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

They Faded Away by 2009: Sent to Australia, England, Germany, & Poland

In the interest of keeping up, I present this super-fresh post of cards I just prepped to send out this morning.  Warning: today’s post of post marks a return to The Disappointassortment!

postcard865a

People Suck! That card’s going to Suffolk, England, in a Postcrossing Forum “you choose” tag.  My card was chosen by a retired woman who previously chose another card from this same lovely line.

Twister!  That’s an ad card, with a lot of printing on the back, going out to Munich, Germany, in a swap-bot trade of ad cards.  I remember working in S.F. years & years ago, and seeing racks of free postcards in plenty of cafes & bars.  This is something I don’t see any more, (well, not in my current stomping grounds) so I just looked it up, & found an online article stating that the two big companies distributing “free rack postcard advertising seem to have faded away by 2009.”  Heck, I find it hard to find postcards, in general–never mind just the free ones.

That beautiful dog is going to a dog lover (who lives with a Labrador Retriever) in Limanowa, Poland.  It’s part of a swap-bot “hello stranger” trade in which the whole point is just to send someone a nice message.  So appealing.

That horrible, horrible card is from The Disappointassortment, of course, and it’s off to Pinewood, Victoria, Australia, in a swap-bot trade of “weird/ugly postcards” (actually, they spelled it “wierd,” but never mind). I am so happy to finally be rid of that dungeon.  It’s been quite some time since I sent out a card from The Disappointassortment, and as soon as I flipped it over, I was reminded of yet another downside of this crappy “value” pack I bought online: the laminated writing surface, so ever-ready for an ink-smearing experience.  I slapped a little sticker on the back, in place of the ink-stamping experience I most often employ for random bits of white space.

Can we please move on to something more pleasant?  Here’s a peek a the back side of these cards: stamps, stamps, stickers, & washi tape!

postcard865

The German swapper is very interesting in rubber stamping, so I stamped the heck out of her card (in addition to squeezing in plenty of writing).

I am Losing Track! Sent to England, Israel, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia, & Taiwan

This is getting out of hand.

The game of snail mail is such an ephemeral thing, I thought it would be nice to use a blog to keep track of the comings & goings, to e-save the postcards I send out, and to remember the countries & people I’m hearing from.  The fact is, though, it’s a lot of detail to keep on top of.  I’m losing out on reading time!

If you, as a snail mailer & blogger, have any tips for simplification & organization, please share!  In the meantime, let’s try to catch up on some of my outgoing cards I’ve been letting slip through the cracks here on the reporting end.

postcard831

Princess Tatiana from Disney’s The Princess & the Frog went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a Postcrossing Forum trade titled “what I’d really like to have is,” and I THINK the recipient asked for a Disney princess.

Eat More Hole Foods!  Just don’t buy them at Whole Foods, or they’ll cost you an arm & a leg.  The doughnut went to Suffolk, England, in another Postcrossing Forum “you choose” tag, in which the person tagging us gets their choice of a postcard from those we have posted as having available to send.  She’s since tagged me again, and has chosen a similar card from my collection–but that will have to wait for another post.

The next set of 3 are all for regular Postcrossing draws.  The corgi went to Johor, Malaysia; the bear to Saint Petersburg, Russia; and the shots of San Jose to The Hague, Netherlands. See how quickly I dispatched with all of that?  Not satisfying at all.  We are learning nothing, here.

postcard845

The Japanese Friendship Gardens in San Jose are beautiful.  There are a lot of beautiful Japanese gardens in the SF Bay Area.  My FAVORITE such garden, though, is in Hilo, Hawaii.  True story.

Okay, here we go.  This lady down here, don’t keep her waiting any longer.  I mailed her out like a month ago.

postcard811a

The lady looking at clothes went to Tel Aviv, Israel.  That’s another card from the Klutz Press World’s Tackiest postcards, and if you don’t think it’s tacky, just look at the next image down, which is the text printed on the back of the card.

postcard810a

C r i k e y .

Lovely.

It went off for a swap-bot trade of “weird/ugly postcards,” and as I wrote to my partner, “doesn’t get much weirder & uglier than this!”  You know, at some point, Klutz published a second book of these cards, but I don’t tend to see either of them around!

Finally, the sea nettles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium went to Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, in a Postcrossing Forum tag trade of marine life-related cards.  I love marine life.  I try to make an aquarium trip just about every place I travel, so just now I got curious about whether Kaohsiung happens to have an aquarium.  It does, but apparently it’s not such a great place to be a fish.

So, whether you have words of wisdom on keeping on top of recording mail, or favorite aquariums, or whatever… please do check in!

 

Do I Let Her Fail Upwards? Received from the U.K.

Usually, my swap-bot nerves are about the grade I may get.  This time, however, I am the one having to give a grade, and avoiding it.

Last post, I was kvetching about my nerves, and sharing the fact I actually ended up with a great grade, in the most recent swap-bot “flat envie of fun” post.  Well, that worked out–and then the envelope I was owed arrived, from somewhere within the United Kingdom:

2016-10-27-13-40-46

A note card with envelope, a couple of postcards, a sticker sheet, 3 little note scraps. and a bookmark.  As I was slowly extracting the bits, in great hope of encountering a piece or two of fun, I couldn’t help to think of all the work I put in to my contribution to this trade, that is, to delighting the recipient. Having finally emptied the envelope, I had to ask myself: did the sender think any of this would be actually fun for me?

Well, I like to read, so–bookmark.  I postcross, so…postcards.  And one is cartoony.  I like the tropics, and the sea, and the scraps approach those.  Fact is, though, much of this will probably go into a donation bag, and as far as I know, those folks will send it into a landfill.  Or I could save them to send as extras in some other swap.

I went back to reread the swap requirements:

2016-10-27-13-12-43a

Aha, now I pinpointed part of what left me sad–well, NO, I already knew I was quite let down there was no note.  WHAT IS THE POINT… never mind, let’s slow down.  The swap requirements specify that the sender is to “write a nice note,” and after reexaming everything just to make sure I was missing nothing–no, the sender did not leave me a note of any sort.

Well, what do you think I should do?

There is a rating to be left, and I am putting it off, because I don’t want to do what I think she deserves, which is to leave a 3 on the 1-3-5 scale: “didn’t meet the posted swap requirements.”  The thing is, my personal policy is to rate as I trade, which is from a standpoint of generosity.  I almost ALWAYS give the added heart on the full 5 rating, even if I don’t necessarily consider the swap “extra special.”  Traders have had to try pretty hard, I say, to lose the automatic heart.  Well, THIS time, We’re talking not about a heart at all, but about losing that 5 to a 3.  And the note — the correspondence — is actually a big thing to me.  If it was just SHIPMENTS I wanted, I could buy things for myself online, and actually ensure I received things that would interest me.

So here are my ratings options as I see them:

  • Leave a 3 rating, and say it was because the specified note was missing.
  • Leave a 5 to be generous, but with no comment of any kind (as some have with her, but I don’t know if it’s because they were feeling like me, or they were just rude)
  • Leave a 5 to be generous, and mention that the specified note was missing

I honestly don’t know which of these would make me feel worse.  Do I cheese someone off over something she’ll probably consider inconsequential (although it’s my reason for being here), or do I let her fail upwards?

500 Stamps & a Bottle of Tums: Sent to Canada, U.K., & the U.S.

Right now, I’ve got those swap-bot nerves like you wouldn’t believe.  Why don’t I just quit & take off the pressure?  Today, it’s 2 swaps off to 3 people; I’ll save the bigger deal for last.

First off, it’s a trade of 5 free bookmarks.  “Free bookmarks” are the kind of book marks you get for free.  I decided to make my own envelopes; let’s look at those now.

2016-09-27-17-44-18

The top package is going to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the bottom one goes to Auburndale, Novia Scotia, Canada.  Since the swap rules called for 5 book marks, I put in 7.  And some other stuff.

2016-09-27-17-32-15

2016-09-27-17-29-31

I know I’d give myself the “extra special” heart for this, but I always put in the effort, and always give the people sending me swaps the benefit of the doubt unless they take it away from themselves forcefully.

2016-09-27-17-44-36

Now, the OTHER swap, oh, the nerves!  This one is a “profile-based small package swap.” We were to use our partner’s profile as a guide, and send at least 4 items, at a value of at least 8 dollars.   I printed out this person’s profile–oh, she’s in Crowthorne, Berkshire, United Kingdom–and read it, and re-read it, and made a couple of notes.  And then I spent more time shopping than I ever, ever do.  Got 4 different things, at 3 different stores, and then ended up shopping online for a 5th thing!  She likes bunnies & owls, and green tea, and wide tape…

2016-09-27-14-40-11

And then I shipped it off.  That’s $23ish, right there!  THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY!

2016-09-27-14-51-18

The postal clerk always says she likes my packing tape.

So I hope everyone loves everything, and that they love me, too, and give me a good grade, The End.

 

Dropping the Recycling in the Mail Box: Sent to Brazil, Germany, & the UK

The beginning of another month means it’s time for another swap-bot Chunk of Cardboard trade, my favorite thing on that site!  I had my recycled “chunks” all cut & ready to stamp, write up, & mail off.

postcard464

This month’s batch is going to:

Immingham, England

Porto Seguro, Brazil

Regensburg, Germany

Stamps, stamps, stickers & washi tape:

postcard465

A FIRST! Sent to England, India, & Russia

Kicking off 2016 with 3 postcards on the go:

Postcard404

The historic view of Los Angeles goes to a self-professed “history geek” in  Edinburgh, Scotland.

The interesting beach scene is going to Oktyabrya, Russia, to someone who was hoping for cards depicting beautiful places & beach views.

Those first two were regular Postcrossing draws; the third–the big Peanuts card–goes out via Postcrossing Forum.  It’s headed for Bangalore, India, in a “USA-Asia” trade.  I’m jealous of this Postcrosser; when I wrote this card this morning, it was 37 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  Meanwhile, her city should reach around 84 today!  I would like to spend my California winters someplace where it is 84 degrees.

I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to send a card to India.  In my time on Postcrossing, I have only ever received two cards from that country, and this is the first that I have sent!  I hope there are many more to come, in both directions.

A look at the stamps, stamps, & washi tape:

Postcard405

Popeye & His Feline Friends: Sent to China, Czech Republic, France, & Scotland

I drew the names of four more Postcrossers today:

Postcard359ab

Popeye is on his way to say ahoy to a Postcrosser in Glasgow, Scotland.  In his profile, the recipient had a link to his flickr account showing photography he’d turned into postcards, so I thought I would send him one of the cards I’d created from my own shots.

The Morro Bay card goes to a woman in Saint-Nazaire, France who was hoping for cards showing the senders’ cities.  The cards of my city aren’t very well done–and furthermore, I don’t have any right now–so I sent her one of a city I enjoy visiting whenever I can.

The cartoon Sherlock is headed for Guangzhou, China.  The recipient of this one is a high school student who hopes to travel to Germany next year.  She expressed interest in animals & cartoon characters, among many other things.  Hope she likes this.

Lastly, I hope that sleeping duo is not disturbed on the way to Jičín, Czech Republic.  This Postcrosser did have a short list of likes, which included cats.  She didn’t say much of anything else, so I just talked about the weather.  Well, the season, really.  Basically, that fall is here, and I am looking forward to spring.  That’s just the way it is!

That mystery grab bag, though: Sent to England, Germany, & Slovakia

So, I bought a great big, cheap, “random” assortment of postcards through Amazon.  They just came, I opened them up, and tried to keep my tears from falling on them.  Did I mention they were cheap, though?  I’ll post specifically about the assortment soon, but for now: Postcrossing!

postcard334a

Some of the cream of the crop. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences of buying bulk postcard assortments.

The tipis, part of the Wigwam Motel in Arizona, are off to Erkrath, Germany.  The Postcrosser describes himself as a man in his 50s living with his wife & daughter, and asks senders to surprise him with the card of our choice.  I thought this odd scene might amuse & intrigue him.  I told him what my internet search for this place turned up: it’s from a chain that started in the 1930s; this location is still open; these units have full baths, cable & AC; and this motel is its city’s largest tourist attraction.  I was lucky that the postcard identified the subject of its photo: most of the ones in the assortment do not.

Those beautiful flours on the railway, for instance: no information given.  Pity.  I’ll tell you where it’s going, though: to Cambridge, England.  The recipient is brand-new to Postcrossing, and mentions enjoying nature.

An English teacher in Košice, Slovakia will receive that nice view of Montana’s Glacier National Park (yes, this postcard did identify its subject).  The recipient says she is the mother of two grown daughters, and is using Postcrossing to revive her childhood hobby of collecting postcards.  One particular thing she mentioned as enjoying on her cards is “beautiful natural wonders.”

Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’: Sent to England, France, Germany, and Taiwan

“Use your profile to write about yourself.  Your account’s profile is the place where others can learn more about you, so please enter a few sentences.”

–From Postcrossing Community Guidelines, ‘On using your account’

That is such a big part of Postcrossing: learning about other countries by learning a little bit about people who live in those countries.  Also, when you write a profile, that helps people not only get to know you a bit, but also it aids in choosing a card for you, and in knowing what to write on that card.  Thus, I was disconcerted by the minimalist profile of the Postcrosser from Bielefeld, Germany.  I’ll share her entire profile between the two lines that follow:



Yes, you read that correctly: she wrote absolutely nothing in her profile.

Who is this person?  What type of a card might she like?  What might I write to this person, who obviously chose to say absolutely nothing to me?

I tried to rationalize her choice: maybe her English is not so good.  Heck, there are plenty of people born here in the U.S., whose families have been in the country for generations, whose English is not so good, but they still manage to be prolific on Postcrossing & swap-bot!  No, English is the language of Postcrossing, and even people who admit their English is terrible manage to bang out a rough paragraph or two, perhaps with the help of an online translator.

Maybe she is brand new? Yes, surely she is brand-new, and just hasn’t quite gotten to this bit.  Nope.  She has been around for over three years, and has sent out over 1,600 cards.

In a last-ditch effort to suss out which card I might send her, I went to see her favorites from her wall of postcards.  It was in that section I learned that in three years of Postcrossing, she has not favorited a single card.

It is this Herculean lack of effort that made me take the drastic measure of sending her “Tiger Markings,” the card at top left in this photo.

postcard326

L’il Cartoon Girl is absolutely appalled.

I’d feel horrible about it, except for the fact that I so totally do not.  For all I know, she will love this!  It’s a draw from Animal Box: 100 Postcards by 10 Artists, and if you read the reviews of that set on Amazon, you’ll see that depending upon whom you trust, only 30 to 70 of the images are worthy of their postcard status.  One reviewer even said she used the fine card stock of these pieces to create her own beautiful cards to send out!  But like I say, maybe the recipient will love this.  I would have no way of knowing.

I also didn’t knock myself out on the back: whereas most of my messages are 13 or more lines of tightly-packed writing, this time around I managed to fill the space with (to paraphrase) hi, greetings from ___, Happy Postcrossing, me. Yes, I still separated the address from the message with a strip of washi tape, but just a plain colored strip.  My most extravagant move was that I still put two rubber-stamped impressions in there.  Hope she doesn’t hate them–I’d have no way of knowing.

The owls are from the same box as the hot mess tiger pattern, and they go to a Postcrosser in South Yorkshire, England who said she would love to receive owl cards.  It was my absolute pleasure to send this to her. She also said she enjoys lists, so I wrote her a list of…

8 Movies I’ve Seen in the Last 2 Weeks

  1. Ant-Man
  2. Grandma
  3. The Martian
  4. Sicario
  5. The Intern
  6. Black Mass
  7. Singh is Blinng
  8. Pan

The wonderful tiger is headed off on a trip to La Bouilladisse, France.  The recipient enjoys dollhouse miniatures, so I hoped she might be amused by a peek into what the residents of her dollhouse might espy while on photo safari.

Lastly, for a Postcrossing Forum Disney tag trade, the piece of art from Wreck-It Ralph goes to New Taipei City, Taiwan.  The photo below shows the stamps, stamps, & washi tape I applied to the back of that card.

postcard327