Donate to Celiac Research - get listed on the Christmas Lights Web Site
Make a tax deductible donation
University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research (UMBF)
and I'll list your name/company on the
main Christmas page and the
Christmas webcam which were
seen by bazillions of people last year. As of mid-December, total
hits are over 5 times for the same time period in 2004, and
here's some of the media coverage so far
Media coverage last year included:
I'm not a lawyer/PR/marketing/whatever person, but lets make
this real easy.
Contact Pam King at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research and tell her
the secret password -
"I like Alek's Christmas Lights."
Or better yet, just donate online at that URL (put that phrase in the comments) and
the confirmation Email.
I'll add your name/company (must be family friendly and no more than 3 words)
to the two web pages listed above and it will stay there until
No promises on number of web hits (who knows what will happen),
but as mentioned above, traffic is noticeably higher so far this year.
Donation levels are:
$100 (individual), $1,000 (company with link), $10,000 (company with link and same-size logo).
Contact me with any questions/comments, but THAT is the "deal" - i.e. it's real simple
and don't bother me (or Pam King at the Celiac Research Center) with your
lawyers, 50-page contracts, or any of that crap. I reserve the right to
decline any ad and/or change these terms and conditions ... but I doubt
that will happen.
$3,731 was raised for Celiac Disease Research in 2005.
- Print: Numerous stories all over the place (went out on AP (inter)national wire twice) - example:
page A2 of the Washington Post and Jan 10th, 2005 TIME.
NPR Morning Edition, dozens of live interviews in many markets - even two in Perth, Australia.
- TV: Detailed coverage by several major Denver stations - who knows
how far that was all re-broadcast. And heck, ABC even took me up in
their helicopter for a live report on the 6:00 News.
View some of the TV videos here.
- Internet: "Every blog and web site on the Internet was talking
about it" is how one person put it -
some of the sites
that linked to it included
USAToday, NYTimes, FoxNews, Slashdot,
Fark, MajorGeeks. Some non-US sites included The Inquirer (England),
Heise (Germany) Index.hu (Hungary), and MBnet.fi (Finland).
It was one of the most clicked-thru stories on CNN.Com, Foxnews.Com,
and WSJ.Com on Dec 28th, 2004.
And check out the
charity eBay auction of the
"The Christmas Lights Webcam that Fooled the World
- 100% of proceeds for Celiac Research.
I figure since the
Virgin Mary French Toast sold for $28,000, this well constructed (!) piece of history ought
to be worth something, especially as a charity fundraiser! Update: Turns
out the non-gluten-free 'Virgin Mary' French Toast was more valuable - oh well,
it was worth a try.
My kids (that's Dirk, Kyle, and their Big Green Buddy in the picture) have
Celiac Disease which is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the protein gluten found
in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats. Similar to diabetes, you don't
grow out of this ... and there is no cure short of going on a strict
gluten-free diet. So while low-carb diets are the rage these days,
it's a bit of a challenge when the kids go to events such as birthday
parties (cake is a no-no unless made with rice flour) or after school/sports
gatherings at a pizza joint. There's a LOT more I could write (spending
4 days at Children's hospital for "failure to thrive" is no fun), but
the kids are doing great now, mostly thanx to the great efforts by
my wonderful wife Wendy. Recent breakthoughs like this is good news and hopefully when my
kids grow up, they will be able to go out with (old) Dad not only
for (corn chip) Nacho's and Margarita's (Tequila is OK) with them, but also
Burgers (with a real bun) and Beer! ;-)
The Christmas Lights Webcam that Fooled the World in 2004
I have had
thousands of Christmas lights
on my house for the enjoyment of friends and neighbors since 2000.
In 2002, I added a webcam and webcontrol, so people on the Internet could
not only view his lights, but turn them on & off and see the results on
their computer screen via the
It got increasingly popular each year, and in 2004, a
media frenzy erupted
over it and the story went around the world on the Internet, in print,
and on TV -
one of the more entertaining segments was when
Denver ABC-7 took me up in their helicopter for a live report
on the 6:00 News of the "blinking" lights.
There was only one problem - it was all a
fun little Christmas hoax.
The lights were real, but a sequence of still images were used to provide
the illusion that people were changing them on their computers. My wife was
made the lights blink when the news chopper was overhead, but the rest of
the time they never changed! Concerned that my prank had gotten out of hand, I
approached the Wall Street Journal to fess up, and when the WSJ broke the
story after Christmas, it
again got international coverage and
people around the world got a good post-holiday chuckle.
But there really was a ... uhhhhhh ... webcam in 2004.
As shown in the pictures below, I cobbled together something
and duct-taped it in a tree across the street. This way, if someone
"looked" for the webcam, well gee-golly, there it is!
It had a long extension cord that ran under the
neighbor's garage - needless to say, it wasn't plugged into anything ... ;-)
This obviousely was completely non-functional and I didn't spend a lot
of money on it ... but it's argueably a piece of history ... so maybe I'll
eBay it one of these days to raise money for
disease research since my kids have this malady.
View from the upstairs balcony - also see grass grow! ;-)
200mm telephoto close-in shot
An 800x600 crop of the above image