Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: October, 2016

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.



NaNoWriMo Postcard Swap Statistics (Update 1)

I’ve been organizing this year’s NaNoWriMo postcard swap since, well, why not? I’ve got quite a few people signed up so far and I couldn’t resist looking at the statistics. Here they are the rough stats for the first two weeks of the sign up period:



I’ll probably end up posting more comprehensive statistics and analysis some time in November.


Postcard #29 – A Writer from Another Country

My first thought, when I got this in my mailbox, was “why on earth would someone send me a picture of a K-pop idol?” It turns out that this isn’t some pop star but a Chinese writer. Unfortunately, the sender didn’t bother translating his name and the online translation sites were singularly unhelpful. I know I’ll get it translated eventually but even when I do, I really doubt anyone would really know who he is unless he is famous enough to get his books translated into English.

But that’s the thing about writers who write in a language other than English. Unless they somehow get translated into English, they’re going to remain unknown to anyone outside of their home country. The same isn’t true if the book was originally written in English–even English speaking midlist authors may have fans around the world! I think it’s a natural consequence of English being a sort of universal language in so many contexts.



Postcard #28 – A Random Smiling Kid

Is it just me, or does the sender have really good handwriting for a twelve year old? Or is it that there are a lot of grownups out there who write worse than a twelve year old? I don’t think my handwriting was all that great when I was twelve, but then again, it’s quite possible that I’m not remembering correctly. I don’t have any handwriting samples from back then to compare. However, I do know that by the time I got to high school, my handwriting had pretty much ossified into its current form.

Anyways, the most interesting thing I find about this postcard from Ukraine is that it depicts the country’s traditional dress. Some countries can do this and everyone immediately thinks, “Ah, it’s that country,” without further question. Which makes me wonder, what’s the national dress for the United States? I don’t think America has one. There are so many ethnicities and subcultures in this country that it’s pretty much impossible to pick one to represent everyone.



Postcard #27 – From Hangzhou

I’ve been to the southern part of China very briefly as a tourist when I was a teenager, but not Hangzhou which is located on the east coast of that country. So, sadly, I don’t really know anything about this city other than what I’ve read on Wikipedia.

That’s one of the interesting things about Postcrossing. I already knew that there were a lot of places in the world that I don’t know much about, but that’s really brought home every time I receive a postcard in the mail. Sure, I know about China, but other than a couple major cities, who knows? I’m sure Hangzhou is as different from Beijing or Harbin or Guangzhou as San Diego is different from Baltimore or Houston or Poughkeepsie.



Postcard #26 – Yet Another Skyline

Although I’ve been to Hong Kong several times and I find the city fascinating, I am acutely aware that I don’t exactly fit in. I don’t act like a crazy tourist, but I think it has to do with a certain sophistication that I lack. I probably should take pointers from some of my cousins who regularly go back there and blend back in with no problem.

I should mention that city views and skylines seem to be pretty popular with postcard collectors. I keep a couple typical tourist postcards of San Diego in case I get matched up with someone who only likes those kinds of cards because apparently “everything else isn’t unique”. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not interested in typical cityscapes because such photographs are easily Googled. And frankly, I find them boring. I’m more into the arty, unusual, and strange. And if people must send me a city view postcard, their message on the other side had better be fascinating.