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.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

T-shirt #315 - The National Air and Space Museum

T-shirt #315 - The National Air and Space Museum - The Smithsonian, Washington DC

I am a space junkie. I can't get enough of books, movies, TV shows, TV news, written news, and especially museums that have to do with outer space, the exploration of space, and other related subjects.

This shirt is a companion to T-shirt #310: Tropical Rainforests as both have a listed copyright of 1988 on the shirt, and I suspect that both were purchased at the same time. Though I am guessing that these were gifts, as I wrote in the previous entry, purchased by my mother and father on a trip they took to Washington DC, a few days has improved my memory. I may have been with them on this jaunt. I was still going on trips with my parents in 1988 as I recall a trip to Milwaukee with them the year When Harry Met Sally came out, which was 1989. I remember a trip to Washington DC, in which I had dinner with my friend John Locke in the Takoma Park neighborhood, and I must have been with my parents. So, it's likely that these shirts came from such a trip.

Pictured to the right, the shirt features a picture of the earth and a caption: "The sphere of the Earth as photographed from Apollo 17 spacecraft during the final lunar landing mission in the Apollo program. The photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to Antarctica south polar ice cap."

I would amend that caption, explaining that the Mediterranean is visible at the very top of the Earth's sphere but the dominant image is Africa and part of Asia. Madagascar looms very large in this perspective. Antarctica is at the bottom of the sphere as it always is and as it is always visible from this angle.

Though I love this and the rainforests shirt, I think both are destined to become pajamas as I have worn neither in years, and with constant wear and washings, the current pajama shirts are growing more worn and thin.

The picture above depicts the The Southern Pinwheel-spiral galaxy M83. I cannot remember where I snagged the picture. I think it was Reuters pic of the day, and it's been sitting in my T-shirts Blog folder for months.

I divulged my love of space and things to do with space science and exploration in the first ten blog entries I posted. T-shirt #5: Do you want to move to Mars? featured a shirt Liesel bought for me after I asked her if she wanted to move to Mars once the Mars One Project gets underway. I was half-serious. I used to fantasize about space exploration when I was a kid and a young man. Not so much as I got older and more settled. After all, I like too many of the comforts of Earth and our life here that would be missing in a move to Mars, where we would not even be able to go outside. If I am feeling cabin fever now with the dangerously cold temperatures this January, I can only imagine how much more intense would be the cabin fever on Mars and enroute to Mars. I should amend my former comments. It's not that I could not go outside the spacecraft or domed-living-environment-pods, but I could not do so without a space suit.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the MoonI also mentioned space stuff in my post devoted to Spektrmodule, the Warren Ellis podcast, in T-shirt #75.

I am surprised that I have not written more about space and associated topics given my love the subject. Obviously, my love of science fiction comes from my love of space. The love of space came first. One of the first sets of things I learned were the planets of our solar system in order. I may have known these before I knew the alphabet. Though the "science" category only has three entries currently (and now this one) and none of them really to do with "space" (obviously the two I named already should be grouped there), the science fiction entry contains 29 posts (one of which is still a draft). These contain all the Star Trek  and Star Wars entries as well as ones focused on other print or multimedia science fiction.


My last point today (and I could make many but I am Grading Robot and I have to keep it short) concerns an apocryphal story I tell. I am not sure if this story is actually true or not. But I have told it so many times that I have made it true. I was about to start second grade in 1969 when the Americans sent the three most famous astronauts in the history of space exploration thus far to land on the moon for the first time (Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins).

My affection for the Apollo Space Program and science fiction surely kept me hoping to explore "brave new worlds and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." But instead I settled for being an English teacher, an ultimate player, a husband/father, and a writer. Wait... maybe I am going there, to that place the no one has gone... you tell me. :-) But in the summer of 1969 if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have probably said a superhero, which you would have rejected and made me pick something real and attainable, so my real answer would have been an ASTRONAUT.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July of 1969, not long before my sister was born, when my family was moving from Schoolcraft, just south of Kalamazoo, to Richland, just northeast of Kalamazoo, and before I started second grade at Richland Elementary in the Fall of that year. However, there were several Apollo missions after the first moon landing, two of which, Apollo 12 (November of 1969) and Apollo 13 (April of 1970), took place during my second grade year of school. For some reason that still puzzles me today, my teacher was more interested in teaching us subtraction, basic spelling, grammar, and other useless bits of knowledge when AMERICAN ASTRONAUTS WERE LANDING ON AND EXPLORING THE MOON!!!!!!!!

I mean, really, what was she thinking? Her name was Mrs. Tuttle, and she was a strict, disciplinarian. And yet, I was a precocious child. I insisted that we have  a television in the classroom showing the news broadcasts of the Apollo landings. Here's where my memory is a bit murky, and I just have always made up the details to make the story work, much like any good writer of fiction.

For accuracy sake, let's say this is in November of 1969 and the advent of the Apollo 12 project. In my usual version of the story, Mrs. Tuttle cannot do anything to comply with my request, and so I bring my own family's TV to the class to watch the orbits and landing. This is the part that is probably not true. I have a clear vision of television atop a big metal cart in that second grade classroom with Mrs. Tuttle presiding in front of it, attempting to make deals with us for our right to watch: so much subtraction, so much spelling and grammar, so much time watching the TV. I remember the principal also in attendance as this was the first time there had been a television in a class room at Richland Elementary. It was historic.

Apollo program insigniaThis was also the year that due to my obsession with the soap opera Dark Shadows that I sold a case or two of plastic fangs to all the students in my classes and others. The fang sale was my first business enterprise as a primary school student though not my last. But that's off topic. More on this one some other time.

I like my version of the story best. We brought in the family TV. It's probably not true, but it shows my overriding focus on the space missions that year, when I was not watching Dark Shadows that is.

Okay, so reprinting T-shirt #5 because it fits this subject, it's short, I am not sure it was widely read, and I like it. :-)

T-Shirt #5: Mars One: Funny thing, my wife bought me a T-shirt. It's not really funny as in laughter evoking by itself. But it's quirky and cute.

One morning last year, I asked my wife Liesel: "Would you like to go live on Mars?"

I was just checking. I wanted to see what she would say. I have always liked the idea of going into space. Moving permanently to Mars is a neat idea but maybe not realistic.

This subject came up because of Ray Kurzweil.
"Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil is an American author, inventor, futurist, and director of engineering at Google" (Wikipedia). 

If you like science, Ray Kurzweil runs a great Twitter feed of science news here:



KurzweilAI is a newsletter/blog covering nano-bio-info-cogno breakthroughs in accelerating intelligence
California/Mass · http://kurzweilai.net

Google has hired Kurzweil to work on AI, which is an exciting proposition.

There is also a great website: Kurzweil Acclerating Intelligence.

I like to follow Kurzweil and watch the news he shares. He sends A LOT of Twitters, and they are always entertaining and informative.

Late last year (2012), he sent this
Mars One plans to establish human settlement on Mars in 2023

Liesel called me a "dork" for asking about going to Mars, but then, she searched the Internet and bought me a T-shirt from the Netherlands based Mars One project and gave it to me as a birthday present.

Kuzweil has updated the search for people to colonize Mars here:


At this time, we have no plans to move to Mars, but I do like the shirt.
- 1303.26 7:46

PLEASE NOTE: WHY T-SHIRTS: I am taking a day off from the WHY T-SHIRTS? series as I am at full power as Grading Robot, and this shirt is very much a continuation of yesterday's item, the proof I did something and the promotion of it: I went to this museum, and I love space science.

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.

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 50 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first pubished - 1401.30 - 20:07
final publication - 1401.31 - 9:58