Friday, October 2, 2009

Congratulations, Rio

Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and will become the first South American city to ever host an Olympic Games. Chicago, on the other hand, was elimated in the first round of voting, in what as been called "one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the International Olympic Committee". Almost sounds like a promo for a reality show. Anyway, congratulations to Rio and to the people of Brazil. (Postcard courtesy of leonardolavra.)
I had a feeling that if Chicago didn't get the games that Rio would. But darn it! I was really hoping for Chicago. Oh well, people from Chicago, especially Cubs fans like me, are used to sports-related disappointments. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Decision Time

In about 24 hours, the International Olympic Committee will award the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to one of four candidate cities. The cities are: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Thank you to Trisk for the postcard)


Madrid, Spain (Thank you to aqualarre)


Tokyo, Japan (Thank you to Little-Flower)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Illinois - Chicago Sunset
I live about 40 miles from Chicago, so naturally I am hoping that the IOC picks Chicago. You can check out all of the info about Chicago's 2016 bid here. The announcement of the winning city will happen at around 11:30 AM Chicago time tomorrow in Copenhagen, Denmark. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Amazing Race 15

It's the end of September, and that means that the fall television season has started. And with a new television season comes a new Amazing Race. And a 2-hour episode to boot. YAY!!!! This race started out in Los Angeles, and for the first time, there was a team eliminated at the starting line. Yikes! I felt bad for that team, but at least they were not one of the three teams that I picked for the pool I'm in. Yup, I joined an Amazing Race pool. There is no money involved, so it is perfectly legal. :) It was a bit difficult to pick teams just based on their pictures and bios on the website, but I picked Sam & Dan, Brian & Ericka and Herbert & Nathaniel. I won't spoil who was eliminated, but it came down to the wire for one of my teams. Eeeeeek! Anyway, as I mentioned, the race started out in Los Angeles, California. I got this great shot of LA, with Dodger Stadium in the foreground, from swan as an official Postcrossing card.


After the first challenge in LA that eliminated a team, the rest of the teams flew to Tokyo, Japan. I do have a wonderful shot of Tokyo that shows the Tokyo Tower (the team's first stop), but I have specific plans for it for a post later this week (most likely Thursday). So I will take inspiration from the first task in Tokyo. Japan is known for its outrageous game shows, and on the race, the contestants got to play Sushi Roulette. I would not have been good at this challenge, which involved eating a Wasabi Bomb (basically just a whole lot of wasabi) in under 2 minutes. I don't like spicy food, so that would have been a very hard challenge for me. I don't like sushi, either. Not to eat, anyway, but on a postcard I like it just fine. :) Thank you to shijia0619 for sending me this sushi card.
Japan JP-67645 received 05-22-2009
As a bonus, here is a card that I have had for over a year, but have not posted yet. It shows carved wooden dolls that are supposed to be towing a treasure boat. It was sent to my second account (the cards are sent to my office instead of my apartment) from nozomaro.
Japan JP-40653 received 09-29-2008
Because tonight's episode was 2 hours, there were actually two legs to the race. The second leg of the race took the racers from Tokyo, Japan to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Uh oh! I don't have any cards from Vietnam! And not only were they in Vietnam for this leg, it also appears they will be staying there for the next leg. And I don't have any postcards from the country after they leave Vietnam either! (Yes, I looked ahead). Fortunately, once they leave that next country, I have the rest of countries covered. But what to do, what to do. I guess I'll just have to see the tasks they perform and the locations they visit and see if I have something similar from another country.
In this case, their first task was to spread mud around a fruit tree (they got the racers messy early in the race this time). Fruit tree - that I can handle. Here is a card from chagb3 in Taiwan (I seem to be getting LOTS of cards from Taiwan lately) showing a banana tree. I almost had trouble figuring out which way was up on this card because of the funny way that bananas grown, but they I saw the man reading the newspaper in the background. Unless he is defying gravity (crap, now I have a song from Wicked going through my head), I have the picture the right way. :D

Taiwan TW-78459 received 08-26-2009

Ok, so that's all for tonight. I'm looking forward to another fun season on The Amazing Race, and to seeing the 3 teams that I picked as the final 3 teams! *crossing fingers* ;) Oops, I guess I just gave away that none of my teams were eliminated tonight. But that's not much of a spoiler, right? :D

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Great Start to the Season!

I'm taking a break from the alphabet posts tonight (and yes, I realize it's been a while since I posted one) to talk about something else. I'll try to get back to the next letter sometime this week...whichever letter it is. It's been so long that I don't even remember where I was! :) But anyway.... This weekend was the official start to the 2009 NFL football season. I'm sure there are some of you that are tuning out now, because you don't give a hoot about football. That's ok, because I don't give a hoot about most other sports (except baseball). :D I'm sure some of you know who my favorite team is, and some of you don't. But don't worry, I have a postcard that will tell you (big surprise there, right?). The funny thing is that I just got an official Postcrossing card of my team's stadium on Thursday. How very fortuitous and timely, huh? What makes it even more interesting is that no where in my Postcrossing profile does it say who my favorite team is - just that I like stadium postcards. So AngeC did a great job in picking a card for me. And here it is:
USA US-491830 received 09-10-2009
The Green Bay Packers (YAY!) played the primetime game on NBC this evening against the Chicago Bears (BOOOOOOOO!). I am extremely happy to report that, after some tense moments towards the end of the game when the Bears (BOOOOOOOO!) were actually winning, the Packers (YAY!) managed to pull out a 21-15 win in Lambeau Field. I'm sure my neighbors now know who I was rooting for, based on all the hooting and hollering coming from my apartment!. :D And since I live about 40 miles from Chicago, I just love rubbing a Packers (YAY!) win in the faces of all the Bears (BOOOOOOOO!) fans. Yeah, so I'm a sore winner. But you can be sure that they do the exact same thing if the Bears (BOOOOOOOO! - is that getting annoying??) happen to get lucky and win. ;) My boss (who is a big Bears fan) always tells me that he wishes he had asked me which football team I rooted for before he gave me a job. I just smile and go add another Packers item to my office! Ha ha! I even have a picture of Brett Favre up on the wall - but believe me, I have considered hanging it upside down or something. I just cannot believe that in less than two seasons, that man went from being a huge hero in Green Bay to a villain (and a huge idiot!).
Anyway, Aaron Rodgers seems to be doing a pretty good job as the Packers quarterback, so hopefully the rest of the games this season will go the same way that tonight's game did. Is that asking too much?? :D
And before I go, here is another look at Lambeau Field, including the statues of Vince Lombardi and "Curly" Lambeau. This is a card that my mother gave to me. Thanks, Mom! :)
Wisconsin - Lambeau Field, Green Bay
Go Packers!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: J

I actually started writing this blog entry on Wednesday of last week, but failed to finish it until now. Instead, I've been spending my evenings chatting with people in my non-postcard hobby, and therefore have been too distracted to write a blog. I go into the chat room when there is no one in there, thinking I'll get some time to myself, but inevitably, someone else will come in and start talking to me. So obviously it's not my fault. :D Anyway, as I was looking for a card to post for "J", I realized that I had two cards from the same country that showed cities with "J" names. As an added bonus, it is a country that has never before been seen in this blog! Neither of them are "official" Postcrossing cards - the country only has 148 Postcrossing members, so it would be a fairly rare occurrence to get an official card from there (by comparison, the USA has over 20,000 members). So, are you curious yet? Huh?? J is for Jaffa and Jerusalem. I'm guessing you have probably heard of Jerusalem, which is, of course, in Israel. And I bet that if you haven't heard of Jaffa, you at least surmised from the previous paragraph that it is also in Israel. Jaffa is a port city on the Mediterranean Sea, and it believe to be one of the oldest cities in the world. This postcard of a minaret in Jaffa was one of three that I picked out for the 12 Viewcards in an Envelope Round Robin. Leeba, who is, not surprisingly, from Israel, was the person who sent out the envelope with the 12 cards in it. Then the 4 other people in the group each picked 3 cards and replaced them with 3 cards from our own areas.

Israel - Minaret in Jaffa

The caption on the back of the card says "A Minaret in Jaffa". Wow, that's informative. :)
The card from Jerusalem is one of seven that I received as part of a trade from Terra in Germany. She sent me cards from a number of different countries. The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine that houses the Foundation Stone, which is the holiest spot in Judaism. If you are wondering if that causes some issues, the answer is yes. But then again, the control of much of that area of the world is under dispute.




The caption on the back of this card isn't any more informative than the other, but at least this one says "Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock" in four languages. :)
Ok, so that's it. I figure if I start on my "K" entry now, I should have it finished by the end of August.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: I

Ummmm, hi! Remember me? :D I almost forgot (again) that I have this blog. I was having way too much fun with my other hobby during July that I almost completely forgot about my postcards. But I finally sent out the 12 that I had addresses for, so I am getting back on track. So I figured that is was time to get back to the blog too. I did find something the other day that got me really excited about the postcards. To help me stay more organized, I got a great new case that holds 2000 cards (well, it was made for scrapbookers to hold photos, but it works great for postcards too). It snaps shut and has a handle so that I can easily carry all my postcards around. And in case you are wondering, those are all the cards I have to SEND, not the cards that I have received. I'd probably need a few more cases for those. :D Now, back to the blog. I'll ease back into things with just one postcard this time. And when I tell you what it is, if you say "Huh?", I guarantee you that you won't be the only one. :) I is for Inukshuk. Be honest - how many of you said "Huh?" If you actually know what it is, good for you....and I would guess you either live in or near Vancouver, or have visited there. This is an Inukshuk:


It is the basis for the logo of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. As per the info on the back of the card, the Inukshuk was a navigational aid on the barren northern landscape, and the name translates as "the stone man that leads the way."
Krissy from Vancouver sent this card to me because I love anything that relates to the Olympics. I usually find myself watching every night, no matter what events are on. The Vancouver games start February 12, 2010, which is just over 6 months away. Woo hoo! :)
I'm fairly certain that it won't be another month before I post a blog entry. But then again, you never know. ;) Until next time, take care!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: H

Blog?? What blo....oh wait, I have one of those! :D I guess with all the stuff that has been going on lately, including a New Kids on the Block concert AND a Barenaked Ladies concert, I kinda forgot to post something. I better do something about that!
You already know that I like postcards of museums, so I thought I'd change topics. Another of my favorite postcard subjects is castles. Most of the castle postcards I get come from Europe, mostly because there are a great many castles in Europe. But I have also received postcards of castles in Japan, Namibia (sent from South Africa, but still very cool) and ever from here in the USA. A castle...in the USA? Yes, absolutely. In fact, there used to be a show on A&E called America's Castles, so there is definitely more than one. But for now, I will focus on one of those castles, which I do remember seeing on the show.
H is for Hearst Castle.
Hearst Castle is located near San Simeon, California, about 215 miles from San Francisco and 225 miles from Los Angeles. It was built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst on a 250,000 acre ranch he inherited from his mother in 1919. The main house, called Casa Grande has 115 rooms, including 38 bedrooms and 41 bathrooms. The grounds also contained 127 acres of gardens, a private airstrip and the world's largest private zoo. It sounds impressive...and it is. Take a look.

USA US-247444 received 09-08-2008

Now, I know I said I was off the topic of museums with this post, but that isn't technically true. Hearst Castle is a museum now, as well as a state historic park, and tours are available 362 days of the year. But since this picture is of the exterior, and it is most definite a castle, I am not counting it as a museum.
I was about to publish this post when I realized that I never gave credit to tookiethepug for sending this to me as my 140th official Postcrossing card. Considering I received my 300th official card yesterday (WOOT!), it has been a while since I received this one.
I hope everyone in the US has a great holiday tomorrow. Hmmmm...tomorrow is Independence Day and the next letter I have to post is I. I may have to do something with that...I guess we'll see tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: G

As I mentioned in my E post, I don't like to visit art museums. But that doesn't mean I dislike receiving postcards of art museums. And as I hinted in my F post, I was going to show you another museum for G. Guess what kind of museum it is? :) And since I realized that the majority of my alphabet posts have dealt with cards from Finland, this art museum is in a different country. So, on with the show. G is for Guggenheim. There are actually 5 Guggenheim museums in the world: New York City, New York, USA; Venice, Italy; Bilbao, Spain; Berlin, Germany; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I bet that you can't guess which one this is! ;)


Obviously, this is the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, which sits alongside the River Nervión. The very unusual design is by Frank Gehry, who also designed the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park in Chicago and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. The exterior is made of glass, titanium and limestone, and apparently is supposed to resemble a ship. Yeah, ok. This is a modern art museum, and the majority of the permanent collection consists of installations and electronic forms rather than paintings and sculptures.
I received this card from ArwenUndomiel (ooh, a Lord of the Rings name!). It was the 65th card I received....and now I am approaching number 300. Wow! Granted, it has been a year and a half since I received this card (yes, I am rather behind), but that just seems like a lot. :)
See ya next time!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: F

As I mentioned in my last post, I enjoy visiting museums. But museums, for the most part, do not contain living things (there is an exception at the museum where I volunteer). That is why I also enjoy visiting zoos and aquariums. Animals are fascinating to watch, and zoos and aquariums offer you the opportunity to see animals from places that you probably will not have the opportunity to visit. So where the "F" am I going with this? I'll tell you right now. F is for Fish I'm not sure if this card from SEA LIFE Helsinki is supposed to be funny or not, but I think it is.

Finland FI-411771 received 11-22-2008

Ok, be honest - how many of you thought "I found Nemo!" when you saw this picture? :D I just love that little clownfish staring down that other fish. Does anyone know what kind of fish the silver one is? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I have a feeling that this picture was Photoshopped, but that doesn't keep it from being funny.
The card was sent to me as an official Postcrossing card by chillaa, who including a shiny fish sticker on the back of the card. According to chillaa, SEA LIFE Helsinki (I capitalize SEA LIFE because that is how it is written on their website) is part of Linnanmäki Amusement Park. I believe I have already posted this card of the park in a past blog, but I will post it again in case you missed it (SHAME on you!). :D I got it as part of a trade with Lihis.

Finland - Linnanmäki Amusement Park, Helsinki

So, that's it for F. I think I'll go with another museum for G. See if you can figure out what I mean. ;) P.S. Take a second an vote on the poll on the right. Thanks! P.P.S. I'm LOVING being able to include links in my posts - can you tell? :) P.P.P.S. I figured out how to edit the HTML of my blog template to make the posting area wider so that it doesn't cut off part of the postcards. WOOT!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: E

I like museums. I don't think that is going to come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. I volunteer in a museum, for crying out loud. Now, I'm not talking art museums - art museums are among the dullest places I can think of. I'd rather watch paint dry or grass grow than go to an art museum. (Maybe that's because I don't have a creative bone in my body. Hmmm....) No, I'd rather visit history museums and science museums and industry museums. And a museum that has science AND industry is even better. Like this one. ;) So I'm sure you are wondering why I am talking about museums when the letter tonight is E. Museum certainly doesn't start with E. Well, here you go. E is for Engine. In this case, a steam engine museum in Finland.
Finland FI-276972 received 04-08-2008
That is one big engine! In case you didn't notice her, there is a woman at the bottom of the picture for perspective. The Steam Engine Museum is part of the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, which also has a Textile Industry Museum. The textile museum makes sense, as Werstas is located in the former dye shop of the Finlayson Cotton Mill. If I ever make it to Tampere, Finland, I will be sure to visit these museums.
I received that card over a year ago (sorry it took so long for me to post it) as an official Postcrossing card from BBanana. It is part of my ever-growing collection of museum postcards from around the world. I will probably post more of them as I get farther into the alphabet. :D
P.S. Thanks to Kaaren, I now know how to include links in my posts that show just words and not the www and .com parts. I was just too dense to understand how to do it at first. But I get it now. ;)
P.P.S. Did anyone notice I added new music?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: D

When I was a child, my parents believed in taking me on educational vacations. Consequently, I have been to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone and most of the places that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, but I have never been to the "Happiest Place on Earth". I really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to go, and someday when I can afford it, I will. But until then, I can only look at pictures, which is why this place is on my Postcrossing wishlist. If you are truly clueless as to what I am talking about, let me enlighten you. D is for Disneyland. Yes, it could also be for Disney World, but Disneyland in Anaheim, California is the original Disney park, so that is the one that I am going with tonight. So there. :P Here is a great aerial shot of the park, with an adorable hot air balloon, which is also a subject on my Postcrossing wishlist. Just hot air balloons, not specifically adorable ones.


+
This card came from geocarrick, who lives in Anaheim and has worked at Disneyland since 1979. I have to imagine it would be a fun place to work. Of course, I have never been there, so how would I know? :)
I just happened to glance at the caption on that card, which is under the address on the right instead of on the left side where the caption normally is (maybe that's why I didn't notice it before). The balloon is called Earforce One. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ok, that's funny to me. Which could just be because I'm tired. :D
Anyway, instead of just a balloon Mickey, how about a picture of the man, I mean mouse, himself? Yup, I can do that.


That one is from tlockwood, who says he goes to Disneyland at least once a month with his wife. Lucky! I have caption issue with this one too - the caption says that is Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background. Why did I think it was Cinderella's castle?
Just because I have never been to a Disney park does not mean that I have not met Mickey Mouse. When I was a junior in high school, the marching band went on a cruise to the Bahamas. The ship we were on was the Atlantic (I think), and it was part of Premier Cruise Lines (aka The Big Red Boat), which at that time was the official cruise line of Walt Disney World. One night at dinner, the Disney characters came around to the tables. So here I am (on the right) with part of my hair in braids. That's a requirement when you go to the Bahamas as a teenager, right? :D
I almost thought I had forgotten the name of the girl on the left (hey, high school was a while ago), but after thinking about it for a while, I came up with the name Wendy. I went through one of my yearbooks and found out that I was right. Whew, the memory still works on occasion. :D
So, E is next. Are you curious as to what I am going to post? Yeah, me too. :D Tune in at a later date to find out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: C

My apologies for not posting for the past two days. Friday night I was really tired, so I went to take a nap for maybe a half hour, but I ended up sleeping for over 4 hours! I didn't wake up until after 11:00 PM, and had some cleaning and laundry to do before I actually went to bed for real. Then yesterday (and quite a bit of today) my parents were down from Wisconsin for a visit. We went to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian yesterday. I liked it, but not as much as the first one. But anyway, this is the first chance that I have really had to write anything. But without further ado.... C is for church. I know, I know, that sounds kind of boring. But this is a very unusual looking church. This is the Temppeliaukio (Temple Square) Church in Helsinki, Finland. It was actually built into the rock! The top picture shows the copper dome and the windows in the roof that let in natural light. Bottom left is the altar and bottom right is the organ. Finland FI-339454 received 08-25-2008 Not surprisingly, the church is one of the top tourist attractions in Helsinki. I'm definitely not a church-goer, but this is one church that I would be sure to visit if I had the chance. I just realized that I forgot to give credit to Lihis for sending this card to me. It is one of many official postcrossing cards that I have received from Finland, but it is certainly unique. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: B

I have never been to Great Britain, but I would definitely like to go someday. Maybe when I win the lottery or something. :D In the mean time, I'll have to settle for looking at postcards of Great Britain (or do they prefer United Kingdom?). Anyway, here is a card showing one of the most famous landmarks in London. B is for Big Ben. Do I get bonus points for the double B? ;)
Isn't that an awesome picture? I received this card from Amanda from Seattle. Those of you who don't know Amanda may wonder why someone from Seattle sent a postcard from London. Amanda is a flight attendant, and she was in London on business. :)

UK - Big Ben's Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster, London, England

I'm sure there are those of you who are saying "That's not Big Ben!" Of course it's not! It's just Big Ben's tower. And now I'm sure I have confused other people. Big Ben is NOT the tower, nor is it the clock. Big Ben is actually the bell inside the tower. There are several theories about how the bell got its nickname, but no one is sure which one is correct. I guess that is why they are called theories!
A few interesting facts about the tower, which is part of the Palace of Westminster: it is the world's largest four-faced chiming clock, and the third tallest free-standing clock tower in the world. London celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009 - the clock first ticked on May 31, 1859.
Hopefully one day I'll see it for myself. Now I'm off to decide which "C" card to post. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Postcards from A to Z: A

I just realized today that Flickr will show me an alphabetical list of all of the tags I have used on my photos/postcards. Pretty cool! I thought I would use this to start an blog series. I will post a card each day or so that shows something that starts with the next letter of the alphabet. I'll try to avoid using country and state names as the subject for the chosen letter, but I may have to for some of the letters. I do actually have something I can use for X, but I am going to try to get something better. I have a while before I get to X. :D So tonight, A is for anemone. In this case, a blue anemone flower. I think this is a nice card for spring. A big thank you to Marnie in Finland for this card. She sent it to me as a "Random Act of Smileness", a Postcrossing program where people send surprise postcards without expecting a card in return.



I know there are a number of postcards that I haven't tagged yet, so I'd better go get busy. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

How odd!

I have been taking a different route home from work lately because the freeway that I normally take is under construction right around the exit ramp I usually use. The new route has a lot of stoplights, which can get tedious, but the red lights do give me time to look around. So I was sitting at a red light one day last week, reading the signs on the buildings around me, when one struck me as odd. I managed to get a picture of it a few days later.

A barber/beauty salon AND a car wash? I sure hope they have separate people for each part of the business! Or maybe they wash your car and your hair at the same time. :D But you know, if those prices include a haircut and a car wash.......naaaaaah! Has anyone else seen any odd business combinations like that?

Of course I could never end a blog entry without showing you a postcard. I looked through my postcards to find the strangest one I could find. I didn't have to go very far back to find one. I received it as an official Postcrossing card at the end of March. It is from tomsaaristo, who lives in Chicago, a whopping 33 miles away. :) Now, I have to warn you, this picture is very, very Gorey. ;)

USA US-376311 received 03-30-2009

I warned you, right? :D Perhaps I should have been more specific - it is a drawing by Edward Gorey, who was born in Chicago. I am not that familiar with his work, but I do know that pretty much all of it is rather weird. If anyone knows the name of this particular drawing, please tell me. I tried looking a bit on the internet, but I couldn't find any sites that just showed his drawings.

Monday, May 25, 2009

32 Years Ago, In a Galaxy Not So Far Away...

...Star Was premiered. I didn't even have to look at any "This Day in History" reports to know that - May 25, 1977 is one of those dates that I just know. Probably because I'm a huge geek. The funny thing is that, despite the fact that Star Wars premiered 3 days before my first birthday, I didn't see any of the movies until I was about 20. And I really didn't think I would like them. HA! Well, I am glad I was wrong, in any case. Two of my favorite characters from Star Wars are shown here on this Japanese Fan Club card.
Star Wars - Japanese Fan Club
Isn't that just awesome?? No offense to anyone else who has sent me a card, because I really do love them all (they're just like children), but this card from raincoat is one of the best cards I have ever received.
And for those of you who are deficient in Star Wars knowledge, the gold droid is C-3PO and the short, cute trash can-looking droid is R2-D2. I just love how expressive he was, even though his only sounds were beeps, squawks and whines. There were times I swear I could hear actual words in those sounds. I carved a stamp of R2 a few years ago:
It's definitely the most detailed stamp I ever carved, but I think it came out pretty good. May the force be with you! (Yeah, ok, not the most original ending. Whatever.) :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

%$&@#$^$% Cat!

I wasn't planning on posting tonight, but I can't go to bed right now, so I thought I might as well do something. The reason I can't go to bed is that one of my cats (see my profile picture) got sick all over my bed earlier, so I had to wash my sheets, blanket and comforter. And of course, the comforter WILL NOT GET DRY. Grrrr! Neither cat seems willing to take responsibility, either. Maybe I should do this to them:
USA US-375873 received 03-30-2009
Think that would make them stop getting sick all over everything? Yeah, me neither. The postcard came from Jessiebks in Illinois - a whole 40 miles away! :) I think it is strange how many cards I get from within 100 miles - until I remember that there are more people in the Chicago metro area than there are in the country of Finland (where a large number of my Postcards postcards come from). The picture on the postcard is from Stuff on My Cat (http://stuffonmycat.com/), a website that I find absolutely hilarious. There is Stuff on My Mutt for you dog lovers; I just don't think it is as funny because dogs are so much more...ummm....tolerant. Yeah, that's it. :)
Don't misunderstand me - I like dogs...as long as they belong to other people. There is just no way that I would want to take a dog for a walk when it is 10 degrees outside.....or 100 degrees, for that matter. Puppies are really cute though. See?
Japan JP-44445 received 11-05-2008
yuuna-harukaze in Japan sent that adorable puppy. Doesn't it just make you want to saw "Awwwww"? I still don't want one though. Maybe I would want a dog more if I found them useful. Like maybe it could carry my luggage for me....
Poland PL-23104 received 04-09-2009
Yeah, like that! :D I have karmelkaaa in Poland to thank for this really funny card.
I know there are some people that have both cats AND dogs. I always wonder if my cats would get along with a dog. Probably not as well as this cat:
Finland FI-277334 received 04-08-2008
Sirpa59 from Finland (hey, a card from Finland) sent that card to me. I seem to get a lot of cat and dog cards through Postcrossing. Probably because people have pets in every country, even though we don't all speak the same language. Oh geez, I'm on the verge of getting deep here. *shaking head* Quick, post another card, Kristin!
France FR-31829 received 08-26-2008
It's a cat in a hat! No, not the one by Dr. Seuss - it's a different anthropomorphized (my $10 word of the day) cat. Thank you to Isascully in - you guessed it - France for this one.
I just noticed that the dryer has shut off, so perhaps my stuff is dry and I can make my bed and go to sleep. *crossing fingers* I'll leave you with these parting words on a card from esko in Finland (yup, Finland again):
Finland FI-319532 received 07-06-2008
Yeah, I have no idea what it means either. But the cats are cute, right? I apologize for my rambling tonight. I'm going to bed now. Good night!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Finale

"11 legs, 9 countries and 40,000 miles," and another season of The Amazing Race comes to a conclusion. I am always sad when it comes to an end, but it is always great to finally see who won. I wasn't necessarily 100% happy with the results, but it is what it is. Congrats to all three teams who made it to the final leg. That final leg started with the racers leaving China and heading back to the good ol' USA. To Maui, Hawaii no less. Am I the only one who wonders about how long it takes for the racers to get through customs? They never show it and they never talk about it. I wonder if the producers make special arrangements for the racers and camera/sound crews so that they don't have to wait in line. It would really try my patience if I was trying to get to the location mentioned in the clue and I had to wait in a customs line for a hour. The consolation would be that the other teams would have to do it to. But enough about boring things like customs; let's get to beautiful Hawaii. And it is beautiful. I had the privilege of visiting Oahu, Hawaii and Maui when I was 15. Unfortunately, that was before I started buying postcards to supplement the pictures I took myself. So this is the only postcard that I have from Maui. It was a freebie from the hotel where we stayed. I remember we were there for the 4th of July (Independence Day in the USA, for those who live in other countries), and we sat on the beach to watch the fireworks.
Hawai'i - Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, Lahaina
I do have two more cards from Hawaii, and when I say Hawaii, I mean The Big Island. It is a bit confusing having an island with the same name as the state. Could someone do something about that, please? ;) I received both of these as part of a trade with sandpainter, who is lucky enough to actually live in Hawaii. The first is Lilioukalani Gardens in Hilo. It is named after Queen Lili'oukalani, the last monarch of the kingdom of Hawai'i.

Hawaii - Lilioukalani Gardens, Hilo

Here is Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. No, the black sand was not caused by an oil spill, but rather by the tides breaking up volcanic rock. Volcanoes? In Hawaii?? Have you ever heard of such a thing?? I sure hope you have! :D

Hawaii - Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

Finally, I would like to say a HUGE congratulations to Phil Keoghan. On Friday, he finished a bicycle ride across the United States, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Multiple Scleroris research. Way to go, Phil!!! For those of you who were not following Phil's adventures, SHAME on you! But you can still see all of his video blogs here: http://philridesacrossamerica.com/daily_blog.html
Phil was quite amusing, especially when he was tired - which he pretty much always was. Hey, he was riding a bicycle....across America! That sounds really, really tiring to me.
See you next season! Now back to our regularly scheduled (HA!) blogs. :D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

YEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!

So, I just got home after seeing the new Star Trek movie. I will admit I have been extremely skeptical and wary of this movie. I had no idea how such beloved characters could be woven into a completely new story that still remained true to what millions of people know so well. The thing that struck me as totally wrong before I even saw the movie was that the villain was a Romulan. Star Trek fans may remember that until the original series (TOS) episode Balance of Terror, no human (or Vulcan for that matter) knew what a Romulan looked like. The events in this movie take place before the events of TOS. The writers seemed to be blatantly ignoring Star Trek canon, and I was not happy about it. I got to the movie theater about 15 minutes before the movie was supposed to start, expecting to have a difficult time finding a seat. Instead, only about 1/4 of the seats were filled. What? Were all the die-hard Star Trek fans staying away because they were having the same thoughts about it that I was? By the time the film actually began, the theater was still only about 1/3 full. "That's just as well," I thought, "if the movie sucks, at least I will be comfortable." During the first half hour or so, I just kept shaking my head as more and more discrepancies popped up. And then...... *cue dramatic music* Then came the revelation, the explanation for everything that was happening. I allowed myself a small smile. By the final scene, with the Enterprise warping away to the swells of Alexander Courage's iconic theme, that small smile had turned into a huge grin. The movie was.... awesome. I could not be more pleased to be wrong about it. I laughed, I...well, I didn't cry, but I did tear up a bit. It has action, humor, even a little bit of unexpected romance. There are numerous references that will give true Trek fans big laughs, including McCoy's famous "I'm a doctor, not a...." routine and mention of Admiral Archer (see, even something for Enterprise fans). The references not overdone, nor are they included just for the sake of including them. Every one of them belongs right where it is. As for the characters themselves, none of the actors really look or sound like the people who originated the parts. I think the most glaring example of this is Karl Urban, who plays Dr. McCoy. He looks nothing like DeForest Kelley. And yet there is something familiar about all of them. On second thought, I take back part of what I said in the first sentence - the kid who plays Chekov (no idea what his name is), sounds EXACTLY like Chekov. I could have closed my eyes while he was talking and I would have seen Walter Koenig in my mind. To writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, I say "Well done, gentlemen." And to director J.J. Abrams, I apologize for doubting your genius. I have loved every show of yours that I have seen and I should have known that you would not disappoint this time either. Thank you for boldly going. Live long, and prosper!
USS Enterprise NCC-1701

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jamaican Time to Post

It was recently pointed out to me that I don't post to my blog enough. Well duh! :) I have a gabillion postcards (that might be a slight exaggeration) waiting to be posted. The problem is taking time to actually do it. So I'll have to see what I can do about that. I know I have tried before, and it hasn't really worked too well. But the current TV season is ending soon, so I will be spending my evenings sitting on my couch staring at the walls (another slight exaggeration). We'll see what happens then. :D Oh, and I didn't just pick this card at random or because I could make a punny title out of it. Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica on May 4, 1494. This card was sent to my office by one of my coworkers who was in Jamaica for a conference. Companies that hold conferences in tropical locations are either stupid or brilliant. I haven't decided which. It's possible that I'm just jealous because I don't get to go. Whatever. ;)

Jamaica - Montego Bay

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episodes 10 and 11

Tonight was the penultimate episode of The Amazing Race 14 (ooh, big word). As you may have noticed, I didn't post last week. Well, that is because last week's episode (the antepenultimate episode - hey, an even bigger word) ended with the three words most dreaded by TV viewers: TO BE CONTINUED. Whaaaaaaaat? So I figured since this week's episode was just a continuation of the previous leg, I could lump them both together. Yeah, that's what I am going with. :) As it turns out, I should have saved my two Beijing Olympics cards for this post because the racers spent both episodes in Beijing, and even ended tonight's leg outside the Bird's Nest. But oh well, not much I can do about that now. :D I'll start out with a postcard of Changqingchunkeer Temple. Now THAT is a really big word. Unfortunately, I don't know what it means. But pictures are supposed to be worth 1,000 words, so I'll just let the picture speak for itself. ;)




That card was sent to me by Postcrossing member renyi as part of a postcard trade. I also received this next card as part of a private trade, this time from viviangel. It is a lovely lake scene. I was trying to figure out what kind of boats are pictured. I was not successful in that quest, but I am fairly certain that they are not junks (which was my first guess).



I received the next card just a few weeks ago as an official Postcrossing card (ID number CN-65680). It shows the Local Earthen Tower in Yongding, Fujian, China. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Icihi sent the card to me, and was kind enough to write some words in Chinese. I now know the Chinese word for museum. :)



This beautiful view of the Changbai Mountains is a recent addition to my collection as well. It is also an official Postcrossing card (CN-62018), and it came from rainfield.



Talk about recent - I just received this next card yesterday! I'm not sure it actually shows a scene IN China, but the card was issued by the State Postal Bureau of China, so that counts, right? :) Postcrossing member adfdsf sent this to me as yet another official Postcrossing card (CN-71008). There seems to be a surge in Chinese and Taiwanese Postcrossers lately. But anyway, here are some cute penguins.



Finally, I think I would be remiss if I posted about China and I didn't include a panda. Fortunately, I have a postcard of a panda. :) It also came from renyi as part of the same trade as the Changqingchunkeer Temple. Isn't it cute? The panda, not the temple. ;)



So, that's it for tonight. Don't miss the finale of The Amazing Race next Sunday! Go Marjorie and Luke!!! :D

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episode 9

Tonight's episode was very interesting. It featured the "most dramatic pit stop ever", according to Phil's intro. I have to say, it was the biggest fight between two teams that I can remember on TAR. Yikes! So anyway, the teams travelled to Guilin, in the southern part of China. I'm fairly certain that I do not have any postcards from there. But I do have some from other parts of China, so I'll go with those. The most well-known event to take place in China last year was the Olympics. Here is the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, which was the venue for various events, including trampoline, handball and my favorite, gymnastics. This card came from Flickr member bridge.h.
China - National Indoor Stadium, Beijing
And here is one of the adorable mascots from the 2008 Olympics. This is Huan Huan, who represents the Olympic Flame. I received this card from jeffspace as my 180th official Postcrossing card.
China CN-39294 received 12-16-2008
It's hard to tell from the picture, but the card has a reflective star pattern all over it. That kind of thing never shows up well on a scan.
Come back next week (and the week after) from more Chinese postcards. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's a beautiful day for a ball game. NOT!

Today was the home opener for my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. As much as I love the Cubs, I was very glad I was not at the game today. The temperature at game time was right around 40º Fahrenheit. And oh yeah, the game was delayed for over an hour because of the rain. Welcome to spring in Chicago. It wouldn't be a Cubs opening day if it wasn't really cold. But at least the Cubs game wasn't delayed a day by SNOW, like the White Sox home opener last week. I guess Mother Nature is more of a Cubs fan. ;) The Chicago Cubs play their home games at Wrigley Field, which is located north of downtown Chicago in a neighborhood called Wrigleyville. I wonder how they came up with such a clever name! :D And guess what? "What?" I have a postcard of Wrigley Field. You're shocked and amazed, right? I don't even have to give you a history of the ballpark, because it is written right on the front of the card! (If you can't read it, click on the picture and you will be taken to the Flickr page where I retyped the info.) Caryle sent the postcard to me. According to Postcrossing, she lives 37 km away from me, which, for those of us who don't use the metric system, is about 23 miles. Yup, an official Postcrossing postcard from somewhere I could drive to in about 40 minutes (depending on the traffic). :)
USA US-256369 received 11-26-2008
Despite the crappy weather, the Cubs shut out the Colorado Rockies 4-0. CUBS WIN! I know there are those who scoff and say the Cubs are losers simply because they haven't won a championship in 100 years. Well, I have just one thing to say. I believe. And I am not the only one. Eddie Vedder wrote an awesome song that every Cubs fan can relate to. You can hear it here: http://tinyurl.com/cyt4z5. So there. :P
And kudos to you who were looking me to post something today because of my hint on March 4. Yeah right, like anyone else remembers that. :D But hey, I remembered! :D

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Amazing Race - Episodes 7 & 8

So, did any of you notice that I didn't post a blog after the last Amazing Race episode 2 weeks ago? I made that decision for several reasons. The first is the that I forgot about it until really late that night, and by then I didn't feel like doing it. The second is that the teams were going to be in Thailand for 2 episodes, and I only have 3 cards from Thailand. So instead of splitting them between 2 posts, I will just post all of them now. :) In the last episode, the teams traveled to Phuket, Thailand. This beautiful view of Phrom Thep Cape in Phuket province came from my postcard pal Noi. We exchanged several postcards before I accidently deleted her address. Unfortunately, she does not seem to be active on the Postcrossing forum anymore.
Thailand - Phrom Thep Cape, Phuket
In tonight's episode, Bangkok was the destination for the 5 remaining teams. This card shows Wat Srakes, or the Golden Mount, in Bangkok. Wannie sent this card to my work Postcrossing account (which I no longer use because Postcrossing increased the number of cards that I can sent from my own account).
Thailand TH-5906 received 03-11-2008
The third card I have from Thailand has nothing to do with The Amazing Race destinations, but I will show it to you anyway. :) It also came from Noi, and it shows Sanprasob Lake in Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi province.
Thailand - Sanprasob Lake, Sangklaburi, Kanchanaburi
I mentioned in my last post that I was very worried about Margie, one of the members of my favorite team, because the previews had shown her collapsing. As it turns out, it was heat exhaustion, and she was fine after cooling off and drinking some water. Whew! As for tonight's episode, the penalties just keep on coming. D'oh! And looking ahead, there are 3 more legs before the end, but they all take place in the same country. Fortunately, I have received a number of postcards from that country, so I will be able to write more than one post. :) See you next time for "The Amazing Race". hee hee hee

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episode 6

It is 10:56 pm, and I just finished watching tonight's episode of The Amazing Race. CBS programming was running late because of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (BLAH!), so the Race didn't come on until about 7:50. I talk to my mom on the phone every other Sunday at 8:00, and tonight was her Sunday, so I had to turn the TV off. Then at 9:00, Craig Ferguson's first stand-up special, A Wee Bit O' Revolution, was on Comedy Central, so I HAD to watch that. :D Once that was over, I had a chance to watch the Race on my trusty TiVO. This week, the racers left cold, snowy Siberia (yes, they actually did leave this time) and headed for Jaipur, India. It seemed to be a bit warmer there. Quite a bit warmer. And quite a bit more crowded. And quite a bit poorer. The level of poverty in some areas had a number of the racers in tears. But I think they still managed to have some fun, especially those that chose the Shakers option in the Roadblock. ;) So, this is my chance to post the one and only postcard that I have received from India. Unfortunately, it is not from the Rajasthan state, where Jaipur is located, but that can't be helped. :) It is from the northernmost and least populated state state, Jammu and Kashmir. The card shows an unnamed monastery in the Ladakh region. It was sent to me by Munna, who says that it is now a great tourist attraction. I can only say "Wow!"
India IN-3379 received 03-23-2008
That's it for this week. The previews for next week's episode show a very scary moment for a member of my favorite team. OH NO! I hope everything is alright. I'll be biting my nails (figuratively, of course) until I see what happens.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episode 5

When we left off at the end of episode 4, the racers were in cold, snowy Siberia. This week, the racers traveled to...drumroll please...cold, snowy Siberia. They went from Krasnoyarsk to Novosibirsk. Google Maps and Yahoo Maps were unable to give me an exact distance between those two cities, but it looks to be between 300 and 400 miles. If Phil mentioned the distance, I missed it because I was in the kitchen making cookies. :) However, I didn't miss the racers running through the streets of Novosibirsk in their underwear! :D (Not a spoiler because it was shown in the previews last week.) Unfortunately, I used the one postcard I had of Siberia in last week's post, but I do have some more cards from Russia. I'll start with one from Moscow. This is Old Arbat Street, and the postcard was sent to me by acereta for the US and Around the World Round Robin. She tells me that this is an area of historic and cultural importance. It is also a very touristy street, with a lot of souvenir shops.
Russia - Old Arbat Street, Moscow
Next is the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg. It is one of the world's largest museums, and holds the Guinness world record for the largest collection of paintings. Wow, that sounds like someplace I don't want to go (I'm not a big fan of art museums). This building, one of the six that comprise the Hermitage, sits on the River Neva.
Russia - The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Finally, here is part of Tsarskoye Selo, or Tsar's Village. It is the former residence of Russia's imperial family, located in the town of Pushkin, south of St. Petersberg. Peter the Great gave the estate to his wife, Catherine I, in 1708. This is a view of Catherine Park, and the building is the Cameron Gallery. Charles Cameron was a Scottish architect who was summoned to Russia by Catherine to rebuild the summer residence at Tsarskoye Selo.
Russia - Cameron Gallery, Catherine Park, Tsarskoye Selo
Tune in next week, when the racers will be headed to a different country. Yay! I was a little worried that there wouldn't be a new episode next week because of that stupid basketball tournament, but according to the schedule on CBS.com, a new episode will air. There is no Survivor, CSI or Ghost Whisperer on this week though. :( Oh well, I'll live. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Ballad of Casey Jones

Amercian train engineer John Luther "Casey" Jones was born on March 14, 1863. A song was written about the heroic act that lead to his death, making Casey Jones a folk legend. The lyrics to the song can be found here: http://www.trainweb.org/caseyjones/song.html. I tried to copy and paste them, but the format got all jumbled up. The Casey Jones Village shown here is in Jackson, Tennessee, where Jones lived most of his life and is now buried. The info on the back of the card says absolutely NOTHING about Casey Jones (click on picture - info on Flickr page). *shaking head* It's disappointing to me that someone would use the name of a hero just to make money. But I'm know this is not the only place that happens. Nevertheless, I have to thank dclark77 for the postcard - it obviously isn't her fault. :)
USA US-205687 received 07-06-2008

Friday, March 13, 2009

Extra, Extra! Read all about it!

This post will make much more sense if you read my previous post, "I'm a winner!" first. :) After watching Ghost Whisperer and Dollhouse this evening, I decided to open up my new Scene It game and try to play it against myself just to see how it works. Yes, I won and no, I didn't cheat. But that is beside the point. :D After a few turns, I had to answer an IDIC question from one of the trivia cards. The IDIC questions deal with the world of pop culture surrounding Star Trek. So I picked up this card and looked only at the bottom question.
My Scene It Question
I had absolutely no clue what the answer was, but when I turned the card over to see what the answer was, something caught my eye.
My Scene It Question - Answer
HEY! That's ME! They did use one of my questions!!! :D I looked at the backs of all the other cards and only seven other people were given credit for questions. I don't know what to say. Help me out here, Spock.
Star Trek - Spock 3
Well, you're no help, Spock! ;) For those of you who are less familiar with Star Trek than, say, me, the episode "Amok Time" is the first episode of the second season, and originally aired September 15, 1967. This picture comes from that episode:
Star Trek - Spock 2
I sure am posting a lot of Spock tonight! Anyway, in the scene on the postcard, Spock is addressing T'Pau with the Vulcan salue. She replies "Live long and prosper, Spock." His response is "I shall do neither, for I have killed my captain...and my friend." He is referring to Captain Kirk. If you are unfamiliar with the episode, you are probably thinking that there is no way that Spock killed Kirk. That's true, but Spock didn't know that at the time. You can read a summary of the episode here: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Amok_Time. Or even watch the entire episode at CBS.com: http://tinyurl.com/amoktime. Maybe I'll watch it now. Amok Time is actually my favorite episode of the series. I have seen it so many times that I didn't even have to look up the quotes above - I just knew them! :) Yes, I know my life is sad. ;)

I'm a winner!

Before you start rolling your eyes, this is not a post about self-affirmation. Nor am I referring to those SPAM emails that claim I won or inherited millions of dollars from someone in another country. In this case, Mattel, Inc. is the one calling me a winner. Last year, I was made aware of a contest where the makers of the Scene It? game were looking for questions for the Star Trek version of the game (thanks to Amyrica for that link). I submitted several questions. After the contest ended in August. I received an e-mail stating that I had won one of the 15 first prizes. WOO HOO! I sent in the appropriate paperwork so they could check my eligibility, and then I prepared to wait because I was told the prizes wouldn't be sent out until April. When I came home this evening, there was a box sitting outside my apartment door. I knew I hadn't ordered anything recently, so I thought "Could it be...?" I opened the box, and this is what I saw.
Jedi wants to know what is in the box
Jedi was obviously trying to see what was in the box also. :) When I removed the brown paper, this was on top of the items in the box.
I'm a winner!
See, Mattel confirms that I am a winner! :D Now for what was in the box.
Anakin in a box
Wait a minute! That's Anakin, who feels it is his duty to inhabit empty boxes. :) By the way, he looks mean in that picture, but the flash on the camera always makes him look like that. Anyway, here is my real prize.
My winnings
A Star Trek Scene It? game and a radio-controlled Enterprise. I'm not sure about actually using that flying Enterprise. First of all, it would probably scare the cats to death, and second, I would most likely crash it into the wall the first time I used it. But I do plan on using the game. I am most curious to see if one of my questions made it. :D
So I guess Friday the 13th wasn't so unlucky for me after all. I mean, I didn't win the grand prize which included the DVDs of all 10 Star Trek movies and all 5 TV shows, but I am still pretty happy about it, see?
Me smiling about my new game
Egads, I swear I don't really have a double chin. Must be a result of holding the camera out to take my own picture. :)
I wonder if Anakin and Jedi will play the game with me. Based on their unenthusiastic reactions, I think not. :D
Anakin inspecting the my Star Trek Scene It? game
Jedi inspecting my new Star Trek Scene It? game.
Oh well, I'm still happy. Hmmm, I wonder how Spock feels about it?
Star Trek - Spock
Ok, thank you Spock. (Well, I HAD to include a postcard, didn't I?) :D