The Hero Sesame Street Needs

I believe I have found my Platonic ideal of a desktop wallpaper.

Super Grover! How can one go wrong with Super Grover? The hero Sesame Street both needs and deserves! And whatever mishaps he gets into, whatever destruction head leaves in his wake, Commissioner Gordon will be right nearby to say, “Covered it.”

I jest, but seriously. Super Grover!

I tweaked a few more things with my Mint theme, like moving the date and time to that completely open corner at top right. As I mentioned a few days ago, making the panels left and top and the pop-out menu transparent required editing the theme’s cinnamon.css file. While that’s what I did originally, copying cinnamon.css from the system directory to .themes/Mint-Y-Dark-Teal/cinnamon and editing that, I used a WordPress child theme technique to create a future-proofed solution.

My customized cinnamon.css file now looks like this:

@import url("/usr/share/themes/Mint-Y-Dark-Teal/cinnamon/cinnamon.css");

#Tooltip {
    background-color: #579c8e;
    color: #f8f0f3; }

.menu {
    background-color: rgba(48, 49, 48, 0.85); }

.panel-top, .panel-left {
    background-color: rgba(48, 49, 48, 0.25); }

What this does is load the base cinnamon.css file for the Mint-Y-Dark-Teal theme from its directory, then my file changes a couple of things. I didn’t like the tooltips being a kind of yellow, so I made them teal to match the Dark Teal motif. Then I apply the opacity to the menu and panels. If in the future the Dark Teal theme is updated by the Mint team, I’ll see the changes while my own modifications remain intact.

I also did this for about five minutes, when I was reorganizing my wallpapers directory and needed to throw something up because I was moving and renaming the Harrisburg Senators/fireworks wallpaper — the covers to Star Trek Vs. Transformers stitched together into an epic wallpaper.

This made me think. I don’t do anything to my Windows system, at home or at work. Change out the wallpaper to something I want. Change my cursor set from white to black. (It’s easier for me to pick up the cursor when it’s black.) Colors? Icons? Nope. Nope.

The last time I had anything I might call a “theme” was on my Windows 7 machine at work. I had an Ireland theme from Microsoft on my computer. You can’t even get that anymore for Windows 10. I’ve looked.

But, once upon a time? Twenty years ago, when the Earth was young? I had a Microsoft PLUS! subdirectory directory filled with desktop themes.

And, for a time, the one I used…?

It was called “And God Created Bart,” Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” by way of Bart Simpson and Matt Groening. It was created, according to the files I still have, by a Canadian named Arek in January 1997. It came with sounds from The Simpsons — Homer saying “D’oh!”; Maggie sucking on her pacifier; Chief Wiggum saying, “No, this is 91… 2”; C. Montgomery Burns purring an “Excellent” — and, naturally, that lovely wallpaper.

Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" by way of Bart Simpson and Matt Groening
The Creation of Bart, from Michelangelo’s first draft of the Sistine Chapel

And the icons! There were only four — and you’d only ever see three at a time.

Vintage 1990s Windows 95 icons -- My Computer, Network, and Trash Can (closed and full)
Left to right: My Computer, Network, Trash Can (Empty), Trash Can (Not Empty)

It had a custom cursor set, too. Nothing really interesting. Kind of a gold color.

When it all came together it looked like this:

Thumbnail image of the And God Created Bart desktop theme

It was fun in those days to turn on your computer and see some personality.

Now I’m feeling nostalgic tonight for Windows 95 design.

Later, I used a Lord of the Rings theme. It was called Tolkien3. It used a John Howe painting of Gandalf outside Bag End for its wallpaper, and its sounds came from the Ralph Bakshi movie. When I turned off the computer, I’d hear, “Frodo, come back!” One frequent system sound was Boromir blowing the Horn of Gondor. I liked it… but it also got old.

I should look in my cold desktop theme directories and see if there’s anything worth salvaging. Probably not, but you never know.

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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