I just wanna be a winner ... and it's your free thread
July 1, 2024 12:07 AM   Subscribe

As we enter the latter half of 2024, the question is: have you ever won anything? Perhaps in the tombola at a summer fete? A prize for art or poetry or writing? An election where you were a candidate? A scooter uh motorbike on a TV game show? A word game? Maybe you got lucky in life or employment, or got some free cheese, or scooped a big lottery cash prize? Winning literally, or figuratively? Happily or sadly? Or do you want to win something specific? ... Or write about whatever is on your mind, in your heart, on your plate or in your journal, because this is your weekly free thread. [Post title/inspiration by Brown Sauce from 1981]
posted by Wordshore (137 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
well, it's Canada Day up here in the nation of the same name. So in honour of all that, here are The Guess Who
posted by philip-random at 12:17 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]

Tombola [1][2] winnings of the season so far this summer in rural Worcestershire: a bottle of cheap plonk and a bottle of aftershave, a bottle of prosecco, another bottle of prosecco. Other games played: croquet (in which the vicar blatantly cheated). Cakes eaten: a lovely slice of lemon dessert, and a Victoria sponge with apricot jam filling.
posted by Wordshore at 12:20 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

so i’m in this run-down hotel in brussels and make the mistake of taking the stairs down to the reception desk instead of using the elevator like a normal person. so anyway the door that claims to be the ground floor exit locks behind me after dumping me off in a very narrow corridor full of unmarked doors, most of them either locked or with no handles. this results in me spending about 20 minutes wandering through the backrooms while wondering if the next door i managed to open would either 1) lock me in a corridor/closet with no openable doors at all or else 2) set off every fire alarm in the building or i guess 3) feed me to slenderman or whatever

eventually i made my way out but not before passing through a series of staircases littered with miscellaneous detritus and with no working lights and then crossing some kind of rooftop deck(?!) on what claimed to be the first floor and then going through a couple more darkened staircases and finally emerging on the street outside a different building after opening a featureless door with a broken handle by holding down the latch with my thumb.

my working theories for what it was that i walked through are as follows:
1) it’s a series of defensive fortifications built in preparation for the language war turning hot
2) it’s where they throw people who pour belgian beers into the wrong glasses
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 12:29 AM on July 1 [16 favorites]

So today is my daughter’s birthday, but YESTERDAY was my baby sister Gretchen’s birthday. The day she was born (6/30/1960, just short of my 7th birthday), my little sister Brigitt and I were at the Missoula Mercantile where I entered a raffle and won the grand prize - the board game Monkeys Wild.
posted by skyscraper at 12:43 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]

Also the Mercantile was pretty interesting. All sales (cash or check, no other option) were sent off to a mysterious place via pneumatic tube with the receipt returned by the same method and, best of all, as a child, you could have your shoes fitted using an X-Ray machine. Aimed at your genitals.

My daughter turned out great, thank you for asking.
posted by skyscraper at 12:57 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]

The deer madness I mentioned last week has grown into a viral monster consuming the anime community and I am absolutely psyched to be joining Team Brainrot. In further surrender to my inner weeb I have begun Japanese Duolingo and am absolutely crushing the early stages (7000 points in three days) as thoroughly as I had previously crushed Turkish. The Turkish ended when my lovely Turkish friend left Boston, so I’m concerned about burning out again but since I watch almost nothing that is not anime* I may have an anchor this time.

*(except machine learning, sailing, and advanced carbon fiber vacuum molding techniques, in roughly that order)

My folks visited Boston along with my nephews this past week to see the aquarium, and I showed the two of them - true Boomer fundie evangelicals - that first deer promo vid linked above. While I’m ashamed to be trolling my parents as an almost-44-year-old man, I confess their reaction was everything I’d hoped for.

I again attempted to fall in love with Stellaris and again I thoroughly failed.

I’ve been dithering over whether or not to get a Framework 16 laptop, but am somewhat put off by the reported power issues. In theory it is now technically possible to connect an eGPU with 8x PCIe lanes via the Framework’s rear dedicated GPU module adapter, so I’ve been wondering whether to just buy one and tackle a drop-in-place 3D printed dock + eGPU enclosure with an RTX 4060 TI 16GB as a fall project? If I pulled it off I’d be able to just have one Linux laptop for everything - including a true desktop replacement - but the sole open source hardware setup for eGPU docking seems pretty iffy at the moment. I am serious about switching to Linux in the next week or two, but maybe it would be better to gain familiarity with that in a slightly more stable hardware context, first (I have years of OpenBSD commandline experience up through rolling custom kernels so it’s not a *nix thing, it’s X / Wayland that has me worried). Open to advice on this, or just sharing the glory of deer anime and simple joys of deliberate self-inflicted brainrot.

What’s that? Have I ever won anything? Oh…[gestures to the above paragraphs] life, clearly.
posted by Ryvar at 2:05 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

We were in New Orleans, walking around in the French Quarter close to the river, when we entered into a candy shop, Southern Candymakers. We bought pralines to take back home with us. 6-12 months later, in the mail we get 4 boxes of pralines. No idea what happened or why, but then talking it through, remember that my partner filled out a card with her name/address on it and threw it in a "win a shipment of pralines" sign on it. Lo and behold, free pralines! And free, surprise pralines.
posted by Carillon at 2:17 AM on July 1 [10 favorites]

For a while there Mr. eirias and I were entering raffles at neighborhood festivals and routinely winning “a free X per month” kinds of prizes. It was ice cream at least twice. These prizes tended to be poorly documented, just plain paper certificates, and we’d show up each month to collect our winnings and encounter a lot of cashier side-eye; still, I don’t think we ever went home empty handed. Small business owners, if you’re giving away a prize like this, please make something that doesn’t look like it was printed at home from an Apple IIe.
posted by eirias at 2:34 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

I won a raffle once. It was at a bushfires benefit gig, and I got a bunch of CDs, which should give a hint as to the age of this story.
posted by pompomtom at 3:20 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Hawaiian shirt day at highschool- I dressed as a pineapple and won first prize. I had a paper hat with paper leaves, a hoop around my middle, another smaller hoop around my legs, and multiple strips of brown fabric holding the pieces together.

Very awkward and cringey as I look back, but it's the only contest I've won.

Oh and there was the time a group of History and English teachers went to a trivia fundraiser and... Well let's say we weren't the target audience for difficulty.
posted by freethefeet at 3:23 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Back in web 1.0 days, when all the companies realised they needed a website but still hadn't much of an idea what to do with it there were quite a few competitions worth entering. I won Worms 3 iirc and Dark Reign computer games but also a year's supply of beer (1 can per day - actually 16x 24 tins). I believe the latter wasn't totally legit. Basically I played an online game and on the day the competition closed had the second best score, which should have got me 24 beers, a bag and a rugby shirt. However, big beer company's contracted IT provider dropped the ball, when I wrote to ask for my prize I amazingly was picked from the hat as the winner of the draw prize, all the beer.
posted by biffa at 3:27 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I have won a few "door prizes" at various club banquets, back when that was a thing. In fact, sitting on my desk in front of me is one of those prizes, a $25 gift certificate for a store nowhere near where I live and in a store where $25 isn't going to go far. I must have won it...10 years ago? More? It sits right next to a Nordstrom gift certificate I rec'd in the mid 1990s from my parents which I misplaced, forgot about and recently found again. It was for $50, which might have stretched to a pair of Docs (maybe) back then, and now wouldn't get more than a pair of shoelaces, given [gestures]--I've often wondered if they'd still honor it (assuming Nordstrom is still around, haven't been in one in 30 years).

I have not won the powerball, which would be far handier.
posted by maxwelton at 3:42 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I'm working at a big box store, and corporate insists on yearly "team" all-store meetings. These are held at 6:00AM on Sunday before the store opens. Yeah. So the good part it's paid time, the bad part it's the store manager reading from the corporate produced slide show and adding in occasional specific store 'metrics' since numbers are what matters.

When employees arrive and clock‐in, we are each given a ticket with a chance to win pre-selected store merchandise. The goods range from bug repellent to store logo t-shirts to full-sized grills.

Readers, the only thing I've ever won, after years of supporting volunteer fire department raffles, after buying chances at a myriad of other fundraisers....was at one of these store meetings.

But, it thankfully wasn't the big fancy grill because where does one put such a thing? And it wasn't the bug repellent which could have been useful.

It was a wee plastic watering can in the most ugly brick brown color imaginable. Yet, although ugly, the thing has proven very handy for watering my houseplants. So my win wasn't the win one would wish for but it's the win I needed along the way.
posted by mightshould at 3:53 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]

There is an arcade in my area that has rows of claw machines where you can occasionally find the most amazing cursed plushies. Every once in a while I’ll take a trip there to play some pinball and see if any creature in the machine catches my eye.

This is how I won bonsai Bert and Ernie last summer. They would probably kill me in my sleep if they had functional limbs, and I love them.
posted by ActionPopulated at 4:20 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]

When my daughter was about 3 we went to a chain restaurant, and they gave her the usual coloring page, which is generally very useful to minimize toddler chaos. Many months later they called us up and said her drawing had won the contest. I had no idea what they were talking about but we went down there and they gave her a stuffed rabbit bigger than her. Big Bunny took his place as the largest of a large pile of stuffed animals, and lived with us for many years. My daughter leads a very creative life these days, and it makes me wonder how Big Bunny contributed to her confidence.
posted by bitslayer at 4:33 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]

I won 2 episodes of Jeopardy! back when Trebek was still the host.

When I was maybe 8 or 9, I won a 10 ft long stuffed snake at the fair, from one of those toss a ball into a basket games. I am extremely confident the guy let me win so that other marks would see a tiny child win and decide to try their own luck. The snake was turquoise with pink polka dots, and my poor dad had to haul it all the way out to our minivan, parked in the far reaches of the gravel fairgrounds parking lot. I won the dad lottery, too.

After a run of too hot days, the dog walking temp this morning was 67 F/19.4 C, so I feel like I won something today.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:04 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]

I won second prize in a fancy dress competition on a cruise ship. I was dressed as a pirate. I can't take any credit for the costume: being all of about five years old at the time, it had been made for me. Photographic evidence of the occasion still exists somewhere, depicting five-year old me pointing my pirate sword at the crew-member who presented the prize (a 'Snakes and Ladders' game).
Regrettably, at the moment the photo was taken the sword was aiming in the direction of his crotch.

In a BBC radio call-in quiz about eight years ago, I won a t-shirt and some CDs.
posted by misteraitch at 5:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I'm going to Ireland next week because I won a short story prize, which is just about the most exciting thing that's happened to me in forever. It's the second fiction prize i've one in the past couple of years after a long period of not submitting. I was encouraged by a friend who gently reminded me that even the best stories don't get read when they never leave your laptop.

A few years ago I got pretty into The Moth and won a bunch of story slams, and one Grand Slam (though my story has never, to my knowledge, made it on the radio).

In college I won a national award for a play I wrote, which everyone seemed to believe signalled a future for me in the theater, but I ended up in advertising and music writing. Honestly, It could have been worse.

I still think my greatest prize was winning a Halloween Costume Contest at nine years old (I got a gift certificate to local movie theater) for my Empire State Building costume. All credit to my mother who spent I don't know how many hours Xacto-knifing art deco windows into taped together cardboard boxes and taping flashlights to the interior (this was the 80s, so pre LED strips). She will be happy to remind you of that as well (and to this day) should you ever run into her.
posted by thivaia at 5:10 AM on July 1 [18 favorites]

This seems like a good place to share this obscure really really bad music video from the early 80s. It's . . . really bad. (I love you Marty, but you put yourself into the wrong hands here.)
posted by JanetLand at 5:35 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

i won enough votes some 15 years ago to become deputy mp for my district, and got called in to parliament a couple of times during that term. i wouldn't say it was fun, but it was definitely educational

most recently there was a sweepstakes over on bluesky where you entered by donating to a fund to help a family get out of Gaza, and i won a signed copy of None But The Righteous by Chantal James

of those two, i'm prouder of the latter
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:36 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

I was going through a box of papers waiting to be shredded and found an envelope labeled “raffle prize”. It contained a gift certificate to a local golf course, free 18 hole round + a cart for 4 people. Apparently has no expiration date. I haven’t golfed in several years, and even when I did it a lot I sucked at it (and yet somehow still made the varsity golf team in high school?) anyway I keep thinking I should use the gift certificate but finding 3 other people who want to go play golf seems like a lot of work.

Past Major Awards: a pair of ASICS running shoes, a case of Pop Tarts, and a life size cardboard cutout of John Wayne, who used to scare the bejeesus out of my roommate and I back in college, because walking into a dark room to see the vague silhouette of a man holding a gun is a bit shocking when you forget it’s just The Duke
posted by caution live frogs at 5:52 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

Years ago I attended a fundraiser at a glassblowing studio and won the raffle for the plate the artist made during the demonstration. It’s beautiful but very hard to photograph. I’ve placed in my age group in a few 5k races but those days are long past.

Right now I am winning at being on vacation! I’m taking two weeks off. We’re taking a 5-6 day low key road trip for part of it, getting back next Monday, and then I get to spend the rest of my time off doing what I really want (nothing!).
posted by obfuscation at 6:02 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

At the very end of the last free thread I told the story of how I won a bunch of Ben and Jerry's swag by being part of a team that ate one of their Vermonster sundaes. One other game of chance I won - I was dragged along on a grocery shopping trip once when I was 14, and opted to stay by the entrance where there was a raffle for a microwave; I filled out tickets until Mom was done; and then, we won. It lasted another 20+ years.

I was present when our neighbors won Connecticut's lotto back in 1989; they won $8 million, which was the highest payout at that time.

There was a state high school drama competition that we entered my senior year; at the beginning of the year our drama coach had tried to sign us up but we were #3 on the waiting list, so he figured we'd never get in and didn't prepare anything. Then, a week before the competition, he got a call and was told that 4 schools had all dropped out and we could join if we wanted. Our drama coach literally ran out into the hallway just before school started that morning, hunting down 4 of us to drag us into his office and explain the situation - he figured we could get together a random one-act real fast and compete. "We'll never win," he said, "but at least we'll have our hat in the ring." We did the recognition scene from Anastasia, with my childhood BFF as the Dowager Empress; they rewrote the narrator's speech to be like a maid, and that's who I played. We rehearsed every day after school for a solid week and then turned up, one stage hand and a barebones set in tow. Everywhere we went at the competition, when we introduced ourselves others said "Oh, you're the school who only had a week!"

....We kicked ass - my BFF won an award for her own performance and we got some special recognition honorary prize. There really was no way we would win the whole thing, though - the school who won had written their piece, a sort of revue of selections of Shakespeare mixed with songs (and in one very memorable moment, two guys performed a scene from Midsummer Night's Dream as a rap battle).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:04 AM on July 1 [5 favorites]

I don't win things much, but I've come to peace with it. I kind of won the lottery when I was born. Sentimental, yeah, but there it is.

As a kid, I won a lot of spelling bees, and I remember being scolded for having a cry about coming in fourth at regionals. My granddad, who did the scolding, was honestly quite right about that. I did get a puppy for my spelling bee achievements, which was a pretty big win and wiped any remaining tears away. He lived to be 18, and that was also a win for a chihuahua from a Docktor Pet Shop -- it was a different time, we didn't know. (He wasn't wired right, but we loved him.)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Bombastic, I’ve dreamed pretty much that exact dream before and upon awakening then consoled myself that nothing like that could ever possibly happen in real life. Guess I was wrong.
posted by jabah at 6:10 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]

Oh - a couple weeks ago I won the first of the milestone prizes you get in Brooklyn's Browse the Branches, but I cannot find the damn thing. It's okay, it was just a gift card for a free cookie or something.

....As for other stuff going on -

My roommate came back from a weekend away at like 4 am this morning. I'd spent all weekend cleaning the snot out of this apartment in anticipation of his then leaving again on Wednesday, and this time he'll be gone for 3 weeks. I have SUCH PLANS. ....Unfortunately, those plans originally included trying to make some kind of move on the cute neighbor I've been slowly befriending; but HE is also leaving town for 3 weeks, I've just learned. Oh well.

At some point today I'll be checking on whether I have a second-round interview for that temp job I interviewed for late last week. I've got a good feeling about that.

Mixed berry sorbet was the latest ice cream creation; sometime today I'll make up some sort of DIY Cherry Garcia, a cherry base with some chopped cherries and chocolate chips. I also can report that Jarritos soda strawberry works very well in an ice cream soda.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:15 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

10 years old, won a ride in a radio station's traffic helicopter, as well as 25 packages of Tang instant orange 'juice' mix powder (the kind the astronaut's drink!) as well as two Tang beach towels; quite a day! At 12, won the my hockey league's outstanding goalie award. So, my luck peaked at 10 years old, my athletic career at 12!
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:20 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

I've never won much; my brother had the reputation in the family of always winning things. Our family's large livingroom TV was technically won by him at around age four or so, because Grandpa put all the grandkids' names on raffle tickets he bought from the Lions club, and my brother won it. That winning streak continued for a long time IIRC, drawings and raffles and cakewalks and all that sort of thing.

I guess I was part of a group that won something -- one summer, me, my wife, the three kids, and my father went to the horse park to look at horses and watch the races. We didn't know much about betting or horse racing or anything but we let the kids pick the horses based on which were prettiest and looked the fastest and wrote them on the sheets and placed the bets, and their expertise and insight won a trifecta box, because of course we knew what that meant and were actually trying to do that, and the pot was something like $250. We left the horse park and all went out to a nice dinner and paid for it with our winnings and split the rest between the kids which was probably something like $50 each, which was a lot of money to a pre-teen around 2005.

Everything update: Filmed the event I mentioned in last week's free thread; my assistant, who I'd only sort of worked with once before, did a good job, which I expected. She graduated in 2023 and now works for the local PBS affiliate; we commiserated about who we know who also works there, who I either knew from when I freelanced for that organization or know through the local film festival.

My wife, who has a small "oddities, antiques, and art" shoppe, recruited two local theatre people -- you know the kind, they are verrrry 'extra' and always 'on' -- to sing a theme song for her shoppe to the tune of 'row row row your boat' and we recorded the song and filmed them interacting with her store dressed up in weird victorian clothes, and my wife's intention is for me to edit it into a commercial for her shoppe that will air at like 3am on basic cable for like $20 a spot. The theatre people didn't do the work for free...they were given three antique handpuppets in exchange for their services. The whole thing is absolutely absurd and ludicrous and hilariously weird and totally on-brand for my wife.

As a filmmaker, I know that the camera doesn't make a filmmaker, but with the projects I've done and have planned I'm coming to realize that it's hard to be a filmmaker without actually owning a nice cine camera (I had to borrow the one I used for the event) -- so after hemming and hawing over the money, I bit the bullet and bought the highest quality camera for my budget: a Sony FX6. I haven't gotten to play with it much, but it arrived in time for the oddities commercial for my wife and it was literally the first thing I filmed with it, and I am really happy with it. Of course, I did the "want to see my new camera?" to my wife, held it up, and she patiently said, "yes, that's nice", because she loves me but knows nothing about cameras. Her boss, who also has worked in TV (he was in an episode of CSI!) was way more excited and sent a photo of my camera to his boss, who I'm sure also responded with a "yes, that's nice".
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:30 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]

I am currently winning the race to lose weight by getting rid of unnecessary organs. In January it was my reproductive system and last week it was my misbehaving gall bladder. I'm hoping this week I win my attention span back from meds and pain. Last week pain was high and meds were keeping me goofy. This morning is my first day without more muscle relaxants, so we'll see.

(Tonsils are already gone, so appendix is the big one left, I think, and I'm hoping I do NOT need emergency surgery to get rid of it by the end of 2024.)
posted by gentlyepigrams at 6:40 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]

I just won my team’s monthly NYT mini crossword competition for June. (We track daily times.)

There was some drama because the official tally overlooked my 0:22 winner from June 10, which I logged in our Slack channel from vacation in Croatia, at 3:22 a.m. ET.

Anyway, sorry about that, Clay.
posted by notyou at 6:51 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

back in college in the late '80s we were loafing around our dorm room listening to the local rock station when they did one of those "be the Xth caller and win tickets" things. we liked the band OK and so I figured what the hell.
The DJ, though, decided to have some fun, so instead of the usual "be the 10th caller" set it to match their FM frequency -- "be the 106th caller!"

So I'm dialing and dialing for what seemed like an hour but was really only maybe five minutes. And I got through a bunch of times -- "you're the 14th caller" and "you're the 33rd caller" and so on --probably because the band wasn't a huge deal. Then I get through again and it's dead silence. And so I start babbling questions at them, and they have the tape running, so when they play back the "you've won" bit on the radio, I sounded like a complete idiot.

But we did get tickets to see Zebra, kind of a one-hit wonder of the time, and better yet, we got passes to a pre-show party at a local bar and drank some Long Island iced teas -- they weren't drinking, iirc -- and they were really cool. Talked about how they started out as a Led Zep cover band, and my roomie had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Zeppelin, so it was fun. And then for an encore they ripped through three terrific Zeppelin songs and it was fun.

Completely different music-related win: Thirty-odd years later we were in Nashville and went to a really cool benefit show for a local music education program for kids. The gimmick was, a bunch of country and alt-country stars would come and play a couple of their favorite songs and talk about them - and the place would project the guitar tabs (think sheet music) up on screens, and the audience was invited to bring their instruments and play along. My son brought his guitar and was so thrilled to play along with these folks.

They did a raffle for a copy of the program signed by all the participants, and I threw in a few bucks because it's for a good cause, and actually won the thing. So over my desk I have the framed cover, with signatures from Jason Isbell, Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh, Jerry Douglas, Mark Stewart, Amethyst Kiah and several others. I'm a huge Isbell fan and he came out and chatted with us after the show and patiently endured my fanboy chatter.

My two brushed with fame and fortune. It's be nice to have that luck with Powerball instead, but not complaining.
posted by martin q blank at 7:41 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

For some weeks now, I've been working on an essay that is both about a former friend of mine who has since become a right wing extremist *and* the sociopolitical problem of people who buy into factually insupportable causes, why it happens, and what we can do about it collectively and individually. I've been expecting it would be about 10,000 words long when done, but it's currently nearly 14,000 words long, and still a few weeks from completion, with several sections of it presently consisting of point form or random jottings waiting to be fleshed out. Oops.

But I'm totally into it. I've been able to think quite a lot about this former friend of mine without getting at all worked up, which means I've moved on, and I'm not only gaining a new level of insight into what went wrong with her but am also developing a whole new understanding of why people become politically misguided and how complex a problem it really is.
posted by orange swan at 7:43 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]

I won tickets to see the Decemberists in August on Instagram a couple months ago! I actually didn’t believe it - I assumed it was a scam or some elaborate phishing scheme - but no, it was legit and I am quite happy. This will be the second time I’ve seen them, third if you count a stellar Colin Meloy solo show at the local gorgeous historic theater.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:52 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]

I told my mother about how I was working on this essay during my last phone call home, saying that I was delving the reasons why people do things like vote for TFG. She snapped, "It's because they're idiots!" Any essay she wrote on the topic would clearly be more concise than mine, but I've come to believe that is a reductive viewpoint, and not helpful.
posted by orange swan at 7:54 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

have you ever won anything?

Metafilter's heart!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]

In high school my school district tried to encourage teens to read by having us review and recommend books that we liked and giving us a raffle ticket for each accepted review. Apparently I was literally the only person dorky enough to submit anything and ended up winning by default. I didn’t even know the raffle was a thing, I just really wanted to gush about Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman!

(The prize was allegedly a signed poster of some second-tier boy band. I never received it because the individual administering the prize ghosted me, and then I ended up on her personal marketing email list for a solid decade before I managed to unsubscribe.)
posted by btfreek at 8:31 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

(I posted this Sunday evening, in the dregs of the last free thread, so probably nobody saw it; I'm reposting it here with tenses re-jiggered)

Yesterday I made red wine sorbet (roughly equal parts Cabernet and simple syrup, plus a shot of lime juice). It was more liquidy than I'd prefer coming out of the machine, but as I hoped an overnight stint in the freezer firmed it up a bit (the alcohol helps keep it from freezing solid). And it tastes amazing! While I was at it I made cold brew concentrate for another try at coffee gelato, this time with a little more coffee in it, I'll make that this evening.

I also juiced 8 lemons - about a cup and a half of juice - for lemon ginger sorbet. That'll go in the fridge for now; I'm waiting for powdered xanthan gum to arrive, which will keep the finished product from freezing too hard. In fact I'm going to start over on mixed berry sorbet with the xanthan gum as well (the gelatin didn't work out great).

Other than that I spent the weekend pecking away at some smaller housekeeping tasks, and a little model painting in between.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:34 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

I won a fiddle contest in the Poconos the year before Covid. It was fun but I felt a bit like I had an unfair advantage since I had many years of classical training as a child and so my intonation is perhaps better than someone who started playing bluegrass fiddle later.
posted by wurl1tzer_c0 at 9:02 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

I've won three things I can remember. I won 2nd prize(?) in some Presidential Earth Day essay contest for kids during the Clinton administration. I got a bunch of educational books that I didn't care about so I gave them to my mom (a teacher).

Then I won a couple of fancy Peter Lugar steaks off of some recipe blog. I don't think I even had to do anything for that except post in the comments.

And then I won a copy of Belle and Sebastian's The Life Pursuit off of some MP3 blog back when that album came out. We had to parody the title of one of the tracks on the album ("Funny Little Frog") and my choice ("Paraplegic Little Pony") won out.
posted by downtohisturtles at 9:02 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

At our volunteer fire department's July 4th picnic half a century ago, I guessed the number of beans in a jar and won a stuffed animal. I still have a 100 percent win record for guessing the number of beans in a jar.
posted by pracowity at 9:03 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I once bought a Powerball ticket at the same convenience store which sold the winning ticket for that drawing. This random little Circle K in Gretna, LA. So close, and yet so far.

I got the hobby project almost working. Unfortunately I am still missing a very small fraction of interrupts. It’s a bit impressive to have gotten this far, the interrupt goes off every 980 nanoseconds, and I have to service it within about 500 nanoseconds.

I got this approach to work on an 816MHz Teensy 4.1 microcontroller, but only with some tight control over when the main loop code is permitted to suspend interrupts and for how long. In theory, the 800MHz M7 core on my dev board (almost exactly the same ARM core model as the Teensy had) should be able to do the same thing. But in practice, I think that very rarely, just accessing the on-chip SRAM is hitting enough contention on the AXI interconnect that it doesn’t complete for long enough to blow past my deadline.

But I am not dismayed! Because I have another board arriving today, an FPGA board, which I intend to use to redefine the problem, such that I will no longer have to respond to interrupts so frequently and so promptly, and can instead batch up the events and only have to interrupt every 32 microseconds, with maybe 20 microseconds of permissible interrupt jitter.
posted by notoriety public at 9:20 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Speaking of winning, yesterday I was the top scorer in the Diamond level on Duolingo where I am learning French, Russian, and Irish, with the person in second place 1,000 points behind me. It's an empty victory, but mine, all mine.
posted by orange swan at 9:28 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

I have won concert tickets. I have I have won a cannabis science education course (eight months of learning!!)

Other than that, it's Canada Day, Oreos are $1.94 CAD per package, and tonight Shepherd and I go see a double feature of Pearl and X before Maxxxine is released this week.
posted by Kitteh at 9:34 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Orange swan: I absolutely demolished my Pearl League - what I dropped to after stepping away for a year - with 7000 total over the three days since I began Japanese. What’s a first place in Diamond look like these days?

(I am probably not going to resume Turkish which is a shame because it’s such a structurally beautiful language and it fully deserves my attention but it is almost physically painful to twist my tongue that way, and with the departure of both my Turkish friend and my Iranian scientist friend who speaks Turkish at native proficiency I have nobody left to practice with.)
posted by Ryvar at 9:42 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I did actually win something that pretty much changed my life. Back in the 1990s after picking the wrong degree and graduating with a shit grade I had little clue what I wanted to do beyond not going back to the town I had come from. I worked pretty much full time in a student bar for a year then was on the dole for summer while the students were away. Some time in that Summer I filled in the entry form for a free competition in a national newspaper to win an Interrail ticket. In the September I found a better job than the bar one but was still working on what would be on or below minimum wage if the UK had a minimum wage back in the day. Around the December I heard I had won the Interrail ticket. At this point I had never left the UK, our holidays as kids had been very local to where we lived and pretty basic. I bought a Let's GO Europe book as it was the thickest Europe wide guidebook for the money and started saving some money from my new FT job, as well as doing some hours from my now PT bar job. I was able to talk the people I worked with to agree to cover my shifts for a month (it was the kind of job where 1 of 3 of us had to be on shift when we were open, 8-12 6 days a week, and Sundays 1-11, sometimes more) so there was always a need to cover holidays but still, that was a lot to ask. I got permission from my boss to take the block of leave.

When August rolled around I was packed to go and booked a cross channel ferry. By the time it came to go I still felt unprepared, hopelessly naïve and clueless. I almost bottled it by London and only fear of looking like an idiot got me to the ferry. I arrived in Amsterdam after no sleep on the ferry and somewhat paranoid about the city went on to Cologne and found the International Youth Hostel. After getting some sleep things looked a lot better and I figured out that I was gong to need to push myself to talk to people at the hostel to have some company over the next month. I got talking to a Scottish woman around my age and we did a city tour, and after that I found it pretty easy to pick up company at the low end hostels where young tourists from around Europe and the world pack in like sardines. Met some lovely people, ate a lot of cheap pizza, got the train to the middle of nowhere in Hungary, had bank errors in my favour, got threatened with arrest in the Czech Republic. When I got back I felt really motivated to make some decisions and get something done with my life. Two weeks later I talked my way on to a PT MSc, reorganised my shifts again and committed to working some hellish hours to fit study with FT job and PT job. That MSc earned me a place on a PhD and kickstarted my career. I would never have considered Interrailing if I hadn't won a ticket, it was something the middle class kids did, and looked unaffordable, but by winning it, I felt it was something I had to use. Using it really gave me more of an idea of my capabilities than my undergrad degree ever did. Maybe I would have made my way some other way, but winning that ticket and what came after was a real source of impetus that drove me to find a goal for myself and work towards it.
posted by biffa at 10:41 AM on July 1 [28 favorites]

So over my desk I have the framed cover, with signatures from Jason Isbell, Gretchen Peters, Barry Walsh, Jerry Douglas, Mark Stewart, Amethyst Kiah and several others. I'm a huge Isbell fan and he came out and chatted with us after the show and patiently endured my fanboy chatter.

This is a wonderful story. Jason Isbell is wonderful. You know, I was lucky enough (I guess this also counts as a win) a few years back to have Virginia's Crooked Road as a client and I had an event with Amythyst Kiah. She's both an extraordinary talent and an awesome person.
posted by thivaia at 10:58 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I once won a photo contest at work. To this day, I am pretty sure that the judges saw that it was taken by "John M" and assumed that it was from the other "John M" in our office who they all liked better than me. In fact the winner was announced as that other John before they later corrected themselves. Anyway, the photo was a nicely cropped print of this photo and the prize was a not as well cropped fancy framed print of that photo.
posted by 3j0hn at 11:19 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

I won a coconut once at a fair as a small child in England. I was very young and I don't even remember what exactly I did to win. But we took that coconut home and made my dad break it open for us and all feasted on the flesh of the coconut.
posted by wurl1tzer_c0 at 12:12 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

At the circus in what I believe was the Long Island Arena (early 60s) I won a red Columbia bicycle. It was an adult model and I couldn't even ride a two-wheeler yet so they exchanged it at the bike shop for a small kids model with training wheels. I haven't won anything near as nice since.
posted by tommasz at 12:33 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

Speaking of Duolingo, I have made it up to the "Champion" section of Duolingo Spanish. (Which is to say: I'm finished with all the new content but I still have 41 units of mostly practicing the subjunctive.)

I am trying to do less Duolingo and more Actual Spanish (which is to say: mostly reading novels translated from English, because most of the novels originally written in Spanish are still too hard for me), and I'll probably get a subscription to Vix once my annual raise goes through.

...And speaking of language learning and winning things, in college I got third place in a Japanese speech contest, and I still have that handkerchief. ("You would have gotten first place if not for your accent," my professor said, which did not actually make me feel better.)
posted by Jeanne at 12:39 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

Oooh, I just remembered another one. When I graduated high school they had an overnight lock-in thing for all the seniors (presumably to dissuade unofficial post-graduation parties). I won a raffle prize that was a gift certificate to a movie theater. It happened to be the movie theater I worked at where I got to see movies for free anyway so kinda useless. They let me exchange it for a gift certificate to a local diner instead.
posted by downtohisturtles at 12:40 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

> Bombastic, I’ve dreamed pretty much that exact dream before and upon awakening then consoled myself that nothing like that could ever possibly happen in real life. Guess I was wrong.

belgium: where dreams come true

having escaped from the hotel/interdimensional portal in brussels i now find myself in paris, where i have not yet gotten trapped in any uncanny liminal spaces but well the night is still young
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 1:10 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

seems like i won housing

it has taken a v. long time & still not for sure yet

but i have slept the last few days indoors in "my" apt

altho it seems they may make me move again... not sure what's up, it's been one thing after another since move-in, but...

i'm indoors
posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 1:13 PM on July 1 [24 favorites]

I think biffa has won this thread!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:14 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

In 2012, I won an Opus Cervin (low-mid range hybrid bike) from Momentum Magazine. They had a free subscription with a draw for the bike at the Toronto Bicycle Show. Their stand was jammed in a difficult corner, so I think hardly anyone visited and entered the draw. I still have the bike: it's been ms scruss's occasional commuter bike for years.
posted by scruss at 1:14 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I've won various awards at the county and state fairs, fashion design competitions in high school, and costume contests. So I'm pretty proud of my work in all of those areas.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:21 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

I once won VIP seat tickets to a concert for the favorite band of the guy I was seeing at the time, but some lady my mom's age was sitting in them when we arrived and she threw a beer bottle at me when I asked her to move, and said "come and make me move you ugly c*nt." She did eventually get kicked out but by then the dude had ditched me for a better time and altogether, it was the worst night I'd had in a while. I don't enter contests anymore.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:25 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Things I've won:

A go-cart at a grocery store raffle (my younger car-obsessed brother was enraged)
An LP of "Let's Dance" by David Bowie by being caller 9 to a local radio station
A trifecta during a horse race at the local county fair.
And most recently, a got a copy of "Let Me Tell You What I Mean" by Joan Didion at a thrift store. Inside I found $100 CASH.

And in other news, I am finally about to open the doors on my new bookstore. I fled my old location at the end of 2020 for the obvious reasons (and some non-obvious ones, too), and have been happily working at a home-based bookbindery since then. But over the last several years I've amassed quite a collection of used books, so I'll be delighted to hawk those in addition to my handmade tomes as well.
posted by ikahime at 2:12 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]

Wordshore, I love your reports and photos of cakes!
posted by kristi at 2:37 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I played the game on The Bozo Show… not the grand prize game sadly, but another game that had two teams of about 6 kids. We had to jump over a stick. My neighbor had written away for tickets when her kids were young but it took years to get a ticket to that show. Someone picked us out of a line to be in the game. They picked my sister so I cried a little to get on the game too. We both took home the exact same bundle of prizes ( maybe a board game or puzzle and a few small things). On the way home from the city we got White Castle for the first time ever which was probably a better prize in my mind.
posted by Bunglegirl at 4:40 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

Sixth grade geography bee, on a question about Hadrian's Wall. No idea where twelve year old me would have learned that.

A jar of jelly beans by guessing the count. Actually my guess was second best but the best was the sin of the contest organizer, so they gave it to me. I just picked up the jar, counted the number on the bottom, and multiplied by the count going up the side. Not sure why everyone didn't do that.

A toy from a claw machine for a summer camp girlfriend.

Best savory pie (with my wife, no, she and I made it together I didn't bake her in a pie; it was saffron duck).

I'm back up to A Rundle next season in trivia, but I am sure that won't last. It never does.

This week, I expect to be able to shoot the first room of my WIP point-and-click puzzle game. I have been expecting that for several weeks, but this time I think it's really going to happen. Can't wait to get it into the engine and be able to click around the space.
posted by novalis_dt at 5:24 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

I won a bale of straw in a raffle in Hall, Montana, pop. 51. At the time I had chickens so I was delighted. I have a happy photo of me and my dog and my straw bale.
posted by HotToddy at 5:52 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]

Just made coffee gelato with about 3 times the amount of coffee originally called for - well, sort of. Most of the recipes I found say to use 1/2 cup of espresso or moka, but I made cold brew concentrate using a medium roast and used a cup and a half of that. Maybe next time I'll try it with moka, since I do have a moka pot stashed somewhere...

Next up while I'm waiting for the xanthan gum to arrive so I can make more sorbet: olive oil gelato! I made an olive oil sorbet which wasn't bad but stayed really slushy even after being in the freezer overnight. Hoping the gelato version will fare better.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:55 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

At a Shakespeare conference last November, I was one of three people doing presentations where the brief was (from the local theatre company): "Pitch us an Early Modern play our company haven't done." I proposed the extremely stupid comedy George a Greene, the Pinner of Wakefield.

We each had to make a case for our play, and we were given actors to perform scenes from our chosen plays. The other two presenters got actors from the professional company. I submitted my request late, so I was assigned three theatre students from the university organising the conference. I hadn't directed anything since the early 2000s, but they were great to work with and we did OK together, I think. We brought out every laugh, no matter how cheap. And we won!

I was glad to be able to give the students that victory with a bunch of theatre professionals watching them. And I felt happy that my directing had worked, and that (mystifyingly) people liked my thing??

Anyway, I won a certificate. I don't mean to brag, you guys, but it was LAMINATED.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:42 PM on July 1 [8 favorites]

When I was in JrHigh, our school sent all the kids on "Safety Patrol" (in-town kids wore a vest and waved a flag for smaller kids to walk on the sidewalks; rural kids were ostensibly bus monitors) to the state Capitol for an event the State Patrol put on; I won a 10-speed bike. Which was pretty awesome, except have you ever ridden an 80s-model 10-speed on gravel roads?

In college, I worked in Postal Services, and we kicked ass at all the morning radio contests. The local station had a game where you had to figure out what 3 things had in common - I was really good at that. I was one of the prelim winners who got a plastic Ren and Stimpy watch or something, then helped a bunch of coworkers to win as well. Eventually, a coworker got to a final level and I helped get him to the grand prize, so he split it with me. So my then-boyfriend and I got a night at a Bloomington hotel and passes for Camp Snoopy at the brand-new Mall Of America. Pretty fancy for 1993-us.

I haven't won anything since, unless you count the time I found a $100 bill in the trees near an ATM. Which I do, actually. (I used it to buy new sheets.)
posted by cinnamonduff at 8:04 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

In 6th grade, I won my school’s DARE essay contest with an extremely sincere essay. I won a cheap medal, a plushie of their lion mascot that I slept with for some time after, and a sense of smug moral superiority that took a helluva long time to shake.

These days I am a nurse and a hard-line harm reduction advocate who believes that all of the drugs that are currently illegal should be legal and regulated to ensure a safe supply. Goofily sincere as ever, just in the other ideological direction.
posted by I am a Sock, I am an Island at 8:05 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]

When I was like 6 or 7 I won the "Most Improved" player award on my Country Club based hockey team in Kansas City, (outdoor rink and everything).

Then I won the "Footballer of the Year", along with a midfielder who deserved it more than I, in my HS's second year of fielding a team, (which I think was still co-ed at that point? We had like two women on the squad those first two years IIRC, no other teams did).

Haven't "won" anything else I can think of, other than not dieing a couple of times and getting to have had this wonderful life...

also, though I might have missed it...

posted by Windopaene at 8:45 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

I won a poetry contest and had the poem published in a local literary magazine in 3rd grade. (It was awful.) Won a couple of science fairs, a spelling bee, a short story contest at the local library, and was part of a winning academic decathalon team. Got all the winning out of the way by the end of high school.

Since then most of my exceptional achievements have been less about winning and more about not losing in dramatic and painful ways. Survived a drug overdose, a couple of impressive car wrecks, three collisions with cars while biking (two of which trashed the bikes), two collisions with cars while walking (one of which involved getting hit with what I think was a disassembled futon the guy was carrying on top of his car), a couple of encounters with extremely angry dogs, a guy pulling a knife on me on a crosstown bus in San Francisco, a couple of near-drowning incidents while kayaking, a brief but memorable panic while skydiving, and at least two falls from 30+ feet, one of them into a pit full of upright rebar at a construction site. Nothing to show for any of that but a couple of small scars and some good drinking stories. So I guess I'm still winning, it's just that the outcome spectrum has shifted downward significantly.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:24 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]

a brief but memorable panic while skydiving

Up to you to reveal if you wish, but I'm intrigued on the detail as it triggers all manner of conjecture and speculation e.g. "Oh shit I forgot to bring a parachute ... wait ... no, I'm wearing it" etc.
posted by Wordshore at 10:26 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Abbess Roding, England 1970: at the annual Summer Fête the newly appointed Rector, the Rev Ernest Exell won Three of about eight prizes in the raffle. Much cheering for the first win, rather less for the third.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:25 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

We went to a Pint of Science talk, part of efforts to communicate ongoing active research with interested members of the public, back in May. That evening, they held the nation-wide quiz and I won a pint glass with the "Pint of Science" logo on it. (Partner k3ninha wanted to win, but scores were boosted by how fast you answered and I picked my answers as quickly as I could and I knew 2 answers she didn't. The national winners all had absurd boosts from being fast to answer and all the slots on the leaderboard were at one of the many sites across the UK hosting talks.)
posted by k3ninho at 11:45 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

It's lovely to hear of everyone's winnings, altho' bombastic's lowerstory perambulation sounds like the shortest of straws.

I don't recall winning anything until I won the NZ section of an Australian garden design competition - the prize was the garden being built at the Mebourne Garden Show [imgur link to an image of the garden, and an article in the Flemmings Nursery newsletter] and being flown over and put up for the week - it was an extraordinary thing and came off really well.

I've do a few others including, a garden about sex, but Melbourne 2004 was peak garden show participation for me.
posted by unearthed at 1:12 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]

> It's lovely to hear of everyone's winnings, altho' bombastic's lowerstory perambulation sounds like the shortest of straws

posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 2:53 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]

I just picked up the jar, counted the number on the bottom, and multiplied by the count going up the side. Not sure why everyone didn't do that.

My grandmother, who passed away last Christmas, always had a jelly-bean-jar contest at large family gatherings for the grandkids; the grand prize is to keep the candy and jar. She was a sneaky, competitive woman, and she would make the "counting from the outside and multiplying" trick impossible because she'd put mixed-sized jelly beans in there -- like she'd have jelly beans and Skittles and other small round candies -- or she filled the center with an empty toilet paper tube to further throw off the calculators.

One time, however, one black-sheep cousin was certain he had the winning number and insisted on a recount of the jar contents, which proved they didn't win, but also proved the openly-known secret that Grandma never actually counted the beans, she just came up with a rough estimate. It wasn't a "always let the youngest kid win" made-up number or anything, Grandma had rules.

That jellybean-counting cousin was persona non grata for a long while.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:14 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]

i've been making decisions on where to travel day-by-day using aleatoric-ish methods — i go wherever i can find 1) relatively cheapish last-minute train tickets to and 2) relatively cheapish last-minute accommodations in, flipping coins/rolling dice when there's multiple options — and i'm counting the combination of random-ish factors that just got me to paris as a major win
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 7:16 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]

Oh, I forgot! I originally came in second in a junior high poetry contest, but then the first place winner got dethroned when they found out she'd plagiarized a Robert Louis Stevenson poem. It was very dramatic.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:09 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]

You know who else counted "getting to Paris" as a major win?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:10 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]

millions of tourists every year?
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:24 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]

people who just barely qualified for the tour de france?
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 9:24 AM on July 2

posted by biffa at 9:27 AM on July 2

Bunch of Olympians, probably.
posted by mersen at 9:49 AM on July 2

Today I spotted the first sign outside a pub saying they are taking bookings for Christmas dinners.

(In fairness, we are in the latter half of 2024, nearer to the coming Christmas than the last one, and the nights are drawing in now)

Jingle Bells
posted by Wordshore at 9:56 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]

Oh! I won a scratch off for the grand total of a whopping five bucks once. A sibling had decided that his birthday ritual included buying himself a lottery ticket, and he handed me enough cash for me to get myself one too, and then to his chagrin I won and he did not.
posted by wurl1tzer_c0 at 10:22 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]

My biggest win was an essay contest in high school for a week-long trip to DC. Shook Bill Clinton's hand - he spoke with our group for a full 10 seconds before moving on, toured Congress and the White House, it was fun.

Won some CDs from the orthodontist. Still listen to all of them. Way to go 13 year old me.
Won free McDonalds Big Macs for a year - one per week. My kids still hate Big Macs.
Won a bunch of raffle prizes I've never claimed for my kids' school stuff.
Won some concert tickets for Dogs Eye View from a radio station. Free concerts are always good.
My wife won Disney on Ice tickets and we sat in a luxury box. I'd never pay to see that, but for free it was great.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:54 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]

Up to you to reveal if you wish, but I'm intrigued on the detail

It's not much of a story tbh. A moment of distraction led to a longer moment of panic and confusion before I sorted myself out, pulled late but still within a reasonably safe margin, earned myself a yelling-at by the instructor once we were all on the ground safely. Realized that an inclination toward distraction, panic, and confusion is a good argument against doing things like jumping out of airplanes, so that was my last jump. These days I stick to hobbies where distraction isn't quite as risky, mostly things like reading and drinking and sitting in chairs.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:51 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]

I rarely win anything except a few dollars on a scratch lottery ticket now and then. I won a cake in a cake walk at a Halloween party when I was a kid and went as the Little Match Girl. Come to think of it, I also won a prize for my seriously misinterpreted costume.

Since kiddo will be going on to some form of further education in the medium future (maybe, I don't know, I'm feeling pretty damn fatalistic right now based on current events) I've been looking at the finances and figuring out where I need to make adjustments.

Part of that was updating my retirement deductions. I spent a good hour today trying to turn percentages into real numbers so I could get a sense what I would see in my paycheck going forward. I finally gave up trying to make the math make sense because I could not figure out at what point the pre-tax percentage was being applied (and rest assured, I ran multiple scenarios and could not find the difference) just took everything off gross and assumed the maximum. I looked at contributing the full amount for the allowable catch up, but I would not have enough in my check to cover the bills if I took that route, so baby steps.

As kiddo will be of driving age soon (although I had to adjust my expectations there as well as the laws dictating the age at which an individual can get a driver's permit have changed) I am also looking to purchasing a newer vehicle and reserving the one I drive right now for kiddo.

Circumstances are still such that it would make more sense to purchase a new car and frankly I've never had a new car and I want a new car and I have a nice chunk of change saved up to purchase it outright or put a really comfortable down payment on a new car. Spouse is doing the thing where one says the words "I support you" then comes up with fifteen thousands reasons to dissuade me from the purchase, starting with questioning my desire for model A instead of model B and ending with a series of suggestions that all mysteriously seem to benefit him more (including purchasing model B instead of model A).

Spouse is foolish, we have been together a long time and he is running dangerously close to provoking me to make a decision out of pure spite. Fortunately, I have an excellent track record when it comes to purchasing vehicles, so even if I buy one out of spite, it will probably be a good vehicle. (note: our relationship is solid, he will get over it).
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:54 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]

Well, I support you unconditionally, theBigRedKittyPurrs. I am not primarily a car person, but I still own a car, and when it was time to replace my previous car, I marched into the dealership and got myself a new Fit. It was the cheapest new car on the lot, but it was still new. You can make your own mistakes with it, you don't have to live with the consequences of any prior owner's.
posted by notoriety public at 7:41 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]

Yesterday's olive oil gelato came out fantastic. The xanthan gum I ordered came today, so I made lemon ginger sorbet using 1/4 teaspoon of the gum powder (and could maybe have gotten away with 1/8 teaspoon, but it's all good). Came out of the machine a teeny bit soupy but that's to be expected, and it should firm up satisfactorily overnight. Tasted amazing too! I deliberately went light on the sugar because I wanted it on the slightly tart side to contrast with all the other rich and sweet stuff I've been making. Tomorrow I'm going to take a second stab at the mixed berry (with a pinch of xanthan gum this time) and call it a day week. More flavors will come eventually, but after six flavors plus two or three do-overs I'm done for a few days! I need to focus on some other housekeeping that needs doing before this weekend's get-together.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:36 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]

I tried to make Peach ice cream a few weeks ago. Frozen peaches, simmered in sugar, then mashed, and then put in with the whipped cream and milk. Massively expanded in the ice cream machine, so I had to stop it before it was probably done, so a little icy in spots. Ms. Windo thought it wasn't sweet enough, but it had a mild sweetness, and quite a peach punch. Didn't blend the peaches well enough, so every so often you would hit a big chunk of peach. Which is not a bad thing. need to make some tweaks and try that one again.
posted by Windopaene at 10:24 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]

I feel like there should be some smaller side-chat that's all about ice cream making exploration!

My latest - the DIY cherry garcia (cherry base ice cream with some chopped cherries and chocolate chips in) came out okay, but I think the one variation I made is one I won't repeat; you're supposed to soak the chopped cherries in a splash of cherry brandy first, and I didn't have that but I did have a splash of cherry rum and figured "eh, that won't make a difference." ....It does.

The mixed fruit sorbet is wonderful, though. And next up (after I eat more of the backlog to make room in the freezer) is this so-weird-it's-good sounding stuff using coconut milk, condensed milk, pineapple juice, and grated zucchini.

....Then I'm going to try that Rocky Road with the super-mini marshmallows. However, I'm running into some differences with the nuts used - some recipes say they have to be Spanish peanuts, and some say it has to be almonds. I've also had a weird idea to try to give it a punny spin; there's an Irish trad song, "The Rocky Road To Dublin", and I'm wondering if there's some way I could give Rocky Road an Irish spin (but....how).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:47 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

there's an Irish trad song, "The Rocky Road To Dublin", and I'm wondering if there's some way I could give Rocky Road an Irish spin (but....how).

posted by notoriety public at 4:26 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]

We're going to Romania tomorrow and while I'm super excited about all of the good things we will get to eat, Romanian ice cream is not one of them. For cost reasons, their stuff tends towards the "ice milk" consistency you used to see in the US around 1990. It's not great.

Eh, but who knows? Maybe they fixed that now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:52 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]

coconut milk, condensed milk, pineapple juice, and grated zucchini.

🎵 If you zucchiña coladas... 🎶
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:29 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]

I've been thinking a lot about how to figure out the divide between people. This morning I watched a woman win a car on The Price is Right and smiled. Someone I've been spending a lot of time with sneered instead. So that is todays two kinds of people.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:40 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

I've been wondering what I'm going to do with myself tomorrow - I'm still technically unemployed (although I could be hearing about a temp gig any minute now), my roommate is out of town, but so are a lot of my friends, and it's going to be hot and icky during the day but then rainy at night. So that rules out practically everything fun, and it's not a day I feel like celebrating this year anyway.

But I am up to being able to watch another film for my blog; I can pick anything off the list from 1970. And that means....I can watch Patton.

Honestly, I think this is exactly the right time to delve into a three-hour takedown of a formerly-lauded World War II General.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on July 3 [2 favorites]

Oh - and in the afternoon, I usually head to a park and read American history books. I think this year I'll opt for It Can't Happen Here and The Plot Against America instead.

And I'll wear all black.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

EmpressCallipygos, we just got a hand me down DVD of Patton when my mom downsized. I’ll have to watch it this weekend!
posted by eirias at 9:31 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what to do tomorrow either. No friends have contacted me with last minute "meet in the park" plans (which usually happens), though that could still happen. I'm considering driving 1.5 hours away to go to the county fair in my hometown county as that's about the only day I can go see it, but it's kind of gone downhill in vendors and craft projects the last few years and even my mom was all "I don't know if it's worth the drive." There is also the theater I perform at running a booth at the town events and begging for volunteers because as usual, they need the money and rent and PG&E has gone up horrifyingly. They drew the lucky straw and will be selling the beer, as the only vendor allowed to do so, this year.

However: it's supposed to be 110 today and 108 tomorrow and this stuff is outdoors. The fair wouldn't be as bad since there's indoor buildings, but the town event is going to be nuclear with nothing but shade tents and outdoors. (Added bonus is that our famous town bigot, per FB, apparently wants to head over to the theater's booth and get drunk. I'm sure that'll make her typical public performances even better!) I have the free time and could absolutely help, but I just...don't wanna? And yet old people are going to be out in boiling heat working this booth. I feel guilty not wanting to help and if I don't go to fair--and even if I do I'd probably be back in time to help with the booth--well, old people boiling. Ughhhhhhhh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:34 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

I found a USB-C thumb drive I had nearly forgotten about, so it feels like the logical way for me to use it is to load 50 or 60 movies on so I cannot possibly get bored in airports over vacation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:24 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

🎵 If you zucchiña coladas... 🎶

Once again, posting BC (Before Coffee) is always risky. Of course it should be "if you LIKE..."
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:18 PM on July 3

I played the game on The Bozo Show… not the grand prize game sadly

I used to practice The Grand Prize Game at home. There were 6 buckets in a row increasing in distance, and you had to throw a ping pong ball into each. I won about 1/20 tries. Never got any better. I also got pretty good at pounding nails into wood. You know, just in case Wizzo and Cookie ever called me up to the majors.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:26 PM on July 3

Some good news in a generally shitty week for news: both Nathan Rabin and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky are writing for the AV Club again in its new post G/O Media Pasteissance era. Vishnevetsky, in particular, is probably my favorite movie reviewer alive, and is responsible for the immortal headline Despite all the Rage, it’s a lackluster Nicolas Cage.
posted by whir at 2:22 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]

I grew up overseas in the era of Toys in Cereal boxes (the cars that ran with balloons? Yeah, then) and there was this promotion for... I wanna say Trix to win a 1 X 1 inch. black-and-white, handheld TV. With an antenna and everything. Moonshot Level of Tech for back then.

We won over a dozen of them. But I guess the pallets of Trix with all of the winners made their way to Saudi Arabia after the redemption date had passed. (And even if you got on outlier that hadn't expired, there was no way the mail was going to get it back to Trix Headquarters in time.)

Damn rabbit owes me a few TV's.
posted by Cyrano at 2:56 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]

Of course it should be "if you LIKE..."

I don't know Greg_Ace, your original scans nicely without the extra syllable (even if it doesn't make as much sense). We could always verbify zucchiña, I won't tell anybody.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:48 PM on July 3

I thought we were going to a party today. As it turns out, the party is on Saturday, I got the dates wrong. Kiddo is a bit salty about it as one of the attendees is a close friend who moved away several years ago and he does not get to see that often.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what to do today.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:59 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Between the fair not opening till noon and the aforementioned invite friends apparently going camping and the remaining friend refusing to leave the house...me neither.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:20 AM on July 4

I was also going to say that 'If you zucchinia colada" scans better.

It's a mix of sun-and-clouds in NYC today, appropriate for a day I wasn't really feeling celebratory anyway. It'll be hot, the government is a trashfire, I just discovered my roommate left dirty dishes in his room (he asked me to periodically check on a mousetrap and I saw that). I've baked and eaten a half batch of fresh currant scones and may head to the community garden for some reading (I discovered a few books on Defeating Fascism at the library and am adding them to this year's reading roster).

Speaking of the garden: there is an interesting culinary development there. We have a plum tree right at our entrance, and my plot is right under one of the branches. And this year we have a g-darn bumper crop of plums. I had a feeling it was going to be a good year back in spring, when I noticed what look like a whole swarms' worth of bumblebees going crazy around all the plum flowers.

The only issue is that not all of those plums make it. And with a plum tree, if an immature plum gets jostled by birds, squirrels, or what have you, sometimes it falls. And if a ripe plum doesn't get picked, it falls too. And if you have a garden plot directly under one of the branches, this means that those plums fall into your plot. I've been heading to the garden on a daily basis anyway, mainly to check the water levels; but these days I've been adding "pick any plums that look like they're ripe or almost ripe" to my chores list, trying to catch them all before they fall into my plot.

I like plums okay, but these are a really rough clingstone variety, so they don't lend themselves to eating out of hand very well - so I now have a growing pile of plums on the counter I've been trying to figure out what to do with. I have just under two pounds already; I may get another couple pounds' worth, and then turn the lot into some half pints of jam to give away with all my Christmas gifts this year. I'll still have plenty left over for a batch of roasted plum ice cream (there are at least 30 I can see that are still green, for pity's sake).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on July 4

He asked you to check on a mousetrap in a room where he left dirty dishes???
posted by HotToddy at 6:31 AM on July 4

I asked him about whether he'd cleaned before he left and he said that he'd cleaned things sufficiently. His attention span is not the best, so I am confident this was an oversight; but I'm DEFINITLY going to mention that to him when he gets back from vacation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:55 AM on July 4

Actually, you know, I'mma text him now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:58 AM on July 4

Flying to Romania in four hours. Y'all let me know if you have any messages for Dracula or Zamfir.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:57 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]

We could always verbify zucchiña

...And if you've ever had your colada zucchiña'd, you know how messy that can get!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:41 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]

This Is Just To Say

I have gathered
the plums
on the counter of
my kitchen

and which
I will probably
for something

Forgive me
they're just okay
so many
and so green
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:47 AM on July 4 [2 favorites]

Kiddo, aware that I have a soft spot for the dude, played Eminem’s new single, Houdini, for me. It is a banger and the video is hilarious. (One of my all-time favorite covers is Tori Amos’ ‘97 Bonnie and Clyde because she somehow managed to make that song even creepier than it was already).Which lead me down a short YouTube rabbit hole as he performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra a few weeks ago and he was fabulous.

I am considering buying tickets for kiddo and me if he decides to tour and makes it near us.

Otherwise, I made a margarita using Clase Azul Mezcal San Luis Potosí (birthday gift for reaching 51) and we are cooking crab legs that have sat too long in our freezer and burgers for dinner.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 11:15 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]

OK so...

Ironic we are celebrating Independence Day, when we just made the president a king.

One of my dogs has been freaking out every night about fireworks I'm not hearing.

Child 4, living at home for the summer, after his freshman year of college, just tested positive for COVID. And he's been working as a lifeguard, teaching children's classes and just, ugh. Might endanger his trip to Cali for the junior olympics. Very bad timing.
posted by Windopaene at 12:44 PM on July 4

So the plan was to watch Patton tonight. But I got so caught up in the UK election results that I didn't look into streaming the movie until about 20 minutes ago, and for some insane reason Amazon had my smart-TV set up to only broadcast it with Spanish dubbing.

I think I've sorted it out now, but it's a 3-hour movie and it's already 9 pm so I'm going to hold off and try watching it tomorrow night instead....and I'm going to go back to watching UK election results.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 PM on July 4

I ended up doing nothing, as I was whoppingly tired all day, slept 12 hours, and spent more than that in bed. I'm not normally affected by super heat, and I didn't even go outside today, but I guess it got to me. I've only kinda started to perk up in the last hour.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:03 PM on July 4

We celebrated July 4th by hopping on a plane out of the fucking country. It's great, except for the "we have to come back eventually" part.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:09 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

Good luck and best wishes on your exciting venture DirtyOldTown - I found in my long life that nothing is better than getting to live abroad and steep oneself in different cultures - it is profoundly enriching and hugely expands your range of choices about who to be and how to be as you learn that actually there are other ways of doing this or that, not just the one that I soaked up as a kid. And so much growth in self knowledge - ok, do I do this chiefly because I am from Yorkshire, Idaho or wherever... is it me or is it Idaho? Can I let go of it? Do I want to let go of it?

My rule of thumb quickly became never say no to an invitation to live and work abroad. It got me years in China, Japan, the Netherlands, the USA and France and months elsewhere. I loved it all, every last blessed scrap of it. If the call came tomorrow I'd be packing my bags first thing. Fun and excitement, endless possibilities of self re-creation beckon! In fact, I may be off back to China next year - don't know yet precisely in what circumstances or for how long. But I'm off. Go me!!!! Haha.
posted by dutchrick at 2:44 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

a book arrived from a distant library (thank you librarians!) and i thought of this thread while reading:
a universitas literarum, an a priori agreement between minds able to communicate with each other... When philosophers, who are well known to have difficulty keeping silent, engage in conversation, they should always try to lose the argument...
~ Minimia Moralia, Theodor Adorno
posted by HearHere at 4:57 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

This feels like a Monday, in that I have a bunch of crap to do and I'm anxious. I'm glad it isn't, but I feel behind --
posted by Countess Elena at 7:05 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

A coworker called it "second Friday," which makes sense. Clearly very few people actually have to go to work (and in my case, doing an early shift), so very few cars around.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:35 AM on July 5

I've discovered the secret to fluffy, not-frozen-solid, not-too-sweet sorbet! Unlike ice cream and gelato where milk/cream helps keep it soft and pliable, sorbet contains none, so it relies on sugar alone to prevent the product from freezing...but it takes a fair amount of sugar to do that, which might not always be ideal. Enter corn syrup! Corn syrup is less sweet by weight than granulated white sugar, so replacing some of the sugar with corn syrup makes sorbet smoother and less icy without making it too sweet.

Which I think brings my blathering on about gelato and sorbet to a close, for now...try to keep your sighs of relief to yourselves. :)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

It's that rarest of weekdays: The Friday Monday. Feels like a Monday, but is a Friday.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:35 AM on July 5 [3 favorites]

Greg_Ace, the offer still stands if you wanna talk shop about ice cream and gelato experiments. Memail me even - we can geek out together!

For instance - upthread notoriety public suggested adding Bailey's to the ice cream base to turn a plain "Rocky Road" to a "Rocky Road To Dublin" flavor. But I had another idea - instead of a chocolate-and-Bailey's base, how about a chocolate stout base? Ample Hills' cookbook even has a "stout and pretzels" flavor where you add some Guinness to their chocolate base and then crumble in some chocolate-covered pretzels. I'm thinking I could just swap in some nuts and marshmallow bits for some of the pretzels and use that recipe.

....That experiment has to get in line behind the zucchini/coconut flavor, though, and I need to also make a roasted plum flavor as well soon. I also am dealing with limited freezer space.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]

I also am dealing with limited freezer space.

I know that feeling! I've currently got seven, that's right SEVEN QUARTS* of frozen dessert goodness in my freezer, and only yesterday was I able to finally remove the ice cream maker's freezer bowl and let it thaw - won't be needing that for a while. In the meantime I had frozen bones from 3 or 4 roasted chickens I had to take out and boil to make more room**, and I had to use up all my frozen leftovers as well. It will be nice to get some freezer room back.

Not that I'm complaining about having some delicious frozen dessert goodness at hand...but I don't necessarily need seven quarts of it either.

*chocolate gelato, olive oil gelato, coffee gelato, red wine sorbet, mixed berry sorbet, and lemon-ginger sorbet that fluffed up into two quarts after adding a little corn syrup!

** now I've got a big jar of bone broth taking up fridge real estate instead, until I have time to make actual stock out of it (I'll pour the broth back in the Instant Pot along with the usual vegetable aromatics and herbs to make a typical stock; when that's done I'll strain it and boil down the result into a demi-glace then pour it into an ice cube tray, so it won't take up nearly as much freezer space as the original bones did. I do love having homemade stock on hand in handy ice cube-sized servings).
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:27 AM on July 5

Today is my birthday and also the first full day of our trip to Romania. We're going to have breakfast at District of Toast, where I intend to have the ostrich egg omelet with ricotta and truffles. Then tonight, we're meeting up with family and friends at La Roata for stuffed cabbage, sausages, eggplant salad, and all of the other Transylvanian goodies I most adore.

We may try and hit up one or two used DVD stores so that I can grab copies of Romanian New Wave films too. Should be a good day all around. Not sure about lunch yet.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:46 PM on July 5

My breakfast at District of Toast is eponysterical, btw, as everyone simply calls it "dot."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:22 AM on July 6

My watch is over. Dad passed while I played his favorite songs a couple of hours ago. I am the only member of my family remaining.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:29 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]

ob1quixote, for whatever it's worth from a stranger on the internet, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you could be there for him at the end.

posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:46 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

Sending all of the very best thoughts to you, ob1.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:04 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]

ob1quixote, another voice from the internet, I too feel for your loss. I went through the same twenty years back and wasn't able to be there for dad's passing

- I also learned a very hard lesson that week (partly as I tend to suppress emotions) - if you can take anything a little easier this week please do. I was doing a public event and tried to go ahead with it and it did not go well, and nearly damaged my mind.
posted by unearthed at 2:46 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

ob1quixote, I’m sorry for your loss. Good thoughts to you.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:03 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]

A new free thread for a new week is up and live and awaiting your comments.
posted by Wordshore at 12:02 AM on July 8

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