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Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.

cosmodog

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About cosmodog

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  • Birthday 08/01/1969

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  • Location
    Bothell, Washington, USA
  • Occupation
    Software Engineer
  1. Wow, I can't believe it's already mid-Feb. I feel like my life is in fast forward! I'm not sure what the soldering of a small Christmas tree is, but it sounds like fun! My main goals for this coming season are: a) better LEDs for my C7 roofline; I'm using the screw-in replacements for my standard C7 stringers and they don't fade worth a crap and make my electrical system buzz when faded below 50%. I'd love to see some good information on LEDs for that scenario - the different kinds, how well they work with LOR, where to buy, etc. color wash DMX; I'd like to hear how other people have gone about running DMX cable all over their house/yard c) strobes; I'd like to add some strobes to my sequences, but not sure how/where/why d) cosmic color ribbon; I got one, but didn't use it because apparently I'm not creative enough I couldn't come up with a good use for just one. Maybe I just need to get a lot more of them and do a 3D megatree! Yeah, I thought of that, but the bank account said no. Would love to hear what others are thinking for these little wonders! Also, I built a small megatree this year with rope light, and I'm planning on editing a video of the construction of it soon. I'll post that here when I get it done if others are interested in the deets. d
  2. Well, MIDI does include velocity as part of the specification for notes, as well as separate"controller" values that are independent of notes. But remember the that translation from MIDI valuesto voltage control is going to be specific to the particular solution you choose. In Terry's case, he has a home-grown solution so he is free to interpret in ways that are appropriate for his needs. In my case, I'm stuck with the particular MIDI-to-DXM conversion method implemented by the manufacturer of my DMX controller, wherein note velocity is translated (ultimately) into line voltage. I've seen other implementations where MIDI controllers are mapped to lighting channels instead of using notes. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is not necessarily an incorrect assumption that Jeff needs some additional equipment. What works on Terry's boards does not necessarily work on the boards from Sprawling Delusions. It all depends on what Sprawling Delusions designed their boards to do. However, Jeff, what that equipment might be, if it exists at all, is going to be very specific to your existing solution from Sprawling Delusions. I'm afraid I'm not at all familiar with those products, although someone else might be able to chime in here. Of course,you might be best off contacting them to see what they have as a dimming solution, if anything. Yes, there is a software program as part of LOR. In fact, you can download a demo version of the program from the Light-O-Rama web site. I think you'll find, as I did, that it does dimming and a host of other effects much better than the stage-lighting products I was using, because it was designed for holiday light animations from the ground up. doug
  3. I used MIDI last year before I found PC and learned about LOR. Well, I suppose technically I used a combination of MIDI and DMX, because DMX is really where the lighting control comes from. I used a DMX controller that can accept MIDI as input, and ran DMX dimmer packs off of that. I used Cakewalk SONAR for MIDI sequencing on a PC, and it worked quite well, as SONAR can play back audio in sync with MIDI. I've switched to LOR this year, but hopefully will regain use of my DMX dimmer packs with the DMX support coming from LOR. doug
  4. More great info, thanks! I won't be mixing colors on the same strings. I'll use clears and reds for two different purposes. I have three different runs I need to make with Red C7s on green stringers: 109', 93', and 12' I also have three different runs I need to make with Clear C7s on white stringers: 17', 20', and 40' Ideally, I'd like to have the reds on one channel (I'm using LOR) and the clears on another. The problem is the number of reds I have would require me to use low wattage bulbs to get them all on one channel. Has anyone here tried the low wattage bulbs from Centsible Holiday Lighting? If they don't actually look as good as advertised, I would just as soon use the 5 watt bulbs from Action Lighting and take away another LOR channel. Of course, the low wattage bulbs are twice as expensive, too... What to do... doug
  5. Thanks for the replies Bob, yes I thought that calculation would apply, but I wanted to make sure there weren't additional concerns for wire length that had to be calculated in or whatnot. Sounds like I'm safe using that formula. Thanks! Do you know - is it OK to plug a 25' stringer into a 100' stringer, as long as I use the same bulbs in both? I have one run that needs to be about 110' long. That leads me to another question, actually - what do you guys do when your stringer is too long or you need to "black out" a section? Just leave C7 sockets empty? Darryl, that's a great link!I have thought about using a strip of wood, but I'm concerned that it won't work as well in my case because I won't have the whole grid, providing stabilization across the middle. I'd be essentially spanning about 35' with a 2" strip of wood cobbled together in the middle. Doesn't sound very stable to me. Maybe some additional twine from the middle down either side of the roof peak to the gutters would help stabilize... Hmmmm At any rate, thanks for the tips! doug
  6. I want to run C7s along my roofline this year. I've figured it out and I can pretty much do all the parts I want with two 100' stringers. I've got a couple of questions for the experts, though: 1) How do I determine the amperage of the two stringers? I won't be running them end to end, I just want to put it into my calculations so I know how much to run on one circuit. Assume I'm using the standard 7 watt C7 bulbs. 2) What have people found to be the best fastening method? There are a lot of different "shingle" tabs out there for C7s. Which ones do you guys use/like? Also, does anyone have any good ideas for running a line of C7s across the peak of the roof on composite shingles? I don't want to put any holes in the roof for this. Thanks! doug
  7. Happy again (for now anyway) to report that all is well. I changed my unused 240V outlet over to a 120V GFCI on its own 20A breaker, and moved a chunk of the lights over to it. Show ran fine, in the rain, all night long. Merry Christmas everyone!
  8. You got me to thinking that maybe I'm stating a different problem than I actually have. It's technically the circuit breaker that is popping, not the little GFCI button on the outlet in the garage. The garage outlets all run on a single20 amp GFCI circuit breaker, and one of the outlets has the little "test" and "reset" buttons on it. I've had those pop on me for other things over the years, but that's not what I'm seeing now. It's the actual circuit breaker. In an effort to get the details down, I went around and added up amperages (OK, I now understand I should do this ahead of time, not after the fact - my first big(ger) light show, cut me some slack :happytree:). It turns out the total amperage is in excess of 25 amps. I can't figure out the exact amount yet, because I've yet to find the right numbers for the inflatable pop-up santa and for my floodlight (45 watt), but it's going to be higher than 25. Given the 20 amp breaker, and the fact that my stereo and lighting controllers are also plugged in on that circuit, well, it makes sense that when most of them are on, it would pop. I've got my show set up so that it never has all of them on at the same time, but there are times when many of them are on. I'm going to look into converting the unused 240 breaker in the garage into another 120 GFCI circuit (previous owner had an air compressor plugged in - I don't have one). Barring that, I don't have any other circuit in the garage to use, and I don't want to run something from the house that's not on a GFCI. What I don't get, though, is how come on many occasions, it works just fine, but with the rain dampening things, it then decides to pop the circuit? Does the water increase the load on the circuit somehow? Someone with more electrical expertise than me should chime in here.
  9. Just as I thought everything was good to go, and I was ready to relax again, the rain really started coming down yesterday and today. I can still run lights, but when too many are on at once, it pops. I can have most of them on, so I just have my lights cycling through three different zones right now with background music. I can't run my full show because when the crescendos hit, too many lights come on and - pop goes the GFCI again. I think it's just plain and simply too dang wet out there right now. Wow, who knew this hobby would be so frustrating :?
  10. I didn't have the minis end-to-end, but all ends plugged in together, if that makes sense. Anyway, I drug them into the garage to let them dry out, but then decided to go a different direction anyway. I replaced the blue minis with a couple strands of snowflakes each. Surprisingly, the local Fred Meyer still had lots of the snowflake strings. I bought some 1/4" dowels along with them and cut them up to make stakes for the snowflakes and have them elevated off the ground. I didn't want to spend another $45 this season, but hopefully this will stave off rain issues. Everything went fine last night, so my fingers are crossed. The rain is really coming down here right now, so I'll wait and test it again this evening. Now, what I really need is to borrow my neighbor's video camera so I can post a video. I don't think it will get me a Miller Lite commercial, but I think it's pretty good for a first effort:)
  11. This is my first year going for animation and music. In previous years, I've always had icicles, a spiral tree, a polar bear with a north pole sign, etc. This year, I added a lot more lights and decorations, and 16 channels of MIDI-controlled DMX. I even came up with a pretty good show to one of my favorite TSO songs. All worked wonderfully, and I was so excited and pleased with my work. Then the rain came. Now, usually, I tape and baggie all connections, because living in the Seattle area, it comes with the territory. But with all the added stuff this year, I skimped on the taping. OK, I can deal with that - my bad I guess. But this is what puzzles me - the GFCI pops only when one of three connections is on in combination with anything else. Basically, I have three sections of blue minis in the grass (to simulate snow/ice for a north pole scene). If I turn any one of them on by themselves, it's fine. Sometimes, two of them together (with nothing else) is fine. But if all three are on, it pops. Or, if I have other lights on, and turn on any one of the three, it pops. I guess the water is causing it to draw just enough execess current to be OK until you add extra current needs to the picture. Is that possible? I'm going to go out today and try elevating the strands off the grass with some impromptu stakes to see if that helps. I've already gone out and dried and taped all the ends, and that didn't help. Everything else is fine, it's just the minis laid out in the grass.
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