Freeways, mountains, and trips down memory lane

I was late for work last week; not because I overslept, or didn’t leave soon enough, or stopped for gas. And not because I lack driving skills.  In fact, I happen to be one of the best drivers in California, best in this case being a relative term (think “best alpine skier in the Sahara desert”). No, it wasn’t anything I did which caused my tardiness. The blame rested entirely on the asphalt and tar shoulders of the 805.

For those of you who live outside of the illustrious state of California, the 805 is, technically, an interstate freeway. Unfortunately it often more closely resembles a parking lot. Such was the case on that day in question, when I found myself stuck in traffic as the minutes ticked away. Click here to get an idea of the situation, and my reaction. . I guess I shouldn’t expect any less. After all, I was late for, and nearly missed, my high school graduation ceremony due to another traffic disaster. It happened like this:

I knew that, given the heavy volume of traffic heading to the graduation in tiny Danielsville, GA, that I needed to leave early from my parents’ house in order to arrive in time for the ceremony. Everything would have been okay had it not been for the fact that I forgot my cap. I know you’re probably thinking “how could he forget his graduation cap?” Anyone asking this question doesn’t know me on a personal level. Forgetting is a way of life for me.

So I had to go back home, get the cap, and then try to make up the lost time. Nothing doing. Traffic was backed up around the traffic circle which led to the school, and way, way, way back up the road. After waiting for what seemed like forever but was acutally much longer, I finally arrived and parked. I looked at my watch, realized that I didn’t have much time, and began to run.

As I sprinted past the assorted people heading for the gynasium, I heard one older woman exclaim: “bless his heart, he’s running late!” Had I had time, I would have happily stopped and strangled her with her tank top straps. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, so I simply bore down and ran faster. I made it in time to walk to my assigned seat, but just barely. I’m sure that my entrance partner was only kidding when he stated that he had decided to murder me had I failed to show. After all, graduations are no big deal. Then again, the fact that my partner was graduating at all was quite amazing in and of itself.

Back in the present, we decided to visit our storage space. Since we have a small apartment, many of our belongings are currently in storage, and from time to time we need something. In this particular case, we were after shorts and t-shirts for the fast approaching warmer weather. As we dug through assorted dishes, clothes, books, and the like, I happened upon my baseball cards.

“Baseball cards! Oh Yeah!” exclaim my fellow collectors. I spent a good portion of my childhood (and a significant part of my early adulthood) in the quest for valuable and must-have cards. But before baseball cards, I fell prey to another collectible vice. Anyone else remember Garbage Pail Kids?  If you don’t, I’m quite certain that society would rather you didn’t.

Speaking of nostalgia, I feel that I must tell you about an incident from my past. A few days ago, while shopping for pet supplies, which by the way make up approximately 75% of our family expenditures, I heard a song that immediately brought back memories which I thought long buried and forgotten. Even though some of you most likely won’t believe it, here is what happened on that long ago Monday.

I awoke that morning with a song stuck in my head. Nothing unusual about that, you might say. I would agree, except for the fact that I hadn’t heard the song in question at any recent time. Oh yeah, and the fact that the song was a hit from the 1960’s. That’s right; I spent the entire day with a thirty-five year old song on repeat inside my mind. If you dare, click on this link to hear the song in question.

The song played over and over again all day. At some point in time, the music was joined by weird, fragmented images which cycled through my mind. While I can’t remember everything that passed behind my eyes that day, I assure you that the things I saw were disturbing and strange in the extreme. It was as if my brain had short-circuited, and now had no idea of what constituted normal, healthy thoughts and ideas.

That night, just before falling asleep, I wondered if the craziness would continue the following day. I lay in bed trying to decide if I had in fact gone crazy, or if my fugues could be attributed to external factors. At last, I fell asleep. I awoke the next day to a clear head. The music, and the wild images which accompanied it, was gone. Perhaps I wasn’t crazy after all.

Now, I’ve told you what happened on that long ago Monday.  I have, however, omitted one important fact. The events described above happened on September 10, 2001. That’s right, the day before the terrible terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was as if my brain sensed that something wasn’t right, and picked up on some weird panicked tranmission from beyond. Believe it or not, but I swear it’s all true.

Back in the present (no more drifting into the past today, I promise), the bear team spent Friday, March 1 at Cowles Mountain. Our plan was to hike to the summit of the mountan,which is the hightest point in San Diego. Unfortunately, we failed to check the weather prediction before planning said climb. While the temperature had hovered around sixty degrees for the previous month, it climbed to eighty-five degrees on Friday.

At least we were prepared, sort of. I’d had the foresight to bring along four bottles of water, all of which we consumed during our trek. There were also sandwiches, though neither of us were hungry by the time we arrived at the top. To say that it was hot would be an understatement of epic proportions. But the view! Not only could we see San Diego and the ocean, but also many other mountain peaks and even parts of Mexico.

By the time we made it back to the bottom, we were exhausted and sunburned. For those of you who’ve never experienced having the top of your head sunburned, I strongly urge you to continue to avoid this particular situation. Despite our infirmities, we had a good time. We finished up our outing with a stop at Jamba Juice. Smoothies, oh yeah!

On to this week’s top ten list. Today’s topic: Favorite concerts attended by yours truly. While I don’t get out to many shows anymore, I used to go quite My recent purchase of tickets to the upcoming “Metal Alliance” tour got me to thinking about some of the best shows from the past. . Here we go:

  1. Metallica: 1997, at the Omni in Atlanta.
  2. Soundgarden: 1996, at the Omni in Atlanta.
  3. Black Sabbath: 1998, at Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta.
  4. Megadeth: 1998, at the Tabernacle in Atlanta.
  5. Slayer: 1998, at Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta.
  6. Van Halen: 2007, at Gwinnett Center in Lawenceville.
  7. Jackyl: 2012, at Wild Bill’s in Buford.
  8. Sevendust w/ Drowning Pool: 2000, at the 40 Watt in Athens.
  9. Ministry: 1996, at the International Ballroom in Atlanta
  10.  Poison w/ Cinderella: 1999, at Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta.


There you have it. My favorite metal excursions. There is really nothing quite like that moment when the lights go out and everyone stands in anticipation. Feel free to post some of your favorites in the comments below. And to all my fellow metalheads out there: keep thrashing my friends.

Today I’d like to debut a new feature on “Bear Team:” the thought of the day. Just so we’re all on the same page, this will not be a self-help piece of advice. Nor will it be an inspirational idea or suggestion. Rest assured, my thoughts will have no social redeeming qualities and will provide to public service. Without further ado, here is this week’s thought of the day:

A penny saved is really just the same penny you already had.

There you go; food for thought, or at least something to think about if you’re sitting at home and the power goes out. As always, thanks for reading. See you next time!



Published by: jkmaxwell76

Hi everyone! My name is Keith. I am a lot of things: Traveler, sports fan, photographer, writer, music lover, trier of new recipes, humorist, avid reader, movie buff, poet, and more. All of these things will find their way into my blogs, so be prepared. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy my ramblings!

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