Monday Jan 01, 2007

Scale of Colorado's Recent Storms

Other bloggers have covered the one-two punch of Colorado's recent snowstorms with photos showing results backyard by backyard.

I'll stick with words for my own illustration of the storms' size. One unlikely source of interesting coverage is this article on TheStreet.com. It says that following the first storm, "[Denver International Airport] crews removed about 4.4 million cubic yards of snow, enough to fill a one-lane highway from Denver to San Francisco to a depth of 8 inches." It feels like I've done enough shoveling from my own driveway for a similar statistic. (Okay, naysayers, maybe my highway would only reach Reno.)

We in the Denver area ended up getting a "mere" ten inches from the second storm. Colorado's southeastern plains took the worst of that one--Civil Air Patrol planes are still combing the area for stranded motorists or cattle.

I think everyone around here is ready for a little heat wave.

Thursday Dec 28, 2006

Christmas Kitsch

I somehow missed it when major media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today started covering the story of Alek Komarnitsky's Christmas lights in 2004. I did, however, become aware of the story recently due to a follow-up story on Slashdot.

Why does anyone care about Mr. Komarnitsky and his Christmas lights? Read his own account for the full story. In short, he got international media exposure in 2004 for his home's Christmas lights web site. The site allowed visitors to turn the lights on or off and see the results live on a webcam--or so everyone thought. Soon he received even more exposure when it was revealed that the site was a hoax, using a collection of static images to show people the expected lighting changes (which were not actually happening at the house). And now he is gaining a third round of exposure with a revamped setup which has since 2005 provided genuine working versions of the web-based controls (as verified by the Rocky Mountain News).

So what could I possibly have to add to this established story? A little first-person perspective, for one thing. Mr. Komarnitsky, his lights, and I all happen to reside just northwest of Denver. So the other night my wife and I went on a field trip to do a little verification of our own. And with the help of some relatives, we got this screenshot of Peggy sneaking up to join the famous decorations on Mr. Komarnitsky's webcam:


(She's the dark splotch between Homer and Elmo.)

So assuming that Alek has not assembled a prescient set of new static images, we'll join the folks at the Rocky Mountain News in validating the current incarnation of Komarnitsky's Christmas Lights Webcam as Genuine Kitsch™.

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