Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hooligan Central

This happy boy now has tickets to see the Rugby World Cup match on Saturday between England and Scotland.  My high expectations for sightings of hooligans, Scottish or English, are likely to be fulfilled.

I'm really, really excited to get to see what I'll go ahead and name "Braveheart II" and experience world-stage rugby in a stadium full of rabid fans!

England currently has the best record in their pool (which also includes Scotland, Argentina, Georgia, and Romania) and Scotland, tied for second, needs to win this last pool match to ensure it advances to the quarterfinal knock-out rounds.  Makes for some good rugby!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


It's spring in New Zealand which means the clocks they are-a-changin'.  We've sprung ahead for Daylight Saving Time which means the time difference for Central Time is now 6 hours instead of 7.  Plus a day of course.  Good on ya, mate.

Friday, September 23, 2011

USA Rugby

USA vs Russia, September 15 (USA won)
For all you Americans out there, if you get a chance I highly recommend catching a Rugby World Cup match with either Team USA or the New Zealand All Blacks.  NBC/Universal Sports will be carrying the USA games plus a NZ/Canada game plus all the quarter/semi/final rounds.

Your next chance is Friday's match between USA and Australia.  The Aussies are a powerhouse so it will be fun to watch.  It's only on Universal Sports which is available on DirecTV (ch 625) but probably not Comcast or Dish.  Check to be sure.  It airs live at 3:15am Friday morning or re-airs at 7:00pm Friday night.

The next match that will be on NBC will be New Zealand vs Canada which airs (delayed) on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00pm Central Time.  The All Blacks are awesome so try and catch this one - you won't be disappointed!

The rest of the TV schedule can be found here.

For those of you not really sure how rugby works, click here for an overview.  But in short, 15 players per side advance the ball by running, passing, or kicking.  Passes cannot be forward - only lateral or backwards.  The other side tries to stop them by tackling or turning the ball over.  A player being tackled does not stop play - they merely give the ball to another team member and play continues.  If the player reaches the try line (endzone) and touches the ball down on the ground a "try" is scored for 5 points.  A 2 point conversion kick follows.  During play a player can also drop-kick the ball at anytime trying for a field goal worth 3 points.  Penalties may stop play which is restarted with a scrum.  Got it all?  Good.  It's oversimplified of course but you get the idea.

What's great about rugby is play stops infrequently and the clock keeps going most of the time.  So it's nonstop action that can be very exciting.  There are two 40 minutes halves and the game overall is usually done in an hour an 45 minutes.

Hope you get a chance to watch - enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Day

Here's a page from my "new life".  I rode Francesca (the scooter) into work.  Catalogued German, Spanish, and Elementary Education; discussed the Rugby World Cup and the All Blacks' chances at morning tea with my international colleagues; catalogued some more; scooted home; went for happy hour (Jeff and I call it "cinq a sept" so we sound oh so continental) at one of our favourite restaurants, Pure; then walked up for a wine tasting at our neighbourhood wine shop.  Not a bad day!

Follow Us

OK, so we haven't been blogging as much lately it seems.  We're working on that.  But there are now a couple of new features on the site to help you get notified when new posts are added so you don't have to randomly check every so often.  Assuming you haven't bailed on us already...

The "Followers" section over on the right allows you to use your Google, Yahoo, or Twitter ID to "follow" the blog - meaning posts will show up on the respective dashboards.  If you have one of these IDs, please add yourself!  If you don't, you can either create an ID or simply use the "Follow By Email" box just below Followers and have new posts get sent to your inbox.

Disclaimer: I haven't used either of these new features so I really don't know the particulars of how they work.  But leave some feedback if it's good, bad, or ugly.

More frequent posts coming your way - both here and on Facebook.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Land of Oz

We recently went on our first journey "across the ditch" to Melbourne in the land of Oz.  The "ditch" of course being the Tasman Sea and Oz being the sweet-as nickname for Australia.

We only had a limited amount of time to travel because of work but we spent four days in and around what turned out to be a really, really great city.  (Say it like the locals now - "Mel-bin".)

The city is full of life and character and oozes with culture, charm, and parks galore.  Electric trams are the dominant form of public transit and they are really handy and easy to use.  Although you could say there are hints of other fine cities in Melbourne like New York, London, and San Francisco, it really has its own identity and character.  Great food, too!

We were treated to mild late-winter weather (daily highs around 20C/68F) which we expected since it is at nearly the same latitude as Auckland. But although winters are similar, the summers get hotter there and hence it is a drier place with plants and wildlife to match.

One of the days there we rented a car a drove an hour and half to the Mornington Peninsula area with beautiful coastline AND the chance to visit a sanctuary of sorts where we got feed and pet tame kangaroos and wallabies (really fun!) and see koalas, wombats, emus, and birds.  It was a highlight of the trip.

So I can't recommend Melbourne enough as a great place to visit.  It usually seems to take second chair to Sydney when one thinks of Australia but we found that most people prefer Melbourne.  Nevertheless we'll make a point of going to Sydney next time we head across the ditch.

Click here to see some photos.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Opening Party

The long anticipated Rugby World Cup, hosted by New Zealand for 2011, has started with a bang.  Friday night was Opening Night and a H-U-G-E party was put on in downtown Auckland on the waterfront.

I decided to take my camera and spend a few hours in the excitement along with tens of thousands of others.  There were so many people!  Streets were closed off and a huge stretch of the waterfront was a dedicated "party zone" that the city did a brilliant job with.

Everyone was having so much fun, many dressed in their team's colors, waving flags, and making the most of an absolutely beautiful day with sunny skies, calm winds, and mild temps.  The atmosphere was nothing short of electric!  (Anne, not being a fan of masses of people, stayed home and watched it on live TV.)

Before the All Blacks took on Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland at 8:00pm downtown was lit up with a massive fireworks display with fireworks being launched from boats in the harbour, off of buildings in the city, and from Sky Tower. Simply amazing!  And the best part is that New Zealand beat Tonga - actually more like dominated.  Very fun to watch!

The cup goes on for 6 weeks - there are 20 teams and 42 games played all over New Zealand.  Not sure how crazy the city will be during the coming weeks but whatever inconveniences there may be will hopefully be offset by witnessing the excitement 100,000 international rugby fans brings to a country.

I'm excited to be a part of it - and proud of my adopted country.

See more photos here.