365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

T-shirt #162: Pleasantview School

T-shirt #162: Pleasantview School and the Six Million Dollar Man

Kind of a random day today.

And a short one. Not because Grading Robot is at full power. Weekly deadline met this morning. But because from time to time, the entries must be short so that I can work ahead, which is today's goal.

Also, writing fragments.

Feel a bit fragmented, so the content is coming out in partials.

Dribs and drabs.


Go figure.

In the photo, I am wearing my Pleasantview School T-shirt and clutching my Six Million Dollar Man vintage toy, simply because of randomness. The toy was sitting atop a stack of books. I wanted to get him in the blog, and I have no other way to do it than this way (no Lee Majors, Steve Austin, Six Million Dollar Man T-shirts).

Pleasantview School is in Hastings, Michigan. In the 1990s and the early 2000s, I participated in program called CREATIVE WRITERS IN THE SCHOOLS (CWIS), in which schools would apply for grants to host a visiting writer for up to two weeks. After teaching the usual college semester, I would spend April-June at various schools making enough money to help me get through the summer without teaching a full load or without supplementing my income in other ways.

I first wrote about my work in CWIS in T-shirt #105: Ultimate Spider-Man, in which I also included my first ever You Tube video of me performing the "Spider-Man poem" as I did at every school, including Pleasantview School.

I was very impressed with Pleasantview School and the galvanic principal (whose name I have forgotten). I refined much of  my technique for the CWIS job at Pleasantview School, including my fill-in-the-blank and other guided poetry writing exercises for grades 2-6. I am including my best example here on the blog with the poem "Seven Ways of Looking at Teachers," which is modeled after Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

I loved the CWIS. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I was a bit of a rock star. I would swoop in to these class rooms, and turn the kids up to 11. My blend of humor and goofiness usually met with resounding success as the kids were excited and turned out some great poems or stories. It was at Pleasantview School that I learned that I had to use assemblies, or I would be reciting the Spider-Man poem about 30 times a week for up to six weeks, a totally insane prospect. So, I devised a plan. I would host an assembly to start and introduce myself to the kids. I would do the Spider-Man poem one time, and I would perform one magic trick. Then, if the students wrote and did what was expected of them over the next two weeks, they could earn the right to attend the final assembly in which I would do a full length magic show and recite the Spider-Man poem for the final time. It was a bit stressful practicing and getting in the mode of performing magic again. But much of the magic I do is stand-up comedy with some easy manipulation or misdirection. I use a lot of gimmicks. But it's still stressful.

"Hey, you know that play you were in 20 years ago, do your entire role right now. Go." This is what I hear when someone asks me to do a magic trick.

Oh yeah, the Six Million Dollar man. Working in CWIS made me feel like the Six Million Dollar man. I wanted to share this toy on the blog because it's such a cool toy. The tennis shoes are rubber and removable. The right arm has peel back skin to expose the bionics. The left eye can be looked through from the back of the head to simulate the bionic, telescoping vision of his machined eye.

Bionic the Wiki


Seven Ways of Looking at Teachers
-- By Chris Tower

  1. There are 13,000 teachers in the world, and I have collected them all in tiny, purple bottles.
  2. In the light of the full moon, the teachers look like vampire bats.
  3. In the summer, the teachers transform themselves into children. They play, dance, sing, and complete numerous homework assignments to determine their merits.
  4. Once a year, the 13,000 teachers gather in caves deep below the earth and discuss more efficient ways of torturing students.
  5. Once upon a time, the teachers learned of a school without teachers. They swooped to the rescue. They loved and educated the students helping them to be the best students ever.
  6. Though the teachers look like vampire bats, when I smile, they look like angels.
  7. No one knows that teachers can fly, breathe underwater, lift skyscrapers over their heads, and secretly they tell the President of the United States what to do.

Last thing today.

Remember in T-shirt #155 in which I said that my friend Jeremy Welter looks like Captain Marvel?

Well, he does.

And now I have the picture to prove it.

Check this out.

Jeremy and his lovely wife Deanna just announced that they are having a baby and posted this cute picture to share the great news with all of Facebook. It's a good picture to show that Jeremy indeed looks JUST LIKE Captain Marvel (especially Alex Ross' Captain Marvel).

Congratulations Deanna and Jeremy Welter!! Can't wait to welcome your little tike to the world.

Everyone have a great Friday and a great holiday weekend. I will be back tomorrow, but I know that many of you may not.

- chris tower - 1308.30 - 10:29