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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Puerto Rico, you lovely island...

Yes, I really am posting the Puerto Rico cards (are you reading this, Kaaren?). :D I decided to do a little research about Puerto Rico, since I don't know much about it even thouh I have been there. Here are a few of the facts that I found interesting. Puerto Rico was one of the islands ceded to the United States by Spain in 1898 as part of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War. It ratified its own constitution in 1952, thus becoming a Commonwealth, but it is still subject to US jurisdiction and sovereignty. Everyone born in Puerto Rico after 1941 is considered a natural-born citizen of the United States, so it is technically possible for a person from Puerto Rico to become President of the United States. In 2003, the US Census Bureau estimated that more people of Puerto Rican birth or ancestry live in the continental United States than on the island itself. New York City was the destination for a great number of the people who migrated from Puerto Rico between 1930 and 1960, as seen in the musical West Side Story. Kudos to you if you knew that the title of this post is a lyric from the song "America" in West Side Story. :) San Juan, the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico, can be seen on this card.
Puerto Rico - San Juan
I have been on two different cruises that have taken me to Puerto Rico (notice the cruise ships in the pictures). I purchased this card on the second trip. :)
This next card was sent to me by chiri as part of the US to US tag. It shows Río Camuy Caves Park, which is the third largest cave system in the world (wow!). I like caves a lot, as long as they are the touristy caves with electric lights and enough room to stand up all the way through. No spelunking for me, thanks! :D
Puerto Rico - Río Camuy Caves Park
Finally, back to San Juan. This is Fort San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro. I had the opportunity to go there when I was in San Juan the second time, but it was a long walk from the cruise ship and I was tired from traveling, so I turned back before I got there. I kinda regret that now. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to go there sometime in the future.
Puerto Rico - El Morro Fort, Old San Juan
This was also a card that I purchased while in San Juan. It is currently the second most viewed card in my Flickr photostream with 5,053 views as of this writing. The card with the most views shows the "There's no place like home" scene from the Wizard of Oz (8882 views). :)
Ok, I'm done. Yay! :D

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Into every generation, a Slayer is born..."

The most famous Slayer on television was born 12 years ago. On March 10, 1997, Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered with an episode called "Welcome to the Hellmouth". I didn't watch it. I didn't actually start watching it until March of 2005, when the series had already ended. I had just separated from my ex-husband and I was looking for something other than the news to watch while I was getting ready for work. I flipped through all the channels until I came to FX. I didn't really want to watch Buffy, but it was the only thing I would even consider watching, so I did. I think the first episode I saw was a 6th season episode called "Gone", and during the episode, Buffy was accidently made invisible. I thought it was kinda funny, so I tuned in the next morning...and the next...and I was hooked. I have now seen every Buffy episode and I own the entire series on DVD. I regard Joss Whedon, the creator, as a genius - he also created the Buffy spinoff Angel (love it), Firefly (love it) and Dollhouse (well, nobody's perfect). I dressed up as Buffy for a couple of Halloweens (sorry, I don't have any pictures of that). I traveled all the way to California two years in a row to have my picture taken with stars of the show (still paying for that). So yeah, I guess I am what you would call a bit obsessed with the show. :D I bet you aren't surprised that I bought a Buffy postcard book, right? ;) I think this cast shot is from season 2, possibly early season 3.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 2 Cast
That picture doesn't have my favorite character in it. Out of 22 postcards in the book, there is only one picture of him! :( Of course, he didn't become a series regular until season 4. Here is Spike and his vampire girlfriend Drusilla.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Spike and Drusilla
James Marsters, who plays Spike, was one of the people I went to see at the conventions in California. He is the nicest celebrity that I have met at any of the conventions that I have gone to. And he looks better with brown hair than he does with the bleach blonde hair. ;) (Sorry if you have seen this before.)
James Marsters and me
And Kaaren, I hope this post makes up a little for the fact that I haven't posted the Puerto Rico cards yet. ;)
(To see all of the Buffy postcards from the book, as well as the rest of my postcards from other television shows and movies, click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trekkiegal1701d/sets/72157603787457924/)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I won't look that good at 50...or ever

The perfect skin. The impossible figure. The never-ending wardrobe. Who, you ask? Barbara Millicent Roberts, that's who! Still don't know who I am talking about? Barbie!! Whether you love her or hate her, the world's most recognizable doll was introduced 50 years ago today. I had a "My First Barbie" when I was a kid, and I did play with it, but that is as far as my interest went. There are some people who collect them, and I think some of them take it a bit to far. There is a quote from a woman in a CNN.com article (http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/09/barbie.50th.anniversary/index.html?section=cnn_latest#cnnSTCText) that really gets me. After spending $700 on matching outfits for herself and her Barbie doll, she has the gall to say that she isn't "as bad as the Star Trek convention people." EXCUSE ME???? Has she ever been to a Star Trek convention?? I'll admit there are a few people who would spend that much on a Star Trek costume, but the great majority of the people who attend conventions don't even wear a costume! I have first-hand knowledge of this, unlike that ignorant woman. :P

Ok, I feel a little better now. :D Anyway, as per the usual, I have a postcard to go with the theme of the post. Would you expect anything less? This is another card that I picked out, and although I think I picked it out for my friend Ann, I haven't given it to her. Oops! She is a Barbie fan, but not so much that she would spend $700 on matching outfits (I'm pretty sure, anyway). ;)

Barbie and Ken Dinner Date Fashions, 1989

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episode 4

Before I go into TAR for this evening, I have to talk about last night. I went to see my favorite late night talk show host performing his stand-up comedy - Craig Ferguson of CBS' The Late Late Show. The show (The Late Late Show, I mean) airs later than I usually stay up, so I TiVo it and watch it the next day. For those of you who don't know who Craig is, he is a Scottish-American comedian who became known in the USA as Mr. Wick on The Drew Carey Show in the mid-1990's. Anyway, I went to last night's show at The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. I arrived about 25 minutes before the show was supposed to start, but it took me so long to find a parking space that I didn't actually get into the building until it was almost showtime. And of course, I then had to walk through half of the casino just to get to the theater. Fortunately, the warm-up comedian, Randy Kagan, was about 10 minutes late going on, so I didn't miss anything. Craig was hilarious, of course, but I thought the show ended way too soon. Of course, I could listen to him for hours. I just love his accent. :) This is one of the better pictures I got of him - it was difficult to get a good picture because the man does not stand still for more than five seconds. :D
Craig Ferguson 1
So, on with the real purpose of my Sunday night posts. Tonight's leg of The Amazing Race took the racers to Siberia in Russia. I was happy (and a bit surprised) to find that I had a card from Siberia. I know I said a few posts ago that I was going to avoid snow pictures for a while, but in this case I can't avoid it. And since there was snow on the ground where the racers were, it is appropriate. This card, from rainbow 86, shows Stolby Nature Reserve. All I can say is "Wow!"
Russia RU-15419 received 03-18-2008
I have a number of other postcards from Russia that I haven't posted yet, so I'll post a couple more now. I have to save some for the future (hint hint). ;) This is one of the cards that I received back from group 85 of the 12 Viewcards in an Envelope Round Robin. It shows the musical fountain at Moskovsky Prospect in St. Petersburg.
Russia - Musical Fountain, Moskovsky Prospect, St. Petersburg
This last card is one that I absolutely loved the second I saw it. I picked it out from the envelope I received from Round Robin Redux - Flight 41. I think the logo is pretty recognizable - do you know what it is?
Russia - Monopoly Multiview
It is the Monopoly logo, of course. The card has something to do with Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, but most of the description is in Russian, so I have no idea what it says. I am a big fan of Monopoly though, and have several version of the game. With the exception of St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square on the lower right, I am unsure of what the pictures show. If anyone knows, please share with the class. :D
See you next week, same time, same blog!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Renaissance Man

It's time for another lesson, boys and girls. Don't worry, it will be very short. I think most people have probably heard of Michaelangelo. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an Italian painter, sculpter, architect, poet and engineer, and he was born on March 6, 1475. He is most famous for two works of art. The first is the statue of David, which is located at the Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. The second is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Sadly, I do not have a postcard of David. But fortunately, I do have a postcard of one of the frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - the Creation of Adam, which is the ceiling's most recognizable image.

Italy - Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel

I chose this postcard, along with two others, as part of group 110 of the 12 Viewcards in an Envelope Round Robin. The other two cards are quite beautiful, but had nothing to do the with Sistine Chapel or Michaelangelo, so I'll post them at a later date. :)
I know, Kaaren, I know. I'll get to the Puerto Rico cards. I PROMISE! I just have to stop reading "This Day in History" so that I won't keep getting ideas for other cards to post! :D

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chicago!

My most favorite city in the world was incorporated 172 years ago today. Yay! :D
USA US-207556 received 07-04-2008
I live fairly close to Chicago, and I send out Chicago postcards to other Postcrossing members all the time. But this one was actually sent to me as official Postcrossing card by bschmutz, who lives a whopping 53 miles away from me. I could drive there in about an hour. I actually have received a postcard from someone even closer, but I'll be posting that at a later date. Like April 13. Let's hope I remember! :D Anyway, the tall square building in this picture is the Aon Center, which is the second tallest building in Chicago after the Sears Tower. A lot of people think the John Hancock Center is the second tallest, but it is actually 3rd. The Sears Tower is a little to the left of this picture, and the Hancock Center and Navy Pier are a little to the right.
Don't worry Kaaren, I'll get to the Puerto Rico cards soon. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mr. Telephone Man

Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876. I doubt he had any concept what his experiments with acoustic telegraphy would become 140 years later. These days, not only are telephones in the majority of homes and business in the Western world, but seemingly everyone from the elderly to elementary school children are carrying cell phones. Upon his death in 1922, all telephones in the US "stilled their ringing for a silent minute in tribute to the man whose yearning to communicate made them possible". (Now if only we could get people to silence their ringing in movies theaters, restaurants, bathrooms and all the other unnecessary places people use their cell phones!) I bet you are thinking "Does she really have a postcard to go along with this post?" Of course I do! :) A lovely red London telephone box, sent to me by shakun__tala as part of the UK & Ireland to the World tag. It reminds me of the How I Met Your Mother episode called "The Duel". :)
UK - London Telephone Box
I also have a card of Edinburgh that I received about a year and a half ago from duplevista.
UK - Edinburgh, Scotland
I would like to thank Ryan, because without the "This Day in History" widget on AQ, I would not have known about Mr. Bell's birthday, and therefore could not have posted that fun telephone booth card (at least not today). :D As for the title of the blog, I have to admit that I have never heard the New Edition song of the same name. I used it because it seemed to fit.
On another note, if anyone has any requests for geographical locations or subjects that you would like to see, let me know and I will try to find cards to match. I don't have cards from most African or South American countries, but I have most of Europe, quite a bit of Asia, and at least one card from every state. I'm sure three or four of you who actually read this blog can come up with something. But don't get too crazy. ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Amazing Race 14 - Episode 3

The third leg of The Amazing Race saw racers heading to Romania. They flew to Bucharest. Unfortunately, I have no postcards showing Bucharest. But I do have a card from their next destination, Braşov. All of the cards in tonight's post are from the same person, but he did not include his Postcrossing username, and I have long since forgotten who I traded with. Oopsie! Anyway, back to Braşov.
Romania - Braşov
The next three all show the same building - Bran Castle. This castle could be seen in the background at the Pit Stop mat. It is commonly known as "Dracula's Castle", although the reason for that is unclear. Vlad the Impaler, aka Vlad Dracula, never lived in or owned the castle, despite stories to the contrary. And it is apparently unlikely that Bram Stoker knew of this castle when he wrote about Dracula. It is a rather imposing looking medieval castle though, and I can see why it was chosen for tales about Dracula.
Romania - Bran Castle 1
Romania - Bran Castle 2
Romania - Bran Castle 3
That's all I have to say about that.