2009 Spring 2 Fall travel blog

one of downtown L.A.'s interesting additions

new projects are everywhere

the architecture is varied

an interesting series of balconies

these balconies have multi-colored bottoms and railings

note the reverse curves top and bottom

in sight of the new - this old relic from the past

this building just fascinated me

time for the men to skate!

but do I want to?

I'm thinking about it

OK, I'll do it!

a resurfacing break

these guys carry buckets of slush to fill in the holes

that blue dot is Madolyn over there - so you can see...

can you see her now?

judges and cameras

the afternoon event begins - this guy looked out of place with...

compared to this elegant fellow

a skater from Japan

one of his fans

he does a nice spin for her

another Japanese skater

getting close to the boards

a Greek god - or something

sequins galore

this guy has seqins and tatters

Japanese skater Oda dressed up as some kind of 18th century French...

American hope Evan Lysechek wears the cross

French skater Brian Joubert likes fish net and rivets

Kurt Browning and the Canadians trying to figure out what to make...

Canadian star Patrick Chan

this could have been his reaction to his scores - he got...

but he smiled like the gentleman he is

Belgian skater Kevin Van Der Perren skates to Night on Bald Mountain

the first of the pairs

and an elegant looking pair they are

landing a difficult side by side jump

entering a spin

and finishing with an inside death spiral

French skaters Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur did extremely well and came...

here he gives her some 'big air'

they were thrilled with their scores

here's a brave looking pair

"I'm going off to war!" "NO- don't go!"

"I won't let you go!"

he throws her off

she comes back so he throws her off again!

but she persists and he finally gives up and takes her home

on a quieter note

Americans Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker

lovin' it

one of their lifts

Americans Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett finished a solid 9th in their...

he lifts her like she was made of feathers

his spin

her spin

and another easy looking lift

they were pretty happy with their scores!

nearing the end

a one handed lift

and an inside death spiral

Chinese skaters Qing Pang and Jian Tong

nobody gets air time like the Chinese - she's at least ten...

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 1.06 MB)

Evan Lysacek - USA

(MP4 - 1.79 MB)

Brian Joubert - France

(MP4 - 1.74 MB)

Jeremy Abbott - USA

(MP4 - 870 K)

Patrick Chan from Canada

(MP4 - 1.12 MB)

McLaughlin and Brubaker finished 11th

(MP4 - 1.25 MB)

Denney and Barrett finished 9th

(MP4 - 1.90 MB)

Zhang and Zhang of China

(MP4 - 1.33 MB)

Kavaguti and Smirnov of Russia

the Men take the ice at Staples Arena - Wednesday, March 25

Today’s first event was the Men’s Short Program. It started early and it went all day. As big countries like Russia break up, a lot little countries appear on the map in their place. Many of them now field a figure skating team, and even ones who don’t have a team often have a singles skater they’re proud of. As the International Skating Union changes to accommodate them, what used to be a half day event now fills a whole day.

Madolyn picked up an event schedule Tuesday night, and since none of the early skaters were names we recognized we opted to sleep in, work on this journal and get to the arena for the afternoon half of the program. It was nearly 11:00 when we left the hotel, and this time we decided to walk down Flower Street and cut over to Figureroa on 12th. This walk took us past many examples of Los Angeles architecture, some old but many new.

High Rises with some style: To walk the streets of downtown L. A. you would never know there’s a depression going on. New projects are everywhere, and many of them are big, imposing buildings. Sidewalks are closed for construction, and you can’t walk two blocks without having to change sides of the street. But the new high rises are quirky and attractive, so you also have to stop as frequently to take a picture.

No longer are these buildings just tall narrow boxes. They curve, they tilt, they twist - and each one has a personality of it’s own. A building may rise several stories looking straight enough, then suddenly the next block of floors will jut out creating an overhang. Sometimes it even changes direction, giving the building an oddly asymmetrical appearance.

Another trick modern architects employ is the curve, not just in the horizontal plane but also in the vertical. One building curves inward on one side as it rises, then changes to the other side on the upper level floors. This can be dangerous when you’re walking because you can get so absorbed in the beauty of the buildings that you walk into a pole or get hit by a car. But we made it to the arena without getting hurt, and we arrived in time to see the last group in the morning event.

There was a 45 minute break, then the Men’s Short Program event continued into the afternoon. For years the order of skating was chosen by draw and the good skaters were mixed in with the not-so-good skaters. Now the ISU is putting the better skaters last, and they only draw to see what order they skate in within their four or five skater group. This is nice if you want to sleep in and still not miss your favorite skaters, but it changes the feel of the event and not always for the better.

Sequins and streamers - an extravaganza of poor taste: For years figure skating costumes have been the subject of a good deal of ridicule. Much of it is justified and sometimes you have to wonder how anyone could appear in public looking like that! Overuse of sequins is one of the main offenses, especially on the men’s costumes. But streamers and meaningless tatters run a close second. Seeing a man try to look manly, as he glitters across the ice with funny looking thingees hanging off his clothes is not a pretty sight. You’d think that people who pride themselves on their ‘artistry’ would take a look in the mirror and run for the nearest changing room.. But they never seem to, and the parade of poor taste goes on year after year, despite the ridicule it receives from people outside the ‘sport’.

The men’s event ended at 5:15 and we took off immediately for Flemings, a fine restaurant two blocks from the arena and a place where we had dinner reservations. The meal was so good we thought they were going to have to use the ‘Jaws of Life’ to pry us out of the booth! An hour later we waddled back to the arena, so full we could hardly move, but with a definite smile on our faces.

Pairs Long Program (the Free Skate): The evening event was the Pairs final, and it was filled with beauty and excitement. The German pair of Savchenko and Szolkowy won the gold medal, the Chinese pair of Zhang and Zhang won the silver and Russian pair Kawaguchi and Smirnov won the bronze. Americans Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett finished a respectable 9th. Our other United States team of Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker finished 11th. Any top ten finish is a real accomplishment. The event ran to after 11:00 again, but we can sleep in tomorrow morning again so it didn’t matter.

Dinner at Flemings, and a hot Pairs final. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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