Saturday, April 7, 2018

Donald Barthelme

Recently I won a lottery where I could choose a Classic Writers' card.
There were indeed plenty of writers to choose from which really put me in front of a tough decision, until while scrolling, I noticed this card had the name of Donald Barthelme, and I immediately knew this was going to be my lottery prize!



Frankly, I had no idea how he looked liked, so if it wasn't for the caption, I would have completely ignored this card.
An American short story writer and novelist known for his playful, postmodernist style of short fiction  (April 7, 1931 – July 23, 1989), that I first encountered while at university, when I had the chance to read his story The School. One of the best short-stories I have ever read! Unfortunately back then the internet didn't have as many things as today, so not that many stuff could be found online (though sparknotes existed, which made university life so easier :P) Anyways, as I said, not many things could be found online so I only managed to find just another story by him, called "The First Thing the Baby did wrong" - hilarious!
And somehow after that I just kinda forgot about him (yeah, shame on me), until I actually won this lottery, which made me google him back and forth, and of course, now way more stories have been published on the internet - making me realize what I have been missing all these years.
However, now I'm kinda saving money to order at least some of his books cos I'd really like to have them in my collection - will worry later about lack of space :)


If you would like to read both these stories, just click on the links below

The School
The First Thing the Baby did wrong

And totally unplanned, this post coincides with Donald's birthday, who would have turned 87 today... and also if my dearest grandmother was alive, today we would have been celebrating her 81st birthday! I really really miss her! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Amour

Well today is kind of a themed day with no viewcards, but related to some cultural stuff, if I may put it that way and I wanted to share with you some stuff or better say people I admire or like or appreciate in any sense and next up on the list is a movie by one of my favourite directors, that is Michael Haneke




An Austrian guy whose movies are not that light and often weird and explicit whose work often examines social issues, and depicts the feelings of estrangement experienced by individuals in modern society. I cannot say I have a favourite Haneke film, I have liked all the ones I have seen so far (and I think I've seen like 90% of his work). Some I like more, cos they are more dramatic usually (like Funny Games (the Austrian, NOT the US version) or Benny's Video , some are not THAT dramatic, like The White Ribbon or his latest, Happy End but none of  them leave you indifferent.
And some years ago I received this card for his film Amour, another great movie by Haneke which I watched just like a year ago but which really swept me away... cos it was just so relatable. I won't be giving out any spoilers, but this movie just reminded me of my grandmother cos it made me realize all the things I could have done for her while she was bed-ridden but still alive, but I didn't... and it all got me really really sad and depressed, questioning myself why I took things for granted, why hadn't I thought of doing this or that, did it all mean I didn't care enough for her and I was just selfish, trying to stay away from the entire situation cos I thought I couldn't do anything, while I actually could?





Not to this day have I found an answer to these questions, but it is unfortunately true that we often don't see things in this light while people are still alive, and once we do when they are gone, it is just too late...and if there is something true about me is what has been said in this video...and I've been trying to work on it, but for some reason, it hasn't been going that well... why, I really don't know.
Do you find yourself in the same position or you handle these relationships the way they should be handled?
Btw, Anna Akana is one of my favourite public figures, since she is really harismatic, funny, and most of all, I often relate to the things she talks about and puts them in perspective for me, and you know, often it is easier to deal with issues when somehow someone else puts it in words like this.

Totally unplanned, but I am really glad this post ended up being done just for my grandmother's birthday!

My Neighbour Totoro

Time for some cartoon stuff...I think that one is never too old for cartoons and I still enjoy watching them. Well at least some kinds of animated stuff... like those produced by the Ghibli studio (and I found out that just yesterday one of its co-founders, Isao Takahata, had died at the age of 82 - I am starting to find the timing of my posts today a bit freaky now...if you haven't watched The Grave of the Fireflies, I recommend you do so, a really heart-touching story!




But today's card ain't related to Takahata, but to another one of my all time favourite directors, and that is Hayao Miyazaki - for me, the God of anime! :)
And the card above shows a scene from the first Miyazaki movie  I have ever watched and which made me want to watch everything by Miyazaki eventually, that's My Neighbour Totoro.



What I love about his work is that it all deals with humanity and teachers children good values, how to be human and a good person in general, how to love life and be grateful for what you have.
Much better than a number of dumb cartoons and animations shown nowadays =/
It is said that what makes his work so great is his - heart. Cos you can indeed easily see when something has been done from the heart and when you truly believe in it.

Do you watch cartoons? Any favourites? And of course, do you like the Miyazaki ones? :)

Btw, do you know on which date Totoro was released? April 16th... and it will be exactly 30 years this year since it first saw the light of the day.



Jim Parsons

Well, you already know I love Big Bang Theory and even though it is not as fun as it used to be, I still don't miss out an episode. Lately it has actually become like some sort of ritual to enjoy my Friday morning coffee with the latest episodes of both Big Bang, and Young Sheldon.




And to a great extent I love the show cos of Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons. It has got to be one of my favourite TV characters ever and I often wish I had a friend like Sheldon. Life would be much for fun, cos regardless how annoying he could get, you just can't not love him! I do know some similarly annoying people but they are far from lovable :)))
I guess I should blame it on his charisma too, for me one of the most charismatic men out there (some other guys on the list would be Morten Harket, Brian Molko, Rafael Nadal and Jean-Benoît Dunckel).

Anyways, there are a lot of hilarious quotes by Sheldon, but the one on the card makes it to top 5 for sure, and that's why I was sooo thrilled when few years ago, one girl had it for swap!


Nick Cave

Well, one more celebrity for today and that is Mr. Nick Cave - I don't think any introduction is necessary here.




I had the chance to see him live last October in Belgrade, but due to the fact I got my ticket rather late, no good seats were left, so I had to watch it a bit from above. And at first I didn;t really mind that until the concert actually happened. Those who know me, know that I always always get tickets for the fan-pit section and always try to make it to the first row.
And now, one of the rare times I didn't, I was just helplessly watching how Mr. Cave was coming down and walking between the audience, and even worse, asking the first few rows to come up on stage and sing the songs with him. I was literally grieving out there :))

just so you know what I'm talking about :(


Now he would be playing again at the InMusic Festival this year, but most probably I won't be going. Too many good events this year, and not enough money for it all so I just have to be selective =/
But not complaining, cos at least there are some good events in the first place :)

Well, thank you so much for taking today's journey with me. Maybe it was of your likes, maybe it wasn't... but it was nice to share with you a little piece of my little wonderland.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Guadalajara. Mexico

Well, it seems like it is about time to say a few words here... yeah, been some silent few weeks, and as you have all experienced it in life, time just flies so fast, you know, the same old excuse of always :D
Well, we'll start this week (even though it may be like the only post for the week), with another fairy-dedicated post, and this time the random.org went for this Seattle guy that by now you are all fairly familiar with.... yep, it is Mr. Bryon!

It was more than a difficult task to decide what to choose from his pile of cards, so I guess I'll have to do more fairy posts in the future (as If I was so diligent about regular posts in the first place).

But anyways, lets get started and see a small part of Bryon's missiles on my mailbox ;-)





And first is up a card from Mexico's Guadalajara, where in the front you can see the Cabañas Cultural Institute with its copper dome, where its main attraction are the murals by José Clemente Orozco, which cover the main entrance hall.
Then there is the large Plaza Tapatia, covering 70,000 m2 and it says that this plaza ends at the Degollado Theatre, inaugurated in September 1866. The big question here is, find the theatre in the picture if you can :))

Speaking of Guadalajara, besides being named the American Capital of Culture for 2005 and hosting the 2011 Pan American Games, it is also the birthplace of Guillermo del Toro. If you still haven't seen his last masterpiece The Shape of Water, then I wholeheartedly recommend you to do so. Beautiful and heartwarming piece of art, with stunning performances, esp, the one by Sally Hawkins.





the stamp was issued in 2016, for the Closing of the International Year of the Light.

M.C.Escher

In general, I am used to receiving Escher cards mainly from the Netherlands, but who said they couldn't arrive from the USA too :))



The first card shows Escher's litograph work called "Cycle" dating from 1938. I wonder if the little guy on the card is excitedly running down the stairs to check his mailbox (as Bryon pointed it out :D). I for sure look like this when I actually notice the postman through the window, and hear the sound of him dropping something in the mailbox :))) 


The first card arrived with this fabulous 1983 set of balloons, where on the left side the Intrepid (1861) is shown, a hydrogen gas balloon or aerostat built for use by the Union Army Balloon Corps for aerial reconnaissance purposes during the American Civil War. 
It was one of seven balloons constructed for the Balloon Corps and was one of the four larger balloons designed to make ascensions to higher elevations with a larger lift capacity for telegraph equipment and an operator. It was the balloon of choice for Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe overlooking the Battle of Fair Oaks. 
On the right side you can see the Explorer II, a manned U.S. high-altitude balloon that was launched on November 11, 1935 and reached a record altitude of 22,066 m. The helium balloon carried a two-man crew consisting of U. S. Army Air Corps Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orvil A. Anderson inside a sealed, spherical cabin.
The two stamps in the middle show regular hot air balloons. Still haven't flown with one, but been wanting to do so if I ever go to Cappadocia, and of course, if my budget allows it at that moment, which I highly doubt, since it revolves around 160 euros... per person, not per balloon :D

There are two other small stamps on the card - the 1c Bobcat from 2012, while the other one is from 1991, showing Cole Porter.
As you could notice, none of these stamps have been cancelled, which is actually way better than what happened with the stamps on the card below...




This is another one of Escher's litographs, titled "Drawing Hands", and was first printed in 1948. It depicts a sheet of paper out of which, from wrists that remain flat on the page, two hands rise, facing each other and in the paradoxical act of drawing one another into existence.




and if you were wondering what was wrong with the stamps, here you go... a pen line all the way from left to right. These kind of people should seriously be banned from post offices or coming nearby ones. This is one of the worst crimes in the résumé of a postal worker, that should be marked in both red and bold. Who had the heart to destroy such a lovely issue of four Coral Reefs stamps issued in 1980. Featured are: the Chalice Coral from American Samoa, the Finger Coral from Hawaii, the Brain Coral from the US Virgin Islands, and the Elkhorn Coral from Florida.
Again we have two smaller stamps. First is the Flag over the Supreme Court issued in 1981, and next to it is a bird stamp from a set of 3 issued in 1991.

Fort Steele Historic Town, Canada

To the stamp lovers, with a faint heart, after the previous post, you may want to close your eyes on this one too..if you are a Star Trek fan on top of it all, then just proceed at your own risk... don't say you haven't been warned :))




A fantastic card from one of Bryon's trips to Canada, showing a vintage train in Fort Steele, which is located in the South Kootenays, about 20 km NE of Cranbrook B.C. This train was built in 1923 in Canada and used in logging on Vancouver Island until 1960. To make this train functional again, the water boiler was rebuilt in 1975 by retiree H. Hawkins. The train is dedicated to all the craftsmen who designed, built and maintained "iron steam horse" locomotives.



and here we are at the scene of the crime. Do you see the felony here? Monstrous! Let the people decide what kind of punishment this kind of uglification deserves. I bet Canada post made an effort to issue this so that it can end up being crossed out with black pens.
Issued in 2016 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek - this is one of the several sheets, portraying the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 & Klingon Battle Cruiser

Oregon Lighthouses, USA

There is something really appealing to the eye (at least mine, even though it is short-sighted), when you have a series of postcards on a theme that come from the same designer/publishing house.

And here we have 3 of the kind, showing three beautiful lighthouses that can be found in Oregon.


First is the Cape Arago Lighthouse, first lit in 1934, automated in 1966, and deactivated in 2006. Today, only the third light remains standing, all other buildings having since been demolished. The site is not open to the public, and the entire area is fenced off.
Well good it exists on a card at least...



Four cool stamps, 2 from the set of 4 Paintings issued in 2014 representing artists from the Hudson River School. The first one is by Thomas Moran, while the second one is by Asher B. Durand.
Then below we have the Mariner 10 on a stamp, from a set of two Space Stamps issued in 1975, while the last one is from 1971, featuring the American artist, John Sloan.





Next is Cape Meares, an inactive lighthouse on the coast of Oregon, built and first lit in 1890, while the U.S. Coast Guard permanently switched it off  on  June 25, 2014, as it was no longer considered necessary for safe navigation of the seacoast.


here we have the other two art stamps from the above mentioned issue (here we have the works from Frederic Edwin Church and Thomas Cole. Below we have the two superb stamps from 1971, celebrating a Decade of Achievements for the US in Space. And lets not forget that red stamp, that is from a set of 4 issued in 1945, featuring Franklin Roosevelt






I was about to say that this series could've been called the Inactive Lighthouses of Oregon, but this one proved me wrong, cos it seems to be still active nowadays, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Being 28m tall, it is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon.
Made in Paris in 1868 and shipped to Oregon, Yaquina Head Light was first lit August 20, 1873, and automated in 1966. It is active with an identifying light characteristic of two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, and 14 seconds off.




Another oldish red stamp, issued in 1958, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Noah Webster (the Father of American Scholarship and Education). Right above it is a very nice stamp from a set of three issued in 1973, presenting the Progress in Electronics. And then two newer ones, from 2014. Two hot rods, or to translate it into understandable English - old, classic American cars with large engines modified for linear speed :))))))))))))))

Finding Nemo

And I decided to throw in one more card for today.

As many of you know, in 2012 the USPS issued a set of a Pixar stamps, with the motto, Mail a Smile. And besides the stamps, they also issued matching postcards. Bryon of course, sent those to me, and here I choose my favourite cartoon from that series, and one of my all time favourite cartoons as well, Finding Nemo.
I'm pretty sure there is no need for any special introduction or explanation who Nemo is.
However, my favourite character ain't Nemo but actually Dory, and probably it has been the favourite character of many, since in 2016 they released the Finding Dory cartoon. Super cute as well.
Anyways, from the Finding Nemo one, I have many favourite scenes and surprisingly enough, they all have Dory in it. So here is just one of them :))






A matching stamp of course, and also a stamp from 1982, featuring the Barrymores

Well Bryon, what else could I say except a millions of thank yous for all these beautiful things and the many many more that are still to be featured. It's really been a pleasure!!!

And to the rest of you, thanks for dropping by and...see you next time :)