11. 29. 2005
Generally, I like to think that I know the difference between something good and something cheesy, but I have a serious Achilles heel: Christmas. Glitter-monogrammed stockings, candy cane-shaped cookies, light-up reindeer- I think it's all good. Last year, I even considered buying a book by "the painter of light", Thomas Kincade, who makes those Hallmark-y paintings of snowy villages with a diffused pastel glow. Alright, I actually did buy it, but as furtively as if I were buying hard-core porn (not that I ever do that). Starting this year, though, I vow to be more open, no longer ashamed about the holiday love.
To that end, I have installed the "3D Snowy Cottage" screensaver. It's a Kincade-esque scene of a little cottage in a woodsy lot with snow blowing, a smoking chimney, and little forest animals running around the bridge-covered pond: a perfect pastoral winter night. It makes me completely nostalgic, although having moved from the suburbs into New York City- it certainly isn't for anything I've ever actually seen or experienced. But I can imagine that I spent idyllic childhood Christmases in a setting like that. Freeze also has screensavers of a giant Christmas tree; a roaring fireplace; a firelit, present-strewn Christmas morning; and classic non-holiday themes like aquariums and waterfalls.
These screensavers are well-done and free, but be very careful when you're installing them. They come loaded with adware and spyware, and email registration is required so it might be one of those times when it'd be a good idea to get creative with your email address. During the install process, don't check any of the boxes that accept any of the ad-spewing software and it'll be fine. It's also not necessary to register for one of the offers that gives you a full version; the free version is fully functional.
It's also now time to bring out the Twinkle Bulbs, software that puts holiday lights across your desktop, even while you work, if you wish. There's a 15-day free trial (will take you almost to Christmas) but costs $20 for the full version.