Tag Archives: Johnny Depp

My Back Pages.

This is a facebook post written to me by my friend, Ellanee, circa January 2008:

i hope that one day, i am as cool as you. i hope that one day, i make convenience store clerks fall in love with me while i am wearing pajama pants and i hope that one day, i own a [VHS tape] of malcolm mcdowell as a paraplegic. and that i can drink 500 glasses of water in 2 seconds.

I copied the post and saved it as a Word document.  I was that touched.

I can’t believe it was four years ago that Ellanee and I solidified our friendship one afternoon over too much Captain Morgan and too much burnt popcorn.  It was Sunday.  The plan was to watch the Tim Burton version of Sweeney Todd.  That was it.

“Want a drink?” became, “Want another drink?” which became, “Pause this, I have to pee” and, “Pause this, I have to smoke.”  Finally, it was, “Pause this, we’re out of popcorn.”

We walked down the street to the neighborhood liquor store.  At the time, I found it obscenely convenient to have a liquor store so nearby.  Looking back, it was just obscene.

The walk to the store was really something special.  It was raining and we looked ridiculous.  My hair was thrown up in a messy, greasy excuse for a bun, and I was wearing black pajama pants with hot pink bunny rabbits printed on them.  I also had on a black t-shirt with cartoon monkeys playing guitars.  I believe Ellanee and I were both wearing fuzzy slippers, but I may be thinking of a different occasion.  Ellanee was struggling to light her cigarette while avoiding puddles and remaining upright.  We weren’t just two tipsy college girls — we were poetic.  We were divine.  We were a scene from Withnail & I. 

We were Rain Dogs.

We exploded into the liquor store like a Ralph Steadman cartoon.  There was no one else in the store, which left us free to stumble down the aisles in our solitary fancy examining the tiny plastic bags of gummy sharks, debating whether or not we should buy apple rings, arguing about Swedish Fish versus Sour Patch Kids, etc.  We managed to look through the entire store without finding any popcorn.

I ran up to the counter and roared, “Do you have popcorn?

The hippie behind the counter smiled.

“Yeah,” he said.  “Over there.”

Our brief interaction was sobering.  I noticed he was young.  Then, I noticed he was wearing a beanie.  A beanie.  And he looked cute in it.  He looked damn cute in it.  A young, cute hippie in a beanie was smiling at me, the pajama-wearing, obscenity-spouting asshole who was drunkenly demanding popcorn at 3:00 in the afternoon on The Lord’s Day.

I managed to formulate a “Thank you,” and then stumbled in the direction of the popcorn.  I found Ellanee in the candy aisle.

“I know where the popcorn is,” I said.
“I want Red Vines.”
“Get some,” I said.
“Will you eat some?” she asked, raising her voice a bit.
“You have to eat some!”

I slammed the three-pack of popcorn down on the counter.

“You found it!” said the hippie.

“Yeah,” I managed.

He didn’t say anything; just smiled his hippie smile.

As soon as we were outside, Ellanee exploded with, “He liiiiiiiikes you!  He was kinda cuuuuuuuute!  He looooooooooves yoooooooou!”

I denied any and all accusations of winning the affection of the hippie behind the counter.

“It’s truuuuuuue!” she continued.  “He was lookin’ at you and smiiiiilin’ at yoooooou…”


I used my hands to block the wind and rain from Ellanee’s lighter while she lit her cigarette.

“Nope,” she said.  “He fell in love with you.”

When we got back to my house we microwaved a bag of popcorn, mixed another pair of cocktails, and watched Johnny Depp kill a whole lotta people.

I was a junior in college and every little thing that happened to me was important.  All-nighters were news-worthy.  Class presentations were news-worthy.  I rewarded myself for making it to my 8am classes.  My idea of stress was having to write an essay and do laundry.  If I had a free evening, I spent it writing poetry or preparing for my radio show or watching some documentary about Bob Dylan or Nico and crying over music and history and my love for all that weird shit called “art.”

On January 17th, I will officially be 25 years old; my New Year’s Resolution is to act like it.  At the same time, I need to get back in touch with an earlier version of myself.  I don’t mean I’m going to casually get plastered on Sunday afternoons and start dating liquor store clerks (again), but I think it’s time I started taking myself seriously (again).  I want to think that what I do is important.  I want to reward myself for my hard work.  I want to set aside time for creativity.  I don’t want to cry about Bob Dylan and Nico because I feel shitty, but because I love Bob Dylan and Nico so damn much.

I hope that one day, I am as cool as 21-year-old Me.

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The Scuzzy Sons-of-Bitches Who Light Up My Life Part III: Captain Jack Sparrow


Captain Jack Sparrow

The Pirate Who Taught Me Not To Not Give A Fuck


I have been putting way too much thought into this.

For the last two weeks I have been laboring over this little riff about Captain Jack Sparrow.  I’ve written, deleted, and re-written countless Perfect Introductions.  I’ve spent an obscene amount of hours tinkering with witticisms.  All I did last week at work was mess with this thing.  Was I happy with anything I wrote?  No, not really.

Sometimes, writing is very easy for me.  I’ll come up with 1,000 words in an hour, read them once, pat myself on the back, and call it a night.  Other times, I’ll write for two hours and then feel stuck.  I’ll know where I want to go, but have no idea how to get there.  I’ll then go back, read what I have, and think, “This is just not what I want.”  That moment is just plain crushing.  Why the Hell have I spent so much time on this piece of shit?  How the Hell have I spent so much time on this piece of shit?  Why even bother finishing this piece of shit?

When that happens, there’s only one thing I can do, and that is wait for The Muse to arrive.  Sometimes, she appears to me in the form of a song.  Other times, in the form of a memory.  Once that bitch shows up, shit gets real.  I don’t delete everything I have already done — I gut it like a dead fish.  I tear its insides out of its asshole.  I make that piece of shit my prison wife.  I make it work.

I have yet to get to that point.  All I’ve been doing for days is editing bits here and there — taking out a few things, rearranging a few things — and none of it has added up to much.  Where The Hell is The Muse?  Is she going to show up this time?

Here’s the thing: Captain Jack Sparrow is one of my favorite people of all time.  Yes.  I’m 24 years old, and I still idolize the stupid pirate Johnny Depp has been playing for eight years.  I know that most of the sequels sucked, but I still went to see ’em in the damn theater out of respect and love and loyalty. I’m not a Trekkie, I have never been to Comic-Con, and I didn’t see Captain America because I didn’t want to.  When it comes to Pirates of the Caribbean, I go full Dungeon Master.

That was a little scary for me to admit.  The fact that that was scary was scary for me to admit.  Somebody save me from myself!

I don’t suppose too many 24 year olds feel the same way about the freaking Pirates movies, but why not?  It’s true, Captain Jack Sparrow is not as iconic as Han Solo, Indiana Jones, or any other smooth-talkin’ hero played by Harrison Ford, but ya know what?  He will be.  I firmly believe that years from now, when Johnny Depp looks like Jack Nicholson, women all over America will show the Pirates movies to their kids, and a new generation of Captain Jack Sparrow worshippers will dress up as slightly gay pirates for Halloween.  Like it or not, good ol’ Captain Jack is here to stay.  Who am I to write about his greatness?

For the 500th time, here goes nothin’.


What the Hell was popular in 2003?  I honestly can’t remember off the top of my head; I’d have to ask the internet.  Seriously.  I have no idea what songs came out that year, what the hit television shows were, or whether Brad was screwing Jenn or Angie.  Did Britney still have a whole head of hair?  Was Paris an amateur porn star yet?  Had NSYNC officially disbanded?  I don’t know.  I mean, I remember the U.S. invaded Iraq that year, but I don’t remember why.  Do you?

In 2003 I was in 10th grade.  I was 16.  I dug Bob Dylan and Harold And Maude.  “Idiot Wind” was my I’m-A-Teenager-And-Perpetually-Heartbroken anthem, and “Life On Mars?” was my bad day ballad.  I had Velvet Goldmine memorized.  My favorite TV shows were on BBC America.

You see, I don’t remember what was popular that year because I didn’t care.  Was I going to hear “Heroin” on KROQ?  Nopers.  Was I going to see Iggy Pop on MTV?  No freaking way.  Was I going to see Ardal O’Hanlon or Reece Shearsmith in People?  Not likely.  (Who the Hell are they?)  I didn’t care about anything that was happening in real time; I was only concerned with glam rock, hippy culture, and men from The UK.

Then I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl for the first time, and Johnny Depp made it to the top of my list of “concerns.”  The “first time”?  Yes.  Over the course of the summer, I saw it six times in the damn movie theater.  I didn’t go alone — my friends were more than happy to join me.

Me?  Little Miss I-Hate-Everything-That-Isn’t-Subtextually-About-Heroin-Addiction?

Yes, Pirates was a bigass, dumbass summer blockbuster, but let’s be frank here — there have been way bigger, way dumber summer blockbusters.  What made Pirates less dumb?  Captain Jack Sparrow.  He was an excellent character, and Johnny Depp played him brilliantly.  He was hilarious, sexy, and didn’t give a fuck.  At 16, I wished I didn’t give a fuck either.  I may not have cared about being trendy, but, despite my best efforts, I still cared about my grades, my appearance, my relationship status (thank GOODNESS facebook didn’t exist back then), and all the other bullshit that haunts teenage females.

When Captain Jack Sparrow first appeared on the screen, head held high as his shitty boat gradually sank to the bottom of the harbor, I felt what can only be described as Enlightened.  “Someday soon,” I thought, “I will not give a fuck.”

No, I didn’t start smudging my eyeliner and wearing a funny hat.  Je refuse.  I did, however, feel a little less crappy about having to wake up at 6am for my summer geometry class.  Nothing I can’t handle.  I also didn’t worry too much when I heard the ten-minute-warning bell during nutrition break.  So what if I’m thirty seconds late for the second half of class?  What’s my teacher really going to do about it?  When it was time to start studying for my final, I didn’t feel the overpowering anxiety that had plagued me since Ms. Bell’s 7th grade math class.  I’m not gonna fail this one.  Maybe I’ll get a B.  So what?  I don’t give a fuck.  


Three years later, Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man’s Chest was released.  I was one of the freaks who bought tickets days in advance.  Some people hated the movie, but I loved it.  I saw it four times in total.  This time around, though, my friends weren’t psyched to go over and over again —  I was the only person in the group who still considered Captain Jack Sparrow my fantasy boyfriend.  I had to get resourceful, IE: beg my parents to come with me.  Dorky?  I didn’t give a fuck.

One night, about a month later, I got into a pretty heated argument with the guy I was dating at the time.  We were having our nightly, “I miss you.  Summer’s been so lonely without you.  I can’t wait to see you in Santa Cruz.  Blah Blah Blah Bullshit” conversation when, quite suddenly, things turned evil.  He said some rather messed up things to me; things that stuck with me for a while.  At around 3am I called it quits and went to bed.  I just couldn’t defend myself anymore; it was exhausting.  This pattern continued for several nights, and every one of them was more miserable than the one before.  Why am I putting up with this? I wondered.

One of those nights, I had a dream that I was a pirate.   I had been kidnapped by Davey Jones’s crew, and we were in a small tavern by the ocean watching Davey Jones make some kind of “rah rah rah” speech up on a stage.  Next to me was the chest with Davey Jones’s heart, and I knew that I had to get the chest back to my crew so we could stab the heart and reclaim the sea.  (In case you missed it, that is pretty much the plot of Pirates II.)  Mustering all my courage, I grabbed the chest, threw it in my pirate satchel, and ran out of the tavern.  I knew that I’d be killed if the pirates caught me, but I had to take the risk.  I ran for a while, and then, gradually, the satchel became heavier and heavier.  I mean really heavy.  I tried to keep running, but that damn satchel was making it impossible for me to continue.

I woke up before the evil pirates made me into shark bait.  I rolled out of bed, picked up the phone, and made the call.  As I listened to the ringing, ringing, ringing, I thought about Captain Jack Sparrow at the end of the sequel, when the Kraken comes to eat him alive.  He knows he’s going to die, but rather than wait for that moment to arrive, he pulls out his sword and jumps right into the fucker’s mouth.

To this day, when I’m faced with a fucked up situation that is definitely going to hurt, I think of this scene.  Call it nerdy, but conjuring this image provides me with tremendous badassary.  It has never failed me.


I suppose I had a difficult time putting all of this into words because in order to explain why Captain Jack Sparrow belongs on this list, I had to reveal some pretty weird stuff about myself.  Captain Jack Sparrow helped you pass geometry?  Captain Jack Sparrow helped you end a toxic relationship?  Yes. Yes, he did.  Does this mean you don’t love me anymore?

It is a Saturday evening in August, 2011.  As I write this, I am listening to Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love.” I first heard this song when I was in ninth grade.  I had already fallen in love with “Perfect Day” thanks to Mark Renton, so I typed “Lou Reed” into KaZaa.  I have now been a Lou Reed fan for ten years, and “Satellite of Love” has never sounded bad to me.  I have never gotten tired of it, and I will never get over it.  You see what I’m getting at?  If it’s acceptable for Lou Reed, or any other musician, to be an important person in my life, then I don’t see what’s wrong with loving Captain Jack Sparrow the way that I do.

And anyway, I don’t give a fuck.

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For Melanie, For Everything

My good friend Melanie turned another year older on June 8.  After her birthday dinner, I presented a belated birthday present to my friend Nicole, who had her birthday on May 11.

I’m a bit behind.  Just a bit.  Let it be known that I am not behind because I don’t care.  On the contrary, I’m behind because I care very, very much.

I first met Melanie in Miss Warren’s third grade class.  We were seven-years-old.  She was very skinny and had big, round glasses — I had totally excellent bangs and wore awkward Jockey sports bras.  Once, during a time when Melanie and I sat next to each other in class, I was reading my vocabulary sentences aloud to our table when, quite suddenly, an ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE came out of my nose.  I did my best to sniff it back in immediately, but it was too late — everyone at the table had seen the ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE come out of my nose.  Everyone laughed, myself included.  Embarrassed that I may still have snot in my nose, I held my vocabulary sentences in front of my face.  Melanie, without missing a beat (as usual), leaned right over to me and said, “Be careful, now, don’t get any snot on your homework!”

Hours later, Melanie acted as if nothing had happened.  We practiced writing paragraphs and multiplying by 4’s — the day went on like any other.  In fact, The ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE Incident was never brought up again.  She could have asked Miss Warren to give her a new seat — after all, there was no real explanation for my ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLE, and there was no guarantee that this wouldn’t be a regular occurrence — but she didn’t.  She got over it.

It really wasn’t until 5th grade that Melanie and I became Partners In Lunacy.  With 5th grade came our love for writing silly songs (favorites such as “BFG,” “When The Sun Turns Grey (El Niño Returns From His Lair),” “Bakery Goodies (Have Faith in Your Mother)”…), the invention of The Butter Girls comic strip, our obsession with Billy Madison; the kinds of things that lasting friendships are made of.  The shenanigans were endless: we used to pass each other notes using her Merry-Go-Round pencil sharpener as a means of transporting and camouflaging our precious messages; during a week long rainstorm (which, actually, must have been El Niño), we spent every precious minute of recess time writing ridiculous stories on our classroom’s brand new iMacs; we were separated during an assembly because I made her laugh by whispering “Mouth-watering marshmallows” in her ear; during Outdoor Ed we stole a pair of our friend’s underwear and hung it from a rafter above our bunk beds.

Looking at the paragraph I just wrote, I realize that very little has changed.

Melanie and I have now been friends for 14 years.  A few things are different (she wears contacts and has traded in her skinny physique for a downright slammin’ bod), but we are still very much the same people we were when we first became friends — we make up songs, think up kickass ideas for comic strips, and obsess over silly movies.  Neither of us are too proud to own things such as pencil sharpeners shaped as Merry-Go-Rounds — in fact, I think I should go find some as soon as possible — and as far as stealing underwear for the sole purpose of having a good giggle fit, well, yeah, that sounds like us.  Most importantly, though, is that Melanie is still the kind of person who will be your friend even after she’s seen ENORMOUS SNOT BUBBLES come out of your nose.

So, Mel, happy belated birthday.  Part II of your birthday card begins NOW.

I couldn’t just buy you one.   Birthday cards don’t come with pictures like THESE:


On Tuesday, I decided that I finally had the time to assemble your gift.  I went to the mall in search of a cute journal.  Yes, a cute journal.  I had originally planned on decorating a journal for you.  That is not what I ended up doing.

I hate the mall parking lot.  It’s full of SUVs with old Bush/Cheney stickers on them.  Parked next to me on Tuesday, however, was a BLUE CORVETTE!!!  It gave me a thrill.

I wonder what the geniuses behind Eiffel 65 are up to these days…

The first thing I did when I got to the mall was look inside Bath & Body Works to see how much they charge for bottles of Piña Colada Butt Lotion and jars of Nipple Butter.  Don’t ask.

NEXT, I went to a cute little crafty-ish store that just opened up.  They had a PERFECT journal that was just BEGGING to be ripped apart and glued back together again by moi.  Of course, it was for display only and there were no others like it.

I went to the outside shopping area to take the stairs back up to my car, and I saw THIS:

“Shop Irresponsibly SALE.”  Our country amazes me. Corporate Fat Cats have come up with a way of using The Recession to their advantage.  This ad says, “Yeah, we know you have no money…but we bet you just sit up all night dreaming of all the STUFF you could BUY if you had some, right?  Don’t you just wanna say, ‘Fuck it, I want sunglasses’?  Well just DO IT!  YES!  DO IT!  It’ll feel SO GOOD to be BAD!”  It reminds me of the kind of thing we would discuss while watching Easy Rider and drinking Lemon Drops.

As I was walking back to The Former Site of Sisley — because even though Sisley is gone I still only ever park there — I passed friggin’ Papyrus.  I thought, “Screw it.  Maybe they’ll have what I’m looking for.”  Dude, they didn’t.  I wasn’t going to buy a $30 leather-bound journal and then rip it apart and glue it back together.  I was about to leave when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of a BEAUTIFUL shade of blue.  I looked, and, oh yes, it was a journal!  Upon closer examination, I saw that it was a…

…TAYLOR SWIFT JOURNAL.  What?  She’s such a renowned writer she has her own line of journals?  Like Rachel Ray’s “EVOO?”  Or Emeril’s bottled “Essence?”  Ridiculous.

For a moment I considered buying it so I could rip it apart and glue it back together IRONICALLY.  Ultimately I decided I wouldn’t buy the journal because I never want Taylor Swift to see a single red cent of my hard earned money.  Shop responsibly, Steff.

Needless to say, I came home empty handed.  Well, not true — I did end up buying some underwear, because every damn pair I own has multiple holes.  It’s not as sexy as it sounds.

YESTERDAY, though, when I returned to the mall to purchase Piña Colada Butt Lotion and Nipple Butter (don’t ask — and yes, I’m very much making fun of Bath & Body Works), I decided that on the way home from the mall I would stop at Michael’s.  Ya know.  For craft stuff.

I wandered in-and-out of the brilliant stacks of picture frames giggling at plastic bananas, admiring the balsa wood, and never passing the cashier.  (Shameless Allen Ginsberg reference.)  I didn’t see a single journal.

And then I saw it.  I saw IT.  And I BOUGHT IT.  And I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with IT.

I sped home, and when I got there I was pleasantly surprised to find that my most recent online purchase had arrived!  I now have THIS on VINYL!

As I listened with glee, I scoured the internet for pictures.  The RIGHT pictures for IT.  Quickly, I loaded them all on to a flash drive, jumped in the car, and sped to Kinko’s…or, ya know, FedEx, or whatever the Hell I’m supposed to call it.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a freaking Kinko’s.  Yes, I had to go there because no, I do not own a printer.  The printer is in Isla Vista.


I giggled like a 13-year-old.  Seriously, they must have done this on purpose.  There’s no way I’m the only person who thinks this is funny.

I came home, put on Cry-Baby, and got to work.  First, I burned you a bunch of CDs.  Five CDs.  THEN, I got to work on IT.  Here is a sneak peak…

There you have it.  Your sneak peak of your belated birthday present.  Hope you’re getting excited.  Are you getting excited?  ‘Cause I am excited.

Happy belated birthday, Melanie.  You are one of the most charming, funny, interesting, loving, loyal people I have ever known.   I love you to bits.  Here’s to 14 more kickass years.

That guy is so cute.  Whoever he is.

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