One of the silly things I tweaked on a few years ago…

This one still mesmerizes me.

I’ve reached that time of year where I am approaching another year clean. It’s a strange time when I remember all kinds of things. Most of them are bad – I remember the worst of the times in addiction, and I think about the people I met in rehab who have died in the years since then. But rather than write about that, I’m choosing to write about one of the odd things I used to tweak on. I rediscovered this yesterday.

My “jack of all trades” application, the one that does so many different things, also has a dialog to customize the Windows logon background image. It doesn’t work any more, because this was for Windows 7. The dialog that does it also looks like crap now, because it was a “glass” dialog, which displayed mostly transparent in Windows 7. Here’s how it looks in Windows 10:

CustomLogonScreenDialog

The dialog does some fancy drawing, and paints the selected image in the screen area of the monitor shown on the right. Those monitor images were made by me in Photoshop, to look like my two monitors on my table, except I changed the Samsung name to be “Romy”.

You won’t find monitor images quite like that anywhere else, because I drew them from scratch, of course. And it did take a considerable amount of time, because I am a programmer and not an artist, but that’s not the weirdness I want to focus on today… The weird bit is the image I took so long to create. I still find it mesmerizing to look at. This one:

Overcooked

You don’t want to know how long I tweaked on this stupid image. I don’t even remember.

I do know that I started out with the original Windows 7 logon image, then used a blue overlay, set to exclusion mode. (Yes, I excluded blue from a mostly blue image.) Then I did some funky shit with the colours, hand drew the birdy, leaves, a “sun” and some “planets”, and finally hand-painted some of the other curvy lines that aren’t in the original. Those curvy lines and the highlights/shadows on them… they became the object of my tweaking brain.

It does look sort of “pretty”.

But then I think to myself, I tweaked on this image for weeks when I should have been working on getting my son back. That’s what meth does – it fucks with your priorities. I was Nero as Jerome’s world burnt, fiddling away on stupid shit.

My story ended well, of course. But it was touch and go for a while there.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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