Has Russia Hacked Postcrossing/-cardunited? Sent toGermany, Hong Kong, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, & the U.S.

This time:

  • A conspiracy?
  • A Snoopy treasure trove discovered, and cast far & wide
  • Other stuff
  • Tons of stamps & stickers

Let’s start with Good Ol’ Snoopy Brown.  I’ve mentioned many times in this space the lack of Snoopy/Peanuts cards here in the U.S.  Despite being the birthplace of the comic strip, and although Peanuts greeting cards seem to be sold absolutely everywhere (even in supermarkets), the postcards are just not found unless you go to the source: the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa.

That being the case, I was thrilled to find a book of 1970’s-era Snoopy postcards on sale online!

postcard052

Several have already been dispatched, including to Peanuts-loving pen-pals of mine in Hawaii, Tokyo, & England (I know I didn’t write that trio out as an equal set, yes).  Those cards (and one to Taoyuan, Taiwan, for a Postcrossing Forum tag) went out as postcards should, with a note & a stamp on the back, & dropped into a mailbox.  The next one here went out to a Postcrossing Forum regular in Finland who says that she gives Snoopy postcards to a friend, so she’d like hers in an envelope.  Okay, fine–I made an envelope:

postcard021

She also likes to collect stamps, so since I was already throwing stuff into an envelope, I added some stamps from my incoming mail.

The foggy view of Golden Gate Bridge was chosen by someone in Berlin, Germany, in a Postcrossing Forum “show the card you offer” tag.  I’m glad I had something she liked.

postcard092

To Berlin & St. Petersburg

Okay, let’s get into the Russia hack scandal story I’ve just made up (or unearthed inadvertently, who knows).  I have fallen way behind on “official” cards traveling out via Postcrossing Forum & Postcard United: between the two sites, I had only 1 card traveling (I think I can have around 30 at this point if I chose to).  Yes, I’m sending a lot of cards out, but it’s mainly via Postcrossing Forum, which offers so many different options that I’ve just found it the more fun way to go.  The problem I have with the main focus of the two sites is that Postcrossing Forum seems to send me constantly to just the same 3-4 countries, and Postcard United’s algorithm is so rough that there are repeat encounters with the same people, and I’m being paired within my own country.

Anyhow, I decided to send some cards out again via the two sites, so started asking to be assigned addresses:

Click 1–Postcrossing: Saint Petersburg, RUSSIA.  Of course.  Decided to try my luck next at the other site.

Click 2–Postcard United: Moscow, RUSSIA.  Why, I oughta…

Click 3–Postcard United: Krasnodar, RUSSIA.  What?!?  I claim shenanigans.  I’m moving back to the other site.

Click 4–Postcrossing: Alkmaar, Netherlands.  Fine.  I then quit while I was ahead.  We’ll see when I click on those “send a postcard” buttons again.  This is supposed to be relaxing.

postcard091

A sweetened pickle to the Netherlands, and the rest to Russia.

Moving on from the Eastern European drama… the pair of cards pictured next went off to China, in Postcrossing Forum tags.  The aerial view of Hearst Castle (another card I replenished during my recent postcard-gathering road trip) is headed toward a food safety major in Beijing, who expressed his wishes for anything local to the sender: “local buildings…anything local is welcome!”  If by local, he meant anything in the same state, this place 3 hours or so away from me is local!

postcard078

The pancakes, which I received recently from a Postcard Uniter, go to Heifei, Anhui, China, in a food postcard trade.  The recipient is a chemistry student who says he loves travel, and receiving food postcards.

Finally, this multi-zoned California map card (part of my recent haul) went off to Hong Kong, to someone hoping for map cards. I told her that within just a couple of months, I will have traveled to every segment on the left sided of the card within this calendar year.  I do love coastal trips!

postcard a map 6

Now a look at stamps, stickers, washi tape, & stuff–do you have any favorites down here? Behold the new USPS stamp release, Delicioso, which “celebrates the influence of Central and South American, Mexican, and Caribbean foods and flavors on American cuisine.”  And I always love the shorebird & sea shell postcard stamp sets.

postcard077

postcard088

postcard053

postcard089

postcard090

postcard094

Mark as Logged: Received from England, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, & the U.S.

This time around, I’m sharing some recently-arrived cards, as well as some much older ones that (as far as I know) I haven’t shared previously.  Keeping track is hard!

The “World Famous Brighton Rock” card came from a postal pal in Brighton, England today–and today I learned “Brighton Rock!”  I had to look that up online, because my friend was actually lamenting a familiar situation:

“As for Peanuts postcards, I’m no closer to finding any of them here, so I’ve had to cheat and make my own with stickers that I found in New York last month.  Quite a few of the Hallmark shops where I would normally buy Snoopy stuff from had either shut down or no longer stocked Peanuts merchandise, which was a bit disappointing, but didn’t ruin my vacation!”

Another postal pal, Cindi in Hawaii, knows exactly how to get Peanuts postcards: throw down for mail order from the Charles M. Schulz museum in California!  I love this new “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” Snoopy card.  Make sure you check in at the bottom of this post, for all of the wonderful stamps, stickers, & washi tape from the card’s back side.

postcard009

The next card shows three guys I am always very, very, happy to see: The Three Caballeros.  It was sent to me from Seattle, Washington, at the end of 2015 for a Postcrossing Forum “request a Disney card” tag, and I haven’t marked it as logged in this space.  The sender drew a fun rubber ducky pic on the back, so be sure to scroll down for that.

Second set of cards begins with another card postmarked in December of 2015, from a Postcrosser in Hong Kong.  She wrote:

“This is a new shop that just opened near my apartment in Hong Kong, and they were giving out some nice postcards.  I hope you enjoyed some dim sum and egg tarts in Hong Kong.  Egg tarts are my favorite!  Also egg waffles.  So good!”

I did indeed enjoy some dim sum while in HK (don’t recall if egg tarts were part of it), and I was in fact looking to buy an egg waffle maker while I was in town!  That didn’t happen, but around the time I received this card, I received one as a gift!  Made some egg waffles just last week, in fact.

postcard010

That scary, scary monkey card might just have to get sent off to someone else.  It came my way from the Netherlands in a Postcrossing Forum “ugly postcard” trade.  I think this, and 2 or 3 other cards from today’s entry, had been serving as bookmarks!  My poor book!

The snowy card next to the monkey is from a Postcrosser in Japan.  This only goes back to September of 2016.  The sender told me she lives in a small town in the mountains, and she doesn’t have any beach cards, so she decided to send me a snow card.

The last set starts with another snow card, this one recently received from Romania via Postcard United.  The sender tells me:

“I love to spend time in the countryside, where life seems not to have changed in ages.”

postcard011

We’ve got a food package next, this from another Postcrossing Forum tag, and sent to me from someone in Raleigh, North Carolina, who writes:

“My husband loves lychee and I love mochi.  These were delicious.  Ever had them?  My parents tease me for loving mochi so much.  It’s called dduk in Korean.  They call me a dduk-bo which is essentially a person who loves dduk.  Rice cakes freeze pretty well.

I think it was the weekend before I received this card last month that I’d just been buying fresh mochi treats in San Jose’s Japantown, so this was very timely.

Final card is another from who-knows-how-long-ago, a Postcrossing incoming from Mexico.  There were, as you will see, Doraemon stickers on the back, and the sender explained:

“Here are a couple of Doraemon stickers I was given in Hong Kong at supermarket.  Very nice place and yummy food!  Anyways, this postcard is from my hometown, we have yummy food, too!”

Okay, that’s it for the fronts.  I’ll mark them as logged now, so you won’t have to be bothered with them again.  Now poke around the backsides–so many amazing finds down there this time!postcard014

postcard013

postcard012

We Begin & End with Fish: Sent to Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan, & the U.S.

It’s a good time to try to think of pleasant things.

I have some catching up to do!  Let’s start with these cool new postcards I bought, two of which have long-since gone out to post pals in Japan & Hawaii.

postcard-a-greetings-from-paradise-pug-mermaid

This mermaid smells like a wet dog.  And fish.

Later, I made envelopes to send more stuff to the same two people.  This one I made from a photocopy of an old comic book cover, & sent off to–can you guess?

postcard894

Yes, Hawaii!  And here’s the back-side of the envelope.

2017-01-11-08-22-22

Inside went some stickers, a note on a postcard, and an old brochure I unearthed.

postcard895

That piece of advertising has to be 35 years old, at minimum.  When I unearthed it, I had to do some online research to see if the place still exists.  It does!  Here’s the rest of the brochure:

postcard881

postcard882

I asked my friend if she’d been there.  She has, to the restaurant–it’s a cheap place to eat!  I’ll have to remember that, the next time I’m in the neighborhood.

Here comes the other envelope I made, this one for my friend in Tokyo:

2017-01-14-09-49-49

2017-01-14-09-50-36

I enclosed another sheet of those Peanuts stickers, plus a note on this postcard:

postcard-toon-peanuts-charlie-brown-schulz-museum

Here are more postcards that went out, these for Postcrossing Forum & swap-bot exchanges.  Off they went to Hoofddorp, Netherlands; Goleta, California; Taichung City, Taiwan; and Tsukuba, Japan.

postcard896

Finally, have a look at the stamps, stickers, and washi tape!  I think it might be time for me to restock my stash of fish stickers!

postcard897

Familiar Folk, in a New Context: Sent to Australia, Japan, Netherlands, & the U.S.

Happy New Year!  Here’s a post that’s been sitting in my draft folder for a few weeks, while I waited for the cards to reach their destinations (to avoid spoilers for the two people who happen to read this blog).  I think it’s safe now…

I like this handful of cards.  Three of them are going out in an interesting swap-bot trade the organizer named “postcard roulette.”  We were assigned one person as a recipient–and then we were to mail a 2nd card to another, unassigned, partner from the trade roster.  As I said, I mailed out 3 cards–one to my assigned partner, one to another participant–and one to the organizer, as a thank-you for hosting the trade.

postcard842a

 

My assigned recipient is in Geldrop, Netherlands, and she is a Disney fan, so she gets the Aladdin card.

The swap host lives in San Francisco, California, and enjoys landscape and randomness (my interpretation), and that tiger card fits in both categories, I’d say.

The third card actually went out to a fellow WordPresser!  I was reading the profile of a swapper in Gaven, Queensland, Australia, to help me choose a card she might like (she likes wildlife, so I chose the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County)–and she mentioned her blog–Under a Canopy of Stars–which I follow!  Had to send a card & say hi.  Hi!

The remaining two cards to regular postcard pals of mine: The World War I Flying Ace went off to Kalaheo, Hawaii, and Pig-Pen (who would have made an awesome President) was bound for Tokyo, Japan.

A sampling of the stamps, stickers, & washi tape:

postcard842

Joy-in-the-Box: Received from Japan & the U.S.

A super-long day at work, and I came home to this…

postcard855

Soooo nice to see the bills & junk mail peppered with some beautiful postcards!  And I had a good idea, before I even took a good look, that they came from my two most kind & posta-talented snail mail pals.

Snoopy & ‘Stock are courtesy of Cindi in Hawaii, who really Peanutsed-up the back of the card!

postcard859

Breathtaking!

And my pal in Tokyo, Japan turned a Snoopy print ad into a wonderful envelope.

postcard858a

Have a closer look at the stamps: the card from Japan has a little something extra: a stamp from Italy!

postcard856

(but it’s the other 3 stamps I love)

The Problem with Food Tourism: Received from Poland, Taiwan, & the U.S.

Three awesome cards up top this time, starting in Hawaii with another cooool Peanuts card from the Suntan Snoopy collection!  Thanks, Cindi! And the special stamp, which you’ll see at the end of the post.

postcard817a

That beautiful image of a tea house at night is from Taipei, Taiwan, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum trade.  The sender writes:

“I really like America.  It is so beautiful!  I have there this year for work and travel in Big Sky.  I really had a good time there, hope can go again.”

And so it happened that I, the American, went online to look up “Big Sky.”  Now, I’ve been once or twice to a Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo, California, but I assumed that’s not what she was talking about.  After my search, I asked her if she meant Big Sky, Montana, not far from Yellowstone National Park.  Indeed, she did:

yeah! the town in Montana 🙂
and I worked in Big Sky Resort, the largest ski resort in the United States

The wonderful–delicious–illustrated card is from a Postcrosser in Tainan, Taiwan.  He writes:

“I’m an university freshman majoring in education.  If you have a chance to travel, welcome to Taiwan.  We have a lot of special, cheap and delicious foods.  Maybe you will love it.”

Do you know what the problem with food travel is?  Not enough stomach space.  VERY frustrating.

The 3 cards at the bottom all came in an envelope from a Postcard United member in Wysokie, Poland.  Not for the first time in my very young Postcard United career, I have been assigned to a user that had previously been assigned to me.  This fella wrote on the nicest of the cards–the owl:

“I collect postcard and magnets from different countries.  Please send me a postcard from your region.”

Those other 2 cards, I suppose intended to be gifts in trade, couldn’t interest me less.  I’d feel guilty even sending them out in a Postcard United or Postcrossing assignment.  I ended up scanning them and adding them to my Photobucket of “offers” for when I enter such reverse tags in the Postcrossing Forum.  If this sender had looked at my favorited cards, maybe he would have seen something in his collection that woulda been a more motivating bribe for me, but, nah.  In truth, thanks to the way Postcard United apparently works, I have indeed ALREADY sent him a card from my region!

Nice stamps!  Check out the atemoya — AND THE DUMBO!

postcard818

A Great Batch, with a “Bad” Ending: Received from China, Japan, Taiwan, & the U.S.

postcard805ab

Those very busy, porcelain-making pandas came to me from Harbin, China, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum tag trade.  Did you hear the news stories about the U.S.-born pandas who were sent to China, and are having a rough time with the language & food?

Cindi in Hawaii tells me Honi Kaua translates as “kiss me.” You know Hawaii is a special place when, for once, a kiss from Snoopy doesn’t leave Lucy calling out for iodine!  This very cool, very special Hawaii card is such an exclusive that I, in many trips to Hawaii throughout my life, have never seen it in any stores there.  Of course, most of the stores that draw me in happen to be ABC Stores!

The two busy Peanuts postcards in the middle are from a postcard pal in Tokyo, Japan.  Even more than the cards she sent, I love the envelope she made for them–out of an entire Snoopy-themed Mister Donut bag!

 

postcard808a

The Taiwan card is from Taiwan–Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to be exact.  The sender writes:

“I’m a college student.  I live in Kaohsiung, a south city of Taiwan.  Kaohsiung used to have an important harbour, so there were lots of old warehouses.  Now the area of these warehouses become a famous art center.”

I love the beautiful flower stamp on her envelope (scanned below), which is labeled as Calliandra emarginata, but it looks like lehua to me!

Finally, from Kansas City (and no, I don’t know which one), thanks to a swap-bot trade of movie/TV postcards, comes that “Breaking Bad” card.  The sender writes:

“Did you ever watch Breaking Bad?  If not, I highly recommend it.  It is a masterpiece.”

No, I have never watched that.  You know what show I highly recommend?  Luke Cage.

I mentioned one of the stamps before, but look below & you will see that this was a wonderful batch for stamps!  In fact, the only two I do not love are the buildings.  I’ve scanned just one of the two Snoopy-with-hibiscus stickers (each of them different) on Cindi’s card.  I’m a fool for tropical flowers.

postcard806

Seasonal Stickiness: Sent to Japan & the U.S.

Sent something off to snail mail pals in Japan & Hawaii recently.  I’d only just recently sent them each something, but does that ever happen to you, where you’ve just mailed off something, and then you stumble upon some items so cool, it’s already time to return to the post office?  My local CVS had Peanuts stickers in Halloween & Thanksgiving flavors, and with them being timely right now (in the case of Halloween), and the snail mail pals in question being fellow Peanuts fans, I thought I’d better pounce.

I fashioned some quickie envelopes from old newspaper ads, and off they went.

postcard761a

 

Going Heartless: Received from Canada, China, Indonesia, Ukraine, & the U.S.

Ooh, how about that top row?  I love those two cards!

postcard716a

The first card is from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and part of a swap-bot “Upcycled Cardboard” exchange.  The swapper writes:

“I enjoy this swap so much because it’s cheap, recycling, and requires creativity.  It’s from snack box, the brand is SMAX.  Actually, I don’t really like the taste of this snack, LOL.  I hope you’ll like it (I mean the postcard. 🙂 )

I know how she feels!  Once you get the idea of using packaging as postcards, you look at your grocery basket in a whole new way!

Snoopy!  I always love finding Snoopy in my mail box.  That’s from Cindi in Hawaii, and you gotta scroll down & look at all of the cooooool stickers & stamps on the other side.

The second row of cards both came to me due to a swap-bot “Disney postcard” trade.  The fireflies are from “The Princess & the Frog,” and the card was sent to me from a swapper in Alberta, Canada, who writes:

“…I’m about 3 hours from Jasper National Park & the Rocky Mountains.  It’s my favorite place to go…”

The Toy Story card is from a sender in Chicago, Illinois.  This guy left so much white space on the back of the card, I can hear the wind blowing through.  He writes:

“I remember seeing this film when it came out in 1999!  Take care,”

That’s it: the greeting, then that, then the signature, then an expanse of white space that represents about half or more of the card’s writable area.

If you know swap-bot, you know it’s a ratings-based system, and you may know I cringe every time it’s ratings time on the ‘bot.

Every time I send out something for swap-bot, I go for that heart, the “extra-special” rating that I think should be so easy to achieve, that I don’t understand when I don’t earn it.  The same week that the half-written card previously mentioned to me, I received a swap-bot rating for the  doubly-free card I sent to Minnesota.  It was a heart-less rating.  Here’s what I’d like you to do.  Look at this card, front & back, and let me know what I should have done to earn that heart.  Let’s begin with the swap instructions:

Send 1 free/ad postcard to your 1 partner. Theme of the card can be anything, no offensive though. Senders’s choise. It would be great that the card has some room to write your greetings. Add at least the swap name and your Swap-bot name! Send written and stamped.

Okay, now here is my card, back & front:

postcard693ab2016-08-23-16-43-16-a

Lots of stamps, long substantive note, ink-stamped images & washi tape… what else, then? Should I start taping cash to my postcards, or what?  Please do help me out, here!

On the flip side, when it comes to being the person doing the rating, my policy is to err on the side of generosity: I INTEND to give the heart rating, and only withhold it in the rare cases when the sender is clearly hardly straining toward the bare minimum.  Like, for instance, on the nearly-empty card I described previously.

Oh, those swap-bot nerves…

Moooooving on…

Bottom row: the book with leaf card came to me via Postcrossing from Chernihiv, Ukraine.  The sender tells me that she is a web developer, but in her free time she prefers needlework.

Finally, we come to the terracotta warriors.  This comes to me thanks to a Postcrossing Foum Far East to America tag, from a sender in Guangzhou,China.  Here is what she has to say:

“This’s Terracotta Warriors, which was established by Qin Shi Huang and listed in UNESCO, is located in Shanxi Province, a famous ancient province in China.  This series of postcards is rare, since the seller said this’s only presented to the foreign reporter as a gift.  But I send one of them to you and want you to learn more about China.  Maybe the color is a little wierd, but it’s acceptable, right?  Maybe you should visit there one day!”

By the way, I found this History Channel write-up, 5 Things You May Not Know About the Terra Cotta Army.  The piece of info about Qin’s burial complex that really stuck with me?  “So far, archaeologists have uncovered a 20-square-mile compound…”  Whoa.

Taking a peek at the backsides– stamps, postmarks, stickers, & washi tape:

postcard717

postcard718

I Want to Live in a Water Home! Received from Czech Republic, Germany, Taiwan, Ukraine, & the U.S.

Time to post a few more of my incomings, before I get snowed under!  May be too late…

Snoopy-Dog-Dog!  It’s another fun bootleg Peanuts card from Pingtung, Taiwan, thanks to the Postcrossing Forum Snoopy/Peanuts tag!

postcard683a

This sender apparently has a problem with stamp adhesion; we’re doing a little better this time, as one of the two stamps she affixed did make it all the way into my mailbox.  I knew one was missing, because in her message, she wrote about the stamps:

“The right side stamp is Taiwan fruit Shakya.  The left side stamp is a scene in the novel which is called ‘The Story of the Stone,’ also called ‘Dream of the Red Chamber.’  It is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels.”

If you look at the stamp image below, you’ll be able to see that second stamp.  It’s at the very bottom, within the sticker Snoopy’s line of vision.  I looked up that book; at least in the English translation, it encompasses 5 volumes!  Whoa!

As for the fruit–shakya–I looked it up, too.  Also known as custard apple!

Cool ostrich shot!  That’s from a Postcrosser near Sonsbeck, Germany.  She’s 14, she says she’s glad she can write to the U.S.A., and she wishes me a happy birthday.

Cindi went to Maui, and sent me this Pa’iloa Bay card!  I do love a coastal scene with no people in evidence–that’s what I cross my fingers for when I look for a beach to walk in my general region.  A couple of weeks back, when I was in Central California, I ended up in a couple of touristy areas where there was not even any room in the parking lots next to the beaches, so I just kept on going.  No peace to be found there.

Then there is that very cheesy card.  It came to me from Dallas, Texas, thanks to a swap-bot food postcard trade, and the sender writes:

“I spent this morning canning Bread & Butter pickles.  It’s the first time I have used a recipe with Splenda so I’m wondering how/if they will turn out.  Two days ago I canned Kosher Dill Pickles and I have plans for Pickled Squash.  I love food and I enjoy eating cheese.  The different flavors and textures are amazing.”

Okay, now we have the girl walking some paper boats.  It’s from Odessa, Ukraine, and it’s my 300th Postcrossing Card Received!  Also, a few days ago, Postcrossing emailed me to congratulate me on 2 Years with the Site.  I haven’t seen a card in the mail from them, yet.

The insects come from a Postcrosser in  Blatná, Czech Republic. She tells me,

“We have got amazing water castle.  Around this castle is big park with fallow deer.”

I looked up “water castle.”  That means, basically, it has a moat.  I want to have a water home!

Stamps, postmarks, stickers, & washi tape– my favorite stamp this time would have to be that beautiful fish!

postcard683