Sunday, November 23, 2014

Everything old is new again

Beverly Smith - Ilushechkina and moscovitch second chances

Wanted to share the above. It's a typically terrific piece from Smith, profiling two appealing, easy-to-root-for figure skaters, and it's worthwhile also for what it says about this team's funding situation.Without revealing numbers, Smith's article reinforces how expensive it is to train for elite competition.Thank heaven Tessa and Scott gave up the funding they were entitled to receive for not training and competing this year, or even more figure skaters would have found themselves up a financial creek this season.

Trophee Eric Bompard 2014 Short Dance Results:

Trophee Eric Bompard 2014 Free Dance Results

Look at that lockstep.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

FEET ONLY from Canadablue

I'm trying to get a new banner up, but the last few images are stumping me at the moment.

This "feet only" post is brought to you by this instagram of Tessa:

I know there's a method to Tessa's instagram aesthetic (pregnancy), but what she does with her face on instagram, not only in this image, but in previous images, is getting a little:

Is she gonna start shooting botox into her face by 30? Stuff implants into her cheeks? She seems to be a fan of the look.The profiles and full faces she's instagramming don't even look like her.

If we didn't already know that Tessa herself doesn't believe a word that comes out of her mouth, or posted on her instagram:

Sure honey. Do as I say, and all that. She'll still be coming out with sound bites like that one when she starts injecting her face and lips. She'll be one of those who thinks the work is subtle. To perfectionist Tessa, "imperfection" = any physical sign that you're a human being and not a store mannequin.

And finally:

Ha ha
Skating after the jump:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reality-based figure skating from canadablue

This skating-centric post is brought to you by more of Tessa Virtue's reality-based instagram output, and her mirror image:

It wasn't a boob day that day. Not to mention, Tessa's photoshop genie decided to slice off the entire left side of her face except for her left eye. Interesting aesthetic choice. The left of her neck also doesn't work with the right side of her neck (image left and image right).

Whoever does these "right half of the image is differently aspected than the left" jobs for Tessa got sloppy with the skirt of the dress. Follow the skirt line on the left of the image up to her hand (the heel of her right hand). That line isn't going to bend behind her, but continue up. They cut it out above her hand/wrist (well, obviously, and as well as liquifying her waist and disappearing the boobs). Not to mention, if her hand is resting on her right hip, that is some set of wide hips compared to that waist and tiny boned upper body - guess Tessa is now an extreme hour glass shape when she's not a hipless wraith.

They also messed up the skirt line in the lower right. I recognize that bend at the bottom (bottom right of the image), because, when experimenting with photoshop/liquify myself, and also on freeware, that weird bend happens all the time when I'm hasty with the radius setting. Also, obviously the edge of the wall on the right is curving inward like nobody's business, but her arm and shoulder conceal the full exent of its inward trajectory. But good job with the extremely low resolution and matching Tessa's skin tone exactly to the wood tone.

Finally, besides the obvious differences between Tessa foreground and Tessa in the mirror, it's just interesting that Tessa in the foreground has skin that's practically synthetic, while the Tessa in the mirror has a back with more realistic skin texture despite being much further away.

This is going to be a very video heavy post with canadablue's annotated ice dance comparisons, but including canadablue's "feet only" videos. I LOVE feet only.

I will add gifs, I THINK, but want to get the post out first and see if having this many video embeds creates any issues.

Before getting started, and thinking that Tanith Belbin this week decided that Paul Islam lack skating skills and you can tell because Mitch yanks and pulls her through the step sequences, and how that started me considering just how ugly, in your face obnoxious, thuggish, asshole and foul the people around this sport intend to become, and how some good skaters are embracing the New Reality (not to be confused with "reality), I looked up some proverbs about lying, and found these, some of which I've read before, and some of which I think are outmoded and/or simply don't apply to the world of skating:

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything. ~Mark Twain".

I believe he's saying if you lie, you have to keep track in order to keep your story consistent. We know that with Scott and Tessa, this doesn't matter. Whatever they said last is the truth. Just delete whatever they said the time before that.

"Who lies for you will lie against you. ~Bosnian Proverb"

Oh, well this one is already happening, but not on the internet. (I'm not counting fan gossip and fan lying.)

"No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. ~Abraham Lincoln"

You don't need a good memory to be a successful liar. You don't even need to lie successfully (i.e., have people believe you). You just have to not acknowledge that you're lying and have evidence that you're lying ignored.

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world. ~Thomas Carlyle"

No, it's because people suck that Scott and Tessa have to lie. They're very protective.

"A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb"

I don't think they agree. It's half and half. And shouldn't they get some credit for the true bits?

"Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. ~Robert Brault.

Eh, I don't know how many lies people tell include lying to "ourselves". I think what people tell themselves is the truth. "It's easier." "It's more convenient." "Too much trouble to change the story now."

I'm going to start off with the feet only of Papadakis & Cizeron. Thank you canadablue

This is the short dance, where they were beaten by the Shibs. Please remember skating is meant to be scored to the weakest link.

Then PI:

The Shibs:

The Shibs: when she's got skaters whose claim to distinction is, you know, actual SKATING, Marina's choreography kicks ass. This is a fantastic, exhilerating program.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Short takes

These gifs aren't apples to apples comparisons. They're just my takeaways, distilling my impressions of Skate Canada and Skate America 2014.

Moore Towers/Marinaro:


Chock and Bates:

Not so sure about the curve part or
the "lift" part.

I can't.
What I noticed with Chock Bates is that after the uber stand-still, draggy, dramatic opening, and some effortful stroking, the program turns glacial. That's a thing now in ice dance.Be slow. Truncated run of blade is preferred. How can you be crisp, clean, and tight with your music if you spend any time on an extended, deep edge. By the way, very.deliberate.sustained.gesturing is the new "crisp and clean."

The other thing in ice dance is the less skating you do, the higher you'll score.Ice dance. Once the skate-iest of all the figure skating disciplines. Then the North American Feds and ISU officials realized the public and media didn't know the difference, so why not turn it into a favor swapping pawn, and a pile of crap, while bragging it's now legit, in the best tradition of the most corrupt enterprises in civilized history.

I can't even touch the base value and levels bullshit.

The Shibs. I want to cry. The blade run and speed alone. How many points behind Chock & Bates? North American figure skating is a bunch of assholes:

Chock and Bates, of course, have one of the most
rudimentary, mediocre step sequences in contemporary
free dance history.
Hubbell Donohue (switched to their 2014 skate)

They need better speed, but how relevant is that in ice dance anymore? Chock & Bates are slow, and Hubbell Donohue have deeper, longer edges, better unison, softer knees, more program content, and skate their program.

Gilles Poirier:

I think there's some sleight of hand with them where she's on an extended edge supported in some type of connection/hold with Paul (and hey, I won't look a gift horse) but he's doing the actual skating, he's the one with power, and that's how they achieve speed/ice coverage when they DO achieve speed/ice coverage. It's a more palatable strategy then just in-your-face dragging and pulling, and that's the best I can say at the moment til I sit with their program a little longer.

Update to the paragraphs that follow - here is the attorney's original article:

An Idiot's Tale

Her name is Javairia "Jia" Junaid. I don't know if her linked-in profile is current.

My issue isn't with what she describes as her "bias" - a bias that assumed the appealing (to her) famous guy was being targeted by a vengeful ex. Plenty of people harbor attitudes and biases at variance with their education, job description and experience.

My issue is with her stupidity and her inability to process information. There were two components to the original story. One was The CBC's announcement that they were getting rid of Ghomeshi. The other was Ghomeshi's facebook post.

Any lawyer - any regular person with common sense - would know that a publicly funded corporation the size of The CBC, run by a bunch of well-paid, lawyered-up corporate dudes, is not going to get rid of one of its longstanding marquee talents because some ex-girlfriend with a chip on her shoulder made shit up. But attorney Jia Junaid had no problems reaching that conclusion. I wonder what she charges per hour - her clients must get tremendous value whatever her rate may be.

It's an especially comforting read when one absorbs that she's worked in advocacy sectors. NICE.

My original remarks:

I don't know what kind of idiot juice some media types are drinking in Canada, but one of the many naval-gazing Ghomeshi "think pieces" was from a media-type/lawyer (a woman) who confessed that when Ghomeshi's firing was first announced, and she read his facebook post, she believed him, and imagined that he was being victimized by a bitter ex girlfriend, probably a model/actress wannabe (I will hunt down the link to the article later).

Think of the brains it took to default to that assumption. This legal light immediately assumed that a corporation the size and power of The CBC would fire its famous signature face/name/brand because some anonymous, wannabe, resentful ex girlfriend decided to make trouble by making shit up. An actual lawyer figured that. A lawyer assumed The CBC just went - sure, probably true - he's gone! The subtext in this lawyer's assumptions was that it was probably a pretty girl, and therefore entitled and uppity, and you know, they get publicly funded major corporations to do their bidding all the time.

SO so incredibly stupid. And she had no problem publishing this.

I bet this woman/lawyer defaulted to that assumption without ever having once in her entire life witnessed/experienced an ex-girlfriend taking down some guy. She believes in myths more than she believes in real life. I would love to ask this lawyer exactly how often in her real life experience, and not her soap opera viewing, somebody's vindictive ex-girlfriend, all on her own, not only attempted some sort of combination smear campaign/stalking strategy against a guy, but against a much richer, more powerful, famous guy, and succeeded.

This woman is now regretting her default reaction because as it turns out, a couple of well-known women are accusing Ghomeshi, so now she knows it's not some phantom model who persuaded CBC to ditch the guy whose 20 foot poster was on the side of the building, but a few People Who Count.

I am dying to find out what firm pays this woman for her legal expertise, what her hourly rate may be, and what clients pay through the nose for her work. I hope it's not Siskinds.


Enjoyed this from MacLean's latest on Jian Ghomeshi:

Stories circulated at the CBC about his penchant for “rough sex” but they were mostly dismissed as gossip, says Paul Malcolm, a Q producer for four years. “I heard rumours of punching for as long as I was on the show, but I didn’t believe it.” “Jian was very private,” says one producer, who noted he seemed to have different tiers of girlfriends. There were high-profile women with whom he was aligned —Ani DiFranco, Sarah Polley, Lisa Ray, Tessa Virtue—as well as far younger women who would accompany him after show tapings in other cities.

Nice, right? Virtue and Moir are lucky Ryan Semple only appears to be a quasi-virtual-douchebag on twitter and instagram. But I bet anything they don't know much about him.

Virtue and Moir's social media alliances are paper thin, there's not even rudimentary due diligence, it's all cosmetic Stepford bullshit. Virtue and Moir have turned themselves into brittle, pageant-esque, image-burnishing paper dolls each an inch deep. It's so bizarre - years ago all they seemed to care about was skating, and Tessa was adament that neither she nor Scott had any interest in becoming celebrities. That attitude was either a complete lie at the time - wouldn't be surprised - or they've morphed into opposite sorts of people, and what are they getting out of it? They don't want to be adults? They want to stay in their version of high school their entire lives? There are twelve-year olds with more guts and character than either one of them.

At least with the Ghomeshi case causing people in media to come crawling out of the woodwork to confess how insular, dishonest, self-serving and inverted their "industry" and "community" actually is, we know the sorts of people with whom Scott and Tessa have affiliated themselves, and there's that saying that you know someone by the company they keep. Without even needing to, Scott and Tessa have adopted a community and are being reinforced by a community that is self-admittedly immature, self-promoting, self-obsessed, afraid, and insecure.

This post is brought to you by the windows behind Scott and Tessa:

There's been a lot of Funhouse Mirror-themed decor in the events they've attended this summer and fall.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ETA - want to show the following, accomplished with freeware that lacks photoshop's content aware and also lacked gimp's resynthesizer tool - tools that lets you select a piece of the background and replace part of the image (including parts of a person) with the tool's smart synthesis of the selected background.This is just liquifying and painting out, then altering aspect ratio so the image is horizontally compressed. Here's the original image:

Manipulation, below. Obviously, I've manipulated the hell out of the image, using the same sloppy paint job used on the Tessa/Ice Cream Co. picture bricks and background, but the proportions look more or less normal, even if the scale of the wall and window are a little dubious:

That's not good enough for Tessa, though. She does this:

Where it starts looking not that the woman actually is tall, but that she's a proportionately very long-limbed member of the Lollipop Guild. I could have pulled in the woman's waistline more, but I lack Tessa's perfectionism. When Tessa uses aspect ratio, not only are her vertical proportions distorted, but her horizontal proportions distort to where she loses her wide shoulder line, and her shoulders become narrow. I guess she could have had that simple leg extension procedure, plus a boob job and a head shrinking, but it's really difficult to narrow your scapula, clavicle and humerus surgically.

BTW, the resolution and saturation differences between the original and the manipulated versions are down to working on a smaller size copy of the original without realizing it, and having to enlarge it to match the original when posting it here. It didn't lose resolution/saturation via photoshopping it (actually, freeware).

The video linked in the comments section below, showing Scott and Tessa doing Post-Skate, obviously uses aspect ratio lens on Tessa's piece of it. Don't look at her, look at the what's on the sides and background.


Scott and Tessa gave a speech to the Ivey Business School the other day, and this tumblr:

Ivey Report

has a report. The report is regarded with stink-eye by some, because of stuff about how super duper teensy Tessa is, AND because, if Tessa and Scott said what they're reported to have said, they must certainly be confident everybody just loves them (even though part of their song and dance is nobody loves them but them), and must also be confident that nobody who counts will ever be inclined to rip off strips of their ass in public, even though, lord knows, they've set themselves up on the spit, lit the fire, and handed out forks. All some people are waiting for is an opening.

Oh, they'd probably love it. Have there ever been two people so cossetted, so coddled, so enabled, who simultanously love to posture as martyrs? Are they nailed to separate crosses, or do they share?

I'm not done reading, so the post on what they said will wait, and I'm pushing back another post to read this stuff. In the meantime, here's Tinkerbell Tessa and Barbie (same proportions, which proves Ice Cream Factory Co. Tessa wasn't manipulated) to host a new comments section, and in the meantime, this remark: boy, it's interesting when "being right" is the most important thing in someone's life. Even when they're wrong (meaning, even when the truth is they ARE lying). That's right,Tessa and Scott. You stake the next x number of decades on showing a bunch of figure skating fans, for whom every move you make reveals nothing but contempt - that you're right and nobody can make you whatever. You'll be the winners!

For reference, Barbie:


P.S. - read below that Lubova and Dylan got an international, and I'm delighted!

P.P.S. The below is unsurprising but still instructive and helps explain fsu, some figure skating fans, some Virtue and Moir fans, and some people in general.

When Dumb Feels Like Smart

Monday, October 20, 2014

Skate Canada, Give Dylan Moscovitch the money Scott and Tessa Declined

Dylan Moscovitch back in the game

This is Dylan Moscovitch and his new partner Lubov Iliushechkina, who was at last released from Russia. Considering what partner switches often look like for the dumped partner - a sad, hot mess - my expectations weren't high.Then there was Skate Canada's attitude, which is really the point of this post. I've actually wondered from time to time if Skate Canada had encouraged Kirsten to dump Dylan, been a factor there, because, last we heard from Mike Slipchuk about Dylan and the whole Russian Fed/Lubov situation, it sounded like: "The entire topic puts me to sleep, but if you want a quote, I don't give a shit if they keep Lubov or let her go."

After learning Lubov had been released, I checked her out over the weekend and switched to "Geez, I hope Dylan's been keeping in form!" Today, I saw the above.Well, well, well.

I know Dylan's thirty, but the 2010 Olympic male pairs champion was 36. I think Dylan can hobble along til 2018.

I'm doing this post cause it's a Skate Canada thing. I'd like Skate Canada to announce that some of the money Scott and Tessa "are entitled to" but "declined", because they so generously wanted it to be available for other skaters, can be freed up for Dylan Moscovitch now that he's found himself such a terrific partner, and they look so promising together.

I know it doesn't work exactly that way, but since Skate Canada played it like it does work that way, encouraging all of us to be: "Oh thank you for giving up those funds you're not eligible for, Scott and Tessa", perhaps we can play along, and point out that Dylan Moscovitch has the exact same resume as Kirsten Moore Towers. Any Federation's high performance director can look at the embedded video above, and assess that Iliushechkina/Moscovitch have top 16 potential. I think Mike Slipchuk also has eyes.

Would also like to mention that a figure skater can be nominated retroactively for funding in the current AAP cycle. How about it Mike? AAP has rules and regulations, but a close reading does suggest that they're not exactly a police state when it comes to oversight, and also suggests that a retroactive carding nomination is well within bounds.

The IFS article talks about how Dylan's funding went AWOL while his skating future was in question, which I believe is how it works per Sport Canada/AAP policy. Maybe, though, it doesn't work per AAP policy, and it's as Skate Canada explained it with Scott and Tessa - the honor system. While his partner status was in flux, Dylan graciously "declined" the funding he was entitled to so that other skaters could benefit. An honorable group, these Skate Canadian skaters.

Now Dylan needs to scrape together some funding. He and his partner are also hopeful that they'll get an international assignment this season, late though it is, and though Skate Canada would have to get off its ass a bit. I don't know, Dylan.You and Lubov aren't bad, but you're no Jessica Dube/Sebastien Wolfe, whom Skate Canada threw opportunity at back in 2011.

Jessica and Sebastien when they were merely a promising new pairing.
Do you think Dylan Moscovitch and Lubov Iliushechkina up there could be international calibre? Do you suppose Mike Slipchuk will step up and shake some opportunity from the assignment schedule, as well as funds from the money tree? Why ever not? How about it Mike?

I await Mike's explanation that a couple of lower ranked bobsledders have already jumped on the money so recently set free by Virtue/Moir/Chan, never mind Skate Canada's press release said "so other skaters" could benefit, and far be it from him to interfere. He's like that, Mike. Sits on his hands a lot.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

You DO know what perspective is, right?

The weird shit in this image? That's perspective. Nothing weird has been done to his right hip. Nothing fuzzy weird about his left hip. They match. Where they don't, it's just left to right perspective distortion, which is a thing you should know about.

Ever since they retired last season ended, the walls, grass, pictures, furniture, tables, frames and doors behind Tessa and Scott started melting. Look at that picture stretching in towards Scott. I think it's related to Tessa's touchdown dance door.

You know what I want to look at up close? The part of "Scott's pants" we see through the strap of his bag. It doesn't match the pants that are on the (our) left of the strap. That's the part that's been seriously warped, the part on the image's right, his left.

You see that TEENSY, skinny, tiny little right hip and wee, wee, emaciated right thigh? How Scott looks like some tiny dude who went on a roid overdose? He's got a waist that would make Scarlett O'Hara hiss with jealousy but it doesn't match his top parts. Look at that part of his pants right to the strap. Ridiculous. Then look THROUGH the strap. Totally different resolution/depth/texture than the (our) left side of the strap. Of course they've got all this shit going on left to right to with bags and straps, etc. to finesse the fact that their body parts don't match. Wonder what the rest of the space looks like before it was cropped. Everything nearby melting towards the core of the earth.

This would be a Moirville dream come true. Let's all look at Scot's crotch! Of course, looking at it when it's been warped to the size of a flea's might not be their dream scenario.

That picture hanging behind his right shoulder isn't warped at all. The Tanger Outlets bag he's holding isn't there to hide how extremely warped/liquified they made his body below the right shoulder. It's just perspective y'all. Close to the camera = bigger. Away from the camera = smaller. His upper body and lower body just decided to hang out in different zip codes here. His upper body got real close, his lower body went out back.

I do think that whoever did the job on this photo could have gone a little lighter on the make-up. He/she chose a nice color palette, just a little heavy with the application.

More to come as it seems as if it's going to be that kind of day.

P.S. just to help everybody learn how to see properly and stop being silly:

This pose:

I'd take note of where edges/outlines should be
and aren't. That's where they went in with the
touch-up, after the liquefy/warp.

is the same as this pose:

And that's how come Scott's proportions look weird.