Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kona is enough, this time...



  

Just to be clear, Stephanie has yet to properly send me a postcard as one would understand. I’m a postcard purist, or at least I thought I was. A postcard should be sent via postal service of the original destination, include some type of message, stamp, stamp cancel and go the distance hand-in-hand with Lady Luck.
Well, Stephanie is a chronic violator of this postcard purist by providing (not sending) postcards either by third-party (mutual friends) or directly handing them to me. These abominations sans the aesthetically pleasing stamp, stamp cancel, and ever authentic wear and tear of (if you’re lucky) international transit. But the fact that she is chronic and consistent so is leading me to reconsider what the “rules” of postcards might be. 


When I showed Ryan, he said “She really doesn’t get it, does she?” But I will give some credit where some credit is due. Above you will find a postcard from Hawaii. Notably, the stamp and address are missing, yet she did send this through the mail – in a package. Gasp! I know, but the package contained Kona coffee. Thus creating a superior care package WITH a postcard inside. 







This blurs the lines for sure because the coffee more than makes up for the offense – a one off exception that I hope does not become the norm. That said, Kona coffee goes a long way to making it okay.

Aloha, Stephanie - I got your postcard.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Stamps Logistics



Dear David,

I’m imagining your writing this postcard to me crouched behind a desk when you should be working. The lights are flickering, and you’re worried the warden is going to pop by for a tortuous second round of questioning. A distant thunder in the background shakes the building as you scratch out “I haven’t got much time.” I’m loving the drama!

On your practical inquiry about looking for stamps: I get where you’re coming from – sort of. On one hand, the place selling postcards also sells stamps. On the other, the place selling postcards for cheap can sell stamps at a high markup. Generally, this isn’t a problem, but I did have a recent experience at a souvenir shop in London the cheeky shop keep wanted a king’s ransom for stamps. I took my postcards and yes… had to find stamps elsewhere. A bona fide inconvenience, but I wasn’t in a hurry.

So, on ordering foreign stamps in advance, you can check out foreign-stamps.com, but I’m not endorsing as I’ve never used them. Quora also has a Q&A, so you’re not alone.

Personally, I like to get to a country, see how I feel two days in, make a list of people that I want to write postcards to, and then get postcards and stamps together. Selecting postcards is a whole separate blog post, so I’ll leave it there for now.

My personal nagging practicalities are not with stamps, but pre-printing address labels. Onetime, my list of postcard recipients had 30 names on it… and rather than sourcing stamps being a chore, simply addressing all the postcards was a pain in my ass and in my wrist. I’ve always thought about pre-printing address labels, but then it would be very assembly line and a bit impersonal somehow. Or less genuine. Yes, shades of gray. (and not to worry, pre-printed return labels are super kosher).  

So, these days, I limit my list to about 10  names per trip and mail out with minimal complaints from my wrist. And I’m not shelling out 30 bucks for stamps anymore.

Anyway David, hope you’re off traveling - well and often. I got your postcard!
                                                                                              
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Causes This?


On July 22, 2013 I get a message on Whatsapp from Juliana that went something to the effect of, "I hope you get these." The image attachment above caused an instant migraine. Basically she took a photo of two postcards that she was sending from France to me in Beijing. A few weeks later, this came in the mail...


The other one, sadly has yet to arrive.

Now, it's no exaggeration that I have to mentally prepare myself to read postcards from Juliana - I appreciate them of course, but they are intense. Just look for yourself. And this one kinda typifies the frantic energy that leaps from the card and into my brain. After this particular onslaught of excitement scribed by this mad, mad woman, I had to sit down and steady myself because the echo of that migraine returned... then I blacked out.

I think I either had a seizure or my left eye twitching uncontrollably so as I collapsed to the ground in agony. The girl is crazy. Crazy mad... Not the feet. There, I've said it and it makes me wonder, what causes it? Thanks Jules, you know I love it. I got your postcard.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Enjoy All You Can


I drunk dialed Yung-yi last night. She didn't answer, so I left a voicemail. All this after a fabulous evening hosting a table for Chifan for Charity at the Taiwanese restaurant here in Beijing called Bellagio. Yes - I know. Moving on. The after party for the city wide event was at the Japanese restaurant, Hatsune for all the hosts and participating guests, volunteers and sponsors. There we enjoyed one too many tumblers of Town Branch bourbon by Kentucky Ale, myself very much included.

So this voicemail... I don't remember much of it, but to be on the receiving end would be a bit weird I'm sure for the average listener, but for Yung-Yi, I can guess she's used to it. For starters leaving voicemails is rare because in China nobody does it and there isnt' a voicemail system with mobile plans. Everyone just tries again or sends a text message. So the habit has pretty much atrophied. When the beep beeped or tone toned, I kinda just sputtered out a bunch of sickly sweet endearing notions on how much I missed her and hanging out and talking to her, you know all the gushy stuff that comes out while blissfully inebriated. But I was also miffed that she didn't pick up.

I think I was on the verge of challenging her two year old in a battle over her affections, well at least attention, but I dialed that back knowing full well that wasn't going to happen and if it did he would kick my ass. It was a good night. And seriously, it was some smooth, strong bourbon! Thanks Yung-Yi, I got your postcard!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Really? Already? Seriously?


I heard on the Marketplace podcast that according to American Retail Federation estimates, Americans will spend 6.9 or nearly $7 billion dollars on Halloween this year - $2.6 billion on costumes for adults, children and pets. The rest is candy. The numbers are staggering. And to that, I say... Whhhhaaaaaaaa? (insert the proper emoticon here)

When there are so many other issues to consider like school safety, clean water, education, healthcare, acidification of our oceans, toxic algae blooms, illegal whaling, hunger and homelessness and stuff closer to home like roads, obesity and voter rights, I'm wondering if there's something else other than candy and plastic swords, harsh synthetic fibers for sexy gypsies and fake blood that we should focus on. But seriously, I'm not the party pooper... I'm all about having fun, candy and a little dress up every once in a while, but why does it have to be so extreme and for one night only.

I think the idea of dressing up in a furry costume or a sexy cheerleader or impotent zombie congressman (redundant?) from Capitol Hill is good 'ol American fun - and even becoming culturally adopted around the world. But why regulate all the fun to one day a year? Why not do dress up every day - Japanese style?!?!?! If we could do beach clean up as Sailor Moon, education advocacy as Captain Jack Sparrow, water resource protection as Megatron, and volunterr service as the embodiment of the Government Shutdown (double zing!), then I'd be totally with the program all the time.

The Chinese are doing it right in terms of consuming the seasons. 10 years ago, you couldn't find the right pumpkins to carve in Beijing. Now, there are proper Jack-O-Lanters with tea candles and fake spider webs; costumes, masks and all sorts of mascots are available for for rent and purchase with Halloween being the peak for the costume season. (I don't consider the traditional dress of the Chinese as costumes, as that's just leftover wardrobe from bad made for TV dramas.) When Christmas comes around, there will be just as many Christmas trees for domestic purchase as there are mass produced for export.

Anyway, about the posty from Wendy above, it seems like you can have a lot of fun without a party or parade on Halloween... I personally can't stand the crowds and the young people these days with their crazy costumes, crazy hair, rock music and iTelephones... they think they have a license to go crazy on this particular night.

By now, I'm sure wendy is finished media whoring and might be staying or at least taking her little one out to get candy... I think he's still too young. But anyway, if you're a part of that $7 billion dollar spend, then have fun! Happy Halloween ya'll. Wendy thanks, I got your post card!

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