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Is it Christmas yet?

This is what the Ramcke house looks like for the holidays. The house is wrapped in three seperate strands of lights- white, green and red. I have the lights connected to Radio Shack Plug-N-Power modules which are then connected to my computer via a PC interface. I use Activehome software to run the lights while the CDROM in the computer plays Christmas music which is played over loudspeakers hidden in the bushes. The three colors, red, green and white, mix and fade in and out in time to the music. All syncronization is done through computer macros (recorded at actual speed). These lights are the closest I have come to a "brush with fame" as the house was one of three featured by the local newspaper as "Must-See Christmas Light Displays"

Most people look at this picture and say, "Why would you want to live in the Midwest???" I look at this picture and say,"This IS why I live in the Midwest!" I'm not some hermit who doesn't want to move out of fear. Instead, I don't want to move because I LOVE the changes in the seasons, especially those life-altering snowstorms! This photo was taken on January 10, 1999 (in case you can't read it), the day after the biggest snowfall in recent memory. I took pictures to remind myself of it, next time I whine that "it doesn't snow as much as when I was a kid". Nothing, to me, brings on the feeling of Christmas like a cool blanket of snow on the ground...

Christmas starts for me on November 1. At that time, I usually watch "Christmas Vacation" for the first time that season. By the middle of November I'm on the roof, installing the 8000 lights that make up the lighting display. The lights are usually lit for the first time on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

The Ramcke Christmas tree is always decorated with real candles instead of lights (I hope my Allstate agent doesn't ever visit my site!) which are lit on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve.

Christmas places

Activehome, the company which developed X10 technology
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