What good is photoshop if you can’t have a little fun with it?

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life60 Comments

This is Dan. Dan is my husband. Dan will occasionally do silly things that I ask him to do, like posing for this photo.

He is standing at one of the many bleak entrances at Har Mar Mall, a slightly past-its-prime shopping center built in 1963 in Roseville, Minnesota. As we were walking in—he, to hit the Barnes & Noble and me, to hit the Michaels with a 50% off coupon—he said, “Even the entrances are sad.”

His comment about the sadness is really about the plight of the aging mall itself. There is a Marshalls. There is a Tuesday Morning. There is a Payless Shoes. There’s a Staples. And of course, Barnes & Noble and Michaels. But there are also numerous vacant spaces, a reminder that retail isn’t meant to thrive in all places, one of those being Har Mar Mall. Let’s put it this way, in a town where Mall of America is King, Har Mar Mall is one of the royal stable boys. And ‘royal’ might be pushing it.

I posted this photo to my Instagram account with the following caption:

HarMar shopping. You can taste the sadness.

A post shared by Cathy Zielske (@cathyzielske) on

Sometimes, though not often, I also share my Instagram posts to my personal Facebook page. Years ago I made a decision to keep my personal page small, around 300 friends, and the only real rule I have for friending people? I must actually know them. One of my friends who happens to also be my neighbor is Tim. Tim took the image and did this:

And so began the Meme-ing of Dan and Har Mar Mall.

I followed up by posting: “Maybe we could punch it up a bit?”

To which Tim answered with:

Deciding to abandon the Har Mar theme altogether, I posted the following image, saying, “That one time when Dan was told he couldn’t collect souvenirs from the Grand Canyon.”

Tim followed up with this image, boasting, “I could do this all day.”

Wanting him to know that I too, could do this all day, I followed up with this, saying, “It wasn’t so much the political freedom he was seeking. He just wanted to pick up a few things at Aldi.”

And to that, Tim, brilliantly weaving Har Mar back into the mix, replied, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this mall!”

Now that we were firmly rooted in the political realm, I countered with this, saying, “His gut told him that holding the bag of extra Pepsis wasn’t a great way to earn some income on the weekend, but he figured 20 bucks was 20 bucks.”

Turns out, Tim had no immediate reply, but I did. I saved my best work for last.

And that was that. There was a final image posted, but out of courtesy to my other neighbor Tim, I will keep that to my Facebook page and leave you all to wonder, “How bad could it have been?”

The funny thing is? Dan actually enjoys shopping. Ask anyone. And Har Mar? I wish you no ill will. I’ll still visit you as long as you remain standing and as long as Michaels still doles out those coupons.

And to all you young graphic designers out there, just know that all that work you put in to learning how to create smooth clipping paths will be so worth it in the end.


Cathy ZielskeWhat good is photoshop if you can’t have a little fun with it?

60 Comments on “What good is photoshop if you can’t have a little fun with it?”

  1. #7

    Aww I was having such a bad day and this has cheered me up! Thank You! “And to all you young graphic designers out there, just know that all that work you put in to learning how to create smooth clipping paths will be so worth it in the end.” Love it! 🙂

  2. #12

    Made my day! I used to love the movie theater and the Lands’ End Outlet there…. Don’t for the SAD pet store, David’s Bridal and Home Goods, the latter being the only reason I actually enter HarMar Mall….

    1. #12.1

      And I was just laughing out loud and showed this to my co-worker, who responded, that’s my daughters 5th grade teacher!

      1. #12.1.2
        Cathy Zielske

        I hope she wasn’t offended. : ) I hope Dan doesn’t make me take this down. But if he does… I will honor his wishes.

  3. #15

    OK, Cathy. Special request for your Design Your Life 2 class: I want to learn how to create smooth clipping paths, too. Obviously, that’s become a prerequisite to graduating as a CZ Alumna. ??‍???

  4. #16

    Oh Photoshop, how I do love Thee. This was an awesome use of Photoshop! A quick and funny photoshop story for you –
    Growing up, my mom always lamented about how she would have loved to of had twins. Instead she had my brother and then me 3 years later. And although she always said that she was truly happy with “one of each”, I knew she longed for twins. In 1995 when I first learned how to make smooth clipping paths in photoshop, one of the first things I did was to alter 2 portraits of me and an old EX. One had him standing and me seated in front of him, the other, we were reversed, me standing and him sitting. I scanned both photos and then in photoshop, I proceeded to remove the EX from both pictures and then made one picture of me standing behind a seated me. I had it professionally printed by York photo printing and then bought a 8 x 10 frame for it. That was my mothers day gift to my mom in 1996. My parents thought it was hysterical but my brother was not so amused. He quickly reminded me that I DID have a BROTHER and that I needed to step away from the Photoshop! The photo still hangs in their den to this day. Ahhh Photoshop… altering reality since it’s entrance into the world as a mere little plug-in, in 1987.

  5. #18

    Oh my gosh! I so needed this laugh this morning.

    We need more Dan as the subject for funny photoshop moments. Cathy – I think you may have a new idea for a blog – where can my Photoshop friends take “Sad Dan” today?

    What a good sport- loved it!

  6. #20
    Ann Marshall

    I laughed out loud more than once at the escalating cleverness of the captions and contrivances. But in all instances, Dan’s patient-but-pained expression–native only to peeved husbands and housecats–said it all. Priceless.

  7. #24
    Teresa Mucha

    Does Dan know he has now joined that famous group of models and celebrities that have been Photoshopped? Has he been moonlighting on the side and you didn’t share? ?

    This is so funny ? I really enjoyed what you and Tim were able to accomplish.

    I really need to learn how to do that trick!

  8. #25
    Carol Anne Wall

    Can’t wait to share this with the kids — we’re at HarMar almost weekly. Sometimes doing the trifecta: Staples, B&N, Michaels.

  9. #30

    I love it. I’m not going to lie, we go to Har Mar because Mall of AM. is too busy – too crowded. However, I rarely go shopping. I may have to check out Michael’s in that area. Have you gone to Anchor Paper just down the road? I’m addicted!

  10. #36
    Sarah Olson Guard

    I had to Photoshop myself into a family picture with my (now EX)husband’s family because my (ex)father-in-law wanted the professional photographer to take a picture of “JUST FAMILY” at my husband’s grandmother’s (90th, I believe) birthday. Ironically, our wedding photographer missed taking a picture of their family + BRIDE and I had to photoshop myself into one of those, too.

  11. #39

    oh these are awesome! My boys love to have meme wars between them too….always good for a laugh.

  12. #41

    Ahhh Har Mar mall. I was visiting family in Roseville and took a swing by Har Mar to check out the Marshalls (why are other Marshalls better than my Marshalls?) and the tornado sirens went off. Being a Californian = no clue what was going on. When they told us to proceed to the basement — I bolted. I was not going to die in Marshalls’ basement!

  13. #43
    carol ann

    If Dan makes you take this down, I’m sure glad I got to see/read it all! Hilarious, Cathy!

  14. #45

    I needed a laugh this morning! Thanks.

    I am guessing you used the 50% off coupon for copic markers?

  15. #46

    Just the name (to this Marylander) sounds funny! I thought you made that up. But I love Dan standing next to Bannon. Only in the Photoshop world would you see this ‘fake news’. Love it!

    Those 50% coupons are dangerous and yesterday there was a 60% one!

  16. #48

    I may have spit out my coffee reading through this post! Absolutely hilarious and you guys have some mad Photoshop skills! Thanks for making my day.

  17. #49
    Kristen HH

    OMG, I’m dying. I have been to Har Mar Mall many times but mostly only to go to Baja Sol. It is too sad to go all of the way in. LOL.

    1. #49.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Ha! I actually LOVE Baja Sol. It’s one of the few fast food places in that area that is actually pretty good!

  18. #50

    Literally laughed out loud, and spit out a little bit of my salad in the process. So FREAKIN’ hilarious! And sad. At the same time. Cheers to Har Mar Mall!

  19. #51

    Is Schuler Shoes still there? When ever we would visit we would always go to Schulers. And get awesome shoes. Good memories.

    1. #51.1
      Cathy Zielske

      NO! They ditched HarMar, moved across the street to their own lovely freestanding building next to Target. See… it really IS sad at HarMar!

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