Posts Tagged ‘friends’

flogging a dead sarah jessica parker

Having given up drinking for little over two years, one thing that has certainly increased is my “friend stock”. This is a kind of valuation of your net worth to your friendship circle. Like the guy who always invites hot girls to the party or the guy who manages to get free tickets to parties and events. My “friend stock” has been at an all time high not only because of my role as witty raconteur and provider of facts miscellaneous, but now probably most tangibly as the designated driver.

No more so was my VIP status in the group endorsed than at the national Cheese and Wine festival held in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape were guests are met with as much free wine samples as they can stand (provided they can muster up the patience to pretend they are actually interested in the wine and not just on its intoxicating effect). There is also as much free cheese as you can carry provided you are able to lift it with a tooth pick.

Regardless after the festivities of cheese and fermented grape the grand exodus out of Stellenbosch occurs as it approaches 5pm and as would any savvy policeman would do there were plenty of roadblocks eager to punish those who had feasted all too heartily.

Being the designated driver and recalling my last drink to be approximately 2 years prior (a few slices of tiramisu at Christmas not withstanding) I felt I would get through any roadblocks without too much hassle.

I was of course correct, but I did notice an inordinate amount of people (I did stop counting after 3 to be honest though) were waiting to have blood tests/breathalysers etc. This was holding up several lanes of traffic and causing numerous delays.

The point, I guess, which unfortunately has taken over 300 words to get to, is that surely there are quicker ways of assessing someone’s sobriety. I’m not even talking about the obvious signs, like slurred speech, smelling of alcohol or vomiting on the dashboard as they are pulled over. I’m talking about quick tests policemen and women can conduct to save a lot of time and prevent delays to other drivers who may be hurrying to the next pub to avoid losing their “buzz”.

For one could the police officer not simply hold out any sort of rope or pole and simply say to the driver “I bet you can’t jump over this”. The ability to jump over the rope/pole is not even that important the fact that a drunken person would attempt to jump without any further coercion would prove their intoxication.

Similarly the officer could hold out a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker and ask “do you think she’s hot?” No sober man alive would answer in the affirmative. Quick drunk test completed.

Another quick drunk test would be to ask them to sing the lyrics to the Macarena (including dance moves) – a feat that is entirely impossible while sober.

Can you think of any other ways to speed up sobriety tests?

Doesn't look too bouncy to me

What a terribly misleading name: “Bouncer”. It brings images of a rotund and jolly individual known for his boisterous laughter as much as his philanthropy. Instead in my experience most bouncers are steroid fuelled shaved head rage-aholics who can’t go five minutes without a glass of rage-ahol and would sooner stab you in the face with bottle than smile.

There they are; the first person you have to interact with on your magical evening if you don’t count all the freaks in the line. Squeezed into a suit and looking like a shaved gorilla they slowly assess everyone’s suitability for the fine establishment – meaning guys, you better all be wearing a collared shirt and leather shoes or you won’t be classy enough for the place which smells of sweat, vomit and broken dreams and looks like it was decorated by a gay robot (one which was programmed by a 70’s mafia boss with a penchant for animal print).

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing expensive sneakers or an exclusive designer T-shirt, if you’re not dressed in the douche bag uniform you’re not getting in (this point has be well noted in my “secret ways to not have to go the nightclub” guide to be published soon). I even saw someone try argue with the bouncer saying he’s Vegan and doesn’t believe in killing animals for leather to which the bouncer elegantly retorted: “I don’t care what your f**king name is Kegan, you can’t come in if your shoes aren’t leather” and then something along the lines of “Are you looking at me or are you chewing bricks, cos either way you’re losing teeth?”

Wow the lines these guys use. There are some absolute literary pearls out there and I do suggest you try hear as many as possible hopefully not directed at you as it can often be the last thing one hears. Personally one of my favourites must be “The call me the VET, cos I’m looking after some sick puppies” (at which point they will kiss their biceps referring to them as puppies).

Where do they get these beef busses from? Are they genetically bred for the single purpose of making the night club experience less enjoyable (as if that were possible)? After getting past the “clipboard bouncer” who looks like he could snap my spine with the 5 mm of plywood clipboard and then the ever so surly cashier/stamp troll, I then have to get patted down by another frisky shaven gorilla before showing them my stamp.

Why am I showing you my stamp? You are standing less than a metre from the stampy cashier troll lady. You saw me pay! You saw me get stamped! What did you think somehow an alternate reality version of me switched places with me between payment, stamping and the 1 and half seconds it takes me to get to you? Oh! That is the reason? Okay then, suppose you can never be too careful.

At least at that stage you are in the club. Yay! (Sarcasm font required) and the adventure can begin and that is the last you will see of the bouncer unless he decides to kick your ass for breathing funny because he sure as hell doesn’t get involved in stopping any fights that may break out (usually because they’re the ones that started it in the first place).

One freak down many to go… next up: The Bartender.

With so much status abuse happening on facebook you’d think someone would step in and do something about it. Next one between my crosshairs…

5) Passive Aggressive Prima Donna

Perhaps the worst of these status abusers is the passive aggressive statement to the world at large. Something like “Don’t you love it when people make you feel good about your weight”, supersaturated with sarcasm to the point that it is literally dripping out the pores. Not that I should complain about sarcasm. Heck, I’ve reached a level of sarcasm beyond mortal comprehension. I call it supersasm and its so highly developed that sometimes even I don’t know if I’m being sarcastic – it really is a gift. But enough about me and my impeccable narcissism, we’re talking about prima donnas and their statements to the world at large, except everyone knows that its directed at someone in particular and more importantly that person is normally a facebook friend who probably should be deleted, but you keep so you can check if they’re saying anything mean about you.

Here’s my favourite response to statements like these, especially if they have been indirectly focussed on me… I click “like”. Passive-aggressive is as passive-aggressive does (whatever the hell that means).

6) Lovely Dovey

This may be the challenger for the absolute worst form of status abuse. The update that is saccharin and honey coated that it could induce a sugar coma (if it weren’t for the fact that your body’s natural defence mechanisms will cause you to throw up). I’m scared to even paraphrase let alone quote verbatim one such update but here it goes (have some insulin ready).

“Hey sweetie pie lovie bunch shnookles…” okay okay I give up! I couldn’t finish it, was starting to black out. The fact is we get it you’re madly in love and want your significant other to know, but really do you need to message them on their wall or in your status for all the world to witness? No, no you don’t. Keep it to yourself and save the world from adult onset diabetes.

For the above reasons and more I have decided to switch to twitter. Before you get all wise and wonder why I hate facebook status updates when twitter is essentially just status updates, hear me out. The difference is… I don’t have to listen to you just because you listen to me. It’s not a two way street. On facebook, I have to hear your rampant status abuse as much as you have to listen to mine because we’re “friends” and that’s what “friends” do. While on twitter all I have to do is unfollow and we can pretend to be “friends” in the real world.

Rant over… for now.

After last week’s rant about the aberrant abuse of status updates on facebook I’m back with more and hopefully I can get through this without choking on my own rage.

3) Cheer up Emo kid
These status updates kill me. When someone posts an updates like “what is the point of living?” or something like that, what are you supposed to do? I’m not trying to be insensitive here if this is a call out for help. But what the heck is the point of a statement like that except to attention seeking, which is why immediately after a million women will comment with “cheer up friendly” or “keep smiling, you’re beautiful”.

I have no problem with providing support and friendship to those who are in need, but being manipulated into it by some emo kid who’s “life is over” at 14 because her boyfriend got grounded and will miss their 3 month anniversary of the time they held hands, is a bit much. Also facebook really missed the boat here only providing a “like” button, because there’s something a little insensitive about responding to “I wish I could end it all” with “Gareth likes this”

4) Unoriginal Comic Genius
You know what the most difficult part about being an original comedian? The “original” part. Anyone can tell someone else’s jokes (and ruin it just as easily), but it takes a lot of hard work and real comedic talent to come up with a truly funny and original one liner. Unfortunately facebook is full of thieves with the mindset of “look how funny I am when I Google one liners”.

They then paste these lines into their status updates without any reference to the originator or even the courtesy of quotation marks or the liability “get out of jail free card” of writing “anon” afterwards. What irks me even more so is after all their friends “like” the comment or respond with “that’s so funny”, “lol” or “you’re really funny please have sex with me”, there is still not even an ounce of guilt in their thieving little minds. Worst of all if you ever confront them about stealing someone else’s material the response is either “I didn’t know” (what you didn’t know you didn’t write it? Like you couldn’t remember if you came up with this line or if you typed “funny one liners” into Google and copy pasted the result?) or “It’s just a joke, get a sense of humour”.

“Get a sense of humour?!?!” that’s the point. I have one that’s why I have the sense not to steal other comedians work. *deep breath* *count to ten*. I hope you invent something incredible like the self cleaning toilet one day and it gets stolen before you patent it and you cry about it for the rest of your life, alone in some bar, unemployed because you can’t even get a job cleaning toilets because someone already invented a toilet that cleans itself.

There are still a few more status abusers that need to be mentioned, but we’ll do that next week.

Communication is important. Everyone will tell you that from cheesy corporate orientation videos and relationship counsellors to the unemployed mime begging at the street light. Perhaps no market has developed faster in fact than that of communications from smoke signals; to the postal industry; telephones; the internet; cell phones and of course the new kid on the block: social networking sites.

Social networking sites are huge and in fact are the only thing on the internet that people spend more time on than porn. But these social networking sites go in and out of fashion and while one day a site can have millions of members the next it looks like an abandoned amusement park (eg Myspace).

In the end they all try to be like facebook, the most successful of all these sites, but I have to admit I loathe facebook and not for the reasons most people do. I don’t really mind that you send me Farmville requests or that you tag me in photos I’m not in. I ignore you inviting me to events that I have no interest in attending partly because I’m not that into your thrash metal band “Demon Doctor” but mainly because your event isn’t in the same city as me (as “tempting” as a cross-country road trip sounds). None of this concerns me, nor does the poking or friend requests from people I don’t know (or worse that I purposefully ignore).

What does get to me and why I can’t stand facebook is unfortunately its most basic function. I hate (and yes I know its “hate” is a strong word)… status updates.

Maybe I’m coming on a little strong here and people just don’t understand what status updates are for or more importantly what they are not for. Status updates are intended to let people know something interesting – the subject matter may vary, but they should always be interesting. I have managed to separate the different forms of “status abuse” into a few key demographics.

1) Captain Pointless (or mundane)
These updates normally follow with remarks like “and then…” or yawns of boredom all concerns as to which is scarier that someone’s life is that boring or that they took the time to tell everyone about it. Here I’m talking about updates such as “Wow what a delicious sandwich” or “Taking Sam to a movie”. This is facebook’s opportunity to add to the inadequate “like” button and finally add a “yawn” or “meh” button. These statuses are the kind that handbrake conversations at a dinner party where a group will be discussing the latest works by their favourite actors or directors for someone to interrupt with the line “I also like movies”.

2) Trolls…
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the internet slang “troll” it is not a mythical beast bound to caves and billy-goat-trafficked bridges. A troll is someone who makes a comment for the sole purposes of antagonising others and provoking an emotional response. They get some sick sense of accomplishment by posting remarks that cause other people to fight with each other and will often not post a single other response, but sit back and watch other people tear into each other. Comments such as the “PS3 is way better than the X-Box 360” or “Man United are posers” are the types of comments that are designed for no purpose other than bait for the “fan-boy” debates.
Don’t worry there’s more… next week.

Thailand is certainly a country that is geared towards tourists and generally speaking very accommodating towards the needs of tourists, which is certainly testament to the amount of Pizza and Burger joints you’ll find in some of the more touristy areas. The fact that you don’t need a visa to enter the country, and as I mentioned earlier the exchange rate definitely plays in one’s favour and at about 4.5 baht to 1 rand, you have to stop yourself from getting irate when a restaurant charges 5 baht more for a beer than the next place depending on how undeniably frugal you are of course.

Strangely enough despite how courteous and friendly the local population is towards tourists there seems to be a very distinct attempt by Westerns who have spent or are spending extended amounts of time in Thailand to take on a very specific look, as if to avoid being considered a “farang” or “outsider”. It’s a look that is difficult to describe, not because the vocabulary eludes me, but because I don’t really want to be describing what is no more than a particular niche of “hippy”. You’ll know the look as soon as you see it. (think Captain Jack Sparrow meets Jack Johnson meets Hobo University graduate)

In terms of the nationalities of most tourists it really does run the full catalogue from Europeans, to Americans, Australians, Africans and even an Asian or two. It really is just a melting pot of different travellers all soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of Thailand.

One thing did strike us as peculiar, and as we spoke to other tourists they appeared to have noticed it too though no one could provide too much clarity on the details. This peculiarity was the amount of single white men who had Asian partners. When I say “partner” I’m not disguising it under the veil of the sex trade or anything, but legitimate partners that they would go to shops with, visit museums and temples (called “Wots”) and have dinner with. These Asian “ladies” (sorry had to use quotation marks as you never can be 100% certain in Thailand), seemed to provide the service of a travel buddy and without being sleazy seemed to be fairly intimate with their Western companions, holding hands in public.

We did a bit of research and it turns out that these “ladies” (sorry again) are paid escorts that travel agencies hire out to tourists as companions. They help with translations, directions and provide companionship in exchange for accommodation, meals and small gifts as well as at the end of the journey, they are paid an agreed upon rate. I was also told that depending on the agency (and sorry guys I don’t have any numbers) sex can also be arranged with your travel buddy (obviously for an agreed fee and proof of a clean bill of health).

It became quite a game trying to spot these couples which we soon began referring to as “Sweet and Sour Combos”. It’s like the game “ranga puch” (a subject for another blog) but with a Thai twist. We did however feel quite embarrassed at times when we had pre-assessed a situation as being a combo deal only to find out we had an Asian and Caucasian American couple.

In theory the idea is great, go on holiday as a single male (or dishonest married male) and meet up with a lovely young Thai “Lady” (last time I promise) and enjoy a holiday with benefits. Although on certain occasions we were fascinated to see a couple at a restaurant sitting in absolute silence over dinner as neither had a single thing in common. Nothing quite like an awkward date, in a foreign country, with someone who’s company you’re paying for in the first place (awesome).

Our research, from very credible sources I might add, mentioned that while you would be partnered with a travel buddy based loosely on age, you also “got what you paid for” and by that I mean (very romantically of course) that not all “ladies” (ok that was the last time) are the same. So if you are interested in going on a Thai holiday with a hired travel buddy, make sure you are willing to spend some money or you might not get everything you expected; or worse you could get more than you expected.

This my best friend…um… wutsisname

I’m really bad with names, I always have been. Maybe that’s why my parents didn’t give me any middle names in case I forgot them. Look, I’m not as bad as my one friend um… Paul? Peter? Um it’s something with a “P”, I’m sure. I’ve tried many different techniques for remembering people’s names from the “using it as you greet them” technique (Hi Paul, pleased to meet you), to the linking them to a physical trait (It’s Paul with the huge nose). I’ve even tried the “tag and release” technique I saw on the Discovery channel, but none seem to work (in fact the last one usually gets me into a bit of trouble).

Has it ever happened to you that you really hit it off with someone you’ve just met, like at a club, and now it’s the time to exchange numbers and you have no clue what their name is? (My phone is filled with names like “blonde girl from varsity” and “brunette from coffee place”). So trying to be smooth I’ll ask something like “So, how do you spell your name?” and it’s always something simple like Jo or Beth.

Or when you walk into a room full of people and have to introduce someone and you forgot their name. “Hi everyone, this is…” at which point you are hoping they introduce themselves.

Sometimes the problem is not actually the remembering, but that you’ve known them for so long it would be too awkward to ask their name. I remember this one girl (whose name escapes me at the moment) who I used to go to ballroom dancing with. You may think that ballroom dancing is kind of nerdy, but when you went to an all-boys school, like I did, you did whatever you could to interact with girls, plus the ratios were awesome (ok talking about “ratios” is pretty nerdy).

Anyway, there was this girl who I would dance with most weeks and we really hit it off and were quite friendly and often spoke about other things besides the usual awkward teenage pleasantries and small talk. This continued for about 3 years and yet I never knew her name. I would always use the classic “hey you” (which is probably the most obvious clue that you don’t know someone’s name, but I thought it was pretty “ninja” back then).

It would get so awkward trying to hear other people call her, but I never managed to hear her name and I’m pretty sure after 3 years you can’t simply pop in the question: “By the way, what is your name?” I even remember I received an invitation to her 18th birthday party (back in the day when you actually received written invitations). “You are cordially invited to my birthday party” Damnit! Why can’t people address invites in the third person anymore!

So I went to her party with a gift that had no tag on it, except “from Gareth” (so “ninja”) except when I got there the mother, who knew I played guitar, asked if I could sing happy birthday to her daughter. It all went fine till the third line of the song when I panicked and smashed the guitar on the table and screamed “ROCK ‘n ROLL BABY!” (“ninja”, I know!) I was a shiny golden god that day.

But worst of all is if you end up sleeping with someone and you can’t remember their name. I usually end up searching their clothes for name tags as they’re lying on the floor (the clothes, not the girls), at which point they normally wake up and ask “Gareth, what are you doing?”

“Ssssh go back to bed Calvin Klein!”

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