Friday, November 28, 2008

Forced to move: 100% wind-powered music-animated Christmas lights raised over $10,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation—Richard Holdman’s Amazing Christmas Display

UPDATE! All the 2008 videos are now up.

Below in high-quality (click here if you have a slower connection)  is a selection of my favorite Christmas light displays synchronized to music, by the amazing Richard Holdman. Be sure to click the icon to the left of the word “vimeo” on each video to view it in high-quality full screen mode—it looks like this:

His 100% wind powered, computer-controlled display raised over $10,200 for The Make-a-Wish Foundation in 2007 (45,000 lights on a 176 channel controller) and for 2008 it has been moved and upgraded to 150,000 lights on a 215 channel controller. He started in 2006 with an 80-channel system.

2007 display before animation

Community forces display to move in 2008
Update ►2008 video “Frosty the Snowman” added at bottom!!

After the 2007 season, the gated community where Richard lives, by a vote of 13-11, decided to close the gates during Christmas to prevent the traffic that comes with the display. A number of people volunteered to host the display, and for 2008 the new location is 12 Denali Drive, Lindon, Utah, which is his parent’s house. It went up Dec 1 with one song to start. Video should be up by mid-December. They wrapped 20+ trees—some over 20 feet tall!

Richard provides answers to common questions about the display , has a video showing what he did, and and even some very helpful do-it-yourself videos. Below are some of my favorites from 2007, and the last video is from 2006, “Jingle Bells Techno”:

Carol of the Bells

Amazing Grace

Miracle on 34th Street

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

2008 Video #1

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How can you get a better job, better friends and a better life? One word: Twitter

If you were to meet people who appreciate who you are, what you do and what you love, and can help you do more of it and get paid for it, would that be a bad thing?

BEGIN: Find people in two or more of these 5 categories:
  1. People who have needs or interests you can help them with; 
  2. Supportive people you enjoy being around;
  3. People who work doing something you love;
  4. People who work doing something you are good at;
  5. People who work doing something that you could (or do) get paid to do.

    ...Read more

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    One of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey, on Inside the Actor's Studio

    Kevin Spacey is possibly my favorite actor.

    One of the things I love about him is that he doesn't watch dailies, and he chooses roles based on the story, irrespective of money, who else is involved, etc. He's an actor’s actor. He trusts what he is experiencing when he plays a role more than the words in the script and relies a lot on instinct and spontaneity.

    Spacey has said in not watching dailies he has to trust the director, and that he has very rarely been let down.

    Kevin Spacey: Impersonator?

    Kevin is also a fabulous impersonator! If you just want to skip to the part where he shows what an incredible impersonator he is…skip to 1:30 in part 2 below. (He also does a great Christopher Walken & Walter Matthau in “Star Wars auditions”) Here is just a small sample of awards he has won:
    • Two Oscars;
    • A Tony;
    • Four New York Film Critic’s awards;
    • Two National Board of Review awards;
    • An Olivier award;
    • A London Critic’s Circle award;
    • …and dozens more.
    Part 1: Upbringing; road to Julliard;
    Long Day’s Journey into Night


    Part 2: Jack Lemmon; Standup Comedy; Impersonator!
    As good with the Improv as the characters


    Part 4: Choosing parts; dancing; directing; LA Confidential

    Part 6: The questionnaire, and Q&A with students

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Tell someone the best thing you can about them today!

    Ready to smile your biggest smile? A short film about the magic of validation in the form of a fable about the magic of free parking:
    • Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland Int'l Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Jury Award, Gen Art Chicago Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film, 
    • Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, 
    • Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona Int'l Film Festival.
    Starring TJ Thyne & Vicki Davis.
    Writer/Director/Composer - Kurt Kuenne
      “Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” - Hafiz

      If you haven't seen this video, watch it at least until the people start dancing with Matt. Or until the traditional dancers in India. Or heck, all the way through. Sure to bring a smile to your face!

      And one more video that makes me smile, from zeFrank:

      Wednesday, November 12, 2008

      Twitter's “Billionth Millionth” Day

      November 12, 2008—Twitter had it's one BILLIONTH tweet today, and TwitPic had it's one Millionth pic. The odds of both of these happening on the same day have to be astronomical!

      Monday, November 10, 2008

      You know you are too popular on Twitter when…

      You know you are too popular on Twitter when…
      1. People don’t invite you out—they go without you and livetweet you about it.
      2. Because you instantly tweet about everything you do, you no longer see the point of confessing in church.
      3. You know where the Twitter Twanonymous 12-step meetings are held (“Hi, my name is @, and I'm a Twittaddict…”).
      4. You gossip like a complete Twit: “What a failwhale! Her mistweeted tweetahead retweet got her uninvited from the tweetup and the twitcast. With tweetard twittiquette like that she'll never be in the twitterati twibe.
      5. You never do anything without first considering how Twitterrific it will sound on Twitter.
      6. You lie about how much you Twitter to keep your friends and loved ones from trying to organize a Twittervention against you. You are always jumpy when you go out, afraid they will throw a net over you and pry your blackberry away.
      7. Everyone knows that while you’re technically still married, your spouse is actually a “Twittdow” (Twitter widow).
      8. Whenever you get long-winded, your spouse tells you to “Shut up if you can't talk like we do on Twitter.”
      9. Watching court TV you thought the bailiff said Please be tweeted, instead of “Please be seated.”
      10. In your dreams, everyone has @ symbols where faces should be.
      11. You have two homepages:, and …not necessarily in that order.
      12. You're Scobelizing your time, resources and life away.
      13. Big events nearly give you a heart attack every time—from simultaneously trying to listen to it on TV, tweet, and see what everyone else is tweeting about it
      14. You start to think in 140-character thoughts using abbreviations with too many exclamation points and question marks: “Y can't these ppl learn to p/u their own damn dirty socks. It’s thx 4 nothing 4 all the work I do around here, imho. Y do I p/u with this??!!”
      15. Two-hundred thirty-seven people already sent you this blog post this morning.
      16. If it weren't for Twitter, you would have no contact with other living beings 167½ out of 168 hours each week. (It would be never, if grocery delivery to your door was available in your area.)
      17. People DM you before calling so that they know you will answer.
      18. When you see thousands of people following the “Can you hear me now?” guy around in ads…you know just how he feels.
      19. Your kids know they won't get your attention unless the notes they leave on the kitchen table say something like “@Mom, please bring home milk and DM me if I can go to @Jason’s house.”
      20. You have your real name legally changed to your @twitterName.
      21. Obama and Kevin Rose follow you…and DM you when they need advice.
      22. You get the “Twitter Twitch”—you've twittered until two in the morning and now all you can do is lay in bed and twitch. 
      23. You never leave the site except to go to Tweet-ups.
      24. More people know you by your Twitter picture than by what you actually look like.
      25. You don't bother to have your Twitter client automatically startup on boot because doesn't everyone sleep with Twitter on the laptop next to them in bed?
      26. When Twitter goes down, you have to restrain yourself from trying to tweet about, and write in your blog until it comes back online.
      27. You understand Twitler's every reference and know exactly how he feels. 
      28. You are always accidentally trying your Twitter password to log onto things.
      29. You need a job, but you can't find one with a Twitter-friendly environment so you remain unemployed…and Twittering about it.
      30. You're more popular on than @grader itself.
      31. Your @name starts appearing in other people's Twitter jokes. 
      32. You decide to do a quick check of your tweets before your email - and it ends up being hours before you read your email.
      33. You freak out when twitter goes down for a few hours and wonder if you will ever see your friends again!
      34. You look for the UNFOLLOW button during boring TV shows.
      35. You find yourself in an actual, honest-to-goodness face-to-face conversation…and catch yourself looking for the “reply” button. 
      36. You start to think of everything in @’s as in “I wish @husband would take the garbage out…”
      37. You would never need to wear a tracking device if you were convicted of something because your BrightKite tweets make you easier to track than Barack Obama.
      38. You get wedding presents from Twitter friends you have never met in real life. 
      39. You resolve to get off Twitter to get some work done but can't remember when you had that thought, and anyway @guykawasaki is just now saying that Alltop is cool because …
      40. @guykawasaki DMs you but you miss it because you get too many DMs all at once.
      41. When your realize you're having heart palpitations from being so hyped up trying to reply to your thousands of DMs and @'s.
      42. You tweet wearing gloves when the heat goes out. 
      43. Twitter's business model depends on your tweets. Either that, or they get money from Greenpeace for saving the Fail Whale.
      44. It takes you three tries to read this post—because you have to check twitter in between.
      45. You’ve long since forgotten what it was like to have friends in the real world in the days “BT” (before Twitter).
      46. When you're off twitter, you make up new twords. You share the twords with your twouse who rolls their eyes at you and goes back to sleep.
      47. Your dog has her own twitter account.   
      48. Your name is @conniecrosby
      49. When u go online to find that recipe, you get so many DMs you logon to twitter & forget to eat dinner, much less cook it.
      50. You decide not to tweet your bad experience at a chain restaurant, just in case the CEO decides to follow your tweets and then vows never to hire you to voice their spots…Hey, with Twitter, it could happen!
      51. You write articles called "6 Reasons I am a Twitter Crack Whore"
      52. You respond @eachperson to all friends then realize you probably flooded 30 pages into the feeds of your less popular friends (…a common misconception! Here's how it really works.)
      53. You start writing on your actual blog and realize u start wrtng shrt form 2 fit what u want n 140 chars. Then you realize it's not necessary & decide to stop writing and go check out what's happening on twitter.
      54. Your mind begins to think in update format, categorizing people into TweetDeck columns... and you talk to people the same way.
      55. You insist that all of your friends sign up for Twitter, but wait to follow them until they say something interesting.
      56. All your thoughts become micro-thoughts, and then other people start to promote your micro-thoughts...
      57. When Billionaires like Richard Branson of The Famed Virgin Brand start following YOU on Twitter.
      58. Your cold has its own twitter account. Yep, check out Digg's founder: @kevinscold. 
      59. You no longer like 'talking.' You now prefer talking in tweets... Or 'twalking.' You are constantly competing in your mind to communicate in 140 characters or less.
      60. You realize Twitter should be called “Twitch” for how compulsively your fingers are at needing to keep typing something.
      61. You type e-mails and just hit ENTER - then wonder why it didn't go.
      62. When you find yourself converting all your blog posts to excerpts.
      63. You're supposed to be a legal observer, but you spend election day at the polls compulsively checking your phone for Twitter hashtag election results
      64. It gives you flashbacks to the BBS days
      65. You find yourself nodding knowingly to every item on this list
      Add to the list by leaving a comment or email /Twitter it to me. Tell me what words to use for your link (or I'll just use your name). Follow me on Twitter at @SarahJL or @Twytter_Tips.

      Contributors (Thanks!):
       You might also like to see Top 10 perks of the UPCOMING Obama presidency…

      Friday, November 07, 2008

      Top 10 perks of the Obama presidency

      Top 10 perks of the Obama presidency…
      1. Canadians no longer minding being called Americans when traveling abroad…and no longer necessary to pretend you're Canadian while traveling abroad.
      2. Smartest guy in room now IS the President.
      3. Drug companies begin search for compound to relieve new health problem: people suffering from repeated, uncontrollable sighs of relief. 
      4. Citizens find days passing by quickly in a giddy lightheaded state (“Obamaraderie”).
      5. Reporter-safe puppy. (Or, Barney's bites no longer make the news.)
      6. Whitehouse now Cheney-Free zone…except for his eighth cousin, Barack Obama.
      7. Having a president whose first language is English and has made a campaign promise to pronounce the word nuclear, nuclear.
      8. Color blind citizens not annoyed by claim “We're all color-blind now.”
      9. Warring African nations declare a "ceasefire minute" to celebrate.
      10. Excuse that lipstick on collar is from “Some teary-eyed Obama supporter in line at Grocery store” accepted at face value by spouse.

      1. Best of Obama humor on the web
      2. Late-night comics' jokes about Obama
      3. Obama's funny jokes from the campaign
      4. All funny moments from the ’08 election season
      5. …and the transcript of Obama's comedy roast at the Al Smith dinner
      More benefits:
      1. Oval Office 24-hour live video feed being installed in Oprah's house.
      2. George Bush relaxes for the first time in nearly eight years, knowing someone who can handle the tough stuff will be stepping in.
      3. Political humor writers happily begin searching for new lines of work.
      4. Haircuts to show off Alfred E. Neuman ears are suddenly popular.
      5. Having a president who will stick with us through thick and thin, and really looks the thin part.
      6. Having a thin president probably more motivational than even “Super-size me” was to dieting fat citizens.
      7. Our first black president since the first season of '24'
      8. Having another inexperienced Illinois senator raise expectations
      9. First president with a deadly, fade-away jumper
      10. If we get kidnapped in a Middle Eastern country we can say we know Hussein and they might not behead us
      From Late Night, the original Top Ten…


      Thursday, November 06, 2008

      Nine easy ways to get a friend or family member interested in classical music (or to get started yourself)

      It's that time of year again, and wouldn't you like to give some great music to family and friends? Or just somehow find a way to get them interested in classical music? But alas, some of them claim NOT to be interested in classical music. Despair not! Here are five CDs (1-5) and four articles (6-9) of which at least one is sure to bridge the gap!

      1. The Most Popular Classical TV Themes in the Universe (CD)

      Ever wonder which television program or commercial made which piece of music popular? Did you know that the Disney Cruises commercial used Monty Python's Flying Circus Theme, which is Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals? Or that Looney Toons used the Flying Dutchman Overture? They might also be interested to read Are you already listening to classical music, but didn't know it?

      2. The Most Uplifting Classics in the Universe (CD)

      If you need a mood uplift, this is one you'll want to have on hand. Includes works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Holst, Bruckner, Beethoven, Bach, and Vivaldi.

      3. Classical Heat

      Get your heart pumping with the first CD, with works by Holst, Verdi, Barber, Stravinsky, and Orff.

      But what if you're looking for more of a romantic, passionate sound? That's what you'll find on the second CD of this two-CD set.

      4. Classics: Greatest Hits

      If you're buying (or already own) the first three albums, you'll appreciate knowing that the Greatest Hits CD does not duplicate any of the music on albums 1-3 recommended above.

      These are additional, important pieces from classical music's key periods: baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century. Familiar works like the "Blue Danube Waltz" and Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" will capture the attention of any newcomer.

      5. Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music

      Tried everything without success? Try this. Includes fantastic recordings of Dvorak's 9th Symphony second movement and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and makes an excellent addition to most collections.

      Aaron Green,'s Classical Music Guide weeded through hundreds of CDs and recommended these five. Thanks, Aaron!

      6. For people who want to learn, but don't know where to start. This is a crash course in the greatest composers and greatest music that can be followed in  a few minutes here and there from your computer. They may also like this guide to terminology and recommended books for those new to classical music.

      7. For people who don't realize they are already listening to classical music.Everyone should check this out! Guaranteed to teach you fascinating things you didn't know. This collection of links and information covers how a lot of popular songs have been based on classical music, where many of the great classics appear in which movies, and which pieces of classical music have had the greatest impact on contemporary culture.

      8. For people who really like certain instruments more than others, check out the Instruments of Classical Music Series: each CD is a classical music collection focusing on a single instrument: Harpsichord; Flute; Oboe; Trumpet; Horn; Violin; Cello; Piano; Organ; Guitar and Lute (okay, that last one is two instruments).

      9. Still not working? Lighten up! Here's a collection of humorous quotes from Eugene Ormandy, the Yogi Berra of the Orchestra, such as:
      • “Why do you always insist on playing while I'm trying to conduct?”
      • “During the rests -- pray."
      • “I never say what I mean but I always manage to say something similar.”
      To keep abreast of news and interesting links on Classical Music, visit or subscribe to @Classical_Music on Twitter. Want an RSS feed of just Classical Music posts? Here you go!

      Another Twitter “who’s who” becomes popular

      Twitter Grader claims to measure the “relative power of a Twitter user.”

      If you're trying to find people by topic, is a great place to start. (Results are sorted by whoever has the most followers first.) And claims to measure the combined influence of twitterers and their followers, as does But if you're looking for more of a “Who's who,” seems to be a good place to start.

      One of the nice things on is their suggestions of who to follow. Just enter your own twitter ID in to get graded, and a list of suggestions is automatically generated. Refresh the page for more suggestions.