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.)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

T-shirt #279: thirtysomething - Merry Christmas

T-shirt #279: thirtysomething - Merry Christmas - the greatest gift ever

Merry Christmas, if Christmas is your thing. Merry some other Winter Solstice time holiday if that's your thing instead.

I was going to say that this picture is circa 2005 because of the date of the file, but given that I am posing in front of Mom's hospital bed, this is either Christmas 2000 or my birthday 2001. Ah... and because of my careful recording keeping, I have discovered that this was a gift for my Birthday in 2001. I gave up computer games in 2001 because they were eating my life, I wanted to get back to writing, and I had to help take care of the Marjorie, my mother, as evidenced by the hospital bed in my family's West Gull Lake Drive living room where my mother slept (with my Dad next to her on a roll away bed) from October 2000 when she came home from two long stays in two hospitals, which had started with a coma in March of 2000 to near Christmas of 2001 when she finally graduated back to her bedroom upstairs, almost two years since she last slept there.

I saved this shirt for today, Christmas, because I thought the picture came from a Christmas celebration with my family, but alas, it's a birthday celebration.

Nevertheless, the shirt will work for what I want to write about today. First some comments about the greatest TV show of all time and then my story of the greatest gift of all.

First, some explanations: Above you can see a picture of me with all the thirtysomething DVD sets. These sets were a gift from my best friend and fellow thirtysomething mega-fan, the Lord of Chaos, also known as Tom Meyers. I am dedicated to re-watching them but given the challenges I face in watching stuff, it may be a while until I make it through the seasons. This is the fifth set of episodes I have owned. The first set were recording from the original TV broadcasts from the show's debut in 1987 through 1991. The second set came from the re-broadcasts on Lifetime Network. The third set were a complete set made by someone selling recordings on the Internet. The fourth set also came in this way, be a third-person party via the Internet but on DVD, and now these, the fifth and official, commercially licensed complete set of programs.

The shirt is also a gift, from my parents surely, though I am not sure from which holiday. It's one of my two thirtysomething T-shirts and so I intend to write more about the show in a future post and less in this one.

I knew from the start that thirtysomething (see Wiki link) was going to be great. I watched the first episode and was immediately hooked. I do not recall the circumstances of what drew me to the show. I remember watching the pilot and feeling a strong affinity with the characters and the storylines. My best friend Tom Meyers discovered the how independently, and we bonded about our love for this excellent, ensemble TV drama.

Partly, I think I was drawn to thirtysomething because I was twenty-five years old in 1987. I had graduated from Kalamazoo College two years before, and I did not know what to do with my life. I had gone to WMU to finish some classes I needed and because my parents were pushing me toward something more practical than novel writing or filmmaking. I started courses in secondary education until I discovered graduate school in WMU's English department. In September of 1987 (when the show debuted), I had just started in the MA and MFA program at WMU. I had landed a graduate assistantship, and I still was not sure what to do with my life, but I felt I had chosen a direction (writing) and eventually teaching.

thirtysomething seemed like a glimpse into the near future. As a twenty-five year old single male entering graduate school, the world of the thirtysomething program seemed like a glimpse into my future about seven years ahead. I identified most with the single and commitment-phobic Gary, the English professor as I did not as easily identify with the other two men, though my friend Tom strongly identified with the character of Michael.

The way the show of thirtysomething realistically addressed the real issues of relationships and created strong, round characters with flaws makes it one of the best (in my opinion the very best) television shows of all time. It also burned brightly for four years and then ended before it lost its freshness and was run into the ground with poor writing to stretch a concept that found a natural progression.

thirtysomething list of episodes.

thirtysomething FUN CHRISTMAS FACT: I wrote a story for the TitanTalk APA (Teen Titans comic book fanzine) loosely based on the season two thirtysomething episode "The Mike Van Dyke Show," which was in turn a take off on The Dick Van Dyke Show. A Christmas-themed program about the main character Michael Steadman caught in a snow storm as he tries to get home to his wife and child, I replaced the characters of Michael and Hope Steadman with Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) and Donna Troy (Wonder Girl/ Troia). Though I have a hard copy in my files, I am afraid that I may have lost the only digital copy. Recovering these manuscripts is one of my principal projects for 2014.

More thirtysomething content to come when I feature the other shirt in my collection.


The greatest day of my life was the day I married my wife. Liesel and her two kids (I guess I can say our two kids, though I am the step-dad) are the greatest gift I have ever received.

Yes, I know, it took me 279 to get to this subject, but what better day to share about the greatest gift I have ever received than on Christmas Day.

I will save the story for how Liesel and I fell in love and started dating for another time.

She is the love of my life.
She saved my life.
She is the greatest gift of my life. I am blessed and thankful to share my life with her.

In the following, you will find my favorite pictures from the wedding photos, though I was very selective to spare you too many photos (none from the actual ceremony). I have also reprinted the invitation and the ceremony itself.

My two favorite memories/parts.

We left the chapel after the ceremony to one of my all-time favorite songs: "Linus and Lucy" better known as the theme from Peanuts.

As we left the chapel, my friend Matt Frayer tossed my a disc (Frisbee to some of you), and so see a picture of me catching it in the photos below. Perfect thing.

Liesel Marie Kanohokula Creager


Christopher Burns Tower

request the honour of your presence at their wedding on the Third of October the ninth year of the second millenium at four o’clock in the afternoon :

October 3rd 2009- 4 p.m.

Ceremony will be held at the June M. Sherman Chapel at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital, 1312 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.

A reception will immediately follow the ceremony at the Park Club -

219 W South Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007-4797.


Many more details (and directions) can be found at our wedding website -


“We will wade in the shine of the ever...”


Pre-music: pianist: Martez Rucker
Processional: “Well Below The Valley” - Tasha & John
Aunt Rochelle & Mike
Mike & Sue
Rob & Elizabeth
Me with Mom and Dad - Lori pushing Mom
Bride Processional: Ivan and Liesel
- Bagpiper - Some Scottish tree song

Welcome friends and family of Liesel and Chris.

Liesel and Chris wanted to get married on Halloween, which is on Saturday this year. Though they changed the date, please remember the feel of All Hallow’s Eve throughout today’s ceremony and reception themed for the harvest moon and the season of autumn.

Liesel and Chris are honored to have you attend their wedding and celebrate their union.

Marriage is not a union merely between two people; it is a union between two spirits, and the intention of that bond to perfect the nature of both. We are asked today to witness the joining of two such kindred spirits, whose love for one another has inspired them to formally declare the bond they share before witnesses. So to this assembled and dear community of Liesel and Chris’ friends and family: we welcome you with open arms. Let us be supportive and unconditional in our love, so that we may help to strengthen the foundation of the couple that we are uniting here today.

But there are also those who are here with us in spirit, those who could not attend in person. We would like to acknowledge those who could not be with us today. On Chris’ side, though his maternal grandmother died before he was born, his grandfather lived to be almost 100 and died just a few years ago around the same time his paternal grandfather died. We acknowledge Foster Delbridge and Walter Tower. Chris’ paternal grandmother Helen Tower would have liked to attend but age and health prevented her from making the trip; the same circumstances prevented Chris’ Uncle Ward Delbridge and Aunt Brenda Delbridge from attending as well.

On Liesel’s side, a large extended family back in Hawaii were unable to make the trip to Michigan with the exception of her Aunt Rochelle. Liesel would like to acknowledge her mother Estelle Allen, who is here in spirit. But most of all, Liesel is thinking of her friend Regan, an eight year old girl, who has been hospitalized at Bronson for almost two weeks. Regan is very ill and could not attend today, but she is here with us in spirit and this day of celebration is dedicated to her.

To honor those who cannot be with us, to form the bond of this new community of people that has been brought together by Chris and Liesel, and most especially as a moment of prayer and reflection for Regan, let us share peace with one another. Please turn to your neighbors, clasp hands (demo), and say “Peace be with you.”

And now a poem by ee cummings, read by Chris’ sister Lori Marie Beard.

POEM#1 - "somewhere I have never traveled..."

Because Chris has Scottish roots on both sides of his family, and both he and Liesel share an affinity for the Celtic, I will now share a traditional Scottish Blessing:

If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
So let it be.


- Maureen improvises -

In Hawaii, the ceremony known as ho’ao was normally a ritual of the chiefly class and was meant to produce offspring for the kahuna. Later, the prayers were used at weddings. In the following, the purpose of the ritual is stated through suggestion and allusion.

Ho’ao will be read in English and Hawaiian by Rochelle Ribbentrop and Tasha Koontz.


One of my favorite pictures
of Liesel from the reception
Liesel and Chris believe that they belong together, that they were meant to be together. Not only do they believe that they are connected in a deep and profound way, but they believe that they are, and we all are, connected to everything, and that everything is connected to us. This is a belief that Liesel and Chris have both held dear for many years, but Chris did not have language and definitions for it until he met Liesel and learned about Huna mysticism and AKA cords. 

The Hawaiian Dictionary definition of "aka" is (1.n) "Shadow" (2 nvi) "Reflection, image, likeness, faint glimmer preceding the rising of the moon, essence of an offering rather than the flesh.

The idea of "aka cords" is central to an understanding of Huna thought, which is loosely (perhaps in some schools, too loosely) based on some Hawaiian traditions.

In Fundamentals of Hawaiian Mysticism, Charlotte Berney says of aka, "This invisible material, which has never been measured by science, is known in other metaphysical schools as 'etheric' or 'astral' substance. All things--including the Three Selves"--and all thoughts have shadowy aka bodies and can form connections via aka substance, which is sticky and elastic. These connections are in the form of cords or threads that reach between things. Aka cords can connect people or can stretch between a person and an object, or a person and a place. These aka cord connections are not limited by material obstacles or by distance, and they can connect persons on different sides of the world...”

Berney continues, "Throughout your life, you establish aka cord connections between yourself and people, places or things. These cords are created whenever you think about someone or something, speak about them, or take some action that involves them. Thus, by thoughts, words, and deeds you form many aka ties. Thoughts and feelings travel along these slender cords, and Basic Selves communicate with one another through them."

Because of these connections, we find reflections of these ideas in others, not associated with huna thought, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “The only True gift is a portion of yourself.”

As we are all connected, as everything is connected, this community of person gather here today to witness Liesel and Chris exchange their vows. The declaration of vows will follow the Celtic handfasting ceremony. Liesel, Chris, Piper, and Ivan will literally “tie the knot” tied by Regan’s mother Angela Carpenter.


performed by Angela

includes Piper and Ivan

Formal declaration of vows and exchange of rings

Liesel repeat after me

I, Liesel, before family and friends, commit my love to you.

I promise to always respect your individuality and cherish our days together.

I vow to be faithful, supportive and loyal.

I treasure you and vow to bring you happiness.

I will support your dreams and always encourage you.

From this day forward, I will be proud to be your wife.

Chris repeat after me

I, Chris, before family and friends, commit my love to you.

I promise to always respect your individuality and cherish our days together.

I vow to be faithful, supportive and loyal.

I treasure you and vow to bring you happiness.

I will support your dreams and always encourage you.

From this day forward, I will be proud to be your husband.

Audience Support Vow
Now that you have heard Liesel and Chris recite their vows, Do you, Their dearest friends and family promise from this day forward to encourage them and love them, to give them your guidance and to support them in being steadfast in the promises that they have made?
To now show your support, please join me in saying WE WILL.

Chris, I believe that you may have something for Liesel?

Chris, Please repeat after me.

Liesel, do you accept this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you?

Liesel-Say I DO

Liesel-Repeat after me.

Chris, do you accept this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you?

Chris-Say I DO

To conclude, a modified version of a traditional Celtic Blessing:

May you both be blessed with the strength of the universe,
The light of the sun and the radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of the wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of the rock,
The tight webbed connection of the AKA cords
between the two of you and all the things of the world.

I now pronounce Liesel and Chris to be husband and wife.
Now is the time for you two to kiss.

Recessional: “Linus & Lucy” - Martez Rucker
Congregation stays seated
We return to release each row
accompanied by Martex Rucker - various
Bagpiper (outside)
Cones with confetti distributed
Bride and Groom leave

This was our Thank You Card.
We thought it was funny to send this
picture on our thank you card.
The Wedding party. L-R: My sister Lori Marie Beard,
Elaine Klein "Number One," me, Liesel, Piper (Maid of Honor),
Ivan, and Aubrey Butts.

My wife is an angel.

- chris tower - first published 1312.25 - 19:06
final publication - 1312.26 - 11:33