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, March 20, 2014

T-shirt #364 - Captain Action - white with red collar

TODAY'S COUNT: 01 blog posts remaining in the T-shirt year!!
T-shirt #364 - Captain Action - white with red collar

Welcome to my next to last post on the T-shirt blog.

And by "next to last" I mean, the next to last one in the BLOG YEAR. Daily transmission will cease tomorrow, but the T-shirts blog will not come to an end. I will simply cease the daily broadcast of the T-shirt blog, the requirement, which I imposed upon myself, to have a daily post on the T-shirt blog.

I know the banner image at the top with the Carl Sagan quote does not seem to fit with today's content. I leave you to draw your own conclusions. Mainly, it was sitting in my folder, and I wanted to share it before the end of the blog year. If you have trouble reading it, I posted it again at the bottom of this entry.

Today's post features content that I am probably going to update in the next week, but I want the post in some vicinity of completion at this, the end of my blog year (even though I am writing these words three days after originally publishing this post). I have additional toys to share in regards to Captain Action.

If I am forced to select one blog entry out of my entire blog, I would be hard pressed to do so. But the original CAPTAIN ACTION POST (T-shirt #128) ranks highly in my TOP TEN (which is actually twelve) best posts category (see the categories on the right side of the main blog page). When I shared this post originally, I called it "part one," knowing I had today's shirt in the wings and planning to return to the subject of today's shirt and fill in some gaps, such as sharing pictures of my Silver Streak, Captain Action's flying car. Since then, my and kids gave me the two toys featured in the pictures: collector's re-issues of the Captain Action toy and his nemesis, the Dr. Evil toy. The Dr. Evil toy was always a favourite of mine because of the human face mask that could be removed to reveal the blue head and bisected skull with the exposed brain. These features have been lovingly recreated by the company with the rights to the Captain Action franchise with comics and other media in the works as explained in my previous post.

And so, I am likely to revise this post sometime in the future after taking some pictures with my Silver Streak Flying Car.

None of this changes how I feel about this entry: CAPTAIN ACTION POST (T-shirt #128).

Today, I wish to rerun some of the core text (the best part) of that original CAPTAIN ACTION POST (T-shirt #128). See farther below to find that text.

But first...


Here's a photo (above) that Liesel took in 2010 when red squirrel found it's way into our home. There's me in the lower left corner wearing my CAPTAIN ACTION SHIRT (today's shirt), which is why this is relevant today. The squirrel is perched, quite temporarily, in the big window set in the living room looking out on our valley and back deck.

This is the next day after the squirrel actually entered the house. I did not find it on the first day, and we did not own the dog yet. The squirrel fell down a chimney shaft through a chance drop into a hooded chimney pipe (somehow). It made some ruckus in the basement, but we only saw some peculiar after effects that first day, chaos that we later attributed to the squirrel. The next day, I came home to find counters and desks near windows tossed as if someone had come in and ransacked the place. At first, I suspected thieves, until I spotted the squirrel, which was desperately trying to find a way out of the house.

Here it is during one of it forays to find an exit. ULTIMATELY, this is how we tried to get it out by leaving doors and windows open. But we were not at that stage yet. I was afraid to go near it as I was worried that I would get bitten. During this escapade, after it perched in the window frame, it vaulted to a built in couch and counter, behind me, and across the dining room table, where my wife had climbed (on top of the table) to take this photo.

As this all happened three years ago (December of 2010, so not quite four years yet, the details are a bit fuzzy. Honestly, I am not sure if we called the Wildlife Wrangler to remove the critter or used the open door/window method (as it was December and kind of cold outside).

Seemed like a good time to share this picture and a bit about our squirrel escapade.

I miss this house quite a lot, even though I do really love our current house. I wrote about this house, the West Gull Lake Drive house, in T-shirt #157.

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

From CAPTAIN ACTION POST (T-shirt #128):


Have you wondered why you are seeing some of my childhood toys?

I had written that my blog was a survey of my "life in geek," but I did not understand what that meant until I started actually doing it, writing it.

But the blog is more than just a journal of "my life in geek," as I have written before it's a self-inventory, a self-analysis, and in reading my analysis, I am hoping that my readers will see reflections of their own analysis or potential analysis.

To explain the toys, I have to drill back into what Jung calls "The Process of Individuation." I am wrestling through the Shadow, the Anima, the Ego, and I am stripping off the layers of conscious and unconscious contents that mask the Self to get at the core. In this process, drilling through the layers, I have to strip out fears (my parents are growing older), phobias (I do not like change, and I actively resist change), purpose (what is the value of these toys?), beliefs (toys are not just for children), and ultimately end up with the results of this process: Have I made progress?

The first step simply explains the toys: where did they come from? Finding the toys was one of the reasons I started this blog in March. One reason for writing this blog was well explained in T-shirt #77, if you have not read it already, I encourage you to do so if you are interested in why I have devoted myself to this enterprise. Another impetus for deciding to do the blog surfaced when moving my parents from their home of the last 10 years to a new condo and thus dealing with a lot of my things that had been packed away since the move from the old house in 2003 and possibly since the late 1980s when toys were packed away to make room for videos in the family room. Culling through old boxes of toys to identify what to keep and what to give away/purge meant a re-discovery of old loves and old toys, such as explored in T-shirt #79: The Planet of the ApesT-shirt #111: Atom Ant, and T-shirt#94: Batman TV show.

As I culled through old toys, the idea for this blog kept bubbling up from my unconscious as a useful self-inventory tool. As I sorted my many possessions, I had to keep asking myself: "what do I value?" Because this is the essential question about whether I can part with something. In some cases, it's an issue of need: "Do I need these articles on gender and society anymore?" or "Do I need this book as a handy reference?" But other questions were more slippery: "Can I bear to part with this?" And the trickier "why do I value this old toy so much?"

The question of value always seemed moot to me before. It seemed like a question to which I knew the answer. I have always held to the opinion that toys are not solely the province of children. I love my toys. I still love stuffed animals. I may not play with toys as I did when I was a child anymore, I may not carry around the stuffed animal and sleep with it cradled in my arms anymore, but the toys themselves have not lost their value, and my affection for them has shifted but not really diminished.

Also, I do not believe that a person must give up toys as a demonstration of "growing up." Becoming an adult is NOT about giving up childish things, and anyone who thinks that is being incredibly shallow. As far as I have been able to tell, being an adult is about responsibility and maturity. Maturity is about handling responsibility and handling relationships in a sophisticated way, in a way that is the product of years of self-analysis and growth. Being an adult is not about giving stuffed animals and the beloved GI Joe play set to Goodwill or selling them on e-Bay. But the world is full of judgmental people who feel otherwise, and I have always avoided digging into this question because I am afraid that the answer is that I do not want to grow up, and that I am holding on to my childhood like a petulant and stubborn toddler clutching someone else's toy that does not belong to me.

The issue of growing up along with the issue of parting with old toys and their value to my sense of self, my identity, are the issues that I grappled with as I sorted boxes of possessions that would go to my house and boxes that would go to my parents house, many of which still remain in need of sorting to determine their permanent home. For instance, there is the lodestone of my comic book collection, which numbers close to 10,000 some issues, but that's a story for another time.

But it's not just about me. I hope that if you read this blog, then, it's also about you. What do you see of yourself in what I am doing? The blog has given me an excuse to re-discover loves of mine both new and old. I am re-connecting with the toys, TV shows, comic books, books, movies, music, comic strips, and other popular culture artifacts that have shaped me into the person I am today. It's a process that I hope inspires others to undergo a similar reflection. What are your experiences? What are your treasures? What do you cherish?

The natural follow-up to those questions is the question of "why?" Why that experience? Why that treasure? Why do you cherish that thing?

The "why" question is the drill bit. There's always another "why" question that strips the layers, that goes deeper and deeper and deeper. In T-shirt #64: Embrace Uncertainty, I posted a great video by philosopher Timothy Freke called "The Absurd Notion of One." I highly recommend it if you did not watch it already. From another direction, the video targets the same subject I am targeting here in this essay. Freke uses the same drill bit: "Why?" "Why do I want that?"

The answers to the questions of the value and the "why" bring some scary stuff to the surface of the reflecting pool, and my success at grappling with these demons will be the difference between my success or failure (or my rationalized perception of success as I fool myself smugly into thinking that I am making real progress) with the process of individuation. As I sorted through my possessions in order to help my parents move, I realized that one of the things I was really struggling with was their advancing age and how things were changing. Now that I am married and own a home of my own, with my own kids (step-kids), my relationship with my parents is changing. As I see my parents age, I am faced with the realization that they will not be around forever, and I do not like this eventuality. So, in part, this is all about change.

I do not like change. I have always resisted change. I have always been afraid of change. When I graduated from Kalamazoo College, my girlfriend of that time urged me to move with her to New York. We had just met there a few months before and had held down internships, which could have become full time jobs if we had shown our value to those employers. I could have taken off the day after graduation, but I was afraid. All of a sudden, the school of which I had been so critical was my haven. I did not want to leave. I took a crappy job with the summer theatre just to continue to live in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and delay leaving the school I suddenly realized that I loved.

There have been other times in my life when I have resisted change. Had I been bolder, had I not been counting on the hints of promises of full time employment, I might not have spent ten years toiling away for poverty level pay teaching a Media Studies class, which I built into one of the most popular general education courses at the university. Maybe I would have made a change. But I was afraid. I was comfortable.

And I made rationalizations to avoid changes because the world changed around me. In 2000, my mother contracted bacterial meningitis that mostly paralyzed her and left her in need of total care. Rationalizing that my parents needed me to help manage her care helped me to avoid leaving, avoid change, and so I tried to do everything I could to keep our home the way she had kept it, the way it was throughout my childhood: unchanged. I developed many OCD tendencies to cope with the change that had happened to my mother, happened in our lives, which I did not want to face head on, that I wanted to deny.

But my efforts were futile. I could not avoid change. Change just happens. And more changes were to follow those of the eventful year of 2000. Starting in 2008, in a period of two years, everything changed. I lost my job at WMU. I met Liesel. We decided to get married. After trying to find a job out of teaching, I went back to teaching. After another two years, we bought a house. Within a span of three years, I had changed jobs, tripled more work load, married the love of my life, become a step father to two awesome teenagers, and become a home owner. For someone who does not like change, who actively resists change, that was A LOT OF CHANGE, and I had to devote myself tirelessly to making a transition.

I find change easier now. I resist it less. In part, I am more open to change because I have realized why I resist it, why I have avoided it, and have drilled to many of the roots of those feelings. And yet, my issues with change are strongly in force with my feelings about my old toys and my parents and my childhood, which brings my subject around again to this blog. Part of the impetus to write the blog came from the psychological work I have been doing to feel comfortable with change, and a good result of the blog itself is the self-examination I have performed here. If you read all of this, I thank you. I am honored to have your attention. I hope that my experience can inform your own experience.

I cannot escape change. My life changes, has changed, will change. The aging of my parents and the eventuality of life without my parents are things I cannot control. I cannot stop time. I cannot dial time backwards. And if I am psychologically healthy, I should not want to do either of those things. I can control the place of my childhood things in my adult life and question their value. I can also write, as I have here, about the reasons to start this blog and as I did in T-shirt #77, as I mentioned before. My work in this part of the Process of Individuation is ongoing and not yet complete. But I feel better having committed some of these thoughts and ideas to text. Thanks for reading.





I am behind schedule on posting comic book reviews. I have a rather imposing stack of comic books in my office as a "to review" pile. Part of my next activity will be finishing up some of these reviews as I finish past blog entries that I left unfinished. I posted one such entry in particular a month ago when the first issue of Winter Soldier: The Bitter March came out, a comic I had been greatly anticipating, mostly because of the alluring and gorgeous ads in recent Marvel Comics.

I will save this week's reviews for another time. But I will give a brief overview of the rankings. Despite eagerly anticipating Winter Soldier: The Bitter March and enjoying the first issue, in this week's set of issues, Daredevil wins out, and after reading the first six issues, it deserves the top spot.

I am greatly bothered by the art on New Avengers, and so I am going to have to apply myself to reviewing it soon.

I did spend today (Sunday as of this late additional writing) reading comics and relaxing, first such day in a long time and much needed. But I read through my backlog to clear much of it rather than reading the newer stuff. The issues of Superman and Action Comics were not as dreadful as I had recently believed.

As for The Weekly Comics List, this feature will continue. Though I cease daily transmissions of the T-shirt blog with tomorrow's final blog entry of the blog year, I will continue to post, though on my own schedule and to my other blog. Eventually, I will return with more T-shirts here. Meanwhile, I will post in SENSE OF DOUBT, at the very least, next Friday with a new WEEKLY COMICS LIST.

Thanks for reading!

COMICS FOR 1403.19

Daredevil #001 - MARVEL.NOW
Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #002
Lazarus #7
New Avengers #015
Avengers World  #004
Superman Unchained #6

=+=+=+= current book mark as of 1403.23 =+=+=

Uncanny X-Men (Uncanny X-Men vs. Shield #1) #019.NOW
Sex Criminals #5
Rocket Girl #4
Thor: God of Thunder #020
All New Invaders #003
Iron Man (Rings of the Mandarin #1) #023.NOW
Nova (Unchained) #015
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 10- #1
X-Men #012
Ms. Marvel #002
Superior Spider-Man Annual #002
Batman and Aquaman #29
Suicide Squad #29


Thunderbolts #023
Wonder Woman #29
Birds of Prey  #29
God is Dead #9
Legenderry #3


Locus Vol. 72 No.3


COUNTDOWN TO END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 01 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first published - 1403.20 - 20:19
final publication - 1403.23 - 19:34