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.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

T-shirt #354: East Towne Entropy

TODAY'S COUNT: 11 blog posts remaining in the T-shirt year!!

T-shirt #354: East Towne Entropy

This is the shirt I am actually wearing today.
OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE TEXT OF THE LAST TWENTY POSTS COUNTDOWN: Hi. Thanks for reading. I am posting this "boilerplate" text everyday for the last TWENTY posts in the T-SHIRT blog year, which started on March 22, 2013. I will close out daily transmission on March 21st, day 365 of my T-shirt blog-tastic extravaganza spectacular. I will give myself a short hiatus of total non-transmission or  publication for an as yet undetermined period of time, though I am estimating about two weeks. After my blog vacation hiatus, I will resume T-shirt posts on a regular basis, also as yet to be determined (weekly? Twice monthly?) to finish blogging about all the T-shirts that were not featured in the blog year. At some point, once I feel I am rolling along nicely, I will begin regular posting through my main blog: SENSE OF DOUBT. T-shirt posts will direct to the T-shirt blog from SENSE OF DOUBT. I will continue to post THE WEEKLY COMIC LIST, the features of occasional T-SHIRTS I AM WEARING THIS WEEK, book reviews, comic book reviews, and other popular culture nonsense as I have been for a year now but all will go up at SENSE OF DOUBT and some will direct back here to 365 T-SHIRTS. Ultimately, I will begin Internet publication of my fiction, primarily the comic book satire episodic story called POP! among other projects. So, in summary, 365 T-SHIRTS will continue though intermittently. SENSE OF DOUBT will host my main blog presence and fiction writing as well as links to any T-shirt posts shared here. I hope you will continue to follow me in my journey as a writer and a content provider. Thank you for your kind attention and time you have spent with me on this and/or any other day this year. I am humbled and blessed by your readership. - chris tower, blogger, originated 1403.02


For most of my blog year, which started almost an entire year ago, this shirt was my life preserver. As I posted about one shirt per day for what has now been THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR days, I always thought to myself: "Well, when I get to the end, I always have that box with a few left over Ultimate shirts, especially the East Towne Entropy shirt."

So, as Mondays was the most common day for me to post Ultimate shirts this year (because of the day we play Ultimate), I post this one today for my next to last Monday. The blog's last day is next Friday the 21st of March, though I have considered posting the next day, which would be shirts remaining ZERO, but it would also be T-shirt #366, as I did not start the counting with ZERO. I started with Number One.

I do really love this shirt and feel badly that it's been relegated to a box since our move to Kalamazoo in the Fall of 2012. East Towne is an area of Grand Rapids where some cool folks had an Ultimate team that practiced at Wilcox Park. Keen for any Ultimate, and lacking it in Kalamazoo in the 1990s, I would drive to Grand Rapids at least once a week to play with the East Towners. The captain, John Schwartz, was excited when he discovered that "entropy" is defined as "an ultimate state of inert uniformity." Though, technically, this should be "The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity" (according to THE FREE DICTIONARY, my favorite dictionary site and rss reader).

Cool, huh?

GRADING ROBOT has final grades due tomorrow, and is in overdrive to finish, and so that's all for NEW content today. But since this shirt is devoted to entropy, I thought I would randomly select some bits from my year of blogging and re-post as a way to entertain you with content you read before but forgot or content you never read at all. I will randomly select with a random number generator.

I will do seven because that's how many projects I have left to grade.

I am going to cheat. No random number generator. And I will pick randomly from the first 120 or so only.



Battlestar Galactica would surely make my top five favorite all-time TV shows, though I hesitate to make a top five list that is not separated by genre. Certainly, Star TrekLost, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer would make this list. Though I love A Charlie Brown Christmas, (which is in Time's list), I would not include one-shot programs in a favorite all time list. Comedies and reality TV shows (I do love Survivor) would be relegated to separate lists for their respective genres. And, really, I would not rate a show like Battlestar Galactica next to shows like Gilmore GirlsVeronica Mars, or Felicity, which really fall into another category entirely.

Why was Battlestar Galactica so good? Pathos. The show featured razor's edge tension and cathartic pathos unlike any other SF or "fantastic" TV show of its kind. The acting was superb. The writing was superb. The visual and sound effects won Emmys. Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell rocked the park. It's full of surprises and mysteries and intricacies of plot, character, and long term story building (as certain elements of the show's finale are set up in the show's original mini-series).

But at first? If you know the 1970s program, there are adjustments to make. Starbuck is a woman?? WHAT?? Cylons are human-looking??? HUH? Stick with it. Because the punch it packs is unlike anything I have ever experienced in episodic TV. In the end, for its overall excellence, I would rank it above both Lost, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I loved dearly, but which had flaws that BSG lacked.

A promotional image for BSG modeled on the Last Supper painting.
Battlestar Galactica fandom is still alive and well.


T-shirt #107: The Daily Planet, Random News, and the Missing Ring
T-shirt #107: The Daily Planet, Random News, and the Missing Ring

I promise for once this will be short. Or at least shorter. I have gone a little nuts lately, but, hey, time off, vacation, freedom, and thus more writing and time in research. I had some fun.

Yesterday (Friday July 5th), I had a haircut.

Here is a picture of me in the salon (left).

I was just out the door of my home and at the stop light at our nearest major intersection when I discovered that I had left the house without my wedding ring.

Had I not been late to my appointment at the salon, I would have turned around and retrieved my ring. But I did not, so I thought that this would be a cute picture. A thank you to Tim at Ultima Salon for the photo.

I hate being without my wedding ring. I only take it off to shower or wash my hands. But sometimes, I forget to put it back on, such as when I am doing dishes and get called away or when I am in a hurry and leave the house in a rush.

When I am without my wedding ring and I am not absolutely certain where it is, I feel PANIC. I am terrified of losing it. Though it's just a ring, it is a very important ring, and I am sentimental about it. Made of Tungsten, if I am ever seriously injured, I may lose a finger as the ring cannot be cut off. It would be great if I was able to slip it off in the middle of a serious accident. I will work on developing that super power.

Of course, this time, my ring was where I left it on the bathroom counter, and I was much relieved when I returned home and put it back on my finger. Whew!
T-shirt #87

SELECTION PROCESS: How I select T-shirts

Before I started the blog, my method of selecting T-shirts to own fell into nine categories. I know this kind of material may not be of interest to too many other people, but this blog exists to catalogue and inventory, and so I like to make a record of the process. This topic and the three that follow have been on my mind for a while, and so I felt it was time to document them.

  1. T-shirts ordered at Fanfare (mostly comic book related) - T-shirt #1 Son Of Satan
  2. Concert T-shirts - T-shirt #86 Erykah Badu
  3. T-shirts bought on trips and vacations - T-shirt #85 - Up North
  4. Gifts - T-shirt #63 The Comics Code Authority
  5. Ultimate T-shirts - T-shirt #60 Team Venom
  6. Sports T-shirts to show my fandom - T-shirt #15 - Tigers ALCS Champs 2012
  7. Shirts I bought to support a business - T-shirt #9 The People's Food Co-op
  8. Shirts I ordered based on Internet/social media ads - T-shirt #23 Planet of the Snapes
  9. Shirts I had made to order - T-shirt #64 Embrace Uncertainty

Now, I would add a tenth category in that I have been purchasing shirts based on what I want to write about and feature in this blog, such as my Planet of the Apes shirt for T-shirt #79, my Evolution of Darth Vader shirt for T-shirt #45, or my SpektrModule shirt for T-shirt #75.


Shirts with "sayings": There are many T-shirt companies, even more now with the Internet that feature DAILY T-shirts. Prior to the easy accessibility to the Internet, catalogues like Wireless would offer all sorts of specialty T-shirts with cute sayings. Today's T-shirt came from the Wireless Christmas catalogue circa 2012. Though I am not finding it in a Google search at Wireless, but if you like it, try SNORG Tees in grey (not this nice green).

I am very choosy about the "shirts with sayings" that I purchase. I like the Venn Diagram idea, and since I had only one other Venn Diagram shirt, as gifted to me by my best friend (and also a great father), the Lord of Chaos, Tom Meyers, which I featured in T-shirt #77: Narcissism, wherein one could find a secret message that I do not think anyone has actually found yet, I bought this one. (How is that for a complicated sentence??) I think this shirt is clever enough to wear with some pride. However, I am very wary of the "I am Stupid" type shirts, and so very choosy of the shirts with sayings that I own. I have a few more, though, so I will be returning to this topic in the future.

Shirts with brands: Technically, almost all of my shirts fall into this category. A comic book is a brand. The logo of the hero is surely the brand's trademark (and it is legally trademarked). Movies, TV shows, sports teams, and so on are all brands, and I am providing free advertising for them with my T-shirts. In fact, I am spending MY OWN MONEY to be a walking advertisement for the brand. I know I have written about the advertising angle before on this blog, but I am not finding where and in what entries. Feel free to explore and let me know.

So, setting aside these approved brands, you will not see me in a shirt that advertises a clothing company (the Gap, Ambercrombie and Fitch) or a soda pop (though I did have a Pepsi shirt that is now a rag, but I am not sure where it is... though it may make an appearance). With the exception of two shirts advertising Bell's beer, I do not own any alcohol related shirts.

This blog is very much dedicated to the kinds of things I feel are worth wearing on a shirt and parading around with pride as a walking billboard for the product depicted. I am increasingly snobbish about what I find acceptable and unacceptable in this regard, and a trip to the mall the other night MORE than confirmed this snobbery for me. More to come on this subject in future blogs.


One of my first logo T-shirts was the Flash logo. This is actually my second Flash T-shirt.

The Flash logo is one of the coolest superhero logos in all of comics. As a fan of logos, I am prepared to argue that DC comics has the better logos compared to Marvel Comics. Sure, the Fantastic Four logo is simple and basic as is Spider-Man's logo. The X-Men logo is iconic. Though not all the heroes or organizations have logos in Marvel Comics, I like the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo very much (as you will see since I own a shirt for this one), then again, I like the HYDRA logo, too. Other notable Marvel logos include Iron Fist, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Mar-Vell (or Captain Marvel for Marvel), the Punisher, and Captain America. Maybe later this year after I have posted many of my logo shirts, I can do a comparison of logos and which are more iconic and viral.

With casual consideration, I say DC Comics' logos beat Marvel Comics' logos for cool factor, iconic status, and recognizability. Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Deadman, all the Legion of Superheroes logos, the Metal Men logos, the Teen Titans, and so on. Wow. Among these, Flash's logo is arguably top five. Possibly, even tied for number one as the best and coolest with the Batman logo. Thus, the Flash logo adorns my Smart Phone case. I love it.

I was inspired to select the Flash shirt for today's shirt not only because I love the Flash insignia but also because of the recent death of one of the greatest and most influential of artists who worked on the Silver Age Flash: Carmine Infantino. My friend Charles Skaggs, who writes the blog Damn Good Coffee... and Hot!, wrote an excellent post on the death of Infantio that can be read here:

 THE FLASH's Carmine Infantino Passes at 87.

My parents purchased an issue of the Flash for me as one of my earliest comic books. I am including two covers here. I am not sure which issue I owned first, but these are definitely my first two Flash comics. Given that 177 comes before 180, it's likely that the "big head" issue was my first Flash comic, though in the old days some back issues could be found lingering in racks and shelving units, and it's possible that I was given 180 first or both together. Flash #177 was published in 1968 when I was six years old. I received my first comic in 1966 at the age of four, but that's a story for another time.

I love the Flash because the Flash is cool. I won't render a complete biography replete with descriptions of all the characters to assume the mantle of the Flash. Those who are interested can check the Wikipedia page for the Scarlet Speedster. Wikipedia is actually quite a good source for basic information about things, especially comic book related matters. And OMG! I just found the DC WIKI DATABASE. WOW!! I am having a geek overdose.


The advertisements for Quisp were created by Jay Ward, an animator who had worked on theRocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (one of my favorites). In both 1972 and 1976, Quaker ran a competition between two of its cereals, asking fans to vote on which cereal would remain on the shelves and which would be discontinued. Each time Quisp beat Quake and Quangaroos, respectively, to remain in production.

Though sales began to fade as the '70s also faded and Quisp was eventually discontinued, its frequent return is further proof of the power of fandom, crying out for the cereal of their youth. Quisp has returned once a decade since the Seventies.

Quisp became the first cereal for sale on the Internet starting in 2001.

In the 2000s, Quaker sold a commemorative watch via the Quisp website (now defunct).

Marie Javins, a longtime blogger (also a comic book creator), writes about the watch on her blog
NO HURRY IN ... (now Jersey City)  AFRICA
in 2007.

Here are some good QUISP resources:





Today's blog entry on Quisp could inspire me to create an entire bevy of entries dedicated to 1960s and 1970s products.

Does anyone remember Funny Face drink mix?

Check out THEY ALWAYS COME BACK for more information.


A great deal of my playtime as a young boy involved The Planet of the Apes franchise. As seen here, I had many of the figures and playsets. I wrote stories about The Planet of the Apes. I wrote synopses of all the episodes of the 1974 TV show. I collected and read the comic books published by Marvel Comics about the apes and all the movie novelizations. I devised my own stories of time loops and paradoxes during years of play time during which I was as obsessed with the Planet of the Apes as I was with other great and inspirational TV shows and films, such as Dark Shadows, which is one of the few I did not mention in my list two paragraphs previously.

The idea of paradox fascinated me. In the five-film  Apes story, during the first iteration, two of the key players, Zira and Cornelius, are born in a future version of the Earth circa the 3900s. After Taylor (Heston) and his astronaut crew are flung into Zira and Cornelius' future (Planet of the Apes), Taylor and an astronaut from a second ship, Brent (Franciscus), play a role in the destruction of the Earth (Beneath the Planet of the Apes). But before, the planet is destroyed, Zira and Cornelius launch Taylor's space ship and journey through a time warp back to 1973. In what was the near future to this film's present (Escape from the Planet of the Apes was released in 1971), Zira gives birth to a child (monkey) that grows up to be Caesar the leader of the ape revolt that culminates in the use of nuclear weapons and Earth's partial destruction (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes). The fifth film (Battle for the Planet of the Apes) takes place at least twelve years later in a world post-nuclear holocaust and chronicles struggles between humans and apes, raising the question as to whether apes and humans can co-exist in peace or in a state of constant war.

The stories create a time loop. In the first iteration, in which Zira and Cornelius are born in the earth of the 3900s, Caesar is a historical figure who started the ape revolution against the humans, though by this time the original human society is much forgotten by the majority of apes, who believe that they have always been the dominant species on the planet. And yet, Caesar is Zira and Cornelius's son, who does not exist until they go back in time, and Zira gives birth to him. And yet, he cannot exist until Zira and Cornelius are born 2000 years in his future. I use the term "first iteration" because from our perspective in learning the story, it begins for us withPlanet of the Apes and a version of Zira and Cornelius before they go back in time and before Zira gives birth to Caesar. And yet, Caesar has already been born. Hence the "paradox," and my introduction to the chicken-egg conundrum. Though I should not say that this was my first introduction to such a puzzle, since many of the SF related shows I listed dealt with similar time paradoxes, especially the TV show The Time Tunnel.

And yet, the time paradox from The Planet of the Apes is the one I remember best as having the greatest impact on my own sensibilities as a budding writer. As I mentioned, I wrote many Planet of the Apes themed stories and studied the entire set of tales closely with detailed synopses that I kept in a notebook. Shortly thereafter, I started my first major SF story epic, which I wrote in a series of notebooks from around 1974-1977. I called this story "Zeroes," and it dealt with a time cycle paradox and the idea of infinity. In my estimation, I could not conceive of something that continued without end that was not a circle. At some point,  one must come back to the starting point. I also grappled with the idea of multiple universes, multiple realities, and the atomic and subatomic foundations of our universe, which provide structure to the multiple universe idea: one universe after another universe consisting of a base level, atomic level, subatomic level, which is a new base level that has its own atomic and subatomic levels, and so on. I know these ideas did not originate with me, but Planet of the Apes was one of the principle and germinating sources for my own exploration of the ideas of paradox, cycle, and infinity. I mixed "Zeroes" with some other fictional elements. My play world of small woods, fields, fences, ponds, hills, and trees formed part of the story, and, also, I was inspired by the aliens of Jim Starlin in his 1970s Marvel Comics work. I invented a little, pointy-eared alien whom I called "Grok," not knowing that the word had entered my consciousness because of the Heinlein book Stranger in a Strange Land, which I had not read at that time.

DEAR READERS, Were you drawn to this entry because you also have a strong connection to The Planet of the Apes saga? Please share in the comments box at the bottom of this blog entry. I am sure my experiences share commonality with yours.

Yes, I also own the Treehouse. Pictures of toys courtesy of http://www.toysyouhad.com/Apes.htm


Thursday, April 11, 2013

T-shirt #21: CONAN: Shirts you will never see on me in public

T-shirt #21: Conan

Early Buscema cover with Red Sonja!
So, the day after explaining my fixation with superhero logos, and how for years I avoided shirts with the likeness of the hero, it seemed fitting to feature another shirt with the likeness of a 1970s Marvel icon. After all, this whole blog started with Marvel's Son of Satan, one of my all time favorite characters from the 1970s, even though recent incarnations have left me altogether unimpressed.

Though I like Conan--today's featured character on today's shirt--I am unlikely to ever wear this shirt out of the house where you can see me wearing it. Okay, sure, I just took my puppy to Camp Fido. And yes, I was wearing the Conan shirt, but it was mostly hidden under another big, warm chamois shirt, so I did not really feel that my Conan shirt was on display.

As I feature new shirts each day, I will make notes of their uses. Some are only worn at home. Some are only worn as pajamas. Some are only worn for sports or exercise. Some are worn when I eat pasta or clean the kitchen because I do not care if they get permanently soiled. Conan falls into the "only at home" category.

In one sense, this category is a bit irrelevant now as I am posting pictures of myself wearing these "only at home" shirts on THE INTERNET, not exactly a private bat-cave by any means. There's nothing really wrong with the shirts with likenesses, especially this one that derives from a comic book cover (Conan #96), and I am more comfortable sporting shirts that look a bit more like something I would have worn when I was 10 or 11 years old than I used to be. But still, I keep this one to "in the house."

Possibly my favorite Buscema
Silver Surfer cover.
I bought this shirt in the last few years, inspired by learning that my wife likes Conan. For a while, she was interested in doing some Conan reading, so I loaded her up with the first three volumes of the Roy Thomas-Barry Windsor Smith Marvels, some of the books with Frazetta covers, and then we watched the movies with Schwarzenegger. Like many discoveries with Liesel, if I was not already in love with her, I would have fallen in love with her upon learning she liked Conan the Barbarian. Who wouldn't?
The Black Coast stories were among
my favorites.

I was not on the bandwagon with Marvel Comics' adaptation of Howard's stories in its Conan the Barbarian title from the start and the earliest issues lavishly illustrated by Barry Windsor Smith. I had not found the Robert E. Howard stories until after I started reading the comics. I jumped on with Conan during John Buscema's run on the comic. I already loved Buscema's art work because of his runs on The Avengers and Silver Surfer. Buscema's strong lines and sturdy figures made a strong impression on me. One of the first short stories I wrote (in fourth grade) was about Conan the Barbarian, inspired by the issues created by Roy Thomas (one of my favorite all time comics writers) and Buscema. The story also was inspired by Treasure Island, which I had read the year before as my first "adult" novel. Later, in the early 1980s, Buscema would do a run on King Conan that not only did I love, but so did my sister.

John Buscema is missed. He died in 2002 at the age of 74. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in the same year. Obviously, I could go on an on about Conan and the character's and the stories' impact on my life, but I have waxed on and waxed off enough for now.

 SIDE NOTE: One interesting thing about my Conan shirt is its label. It's not a Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. It's copyrighted by Conan Properties International LLC, and the shirt is manufactured by Mad Engine, who do some very cool shirts seen here: MAD ENGINE.

Art by Barry Windsor Smith

The label reads CONAN in big letters, which seems fitting. He should be in big letters.

- chris tower
just in his house
not in public
1304.11 - 10:06

COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 11 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1403.10 - 20:05