Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: November, 2016

Postcard #51 – Morning Star

Did I already mention that Mucha was one of my favorite illustrators? Well, here’s another one of my favorite postcards. It’s probably one of the reasons why I look forward to anything sent from the Czech Republic. They seem to have an endless supply of Mucha prints.

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2016 NaNoWriMo Postcard Swap Statistics

Well, here they are. The statistics for this year’s NaNoWriMo postcard swap. Since I was the one who organized it and collected all the data, I suppose it was up to me to summarize the data for anyone who’s interested. There were a couple people who ended up dropping out, but not enough to skew the overall results.

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Murals in Mission

Just some pictures I took while walking around in Mission when I was visiting San Francisco last weekend.

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The Great Train Escape 2016

Wow, long time no posts. Well, I hope to make up for it with some pictures to my recent trip to San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously, a write-a-thon put on by the good folks at National Novel Writing Month.

Getting there, of course, was half the fun. I organized “The Great Train Escape” which is basically a day long write-in on the train, specifically the Coast Starlight, as it goes up the Southern Californian coast from Los Angeles to Oakland. The logistics of organizing such a large write-in for a bunch of random people who I mostly knew through NaNoWriMo isn’t something that one can really do on the fly. After learning a lot from the previous year’s Great Train Escape, I began planning for this one probably about six months in advance.

During the train ride, I talked to and wrote with many interesting NaNoWriMo participants. And it reminded me of why I love NaNoWriMo so much. The participants are such a diverse group, but we all somehow get along so well because of our shared interests in writing.

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Postcard #50 – More Cows

Ah, another example of many postcard collectors’ obsession with cows. I don’t really get it, but I’m sure they’re just as confused with people who like dogs and cats.

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Postcard #49 – Multi-view

This postcard from Germany is an example of a multi-view card. This one’s a little different because instead of the simple panels, the pictures are framed like stamps. Multi-view cards, to me, are just like any other typical tourist cards with views of the city in question. They’re not my favorite and I would rather people take a little more effort to send me something slightly more unusual, but on the whole, I’m more of the “Eh, whatever” camp.

There are people, however, who absolutely hate multi-view cards. They don’t like them for a variety of reasons. The multiple pictures on a postcard are usually too small for people to see. The aesthetics of multi-paneled views aren’t very pretty or organized. It’s a bit lazy–anyone can snatch one of these cards off the postcard rack in the nearest tourist trap. I personally don’t buy multi-view cards so it’s pretty unlikely that anyone will get one of these from me unless I’m sending postcards from an unusual location and the only postcards they sell are multi-view cards.

Of course, knowing my luck, Postcrossing might soon send me a swap partner who loves nothing but multi-view cards and I’d just give up and send them a random non-multi-view card from my stash.

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Postcard #48 – When in Rome

I admit, when I first saw this postcard, I thought it was an illustration, not a photograph. It probably has to do with the resolution. The sender of this postcard visited this place in Rome and then went back to Germany to mail it, hence the German stamp and postmark.

Everyone wants to visit Rome, but I’ll assume that it’s probably dirtier and smellier than what one would imagine. It’s a rather old city, after all.

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Postcard #47 – A Visual Metaphor That Doesn’t Quite Work

There was something about this postcard that was bothering me and it wasn’t because there are grenades on it. And then today, I realized what it was. The locks are drawn on. If you really want to stop war, you’re going to metaphorically put REAL locks on those grenades. Or maybe not even make them in the first place. But if you’re just going to draw the locks, any idiot could come by and pull the pin and we’d all be goners anyway.

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Postcard #46 – An Interesting Sender

Oh man. November hit like a ton of bricks. I’m going to try my best regularly posting these, but no guarantees.

Anyways, whenever anyone asks me why I don’t have a dog–or cat or any pet for that matter–my answer is that I’m too busy to take care of an animal. Seriously, I’m out the door by 7:30 am and sometimes I don’t come back until 11 pm. And that’s just for work. (Why work is so crazy is for a rant for another time.) I don’t have time for pets and I don’t even consider myself a workaholic. I seriously wish I had the time, but that would depend on whether or not I’ll be able to land a job with reasonable hours.

What I find pretty cool about this card, though, is the sender who works for the Prague Metro. Metros/subways seem like really dark and intriguing places that a lot of creative people use as a setting for their work. I’m also reminded of this great foreign film called Kontroll which is a thriller set in the Budapest Metro. Man, I want to watch that film again, but I don’t have the time….

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Postcard #45 – Google Mapping Me Is Going Too Far

I know nothing about Latvia other than the fact that it’s one of the Baltic countries. I watch a number of travel shows and I don’t recall any travel host ever traveling to Latvia. Is it that uninteresting?

As for the message on this card, I think it exemplifies the difference between me and other people. If people give me an address to send a letter, I don’t bother putting the address in Google Maps. I just send the damn letter. In fact, I’m the organizer of the NaNoWriMo postcard swap and I get a lot of people’s addresses. I have absolutely no desire to look people up on Google Maps. I feel it’s a breach of their privacy. Stalker-ish almost.

Everyone else, on the other hand, are way too interested in other people’s business. I suppose I should be used to the nosiness, but I’m not. I’m just very annoyed. As for the no tree comment, I had the urge to fire off a sarcastic reply about living in a city and expecting greenery was pretty much asking for the impossible.

This isn’t about curiosity or lack thereof. If I lacked curiosity, I wouldn’t have gone into science in the first place. I just feel that there’s a very big distinction between curiosity and other people’s private space. I think it’s perfectly fine to ask someone questions about their culture or philosophy (for example: “What does your family do for the Day of the Dead?”) because it’s rather broad and people can easily give a general answer without revealing something about themselves that they are uncomfortable with. On the other hand, I would think it crosses the line if you asked a specific, personal question, such as, “Who’s your boyfriend?”, because the answer to that question is not just a name (or lack of one). It would reveal so much about what you do in your personal time.

In a nutshell, I think finding me on Google Maps falls into that latter category. Having the words and numbers of an address is one thing. But actually seeing it? I know all of this information is easily accessible, but why on earth would you even want it? It’s not going to make your life incrementally better unless it gets your rocks off to laugh and point at a random stranger. Besides, if you’re sending me a postcard, this is an opportunity to tell me about your culture, not low-grade spy on me.

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