Days Until Halloween
Days Until Christmas
Everyone needs to have something to spend all of their money on. Some spend on fast cars or the latest gaming system, others on sports memoribelia and other bric-a-brac. I have fallen into the deep well of holiday lighting. More than just a hobby, it verges on a way of life. Designing shows, building props, interfacing computers, setting up, operating, tearing down, maintaining everything, and documenting/sharing. This site is one facet of the obsession.
I built my first Christmas display in 2000 using "The Lights and Sounds of Christmas" box. The following Halloween, I setup my first official graveyard. Since then, Both Halloween and Christmas have grown and have developed their own personalities. In the summer of 2013 we moved from Virginia Beach to Chesapeake, VA and I decided to take a couple years off to settle into the new house and plan all new displays.
In 2014 and 2015 I began to design my new displays: collecting new hardware, learning new techniques, and preparing the infrastructure for easy setup and takedown. Now, in 2016, my graveyard will premire again and Christmas will flash to music for the first time in three years. Neither display will be over the top. I will build back up over the next 5 years.
This webpage is one part of my reintroduction. It's being completely redesigned and simplified. Simpler is better sometimes. Content will be added as I can get to it. Life still goes on and there are only so many free hours in a week.
Halloween offers opportunities to try many different ideas. Lighting effects are not set to music, but are synchronized with sould effects, and also prop movements. Computer controlled fog and anamatronics make the display pop. I remember when I first began haunting in 2001, we would get maybe 50 or 60 kids down our street the entire night. A decade later I had close to 1000 trick-or-treaters in a two hour period. Now I have that challenge again. The new neighborhood isn't very active on Halloween. We got about 30 kids in 2014. I have a 5 year plan that will begin, as it did last time, with a simple graveyard. By 2020 I plan to have a 100 foot long walking haunt going through my garage along with many outdoor effects. I learned a lot at the old house. Now it's time to put all that experience to work.
Christmas is all about music and precision. Right now my
Christmas show consists of 32 channels controlling around 12,000
lights, through 12 Christmas classics.
|Audacity -- Great Free Audio Editor||J's Magic Galleries -- Animated Graphics and more||LOR Fog Machine Interface Diagram|
|AC3 Filter -- Essential for on-the-fly Dolby Digital Surround||QuackIt -- Basic HTML and Java Reference
||LED calculator -- Great for working out LED configuration|
|Cam Studio -- Nice little screen capture utility||DaFont -- Holiday Fonts||FM Transmitters -- Lots to choose from|
|FileZilla -- FREE webmaster file transfer manager
||DIY Light Animation -- Great info on computer controlled lighting||Power Supplies -- and lots of other electronic stuff|
|Easy Thumbnails -- Program for generating lots of thumbnails||Christmas Depot -- Christmas lights and trees||1000 Bulbs -- Just about any light you can think of|
|R8 Brain -- Perfect tool to resample audio files||Bronner' s -- Everything Christmas since 1945||FM Antennas -- Nothing but FM antennas|
|FoxTab -- Turn YouTube videos into just about any other format||Holiday LED's -- Nothing but LED Christmas lights||Basic Electronics -- Online textbooks covering electricity|
|FreeMake -- Good free video converter for SWF, 3GP and FLV||Planet Christmas -- Full spectrum Christmas site||McMaster s -- Electrical Enclosures and more|
|ConvertIcon -- Make an Icon out of just about any picture||All Things Christmas -- Lights and display stuff||Microchip -- Wide variety of electronic stuff|
|Zara Radio -- Setup your radio station with an automated schedule||Christmas Designers -- Town size stuff||Novelty Lighting -- Good selection of lights and hardware|
|Christmas Light Source -- Lights are categorized by color||Christmas Light Show -- Everything under one roof|
|Christmas Treasures -- Lights and lots of Christmas collectables||WOW Lights -- Holiday Hardware|
|Winterland -- Large variety of lights and decorations||US LED Supply -- Mainly DMX and RGB stuff|
|Christmas Lights.com -- Bulk sale of incan and LED strings||Holiday Light Store -- Large animated items and hardware|
|Betty's Christmas House -- Not a huge selection, but good prices||Seasonal Entertainment -- Cool LED Stuff|
Planning a trip to the Hampton Roads area? Here are some links to help you plan.
|How much do you know about Hampton Roads? Take the Quiz Here|
Hampton Roads is made up of seven independent cities. Like other major metropolitan areas, it may be difficult at first to figure out when one city leaves off and the next begins. Many call the region "Tidewater" or simply refer to one of its cities. With a landmass of nearly 1,500 square miles and a population of more than 1.7 million people, Hampton Roads is the 34th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
Other terms that may be used to refer to local regions are Southside and the Peninsula. The Southside, also known as South Hampton Roads, comprises the five cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. The Peninsula is made up of the independent cities of Hampton and Newport News All of these together make up the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads.
The military has played a pivotal role in Hampton Roads since the English set foot here in 1607. The soldiers who accompanied the first settlers are the predecessors of the thousands of men and women who have donned uniforms to protect the United States. More then 95,000 uniformed men and women are currently stationed here. Many of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines who are actively engaged in America's War on Terror call Hampton Roads home.
The region is proud to house an extensive number of bases associated with all branches of the military. In many ways, the Navy is the heart of the region with more than 300,000 active duty service members. Naval Station Norfolk is the largest Navy base in the world and is supported by Naval Air Station Norfolk, Little Creek Amphibious Base, Oceana Master Jet Station, and the Northwest and Damneck Annexes, Langley Air Force Base, Fort Monroe, Fort Eustis, Fort Story, and Coast Guard Base Portsmouth also call Hampton Roads home as well.
Weather for Chesapeake, VA
|What's Happening in Hampton Roads?||City Holiday Displays|
|HamptonRoads.com||Virginia Beach "Holiday Lights on the Beach"|
|Norfolk Botanical Garden "Garden of Lights"|
|Newport News "Celebration in Lights"|
|Norfolk "Grand Illumination"|