The joke around this neighborhood is that I must own shares in Dominion. Yeah, if they could only see my bill. Cha-ching! I just say keep it coming, baby! Love me some electricity! Give me the juice!

So of course you can't do something like I do without planning, and that's why I bought this computer program a couple of years ago. It's kinda like a CAD program, you know, computer-assisted design, like what you'd use to design a house or something. It's so sweet. You just lay it all out, the colors, the patterns, everything. Helps you figure the number of strands to use, extensions, volts — whatever. I mean people don't realize this is some complicated stuff! Course you gotta put in the sweat equity. You can see right there how I rigged that section. See the counterweight? That's no amateur stuff there, dude.

This year I have a theme going. It's Christmas Carnival. You know, like how they have that big party in Brazil? Kind of like Mardi Gras. That's why Joseph and Mary are wearing the masks, you get it, like a masquerade party? And then over there you got the little elves in the lighted-up costumes. It's Rio, baby! Love those colors, man, I just wanted to blow it out with the moving parts too. That's like little elves throwing themselves a Brazilian street party after all the work building the toys. You gotta love that. And as far as the Brazilian women go? Well, before you go make sure you check out Mrs. Claus over there. Look behind her. That's my own personal touch. Ba-boom!

Totally worth it, man. Totally! I mean you come back one night in December, you'll see what I mean. You can see it from 288.

The countdown's on to the switch-flipping. How many lights? Trade secret, my friend! But I will say we're talking over 100,000 at this point. I mean, I can't disappoint people now. They drive by, they look forward to it. Makes the kids happy. Makes everybody happy! I mean, how can you not love this stuff!

For the Holidays

1. Lap of luxury. The Jefferson Hotel will hold a tree-lighting ceremony and parade of Christmas characters Dec. 1 starting at 5:30 p.m. 424-8014.

2. Downtown beacon. Richmond's annual Grand Illumination will usher in the holiday season at 10th and East Cary streets Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. 344-3232.

3. Jefferson style. The state Christmas tree lighting at Capitol Square happens Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. The next day tour the Governor's Mansion at a holiday open house, 1-4 p.m. 371-2642.

4. Live camels and flying angels! West End Assembly of God's “Glorious Christmas Nights” continues to boggle the pageant-seeking crowds with levitation and massive production values. Dec. 4-14. 754-0738.

I had to stop going to Fourth of July shows because I'd have a crick in my neck for a week after. All that looking up. Geez. After awhile you're like, OK! I seen one controlled explosion, I seen 'em all. It's like, “Look at me! I can start a fire in the sky! Woo!” People are weird.

And so trudging through the holidays is really just a grim march from one shiny thing to another. What do they think we are, raccoons? God. When will they invent a holiday that involves sitting quietly in a dark room? That's one I'd buy Hallmark for.

You're probably one of those who loves the electric lights. Hanging on trees and whatnot. Like Thomas Edison is your personal Lord and Savior. Come on. The guy electrocuted an elephant. I walk by those bright houses and can just glance over at 'em — I'm afraid to inflict lasting damage on my corneas from that electric display. And I can hear the meter screaming on the side of the house. What is it, a race to use up all the coal in the world? That makes sense. Why don't people just turn their blenders and hair dryers on the day after Thanksgiving and let 'em run till New Year's?

And the cities get into it, too, lighting everything up to attract people downtown, where they're sure to get mugged, because the city pays for fancy lights instead of hiring police. At least you'll be able to see your attacker's face, all bathed in the festive glow of a million twinkling lights.

And then there's New Year's. As though one festival of air pollution isn't enough, let's shoot off some more explosives. Luckily it's the dry time of year, so my burning roof will add to the merriment, I guess.

You can't trust a society that gets off on making noise. I mean hell, we tell loud kids to pipe down, but if it's a civic group, we close off the streets. You ask me, our society's losing its head trying to turn night into day. I mean are our leaders really thinking in our best interests when they arrange some ridiculous orgy of noise? From the people who brought you public hangings!

For the Holidays

1. Small, well-behaved art. The galleries get into small, reasonably priced art, which is very tasteful indeed. Look for shows at Art Works and Artspace Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Dec. 5 at Art6, Brazier Fine Arts and Visual Arts Studio.

2. A film that tells it like it is. David Fincher's “The Curious Tale of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt, may sound like a spectacle, but any story about a person born old who becomes young gives me hope that we can maybe turn things around. Opening Christmas day.

3. Save the earth from our obnoxiousness. TreeHugger.com and Planet Green have a holiday gift guide, “Go Green to Save Green,” that suggests things such as adopting an olive tree from Italy and making your own soaps (but not fireworks). www.treehugger.com.

4. The one spectacle worth seeing. River City Roller Girls are neither quiet nor well-behaved, but their Dec. 7 “Seasons Beatings” show at Skateland supports Stop Child Abuse Now — and besides, think of the short shorts. Won't someone think of the short shorts?! 6:30 p.m. 873-8623.




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