Radically honest Facebook updates

Postcard collage of a happy dog at the coast. Big text at the top says "Hypothesis: Radically honest Facebook posts ease anxiety." Small text at the bottom says "I am a dog"

Reverse side of postcard about radically honest Facebook updates.

Message on postcard:
Hey man — It feels good to finally get this off my chest. It’s been so awkward dodging all the questions. “Why do you sleep on the floor?” “How come there’s fur everywhere?” “Is that a bone you’re chewing on?” Well, I’m a dog. There, I finally said it. God, that feels better.

Subscription postcards: Genius dog and a pizza paradigm shift

Postcard collage: A dog stands in front of a giant hand with mathematical equations written on it. Text reads "The Need to Succeed".

Message on postcard:
Jennifer — I hiked out to the end of Cape Lookout this morning. Cape Lookout is a promontory located in a state park which bears its name. Eponymous geological features are usually pretty good, and this one was no exception. To the north you could see the Netarts Spit, which I’d hiked yesterday, and miles of coastline were visible in both directions. The trail winds along above tall cliffs, grassy steeps, and a rocky cove. I took the dogs with me. They got really close to the ledges and it made me nervous. I told them to step back and that they have too much to live for. If humans were like dogs, we could save hundreds of lives by placing dog treats near emergency suicide hotline phones.

My dog Kaida eating grass at Cape Lookout.

Kaida, high above the Pacific and oblivious to all danger, browses on vegetation along the Cape Lookout trail.


Postcard collage: A horned mammal with prominent rear end kicks with its rear legs. The text "circles are the new slice" is overlaid above a cross-section of a ball bearing mechanism.

Message on postcard:
Erin — Last weekend, while hiking at Cape Lookout, I searched for a plaque in memory of a 1943 plane crash, but I couldn’t find it. The guidebooks didn’t say much about it, so I did a little research to learn more. A B-17 flying through coastal fog crashed into the cliff, just fifty feet or so from clearing the promontory. There was one survivor, who was thrown from the plane into a tree, hanging by his bootlaces and soaked in aviation fuel while a fire burned nearby. He went on to become an appliance salesman. It makes me think about all the ordinary people you see in the course of an ordinary day, and what kind of stories they might be carrying with them.

Learn more here.


Postcard collage: A bison stands in front of a cornfield, with text that says "PIZZA SLIDERS"

Message on postcard:
Mollie — Dateline: Tillamook Cheese factory! After camping at Cape Lookout, I’m here touring the Tillamook Cheese factory. They have big windows where you can look down at the factory floor. Blocks of cheese the size of small monuments zoom around single-file on a production line, where they’re cut into brick-sized units and slipped into colorful packaging. One of the workers would happily wave at anyone watching him. Another worker would only reluctantly return my wave. I think he wondered why a full-grown man touring a cheese factory would wave at him. I have no good answer and concede his point.

A worker at the Tillamook cheese factory acknowledges my presence.

A worker at the Tillamook cheese factory acknowledges my presence.

Subscription postcards: Bats, birds, and dogs that love math

Postcard collage: A bat flying in front of Crater Lake at sunset, with the text "Amazing Technicolor Brain"

Message on postcard:
Kevin — Today I was walking along the beach and I found a really long, rubbery plant with an air-filled bladder at one end. What is this thing? Is it kelp? I don’t think it’s kelp. I don’t know very much about ocean plant life, but I know this thing is interesting and disgusting. I think the whole plant is hollow. It’s like a hollow, rubbery rope. When the mutant apocalypse hits we’ll rename things after their new, post-industrial uses. These weird sea plants will one day be known as quick-rot hoses. But I want to know what we call them today.

My dog Skillet and a weird sea plant.

Skillet sits next to a quick-rot hose on Netarts Spit while staring at the ocean.


Postcard collage: A bird of prey with outstretched wings is positioned behind an "Iron Range" sign from Minnesota. A word balloon from the bird says "Come in".

Message on postcard:
Beth — Cape Lookout State Park is a popular spot for paragliders. Today I saw about ten of them flying around above the beach. They tend not to venture too far from shore. I’m guessing that one paraglider lost at sea was enough to teach everyone else a valuable lesson. People who can fall out of the sky don’t like learning the hard way.


Postcard collage: Tourists appear to lean to the side in a wooden shack called the "Gravity House". Text says "'Publish or perish' has become an axiom affecting the destinies of many scientists."

Message on postcard:
Hey Kathleen — Today I ate marionberry pie for breakfast. It’s my new favorite thing to do while camping. I didn’t know the difference between a marionberry and a blackberry, so I had to look it up. Turns out that the marionberry is a specific blackberry cultivar developed by the USDA at Oregon State University. In 2009 Oregon was going to name the marionberry our official state berry, but a farmer who grew a different cultivar objected and the issue was dropped.

The fracas generated a great headline: “Push to name a state berry starts rhubarb”. The story had a fantastic quote from Marion County’s state legislator: “I am not going to bat over internal disputes in the berry community.”

Learn more: http://tinyurl.com/berry-fracas

Subscription postcards: Big strides, greywater reservoirs, and badgers

Postcard collage: A giant foot about to step across the Mississippi headwaters. Text: Award for stepping across the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca, Minnesota.

Hello Andrew! Here’s a postcard I picked up last summer at Lake Itasca, home to the Mississippi headwaters. Itasca is a made-up word, derived from the phrase veritas caput, Latin for “true head”. Apparently the actual headwaters of the Mississippi were a matter of some contention. While there I strode across the Mississippi with my dog Skillet. I was warned to be careful; if he peed in the river near the source he could flood New Orleans. A man and his dog, flirting with danger.

Postcard collage: A big sign that says "DAM" in front of a backlit sequoia.

Hello Mollie! I hope you like this postcard — I made it using a dam-awareness brochure I picked up in Minnesota last summer. Out here in the west all the reservoirs seem kind of low. I have been doing my part to help: I save all my used dishwater, and once a week I drive up to the mountains to dump it in the nearest reservoir. I am joining thousands of other planet-loving Americans in my quest for a greener earth. It must be working — when I turn on the faucet, the water comes out soapy and full of potato peels.

Postcard collage: A man in running clothes next to a tent and pine trees, with the text "All Natural". Behind him is a badger.

Hello Kathleen! Here is a postcard that I made last summer while I was in the Midwest. After I made this postcard I saw a badger in Iowa’s Loess Hills — another great case of life imitating art. For such fierce creatures, badgers sure are cute as the dickens.

-Mike

ps: Did you know Wikipedia has an article titled “List of Fictional Badgers”?

Subscription postcards: Rock formations, primary functions, and life questions

Postcard with skeptical interpretation of "The Poodle" rock formation at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Jennifer and Anthony — This is a postcard I picked up back in April on my first trip through Utah. All the rock formations there have imaginative names that supposedly describe their appearance. This one is supposed to be a poodle. I don’t see it, but it’s probably good that someone with more imagination named these things. If it had been left up to me, every single formation would be named “Yet Another Rock Thing”.

Postcard with a bridge, a ship, the mightiest wind, and finding your primary function.

Hello Sacha! Right now my dog Skillet is chewing on a bone. He’s really getting into it, and it’s not even a real bone, it’s one of the fake ones from the store. But he still has this intense “I am fulfilling my primary function” thing going on. He seems really content. I should write a self-help book for the hyper-analytical called Finding Your Primary Function.

Postcard of pondering man: Man has a greater brain capacity, and can reason.

Hey Steve — Do you ever wonder this? I wonder this all the time. “What am I doing with my life?” I ask myself. And if only I was better at lying to myself, this question could get me really psyched up. In fact, I think that is probably how Dog the Bounty Hunter got so successful. Every morning he woke up believing he was a bounty hunter, and then he was one.

I am a bounty hunter. I am a bounty hunter. I am a bounty hunter.