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  • 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.


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About skygodtj

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  • Birthday 11/25/1958

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  • Location
    Valley (SURFACE) Of The Sun, Phoenix
  • Biography
    I be jus' a scurvy scallywagged swash-buckeling pirate, born in NJ (but close ta me firs' luv, th' ocean), grew up in DC, and seein' th' job market fer pirates nigh really there, an airline pilot I be. Now livin' in the Valley(SURFACE) of the Sun, Phoenix, an' flying for a major airline still. Wife(Tia Dalma), 2 girls(town wenches) and a scurvy dog..
  • Interests
    Homebuilt halloween 3-axis talkin' skull props.. Halloween 2009 saw 12 talkin' singin' pirates aboard a 24' long, 22' high three-masted Disney Pirates O' Th' Caribbean pirate ship in me fron' yarrrrrd! 'twas third year fer me pirates, they be retire
  • Occupation
    Airline Pilot
  • About my display
    Tho they all be incandescent minis, 2006/2007 was my first try at animating my lights, powered by a Lights & Sounds Of Christmas controller. Was nice, but I wanted more control over both the lights & sounds. 2008 I got two of RJ's Lynx controllers. Only got one to work properly :( Mid-November 2009, I decided to try my first LOR controller, obtaining a second one a week later. Now, with a third LOR 16PC kit, and just over 10,000 lights.., my first try at Mega and Mini trees, it's a whole new world opening. Already started on sequencing to be able to give back to those coming after me.

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  1. Last year I wanted to make some large sno flakes for the front of the house.. I had found how to make them from tomato cages.. now, they could be welded, but I havent any welding experience, or hardware.. so zip ties worked well for me.. Take one tomato cage, Cut each loop halfway between the legs. (1) Bend eack cut loop straight (3) Bend each straight leg to form an "arrow" (4) Lay out each "arrow" butt end to end (5) zip-tie (or weld) the longest legs together Bend cut legs out so they are evenly spaced to look like a snowflake. Wrap with white garland (or spray white paint) Wrap with 1-2 sets white mini or LED lights. (6) this will take a little experimenting to get lights to evenly space on each leg. Once completed, plug in to test, then hang on front of house or on large tree.. I have 5 more to make for this year..
  2. Plus, you can set the intensity to something less than 100% to keep the load down.. Most probably wouldnt notice the difference between 75/80% and 100%. You can change the intensity in Tools.
  3. I built 4 arches using 1/2" pvc for the arch and 1 1/2" for the sleeves, 12" rebar with 6" hammered into the ground to hold them up. tension is entirely dependant on how tight you make the arch. My 4 arches are 6' at the base. I pre-bent the arches, tied them "bent" with twine to hold the arc stored in my garage during the summer (abt 110F temps). Untied them and the arc held in place. I actually had to flatten out the arch to slide the 8 sleeves on. The sleeves cant go flying away as the cord would restrict it "leaving the premises". Like Jason said, if it happens, better go buy a Powerball ticket!!
  4. I agree, adding just a few more channels for the 6 segments would make it a lot smoother.. you can plug matching segments from the arches into the same channel so the arches look mirrored.. segment 1 for arches 1-8, then seg 2 for arches 1-8, seg 3 for arches 1-8... etc.. makes them all leap at the same time.. it can save you channels for many arches, but still would look good. TJ
  5. Dang, 'shudda poked ma eyes out when I had the chance..
  6. After seeing quite a few posts from those looking for 12 and 5vdc power to run lights, servos or props, I thot I'd post these links for converting old pc supplies for bench use. Most pc supplies from 10-15yrs ago and before, were the AT variety, supplied enough voltage and current to run the board, (usaully) a single hard drive, maybe a CDROM and a cooling fan.. not much more than 5-10A req'd at startup.. Now, with multiple drives, both hard and optical being the norm, mega-giga-tera-quadra-lotta-video cards and processors being "entry-level" now, many pc supplies that came with computers just a short time ago arent enough to keep thing powered, or cool.. With these supplies being upgraded, the old ones are being discarded, or dumped, while still being able to power lower power/current requirement items.. servos, lights, small motors, etc. Wallwarts, while fine for running phones, or tape players, usually have about an amp or so max current rating, with some just above 2amps. They can be found just about anywhere, from your kitchen drawer from that old phone, to boxes in the garage for that lost cd player, to Goodwill/DAV, yard sales, etc.. If a need for 12, 5 or 3v clean regulated dc is needed, the best thing to use are pc supplies. With some small mods, they can be used to run a number of items, cleanly, cheaply, and safely. I use 4 to power my halloween projects, r/c servos in my 14 talking skeletons. Here are couple to look over. The MSU project (2) was the one I patterned mine after.. Link 1: http://www.scary-terry.com/atxps/atxps.htm Link 2: http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/powersupply.htm Link 3: http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-a-Computer-ATX-Power-Supply-to-a-Lab-Power-Supply 'not trying to steer anyone away from ww's, just seems there's a better alternative for higher voltage/current needed. If you need 9vdc, then ww's are prob the better way to go unless you use a pc supply and drop the voltage with high current resistors.. TJ
  7. Scot, I posted to your other thread re: looking for 120v -> 12v power supplies. Look into using an old PC supply for your 12v, 5v, and 3vdc needs, they at the very least, supply 10amps, and some of the more recent (last 5yrs or so) supply up to 24A. Check ST's page for how to use a pc supply: http://www.scary-terry.com/atxps/atxps.htm. You'll still need a meter tho. This is the BEST link for using a pc supply: http://web2.murraystate.edu/andy.batts/ps/powersupply.htm
  8. And if you're wrapping arches with them, they get stretched anyway.. Big timesaver is just plug them in and check'em if you're going to stretch'em out.
  9. Wallwarts dont have a red/black wiring.. it's black twinlead, with the pos having a white stripe, neg just being solid black. Ernie said white-striped black is neg.. I'm pretty sure thats the pos + lead.. again, you need to check it with a meter. Scot, if you have a HarborFreight neaby, they have small multimeters on sale til the end of the month for $2. I have several because they're so inexpensive. If not, you can check RadioShack, but their cheapest is $10. You can try WalMart/Target in the Home Improvement section too.
  10. Check with Greg, one of the members here and on LOR forums, he's got a store (http://www.christmasonmanor.com/store/) with LED Floods and washes.. A lot of guys are buying the Rainbow Flood kits (54 RGB leds) for less than $15. I ordered 4 of them, just came in but I havent had time to build them yet.. 'told it's abt 30mins to solder it up and the amount of light it puts out is amazing. http://www.christmasonmanor.com/store/product.php?id_product=14. It's powered by either his BrainBoard (with DMX) or just by LOR's DC board (without DMX), (I went without for mine). They come kit form ($14.75) or assembled ($35). TJ
  11. Using PC power supplys have been an easy way to get both 12 and 5vdc with at least 10A loads.. Since most of the newer supplies (ATX) have to power hard drives, video cards, optical drives and cooling fans, along with USB power taps, they are rated at 20A and higher.. THe older AT supplys wont normally go that high, but you could get 10A easy out of them.. Here's a link to PC supply tech: http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=31105&seqNum=4 has a lot of good info for pinouts and loading.. Here's a link to ScaryTerry's power supply page: http://www.scary-terry.com/atxps/atxps.htm. I use several for my halloween props, they power all my talking skeletons (14)
  12. HARHARHAR!! I've been doing Halloween reeeeeally big for a lotta years, but the last 3 years (Pirates Of The Caribbean) have been the biggest.. it's hard to miss a 24' pirate ship in the front yard, it was such a big display 2yrs ago, it went up in the backyard and it was a whole walk-thru.. ..point being, I let them know ahead of time, what I was planning, and asked it they had any trouble with the display going up. The neighbors on each side liked watching it being built, liked the pirate music playing while I was working on it. No one had any qualms, and even the LDS neighbors across the street, just smiled and nodded.. or could've been shaking their heads, I couldn't really tell I did let everyone know what was planned well ahead of time (June), so there was no shock or hard feelings. That saying about begging forgiveness is easier than asking permission doesn't really work with neighbors.. I did the same for my Christmas display.. Tho I had ran a Mr. Christmas box for a couple years, inside the garage with the volume set so you pretty much had to be in the driveway to hear it, everyone loved the lights. 2009 was the first LOR year and the positive feedback I had received from the previous years gave me the ok to keep going, without the smiles from the whole neighborhood, it would've stayed small, or not at all. The family 4 doors up got a Mr. Christmas, so I would like to think I'm starting a trend Meet the next people, talk with them as much as you can, but not really about the lights right away. You may jokingly ask if they've ever seen those "over-the-top-people" with their Christmas Lights.. That will be a good barometer of their interest or tolerance. If you have video (youtube or the like) from previous years, you might show them what you had done in the past, but only after you really converse with them. You might also be able to ask for a little "help" one day, wrapping a mini-tree or holding the pvc while you wrap an arch.. might give them an actual view of what you're doing, but really, go slowly.. Good luck! ============================================================================================ Well, naturally, I got this all typed out, it posted, before I read the rest of the way thru the thread... Glad you were able to "chat" about the "hobby" with them, and looks like you just might be able to make them accomplices to all this =) Good to hear! You might still try getting them to (innocently, of course) help you build something for the yard..
  13. I started doing a search for LED flood/wash lights and saw these.. is there any way to know if they'll dim properly? Some are 120v AC, some (last one) is 12vdc.. http://cgi.ebay.com/1pcs-10W-RED-LED-FloodLight-Garden-Landscape-Wash-Lamp-/170506576135?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27b2fbe107 http://cgi.ebay.com/90-Led-Floodlight-PAR-30-Indoor-Outdoor-Glass-12-Volt-/370252251570?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item9502faffbd http://cgi.ebay.com/1pcs-10W-BLUE-LED-FloodLight-Garden-Landscape-Wash-Lamp-/170506261857?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27b2f71561 http://cgi.ebay.com/120-Led-Dual-Floodlight-PAR-38-Yard-Stake-Light-12-Volt-/370252287573?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item9502fb0090 -- 12VDC
  14. Another place to check, Goodwill or Habitat For Humanity ReStores.. the ReStore in Mesa (Phoenix) had a large (3' x 3') box FILLED with light sets for $5, had to be 100+ sets in it, for $5.. were some of them busted/junk, probably, but for $5?
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