Liquor Cabinet Blogging

This post starts out scary, but it won’t stay that way, I promise. Nothing graphic, just a little discussion of prostatitis diagnosis and treatment. Good news. Nothing too scary… Hell, I’m playing Milt Jackson in the background. Nobody can do anything very scary with vibraphone music playing in the background, can they? So I’ll announce the meme here, and then blather a bit, knowing you’ll stick around for the good stuff, right?

The meme is: blog what’s in your liquor cabinet. Or cupboard.
The other night, I was chatting with Ben the Danevolent and mentioned that one should always, always get a second opinion when one is informed that one has chronic abacterial prostatitis. The reason is that with bacterial prostatitis, one can take some strong antibiotics, but if the course is too short, or the antibiotics too weak, then the infection will recur. You know the blood/brain barrier? Apparently the prostate also has something like this, and it makes it extra hard to get antibiotics to effectively attack any kind of bacteria hanging out in there. So a long course, and a very specific kind of antibiotic, is what you need. But if you get misdiagnosed, say, as having a urethral tract infection, you’ll get a shorter course of antibiotics, things will get a little better, and the course will end without the problem resolved. A little while later, you start hurting again. At that point, borderline cases might be mistaken for abacterial prostatitis, and the doctor will give you some pain management medicine and tell you to avoid alcohol and just generally try to live with it.

Which sucks. I cannot tell you just how badly, how viciously, it sucks. It occasionally actually feels like you’re being stabbed in your most delicate parts. Stabbed. With the sharp end of one of those cheap metal compasses from a junior high kid’s geometry kit. (Do those still exist these days?)

Anyway… luckily, when I happened to get a second opinion on my test results, the doctor I saw decided to put me on antibiotics for a month. And now I’m, well, apparently (so far) better… I may need to get another test, to make sure, which means a prostate milking, which is a horrifying notion… but anyway, I haven’t had any bad reactions so far!

So I was telling Ben that I have “tons of bottles of nice stuff in my cabinet, none of which I was able to touch until this week, when I finally finished my meds.” I was scared, to be honest… scared to have a drink in case shooting pains you-know-where might recur, but so far, I’ve been fine with light relatively drinking.

“Tons of nice bottles” sounds like a brag, but, well, here, let’s see what I’ve got. By the way, this is the bit where the meme kicks in. If you wanna follow, do like this:

  • A bottle of Bushmills 10-year, which I love, and which is 3/4 full, thank heaven. I see it only rarely in the airport duty-free shops. I believe I actually bought this in a regular liquor shop, ie. paid taxes on it, during a trip to Canada, sometime after my trip to India.
  • A bottle of Glenfiddich 18-year, which is harder but also art, and which I’ve got 2/3rds still in the bottle. I bought it in during a stopover Singapore, I believe, during my trip to Australia.
  • A bottle of Glenlivet 18-year, also at 2/3rds, which is some fine stuff. I bought this one the way back from Canada after my father’s funeral, and most of the 1/3rd I drank, I drank in his honour.
  • A brand new bottle of Scapa 14-year, which is Scotch whiskey from the Orkneys. Never had it, never seen it before, but it was pricey even in the Vancouver duty-free, and sounded like my kind of thing. Unopened. Waiting. Oh yes.
  • An untouched bottle of Camus XO Elegance that I picked up in China, again, the pricey stuff because, when you’re not paying tax, it’s more like the affordable treat stuff.
  • A bottle of North Korean Duljjuksul, or, as it says on the bottle, “Tuljjuk Wine”. I seem to recall it was made of blueberries or something like that, and I should admit that I am slightly — probably irrationally — scared to drink it, because it’s from North Korea. I bought it when Lime and I went on a trip to Kangwon Provinc, to the northernmost point in South Korea. I resisted the idea briefly, as I don’t like spending money that I know is at least in part flowing into Kim Jong Il’s coffers. But then I realized that at least some of my tax dollars are doing that, and decided a sixteen bottle of blueberry wine would probably not make much difference.
  • Half a bottle of Bacardi rum. The yellow stuff, because I felt like Rum & Coke one day and my prostate was being good. Got it in Emart around Christmas time, I think.
  • A small bottle of St-Remy Napoleon brandy, which, yes, is the cheap-ish stuff, but then, it was bought just to make sangria, of which I’ll be having a fair amount this early summer, at least during the time when I’m in Korea. I’d never seen brandy before in Korea, and wanted to make sure I could make some when I got back, so I got this. Silly me. Brandy’s easily available here, and I should instead have gotten something else. But, anyway, there you are.
  • Assorted bottles of liquers incuding a not-very-old Bailey’s Irish Cream (damn me for not getting Mint-Flavored Bailey’s during my last trip!), some of that Malibu Coconut-Flavored Rum stuff (gotten only a week ago, and almost completely untouched), and some slightly over-strong peppermint stuff that dates back to Jeonju, which tells you how much (and how often) I enjoy it.
  • A couple of bottles of good red wine, untouched, that have sat for whole months.
  • A bottle of Absolut Mandrin, about 2/3rds full, not very old.

There are also a few more things around the place:

  • a bottle of soju that some restaurant delivery-guy insisted on giving me for free when I ordered some fried pork — can you imagine that happening anywhere else, a meal-sized bottle of hard liquor free with some fried meat on home delivery? (Okay, maybe in Eastern Europe.)
  • two and a half bottles of ice wine. Lime loves the stuff. I think it’s okay as (or with) dessert, but I’m not crazy about it like she is. She picked up some supposedly really good stuff in Canada, and most of it’s here.
  • a small bottle of Kahlua, also Lime’s, which she got in Vancouver and somehow got to Korea.Maybe she checked it in a bag? I have no idea. Anyway, it’s very small, but she just wanted to get something nice, since it was cheap.
  • a bottle of green tea liquor, which is weird. Don’t know where I got that, or when. I think it was one of those, “This must be weird!” purchases one makes when visiting a Korean grocery store.
  • A small hip-flask bottle of soju. I bought this with the intention of sending it to a friend, but never did. Ended up giving him everything else from the package in person, but since I was flying, the soju stayed behind.
  • One (very small) bottle of that Chocolate Mudshake stuff purchased for Lime. Except that she likes the Cappucino flavour, not the chocolate.

Though it may look meagre to some of you, this is a heck of a list to me, considering that my folks barely kept anything in the house. My paternal grandpa had a some issues with the stuff, so my father was always very careful with it as an adult… which was wise, and is an example I follow pretty carefully myself.

Maureen McHugh, when she taught the class I was in at Clarion West, happened to say that one disease writers really need to watch out for is alcoholism. It really is a writer’s disease, and I think I’ve had writer-acquaintances who were indeed solidly of the path to alcoholism. In that respect, Lime’s been excellent for me. At most, we split a bottle of beer, and she’s only started drinking anything else, and always in extreme moderation. As for me, after drinking very little over the last couple of years — at first because of medication for my fingernails, and then because I was out of the habit, and then about six months pretty close to teetotal after the Clarion West workshop, when my prostate was bugging me — I am out of the habit, and not looking to get back into it.

Still, I do enjoy having what is, for me, a decently stocked liquor cabinet. Okay, okay, liquor cupboard. It’s all in the bottom cupboard by the fridge, because my apartment is tiny. But I am going to get a cabinet when we move (upstairs?) to our new, bigger place this month.

5 thoughts on “Liquor Cabinet Blogging

  1. “The other night, I was chatting with Ben the Danevolent and mentioned that one should always, always get a second opinion when one is informed that one has chronic abacterial prostatitis.”

    Um…I didn’t actually get such a diagnosis, it was more along the lines of “should this ever come up.” Just to be clear on that.

    (…and as much I love Maureen, the whole writers-disease thing was always a perspective I utterly disagreed with. Sure, you can always find antecdotal evidence for those sorts of claims, but in its logical structure, the whole thing reminds me, *a lot*, of the “one puff of a joint will inevitably lead to becoming a heroine addict” line that I remember being pushed in high school health classes and drug education assemblies.)

    Anyway, from my own perspective as an impoverished TA, that does sound like a wicked impressive liquor cabinet. I really do have to visit you in Korea sometime… ;)

  2. I’m not going to climb onto a stepstool to check the supply in the pantry. :P I can tell you that we have Patron Silver tequila, and I think we have butter shots. There’s some potato vodka in the freezer. That’s all I can tell you off the top of my head.

  3. Ben:

    Yes, yes, this is all about MY prostate.

    As for writers’ disease, I dunno. I think it’s possible, or in any case, the amount of alone time it engenders, and the legality and availability of alcohol make it the easy choice. I also think writers are often very obsessive (read: addictive) people. I know I am, but… not to the drink, anyway. To my relief.


    What in the world are butter shots?

  4. Hi Gord

    I hope the whole stabbing pains and milking thing work out and that it all comes to an end soon. That just sounds horrible and it totally sucks that you have to deal with it! Gah. I hope you get better quickly.

    btw, the booze list is…long! Can you tell we don’t drink much? But then again, we have also collected quite a few bottles that now stand dusty in our liquor cabinet. :)

  5. The stabbing pains haven’t recurred, anyway. At least, not until I entered a pile of CDs into my Listal account, and discovered that none of the Korean music I have is in the system, and they all need to be entered manually. But that’s a different body part.

    I gotta say, the fact that my own liquor cabinet list is so long because I hardly ever drink… but I don’t mind. Should I ever have a visitor, it’ll be nice to offer them something tasty.

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