Monday, 6 April 2009

Calculations to help you get the most out of your drinking.

So I currently live alone in a city where I know very few people at all, and even fewer who like to go out for a drink (I know, they're weird). So when I do go out at night, it's almost always on my own. This time is often spent talking to strangers in bars or something (it's a variation of the "single serving friends" idea that comes from Fight Club), but the actual leaving of my home with the intent of finding a house of beverages to spend the evening therein, as well as all planning towards this end, is undertaken by myself and myself only. This has subsequently lead to my realising of the immense calculations that are often required before embarking upon such a venture.

The problem, as always, is the cost of a night of thoughtless inebriation. Obviously here I could be talking about a number aspects of cost - socially, mentally, physically, retardedly - but today I mean it in a strictly financial way. Booze costs bucks (side note - are Hong Kong dollars also allowed to be referred to as "bucks"? Am I now qualified to use this term? Someone please tell me). Go to any decent bar in Hong Kong and a pint will usually cost around the equivalent of a fiver (curse you falling exchange rate!). So of course, here more than anywhere, it is much more financially settling to get suitably drunk at home before venturing to your local pit of darkness and dredgery. Herein lies the first problem - planning must be done in advance to ensure suitable fluids can be found within your home. No-one likes to have to go through the ordeal of putting pants on just to go on a beer run, only to return home for the half an hour it takes to get through a six-pack before repeating the process so that the actual venturing out for the commencement of the evenings activities can begin - it's just too much effort. So such treats must be procured in advance which of course means that the engagement of the act of planning must be performed some time in advance. The reason I need to complain about this minor irritance is that it takes away the one benefit I have of not having anyone to go out with in the first place. When you're making all the decisions by yourself, the advantage is that you don't have to plan anything ever. You are free to be as spontaneous as you want and being able to just sit up at the end of the second episode of friends on a Wednesday evening and decide to go on a pub crawl without having to send out a hundred texts to people and determine whether they're free/want to go/still like you after the events of Tuesday's pub crawl and then decide a time and a place to meet and all that other rubbish is just very nice sometimes. Having to then realise that you have nothing in the house and your options are to venture down to the shops and buy booze or be willing to spend vast amounts of money on enough drinks to make it all worthwhile kills this somewhat. Unless you are already prepared, then the logistics of such an impromptu idea will kill it somewhat - and being prepared for such a thing means it is no longer impromptu. This is the paradox of spontaneity.

However, these are very minor complaints that obviously never really stand in the way for very long, but they serve as a suitable introduction to my main observation.

Imagine the scenario: It's Wednesday night. Friends has just finished. You decide you want to go out to various bars to watch bands and laugh at old men chatting up hookers. You have a suitable amount of alcoholic substances in your fridge/cupboard. The settings are perfect. You can begin drinking while at home, before venturing out in to the Hong Kong night, safe in the knowledge that you now can not possibly ingest enough alcohol to use up the last of your money.

How much can you drink before you don't want to go out any more?

Yes, this is what I've been building up to. How many drinks does it take before leaving your home to find somewhere else where other drinks can be bought in the company of other people and sometimes bands seems like a bad idea? I've been studying this extensively for some time, and I can confirm that there will always be that point where the option of staying in and drinking alone outweighs the option of not doing. The advantages of the first (comfortable surroundings, your own decision of music/TV programmes/whatever, lack of annoying people, not having to wear pants) will always suddenly seem greater than the advantages of the second (social environment, greater range of drinks, better entertainment, possibilities of ending up in a situation with a previously unknown attractive girl in which you are both not wearing pants*). So you are always faced with the challenge of "how much can I drink to maximise the financial gain brought by drinking what I have at home, while still keeping the desire to go out strong?".

Clearly there is no definitive answer to this. It would be simple if it was just a case of "4 beers and a whisky and you're fine to go", but nothing can ever be that easy. Such things are always subject to a number of variables: what's happened during the day, how long it's been since your last drink, whether or not American Idol's on TV etc. Fortunately due to my dedication to the developing knowledge of the intricacies of drinking I have been working on a mathematical formula for the calculation of this sort of thing.

I hereby formally introduce A formula to represent Nick's theorem of pre-going out drinkability.

X = A - ((T + G + I) / (P/100)) 2

In which X = Total amount of alcohol that can be consumed without causing lack of desire to go out.
A = Amount of alcoholic beverages found within the place of residence.
T = Tiredness of the person and/or creature in question.
G = Goodness of things within the place of residence (ie. TV schedule, Playstation games, really nice crisps etc.).
I = Time since last night out.
P = Proximity of suitable bars to the place of residence.

Here's an example of the simple "PIGTAX" formula at work:

Let us assume that the person in question has had a long day at work and has run somewhere for some reason. On the tiredness scale of 1-14 they are at around 9. They do not own a Playstation, and this evening there is an American Idol marathon on TV. However they do have some very nice crisps. This puts their goodness of things level at around a 4 out of 20 (and that's with some really nice crisps). They were out the day before, giving them an I of 1. There is a bar a mere 5 minutes down the road. The average person can cover around 600 paces in 5 minutes (according to data researched from the university of bullshit statistics) so this is our P.

X = A - ((9 + 4 + 1) / 6)2

X = A - 5.44 (2d.p.)

This demonstrates that the person is capable of drinking 5.44 "nicks" of alcohol. To calculate "nicks" you must know that 1 beer = half a nick, 1 whisky = 0.68 nicks, and 1 Stroh = 1 nick. All other drinks fall somewhere in the middle of this - it's really very simple to calculate.

However, our calculation is not finished. This person only has 6 beers and 3 shots worth of whisky in their home. This gives them an A of 5.04 nicks.

X = 5.04 - 5.44 = -0.4 nicks

From this calculation we can clearly see that the person in question can drink every drop of alcohol within their home without fear of reaching the point in which they no longer want more. If that person wishes to maximise their savings however, they're going to need that extra 2 fifths of a Stroh shot.
Here's a second example. This person has slept in until 3 in the afternoon and spent their time since then lying around eating pop tarts - they have a T of 1. Again, there is nothing on TV that evening, but they do have a Playstation and many games, as well as crisps and more pop tarts - their G is at 11. They live around 9 minutes from the nearest pub - their P is 1080. Their last night out was 4 days ago, giving them an I of 4. In their house they have 2 beers and the equivalent of 2 shots of whisky - an A of 2.36 nicks.

X = A - ((T + G + I) / (P/100)) 2
X = 2.36 - ((1 + 11 + 4) / (1080 / 100))2
X = 2.36 - (16 / 10.8)2
X = 2.36 - 1.48148148148...2
X = 2.36 - 2.19
X = 0.17 nicks (2d.p)

This person must be careful not to finish one of those drinks, otherwise they may find themselves stranded in their home with no alcohol and no desire to go and get some.

I hope this formula will prove useful to all those who find themselves in this sort of situation. And remember: drink responsibly - or you'll never make it to the pub for more.

*This is obviously always a preferable scenario, but rarely guaranteed without a severe lowering of your standards. Again - it's the logistics of getting to this point that will progressively get less appealing.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


I was going to start writing the third chapter of the (still untitled) story today, but was sidetracked by this:

I've spent far too long on that today, laughing at the overwhelming stupidity of the internet and feeling smug.

When I eventually tire of this (possibly never) I will commence work on the next chapter. Probably.