Suicide clauses in life insurance (it varies from state to state, but typically they protect the first one or two years of insurance, and then are waved. The thinking is to prevent people from buying life insurance and then immediately killing themselves to benefit their families)

How much a body shop in 1997 would be worth (Too damned many variables. I’m just going to call it “a lot” and move on)

The little kid scratching on the window scene in the old Salem’s Lot TV movie (still scary as shit)

Betty Crocker frosting in a can (just dates)

Spray-tanning (got popular in the 80s/90s)

Mazda Miatas (91 seems like a good year)

The San Fernando Valley vs Orange County (The San Fernando Valley is where the story is actually taking place, so I had to change the derogatory place a character in the story believes another character is from from The Valley to somewhere else, considering that the character making the judgment is from The Valley themselves. Granted, saying someone is from Orange County isn’t particularly derogatory, but in the context that the thought takes place in, it makes sense. Actually, never mind, I figured out how to make it work)

Death to the Pixies (For a shirt. The actual album Death to the Pixies, which was a greatest hits collection, came out in 1997, which is a little late for my story. But according to a dude selling an original Death to the Pixies t-shirt on ebay, his is from 1992, which works much better. From what I’ve read, the title of the album came from promotional material The Pixies had been using for years. So that works)

The etymology of the phrase “Tripping Balls” ( 1995, Chad Propst, “Wild Nights in Bethlehem,” Home is in the Blood: new work from the Institute of American Indian Arts 1994-1995, Eddie D. Chuculate, ed., Institute of American Indian Arts, ISBN 9781881396109, pg. 102:
God never asked His Son
About the time He spent
Running with that hellish crowd
And tripping balls in San Francisco)

Popular vacation destinations in Mexico. (couldn’t decide if I wanted to go for something super obvious and cliché or something more obscure. Cabo San Lucas. Went super obvious)

Basements in Southern California (I know that growing up in California, I have no memory of ever being in a house with a basement, but I didn’t know for sure if that was a thing or not. Apparently it’s mostly true. Houses in California almost never have basements. I guess there was a brief window in the early 2000s when new houses were being built with finished basements to rent as suites, but it never really caught on)

The various accents of Monty Python members (I quickly realized that this information was useless to me for what I needed it for. For the most part, they all spoke with fairly refined British RP, which was part of their satire. They mostly came out of Oxford and Cambridge and were educated and well spoken. Besides, a Monty Python reference was injecting a little too much of my own pop culture interest into my story. There’s already too many music, TV and movie references. I axed it)

Wrought iron Footboards (footboard seemed like the wrong word for it, but apparently that’s right)

(Wait a minute. According to this article from 1991, they were building all kinds of houses with basements. It was more of a high end thing, but maybe in 1997 or so it’s not unreasonable that our gang could be squatting in a house with a basement… but do I want to have to try and explain that, for all the people (like myself) who might read this and call bullshit on a California basement? Would it be weird to link that article in the middle of my story? We’ll see)