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.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

T-shirt #311 - WIDR FM - WMU Radio

T-shirt #311 - WIDR FM - WMU Radio Evolution

Time to talk about college radio.

I am a big supporter of college radio. When I went to Kalamazoo College, I became involved with the campus radio station from day one.

Though it's not much like it was "back in the day," I am proud to say that WJMD still broadcasts today (on the Internet) and I hope something of what I contributed still remains (though probably not).

Though I have served as a guest a few times, I never had my own show on WIDR 89.1 FM once I came over to WMU. Unlike WJMD, WIDR was actual broadcast as in you could tune into it in the car. WJMD was "carrier-current," meaning that it transmitted through the electrical wiring system of the campus. If you had a radio plugged in to the wall anywhere on campus, you could tune into the AM only radio station. WIDR was the big time. I could pick up the signal all the way in Richland. It got a bit scratchy in Battle Creek.

Here's the WIDR SITE and you can also read about WIDR on WIKIPEDIA.

One of the most famous DJs in WIDR history and one of the longest running shows (going back to the early 1990s) is Bat Guano's SwaG! I would say that I "know" Bat Guano, but then, does anyone really "know" Bat Guano?

Later, in the mid-2000s, my friend Ryan Walters, also known as DJ Pretentious, started his own show, the most excellent SOME KIND OF JAM, which still exists as a podcast. Walters has recently returned to the states after a long sojourn with his fiancée in Korea. Welcome home, kids. Don't forget to invite me to the wedding.

I loved participating in college radio. I did several different radio shows over the years and increased my musical knowledge exponentially as other people shared their finds while new music came pouring into the radio station all the time. My fellow managers and I went to national college radio conferences in Chicago and Cleveland. Meanwhile, I began to make mixed tapes with the radio station gear, flowing one song into the next. Later, I evolved to mixed CDs and playlists in iTunes. Now I could podcast the mixes, like my friend Ryan's SOME KIND OF JAM, Warren Ellis' SPEKTRMODULE, or the awesome (and not frequent enough) AT WATER'S EDGE. Maybe someday. For now the writing is enough of a commitment.

If you don't know these podcasts or WIDR FM, please explore.


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.

#3: It's my tattoo


I discovered that the more I carefully selected the shirts I would wear, and the more thought I put into it, the more pride I felt in the shirt and wearing the shirt. I cannot say I have great pride in every shirt I own. Definitely, some take on greater favor. For instance, The Love and Rockets shirt (seen above left) became one of my favorite shirts from the time I bought it. The King Crimson DISCIPLINE shirt is my second shirt from the Discpline album. The original, a large, from when I saw them in 1983 (or was it 1984?) is lost in time and the past, probably part of the great T-shirt purge that occurred at the time I had the idea for the blog, about two months or a little more before I started it. I have been meaning to acquire other styles of King Crimson Discipline shirts, but I have maxed out my T-shirt budget presently.

In preparation for this section, I selected five shirts that I take great pride in owning and in wearing. These shirts have powerful meaning, symbolic and iconic. I feel the power of the shirt's art when I wear the shirt. I glow with pride. My aura shimmers and expands with the status I feel is conveyed by wearing the shirt. For instance, I wear the Love and Rockets shirt when I am in the mood to ROCK OUT. Check out those characters from the Hernandez Brothers' comic. THEY ARE ROCKING OUT! I wear the King Crimson shirt when I have to remember that success in my job means discipline. I must be disciplined, which I am not being at the moment (which is Monday, not Sunday, as this blog text comes from the near future) because we have a snow day.

When I left the hospital, I wore the HAWKMAN shirt (left), and I feel it symbolized what I needed to do post-surgery: FLY! And of course, Doctor Whisky and Winter is Coming. These are all good images. There's more pride in the imagery now than there would have been without the blog.

Here's the links for these shirts:

T-shirt #6: King Crimson Discipline

T-shirt #19 - Love and Rockets

T-shirt #49: Hawkman

T-shirt #265 - Winter is Coming

T-shirt #284 - DOCTOR WHISKY

So, the wearing of T-shirts, the choosing of T-shirts, and all the pride it gives and the status it brings became my thing. It was not a conscious choice. I did not decide, after much deliberation, to be a wearer of many T-shirts nor did I make a conscious decision to "collect" shirts if that is indeed what I am doing. In fact, there was surely a long period in which I did not wear the T-shirts very often as I felt it was more fashionable to wear other shirts. As I cared less about "fashion" and cared more about what I cared about, and my desire to "show off" what I cared about, I gravitated more and more to the wearing of T-shirts, and carefully selected ones at that.

Even as I entered into this blog enterprise, I felt some reluctance to be seen in certain shirts, as explored in T-shirt #24. But I think The Blog Journey (see category) has helped me get over those feelings. I am not reticent to be seen in any of my T-shirts (well, except maybe this one of "shame" : T-shirt #236).

I addressed this issue of pride and status to some extent in T-shirt #87. I feel that reprinting that content is warranted.

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.


Since I have started this blog, I am noticing other people's shirts much more often. Shirts that would not have hit my radar before are now glaring sirens or lit up like flares. Some people have some really STUPID shirts. Again with the snobby. See previous topic. More on this subject in future blogs, also.


I am valuing T-shirts more now than I had been before I started this blog. This may shock some of you, my oh so faithful readers, but I did not really consider myself a T-shirt collector or some great T-shirt fan prior to starting this blog. Really, as I have explained many times, the blog came about as simply a curiosity. Do I have enough T-shirts to wear a different one every day of the year? It was more about being embarrassed for owning so many shirts not really out of a sense of pride, collectorship, or fandom.

(okay one more favorite shirt as a text break: T-shirt #207: Fantastic Four [grey])

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 - 54 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first published - 1401.26 - 19:22
final publication - 1401.27 - 11:04