Sometime between when I first checked my email this morning and when checked it just now this afternoon, I noticed that Gmail looked kinda different. Then I saw the announcement at the top about "New! Colors and themes" in the Settings. After trying a few themes in the top row, I quickly spotted the "Ninja" theme at the end of the themes list. Now I can't help but smile and think "Holy crap! Ninjas invaded my Gmail!!!" every time I check my email...
I especially love the little red Shuriken (ninja stars) that replace the "Starred" icons.
There are many other themes, some based on simple color schemes, some with adorably cute characters (Sam really likes the Zoozimps theme but she is super jealous because she doesn't have the themes yet) and there are several "natural" themes that apparently change according to the time of day and the weather of your location. My inner nerd wanted to go with the "Terminal" theme but the bloodthirsty assassin in me lopped off the geek's head with a swift katana chop and so I'm sticking with the Ninjas:
Read more about the Gmail Themes over at the Official Gmail Blog.
Nov. 20, 2008
I didn't notice it yesterday but it appears that even the Ninja theme is dynamic, possibly changing throughout the day like the nature-based themes. At the footer of individual email messages there is a ninja and his little geisha lady friend doing various activities.
This morning they were greeting each other like this:
By late afternoon the vs Monsterninja and the geisha had both put on considerable weight and they were dressed up as sumo:
And right around 6:00pm PST the ninja and the geisha sat down for dinner:
There are probably more activities that the ninja and the geisha do throughout the day so I'll just have to keep checking. Hmm, I wonder what they do together around bedtime...
Nov. 21, 2008
Apparently night time is fight time for the ninja and the geisha.
Last night they were fighting each other:
And tonight they were fighting a monster (dragon maybe?):
At first I thought it looked like the ninja was of the monster and that he was hiding behind the geisha but then I remembered that ninjas are badasses and I realized that the ninja was really just working up a sweat as he tried to feed the geisha's fat ass to the monster.
Nov. 22, 2008
I've been keeping an eye out for it after a visitor named Kiran commented yesterday that they'd seen the ninja and the geisha having tea, and even though I thought "tea time" was more like 4pm, right around 2pm today I saw this:
Speaking of tea, Sam FINALLY got Gmail Themes early yesterday and she's using the "Tea House" theme, which also has an Asian-style Gmail logo like the Ninja theme.
Nov. 23, 2008
I pulled an all-nighter last nite working on a project for a friend so I was actually awake at dawn to witness the ninja and the geisha spend their early morning cleaning house:
I guess their place gets pretty messy after a long night of fighting monsters and each other. And then around 8am the ninja tried to make nice with the geisha by offering her some flowers:
I doubt a badass assassin like the ninja would give the geisha flowers "just because" so I wonder if he is apologizing for whatever it is that he does every night that sparks a fight. Or maybe he was practicing his mad katana skillz on some wild flowers and after a few chops he realized that he can use the flowers to lull the geisha into a false sense of security so that he can practice his slicing action on her neck...
Then later, the ninja lit the lantern to set some mood lighting while the geisha got naked in the tub:
Hmm, I wonder what they're gonna do next...
Dec. 04, 2008
I haven't seen anything new that the Ninja and the Geisha do together since my last update, but I finally noticed something that the Ninja does by himself (no, not THAT) that has probably been there since Gmail first launched the Themes. I probably wouldn't have ever noticed if I hadn't read this blog post (Spanish) by Enma Ai, who left me a comment today. Enma had posted an image of the Ninja with a scroll and a brush that I hadn't seen before so when I went to email her to ask where she had seen it, there was the Ninja sitting with a scroll and brush to the right of the "Compose Mail" window:
I probably hadn't noticed it before because it only appears in the "Compose Mail" window, and not when I reply to an email. It's not that I don't ever email people. In fact, I email quite a lot, but apparently I just forward or reply to other people's emails instead of initiating the email conversations myself.
So I haven't posted in a loooooooooooooooooong time, which is sad because I've had tons to blog about ("9", getting married, "Despicable Me", the election, etc) but I've been putting off blogging because I've been trying to update my blog software for over a year a now and the more posts I have, the more work it is to migrate everything over. I mean, it should've been easy because the amazing developers at b2evolution.net make robust software that is easily upgradable, but I've been using version 0.9 for like 4 years and I customized the src="http://blog.joshuajmorgan.com/rsc/smilies/icon_censored.gif" title="&#62;&#58;&#88;&#88;" alt="&#62;&#58;&#88;&#88;" class="middle" out of it with my own mods and plugins and such, and I wanted the v2.4 upgrade to look and feel more or less exactly the same as the old version to you the reader (like anyone reads this thing anymore after I've been AWOL for so long) so it took a whole lot of reverse-engineering and debugging before I felt comfortable enough with the new software to go live.
There are still a few tweaks to be made, but here it is, the latest greatest (lamest) version of my blog. Like I said, hopefully you won't really notice many differences except a few minor enhancements like the "lightbox" popup for full-sized images, the "ShareThis" link at the bottom of posts, and overall faster load times. All of the other big improvements are to the backend admin control panel dashboard doohickey so hopefully it will be easier for me to post images, videos, and rambling rants like this one, which hopefully translates into to more frequent postings.
I guess it's time for me to post a src="http://blog.joshuajmorgan.com/rsc/smilies/icon_censored.gif" title="&#62;&#58;&#88;&#88;" alt="&#62;&#58;&#88;&#88;" class="middle" -load of backdated retroactive posts...
PS - Please let me know ASAP via either a comment or the new and improved "Contact" form if you find anything wonky with the new blog.
Shortly after getting back from working on 9 in Toronto, I started working for Illumination Entertainment on a film code-named "Project E". For months, people kept asking me questions about it, but thanks to an NDA and an overall level of secrecy among the production crew, I kept quiet. I didn't even tell Sam.
Now after many months of secrecy, the cat is out of the bag with a press release in Variety. Here's a snippet:
Illumination Entertainment topper Chris Meledandri has kicked off his Universal Pictures-based family film unit with "Despicable Me," a 3-D CG-animated film that has Steve Carell voicing the title character.
Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Russell Brand, Jemaine Clement ("Flight of the Conchords"), Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock") and Julie Andrews are providing the other lead voices. The film will be released in 2010.
Carell's title character is a deplorable man known as Groo who masterminds the mother of all heists when he plots to steal the moon. Egged on by an evil mother (Andrews), Groo finds one obstacle in his way: a trio of orphan girls who temporarily come under his care and won't leave.
Meledandri said the spirit of the film came partly from taking his sons to see family films and discovering they always most loved the villains
Shahab and Emily have a new dog named Marzipan (after the homestarrunner character). She's a chihuahua / yorkshire terrier mix, aka a "chorkie" (or as Shahab and Emily like to call her, a "yo-huahua").
Here's Marzipan wearing her favorite "Obama girl" shirt:
And here's me wearing Marzipan (who got dog hair all over my new favorite shirt):
Mmm, hot dog...
Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone magazine wrote an incredibly in-depth profile of John McCain:
Dickinson quotes people close to McCain, and many times McCain himself, and the story they tell is VERY different from the myth the McCain campaign is trying to sell to American voters. The remarkable thing is that very little of this article is news. Most of this stuff has been a matter of public record for years. Heck, the Republicans have been using it against him for decades (and McCain in turn tries to use these attacks from within his own party as proof of his "maverick" status) but Dickinson's cover story really puts McCain's life into perspective with the plain facts.
Throughout his entire life McCain has put his own selfish (and often childish) interests first over country (the exact opposite of his "Country First" campaign slogan) and he has only proven himself to be a "maverick" of the worst kind by disregarding the very things he pretends to defend: military authority and family values. John McCain is a lying hypocrite.
But it is not just a matter of whether or not McCain and his precious puppet Palin are qualified to lead this nation (and they are clearly UNQUALIFIED as Dickinson clearly illustrates in his article about McCain and in different piece about Palin). No, McCain and Palin should be DISQUALIFIED for their despicable campaign of lies that even Karl Rove admits goes "Beyond the 100% Truth Test"
I will reluctantly concede that Barack Obama is hardly a perfect candidate. He too has a checked past, but unlike McCain, Obama has learned from his mistakes and that makes Obama a respectable candidate. Barack owns his past while John McCain has tried desperately to rewrite his past by completely disowning the man he used to be. Thankfully, Tim Dickinson's Rolling Stone article reminds us of the man McCain has always been.
As so many pundits have noted, the John McCain of 2000 would NOT vote for the John McCain of 2008 and neither should America. I proud support Barack Obama. Heck I even donated more money to his campaign than I can afford because we as a nation cannot afford to have John McCain in the White House.
The Los Angeles Times also endorsed Barack for President and said the following in an op-ed on Friday:
Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned;
Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility.
With Kucinich and Edwards out of the race, Barack is clearly the best candidate. It's too bad that I won't be in the US to cast my vote in person tomorrow for Obama...
I love playing my Nintendo DS Lite in the bathroom (pre-wipe of course) and it’s something I look forward to each day, especially at work because it’s really the only private alone time I get at work.
Last night I was at work late at Starz Animation in Toronto (ya I know, I completely neglected to blog about coming to Toronto to continue working on 9 and instead I’m blogging about playing video games on the toilet, but that’s just the way I roll…). Anyway, I was at work late and I had to wait to use the bathroom until after the cleaning lady had finished in there. I didn't want to look like a slacker so I resisted the urge to play my DS at my desk, but as soon as the cleaning lady was done, I flicked on my DS and headed into a stall for a little Mario Kart DS action. The toilet seat was still wet from the cleaning lady’s wipedown, so I set down my DS, already open and powered up, on top of the big double-roll TP dispenser and reached down to grab some TP to wipe off the seat. When I pulled on the TP to tear off a piece, the whole side of the dispenser flipped open, dumping my DS and one of the rolls of TP straight into the toilet.
In dazed disbelief, I stood there, staring down through the tube of the TP roll, which was too big to actually fall into the toilet, and I watched my precious electronic device sink deeper into the clean clear toilet water, still displaying the race-track fly-over animation. As the DS hit bottom, I snapped out of my stupor and sprang into action. I tossed aside the TP roll but shock set in again when I saw the beautiful glowing Dual Screens, for which the DS is named, fizzle out and dim to a barely visible frozen image of Yoshi at the starting line, his opponents just starting to speed away.
My heart sank as I plunged my hand into the toilet and snatched up my DS. It was dripping wet, a small piece of TP clinging to the top screen still displaying the same dim frozen frame. I flicked off power switch, grabbed some TP from the fallen roll and started to wipe off the DS, but it just seemed too wet.
"It's ruined," I thought. "There's no point." So I set the DS on top of the sticky Canadian Maxim magazine on the tank behind the toilet (where I should've set down my DS in the first place), wiped off the toilet seat, which was even wetter from the splash, pulled down my pants, and sat down. But nothing happened. It was as if my bowels were telling, "sure we waited a long time for the cleaning lady to finish in the bathroom, and sure we just about crapped ourselves when the DS fell into the toilet, but I'm gonna hold the fort down here while you use that brain of ours up there to figure out how to fix this so stop wasting our time sitting here moping and dry the damn thing off!!!"
So I pulled up my pants and ran out to find some paper towels. I took everything out of the DS that I could (DS game card, GBA rumble pack card, stylus, battery), dried it all off with towels and left the parts out to air-dry. I wished I had the special Nintendo "tri-wing" proprietary screwdriver so that I could fully disassemble it because it was clearly soaked inside and out. I was too impatient to see if it was still working, so after an hour of letting it air-dry, I put the battery back in and turned it on. The top screen was dim and flickering and after a few seconds it faded to black.
I thought for sure that I had just shorted out the DS, but I wasn't ready to give up so I collected the parts and ran back to my hotel room, where I remembered seeing a hair dryer in the bathroom. I used the hair dryer to blow-dry it inside and out for a good 10 minutes and then I left the DS disassembled over night, resisting the temptation to test it again.
I didn't have much hope the next morning as I put my DS back together, but when I turned it on everything seemed back to normal. Both screens were fully illuminated and the flickering was gone. After 30 minutes of testing it out I was convinced that my DS had completely dried out and survived full submersion in water without any permanent damage.
I swear, Nintendo makes a damn fine product.
And I've learned my lesson. I still play my DS in the bathroom but I keep it in my pocket until I sit down and I put it back in my pocket before wiping. I bet no one will ever want to play with my DS after reading this...