Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Best Skating Programs of the Season: 2010

The Grand Prix Landscape

It’s that time of year, when we’ve witnessed 4 of the 6 Grand Prix events, and can now step back and assess the choreographic and program landscape, to compare and contrast what the skaters have put out there. Just a few of these skaters (and a single musical selection) are repeaters from last season’s list.

I was loath to include ANY latin programs, since I already feel like a sponge, saturated and dripping from them this season (likely no thanks to Lysacek and Rochette’s success in them last season?). But, alas, a few virtuosic ones eek’d through. Ugh…let’s please hang them up for the remainder of this Olympic cycle!

What’s the real clincher in making the list? Programs that made me want to watch them again. As I noted last year, it’s impossible to separate out the performance quality of the skater, but these nods aim to be more about the program and choreo itself. The timing and execution of the elements (especially jumps) to key musical accents and phrases is critical for memorable emotional impact. And musical selection alone, as per my own subjective taste also of course plays a role.

Lori Nichol and Marina Zueva tie this year with the most nods (3 each). I also encourage you to compare my nods to Tony Wheeler’s own compelling list. We agreed on three as most notable. Sometimes it’s VERY clear what’s peerless! The list does not include Kim Yu-Na, Joanie Rochette, Virtue & Moir, or any other skaters/teams who are not decisively retired and may emerge at their Nationals.

Men’s SP

Daisuke Takahashi: Historia de un amor, Que rico mambo, and Mambo No. 5 by Perez Prado; Batucada by DJ Dero; (Choreo: Shae-Lynn Bourne). Too predictable a choice? This brilliance can’t be denied.

Runner-Up: Shawn Sawyer, Assassin’s Tango by John Powell (Choreo: David Wilson)

Honorable Mentions: Javier Fernandez’s Histoire d’un amour/Nu Pogodi, and Tomas Verner’s Singin’ in the Rain!

Continue Experiencing the Best Programs of 2010! —>

A Manifesto: To iPhone or Not to iPhone?

I share here a recent solicited (and edited) opinion from a friend on my impending new phone purchase. The 7-year old Samsung Clamshell that came free with my Sprint plan finally kicked the bucket. His manifesto is chock-full of ruminations on the perks and disadvantages of both options. Perhaps it will also help inform you, as it did me with an upcoming purchase!

Do You ❤ iPhone?

I think iPhone users have to say they love their phone, but I’m ambivalent about mine. I like the smartphone concept but I’m not a real “power user” of anything it offers, except email when I’m on the train. I’m also not an iPod user, except SOMETIMES when I fly, and I don’t take tons of photos and want to upload them instantly to FB.

You, on the other hand, are more techy and much more connected via texting, phone, email, Facebook, etc. You can get the same via a nice phone from Sprint (HTC?) with an unlimited data and text plan, but it won’t have the Apple cachet.

I do think that one should not have to dial numbers or look them up. If you have someone in your contacts, you should just be able to tell the phone to dial. That was not on the first iPhone but was part of my previous Samsung phones’ package for at least 8 years.

AT&T vs. Sprint

iPhone and AT&T will be more expensive initially and monthly than Sprint. It’s hard to do an apples to apples comparison because the plans are different, but it is significant. Not a plane ticket to New York each year. But maybe two very nice dinners with wine a year.

Coverage

You can log into the AT&T Coverage Viewer web page and input your zip code to see your coverage. Mine, for instance, does show as lower quality. I’m not sure about your neighborhood, but I do remember when I called you on the way to meet you at the DeYoung Museum last week, I tried to use the 3G service to get Google Maps and it was worthless. Typical. I get good service at home on my Wi-Fi where I don’t need a map, but when I’m lost and away from my home Wi-Fi connection, AT&T sometimes fails me. All networks will probably have problems somewhere.

I do have much slower connection times (from the time I dial to the time it starts ringing) with AT&T than I did with SprintMore dropped calls. Has been totally awful? No. Do I like my phone? Yes. Could I live with another phone from another network? Yes.

Consumer Guide Weighs-In

Consumer Guide just came out with a pretty big statement that they cannot recommend the iPhone (4). But only because they feel that Apple is putting too much of a burden on consumers to ASK for a case to bypass the antenna problem that Consumer Guide says is a design flaw that Apple needs to fix. I agree that it’s bad that Apple initially spent tons ‘o money to send cases to current iPhone 4 users who bought the phone before it was a known issue. But now they seem to have the attitude, like…well, people should know about it by now, so why should we fix it?

Just Like Barbie & Ken

On a lighter note, if you do get an iPhone, before you know it, you’ll be playing with it in bed until the battery goes dead. And, then you’ll totally be accessorizing it like a Barbie or Ken doll. Everyone does, you know. :)

It Can Be Undone

Whatever you do, it can be undone. You simply have to pay some money to cancel a contract (which I believe depreciates over time) or you just hold on for 2 years. There will be more advances by then and you WILL NOT hold on to the same phone for 7 years like you did the last. It will be like wearing the same costume to Trannyshack 2 years in a row! Just telling you, because a new wave is coming and you’re going to ride it.

Play with phones in both places AFTER you know the price differences. Then, go with your informed gut. Remember that none of the marketing or bells and whistles they have on the phone is geared towards what we actually NEED. They will be pushing all your buttons to get you to focus on what you WANT — or, what the world makes you WANT.

What do you WANT? That is the only question you need to answer. Then just buy it — whatever it is.

— Guest Ghost Blogger

[jcm footnote: Just in case you’re wondering, I DID purchase my first iPhone, a 3GS, and am just breaking it in! As a web designer, I couldn’t pass up on the amazing and intuitive interface, despite these stated disadvantages. I can’t believe I waited this long. I also opted for the warm grey, metallic Incase.]

“When Harry Met Salvatore”

A gay take on a great scene from one of my favorite movies, and arguably one of the best romantic comedies of all time (which I just gladly rewatched).

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Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sal: Why not?

Harry: What I’m saying is — and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form — is that gay men can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sal: That’s not true. I have a number of gay male friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sal: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sal: You say I’m having sex with them without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.

Sal: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sal: How do you know?

Harry: Because no gay man can be friends with a man that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with him.

Sal: So, you’re saying that a gay man can be friends with a man he finds unattractive?

Harry: No. You pretty much want to nail ‘em too.

Sal: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?

Harry: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sal: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry: I guess not.

Sal: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in San Francisco.

But, at least Harry doesn’t have to worry about Sal faking an orgasm (ala Meg Ryan)!

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