Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fireside Gchats: An Act of Dog

In today's edition of "Fireside Gchats," the Sometimes gang is inspired by the annual tradition of ranking art as "Best," known as the Oscars. What happens when three authorities on the matter weigh in creatively, while sending a high volume of image links back and forth? Let's star wipe and find out.


Tapan Jones:
unrelated, what color do you want me to paint your coffin
i was going to go with powder blue with racing flames

mike b:
i would like this one please
The KISS of death
just prop my body up next to it with some shades on
i'll be holding a little butler tray and people can grab a tall, cool budweiser from me

Afterlife of the party

Tapan Jones:
Shade back

mike b:
that movie is fucking funny
i don't care what nobody says

Tapan Jones:
i'm going to make a really serious drama
Weekend at Bernice [Readers: a link to the official homepage of Bernice, Lousiana]

mike b:
how much gator wrestling will there be in the movie
and 2) how will you get enough fat actors

Tapan Jones:
none, meryl streep demanded as much
2) i'm going to use a technology pioneered in The Klumps

mike b:
dude look at the third picture down on that page lolol
it's just an out of focus picture of a shitty dog track

Tapan Jones:
that's going to be a symbol of chasing failed dreams
in my film

mike b:
hey, there's an idea
who does meryl streep play

Tapan Jones:
and it will end with, "i'm just doggone tired, walter. i'm just dog-gone-tired"
and it'll be clear meryl was talking about the hole in her heart when the family dog, jefferson, ran away

mike b:
jesus christ

Tapan Jones:
see answer to question 2 above. in order to really embrace the teachings of the auteur eddie murphy, she'll have to play everyone
it'll make the sex scene...interesting

mike b:
your movie
is meryl streep
in fat suits
playing a greyhound trainer + every other person in the movie
and it's called Weekend at Bernice

"This awards season, experience a chilling look at the ruff life of small town Louisiana"

Tapan Jones:
i know, i know, i might as well call it "oscar lock"
the hardest part will be working in the line
from her body builder brother, who will be representing the city in small time competitions

mike b:
just to be clear, meryl streep is playing a male body builder

Tapan Jones:
he'll have to say, somehow naturally, "once they get a look at these Bernice Pythons (points to biceps), they'll have to send me to nationals"

mike b:
wait a minute
Bernice is pronounced burr nice?

Tapan Jones:
of course not

mike b:
why does he call them Bernice Pythons
burmese pythons?

Tapan Jones:
that's the clever writing
it's where you learn that he paid attention in geography class
which is a key plot point, because it shows a transition period in his life between being locked in to just bernice and thinking about the rest of the world
i know sometimes writing this highbrow can isolate viewers
but it's for the good of art
you can't spell Greatness without using the same letters in the word "Art"
remember that, mike. in your writing, and in life
also, remember how i told you everything exists on the internet
you're going to want to ready yourself
So dedicated to method, she even grew out her hair

mike b:
is that meryl streep's face

Tapan Jones:
she just disappears into her roles
that's what she sent me when i asked if she was willing to tackle this role
i swear, that woman is so committed to her craft, she wanted to play the dog
Talent is the leasht of her worries

mike b:
[Readers: Mike finally inserts a delayed, but relevant, link. By the time of this post, YouTube took down the video altogether. What a fun parallel]
that took for fucking ever, i hope you appreaciate it

Tapan Jones:
good research, but i found a god damned picture of a dog in meryl streep's acting chair
that is an all-time relevant link

mike b:

Tapan Jones:
so the KISS coffin, then?

mike b:
Alternate title: Being Glibya

Tapan Jones:
(solid link, but timing is important to relevance)

mike b:
yeah the kiss one

Tapan Jones:
i can't wait to put you in the ground

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fireside Gchats: A Dance With Dearth

In the 642 days since our last post, we've spent time mulling over what direction, if any, to take TCS. We talked about creating robust content with social media impact that could give us the kind of big data it takes to lean in and scalably move forward, synergistically.

...Mostly, we tried to learn a lot of business jargon with which to impress you all. How else could we move the needle in the blog vertical? Surely, we couldn't take our learnings offline and magically provide a minimum viable product. That's just not a sustainable course of action. 

Instead, we decided to freshen things up the way sitcoms do. That's right: a format change. (Sorry to those of you expecting a clip show). 

We'd like to introduce "Fireside Gchats," which are gmail chat transcripts between myself and TCS co-founder, Michael Bogart, aspiring author (read: poor). 

The conversations are samplings of our actual back-and-forths, interspersed with illustrations from our one and only TCS art-man, Thomas Glass Jr.

As the series namesake, FDR, would say: Let's get rolling.


Tapan Jones:
i think i fundamentally don't understand readings
writers write

mike b:
they're just a way to get your name out
bring people together
show off your wares

Tapan Jones:

mike b:
we don't spell shit with z'z bro

Tapan Jones:
what about zebra

mike b:
we spell that with a p-h

Tapan Jones:

mike b:
like the spanish

Tapan Jones:

mike b:

Tapan Jones:
would you be fine if your wife cheated on you with a spaniard
he's a professional flamenco dancer (a flamencist) and calls you mykell every time you interact

mike b:
absolutely not

Tapan Jones:
"but mykell, you must dance with more pahshun. where are jou hips?? here, let me show you how to dance with your beautiful wife, victoria"

"'s not that great of a hat."
mike b:
this is after i know he's fucking her?
this dude is ASKING for it

Tapan Jones:
you were suspicious at the dance
but you knew when you found a rose petal while making your bed

mike b:
are you kidding me

Tapan Jones:
here's the thing, though

mike b:
he walks around with rose petals?

Tapan Jones:
she's become significantly more sexual in your marriage

mike b:
that's odd lol

Tapan Jones:
what can i say, he's ignited a fire
so what are you going to do? what's your course of action?

mike b:
i'm going to devote my life to the flamenco
to the passion for dance
i'll start off ungainly and uncoordinated, sure
but i'll discover within me the rhythm
and little by little i'll creep up the ranks
along the way i'll meet a spanish maid who never thought she'd be anybody
we'll become the next rising stars of flamenco together
and the movie will culminate with a showdown between me and lupita, and my wife and fernando, for the flamenco crown
lupita and i will lose by a fraction of a point, but we'll have learned a lot about ourselves along the way, and we'll ride into the sunset confident in the knowledge that later that night we're going to murder them in their sleep

Ride-by or die
Tapan Jones:
that was an unexpected twist

mike b:
nobody fucks with the jesus

Tapan Jones:
what if once you've committed the murder
you find out lupita is your wife's half sister
and fernando's Current wife

mike b:
that would be even sweeter
we're Made for each other
that's what i'll say
ha ha ha

Tapan Jones:
you don't understand
the murder is only of your wife
lupita's leaving you, your life savings in tow

mike b:
we killed fernando too
why would we not
how did she get my life savings

Tapan Jones:
you don't remember?
the night before the dance contest, the two of you eloped
she said "closeness is the only thing that flamenco understands"
meanwhile, you signed away your life during the wedding, without reading the fine print, as love (and dance) blinded you

mike b:
you're telling me
that fernando and lupita were in cahoots all along?

Tapan Jones:
post-contest, you sent her to commit the violent act, as you just "wanted it done"
lupita and fernando were in cahoots -- they're married
they both killed your wife, and now have the money that they always wanted from you
closing shot: a wilted rose petal on the dance floor

mike b:
we'll call it A Rose for Emily
nobody's used that right
and let me get this straight:
their plan was to anger me into the flamenco life, so that i could happen to meet lupita, who would spur me to the top of the flamenco charts, which would blind me to the fact that i signed my life away to her, and then for some reason we kill my wife

Tapan Jones:
think about it, man
would you have ever wanted to dance if your wife wasn't cheating?

mike b:
but why go through the whole flamenco competition shenanigans
lupita can work it
why doesn't she seduce me

Tapan Jones:
she did, bro, she did

mike b:
through flamenco

Tapan Jones:

Prequel to "Texas Two-time"
mike b:
you want to name our film Flamenconspiracy

Tapan Jones:
just for the record, as you're doubting the power of this dance, flamenco seduction (which i googled on my work computer) returned 11.8 million results
the top hit is "Flamenco, the art of seduction"
anyway, what lesson did you learn from all of this

mike b:
from what i just youtubed, flamenco is apparently a solo dance lol

Tapan Jones:
and scene
why do you think you're left solo (read: so low) at the end?

mike b:
dude we're going to get an F on this movie
you're going to drag my career into the fucking toilet, like you do everything else

Tapan Jones:
an F for...flamenco


Till the next dance round the fireside,
Tapan Jones & Mike B.

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]

Click to maximize the pictures!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Alright, Bryson Bernard

Wooooooo, doggie! Friends, you'll never guess where we've been the past 14 months. It's a story so laced in intrigue, drama, and sexual conquest, that we would do the world an injustice by even starting to tell it.

Over the past year, Tom and I have gone on adventures the likes of which inspire films -- and not those played out, Oscar-worthy December releases, oh no no, we're talking Lifetime movie adventures. Tom, remember that widow we met around Valentine's Day? The one who thought her dentist was sleeping with her daughter, but it turned out he was her daughter? "The Dental Damn!" we called it.

No, dude, not the one from South Dakota. You're thinking of the home insurance agent we beat up in June. The guy who used to hide in his female client's closets, and scare their children in the middle of the night. That one we tag-lined, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is here.

(...Readers...are you buying any of this?)

Alright, alright, fine. You got us. Here's the skinny. The Chicago Sometimes went on an unexpected hiatus last October due to a variety of factors. Some personal, some professional, some skinny-dipping-accident related. (Don't try it when the water is cold, kids. These are a very different kind of blue balls to deal with).

The important thing is that no amount of testicular frigidity could keep you all out of our thoughts. As we are one day from the apocalypse, why not squeeze in a quick blog post? Tom, please join me in declaring:

The Ballad of Tom and T-Jo
Now, if you'll do us the honor, let's get started.


Earlier this year, life and a trusty Toyota Corolla took me from Chicago to Seattle, and taught me that "west" in America extends much further than the other directions. By the way, Kanye, if you're reading, I'm sure there's some high quality, ego-wordplay to be created here. A suggestion: "America loves me, they know I'm the best. From mid- to pacific north, they talkin' bout Mr. West!" 

A few weeks after arriving in my new home, I realized that work and telenovelas were not enough to fill the new found void in my life. I decided it was high time I went somewhere social. You know, a place where I could interact with people face-to-face, share high-fives, and discuss over-hyphenation within sentences. The most popular place in all the world: the internet.

Wearing my Sunday best, I sat at my keyboard, headed to the intersection of Google and .com, and proclaimed, "I'm here, everyone! Your new friend, Tapan Jones!"


Even though that sentence returned 311,000 hits, none of them were helpful in my friendship quest. I needed some guidance. And also to stop calling it a "friendship quest."

Several search results quickly taught me that the internet can be a very friendly place if you like cats or pornography -- though, I strongly advise you not to combine the two. The title Meow You're Talking is deceptively cute, until the raunchy 70's guitar kicks in. Those cats ought to be ashamed of their behavior.

After some research and pride swallowing, I decided the online-dating scene was the place to go. Looking at Match and E-Harmony, it became clear that my pursuit of companionship was a frugal one. Naturally, I did what anybody in my demographic would do -- joined OkCupid for free.

With my picture and description all set up, I closed my eyes, nodded my head, and motioned with my hands as if to say, "Come and get it, ladies."

...e-crickets, part deux.

Alright. What gives? Maybe my friends from the old country would have an answer. Here's a sample conversation I had with 6 separate people:

T: So, yeah, I joined an online dating website.
F (for friend): OkCupid?
T: Yeah -- how does everyone always know that?
F: It's free, and everyone our age is poor and lonely.
T: That's not a very flattering description.
F: Shut up, you pathetic, broke invalid.

With that, I give you The Chicago Sometimes' December 2012 scoop: Many of you have been secretly leading an OkCupid life.

This revelation means I can now make sweeping generalizations about our readers. Well, actually, only our female readers. The reason being that I have exclusively experienced the site in a way which allows me to view female profiles. Although, DoYouEvenLiftBro263, I was very flattered by your message. It is, in fact, my real hair. Thank you for noticing how hard I work on it.

Here are some precisely calculated trends I have observed about the ladies of OkCupid:

1) Roughly 10% of usernames end in the suffix "-saurus."

I'm talking "jennasaurus," "K-Tsaurus," and "THEsaurus." I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, women began to associate dinosaurs with romance. If I had to guess, I'd say the naming convention stems from a crush on Jeff Goldblum, circa Jurassic Park, and a symbolic pairing to the stegosaurus -- the horniest of dinosaurs.
A female Gynosaurus is her natural environment
2) In the section entitled "The Six Things I Could Never Do Without," 6 out of 10 women aged 21-26 list "my iPhone" within their top 3 choices.

I mean, I get it. It's a marvelous piece of technology that makes nearly every aspect of our lives more convenient. That being said...come on now. A little over 5 years ago, the damned thing didn't even exist, and we all got along fine, one way or another. I promise that each of you is more interesting than the phone you carry.

3) Photographic Pattern 1: Girls think fake mustaches are f'ing hilarious.

Men, if you don't believe me, ask any girl you know the following: "Do you have a picture somewhere of you wearing a fake mustache?" If they say no, ask if they've ever used their hair as a fake mustache, and then taken a picture of that. At some point in a similar line of questioning, your lady friend will confirm this finding. Here, I hope you will remember this post, and think, "Hot Damn, those Sometimes Boys have done it again."

4) Photographic Pattern 2: It has become popular for women to take pictures with plates of food.

You know the pose. The dish tilted up from the side closest to the body, usually being held at the corners of the plate, palms up, by the fingertips of the lady anxious to take her first bite.

I understand this photograph. A chef has taken the time to prepare a delicious and presentable meal. Why not remember the occasion? Kudos to you, female trendsetters.

The one reservation I have about this setup is drizzled with cynicism. I have yet to determine whether the photo's  inspiration is one of culinary delight, or if it's all an elaborate ruse to draw the male gaze to the general breast area, similar to necklaces everywhere. In either case, thanks!
Those are my major findings, to da...OH, one more! For any basketball fans who are also on this particular casual dating site, one very important thing to note: OKC is the common abbreviation for "OkCupid" and not the Oklahoma City Thunder. Trust me, as I am speaking from embarrassing personal experience.

For those of you curious about the success ratios of online dating, I can only offer one piece of truth. Whether on the internet or off(line), the same cardinal rule that governs dating applies: attractiveness equals selection. Meaning, those who are found to be attractive, either physically or otherwise, hold all the cards. The only difference here, as noted by blunt businessman Jesse Koltes, is that "transaction costs and barriers to entry are down." So if you see someone you like, go ahead and send them a message. The only thing at stake is a profile page.

Lots of love,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

p.s. It's great to be back. Thanks for having us.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's What We Dude

Readers! Man, are we glad to see you. These last few months...they have been dark times indeed. I mean, the nation's unemployment troubles has our President chanting for jobs. Children are peddling their annual bicycles of homework-related grievances. And the weather. Oh my, the weather. She succumbed to Mr. Dogg's prophecy, and in fact dropped as if it were excessively hot.

If that dated rapference doesn't emphasize how dark things have gotten, you should turn the light off and read it again.

Thankfully, 6 weeks ago, something happened. With the arrival of three wonderful letters, brightness once more entered our lives. The visible silence was eradicated as "the logo" (which will one day become the flag for the United States of America) graced our televisions. Ladies and gentlemen, the NFL had returned.
Grid-ion King
Football came back. The unbelievable rage of a 162-game baseball season was taken out on so many receivers cutting across the middle -- and we got to watch the whole play develop. As we mourned the loss of not one, but All My Children, we turned to the gridiron to provide us with over-the-top safety drama.

At the center of the pigskin, the pig dermis if you will, football is about emotion. Hearken back to the days of Matthew Stafford's rookie season. We all watched as the man delivered a damned near impossible 38-37 comeback, throwing the final touchdown of the game with a shoulder injury that would end his season, all while the clock read zeros. In a landscape of 32 fan-domes, there wasn't a dry eye in anyone's house. The men choked backed tears and slow-clapped the moment into history, softly whispering, "that's boy's got heart." The women, they...didn't really notice.

Sport is the rare arena in which guys are more prone to having feelings. (That's right, f-bomb). We laugh, cry, cheer, and beer when it comes to watching the game. Want to know why? Because this is what male friendship is all about, damnit!

In an ideal world, right now you should be hearing the sound of a record being spun backwards by a 70s DJ and watching everything wave into ambiguity. It's time, kids, to throw down a lesson flashback style.

I am about to explain something that was alluded to in 1994 by everyone's favorite fictional wealthy scamp: Ri¢hie Ri¢h. During a ceremony in which an absent Richard Rich Sr. is awarded a set of gold-plated socket wrenches, Ri¢hie accepts the gift on his father's behalf, explaining, "I know my dad loves socket wrenches. I love socket wrenches. If my mom knew what a socket wrench was, she'd love it too."

There, that should make it clear as day. Good night everyone!

Oh, it's still very confusing? Well, you see, what The Pagemaster was getting at is that men share a bond forged in gold, and mothers spend all their time worrying that they look like Dr. Conrad Murray's most famous victim. With that said, The Sometimes would like to take some time(s) and explain to the ladies out there exactly what our society's socket wrench of male friendships is all about.

Gather round in a circle, gentlewomen, as we learn the complicated intricacies, gossip, he-said-he-said, and all around cattiness involved when two strange men upgrade their relationship to bosom-less buddies.

...actually, c'mere a minute. My months of research for this blog post are making it really clear that none of those things are involved in dudeship. Here's what it actually takes:
1) One introductory hand shake and name exchange.
2) Saying the word "man" during an initial conversation. Ex. "Those (insert local disappointing sports franchise here), man" + "I know, dude" = BFFs

Update: Tom's begonias are currently doing great
That's how two men become friends. There's no further investigation into each other's clique, jewelry, dresses, or significant other. It is all about respect for your fellow man. Singular.

This very fundamental base can lead to regular head nods, out of place TV references, and many more handshakes. It may even lead to a meaningful bromance -- aptly named because it sounds like an actual word, and men are fine with close fraternal relationships. Try calling the friendship two women share by the same convention, and you have "Sismances". This could either be a Greek philosopher or some sort of rare uterine disease.

I wish I could elaborate further, but really, that's it. Two guys can become friends just like that. Sober, too! Ladies, I recommend observing this theorem in action the next time you're at a social gathering and witness two men meeting for the first time. Your socks? Oh, they'll have been understandably knocked off.

Little Mac's uppercut is guaranteed to leave you barefoot
With this newfound understanding of Social Chemistry, what with the bonding, you've completed the prerequisites for Social Organic Chemistry. Unfortunately, I cannot teach it to you at this time, as my peers and family have informed me that it's just too sticky a topic, what with the bonding. Let us instead take solace with the new found daylight in our lives, for it will soon need saving.

Socket wrench to me,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Summer, You're Drunk

Awwwwwwww we're black y'all. We're black y'all. We're blacker than black and we're black y'all!

Oh, I'm sorry. We started off meaning to say "back" but couldn't resist the allure of black power-- which, for the record, has never suffered a major outage.

Forget all that though, friends, how have you been? I gotta say, you look a little taller. And did you lose some weight? Readers, you lookin' foine! Oh this? Nah, just a t-shirt I had laying around, you know. But listen, there's something we wanted to tell you.

So we know that this time when we said we were going out for milk, we didn't come back for five months. We just want you to know (in the same Robin Williams to Matt Damon tone) that it's not your's not your fault.

Honestly, we went to the store, saw a poster for a motorcycle festival, and one thing led to another. Long story short, we have the best leather vest tans going right now.

So let's put all that behind us, curl up under the ceremonious make-up Snuggie, and have ourselves a nice box of Franzia. What do you say?


Breathe it in, kids. That's the body odor of mother Earth, and she is not wearing dewodorant. The weeks of incessant humidity are a wonderful reminder that the blades of our household fans simply can't cut it anymore. It is clear now that the air has been shampooed, and therefore must be conditioned.

We at The Sometimes heartily support the miracle of centralized air just as much as we support the practice of social gatherings. Where do these two phenomena intersect? That's right, Chuck E. Cheese's and the movies. We should only concern ourselves with the latter, though, because apparently being hot and sticky is frowned upon in a ball pit full of screaming infants.

A purple popsicle? You grapist!

A timeless American tradition, the theater is the place where buttery popcorn is transferred from a clogged vessel to a clogged artery. Where countless teenagers seek out private seats in a public forum, so as to engulf each other in a game of minor league tonsil hockey. Yes, it truly is the place for kings.

Throw a full-blowing air conditioning system into the mix, and the only thing hotter than those barely legal teens is Kevin James' sizzling performance in the fast-paced, beastility-filled thrill ride Zookeeper.

You can play video games in the lob...Hey, wait a minute. That's not an accurate description of Zookeeper at all. Let's take a look at what the 'ole online edition of a newspaper says. Okay, found the review. Hmm...he's a what? Oh alright, that makes sense. And he can do to animals? Oh, like Dr. Doolittle! What? What do you mean it's nothing like Dr. Doolittle? It's the same exact supernatural ability. That's like saying there's nothing in common between Michelle Bachmann and a white NBA player -- come 2012, a black man will continue to dominate them.

Alright, after having voluntarily added "zookeeper review" to my search history, I've learned two things. One, the only misinterpretations I made about this film were about the plot, setting, and characters. And two, it is impossible not to fall in love with Kevin James based on his cuddly frame and winning smile. I completely get what that Allegra Cole sees in him.

Still, I can't find any proof that this movie is actually enjoyable. No proof. Proof. Proof....

Hot damn, that's it!

Besides very long hallways, staircase lighting, and ticket checkers who heed Beyonce's infamous advice ("to the left, to the left") half of the time, what does every movie theater have? That's right, a concession stand! And what fills these fantastically overpriced vending stations? Why the popcorn, soda pops, and diabetes-sized candy bars, of course.

While all of these items may help partially alleviate the torture of sitting through The Smurfs, they will not make the experience enjoyable.

Enter the savior: Booze.

Bar Wars: You R2Drunk2Drive

Before you drink that idea down, imagine this. Having recently witnessed the annual glory of the Fourth of July, I defy you to tell me that the following scenario is not quintessentially American:

You're sitting in a giant megaplex watching Bruce Willis continue his assault on the world's accented terrorists in Die Hard 6: Explosions and Breasts. You lean slightly forward and grab your 50 oz movie theater sized, special edition ice cold Budweiser. Relaxing your chubby rear against the plush cushioning of your seat, you tilt your head back and take a long, refreshing pull. Just as McClane does a back flip off of a flaming helicopter, guns a blazing, you feel the soft kiss of centralized air on your brow.

You have just achieved the real American dream.

I mean, think about it. Not only would we enjoy the comments my black brethren already yell at the screen, but we would join in on the fun. Every single one of us has wanted to shout "Bitch, don't open that door!" at the top of our lungs. This would finally make that a socially acceptable reality.

For theater owners no doubt reading this small town blog, I offer you the possibility of never again having a lull in the box office. Say it with me: daily drink specials.

Those of you currently dealing with the oncoming anxiety of the Netflix price hike will soon find yourselves back in a theater seat. It is here where I implore you to imagine how great the next two hours spent watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes: of the could have been. Come back to us with feedback, please and thanks.

In the interim, know that the Sometimes is thankful to be back on your browsers, mobile or otherwise. We missed you guys and dolls.

Roll the credits,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

p.s. This is totally unrelated, but based on the recent internet craze, if you see someone "planking" just do the right thing: walk on them and pretend there's a sea of shark infested waters below your feet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Groce, Dude

The feeling of excusing ourselves for long writing absences seems to have become commonplace. We should start every post with a Simpsons-couch-gag style apology. Today's flaky excuse? One half of the Sometimes (sadly) has left Chicago for literal pastures, but things have now settled. So, let's get blogrolling.


Just as the Bulls and the Sheens begin to embrace the word "win", the season that starts with the same three letters is making its well earned exit. Snow is about to enter its annual "why do I even bother?" phase, and the Sun, having finally lost those extra Holiday pounds, is feeling hot again. Soon, attractive women will begin to come out of hibernation, and men around the world will rejoice.

National Geographic Presents: The Cave of Babes

Yep, everything is really coming up Derricks.

Here's usually where you'd see a negative twist brought upon by a positive introduction, but damnit all if things aren't feeling just a bit better these days.

I mean, it's almost picnic season! The time to sit in the middle of an emerald colored park, on top of a plaid blanket with frisbee in tow, is nearly here. Can't you just smell the games of pick up badminton about to end with heated arguments regarding the meritsof Pauly D's DJ certification? It's the type of family atmosphere that can only end once the cabs are, in fact, here.

In true MTV Cribs circa 2004, and even Yogi Bear fashion, let us dive into heart of our day out -- the pic-a-nic basket.

You've got your sandwiches, ranging from egg salad to chutney. Your wines, coca colas, and more wines. Your grapes, nuts, grape-nuts, and Chex Mix. Oh yeah, you've got it all.

Along with all of these delectables by your side there is, however, a belief that the food you've brought with you is going to be consumed now-ish. Fresh sandwiches don't tend to do well in the real world. Ever seen one try to do it's taxes? No? Wait one second. Oh, Tom!

Why you should always save the pickle for last

My mom has always been in charge of the picnic menu, and lately I've been missin' her kitchen. Having recently moved away from Mother Jones' fabled cooking, I've found myself in food limbo. The high quality nourishment that I'd become accustomed to has suddenly disappeared, and the old adage of working to put food on the table has become an ironic punch in the jejunum.

The circumstances have led me to my local grocery store. It is here that I've discovered something. Given a lack of unoccupied fridge space, and a weakness for gimmicks, my shopping cart mocks the world's dietitians.

Let me break it down for you, as a list of my "must buys" at the grocery store:
- Flamin' Hot Cheetos, the perfect compliment to a Subway sandwich.
- Diet Coke, all the brand name without any of the flavor.
- Scooby-Doo and/or Spongebob fruit snacks, they're gelatin free!
- Granola bars, mostly just to rationalize the rest.

That's pretty much....oh, and Pretzel M&M's...what I regularly self-checkout. (Just a quick aside, wouldn't it be perfect if all self checkouts had full size mirrors?). During the "payment method" screen, while coming to terms with the fact that secretly we all share a 3rd grader's diet, is when I made a bit of a discovery.

Peeking over, legally, I think, at what's on the conveyor belt for other shoppers, I've found that it's startlingly easy to pick out who shops for one.

Required reading for last week's rose ceremony

Dead giveaways to finding a solo shopper? How's two lists in the same blog post sound?

1) Frozen dinners. These flavorful sodium injections are a mainstay in a lonely man's cart. At least with a name like Michelina, the illusion of eating with a woman is there.

2) Giant bags of miscellaneous chips. If you're thinking that no one pony tailed man could possibly eat all of those chips in a single sitting, you'd be right. Mostly, it's for the convenience of having them Xbox-side during fictitious video game sporting events.

3) Hostess brand anything. Sure, Ho Hos and Twinkies have delightfully playful names, but the last time they were enjoyed around people, Billy Madison was trying to trade his banana for a Snack Pack.

Health peanuts of the world, I call on you! If we want supermarket sweeping change to come to our aisles, we're going to need your help. The Sometimes is making a plea to all you attractive women out there to do your part. If you see a bachelor shopping, his cart barren of essential nutrients, place your palm on his shoulder, lean in, and whisper, "you could use some vegetables." Don't be alarmed if everyone around you is aroused... you're just that good.

We're telling you, these sensual messages will be the first great stride towards a leaner country! You can do it ladies -- you have to. The fate of summertime beach bods depends on it.

Checking out,
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elevator Action Jackson Five

The Super Bowl bye week is an interesting time in America. Football fans across the country have just come off the most exciting Sunday of the year, and in their staunch refusal to watch the Pro Bowl, will wait another week to satisfy their thirst for helmet to foam-dome tackles.

Yes, it's the week we realize that the networks' mid-season line ups are disappointing as always, and the "State of the Union" has once again crowned Miss Illinois its champion.

She lives just off Michigan, too.

The nation collectively twiddles its thumbs, looks around the room disinterested, and engages in a two week long version of the waiting game during this bye week, eager to see what commercials they'll find on the other side. It's as if we're stuck in some sort of limbo -- the white cloud, no-clue-where-I'm-headed kind, not the fun, Caribbean, how-low-can-I-go kind...although, the two should consider joining forces. Nothing like Red Stripe-fueled dancing prior to the afterlife. That's what I always say.

The whole period of inactivity is akin to one's time spent in an elevator -- a transport system of which I am now somewhat of an expert. I'll explain in just one second. First you'll have to let me just reach across your shoulder, and press the button for Fun. Almoooossssst got it......


Readers, it's time that you and I had a talk about getting high. I know you think that it'll be scary and dangerous, but don't worry. As long as you understand what you're getting into, it can be neat way to pass the time. I promise, at some point you'll come down, and everything will be fine.

Outside of Disney World, elevators are generally a dull, boring place. M. Night Shyamalan certainly proved that last year with Devil. Yet it is here where we face life's tough questions, such as: What is with that close door button?

This circular selection has been around for decades, and in that span, it has been pressed billions of times by hurried businessmen, doctors, and kids who just can't hold it in that much longer. The design appeals to all ages and literacy levels, foregoing words for two hieroglyphic triangles pointing towards each other, locked in a never ending game of Chicken.

The real issue, though, is if the damned thing actually works. After hours of research, we here at the Sometimes have found that the close door button is undoubtedly a placebo. It works in a strange manner -- simply creating a way to pass the time until the doors are good and ready to close, while simultaneously generating the illusion of work being performed. Ingenious.

Ah, to be newly married

Closing doors is one thing, but the elevator experience also provides a forum to opening ears. The gentle ambiance oft-reserved for museum scenes in movies is actually the distant cousin of, you guessed it, elevator music.

The tunes, played at the non-Spinal Tap setting of 3, are a welcomed relief from the deafening silence experienced between asking "What floor?" and saying "Have a nice day!"

The playlift is made up mostly of muzak. The genre has the kind of lite songs you've only heard at Great Clips, but still somehow know all the words to. It's mostly peaceful, but if you're lucky, you may catch young Michael, Tito, and the lesser ones singing you songs about the alphabet. Well, at least the first 3 letters.

Sadly, I've noticed that fewer and fewer elevator venues are choosing to play anything at all. It's probably because, these days, everyone is always wearing headphones.

The next time you find yourself in a quiet ascent to the 9th floor, do your fellow man a solid. Take out the ear buds, set your iPod to full volume, and blast the hell out of Come On Eileen for the duration of your trip. You won't regret it.

I wonder if she'll say anything

Now, not all Elevator Action is conducted on your old Nintendo Entertainment System. There will be times in your life when you're ready to board the mighty beast, only to notice a collection of people waiting inside. It is here when your inner critic takes over, and you do a quick body scan of the other riders. You know, the up-down.

At The Sometimes, our concern for the well being of our readers is somewhere in the upper half of our priorities. With that said, keep in mind the following rule-of-thumb: When entering an elevator, evaluate all current passengers as if you have the knowledge that in a few moments, you're going to be stuck there for a while.

Don't try to figure out a reason as to why that would happen, as time is of the essence.

First, find whoever it is you're most attracted to, and stand next to them. In case this turns out to be a Chilean Miners situation, surely you'll need some lovin'. Plus, you don't want to get stuck with the smelly one, do you?

Second, identify what roles you want to assign to everyone once you come to a halt. By being vocal and delegating the work load, you'll seem like a leader and a hero without doing anything of real consequence whatsoever.

Finally, stay side adjacent and don't get stuck in the middle. Real estate will be at a premium during the stoppage, and in the land of metal walls, the leaning man is king.

Follow these rules so that you'll feel less guilty about judging everyone, and to make the whole ride go by that much faster.

This bye week may have left us Chicagoans with feelings of regret and jealously, but let's not worry about football, and instead take the literal high road in our boxy, metal friends.

I'd love to stay and chat about other things but, you know the kids are at home, and the wife, she's always a....

....close door, damnit!
Tapan Jones

[Art, as always, by Thomas Glass Jr.]
Click to maximize the pictures!