Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What the @#$% is that? I reveal it, along with the winner!

So yesterday, I introduced you to a new blog feature called What the @#$% is that?

I also introduced you to this:

I loved reading your guesses about what this mystery object might be. Some of you are pretty darn creative and some of you…well, you might want to consider therapy.

Before I reveal the object’s true identity, I’ll tell you about the first time I ever saw one.

It was the first Valentine’s weekend after Pythagoras and I started dating, and he was working as a ski school director in a town a few hundred miles away.

He came to visit that weekend, and after the preliminary greetings, gave me a funny little smile. “I have a Valentine’s present for you.”

One half of my brain was delighted.

The other half said, crap, I didn’t get him anything.

But neither half of my brain was prepared when he pulled that thing out of his overnight bag.

“Um,” I said, struggling for the words to properly express horror and fake appreciation. “It’s very – uh – big.”

He gave me a few seconds to consider fleeing before offering what he thought was a reasonable explanation.

“It’s an oversized race-base with a competition hinge,” he informed me.

“Of course it is,” I replied, having no idea what that meant, but pretty sure I didn’t want him coming near me with it.

He tried again. “It’s a base for a flex gate used in ski racing and it screws into the snow—“

“The snow?” I felt relief flood my body – some parts more than others.

“And you can’t really have it,” he continued. “I just wanted to see your reaction.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to me.

So there you have it, a charming tale of romance and courtship.

And in case you’re as perplexed as I was about what Pythagoras is talking about, here are a few more photos:

The object, along with the drill bit that's used to make the hole in the snow.

See how it bends?

A gate anchored in the snow with a race-base for a Giant Slalom event.

So all you perverts who thought this was anything other than an object used for winter sporting events…uh, yeah. I’m right there with you.

And now, I must pick a winner.

You were all so funny and creative that I couldn’t possibly choose on my own, and after my elaborate winner selection process for the last blog contest, I knew I needed to do something different.

My friend Larie and I came up with this idea last night over a bottle (or two) of excellent Gewürztraminer, so I’ll admit that when I woke up this morning, I was skeptical about whether it would work. But I was willing to give it a go.

First, I wrote down all the names on pieces of paper:

Then I loaded them into the hose for the Shop-vac and located the “blowing” end. Did you know Shop-vacs had a blowing end?

Next, I attached the hose and flipped the switch. The entries (and a whole lot of dust) went flying out the end of the hose.

I had decided that whoever traveled the furthest distance would be declared the winner. As it turned out, the winner ended up in the fountain in my entryway. The fish who lives there was not amused.

Who could the winner be…?

Congratulations to Carrie Kei Heim Binas (also known as CKHB). You are the winner of New York Times Bestselling Author Laura Kinsale's recent novel, LESSONS IN FRENCH (a new release from my fabulous publisher, Sourcebooks). This was the first Kinsale novel I’d ever read, and I enjoyed it immensely. Carrie, email me your address and I’ll get your copy in the mail ASAP.

Thanks to everyone for joining in. We’ll play again sometime soon!


Linda G. said...

Well, that blows. :P (Not that I'm a poor loser or anything.)

Seriously, congrats to Carrie! :)

Penelope said...

Wow, that's quite a creative way to pick a winner. I love it! Well done, Tawna!

Harley May said...

Carrie just got to meet Chuck Palahniuk and now she's won an award! I demand some kind of fight off. I don't have to win the book, I just want to fight her. Two unrelated question: is your mousepad a picture of Daniel Craig and can we be roommates?

Candyland said...

Hahahahha. I love your elimination processes!

Sean Ferrell said...

Is it wrong that I'm saving the pictures of you with that thing to my desktop? No. No it is not.

Liz Czukas said...

Best selection process EVER.

- Liz

Michelle Wolfson said...

Seriously, your contests are worth entering just for the selection process. Your prizes--well, you're 1 for 2 there.

Unknown said...

Look at that squeaky clean head of yours, Ferrell...how many times I got to tell you to get some dirt and a hard hat??
I second Linda, that blows. Hahaha!

Claire Dawn said...

I love your methods for selecting contest winners!

A ski base??? That's so boring compared to all the really cool answers people came up with!


Linda G, I haven't cleaned up the mess just yet. Now THAT blows.

Penelope, tell your son I liked his guess so much that I considered giving him an honorary prize :)

Harley May, that IS Daniel Craig, good eye! And I will fight you to the death for him, so hands off. Other than that, the roommate situation should work nicely.

tammygallant.com, he knows how much I hate the Shop-vac, so I think he'll be surprised to hear I even fired it up.

Candyland, one of these days I'll hold a contest and just pick a name out of a hat. Then you'll all be so disappointed.

Sean, it is all kinds of wrong, but I really don't know where to start.

Liz, even better than the last one with Matt the Cat? :)

Michelle, I assume you're dissing my phallic wine stopper and not Laura Kinsale. And in that case, I'll will cross that off my gift list for you. Too bad.

Misty, I just cleaned Sean's skull with the Shop-vac, that's why it's squeaky clean.

Claire Dawn, agreed, the guesses were much more creative than the real thing!

Thanks for reading, guys!

LR said...

That fish was biased in CKHB's favor! ;)

CKHB said...


I'm a little sad that it's not a penis sword.

Emailing you!

Anonymous said...

LOL Oh man, that is the best winner picking process ever!! I need a shop vac now. Not that I have contests (yet), but when I do I want to be prepared. Isn't that the boy scout motto? Something about always be prepared? Was Pythagoras a boy scout? My brother-in-law was one and he has a shop vac. I wonder if all boy scouts have one. I'm rambling, sorry.

Sage Ravenwood said...

I don't know what turned out to be more hilarious, the explanation as to what that "thing" was or the way you chose a winner. (Hugs)Indigo

P.S. Honestly, I was afraid to guess. I couldn't edit my mind enough.

Unknown said...

I'm bummed I didn't tune in yesterday, but I was drowning in spreading the awesome blog posts. Your technique for choosing the winner was hilarious! Thanks for the laugh -- and Congrats to Carrie!

Steph Schmidt said...

Best method for selecting a winner ever.

Elisa Dane said...

Holy cow, that thing is scary lookin! Um, yeah...totally wouldn't have guessed ski base, that's for sure.

Southpaw said...

You have very inventive way to choose winners. Congrats to Carrie – at least the fish didn’t runaway with your name.

Robin said...

Well, I had the right idea, wrong venue. Ah well. Your winner will love her prize. I have been reading Laura Kinsale for years and she is good. I will say that I agree with the rest in that you have a unique way of picking a winner in the event that no one chooses correctly and it did, indeed, blow:-)

LR said...

Sorry can I ask another question?

Can you drink Gewürztraminer on its own or is it only an accompaniment to desserts and fruit? I really should know this as it is produced where I live. But..alas...I admit I've never tried it.


LR, the fish actually tried to eat it. No joke. Also, the dogs and cats all drink out of that fountain and the fish routinely comes up to suck pieces of food off their faces. Can't believe none of them have ever devoured the silly creature, but that fish has been in there for over 2 years now.

CKHB, congrats on your victory! I'll be sending the book out shortly!

danicaavet, I don't believe Pythagoras was ever a boy scout, but I'll have to ask him. Maybe he still has the uniform and can wear it around the house.

Indigo, when I told a friend that story last night, her reply was "you two perverts were made for each other." Pretty much.

Nicole, sorry you missed it, but I'm sure we'll play again soon. My husband has too many weird things lying around the house for me not to make this a regular feature!

SM Schmidt, great, now how am I going to top it next time?

Lisa, unless you've been around the ski racing circuit quite a bit, you'd never recognize it. Kinda why I picked it :)

Southpaw, the second that thing landed in the water, I had visions of Matt the Cat running off with the last winner. Fortunately, the fish isn't very fast!

Robin, I can't believe I'd never read a Laura Kinsale title before this, but I sure did enjoy it. Have you read LESSONS IN FRENCH yet?

LR, ooh, I love wine geek questions! Gewürztraminer is actually one of those misunderstood varietals kinda like Riesling -- a lot of people believe it's ALWAYS sweet or ALWAYS dry, but it can be either of those things. The Gewürztraminers we drank last night were both from Oregon, and both on the dry side. Gewürztraminer pairs perfectly with Asian food and smoked salmon, and though we didn't have any of that on hand, we thought it went nicely with the spicy snapper fillets I served. Way more info than you wanted, huh?

Thanks for reading, guys!

LR said...

Oh no au contraire, I love geeky wine info.

The Gewürztraminer where I live is either German or from Alsace. But I've never tried it 'cause (ick) I always assumed it was sweet. But you've emboldened me now and I'm going to march right down to the French wine shop down the street (where they all greet me by my first name) and buy myself a bottle of Gewürztraminer.

Thanks for your expertise.


LR, ask the wine steward or shopkeeper to help you find a dry one. Generally speaking, the ones that say "late harvest" will be sweeter. All of them will probably probably fall into the category of "aromatic" wines (Verdejo is another good example of this) but there are plenty that are not sweet. "Perfumey" is an adjective I hear a lot of people use, but not in a bad way. Enjoy! And report back on your wine findings :)


Delia Moran said...

I love your selection methods. Even if this blog sucked rocks (which it does not, though the shop vac would nicely), it would still be worth reading for the prize selections.

Oh, and next time you are overwhelmed with wonderment at the romance that is the Valentine’s snow gate anchor, just remember, there is someone out there who received a handgun for her first anniversary. I really just wanted some Godiva and a nice Pinot Noir.


Delia, OMG, a handgun? Now that's romance!


Bill Cameron said...

How did I miss this? It's Wednesday already?!

India Drummond said...

Loved your method of picking a winner! Although I can't believe you did it inside!