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Did you know?
  • 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.

Stephen Blue


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About Stephen Blue

  • Rank
    30 "mega trees" is normal, right?
  • Birthday 09/23/1984

Contact Methods

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Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    So this one time, back when PC had the green forums... (I may not post much, but yes, I've been here THAT long.)
  • Location
    Deltaville, Virginia, USA
  • Biography
  • Interests
  • Occupation
  • About my display
    +/- 127,000 lights, static/animated hybrid walk-through display at 16598 General Puller Highway in Deltaville, VA. 38,000 Light LOR show controlled by 192 channels includes a 13,000 light 22' Mega Tree flanked by a quartet of 4,800 light 10' trees, and surrounded by 4 12-channel leaping arches.

    16 Channels of LOR DIO8RLY relays turns the remaining 35,000 static lights on and off at night, which include more than a dozen 10' PVC trees, a boat in a pond of lights, numerous characters, and more!

    16598 General Puller Highway, Deltaville, VA 23043

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  1. Stephen Blue

    11th Annual Virginia Mini

    3rd weekend in May would work well for me. I could likely come up with a facility down my way (Gloucester or Deltaville) if people want to travel this way - I'd have to check on the availability of the facilities I'm connected to. But I really like the RVA location as being very central to get the most people involved.
  2. Stephen Blue

    For sale - GIANT snow machine

    I'm.... overwhelmingly impressed. Shame I don't have a practical use for this!
  3. Stephen Blue

    Merging of new P.C.

    I'm interested to see how it integrates. Then again, I'm a fairly active social media user. I certainly don't want to trash it before I see it - in fact, I've never seen anything as is being described, so I actually like the idea of trying something new. Because frankly, what we have now isn't working that great, IMO. Let's see how it goes.
  4. Stephen Blue

    Display sale in Richmond

    FYI for any who are interested, one of the long-time Tacky Light Tour houses in RVA is "downsizing" - the majority of their blowmolds, cutouts, and wireframes are for sale. I wouldn't call it a "fire sale", but the prices are certainly waaaay below the nuts on eBay/Craigslist. Here's the RTD page on the display so you can get an idea of what there is. A lot has been sold already, but there is a ton left still as well. A lot need some TLC, but still... don't see sales like this happen often. http://www.richmond.com/holiday/tacky-lights/chesterfield/bellbluff-drive/article_44427770-38cf-11e2-899c-0019bb30f31a.html PM me and I can get you the owners contact info - I don't want to post it publicly. It's first come, first serve - he's not holding anything for anyone, not shipping either, so this is truly local to those within driving distance of north Chesterfield.
  5. Wow, I forgot about those! But I do remember them. Would be VERY neat to see that hit Youtube!
  6. Stephen Blue

    Vendors that sell M5 LED strings with Quick Connect ends?

    Yea, it's been 14 months since I bought them, but I want to say the 24v versalines with the coupling connects were a shade over $8 per string of 48, I want to say it worked out to about $17 per 100. Which, when you compare to a standard plug LED sealed vendor like HLE, you're looking at about a 50% premium. You also have to buy the power supplies and extensions and such, which arn't horrendously expensive, but it's certainly more pricey than standard plug lights. Again, the main reason I wanted them was the 24V - I used them to build out my light maze, and I thought it important to have low voltage running through there for the eventual kid running through and breaking wires - an added layer of protection on top of the GFI that if anyone did touch electricity in there, it was low voltage.
  7. Stephen Blue

    Vendors that sell M5 LED strings with Quick Connect ends?

    I can't help you with M5's but I use some "coupling plug" lights like you describe in the 5mm format from s4lights (s4lights.com) - I use their Versaline 24v lights for a few specific elements where I want the low voltage and the coupling plugs are fantastic. They also sell 120v coupling plug 5mm's as well. Sorry I don't have a more complete answer for you, but the term "coupling plug" may help your search. (Like you, I first saw these lights at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, and went digging around their display for a power supply to get the brand name off of!)
  8. Well this isn't the thread for the commercial grade vs big box store value debate - We've had that one many times over the years (you've been in on some of them as I recall ) but suffice to say there's more than enough popularity with the commercial grade vendors that they absolutely should not be cut out of any list. Give people the choices and then let everyone make their own decision on which way they go.
  9. I like the massively shortened list. I'm not sure what "Quirky" displays are... Well, OK, the one I saw featuring a Santa blow mold riding a toilet being pulled by 9 pink flamingos probably would fit there. Probably should have a "Traditional" display category - the display that's a bit of a mishmash of everything ("Traditionally Tacky"? :-D ). I wouldn't consider many of the top GCLF displays DIY's... DIY's in my mind are the ones with lots of homemade motorized contraptions, custom cutouts, etc - hardly anything you'd pick up off the shelf at your decorating retailer of choice. I still think an "Indoor" category wouldn't be a bad idea. I know it's not widely used, but I think there's a lot of potential there.
  10. Stephen Blue

    Commercial shoot?

    That sounds awesome! I'm not sure of the logistics, but if it's doable, do it!
  11. Just a first pass... 20 categories plus the regional/state subforums (cuts down from the current 84 categories + regional/state subforums) - I still feel like this is too many, but, it's far less segmented than the current setup. (The 3 in red could possibly be combined into one forum.) One thing a very popular college basketball forum I'm a part of does is have threads for popular topics, like a "2018 recruits thread" and a game thread for each opponent. People are (strongly) encouraged to post in existing relevant threads, instead of starting new threads that clutter up the place. It takes some moderation, and can seem a bit heavy handed at times to new people who's threads suddenly disappear as they are merged into an existing thread, but it makes it a very efficient online community to keep up with. An analogy here could be a single thread dedicated to say, tomato cage trees... another could be the "Ray Wu Pixel Thread" or "The Mega Tree Thread" - Both as a point of organizing information in a single searchable area and preventing duplicate posts from coming up time and time again. Announcements from Evil Management (Every board needs one of these) Classic Lights & LEDs (Obvious category) RGB/Pixel Lighting (Obvious category) Blow Molds (Obvious category) - With showing Off subforum (because the existing one seems to be very popular) Inflatables (Obvious category) Show Elements (Arches, Mega Trees, Mini Trees, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums) DIY Display Elements (Cutouts, Trains, PVC, Wireframe, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums) Other Show Technologies (Audio/Broadcasting, DMX, Projection Mapping, Pyrotechnics, Water Displays, etc) (Combines a large number of existing subforums) LOR World (Existing category, or should it just link to existing LOR forums? Perhaps a pinned post at the top to hint people there's another place to go?) - Sequence Exchange subforum (Move existing forum to subforum of software) xLights World - (Existing category - or should it just link to existing xLights Forums? Perhaps a pinned post at the top to hint people there's another place to go?) - Sequence exchange subforum (Move existing forum to subforum of software) DIY/Custom Light Control (Don't want to leave out the non off the shelf stuff) Halloween Decorating (Existing Category) Indoor Decorating (Trees, Ornaments, Villages, etc) (Combines a number of existing subforums) Showing Off (Obvious existing category) Dasher's Diner (Obvious existing category) Forum Tips & Tricks (Obvious existing category) Regional Groups (Obvious existing category) - With existing regional/state subforums
  12. My biggest frustration here is there's just way too many sub-forums. That's my singular biggest gripe. Years ago when the daily posts were in the hundreds if not thousands, all the forums made sense. On Facebook, I'm a member of 4 lighting groups, and I can scroll through the days activity in a whim. Today, weeding through all the PC subforums to find activity I'm interested in is a task - yes, I see that so-and-so forum is bold, thus has a new post. But is it a thread I care about? I have to click it to find out. I'm just not going to do that. The organization of this forum is simply not useful for efficient scanning of topics for posts of interest. (The "Other/All Activity feed is actually the best way to view this site, IMO - but I don't think it's promoted well enough as I only just found it in the past month). For instance, why is there a separate forum for Mega Trees and Mega Poles? Or separate forums for Movers and Motorized Contraptions? All of that DIY stuff (which I like a lot) should get combined into maybe just a couple of forums. RGB-based Lights & Pixel world? The whole lights area should simply be "Classic Lighting" and "RGB Lighting". Plus eliminate/archive forums that simply arn't used anymore... Cooking recipes... business opportunities... The entire Think Tank section... basically consolidation is what is needed. I'm thinking, and I know this is tough, but the forum count needs to be at least halved, if not more. Next, I see the opportunity to create some kind of curated wiki-like information system. Different ways to create a mega-tree, lists of vendor sales, controller types, etc. Guides for creating arches, trains, etc. This couldn't be a free-for-all, but with submissions from the community and a moderating staff to put it all together could be very beneficial. Back in the day this site had a pretty decent list of vendors and some pretty good tutorials. That sort of thing could/should make a comeback. (Yes, I'd be willing to help.) A curated map of displays should be a part of this site, perhaps sortable by light count, display type, etc. Would need to be kept up to date every year unlike places like ChristmasLightFinder and TackyLightTour, which are essentially worthless because they don't remove non-updated display listings. (Yes, I'd be willing to help with this too.) I've always been a fan of a real-name requirement (one reason I like Facebook groups), but I don't know how that'd fly. If you say something, your name should stand behind it, not some internet pseudo name. But that's just me. Can a theme option to be plain green forums a la early 2000? :-D :-D Just kidding... mostly Just my 2 cents. Like this? http://www.planetchristmas.com/index.php?/discover/content-posted/
  13. Stephen Blue

    Merry Christmas Virginia

    I'm up till Jan 5 this year - I always stay up through at least Jan 1, and stay up until the next weekend day which is when teardown begins.
  14. Stephen Blue

    Merry Christmas Virginia

    A beautiful sight up here Inn alexandria, finally checking out Bill's display for the first time. Merry Christmas everyone! My dog Ellie says Merry Christmas as well - and adds that she thinks she's fit in well in this display