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I founded d' perfec spot fo' my new fwens!

Wiishu with dragonfly


Surprise from my fwen Twacey!




(From Jane: I haven’t told him about the Capt. K shirt. 😀 Brilliant! I’ll get it done for his birthday this year. Thanks so much!)

2018 Olympics Skating “Scandal”

Where would we be without one?

I’m speaking, of course, of the Women’s Single Gold/Silver. Personally, I refuse to get on a hobby horse one way or another about who should have the gold. We’re talking two mind-boggling athletes with musicality oozing out their pores, both of whom came through on the day(s) in question…who have, moreover, consistently come through. First/second was no fluke. Neither, for that matter, was bronze. Well-deserved on all counts. What I find disturbing/annoying are the on-line pundits who are, once again, dissing what has proven to be a really good system for balancing the difficult equation of a sport that is also an artform.

Many sports have this in common. Diving, freestyle ski or snowboard, gymnastics…etc…all of those share the problem, but only in figure skating are the judges the villains of every Olympics. I feel sorry for them. You couldn’t pay me enough…

Wait…they aren’t paid.

Viewing the comments/articles online I see two things in particular that get to me.

(1) People equating this outcome to the Lipinski/Kwan outcome, what, twenty years ago? “Youth and athleticism being preferred over maturity and artistry.” Sorry, doesn’t cut it, at least not for me. Lip/Kwan was under the old 6.0 system, one of the most arcane pieces of judging a sports event ever created. (Interesting trivia: The scale of 0 to 6.0, rather than 0 to 10.0, was derived from the figures that are no long a part of competition. Each compulsory figure was skated with six tracings (three on each foot).) There was no way of quantifying an entire program, both in the elements and in the execution of those elements. Each judge assigned a number on that scale to “technical” and another to “artistic”…according to personal opinion…then assigned a ranking ordinal. Consequently, no matter what you did in the short, if you were in the top three and won the long, you won the gold…no cumulative score anywhere in the mix. This is because after the short, each judge assigned an ordinal (numerical placement) for each skater. They did the same after the long and the addition of those ordinals, not the scores, determined the final placement. Following a short Kwan ‘won’ according to ordinals, Lipinski ‘won’ the long ordinals. By my memory, Lip did 2 triple-triples, Kwan did not. Kwan had a slight bobble coming out of a jump, Lipinski had none. Lipinski was free and easy, Kwan, while smooth and beautiful, was not. Nonetheless, it’s possible the same ISU judging system might have given that gold to Kwan, possible her overall artistry and content would have overcome those other deficits. A program with two triple-doubles against a program with two triple-triples would have a very large differential to make up, but it could be done…quantifiably…with a system designed to recognize all aspects of a program, not just an obvious handful. Hard to say, I’ve never reviewed the two programs and haven’t the personal expertise to make that judgement anyway, but I think it’s safe to say that that outcome was as much a factor in the instigation of the ISU system as the later pairs competition.


2018 was a whole different ball game. There was no “obvious superiority” like 3-3 vs 3-2. These two young Russian athletes both had packed programs with virtually identical (except for placement within the program) elements, numerically speaking, long and short. Each individual element as well as the connective tissue had predetermined points assigned, with a trained expert analyzing whether or not those elements, as executed in that performance, met specific criteria. The “component score” follows a similar predetermined set of values, and while it is unquestionably more subjective, the skating skills and musicality of both young ladies were off the charts.  On this occasion the math went one way, public opinion went another. PO wants something to blame, something to change and so PO points to, again, the ISU judging system, which brings us to:

(2)  “Playing the 10% bonus system” must be stopped. Uh…what? MEN have been playing that system for years now, and suddenly, a woman successfully uses the same tactics and everyone’s screaming “Change the system?” Am I the only one that has a problem with this? So she didn’t put one or two jumps in the first half. So what? I found the program a perfectly engaging visual crescendo, less distracting, in fact, than the front loaded programs from pre-ISUJS years.

(As a corellary: We still hear commentators making comments like “now all the hard jumps are out of the way,  [the skater] can relax and enjoy the program.” Uh...exkooseimwah? Since when is an athlete supposed to relax and enjoy the competition? At what point does a slalom skier relax and enjoy? When they hit the flat, maybe? As someone who finds spins and footwork a whole lot more unique and interesting than jumps, I OBJECT! I don’t want a competitor giving 120% on a jump so they can “relax” and give 80 or 90% on the rest.)

The point is, jumps in the second half are accepted as being harder to do than jumps in the first half. The bonus put on that increased difficulty by people a whole lot smarter than I is 10%. I don’t know where the designers of the system came up with that figure, but I suggest that until 10% of the competitive skaters are able to put all the jumps in the second half and land them not only successfully but with positive grades of execution…there’s some validity to that number. I for sure object to it coming under the gun only when a female benefited from it.

And it’s not as if she’s counting on that 10% to win. It’s not as if her spins and footwork are neglected. It’s not as if she’s just skating around when she’s not doing those jumps. She’s known, thanks to the judging system that quantifies these things and gives the competitors feedback delineating the shortcomings in their program, that where she was coming up short was in components, something which she’s worked on and improved all season long…at least according to the competition scores, which detractors of the result would have us believe is an across the board conspiracy to bolster youthful athleticism over artistry. Her competitors have known all season long about the construction of her program. Nothing stopped her competitors from tweaking their program to offset whatever advantage that 10% gave her.

None of which has anything to do with whether or not I “agree” with the outcome. As I say…I’m just blown away by both of them and wish them all the best in the future. I think they’re good for the sport and for each other, and maybe one of them will be the one to break the quad barrier. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Quads are, afterall, big point-makers!

Wiishu’s Visit to the Terracotta Warriors

I know…I owe you all a whole lot more than this. But ENJOY! We certainly did. More as soon as I can process them…

A Precious Friend Gone

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I break my long silence. A dear, dear friend, Mike Briggs, passed away very unexpectedly this morning. I hope someday to be able to put into words what he and his precious Patty mean to me, but for now, I’ll simply pass on what I know. He was admitted to hospital last night for what they thought was a fever and some mild pain. Patty was with him until about three in the morning, when he told her to go home and get some rest. About 7AM she got a call from the hospital and by the time she and Anne got there, he was gone. I can’t imagine the world without him, his humor and his music. I’ve never seen a more loving relationship than he and Patty have. I use present tense on purpose for it is a love that will last forever.

Wiishu and Mike Briggs at Radcon 2013

I lubs him….


Wiishu's Birthday Present

I was more than a little appalled to realize, when I went looking for it, that I never put up the slideshow on what is one of the coolest prezzies Wiishu (and I) have gotten. Wiishu’s auntie Lynn (my sister) sent it to us actually two years ago. It’s a bed I’d been eying on E-bay since the first month after Wiishu arrived. It’s one of the best 3-D puzzles ever. It came in sheets of laser-cut plywood and turned into this. I’ll get that slideshow put together and up, but to make a long story short…last BDay I finally got the time to start it. I got the pieces out and sanded and the first coat of paint on them…then the floor happened. And the windstorm…and everything else. So this BDay, I finally got to finish it. I made the mattress following a futon demo online, but it doesn’t roll very well. 😀 Their pillow is the pillow our little bracelet-bearer used for the wedding. Anyway…here’s the sneak peek…


Happy Halloween 2016!

Joey, Airiis, Pookii and Wiishu: Halloween 2016


I don’t know what to say, except I’ve just gone into hermit mode, big time. Sorry! I’ve been busy, and there’s just been…stuff going on. Even poor little Wiishu has been pretty much ignored. Sigh. However, all is actually well, and I’ll rejoin the human race soon. I’ll have some pics eventually, and will try to be witty and engaging! 😀

Miscon 2016

Hullo, evwybodies!


We gotsa slide show fo’ you. We went to Miscon dis year, bud jus’ t’say Hi to our fwens. We were jus ‘ there for a few hours, but I gots some pitchurs!

More soon! Wemember, we’s workin’ backwards, cuz we’re so far behind, we can’t find where to starts. Sigh…

And from me…I’ll have a real post soon. Some thoughts coming out of the Nebs.

Bye bye xfinity

Yes…we’re doing it. We’re ditching cable except for internet. No more sucky modem, no more sucky router, no more ever-increasing charges, no more yearly renegotiation…

Necessary stuff:

Modem: Arris surfboard

Router: Linksys WRT1900ACS

Amazon Fire TV

VOIP (Voice over IP) phone: 1-VoIP

Total cost for setup: around $600 including a year of VoIP

Total savings for the year: Going from nearly $250/mo for xfinity to $100/mo for their higher rated internet connection: $1800. After setup, phone goes to about $125 per year. All other costs, like Amazon prime and hulu, are costs we were already incurring, so they’re a wash.

We’ll keep you posted how well this works out. On paper, it looks really good. I’m pretty stoked. I’ve wanted to ditch this stupid xfinity gateway since the moment I had to give up my linksys router.

Tivo becomes obsolete. No more recording broadcasts as they happen, but with the streaming options now, between Hulu, Netflix and Amazon…we can get them…for a whole lot less than xfinity.

Might the big providers’ stranglehold on the nation’s pocketbook  soon be a thing of the past? I sure hope so.

It's done!

Well, almost. We’ve still got the baseboards, but that can wait. I’ll be posting more soon. Right now..I’m off to get my hip seen to…at last. No point til this was done.

Well…I was going to post a picture, but my site’s screwed up. Oh joy, oh rapture. Another round tuit. Ah, well, at least I’m going to be off-duty for physical labor for the next few days. I’ll get some up soon.

sheesh…they’ve changed everything. But here’s one pic of the living room. You can see the hallway to the left. Still arranging and need to put baseboards in yet (that’ll wait) but you get the idea. On my monitor, this comes through quite brown. The floor actually has a rich, red toe. For reference, the chair on the right w/b a true red. Again, on mine, looks a little on the purple/magenta side.