Mark Joseph Jochim
This is my oldest website/blog, started in 1999 under the name mjochim.com when I still lived in the state of New Mexico, U.S.A. Other previous names included ‘Burque Blog (until 2007), Phuket Bookworm (until 2011) and Asian Meanderings (until 2020). The earliest days were hosted by Netscape and then the blogs were on the Blogger platform until finally switching everything over to WordPress in June 2011.
The present version features mainly stamps as well as a weekly “Sunday Summary” of my personal life and occasional articles about Thai traditions and culture. The WordPress version contains 604 posts as of 18 January 2023.
A Stamp A Day
I started this blog on 1 July 2016 in order to examine the stamps in my own collection a bit more closely than I did on Philatelic Pursuits. I wanted to choose a different stamp (and later included sets of stamps and stamps on covers) and write about it on each and every day for as long as I could. I looked into the background of whatever subject matter the stamp portrayed and included information about the design and release of the stamp(s) when known.
This was truly a labor of love but, like all passions I suppose, eventually came to rule my life. The articles kept getting longer and longer (brevity is not my strong suit) and I began to find I did not have much time for anything else other than research and writing. I needed time to focus not only on new stamps for my collection but also on my work-life balance. Still, I maintained a daily schedule for ONE THOUSAND days without interruption and wrote a “going on vacation” article on 25 March 2019. I have posted just twenty articles on A Stamp A Day since then (none at all in 2021 and only two in 2022) but often dream of adding more.
Postcards to Phuket
Ten years ago, stamps took a backseat to my postcard collecting activities. Not only was I an early member of Postcrossing (it was just under one year old when I joined) but I was also very active in a number of postcard exchange groups on Facebook and elsewhere. I felt that I needed a card-centric blog to share the many I had received up to that point. So, on 2 December 2014 I launched my very first collectibles site and I was fairly prolific, amassing 41 posts in the first month alone.
I do not recall the original name but rather early I changed it to “Please, Mr. Postman!” and it was Postcards To Phuket by the end of 2018. I tend to ebb and flo in my commitment to writing about my postcards as I often take the same approach as I did with A Stamp A Day: tons of research and including every shred of information that I found interesting. I will go several months without posting anything but had a bit of a spurt over the last couple of months of 2022 but have only written three articles for it this month. There are a total of 304 posts on Postcards to Phuket as of 18 January 2023.
My Collections is the newest of my blogs, with my first posts appearing there on 20 September 2022. The original intention was to have a site dedicated to items that I own that are not stamps, covers or postcards. I wanted to just post a single photo of each item and write a (very brief) caption describing the collectible. Under this format, I posted NINE articles on the first two days. A few of these included stamps, covers and postcards.
A change came about when a very well-respected professional philatelist complained about the minimalist format. He wrote that he loves the depth of research that I have maintained on A Stamp A Day and my New Issues articles for Philatelic Pursuits and that he always learned something new from those blogs. The brevity I experimented with did not offer that opportunity for pure education so the articles became longer and longer. I have not found the time needed to write-up other collectibles that I own so there have only been two articles since the start of December 2022, making a grand total of 25.
I also administer two Facebook Groups. I started Pandemic Philately very early in 2020 (just prior to the release of the first COVID-related postage stamp by Iran). I had become frustrated over the amount of fake news regarding possible stamp releases and wanted a site on which like-minded collectors could help each other separate the fact from the fiction. I had many ideas in how to help others with their pandemic-related stamps (and we covered previous big diseases as well) but then the entire topical exploded in a way I had not foreseen. Strict rules had to be placed upon our group to maintain its usefulness and eliminate the huge amount of spam and fighting amongst members that overwhelms so much of social media.
Largely, I think we succeeded (especially when one particular collector came on board to share in the administrator duties) but the entire topical eventually took on a sour note for me. I didn’t enjoy it very much during the height of the lockdowns here in Thailand (which seemed to be some of the worst and lengthy of any nation outside of China itself). My only regret with the group is that we made it “Private” at one point and Facebook does not allow a Private group to be changed to “Public”.
The Stamps of 2023
The current Facebook group called The Stamps of 2023 has existed since late 2019 (one of my first acts in any New Year is to change the name once again). My New Issues articles on my various blogs are automatically posted to the group and occasionally I will receive a contribution from another member. These all need to be approved before they appear on Facebook and the majority of those posts submitted are selling old stamps rather than giving information about anything current. That is a bit frustrating but we have a few members who live in locations where it is difficult to get information about new stamps; their contributions are few and far between but they are worth it to find out about stamps no one else is reporting on.
Finally, Philatelic Pursuits itself….
I started this blog on 25 May 2015 so this was actually my SECOND hobbyist site. It has always been called Philatelic Pursuits but has changed in content over the years. I used to post my designs for a “Stamps From Everywhere” album and had a history series on various stamp-issuing entities — current and “dead”. There were “Mail Received” and other short-lived series long before I began to focus on New Issues. I started doing that in October 2019 and had a good system in place for tracking down news before the pandemic took root.
Unfortunately, we lost most of the content from 2020 through 2022 when the servers basically got over-written during a period when I was not very active online anyway. There were 1979 articles that basically went up in smoke. What remains on the WordPress-hosted site are just 319 articles bookended this period (some earlier articles were removed). I am sad over some of what was lost (particularly the catalogues of COVID-19 stamps, Ukraine war-related material, and more). This 2023 Reboot may eventually attempt to recreate some of those posts as I do have my original files.