Current 15 favorite t-shirts, by request!

Okay. I tried to narrow it down to ten, and it just wasn’t happening, so I said what the hell, let’s do 15. I have a lot of t-shirts, and I love them all!

Of these 15 shirts, six are band tees, and two are plain (bare of graphics). Then we’ve got a logo shirt; a favorite YouTuber’s merch tee; an AZ pride sort of touristy deal; a random shirt mostly of my own creation; a cartoon shirt; a sports fan shirt; and a horror movie shirt. Three of these shirts have the neckline cut out, because a big part of me never matured past the 90’s. Two of them are raglan-style tees. More than half of them are oversize, and they’re all very comfortable. For whatever reason, though, these 15 tees are the ones I reach for the most.

[I should say that I have a couple of other go-to favorite shirts that I did not include here. One has an approximation of the F-word on it, and the other has the V-word (vegan). I don’t wear either of them outside of the house. They’re hanging-around comfort tees.]

Let’s get on with it, then, in alphabetical order!

 

1). Black-and-white raglan shirt.

 

Black-and-white raglan

 

This tee is my attempt at a replacement for my beloved black-and-white Virgin Records raglan shirt. It’s slightly uncomfortably tight on my forearms, but it’s one of my absolute favorites. I found it at Ross a few years ago. It was dirt-cheap.

 

2). Band shirt: Def Leppard.

 

Def Leppard

 

This shirt is meaningful to me because Def Leppard (British metal) is probably my favorite hair band, though Joe Elliott didn’t have big, 80’s hair. When I was in high school, I nurtured this bizarre daydream that Joe Elliot was my biological father on account of his being an English musician (my biological father is an English musician still living in England, last I heard) and how cool I thought it would be if I was related to him somehow, never mind that he’s the wrong age. I have three Def Leppard shirts, one of which I got at a Def Leppard concert. That one’s blue and fitted. I wear it to the gym sometimes.

 

3). Cartoon raglan shirt: Donald Duck.

 

Donald Duck

 

You’ve seen this one recently. I’m not a big Disney fan, and I have no special affection for this character, but this shirt is so ridiculously comfortable! It’s super thin and soft. I love the way it’s kind of fitted and drapey at the same time, I love its length, and I love that it’s gray and a shade of blue that I really like.

 

4). Horror movie shirt: Halloween.

 

Halloween

 

Here’s the other tee you’ve seen recently. Halloween is my favorite classic horror slasher flick, and I dig the subdued art on this shirt. “Halloween” doesn’t need to be written on it. A Halloween fan will instantly recognize and identify it.

 

5). Band shirt: Iron Maiden.

 

Iron Maiden

 

Iron Maiden: another favorite British metal band! If you were into metal in the 70’s and 80’s, you’re familiar with Eddie, Iron Maiden’s mascot (who graces this shirt). This character is iconic. All of Iron Maiden’s artwork and concerts feature him, and he’s always amazing. Have you ever been to an Iron Maiden concert? It’s theater, and good theater, at that, in my opinion.

 

6). Band shirt: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

 

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

 

I got this shirt when I saw Joan Jett perform at Phoenix Pride years ago. I can’t remember the year! I want to say 2009…? I went with a dear friend. Joan was fabulous in concert. Best Pride ever.

 

7). Band shirt: Marilyn Manson.

 

Marilyn Manson

 

I cycle through phases of obsession with Marilyn Manson’s music; I’ve been in one as of late. (I must say, though, that I’m at all times into different genres of music… I’m not just listening to Marilyn Mason right now.) I have two Marilyn Manson tees, and this one’s my favorite. I love the artwork. It’s his art, by the way, in case you didn’t know that Marilyn Manson is also a visual artist.

 

8). Arizona pride shirt: Marilyn Monroe.

 

Marilyn Monroe Arizona

 

Marilyn Monroe’s association with Arizona wasn’t just that she filmed Bus Stop here; it was also that she loved the Biltmore resort in Phoenix. (Yes, Phoenix. Not Scottsdale. Just saying.) According to her, the Catalina Pool at the Biltmore was Marilyn’s favorite place to sunbathe.

 

9). Band shirt: Motörhead.

 

Motorhead

 

I’m a total poser when I wear this shirt, because I’m not a huge Motörhead fan, and I’m not that versed in their body of work. I know that I like the music of theirs that I’ve heard, but I couldn’t tell you the song titles. This tee landed in my collection because, again, I was attracted to the artwork on it. It’s one of my most comfortable shirts.

 

10). Random t-shirt: No One is Perfect.

 

No One is Perfect

 

This is the one that’s mostly of my own creation, and I love it so much, I may never wear it! I’d rather just look at it. It’s hanging in my office. Sharpies are wonderful, aren’t they?

 

11). Plain black t-shirt.

 

Plain Black

 

This extremely comfy t-shirt is my go-to when I’m not feeling anything else. It’s the wild card of my collection.

 

12). YouTuber shirt: Reviewbrah (The Report of the Week).

 

Reviewbrah

 

This shirt is special not only because it’s very comfortable, but also because it’s the only piece of YouTuber merch that I own. Reviewbrah – his channel is The Report of the Week – is one of my favorite YouTubers. He reviews fast food. He wears a suit every day (usually complete with a jacket, and never without a tie). He’s known for his 1930’s-era radio personality and his dry sense of humor. Perhaps the greatest thing about Reviewbrah is that none of what you see is a persona! What you see on his channel is what you’d see in his real life, and I love knowing that a human like him is out there in the world. Reviewbrah always opens his review videos with “Hello, everyone. This is Running on Empty, fooooood review!” I can’t describe him other than that. You have to experience him for yourselves. Here’s the video that made him famous for the iconic Reviewbrah line “My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined”:

 

 

 

13). Sports shirt: Sumo.

 

Sumo Ozeki

 

Of my three Sumo tees, this one’s my favorite. Ozeki is Sumo’s second-to-highest rank, and it’s the rank of my favorite wrestler, Tochinoshin.

 

14). Band shirt: Tears For Fears.

 

Tears For Fears

 

I wasn’t much into pop in the 80’s, but I did have a few favorite mainstream pop bands: Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, and INXS. Tears For Fears was my favorite. I bought this shirt when I finally got to see them in concert in the mid-2000’s. Not only did I get to see them perform, but I somehow also ended up sitting on Roland Orzabal’s lap at one point before the show. I DIED. That would be a story for another post. Roland is the one pictured on the left, by the way.

 

15). Logo shirt: Vans.

 

Vans

 

I love Vans, and I love this shirt. I love it so much that I have a back-up in case anything happens to it, though it’s a classic and a Vans mainstay. I do love a huge t-shirt with the neckline cut out.

That completes the list! I hope you enjoyed. You probably learned some things about me that you didn’t know, which I think was the point of the request.

Happy Friday Eve, friends!

 

 

These are exciting times. (Mental health updates post!)

Since the weekend, I’ve been so stoked about rearranging the desk part of my office that I’ve forgotten to write. Then over the last two days I’ve been engaged in catch-up work on personal bookkeeping and accounting, and I’ve been so excited to be doing that that I kept forgetting to write even more. As I may have mentioned, I’ve been wrangling with depression to a slightly higher degree than usual these last few weeks, so being productive in creating new spaces and organizing numbers and files felt like a party.

One interesting thing I discovered about myself during this last little slump (which I’m sure was triggered by not having worked out in a while due to wound-healing) is that I get super sensitive to color when I’m in that mental state. I realized this the morning I put on one of my favorite t-shirts and immediately took it off because I wasn’t feeling it, or, rather, the wrongness of the color for that moment felt like a physical aggravation. It was definitely the color. I felt that if I had a super soft, thin, plain black t-shirt for every day of the week, I’d always be comfortable. (I have just one.) The other shirt I have that always feels right is this equally soft, thin shirt that I’m wearing at the moment:

 

Perfect.

 

The picture on the back is Donald Duck’s back, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of t-shirts, one of you requested to see my top 10 favorites. I would’ve taken those pics for today’s post, but I was too busy whooping it up rearranging furniture and organizing invoices and looking at my budget and accounts and shifting things around and whatnot. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take pics of my favorite shirts so I can post them on Thursday!

Anyway, I’m feeling better now that I’ve been back at the gym consistently since two weeks ago Saturday, re-filling my empty feel-good fuel tank. Working out is straight-up medicine, guys. If you think you’re already in a good place, you’ll be surprised to find that there’s an even better place to be when you get your body moving. I’m always surprised by it, anyway, even though I know it.

 

 

Why I’m not an elegant lady.

I took a selfie late this morning thinking of you who request them. Then I considered what I could write to go with the pic, if anything specific. (Otherwise, I had several unrelated post ideas in mind.) Moving in and out of sites throughout the afternoon, I landed on a video recommended for me on YouTube… and I laughed. I watched the video and laughed even more. The video goes perfectly with my selfie!

YouTube recommended that I watch “10 Things Elegant Ladies NEVER Wear!”

 

Because you asked

 

Haha! Thank you, YouTube, but I’m beyond help.

Things I wear that will preclude my ownership of an Elegant Lady card:

  • Gym clothes outside of the gym.
  • T-shirts.
  • Ripped jeans.
  • “90’s fashion.”
  • Cartoon or animal prints. (Not even a feminine haute couture frock with a butterfly embellishment is suitable for “high society.”)
  • Wrinkled/creased clothing.
  • Bags with wear and tear. (That Chanel bag with the hint of a scuff underneath? Trash.)

Those are seven of the ten rules that I violate. The three NO-NO’S that do not apply to me: crop tops, bandage dresses, and jean shorts.

From what I can gather, the person presenting this video has the best intentions: she wants to help you land on the arm of a billionaire. (What the discriminating billionaire may do on the side, however, probably wears every single item on the NO-NO list.) Her whole deal seems to be about affluent lifestyles and admission to the ranks of high society, billionaire husband included.

To each their own, I say. If Elegant Lady attire is you, then rock it! No judgement here. I just thought it was hilarious that “10 Things Elegant Ladies NEVER Wear!” popped up on my “recommended” list as I was thinking of what subject could apply to my selfie.

And of course I’m signing off with this helpful video. From Sumo to Elegant Lady, I’ve got your viewing needs covered this week! My work here is done.

 

 

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Gym updates (+ a little Sumo talk)!

I went to Body Pump on Saturday, and I went again yesterday, and the wound on the back of my ankle hasn’t bled again, so I seem to be back for real this time. I have to call that door accident “the dumbest thing to ever keep me out of the gym.” I outdumbed myself with that one. I mean, I can’t say that I ran into a door. I have to say that a door ran into me, and that I provoked it.

I’m going one increment lighter on the back track on account of the quick little “jump” you do to get under the bar for clean and press/power presses. I’m still not doing lunges, because when I tried them on Saturday, I could feel the pulling on the scab. Other than that, everything’s the same in Pump.

As for cardio? Not yet. It’s too early to wear shoes other than high-tops at the gym. (I actually prefer to lift weights in my high-tops because I like the flat soles, so that’s nothing new.)

Speaking of coming back from recovery, September’s Grand Sumo Tournament is less than three weeks away, and Tochinoshin (my favorite Sumo wrestler) has this one opportunity to regain the Ozeki rank he lost to injury in July. He’ll need eight wins to get that rank back this time. He needed ten wins to regain it in May! He got his rank back in May, and he can do it again in September. The thing about Sumo at this level is that you can lose your rank because of injury. Sumo is the only combat sport I can think of that has this feature, which makes for an even more dangerous life for the wrestlers. They already have a shorter life expectancy due to the obesity they need to maintain in this violent sport. What we risk in the name of passion and drive, right?

For anyone interested, here’s a short video showcasing Tochinoshin’s ten wins in May:

 

 

Also speaking of Sumo, we’re looking forward to watching it at 2020’s Summer Olympic Games in Japan! Sumo will be included in the program for the first time, and it’ll be great to see it performed on the largest stage (pun not intended) for the world to appreciate.

 

 

Mr. Nightmare + GYM horrors! (And my Michael Myers horror look.)

I was thinking of doing a gym updates post, but then I came across a video featuring three gym horror stories – creepy horror, not bad-experience horror – and, well, you know me. Gym? Horror? Hello?

Mr. Nightmare is a YouTube channel on which (allegedly) true stories are told, videos that are basically podcasts with visuals. Ranging from mildly disturbing to downright spooky, all of these stories are disquieting in the sense that the events really happened (let’s trust in this) and that they do happen, or at least can happen.

The channel covers a broad range of situations and scenarios. I would say just stay home and lock up, but as we know from Mr. Nightmare’s “home invasion” and “home alone” videos, we wouldn’t be safe at home, either. Plus, we’d starve, because we couldn’t order food for delivery. Who wants their food with a side of terror?

I scanned through the channel’s video titles and deduced that if you don’t want creepy-ass shit to happen to you, here’s how to avoid it:

  • Don’t get a roommate.
  • Don’t stay home alone.
  • Don’t order food for delivery from Postmates, DoorDash, or any food delivery service.
  • Don’t order pizza delivery.
  • Don’t be a pizza delivery driver, or any kind of food delivery driver.
  • Don’t hitchhike.
  • Don’t go to house parties, birthday parties, block parties, or pool parties.
  • Don’t celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the Fourth of July.
  • Don’t house-sit, dog-sit, or baby-sit.
  • Don’t have neighbors.
  • Don’t have or go to sleepovers.
  • Don’t date anyone online, enter chat rooms, check your email, or have anything to do with any social media platform.
  • Don’t enter basements, playgrounds, attics, crawlspaces, movie theaters, or schools.
  • Don’t look in the trash.
  • Don’t play hide-and-seek.
  • Don’t ride the subway.
  • Don’t drive on the highway at night.
  • Don’t go hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping.
  • Don’t go to the mall.
  • Don’t go on spring break.
  • Don’t take vacations, field trips, or any kind of trips.
  • Don’t get caught in thunderstorms, snowstorms, fire drills, or blackouts.
  • Don’t go into the sea.
  • Don’t play Pokémon Go, and don’t play with Ouija boards.
  • Don’t take an Uber.
  • Don’t have an automotive breakdown.
  • Don’t go into the swimming pool.
  • Don’t enter the Deep Web.
  • Don’t watch found footage.
  • Don’t lose your phone or your laptop.
  • Don’t work the night-shift.
  • Don’t go to haunted houses.
  • Don’t run into spiders or clowns.
  • Don’t go to Walmart.
  • Don’t go to the airport.
  • Don’t be a trucker.
  • Don’t go to the beach.
  • Don’t go into the forest.
  • Don’t enter abandoned buildings.
  • Don’t play sports.
  • Don’t join the police force or the boy scouts.
  • Don’t buy anything through Craigslist.
  • DON’T GO TO THE GYM LATE AT NIGHT, AND DON’T WORK IN ONE LATE AT NIGHT, EITHER.

I watched the aforementioned “3 Disturbing True Horror Gym Stories” video yesterday:

 

 

Mr. Nightmare is a binge threat for horror fans, especially. The videos are short. Since they’re like podcast episodes, I like to listen to them while I’m doing mundane tasks around the house… I’ve listened to scary-story podcasts, and Mr. Nightmare’s YouTube channel is better, in my opinion!

Craigslist appears on the channel numerous times – I counted five Craigslist videos, each containing several stories – which brings to mind the lady who dropped by to purchase something (my microwave, if you must know). I think it was last week that I told you how I almost forgot to change out of my Halloween Michael Myers t-shirt before she arrived.

That post prompted a request for a Halloween shirt selfie, and it so happens that I took one the other day! I’d just come in from some wild monsoon winds, so my hair was appropriately insane. I tried to get my expression to look like Michael Myers’. I think I got the mouth part right. Also, can we admire how the knife hilt leads up into my coiling hearts tattoo?

 

 

Michael Myers (Halloween) inspired look

 

The end, my friends. Please to check out Mr. Nightmare on YouTube. You will learn SO much.

 

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Since this blog tends to cycle around various topics, I thought of what I haven’t done in a while. I post a lot of gym updates. I do a lot of general updates. I’ve written a couple of movie reviews lately. I’m overdue for a Geronimo (Sonoran desert tortoise) update, but there’s not much to report right now because I don’t see him often enough in this heat! Geronimo comes out ready to rock during summer storms, but it hasn’t rained much… I read yesterday that the last time we had such a dry summer was in 1988. They’re calling this year’s monsoon season the “Non-soon.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written a mental health update, but I do plan to do one in the near future. We’ve also got writing updates, office updates, pretty much you name it, etcetera, plus random thoughts and story-time posts.

Today, though, I come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The last time I did one was in May.

For this fourth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I have a short lyric that’s as wistful and whimsical as the previous poems in this series.

Standard explanation: To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way. Then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. This is actually a great creative writing exercise, I’ve found! I don’t change anything in these lines except for obvious typos (“sic” would disrupt the poem), neither do I alter punctuation or caps.

Standard disclaimer: Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections for me to gather and combine.

Without further ado:

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Long ago and oh so far away
Night Swimming
Floating past on the lazy river
Where the wild things are…

Furniture Guy
Hiking the mountain
Card players
Sitting on bed in the bed of a white truck
dispensary chick
In and out
Plasma worker
Bowling!

just fun
so…

Hey neighbor….

 

 

The Art of Self-Defense: element of surprise. (No-spoiler film review.)

A young man recovering from a brutal street attack happens upon a martial arts dojo and decides to join in order to learn self-defense.

Seems like a premise for a simple, straightforward plot, right?

We’ve been lucky with movies lately, Callaghan and I. As infrequently as we go to the theater, it’s pleasing when two consecutive outings put us in front of brilliant cinema. First we watched Midsommar, and then The Art of Self-Defense.

 

 

When independent film distributor Bleecker Street released The Art of Self-Defense, we didn’t take notice. The movie wasn’t getting a lot of attention, and we weren’t paying a lot of attention. It slipped by us into the theater as quietly as a ninja too broke to buy a ticket.

As it turned out, we almost missed it! The showing we caught at Alamo Drafthouse would be the last of The Art of Self-Defense not only at that theater, but at any in our vicinity.

I didn’t know anything about this film beforehand. Sitting down unaware that I was in for a black comedy – a favorite genre of mine – proved to be a fascinating experience in and of itself, a treat of a discovery. The film’s comedic elements appear at the beginning (Rex Kwan Do, anyone?), while the dark aspect stalks through at its own, measured pace: it develops incisively and in tandem with the protagonist’s own development as a karate student.

More than comedy with a dark underbelly, The Art of Self-Defense stands as a feat of comedy and horror merging agreeably while maintaining their respective identities. It’s a film with a lot of personality considering its small cast of characters, a black comedy whose darkness takes on a voice and insistence of its own, as if to challenge the humor. First I was amused, then successively perplexed, frustrated, and appalled… and in the end, I was rewarded. I found the ending of this film to be immensely satisfying. A rarity!

(You might be wondering how I didn’t know that The Art of Self-Defense is a black comedy when the words are printed right there on the film poster. This is where I admit that the poster only caught my attention because it features people wearing karate uniforms. I didn’t read the quoted text.)

The Art of Self-Defense stars Jesse Eisenberg  (Zombieland) as its protagonist, and it was written and directed by relative newcomer Riley Stearns. Beyond a sharply penned black comedy piece, Mr. Stearns wrote a straight-up satire on toxic masculinity, the concept of which slaps you in the face over and again as the story progresses, as a good satire should. If you’re unfamiliar with toxic masculinity before seeing this film, I can guarantee that you’ll have an idea of it after seeing it. The Art of Self-Defense is a smart, successful film; it’s jarring in its boldness, which is the paramount feature of exploitation cinema.

My only regret in seeing The Art of Self-Defense is that I got to it so late in its run-time. I wish I’d seen this film early enough to recommend as a theater viewing! You may find it lingering in theaters here and there. No matter – it’ll be just as clever and fun on a smaller screen.