December 2002

Amazingly, we got some mid December snow here in MD. Here's the view out my window.
It impressively stayed around for a week with unusually cold weather, but as we speak rain is washing it away. december snow
Kristina and I ventured to Northern Harford County in order to get a Christmas Tree. For reasons beyond my control it had to be real, self-cut, and a white-pine. We managed OK, and even got home in time for her to see the Army-Navy game.

I seem to be unable to hold still long enough to keep pictures from being fuzzy. Also, the tree has lots of 20 year old ornaments of mine on it, so it looks like there's a pre-schooler around.
Fuzzy Christmas Tree Less Fuzzy Tree
And finally, the dream of any Electrical Engineer, LED Christmas Lights! How can you not love the sight of 70 Blue LED's! Light your home with quantum effects. These are made by the Foreverbright company, though I couldn't find them here on the East coast so had to order from QVC of all places.

Advantages of LED lights? Low power, no heat, last 20+ years of continuous use. Plus they're really cool!
Disadvantages: not quite as bright, and they cost quite a bit more.

I have them in a vaguely tree shaped pattern on the weird bars just inside by apartment. The lights have weird faceted lenses on them, I guess to mitigate the fact that LED's are somewhat directional. Also notice the apparent stuck pixel on the CCD of my digital camera :(

Update: Vince Open To Ridicule
Due probably to my over-gushing about my LED lights, one of the supposedly super-long-lasting LED's was found burnt out by Kristina yesterday. Why, I don't know. It was quite thoroughly dead. Luckily the set came with two spares you're not supposed to need (though the spare is a bit dimmer and more greenish in color). I could take advantage of the 5 year warranty, but that would involve shipping costs and a Christmas w/o lights. I think I will make do with the way it is.
[further update... Kristina insists I mention that another light has gone out bringing the total to 2 bad LED's]
LED Christmas Lights
Here are some impressive cookies that Kristina and I made. Actually we made way more than this, but these are the only one I had any artistic input on. See if you can guess which picture is the one that I decorated. Bonus points for finding my space ship, or spotting the elf runes.
Some Cookies More Cookies
And here we have a picture of the Thane of Himling, condemned to forever guard that cold Northern isle. Or else it is me, keeping warm in a place with a low-set thermostat, put in much more interesting surroundings through the magic of computer photo editing.
Vince in a Cloak
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