Appendix 2.1 – Iowa Hawkeyes Long-Sleeve

Hi!

I bet you thought this blog was dead, didn’t you? Well, it was just mostly dead, not all dead. Turns out, I continue to acquire shirts. This is usually not something I do intentionally; I know it seems odd but I do seem to accidentally acquire shirts. Or at least acquire them without any concerted effort to do so. Occasionally I have seen a shirt that I will think I would like to have, but the existence of this blog reminds me that I have no need for a new T-shirt, at least until I follow up on my stated goal to reduce my shirt collection.

Speaking of which, some of you might be wondering about the status of my race T-shirt quilt (by which I mean some of you might have vague recollections that I was making a race T-shirt quilt). The current status is I have three kids and a full-time job, by which I mean that it is about 75% complete and has been stalled there for the last year or so. It is all pieced together, it just needs to be quilted and bordered and it will be done. Which at the rate that I am finishing projects will be finished, I estimate, in third quarter of 2028.

Anyway, now I will add to the list, in no particular order and with no particular schedule, the few shirts I have come in to the possession of since I last posted here over a year ago.

 

This shirt is a gift I received from my in-laws for Christmas last year. As I have mentioned before, I am not a very good gift-receiver—or perhaps I should say gift-requester—because I don’t have much of a desire to ask for gifts. It seems a little selfish to me to expect gifts, even for birthdays or Christmas, because in my mind expecting gifts is tantamount to demanding gifts. Or perhaps it is another example of the old adage which I have taken to heart that is “if you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed.” But my while my family has historically been modest, often by necessity, with exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, my wife’s family has a long tradition of gift-giving and receiving. So while I genuinely would not feel disappointed with a Christmas focused around being together and eating food, which, to me, are the best parts of any celebration, they don’t feel it adequate without presents. But my reluctance to make any desires explicit leads to them making guesses based on what they know about the things I like, which tend to fall in to categories such as:

  • Batman
  • Running
  • Jesus
  • The Minnesota Vikings
  • The Iowa Hawkeyes

I am sure that looking back through the archive of shirts presented here, you will see these themes well represented. And now we can add another to the list; a long-sleeve Iowa Hawkeyes shirt. The front simply says “IOWA” vertically arched over the tiger-hawk logo. The texturing of the yellow fill color is a little unusual; I think they were going for the faux-vintage worn look, but to achieve it, they used what looks to me like the texture of brick or concrete where they pull something over the surface to give it a smooth edge but some of the aggregate material in there catches and makes lines through it. I don’t know if there is a name for that texture but there probably is an industry term so if you know it, let me know.

On the left sleeve of the shirt is the word “HAWKEYES” running horizontally up the arm.

More shirts to come!

Appendix 2.1 - Iowa Hawkeyes Black Long-Sleeve

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Day 174 – Queen

When I was probably about seven or eight years old, one of my older brothers came home from college for the summer, and with him came a box of records. At that time, the record collection we had in the house consisted mostly of my father’s big band records, my mother’s classical records, and a few records of children’s music. Beyond that, music was what we could get on the radio. So this box of LPs was a revelation to me. I flipped through it full of curiosity, wondering at all these albums, many by bands I had never heard of.

My brother tried to usher me through them, introducing me to various sounds. At one point he asked me if I liked Queen. I said I didn’t know anything by Queen. He replied “Yes you do.” And he pulled out of the box a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits (this would be the 1981 US version) and played for me songs that of course everyone knows, like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust”. And to be sure, I did know those songs, as those songs are part of the collective consciousness, but I had no idea they were Queen songs. And then he played for me all the other amazing songs on that record.

Shortly after that, my brother left college and traveled to Japan, and while he did, that box of records stayed at my parents’ house. Given that opportunity, I played that Queen album over and over again until it became part of my being. I became convinced that Queen was the greatest band that had ever existed. And I maintain that conviction to this day.

It was some time before I was old enough to buy my own music. That timing coincided roughly with the point at which Queen’s US record label released a new greatest hits album, as well as their entire back catalog. This was also a point in music history where I was not finding a place for myself very easily. It was during the heyday of hair metal, which I just couldn’t really take seriously, and I wasn’t really in to what was going on in the pop world otherwise. So when I would get a little money, I went out and bought the cassette versions of the early Queen albums, and devoured them. This made me unusual (or perhaps, more accurately, even more unusual than I already was) to my peers, and my friends had some difficulty understanding my enthusiasm, but as long as I had a Walkman to plug in to my head I didn’t much care.

Eventually Nirvana happened and I was able to expand my musical purview to include things beyond Queen. But I have always considered them as belonging to a higher order of rock bands. But T-shirt racks are not overflowing with Queen shirts, or at least they weren’t in my formative years, so I never had one until I was an adult. That was when I was digging through the clearance pile at a store in the mall and found this child-sized shirt, and in the absence of any adult-sized version, I knew I must have it. This was toward the tail end of the tiny-T phase, but even without that, some things are more important that an ideal fit. Because I am a skinny man, I manage; it is a little shorter than I would choose, but so be it.

The front has the classic Queen crest; the back lists the band members: “FREDDIE / BRIAN / ROGER / JOHN”.

Day 174 - Queen

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Day 172 – Death

Back near the beginning of this project (day 12) I featured a shirt from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novel, of which I am a fan and which was my gateway drug into the world of graphic novels, which I now consume voraciously. Today nearing the end of the project, I once again am featuring a shirt from this excellent series. For those who are not familiar with it (and please go familiarize yourself at your earliest convenience) this shirt features the character of Death, who is the sister of the title character (Dream, AKA Morpheus, AKA the Sandman) and is usually incarnated in the form of the young woman wearing the ankh as depicted here.

Below her on the shirt, in red, is a quotation of hers from the book, and probably my favorite quotation from any character in the series: “You get what anybody gets—you get a lifetime.” The context of the quote is a section in the story where Death is walking around a neighborhood, performing her appointed task—that is, informing the dead that they are, in fact, dead—and one of her charges, a small baby, protests that it was unfair to have been given such a short life. Death responds with these words as a way of expressing that by her measure, in the end, we are all equals.

My most vivid memory of wearing this shirt was that I wore it the night after I attended my Uncle Jerry’s funeral. He was the first of my parents’ siblings to die, and up until that time probably the closest family member (I can thankfully say) that I knew who passed away. He was my father’s brother; my father is the youngest of his family, and so for me this marked the beginning of the era in which the mortality of my parents’ generation became real to me. I am lucky that it took that long, as I know many who have not had that luxury of time. Since then I have attended the funeral of another uncle and had an aunt pass away, but I am relieved to say that my parents are still here with us and there hasn’t been anything unexpected.

It’s probably apparent from the picture that this is another shirt from the tiny-T phase. The cut of it is obviously intended for a woman to wear, with the tiny sleeves and all. It fits me snugly but decently. I can see why this shirt might have been targeted at women, as it is a strong female character in a role typically personified as male, but the character of Death is probably the most relatable character in the story, male or female, so I couldn’t really resist getting this shirt. With some of the tiny-Ts (e.g. Batman) I have been handing them down to my eldest son, whom they fit better, but now that I have a daughter, maybe I’ll hang on to this one for a while and give it to her when she’s big enough to wear it (in several years).

Day 172 - Death

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Day 164 – Godzilla

Today we have a black T-shirt that has, among other things, Godzilla on it. I got this shirt as a gift several years ago. It was a pretty cool shirt at the time. The design on the front was one of those high-gloss decorations that do not hold up well through the usual washer-and-dryer laundry process, and so the result is what we see here, where it is cracked and faded to the point where it is almost unrecognizable. There are a lot of shirts out there in recent years that have intentionally tried to replicate this wear and fading when brand new. I guess I get the idea, that it’s trying to have a vintage look, but I’m not sure I understand it. I’d rather have my old shirt back that looked new. Much in the same way that I wear jeans with holes in them, but all of the holes have developed through normal wear and tear, rather than because they were made that way or intentionally cut. Perhaps I’m just a more patient person than some. Perhaps I just don’t care.

Day 164 - Godzilla

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Day 156 – Metallica

Today’s shirt is a Metallica shirt from the Load tour where I saw them perform at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa in I think 1996. They played with Corrosion of Conformity and maybe somebody else I can’t remember. It was a good show which I enjoyed. This was a tour when they had an in-the-round stage that was in the center of the coliseum with seating on all sides, and at the end of the show they had a staged event made to look like a pyrotechnics mishap in which a guy caught on fire and ran across the stage. It was all fake, of course, but entertaining stuff. As for the music, this was just at the point when a lot of the more hard-core metalheads were starting to defect from the Metallica ranks, accusing them of going soft, and just prior to the beginning of the Napster lawsuit debacle. At that time I didn’t have any problem with them (nor do I really now, although I haven’t followed their musical output in a while, but that is for other reasons) but I do know a significant number of people who strongly hold a grudge against them. This show occurred right on the cusp of that. But as far as the show went, they still played all the stuff from the old albums and rocked them just as hard. It was a good show.

This shirt is not an official Load Tour T-shirt—which I say openly acknowledging the risk I take that I could be sued—but it is, in fact, a bootleg, bought for, if I recall, ten bucks in the parking lot after the show as we waited in the file of cars trying to get out of the parking lot. You can tell just based on the colors and quality that it’s a cheap bootleg shirt. Why buy a bootleg instead of a real shirt? Because they’re a hell of a lot cheaper, that’s why. When someone sees you wearing a Metallica shirt, questions of authenticity are not in the forefront of their mind. Their perception of you is already pretty much solidified. So why spend $25?

It is a black short-sleeve (natch) with the Metallica logo on the front and a large, um, flaming skull with fangs and an eyeball in in its mouth and two bones poking through the forehead and… oh, forget it. You know… a Metallica-y looking skull. Below it says “LOAD TOUR ‘96-‘97”. On the back is the typical tour shirt stuff of listing the cities on the tour, etc.

Day 156 - Metallica

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Day 153 – Toadies

Today’s shirt is from the band Toadies, which is probably best remembered for “Possum Kingdom” which was a big hit for them in the mid-nineties. That song was from their album Rubberneck, which is a great album with lots of good songs on it that never got the respect it deserved. I have the vinyl format of this album which has a little warp in it, and I love it for that, although I would never intentionally introduce a warp to a record, but there’s just something about it that endears it to me even more the way those small flaws in things can make them feel like your own.

I remember seeing Toadies play a show in some ballroom in the Quad Cities which I drove down to in my van with a bunch of friends, this was maybe 1996 or so; I think they were playing with the Butthole Surfers and possibly the Reverend Horton Heat. Toadies were hands down the best show on that bill that night. I like the Butthole Surfers just fine, but they were doing some experimental stuff that got a little tedious, and I’ve seen the Reverend a bunch of times and he’s always great, but Toadies just flat out rocked that night. They kicked a lot of ass and I will likely never forget it. I will also always remember one of the guys I went with calling the home of our mutual friend from college who lived in the QC and getting his dad, but dropping a bunch of F-bombs on him because their voices sounded the same and he didn’t realize it wasn’t our friend. That has nothing to do with Toadies or this shirt, I just mention it because I know he occasionally reads this stuff and I’m on a nostalgia trip.

Anyway, the front of this shirt has the jumping guy from the cover of the Rubberneck album superimposed over their t-in-a-triangle logo, with the word “toadies” below. The back has a small square in the middle of it that has a triptych of repeated images of the face of a child or doll or something like that with the words “I BURN” in red at the top of each. I like this because to me the orange lighting on the face and the hard shadows almost evoke flames. All of this is of course in reference to the last track on the Rubberneck album, “I Burn”, which also happens to be the one track from this album that I covered as part of a garage band I was in.

Day 153 - Toadies

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Day 149 – Jesus Jones (black)

Way back on day 22 of this project I wore an off-white Jesus Jones long-sleeve T, and now, over a hundred shirts later, is my other Jesus Jones shirt, this one a black short-sleever. This is another shirt I have had for probably about twenty years that I love. There’s nothing not to like about this shirt as it fits me as well now as it did then, if not better, and the design is great, with the Jesus Jones logo and the impish character from the Doubt album exploding from a sunburst on the front.

This is a tour T-shirt from 1991’s Doubt tour, as stated on the back, with the standard tour shirt-back layout of cities visited, superimposed over a huge question mark. I regret to say, however, I did not get this shirt from the merch table at an actual Jesus Jones performance; I merely found it in the mall, as I have never actually had the opportunity to see them play live.

Day 149 - Jesus Jones (black)

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Day 145 – I Won, You Lost

When I was I think a junior in high school, a required class was 20th Century America, a basic American history class. It was taught by a teacher who was new to our school, and it was his first full-time teaching job that year, I believe. He wasn’t that much older than us at that point. On Fridays in that class we played a game called “current events challenge”, in which every student brought in questions about news stories that they found in the paper or whatever. Then we would compete as teams to answer the most questions the most quickly, game-show style, our teams consisting of the row we sat in in class.

At the beginning of the semester when our team was formed, we were asked to come up with team names. Of course, as a team consisting of high school junior boys, we first tried out a number of what we thought would be sufficiently coded secretly dirty names, but our teacher, being only a few years older than us, of course saw through all of them and rejected them. After a few tries, he told us, “no, guys, your name has to be squeaky clean,” our team name was born: Squeeky Kleen.

I don’t know exactly how we managed it, but long story short, our team ended up winning the semester championship, and it was revealed that this was our prize—T-shirts proudly proclaiming “I WON, YOU LOST”. Some were less than impressed with this prize, but I thought it was a well-planned and socially-aware inasmuch as we would be wearing them around and constantly reminding our rival teams of our superiority, which is kind of what high school is about.

Day 145 - I Won, You Lost

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Day 143 – Iowa Football

I have been a Hawkeye fan all my life. For the early part of my life, I was not an especially devout fan. I grew up in Eastern Iowa—it was easy to be a casual fan, because that was the minimum assumed position. Sure, there were the occasional Iowa State fans, but it was generally assumed that you rooted for the hawks. Then I moved to Wisconsin, and my fanhood took on a new character. When you start living in what amounts to enemy territory, your loyalty either fades and you assimilate, or it reinforces. And I reinforced and became a bigger fan than maybe I had been my whole time in Iowa. At about that same time I received this shirt as a gift. I think that I got it from my mom for Christmas. I am not sure if she was responding to my own increased interest, or as a subtle reminder of what is right and good. Either way, I appreciated it, as I didn’t have any Hawkeye shirts at the time. I never felt the need to have one before, as it was uniform and I was interested in being distinct.

The funny thing is this is not usually the kind of shirt I would go for. The design is kind of generic and a little over-the-top. At the top it says “THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA”, above a big ugly helmeted, face-masked face, which is then followed by block letters stating “SHOW NO FEAR”. I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean, but whatever. The important thing was that I had something to wear to state my allegiance.

Day 143 - Iowa Football

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