Category: Lucky Stories

The Luckiest Snickers Bar In The World

HOW A $0.95 SNICKERS BAR WON THESE 7 PEOPLE $319 MILLION by Douglas Montero and Bob Fredericks, NYPOST.

Chocolate never tasted this rich.

A state information-technology worker’s fateful craving for a 95-cent Snickers bar put him in the right place at the right time to score a Mega Millions ticket worth a sweet $319 million.

“I like the Snickers Dark and I say, ‘I gotta have one of those,’ ” a jubilant Mike Barth, 63, said yesterday, explaining how he scored the winning ducat at Coulson’s News Center last Friday for himself and six co-workers.

“I pull myself out of the line to get the candy bar, and this guy jumps in front of me,” he said. “I’m like, ‘I should say something,’ but I behaved myself.”

Letting the jerk slide was a good bet for Barth.

“I bought the next ticket — the winning ticket!” he said.

Barth’s winning Quick Pick ticket beat the Mega Millions lottery’s 1-in-176 million odds, making him and his colleagues, who slave away maintaining the computer systems for the state housing agency, rich enough to help bail out Albany.

The geek squad from the Homes and Community Renewal agency — an umbrella group of state housing bureaus — made their first public appearance yesterday as newly-minted multimillionaires at State Lottery headquarters in Schenectady.

As for five co-workers who normally participate in the office pool but decided to take a pass this time around, one winner said the losers had no one to blame but themselves.

“We asked everybody on the floor. Some of us got in, and some of us didn’t,” said Gabrielle Mahar, 29. “You’ve got to play to win!”

While no decisions have been made, several winners suggested they might take mercy on their out-of-luck pals and share some of the wealth.

“It’s going to be up to the individual,” said Leon Peck, 62.

The newly dubbed “Albany Seven” winners also include Tracy Sussman, 41; John Hilton, 57; John Kutey, 54; and Kristin Baldwin, 42.

The work pals typically kicked in $2 apiece whenever the Mega Millions jackpot topped $100 million — four times last year and twice so far this year.

They’ve chosen the lump-sum option, which will pay them $19.1 million each after taxes.

Mahar said she was at home watching the 11 o’clock news with her boyfriend last Friday night when the winning numbers flashed across the screen.

She thought the drawing was Thursday, so she’d already tossed her photocopy of the tickets into the recycling bin and had to dig it out.

“I checked it, I rechecked it, and I rechecked it, and I couldn’t believe it was real,” she said.

Mahar called her mother but didn’t want to wake Baldwin, her supervisor.

“You have to call her, Gabrielle, it’s the Mega Millions!” her mother told her.

They started spreading the news first thing Saturday.

Peck, known as the office prankster, thought his co-workers were turning the tables when he started getting one call after another.

“But I didn’t think anyone would be calling that early on a Saturday to play a joke,” he said.

The winners decided that Hilton — who lived closest to work — had to go get the ticket, which they’d stashed in a desk drawer.

Taking one of his grown sons along, he drove to the Hampton Building on State Street.

Back home, Hilton asked himself, “What am I going to do with it now? I’m frantic now.”

He took the ticket and placed it inside a Ziploc bag, then buried it in a 5-pound pail of birdseed, which he hid in his basement. “I didn’t know what else to do,” he said.

The group agreed to meet at Baldwin’s home Sunday and devise a plan. They dropped out of sight until yesterday to huddle with legal and financial wizards.

The winners said they’ve given little thought to how they’ll use their fortunes, except for a few immediate necessities and indulgences.

Mahar wants a dishwasher, Sussman needs to replace a stove that gave out a few weeks back, and Barth could use a set of tires — and pay his son’s college tuition.

Others are dreaming of travel.

Kutey, who flies a Disney flag at his home, said he and his wife plan to visit Disney parks all over the world.

“We haven’t been to Disney since last August,” he said. “I’m sure she’s going to want to go. We’re like two big kids.”

Mahar said she wants to travel extensively, and help people less fortunate than her.

Hilton said he’s not sure where he’s going — but knows he’ll be flying first class.

Peck, meanwhile, has his priorities straight — taking care of his mother first with a new car.

Barth credited the “fickle finger of fate.” Lottery officials agreed, saying there’s no guarantee Barth would have gotten the winning numbers had the other guy not cut in on line.

“Random luck is all about being in the right place at the right time,” said lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman.

And Barth had a final word for the line-cutter: “Ha, ha, ha, you never know.”

What Bill Gates has to say about Luck

Even the richest man on the planet acknowledges that luck plays a crucial role in his life. During a recent town hall interview at Columbia University Business School hosted by CNBC, Bill Gates was asked by a student to reflect on what role “pure luck” played in his success. Gates responded:

“I was lucky in many ways: I was lucky to be born with certain skills. I was lucky to have parents that created an environment where they shared what they were working on and let me to buy as many books as I wanted to, and I was lucky with timing. The invention of the microprocessor was something profound, and it turned out that only if you were young and you were looking at that could you appreciate what that meant. And I was obsessed with writing software, and it turned out that was the key missing thing that allowed the microprocessor to have this incredible impact. So in timing, in skill set, in some of the people I was lucky enough to meet…it’s unusual to have so much luck in one life, but it’s been a major factor in what I’ve been able to do.”


The Luckiest Tourists in New York?

The mid-air collision between a helicopter and a private plane over the Hudson River last week was a horrific tragedy, but if there’s a tiny silver lining in all of this, it’s that by sheer luck two other deaths were avoided. Paola Casali, a tourist from Rome, and her 13-year-old son were also supposed to be on the doomed helicopter tour, but arrived just minutes after the helicopter took off. They were not late, as they had been told to arrive between noon and 1pm, but somehow the flight had already departed. As they waited for the next helicopter, news broke of the accident.

Casali told the New York Times that “she felt that it was fate or some kind of divine intervention” that prevented them from being on the ill-fated flight. ”I feel so confused, but but I feel the we are so lucky,” she said.

To read the full story, click HERE. And if you have any stories involving a lucky experience that possibly saved your life, please submit them to The Luck Guide.


(Photo by Rahav Segev for The New York Times)

The Luckiest Plane Crash Ever

The Luckiest Plane Crash Ever

In the annals of aviation history, has there ever been a plane crash as lucky as US Airways Flight 1549? All 155 passengers and crew survived a crash landing into the frigid waters of the Hudson River last Thursday, January 15th, and as the stories of heroism begin to fill the media blogosphere, there’s also been much discussion of how lucky everyone was. Which brings up the issue of how our own lucky beliefs affects us whenever we entrust our fate to a giant piece of metal weighing hundreds of tons that is supposed to stay aloft in the sky.

Ben Sherwood, in a piece entitled “The Great Plane Crash Myth” from The Daily Beast, confesses, “I’m embarrassed to admit that every time I fly, I go through a litany of superstitious rituals. I always tap the right doorjamb of the plane when I step aboard. During takeoff and landing, I mumble a short prayer that I learned long ago in Sunday school.”

Sherwood’s rituals are not uncommon. Lucky airplane rituals and superstitions seem to abound everywhere when one begins to investigate deeper. Many Italians believe that wearing red underwear when flying will keep them safe. Others believe that carrying a St Christopher’s medal will protect them (He was the patron saint of travelers). Then there is the fixation on numbers. In the airline industry, it is a well documented fact that Friday the 13th is always a slow day.  On airlines like Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, and even Continental, you won’t find a row number 13.  An article in USAToday quotes two airline spokesmen:

“Apparently someone a long time ago (we don’t know when) thought we shouldn’t have a row 13,” says Martin DeLeon, a spokesperson for Continental Airlines. “We have let the row numbering system persist, especially since we don’t want to go through the expense of renumbering rows on about 600 aircraft.”

“Most people wouldn’t want to sit there,” says Judy Graham-Weaver, a spokesperson for AirTran. “Whether we believe in the superstition or not if it’s the perception of the community we need to go by that.”

On Italian airline Alitalia, it’s row number 17 that is missing, since the roman numerals for 17, when rearranged, could spell “VIXI,” which means “I lived” in Italian.  (The numerals also resemble a hangman). Then there is the Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways, which omits row 4 because it sounds like the word for death in their language.

Whatever your ritual or belief, I say it never hurts to have that extra bit of luck on your side when you’re 35,000 miles up in the sky.


(Photo by Gary Hershom/Reuters.)

Newman’s Own Luck

The world lost a great actor and humanitarian last week with the death of Paul Newman. In the September 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, Patricia Bosworth paid tribute to his legendary career in an engrossing profile entitled “The Newman Chronicles.” It’s a must-read for all Newman fans, and of special interest to us was this passage:

“Newman credits his unparalleled success in so many areas to what he calls  ‘Newman’s luck.’ (He has always attributed his great good fortune to a series of ‘lucky breaks.’ ‘It’s allowed me to take chances, to take risks,’ he has said. ‘To get close to a lot of edges without falling off.’”

The article goes on to describe his first brush with this luck: While serving in the navy radioman in the Pacific during World War II, his aircraft was grounded one afternoon because the pilot he regularly flew with had an ear problem. The rest of his squadron was transferred to another aircraft carrier, which was subsequently hit by a kamikaze, killing all the members of his team.

Bosworth goes on to write:

“He had so many opportunities (such as going to Yale Drama School and being discovered by a top talent agent), but just as important was his brand of good luck. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. However, what’s so inspiring about his life and career is how much he accomplished with his luck. He has used it to transform himself, events, and the culture over and over.”

To read this fascinating article, click HERE.


(Photo by Bradley Smith/Corbis)

Million Dollar Luck

Okay, it’s time for a confession: I’ve become a huge fan of the Bravo reality show “Million Dollar Listing.” I’m not quite sure what it is exactly about the show that so fascinates me—perhaps it’s the weekly dose of seeing some of the most garishly hideous properties in Los Angeles being sold for absolutely insane prices (remember, folks, this is all earthquake and brushfire country), or perhaps it’s just to witness the over-the-top behavior of the brash young realtors Madison Hildebrand, Josh Flagg, and the one whose name I can’t remember but whose head resembles a mushroom. Whatever it is, the show continues to mesmerize me week after week.

Last week’s episode featured an Israeli couple who were desperate to buy a Beverly Hills McMansion, and every time they made an offer on the property, the figure would end with the numerals “126.” For instance, they would initially bid $6,300,126 for the property.  “Don’t forget the 126,” the buyer reminded the eager young broker Josh Flagg, who was about to submit the offer at an even $6.3 million. “Always use the 126.”

This of course had me wondering what the significance of 126 was. Was this purely the couple’s personal lucky number, or was there more to it? A bit of research led to the discovery that 126 is indeed a lucky number for the Jewish people because of chai.  Chai is a Hebrew word which means “living,” and is related to chaim, the term for “life.”  In Hebrew, each letter is assigned a numerical value, and the numerical value of chai is 18. Hence, 18 is a lucky number in Judaism, and many Jews give gifts of money, or, in this case, the purchase price of a house, in multiples of 18 for good luck. 7 x 18 = 126. Which brings us back to the property featured on “Million Dollar Listing.” After yet another round of negotiations, the couple finally won the house for $5.8 million.  $5,800,126, to be fortuitously precise.


Knock On This

For as long as she can remember, Loren Waldron has used the phrase “knock on wood” whenever she’s wished for an extra bit of luck. Then, one fateful day, as she was about to leave on a road trip and uttered those words in the hopes of good traffic, there was no wood to be found anywhere in sight. “I was surrounded by a sea of plastic, so I just knocked on my head,” she recalls.

Well, here’s what happens when you call on the luck gods but don’t follow through: Loren found herself sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for six hours, in what should have been an easy three hour drive. From that day on, Loren talked about creating a piece of “knock on wood” wood for herself—something that she would always have in a pinch. At first, she would mention it almost as a joke, but as more and more friends told her what a great idea it was, she finally decided last May to make it a reality by creating the perfect little wooden accessory and launching

Knock on Wood wood is comprised of a circular piece of wood that’s two inches in diameter and attached to a metal key ring. It’s small enough to carry in your pocket, clip to a belt, or carry on your keychain. But what makes it special is the fact that each one is individually crafted by Loren. “No two are alike, because I brand the wood myself, so every piece always comes out a bit differently,” Loren says, hoping that this personal touch will bring that extra bit of good luck to the new owner.

So has Loren’s luck changed since she began creating these lucky charms? “We’re moving and I can’t tell you how many times I knocked on my own Knock on Wood wood when we got the offer for our place, until now, two weeks before closing that everything would work out and the sale would go through. Now I’m knocking on it with hopes to find the house of our dreams shortly! I find an occasion to knock on wood almost daily and while I’m not sure that it has changed my luck, I haven’t run into any bad luck since I began creating it, so I guess it’s doing its job!”

To buy a piece of Knock on Wood wood, click HERE.


Lucky Living: At Home with Alexis and Tico

Tico Torres (left) and Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte at home in New York.

Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose work has appeared in magazines such as The New YorkerTown and Country, and L’Uomo Vogue. Tico Torres is a fashion stylist who, in addition to collaborating with Rodriguez-Duarte since the beginning of his career, has worked with such legendary photographers as Richard Avedon, Norman Parkinson, and Bruce Weber. (Torres styled Weber’s portrait of ballet star Damien Woetzel in this month’s Vanity Fair.) Together, Alexis and Tico have produced iconic portraits of such personalities as Gianni Versace, Gloria Vanderbilt, Andy Garcia, and most notably, Celia Cruz—their fifteen year friendship with her is documented in the photo book Presenting Celia Cruz. When they aren’t jetting off to Paris, Ibiza, or some other exotic destination for a photo shoot, Alexis and Tico divide their time between homes in Miami and New York. The Luck Guide paid a visit to their New York apartment, tucked away on one of the West Village’s leafiest streets. Here, lucky objects share the whimsically appointed space with a formidable collection of Cuban art.

Kevin: What fascinates me about your apartment is how you really incorporate all these good luck talismans into the décor of the place. The first thing I noticed is the horseshoe above your front door. It looks ancient. Can you tell me more about it?

Alexis: We found it in Colorado. We were out at a ranch in the middle of nowhere.

Tico: Actually, it was Daryl Hannah’s ranch. Our friend Jeffrey Cayle was working on the design of her ranch out in Colorado and he asked us to visit him and bring him some stuff that he needed for Daryl’s place.

A: So we drove—and it was an amazing road trip since it was the first time we had driven across the country. The house used to be a stagecoach stop and on one of the days we were out exploring the enormous property we found this horseshoe in one of the fields, which we decided to bring back with us.

K: You know it’s very lucky to find horseshoes by accident.

A: Oh really?

K: Yes, and every nail left in the horseshoe is supposed to count for extra good luck. Above the horseshoe on your doorway, it seems like you’ve got a whole treasure trove of little angels and sculptures…

A: These were picked up on a trip to Mexico. We went for the Day of the Dead and we got these in Patzcuaro.

T: The two on the sides are both statuettes depicting La Virgencita de Guadalupe, who is the patron saint of Mexico, and then there are three crosses with Christ on them, which are all handmade and painted right there in the plaza where we bought them. We picked them up right from the artist, so we thought they were really special because we actually saw them painting it right there. The three little cherubs and angel are from a dear friend of ours, Albin Kohanski, who was Joan Crawford’s hairdresser and colorist. He and his boyfriend were together for 51 years, and traveled all over the world. These three angels came from Italy, and I believe they purchased them in the 1950s.

K: Are the virgins supposed to bless you or bring you luck?

T: Both. Mexicans really believe that she will answer their prayers and help them. She’s very, very important in Mexico.

A: It’s very interesting because for us, we grew up catholic, but we’re not really practicing Catholics. These symbols, because of our family traditions, always had a meaning that went beyond religious faith, and we continue the tradition without being totally religious about it.

K: Well, is there any special reason you hang these saints above the doorway with the horseshoe?

A: Well, as always in our houses and in our parent’s houses, we like to hang lucky charms over the ledge of the front door. When you go out, the angels, the virgin, and the crosses will go out with you and protect you.

T: We also put them there so that as you’re walking out, it’s one of the last things you’ll see.

A: Before we go away on any trip, we always stand in front of the door and say a little prayer to let us have a safe trip, and to keep the house safe.

T: And we do this at our house in Miami, too, in front of the little saints that I’ve collected from my family.

A: I don’t know if you noticed, but on this other doorway leading to the living room, we’ve hung this pineapple drawing. The pineapple is always supposed to be welcoming and bring good luck into the home. It was given to us by Gilberto Ruiz, the Cuban artist.

K: I’ve never noticed that until today! Now, what are all these little saints lining the windowsill?

T: These are actually the ones they sell in Miami for you to put on your dashboard. They have little magnets at the bottom, and they bring luck to your car. When I was growing up, my Dad always had these little saints in the front of the car to protect you while you were driving. These four are the most important saints to Cubans: you have Santa Barbara, La Virgen de Regla, which I think is probably unique to Cuba, La Virgencita de la Caridad del Cobre, and San Lazaro.

A: When I was a little boy growing up in Havana, I was run over by a car. My entire leg was crushed, my femur was severed, and the doctors said that I would be handicapped for the rest of my life. San Lazaro was the one who helped those with physical ailments.

K: He was the patron saint of lepers, I believe.

A: Yes, exactly. So on the seventeenth of December every year, there’s a shrine in El Rincón, and people would go on their knees to this shrine. As a little kid, my parents would make a pilgrimage to El Rincón de San Lazaro to make an offering so that I would be cured. And here I am today—totally healed—I don’t even have a limp.

K: As we enter the living room, I’m noticing all sorts of lucky charms. Where should we start first?

T: Well, we have our little elephant here on the mantelpiece, and following the Cuban tradition, we always have his butt pointing toward the front door.

K: That’s interesting, because in some other traditions, like the Chinese, the trumpet is supposed to be facing the front door, as if “heralding in” the good luck.

T: Really? That’s interesting. If you go to many Cuban households, you’ll always find a little elephant, and the butt is always pointing towards the front door. As a matter of fact, I remember that white ceramic elephants in different sizes were always popular in houses when I was growing up in Hialeah [a Miami suburb heavily populated with Cuban immigrants].

A: (Laughs) Yes, I remember that my parents had a set of those white elephants too. Three of them!

K: Looking up at that ledge by the window, I notice a beautiful recreation of San Lazaro.

A: Yes, that was my grandmother’s San Lazaro statue, and she had it for many, many years. And you’ll notice the cigar next to San Lazaro, because he liked cigars. You were also supposed to wash him every so often with warm water.

K: And put a cigar next to him?

A: No, actually you’re supposed to blow cigar smoke onto his face for good luck, because that’s what he likes. Now in this case, this is an actual cigar that Celia Cruz smoked. We were with her at a launch party for Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s book Holy Smoke, and these cigars were sitting on table. Celia turned to Tico and asked, “Do you have any matches?” She wanted to smoke the cigar, because it turned out that in all her years she had never smoked a cigar before.

K: So this is the first cigar that she ever smoked?

A: Yes! She was smoking it and she told us, “This is the first time I’ve ever smoked a cigar!” So we kept it and leave it up there. I don’t know if you see it, but in front of San Lazaro is a tiny little saint there—it’s called El Niño de Atocha. It’s a tiny little saint that was given to me by my grandmother when I first arrived from Cuba. And next to them are rosary beads given to us by a dear friend who had brought them back from Bethlehem. So we keep all these special good luck things up there on that ledge.

K: I’ve noticed this handkerchief tied to the leg of a chair. What is its significance?

A: This is another Cuban lucky tradition: whenever you lose anything—from your car keys to your passport, whatever—you’re supposed to “tie San Dimas’ balls” until they reappear. Basically, what you do is tie a handkerchief around the leg of a table or chair. Actually, you can use a handkerchief or grass, because in the countryside, that’s what they used. And as you tie the handkerchief or the grass, you’re supposed to say, “San Dimas, help us find the thing we are looking for.”

T: The basic premise is that you’re tying San Dimas’ balls and you’re not going to release them until he helps you find whatever you’re looking for.

A: Again, I should say that we don’t believe in this a hundred percent, but it’s one of those traditions that our parents have passed down through the years, and so we just repeat the ritual. Recently, I lost my passport and citizenship papers here in the apartment, and I just couldn’t find it anywhere. Tico was also helping me search for it, and he tied San Dimas’ balls. We were searching and searching . . .

T: . . . and we turned the apartment upside down, going file by file . . .

A: . . . and we just couldn’t find it. One day, I noticed that the handkerchief was a little loose. So I decided to make it tighter, and I said, “San Dimas, please bring me luck in finding my passport.” About half an hour later, I found my passport and citizenship papers—tucked away in of all places a file folder that contained articles and tearsheets—you know, the ones that give me ideas and inspiration for my photo shoots.

K: Someplace it would never be?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact, I wasn’t even going to look there. But as I came across this file, I decided to just throw some stuff out for recycling. So as I’m going through these old clippings, suddenly my passport appears.

T: So then we untied San Dimas’ balls, because he came through.

A: It was a little freaky, really, because I was never going to look there. Because I knew there was absolutely no way my passport or important papers could possibly be in that file. I was actually going to take that whole file and toss away everything, but something made me look in there, and voila!

K: Do you think that Cubans by nature are big believers in luck?

T: I don’t know if we’re bigger believers than other nationalities, since there are superstitions in every culture, but yes, luck does play a big factor for Cubans.

A: Well, take the lottery for example. Cubans are really into playing the lottery, and for them every number has a special significance. If you see a bird in the middle of a street, for instance, that symbolizes a number.

T: Every sign you see has significance that relates to a number. Number 15, for example, relates to a dog. A dove is 24, or a monkey’s 34.

K: What do you think is the most prevalent or popular Cuban lucky superstition? For example, the most widely held superstition in Japan is that if you cut your fingernails at night, your parents will die before you next see them.

A: Wow, I don’t think we have anything as dramatic as that. Some popular good luck superstitions are: leaving a place the same way you came in—from the same door, because you don’t want to take the luck of the place out, whether it’s good or bad.

T: Another one is to always walk out the door with your right foot first. There are a lot of little things, but I don’t know if there’s one ultimate belief.

K: I realize that with the saints, there’s a lot of superstition intermingling with Catholicism.

T: Catholic imagery and iconography has always been very prominent, because the Spaniards brought these religious figures with them, and then we get the slaves from Africa. The Spaniards did not like the slaves practicing their religion, which is Yoruba, and they would force them not to practice it. So the Afro-Cuban slaves started using the saints as substitutes but really still prayed to their gods. The Spaniards would see the statue of Santa Barbara in their houses, but really they were praying to Changó. So the fusion of superstition and religion has always been very strong. I remember that whenever my mom or dad played the lottery, they would put the ticket underneath the saint for the evening. My family was catholic, they weren’t into Santería, but they certainly mixed a lot of these superstitions. You would put an apple next to Changó, or Santa Barbara, because Changó liked apples. You go into many Cuban households, and even though they are not practicing santeros, they’ll have little offerings next to their saints, like food or little glasses of water. Saints were the ones that brought you luck.

A: In our house, we always did a lucky cleansing ritual by cleaning the house with water and ice. Once a week, you were supposed to open the front door and throw out a bucket filled with ice and water to “cleanse” the whole house out.

T: Especially on New Year’s Eve.

A: Yes, every New Year’s Eve, it was very important, and my grandmother always did that.

K: That’s such a cool tradition, no pun intended. Well, I think we’ve just about covered it all. Thanks so much for inviting us into your home!


Slappin’ the Nitti

From one of our loyal readers: 

We have our own little lucky charm here at Methodikal. It’s called “The Nitti.”

It all started when we were at our old ad agency. Seth, my business partner, and I were sitting around reading the Boston Globe when he was stopped in is tracks by a photo in the obituary section. A man named Tony Nitti had died and the photo (above) was included with the obit. [Ed note: The photograph did not appear in the obituary section of the paper in hot pink. The version sent to us that appears above was colorized to match Methodikal’s corporate colors.] Seth was like, “Holy crap. These guys look like they could sell anything to anyone. They’re like the patron saints of selling shit.” [Ed note: Apologies for the use of the word “shit” in two recent posts. I don’t know what’s going on although I have been told I have the mouth of a truck driver.]

So we cut the photo out and hung a copy over the door to our office. Whenever we were going out to present ideas or work to a client, we’d always give the picture a little good luck love tap, much like Notre Dame football players slap the “Play like a champion today” sign on their way out of the locker room. The process became affectionately known as “Slapping the Nitti.”    —Mike H.

Although Mike and Seth have struck out on their own since discovering “The Nitti,” the “Slappin’ the Nitti” tradition lives on. And since their company seems to be doing well, I guess it’s working for them. You can see for yourself at