We have a lot of terms for the word “yesterday”. Yesteryear, Days of Yore, Back in the Day. They sound so sad to me. They tauntingly suggest a better time, a moment you’d probably rather relive than the one you might be having right now, on the couch reading blogs, watching lame reruns of Seinfeld or whatever and wishing you could write a love song about what life was like when you were young. That’s nostalgia for ya. Bittersweet.

I can tell you yesterday I played catch in the street in summer with my brother and a nerf football, not just until dusk but after. We stayed up late to watch Saturday Night Live. The American hockey team beat the Russians in the 1980 Olympics. And the Apple logo spun around on the record player while Abbey Road, side 1 was on. We heard that Paul was dead, because he was barefoot on the crosswalk.

Yesterday I sneaked into R rated movies, stole menthol cigarettes from my dad, and loved cherry slurpees. I was awesome at Galaga. I wore striped Dolphins, went everywhere barefoot, and ate at The Apple Pan. I loved driving in my ’68 Cougar down Sunset, to the beach, windows down. No reason. A good high-five made me happy. My first concert was The Police Synchronicity tour, 1983. We drank strawberry margaritas out of a can and got kind of trampled.

Yesterday I didn’t know fear. The scary Russians were too far away. Gas shortages and droughts didn’t mean anything, Watergate. The Shah of Iran. Nope, nada. The scariest thing I had seen was The Exorcist when I was 12. And Charles Manson’s mug shot.

Yesterday wasn’t so long ago. My prom dress still fits. They used to film Charlie’s Angel’s on my block. I can still see my house on reruns. It looks totally different now. The new landscaping is hideous. I wonder what they did with my room.

I’m not sure if it’s yesterday or tomorrow that worries me. The Buddhists believe to be happy, you have to live in the moment. Not so easy. Someone once said “The past is a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”. I don’t know. It ain’t so bad.

Nine Things I Love Because They Are Rad And Fucked Up

9. The Helter Skelter Book

Call me creepy, but ever since I found out when I was young that I shared a birthday with this short little weirdo, I have been fascinated by him. Vincent Bugliosi, the attorney who put away Charlie and his murdering family, penned this definitive book about the events that lead up to the famous blood baths and what is bittersweetly known as “the end of the 60’s”. Helter Skelter may have been a Beatle’s song about an amusement park slide but Manson took it a little further and terrorized our city of Los Angeles over two nights, influencing his drugged-out  (and daddy-issue having) minions to commit multiple murders. “Write something on the wall. Make it witchy.” You can’t make this stuff up.

8. The Peal Jam song “Black”

If you haven’t wallowed in self-pity to this song, you are really missing out. Or your heart hasn’t been thoroughly stomped on yet. It’s dark, depressing, and brilliant. And it makes me want to get a new tattoo.

7. The Shipwreck Dress

Alexander McQueen, 2003, Harper’s Bazaar. It’s ethereal, shredded, and epic. I want to get married in it and then roll around in the sand. Tattered chic at it’s best.

6. The Winchester Mystery House

Poor, grieving Sarah Winchester. It’s the late 1880’s, her infant baby is dead, her husband dies of tuberculosis, and she has nothing left but $20 million dollars. What does she do? She adds on and on and on to her house in San Jose because some wacky psychic told her it would keep the bad spirits away. Now it’s an eerie monument to crazy with 160 rooms, staircases that go nowhere, and ghostly sightings. 38 years of never-ending construction. By the way, her middle name of Lockwood was my grandmother’s maiden name, and now I wonder if we are related.

Check it out: The Winchester Mystery House

5. Deep Fried Shrimp Heads

My new favorite thing about going for sushi. It seems a little weird at first, But these crunchy little things are awesome, eyes and antennae and all. Not all places have them, but I love ’em at Midori on Ventura Blvd.

4. Six Feet Under

There once was a family that lived in Glendale, California in the funeral home that they owned and operated. I say it like that because these characters were so well written, fleshed out if you will, that they seemed absolutely real to me. They’re crazy, disfunctional, and authentically fucked up as a family unit.  And yeah, it’s creepy – every episode starts with a death. I won’t even tell you about the series finale but I sobbed like a grieving widow. R.I.P.

3. Drexl Spivey From True Romance

Oh Gary Oldman. Is there nothing you can’t do? You make me believe that your drug dealing, pimping, racial boundary crossing Drexl is actually kinda HOT. The dreads, the lazy eye, the scars. And he lives in some kind of hellish cracked-out hooker den. I can’t imagine a sicker scenario than this guy as my pimp. “Yeah, I know I’m pretty… But I ain’t as pretty as a couple a titties.”

2. The Cover of Wish You Were Here

I know there are more controversial albums covers than this, like the Beatle’s one with the bloody dead babies for Yesterday and Today. But Pink Floyds 1975 Wish You Were Here just gets to me. What exactly is going on here? One man is standing upright, looking normal as can be, the other one is bending over on fire. So many interpretations. I once was in an art gallery in San Francisco that was selling a large print of this image, I believe signed by the artist, Storm Thorgerson. It was $2,000. I want it. It’s fantastic.

1. The Exorcist

It’s hard to imagine a movie these days that has people so frightened out of their minds that they are actually throwing up in the aisles. That’s the kind of story you hear about when The Exorcist came out in 1973. It was a horrific phenomenon, I believe meant to be seen on the big screen, which I dared to do during a re-release about ten years ago at The Chinese. What is scarier than a little girl named Regan actually possessed by the devil? Talk about good vs. evil. I once worked in a club where you had to take an elevator up. We had an Exorcist party, and we papered the elevator with upside-down Bible pages, and I thought that was scary. This has got to be the most fucked up movie ever. Oh, and nice crucifix scene.

It Was Beauty Killed The Beast

Lately things have been dark inside. Deep inside. It’s the adult equivalent of a child who is sure there is a monster under the bed. Or a scary clown. I saw Poltergeist. These things can be real.

Whatever it is, I think you have it too, at least sometimes. Admit it. An overwhelming sense that life is cruel. Anxiety. Fear. Seasons don’t fear the reaper, but I do. And he looks like King Kong.

Big ol’ lonely Kong lived on Skull Island and battled all day long with the other jungle creatures for bragging rights over their domain. He was a toughie. He had no friends and certainly no girlfriend, which is why he glommed onto beautiful castaway Anne Darrow. He saw her, clad in a skimpy jungle outfit like Princess Leia in the gold bikini, tied to a sacrificial plank, screaming and panicking. Kong wanted to chomp her like a yummy, drippy meatball sub. And he dragged her deep into the bowels of that dark, uncharted territory.

I’m afraid of heights, spiders, never being fully loved, getting stabbed, all the normal things. But it’s more than that. I’m stressed out. I’m broke. I’m unsure of myself all the time. Vulnerable. I don’t know where I belong. I’m like that scared blonde chick, wide-eyed, with the back of my hand over my mouth, in the paw of a giant slobbery gorilla. Life can be pretty fucking vexing. And like me, Fay Wray didn’t know how to tame the wild beast. She only knew the fear inside. Maybe you relate to this ordeal? They remade this movie not once but twice, which tells me there might be a few people who do.

Things didn’t end up do bad for our heroine and the giant ape. When she saw him in the light of day he didn’t seem so scary. Apparently there’s a reason most horror movies take place at night. (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an exception. Which actually makes it even more freakish.) King Kong was just misunderstood, like most of the things that worry and frighten us. He just wanted some love and tenderness.

They say people can cure their own cancer with positive thoughts and meditation. Think: L.A. weather is gorgeous during the summer. A full moon can be mesmerizing. Sometimes I see my dog actually laughing. There is beauty all around, even during a senseless war, real or imagined. There is a famous picture of a hippie who stuck a flower into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle during a Viet Nam protest. My boyfriend gave me a red rose the other day. It was just what I needed. At least now there’s something pretty to look at in the devil’s playground.

Bend With The Remover To Remove

There is a Buddhist story about a little boy who is walking through the woods one day.

For some reason he has a backpack with him that holds all his precious stuff. I’m guessing he never saw Friday the 13th or any other  movie set in the woods where the unsuspecting fool gets jumped by a maniac. I mean, am I the only one who sees this picture and thinks it looks scary?

So our little boy ends up getting jacked by the local thief who takes all his shit. He freaks out. He can’t believe it and throws a huge fit about losing all his money, his Play Station, everything. Now you may think this is a cautionary tale about “attachment”, the source of all unhappiness in the Buddhist tradition. Attachment to your material things, your stupid self-serving negative thoughts, your egotistical ways, bah blah blah. And to some degree it is. But after the kid gets through to the other side of the woods he finds his backpack near a dumpster, with everything still inside. He whoops it up like a crazy person on drugs. He’s ecstatic beyond words. He can’t believe how unbelievably lucky he got. Close-up: our lucky little boy smiles and thanks the universe for giving him back all that is important to him.

I had a similar experience today while hiking up Runyon Canyon. Two months ago I couldn’t walk thanks to a pulled muscle in my back and some excruciating sciatic nerve pain. I guess I had one too many Diet Cokes before I went to yoga one day and I was too frenzied to pay attention to the teacher, and I hurt myself. But it’s amazing what happens when you are given back something that you may have not appreciated to begin with. Why can’t that spoiled little boy be that happy everyday with what he’s got? I don’t think I’ve ever been so stoked to be walking up that canyon. The hard way.

Cliche time: It can be a blessing when something important gets removed from your life. And hellish. Hard on the psyche. I felt like a loser when I couldn’t even walk. It felt like it was going to go on and on forever. The drama queen came out. This is probably a lot like what that scofflaw Lindsay Lohan feels like right now in jail. It’s an overwhelming feeling of doom and defeat. It really sucks when you can’t just roll with things, because in the end that’s what makes life easier. Emotional turmoil can lead to physical injury. And yucky cancer.

I really don’t ever feel like learning life lessons… I’m much more prone to gloomy pessimism. I watch a lot of horror movies and I already know that there’s a killer behind the curtain who is going to chop everyone to little pieces and NO ONE IS GOING TO LIVE. So next time you find yourself walking down the street on a sunny day you should be grateful to be healthy and alive. I know I will be.

Virgins, Feathered Hair, And What I Learned From The Movie Little Darlings

When I was young I knew something awesome was going to happen to me one day. I was unjaded. Boy crazy. And I had Farrah hair and Dolphin shorts, a magic combo for that skate rat to zero in you you across the quad at Palms Jr High and find you foxy. It was the L.A. in the 70’s. It was Bennie and the Jets.

Everything I knew about boys and sex I learned from the ultimate teen sex smackdown Little Darlings. There was virginal little Ferris, like me at 15, who knew she was destined for something fantastic, a poetic soul who longed to experience everything she had read in books. Trash-talking, chain-smoking Angel was the opposite. But she was strikingly soft, even vulnerable when she had to be. She even cried over her post-coital non-virgin status. (People just don’t give this Jersey Shore prototype enough credit for turning a certain stereotype on it’s head. Tough girls have feelings, too, ya know.) And big surprise: neither chick experienced love and lust the way they thought it would be. They were disillusioned.

Ferris was pure and wore white. Angel was tricky; she sported wife-beaters and eye-liner. Ferris used her feminine wiles for man bait to try to seduce the (inappropriately) smolderingly handsome camp counselor. Angel used gum and beer. She wanted bad boy Randy, the Leif Garret type at the boys’ camp, the kind of guy who struts around, flips his hair and says “dude” a lot. Ferris stayed intact. Angel gave it up in a boathouse in the middle of a hot summer night. Both had more in common than they thought: fluffy hair, young lust, and curiosity about “the secret life”.

Something awesome did end up happening to me. I fell in love like Ferris did, the kind of love you can only feel at 17 years old. And it may not have been inspired Romeo and Juliet but it sure felt like it. Unabridged. Unhindered. And with a Devil on one shoulder and an Angel on the other (irony intended), I went forward, a Marlborough in one hand and a Budweiser in the other, and lost it on a boat on the water one night in January.

Maybe , unless you’re Charles Manson, we’re all amazingly good and pure inside. Like a great Beatles song. But even the Fab Four had a dark side: psychadelics, heroin, mistresses. Pacifist John was gunned down by a crazy fan. George, my favorite Beatle, died of cancer. It’s the sweet with the sorrow, the yin and yang, the “ism” and the sobriety. And it’s fantastic, my Little Darlings.