Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: August, 2016

A Philosophy on Sending Postcards

Recently, I’ve gotten into the hobby of sending postcards. Like a lot of other things these days, I got into it because of the Internet. (Most people in real life, it seems, are pretty boring or at least extremely reticent about telling me anything when I ask for suggestions about doing something fun.) After doing a couple of postcard swaps with fellow NaNoWriMo participants, I signed up for Postcrossing about two months ago.

Maybe if I had gotten into this when I was younger, I would have been a lot more lax about things. Technically there’s no wrong way to send a postcard, as long as you follow all the specifications from the post office, but philosophically, it’s another matter.

Other than getting sent people’s addresses and profiles via email, sending a postcard is decidedly old fashioned and slow. It’s a physical message rather than an electronic one. And personal since handwriting is involved rather than ones and zeroes in the Internet aether. But despite that, I feel that there are certain postcard sending habits that defeat the whole purpose of sending a postcard.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people requesting that I send the postcard in an envelope so that they can get their postcard in a pristine condition. I do not understand this idea at all. If you send a postcard, of course it’s going to be creased and smudged and a little frayed at the edges. All these imperfections show that the postcard is well-traveled and adds character to an otherwise unremarkable piece of card stock. If you want a pristine postcard, go to a store and buy the damn card yourself.

I don’t mind the type of card that I get sent, but I do mind if my address and/or the postcard’s message has been printed out rather than handwritten. Sure, these days there are quite a few people who have terrible handwriting because all they do is type, but I actually prefer illegible handwriting on a postcard instead of a computer printout. Why? Because the postcard is supposed to be old fashioned and personal. Printed messages remind me of junk mail and those impersonal holiday cards my bank sends me. If you’re going to type things out and print it instead of using a pen, then send me a damn email instead.

For me, the postcard is an antidote to modern communication which can be hectic and stressful. I prefer doing all this postcard stuff the analog way–I go to shops to buy the postcards and to the post office to get the stamps. I’m not like the hardcore postcard senders who scour EBay and other online vendors for those things. Because that would be too easy and impersonal.

Of course, I’m excited if someone deigns to send me a postcard. However I do this mostly because I want to send postcards to other people. On my own terms. I’m putting myself out there, after all, and it seems disingenuous for other people to dictate how I should frame a piece of personal correspondence. I’m sure inevitably I’ve annoyed at least one person with my postcards (like those people who prefer to have them in envelopes or postcards with specific themes or ones with “cool stamps”), but ultimately I want to make people happy, even if it’s just for a moment. And if they don’t appreciate my efforts, well, that’s their problem. Not mine.

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July 2016: All of My NaNoWordSprints Prompts

All I can say is, not as late as last time! This is a list of all the prompts I tweeted out on @NaNoWordSprints during July. Feel free to take them and use them for inspiration in your own writing!

* * *

June 30, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Camping Related

  • Light your fire (10 min)
  • Baiting the trap (20 min)
  • Unusual directions (10 min)
  • Sneaking around at night (30 min)
  • As nature intended (20 min)
  • Clear waters (10 min)
  • Hungry animals (10 min)
  • A tough obstacle (30 min)

July 1, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Character Related

  • Unusual occupation or hobby (10 min)
  • Nicknames (20 min)
  • How does the character react to an unexpected situation (30 min)
  • Speech patterns (10 min)
  • Interaction with people they don’t like (20 min)
  • Family/relatives (30 min)
  • Past comes back to haunt them (20 min)

July 2, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
On Food and Cooking

  • Fishiness (10 min)
  • To warm (20 min)
  • What must go up must come down (30 min)
  • Fresh (10 min)
  • Accidental (20 min)
  • Slow to acceptance (30 min)
  • Firmness (20 min)

July 3, 2016, 8:00am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Energizing Your Sprints

  • Getting a jump start (10 min)
  • A sudden and shocking appearance (20 min)
  • Something goes boom! (30 min)
  • Screaming all the way (10 min)
  • Diving head first into the melee (20 min)

July 3, 2016, 12:00pm-2:00pm (UTC-8)
Post-It Note Prompts

  • Holding characters hostage (10 min)
  • A stolen item (20 min)
  • Deadline to prevent a catastrophic event (30 min)
  • A puzzle (10 min)
  • Risk life and limb (20 min)

July 3, 2016, 6:30pm-9:00pm (UTC-8)
Icelandic Phrases and Idioms Part 1

  • To lay your head in water (10 min)
  • You are completely out driving (20 min)
  • I took him to the bakery (30 min)
  • I will find you at a beach (10 min)
  • I come completely from the mountains (20 min)
  • I will show you the two worlds (30 min)

July 3, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Pictures from Wikipedia Part 1

  • Cathedral, test reactor, car trouble, nice hat (10 min)
  • Distant boat, at a desk, admiral, a wreck (20 min)
  • Guitar, equestrian, yawn, on the lookout (30 min)
  • A game, a large wave, waking up, and a stolen kiss (10 min)
  • Crown, bangles, brooms, and book smuggling (20 min)
  • Making a death mask, bonsai, corridor, and lunch (30 min)
  • Disaster, evening, piazza, and pigments (20 min)

July 4, 2016, 4:00pm-6:00am (UTC-8)
San Diego Zoo

  • Ducks in a row (10 min)
  • In an awkward position (20 min)
  • Playing dead (30 min)
  • Trying to look one’s best (10 min)
  • Made of unusual materials (20 min)

July 4, 2016, 10:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Pictures from Wikipedia Part 2

  • Up in smoke, making a call, spinning wheel, and building a bridge (10 min)
  • Cheese, glowing at night, bored, and cliffs (20 min)
  • Flames, something blue, fortress, and a windmill (30 min)
  • Creepy doll, llamas on the loose, car thieves, and surprise (10 min)
  • Keys, an old radio, ruins, and the desert (20 min)

July 5, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Icelandic Phrases and Idioms Part 2

  • He’s on the wrong shelf in life (10 min)
  • That is the raisin at the end of the hot dog (20 min)
  • He doesn’t walk whole to the forest (30 min)
  • Like a poorly made object (10 min)
  • Jumping onto your own nose (20 min)
  • Not enough to fill a cat’s nostril (30 min)
  • Window weather (20 min)

July 6, 2016, 11:00am-1:00pm (UTC-8)
Character Tropes Part 1

  • Being Personal Isn’t Professional (10 min)
  • Born in the Wrong Century (20 min)
  • Creature of Habit (30 min)
  • Everyone Has Standards (10 min)
  • The Gimmick (20 min)

July 6, 2016, 9:30pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Character Tropes Part 2

  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That (20 min)
  • Misery Builds Character (10 min)
  • Pastimes Prove Personality (20 min)
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift (30 min)
  • Too Much Alike (10 min)
  • Work Hard, Play Hard (20 min)
  • Wrong Assumption (30 min)
  • Admiring the abomination (10 min)
  • Challenge seeker (10 min)

July 7, 2016, 9:00am-12:30pm (UTC-8)
Idioms

  • Rub the wrong way (10 min)
  • Cat got your tongue (20 min)
  • Give the cold shoulder (30 min)
  • Let one’s hair down (10 min)
  • Go the whole nine yards (20 min)
  • Caught red handed (30 min)
  • Turn a blind eye (20 min)
  • Actions speak louder than words (10 min)
  • Miss the boat (10 min)

July 7, 2016, 2:30pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
Icelandic Phrases and Idioms Part 3

  • There are many wonders in a cow’s head (10 min)
  • No mitten-grabbing (20 min)
  • To put someone before a cats nose (30 min)
  • I only pay with an angry sheep (5 min)

July 7, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Cute Cat Sprints

  • What’s over there? (10 min)
  • Nothing to see here (20 min)
  • Triplets (30 min)
  • Delicious (10 min)
  • In a celebratory mood (20 min)
  • Stretching it (30 min)
  • Stop and smell the roses (20 min)

July 8, 2016, 9:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Brazilian Expressions Part 1

  • I hope it falls (10 min)
  • To button up your blazer (20 min)
  • Peel the pineapple (30 min)
  • To throw out green fruit and pick it ripe (10 min)
  • Lower the ball (20 min)
  • King in the belly (30 min)
  • Lay down your hair (10 min)
  • To stick your foot in the breadfruit (20 min)
  • To travel in the mayonnaise (30 min)
  • A hurricane in a cup of water (5 min)

July 9, 2016, 8:00am-9:30am (UTC-8)
San Diego Coffee House Names

  • Black rock (10 min)
  • Better buzz (20 min)
  • Blue mug (30 min)
  • Lion (5 min)

July 9, 2016, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Neko Atsume Passwords

  • Peach (10 min)
  • Princess (20 min)
  • Music (30 min)
  • Necktie (10 min)
  • Radio (20 min)
  • Relax (30 min)
  • Lollipop (20 min)

July 10, 2016, 7:45am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Brazilian Expressions Part 2

  • Deep fried (10 min)
  • Stick face (20 min)
  • Pays for the duck (30 min)
  • Fills spicy pork sausages (10 min)
  • Puts smoke inside a bag (20 min)
  • Looks for horns on a horse’s head (10 min)
  • Puts a watermelon on his head (30 min)
  • Bug will come and get them (20 min)

July 10, 2016, 7:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Pictures from Wikipedia Part 3

  • Evil thoughts, an old man with one eye, abandoned, and tower (30 min)
  • Clock, spiral staircase, fight, and curious onlookers (20 min)
  • Church steeple, pool, chatting, and geyser (10 min)
  • Lake, mountains, grave marker, and completely pickled (30 min)
  • Lighthouse, thinking really hard, manor, and dunces (10 min)
  • Mint, red skies, sand castles, and telephone obsession (15 min)
  • Pouring a drink, making music, ruckus, and the kiss (20 min)
  • Examination, camel in the house, blue skies, and parasol (30 min)
  • Old boys club, desk, overlook, and cooking (5 min)
  • Bear, tea party, unusual vehicle, and slow movers (10 min)
  • On fire, dearly departed, cliff side, and astrolabe (30 min)

July 11, 2016, 7:10am-2:00pm (UTC-8)
Linguistic Doublets Part 1

  • Host and guest (10 min)
  • Strange and extraneous (30 min)
  • Shadow, shade and shed (30 min)
  • Stand, stay, state, status and static (30 min)
  • Chief, chef, cape, capo, caput and head (30 min)
  • Secure and sure (10 min)

July 11, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Composers

  • Midsummer night’s dream (10 min)
  • Cannons (15 min)
  • The Isle of the Dead (30 min)
  • The sea (20 min)
  • Dance macabre (10 min)
  • The water goblin (20 min)
  • In the forest (30 min)
  • Longing (5 min)

July 12, 2016, 9:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Plot Tropes Part 1

  • 15 minutes of fame (15 min)
  • All for nothing (30 min)
  • Brainwashed (30 min)
  • Cooperation gambit (30 min)
  • Deadly game (30 min)
  • Endurance duel (10 min)

July 12, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Plot Tropes Part 2

  • Fight to survive (10 min)
  • Great escape (20 min)
  • He knows too much (30 min)
  • Identity impersonator (10 min)
  • Just fine without you (20 min)
  • Kangaroo court (30 min)
  • Late to the tragedy (20 min)

July 13, 2016, 8:45am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Linguistic Doublets Part 2

  • Capital, cattle and chattel (10 min)
  • Plant and clan (30 min)
  • Right, rich, raj, rex, regalia, reign, royal and real (20 min)
  • Carton and cartoon (10 min)
  • Ward and guard (30 min)
  • Chrism, cream and grime (20 min)
  • Cow and beef (10 min)
  • Wheel, cycle and chakra (25 min)

July 13, 2016, 11:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
LOLcats

  • Awesome headgear (10 min)
  • Small spaces (20 min)
  • Unexplained flotation (30 min)
  • Ultimate disguise (10 min)
  • Strange friends (20 min)

July 14, 2016, 8:45am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Plot Tropes Part 3

  • The magic comes back (10 min)
  • No sympathy (30 min)
  • The one who made it out (30 min)
  • Passing the torch (30 min)
  • Quest for identity (30 min)
  • Read the fine print (30 min)

July 14, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Idioms in Various Languages

  • I don’t have a camel in the caravan (10 min)
  • Stop ironing my head! (20 min)
  • After the rain many eaves! (30 min)
  • My tapeworm can almost talk by itself (10 min)
  • Seeing the reflection of a bow in a cup and thinking it’s a snake (20 min)
  • To walk around hot porridge (30 min)
  • To polar bear (20 min)

July 15, 2016, 8:45am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Grow Creativity

  • Apples to oranges (10 min)
  • Second banana (20 min)
  • Cherry-pick (30 min)
  • Full of beans (10 min)
  • Hot potato (20 min)
  • Pushing up the daisies (30 min)
  • Shaking like a leaf (10 min)
  • Sowing seeds of suspicion (20 min)

July 15, 2016, 11:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Star Trek Next Generation

  • Adoring fans (10 min)
  • Unusually emotional (20 min)
  • Getting ready for battle (30 min)
  • That annoying kid (10 min)
  • Evil twin (20 min)

July 16, 2016, 6:00pm-9:00pm (UTC-8)
Artificial Intelligence Tropes

  • Seems ridiculously human (10 min)
  • Malevolent/benevolent (20 min)
  • Going haywire (30 min)
  • Seeing oneself as superior (30 min)
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy (10 min)
  • Seems very obvious (20 min)
  • Self-aware (15 min)

July 17, 2016, 10:30am-12:30pm (UTC-8)
Weather Idioms

  • Under the weather (10 min)
  • Fair-weather friend (20 min)
  • Snowed under (30 min)
  • The tip of the iceberg (10 min)
  • Every cloud has a silver lining (20 min)

July 17, 2016, 2:15pm-4:30pm (UTC-8)
Totoro

  • Wilderness (10 min)
  • Utter surprise (20 min)
  • Waiting impatiently (30 min)
  • A little snack (10 min)
  • Lurking in the shadows (10 min)
  • Heading into the unknown (30 min)

July 17, 2016, 7:45pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Soap Opera Tropes

  • Coming back from the dead (10 min)
  • Screaming match (20 min)
  • Turning it up to eleven (30 min)
  • Melodramatic pause (10 min)
  • Wedding day drama (20 min)
  • Family ties (30 min)
  • Convenient timing (10 min)
  • Medical miracle (20 min)
  • Keeping a big secret (30 min)
  • Alternate personalities (5 min)

July 18, 2016, 10:20am-12:30pm (UTC-8)
Linguistic Doublets Part 3

  • Frenetic and frantic (10 min)
  • Cave and cavern (20 min)
  • Price, prize, praise, pry (30 min)
  • Corn, kernel and grain (10 min)
  • Pique, pike (20 min)
  • Mister, master, meister, maestro, mistral (10 min)

July 19, 2016, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Owl Sprints

  • Anticipation (10 min)
  • Locomotion (20 min)
  • They’re everywhere (30 min)
  • Curious contraption (10 min)
  • Third wheel (20 min)
  • A kiss (30 min)
  • Weighing in (10 min)
  • Unconventional friends (10 min)

July 20, 2016, 7:35am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Dark Idioms

  • A dark horse (10 min)
  • A shot in the dark (30 min)
  • Left in the dark (30 min)
  • Dark cloud on the horizon (30 min)
  • Deep dark secret (30 min)
  • Whistle in the dark (30 min)
  • Darkest hour just before the dawn (5 min)

July 20, 2016, 12:35pm-3:00pm (UTC-8)
Headlines from Nature, July 21, 2016 Issue

  • Reward the forgotten (10 min)
  • Gotta name them all (20 min)
  • Make its mark (30 min)
  • Specialize not hybridize (10 min)
  • Rare source of joy (20 min)
  • The unsung heroes (20 min)

July 21, 2016, 2:50pm-4:50pm (UTC-8)
Fantasy Tropes Part 1

  • Quest (10 min)
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy (30 min)
  • Magic item (10 min)
  • Unusual creature (30 min)
  • Dark lord (10 min)

July 21, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from December 2015

  • To brew or not to brew (10 min)
  • Enemy in the dark (20 min)
  • Buying freedom (30 min)
  • What’s broken between us (10 min)
  • Ash and silver (20 min)
  • Kill without mercy (20 min)
  • The cost of the forbidden (30 min)

July 22, 2016, 8:45am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from January 2016

  • A new arrival (10 min)
  • Compromised identity (20 min)
  • Dearly departed (30 min)
  • Fully committed (10 min)
  • Worst contact (20 min)
  • Suspect witness (30 min)
  • Dangerous rescue (10 min)
  • Dark homecoming (20 min)

July 22, 2016, 5:30pm-8:30pm (UTC-8)
Book Titles from February 2016

  • Stealing the game (10 min)
  • This was not the plan (30 min)
  • Little white lies (30 min)
  • Betrayed (30 min)
  • Dare to run (30 min)
  • Ways to disappear (15 min)

July 22, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
Book Titles from January 2013

  • Divide and conquer (10 min)
  • Scent of darkness (30 min)
  • Footprints in the sand (20 min)
  • Slither (10 min)
  • A conflict of interest (30 min)
  • Monkey business (20 min)
  • Stone cold revenge (20 min)

July 23, 2016, 7:45am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Fantasy Tropes Part 2

  • Dungeon (10 min)
  • Henchmen (20 min)
  • Dramatic entrance (30 min)
  • Handsome villain (10 min)
  • Hard won escape (30 min)

July 23, 2016, 8:30pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Airport Sprints Part 1

  • Waiting (10 min)
  • Unruly children (20 min)
  • Incomprehensible announcements (30 min)
  • Red eye (10 min)

July 23, 2016, 7:15am-9:00am (UTC-5)
Airport Sprints Part 2

  • Barely awake (10 min)
  • Slow transportation (20 min)
  • Too many people (30 min)
  • Regulations (20 min)

July 29, 2016, 8:20am-10:30am (UTC-5)
Florida

  • Too humid (20 min)
  • Scuttling lizards (10 min)
  • Clear skies (30 min)
  • Turning up the heat (15 min)
  • A departure (15 min)

July 29, 2016, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Y Idioms

  • Yellow journalism (10 min)
  • Yoke around someone’s neck (20 min)
  • You can bet your life (30 min)
  • You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (10 min)
  • You can’t please everyone (20 min)
  • You got me there (30 min)
  • You name it (10 min)
  • Young at heart (20 min)
  • You can say that again (30 min)
  • Your own worst enemy (10 min)
  • You can run but you can’t hide (20 min)
  • You have to be good to be lucky (30 min)
  • You snooze, you lose (10 min)
  • You’ve got to be kidding (20 min)
  • Your number is up (10 min)

July 30, 2016, 4:00pm-7:00pm (UTC-8)
Florida Tour

  • Trolly/tour bus/boat (10 min)
  • Shopping/getting coffee/exploring (20 min)
  • Break down (15 min)
  • Seeing sights/bridge (30 min)
  • Chased by a crab (15 min)
  • Chased by gators and snakes (10 min)
  • Discovering ruins (20 min)
  • Arriving back at the beginning (10 min)

July 30, 2016, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
W Idioms Part 1

  • Wait for it (10 min)
  • Wake up on the wrong side of the bed (20 min)
  • Walk on the wild side (30 min)
  • Wall of silence (10 min)
  • War of nerves (20 min)

July 31, 2016, 1:30pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
W Idioms Part 2

  • Warm the cockles of someone’s heart (10 min)
  • Warning shot (15 min)
  • Warts and all (15 min)
  • Washed up (15 min)
  • Waste not, want not (15 min)
  • Watch one’s step (15 min)
  • Water under the bridge (15 min)
  • Wax eloquent (15 min)
  • Wear down (15 min)

July 31, 2016, 7:15pm-4:00am (UTC-8)
T Idioms

  • Tail wagging the dog (5 min)
  • Take a chance (20 min)
  • Talk it up (30 min)
  • Tall tale (10 min)
  • Tangle with (10 min)
  • Tar with the same brush (20 min)
  • Team up (30 min)
  • Tempest in a teapot (10 min)
  • Thank your lucky stars (20 min)
  • That takes the cake (15 min)
  • There’s no love lost (20 min)
  • Tip of the iceberg (30 min)
  • Tempt fate (30 min)
  • Test the water (20 min)
  • Top of one’s game (10 min)
  • Touch and go (20 min)
  • Tried and true (30 min)
  • Throw a curve (15 min)
  • Time is running out (20 min)