Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Hangover avoidance

Listening to: Eight-Moving

I avoided a hangover today after a considerably merry night last night with old and dear friends.

Here I offer my best avoidance tips in this season of merriment. This isn't about avoiding drunkeness, which can be regarded as an inevitability. It is about minimising the collateral damage.

1. Don't drink any Alcohol
Usually a bullet-proof tactic. Cheaper, and you have no chance of being DIC'd or losing those inhibitions that stop you doing silly things.


Since your classic hangover is essentially a product of dehydration, certain physiological conditions (colds, flu, food poisoning) can lead to a hangover without touching a drop of booze. In this situation not drinking doesn't do squat although you probably won't feel like it anyway.

2. Know your limits
It is quite possible to get pleasantly pissed, and still enjoy the morning after. Its all about timing, and straws and camels and things.
One drink, or even half a drink can mean the difference between enjoying the next day, or renewing an intimate acquaintance with the porcelain god and panadol.
However, knowing where that drink falls is largely a matter of chance, and introducing wildcards like shots and cocktails makes this into something of a lottery, which you have very little chance of winning.
Which brings us nicely to number 3.

3.Don't mix your drinks
The elemental of Imbibery 101, it is amazing how often this gets forgotten, even (or perhaps especially) by those old and seasoned enough to know better. You can be fine and well on the way to pleasantly pissed until someone brings out the home brewed tequila, then before you know it you're technicolour yawning out of car windows, and then hosing it off before the taxi driver will let you go.
Some would define this as fruit based alcohol versus grain based alcohol, or wine versus beer, or beer versus spirits, or anything versus the alternate universe that is absinthe for example. Anyway, if you start out drinking one thing, it is best to stick to it, with one exception.
If a switch must be made it can be done, provided that under no circumstances you go back. You get one switch per session. Any more and you are just asking for trouble of the falling over double vision and passing out in the toilets kind. Switching confuses your stomach and liver, and you're already asking a lot from them by boozing in the first place, so don't push it, otherwise they will refuse to serve you.
Mixing drinks can be particularly difficult for those who like to count their drinks. Three or four pints of beer and three or more shots of chilli vodka are in no way equivalent, especially if consumed with high simultanaeity.
And mixing drinks before consumption (like say dropping a shot glass of Drambuie into a glass of Guiness) should only be done by experts, and then under close supervision.

4. Pace yourself
Chopping is for lumberjacks. Unless there is some sort of tomfoolery involved, in which case it is pretty much mandatory. Find a pace that works for you and stick to it. This may involve withstanding peer pressure, so bring your willpower.
The old standby of alternating between alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks works pretty well too.

5.Eat something
Not cheating. Gives you a respectable time waster, as well as a viable excuse for drinking anyway: "the lamb demanded a good Pinot Noir, it would be a disservice not to" etc. Besides, the better catered events usually have good nibbles anyway. Just make sure you choose something that will potentially taste just as good on the way back up if it comes to that.

Both for yourself and your buddy. A well timed powerade or pump will do wonders, especially if you enforce it on the person you may wind up carrying home if they don't stop boozing.

Drink as much water as you can stand before retiring to your boudoir, and if you wake from your stupor, drink some more.

7.Wait it out
Hangovers can be avoided entirely by simply staying awake and riding the drunk out. Sleep lets your guard down, and opens the door to all sorts of unpleasant possibilities, not least of which is waking up with no idea where you are and who is in the bed with you, or what you did in the last few hours. You have to sleep sometime, but it will work out better if you are sober and reasonably sorted when you succumb to the inevitable.

8.Go on the offensive
Get drunk, come home, rehydrate, go to bed. If you wake up with an incipient hangover, eat something light, have more water, take as much panadol or ibuprofen as the manufacture recommends as safe, and go back to bed. Sleep is good for you here.

9.Get busy
Even ignoring all the above, if you have something to occupy yourself enough, a hangover can be ignored. If sober, driving is good for this. You need to be the driver though. Passengering from Wellington to Hamilton on a hot summers day after a spectacular wedding after match is not recommended. Driving the distance however will give you something to do. While exposing you to further dehydration, exercise can also sharpen the mind enough to forget the fact that it feels like your sinuses are imploding while your stomach has been relined with sandpaper.

That said, sometimes all you can do is get busy sleeping on the couch.

10. Watch Test Cricket
I'm not sure why this one works, but the slow unhurried gentlemanly game of 5-day Test Cricket works as a hangover cure, or at least it did one Sunday morning in Palmerston North a wee while ago.

Here endeth the lesson. Feel free to add your own

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Or Christmas Eve Eve as it was, for the annual flatties Christmas Dinner last night, now entering its sixth year.

Eschewing more formal settings, this year pizza was the fare on the beach at Days Bay on a fine summer evening, courtesy of the woodfired pizzeria across the road from the sand.
During the summer months, the beach is officially a liquor free zone, although a blind eye tends to be turned if everyone is behaving themselves.

These guys however were taking no chances, and exploited the technicality of the raft anchored 50 metres offshore being not actually on the beach. Beer and Champagne soon flowed, despite the drinks container (a plastic crate) nearly sinking as the raft was neared.

Note: This guy had been wearing a tank top earlier in the day, but not at the time I took the photo. Ouch. Some people just have to learn about sunscreen the hard way. Bet he's rueing it now.
I got some practice in for the airshow season by shooting the ever present seagulls.
Who proved that they can have as much trouble finding parking spaces as we do.
Christmas Eve itself looks ominous, as a storm gathered to the west at dusk, and the nor'wester picked up.
Ten minutes later it was raining.
Hopefully it will have sorted itself out by tomorrow.
Anyway, have a good one wherever you are.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Listening to: Alice in Chains-The EssentialSpotted recently in Lower Hutt.

My fans drive BMWs apparently.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bursting through

Listening to: Seal-Seal. The good 1991 first album before he went all 'Kiss from a Rose' weird MOR style for subsequent stuff.

So after raining all day, at dusk the rain finally stopped and the sun peeked through the misty clouds up here, lighting up the damp hills.
I like that. I'm not normally much for symbolism, but it works for me on this occasion. After warding off the physical hangover from sharing David's Guinness with Murray and Sarah after the funeral yesterday, today I think I had an emotional hangover. I have been fragile and sensitised all day.

Its funny how I prefer the written form as a means of expression, but I can't seem to make it work to properly share my thoughts today. This is thus a ramble.

Now that the ritual events are over, the reality of the way ahead is beginning to become fully apparent, in that for both Fi and I this Christmas there will be people missing who have always been there in the past. I have been a pallbearer twice in the past six weeks, and while I consider the duty an honour and a priviledge, its still one I'd rather not have the opportunity to perform.

I will miss John and David both and I didn't realise fully what I had in them until they were gone. Its often stated to the point of cliche, but I'm not sure we can help taking people for granted. We are just wired that way. I always try and say goodbye to people socially, and feel uncomfortable if I don't, not just for the sake of politeness, but in case the unexpected happens and I never have the chance again.

This is the future I guess. And when Megan's old enough I'll have to buy her a drink sometime, she enabled a lot of laughter yesterday and cheered us up no end.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fi's dad died tonight at about 1045, peacefully with friends and family at his side. A top bloke, a guy couldn't ask for more in a father-in-law (if you watch Outrageous Fortune, he was just like Grandpa West, but without the criminality).

I'm glad I knew him, and I will miss him.

Godspeed David, see you round.

Monday, December 10, 2007

And the hits keep coming...

Listening to: Magic-Bruce Springsteen

I know I put up sunset pictures last time, but the combination of high multilayered overcast and a clear horizon was spectacular a couple of hours ago. Also for Rich and Kirsten, since we were looking at this in the car on the way home and marvelling.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wallowing in goodness

Listening to: The radio

Been listening to the retroactive 30th birthday special on Radio Active all day. I love a good retrospective. It gives me an excuse to wallow in nostalgia, sing along to songs I hated when they were released, and remember fondly good times, and muse on the bad ones.

Covering a different year every hour, this has been going since last night. This morning they hit the 1990's, and I was reminiscing like a reminiscing thing. Despite being single for most of them, and having a couple of spectacularly downer periods, I really enjoyed the 90's, especially the late '93-early 96 period. There was a definite positive feel to the early 90's, maybe what the late 60's felt like. The Cold War was over, and things were going to change. Didn't last if course, but damn if it wasn't fun. I remember the mid 90's as being fun mainly (the fun memories drown out the bad ones), lots of new friends, lots of parties, lots to see and do. I remember going to four 21st parties on four consecutive weekends in 1995. 21 seemed so old then.

They were talking about the first time they heard 'Creep' by Radiohead, and I remembered the first time I heard it, on a classmates walkman in first year. We had no way of knowing then that it would become a classic anthem (love it or hate it), then it was just a kicking breakthrough single for a relatively unknown band. You can never go back, but sometimes its fun to imagine hearing something for the first time. Try it.

Coming up to 2000, they played the extended mix of 'Little Things' by Trinity Roots, and I remembered the first time I heard that, a snippet of outro on Channel Z while driving home from work (you know how it works, you hear a bit of a new song, like it, then wait ages for it to be played again, usually hearing a different bit. It can take several attempts to hear the complete song). That single was my coming home from work song for a while in 2001. I remember getting home to the flat on Kings Crescent and putting it on to begin the chilling process. I remember looking at the evening sunlight streaming through the window and across the floor, and listening to the vocal and thinking it was a good vibe.


I have been living on this hill for nearly a year now, and have yet to tire of the visuals. Tonights sunset was low key, but rewarded the patient.
I love that being summer, I can take pictures like this at 8:30 at 'night'.
About a week ago there was low cloud piling up on the ridge behind Porirua. The streetlight glow illuminated it, and from the other side of the ridge in Kelson it looked kinda cool.
I also love that being summer, Orion is now high in the sky. The second constellation after the Southern Cross I learned to recognise, I look forward to its return every summer.
Even if he is standing on his head.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's December!

In honour of today being the first of December, I implore you to check out or revisit the Weebl Advent Calendar, with observations, handy hints and the like for Christmas. Day 21 is my favourite. The rest of weebls stuff is also worth a look, especially the DJ Cat should you stumble across it.

Meanwhile, spotted about Wellington today:

St Johns in the City reveals the hitherto unknown 11th Commandment:
And on Boulcott Street....