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.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

T-shirt #310 - Tropical Rainforests - A Disappearing Treasure

T-shirt #310 - Tropical Rainforests - A Disappearing Treasure

I cannot remember how I acquired this shirt. I am adding the gift category to today's entry because I think this shirt was a gift from my parents bought for me on some trip they took. I am going to say I was not with them. It's a Smithsonian shirt, and it's copyrighted as 1988, so I think my suspicion may be correct. It was a gift from a trip they took to Washington DC for a conference my father had to attend. My parents took many such trips in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s before my mother came down with the meningitis that paralyzed her.

The text under the image reads: "Tropical Rainforests are places of immense diversity and mystery where nature's grandest possibilities find expression." (Google Chrome does not like the spelling of "Rainforests" as one word, capitalized, but what does it know?)

Obviously, T-shirts have been my thing for some time. A safe gift that my mother (possibly with my father's input though an idea driven by my mother's loving and generous spirit) could obtain in most any gift shop. My mother loves gift shops.

Obviously, many of us understand the need to preserve the planet's rainforests. I do not need to belabor the point. Though the clear cutting of Amazon rainforests to make pasture for raising and then slaughtering cattle for the insatiable hunger of Americans for fast food burgers is disturbing. If you really want to get disgusted and swear off fast food (if you have not already), Google search the following term: "Advanced Meat Recovery." You can thank me later, unless you own, run, or have financial interest in some aspect of the industrial food industry, and then feel free to suppress the urge to post a rebuttal.


I am doing a series of snippets that will add up to a larger whole answering the "Why T-shirts?" or "What's with all the T-shirts?" question. I have also decided to include the previous items in an ever growing list, hence the "previous items" section next.


TODAY'S ITEM - WHY T-SHIRTS #3: It's my tattoo

In the last few years, tattoos have become popular and somewhat mainstreamed. Originally markings of tribal significance, such as by the Maori, sailors were the first to introduce the practice to the western world. In my college years, it was still seen as low-brow activity or a mistake that some people made in a drunken night of poor decisions and general debauchery. A few years after I graduated from college, this perception was changing, and today, tattoos are accepted as art forms and are common enough that service workers do not have to hide them anymore, such as the Triforce symbol from the Legend of Zelda game on the forearm of the young woman who rang up my purchase yesterday at Office Depot. Certainly twenty years ago, and maybe even ten, all but the most progressive of organizations would make her cover up the tattoo and may have excluded her from the pool of job applicants had they known of her "skin art."

Our culture is transforming and for the better.

I don't have any tattoos, and I am not going to get any. I don't say this unkindly. Many tattoos are beautiful, and I support people who want to wear art in this way. It's just not for me. My two step kids and my wife all have tattoos. My best friend just added some art to his body. It's just not for me, but I support their choices.

I played Ultimate for years with a guy named Matt Robshaw, who put a great deal of thought into the words he had tattooed on his skin in big, bold, black script. Wisdom and Courage were two of his words. I cannot remember if he was choosing word three or four when I last saw him. He has moved to Minnesota, and I only communicate with him occasionally via Facebook. But his personal convictions and his long deliberation period to choose his words were impressive. After all, if you're having ink injected into your skin in a way that will keep it there, more or less, for the rest of your life, you should put a great deal of thought into your choices.

Not to diminish those who adorn their bodies in skin art, but I think of my t-shirts like tattoos, though hardly as serious of a commitment. Like a tattoo, a T-shirt is ART, and it makes a STATEMENT. It allows me to show off something that is important to me, though in a way much less permanent than a tattoo.

But the future of skin art may be as interchangeable as T-shirts. Combinations of genetic engineering and nano-technology could transform many elements of how we maintain our bodies, the least of which may be changing tattoos as often, if we wish, as we change socks. Already people are selling their skin as billboard space, allowing corporations or organizations to buy their skin for tattoos that advertise something. Obviously, this real-skin-estate is only practical for people whose skin is seen weekly by hundreds if not thousands of people; those in large cities and/or who travel are prime skin estate for those willing to sell. Think of how much more prevalent and interchangeable this commodity will become if science allows skin art to be re-configured in the same way a photo is manipulated in Photoshop, much like how often I change shirts.

In the future, this blog could be "365 Tattoos" and follow the same principle as one dedicated to T-shirts.

HIATUS TEXT: I am taking a short hiatus. A "hiatus" for the 365 T-shirts Blog does not mean that there will not be shirts or that I will skip posting on any forthcoming day. There will be shirts. But the shirts will not be exciting or the featured shirts will not require me to write a small novel to properly generate the content I feel is sufficient. I created a category for my hiatus so as to group together those "easy" shirts that I consider to be "hiatus shirts." The goal of the hiatus is to fill in many blog days with easy shirts in order to complete longer love letters to beloved popular culture icons on more special shirts and to write more complex entries AHEAD OF TIME. The daily grind is becoming too much and causing me to fall behind and to be forced to post incomplete entries. I am hoping that a series of hiatus shirts will allow me to catch up, get ahead, and stay ahead. Ideally, I would like to be writing the bulk of each entry three days ahead while always working on at least one other. I have a lot of great shirts to share before the end of my blog year (after all I was just given SIXTEEN shirts for my birthday). Stay tuned. I promise to post the more interesting and longer T-shirt entries as I finish them. Thanks for reading. BTW, this is the standard HIATUS TEXT that I will include in every "hiatus shirt" entry.

Today I am wearing this shirt (above).

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 55 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1401.25 - 19:11