ENJOY
OK? OK! OK? OK!

Click on an item in this list to move to its location farther down on the page. These items are not listed by appeal--and being under no abligation to view them in their presented order, I suggest reading the "hat story" first. (And don't forget to visit the shrine, OK?)

Heres the whole page in its OK entirety for those who prefer linearity:


I meet OK Soda

I first encountered OK Soda when I arrived at MIT as a freshman (R/O week '94). Someone somewhere decided that rush food wouldn't be rush food with OK Soda. (Unlike the milk and hamburger buns, all OK Soda was consumed during rush and not left sitting for months after.) This was during the
first generation of labels: the ones with writing on the back which can be seen once you've emptied the bottle. Several people tried to explain the concept of OK. The first explanation was that Coke is the second most recognized word in the world and Coke just wants to have a copyright on the first. The second--more of an observation than an explanation--was that Okay is Coke in pig latin. Depends on your dialect, I guess.


I go to an OK concert

Fairly early into my freshman year, I heard about two free concerts sponsored by WFNX (and, unbeknownst to me, OK Soda). The first was Green Day at the Hatch Shell. I should save my stories about that experience for another web page; let's just say I got out unscathed. The OK hot-air balloon (grounded, not airbourne) wasn't so lucky. I never made it to the OK booth myself so I don't know what free stuff they were giving out--if you do, click
here. The second concert was Juliana Hatfield at the Cambridge-Side Galleria. She played from a ferry anchored in the water behind the mall (while everyone looked on from the shore). There were booths lining the walkway between the mall and the water. My friend Pramod and I found the WFNX booth, but, despite walking most of the way around, were alluded again by the OK booth. Every person who passed us was carrying an OK Soda drink holder (black with silver OK logo, just like the balloon) so we eventually stopped someone and asked where she got it. The answer was less than helpful. Pramod spotted an abandoned drink holder in the food court so we rushed to pick it up and discovered why it had been left by the wayside--it was torn. Now there's a slightly damaged OK Soda drink in holder in my collection.


I build a shrine

Around the time of the OK sponsored concerts, I began amassing a collection of OK containers. It really wasn't a conscious effort to collect them, at first. It was just a few bottles and cans I had bought and left lying around the room. Just as the
second generation of labels was appearing in stores, I made a real effort to save my cans, wash them, and then let them lie around the room. Actually, after I first washed my collection, I lined the bottles up on my computer desk where they crowded the monitor. I had been thinking of installing shelves in my room for a while, but in January of '95 I actually did. There's so much empty space, I thought, how will I ever be able to fill it? Little did I know my OK collection would grow exponentially. I moved all my OK containers (and the drink holder) to the top shelf, which I specifically designed for the height of OK two liter bottles. My collection fit nicely on the top shelf for a short period of time. As the term went by, my collection slowly annexed the second shelf. The large bottles stayed on the top where they fit, while the cans migrated down one shelf where I felt confident they would stop.

It didn't take long for me to get lazy. I often didn't feel like washing the containers out when I got them back to my room, so I would leave them on the bottom shelf and do a mass cleaning periodically. After the hat incident near the end of spring term, the amount of cans and bottles on the bottom shelf grew out of control. I imagined I would clean several cans out every day and, by attrition, win the war against sticky OK containers. I was wrong. While I have maintained the distinction between clean and unclean containers, it looks as though my collection has spread comfortably to all three shelves...and it's not stopping. Where to next? I'll let you know.

The current contents of my OK collection:



I write a web page

The postmark on my very first package of stickers from the Coca-Cola Company is September 13th, 1994. I guess it was shortly before then that I called the consumer information number on an OK can, asking for information on OK. They told me that there wasn't a press release or information packet just yet but that I should call back in December and they might have one by then. In the mean time, they could send some me some stickers. And that's what they did.

About this time, I discovered a public access scanner in the Media Lab. Well, it's free access if you look like you know what you're doing. I found this scanner in an effort to digitize pictures of Sy Sperling but I soon grew hungry for more GIFs and started scanning friends' pictures and OK soda graphics. The time I tried to scanned the OK soda stickers and newspaper ads, the scanner wasn't working and I was lucky to walk away with three GIFs (two newspaper ads and an OK head). It wasn't much, but it was enough to put on a web page. My attempts at scanning the OK logo having failed, I was reduced to drawing my own. This pathetic logo was short lived.

Then I discovered the LSC scanner. It's a nice full-page color scanner connected to a Mac Quadra with 32 Megs of memory. I couldn't ask for anything better--well, maybe a color monitor, but I do most of my editing on my own machine with XV and XPAINT. I removed the labels from two two-liter bottles and one twenty-ounce bottle (using a scientifically proven method of running them under hot water to loosen the glue) and brought them to the LSC office to be scanned. In addition to scanning the entire labels, I made GIFs of one of the ingredient lists and the OK logo (thus putting the handmade logo out of its misery). Thus I was started on a scanning rampage, digitizing everything in sight.

Up until this summer, my OK page was nothing more than a small art gallery. On one of my occasional searches for other OK sites on the net, I discovered Dave Adam's web pages. His pages actually had information in them. He asked to use my graphics and after I saw what he was able to do with them, I felt motived to improve my dinky page. I've learned a lot about HTML, HTTP daemons, and scripts from this experience. Let me know if you enjoy the final product, OK? A few improvements to note: a random OK quote everytime, an imagemap of OK locations at MIT, more words and more pages.

I guess I should just mention it here rather than creating a new heading for it. In order to improve my web page, I needed more pictures--particularly of OK sites on campus for my imagemap pages. To this end, I borrowed a camera and walked around campus one night, taking pictures of all the OK machines I could find. I actually discovered two sources of OK that I hadn't noticed before. I took pictures of my shrine and later of an unopened bottle and can (with the help of a friend at LSC who pointed a 16mm projector at them to provide a light source). The pictures of the individual bottle and can unfortunately didn't develop well. Neither did some of the pictures of soda machines. The ones that did come out well can all be seen here. I guess now I have to rewrite the art gallery page to include all the new stuff.

Another computer application of OK worth mentioning is the OK zephyr instance here at MIT. I'm not sure I can explain what zephyr is for those who don't know but I can try: it's a system for sending point-to-point messages across a local network (i.e. a little window pops up on my friend's computer containing the message I sent him). A zephyr instance is something which retransmits your message to multiple people (who choose to receive messages sent to that instance)--sort of like a mailing list. Anyway, my computer is set up to randomly pick an OK quote or coincidence and send it to the OK instance, several times a day. Gratuitous, you say? Of course.


I get a hat

I learned about OK Soda's coolest promotional gimick about half way through spring term '95 from my friend Ethan. He told me about one of his friends who put money into an OK machine and instead of getting a soda, received a special OK can containing a hat, some stickers, and three quarters to buy another OK. Well, I wasn't sure whether to believe this story or not, until a few days later when someone happened to mention that my friend Pramod had won an OK hat from a vending machine. This time I thought someone might be playing a joke on me, but when I finally found Pramod, he did indeed have an OK hat. It's a very nice baseball cap: 100% cotton, all black with a small OK logo embroidered on the left side. It comes in a special racquetball-like can along with several OK stickers, three quarters, and a warning not to stick your hand inside the can (or else you'll cut yourself on the rim).

Now that the OK hat story was confirmed, I resolved to take all my change and buy cans from an OK machine until it gave me a hat. So, one afternoon, I took fifty dollars in change and a bookbag (to carry the cans back with me) out to the original OK machine on campus. As I was walking there, I decided to take a route which passes another OK machine on campus. The light on this second machine had been off for several days and I wanted to check to see if it was back on yet. When I arrived, there was a coca-cola employee stocking the OK machine. I started to walk away, but then I turned back to ask him about the special cans. He confirmed the promotion and said that he always gets comments about his OK hat when he wears it. He told me how he stuffed the cans in the machines, admitting matter-of-factly that he didn't do a good job of evenly distributing them. He said he put about 5 or six cans in a machine at a time, only in the first two columns, and he'd put them very close together (i.e. a prize can, then a soda can, then a prize, then a soda can). He added that if Pramod had bought another OK or two, he most likely would have received another special can.

I started to walk away, ready to use my new found knowledge to win my own OK hat, when the guy stopped me. He said that he would be stocking the original OK machine tomorrow and he could make it a point to bring a prize can for me. He said he'd leave the can behind the machine or on top if I didn't show up while he was there. A free can! I couldn't believe it. I guess that's why I went ahead with my plan to buy OK sodas until I won a free hat. I must have been thinking "Two hats are better than one" or something. It was a good thing I had brought a bookbag with me, because I had amassed twenty two cans of OK soda before I finally gave up. No hat.

Everything turned out OK in the end. I came back the next day just before noon and found a free prize can waiting for me on top of the machine. The twenty-two cans of OK soda prompted me to plug in the fridge in my room. I sold off a few of the cans, while the rest of my personal supply lasted me almost til the end of the term.


I call coke

I've called Coke many times. Besides the various OK hotlines, there is the oft forgotten consumer information hotline, 1-800-438-2653 (1-800-GET-COKE), staffed with helpful operators to answer any questions you may have about the Coca-Cola Company and any of its products (including OK Soda). Besides answering your burning OK questions, you can request free OK stickers (which come with a coupon for a free bottle of OK).

While putting this web page together, I decided it would be helpful if I called the information line one more time to fill in the many holes in my OK knowledge. Here's a transcript of my phone call. It's filled with many interesting facts. If you're interested in definitive OK answers, you may also want to check out this page of OK resources.

You might have run into Coke while browsing the web. The Coca-Cola Company has an official Coke website that mentions absolutely nothing about OK Soda. There's a page talking about all the cool projects and products that Coke is working on--but, for some reason, no OK. Other than one of the "planets" in the Coca-Cola "galaxy" being named "KO", there is one small OK graphic that has made its way to the Coke pages. [Since writing this, Coke has entirely redone its home page. The KO (Coke's stock symbol, by the way) and the OK graphic no longer exist. The new pages, however, are very OK-ish in their pandering to "generation X"--whatever that is.] For a list of unofficial Coke resources on the web, check out Joe Cool's Coca-Cola Galore.


I ask for stuff

As you can see, I have an impressive collection of OK paraphernalia. But there are still many items I lack--many things I don't even know exist. I am also far from knowing everything about OK Soda. I would love to hear your stories about OK Soda. If you have your own OK web pages, it would be my pleasure to put a link to them. And, as the name of this section suggests, if you have any OK paraphernalia you'd like to contribute, I would be most appreciative. I understand if you would prefer to keep items for your own OK collection; in those cases, I would be happy to scan your OK stuff for addition to your or my web page. If you know of any OK quotes or coincidences missing from my
list or have any comments on or contributions to my web page, please send me email.

Thanks.


quark@mit.edu