn't connect with the audience in the same way as some others, but he's so . . . stereotypically Japanese, and yet a beautiful skater. I also found it hilarious that NBC felt the need to point out that he's the 16th or whatever generation descendant of Oda Nobunaga. With that and then ignoring Takahashi, I get the feeling they have no idea how to present the Japanese skaters to the American audience.

Poor Joubert! NBC didn't even air his free skate. From the score, it seems like he just lost all spirit to try. ;_;

And then we come to Johnny Weir.

No Poker Face. :(

But his program was beautiful. So I can't really complain. I was really torn at that point, because I didn't want him to knock Takahashi off the podium, but I didn't want him to get a low score either. Saved by supposed lack of technical difficulty. But I think he knows he won in a way that probably means more to him anyway.

So that was Olympic men's figure skating! I really need to keep paying attention this time and catch the World Championships. And then, I'm trying to decide whether to watch tonight's ice dance compulsory dance. I feel like every time it's cool at first and then I get bored out of my mind, and since the better skaters tend to go later, that doesn't work out so well. I might just wait until original dance on Sunday.

Okay, time to go fangirl some more in comments. :D

ETA: Poker Face. ^______________^

(Couldn't decide which clip won out in terms of better camera angles/lack of annoying commentators/enthusiastic fangirl cheering, so I give you both.)
elwen: (squee!)
[I don't need a spoiler cut, do I?]

First, pairs. So I thought about it, and I think I've just never really been that into pairs, and probably didn't even watch it last time around. Maybe in part it's because pairs goes first, and at that point I haven't figured out the broadcast schedule yet or managed to set aside time to sit down and watch. Or something. I'm not really sure. But though I saw lots and lots of replays of Zhang/Zhang's fall in 2006, I don't think I ever saw the program itself. (I was in a dorm, so I had to fight for the TV, and I don't think I was quite at the point of streaming this kind of thing yet. Or maybe I did. Like I said before, I fell off the face of the earth, and apparently got amnesia, too.)

But I watched all the pairs this time, and it was pretty fun. I remember disdaining pairs in the past. I think the pairs were unified enough to feel awkward but not enough to be harmonious. And the throw jumps were just a bit too scary to watch.

By the free program, I was caught up in Shen/Zhao's story and really wanted them to win. Like I said about their short program in a comment to [livejournal.com profile] solidark: "Maybe it's because I watched things out of order (when I got home, they were just airing the last 2 groups, so I watched those before calling up the DVR and watching the earlier skaters) so I knew all along the Chinese stayed in first place, plus NBC had that little mini-feature on them to build up expectations, but I thought their program was just achingly beautiful and so synchronized and everything. And I love that song." I don't really remember my reactions to the other pairs anymore... oh, except that I was intrigued by Kavaguti/Smirnov. More on that another time, perhaps.

I was kind of annoyed by the free program. All the medal contenders seemed to implode to differing degrees, except Pang/Tong who were behind from the short scores. But that's Olympics for you.

And then came the men's short program. Oh man. I really did forget how much I love men's singles. The combination of grace and athleticism and intricacy and energy. Nothing else compares.

Every single program was a pleasure to watch. Even that guy who had the country western harmonica music.

And there were lots of pretty boys, too! Just... not so many among the medal contenders.

I vaguely remember getting a taste of the Japanese skaters last Olympics, but wow. They were awesome. I am definitely rooting for Daisuke Takahashi. (Though I liked his hair better in the old footage and not when he was looking like Michael Jackson.)

I mean, I have nothing against Plushenko, but I don't particularly like him. And I really disliked Evan Lysacek. He looked so gangly in slimming black, and he just didn't have any grace or elegance. He was functional. Very tight and very skillful, but I just couldn't feel any art. I was also kind of put off that he was skating to Firebird when one of the pairs had used it, too.

I feel really bad for Joubert. I could just picture how his program would have gone if he had pulled things off, and it's just such a shame. Especially when the NBC announcers started by commenting on how he thought the sport had regressed with fewer skaters trying the quad, and I totally agree with him -- and then... yeah. :(

But the quad thing. I was so excited for Ilia when he landed a quad. And then Alexei Yagudin had two in his free program. And I thought it could only get better from there. Maybe, like Joubert apparently believes, it's because of the new scoring system. (I have never understood either scoring system, so I can't say.) Not that I particularly like quads -- they are so big the landings always look heavy, even on the feather-light landers like Ilia. But . . . I dunno. I guess I love the pretty boys even more when they can be that strong and athletic, too.

Speaking of pretty boys, I'd forgotten how pretty Johnny Weir is. But . . . he's Johnny Weir. Dressed, as [livejournal.com profile] solidark pointed out, in a costume designed by Kouga Yun. Still waiting for the Poker Face, though.

I was very amused by NBC's little features on Plushenko, Patrick Chan, and the two Americans. The background music, the mood, the settings, everything was so staged. I have to laugh at the message: Plushenko is the evil, ominous defender (from evil, ominous Soviet Russia). Chan is the happy-go-lucky naïve teenager. The Americans are the serious, thoughtful, hardworking . . . well, Americans. I couldn't resist liking Chan, but of the three four, I'd have to go with Plushenko.

And speaking of serious, thoughtful, hardworking Americans . . . really, Evan? You didn't look at Plushenko's score? You even pretended to not know he was in the lead, by not naming him? That's very noble of you, to be doing this for your family and everyone who's watching you and stuff, but . . . come on, we all know better.

I really need today to recover from all the Olympics-watching into the late night, but... agh, I can't stand the wait until tomorrow!
elwen: (Default)
So, I am no where near finished reading Ginban Kaleidoscope. There is yet a small chance I will finish it before the womens' singles, but who am I kidding? Especially since I haven't even been trying -- too busy reading Tamora Pierce's Trickster's Queen. (I like how in her notes at the end she thanks J.K. Rowling for demonstrating that kids will read long books, so she doesn't need quartets anymore.)

Anyways. I haven't followed figure skating since, well, the last winter Olympics. And apparently I fell off the face of the earth around that time, LJ-wise, so I don't even remember what happened then. Was that when the two Russian boys faced off? Or was that 8 years ago? All I remember is that I wanted to post about how one of the medal contenders -- some Canadian guy, I think -- was also a ChemE. I had that article open in my browser for months and never got around to posting it. And now I can't even remember the name of the Russian guy I liked better. (No one forgets Evgeni Plushenko's name, however. That freak. :P)

So I Googled myself some previews of the mens singles, and I have to say, I am excited now. So excited I started writing this post before even finishing reading the articles.

I love pretty boys on ice. Only, they seem less pretty than they used to.

But honestly, I don't really remember any of these people. (Except Plushenko.) When I stare at some of their pictures and think really hard, I seem to remember disliking some of them, like Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek. (Sorry, I have no national spirit.) But still, I think it will be fun.

Now, what I have to know is, is Johnny Weir doing "Poker Face" at the Olympics? Because if not, I need to go find a video of this.


elwen: (Default)

March 2015



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