Friday, August 7, 2020

Shaka Was Forever Ago

  

I don't remember what life was like pre-COVID? Was there even life before COVID? After a semi-satisfying impeachment in December 2019, there were quite a few things that happened before it was all handwashing, mask-wearing, zooming, and social distancing. Earlier this year in January: 
  • 4th annual Women’s March demonstrations were held in Washington, DC and around the nation
  • Kobe Bryant and 8 others including his daughter perished in a helicopter crash
  • Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win top honors from the Screen Actors Guild
  • Billy Eilish swept all-the-categories-that-matter at the Grammy’s with her album, Bad Guy
In February, 
  • Taika Waititi won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Parasite took home Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards
  • Trump was acquitted by a bunch of old white folks in the Senate
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses - seriously, that happened
  • Jennifer Lopez and Shakira co-headlined the ... whatever that wasn't important...
  • I had major surgery to correct for sleep apnea
By March, the shit really hit the fan. Slow on the uptake, Trump recognized the global pandemic as a national health emergency. I know you were there, but the rest is a blur of stay-at-home, hand washing, WFH, no-masks, toilet paper raids, furloughs, masks and face coverings, layoffs, mask-shaming, and social distancing. And those kick-ass-off-the-hook beach parties in Florida. 

In addition to all the craziness and suffering, so much more has happened including the killing of black and brown Americans, the weaponization of the police, Karens, protests, demonstrations, riots, looting, shooting, and dumb-ass photo-ops. It's been heavy, to say the least. 

But back in February, I got this postcard from Jeff H. It is easily one of the best in my collection. It's about surfing! 🤙 The postcard is actually a coated aluminum tile with a paper backing and rounded edges. The image is framed by an embossed border and a hole punched in each corner - perfect for a surf shop or fish taco stand. Even better on my postcard pinboard - which is a little sparse BTW - thanks again, COVID!

So, Jeff and his husband, Marty, were in Hawaii celebrating their anniversary and road-tripping around the Big Island. What a lovely way to spend the day! Those of us not in Hawaii were generally getting on with our lives – perhaps pondering how a President Buttigieg would decorate the Oval Office, maybe rewatching Star Trek: TNG on Netflix again, or simply waiting for CBS's Picard and Discovery to also get on with it. 

It's truly amazing how things escalated so quickly. In just a few months, the world, our country, and our lives have been changed by the coronavirus – some welcome changes: bye-bye handshakes, business attire, and crowded bars; and some unwelcome changes: Broadway shows, group hugs, dinner parties, and crowded bars. Well, Jeff & Marty – can't wait to catch up about the trip - doesn't that seem like forever ago? And as I’m not able to do Picard just yet, thank you! I got your postcard.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pandemic Post from Beijing

  

As I see it, Enwei was the first person that sent me a postcard during the global pandemic. I'm sure there was one in February or so, but he sent this one when were know that shit had hit the fan. He sent this postcard on June 4, 2020, from Beijing. 
Enwei lives in Shanghai but was already traveling domestically. I recall seeing pics of his 10 person Easter Brunch because China did it right - you know because China "wore it better." 

When Enwei was in Beijing, traveling, enjoying mimosas on the lanai, and China was putting out small flare-ups, America was still debating the science of masking up and pitting mask-wearing with individual freedom and the American way. 

On June 4, we in America had the following shameful numbers:
  • Positive tests: 1,843,315
  • Negative tests: 16,371,635
  • Pending tests: 3,556
  • Patient deaths: 101,192 
As of today, we have 4,394,906 cases and over 142,848 deaths.

According to Google/Wikipedia, Wuhan only had 50,340 confirmed cases, with only 3,869 deaths - assuming China's data is reliable. But America, you fucked up. You fucked up when you decided that you were the exception to the rule, you fucked up when you decided that reopening was more important than the societal safety, and you fucked up when you politicized health policy! And just because... you also fucked up when you elected a lying Cheeto for President.

As Enwei can attest, I am no fan of China, but this American mismanagement is shameful. And that's what also makes this postcard is amazing - because it's from Enwei sent to me during a pandemic. Thank you, Enwei. Really happy to see you happy and healthy. Wish us luck! I got your postcard. 

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My sources - check'em

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Practically a Hydrologist, huh?

 

2020 has been a crazy year, to say the least. My last post was from Craig L. in February of this year - before the coronavirus pandemic exploded in America. The noticeable gap in blog posts represents roughly five months of not blogging of which are composed of the following:

Six weeks of my coming down with mild but very recognizable symptoms of contracting Covid-19; the heartbreak over the ongoing shootings of black and brown Americans; the anxiety over social unrest, looting, disappoint with police, disgust with national leadership; furlough from part-time work; heading back to my part-time job with full-time hours; another two weeks of new coronavirus symptoms; underpinned by a full-time job to put my environmental sciences & policy degree to use; 

The last five months also represent the dearth of postcards headed my way due to the steep drop off in travel, shelter in place, blah blah blah. 2020 has been a shit year for many things, and that includes postcards. That's not to say that I haven't received any postcards. It only took Craig K. 18 weeks to send his first postcard from Djibouti, and for that I'm grateful - didn't think I'd get any, tbh. But he delivered.

And Craig K. was right, I did just go down a rabbit hole of saltiest lakes because I'm practically a hydrologist (and geologist). According to his posty, Lake Assal (or Lac 'Assal) is the "third saltiest body of water on Earth." But Wikipedia also has a list of the saltiest bodies of water by salinity, but it's in fifth place - ahead of the more popular saline destinations like the Dead Sea (#7) and the Great Salt Lake (#9). Whatever the rank (because it's Wikipedia and a list after all), it's pretty cool, and the geological formations of these hypersaline lakes fascinating. The chemistry of saline water is fun too. The Don Juan Pond in Antarctica (#6) is so salty that it remains in a liquid state even when temperatures dip to −50 °C (−58 °F).

Maybe a trip to Lake Assal is in order - when travel returns to normal, and we can fly again. If you know when that is, send it to me on a postcard. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this lovely jumpstart blogging again. I hope y'all are on the up and up too. Wear your masks, and wash your hands! Oh, And thanks, Craig K. I got your postcard!

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

She's Somethin' Kinda Fierce!


This postcard is from my friend, Craig, from his annual professional pilgrimage to Benin. I still haven't figured out what he does. But his Instagram exploded when he posted about the voodoo parade and the march of the sex organs through town. Work-related? Who knows...

As for this postcard of "a liberated American woman of the 70s" - it is indeed fabulous! The fact that Craig sent it from the embassy... less so. There's so much going on in this card, so let me draw your attention to the gender-bending heroine, her purple pumps, and straw hat. And the use of the picnic table pattern with so many other competing patterns is brave and bold. The use of negative space makes it an instant classic. I love this one, Craig! I got your postcard.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Yo-se-mite at 40!


This stampless postcard from my roommate in Los Angeles, Erin. It would take me 18 years to get out to Yosemite from Washington, DC to celebrate my 40th birthday, but it was worth it. I was able to corral some of my oldest friends: Dove from high school; Ray from college; Bob from Los Angeles, Jon, whom I met in China but was living in New York at the time; and I rented a house from Scenic Wonders at Yosemite West - about 30 minutes from Yosemite Valley.

Notable missing were Hong Konger Lilian in London; Singaporean Juliana in Hong Kong; Taiwanese Enwei in Shanghai; and so many others. We'll need to work on that, but maybe before I turn 50!

All in all, it was a great trip with, and I'm pretty sure we did that hike that killed. The hike up the multiple switchbacks to Angel Falls is like 3 or so hours as the crow flies blah blah blah. But given the altitude and all the blasted switchbacks, we averaged just over an hour a mile up and down. It took all day, and we missed our dinner reservation at The Ahwahnee Hotel (formerly The Majestic Yosemite Hotel) because the dining room closes at 8:30 in the evening. That's ok, we had a lovely birthday dinner at the bar/lounge across the way with fake mustaches to tickle our noses while we ate. Oh, yes there are pictures. Thanks, Erin. I got your postcard! 

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Good Bummed Out




This is the cheekiest postcard I've ever received! Unfortunately, I don't know who sent it other than Deb. I have an idea and I'm pretty certain that it was from my time working in Hawaii. My friend, Katie Chin, was staring in her own cooking show for PBS. There were two "Debras" on set. One was a producer. When I asked her if this was her handwriting, she said, "No, too nice. LOL." The other Deb was the hair and makeup artist on set. But I can't remember her name or know how to get in touch with her. Granted, this was 19 years ago, so... yeah... um... I'm pretty bummed out. I guess I just need to get back to Hawaii! Until then. Thanks! I got your postcard.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Janky, but It's On Me


Yung-yi is one of the most prolific postcard senders I know, and by that, she's also one of the most well-traveled persons I know. I think her husband is more obsessive with a country count with three figures. This one tells of their travels, and they always seem so fulfilling and relaxing - which is something she deserves given how much she works... Turkish baths, Finnish saunas, fancy shows, and teated tile beds, indeed!

So, this postcard's story is one of a perilous international journey that ends in a happy ending, albeit a bit smeared and distorted. To start at the beginning, this postcard arrived in my hands three years after it was sent to me. YY had sent it from Mallorca to my parent's address as I was probably in the middle of moving from one charming Beijing hovel to another. It wasn't until June 2019 did I happen upon this postcard when I was visiting my parent's house in Georgia, and by that time I was already living in Washington, DC. I generally send postcards to my parents when I travel, and my mom brought out postcards that I had sent her over the decades, and I was going through them and found Mallorca! But I've never been to Mallorca!

I then turned it over and saw that it was addressed to me. If you've read my posts before, you'll know that I've mentioned that my mom probably doesn't read my postcards, and now I have proof. She simply took the postcard addressed to me and not, "Mom & Dad." When I found it, it was perfectly intact, and then I messed up. During a road trip from Georgia back to DC, I had slipped this postcard into a tote bag for "safekeeping," but some liquid from a tube of wet wipes leaked all over the postcard.

I take full responsibility for the damage, and I celebrate in the joy that YY was able to share her travels to Mallorca with me in a postcard. And the fact that the postcard made it to me eventually. So, it's taken some time with a bit more wear-and-tear (and character) than normal. So, thanks, YY! I got your postcard.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Tales of the New York City


Twenty-three years ago, I met a New York University Residential Life graduate assistant, and for all intents and purposes, Franklin was the first person I ever met from San Francisco. I think I was a sophomore at the time, and I was honored to hang out with him and his friends in the City. Hanging out with them as a sophomore meant that I was at the big boy's table - literally.

Summers in New York City are especially hot, and the summer of 1998 was no exception. One of our weekly rituals was grilled chicken caesar salads at UNO Pizzeria & Grill. Maybe sometimes we would get a Chicago deep-dish pizza... but during the summer, it was all about that gigantic caesar salad with extra lemons, please. Nothing could be more refreshing as we dined alfresco under the mid-day broil.

Franklin was one of the main reasons I became an RA at NYU. He was cool and chill and relaxed and from San Francisco! My memories of him and hanging out are nothing but warm and fuzzy - tinted with all the beautiful colors from an Armistead Maupin novel. Unfortunately, we've lost touch, how much fun would it be to have a reunion over grilled chicken caesar salads - extra lemons, please. Until then... thanks, Franklin! I got your postcard.

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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Buff Aussies Boys Don't Hurt


It's been a few years, so this might not be entirely accurate... but I met Prie while he was on a world tour - a hiatus from that professional hampster wheel in New York City. We're actually friends of friends as I hosted him when he was in Beijing for his worldwide adventure. Prie is one of those guys that's always smiling, living, and loving life. He was the consummate guest, always took his shoes off, and was sightseeing and taking pictures... leaving rainbows in his wake. He even left me an illustrated thank you card of him and the world - as he does, just carelessly leaving rainbows all over the place for people to trip over them. Jerk. If you ask me, it's too much.

All joking aside, Prie has one of those smiles that radiates. Try as I may, I couldn't wish him a hair out of place. He's lovely. As for this postcard, it's nearly perfect, but it needs a date! La Boheme and fireworks, though - fabulous. Thank you, Prie. I got your postcard!

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Update [Mon, 2/3/2020]: It was Enwei that introduced us! Always the connector! Well done and thank you too.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Cheese Cubes in a Cone!



I love getting postcards with a die-cut, but they're a pain the ass to process. Gripe aside, this postcard from my dear friend, Brett in 2015. Hey, did you know this postcard was missent to Taipei? Those silly Italians!

Brett and I became friends in Beijing and hung out the year he was in China - something like 2011-2012.... must have been because I got my second dog, Norma-Jeane, the fall of 2012 I think. So, he wouldn't have met her - only Charlie. That said, Brett was a rather controversial friend as he's one of the most opinionated persons ever, which I found charming actually. That and his perfect hair and perfect smile, and perfect teeth. And if you know me, I have a thing for perfect teeth.

Brett also gives pretty good postcard. But where's the date, yo? I do however appreciate the account of all the sights, sounds, and tastes of his trip to Italy. Cheese cubes in a cone - Yasssss! And risotto, and gelato - appropriate because he's rail-thin and eats like he's running out of time (see what I did there?) - but that could also be the gift of youth. So Brett, it only took five years and a scenic route via Taiwan by way of China for me (in Washington, DC) to let you know... I got your postcard!

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