I’m not the world’s smartest guy. Oh, I’m up there, but I still have a lot to learn. In these posts, I’ll look deeper into some of the clues that stumped me in the world’s best crossword puzzle.
-Zora Neal Hurston is an African American author of note. Her most famous novel is “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” (1937) I am going to read this book and then learn more about her. Oprah produced “Eyes” into a TV movie starring Halley Berry in 2005.
-There’s a West African country called Guinea-Bissau. I’ve heard of it, but it never stuck in my brain, because I knew nothing about it. Definitely would never have spelled it correctly in an empty crossword. It’s a francophone nation that boast of 88 inhabited islands. Its big tourist draw are the beautiful white-sand beaches of its archipelago. Now I’m going to go find it on a map. I think I know where it is…
BOB SEGER ‘BACKYARD MUSICAL’ TO CRUSH LOS ANGELES ‘LIKE A ROCK’
For Immediate Release
On June 28th, Los Angeles will witness the emergence of the “Backyard Musical,” as a legitimate form of live rock tribute, as “A Night of 1000 Bob Segers” takes the stage at Silverlake’s The Satellite.
Half jukebox musical a la “Rock of Ages,” half tribute band performance, “A Night of 1000 Bob Segers” will take the audience on a no-budget journey through a semi-fictitious version of Bob Seger’s career. The show includes a live band, actors singing and dancing their way through Seger’s biggest hits and a story by JD Ryznar, writer of the cult web series “Yacht Rock.”
Ryznar explains how the show was born of a desire to showcase Seger’s catalogue in an original way, “The point isn’t to tell Bob Seger’s life story, it’s to show what we wish was Bob Seger’s life story. What’s the version of Bob Seger’s life that can make his badass songs even more badass?” Ryznar will also take the stage as the modern day Bob Seger, acting as host and narrator. “My role is to move the story along so our cast doesn’t have to memorize many lines and to kill time for set changes.”
Producer David B. Lyons has been through this before. He began experimenting with the backyard musical format in 2012, when he produced a low budget version of The Who’s “Tommy” behind a bar in LA’s warehouse district. “We took two hours of pretentious shit, and turned it into 45 minutes of solid gold,” said Lyons, who went on to explain the format. “We gathered a band of our talented friends and rehearsed for a few weeks. So it was easy for different performers to step into an already set piece. Almost like karaoke, but way sweeter, because I picked the songs.”
A huge part of the show is the live band, Jason Makiaris and the Bobsegers, led by musical director Jason Makiaris. “I’m not sure the audience knows exactly how much fun this is going to be,” said Makiaris. “They’re going to be blown away by the tremendous group of performers we have lined up for them.”
Multiple actors will portray Bob Seger, each pulled from corners of the comedy world. They will include Jeff B. Davis (Whose Line is It Anyway), Tim Heidecker (Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!), John Konesky (Tenacious D), Hunter Stair (Yacht Rock) and renowned stand up comedians Kyle Kinane, Matt Braunger and Mike Burns. On his excitement for the event, Burns said, “With Seger as our co-pilot, this night has no where to go but up. Or possibly stumbling to an Uber after pounding a thousand Stroh’s.”
The audience is encouraged to dress as their favorite versions of Bob Seger. “We’re hoping to get at least 1000 Bob Segers in the house, which will be a challenge as the venue’s capacity is only around 350,” said Ryznar.
“A Night of 1000 Bob Segers.” June 28th, 2014. The Satellite, 1717 Silverlake Blvd, Los Angeles California. $12 tickets at the door or www.tinyurl/1000segers.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-28. One-Acter.
BROWN SAUCONY SNEAKERS: Hey, I’d like to go hang out by the door while JD writes his blog. Can you cover for a while?
WHITE SOCKS: No sweat.
BLUE PLAID BUTTON-UP: Hey, foot clothes. I’d like to hang out by the door too. How do we make this happen?
BROWN SAUCS: I don’t think you belong by the door.
BLUE PLAID: If you get to hang out on a pile next to the door, why can’t I?
BLUE T-SHIRT: You can’t leave! I can’t cover JD’s trunk all by myself! It’s a chilly day! Stiff nipples make me itch!
BROWN SAUCS: This is the thing. A shirt on the floor would make the house begin to look messy.
BLUE PLAID: Says the guy covered in gum and poop?
BROWN SAUCS: All I’m saying is that JD wears me practically every day, and when he doesn’t, I’m on the floor in the main room, observing JD and his wife begin to demonstrate discomfort as messes pile up in the house. A shirt on the floor is the quintessential genesis of an anxiety-inducing mess.
BLUE PLAID: I need a change, Saucs, you prick! My life is a dull cycle: closet-JD-hamper-laundry-closet-JD-hamper-laundry. You will let me join you at the door or I will cut you.
BROWN SAUCS: Go tear yourself a new asshole, hillbilly!
BLUE T-SHIRT: Don’t go, blue plaid. I don’t want to feel itchy! Please stay!
BLACK LEVI SKINNIES: I hate to jump in between you in all of this, but y’all need to quit fighting. We’ve got to work together.
BLACK ZINNI OPTICAL SPECS: Mmmmmmm-hmmmmm. That’s right.
WHITE SOCKS: I’m still confused as to why that Blue T is here at all. JD never wears undershirts.
BLUE T-SHIRT: It’s chilly! And I’m comfy to him!
BLUE PLAID: Will you please stop whining, already?
BLUE T-SHIRT: Get off my back.
BLUE PLAID: I’d love to. SO I CAN HANG OUT BY THE DOOR.
BROWN SAUCS: Not happenin’, bro.
BLUE PLAID: I hate you all!
LOW BOOMING VOICE (O.S.): Perhaps I can help bring you all together.
EVERYONE: Insulated Blue Plaid Jacket!?
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-27. Whatever Man.
I always feel pretty bummed when I wind up in this shirt. It’s a too-big thrift store snap-up snoozer. Aside from just feeling wrong on my body, the colors of its plaid manage to be way too matchy-matchy with practically all of my pants. But some days, you’re feeling sad, don’t want to take a shower, and the most blousey button-up in your closet makes you feel less fat, and look less filthy. I should probably just throw it away. Or donate it to a fat hobo.
The pants are H & M slim fit cheap-cheaps. I think I’ve already had to have them repaired when the ass tore for no reason. These pants are absolutely just fine, and were acceptable to sit on all day while I watched the Detroit Lions on television (in my Detroit Tigers away-game cap) instead of working on my Bob Seger backyard musical. Either path would have pleased Kdar (D is silent), the God of Detroit, so I’m satisfied with how I spent my day.
I walked the earth in brown Saucony sneakers with white socks, and regarded it through my black Zinni Optical glasses. What I saw was good, and made me look forward to getting dressed the next day.
WHAT JD RYZWORE 13-10-15. The Hole Look
Away Game Tigers hat. Black glasses from Zinni Optical. Brown Discount Dov hoodie. Used Red Kap work shirt from Factory Surplus in White Cloud, Michigan. SAUCONY RUNNING SHOES (my back’s been killing me. These help. If I actually run, you’ll be the first to know.)
These Levi Skinny Blue Jeans are some dang good pants.
Since I’ve been smarter and more responsible in my pants buying, a.k.a, spending an assload of dolla-dolla billz on pants, I’ve actually taken to getting my pants repaired. As you’ll notice, these pants came with many “fashion holes”: three in the upper left thigh and one on the left knee, implying that the wearer is very tuff, and that perhaps he suffered a bicycle accident which ended on the left side of his body.
Over the year I’ve had these pants, the fashion hole on the knee had become sentient, and discovered that if he grows larger, more people would look at him (the ultimate dream of any fashion hole.) When a self-aware fashion hole begins working toward this goal, he tends to disregard the well-being of the entire pant. Latching onto my bony knee’s constant bending the hole continued to rip his way toward maximum visibility. Unchecked, these pants would be rendered unwearable in upscale company. The cruel irony - that if I stopped wearing these pants, NO ONE would get to look at the narcissistic fashion hole who turned the jean’s left knee into a place with no knee left.
So for the good of the pants, as well as the fashion hole, I took them to a dry cleaning establishment for repair. Being an overly just steward of pants, I did not wish to punish the fashion hole for his instinctual overreach. I instructed the seamstress to repair the hole not with a patch on the outside, which would essentially bury the fashion hole alive, but with a patch on the INSIDE, a fix that elevates the factory-made original fashion hole into an wholly original fashion statement, both eye-catching and, more importantly, blog worthy.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-14. Shower Fresh
Fresh from la douche and into your blog. Stomping on your favorite posts with my brown Saucony sneakers, cushioned by white socks. I can see you, through my Zinni Optical glasses, trying to type your escape. But I will chase you. I will chase you to the ends of your blog with cheapo light-weight H&M trousers permitting my legs to run with ease.
I’d like to talk about my shirt. This might be my favorite shirt. When it comes out of the dryer, I get excited. When I see it hanging in my closet, I feel relieved. When it’s on me, I don’t think about it. When it’s not, I wish I could reproduce it in a hundred different colors, and never be wanting again.
I think it’s a Wrangler brand western wear shirt. The year and make, I couldn’t tell you. But the thing that drives me crazy is that hundreds of boxes of shirts like these must have gone unsold, and I have no idea where to find one. Somewhere in this world, I guarantee you, there is a big box of different versions of this shirt in PRISTINE condition. Probably in an Indiana Jones warehouse. Maybe in the basement of a woman who’s upstairs, crying on the phone over a matter unrelated to my box of favorite shirts gone unchecked for decades. Maybe in a Texas post office marked with my name, address and proper postage, awaiting a prompt pickup. I can dream.
We dream to live for tomorrow.
We shower to wash away yesterday.
We dress to hide our fat, hairy, naked bodies today.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE. 13-10-13. Dans L’Orchard
When we move from the midwest to Los Angeles, as I did 11 years ago, we long for the simplicity of our childhoods. We pray it can be recreated in our new home. We seek out places and experiences that stoke the ember of our fondest memories. In this season, we hunt for the sweet tastes, crunchy sounds and smokey smells of autumn. And when we find it all, in the Orchards of Yucaipa, we enjoy sharing it with the roomates we acquire when we bone our wives without a rubber.
Our most consistent parenting practice to date has been ensuring our son has a good black turtleneck in whichever size he grows up into. The boy is in a black turtleneck from Old Navy. Jeans from the same place. First day out for both pieces, as he’s recently moved up to 4T.
My home game Tiger Cap shades the bright sun from my Zinni Optical glasses, and thoughtful hazel eyes.
This western-wear orange plaid shirt was purchased at Iguana Vintage, on Hollywood at Vine, a world away from this down-home oasis to the eyes (though the oasis does not apply to the elbows, as these orchards are teeth-gratingly crowded on weekends approaching Halloween.) The shirt is too big for me, thus too baggy to be any serious weekday-wear piece. However, on a twang-quil weekend, it’s a perfect fit.
Still wearing those wonderful trousers from yesterday. Hard to take those off. And I might as well get white socks and brown Saucony sneakers tattooed to my feet-n-ankles. Would save me a lot of bending.
The boy is in blue Crocs on this woodsy adventure, which is a testament to the quickness of seasons passing and children growing. He’s worn nothing but sockless Crocs all summer long, allowing hassle-free puddle jumping and mud shuffling. In the meantime, his feet grew out of all of his normal shoes, a surprise that leapt at us as we dressed our boy for this heartfondering day in the California Orchards. At least the turtleneck fits.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-12. Peter Peter Pancake Eater.
Welcome to the outfit I wore to the pancake breakfast fundraiser at my son’s preschool. And by typing the phrase “fundraiser at my son’s preschool,” I would like to officially welcome myself into the world of Los Angeles Parents. Whaaaazaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!??!?
This is a dress-to-blend outfit, meeting the parents I usually see picking up their kids at the end of the day in the middle. Where I’m normally dressed in glorified pajamas, the other parents are dressed smartly for a day of office business. On this Saturday gorge-fest, many of the others were dressed down to weekend wear, where I dressed up to reasonable human clothing.
Brown Saucs, white socks. Nick rocks? Goose flocks?
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the pants I’m wearing. Levi skinny trousers. I mean, they are the best pants I’ve ever owned, purchased on Urban Outfitters dot com for 80 bones, they could have cost a thousand and I’d be just as pleased. This flash-free legs shirt is part of the technologically-engineered-to-perfection trend I’ve noticed rising around us. Completely unremarkable to the outsider’s eye, these guys wrap me in bottom half comfort that is nothing less than completely remarkable - hence these remarks.
My beloved knit cardigan is perfect for a cool fall day. If you could see my soul smiling when I wear this piece on a perfect day, you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from smiling.
My button-up was purchased from the discount rack at H & M within a short time of an identical purchase by my friend Kyle Reiter, a talented fellow, in my egotistical opinion. While we have never mutually worn these shirts in each others’ presence, we have seen each other in them, and have always commented with delight. Kyle wears his perfectly on his tall, thin artists’ frame, while mine fits me much like a sausage casing, my classic-American-male-meets-classic-renaissance-female body pushing against its stylish red-based plaid pattern and what-should-be-impeccable fit.
Contact lenses free me from the weight of glasses on my nose, and my away game Detroit Tigers hat anticipate that evening’s ALCS match against the Boston Red Sox (which turned out to be a thrilling game that the Tigs won.)
(Pumpkin by Trader Joe’s)
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-10. Hollycold Nites.
"Night after night, day after day it was hot and hot/Then came the morning I woke up so cold/I had a feeling that some pajams would do me good. Warm my chilled chubs, be good for the soul." - Bob Seeg-brr.
Normally, I snooze in my boxer briefs. Might sleep in the shirt I wore that day if I’m feeling lazy when I hit the hay. But chilly Southern California nights require a toastier second skin. I know what you northmen are thinking:
Yeah, dummy. It sunk to 42 the other night.
"I wear shorts when it hits 42 in Michsconsota.”
Well, I wear pajamas. Old Los Angeles houses don’t have insulation. When its 42 outside, its 42 inside when you’re like me and too cheap to turn on the heat.
But it costs very little to turn up the heat in this Joe Boxer long john ensemble from Sports Chalet. Camo long john pants a size too small are taking it to the limit as they engage my meaty man-thighs in a hug like lovers reunited. This thermal grey top would have a more reasonable fit, if my love of beer & bread and hatred of exercise didn’t swell my gut into a fuzzy Kuato. So while my poor physical condition may take 10-15 years off of my life, these pajamas add 10-15 degrees to my nights.
On my face, black plastic frames around prescription lenses by Zinni Optical.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-09. Hollywood Days.
Brown Saucony sneakers, grey/black micro-striped H & M socks, maroon Obey casual slacks from Urban Outfitter, yellow & black plaid shirt (ask my wife where she got it), plain black fitted cap from LIDS, contact lenses from 1-800-contacts.
Wore this outfit to a Hollywood meeting today. Cleaned myself up real nice. I have a simple code: when you go to a Hollywood meeting, look like you’re not a homeless person. It’s just respectful to the Hollywood white-collars that are nice enough to give you the time to tell them about your ideas.
These maroon pants were the result of the time, about a year ago, when I ran out of pants. I only had 3 pairs of pants, each pant full of holes and stains. None of them pants was appropriate for a Hollywood meeting, or even lunch with an older relative. I was totally out of pants.
So, I went shopping for pants, and I vowed to spend lots of money on pants. I’m not out of pants anymore. Now, I have a variety of stylish pants. I really like almost every pair of pants I own. Do you have favorite pants? Something to think about. Never said this wasn’t a fashion blog for the thinkin’ man.
My brain is tired. Hollywood meetings take a lot out of me. I’m going to play Grand Theft Auto V now. Ryz-wore rules: Just drive around and run over anyone clearly not thinking about what they wear.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-08. Summer Satisfaction.
Couple cold LA days forecasted this week, so today is the last day to wear flip flops comfortably. These brown pedi-thongs came from the pool boutique at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Bought them because I forgot to pack my shitty ones, and shoes and socks have the unique ability to make being poolside feel like total bullshit.
My dick and ass are covered by some simple beige shorts, which, along with the flip flops, are featured prominently as a costume piece in one of my lesser known internet series, Canned Beer Cases. I consider the first episode of this series to be one of my greatest achievements, albeit one of the least noticed by the cruel, bored world. The lead actor Cass Rassmussen wore these shorts with aplomb aplenty, while they gently rubbed against his plentiful plombs.
I’ve talked about my knit black cardigan before and won’t play that card again. But underneath the sweater happens to be the shirt I was wearing when my son was born. It’s a vintage baby blue Dee Cee brand western wear shirt with lovely snaps and a very light-weight presence on my body. I must have bought it used like 10 years ago, so it’s quite threadbare and holey, but it still makes me feel like a million bucks.
Finally, notice my smirk of satisfaction, often worn during lovely afternoons. The mouth forming that smirk is about to be stuffed with a pork rind taco at La Cabinita, while my eyes gaze, through my black Zinni Optical specs, at my wife who doesn’t care whether or not I wear my home-game Tigers hat. She loves me even though my thinning hair makes my head resemble the inside of a poorly-scraped-out pumpkin.
WHAT JD RYZ-WORE 13-10-06. Family Function.
Brown Saucs, white socks. We’ve done this dance before. But the Crocs are a must-rock for the rambunctious boy. No laces, no open toes, no problem.
My cutoffs were once a pair of Levi 501 button fly jeans I picked up at Iguana Vintage on Hollywood in Hollywood. They sprung holes in the knees large enough to be a distraction to the wearer, as well as a distraction to anyone trying to see me as a fellow they’d like to pay. Trashed though they were, I couldn’t bear to part with them for reasons of nostalgia. I’ve never forgotten the “Button Your Fly” television campaign, or the slogan-bearing shirt I had my mom buy me at JC Penny so I could prove to 8th grade that, yes, I watch MTV. So, I cut them jeans off. Today, I can still enjoy the wisps of youth as I struggle to re-button that ridiculous fly after I whip a whizz.
The boy, you might notice, is wearing tan shorts.
My shirt is what I would call an All-American Wolf Shirt, featuring an early-industrial-era locomotive bursting through the idea of an American flag. This is a puzzling symbol, but given my political leanings, I would interpret it as representing the damage to the American ideal perpetrated by corporate industry since the late 19th century. Ironically, the company who makes this shirt, “The Mountain,” would beg to prove me wrong by informing me, via tag, that this 100% cotton masterpiece was indeed made and printed in the USA. So the PR rep from The Mountain might interpret the shirt thusly: “The train’s bringing the shirts to the store, man.”
The boy sports a blue/baby blue shirt from Old Navy with neon green collar, to make it easier for Mom & Dad to spot this prime grabbing location before he runs into the street.
I’m holding a tan Ergo brand diaper backpack. It contains changes of clothes for the boy along with diapers and wipes, because he, as we all should if we had an ounce of sense, still LOVES to poop and pee in his pants. Also, there are snacks in there. And those snacks are probably six months old.
I’m wearing my black Zinni Optical specs to help me see, and my home-game Tigers hat to block my face from the sun, and hide my disgusting, two-day-shower-free, greasy, balding hair from the other families enjoying the car-free downtown streets of LA’s CycLAvia event.
STREET FASHION. 13-10-05. Fishing for Fashion.
Here’s some street fashion I caught, and it’s a whopper: A two-hundred pound flounderer, scaled to the nines practical comfort. On this breezy morning, I was feeling the ocean chill in a thin sweatshirt, but ol Fishy Fish here was in no such peril with his multi-layered function shell.
Loose-fitting brown athletic pants with a sporty double stripe allows our guy to flop about the shoreline. I eyed him briskly pacing a 500 foot spread, casting a line in symbolic hopes of catching someone’s eye and in actual hopes of catching Fukushima-spiced tuna.
But with his cozy upper wrappings, one thing he won’t be catching is a cold. A black hoodie, fully engaged over an indistinguishable baseball cap simultaneously swaddles the head and body. A multi-pocket vest becomes an extra deterrent against the elements while ironically providing a home for lures.
There’s no telling what sent this angler onto the pre-dawn beach on a saturday morning, but I guarantee it wasn’t to have his clothes analyzed by some high-minded blogger. And that’s what makes this street fashion so much more sweet.
WHAT RYZ-WORE 13-10-04. The Picture of Health.
What you’re looking at is the outfit I wore to chat with some creatives over at a Hollywood network where I got a TV show idea set up. What you can’t tell is that I have a cold. As I was meeting the very talented people with whom I would be woking closely over the coming weeks and months, my outfit had to say the following: “This dude is cool.” “This person is a Hollywood professional” and “This fellow is healthy.”
Don’t worry, friends. I didn’t go to the meeting in white tube socks. Not pictured: the ol’ brown Sauconys.
I’m super excited to tell you about the pants I’m wearing. These motherfuckers are black stretch denim Levi skinnys. Or skinny Levi stretch demin blacks. Any order you put the words in, these black blue jeans are COMFORTABLE, STYLISH and PRACTICAL. They allow me to share ideas without feeling the need to share the fact my pants are destroying my balls. Also, if I need to wipe snot on them, it virtually disappears into a camouflage glisten.
(Not pictured, my trusty Kenneth Cole Reaction brand reversible brown/black belt.)
Under my Discount Dov hoodie is a corduroy autumn orange button up my wife bought me when I told her I wanted a shirt from store she was going to. “What kind of shirt would you like?” “Any shirt will do.” This is the shirt she bought me, and it did. I will say this shirt is a tad short, so I won’t go reaching for the top shelf amongst unfamiliar company, for the fact it will rise up and expose the fuzzy muffin top hanging over my denim black Levi stretch jeans skinny.
On my hape, my old Zinni Optical black glasses and Tigers away-game hat. Go Tigers.