Gaoot Giksata


Does it feel like the Christmas season yet? Daughter said yesterday that it did not. It did but now it does not. It arrived too quickly and all at once, and now it’s in a strange limbo. There doesn’t seem to be any Christmas momentum, I think she meant. I feel it too. But I’m doing my part, hiding Jingle Pixie in various locales. Today it’s under a favorite stuffed animal. Yesterday it was in the sock drawer.

Wonder if she’ll remember this.

Did the Christmas cards on Monday. Had to sift through the photos for the Kodak moment, which of course wasn’t by Kodak at all. It was easy to find the right picture, and if you’re thinking “call up iPhoto, enter a keyword, or search by date,” you’re wrong. I used to have 16,000 photos in my library. Now I have 300. I took everything out, sorted them into folders that have easily-understood names like FALL 2009 NATURE or NATALIE ORCHESTRA CONCERT SPRING 2010, renamed the pictures with a batch renamer, backed them all up on DVDs and two different servers, and voila. Now the photo program just has collections of things I can put on mobile devices and use to bore people I’ve just met.

The picture was from the Europe trip, sailing past Vesuvius. Someone else took it; I hadn’t dismantled the “BEAUTY” mode which blurred and saturated, but it looks okay. Next step: remember the trouble I had last year at the Target photo kiosk. Oh, right: it couldn’t read any media. I’d put in a USB stick: nothing. Put in a CD: nothing. Wrong formatting, apparently. Went home, put it all on a PC-formatted USB stick, and it worked. Because no one’s using Macs these days, I guess. Makes sense from a business perspective.

Took the PC-formatted stick to Target, and sat down at the machine.

Which is made by Kodak.

Which is a PC. A very old PC with a laggy touchscreen. I was between two other groups - a young woman browsing through 834,193 Facebook photos to choose the right one for her card, and a woman who was having great difficulty navigating between the various screens. Her husband was trying to help. He also kept kicking my chair. This made me vacillate between hoping they never figured out their problem, or figured it out right away. Eventually she called over a clerk, who wore the expression of someone who’d been processing souls into hell for five centuries straight without a break. She really didn’t have much empathy left.

I chose my card, and entered the text. Or rather tried. If you touched the “p” key you got an o. Everything was shifted one key over. (The “a” came up as “a,” though.) The word “Happy” came out “gaoot.” Happy Holidays was Gaoot Giksata. Took a while to get everything in. (Don’t give me trouble about Happy Holidays. The card already said Christmas elsewhere.) Hit DISPLAY to see what the card looked like.

The text was in Comic Sins.


So. I changed it to something that did not bring a bile-flavored surge of fury up my throat - yes, Hobo was an option, too - and finalized the design. Gave it a final look, convinced I’d missed something that would only become apparent when my wife looked at it, then sent it to the printer. There was an option to burn my Memories to a DVD of Memories so I could use my DVD player to look at my Memories later; I declined. The entire experience was a brand-killer for Kodak, and proof that no one at Target uses these machines.

Just realized that I could write a “funny” version of this for my newspaper column. Perhaps I will. Expect a few lines stolen from this.

And now I’m wondering why I didn’t try to make this more amusing. Perhaps it can’t be done. No, I know: I’m depressed. Not in the serious clinical Black Dog sense, but in the criminey-jehosophat-it’s-so-fargin’ cold-out sense. And it’s just begun. IT’S JUST BEGUN. Augh. And this is the happy part of winter, the ho-ho-ho / jack-frost-nipping part, where your heart is full of gaiety and charity and warmth and nocturnal hallucinations of dancing sugar-plums. On the way to work today I had an image of the raw scrape of January ahead, comforted myself with the thoughts of spring, but then thought again how time is racing with such speed you expect your pictures to show your face rippling with G-forces, but that’s an illusion. The years are short, but the days are long. That’s the comfort. They’re also dark and cold; that’s the truth.

Ah well. Could be worse; could work for Kodak. This article describes the long fall of the venerable brand:


. . . its executives couldn't foresee a future in which film had no role in image capture at all, nor come to grips with the lower profit margins or faster competitive pace of high-tech industries. At one meeting with Microsoft's Bill Gates to discuss integrating Kodak's photo CDs with Windows, Kodak Chairman Kay Whitmore fell asleep.


In retrospect it’s easy to see what they should have done, which was embrace digital as much as possible as soon as possible - but even that strategy would have had a downside, since they would have been associated with the early days of digital cameras, easy pickings for something that said New! and Improved! when Kodak’s products were starting to look dated, or just the logo itself said “then, not now.” Design might have helped. For heaven’s sake, just make a lot of these -


. . . and you have hipster-love all over your products.

Today’s Kitschmas: guess the year.



1944. Johny the Cigarette Imp is hoping that fascism is dealt the final blow in 1945. It's been a long time since any product hoped for Victory, to say nothing of a cigarette. People knew Johnny from radio commercials; no doubt a few knew that he wasn't just a character invented for a cigarette ad campaign, but an actual bellboy: Johnny Roventini. He was working at the incredible moderne New Yorker Hotel when discovered in '33; the story says an ad exec saw the diminutive fellow with the big voice, paid him to walk around saying CALL FOR PHILIP MORRIS in the lobby, and decided he was the perfect choice for the ads. (They'd been running a bellboy calling for the brand for years.)

He made the transition to TV, too. Smoke 'em if you got 'em:


UPDATE: Enjoy three Disney shorts - the last Alice, thank God, and the start of the 13 Oswalds. These will be much, much shorter when the title card art starts to get interesting; that was the original idea for the site, before I got the harebrained idea to do a site about every Disney cartoon in the world. It starts HERE. You find something surprising at the end. Trust me. (Oh: this week's Comic Sins was here.)

See you around!



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