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Tuesday, December 7

Dick Cheese

I'm slightly worried about the Googles I'm going to get for that title, but so be it. All will be explained shortly.

This is the tale of a cocktail party last Thursday, but I will need to take the story back a week in order to tell it fully. This is not a tangent, I promise. Although it may become one.

The thing is, you see, that a large group of my friends and myself quite often go to the pub quizzes at the two Irish pubs here in Heidelberg. We usually do quite well between us, although we are aided by the fact that our team usually consists of around 10 people, as opposed to the 5 or 6 in the other teams. We can usually manage to get a top 3 placing, and fairly often win the whole thing.

The Thursday before last, we came second at The Dubliner, after a tie-break playoff for first place which I contrived to lose. How was I suppose to know that the jawbone is the hardest in the human body? I have a lot of random pub-quiz trivia in my head, but that isn't part of it. Until now, obviously. Anyway, second prize there was 25euro, which we decided to hang on to for future use. Normally, we divide it between whoever is there, but for some reason that night we didn't.

The following Monday the gang trooped along to O'Reilly's for the (better) quiz there. I was a little late, as per fucking usual, but managed to join in. Our team consisted of 9 people (I think), and we absolutely fucking caned everybody else. Our score was 25 out of 29, whereas our nearest rival scored a mere (repeat, mere) 18. We ruled.

I got a couple of humdingers right, including deducing that French Guiana was the only country on the American continent where the Euro is legal tender, and one other one which escapes me right now. I'm very proud of my knowledge, as useless as it is in the everyday world, and I get mocked for it a bit by my friends. I'm an arrogant cunt at the best of times, but during pub quizzes I am absolutely shameless when I know something. It's not that I am arrogant per se, just that I like to demonstrate my knowledge of various subjects.

Although I'll be damned if I can spot the difference now I've written it out like that. Meh.

We won, but instead of the usual pot of money that is collected during the night (usually 50ish euro), we were called up to the front and gradually whittled down to two people, playing off for a special prize. I was eliminated very early on (knowing Brad Pitt's age is also one of the areas where my knowledge lets me down. I need to read more OK and Heat magazines), and it ended up with Janice winning a big mirror.

A fucking horrible mirror, it has to be said. Apparently the pub had had it for ages, and had even auctioned it off for charity a couple of times, only for it to be handed back by the winner. Janice sure as hell didn't want it, what with the logo of the local Heidelberg brewery at the top of it, but thankfully there was a guy nearby who was happy to take it off of her hands for the price of 50euro. Top man.

I assumed we were going to split it again, 5euro each, but I was feeling really hot and so went outside to wait for them all whilst they changed the 50euro note at the bar.

Imagine my surprise when they all came out and informed me that instead of splitting the money, we were going to have an impromptu cocktail party that Thursday evening. This wasn't going to be one of our standard go-round-Jillian's-and-drink-until-we-pass-out shindigs: this was going to be a classy (OK, relatively classy) affair, with the girls in cocktail dresses and the guys in shirts and ties with sports jackets.

It wasn't going to be a serious party, more of a spoof thing and an excuse to get a bit dressed up. It was all inspired (as was the title of this very post) by the music round during Thursday's quiz. The quizmaster, Johnny Mac, played a number of tunes by an artist called Richard Cheese, who specialises in doing, erm, cheesy lounge style covers of modern tracks.

At the quiz, we were played such wonderous cuts as Cypress Hill's 'Insane In The Brain', as well as a few other tunes that once more slip my mind. I wasn't even drinking. They are truly hilarious, and I recommend everyone to hunt down some tracks online go buy his album immediately. His version of 'Gin & Juice' is particularly inspired.

With his spoof lounge music still in our minds, it was no wonder we came up with the idea of a spoof cocktail party. We now had 75euro to spend on drink and food, which goes a long, long way in the cheap supermarkets we use to feed our habits. As it turned out, we had another 15euro in Pfanden (deposits paid on bottles, repaid on their empty return to the supermarket) from the Halloween party which we hadn't yet used, which made a grand total of 90euro. Hurrah!

One of the Jamies set about finding as much Richard Cheese as he could, so that we would have some suitable music for our drinking. Everyone else busied themselves with finding something suitable to wear. By which I mean the girls each spent two days looking for a cocktail dress, whereas the guys decided at 7.30 on Thursday evening which tie / shirt combination they were going to wear with the one pair of good trousers they had. We're a lazy lot, us menfolk.

Myself and English Jamie got round to Jillian's shortly after 8, and I promptly got on with the important business of drinking. There was a really random (yes, that word.) selection of drinks floating about, mostly because the girls had decided that they wanted to drink Martinis all night.

As it transpired, none of them had actually tried a martini before, and had no idea what was in it. We thus had a hell of a lot of gin and vermouth (what we British refer to as the brand Martini itself) waiting to be drank when the girls took one sip of each of their martinis and decided that they weren't going to be having any more of that.

I started off on the Martini d'Oro and Cokes, before shifting onto the Cinzano and lemonades a little later. You've got to drink long drinks at a cocktail party, no matter how much you're craving a beer. I even got roped into doing a bit of fancy bartending during the evening, all as a result of doing a vodka shot or three.

Jillian wanted me to try what she called a Vodka Drop Shot, for which we needed some slices of lemons. I took it upon myself to slice up the lemons, since I'm quick at doing it and can make them look pretty. Hey, you don't work behind a bar for 18 months without picking up some skills...

After we'd done the Drop Shots (exactly like a Tequila Slammer, except with vodka instead of tequila, sugar instead of salt, and sucking the lemon after doing the shot. So not like a Tequila Slammer at all, come to think of it), I set about making myself a Cinzana and lemonade, but decided to fancy-up (a new verb I've just invented) the drink a little. I forgot about doing it until after I'd poured the drink, which meant that my sugar round the rim looked fucking terrible, but it was still half-decent.

Oh, and there's a picture of me doing a Drop Shot here. Fucking hilarious.

Jillian saw it, and wanted one. Most of the girls were drinking out of stemmed glasses (two of which are now here on my desk, not quite sure why), which meant that any drink would look great if it was fancied up a bit. I did the old trick of putting lemon juice around the rim and then dipping it in sugar, which is quick, easy, and looks great. Topped off with a slice of lemon and a Marachino cheery, you have a great-looking drink for very little effort. Well, apart from trying to pick a cherry out of the jar with a cocktail stick whilst a little inebriated. That's difficult.

Unfortunately, as soon as the other girls saw Jillian's drink, they all wanted one. I think I ended up making 5 of the bastards before I could start drinking mine! Not to worry, it's cool to have little skills like that with which you can show off at a party. And to think about all of the bitching I did this summer concerning my job...

Considering the Drop Shots I drank, and the number of other drinks, I was surprisingly sober. And in comparison to a good few of the girls, I was so very sober. I remember there being peanut fights at one stage, with everyone trying to land them in each other's cleavages, and the hosts desperately trying to call a halt to proceedings, having already laid one eye on the next day's clean-up.

God knows what else happened, but I know that I ended up sat on the sofa between Janice and Ali late on in the night. Ali was on her way, and Janice was quite, quite drunk.

Let's just take a pause here for a moment. Janice reads this blog, and is one of the few of my friends that actually mentions it to me from time to time. So how do I tell the tale of her drunkenness without offending her? Oh bugger it, she knows what happened, and isn't too embarrassed at it. Embarrassed at throwing up when she got home, according to Becks, but otherwise cool.

I also have to fill in a little bit of background on Janice here, in order to set the scene properly. Janice is absolutely stunning. She's from California, and used to be a cheerleader in school. You can fill in the details yourself, but suffice it to say that she is a very good-looking girl. Who has a boyfriend, duh.

I'm giggling to myself as I type this out, because I'm remembering what happened and how amusing it was at the time. Hopefully I can convey that in my meandering prose.

As I said, I was sat between them on the sofa, and had only gone over to sit with them because they bloody well wouldn't stop calling me over to sit. It was so far away from all of the drinking! Meh, how could I refuse two lovely ladies.

They were both talking vomit (to coin a Laura-phrase), about anything and everything, and I was compared by both of them at various times to a big sister and a little brother. I'm not exactly sure how or why, but I think the reasoning was that I'm just non-threatening.


Janice was demonstrating how non-threatened she felt by draping her leg across both of mine, showing just how short the dress was. It was funny more than anything, because at the same time she was just about falling off of the sofa, so far turned round to face me and near the edge was she. I seem to remember her actually falling off at some point, come to think of it. She may need to confirm this one.

There were photos too, as there always are in moments like this. I haven't seen any yet, but I really, really want to. This is because the photos were set up to make me look like a real don. Janice was licking my face on one side, with her leg draped across me, and Ali had her hand inside my shirt whilst licking the other side of my face.

Excuse me while I stop for a second to laugh once more at the sheer lunacy of it all. I really want to get a copy of those photos! It was all staged, but I reckon I must have had the biggest smile on my face. Either that or some stupid "Yeah, I know..." expression.

Between Janice's unforeseen trips to the floor, I was informed that of all of the guys in Heidelberg, I was the one she thought was "kinda cute". I can take compliments like that, all night long. Yes, she was drunk, but don't ruin the ego moment.

The conversation swiftly turned to sex (not by my hand, I swear [that sounds rude in context]), and one stand-out memory is Janice exclaiming far too loudly when I said that I'd only had sex once. I guess that'll be common knowledge amongst everyone in the room now, no worries. It was kind of satisfying to see genuine shock on her face, as it means I must be doing something right, in that she expected something much different.

Does this mean I'm coming across as a cocky guy in Heidelberg? I hope not, because that's not me. I'm confident, yes, but not around women. I guess I just feel comfortable around my friends here, and will quite openly flirt a hell of a lot with them, with the knowledge that it's not going to go anywhere. I was (and still am) the same with all of my female friends from back home in Melksham. We'd been friends for so long that everyone knew nothing could ever happen, which led to lots of flirting and all manner of in-jokes on that level.

She was taken home by Becks shortly after, but I got pinned on the sofa once more, this time by Jillian. She was also drunk, no matter how many times she tried to claim otherwise during the evening. I can't remember what it was we were talking about, but I was feeling incredibly tired all of a sudden. I was quite literally struggling to keep my eyes open, so I made the decision to go home.

It was only around 2am, and I've no idea why I felt quite so tired, but it hit me all of a sudden. The problem was getting off of the sofa. Jillian was adamant that I should stay, and was not going to take no for an answer. She would not let me off the sofa, no matter how much I protested, and was physically holding me back. I pretty much had to wrestle my way off of the sofa, by which time practically everyone was watching. Not good.

As I was leaving, most of the other girls who lived elsewhere decided to leave too. Two of them hopped in a taxi, and I walked the other two home, even though they live in completely the opposite direction to me. Actually, I've suddenly realised why I have two cocktail glasses in my room: they gave me them to carry, and I put them in the inside pockets of my jacket. I guess I must have forgotten to give them back when I left them at their places. Shit.

They live in the same complex as Bar Drei, so I popped my head in to see if anyone was about, but unfortunately (or thankfully, regarding Mr Hangover) nobody that I knew was in there. I ambled home and crashed into bed.

One successful cocktail party, I have to say:
Drunk girls. Photos of me with drunk girls. Me drinking random drinks. Me getting to play bartender once more. And home by 2.30am.

All in a night's work!


I can't figure it out myself, to be perfectly honest.

Why is it that I haven't been to a single lecture in over two weeks? Why is it that I simply cannot get out of bed in the morning, or even at midday? Why is it that this situation does not overly bother me, or at least didn't until last night? It is this that is bugging me most.

I know that I should be going to lectures, that I should be getting up and going to bed at a reasonable hour, but I can't seem to break the cycle. Is it that I don't want to break the cycle, or is it merely a rut which I've got myself into, and need to climb back out of?

Starting with the (very) late hours at which I go to bed and then get up, there is a German word which fits perfectly: Teufelskreis. It translates literally as 'Devil circle', but basically means the same as our 'vicious circle'. One negative element leads to another, which in turns leads back to the initial one, and so on and so forth, leading to an unbreakable circular sequence of events.

This is exactly how it works with my sleeping patterns. I go to bed very late one night, usually due to drinking or socialising, say around 5am. I then don't get out of bed until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon (incidentally, this is usually a Friday night / Saturday daytime thing), which in turn leads to me not getting tired until 4, 5 or 6am that night. The cycle repeats itself endlessly, with me living my life approximately 6 hours out of sync with everyone else.

This is the absolute truth: since Friday night, I have not gone to bed before 6am until last night. It's been almost daylight when I go to bed, and there are sometimes even other people just getting up and moving around as I get into bed. I can hear other people waking up and starting their day just as I get into bed, that's how bad it has got.

Last night was a bit of an exception, as I said. I promised myself last night that today I would turn over a new leaf. I even looked up the German translation for 'turn over a new leaf', in case I had to explain my absence to any of my friends in my lectures. I made a list of things to do, and I assured myself that I would make it to my lectures.

My week of lectures doesn't start until Tuesday anyway, so this was the perfect opportunity to start a new week by getting everything back on track. I would go to all of my lectures, I would do a shitload of things that needed doing, I would basically get myself sorted out.

Of course, that didn't quite happen.

I went to bed just before 2, with the alarm set for 7.30. Yes, not a huge amount of sleep, but I can get by with just 5 hours sleep each night, so long as I make it up at the weekend. The problem was that I hadn't properly woken up and gotten out of bed on the Monday until nearly 2 in the afternoon. Hence I could not sleep at 2am on Monday night.

Try as I might, I could not fall asleep. I was tossing and turning for hours, before eventually drifting off sometime around 4 or 5. I gave serious thought to just calling it quits and getting up, playing on the computer or something for a couple of hours and then returning to bed, I was that wide awake.

My alarm went off at 7.30 this morning. It felt like someone had thrown a gallon of icy water over me to get me to wake up. I hate my alarm so much, because it always manages to wake me. It's really fucking loud, and I wouldn't be surprised if it woke my neighbour up every time it went off. Stupid alarm clock.

Needless to say, I was in full zombie mode. I could barely stand, didn't want to open my eyes, and had no control of my fingers. I was fucked. And in no fit state to contemplate 2 hours of German Constitutional Law. I had a quick look at myself in the mirror, for all that I could see in the darkness. It looked like I had huge bags under my eyes, which isn't a rarity at the moment.

I flicked the light on above the mirror, instantly cursed 17 different deities, and tried to prise my eyelids open once more. I wasn't greeted by a pretty sight. Me at 7.30am is never a pretty sight, but this was worse than most. Big green bags under each eye showed how fucked over my body felt, as if I needed confirmation, since I could already feel how fucked over my body felt.

I reset the alarm for 10.30, with the intention of still doing everything that needed done, and making it to my afternoon lectures, which started at 3. My sleep was once more restless, with some vivid, yet non-memorable dreams and frequent interruptions from the various sources of noise on my floor. I'm nextdoor to the kitchen, and the head of my bed is right on the other side of the wall from the sink, which means I hear more noise than most. Usually I can sleep through it, but not today.

When the alarm went off again at 10.30, I was more lively, and positively sprang out of bed to switch it off. The problem came once more when I lay back down. I need to stop doing that, because it is the main cause of my long, long lie-ins. If I just stayed out of bed when I switched my alarm, I would be able to break this Teufelskreis without a problem. As it is, my bed is too comfortable to lie in without falling asleep again. Perhaps I need to put a brick in it or something.

Thankfully I didn't sleep until a ridiculously late hour, only to midday (ahem). At least it was still daylight! There's been a few times over the last couple of weekends when I've woken up to darkness. As in the second lot of darkness of the day. That's never a good thing.

I did do a couple of things on my list, although they were the minor things, it has to be said. Did I make it to my lectures? Erm, no, no I didn't. I should be in one right now. Shit.

I can't say what it is about these lectures that makes me not want to go. Yes, I find the subject matter very boring in a couple of them. Extremely boring, in fact. I've fallen out of love with law, something that happened a long time ago. Last year at King's I barely studied any law at all, instead choosing subjects that were in the Law School but had the least amount of law in them possible. This is coming to the fore again here, since I am only doing law, pure law in various spheres.

I simply don't want to study law any more. I want to do more interesting subjects, subjects which broaden my horizons, which make me think outside the box, subjects which basically aren't law. This is why I'm so looking forward to my Jurisprudence module back at King's next September. Jurisprudence is the philosophy of law, and focuses on such questions as why have law at all, and why do we have this kind of law. It should be fantastic.

But here I am, in December and not even at King's, and I'm pining for it already. This isn't good.

More reasons why I don't go to my lectures? Yes, I find them difficult. I find it difficult to understand what is being said, and I find the entire system completely alien. The system of law, that is. Although the lecturing system is a bit different to England too, with more audience participation in one lecture than we had in an entire year's worth back home. I struggle to understand the lecturers sometimes, and there is absolutely no chance when someone asks a question.

I barely make any notes, because I can only concentrate on doing one thing in German at a time. If I stop to make some notes, I lose track of what is being said, and then find it very hard to pick the line of reasoning back up. In lectures last year, I would be writing down everything almost word for word, working about a sentence behind the lecturer's voice, but still understanding everything and being able to write coherent notes on what was being said. I can't do that any more.

I should fall back on my textbooks to help me through, right? I should do, yes. I have bought the textbooks for my subjects, but they remain pretty much untouched. I've flicked through them a couple of times, but the German is so dense as to be practically impenetrable.

All this points to one thing: my German is not good enough to study out here. Sure, I can get by in shops and in conversations with people, but for academic study, specifically legal academic study, it is insufficient. I've worried about this for sometime, and have tried to take steps to remedy the situation, but to no avail. For me, this is thoroughly depressing. I came here to better my German, not to learn the law, but I find myself struggling on that front too. Sometimes I even wonder if it's worth all of the hassle and hardship.

So there you have it: this is the rut I find myself in, the Teufelskreis I cannot break out of, and the general state of affairs that I don't want to be a part of any more.

What annoys me most is that last night I promised myself I would change my ways, but the previous weekend's sequence of events had already set in motion the eventual cause of my inability to set things straight. No doubt that by getting out of bed at midday today, I have ruined my chance of making it to my 9am lecture tomorrow.

Not that I want to go anyway...

Compare And Contrast

OK, so I've got two, possibly three, posts floating around in my head that need typing up. What I find interesting about writing them all in one big session is that there is going to be quite a contrast between.

A contrast that I find slightly worrying, to be honest. Why? The first post is going to be about how I've become very apathetic towards practically everything in my life right now, save for a few things. I've become especially nonplussed regarding my studies, and this will form the basis of my thoughts. Basically, it's going to be a little depressing and quite introspective.

The second (and the possible third) post will be an account of a wicked night out I had last week, and will be of the usual style, in that I will describe absolutely everything I can until my memories become dulled by the onset of my good friend Mr Alcohol. These posts will thus be excited, positive and upbeat.

I like the way my life navigates these two ends of the emotional spectrum, with me stuck somewhere in the middle. Hopefully they'll make for good reading too.


Because most of my friends here in Heidelberg are incapable of finding and looking at my PhotoBlog, I've set up a Webshots account for them to all have a gander at. I mention this here because a few other friends here have their own accounts, with many more pictures of our time in Heidelberg.

Most of the photos in my area are the same as you've seen on the Photoblog, but there's a few from back in September which I haven't posted here before.

So, without further ado, I present to you:

Now, I'm not usually one to blow my own trumpet when it comes to looks, mainly because I don't believe I'm anything other than average in that department, but I have to say that I look really fucking good in this photo of me and Bec, taken back in September.

Of course, there are also many less flattering pictures of myself, such as this prime example, of me struggling to keep a vodka shot down. Beautiful.

Monday, December 6

It's Because I'm Lazy

No, I haven't written anything about Friday night yet. Or Thursday night. Or anything at all, in fact. Meh.

On the plus side, for you lovely lovely people I've updated the PhotoBlog with a load of photos, including the batch I took on Friday night. Yes, I braved it and took my digital camera with me. Usually I don't bother, because I expect to get so very drunk and lose / break it in the process.

Having seen the positive results from Friday, however, accompanied by the fact I managed to get both it and myself home in one piece, I may start taking it out more often. Stay tuned.

I have a day off tomorrow, save for doing a huge list of things to do, so I should get some more worthwhile material done then.

Oh, and for the complainant concerning my use of "random", I have to say that I use that word all the time in the real world, and it's not just something I throw into my typing at random (!) points. This blog is me, and it therefore uses the language and diction that I use all the time.

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