Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I sat on my couch with Blaise and Sarah Kelly, watching the 1981 Gregory Hines/Albert Finney movie Wolfen, about a race of mind-reading wolves killing people in the Bronx, largely due to some property development disputes. OoooOOOOOOoooh! It was easily the least scary movie I have ever seen, but that didn’t stop us from watching it, or delving into its plot points. “But what I want to know is,” Sarah Kelly said, her mouth full of microwaved s’mores, “if the wolves don’t speak, how do they know they can read their minds?”
Like most of life’s most compelling mysteries, this one went unanswered.
In order to get into the holiday spirit, I read up on the Jersey Devil on Wikipedia, and was disappointed that he wasn’t nearly as creepy as I wanted him to be. Any demon that responds to “shoo!” isn’t worth its own hooves.
Halloween party last night. I went a as a zombie cheerleader. Last year I was a zombie cowgirl. This is because I cannot possibly find enough reasons to wear fake blood, and also because I am a cheap lady who prefers to assemble her costume from the resources existing in her own closet. If Halloween came more often than once a year, I might soon exhaust all my zombie-combo costume ideas, and be forced to resort to zombie French maid, or perhaps zombie Bob the Builder.
This guy at the party was like, “What are you, a cheerleader zombie?” And I had to specify, no, I am a zombie cheerleader. Very different. Cheerleader zombie presupposes that somewhere there is a race of zombies who go about doing ordinary, mundane non-zombie things on top of being zombies, some entire suburban zombie enclave, with zombie firemen and zombie pastry chefs and zombie carpool lanes. There is nothing scary about this, and the only good thing about being a zombie, aside from the fake blood, is that zombies are scary. So I prefer to be cheerleader who had the misfortune of being bitten into an unending existence of living death, as opposed to a cheerleader who also happens to be a zombie, and instead of focusing on consuming brains, is more interested in cheering on Zombie High and then maybe drinking some Bud Light and going to the third base with the zombie quarterback after the big game. Wait. Maybe I would be into that. I’m confusing myself. I need to stop thinking so hard and go look up the Donkey Lady on Wikipedia.
Attention: I have some things to say about Goldfish snack crackers.
I spent Saturday baking cupcakes and listening to old mix tapes made for me by boys I used to like. I have had the very good luck to have dated many dudes with excellent taste in music, even if some of them were also way into the soap opera Passions, or the WWF, or their ex-girlfriends. Almost all of these mix tapes stood the test of time, and I had the best time remembering how head over heels I used to be about some of these songs because I was head over heels about some of these guys. It also occurred to me that I haven’t had a crush on anyone since I don’t know when. I mean, last year I had a boyfriend, but I never had a crush on him. I can’t remember the last time I had that dreamy/soda-in-the-veins feeling. Get on that, universe.
Anyway. Saturday night I was at a bar that had bowls of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack crackers, pretzel flavor, out for the taking, and man, I had forgotten how enjoyable those are. Even better with a glass of milk, I swear to god. So I bought a bag today at the store, and I opened it and began snacking before I even put the rest of the groceries away. But then I happened to notice this:
Pardon me, Pepperidge Farm, but did you just insinuate that my snack cracker is some kind of pussy?
Then I turned to the back of the bag for more information, and this is what I found:
Okay, what the hell. Joe American, a milquetoast, a ladypiece, and some vaguely-foreign fellow who snowboards out of helicopters? Is this necessary? Can we not just eat some crackers and be done with it? Because now I can’t! Now I have to go seek out this abomination and make it right in my brain, probably before I even unload the frozen food!
You just know that Xtreme guy is riddled with VD.
In my day, the side of the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack crackers bag had the first verse of this old Irish folk song printed on the side. I knew the tune because my dad used to sing it while he was in the kitchen. It was a nice sort of thing to have on the side of your foodstuff container; a little something to read whilst you chewed. It is for this reason that I think fortune cookies are, in theory at least, the world’s best snack: they are sweet, they are crunchy, and they provide you with some light reading material.
Pepperidge Farm had to go and mess with a good thing.
I was not unaware of the fact that the Goldfish bag had undergone some changes; in fact, on March 12, 2003, my colleague Old Man Carlson sent me an email that said, “I don’t approve of the Goldfish Snack mascot wearing sunglasses.” I agree. Mascots are pretty lame already; we don’t need to go making the situation worse with accoutrements.
So, in my old lady anger, I actually went to the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack cracker website, which encouraged me to “Meet Finn,” the bespectacled cheese-flavored fish. Or maybe he’s original flavor; it’s unclear. Nonetheless, he is joined by my own snack selection, the Wussy Pretzelfish, as well as some spicy ethnic rake, and then a spunky wanton tomboy, clearly the poor man’s Marion from Raiders. I was looking for some explanation, some backstory, but it was nowhere to be found. There are all these games available, however, summoned by hovering your mouse over one of the fish. The one for my pretzelfish was entitled HELP GILBERT FIND HIS COMFORT ZONE and mentioned the POWERS OF POSITIVE THINKING. FOR A SNACK. Jesus H, P. Farms! I lingered too long near the tarted-up Parmesan ladyfish, and she coquetteishly said, “I challenge you to a game of Grabobblefish!” to which I actually snapped out loud, “Shut up, fish!” Then I got my cane and thrust it about the air in frustration until retiring to the couch to watch my stories. But seriously, can we please talk about this because I am riled up now.
I felt like how my mother must feel online, adrift and unable to make sense of or even navigate this website. I just wanted to read some sort of elaborate character sketch for my snack cracker selection so I could SEE WHAT IT SAID ABOUT ME AS A SENTIENT HUMAN BEING AND THEN GET MAD ABOUT IT. Is that so much to ask? I am inviting you to insult me further, Pepperidge Farm, and yet you cower away like a blackguard!
I actually clicked on the link to their Wikipedia entry looking for more information on these characters. It is my feeling that one should never have to consult Wikipedia about one’s snack crackers. It is also my feeling that this is probably why one has not had crushes on any boys lately. I am way too busy being some sort of old lady/fop combo to entertain any serious courting. Who wants to make a mix tape for hermaphrodite Eustace Tilley?
We all lie, Deb
CringeyWYG was a lot of fun. Josh Newman started the show with a little story about spending an entire month’s allowance on some sweet Z. Cavaricci jean shorts. Who among us hasn't been there? Marc "Death to Brandon Walsh" Balgavy revealed his softer side and read some sweet secret admirer letters he sent to his neighbor. Lindsay Robertson donned her high school boyfriend’s flannel shirt to set the mood and read about her journey with God, as well as little Kurt poem. This is the third Cringe shout-out Cobain has received, and I’m starting to think there's an entire book of bad poems written on April 8, 1994 just waiting to be published. (DIBS.) WYSIWYG host Chris Hampton spun a charming tale about meeting a mustachioed man named Barry at the skating rink. And Jason Boog closed with his LSD-fueled spoken-word piece dedicated to his high school bus driver that began, "We all lie, Deb," and also included the phrase, "I fucked the universe." It was sheer magic and made the back of my neck tingle. You can see the pictures here if you're into that sort of thing.
Having Cringe in Manhattan brought out a lot of new faces. (Hi Ben, hi Damon!) I love meeting people who come out to the show and hearing their favorite parts. My favorite part, as always, is being in the same room with so many funny people who are willing to take the piss out of themselves. Also the prizes were a nice touch.
I hope to see you at the Cringe pilot taping November 11. My parents and brother hope to see you there too, because they’re flying in for it. Sweeeeeet.
Cringe is joining forces this month with The WYSIWYG Talent Show for a double show of buddy movie proportions. I’m talking Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd here, people. Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria! Possibly some crime fighting, most definitely some painful and hilarious tender moments. Also I hear there’s a bar involved. What’s not to love?
Also, it’s in Manhattan for once, which I’m sure will make everyone very excited, but don’t get too comfortable: Brooklyn is home.
This is the only time Cringe will ever cost you money, unless you take Cringe out on a date and then Cringe gives you a rash and you have to see a doctor to get rid of it. But maybe you should have listened to your dad and gotten a better job so you’d have medical benefits in your thirties, eh?
The WYSIWYG Talent Show Presents
at Bowery Poetry Club
Wednesday, October 18, Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery between Bleecker and Houston). Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door. For more information visit wysiwygtalentshow.org, www.bowerypoetry.com, or call (212) 614-0505.
With performances by:
Sweet pickles is great!
The second installment of the F. Scott & Friends Bourbon & Brylcreem Hour is available at iTunes, or you can download it directly from Josh’s site. I don’t know whether or not this one is as funny as the first one, but I do know we need to get our drinking game plan down better, because the really drunk part of the evening didn’t come til later, after we’d taken off our headphones and left the house. I slapped Josh across the face three times and couldn’t raise my head off the pillow until well after 2 pm the next day. Might as well get this out of my system before I have kids, right?
Also, consider yourself warned: there is singing. Singing I was not aware was going to be used in the podcast, but still, singing. You are going to die on the inside.
Bonus: podcast photos. In case you wondered what we looked like while we were talking. Next time I’ll look into some smell-o-vision.
It's been a pretty good week.
So here’s a little something I’ve been sitting on for awhile now: Cringe is going to be a TV show. On a major national cable channel.
We’re shooting the pilot here in New York early next month, and we’re looking for readers. You can find out all the details here, and I really encourage you to check it out, especially if you’ve ever read at Cringe before. And after the pilot, the show goes on the road, perhaps right to your city. More details on that later, but I am predicting all kinds of awesome.
Also, Cringe won’t be at Freddy’s for its usual first-Wednesday-of-the-month date this month because we’re having a joint show with The WYSIWYG Talent Show, Wednesday, October 18, at Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan. The line up is really good, and hey, it’s in Manhattan, which I hear is a fairly cool centrally-located place or something.
P.S. I moved to New York exactly three years ago today.
Cringe on TV
Are you interested in baring your fragile and tormented teenage soul to a drunken audience of your peers and a television camera or three? Well, who wouldn’t! Get your chance at the taping of the Cringe television pilot, Saturday, November 11, in New York.
We’re looking for some brave, funny souls who are willing and eager to sell out their teenage selves on camera. We want people reading straight from their teenage diaries, journals, notes, letters, poems, and songs. A good test to determine whether or not your material is Cringe-worthy: when you read it to yourself, do you physically cringe? Then it’s funny.
This pilot is set to air on a major national cable channel. If you’re interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, age, phone number, as well as some information about the material you’d like to read, including the age at which it was written, and a sample or excerpt. If you have a current photo or video of yourself, a photo from the time of the piece was written, or any other relative supporting info, please include that as well.
Check Out Cringe in the Media:
ABC Nightline did a segment on Cringe on August 11, 2006, and put five minutes of bonus footage on their website.
Time Out New York wrote about Cringe in the "New Dork City" issue, August 2006.
Newsweek mentioned Cringe in an article about diary readings in July 2006.
Spin called Cringe "the funniest night out in New York" in its June 2006 issue.
Time Out New York covered Cringe in an article called "Discomfort Zone" in December 2005.