Category Archives: drinking

Bring the Whiskey!

DSC_0072We spent last night at the Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery. Nothing happened. The end!

Just kidding! Where would the world be if a trip to whiskey Disneyland didn’t end in some crazy antics; especially when you add our more northerly colleagues, from the land of gold to the mix? We started off in this amazing bar, illuminated in green and whiskey bottles. We then went on a tour to learn how whiskey is made. Instead, we found the original cat that used to hunt for mice during the 1700s in the original distillery. Apparently, like the ancient Egyptians, the Irish have a thing for worshipping cats and decided to reward the little hunter by stuffing him for permenant display to honour his hard work (looked too skinny to have been a good hunter if you ask me, but hey, maybe the mice took some revenge on his carcass).

We then got shown some ancient torture device. Actually it was some machine that used to mix whiskey and those guys that were late for work were punished by having to clean this machine every so often. He got special tap shoes so the guys on the outside could hear him, and when they stopped hearing him, they knew he was probably dead. But not to worry, they had instructions on revival plastered all over the place.DSC_0078

Then we got to taste whiskey. I decided to have it the Irish way, with ginger ale and lime. If you’ve never tried it, DO IT! It’s the most yummy drink in the world. The doctor had one too, but also managed to con threaten convince the innocent one travelling with us to grab a shot for her as well. But as usually happens with doctors, her diagnosis for innocence is more whiskey, and a bit of wine thrown in.

That’s when our northerly friends took over and somehow, the dancing was taken over by South Africans, forming conga lines, ululating and speculating widely about the use of sports bras and jock straps by Irish dancers. What? More wine? Yes, please!

Apparently a glass should never be empty in Ireland. I think it’s a wonderful life philosophy. More cultures should honour this age old tradition. I’m convinced it would bring world peace. Just look at our conference. One night and we united China, Ireland, South Africa, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Austria, America, Canada, Spain, Italy, Greece, Yemen, Lebanon and probably a whole lot more I can’t remember. But that’s an impressive achievement.

No politics, just whiskey!*

*If any whiskey label wants to use this slogan, I’ll be happy to sell the copyright for a lifetime supply of your best brand 🙂


Adding My Two Cents

underage-drinkingWe all know that the government wants to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21; one of my students even wrote about it, but his post and many other comments that have been chucked around have left me a little uneasy. As S (my student :P)  pointed out, raising the age limit isn’t going to stop those who are under-age from acquiring alcohol, nor is it going to stop those who already sell to under-18s (just ask the Americans!), but I think the thing that irritates me most is that all this talk presumes one thing: it’s only the youth who abuse alcohol. Seriously?! What kind of stupid logic is that? Go to any pub, bar, club in the country, and you’ll find plenty of middle-aged hipsters stumbling, slurring, and generally behaving badly. The problem that we have in South Africa, and in most of the Western world, is not an age problem (though I will come back to this), it’s that we are generally lackadaisical in our approach to responsibility and alcohol. Perhaps I’m passing the buck here a little, but I don’t think it’s anything that is entirely our fault. Overall, our consideration toward alcohol and drinking is driven by years of learned social behaviour: it’s fun to go out drinking with your friends, it’s ok to get a little drunk and giggly to let loose, and only losers can’t handle more than one glass.

And actually, I agree with all of it (yes, you are a loser if you’re drunk after one glass). I’m not advocating anything here. I can’t judge. I’ve had fabulous evenings talking to rose bushes and fish ponds after a bottle of tequila a couple of drinks, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it. But I do think it’s wrong to point fingers at an age group for something that isn’t confined them. You’re assuming that drinking and getting drunk are the activities of immature children. Pah! The stories I, and I’m sure you, could tell about people in their 40s, 50s, 80s and too many whiskies would put every teeny-bopper to shame.

imagesCAGP8QJRThe problem comes in when you’re no longer safe, and perhaps that’s where it does become a youth issue. Now I’m only talking from personal experience here, so it could just be my perception, but I’ve seen far too many students watch their ‘friends’ get completely smashed and then put them into a cab on their own, leave them on the bathroom floor in a club, or worse, send them off into the middle of town to buy food. Usually this happens, it seems, because they don’t want to leave the party, and looking after their friend will detract from the fun they’re having. That’s where the maturity comes in, I think. Most people I know (and most are pretty old) look out for each other. If I decide that I need to go off on some world-altering mission into the depths of an African street (tequila makes me think I’m invincible) then there’s usually someone who either acts as my side-kick until I get bored, or ties me to a chair puts me to bed. I do the same for them, but, the crunch is that unless I know I have that support, I don’t go out. I don’t feel the need to be at every party and my FOMO’s decreased as I got older. Then again, that’s just me and the people I know. Maybe being a narcissistic douche doesn’t disappear with age, but I sure hope to hell it does, otherwise we have more problems than just our drinking.

The Movies Made Me Do It

I recently read this article which outlined how researchers in America (only in America!) have linked alcohol consumption in movies to teenage alcohol abuse. They argued that teenagers who watched movies in which the actors drank were more likely to drink themselves.  In fact, it is a more deciding factor than continuous exposure to people around them who drink, like parents, or if they have freely available booze whenever they want.  Apparently, the latter two had no impact on their decision to experiment with drinking, or with alcohol abuse. My answer, what an absolute load of baloney!

Apart from questioning the validity of the study, which consisted of a phone survey(!), two serious issues have to be considered. Firstly, where are their parents? And secondly, are teenagers really so dim-witted that they have to wait for a Hollywood celebrity to do it first? What ever happened to teenagers experimenting on their own? If you ask me, this is yet another excuse to shirk personal responsibility.

This study is aimed at 10-14 year olds, so enter my first issue. Mr Researcher, these are not teenagers, they are pre-pubescent trolls that should be under the supervision of their parents. You honestly expect me to believe that it’s all Hollywood’s fault, and not irresponsible parents that have given rise to slurring, wonky, drunken gremlins? Let me elaborate. When I was ten, I was not allowed to go to the movies without an adult, in fact, I wasn’t even allowed to watch TV (other than afternoon cartoons) without an adult. And no, I wasn’t locked in a basement, being deprived of the world. I was outside playing in the dirt, or trying to ramp over dirt with my bike, or, on rainy days, reading a book. So what has changed? It’s not Hollywood! It’s parents and their complete lack of personal responsibility. They would rather blame something out of their control, like a movie, than admit to the fact that they can’t be bothered to monitor what their ‘angel’ is watching. Added to this, it’s also amazing that no-one wants to comment on a society where alcohol is readily available to 10 year olds! How does America justify that one? That’s something you should try to fix, not ban the movies from displaying a normal ADULT activity. And again, parents should be around to contextualise drinking rather than allowing TV to teach their kids about the world.

Based on this, it negates my second point about teenage experimentation because these ARE NOT teenagers. They shouldn’t even be ready to experiment with anything other than fire crackers. So then why do we allow them to dress like mini skanks, and hand over all responsibility to them? They little. Let them have fun and be children. And then when they become real teenagers, all smelly and pimply, then we can have a real discussion on teenagers and drinking.

Alcohol Was Invented So Ugly People Could Also Get Laid

Everyone knows that awful cliché: “Birds of a feather flock together”; well and I’ve realised that I’ve never really grasped the full reasoning behind this saying. Yes, it does mean that people who come from the same background will stick together, because you understand each other far easier than someone who comes from a different upbringing. I mean have you ever associated with an Oribite? They just don’t think about things, or function in the same way as the rest of normal society. Sorry… mean I know… but hey, I’m a mean person… deal with it. But the part that I never quite realised has to do with that other old saying: “Never date someone out of your league”.

Think about it… Whenever you see a really gorgeous girl with some old, bald guy you automatically think either, gold digger, he’s fantastic in bed, or her boss; no-one ever thinks wow lucky guy. As shallow as it is, no-one ever goes down a league place unless they can gain something from it. And of course you’ll look to go up… It makes you look brilliant being with someone whose better looking or younger or both. But I’m getting sidetracked… I’m not even talking about dating, or infatuations. My point is this: have you ever actually looked at various groups of people? This birds of a feather thing, doesn’t really have much to do with backgrounds, it all has to do with appearance. The people that you hang out with are a good indicator to what league you actually fit into. And depending on which group of people you go out with determines what type of people you may have random conversation with.

Seriously, how often do you see a group of really attractive people with one or two bottom-feeders? Hardly ever!! And if you do, the chances are that those one or two people hanging on are trying to make themselves feel better about being an ass monkey… and the attractive people are probably using them to buy drinks, do their homework, or gain a job promotion. And it works the other way round too… Don’t think I’m being one-sided… You hardly ever see a group of heinous looking obese prawns with really stunning looking people. And when you do, it’s usually because that one gorgeous person suffers from ugly duckling syndrome. That or they just really need to get laid… and let’s face it… your chances of success are far higher if you hang out with the beasts than with the beauties. It just makes you look that much better… And if you just happen to fall into the bottom-feeder category be thankful that alcohol was invented.. After all.. You drink cause they ugly and you horny!

Random Visits

So I’m sitting in my office, being a good little student putting the empirical data together for my thesis, when my… hmm gotta be careful here… amazingly wise and brilliant lecturer bursts in and says: “I’m sticking this on your door!” and pointing to an old newspaper clipping.

“Um, why? And I’m scared, ” I respond. She reckons she feels that the content of this article will firstly, inspire all of us in our office, namely me and Michelle, I don’t think she knows about Solomon yet… and secondly, any of our children that come to harass us. I pointed out that we do not have any children and if we did they would probably have died years ago from being thrown too many times against a wall! But she insisted that we do, even if we don’t want to lay claim to them… where these children are I have no clue and actually I prefer being ignorant on this matter. And if anyone suggests that first years constitute children all I can say is what absolute rubbish!!! They barely human, let alone actual functioning people! And children, I might add, no matter how cute and cuddly they appear to be are more diabolical than Hitler and Stalin put together… something that requires brain power that far surpasses even the most gifted of first years.

Anyway, back to that clipping… when I actually got a chance to see what was being cemented to our wall (she decided the door wasn’t good enough) I saw that it was a report about the dangers of student drinking and how most students are compromising their studies for partying… Hmmm… could this be a hint of some sort?? Not really sure… I mean since when do me or Michelle for that matter ever overdo the partying?? Must just be a reminder of what to look out for in other students.

Actually what got me was who the bright spark of a reporter was that thought that this constituted news?? I mean come on!!! Students drinking is not anything new or newsworthy!! As far as I can see it, it’s actually a right of passage that all students have to go through… You didn’t do varsity right if you can remember all of it!!

Grahamstown Lessons

Shew… it’s been a while since I updated this thing. So sorry to all but life has been hectic with that awful word work and forbidden word that shall not be spoken. And to add to my stress I took a week off to do nothing and think about what needs to be done.

Last week was fantastic going down to Grahamstown with Michelle and learning all sorts of interesting things at the Captivate conference. One thing that I did learn and shall stay with me forever is that vomit can actually be blue and green in colour…. no not bluey green or even blue or green but blue and green moulded together in a fantastic mosaic of colour. We really should’ve listened… when a barman in Grahamstown says he thinks you should slow down, you should really listen… it is Grahamstown after all, they know what they talking about!!

But I suppose you only get to live once and your liver has time when you old to recover from your youth 😉 This last weekend was spent filled with dread about Saturday night… It was my birthday and in typical fashion I was being threatened with vast amounts of alcohol and death by tequila. Luckily, Grahamstown seemed to have built up my tolerance and all was good… even though I can’t really remember how many drinks I had or what time I rolled into bed.. but I do know that there was some pants dropping and flinging involved.. GO JEFF!!

Pity the evening was ruined by some peoples complete lack of tact and serious double standards. But we won’t go into that now. Let’s wait for the anger to build up a bit more before we vent 🙂

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I know that I haven’t been very diligent lately in updating my blog, however I’ve been keeping very busy slowly killing my liver and dancing til all hours with Meg in the last few weeks. Since Olgi and Taryn came down a couple of weeks ago to visit I haven’t stopped partying. It has been one of the most awesome holidays I think I’ve ever had since varsity started; if not the best!!

However, the only down side to the whole experience has been the numerous mornings after that have seriously made me question whether I should ever drink again. But Meg seems to have this amazing power to get me out a few hours later and do it all again. I would blame myself for just being too nice and say that she manipulates me, however I can’t really say that because I just love going out and having an awesome time with my friends. And in all honesty those morning afters are wonderful bonding experiences as we all look for sympathy and lie in bed complaining about the evils of each other and whatever we were drinking the night before.

The number of things that have happened these holidays and the number of things that shall never be repeated verbally after these holidays is awesome. I think every party was a Night of Legends where something interesting happened. Unfortunately, most of what occured I believed never really happened cause no-one was ever too sure of the details. And remember the first rule of drinking… if you can’t remember it, it never happened. And I’m sticking to that rule like an old piece of gum sticks to your shoe!!


The ramblings of an overworked underpaid grad student in South Africa



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