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The World Cup is upon us, and I only remembered it was beginning at all when I chanced upon posters for it in a bar on Thursday. We're a little short on time and television here in the hermitage. For complicated reasons, we weren't able to bring along Comcast with us from the last apartment, and neither scanner_darkly nor myself ever took that initiative roll to hook us up to public telly. Honestly, do people even hook up antennas anymore? All that roof climbing.

We thought we might be able to stream it via ESPN, but discovered to our dismay this morning, while South Africa went on to strike the first goal of this Cup as host nation, that our tiny but reliable ISP was not among the few ESPN recognises for this purpose. Then came the scramble to find alternative sources of streaming, none of them reliable. The Beeb only broadcasts to British IPs, ITV much the same. Canadian television streams the World Cup from four different angles, including wide and up top Soccer City, and apparently different cameras on players from both sides in at least Uruguay vs. France. If I didn't truly love living in San Francisco so much, I would have started to question why I lived in the wrong side of North America.

So, knowing that Uruguay vs. France was underway, and realising the only way we could watch soccer was to hit up any of the scores of South American eateries with televisions or an Irish bar, we walked to The Phoenix for brunch. We found ourselves a relatively secluded spot at the back of the bar, with ample table space and enough cheering customers to feel like part of a suitably communal event. The very lovely waitress was apparently the only person on duty that whole afternoon -- poor thing was running ragged between the people who may have been there since 7AM, when The Phoenix replays fully recorded matches that happened at ungodly American hours for the masses. Seth and I have both agreed we may be breakfasting there on major match days for the next few weeks.

Their coffee was strong enough to wake the dead, and my salmon omelet somewhat too salty, but we were watching a World Cup match. I managed to scarf down my omelet in a mix of starvation and possibly to give my face something to do while staring at the screen. I'd originally thought we'd arrived too late, that it was in the last 10 minutes of the match. It turns out we were there within the first 10 minutes instead. Admittedly, both sides were locked in a defensive stand-off for all of the first half. There were tries for the goal, and not very inspired tries that I could remember. By the time the French finally got Henry and Malouda on the field, it seemed unusually late for any surprises. The last 30 minutes of the match were squarely locked on Uruguay's side of the field, with a very offensive French team, but no success. Group A is currently in an interesting situation with everyone at 1 point apiece.

Tomorrow sees the UK vs. the US. Epic brawl -- or at least, one hopes. The poster I saw at the start of this post was for Bruno's, which is offering a $3 special on Bud Light vs. Newcastle for the event. We are headed there early, for morning beer and hopefully a good Southern breakfast. I will be nursing my Newcastle. The husband will be looking like something killed beer over his Bud Light. I mean, I did say he could just order one of the nice artisanal American beers Bruno's stocks, but he's staunchly patriotic on this point. Ah, well. It's luck enough I married one of the minority of Americans who knows and likes the World Cup soccer, eh?

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