Friday, August 29, 2008


Friday night.
Oh so bored.
Can' go on.
Need a break.

This is beginning to sound like that guy from Into The Wild. In a way this blog is a bit like that guy. He went to Alaska to be at one with nature. I'm staying in on a Friday night to be at one with the telly.

The whole of Dublin is at the Electric Picnic - a 3 day music festival. One of Europes coolest. It's all about peace, and love, music, laughter and drink. Those who are not at the Picnic just are not that cool, but probably still out and about. And drinking.

My ex flatmate has just told me she's heading out.

'Where are you going?' I ask.

'For drinks' she replies.

For drinks?! That expression sounds funny when you think about it. I'm going out 'for drinks'. I'm bored being in, so I'm going out 'for drinks.' I'm not going out to the cinema, not to the theatre, not to play some sport, I can't stay in and read a book.
No...instead, like the rest of the world, I'm going out 'for drinks'.

Back home in Hamburg, my girlfriend is also out 'for drinks'. She told me she is in 'party harty Marty' mode. So it will be a lot of 'for drinks.'

I'm cracking. Going crazy.

Crazy like a coconut.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I've just been plane lazy about writing this blog since I got back to Dublin last week. So to punish myself, I'm just going to pretend its only Day 39.
The temptation to give up on my quest has been at an all time high since I've been back in the land of the gargle. Just an hour ago I was almost about to delete this blog and pretend it never happened.
I called my girlfriend and told her I was going to have a drink.
To my surprise she told me not to.
It's strange how she has changed her tone. At the beginning she wanted me to drink. Now, she thinks I'm best to stay off it.
I think she's worried that I'll be down on myself if I quit my mission now.
There's just too many social situations to get through at the moment in my life. Too many people to meet and be chatty with.
I've noticed about 4 new bars on Dame Street, since I've been gone a month to Hamburg. 4!!!
There is a new Korean restaurant opened up on the door step of my old Dublin apartment. The owner is struggling for business it seems. So when myself and a few friends went in, he just kept pouring them free wine, while trying to ply them with sushi.
4 new bars and a hoard of free drink. Welcome home.
Its Thursday night, and the town is positively buzzing with people in the bars.
I'm losing faith. Can I go on?

Friday, August 22, 2008


Last night, I was at a barbecue with a bunch of socialites here in Hamburg.
I met one female lawyer who told me she was over a year off the booze. She told me she had noticed she was drinking too much and so decided to stop.
It was nice to meet one other person who was doing the same thing I am. I think she's the first person I've met in 38 days who's also got a booze ban in place.
She told me the best part of it all is waking up the day after a night out and feeling great while everyone else is on the floor.
I had a phone call then from a friend back in Dublin. He told me he was coming to Hamburg today for a stag party - with 25 friends!
I did offer to bring them all on a bar crawl, but the whole day today I've been dreading it. I don't have the mental energy for the evening.
My girlfriend commented today, how lethargic I've been despite being off the booze. It's true. While I know I've got more energy, I still am not using it.
I have an early flight tomorrow back to Dublin.
Another chance for head readjustment.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I saw Mamma Mia with my girlfriend yesterday. I felt I need a raucous cheer up after a day of gloom.
As I walked to the cinema I considered giving up my mission to go a year off the booze. Maybe alcohol is needed to get through lifes natural ups and downs. Maybe alcohol somehow smooths out the bumpy road of life.
Maybe thats why alcohol is on earth - it's a gift from the gods to help people get through life. But that would suggest that the gods have created an imperfect world. Worse still, they are trying to give us an imperfect cure.

Am I confusing you?

I thought better of it though. I refuse to believe you can't get through life without drinking. It must be possible. Surely?

Mamma Mia is good fun though. Don't take it too seriously and its grand.

When we got back last night, one of my flatmates got her university results. They were very good. That called for a round of shots for the apartment to celebrate. Some of my flatmates still don't know I'm off the booze.
When I said no, I got a now typical response -

'But your Irish!'

Last night I dreamt I just packed the towel in. I went into a bar, and ordered a large pint.

I called a friend from back in Dublin this morning. He told me he was in Co. Cork cycling. He told me he had a bad case of alcohol blues and needed to clear his head. I've got natural blues, and he's got alcohol blues.

I wish I could cycle better.

Thats right, I can't cycle.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm again back on the fast food fix. The delivery kind. My gym goage has stopped again.
The pizza delivery service here in Hamburg is particularly good and no where near as expensive as Dublin.
For instance, it cost me 10 Euros last night to get a pasta, a healthy dose of pizza bread and a doh nut. The quality is excellent.
In Dublin, the only option would really be Dominoes pizza. You'd have to fork out 15 - 20 Euros for a much sub standard product.
I was so full last night that I never got around to eating the doh nut.
I'm eating it now.
It's covered in chocolate.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I've just found out a way to watch football (that's soccer) online for free. Its crazy. It means that I don't have to go to bars to watch football. No temptation to drink, or eat dodgy over priced food. It's a money saver. The site also allows you to watch movies for free! I feel quite slow catching onto these type of things.
Yesterday was Astra day in Hamburg. Astra is the local beer. There was a big festival on the harbor. I have never seen so many drunk people in my life. It was worse than St. Patricks Day in Dublin.
We got there quite late, when most of the festivities were over. The place was an absolute mess. It was the worst state I've seen Hamburg since I've been here. I was up to my knees in empty plastic beer cups. Of coarse I stupidly decided to wear sandals. I felt like Indiana Jones watching my every step.
We went to a bar called The Kogge and played table football which is very popular here.
I'm useless at it.
I had another crazy dream last night. I dreamed I was called into the office of the President of China. When I got in there I was quite nervous. He told me he wasn't happy with some of my blog entries.
I'm not happy with this one.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Well maybe just tears. It's strange how most of the must emotional, annoying and disturbing events of my life have usually been related to alcohol.
Maybe its not that strange.
A little strange.
I had the toxic combination of family, girlfriend and booze for the past couple of days, and needless to say, for the most silly, uncontrollable reasons, tears have been shed and emotions have run wild.
Tears and emotions that are quickly forgotten the day after of coarse.
But when your not drinking, its not so easy to forget these incidents. You live them out full on, while others can barely remember the next day.
Anyway, yesterday was a day of healing after the tired and emotionals of the night before.
Did I feel like a drink? Not in the slightest. The night priors events gave me further reason to not want to drink.
I'm reminded of the time I was most tempted to do Coke (the white brand) in my life. I was living in New York, and a couple of girls were pushing it on me. Finally I said, 'why not?'. 'You only live once. Give it a go'.
But before I did I had to go the bathroom.
When I came back out, the two girls faces were twitching and they looked like zombies.
With that I politely exited. I don't even think they noticed.
I have never been in the slightest bit tempted since.
Once again, its the negative sides affects that don't do it for me.
I'm rambling, I'm rambling now.
Thanks for the comments of late all. I feel honored:-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I´m sitting in a internet cafe near where I live in Hamburg. I´m amazed to see I have some comments on my recent blog entry. I was sure no one was reading.
I got an email from a friend in Dublin. ´Are you still off the drink?´ she asked.
Yes I am! But I feel over it now. My cravings have stopped. It´s no big deal. I could take it or leave it.
I think.
Last night I walked in on a couple of flat mates (man and women) who were drinking a bottle of Greek Ouzo from little shot glasses.
The room was candlelit and it was a kind of a sexy scene. I wasn´t aware they were ´courting´.
It reminded me a bit of that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Minus the menace.
In this case the booze was only going to lead to one scenario for the twosome.
They offered me some Ouzo in my orange juice but I said I was alright and left.
I wonder would such an atmosphere be possible without the booze.
Somehow I can´t imagine being in such a potent situation with shots of tomato juice.
I´m frowning.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I managed to get to the gym again today. That´s two days in a row. It´s amazing how good you can feel straight after excercise. My problem is getting to the gym in the first place.
I put off going today until very late. I had to will myself into going.
I´ve alway felt like a lazy lethargic type of person. Whenever I want to do something purposeful, I need to build up alot of will power in order to do it.
One of the reasons I quit the booze is because it makes me feel extra lazy the day after. And as my daily work is generally in creative fields (I like to think), you need alot of self motivation to work well. But if your always tired, its hard to get much done.
I think I´ve been much less lethargic in the past month. But I haven´t used my spare time well enough. Instead of going out and doing something with my new energy, I´ve just watched TV or ate. Unfortunatly both these activities make you feel lazy too.
And a lazy body, leads easily to a lazy mind, which is the greatest obstical to overcome and what I´ve battled most against.
Battling against a lazy mind requires alot of will power.
So I need to try get out more.
Thats what I´m saying.
I need to get out and run!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I decided to stay in last night while my girlfriend went out on the town with her friends. I feel like I´ve been out alot since I´ve moved to Hamburg and my non alcohol charisma levels are depleted.
So with that I was asleep by about 2AM. I have just awoken now after an incredibly vivid dream.
In the dream, I was playing for Manchester United (I think), in the final of the Champions League, but come to think of it, it may have been the Olympics. I know that wouldn´t make sense but go with it.
We were losing 1-0 with five minutes to go. It was incredibly tense. But then we got a penalty to save the day.
I´m not sure if it was me or somebody else who took the penalty, but whoever it was blew it, as they blasted the ball over the bar.
With time running out, the next two minutes of the game were incredibly chaotic and I can´t remember much, but somehow the opposition goal keeper had the ball in his hands again. There was no one around all of a sudden except me and the other teams goal keeper. Instead of punting the ball up long he just chipped the ball up in the air. I couldn´t believe this golden opportunity. I concentrated the best I could, before volleying the ball in to the back of the net!!!!
But when I turned to celebrate the game was still chaotic with players disputing various decisions.
´Did anyone see that? I just scored!´
Just then the linesman put up his flag ruling out my goal.
´But it was perfectly fine.It was glorious.´ I protested.
I demanded a video replay to prove it was fine.
Now as you may or may not be aware, video replays are not used as way to make decisions in football, but in this situation, with so much at stake, I wasn´t taking no for an anwser. I wanted to see the video.
I had to go to the President of NBC himself to get him to show us the video. The President in this case was Alec Baldwin from 30 Rock.
It seems the TV station was only recording the game on old VHS tapes which lasted an hour. And they forgot to put in another tape after an hour, thus missing the last 30 minutes. So the wait really dragged on as they ran about more looking for other tapes.
Meanwhile I was discussing the situation with my team mates or members of the other team (I´m not sure), who were made up of sexy women. One was called Kelly and looked like a 1980s superstar. I was also chatting with Alec Baldwin about football viewing figures in the USA.
Finally after a long wait, they found some tapes. We had to go into a little room and fast forward through them. It took ages, and the controllers eventually fell asleep looking. As much as I tryed to keep them awake, I eventually woke up.
I have no idea what this all means, but the question is, what would I have rather done last night - gone out on a drinking binge, or taken part in a huge football final against a team of sexy women, scoring the crucial equaliser, that needed help by NBC President Alec Baldwin to be verified.
As some people in the USA may say...Go figure!
I hate when people say that.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Is it an omen that the day I celebrate one month off the booze is the day the Olympics begin? Perhaps its a sign for what can be achieved with a focused mind, hard work and dedication. Dodgy substances such as booze are banned of coarse. Unless, that is, you want to hide the fact that you've taken another dodgy substance, in which case drowning yourself with whiskey is a good idea.
I'm writing this as the President of the International Olympic Committee is making his speech at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Instead of watching the Olympics opening ceremony I've spent the last couple of hours watching the various news channels coverage of the hostilities between Russia and Georgia. The whole situation sounds very scary. I'm not sure if its really as bad as its made out to be or is it just the news channels trying to divert viewers away from Olympic ceremony.
It's hard to make sense of the world and existence on a day like today.
I'm getting a bit creepy now. So I'll stop.
But here's a question that I pondered last night when out with a few friends - if your not drinking, are you expected to buy a round of drinks?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I'm finding myself wanting to stay up later and later in the evening time to watch movies or mind numbing TV. It's no doubt because I'm still drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
My girlfriend spotted I had drank a full 1.5L bottle of Fanta this evening. I didn't even notice it myself. It's really bad I have to say, and something I'll have to get a grip on.
Unfortunately the good alternative - Bionade, replied to my email seeking sponsorship saying:

Unfortunately we have to inform you that BIONADE doesn't support any sponsoring activities that include giving money.
Therefore it's not possible to sponsor your blog. We hope for your understanding and wish you all the best in the meantime!

Shucks is all I can say.

The movie we watched this evening was Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. It was interesting to see the scene where the Enterprise crew and the Klingon's share some Romulan Ale, which is like the Absinthe of the future.

Wikipedia: Romulan ale is a popular blue alcoholic beverage which was illegal because of a Federation trade embargo through the late 24th century. Despite this, it was often traded openly. During the alliance with the Federation because of the Dominion War, Romulan ale was legalized.

The recipe according to DrinkMixer.Com is:

375 ml Bacardi® 151 rum
375 ml Everclear® alcohol
375 ml Blue Curacao liqueur

Combine ingredients in a (just over) one-liter bottle. Chill in freezer for two hours. Serve in shot glasses.

Why I'm giving you tips on how to make illegal drinks of the future I have no idea. It does sound interesting though.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I just spent the last three hours at the Hamburger Dom, which is one of Europes biggest fairs. The Dom has rollercoasters, ghost trains, and a multitude of other spinny roundy things that make me sick to look at. It´s massive. The main rollercoaster has five huge loopdaloops making the Olympic logo which is very topical.
Added to all the attractions are hundreds of very appetising food stands. Not like back home in Dublin where all you get at such events are the standard burger and chips, the Doms food selection was like being in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
With the alcohol on the back burner, my sweet tooth is working over time right now, so it was impossible for me to turn away from the sugary magic I was surrounded by. I felt like Homer Simpson in Chocolate Land!
There were also beer stands a plenty, but despite that the place was spik and span (clean), and there were no spanners (drunk people) wrecking the joint. I don´t think alcohol is served at Funderland (Irelands pale imitation to Hamburgs Dom).
On my way home I noticed an Absinthe bar! I never had Absinthe in my life. I was alwayscled to believe it was an illegal drink only served in far off locations around Ireland.
Obviously that was all hogwashvand infact Absinthe is served in nice little glasses in bars near where I live. Perfect. I know I won´t be sampling the mind altering delights any time soon.
Still, another day off the booze.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was out again with Mr. Z from Ireland in a local bar. At one point he spilled his pint all over the table and on his jacket. It got me thinking how annoying the experience of spilling a drink is. I'd say its one of life's most frustrating simple accidents. It's right up there with spilling your dinner all over yourself.
It's hard to express in words what the actual feeling is when you spill a drink. Your stomach clenches up before quickly releasing giving you the desire to shout at the top of your lungs - F@*K!!!!!!
Whats even more annoying is when you are a bit tipsy, but trying hard not to appear tipsy and then a spillage occurs. You are instantly accused of being drunk.
"Are you drunk?"
If your trying to impress a women this is a painful situation to be in. You have to act fast and lie very cleverly.
When you look up 'drunk spilling beer' on YouTube, this video comes up at the top of the list...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

DAY 26 - MR. X AND MR. Z

Last night was tumultuous for all involved. Two Irish visitors to Hamburg who we shall call Mr.X and Mr. Z arrived in time for a birthday party that was scheduled. They are good bantered friendly chaps, but as they were on ´holiday´ they were required by Irish law to implement Overseas Operation Self Distruct(OOSD).

Before we went to the party I decided to take Mr. X and Mr. Z on a quick bar hop of Hamburg. I was knocking back Cokes, Fantas, and Bionades while X and Z were drinking double JD and Cokes. They onimously regaled me with stories of failed relationships.

When we got to the party at about 10.30 they were already in fine form.
The party was a fancy head dress. I made little effort, sticking on a pair of shades and imitating Bono. Peace and love or else!
I managed to get into the spirit of the occasion. Devoid of the gargle I had no option but to partake in healthy conversations with all the others, listening attentively to their responses, while secretly recounting my German vocabulary through self dialogue.

Come 3am I noticed Mr. X was upset with the world around him. He wanted a women, and a women was not forthcoming. To keep his mood up he continued to sail the high seas of liqueur.
The atmosphere had taken a dip for the first time in the evening and I knew that it was probably a wise time to hit the sack.
As for Mr. X and Mr. Z, I suggested they call it a night also, but that wasn´t a option for them. Operation Overseas Self Distruct was still on going.

I was awoken at 8AM this morning by the door bell.
Answering the door I found Mr. Z. He was looking in very bad shape and smelling fiercely.
´Where´s Mr. X?´ I said.
´Dunno man. I lost him. He´s in a bad way. I´ve wandered for the last two hours trying to find him. I don´t think we´ll see him again´, he replied worryingly.
´OK then.´ I said with a gulp.

Luckily Mr. X turned up a few hours ago very tired and emotional. Apparently after losing Mr. Z, he was kiddnapped by two Hamburg drug lords. With no hope and very drunk he was saved by a rambling Iranian beauty. He strolled the streets with this stunner and even shared a romantic Burger King breakfast with her. Alas when it came to saving her number in his phone, he pressed delete instead. This is all true.

Tears are being shed now.

There is no moral to this story.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


My god I was miserable yesterday. After a day of sitting in front of a computer the endless mind numbing string of emails had taken their tole. There has to be more to life?

I'll need to find new past times quickly, but again I found myself at the end of the day in a bar.

I had a Bionade, which I was reliably told is the hip cool drink of the moment.

Here's the low down. Bionade has a similar malty, tangy taste of beer but it is a health drink. Bionade is very low in sugar, but because gluconic acid shares a similar molecular structure to glucose, drinkers are fooled into tasting sweetness. And while soft drinks are often loaded with cheap, aggressive acids, Bionades is a product of natural micro-organisms at work. Bionade does have plenty of good stuff in it: calcium and magnesium, for instance. A litre of Bionade will supply half the daily requirements of these minerals. And so on and so forth...

It wasn't bad at all. Fruity with a bit of a kick. A nice alternative to my current threesome of Coke, Fanta and sparkling water.

So had an idea, why not get Bionade to sponsor this blog? Worth a shot. Here goes another email...

' Dear Mr. Bionade,

To introduce myself, I am a 25 year old award winning film maker, website creator and blogger from Ireland currently living in Germany.

I am very impressed with your product. I enjoyed my first bottle in a beach bar last night in Hamburg.

I've recently started a blog called A Year Off The Booze, where I tell the story of one non alcoholics quest to go a year without alcohol. This is easier said than done as you can imagine.

I'm at day 25, and up until now I've drank quite a lot of Coke, Fanta and other bad fizzy drinks.

I think Bionade would make a great replacement drink for those.

I wonder would Bionade consider sponsoring my blog? A Year Off The Booze in association with Bionade? Sounds good don't you think?

I hope to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,

The Boozeness'

Sent. It will never work.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I was sitting with my girlfriend outside on the beautiful Alster river yesterday. We were going to have a nice meal in the scorching heat.
My girlfriend was having a nice chilled beer, and I was having a Fanta orange.
Suddenly we were attacked by an evil looking bee. The bee had no fear as we tried to swipe it away. The more we swiped, the more it attacked us. My girlfriend told me that bees react to aggression so best not annoy it too much.
With that we decided to just let it be (no pun intended).
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the bee was making a slow assent on the outside of my Fanta bottle.
'He's not actually going to go inside it is he?' I said.
'Why would he do that, he would die a certain death.'
Just as the bee was about to dive in to the sweet sugary Fanta, he flew away and landed on the rim of my girlfriends beer glass.
Curious I thought.
The bee began to climb down the inner side of the glass on a mission for alcohol. My girlfriend swiped the bee away again and when the bee finally came to land on the table, she killed it stone dead with her bottle. Splat!
It was the single most evil thing I've seen my girlfriend do. Killed in the name of beer.
But that aside, I was curious, why did the bee prefer the beer to the sweet sugary Fanta? I'd imagine Fanta would assist better in the creation of honey?
Doing a quick Google search, I have learned that bees are in fact very similar to humans. Apparently alcohol affects bees and humans in similar ways - it impairs motor functioning along with learning and memory processing.
So basically the bee that my girlfriend callously murdered had just had a hard day in the hive and wanted to escape the pressures with a quick scoop. Fanta obviously wasn't the order of the day.
If for any reason you want to learn more about bees and alcohol, you can go here, here and here.
Also you would be surprised how many YouTube videos there are of drunk bees. Heres just one: