February 24, 2006

Anti-bourgeoisie

Being in the middle class, I don't like the notion of anti-bourgeosie.

I understand why some are "haters" to a class driven by "money" and materialism or conformity, but not all bourgeoisie are like this.

I think it's more than money but power. The Upper class (high society) fear them because they might be replaced by them. The Lower class hates them because they're richer than them. Even the people who belong in the Bourgeoisie hate their class because they either want to be a part of the upper class or they think the Bourgeoisie class is too materialistic.

It seems like everyone is just hating on the bourgeoisie.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:42 PM | Comments (0)

Olympic Figure Skating Results: Mental/emotional sadism

Last night was the lady's figure skating long program. The gold was up for grabs.

Sometimes the commentators can be so dramatic and emotionally sadistic. After the competition, the NBC guy, who narrated the results, emphasized how Slutskaya and Cohen waited four years for this chance to skate in four minutes and hopefully win the gold. They would have to wait another four years for this opportunity. In four minutes Slutskaya's dream ended, he added that this might be her last Olympic.

Sometimes people lose the point. It's sort of that saying, "if you aim high enough and missed the stars atleast you'll land in the moon." Slutskaya aimed for gold, she missed, it's not the end of the world. She was fortunate to have tons of oppurtunity to go to the olympics. She had the Silver and Bronze olympic medals, tons of World titles, European titles, Russian titles. Her motivation, her inspiration, her personaility can't be captured in a gold medal. Hopefully she'll realize this and just brush it off and not waste her life pondering about the what ifs.

Slutskaya, the favorite, buckled and skated pretty tight. The pressure of a "Russian sweep" might have gotten to her or maybe some bad news about her mother distracted her. She ended up getting the bronze.

Cohen got silver. She didn't have a good warm up and as the commentator noted, her doubt of winning the gold was seen in her eyes. They also kept pointing out that one of her legs was wrapped (a possible injury). It looked really dire for Cohen in the beginning of her program. She fell twice in a row. Psychologically this was bad for her because she had a history of "falling" apart and losing concentration if something went wrong. A good thing happened; she fought really hard to get the silver, and she never gave up. She was into the character she portrayed, really passionate, and she took it one element at a time. After those two falls, she successfully executed her jumps and finished the program strong.

The gold went to Japan's Shizuka Arakawa. She was the first Japanese woman to medal at the Olympic, the first to get the gold, and the first Japanese to medal in this Olympic 2006. After seeing Cohen's program, she played it smart and "conservative" by not risking a triple triple combination. She was into the music and she had a clean program. Out of the top three she was the most composed and relaxed.

I felt sorry for Slutskaya because she was so close. However when she skated she didn't let her personality show (she was nervous). Even though Cohen got silver, I'm glad that she fought through and finished the rest of her program with a "Zing." I'm glad that Arakawa won, it's just good for her confidence (in a way she played the media rather than the other way around).

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

yay and nay

Yay I've been quoted :)

Nay, I found out today (although this is old news) that Michelle Kwan will not be competing in the Olympics :(

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2006

Literature: Reviewing principals

In literature, it's nice to review the basics once in a while because there's so many movements out there that it's hard to process. It's like what Phil Rosteck said (he was talking about art in general), because there's so much information to process (globalization), people counterbalance this by turning inwards.

I'm an English major so people assume that I can speak proper english all the time, or that I know all the grammar rules. I'm an expert in everything-English. They forget that I'm in a process of learning everything about English, and that I just have an affinity for it (potential to master it). This assumption is also seen in classrooms and most English classes.

In my previous English classes, the professors assumed that since I'm an English major, then I'm likely to be exposed to many literature and I'm supposed to know how to write different types of critiques. College teachers have the right to assume this because their expectations are higher.

Currently I'm taking American Literature II and most of the students are not English majors. This is sort of refreshing because they're not jaded with 'everything-about-English' and they give a different perspective outside the 'English' bubble. The things we're doing and the pace we're going may appear 'elementary' but personally for me I feel like I'm understanding more especially about different types of literary criticism.

With this new understanding, I feel confident in analyzing the text more in-depth rather than slugging through it.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:09 PM | Comments (0)

Winter Olympics: Figure Skating Preview

Yesterday I watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. It was great and it was reminiscent of those medieval stories where kingdoms compete with each other and have elaborate ceremonies to welcome the participants and to show off the host's kingdom.

It was nice to see people from different countries walk in and mingle peacefully with each other. The commentators were great. They gave cultural background about Italy and mini-blurbs about some events happening with different countries.

Snow boarding, skiing and other winter sports are awesome. However the main thing I'm 'rooting' for (excited about) is figure skating- especially women's figure skating.

Commentators have been talking about that this will most likely be Michelle Kwan's last olympic. At the age of 25), she is considered a veteran already. In spite of this I don't sense regret in her. This is going to be her third olympic and her last chance perhaps to capture the gold. She has a silver and a bronze (which are achievements too).

This is one of the most competitive season for women's figure skating because there's so many great women figure skaters. Russia's Irina Slutskaya is a tough competitor and she continues the legacy of Russian Champions. For a very long time Russia have been dominating these sport in all its aspect: men's and women's singles, pairs, ice dance, etc. Technically she's consistent. She can do triples and double with her eyes close. She's also great at combinations, spins, and foot work. She knows how the new scoring system works, and she can easily adapt to situations/problems that may occur in her program. She knows how to get extra bonus points by upgrading her skill level after the halfway point of her program. She has great stamina.

In the artistic side, she's not bad but not great. She's somewhere between good and great. She's in this range because her lines or extensions are not as straight or graceful as Sasha Cohen or Michelle Kwan. But what adds to her artistry is the joy she emits when she's skating. Her posture is good and she has her nerves under control. When the audience see the confidence shining through the skater, an emotional connection of some sort is felt which makes the program more entertaining.

The Japanese and American women figure skaters are waiting to dethrone Russia's traditions of ice queens. Shizuka Arakawa, Miki Ando, and Fumie Suguri are up and coming. They have the technical skills and they've greatly improved on their artistry. The one that comes to mind who can be considered their leader (the well rounded skater) is 2004 World Champion Shizuka Arakawa. She definitely have the artistry and 'soft' knees which make her landings look natural, smooth, and effortless. However she's not as consistent as Slutskaya. If she's not "on," she let her nerves get the best of her. She starts popping jumps, and downgrading her level by turning triple jumps to doubles. She ends up not "selling" her program. As Dick Button would say the illusion (facade) of the performance is destroyed.

The American women are making a name for themselves. If Sasha Cohen can master consistency then she'll be the power house. She has the technical skills of Slutskaya and more (because she's more flexible), and an artistry that can equal Kwan if she were to skate with her heart instead of anxiety. All's left for her to master is her ownself- her nerves. Young skaters, Kimmmie Meissner and Emily Hughes are learning from Kwan and Cohen and continuing to build American women's reputation.

Lastly but not least (save the best for last), there's Michelle Kwan. In this Olympic, she's considered the underdog. She's coming off from a recent injury. In fact she didn't have a chance to defend her U.S. title last year because she suffered from a groin injury. Nonetheless the officials gave her a spot in the U.S. olympic team. Also she's not as familiar with the new scoring system as Slutskaya (this new scoring is in her advantage because there's a chance to earn bonus points which in effect will give her a chance to right the mistakes she made early in the program). She should take into perspective that this might be her last olympic. With that said, she should lighten up (not let her nerves get to her), trust her skills (her experience: 3rd olympic, 9 or 10 U.S. titles, World Champions), review her program and see how it figures in the new judging system, and enjoy skating (allow her heart to win the gold).

I'm rooting for all of them for different reasons. If Slutskaya wins, she'll get money to help pay for her mother's medicine bill. Also this season, she has been the one who's consistent (it will be an awesome prize for season of hard work). If Akawara wins, she will inspire more women of non-western background to try and reach for their own dreams. If Cohen wins, it will be a great victory in defeating her own self (you know what they say "you're your own worst enemy). If Kwan wins, it will be about time, third's a charm, she's been beaten twice by two teenagers Lipinski and Hughes (who are both retired now from the competitive world of figure skating). There's a possibility that this can happen a third time with Kimmie Meissner. There's many more figure skaters but these are the ones in the current spotlight.

Journey to gold will be difficult for Kwan for various reasons:

1. New Scoring system (she hasn't been competing a lot in the Grand Prix season so she hasn't time to get use to it)

2. Post-injury (she's not as fit as Slutskaya)

3. Tons of Competitive skaters (Slutskaya, Cohen, Arakawa, Meissner and more)

4. Self-doubt (speculation- this is my third time "I'm too old")

This will be an exciting winter olympic, let the games begin (schedule)!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)