Sunday, March 30, 2008

Moving out

As mentioned in a previous entry, I moved out of home. Such a step is a leap forward in maturity and adult life.

I have learnt many things about living independently, which I wish to share with you:

  • There's no need to have dining chairs when you have two computer chairs and beanbags.
  • Saying "I'm moving out" is an invitation for people to dump their spare crockery onto you.
  • Not having gas connected due to bureaucractic idiocy is not just a simple matter of not having an oven. Taking cold showers for a week is not as fun as you might think.
  • Some people like watching TV at 2am, like our nextdoor neighbour.
  • Chicken thigh fillets may be cheap, but it tastes like bum. In conclusion, breast is best.
  • Crunchy Asian Noodle Salad from Woolworths is a cheap, tasty snack.
  • Crunchy Asian Noodle Salad isn't crunchy any more after it's been in the fridge for three days.
  • Bottle of Cold Power laundry detergent > Huntsman spider

Cold Power detergent bottle: 1. Huntsman spider: 0
  • When I'm angry, I clean.
  • The meaning of life: Sitting on our balcony on a beanbag while using this laptop and eating cake.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Australia commands you to be sober!

You may be noticing that the Federal Government is planning to crack down on liquor licensing laws, due to a "binge drinking crisis" and a spate of alcohol-fuelled violence.

This may involve a $20,000 increase of purchasing the license if the premises stays open after midnight, reducing the number of bars in Australia and cutting funding to sporting clubs if they don't address binge drinking. There will also be an increase of patronising ads which encourage responsible drinking (ie. Doing what my high school did - which was tell people to never ever drink, otherwise they'll die and go straight to hell).

I watched a report on 60 Minutes tonight about the victims of violence at pubs. They also did an experiment, where they got one of their reporters to order drinks while acting very drunk. He was still served alcohol.

While I am saddened that the lives of these men have been cut short due to this sort of violence, I think that putting most of the blame on pubs is taking a step in the wrong direction.

As of when I took my Responsible Service of Alcohol course last September, the law stands that you cannot serve alcohol to anybody who is:
- Underage
- Disorderly
- Intoxicated

The first two are fairly clear to me. The "intoxicated" part is a grey area. Of course people are going to be intoxicated at a pub. That's what they go there to do! The difficulty is trying to figure out when to cut somebody off to avoid a bad situation.

At my previous workplace, a girl who bought many shots off me during the night ended up in a fight and punched a few people. Yes, she was quite tipsy, but I otherwise thought she was quite harmless, so I kept serving her drinks. However, this was a very serious matter and I decided to discuss with one of my more experienced co-workers. The employee, the owner and the licensees can be fined a few thousand dollars for breaking this law.
"Am I going to get in trouble?" I asked, as the drunk girl slurred angrily to a manager in the next room.
"No," my co-worker said. "You had no way of knowing that would happen. We can do the best we can, but we can't babysit everybody."

For every idiot who gets into a punch up outside the pub, there's many other people who drink the same (or more) and do not harm others. The reporter in the 60 Minutes segment, for example, was acting "drunk" by high-fiving the bartender and rambling about getting double shots loudly. In my opinion, he was acting like a happy drunk, and they don't cause trouble. The drunks who are abusive, aggressive and look like they're about to fall asleep where they're standing are the ones you cut off because they're going to cause trouble. And of course you take action when people are starting to look visibly ill.

My point is that it isn't a pub or bar's fault if people can't handle their liquor properly and end up getting violent. That duty of care can only go as far as the best of their abilities.

If any preventative action should be taken, bars and pubs should have well-trained security guards who can keep the violence under control.

It's also impossible to stop people from getting drunk altogether. I find the "Just Say No!" ads completely irrelevant. It's not a far cry from those dodgy videos we watched at school, where underage adolescents are confronted with the horrors of peer pressure. Nobody pays attention to things like that. We're basically being told that staying near to sober is the only way to stay safe, because getting drunk means that we'll end up in a fight and vomiting on some random guy you just slept with (remember those old ads from the mid nineties?). It's an insult to the intelligence of people who know how to do it properly.

If you want to drink enough to do such things like laugh loudly, dance like an idiot and actually get the courage to sing "I Touch Myself" at karaoke, then do it right. Drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and eat food during the night. When you start feeling bloated, your head hurts and you feel your brain beginning to lose grasp of what is happening around you, that's your body's way of saying "Put down the vodka for five seconds, okay?" Binge drinking is stupid anyway. Drinking is about having fun, not making yourself so sick that you wake up in a pile of your own vomit the next morning. I don't know why anyone would actually find that enjoyable.

The Federal Government needs to wake up and realise that what my co-worker said was right. It's up to the individual to wise up and take care of themselves.

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