Monday, 12 May 2008

My Best Un-Birthday: Mad Hatter, Eat your Tea Set!

This post was supposed to have appeared on Friday, maybe Saturday but, as they say, "the best-laid plans of mice and men"... As some of you may know, as of the 7th of May, I have turned into a 26-year-old geezer (or "ero-jiji" as Elli and Glastenen are keen to point out). I must admit, for the past 3 years, my birthday has been nothing I considered very special, except for the mark of time (much like a notch on a wooden stick) and the excuse to throw a (hopefully) good party, get trashed with friends and leave it at that. Now, the "getting trashed " part has turned out well on most years but still, it was nothing to be terribly excited about (I mean, you can always throw a party with some other excuse and still get trashed with your friends).

Additionally, over the years, with a few notable exceptions and for a variety of reasons, there seemed to be a constant change in the mix of people (not a bad thing in and of itself), which had me thinking: "what happened to our other friends, those we grew up with, those we had fun with during the first years of University" and so on and so forth, which caused me a concealed, cumulative bit of melancholy with every passing year. Hence, I could have never imagined what was in store for me this year... Much like Lewis Carrol's Alice, I was dropped down the rabbit-hole and never even got wind of it, until I noticed the caterpillar out of the corner of my eye... I apologize in advance for the many pictures with me in them. I know they must cause much distress and will try to avoid them in the future.

It all started with a message from KrizD on MySpace, wishing me "Happy bloody Birthday!!!!" on the 2nd of May. Now, my birthday is on the 7th but apparently, MySpace notifies you 5 days earlier. We laughed about it and that was that. On the 4th of May, Ordre de Ciel held their Hide Memorial Event and naturally, Ergo Proxy (who had come to Athens for a 5-day Army Break from Crete) and I attended, as did Artact, Bunnydragon (I don't care what you say, I am NOT changing the mentions to "Dragonbunny"!), Olga (henceforth referred to as "Kyoshiro"), Countess Bathory, Darkside_Blues and his girlfriend, Hope and many others besides. A new addition to our company was Natalie, whom Ergo Proxy and I had met a bit earlier, via my childhood friend, Angelica. Believe me when I say, NOTHING seemed out of the ordinary: great music, great videos, Hide memorial pins (sooo pink), a good time as usual.

room302 DJing as usual...

Raven... smirking?

Awfully cheery, are we? What's cooking?
Hope, Darkside_Blues, Ergo Proxy,

Now, at some point, Ergo Proxy and Natalie vanished but I made nothing of it (well, I mean, except the obvious). At some point, being as it was a rather warm and humid night, I was outside catching a breath of air, when Ergo Proxy and Natalie returned, all smiles.

Speedgrapher: "Ah, where have YOU, two been, I wonder..."

Ergo Proxy: "Yeah umm..."

Speedgraqpher: "Hmmm..."

Natalie: "Ciggies!"

Speedgrapher: "Natalie, you got cigarettes right after we left the other bar. You cannot have possibly smoked them all yet."

Natalie: "OK, so we wanted some time alone; happy now?"

Speedgrapher: "OK, princess, no need to bite my head off, heheh..."

...and so we went back inside, with me none the wiser. At some point, Raven takes me to the side, looking rather serious and gives me a piece of paper, without further explanation and no one seems to notice it in the least (at this time, room302 is on the decks). The paper read as follows:

"Good evening, Speedgrapher. This is Kira. I am assuming you talked to Raven. You & your friends are forced to finish a task for me and none of you can back out. Until you receive a piece of paper that indicates the completion of the task, you have to go on and continue doing what my instructions say. Do not leave the bar before the task is over, or I will tear your heart apart that very moment. Now proceed to Bunnydragon and show her this piece of paper. She is instructed and forced to give you a new one. Read and proceed." The piece of paper (and all the rest that followed) ends with some Katakana over whose meaning I still puzzle over but regardless. At that point, I know something is cooking but I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what and it doesn't cross my mind, until much later, that it has anything to do with my birthday (since it had been made clear that it's on the 7th).

Now, after my reading the message, still it did not seem as though anyone had noticed anything peculiar or was suppressing giggles at my befuddlement. I must say, right at the start, it was ingenious to approach the whole matter that way: I am a sucker for mystery and intrigue and I was SURE to follow the instructions, without asking anyone else what was going on. Indeed, I went to Bunnydragon, whose face did not betray she was in on it and even managed to look a little surprised. After she read the paper herself, she looked at me slyly and said:

"Well, shall I give it to you? You sure you want it?"

"Umm... I guess so..."

"Alrighty then" and she reached inside her bra and drew a new piece of paper. It read as follows:

"I am assuming you talked to Bunnydragon and that she gave you the new piece of instruction. Now wait for 4 minutes and get to talk to Countess Bathory. Show her the previous pieces. She is instructed and forced to give you a new piece of paper. Read and proceed. Do not give up or you will die violently right before your friends' eyes."

So wait I did, at this point quite bewildered. I am not a paranoid person but I tend to extrapolate on the clues I am given. If Countess Bathory was in on it, didn't that mean Larva was too and if Bunnydragon knew something, didn't Kyoshiro also know? That made me a bit nervous; that and the fact that no one behaved differently until I gave them the pieces of paper to read, as instructed but I digress... After 4 minutes passed, I went to Countess Bathory who, after chit-chatting a bit (also part of the plan, as I learned later), gave me the new piece of paper:

"I am assuming you talked to Countess Bathory and got your new piece of paper. Go and talk to Kyoshiro. She is instructed to give you a new piece of information. Take it and proceed to your new task immediately." Right I was and that did not reassure me. At that point, I was sure they were pulling a huge prank on me and I could not fathom what or why (I started looking at the ceiling for a bucket of beer over my head but found nothing...). Kyoshiro, smiling smugly, gave me the next piece of paper...

"I am assuming you talked to Kyoshiro and got your new piece of paper. Larva should be there, so proceed and talk to him, showing your gathered pieces you own by now. You are getting closer to your goal." So, Larva WAS in on it. I do not know if it was because I had been playing Sanitarium (the old PC Adventure Game) again or perhaps because of the tone of the messages, the number of people involved or the poker-faced expressions of all my friends, but I found myself sweating profusely, as if I had been running for hours. I do not get stressed easily: in fact, rarely do I even raise my voice in argument (God forbid - I am already loud enough). However, to their credit, the mastermind (soon to be revealed) of this whole caper, had set the tone, mood and pacing, appropriately to make me very VERY nervous! Onwards then, to Larva! To his credit, he feigned complete ignorance until he had sifted through all of the papers...

"I am assuming you talked to Larva. Proceed to the decks. Talk to room302 right away. He has the last piece of information for you, which he is instructed to give you." Sure enough, after reading the papers, room302 provided me with the following one, never once seeming to be anything but another pawn in this whole game. At that point I toyed with the idea of all this having something to do with my birthday but, truth be told, I put my money on "prank".

"Congratulations Speedgrapher. You are one step away from the truth. The last thing you have to do is ask room302 to show you what lies hidden under the decks of the bar. He is forced to show you. If not, everything until now happened in vain and all of you will greatly suffer. ASK REPEATEDLY FOR WHAT LIES HIDDEN BEYOND THE DECKS. See the truth. Become a part of it." Even after reading this and following the instructions, I was not convinced. Only seeing the Solaris Bookstore gift-bag did I accept that this was all an elaborate birthday ploy. Needless to say, I was speechless, flabbergasted and delighted all at the same time. However, the story does not end there...

OK... This looks safe enough...

WTF? When did Ergo Proxy...?

"See? She told you we needed some time alone.
She did not say for what!"

The bag, again, contrary to what I thought (some manga/comic book related thing), contained the pictured box and a small, Japanese notepad with foaming beer mugs on the cover. The box was tied shut, so first I opened the notepad, full of my friends' wishes and (believe it or not) written in varied "flavor" ink (each color smelling like a different fruit). Those wishes I will not reproduce here because I treasure them too much and get all emotional just reading them again. I hope you will forgive this one journalistic misconduct. Now, after reading the wishes, I had to tackle the task of untying the knot and seeing what was inside the (also Japanese) box (which had another piece of paper attached, that Bunnydragon held while I wrestled with the tiny knot...

I am SO not untying this thing...

Well... let us just say that they had my next girlfriend in mind... Apart from a box of "suicide caps" (Trojan brand) as my old friend, Unbound, calls them, a bottle of -ahem- "engine facilitator" (as Ergo Proxy would no doubt call it - Durex brand), there was a carefully folded and taped envelope, as well as the following message:

"See the expiration date... See that you use ALL of them. Your friends..."

At this point, I have to reveal another little something about myself... Time was when people who had known me even for a short span of time, called me "The Laughing Man". I used to laugh so much, so hard, so loud, regardless of problems, difficulties, hideous weather or what have you. Hearing my laugh, people around me would also laugh (at it or because of it - never knew, it never mattered) and I was especially proud and happy for it. Then, 5 years ago, I got tangled up with some people who took away my laughter, any laughter in fact, for a long time. Even when I started laughing again, it was just not the same; cynicism does that to you. Then, gradually,when I was especially wasted, this old laughter would reemerge, from some unfathomable place in my gut (Bunnydragon can testify to such an occurrence in Japan). Last Sunday, on the 4th of May, after 5 years, I truly laughed again, without having binged myself on alcohol (that happened afterwards). I believe that is the greatest gift my friends could give me (regardless of the amazing surprise they still had in store for me).

Come on, come on...!

So, after this emotional bit, let us get back to the box, the folder and the last message. The folder, with which I struggled quite a bit (Bunnydragon - Mistress of Packaging), had a length of silk rope inside, along the same line as the rest of the contents (ahem); even I cannot break free of this stuff... Then, she handed me Kira's final message:

"If you are reading this, it indicates that you were deceived by your friends. Although everything shows that you were driven to this by my instructions, this is not the ultimate truth that I planned for you to see. Open your eyes widely, Speedgrapher. Seek reality. You still have a chance. Go back to room302 imeediately. Ask him for what lies hidden beyond the decks, If he will not show you in the next 15 seconds, a grave for each one of you is already dug. Force him to show you the truth. This is my last message. Finish your task. Make me proud. Or face the Shinigami's wrath."

Masterful, for it did not give me time to think things over, caught as I was in the whole mood. I went straight to room302 and asked him again. He calmly denied anything was under there so, equally calmly this time, I told him we had a little less than 7 seconds before we all died a bloody death. With a look of scared surprise, he reached under the decks and produced a large package, whose contents I dared not believe: the shape was very familiar and similar to a box containing...

...the most amazing statue of Father Abel Nightroad from Trinity Blood! It was the finishing blow. The only reason I was not moved to tears was because I was laughing so hard and wiping rivers of sweat from my brow .

Needless to say, the real drinking and further fun started after the completion of this wonderful conspiracy, engineered by room302 within a single day (basically, Sunday morning) and carried out with scalpel precision by all my friends. When I drink, however much I drink, the following morning I remember what I have said and done: no matter how much I have been busting my head, I cannot, for the life of me, remember what the heck I drank that night. I know that I had drunk quite a few "Christinas" (that is a cool drink, mixed by our beautiful barmaid and for lack of another name, I call it by hers), "Black Tea" shots and at least three other things which escape me but that is all I can recall about the drinks. After we kept a minute's silence in Hide's memory, it was all-out chaos in every aspect: musical, alcoholic, humorous, FUN! The pictures, of course, speak far louder than I do...

Catherine and Natalia...

Not to be confused with Natalie (who, no, is
not recovering from a nose job, simply
from a rather nasty fall).

If, as the Mad Hatter says, everyone has 1 Birthday and 364 Un-Birthdays, I would gladly exchange this 1 Un-Birthday with at least 364 Birthdays, if that makes any sense to you.

Minna-san, hontou ni, arigatou gozaimasu,



RosenRed said...

Happy birthday man! I was somewhat sure it was towards the end of May (I was never good with dates... damn my Alzheimer!).

Hey! I've been hearing rumours about another one of your famous parties, are they just rumours, or we have an upcoming event?

PS: I think I should start filling my bag of holding with beer... just in case ^^

PS2: Abel kicks ass...

Tkas said...

You have to stop doing these parties at Sunday.Some of us have to work on Monday you now(daaamn the work)So we need to meet in order to give you your present(no its not a hot bath for the 2 of us)Happy Birthdayyyyyyyyyyy :):)

Speedgrapher said...

It's not? Aww, and I always thought... Damn! Never fear my friend: the next Ordre de Ciel party is next Saturday (cosplay, cosplay)and afterwards, they crank the heat up every Friday from there on.

As to MY famous parties, it will take some de-cthulhu-ization but I am working on it...

Mata ne and thanks for all the fish, err, wishes (Douglas Adams rulez).

Dragonbunny said...

ti kanis filaraki?
ta kataferes telika na to postaris to party!!
Mu arese para poli to kimeno, k to efxaristithika akoma perissotero giati evlepa live tin fatsa su kathe fora pu diavazes ta xartakia, k otan anixes ta dora su!!!ANEKTIMHTH!!!!
Gia mas i kaliteri antidrasi itan to gelio su!
Na ise siguros oti den tha se afisume na melagholisis pote xana!
Filakia polllllla!!!
Dragonbunny k oxi Bunnydragon xazouli!

Speedgrapher said...

*smiles with more words than he can utter*

Ego to exo dilosei, Bunnydragon se exo pandou kai Bunnydragon tha se kratiso. Thelo na po, posa Kounelia/Drakous hybrids ksereis oste na mas enoxlei kai i seira?


Deva said...

oh dear almighty ,
so I must be proud to know that u still recall SNAAAAPS and repell to Crack-Whore !!
enough said though . .

Happy birthday,I meant to wish you while havin drinks and cheers!
hopefuly c ya on saturday . .

happy to track u again!

Speedgrapher said...

Dear Gods above! You just HAD to bring up the two drinks that make me reel, didn't you (oh, actually it's spelled "schnapps" for what it's worth)?

Never fear, from times of old does in my mind remain your cheer my dear. I shall hope to see you on Saturday for more -COOH fun.

Ah, where the heck is George?

Anonymous said...

In my last b-day my folks didnt even get me a cake.. I wish I had this kinda fun as you did:(

Once more: happy birthday ero-jiji:)

Speedgrapher said...

Arigatou sa, hentai-rori no yarou!

Ergo Proxy said...

My friend you seem to have forgotten what we drank:

1) Beer
2) More Beer
3) Vodka + Read Bull
4) B52
4) Tequila
5) Black Tea of death
= 65 euros per person

Solving the mystery... Opening presents... Hearing you laugh... Riding piggyback....


kyo said...

And dont forget that the condoms are also with many flavors!!!So that you will always have the surprise element.....good for some ladys....

Speedgrapher said...

Yes, ahem, thanks for the... tip kyoshiro...

As for you Ergo Proxy, you know full well we did not pay that much (although we probably drank all of the above - and do not forget the "Christinas")

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