Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good Skates

I had a great time at Skate America this weekend, but on the assumption that not all of my slowly gained readership cares about figure skating, I'm going to add a comment to this entry about the skating, instead of discussing it here.

I went with my friend Janet Carlson, to whom The Dead And The Gone is dedicated. I hadn't told her, so she was surprised (and I hope delighted) when I gave her the Marion Lloyd ARC and suggested she read the dedication page while I stared at her. I figure I can use her full name because it's in The Dead And The Gone, after all, and now she can google herself and find this blog entry. If I just wrote Janet, she'd get lost amongst the Janet Renos and Janet Lynns and Janet Lennons and Janet Leighs (none of whom will find this blog entry the next time they google themselves- sorry, all you famous Janets).

For most of the weekend, Janet did the driving as we checked out various antique stores, and we used her GPS Thingy as a result. Hers has no hint of a foreign accent, but it lowers its voice for a sexy dramatic effect every time it says, "Destination."

I'm afraid my beloved GPS Thingy got jealous. On the drive home, we had a lovers' spat. At one point it even demanded that I make a u-turn! Yesterday I sent it flowers and candy, and I'm hoping all is forgiven. I'm committed to our relationship, and willing to go into couples counseling if need be, but my beloved GPS Thingy seems to think if I just do as it says, we'll stay right on course.

But exciting though the skating and the antiquing and the u-turns were, the highlight of the trip happened at the Adamstown Public Library, where we stopped so I could show off my blog to Janet (shocking though this may be, many of my friends don't actually read my blog). I felt a fierce desire for Janet to admire the drawing the itinerant courtroom artist had done of the Bolivian hat and me.

It turned out the Adamstown Public Library had a copy of Life As We Knew It! There it was, sitting unread on its shelves! And the Adamstown Public Library had my book The Riddle Streak as well, also sitting unread on its shelves!

Naturally I was thrilled and showed the books to Janet. And Janet, beloved friend that she is, promptly told the librarians at the Adamstown Public Library who I was.

Coincidentally, an itinerant Pulitzer Prize winning photographer happened by at the exact moment when Janet "outed" me. And here is the potentially Pulitzer Prize winning snapshot of the event.

The librarians at Adamstown could not have been nicer about our unexpected visit. If any of you are ever in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, be sure to drop in and say hi. Just don't tell my GPS Thingy that it's your destination. I hate it when it sulks.


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

The skating at Skate America was very high quality for the first competitive event of the season. Yeah, people fell, but that happens all season long, so why should Skate America be any different.

Pairs was the least interesting of the disciplines, although the Russian team who came in third (Bazarova and Larionov) were a nice surprise. A lot of times I don't like Russian pairs because they tend to have a seven foot tall guy partnering with a nine year old girl and I don't care for that look. But in this case the seven foot tall guy had a stocky body build (kind of like Zhang of Zhang and Zhang) and that made him look shorter and squatter than he really is. Pang and Tong came in second, although I'm not sure I could tell you why.

In dance, Belbin and Agosto were clearly the class of the field, and they won easily. The original dances were to folk music and that turned out to be a great original dance choice. Lots of different national styles were used. Belbin and Agosto went with hokey American (complete with a hat as a prop- I guess props are now allowed for original dance, since another team used a fan). Ben Agosto wore overalls and all but chewed a piece of straw as he skated.

Their free skate was to a Chopin piano concerto, very serious music, that I think was selected to convince the judges that they are worthy to win Worlds. A little gravitas for their first championship.

My friend Janet was unimpressed with Davis and White. She complained that they lacked good extension. The judges must have agreed, since they came in fourth (and I think it would have been fifth except Fraser and Lukanin had a point deduction in their original dance).

Daisuke Takahashi's short program was fabulous, great choreography wonderfully skated. I really like him and I really like Evan Lyscek and I really like both their over the top straightline footwork sequences. But the best surprise for me at the event was Patrick Chan of Canada who came in third. I don't remember ever having seen him before and I thought he was wonderful. He presents himself really well; he has kind of a princely quality.

I suppose Kimmie Meissner deserved to win; neither she nor Miki Ando was particularly inspiring during their freeskates. Caroline Zhang could sell her leftover charisma on eBay and still have plenty to spare. During one practice session, all the other women were in black, and she had on blue. When the others finished skating, she stayed on the ice alone for close to a minute. And when she took her practice bows, she bowed in all four directions, even though one side of the arena was completely empty.

When she skated her short program, it felt as though she were communicating directly with everyone of us in the stands. When she skated her free (to Ave Maria) it felt as though she were communicating directly with God.

I have no idea how her body is going to hold up (or even if she's going to continue to enjoy skating), but I'm very glad I got to see her compete.

Janet and I skipped the exhibitions, since they started at 7:30 and we both had long drives home. Janet got home right on time. GPS Thingy and I had our difficulties, and I stumbled in around 10:30, exhausted but happy.

Miriam said...

I watched Skate America on television (and watched the scores come in live on icecalc when I could). I kept thinking, "Susan Beth Pfeffer is in the stands watching this live. Lucky her! I wonder what she's thinking about what she's seeing." And now I know. :)

I was also very impressed by Daisuke (short program, anyhow), Evan (love his skating), and Patrick Chan (he looks poised to join a long line of excellent Canadian male skaters, though I personally exclude Elvis from that list). I also think we may have something in Stephen Carrier. I wish we'd gotten to see Ryan Bradley. As for the women, it looks as though Kimmie's making progress in the artistic areas. I hope Caroline Zhang builds on this early promise. I can think of a few others who had the buzz and for various reasons never quite fulfilled their potential. But if she does, look out world! And I do hope that Emily Hughes has a better year this year, but it's going to take some doing to find the right balance between college and skating. I'm not a huge fan of her skating (I'm neutral on it, basically), but I like the vibe I get from her, and I like to see her do well.

I hope you don't mind a lengthy skating-related response! Oh, and by the way, my GPS and I have a somewhat rocky relationship, too. But I'll never let it go!

Anonymous said...

Not only do you and Janet look exactly alike, but you wear the same style (and color) clothes. Freaky!


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Janet and I are frequently mistaken for identical twins. But underneath our surface resemblance (captured so brilliantly by the itinerant Pulitzer prize winning photographer), differences in personality lurk. Janet is approximately 100 times nicer than I am.