Saturday was Pete's birthday dinner, which was held at 7 Hills of Istanbul. Randomness abounded. The usual suspects were there, such as his older brother and sister. Brave souls such as Kevin Garron, Mike, and ``Two Blue'' Dan Yu (who sat in the Magyar Corridor). Many I hadn't seen in five or six years. Then there were the more interesting folk.... His brother's girlfriend, a number of people new to me, and someone who has known me since the age of nine. Scoop! Though I recognized him instantly, he failed to realize who I was, remembering me looking more like this. After waiting for everyone to show up, and waiting to get some service, AND to actually get appetizers, he finally asked me what my last name was. Pete burst out laughing, as I revealed that he'd known me for sixteen years. We caught up on old times, from him locating his natural family to the various friends of my mother's that he saw around. Pete and his friends spent a good deal of the meal talking with Scoop about Magic, a game we hadn't played much since we all played together in the mid 90's.
Then there was Pete's old friend who has been doubting my existence for nine years. He referred to me as Tyler Durden a few times, joking that every story that Pete attributed to me was really his doing. Amusing. He and I split fried baby lamb livers with onions, and we all enjoyed the fine hummus. The food itself was so-so, and a few of us shared Grey Goose and wine. Pete expressed his distaste for mixing meats.
We left the place three hours later, heading over to Clydz, some fancy four-star joint. Pete and I had some excellent vodka and tonics (his with Finlandia and mine with Skyy of course), while everyone else dived into girly drinks. Mojitos, secret strawberries, and the like were downed. Pete finally joined in with a purple haze that was excellent. Pete and I shared some pierogies that he and his sister disliked. The non-Magyars who sampled found them excellent. I would have given in to try a pineapple mojito or purple haze, but I was a lightweight driving back.
Pete, meanwhile, imbibed. So much so that he started harassing Gandalf. Some guy with a long beard sat down behind our table, and got harassed hardcore by Pete. He insisted people take pictures of him, and eventually he was walking behind the guy on purpose so as to be stuck in shots with him. A few times various people shouted out comments about Jesus or Gandalf, even to the waiter. Hell, Pete demanded the owner/manager get him a vodka and tonic. The gentleman did so, smiling the whole time. Many times Pete tried to get up to talk to Gandalf (who I thought looked more like Sauromon), but Mike or I convinced him to sit back down. Mike with words and me with a firm grip. Eventually, he broke free, and started talking with the guy. I had a bet going with Pete's sister's boyfriend (a great guy) that Pete would leave of his own volition, I was ready to hand the money over. But the guy took it well, and agreed to pose with a photograph with Pete that is absolutely priceless. Bearded guy, red in the face, next to a scary drunk Pete making a wacky face. Can't wait to see it.
As I left with Pete's sister and her boyfriend, Kevin was headbutting a stop sign outside of the bar. Two AM, I headed home. Did my usual nostalga trip past the place my prom was held, comic store Dan worked at, motel PEERS had chiquib and I stay at, Cafe Newz's old location, the forest road John and I raced down with our headlights off....
It would be easier if Pete had a journal, as I referred to him so much. Telling his sister that 99 Nights was occuring that night made her feel so old.
And that was my Saturday, class. Sunday can be summed up in two words: ``Work, pain.''