HMDIC: Addiction – Alcohol, Drugs, Internet! *trigger warning*

Hello, and welcome to day’s “Hmmm, Dick, how much DOES it cost? (dot c, eh?)” thought piece.

I’m going to try not to get too technical here with actual dollar values, but I feel there are some things that we should dive into.

ALCOHOL

Manufacture: alcohol, at its cheapest and most potent requires a few things for a longer-term, more ideal, quick and dirty set-up.

On the time axis, we’re looking at at least a couple of weeks in most cases. That’s for a basic bitch, unrefined product such as you’ve never actually tasted if you’ve never made your own before.

Manufacture requires heat in a certain range, off the top of my head it costs weeks of stalled difference between a temperature that might vary around 11-16 degrees (bad) and 22-26 degrees (good)

Sterile conditions, (yes, I know toilet wine exists, and we can get pretty close to that efficiency but if we can do better why would we not? t only takes a couple extra hours per batch and saves us from having ruined or unsafe product for that one reason.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_metabisulfite is one option.

A container, (I used to be able to find used pirmary fermenters, e.g. those big 22L buckets you sometimes people see using around gardens for like 2 or 3 bucks at my local U Brew, just had to wash them first and then )

A hydrometer, (C$4.59 at present) [definition] that’s a device to compare the sugared mix with the post-reacted mix. A thermometer (C$3.40 OBO at present) to check water temperature for yeast proofing.

A pump siphon, (C$3.46 at present) to transfer into bottles. Don’t make either of the mistakes I have, and get the wrong size tubing . Just kink it between.

Alternate hydrometer C$3.00 but I’m not familiar with those ones.

Sugar and back-sweetener: (I used to use Bulk Barn, there might be cheaper ways to get more sugar, if you ask they will provide you with their bin liners and help you pour from the back bags that are less likely to be tainted by human contact, so you can grab 10 or 20 pounds at a time. Also account for the sugar that comes along with any flavouring you’re using.)

Flavour: this is where the greatest cost savings can be made. I ended up with a ratio of about 16 cans of minute maid, fruit punch, even managed limeade a few times, always bought on sale. The acids seem to be a titch more difficult, you don’t want to give yourself heartburn either!

Yeast! I always used the same lalvin champagne yeast, EC-1118 I think it was aside from kit wines.

Cost: 20ish liters of 7-15% alcohol for under $20-25, as of a few years ago, as long as you’re buying supplies on sale.

Bottles: SAVE YOUR EMPTIES, CLEAN! Before you start. We used to save and reuse 2L cider bottles, and back in the day we had a LOT of them. You can do an entire batch in 10-15 bottles. We’d often have a couple or few batches at once, which allows you to go after whatever’s the frontrunner.

And then… then, just patience and careful. Even though we had a shedding dog and checked barrels constantly in sometimes not the most sterile of conditions, we were always careful to sterilise the hydrometer clean hands, rubbing alcohol on hydrometer, set it in sterile glass to dry, rinse it off) Best practice is to NOT do that.

External costs: -storage space, -you will probably end up an alcoholic, aside from the probable alcoholism that has led you to this point in the first place. Time: minimum a couple hours to get supplies, an hour to figure out the math and measuring (sugar/alcohol calculator online)

Extra things to be aware of: if your alcohol has not finished properly, you may get fermentation still in bottle, (for instance, we’re skipping an entire step of the process that takes yeast and stuff out) keep in mind that for a first number of brew you’re going to want to de-pressurise those bottles every day or two after brewing them until you get a sense of whether they might explode in your climate. Messy! Never happened to me, amongst the messes I did make. Learn to kink your siphon hose before you start pumping, is all I can say! It’s possible some people may be sensitive to still active yeast, use at own risk. Taking the time to finish the product is probably good, but you’d have to talk to someone else for that!

Savings: about $8 per 2L bottle, in BC, for something that is the same strength to twice as strong! Make sure to get the hydrometer. Buy a spare, if you drink you’re going to break one! That’s about

Cost: the health of your liver, digestive tract, perhaps also taking a toll on social relationships, work, your pets. Your house may end up smelling like booze.

Prefab (store bought) alcohol is anywhere from about $10 per 2L @ 7% at the cheap end for ciders. (8.21 standard drinks, or $1.21 per standard drink) or $10.35 for fortified wine at its strongest/cheapest, so that’s 9.68 standard drinks or 1.03 per standard drink. Compared to 21 litres or so at 14%, call it 170 standard drinks for . Or you could go to a bar, and that’s a drink or two.

Part of harm reduction for alcoholics ought to be home brewing courses,

Financial costs of alcohol in general: it’s not hard to spend $10K a year or more on alcohol, especially if you factor in not just the price of the alcohol but also coping mechanisms like prefab food or meals out or taxis or bar drinks, drinks for friends, etc that might add up. The sorts of poor decisions that alcohol is famous for can have costs as well, up to and including things that will haunt or affect or cost you for the rest of your life. And while people generally say they are glad for having had kids, so often this happens at an age younger than they feel ready which leads to hardship that could have been avoided.

USE A CONDOM! If you’re drinking, just keep prophylactics on at all times. You never know when they’ll come in handy. (/kidding, but be safe! Sex when drinking DOES NOT INVOLVE CONSENT if you want to get technical or moral about it, which means it’s a field of landmines.)

Drugs:

MANUFACTURE: drugs are illegal. Except! Pot. You can grow up to four plants for personal use in Canada, check the rules in your building/etc, as that’s per household I believe. IANAL.

Cost: seeds are available for purchase at widely varying prices, or in my day you could sometimes actually find them in a shwaggy bag of weed.

Sprout the seed and put it in the ground, or add fertilizer, or grow indoor, all options! If you’re really hoping for top quality you may want to look at hydro.

In which case you may also be looking at ballast grown. I’m not up on your options these days and am too lazy to research. Your local hydro store will be glad to answer your questions, and it’s a good place to buy your chemicals and rockwool or whatever medium.

Internet:

There are tons of things to be addicted to on the internet.

News is my personal addiction. News and opininos. If someone has something to share, I’m involved, I’m engaged. Even though it has no possible relevance for my life, I even find myself reading celebrity gossip (about movie and TV stars from things I would actually watch, mostly, other people’s lives are interesting) News aggregator sites like fark.com were a way of whiling away many long hours at jobs where I had nothing to do part of the time.

Internet porn can also be a problem. Internet gaming. Unfortunately, I will bring up some of these things from time to time.

As with any addiction, the first step is in realising there is a problem. 12 step programs often talk about doing an honest and thorough accounting of the impact that addictions have in our lives. It’s a hard thing to do. News sites still steal hours of my time every week, I feel like the instant gratification and bite size pieces of knowledge I get out of them, the mini stories… they’re just sweet little dopamine packages.

Obviously, this can apply just as much to twitter, facebook, youtube, tiktok, many of these sites are geared to “just one more” type behaviour, the longer you spend on the site and the more engagement you have the more valuable you are as a consumer of their service. Like the state’s alcohol monopoly, or your dealer’s encouragement to you to keep coming back, YOU ARE THE CASH(me ousside) COW for these corporations, (and me too, probably, if I get this shit off the ground) and the only way you can do something about this cycle is to break it.

One day we will likely find a more ethical cycle, where people are not as likely to be manupulated into clicking links. But in the meantime, it’s anything goes, and it’s a bid for your attention which translates into dollars for someone, and rarely you. At best, you may be looking at getting

So I recommend that we divest ourselves from the Amazons, the Googles, the titans and so forth, and aim smaller. We should shop within our own communities, to cut down on the transportation-on-demand of goods.

Although, maybe at this point with how large it is, is it possible that it’s actually become more efficient than shopping in our own community? I hadn’t thought of that.

Alright, well this isn’t the article that I was planning on writing. Blah, a little of this, a little of that.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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