Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Postcard #39 – That Creepy Thing Busting Out of an Egg

I have to be honest with you. This postcard freaked me out when I saw it in my mailbox. Because it was so unexpected. I’m still not quite sure if this is a crustacean or some kind of arachnid. Something with an exoskeleton. I’m also not quite sure if this was originally a postcard or if the sender cobbled something together. The yellow backing of the card is not on the same sheet as the picture. Instead, I can tell that it’s actually an extra yellow sheet glued to the back. It’s unusual, to say the least, and certainly not like any of my other postcards.



Postcard #38 – A Telephone Booth in Siberia

Yes, another postcard from Siberia! Either it was the luck of the draw or a surprising number of people in Siberia enjoy sending postcards. And with the rise of cell phones, telephone booths are pretty much extinct. Sort of like library card catalogs. They’re not used any more, but I’m sure there are people who buy them to decorate their homes.



Postcard #37 – Fairy Tale Illustration

I had never heard of Rudolf Koivu before receiving this postcard from Finland. Apparently he was an early 20th century Scandinavian illustrator of fairy tales and children’s books. After looking at some of his work posted online, however, I think this postcard is a little deceptive as a representation of his style. Upon first glance, one could be excused in thinking that it’s a bit similar to Aubrey Beardsley. But the rest of Koivu’s work is less about line drawings and more lush color, like one of his other contemporaries, Maxfield Parrish.



Postcard #36 – Bewildered

This postcard from Austria is a cartoon depicting a dementia self-help group. The joke, I suppose, is that everyone forgot to come to the meeting. For me, jokes about dementia and/or memory loss are more misses than hits, probably because I consider the brain and self-awareness pretty serious stuff. If my brain goes, then what is life anyway? It certainly isn’t my life if I’m not there.

The sender also writes about his confusion about my Postcrossing profile. No one else who has sent me a postcard has ever expressed this much confusion. My profile is fairly straightforward. I basically list my hobbies, where I live, and a request that they send me a “surprising” postcard with a message telling me what’s happening where they live. My gender is not confusing because Postcrossing sends people my real name along with my address. And there really is no ambiguity with my real name.

And even if it’s completely confusing, why even worry about it? You can still write a message without referencing any of it. I’m a complete stranger. When you’re sending a postcard, it’s not so much about me as it is about you, your culture, and where you live. When you’re sending a postcard, you’re supposed to be opening up a window to your part of the world to someone else. Grilling me on whether I’m male or female or just a cat mashing the keyboard is besides the point.



Postcard #35 – From Vladivostok

It might not seem like it from the scan below, but the size of this postcard from Vladivostok is unusual. It’s as if you took a regular piece of paper and just took a third out.

Anyways, it’s interesting that the sender felt the urge to write that “Russia isn’t only Moscow”. I think that makes the assumption that everyone in America is geographically dumb. I am well aware that Russia isn’t only Moscow. I can read a damn map. And I’ve read about and seen many documentaries on the different regions of Russia. And as for Vladivostok, I’ve been quite aware that this city exists many years before I even received this postcard. And yes, I can even place it on the map.



Postcard #34 – Some Arts and Crafts from India

This postcard from India may not be too flashy, but I actually like this one quite a bit because it shows an artist at work. I don’t know anything about the processes that makes visual art so I always find it interesting when all the hard work and planning and labor that goes behind a piece gets revealed as well as the final product.

I think this is representative of the sort of postcard I would like to personally receive. I like the artistic, the unusual, the weird, the surprising. These are also the sort of postcards I prefer sending if people don’t express a preference because the choice of postcards reveal a little bit of who I am. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the typical landscape tourist cards, but I feel that they are a bit bland and impersonal.



Postcard #33 – That’s a Lot of People Doing Yoga

I can’t decide whether to call this an “ad card” or not. ¬†In postcard collector terminology, ad cards are basically advertisement postcards. If it was advertising a product, say, Coca Cola or Hershey’s chocolate, then it would unambiguously be an ad card. This one though…it’s advertising an event and I’m pretty sure it’s not commercial. Maybe an event card?

To be honest, I’m not that excited about ad cards. They’re less¬†interesting than the boring tourist postcards with stereotypical city views. The only exceptions are artistic ad cards–where the product has become incidental and the art is the primary focus. This one from Germany–I hesitate to call it an ad card but even if it unequivocally isn’t one, it’s still a bit boring. A bunch of people doing yoga? Yawn inducing. Cats doing yoga, on the other hand, would be funny.



Postcard #32 – Flowers and Rhinestones

Flowers! Rhinestones! Colored in letters! This postcard from Lithuania pretty much exemplifies the teen girl style.



Postcard #31 – Tea Time in Black and White

I envy these old ladies sitting down, chatting, and having tea. These days, I feel like I don’t have any time to sit down and just relax. If I’m not working or running errands or doing something, I’m sleeping. It might seem like I’m wasting time doing this blogging stuff, but trust me. I’m multitasking a bunch of other things in the background.

On another note, I kind of find it hilarious that this picture is from the Getty archives. This postcard is supposedly from Germany but the original picture itself is probably in Los Angeles somewhere, just two hours from where I live.



Postcard #30 – Ballooning and the Police Academy

I like hot air balloons, but I’m pretty content to stay on the ground and watch them go up from below. I’m not afraid of heights, but I don’t exactly have a head for them either. And going up on a hot air balloon seems like an iffy proposition with all that fire. Anything remotely like the Hindenburg kind of freaks me out.

One of the consequences of getting postcards from random people around the world is that you’ll get all sorts of people. One day it’ll be a twelve year old kid, another a cat owner with way too many cats, or maybe even a bus driver. This one is from a student of a police university. Going into that profession is something I can’t quite comprehend–I think one would have to be of a certain personality with some authoritarian leanings. Anyways, I’ll save my dark philosophical musings for another time and just enjoy the colorful postcard.