Click here for the audio version of our Opening Night New Stuff routine. Kelsey did the announcing "live" on Opening Night. This version has my voice mixed in since no one is sitting here at the microphone waiting for someone to click on the link and do it live. Duh. This version also plays nightly at 8:00 to start the Rock 'n Roll show. Note that the first "Character" voice heard is that of Rudolf saying "I'm Ready!", because he thinks he is the one that will be going over the new stuff as he has done in past years. He was wrong.
Solar Power on the Severns home - (Not new, but an update) Visit our solar site to see charts of usage and production from install to present. Our "True up" date with PG&E is August 1. On Aug. 1, 2007 we had a $35 surplus. That $35 was donated to PG&E and the California Grid. This means that the Severns half of the display is entirely solar powered. Due to household changes and LED additions to the Xmas Display, we anticipate being approx. $300 over for 2007. Dave is currently on the waiting list for an all electric Tesla Roadster. That will chew up our surplus....
Rudolf - A little "Easter Egg" for web readers. Our dog Sparky passed away in the Spring of '07. He was my Xmas light buddy and loved to be outside working on the lights (or sitting on them) with me. In memory of Sparky, Rudolf is wearing his collar and tags this year.
It was lonely out there this year without Sparky, but I did occasionally have Kyle's new bassett puppy "The Dude" (Dude's Website), to keep me company. Here's Dude bringing me an extension cord. Yeah, and I have some swampland in Florida for you if you believe that he was really helping....
Upgraded Magnolia Trees - Andy's tree now has matching Balls, I mean "Globes". Each globe on both trees has had some of the colored bulbs replaced with white bulbs to give a better twinkling effect. We have also added Red, Blue and Green wraps to each trunk that can be controlled individually. (Video) It's a little hard to differentiate the blue from the green, but you get the idea...
Icicles - They are now controlled by Light-o-Rama and can be faded, ramped, shimmered, and set to lower intensities.
American Flag - A total "do over". Our original flag, which was Kyle's post 9/11 idea, was built quickly and only wired for one channel. We did use LEDs for the red lights to help save power, but the flag still pulled 7.5 amps. After being displayed for six years, the flag was getting worn out. The blue bulbs were fading and we were out of spares for the LED's. Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed that a section of one of the red stripes was out all of last season. So we decided that it was time for a new flag. Our new flag is sturdier, all LED's and it's wired with 15 channels and Light-o-rama controlled. It now pulls less than two amps at full power, and only 1 amp at 50 percent power. We have separate channels for each stripe, the blue, and the stars. We can also give it a flag waving effect. The LED's for the stars and the white stripes are "warm white" LEDs, meant to match standard incandescent mini lights. They work well in the flag application. (Video)
LEDs - In addition to the American Flag, we used surplus LED's from that project to do the blue Reindeer Pond and the roses in front of the Severns living room window. The rope lights around the food barrels are also LED's and the spotlights on the barrels have been switched to Compact Flourescents (CFLs). We tried to put some of the warm white LEDs on our rear wrapped tree on the trunk to demo the difference, but we learned that there is a slight delay between incandescent and LED lights when given the same "on" command. The tree looked goofy when it was flashing, so we took them off.
Leg Lamp - A miniature version of the leg lamp made famous in the classic Christmas movie "A Christmas Story" This "Major Award" can be seen in the Severns' dining room window.
Low Bushes - Our last new feature encompasses both yards. Everywhere that we have had multicolored strings on the low bushes in previous years has been converted to light-o-rama. But that's not the best part. We have also overlayed separate red. blue, and green channels so we can dramatically change the look of the display.
The music - There are five new songs for 2007:
linus and lucy - vince guaraldi stille nacht - mannheim steamroller deck the halls - mannheim steamroller kay thompsons jingle bells - michael w smith carol of the bells - david foster
Linus & Lucy was voted the best new song by the Opening Night crowd, with Stille Nacht (Silent Night) coming in second. See the playlist for when these new songs play.
Due to a software improvement in the LOR software (visible audio waveforms) we were able to tighten up the timing on many songs including Dueling Banjos. We also did a complete do over on "Hey Mickey" and "Smoke on the Water".
All other existing songs have been upgraded to take advantage of the new display features (where appropriate), including TSO's "Wizards in Winter", our most popular song.
Seven songs were retired this year after conducting a survey on our email list:
carol of the bells - george winton (replaced by new version) christmas all over again - tom petty christmas celebration - bb king gotta be good - chris isaak mele kalikimaka - chris isaak rock n roll christmas - george thorogood run rudolf run - jimmy buffett (we still have the Chuck Berry version)
Remember to join our email list if you would like to have input into these types of decisions (see home page for email address).