Grading robot powered down for two days for the holidays despite the looming final grade deadline Friday morning (12/27). I am happy to report that Grading Robot is once again powering down. This is the only time in the year that all work for which Grading Robot is needed ceases until January 13th. One school commences on Janury sixth with the other following on the 13th, but Grading Robot will not be needed for the first school until the 13th. Thus, the greatest vacation of the year for Grading Robot begins with a full ELEVEN days of no work and an eighteen day period of partial work. Grading Robot will not be at full power again until the week of January 20th, which happens to be the day after my birthday. So my birthday sort of signals the end of my full work vacation.
To celebrate the time off, I plan to spend time with the wife and kids, see movies, finish some household projects, help the parents, and most importantly host my best friend who will be here for five days of GAMING EXCELLENCE in January. Thus, it is fitting that this Israel shirt was gift from said best friend, Tom Meyers, better known as the Lord of Chaos.
It's rather interesting that this shirt is a 3XL, but it fits like a regular XL.
I am not interested in defending any political affinity with Israel or justifying any actions of this country or lack of actions. I like the shirt because I have always felt an affinity with the Jewish people, which is more interesting when recently my wife expressed interest in attending Temple. I like the shirt because Israel is the home of the holy lands of many people. And despite the country's actions toward Palestine and other actions or lack of actions in the area, I have always been rather pro-Israel because I have always felt very pro-Jewish. However, I am aware that there are many issues about which people would argue against showing pictures of myself in this shirt let alone with the Israeli flag (also a gift from the LOC) or of me in the shirt wearing my Hebrew Detroit Tigers cap (says DETROIT in Hebrew).
I have already featured Hebrew shirts on this blog:
Mainly, I thought this would be a good shirt for me to share many pictures of my Christmas celebration with my birth family: my parents, my sister, Lori, and her husband Noel. Liesel always works on Christmas, and the kids are with their Dad, which is why pictures of our Christmas were posted with Christmas Eve, the day we celebrate.
Today is just pictures and text, some in captions and some not. You will see (as you did with ) some previews of shirts to come as they were given to me as gifts. With birthday coming (January 19th in case you were thinking of gifting me a T-shirt), I think I am going to finish the blog year with enough shirts. But we shall see. I am trying to assemble another "break" from the blog in which I post shirts about which I have little to say while my friend is visiting (five days). So be prepared for light content that week. I still have much Pathfinder to prepare even though I am using modules.
Back to comic books tomorrow. Huzzah!
By the way, yesterday's post (which had its final publication today on the 26th) has become immensely popular very quickly, and I think more because it's about my wife and my wedding and not so much because it's about thirtysomething, too.
Onto my Christmas picture gallery. As always, thanks for reading.
CHRISTMAS PICTURE GALLERY - 2013 - TOWER HOUSE - PATTIWOOD
One of the purposes of this blog is a review of my geeky past. One of my fondest memories of Christmases past is my ever-burning, constantly yearning, and all-consuming desire for the toys for Big Jim's P.A.C.K. in 1976. I have found some BIG JIM shirts, so I am planning more BIG JIM content in the new year. I just wanted to share one of the best example of Christmas dreams. For at least a month in 1976, I dreamed of the stories I could make, the fun I could have, with these toys. These are definitely some of the coolest toys from my childhood.
It's important to toast with fine spirits during any holiday celebration. Liesel gave me a special bottle of Kentucky bourbon, 1792, for Christmas, and so here we are toasting and sampling this fine beverage.
I had seconds as seen below.
My mother loves Christmas. The Christmases of my childhood were magical and extra special. My mother devoted herself to so much shopping in the months prior to Christmas, carefully budgeting and yet buying many little things that showed how well she knew her children, that Christmas was all the more extra special because it was a living example of her love. Our stockings were "works of art," as my sister called them. She would carefully select very large and choice apples and oranges (one each) along with small toys and special doo-dads that she knew we would love. Some of these things we had asked for. Other things she found in her endless and months long shopping excursions.
One of my fondest memories of Christmas is that every year my mother would assemble a box of school supplies for us: pens, notepads, stamps, bookmarks, paper clips, folders, and so much more. All these items were lovingly selected to fit our personalities and interests. Often, this meant she had to go many places. Continuing the tradition while we were in college and after college, she would have to plan ahead. For my sister's box, she would have to make sure to buy University of Michigan stuff during a trip to Ann Arbor sometime that year. The thoughtfulness and love expressed by these boxes was a huge influence on the person I am today as I try to live up to my mother's example.
My Dad is the one mainly responsible for my love of comic books. Every year I would receive a large box of comic books on Christmas Eve. The tradition continued with my sister once she was born and old enough for comics. Knowing we would wake up in the middle of the night, my parents wisely let us open the comic book box the night before so we would have comics to read in the middle of the night when we were too excited to sleep anymore. We were not allowed to wake our parents until 7 a.m.
My Dad has been loving Christmas more and more lately, especially since my sister and I are both married and on our own. Also, BTW, the shirt he is wearing was originally mine and I give it to him because he likes red shirts so much. I have been keeping it in reserve, intending to use his shirts, the ones I gave him, in case I needed to round out my year of T-shirts with ones in his closet.
Tried to get a good picture of Princess, my Mom and Dad's cat, who doesn't remember me anymore, even though I used to feed her and clean her litter.
This is shirt with a special embroidered design. That's my father's logo for his architecture business.
My father asked us to get him scotch whisky but not to spend more than $30. Silly rabbit.
Great T-shirt gift!! Soon to be featured on the blog. And by soon, I mean before March 22.
My sister and Noel laughing that I now give them cards with dogs on the front because I am now a dog person as well as a cat person.
Another AWESOME T-shirt gift. The image comes from Kate Bush's The Dreaming. Don't worry. I will write about it.
My sister is thrilled to receive this special Vera Bradley purse.
My sister is also very happy here with this set of nested measuring cups shaped like a kitty cat.
Here's the Christmas tree (above) and the Christmas Village (below) all lovingly and carefully decorated and assembled by my sister who helps to keep the Christmas traditions our mother set and perpetuated alive and well. She also made cookies (not pictured) and a pecan pie.
Updates on 1312.29 from my Dad's camera. To start, a great picture of my mother laughing with chocolate on her lips.
I love page-a-day calendars. I have been disappointed this year with the Intellectual one I have. I currently run two, a word of the day one and the intellectual's checklist. At one time, I had five, so I have cut back to two.
More previews of shirts to come. When I started the blog, I soon realized that there were dear popular culture products that I wanted to write about. Can you guess which one this is in the photo below?
I mentioned Pogo in my Calvin and Hobbes post (T-shirt #122) since Walt Kelly was such a huge influence and Watterson and so many others. My brother-in-law pointed out that Pogo has been accused of containing racist content. However, in the Wikipedia entry for POGO (linked here), the word racism does not appear. A Google search did discover one lone book by some academic nerd who sees racism and sexism in every strip and obviously misses the point. I love POGO, and I have since I was a kid.
In addition to using page-a-day calendars and an engagement calendar, I have two wall calendars, though I may reduce this number to one. Here's the one for 2014.
Good times were had by all.
If it's not obvious, I love my family very much. Happy holidays to all, and thank you for reading.
COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 85 shirts remaining
- chris tower - first published 1312.26 - 20:06
final publication - 1312.27 - 9:59
update - 1312.29 - 8:47