Sunday, August 31, 2014

Year of the Snake, Indonesia

after a break last weekend, here I am back with Sunday Stamps...with the subject of reptiles. I have to say that I've never really managed to grow some fondness of reptiles...well, apart from turtles and tortoises maybe....but all others are like a big NO NO NO to me...and I'd just like to stay as far away from them as possible (which is not always manageable, since every single summer we have these small lizards climbing our house walls...Im not gonna be telling you this story of this time when I actually found one inside my room...I wasn't freaked was more like a ewww feeling of 'what if it falls over me' or 'what if it ends up inside my bed without my noticing' and stuff like reaction to reptiles is more or less like this:

yeah, sorry Agi...and all other reptile lovers...they may be fascinating...but keep them away from me por favor! :)

with that confession made, here comes my choice for, well I wasn't really sure if this is appropriate to be posted cos in a way it covers a completely different subject, the Year of the....theme...but then again, being it is a Year of the Snake issue, I said, hey, why not...the 'topicality' of the issue has long time gone...and on top of that, I've realized I have never posted something Indonesian here before, so here it comes...a fascinating FDC issued by the Indonesian postal service for the Year of the Snake (which was last year) is strange that I call something reptile-related, fascinating, but in all fairness, as an issue, it really is.

In my possession I have the FDC that was issued with the souvenir sheet...there is one with stamps only as of issue: 22 January 2013

a few words on the holiday and its importance in Indonesia...

 The Lunar New Year is considered the most important festival for the Chinese people in Indonesia and around the world. The festival celebrates the arrival of the first day of the first month of Chinese calendar as well as the coming of spring. In Indonesia, the Chinese Lunar New Year is a national holiday, where 2013 was denoted by the snake shio with the element of water.

To welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year 2564, stamp series were issued depicting the object of snakes and water elements, namely:

Naja sputatrix - an Indonesian cobra or locally known as Sendok Jawa snake, which is a  poisonous,  snake and can be found in the islands of Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo and Flores. With a maximum length of 2 meters, this snake is capable of spraying venom directed to the eye. The color varies in each region. Black in western part of Java, brownish to yellowish in East Java and Nusa Tenggara. Its habitats are usually damp but warm, like under a bamboo tree or it may occasionally be seen near the river. Although not included in the endangered species list, a number of species tends to decline each year due to trading of snake skin and as pets.

Dewa Ruci - The legend of Dewa Ruci, a story of Javanese traditional puppet play called wayang, began when Bima was instructed by his teacher, Resi drona, to find Prawitasari holy water in order to reach peaceful mind in life. The Prawitasari holy water represents the essence of divine spiritual knowledge for the human being. Bima eventually realized that the Prawitasari holy water was located at the bottom of the ocean. Undoubtedly, he jumped into the ocean, but there he faced a giant sea snake - the symbol of evil traits that must be fought. Once he got rid of the obstacles, Bima met the tiny God Dewa Suksma Ruci who knew Bima's purpose of coming to the center of the Ocean.

 Naga Seba is batik design depicting dragon (snake) and birds (wings). Considered as Keratonan batik style, the design is highly influenced by the Hinduism and thw Islam. As also founded in the chariot of Singa Barong and Paksi Naga Liman, the ornament of Naga Seba combines snakes and wings as a symbol of the Sultanate of Cirebon. Typical Cirebon traditional glass paintings often use Naga Seba as objects.

that would be my contribution for today...for some more, ermmm, interesting (?) creatures, visit Viridian's blog :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Marine Life, Norway

Hello Sunday stampers...and everyone else!! Today was another one of those days when I thought I'd have to miss the Sunday Stamps' post due to lack of relevant material..but then as it often goes...I accidentally stumble across something that would fit in here we go! And I am sort of shocked to realize that these are the first EVER Norwegian stamps on this blog...

So here are three stamps of the Marine Life set issued in 2004.

The first stamp here shows the a Little Cuttlefish (or as its Latin name goes, Sepiola Atlantica), which is a species of bobtail squid found in the North East Atlantic Ocean from Iceland, the Faröes and western Norway to the Moroccan coast. (I copied this explanation from one of Bob's earlier posts, since he had this stamp featured too)

The stamp in the middle shows a Coronate Medusa (Periphylla periphylla), also known as helmet/crown jellyfish, represents an exception, very rarely found in the phylum Cnidaria: the medusae go through no polyp stage, thus presenting a "holopelagic" life cycle. The medusae strew fertilized eggs in open water and these develop directly into medusae, whose development rests entirely upon the egg's high yolk supply. The ephyra stage common among other jellyfish is not to be observed in P. periphylla.

The last stamp shows a Catfish (Anarichas lupus), which is a marine fish, the largest of the Anarhichadidae family. Apart from their unique appearance these are distinguished by the natural antifreeze they produce to keep their blood moving fluidly in their very cold habitat, involvement by both the male and female in brood bearing, and the large size of their eggs.

Well, Im far from an expert on the topic, so I just rely on what google has provided...I hope it hasn't let me down :)

for more underwater beauties, click on the button below...and enjoy your Sunday :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

European Capitals on Stamps!

Good morning all! It is a nice Sunday morning and it is time for Sunday Stamps!
I feel like Im gonna have a lazy day in general, and spend it mainly on cards, stamps and blogging on the same topics...yeah, I've been allowing myself a lot of lazy days lately, but come on, it's summer, so why not :P

Theme of today...faraway (exotic, romantic) places....hmmm, at first I thought this should only be about some places far far away, and I had the association of  'rare' countries in my head as well, don't know why....but then I saw Viridian's post, and I realized I could probably show these beauties, and I've been wanting to for a long while. After all, a faraway place is a rather relative thing, depending where on Earth you actually are...and same goes for romantic/ is an individual perception (and you'll see a clear example of this somewhere below).

So ladies and gentleman, fasten your seat-belts, and get ready for a short European tour through these awesome sheets of stamps issued by the French postal service! Each year, they portray a European capital. So far they've covered around ten I think...I do not have all the issues yet, but I hope to acquire them over time :)

And first comes Budapest, Hungary's capital, issued in 2011!

Beautiful city, that I had the chance to visit back in 2001, but I'd like to visit it again one day since I don't think I was able to absorb enough of it back then, neither enjoy the small cosy moments of just sitting at a cafe and doing nothing but relaxing and observing people.
On the sheet you can see the Parliament (which I believe is like on almost every Budapest postcard), the Great Synagogue, the famous Chain Bridge (one of the many bridges over the Danube), the Royal Palace (which I actually do not remember seeing), the Széchenyi thermal bath (haven't seen it either), the Matthias Church, the Heroes' Square, and that round thing in the middle that at first glance looked like a coin to me, actually represents St. Stephen's Basilica (or as it is in French, Basilique Saint-Étienne).

In 2010, it was Paris. And here comes the clash of romantic vs non-romantic for me. Yeah, I know Paris is considered as one of the most romantic and beautiful cities and all...but how do I put this...Paris has been one of the greatest disappointments in my life, and to me it is just way too overrated! Sorry guys, nothing personal and no offence, but Paris doesn't give me thrills no chills...and that's why at the beginning I said that 'a romantic place' is also a rather relative and subjective thing :)

However, out of all the stamps issued for the European Capital series, I do believe the one portraying Paris is the most beautiful one. Well, ok, it is issued by the French postal service after all, maybe they were biased :P
My favourite part of the sheet is the cafe atmosphere shown at the very left, plus I love the detail of part of the building being shown.
Other than that, you have the Triumphal Arc (we have one here as well I must say), Notre-Damme, the Eiffel Tower (how does it feel to climb on the Eiffel and all you see below is fog fog fog? terrible! =/), the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, Palais Garnier (a famous Opera House in Paris), a Champs-Élysées street plate...and at the very top, something that is called "Under the roofs of Paris".

If out of nowhere someone French stops talking to me/unfriends me or so, I'll blame it on this post :)

The latest issue from the series (issued this year, that is) is the beautiful beautiful Vienna! ❤

Visited it the same year as Paris, but was left with two very different impressions (so I dont know, maybe someone could tell me here something about my personality, something I am unconscious of, based on the places I like and dislike :))

Vienna is portrayed with the Secession Building (or also known as the Secession Pavilion), the Belvedere Palace, the Karlskirche, and the Hofburg Palace.
What I can't possibly understand here is how come they excluded the Schönbrunn Palace...

Well, Vienna is a place I fell in love with at first sight...a place where I felt at home, due to its lovely atmosphere and the overall high percentage of Serbian/Croatian languages I could hear spoken in the streets...for someone having grown up in Yugoslavia, yeah, that makes you feel like home...and it was simply my all time favourite place that I've been to...that is, until I visited Prague last year...

and yes, here comes Prague, issued in 2008! ❤❤❤

Another city that is probably spoken about and praised too much..but here, things clicked from the starters...I'll never forget the early morning when the bus arrived to Prague...and I just looked outside the window...and was in love! It is one of those places that captivated me IMMEDIATELY! I didn't even have to walk around...the very first view from the bus was just enough...spending a few days there just cemented our relationship...and it was then when Prague took over the pedestal from Vienna and has been there ever since...I wonder if there will be a place that will dethrone Prague..and I really wonder which place that's gonna be :)

Starting with the Charles's Bridge..then the Powder Tower, St. Nicholas's church in the Lesser Town, the famous Astronomical Clock, which is beautiful, but to me the performance is just plain boring and not worth the fuss (same goes with the one in Münich)...then you can see here the Church of Our Lady before Týn, the Castle, the nice and charming Golden Street....and a candelabra at the Hradčany, or the Castle District.
Ahhh, Prague......

Next comes the capital featured on the 2013 stamps...and another place due to which people may mysteriously stop talking to me...Madrid.

Well ok, I like it more than Paris..but however, this is another place I have not been impressed with...and couldn't find that bond...the city is nice and all and there are some great places to see, but personally just wasn't my type...I don't know if the fact we didn't bond was also due to the fact that during the time I was there, there were protests and I didn't really feel at ease...but however, I left Madrid rather disappointed...probably the best thing about it were the churros! Oh boy, those churros....a heavenly delight! I tried churros in Mexico too, but they didn't even come close to the ones in Madrid. I didn't try churros anywhere else in Spain, and Madrid has the Chocolateria San Gines, recommended on all travelling websites about 'places to see and do in Madrid' I guess if I ever wanna go back to Madrid, it would be to indulge into those churros again...and oh yeah, go to Madird Atocha, since I didn't get to do that last time (that is the Railway Station in Madrid :))
A quick go-through the places shown: Plaza Mayor, the Almudena Cathedral, the Plaza de Cibeles and the Royal Palace...where we wasted two hours waiting in a row, on what was supposed to be a free entry in the afternoon, just to find out that the 'free' entry was not valid for countries outside the EU...or unless you are from a Latin-American country...yeah, just to add to the annoying Madrid experience :))
Btw, I believe those 'artistic' pictures come from the Prado Museum..

And last comes the only place out of these that I haven't had the chance to visit, but that I'd really love to one day...there is something just so inviting about Lisbon!

Since I cannot give my personal insight here, I'll just name the places shown (and I'm familiar with most of them thanks to the postcards I have :))

So you have the Jerónimos Monastery, the Santa Justa elevator, the National Tile Musuem, the Belém Tower, the Bairro Alto District, St. George's Castle and the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos).

Well, a bit of a longish post, though I tried not to get into details about each of the place shown on the stamps.

And I have to give a thank-you note here to Eric, thanks to whom I have these beauties in my collection!

If you wanna check out some more faraway/exotic/romantic places, click on the button below...and have a great Sunday!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I ❤ Postcrossing, Finland

Time for another Sunday Stamps post, and a theme of 'anything you wish'...and NO, it won't be a train post :) When Viridian mentioned that we could maybe choose something that doesn't really fit into another theme, I don't know why but my choice fell on this Postcrossing FDC...yeah, I could probably squeeze it into a 'mail-related' subject, but who knows...I may miss that one time..and to admit, it is always really difficult for me to pick one thing when I have anything to choose from, so in order not to get stuck into an infinite loop here, I'll go with this one :)

This FDC was issued last year by the Finnish post, to commemorate the fantastic project of Postcrossing!. In case for whatever reason someone reading this is not really familiar with it, I highly recommend it that you check it out..if you've stumbled here than you probably love mail, and if you love mail, you will definitely love Postcrossing! I accidentally discovered it more than 6 years ago (yep, it's been that long), and I am not overreacting when I say that it is one of the best things that has happened to my life! Seriously!

Why I love it?  Well, I've always been into snail mail and after simply ceasing contact with my long-term penpals (that's both sides to blame, we just didn't have the time), I realized how much I actually miss stalking the postman, checking my mailbox dozen times a day and finding something inside that's not bills or commercial leaflets. And thanks to Postcrossing, my mailbox started feeling happy again...and me as well. Because it is not just about the cards you receive but also the fantastic people you meet on your way along...and I've had the greatest pleasure of meeting some of those people in person. And when I look back, I can't believe it how much this project has shaped and changed my life...for the better! May sound pathetic, but finding cards in your mailbox is one of the rare things sometimes that can brighten up your day and make you feel better instead wallow into your own misery...yeah, something so trivial can have such great powers :)

Btw, I am more than proud to be the number 1 postcrosser from Macedonia :D

Me at Postcrossing :)

Hope you are all having a nice Sunday...and enjoy the variety of stamps and themes today!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Modern Art in America - The 100th Anniversary of the Armory Show, USA

a very hot Sunday here...and cloudy...making it unbearable...esp for people like me with low blood pressure...I barely function on days like this...and all I do is sleep...but then it is also a perfect day to idle,  and dedicate your time on stamps and cards!

Today's subject is "Artists and Illustrators" and it took me a while to figure out what would fit...and I hope I nailed this one right...

Here I have a fantastic cover...sent by Bryon of course, featuring the set of stamps USPS issued last year to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armory Show.

The information I have come from the paper Bryon included (as he always does for which I am extremely grateful!)
Might be a long read since there is a short text on each and every stamp...but I hope you wont be too bored :)

After the International Exhibition of Modern Art known as the Armory Show, opened in New York on February 17, 1913, the work of Marcel Duchamp and other European artists greatly influenced their American counterparts. Like Duchamp, who became a U.S. citizen, modern art soon found a congenial home in America.

(in order of appearance on the cover)

Joseph Stella, Brooklyn Bridge (1919-20)
Joseph Stella, an Italian immigrant, painted multiple images of the Brooklyn Bridge and other New York icons. Brooklyn Bridge was inspired by Stella's experience standing late on night on its promenade. "I felt deeply moved", he later wrote, "as if on the threshold of a new religion or in the presence of a new divinity."
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912).

Charles Demuth, I saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928)
Charles Demuth created a series of "poster portraits" of friends such as William Carlos Williams, whose poem, "The Great Figure" describes a speeding fire engine. Lines from that work gave Demuth his painting's title. The words "Bill" and "Carlos" appear - the latter on a marquee in the backgroun - and the poet's initials are painted at the bottom.

Marsden Hartley, Painting Number 5 (1914-15)
Marsden Hartley spent time in Germany during World War I, when he painted a series of works sometimes called the German Officer paintings. Painting Number 5 is a composite portrait of Karl von Freyburg, a young German officer who was killed in the war. Symbols related to his identity and personality combine like puzzle pieces.

Aaron Douglas, The Prodigal Son (1927)
Aaron Douglas's modernist illustrations, created for some of the most important books of the Harlem Renaissance - the flowering of African-American culture centered in New York during the 1920's - drew partly on African artistic traditions. His Paintings for James Weldon Johnson's book God's Trombones included The Prodigal Son, which imagines the biblical parable in terms of African-American experience.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912)
Marcel Duchamp was famous in the US before he ever set foot here. His Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 was the most talked-about work at the Armory Show of 1913, an exhibit that introduced many Americans to modern art. Nudes were traditionally depicted bathing or reclining, not as abstract figures going down staircases!

Stuart Davis, House and Street (1931)
The paintings of Stuart Davis were heavily influenced by jazz. His vibrant depiction of contemporary commercial objects such as advertisements and cigarette packages made him an important precursor of the later Pop artists. House and Street presents a street in New York from two angles, forcing the viewer to be in two places at once.

Gerald Murphy, Razor (1924)
In his brief career as an artist, Gerald Murphy produced slightly more than a dozen works, about half of them now lost. His first surviving picture, Razor, presents a razor and other items seen from multiple angles. It is typical of Murphy's work in its flat, stylized depiction of commonplace objects, presented at a larger scale.

John Marin, Sunset, Maine Coast (1919)
John Marin was the preeminent watercolorist of his era. He spent most summers on the rocky coast of Maine, where he painted the sea and sky in their many moods. Marin once wrote in a letter that sunsets on the coast were "the kind - No Artist can paint." But that didn't stop him from trying.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie's II (1930)
Georgia O'Keeffe loved the New Mexico landscape. She spent some time in the upper Rio Grande Valley near the village of Alcalde, visiting her friend Marie Garland, and made several paintings there. "It was the shapes of the hills there that fascinated me," O'Keeffe said. "The reddish sand hills with the dark mesas behind them."

Arthur Dove, Fog Horns (1929)
Arthur Dove was one of modern art's earliest abstract painters. Fog Horns shows his interest in synesthesia, the phenomenon of stimulating one sense by means of another. The gray background suggests the ocean, while concentric rings of paint grow progressively lighter as they emanate outward from the center, conjuring foghorns blaring in the mist.

Charles Sheeler, American Landscape (1930)
In 1927, when Charles Sheeler received a commission from an advertising agency to photograph the Ford Motor Company plant in River Rouge, Michigan, he concentrated on the power of the machines and the plant architecture, emphasizing the impersonal grandeur of the scene. He went on to explore this vision in several paintings, including American Landscape.

Man Ray, Noire et Blanche (1926)
In Paris, American artist Man Ray made several iconic images of a woman known as Kiki di Montparnasse. Noire de Blanche is from a series of photographs juxtaposing Kiki's face with a West African mask. Man Ray and his contemporaries turned to African artifacts partly from a sense that Western art had exhausted its possibilities.

well, hope you liked at least some of the paintings!

for more artistic stuff, visit Viridian's page! And I apologize in advance that I will take at all the posts and leave my comments later today or tomorrow

Sunday, July 13, 2014

World Natural Heritage of Russia - Republic of Tyva, Russia

I've been feeling so sick all day long that I almost missed today's Sunday Stamps' episode...but thanks to the different time zones, the deadline is convenient, so here is my contribution for today's theme on Landscapes :)

I've chosen this Russian FDC - Russian stamps often feature some beautiful landscapes, though unfortunately I do not have many of those in my collection.

Here you can see the Uvs Nuur Basin, , which is a UNESCO whs and is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia (on the territorial border of Mongolia and the Republic of Tuva in the Russian Federation). It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds.

Enjoy more breathtaking views over at Viridian's!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

British F1 World Champions, Guernsey

when the subject of sports was announced for Sunday Stamps, I somehow knew my post was going to be something about Formula 1...and since today it is Silverstone on the schedule, it does seem appropriate to go with an F1 post.....that though not related to Silverstone in particular, is about something British :)

well, I wont be watching the race today...with Raikkonen doing sooo terribly this season, I've barely followed a race, and with just 19 points in total and holding the miserable 12th position in the overall standings, I think that watching F1 for the rest of the year would be on stand-by...hopefully, next year he'll do better :)

anyways, today's FDC comes from Guernsey...yay, first time to post something from Guernsey here! And here you can take a look at the career highlights to date of the 2008 and 2009 British Formula 1 World Champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Lewis Hamilton was born in Stevenage, Kent on 7th January 1985. After graduating from karting to single-seaters, Hamilton then rose through the ranks of Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries and the GP2 championship eventually earning his maiden Formula 1 test and a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race seat for 2007. His debut season was stunning and he appeared on the podium for his first nine races he ended 2nd in the Drivers' Championship by a single point. In 2008, aged just 23, Hamilton became the youngest World Champion in Formula 1's history.

Jenson Button was born in Frome, Somerset on 19th January 1980. One of his first major racing achievements was taking first place in the Karting British Super Prix aged just nine. His journey to Formula 1 saw him compete in the British Formula Ford and British Formula Three Championships. Button made his Formula 1 debut with Williams in 2000, and went on to drive for Benetton, later renamed Renault, BAR subsequently renamed Honda and then following a management buyout : Brawn. After a number of difficult seasons, his talent and tenacity paid off as he won six of his first seven races during the 2009 season and ultimately became a World Champion.

well, we know well enough that in the last few years it's been all about Sebastian Vettel, having won all the last 4 championships (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)...however, the prospects for 2014 are not so promising for him, so we'll see what happens until the end.

Btw, when ordering this FDC, there were also two with just the stamps, not the sheet, signed by Hamilton and Button...but of course, they were sold out, so I had to comfort myself with this one....

for more sports entertainment, check out today's post at Viridian's!