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February 26, 2015 / thackersam

February 25 – 10cc Live in Concert Volume One

10ccWho gets 10cc Live on CD? They should have stopped making it when it was on 8 track. This is one of those naked CDs from the ex’s collection, and I’ve no clue what his motivation was to make this purchase. 10cc I recall had one big hit in the mid-70s and I’m guessing without looking, and before listening that it was “I’m Not In Love,” which I remember as not a bad song, but one that was very much for the times, as they were. I have to keep reminding myself that every step in life is a learning experience and there are sidesteps and missteps, baby steps and back steps. Sure, I get that now that there is something up with my feet that is still undetermined. Hard to say no regrets though, cause I still cringe with certain memories. Although I have a ways to go, I’ve really made a lot of progress and am pretty satisfied with how I’ve turned out. I do like myself much better. At least I can proudly say that I never liked disco. Not that 10cc was a disco band in the least. This little venting session has less to do with the song than the times. Let’s just say I was confused back then.

I was indeed correct however that it was 10cc’s big hit, but I had to listen to the whole CD first, which that song, the big hit, wasn’t even on. Does anyone remember when 10cc was mentioned previously on The Walrus Was Paul? Because it was, back when we were about midway through the A-Z album project. Rather than make you scramble back to search, and because there is no prize as incentive if you get it right, I will remind you. It was when we listened to the Lovin’ Spoonful’s greatest hits. I discovered the meaning of the group’s name and that of 10cc’s were of the same origin. They both refer to the average amount of ejaculate from a human male. Just so you know, I shan’t be entertaining any comments on the subject.

February 23, 2015 / thackersam

February 22 – Help 50th Anniversary

Beatles photosI had me a good workout this evening. I’ve showered, Max is fed, I’m fed and am now settling in with a beer to watch the Academy Awards. I am sorry that Joan Rivers died, but I have always hated the “who are you wearing” thing. I like to see the attire, but it does overshadow the accomplishments of the women. And you can’t wear a who. Anyway, I’ve not seen many of the films this year and am not as adamant about my choices as I was last year. I wanted American Hustle to take everything, but was not unhappy with the winners, besides is Jared Leto not one of the prettiest men you’ve ever seen? And I mean that only as a compliment.

This year, I’ve only seen Gone Girl, Wild, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything and Birdman, and am rooting for the latter. Michael Keaton in particular, whom I have loved since first seeing him in Nightshift after my Rickie Lee Jones concert was rained out. I don’t want Budapest Hotel to win. I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums and the ex is equally enthusiastic about The Life Aquatic and we were both disappointed in his latest contribution. We did see The Lego Movie and hated it. I’m glad it wasn’t nominated for best animated film despite all the hoopla, and hope the song does not win. Unless it is sung by Bruce or Melissa Etheridge or the like, I will probably leave the room when it is performed (yes, I know I live in a studio apartment).

The Beatles’ Help was never nominated for an academy award, but it is celebrating its 50th anniversary and I found this article with all these nifty pictures: The Beatles have been nominated for three Oscars – for musical score and adaptation for A Hard Day’s Night, and for Best Original Score for Let it Be, which they actually won. Paul McCartney was nominated for best song for “Live and Let Die” from the Bond film of the same name, which lost to “The Way We Were,” and then for the song from Vanilla Sky, a Tom Cruise movie that I liked very much, but seemed to be in the minority. That lost to “If I Didn’t Have You by Randy Newman” from Monsters, Inc. It was Newman’s first win after being nominated 14 times previously for songs and scores of various movies, so I’m more than okay with that.

And now, I’m going to watch what they’re wearing on the red carpet.

February 19, 2015 / thackersam

February 18 – Allman Brothers Band – a decade of hits 1969-1979

AllmanSurprising that I was able to so easily sing along with “Midnight Rider.” I’m tearing myself away from Sly & co. now and then to poke through the CDs I’ve been collecting here and there. This is one of the ex’s contributions. I love “Sweet Melissa,” but that’s where the fugginess started and it began sounding like a disco song. I now understand what the ex meant when he handed me the small zip-lock baggie that contained the 17 caseless CDs and said he didn’t know if they worked.

So, I’ve nothing to say about the Allman Brothers, except – really, three instrumentals on one best of record? However, I do have one memory attached to them, having to do with that wayward time in my life, or should I say during one of the wayward times, when I was an assistant manager of a Victoria’s Secret, an experience that made be realize that I wasn’t meant for retail, well not corporate retail. I got scolded once when I was assigned to do the windows around the holidays. I tied the sleeves of the nightgowns and robes together in their fronts so it looked like the invisible hands were clasped together, as instructed by the Victoria’s Secret window guide that all stores were supposed to follow. I stacked the boxes, putting a bow on top as depicted in the manual and then, because we were selling these little stuffed bears holding transparent containers with red and green Hershey’s Kisses, I took a few of the bears from their display and put them in the arms of the nightgown and robe and in front of the stacks of pink and white boxes. When my manager came in, the first thing she did was yell “Who put those bears in the window,” like she had the good-old Victoria’s Secret handbook memorized. I had to put them back in the display from where we’d already sold two, the first two sold, during my shift.

Why did I work there? For a while I was working at an American craft gallery, and I liked Victoria’s Secret’s bras. Hey, I like nice underwear. I thought I could sell it, I was a good manager and wanted to give retail a try, but I hated the experience. Nearly every bit of it. You try working in a place where skeezy guys come in thinking that the young women that worked there were the models or would be walking around in nothing but bras and panties, or the lunkheaded boyfriends coming in to pick stupid fights with their girlfriends making them run out in tears, or the couples who thought it was cool or sexy to have sex in the dressing rooms. I won’t even go into the video that we had to play over and over, of the recent fashion show in which they were hawking the latest line of girdles (they tried to dress them up but they were girdles nonetheless) and this woman’s voice, over the boom boom booming music, would say “women are in control,” when she should have been saying “women are being controlled.” Yes. All of this and more happened and I was only there for eight months.

What has all this got to do with the Allman Brothers, you may ask. Well, most of the young women that worked there were pretty, or kind of dopey, or both. I liked many of them actually. Some not at all. But there was one girl, I think she was nineteen or so, very pleasant, quiet, dressed mostly in button-down shirts and skirts right above the knee, not at all a bad looking human being, but not like some of the cutesy, out-going girls that the manager had hired. She had a slightly stocky build and looked like she came from a big Irish family filled with brothers who were firemen. As a matter of fact, I think part of that is true. She wasn’t friends with any of the other girls, she didn’t go out drinking or dancing with them, but she got along with them fine. She kept to herself mostly, basically just doing her job. She was very reliable. I liked her very much for that alone. I think everyone kind of liked her. Anyway, the whole point of the story is that one day when I was walking the 20 minutes to work, she picked me up in her red Toyota that was blasting the Allman Brothers. Cool I thought. Most of the girls were into the dance music of the time. She even brought a six-pack to the summer party and swigged it from the bottle. We were all drinking wine.

And that was just one big tangent, wasn’t it. But tonight’s post is completely extemporaneous. I only used the notebook for one or two notes while I was exercising. And besides, that’s what listening to the Allman Brothers made me think of. I could have written about Cher, and then Sonny and Cher (did you know that Cher and Gregg Allman put out an album together and billed themselves as Allman and Woman). I know I said I don’t like Gregg Allman, but he did put out some pretty good tunes. And this CD ended with “Whipping Post,” which had only mild fugginess.

February 16, 2015 / thackersam

February 15 – This is not about Twiggy

TwiggyI’m going to try to come up with relevant pictures now and then because I have been listening to nothing but Sly and the Family Stone (a slight exaggeration), and I still have tons to say about him and the gang (another exaggeration), particularly with recent events concerning Sly himself. But I am aware that you’ve not been all that interested. I will write more about them at another time and will spare you now. Besides, I am in a kind of mood, and have that kind of ability to dredge up old memories and replay them in my head like old movies (probably why I have an ample forehead), and have no problem writing another story about Vicki and Amy.

So, you know about my problem with procrastination – this isn’t the story, just more backstory, maybe an early tangent. I bought a scanner… oh I’m thinking sometime before last summer, with points I had built up without even knowing I was doing so, and it’s still sitting in the box. Not even opened. This is why you’re seeing a picture of ’60s model Twiggy, who if you’ve been paying attention has been mentioned before, instead of a picture of me, Vicki and the ex. Vicki, her father and oldest brother had just run the marathon. I know! You’re just dying to see it, aren’t you? It’s really cute. And I am still well aware I owe you a current progress photo as the two that are posted, the big belly and my squatting picture, are about a year and a half old. I’ve said it before, but I’ve not changed that much except I cannot figure out what to do with my hair.

Vicki and Amy and I knew each other since high school and hung out together along with a few other girls, which included Vicki’s sister. Vicki and I grew closer after high school and by the time she moved back to New York when we were all in our mid-20s, we were like sisters. We all remained in touch on some level, and a couple of us have recently reconnected, I am happy to say.

Vicki and I lived together for a year and a half in my apartment in Bayside, along with my cat Bubba, who you will remember from a previous post because he was named after Gladys Knight’s brother. Amy, who still lived on the Island with her husband, was hanging out with us one day. Bubba was a very smart cat, so after a while the water pistol I had to keep him from picking on the rug became moot. I often recommend training a cat with a water pistol, so when they are climbing up the drapes you just give a little shot. It doesn’t hurt them, but they don’t like it. Bubba figured it out and would just look at me after getting spritzed a few times as if to say “Really? Is that all you got?” But the pistol remained filled just in case. I don’t recall how it started, but I imagine that I picked up the gun and shot Vicki that day because the next thing I remember was being backed into a dining room chair after Vicki had responded by picking up the plant sprayer, also full and which could eat my little orange plastic pistol for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The pistol let out one quick, thin stream of water, and the plant sprayer, well let’s just say I was getting creamed. I could see Amy laughing along with us, and looking like she so wished she could join in. Then suddenly Vicki stops and hands me the spray bottle. What a kind gesture. Just like her. Idiot. I tossed Amy the gun. Wait. Please let me say that again. How many times in my life do I think I’m going to have the opportunity to use a line like that and have it be true? I tossed Amy the gun and we chased Vicki, who looked surprisingly surprised, into the bathroom. She managed to shut the door on us, but we waited her out. “Okay, I’m coming out now,” she’d say. “Truce.” She’d open the door and we’d nail her. Happened a couple of times and then Vicki started complaining about the paint on the door peeling and the wallpaper getting wet. In all fairness, when she moved in she did put a lot of time and effort into wallpapering the bathroom and painting the trim. I didn’t care about that sort of thing, but she did. You might think though that if she were that concerned about how the bathroom looked, she would have been less oblivious to the glob of toothpaste she would always leave in the sink, particularly right after I had cleaned it.

She was let out of the bathroom eventually. I needed a towel to dry off.

February 12, 2015 / thackersam

February 11 – Pigs on the Beach

pigs (2)I still have a bit of leftover melancholy. And I’m fighting with myself. I’ve been allowing myself some very bad snacking, knowing that I have to be stricter with my diet and not yet willing to put myself through it. In fact, on Monday night I stopped in at the local market to purchase basic stuff, aware that I had no snackies at home. Good, I told myself, so you won’t have anything, as I simultaneously decided to see if I could locate the cookie aisle. If I don’t find it in the next 3 seconds… Then I heard those dreaded words – May I help you? “I hate to say it, but I’m looking for cookies.” The guy laughed and led me to the nearby aisle, and asked why. “I didn’t want to say it out loud,” I explained leaving it at that. I also didn’t want to tell him that he was now to blame for my cookie purchase, and would be further to blame after I finished the whole package, which I did. But I also exercised. I’m not letting myself get away with that. In fact, I’ve been upping the aerobics and the workouts are now longer. I’ve been doing that for six days straight. And I was going to do that tonight, after eating half of a 16oz bag of pistachios, but I’ve been thinking of Vicki, and I’ve been thinking of Amy, and of this particular story. I was so anxious to write it, that I gave myself permission to stop the workout after the half hour aerobics section.

Back when we were in our mid-twenties, when bodies were healthier, leaner and more fit, we were lying on the beach. It was one of those great summer days. Sunny and hot, it was a perfect day to play hooky and go down to Jones Beach. We were lying side by side, toes facing east to maximize the sun coverage, and bikini-clad, though nothing immodest. Of course, mine was black. Most of my clothes have been and are still black. True, it’s sexy, but also very practical. Amy and Vicki were slathered in sunscreen. I come from darker stock and never bothered. Amy covered her face with a big floppy hat, Vicki with her shirt. We lazed, yes that’s the best word for it. Lazing – when the sun is covering your mostly naked body, warming and soothing, the wafting beach smell of ocean and body oil, and that progressively muffled generic beach sound of chatter, squealing, waves and gulls. Lazing – not quite asleep but retreating further and further into yourself. I was awake enough to sense that I should shift one side of my untied bikini top to avoid any embarrassing slippage, and awake enough to hear someone say “Don’t touch your breast,” just as I did so. Wait. What? So I feigned another shift and then heard “I said, don’t touch your breast.” Yeah, okay, that was for me. I grabbed the strings of the top together at the back of my neck, sat up, turned around and said “Are you talking to me? Because if you are – shut up.” I glared for a mere moment at one of the guys and laid back down, realizing that I just saw more than a half a dozen guys some sitting on beach chairs, some standing, all facing us. Having loaded the gun, I closed my eyes as Vicki shot forth. She landed into these jerks yelling at them that they weren’t allowed to be pigs on the beach. “What, you don’t like pigs,” one said while another oinked. She went on for a bit, then returned to her sunbathing. Soon the chatter of piggy men stopped and they were gone.

Amy hadn’t stirred once during the whole thing, but was able to relate to us what they had been saying before I had touched my breast. I, they had determined, was the easy one (you know, because of the black bikini thing), and Vicki was a good girl because she was wearing a cross, a fact that Vicki disputed every time we brought up that story. It was a small gold cross, probably a gift from a relative, but it was there nonetheless. Amy never told us what they said about her.

February 8, 2015 / thackersam

February 8 – Heidi Berry – Miracle

HeidiWhile I’m pretty much back in the swing of things exercise-wise, it’s slow-going with the eating better, and yes, less. Thursday, if you remember, was my day to get back on the stick. I’d already gotten three pretty good workouts in for the week, adding two more for Friday and Saturday, but I couldn’t start rethinking the food consumption on the day promised as I had to eat the leftover chicken taquitos, vegetable samosa and three-cheese pizza from the ex’s visit the day before. I also polished off what was left of a 20oz bottle of coke. That was a treat. I’m not drawn to soda, I drink a lot of seltzer, water, coffee no sugar, and the sweet coke flavor of my youth tasted good and provided some impressive belching that even woke Max from a deep sleep. So, I am not going to post my weight again for quite some time, which should please my cousin, who thought I was insane to do so in the first place.

As I said, the ex was over Wednesday and he came equipped with a backpack with an additional jacket and I don’t know what else inside, except for the sandwich-sized zip-lock baggie he produced from the pack that contained 17 CDs. “Where’re the covers,” I asked. “Yeah, and I don’t know how many of them actually work,” was his response. He wanted to play this one while I heated up the assorted of frozen aforementioned delicacies. I don’t know who Heidi Berry is, but I could tell immediately that this was not up my alley and it made me think back at a time when ex-2, with whom I had a minorly major relationship tried to set the mood with Enya. Not that there was any mood-setting attempts Wednesday, mind you. I listened to this CD that one time, and in fairness I put it on again this evening and noped my way through the beginning of each song. Heidi Berry had a few Celtic folky-type albums in the late 80s and 90s. This was her last in 1996 followed by a compilation.

As for the other naked CDs, we will only explore 14 of them as we are done with Heidi Berry, one is the Squeeze best of that my financially irresponsible friend had given me, and another is the Eurythmics best of CD that the ex had given me a long time ago along with my first, and still only CD player.

On a totally unrelated note, I love opening up a new notebook and this one feels really good. It’s Staples brand, and is 1-subject, college ruled as are all my notebooks, 100 sheets with a sturdy turquoise cover and crisp, clear lines. I like it. I should probably use the turquoise pen now. This one’s purple. I always have a black or dark blue pen as a back-up because sometimes you’re just not in a pastel kind of mood.

February 4, 2015 / thackersam

February 4 – Concert for Vicki

Pooh's CornerI have promised myself that when I hit the next weight milestone I will treat myself to a sausage and pepper hero from the truck outside my office building. For years I’ve been tempted by the aroma but have yet to succumb. The last milestone, which was getting comfortably under 150, came before the holiday season and being that I do experience holiday blues I was not about to make it worse for me by denying myself treats. I did not spoil myself rotten nor treat myself to something I had not yet earned, and I did start to pull out of it after the beginning of January.

Then I received an email that convinced me that I would need to be miserable a little longer. A memorial was to be held for my dear friend Vicki to mark the one year anniversary of her very untimely and unexpected death. I miss her, I miss her, I miss her. So much so I actually spoke at the service that was this past Friday. I hate speaking in public and often explain that I am a writer, not a speaker.

It was billed as the Concert for Vicki as she was fond of the annual Concert for George that honored her favorite Beatle. Her husband started it off by playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on flute. Her sister spoke then sang a cappella a song from Mary Poppins that they used to sing together as kids, her oldest son spoke of their sharing of musical tastes and played a Mozart piece on piano. Various people played various classical pieces on various instruments, and others spoke. It was all very nice, however I kept thinking that someone needed to play some Talking Heads, a group she loved – a little “Psycho Killer” on clarinet, or Elvis Costello, whom she also loved. I think she would have appreciated hearing someone bang out “Pump it Up” on piano or even “Watching Her Detectives” on violin. But it was so good to see some of my surrogate family again. I spoke for a little over a minute, a prepared speech that I started off by explaining that I would rather have a Brazilian wax in Macy’s window than speak in public. I never looked up from my typed page, but fortunately I heard some laughter. And then I spoke about how Vicki entertained us one time when we were still in our teens by reading from Winnie the Pooh and I read a short quote.

I have allowed myself further wallowing by eating incorrectly, not exercising enough and gaining back some of the belly I had shaved off, by making myself promise myself that I would get back on track starting tomorrow, the day she died a year ago. The sausage and peppers will just have to wait a bit longer.Pooh Quote


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