I came home a little while ago from one of my Cathedral Village Arts Festival volunteering gigs: MCing the Rah Rah show. (And every time I get behind a microphone I’m reminded of why I wound up in print journalism. Yeesh. That said, you should still check out the prairie dog podcast despite my behind-mic involvement there. And you should also go to the Lazy MKs / Buellie Brothers show at St Mary’s Hall tomorrow night even though I’m MCing again. I’ll only be on stage for like ten seconds. And then you’ll get to watch two great bands. Did I mention the Lazy MKs let us use a couple of their tunes for a couple of our podcasts? It’s true. Everything is connected. Speaking of, I got to meet awesome blog commenter and Cuba Libre Cocktail aficionado, Collette, in real life before the Rah Rah show. That was very cool. You know, it’d be great to meet more dogblog readers tomorrow night — at St Mary’s Hall, 3337 15th Ave, show starts at 8pm. We could talk city hall and kitten videos until the band starts. Did I mention it will be free? The show I mean. Kitten videos are always free. That’s what I call liberty.)

Anyway, after getting in, I double checked the count and sure enough, this is the 52nd installment of Thursday Night Loaded. That’s right, I’ve done a year’s worth of cocktail columns. (Although, technically, the official anniversary was two weeks ago. I kind of missed a couple columns in there. Although both times were alcohol related so I think that’s forgivable considering the context.)

And it’s funny that I’m still doing this and posing as some kind of drinking expert because I’ll be honest with you, ever since the arrival of Young Dashiell, I haven’t been… erm… “researching” the subject matter of this column like I used to. No more gin tastings. No more sneaking off at night to drink alone at a local bar (which, as an upside, has saved me from much adult contemporary played on solo guitar).

And I’m back to stirring all my cocktails for fear of waking the baby.

I’m happy to report I still find time to rage against vodka (such a boring spirit with the exception of Zubrowka). And I’ve managed to secretly make a small bit of progress on that occult booze thriller (which will, yes, involve immortal, masturbating Carthusian monks).

If I were smart I’d start writing more Thursday NOT Loadeds — I could prepare for those without guilt and I’ve actually received a couple requests to write more of them. But to be honest I’d be afraid that might be seen as an endorsement of sobriety and I do have some scruples. This column is not up for sale. Not even to not drinking. (Although I would seriously consider any offer from Hendrick’s.)

I don’t know, maybe I should just change the focus of the column? Make it about cooking? I like food. I could learn how to cook. Of course, who am I kidding? It’d just wind up being about cooking with booze.

By the way, in case you haven’t cottoned on by now, what you are reading is the blog equivalent of a television clip show. Every link takes you back to an old installment of Thursday Night Loaded.

Aidan Morgan, noted egg-as-cocktail-ingredient skeptic and the face what launched many a Drunken Lime, told me about some sitcom he’d watched recently that was a clip show that referred back to a bunch of completely off-the-wall scenes that had never appeared in the series before. Crazy fictions embedded within a crazy fiction. I thought that was a great idea and wondered if I could adapt it to this week’s column. I’d talk about some made up insanity that happened to me over the last year and list off a menu of imaginary cocktails I was swilling at the time.

I abandoned the idea for being too much work. Making up cocktails is hard. So hard I’ve only attempted it three times over the course of the year. Once to fill in a gap in our election coverage (the Ill Liberal), once as a gag and once to celebrate the birth of Young Dashiell.

Sigh. Such memories.

And as it happens, in good clip show fashion, we’re right back where we started and that means it’s time to bring this rambling, pointless bastard to a close.

Also in keeping with clip show tradition, this episode precedes a summer hiatus. I’m heading back to Edmonton again to visit family so I’m going to take a couple weeks off and recharge the cocktail batteries. I reckon I can only get away with writing about raiding my dad’s liquor cabinet once.

See you in a few weeks. And when Thusday Night Loaded comes back we’ll be announcing the Official Mixed Drink Of Summer In Regina 2011.