Tag Archives: Postkarte

Re-Post: Grexit Mail

Over three years ago I posted photos of a postcard I sent my friend Andreas in Athens, preparing for Grexit before it was called Grexit.

The crisis has worsened, Troika insists on austerity for Greece although austerity without a haircut has never worked, Twitter is buzzing with #thisisacoup .

The postcard was originally sent in January 2012.

So it seemed appropriate to re-post “Greek Financial Crisis: “Just in case…””:

 A couple of months ago I moved back into my appartment. When I was unpacking boxes I found a little tin can full of old currencies. Amongst them three pieces of 10 drachmae.

Just in case bailing out Greece fails, I sent them to my friend Andreas in Athens:

Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Front: Just in case...

Three old 10 Drachmae Coins sent to Greece in case the country defaults and leaves the Eurozone.Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Back: Just in case...

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad’s 70th birthday.

I have sent him 71 postcards:

70 Candle-Postcards.

70 Candle-Postcards.

70 candles and one cake. The cake is actually posted as a heavy letter.

Cake Letter

Cake Letter

The 70 candles all weigh less than 20g each, so technically, they could be considered as a letter, but the maximum weight of postcards according to Deutsche Post is not a specific weight, but a weight per square measure and a maximum size: Maximum sizes are 12.5 * 23.5 cm (where the length has to be 1.4 x the width) and a maximum weight of 500g/sm .

The problem, though is that the candles are not rectangular. Technically, the Post could return the candles to me asking for an additional fee (Nachentgelt), but I didnt put a return address on them. Or they could just deliver them and ask the recipient to cough up an extra 76 or 96 cents. The exact amount of Nachentgelt charges for specific irregulatities eludes me. The fun fact is, that it the actual charging of Nachentgelt from recipients seems random. Apparently, Deutsche Post does not monitor, whether it is actually collected by mail delivery staff. My experience is that the less urban the recipient lives (e.g. the less floors the mailWOman has to walk up to actually levy the fee), the more likely it is that they will try to do so.

On a previous occasion when I sent my dad non-rectangular mail, he was charges 76 cents:

Swiss Air teaspoon as postcard

Swiss Air teaspoon as postcard

The blue “76” in the top right corner means that someone in the mail sorting facility decided that the mail delivery person might want to consider levying 76 cents fee for non-rectangular mail. The recipient, of course, could refuse to receive and therefore, pay.

I sent the 70 candles over the course of 48 hrs from about 10 different mail boxes all over Freiburg. I wonder how many will make it.

Mail Art: Dear NSA

I wrote a postcard to the NSA making them aware of the fact that they should stop reading my emails while I am in the US.

I typed the postcard on my Triumph-Adler typewriter, because I loved the story about the Russian Intelligence Services going back to typewriters.

In case they can’t identify me by name or by  the typeface of the typewriter, i actually licked the stamp (mormally I use self-adhesive stamps).

Oh, and, dear NSA: You’re probably reading this. So: I’m always happy about mail art. Feel free to send me a reply to my P.O. Box. You know where to find me.

The front of the typewritten postcard to the NSA.

The front of the typewritten postcard to the NSA.

The back of the typewritten postcard to the NSA.

The back of the typewritten postcard to the NSA.

Postcards from Sweden

Two weeks ago I received two Postcards from Andreas in Sweden.

Thanks Andreas! Let me know your address and I’ll send you something in return!

IMG_2580 IMG_2581

Souvenirs: Schwarzwälder Schinken

A postcard for Scott Blake. 90g of organic Black Forest Ham made in and sent from Freiburg. “Souvenirs” is an ongoing series of sending typical regional things somewhere else.
Surprisingly, the ham made it thru customs. Scott posted a photo in his Flickr-Stream.

A postcard made from Black Forest Ham send to Scott Blake

A postcard made from Black Forest Ham send to Scott Blake.

Oysters for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

On July 25th, Wired’s Danger Room Blog reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington had posted a request for quote on FedBizOpps.gov was soliciting the delivery of 4,000 bushels of “shucked and air dried” oyster shells. By the way, come on, “bushels”?!

That was just too good to be true. So I went surfing the net and almost perished in the attempt to read and understand the jungle of provisions and clauses a possible vendor of oyster shells is required to meet. There are specific provisions on Child Labor (52.222-19), Convict Labor (52.222-3) , Trafficking of Persons (amongst the oysters?), Buy American (52.225-1 and -2) and, one of my favorites, Encouraging Contractor Policies to Ban Text Messaging While Driving (52.223-18). In it, the goverment expenses 70 words to define what “driving” means in this context, then another 100 words to define “text messaging” to then finally come to a point: “The Contractor is encouraged to Adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving”.

Well, no wonder government is so expensive. First, it needs to pay people who make up those provisions. Then it needs people who can express them in legalese. Then  it has to pay people to format those and put them somewhere on the web (and file a ton of paper in the meantime). Then the contractors have to pay someone to find, read, understand, implement and enforce those regulations, allthewhile facoring those costs into their bills to the government. And in the end the government has to pay someone inspect the implementation of regulations. To make this clear: I am not against a ban on texting while driving or child labor, and while all those regulations might have originated from plausible and good intentions, I still am idealist enough to hope that there is some way to make all this somewhat less bureaucratic. I mean, come on. 100 words to define text-messaging?

Anyway, after reading through a couple of these I decided I didn’t care too much (besides the fact that I have no idea where to get that many oysters) and that I would send the USACE just a single shell. AFAIK there is only one place that sells oysters in Freiburg, which would be the fish stall at Markthalle, where I went and got this:

I hate eating oysters by the way. Anyway, I gulped it down, treated myself to some candied Kumquats as compensation and went home to clean and “air dry” my oyster (it stank!).

A couple of days later it was ready to be sent to Denese Kushinsky who was mentioned as USACE Wilmington’s contact for the RFC. And this is what it looks like:

One Oyster shell sent to the USACE Wilmington as a response to their RFC Solicitation Number: W912PM-12-T-0

I am curious as to whether it crosses the ocean safely;-)

Greek Financial Crisis: “Just in case…”

A couple of months ago I moved back into my appartment. When I was unpacking boxes I found a little tin can full of old currencies. Amongst them three pieces of 10 drachmae.

Just in case bailing out Greece fails, I sent them to my friend Andreas in Athens:

Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Front: Just in case...

Three old 10 Drachmae Coins sent to Greece in case the country defaults and leaves the Eurozone.Postcard to Andreas in Athens, Greece, Back: Just in case...