Monday, September 30, 2013

Look who's here

Note - for some reason the gifs of the 09 4CC turned out huge, too big for blogger, so I'm going to have to do them again later before they can be loaded onto the post. Also, while I was trying to load the huge gifs, "revert to draft" must have been hit on this entry, so it went off line until I noticed.

Bryce helps Jessica on BOTB

Not surprised. I thought they'd bring in Bryce at some point, because BOTB loves stuff like that. But he's there.

Also here:

Bryce spotting Jessica's lift

I wasn't sure it was him at first because a few other guys involved with BOTB are also semi-tall, dark-haired and can produce five o'clock shadow every six minutes, so they look similar when they're bundled up. But the first link comments confirm it's BD. (To me, the second link looks a lot like John Kerr until it goes close-up)

If the Jessica/Scott sham were still going on, I believe this would still be what we'd see in official media and social media linked to BOTB anyway. Bryce. Not Scott. That's how it's always been. Only in strictly "personal" social media (Skate Canada's twitter is so inept I count it as personal - it's not that professional) did they sham it up.

I wonder why it's not Sebastien Wolfe helping her with her lift. :P

I've read Dube/Savage had a successful opening night, so congrats to them, but in the video of Bryce pitching in on ice, Jessica's face looks as nauseated with terror as it did most of the time when she was getting up there via Wolfe.

I had wondered how Jessica was going to navigate the aspects of the BOTB experience that didn't look like a natural fit, but if Bryce is helping out, problem solved.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Davis White Olympic Free Dance, Feet Only

Bobbing up and down across the ice at arms' length, multidirectional nothing, feet yards apart, half of the program lunging, a lift that's a swing along the ground and a yank onto the male's neck where they - omg - turn towards each other (counter movement!!!) rather than in the same direction, other lifts cling and climb, 110 points summer comp. #Sochigold.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Three years in the making

I looked at the lift and cut it up into screen caps which I'll post a little later. (Done. Below.)

But here's what can be reported.

Up until that lift Meryl and Charlie are sliding and two footing and dragging instead of skating. "Persian" in Meryl and Charlie language = lunging. They're not dancing or skating and their skates and bodies are miles apart.

The component parts of the lift show, no surprise, that Marina has again used tricks to extend the move and make it appear more is going on than there is. Most of it happens before the lift. Charlie is planted on two feet and pulls Meryl past him in the shoot the duck. He turns around as she goes past him (both of them are still on the ice). We are still in lift prep, not in lift. The trick is in the lasso grip, which is straight out of basic pairs. When he pulls her towards him they are facing each other gripping with arms crossed (his right hand holding her right hand, left holding left). As he swings her past him (swinging her as she is still on the ice) their arms open up because they're now facing the same direction. She twists her lower body towards him from there, he adjusts 3/4ths as he swings her onto his shoulders.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why do they bother

Tessa and Scott 2011:

Davis White 2014

Virtue and Moir 2013

Davis White 2014

How many lunges do we have here Charlie? Five?

Charlie said each year they wonder how they'll top the past year's lift. Well, they look across the ice at their training mates and bastardize whatever they just did.

The reason DW didn't blow the roof off in the short dance, despite the highish score, is they actually have to do the Finnstep, and that needs work. The free dance is junkyard stuff skated wide wide apart. There are miles between Meryl and Charlie in both programs, more than ever before. When they don't toe pick, they have to keep their distance in order to skate, and even then all they're doing in the free is pumping across the ice. That's it.

Don't just notice Tessa's superior everything in these moves. Look at Scott into them and assisting her out of them. Look at his body, look at his blade, on their own, and vis a vis hers. Then look at Charlie's cheats.

Why is one of Meryl's go to moves a crouch and then straightening out and pumping her upper body? It's bend and pump, bend and pump.

Some fan claimed that DW's upside down lift is "slightly more difficult" because Meryl's hand is free. Charlie crouches down and wraps both his arms around Meryl, Meryl wraps both her arms around Charlie's trunk, and she is hoisted into position as if she's a sack of laundry. From there she has her entire right arm across Charlie's shoulder, her own shoulder pasted to his shoulder.

Tessa rotates into position with an assist from Scott. He doesn't haul her ass up. She does a clean rotation with legs fully extended, using the final lift position itself as the position she's working with to get there.  She's there when she arrives. She doesn't say "watch this!", shinny up a tree, find a sturdy branch, crouch upside down and then stick her legs in the air.

She doesn't curl up in the arms of her partner like she's in a baby gymnastics class and then straighten her widdle legs while the mommies and daddies in the room applaud.

Tessa's balanced on his right shoulder only. And actually, she's balancing herself, his shoulder is her balance point. Her hands/elbows are leveraged onto his right shoulder. The reason Meryl and Charlie can't do this doesn't just go to Meryl. Charlie would fall over if he had to balance something on one side only. Everything they do has to reinforce their stability, not challenge it.

A comment below at 5:54 am says that Virtue and Moir's lifts resemble Davis and White's Samson and Delilah lifts, so here are the Samson and Delilah lifts, in which the first looks like a bastardized Valse Triste lift, in the second they face each other, visibly prepare for Charlie to boost Meryl (you know when you're going to lift somebody and you both flex your knees sort of like okay "one, two, THREE!") and Charlie picks her up and puts her on his hip. The exit to this thing (because I think this is the one 5:54 thinks resembles Virtue and Moir) is a treat, let me tell you.

This was my opportunity to look again at the sacred Samson and Delilah program in which Charlie drags Meryl all across the ice while lunging, and when he often appears to use her neck to drag and push her.

Did I gif Virtue Moir here by mistake?

Virtue and Moir and Davis and White's 2013 sd, feet only

I did the feet only video cut myself this time, on a different program than they were done before, so the look is a bit different.

VM are seen full length at one point, otherwise their legs would have been hidden for the rest of it.

The obvious: Virtue and Moir's power, run of blade, depth of edge, ice coverage in the Finnstep, their unison in and out of hold -  every single aspect of their short dance is skated better than Davis and White's skate. Davis and White's poverty of movement is apparent is striking compared to Virtue and Moir.

They don't skate with their entire bodies - they reach and stretch, gesture and lean, but they don't engage their entire bodies to execute their program. This isn't about movement or dance style (although all dance and movement styles call for engagement of the entire body), this goes to skating. Their poverty of movement vis a vis VM is partially why Scott and Tessa, along with their superior stroking, have bigger, deeper patterns. It's why Virtue and Moir cover more ice, have better run of blade, why their posture is cleaner and their movements more relaxed, expansive and fluid, it's why nothing collapses when they transition.

Virtue and Moir's choreography is, as ever, more difficult than Davis White's.  

Notice especially the difference in the footwork, the girl's under-the-arm twizzle in the Finnstep, the dance couple's mutual twizzle/turns as they cross the ice, and the twizzle element. The twizzle element KILLS me. Even with Scott drifting it's in a different class than DW. Everything VM do is bigger, faster, clearer, closer, smoother, cleaner, more powerful.

With DW their feet are so far apart compared to Virtue and Moir. They really let the air in between their respective skates.

Everything is phrased with equal emphasis. That Scott and Tessa phrase their skating - that they're nuanced even mid-element - doesn't just go to musicality - it goes to control of their bodies and control of their blades.

This is a comparison but it's a pedestrian program skated unremarkably.  There is nothing authentically competitive about this program.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Let's get started

I want to get to the short dance, but first, having seen the lp practice clips, I must admit that yes, DW fan below, I feel threatened. We all know these skaters get ISU feedback. What did the ISU tell Meryl and Charlie? Nix some of the hopping, skate a lot slower, in your face it with the junked up transitions and lifts, do cheap, bastardized versions of Virtue and Moir lifts from 2011 and 2013, respectively, and the gold is yours? Oh and Charlie, lunge as much as you can.

Odd how nobody on the US side mentions both early fd lifts are easier and uglier versions of stuff VM have done in prior seasons.

There is no way they'd present this piece of shit as their Olympic long if they were going to be legitimately evaluated. I remember last year how it was all oh, oy, Virtue Moir are really going to put some air between themselves and DW this season, and then ND - last year's piece of jerry-rigged repurposed crap - got scored instead.

That the judges at this comp could only award the 73 points to DW's short  - and who cares if it's their best pre-season score ever - sort of demonstrates that Meryl and Charlie's programs are a shit show. They couldn't creep that up to a few percentages better than VM's 76? No, they knew the internets would howl. Save it for the GPF.

Someone has given me permission to use their screencaps, and I'm going to add some of my own.

Well, this one:

The grab, clutch and clench and cling version of VM's Carmen lift has already been mentioned, but after I get these up I'm off to gif VM's "float onto the guy's back" lift from their latin fd in 2011, where Tessa just floated up there, as opposed to Charlie swinging Meryl onto his back with both hands - seriously, really? - and then, still assisted by both hands, she turns onto her back.

The last rotational is ass.

Either the fix is in or I don't know what.

Here we go with caps. Short dance later, "back float" caps later too.

It's Persian!

Their run-down-the-clock tricks are still in effect, so is the fakery. They start center ice posed together because, you know, ice dance. Then they do a lot of two foot flourishes until they're yards apart, like so, up above. And then they commence two-footed "Persian" poses. BTW, that pose of Charlie's is culturally all purpose, just like their twizzles are style of the dance all-purpose.


He's been Persian the whole time.

The best spinners in the WORLD.

What the hell, Charlie. Look at how far apart their skates are. Why is he crouched over her?

Here we go into the headstand. OMFG - Meryl does a headstand!!!  She's UPSIDE DOWN.
All hands on deck, as expected, shoulders, chest, core, even hips - pasted in the same center
of gravity - check. Awkward, inefficient, crouched entry into position. Don't blame just
Meryl. If she swept up there in one clean transition a la Tessa, Charlie would topple over.

They're like a knuckled fist on that ice.


Voila!And I can't wait for this fucked up
Carmen hand-me-down to get better scores than the actual thing.

 Look at Meryl's right arm completely across Charlie's shoulderes. 
Also the position of his right arm.

Everything still clinging to Charlie, all four arms and hands completely
girdling the core while she rotates into the exit.

Oh wait, rotatng down is too hard. And look at the freaking pelvis, shoulder, arm cling.  All they can actually do without pasting and clinging is pose. And even then it's only limbs.

Posing is ALL they can do without pasting their centers of gravity and all their limbs clutching. Not only can they not skate into these things, they can't execute using core strength and control. They climb in and out. They cling like monkeys to a tree. They can only pose - and even then, it's limbs only.

Oh my.
Meryl uses both hands on Charlie to stabilize herself
for when she changes edges and skates into the next thing.
Oh - that's right.

Palate cleanser:

Look at Scott's hands, posture, Tessa's legs, posture (one leg extended, the other engaged with the ice) and that she's working with his right shoulder as a pivot, not draping herself over his entire fucking torso and clutching like a tree mammal).

More to come.

(I am assuming, based on nothing, that for the immediate moment, we'll be spared new additions to Scott Moir & Co.'s latest contribution to the multi-year photographic opus: "Scott Moir Spits on Fundamental Principles of Child Psychology, Especially as Regards His Own Child" because it might be considered unsportsmanlike to distract the internet fandom while Meryl and Charlie are debuting their Olympic programs. Create an inappropriate visual chronicle for his kid to enjoy years to come? What's the problem? Pull focus from Meryl and Charlie's summer comp? Not classy.

I may be wrong, but they usually try to adhere to some type of sportsmanship protocol.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Throw it down, Beverly Smith

Beverly Smith rebukes DW spin without breaking a sweat

She's so good. She did one of the only pieces on VM in the past that sounded as if it were written by an adult for adults - the interview about Igor's departure.

I love this part:
All of their lifts are new, of course. Virtue and Moir discussed using their famed “Goose” lift, but binned the idea. “We don’t want to look like vintage Virtue and Moir,” he said. “We love the Goose and it’s a fan favourite, but we don’t want to turn on the TV and watch what we did four years ago, and turn it on again in 2014, and have people ask: ‘What have they done in the last four years?’”

As people might ask, watching Davis White: If they're so good why didn't they win in 2009 when they did this program at the Staples Center?

Also good:

Besides, Virtue and Moir insist that lifts must add to the program and be part of it, rather than looking as if they are included for the sole purpose of gaining points.

I haven't seen a DW lift yet that looked like it was created to fit their program.

Virtue and Moir are as good as, but very different skaters than, Gordeeva and Grinkov, so the fact that the theme of the free dance is, as expected, also the theme of G&G's 1994 pairs long program doesn't mean they'll have a similar dynamic. (The article doesn't point that out but G&G's was "their story" and this is "VM's story.")

I think a lot of people will be amused by the description of the "storm part" (Scott's word) when VM confront "external chaos" and have to figure their way out.

What - can't you get out the way you got in?

Or did that external chaos just randomly visit itself upon you? How, HOW do you get out of the chaos?

I can't even riff on that.*

It seems to me they have taken inspiration from Carmen in one respect - the audience watching Carmen waited the entire program for the moment Tessa launched into the rotational at the end. The electricity in the crowd was palpable every time. Smith says this program's finale highlights back-to-back rotational lifts, which IMO is smart in a program that's going to otherwise showcase man woman harmony using classical movement. Not to mention Smith tells us the rotational lifts start before the finale music, which is a quintessential Marina device to extend momentum and create suspense, so the excitement is already at a pitch, and the start of the finale music mid-element explodes it.

P.S. - if past is precedent, cue the insta-drop of the latest up-the-despicable-ante in the Cassandra and Scott parade of photo dickography. He and Tessa just talked about "their story" with Beverly Smith. Maybe Scott will try for third base to counterprogram WHAT THEY CHOSE TO SAY. Or Scott will show us how well he's getting to know Cassandra's tonsils. He and Tessa are trying to figure a way out of the chaos - creating even more has been their go to.

P.P.S. - as terrific as this article is, I like how it showcases that words are just sounds to VM, not how people communicate meaning and information. When they were in Russia for 2011, they were sick of the Goose - everybody was sick of the Goose! Now they love the Goose - so much they actually considered putting it in their free dance, but then realized that would be lame.

No they didn't, but saying they considered it lets them make a point.

*Well, yes I can. Just - and not to take it all overly literally - one would think you'd figure a way out of the chaos BEFORE bringing an innocent child into your world. For many people that would be the priority.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Begin as you mean to go on

This is a round-up post, but the title refers to a quote whose origins I haven't been able to nail down (so far it's attributed to everyone from Dr. Zeuss to Charles H. Spurgeon). This quote actually doesn't advise to keep on keeping on with lousy behavior because saving face is important.

It means get it right at the beginning.

My thinking now is what are the odds we will see a romantic honeymoon style photo shoot from Aruba? I think excellent.

Calling it.  Although it doesn't take a genius.

It goes without saying that this sham is so far up its own ass we'd need a speculum to have any idea what makes these people tick. Their behavior is basic, so one might surmise the behavior reflects lowest common denominator thinking behind it, but why they've let that thinking - whatever thinking is going on - govern their choices in the sham is the question.

We've also got Scott who thinks he's good at thinking for two - himself and everybody else. While I don't know how much of this sham output is his styling, Tessa's styling, or just expedient for reasons we can only guess, he does think he's smarter than the average bear. He always knows what someone else is thinking. He's gifted like that. We don't know him at all - not at all - we're always so so wrong. But he knows all about us and every bit is on point.  I recall his "Monaco" announcement, how his tone fairly dripped with ennui. Fans are just too easy sometimes.

I'm not judging him - he's said this himself. How many times has the guy let us know how wrong we are? A lot of times! That's his MO. (Tessa's MO is killing a question until it splits into atoms and runs screaming into the void. I don't know what to call what she does. Tess-splaining?)

It looks like if they conducted this sham in better taste than the Jessica sham, it would be admitting the Jessica sham was conducted in bad taste, so this sham has to be conducted in bad taste as well.

There's the fact that Scott was 20-22 back then and he's 26 now, so there's no reason the fucking thing has to look the same on that basis alone, even if it WERE real, but I don't think their thinking is that nuanced. I think it runs to: "We made no mistakes and continuing to do the same thing proves it."

And the Jessica thing can be flipped on its head as well. I.e., that was flamboyantly horrible, and if this one isn't flamboyantly horrible, maybe people will think something shady is going on with this one, that the sham is hiding something. Not the main something (that he's with Tessa), but another something (that he may be enjoying sham perks). Nope, best to be as in your face gross as before.

OT: The Scott golf photo is so hideous. So bad one wonders if he posed blatantly awkwardly-intimately on purpose. It's as if the point of that photo wasn't fake couple-ness, but to make a production of how incredibly awkward he feels. It's so unnatural for him!

They need a proctologist chronicling this, not a blog. The thing doubles in on itself all the time.

I thought I'd also go down memory lane:

Above is Cynthia Phaneuf and Jerome LaRochelle from their extensively chronicled double date with Scott and Jessica in Jessica's 2009 "LA & Santa Monica" facebook album.

Here is Cynthia with Max Aaron Talbot, with whom she is reportedly expecting a baby:

It's hard to pin down the subtle distinctions just based on a photograph, but working simply with face value attributes here, one difference is that this appears to be the first time Jay has actually touched Cynthia, and he's still getting his sea legs.

I also like how this profile pic:

was replaced by this one:

She's a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus and Canada, too.
So we see who else was at the Color Run besides Cassandra, her #fabulous star, her sidecar, Connor, and their peer entourage. It's like the old days with Mama and Papa Dube.

P.S. - meant to include this as well - Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier showed at HPC and didn't skate, presumably because his leg is still not tip top - or their skating isn't because of the leg, or both. Piper continues to present as if going to Sochi is a matter of citizenship only, not winning a spot at Canadians, and who am I to argue with her. She acts entitled but she never pretends to have entitlements she doesn't actually have, such as the amazing amount of swag bestowed upon an 18th place finisher at the last World championships, such as the extraordinary amount of promotion bestowed upon a sidelined, third-in-their-own-country ice dance team (and actually on par with a bunch of other teams) by Skate Canada.

As Piper believes she's going to Sochi, I believe she's going to Sochi. She may not actually skate in Sochi. If she and Paul can't be placed on the team, I'm putting money down right now she attends as Skate Canada's athlete/guest social media blog correspondent, even if her personal channel (the still off-line Skatebuzz) isn't back on line at that point.

So this post includes two predictions:

1) There's a professional, romantic photo shoot from Aruba in our future; and
2) Piper is going to Sochi under Skate Canada colors, whether she skates or not.

Also, I've been reading Marnie McBean's web page as she's a professional mentor for many Canadian Winter Olympians, has been mentioned by Scott Moir, and apparently she was a speaker at this HPC.

Alexander Bilodeau is almost exactly Scott's age (September 8, 1987) which puts him at 22 when he won his Olympic medal in Vancouver. McBean writes about managing stress, how an athlete needs to be comfortable with stress, and, you know ACKNOWLEDGE it and deal with it. Bilodeau did this:
“As soon as you put meaning to what you do, there will be stress. You need to be comfortable in that stress.” Alex Bilodeau combats his stress and ‘what if’s’ with his “I Know…” list. In 2010 at the top of his last Olympic moguls run, that list led him to believe he had done everything he could to be prepared. He had no regrets. He had managed his friends and family by sending them an email about a year out from Games, directing any Olympic questions to go only to his dad. Important as they all are to him, he wanted nothing to do with their plans and planning.
Unbelieveable. One imagines Bilodeau would have sent such an email even if he'd been from Ilderton, whether Moirville liked it or not. Along with Scott and Tessa's shamming, another striking component is how Moirville never puts itself in check out of consideration. They're fans and groupies to the bone, that's why they don't. None of them have any business commenting on fans among the general public.


Apparently Skate Canada had a meeting of its politboro this past weekend.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Documenting stuff for the record is important?

From Virtue Moir in a new piece by Lori Ewing - largely about Patrick Chan but she brings in Virtue Moir so they can plug their "reality" show.
“It’s a fly-on-the-wall type series,” Moir said. “People are going to really see what we go through day to day. So much is (usually) just seeing us in makeup and sparkles. So you’ll see me when my hair doesn’t look this pretty, right?”
Virtue and Moir said they don’t mind the added attention.
“The neat thing is we get to share so much of our story with viewers and with family and friends and fans, and hopefully it’s something that people find interesting,” Virtue said. “I know when I see other athletes I love seeing the behind-the-scenes things, I love seeing the highs and the lows, and we’ve been through so much together, there is a lot of that. You see the tears and you see the laughing fits.”
The reality series, Moir added, will be a nice keepsake of what will likely be their last season skating competitively.
“This is a great point in our career,” Moir said. “We’re healthy athletes and we’re going to another Olympic Games to defend our title. It’s a great part of our lives, let alone our careers.
“Being able to document that is fun for us to look back on.”
 Seriously, I don't know how they don't choke on it.

Not bad, Rosie.

Rosie DiManno. Her new article on Virtue Moir doesn't suck.

pretty good there, Rosie.

Right off the bat describes Carmen as revolutionary, exquisitely beautiful, and technically demanding, but she's not soap-opera-ing it up; she's not padding this one with histrionics and cheesy asides. She only refers to Davis White as Virtue and Moir's perennial rivals. She also says Carmen never got the scores it deserved in international competition.

What I like about this article is it's direct. There's none of the consciousness of "oh, I'm writing for figure skating fans, so better lard this thing with sentimental shit about their personalities or looks." (That's how most writers distance themselves from this sport and its fans, by trivializing everything or making it melodramatic. God forbid they're caught writing like it's a sport. They want us to know the fans only care about personalities.) She hasn't included any asides about fans whatsoever. A little from Virtue and Moir about their Vancouver experience, what's different this time, how they feel about their new free dance, over and out. No back door shit either. Basically, this article comes off almost as if she's writing in her own, newfound figure skating voice, and not just regurgitating skater spin dressed up with her (formerly) signature purple prose. I actually have to give her more credit than that, since Tessa is going on a bit emotively about how starry-eyed a whirlwind Vancouver was, and Scott, I think, mentions how they chafed about at the emphasis on their inexperience, and she lets those remarks stand alone and drives on by. She didn't get sucked in and succumb to writing about them like it was a personality profile.

Rosie, good job.

Who would have thought Rosie-freaking-DiManno would be the Canadian figure skating beat reporter to set the bar? (I don't count Beverly Smith - who is always strong -  because figure skating is her metier, and she's not heard from enough.) Please maintain this self-discipline Rosie, and please please let the reason you were able to produce this piece be that you've bothered to learn a little bit about figure skating. The sport needs all the help it can get, and the fans need a break.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I don't think this is Rule of the Dolphin

It might explain why, when this photo was originally published, the lighting was poor and the detail indistinct. How foolish to think it was to conceal a lack of comfort level and degree of familiarity on Scott's part.

This is the companion photo to the "vista" photo which Scott decided would be enhanced if he removed his shirt. I won't put it here because it's on the banner, among other places.

And apologies to those who are queasy. 

Since this blog started there have been foaming at the mouth comments reflecting an almost vicious attitude towards the blog, IMO at least. However, at the time, I don't recall that there were particular partisans of Jessica visiting here, saying, basically, when you boil it down: "Fuck Tessa, he's with Jessica, who is (recite why he loves Jessica better)." There was some taunting about "he's with Jessica!" but it didn't rip up Tessa.

Cassandra, OTOH, seems to have quite the fan club, including a few new to the blog. People who, while insisting her relationship is legitimate, also seem to be invested in ripping Tessa apart and claiming that Cassandra is much better for Scott.

P.S. - I put an ip blocker on the blog (sidebar). This is because statcounter (versus's own statcounter) counts each page refresh as a page view. If somebody is refreshing like a madman, the entire statcounter read out is going to show just that person's activity, pushing all the rest outside the timeline tracked by the counter. The blog has a number of regular visitors who spend some time here, but however they are looking at the blog, and however many pages they're visiting, their activity is not littering up the counter to where it's difficult to see what else is going on. Only one is. The IP blocker isn't permanent, and currently is blocking only one ISP.