Metatalktail Hour: Subscribe! November 10, 2018 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! It's Eurotalktails (one week late)! This week, devrim wants to know "what would be in your dream custom subscription box, catered to exactly your interests by your id and keeping withing a reasonable budget?" Inspired by this thread.

As always, these are conversation starters, not conversation limiters, so tell us everything that's up with you this beautiful November! And feel free to send me ideas for future metatalktails!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 7:38 AM (97 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Books! Specifically, weird old overlooked non-bestseller non-fiction books, and maybe nice old editions of classics and poetry.

I‘m lucky that I‘m in Berkeley, where our sidewalk Little Free Libraries often deliver exactly that, without having to pay for a subscription. I actually squealed when I scored a tattered, moldy anthology of futurist essays from the 60s! One man‘s trash...
posted by The Toad at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Costume jewelry. Sparkly, cheap, multipurpose as bookmarks, knitting markers, interior decoration. For now, I make my own with frequent Ali Express sprees...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2018 [8 favorites]

I am seriously considering breaking down and subscribing to the sticker box. In general, I would like a box with the kind of school, office, and arts and crafts supplies that would appeal to 11-year-old girls. I would also subscribe to a cute stickie-note of the month club. I use a lot of stickie notes at work, and I like to have interesting ones.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:22 AM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

I would like a subscription box of really classy, spooky Halloween paraphernalia. Every month.
posted by tangosnail at 8:26 AM on November 10, 2018 [13 favorites]

Currencies of the world! They wouldn't even need a box! When I was a kid I was always fascinated to see coins and bills from other places. Especially non-round coins like the British 20p.

Come to think of it, it probably wouldn't even need to be currency from real places.
posted by XMLicious at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

1. Wind-up toys.
2. Crafts. I just shibori-dyed napkins. It took a full morning, not difficult, nice result. I probably wouldn't wanta monthly box-o-projectd but quarterly would be fun.

I'm away for a family wedding, the napkins are a gift. Dysfunction is a gift that keeps giving in my family. Dang. Good thing i drove so I have an escape plan.
posted by theora55 at 8:41 AM on November 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

As part of *slowly* trying to reduce my use of plastic and trees, I just signed up with these people to get bamboo toilet paper with no plastic packaging sent to my house every 16 weeks.
posted by JanetLand at 8:42 AM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

Now that I've started work again on this dollhouse I've been rehabbing for two years (!), I'd have to go with a box of Victorian-themed dollhouse miniatures.

However, box of chocolates would also be ideal, preferably timed to go with bouts of grading papers.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:48 AM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, my mom's friend gave me her incredibly stamp album, and I really loved looking at stamps from random places in the world. A stamp of the month club would be fun. Is stamp collecting still a thing? It feels like I knew more stamp collectors when I was a kid than I do now.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:51 AM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

catered to exactly your interests by your id

ah, okay then. A subscription box then that contains some kind of project - a radically different project each time with nothing tying any of them together, so one box could be about surfing and another about sewing. Said project will require learning some skills, but not too hard that I can't leap into it turned up to 11 and do something much more difficult than advised for beginners with the attitude "oh, I'll learn the basics along the way!", a project that I will completely immerse myself into for oh, 3 weeks to 3 months, learning tons and deep diving into history! and new terms and a whole bunch of stuff and reading and reading and reading, all of which will promptly be forgotten within a year or two except for a random fact or two, because the project will be abruptly jettisoned within that 3 week to 3 month period for something else that caught the eye of my roving curiosity, and sit in the basement with everything else, unfinished, forgotten, and forlorn.

Also it will include some books and cheese, and maybe a "sand of the month" thing.
posted by barchan at 9:06 AM on November 10, 2018 [24 favorites]

I'd love an ephemera box, culled from the depths of eBay or local antique stores. It could have mailed postcards, old letters, diaries, menus from 1953, employee badges from stores that closed in 1979, wrappers from discontinued candies . . . Ideally, at least one item a month would contain a clue that I could use for genealogical research and possibly even connect to a living person.

If my actual id requested the box, it wouldn't be a box, it would be an email of fic and fanart recs for trash fangirls, curated by fandom.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2018 [15 favorites]

Queer fantasy novels with happy endings, 3 per box, with little items to go with each book—themed candles, relevant food, accessories, etc.

Why yes, I am making this exact box for my sister in law for Christmas... (but just the one, since, as evidenced by my need for this box, my pool of happy queer fantasy books is quite limited).
posted by brook horse at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2018 [12 favorites]

Laser-safe materials and objects (ideally not just a bunch of crap from Johnson)

Selections of metal stock for milling, but there'd need to be some assured variation -- I don't want to get 5lb of 6061 and 4140 every month for a year straight.

Various funky adhesives -- like a 3M sampler pack. Films! Goo! Tape! Sprays that only cure when exposed to fluorine! Who knows what.
posted by aramaic at 9:23 AM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Makeup, skincare, hair products, and body toiletries that work for my skin tone, skin type, and hair type! Despite the questionnaires on Birchbox and Glossybox, I still end up giving 1/3 away as it doesn’t work for me.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:48 AM on November 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC. There are a few of them out there, but for the most part, I can't afford them ($45 for a curated fat quarter bundle is a fine price, it's just waaayyyy out of budget for me.) I do Darn Good Yarn but they only send recycled silk, while I would prefer cottons and linens for my current projects. (Silk doesn't glue down to the paper piecing forms well, so I have to thread-baste it on there and it's a time-suck.) I literally don't care what colors I get so long as the pieces are an interesting mix-- all of my quilts are scrap quilts.

I think FABSCRAP in Brooklyn is leaving money on the table by not packing subscription boxes full of recycled fabric. You can buy spandex-mix by the pound on the website but it's not the same as getting a surprise in the mail.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:01 AM on November 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

A book from my Goodreads Want to Read list but in no particular order so I am surprised every month. Maybe whatever new colours of embroidery floss DMC has released. Alternating by month, a salty snack then a sweet snack. And a cat toy.

Wait, maybe this should be weekly. If there are no new floss colours, just magically whatever I've run out of.
posted by wellred at 10:38 AM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

I would also do hair accessories, now that my hair is getting long. Every month, I would get a cute and/or fancy hair clip, headband, etc.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:44 AM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Small samples of interesting booze. Not whatever a huge distillery thinks we should be drinking, but nips of really weird, esoteric stuff. Strange eaux de vie, brandy, gin, vodka... that would be fun.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 10:47 AM on November 10, 2018 [12 favorites]

Weird seasonal seed of the month club? What ever would come up later if planted that month from seed- with instructions and maybe a few packets of soil/fertilizer etc tailored to the plant. But like weird stuff, heirloom stuff, things you'd never think to grow.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:51 AM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

I'd love an ephemera box

I was also going to say ephemera. Newspapers, postcards, letters, menus, matchbooks, empty cartons and wrappers, government statements, utility bills, transportation tickets, school reports, university transcripts, pay stubs, etc., from different times and places. Just tangible pieces of everyday life. The sort of stuff that is tossed out when people die and the relatives don't know what to do with the stack of printed junk they found in a cupboard or drawer. And include enough provenance to satisfy my curiosity and put me on the investigation trail.
posted by pracowity at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm slightly wary of receiving boxes of food, especially cheeses, and especially from the midwest of the USA, as yadda yadda yadda huh I'm in a relationship with a farmgirl turned librarian and activist from Wisconsin; how exactly did that happen? But, on the other hand, these can be good things, and also cheese in the post.

My dream subscription box is food. Quelle surprise!

* A random quality tenderloin from rural Iowa, flown in and served still piping hot, as flat as the great plain and almost as large.
* Dari Barn in Grinnell is famous, and has a peculiar memory for me. Former colleague-friends who live right opposite have an overlooking porch. On a visit there a few years ago now, I sat on one of their seats in that porch, which promptly broke. That was one catalyst for me losing a load of weight (I think I'm around 110 pounds lighter now, and as I've muscled up a bit the body fat loss has probably been more than that). But, at the land of ice cream over the road, their menu still tempts and for the subscription I would like their changing special of the week flown in and served still cold.
* For the next 99 weeks, I would like one random item flown in, to arrive on my dining table at 9pm every Friday, from each of these Iowa restaurants.
* And for every Tuesday evening, a grilled cheese sandwich (a different flavor of cheese each time for variety) to be flown in, still piping hot, from the Cheese Bar in Des Moines.
* And finally; the person who posted me the original cheese was and is an excellent baker, as evidenced by her items which quickly sold in the town market in Grinnell (chocolate cakes, donuts, cookies, cake, more baking, topped with bacon, a display plate, yet more baking). I'll happily pay top dollar for random baking by the same librarian-baker-activist to be flown in as and when required.
posted by Wordshore at 11:18 AM on November 10, 2018 [11 favorites]

I'd love a box that would, every couple of months, send me some combinations of books (poetry and literary fiction), art and craft supplies, and green teas.

My second choice would be a not-widely-available ingredient for cooking, preferably with a short write-up talking about its history, common uses, and a couple recipe ideas.
posted by platitudipus at 11:54 AM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Every month I'd get:

1) An obscure herb or spice for kitchen projects
2) A little bit of international candy
3) Some fun postcards or note cards to send to friends
4) A pair of whimsical socks
5) Sample hair care products for my thick, wild, stiff yet curly hair
6) Just a small bag of Funyuns for the sake of consistency, and because I like Funyuns, what, YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME?
posted by duffell at 12:48 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Wood + plans (and possibly tools) to build something cool with it.
posted by saladin at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I guess I don't really want a constant stream of any tangible object coming into my small home. Maybe an annual topping up of three pairs of underpants? I would subscribe to a newsletter that gave me an origami / paper mache project of the month (but I would provide my own paper -- I just want a PDF and a video link).

Alternately, maybe a $10-or-less-a-bottle-but-it's-good-we-promise wine subscription so I don't have to lug a bottle from Trader Joe's every few weeks?

But if space and money were no constraint, I guess I would like a giant plush (e.g.) rental program -- or maybe a monthly novelty hat! I looooove novelty hats. Burger hat, cheese hat, lobster hat, pepper hat, castle hat, wanders away gleefully
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Harry & David or similar could also send me a surprise fruit box, that'd be great. Even if it's something I can't eat like mangoes, I could give it away.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oo! Basically an amalgamation of the boxes I currently subscribe to, so skincare and bath items, makeup, dog toys and treats (with 3 of everything). On top of that, I'd like to add a candle, some fun stationery or desk things, snacks from around the world, and some nice socks.

I mentioned this in the Fucking Fuck 8.5 (or whatever the open one is) thread, I swear I'm not looking for pity or favorites or whatever, but it's so overwhelming right now and kind of a secret so my outlets are limited - bear with me. After almost 7 years of marriage and 14? being together, Mr. Fig and I are doing a trial separation of 6 - 12 months. He's got substance abuse problems, and this past year our marriage has been very untenable. On the positive side, with the help of lots and lots of therapy I've grown from a codependent spouse to doing what's truly best for me, and leaving. He's moving out tonight. This has been more difficult than I thought it'd be. I am scared, deeply saddened, in immense pain, but also hopeful and confident that this is really the best way forward. Im also not looking forward to the holidays. And, not a lot of people know about his addiction struggles, so this is going to be a shock to many in my social group. Our social group, I guess. Bleh. I wouldn't wish any of this on my worst enemy.

On the exact other side (also mentioned in a different thread), I am a first time recipient for the Card Club this month, and it is so great!! People are so creative and kind! A+++++ would card club again.
posted by Fig at 1:54 PM on November 10, 2018 [58 favorites]

Sending you virtual hugs, Fig. It sounds excruciating, but I'm glad you've found the strength to do what you need to do.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:58 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

Fig, I’m sorry you’re suffering right now. I’m proud of what you’ve done to get here.
posted by samthemander at 2:10 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sorry, Fig. Hang in there.
posted by The Toad at 2:26 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

1) Lentils/dals - there so many types. They are so good for you and so delicious.
2) Dried chillis, pretty much like above also the dazzling variety available in the US is not widely available here and mostly expensive.

Last night it was my parent-in-law's 50th wedding anniversary, celebrated in true Viet Style - i.e. half a floor of a restaurant (the other half was a birthday), with a Viet band absolutely blasting music, lead by a rotating selection of singers who got their outfits from an 80s costume box, dance floor chock-a-block full with old Viet couples, doing waltzes and cha-chas and tangos with a fiery intensity.

I reflected, on the way home, that the reason my mother-in-law basically scream-talks all the time is that several weekends of parties like that would have the same effect on your hearing that a bucket of magma would have on an ice sculpture. It great to see them so happy, however.
posted by smoke at 2:38 PM on November 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

Ohh, I'm all over this. I would want either 1) a different pretty bra in my size every month, or 2) a pretty new nightie or pair of pajamas. These are things that are so delightful to have but tend to get shoved down the list of priorities. Also, pajama pants are hard to find if you're petite so I never have any unless I make them myself. However! I recently discovered Soma, which offers different inseam lengths. I just placed my first order so fingers crossed.

Fig, I'm sorry for your troubles. That is a really brave move to make right before the holidays and you should be proud of yourself.
posted by HotToddy at 3:02 PM on November 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Socks, underwear, and pencils. Like Christmas twelve times a year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:37 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Fig, I'm so sorry you're having this experience. I don't have a LOT of extra strength at the moment, but here's a bit to help you get through this. And some for Mr. Fig if he's going the recovery route, because that's hard work.

I'd choose a monthly seed/plant start/cutting subscription, with something(s) appropriate to be planted in my climate right then every month, and recipes/decorating ideas for them with the appropriate spices, flowerpots, etc. my coworker got a good start on this last week by wandering into my office with an armload of purple secretia cuttings and an announcement that they would help with the very difficult time my team is having with our work right now. They do.

Or ephemera, or specifically ephemera with interesting textures to use for pottery. I'd probably only need that one for a year, but it would keep in giving for a long time after!
posted by centrifugal at 3:41 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Socks, underwear, and pencils. Like Christmas twelve times a year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:37 PM on November 10 [+] [!]

I like subscriptions that won't be cluttering the house for too long, like food, booze, skin care. That being said, I just subscribed to M A T T E R, which is a delightful collection of random objects to learn you about science. This month included an old Civil War bullet, a fossil fish, and a titanium coin, amongst other goodies.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:42 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

I really just want someone to send me a rotating selection of Mint Slices, Wagon Wheels (original mini), and TeeVee Snacks (either malt sticks or original). Just one pack each month. I really miss chocolate biscuits.
posted by Kris10_b at 3:49 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think I've pitched this here before, but I'd like a service that sends me exactly one copy of an incredibly specific and randomly selected trade publication every month.

I'd be interested to read exactly one copy of elevator world, or vanish, or The Tunnelling Journal, or Sound on Sound. I sure as hell don't need 12 copies of them. And, while I can hunt around and read some articles and many full issues from dead periodicals online, it requires time and effort.

Outside of that, the whole idea of a subscription box sounds kind of nuts to me. I dislike the vast majority of manufactured things and art objects. The idea of paying even my closest friends and lovers, much less strangers, to make aesthetic choices seems certain to end in disappointment. (Gifts are bad enough!) My experience with a farm box - from a fantastic, thoughtful local farmer - was largely frustrating. Her taste in heirloom tomatoes clearly didn't line up with mine.

On preview, I'd sign up for a lentils box as well. Or an edible mushroom variety box. Asian candy, mentioned in the original thread, is also intriguing, since my selection of new varieties for myself at the shop is nearly random anyway.
posted by eotvos at 4:33 PM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

Music! I enjoy jazz and different instrumental music and would love to have someone curate music to fit different moods and send me a CD or thumb drive ready for hours of delightful listening.
posted by mightshould at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would like someone to come once a month and force me to throw several things away. That would be much more helpful.
posted by Sequence at 4:49 PM on November 10, 2018 [22 favorites]

I'd spend $50/month for someone to come and take me out once a month to a nice new restaurant or one of the dozens of old restaurants that I've been meaning to try for years and never got around to.
posted by moonmilk at 4:49 PM on November 10, 2018 [11 favorites]

(My idea of a nice restaurant is one where dinner costs less than $40 or so, but the service can take the other 20%!)
posted by moonmilk at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

All things sewing related. Specifically to do with making clothing. It would be so cool to get assorted sewing implements, scissors, thimbles, old fashioned tools, modern new stuff. And, I'd like to send my measurements and get patterns! And lengths of beautiful, unusual fabrics.
Sewing books. Music to sew to. A sort of multimedia box, with links to blogs, online instructions, YouTube videos, curated to my specific needs. Preferably arriving quarterly, so I'd have time to try out everything, and integrate the things that work for me into my workspace.

Fig, reading your message made me flash back to when I was doing what you are, and feeling all those things. You said it so eloquently. What I want to tell you is that it will be ok, you are doing what is right and you will grow and become the person you want to be. And so will Mr. Fig. Don't stress over the holidays, it'll be hard, but there'll be little shining moments of sweetness and beauty just for you. Big hugs to you!!
posted by LaBellaStella at 6:00 PM on November 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'd want a subscription box to give me tickets once a month to cultural events around town. Musical theatre, art museum special exhibits, cool lectures/author tours, theatre, ballet, the symphony, etc. That'd be cool.
posted by cooker girl at 6:01 PM on November 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

A doodlers paradise box of color pens, gel pens, sparkly gel pens, brush markers, chisel tip markers, wash markers, opaque marker, etc in dozens of colors.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 6:02 PM on November 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

- Fabrics. Like a yard, maybe two, of something interesting.
- Yarn. Enough for a scarf, or a pair of socks, or a couple hats.
- Watercolor paintbrushes. I never seem to have enough. I have dozens.
- Cats.
posted by Adridne at 6:21 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

It might actually exist already, but just the other day I was thinking that a well-curated houseplant subscription would be nice.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:17 PM on November 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

Nice bras or good cheese. Not in the same box.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 7:44 PM on November 10, 2018 [8 favorites]

Kittens. Send back the ones that don’t fit, only pay for the ones you keep.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:11 PM on November 10, 2018 [17 favorites]


Some yarn. My mom had to move homes again, and can no longer knit, so I ended up with what you see in the photos.

  1. Is this sort of random hodge-podge worth anyone's while? I think it's mostly 75% acrylic/25% wool, with the occasional small skein of real wool
  2. If you were going to offer it to your metafilter knitting friends for free on a first-come, first-served basis (with preference given for hard times hampering your ability to buy yarn at the moment), is there a way you would break it up into groups, or is it only worthwhile to get the whole thing, or is it even worth anyone's while?
I guess I'm willing to shoulder three or four next-day-air boxes, if it makes any sort of sense to break this up...if it's even worth sending at all. I recognize that the onesies really don't lend themselves to any sort of real project, eh?

I guess the call after this one is to KITTIES OF METAFILTER, but I'll need a drink first.

posted by maxwelton at 10:28 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

When my sister and I were little, we used to joke about signing people we didn't like up for the fungus-of-the-mungus-of-the-month club.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

oooohhhh, interesting! right now i'm keeping an eye on this thread to see if my quonsee shows up!
posted by alchemist at 11:02 PM on November 10, 2018 [9 favorites]

ohhhhh how I love things in the mail!

my dream subscription box would be comprised of: a couple beautiful/unique letterpress cards, interesting stamps bc I love correspondence but often forget to buy stamps, a cool crystal or rock or gem, a witchy candle or other witchy accoutrements, a vegan candy i've never had, vintage Lisa Frank stickers, perfectly roasted local hipstery coffee beans, a killer piece of jewelry to match my current witch aesthetic which right now is maiden of flowers/ queen of the underworld, and a single, blessed avocado, which ripens perfectly, delectably, as I open the box.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 11:26 PM on November 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Please deliver me 7 clean and unscented black t-shirts of that specific make and model I like. Also 7 clean and unscented pairs of those black unders that I like from that store. Please take away last week’s items.

Also, please clean my house and feed me and give me a h ug. Do you have a weekly plan? Daily?
posted by bendy at 11:34 PM on November 10, 2018 [5 favorites]

I’d love a monthly sewing haberdashery and hardware box. Zips, snap fasteners, buttons, buckles, rivets, bra clasps, elastics - I am trying to build a stash because they’re so important to projects and I do actually use them up. If I were in a country where I’d get plenty of national rate subscribers, I’d start this, but I bet posting internationally for everyone would make it too expensive to buy.

My fabric and yarn needs are met for a while - I’m always tempted by indie sock yarn subscriptions but frankly, there are so many beautiful ones (from the same dyers and others!) I can buy without risk.
posted by carbide at 12:39 AM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Now I want a "drill bit of the month" club. See when you join, they send you a nice vintage drill index and then each month they send you three random bits to put in it. And a metric version of the club, too.
posted by maxwelton at 12:52 AM on November 11, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'd totally dig a weird booze of the month subscription. I like the occasional interesting cocktail, and having it just show up at my house would be super.

And hugs to you , Fig, the I-love-you-but-can't-live-with-what-you're-doing separation is so heartbreaking. Been there, hated that, I hope you feel better soon.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:34 AM on November 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

I don't really need any more consumer goods, but if somebody sent me the latest in Hankyu Railway or JR merchandise every month, I'd be prepared to make an exception.

Oh Fig, that really is tough news. Hang in there and don't lose sight of your future better situation, even when the day is rough. We love you Fig, card clubbers especially! Big hugs!
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 3:58 AM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd like a monthly invitation to some kind of educational event about some random topic - a lecture, a workshop, whatever. The subject could be anything - I'd be happy to learn about the history of legal contracts in rural areas in the 19th century one month, and the basics of plumbing or car repair the next.
posted by rjs at 4:34 AM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

My dream monthly box would include a comfortable bra (that always fits), two-pots worth of tea (since I tend to hoard tea), a toy for each the kittens (currently known as "the Menace" and "Mayhem") and music from an artist that I had not heard before but will like instantly.

In otherwise, a box curated from someone who can read my mind and figure out what I want so I don't have to do the mental work.

It was a strange week. Two VERY GOOD humans away passed last weekend, and while I was not close to either individual, I am very sad for their families.

The installers came and put in my dream door and it is more beautiful than I could imagine. More installers came and replaced six windows that dated back to the building of the house. The kittens continue to be vectors of chaos and I'm keeping an eye on the old man cat, as he is sneezing quite a bit.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:54 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd like an old academic natural history monograph each month (say something from the back catalogue of the Field Museum). I'd like also a mechanism that would allow me to trade with other subscribers - perhaps a forum where you connect with other subscribers and the subscription service would facilitate the trade.

Or a subscription service, I'm not sure how it'd ever work, where you are sent one expensive item a month but are required to pass it along to another person at the end of the month. For instance I'd love to be able try out an expensive lens or camera for a month but not own the thing.

I'd also like a movie subscription box that would send me a link with password to some kind of streaming service where I'd be able to watch a collection of avant garde or undistributed films from around the world. Or a variation where I'd get a collection of reproduced promotional materials and reviews along with a link to an obscure film from the 30s to the 60s.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:17 AM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would love a box with twee themed comfortable underwear and solid color bras that fit and match the thematic underwear. I still mourn the lobster underpants and the polar bear underpants, sacrificed to my ex's parents' dog.

I'm starting to feel like a very boring person who is consumed with very immediate things and work with no more imagination or fun hobbies or perspective or plans. So it'd be great to get something on a regular basis that knocked me slightly off of my normal orbit. Maybe a prompt to explore a thing in my area, or tickets to a thing I wouldn't normally go see, or a series of thought provoking questions and a venue in which lots of people are talking about their answers. Something to tilt my axis slightly and knock my day to day life a little off kilter every now and then. In a good way.

This week I'm working from afar and I'm actually visiting my little brother in El Paso and then we're driving out to Tuscon for my cousin's wedding. Yesterday I slept two hours and then flew down here and played Dungeons and Dragons with a few of his buddies from his unit. And also ate amazing tacos. Today, I've got to do some work, but then I'm hoping to coerce him into going to the zoo with me.

He's been driving me around in a tiny muscle car that he rebuilt and souped up, and going very fast and accelerating sharply at turns and things. I was initially worried but then I realized that the ENTIRETY of El Paso's roads seem to be covered in Army kids driving souped up cars very fast and accelerating impressively, so at least he is among friends. It's fun to hang out with him, he's 6 years younger than me and we get along fantastically. Last night we watched Baby Driver to continue the fast car theme.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:45 AM on November 11, 2018 [13 favorites]

@ Fig, I'm sorry things are especially hard just now.
posted by platitudipus at 7:08 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

A new spice or seasoning or sauce from around the world, with a bunch of traditional recipes that use that thing. Like gochujang and a bunch of Korean recipes, or fenugreek and Indian/Iranian recipes. Especially recipes for dishes that are not commonly available in North American restaurants! I always want to buy interesting-looking spices/sauces but I usually feel like I don't know enough recipes to make it worthwhile.
posted by 100kb at 7:12 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had thought "fabric"! at first. But then I thought about the stash of fabric I have and how really, really, I personally should never ever buy "fabric"--I should only ever buy "fabric for this pattern which I have already fit and am going to sew on [THIS DATE]". Anything else is madness.

BUT a friend brought a bag of vintage notions and tools to a party I was at recently. And a few years ago my mother gave me a box of notions and trims from my grandmother's sewing room. And I would subscribe to the Box of Vintage Trims, Notions and Tools. A box with six buttons, a couple yards of braid, snips and some random thread. Or three frogs, a tiny magnifying glass on a chain and yards of grosgrain or waist tape, I don't know. Those would be treasures to me.
posted by crush at 7:33 AM on November 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

My ideal subscription box is not a handful of new things from the same category every month, but rather one single item per month that is different every time: a new flannel shirt in the winter months, an extremely hoppy beer (oh and maybe an airplane-size bottle of Mallört!), a citrus fruit, a Michigan apple, a small goat cheese and some crusty, chewy bread, a new pen, some sort of pass/certificate for a new tattoo, a field guide to local birds, a mint-flavored lip balm, recipes for fiddly and labor-intensive baked goods, a good pair of shoes for standing stationary for hours at a time, the Sunday NYT crossword, a nice cribbage board, warm socks, a good historical fiction book, a pretty coffee mug, irreverent stickers, etc.
posted by coppermoss at 8:22 AM on November 11, 2018 [10 favorites]

I want to subscribe to all your boxes. My monthly box would be my own personal ex-pat care package and probably include a spice/condiment/ingredient that I can't find in the really tiny "ethnic" section of the grocery stores here, green yet pretty products a la Grove, and a stash building supply of crafty/hardware items that I always have problems finding without going to six different stores or web searches whenever I want to get my Pinterest on (I miss Michael's and HomeDepot).
posted by romakimmy at 8:38 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd totally subscribe to tangosnail's Halloween box. That's right up my alley. Otherwise, I don't know, I'm mostly trying to get rid of stuff.

Fig - good, healing, healthy thoughts to you. Take good care of yourself during this time. I'm around if you want to memail.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:22 AM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Apparently cocktail subscription boxes are actually a thing, but at least the first place I looked at, they ship via some service that requires you to actually be there to show ID when it's delivered, and having something like that delivered to my big corporate office would be incredibly impractical, alas. Because aside from getting rid of stuff, that's something where I definitely want to try more things and be more adventurous but I tend to not want to experiment when I'm actually having to buy full bottles of stuff.
posted by Sequence at 9:33 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’d love a random curated selection of food, booze and skincare too! Stuff with zero plastic packaging and minimal footprint once I’d consumed it. For the consumption side of things, I’ve been working on the one thing in, one-two things out principle and it seems to be working.
posted by arcticseal at 10:05 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lentils and dal would be good for my house too - maybe an ounce of an unusual spice each time, too. (Rancho Gordo *has* such a bean subscription, generally sold out.)

Also a pound of a flour grain each month. It could even just be a pound of whole maize-for-flour each month -- there are beautiful varieties I see in seed catalogs, which would not ripen where I am, and neither email nor paper mail has ever gotten me an address I could order food-grade and food-quantities thereof.
posted by clew at 1:45 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I kinda sorta don't need more consumer goods either, but after really doing it up proper for my first Christmas in my new home and feeling so happy every time I looked at my beautiful decorations, I decided I would like to low-key seasonally decorate (roughly, spring/summer, fall, and Christmas/winter rather that very narrow holiday-specific stuff). So I could see myself going for a Seasonal Decor of the Month club--silk flower arrangements to change out in my vases, little knick-nacks and tchotchkes, placemats, that kinna stuff, as is my wont.

Cocktail makings would also be good.

Finally, as an extremely single person with not enough local friends, I personally think it would be cool to have a "local activity of the month" club--rotating between things like restaurants, museums, outdoor adventures, theater...that would also include a small group (2-3) of fellow activity partners.
posted by drlith at 3:48 PM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would subscribe to a "chunky nut butter and rice cake pairing of the month" Maybe it could come with one random magazine that I am unlikely to have heard of. And a 1 oz piece of random "weird chocolate".
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:54 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would subscribe to a fictional box with all the very best in pain medications plus other top shelf reality altering substances. Hypothetically.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:27 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

all the very best in pain medications plus other top shelf reality altering substances

"This month we've sourced some truly excellent small-batch 2CT7, but the real star is our Original Sandoz LSD, found frozen in liquid nitrogen at a disused facility near Sandia! Those of you who've chosen our Painkiller Option will also receive six doses of carefully titrated carfentanil, synthesized by the Huangzhou Sage Chemical Company especially for us."
posted by aramaic at 6:11 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pepsi Blue Meth
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:49 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

posted by clavdivs at 8:01 PM on November 11, 2018

Hmm, my I.D. and budget in a gift box...
An1\8th of chemdog.

Or a no cabal mug.

Pint of single malt.

Go to a casino, see a show.
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think I just laughed and coughed at the same time while reading yours, aramaic, and it came out sounding like a tiny yelp. Thank you for that!

Much love, Fig. Hang in there! Difficulty level is dialed up to 11, I know, but it sounds like you're doing the right thing.

Otherwise, my answer to this question is easy: I want a Secret Quonsar box, international edition, every month, with ephemera and bric-a-brac from a different country each time.
posted by limeonaire at 9:26 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hugs for the folks who need it. ♥

Family health-wise, it's been a bit of a stress-rollercoaster time for me the past few weeks. I wouldn't say no to hugs either. We'll get through this together, yeah? In the meantime I am really enjoying reading about everyone's subscriptions, especially food and projects and clothes and happy endings and stationery and currencies.

I'm sure there are many dream subscriptions I could come up with, but for right now I'm going to dream big: Every month, access to a new mystery/drama/detective show that was filmed on location. Stunning cinematography and memorable music. To be more realistic budget wise, it could even be one or two episodes of a single series every month.

The protagonists are all awesome, complex women, and women make up at least 50% or more of the regular cast and crew, which are also hella diverse.

The mystery does not depend on grimdark plots or environments. There is clever dialogue that doesn't depend on vitriol, plenty of moments of awww-worthy camaraderie, some creatively interspersed comic relief that never punches down, and sincerity of love and kindness is welcomed rather than derided.

Characters speak fluently in languages other than English (*especially* if the story is set in a non-English-speaking country! Absolutely no cases of -- for instance -- a story set in France, characters are French but to each other they only speak English with French accents. What the heck).

Instead of wondering whether an episode will scrape by to pass the Bechtel-Wallace Test and tests beyond, or if the plot will have some Teachable Moment that depends on the unnecessary violence or humiliation of women/POC/LGBTQI/under-represented people, I will instead wonder how I'll be able to pick my favorite scene when there are so many favorite scenes and no problematic ones.

I'll never have to look for spoilers in advance to see if something will turn me off of the show. I'll never have to say, "This is really good show that I highly recommend...except for all those parts where they make a gross/cringeworthy joke, or except where they spend 10% of the plot talking about how bad the violence is and 90% of the time showing it in great detail."

The plot conflicts are resolved intelligently and respectfully, and the concept of justice is fair. By the end of each viewing, I feel like my faith in the human race has been restored.

I suppose the downside of this is that if such a subscription existed, I'd never want to watch anything else. Hmm. Maybe that is not a downside.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:03 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I would like fairlynearlyready's box too please!

But instead of the avocado I would like old fashioned high quality woodworking tools, one per box. So clamps, chisels, planes, screwdrivers, maybe a variety of screws...

Also artists pens. Maybe small, seasonally appropriate cat toys.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:06 AM on November 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hugs, rangefinder! Sending healing thoughts.

Thank you for all the love, it means so so much to me. You are all the best.
posted by Fig at 4:07 AM on November 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

35mm and 120 film. I mean, the cost of tracking down a roll of Agfa Ultra 50 might be the only thing in the box, but ok.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:16 AM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

White t-shirts. Perfect, tailored, thick white t-shirts. I will inevitably spill red sauce or black tea down the front of them and need a new one every other month or so.

I am a creature of habit and have no real desire or need for a subscription that delivers some Brand New Thing to me every month.

For my son, I think it'd be cool if Little Bits had a subscription where they send one new Bit every month.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:47 AM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would subscribe to a "chunky nut butter and rice cake pairing of the month" Maybe it could come with one random magazine that I am unlikely to have heard of. And a 1 oz piece of random "weird chocolate".

jessamyn - are you me? This is pretty much my dream box, except that I am not a chunky purist and would add a literary sci-fi novel and an interesting vegan make-up item - maybe alternating those every other month since I only want to read so many books I didn't pick myself.
posted by snaw at 7:29 AM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I want a box that contains three hours, one magazine, and reasonable weather for enjoying the first two in my hammock.

The magazine will be finished in twenty minutes, and the rest of the time will be spent napping, assuming some random weirdo -- or my family -- doesn't hassle me.

(Not weirdo-ist.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:51 AM on November 12, 2018 [11 favorites]

I'd love an ephemera box, culled from the depths of eBay or local antique stores. It could have mailed postcards, old letters, diaries, menus from 1953, employee badges from stores that closed in 1979, wrappers from discontinued candies ...

I go through phases of hunting for just these kind of things on ebay—only phases because, like looking for the Barthian punctum, actually finding just the right item always feels fun but eventually exhausting—so having the ideal object delivered to me would be like receiving a monthly Fluxus piece or Cornell box.

A weekly or monthly box of one or more rare scents would rule, too. As would clean, rare, t shirts that you could count on to fit perfectly.

Also, please clean my house ...

Yes, please, a box of tiny people to clean my house!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:55 AM on November 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

A box containing an SD card pre-loaded with a Raspbian image and the HAT to make one new project with my existing Raspberry Pi mini-computers would be cool, but maybe only a few times per year.

In between I would accept a couple of skeins of lightweight cord and a new knotting project, with the hardware to complete it (e.g., a pet leash, a net bag, whoopie slings, a pet collar, a "dogbone" double-ended loop, a braided elastic washline for camping, etc.).

And filling out the other months would be a nice piece of leather, a new tool, and the plans for a small item (e.g., dog leash with rivets; small purse/pouch, with clasp and buckles; wallet or card sleeve with embossing tool).

posted by wenestvedt at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Lots of love to you, fig.
posted by Kwine at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Gen-X nostalgia box incl:

Nat Sherman's cigarettes
chain wallet
Chanel Very Vamp
The Badmotorfinger CD with the SOMMS EP inside
Body Shop Oceanus
zippo u stole from jeremy in the dorm next door
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

White t-shirts. Perfect, tailored, thick white t-shirts. I will inevitably spill red sauce or black tea down the front of them and need a new one every other month or so.

I stopped wearing white shirts when I started drinking coffee.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:43 PM on November 12, 2018

Enough interesting yarn to complete a small crochet project, plus a pattern and any notions or odd-sized hooks needed.
posted by corey flood at 5:16 PM on November 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Kosher Beef Salami of the Month Club
posted by sammyo at 10:01 PM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

After that recent Ask thread, I went and subscribed to Jeni's Pint Club (my favorite ice cream, 4x yearly), so I kind of indulged the hell out of my id already. Yay.

Otherwise I'd say:
Yearly: A quilt pattern, not the fabric, but a pattern I can use with my existing ridiculous stash. Let's be real, they could just be Elizabeth Hartman patterns till the end of time.

Quarterly: Fun socks that don't feel like wearing tinsel. At a quarterly rate they wouldn't pile up too much.

Monthly: I kind of also did this after the Ask thread, international snack food from a different country each time. I am stupid jazzed about this.
posted by cage and aquarium at 5:17 AM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

My ideal subscription box would be a gateway into another culture.

"Here are some [non-American culture] snacks, a DVD of their most popular/culturally indicative film, their best-selling novel (translated into English), and a few other culturally specific everyday and/or symbolic objects that will better help you understand their people."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:18 AM on November 13, 2018 [7 favorites]

Gin, crinolines, weird tiny art, witty, classic literary novels by women around the world, a sketch of an architectural wonder (real or imagined), curry recipes, cheap statement earrings, a list of reasonably interesting people, places things, food and various art presented with no information that would be interesting to research, coffee mugs from defunct tourist attractions.
posted by thivaia at 8:45 PM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

In no particular order:
*the lobster underpants and the polar bear underpants want.

*Fig, you are following your path, and you have my respect for doing what's hard, unknown, necessary. also, {hug}.

*I would like a monthly box of foods from where I grew up: Schuler's doughnuts and their big sugar cookies, ice cream from Young's Jersey Dairy (Jersey cows make the milk that doesn't irritate lactose-intolerant people.), Little Kings Cream Ale, Skyline Chili (or other Cincinnati chili), Dayton-style pizza. Foods that are no longer produced, like Birds-Eye Green Beans and Spaetzle, Mrs. Pauls Crab Balls. And I'd like the occasional 6 pack of a small brewery beer that I would really like.

*I was just in Columbus, Ohio, where sauerkraut balls are served as an appetizer. I did not have the opportunity to have any on this trip, sad face. They are pure genius, weird and tasty, so some of those.
posted by theora55 at 2:16 PM on November 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wait, green beans and spaetzle no longer exists? I loved that as a kid.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:51 PM on November 14, 2018

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