Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween, Part II

More Halloween postcards from 1909/1910. All of the above are from 1910, with the exception of the kids carrying the jack o' lantern, which is from 1909.

I notice three things; maybe you'll notice more.

1) The use of the apostrophe in Hallowe'en in two of the cards. Most people know Halloween is derived from All Hallow's Eve, thus the contraction. What I don't know (maybe somebody does?) is when the apostrophe got dropped from common usage.

2) The use of "Auld Lang Syne". The song wasn't common as a New Year's Eve song in the US until Guy Lombardo popularized it in 1929. It must mean something like "For old time's sake this Halloween".

3) The hint of risque. Both the pumpkin headed man chasing the woman and the witch swinging on the moon have a hint of risque about them, certainly for the times. My friend whose collection these are from tells me that many of the cards she has from this time feel a little frisky. In looking up "Postcards 1910" I discovered that Wikipedia has a category "postcards by year". I didn't discover any risque ones. (Might have to post a few cards from my collection, as their offering is thin.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jimmy's Kitchen Hong Kong

Jimmy's Kitchen & Landau's still exist in Hong Kong, but I have no recollection of ever being in either. At first I thought I had perhaps just picked the postcard up at an advertising rack somewhere. However, my note to myself tells me otherwise - one of the restaurants was in the same building as Saatchi & Saatchi Hong Kong, where I was meeting. A quick address check of all three would suggest that this is no longer the case.

I must have gone to Hong Kong on business five or six times, but the best was when I stayed over the weekend to be with my friends Paula and Menis who were living there at the time.

One night, while out to dinner in Wan Chai, we had a long discussion of what sounded like a mythical creature: Hong Kong Elvis. Sure enough, after we left the restaurants, we literally bumped right into him. Much hilarity ensued. Check out this video of him. I can't believe he's still wandering the streets!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Postal Crossings

In my immersion in the world of postcards, I stumbled upon a very interesting website: Postal Crossings. In their own words, “send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!”. For every postcard mailing I sign up to send, a "random person" is then assigned to send a postcard to me.

Notice the number that isn't a zip code next to the "USA" in the postcard above. Each mailing is assigned a number. It is written on all postcards sent, and when I receive a card (this is my first), I enter the card and number into Postal Crossing as "received". There are all sorts of cool metrics and maps, showing where I've sent/received postcards to/from, images of postcards that are flying around the globe, and the number of days it took any given postcard to arrive from one place to another.

The above card was sent to me from Anna in Taiwan of a painting by a Japanese artist, Chinatsu Ban. Underwear and elephants are prevalent in much of her work, and a New York Times review of her work states, "Much of today's art suffers from terminal cuteness, so it is not surprising that Chinatsu Ban, a talented newcomer from Japan, just barely escapes with her life."

Fun to learn about something I knew nothing of, and even better to have it occur in a random way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Colleges & Universities

I was gone for six days, and during that time received five postcards from colleges and universities: University of Montana, University of North Carolina, Lehigh University, New York University and University of San Francisco.

Three of the five show the campus bell tower, a prominent fixture on many college campuses. In fact, there is a website showing many of the most prominent. Check it out here.

Colleges & Universities - Lehigh University

My friend Carla, with the qmuse blog, went to see her son's lacrosse game at Lehigh University. I relate to what she said - "oh, to go back to college". It would be nice to go back to college, but it would be even better to go back knowing what we know now, but somehow being age 18. That requires about 15 exclamation points. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Colleges & Universities - New York University

If I were applying to college as a high school senior right now, NYU might be one of my choices. How incredibly exciting to live in New York City, in a college embedded in its streets. My friend, Griffin, moved from Carmel, California, a place of fog and beaches, surfers and artists, and small coastal community charm, to New York City, with its oft-described noise and energy and dirt and action. Wow.

Colleges & Universities - University of Montana

It's not just younger people who are going off to college: my friend, Claire, is applying to graduate school in social work (hospice care) at the University of Montana. In the meantime, she and Steve are enjoying attending the always sold out Grizzly football games, especially since I gave her the fox hat I bought in Russia.

Colleges & Universities - University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Our neighbor, Maria, transferred from SF State to University of North Carolina this Fall. What a brave and exciting move! She appears to be taking advantage of every moment and every aspect of UNC.

Colleges & Universities - University of San Francisco

My niece is a freshman at USF - University of San Francisco. I'm pretty sure she likes it a lot so far. How could somebody from LA not love living in San Francisco for the first time?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So Many Postcards, So Little Time

I've got a bunch of postcards to post that arrived during my trip to LA. In the meantime, I'm posting this silly card. There's something about the whole thing - the copy, the picture, the pose of the guy with the vacuum cleaner - that cracks me up. Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Halloween, Part I

It's amazing how many closet postcard collectors there are out there.

These postcards, from 1910 (left) and 1909 (right) are from my friend Deborah's collection. Her collection seems to be a real precursor of Hallmark cards, as many of them are holiday specific.

It's astounding to see that the Halloween symbols of 100 years ago, are pretty much the same as the symbols of today.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Colorful Parrots

While we were six not four this weekend, we were a bunch of colorful parrots, chattering away, each with a colorful and vibrant past and present. Six women, all from the same graduate school, gathering together for a weekend of laughing, drinking margaritas, catching up, walking, gossiping, reminiscing.

Two came from the east coast, one an expert in speech recognition software, one a top ranked triathlete in her age group in New York City. One came from New Mexico, where she lives with the two children she adopted when she was working in Moscow. Another came from the SF Bay Area, where she is a top corporate lawyer. One lives in the LA area, on hiatus from the last company she started and sold.

We'll do it again in two years, next time on the east coast.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Eurostar Train Station

There's nothing quite like a train station. The expanse, the high ceilings, the cavernous sound, the birds flying around, the people bustling through, the realization that multiple huge locomotives fit inside....

This is the recently renovated St. Pancras Station, now the station for the Eurostar arrival in London. This is the inside, but check out a picture of the outside. As the postcard says, it looks like the train station where Harry Potter boarded the Hogwart's Express. It may well have been the location used in the movie.

The Eurostar used to arrive in London at Waterloo station. One of the cutest pictures of my kids is the two of them, ages six and eight, disembarking from the Eurostar in Waterloo station, having just arrived from Brussels, pulling their little wheely suitcases behind them. International globe trotters at an early age!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Cousin, the Artist

I am so proud of my cousin, Shelby. Her art was selected for the promotional postcard for an art festival featuring multiple artists. But she didn't send me this postcard, her sister-in-law did.

My cousin lived with us for a while when she was a teenager. She played the guitar, ironed her hair, and got in trouble for having a big teenage party at my parent's house when my parents were out of town. I had always wanted an older sister, and she was that for me then.

She took me to my first concert when I was probably 12 years old - The Midnighters, The Turtles, and the headliners, Herman's Hermits. The concert was held in the Rose Bowl and while the place wasn't full by any means at all, I will never ever forget how it felt to be in the crazy energy of a crowd for the first time - confused, excited, energized - WOW. My cousin rushed the stage, and claimed to have touched Peter Noonan's foot. She was never going to wash her hand again.

She works in a variety of media, but says that water color is her favorite. She started selling work in a very small way on ebay, but seems to be graduating to larger venues. You can find more of her work here:

and here:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Colorado Aspens

It's fall! Except that it is expected to be 90 degrees in Pasadena today, which doesn't really feel like fall. So, in honor of fall somewhere, here's a postcard of golden aspens in Colorado, sent by my brother and sister-in-law from Pagosa Springs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Card Received on Tuesday - Church in Arkansas

Just one postcard yesterday, from the Mystery Sender, of a random church in Rogers, Arkansas. The Mystery Sender seems partial to postcards from Arkansas.

Announcement: I have to put my "whatever postcards I received yesterday" selection method on hiatus, because I forgot I was going to LA, and won't be home to see what postcards come in. I'm in LA now, and need to remember to send myself a postcard from here, or at least post one if I can find a scanner. There isn't one at my mom's house. I will continue my post a day, just not of postcards I received yesterday.

Random fact: got my first speeding ticket ever today during drive down from SF, in at least 100 if not 150 drives to/from SF/LA in the last 30 years. Not that I haven't been issued a speeding ticket before. Just never on this drive. Bummer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Postcards Received on Monday

This is one of the most beautiful postcards I (now) have in my collection. I can see why the Mystery Sender almost didn't want to give it up. I thought I'd been to these sand dunes, but I confused them with the ones in Southern Colorado. These are near Alomagordo, New Mexico and are called "White Sands National Monument". In fact, if I think about it, I've visited at least three major dunes sites: Oregon Dunes, some big unnamed dunes near Indian Wells in Palm Springs (pretty trashed now but they used to be spectacular), and the Great Sand Dunes in Southern Colorado. The visitors in the picture look like they might be wearing Girl Scout uniforms from their time (1937). In any case, imagine how out in the middle of nowhere it was then.

In earlier postings, we had cards that were dye cut in the shape of their states (Idaho, Montana); here we've got our first postcard dye cut in the shape of a city! It's amazing how the Sears Tower dominates the skyline so much the perspective is skewed and the outlines of the other buildings are what make them even noticeable. I also particularly like my friend Rachel's comments both the random ones on each of the fingers and her directional "We live 20 minutes to the left". I think she might have forgotten that I did visit once, long ago.

We used to have two cats, but one died at Christmas. Midnight (guess what color she was?) was a good cat and we miss her. However, I have to say that the one remaining cat might be a littler happier as the queen bee, not having to share her food.

This postcard is also sent by the Mystery Sender, who claims to be a dog person rather than a cat fancier. I am partial to both.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rick Geary

Here's a cartoonist who also has a series of postcards, Rick Geary.

I didn't know he existed until my friend, Steve, collected these at Comic-con this year and sent them, along with a bunch more postcards, to me.

My favorite is the "Vote Darwin". How can you not love the "Oh Evolve" comment from the chimpanzee?

Rick must be from Carrizozo, a town situated south of Albuquerque, kind of between Albuquerque and Roswell. Try saying that name - it has a wonderful feel as it rolls through your mouth.

And in honor of last week's 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, a postcard celebrating the earthquake of 1906.

Note: Since the mail isn't delivered on Sundays, I can't post any postcards received that day. Until tomorrow.....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Postcard Received on Saturday

Only one postcard received yesterday, from my friend Susan. It must have been purchased at the Linley House in Kensington, which is open to the public as a period museum. The postcard is an illustration by Edward Linley Sambourne, who lived in the house and who was chief cartoonist for Punch from 1901 until his death in 1910.

It's interesting to note that this illustration is from 1908; the suffrage movement began in the United Kingdom in 1865. By the early 1900s, the movement felt it needed to take more extreme action. I believe that is what "agitation" on each ski is referring to. Remember the mother in "Mary Poppins"? I love the chorus in the song she leads, "Sister Suffragette".

Cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters' daughters will adore us
And they'll sign in grateful chorus
"Well done, Sister Suffragette!"

Voting rights for women in the UK weren't completely established until 1928.

P.S. Women were granted the right to vote in the US in 1920.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Postcard Received on Friday

Day Two of posting whatever postcard(s) I received in the mail the previous day.

Friday (yesterday) I received one postcard, from Machu Picchu in Peru. It's a second posting of Machu Picchu, the earlier post being one sent to my parents from here in 1978.

It is an incredible place, although it is one of the places in the world that is being loved to death - too many people trampling over the location, all attempting to be respectful but their sheer numbers are doing damage. Per the card, it sounds like they may be shutting part of it down for a while, to give it a chance to rest. Not a bad idea.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another Way to Select A Postcard/Mystery Sender, Grand Tetons, Cusco

Well, I've run out of Caribbean Island postcards. So how to choose, how to choose?

I've decided that the next 10 days or so, I will post whatever postcards I received the day before, whether I receive one or six. Here's your chance! If you've wanted a postcard to be posted, send me one soon.

Yesterday, I received these postcards.

1. While I haven't mentioned the Mystery Sender since his/her homage(I, II, III, IV & V) a few weeks back, I am still receiving Mystery Sender postcards on an almost daily basis. This one, from the Greenbrier Military School, arrived yesterday. One of the fun things about the Mystery Sender's cards is they are always researched. In this case, we learn what was once the Greenbrier Military School (a spooky looking place from my perspective) is currently the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Hey, it's also my first post card from West Virginia! That means there are now only seven states from which I've never received or collected a postcard. See this post for the complete list, in case anybody feels like filling in my collection.

2. My goddaughter, Jenna, is traveling around the US, taking a break from college. I remember camping once in the Grand Tetons in September. It was really really cold!

3. My friend, Ellen, is traveling in Peru and Ecuador. This postcard arrived from Cusco, yesterday as well.