Category : Enthusiasms

2005 December 30

Hurry hard

So, curling. That other, shameful Canadian winter sport. The one that is not talked about in front of outsiders; the one played behind closed doors in private, nigh-Masonic clubs in every small town in the Frozen North. The game with the sweeping. That one.

It turns out there's a club in Wayland. I joined up and have been playing again this year, for the first time since high school. I'd forgotten how much fun it is -- for me, it's about the perfect combination of whole-body skill, balance, bursts of frenetic activity, team coordination, analytical tactics, and beer (I am not aware of a curling club in the world that does not have its own bar in the building). It's a social activity; it offers hardly any meaningful advantages to gender -- nobody bothers to count how many women are on a coed team -- and it's a sport with traditions of gentlemanly conduct regarded as having equal standing with the rules of the game.

The structure of the game is comparable to bocce or boules -- you score by throwing closer to the button than your opponents, but in this case you're sliding 45-lb polished granite stones across 120' of ice. Delivery of a stone is a graceful, whole-body sliding motion that, done well, can easily cover 30 feet before you release the rock, and after that your teammates will follow the rock up the ice. By polishing the ice in front of the sliding rock -- this is where the brooms and the teamwork come in -- good sweeping can carry an imperfect throw as much as 10 feet farther than it would otherwise have travelled.

You wear a slider made of actual teflon under one foot, to skim faster over the ice.

It's surprisingly addictive.

Curling Delivery

This brings me to: it's coming up on midseason, and registration is open again for the second half. Before that, the club is having an open house on Sunday (yes, New Year's Day). There will be lots of friendly people and probably hot chocolate and fresh cookies and complimentary beer (I'm not kidding). But frankly, that's not the way you want to try the game -- if the fall open house is anything to go by, you'll get hardly any ice time, and almost no opportunity to actually throw rocks. I suggest you come with me. There's open ice tomorrow afternoon and Sunday evening and Monday.

Anyone interested in giving it a try?

2005 September 26


Two items. One, I am having a party Saturday the 15th. If you're reading this, you're invited (and probably should already have got e-mail from me, but if you're not on my list, let me know).

Dr.SuperLove NeoTokyo Extravaganza Drinking!!

Second, it turns out there is a curling club in Wayland, and they're having an open house that afternoon (again, Saturday the 15th). I want to go check it out -- I haven't really been curling since high school. It's a tactical, skillful, laid-back sort of game (we can argue about what is a "sport" if you like), comparable perhaps to softball for the wintertime. It's fun. Anyone want to come with?

2005 July 4

Tennis, anyone?

There are tennis courts at Tufts a couple blocks from my place. I'm not sure if they're technically public, but they don't appear to be guarded.

I think I've played one game of tennis in my life (though in grad school I played enough racquetball to at least stop embarrassing myself). But maybe it would be fun. I'd get a racquet and some tennis balls if there's anyone who'd be up for playing with a total novice. What do you say?

2004 October 4

Black Sky

The Discovery Channel ran a documentary last night on Burt Rutan and SpaceShip One -- Black Sky. I've watched part of it; the rest is on Tivo; it's pretty good. And woo!  space!  So: heads up. I'm sure they're going to run it again.

So I saw a suggestion somewhere that the next space prize (will it be called the "Y Prize"?) will come complete with a television reality show. To which I say, about time. If we can have reasonably interesting reality shows of people building goofy motorcycles, I demand equal time for people building motherf!@#ing spacecraft.

2004 June 2

Public Service Announcement

Fans of the 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do may want to peruse The Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About.

Idle Words says: "Milk will shoot out your nose."

That is all.


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