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Friday, July 30, 2010

More ponderings

A couple months ago (I think) I posted a blog about how listening to the Iron Maiden album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son brought back fond memories of being a teen on one specific spring day and how it felt to have my whole life ahead of me at that time.

I've just had a similar experience with another album. This one is Accident of Birth, by Bruce Dickinson. This particular album came out in 1997. I was 23 years old at the time, and those days are some of the best times of my life. As Dickens wrote, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

My Beehive days were in full swing in 97. I spent nearly every waking hour at the Oakland Beehive (which, for those newer to the city, is now the T-Mobile store on Forbes). Those were the times when you could walk into that place at any given moment, from 7:30 AM until 2:00 AM, and find someone there that you knew with whom you could sit, have a cup of coffee and generally enjoy life. And enjoy life we did back then--for some of us, to the great detriment of our college careers.

I was working as a courier at Hillman Library at the time, until they killed the courier position and I then ended up working the stacks (a mind-numbingly boring job--making sure all the books were in the proper call number order). In 97 I was with my ex-fiancee (she left me for the guy with whom she'd been cheating, just before Halloween that year); we lived at first in Oakland on McKee Place, then moved to a small one-bedroom in an orange building on Rt. 51.

But back to the Beehive. I have fond memories of playing Lunch Money (a fantastic card game that everyone should play) with 15 people around a long table made from pushing several together. I remember having rattan-sword fights with Aaron in the "quiet room" when a couple walked in, and Aaron and I spun upon them, shouting gibberish that we assumed sounded Japanese, and ending it with, "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!"

...they just turned around and walked out. Very quickly.

That was also the year that I met Bruce Dickinson on tour for the very album in question. Bruce is the singer for Iron Maiden (at that point he was the ex-singer for them; they are now reunited). He had teamed up with their then-ex guitarist (also now reunited with the band) Adrian Smith for this album. So meeting them was kind of a high point for me. Thankfully, both were very cool guys.

Come to think of it, 97 was kind of a year of turning points for me. The year when I first realized at some point I was going to have to grow up. I screwed my credit, blew off classes, hung out with friends, and generally went really wild that year, and most of it is a blur. At some point when I woke up, I was single again, living with my sister and her boyfriend (who is now my brother-in-law), suffering through an AWFUL work-study job at juvenile court, and my grades were in the shitter. Eventually my friend Cheri got me a job slinging bagels at Bruegger's, which truth be told is probably the coolest job I ever had (that place was so awesome there are no words for it), and I met many of the group of good friends I now have through Cheri and that job. I worked my way up to management at Brueggers (which was distinctly less cool than baking and being on the counter), and was very well thought-of there, and that took me through another year and a half. My grades were still in the toilet, though, and I was still living hand to mouth and day by day. I went through another girlfriend and dropped out of school to try and save that relationship (which was a really. dumb. idea.) It took a rebound and another year before I started to get my shit when I came to work at Pitt and went back to school.

Hell, I'm still not sure I'm where I should be at 36. Part of me just flat-out doesn't want to grow up and will fight that until my dying breath. Oh, I'm more responsible nowadays. I pay bills and try to think of the consequences of my actions before I act (I don't always succeed, but then who does?)

Anyway, I didn't really expect to have that reaction to the Accident of Birth album, but it sparked memories. Well, more feelings than memories. Should I do it? Am I going to go Star Wars?

Of course I am.

"Just...images, really. Feelings."

And no, btw, Episode III was NOT inconsistent with that line. But that's a subject for another blog, which may or may not get written.

I have a similar reaction to the Bryan Adams song "Summer of 69." That's right; I said it...I said it! I like a Bryan Adams song. You got a problem with that?

1997 was a year that a lot of messed-up stuff started to happen for me (and because of me) but damn, it was a good time while the ride was going on.

Anyway, same question thrown out as a few months ago. What albums or songs stir strong memories/images/feelings for you, and why?

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Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mary Magdalene.

I'm not a mad bible thumper--Sophia, however, is my inspiration and always in my heart