Posted June 6, 2006 in California

I had a great weekend. By far the most exciting part was the rugby game (USA vs. Ireland A) Saturday afternoon in Santa Clara.

First problem was getting beer. In Montreal, one would simply go to a counter and buy a beer. In California, it's a bit more confusing. First I had to go get a red paper bracelet thing that says I'm over 21 years of age. Next I had to wait in another line and buy a beer ticket. Finally, I had to wait in line for my Guiness. Not only does three lines make three times the waiting, but it also left me kind of clueless as to where to tip. I gave a dollar in line number two, then I saw yet another tip jar when I picked up my Guiness. Maybe they were trying to trick me into tipping twice.

About the game: this was my first rugby game. I was amazed at how fast-paced it is. The pace is far more like soccer than American football: everybody is always moving, and play stoppage is rare. They even go on playing when somebody is injured.

By far the most fantastic thing in rugby is a situation which arises fairly often: somebody is in possession without a good pass to make, and a defender is about 5-10 yards away. I gather that offensively the only sensible thing to do is get as far up the field as possible before inevitably being brought down. In this situation, the offenseman will actually sprint straight into the defenseman, trying to knock him over. This must have happened at least fifteen times during the game, and nobody was injured because of it.

I was cheering for Ireland and Ireland won. Yay! I hope to watch more rugby games in the future, because I had a heck of a lot of fun.

Saturday night a few of us had a barbecue at NASA Ames, during which I met a lot of new people (and one self-professed martian). Lots of Google and NASA interns showed up. We played (or pretended to play) ultimate.

Sunday I watched two movies: X-Men 3 and Mission: Impossible 3. Both were full of action and devoid of meaning: exactly what I wanted!

In between, I bought a TV tuner for my laptop. Now I can skip work to watch Game 3 and onwards of the Stanley Cup Finals. (NBC only broadcasts game 3 onwards; before that, I'll have to stick with Internet radio.)