[Summer Guide] Simple Pleasures

The summer of 1980 was exceptionally simple for the 12-year-old me—not that 12-year-olds lead very complicated lives, but still. I remember pedaling on my banana-seat Schwinn from my La Habra house to Brea Mall, just to bask in the killer air conditioning at the ice-skating rink that was once there (and to laugh at the newest naughty toys at Spencer's Gifts, like candy underwear, rubber dogshit and squirting plastic toilets—the place was 12-year-old summertime heaven). There was a lot of comic-book shopping done at 7-Eleven while I sucked down Coke Slurpees, back when a 24-ounce cup was considered obscenely large. I happily drowned myself in the ocean of beautiful vinyl LPs at Tower Records and recall how the clerks seemed to really, really enjoy those funny-smelling cigarettes they smoked on their breaks. And plenty of 20-mile-long late-afternoon car trips with Mom down Beach Boulevard to serene Huntington State Beach (never the city side because that's where all the rowdy assholes went; some things do never change), past such long-gone landmarks as the Alligator Farm, Knott's Berry Farm's Jungle Island and the mysterious Pussycat Theater in Buena Park, where they never seemed to show any movies I'd ever heard of. ("Hey, Mom—who's Debbie, and what's she doing in Dallas?")

Simpler times, simpler pleasures. Hey—sounds like we got ourselves a theme for our annual Summer Guide! This year, we're focusing on the "easy" part of the classic lyric "Summertime, and the living is easy" (we know you're thinking of Sublime's "Doin' Time" right about now, but we're humming the Porgy and Bess standard, thanksverymuch), serving up more than 150 sizzlin', smokin', barbecuin' tips to make these next three months as simple and pleasurable as possible. Among them: walks on the beach, outdoor dinners, heaping slabs of Pinkberry, baseball games, bike rides, air conditioning, fire pits, amazing music, kick-ass theater and bitchen books. We've also got ways to keep your inner Goth from getting too much sun, the best of what's left of Angels-game giveaways, summer do's and dont's, and a helluva lot more. In short, we'll do just about anything to get you away from the goddamn TV.

What was Debbie doing in Dallas?

 
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