Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ding Dong Merrily on High … come on, sing along, you know the words

By now, anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas.

Not I like Christmas. Love. And not a little. A bunch.

Last year, by my count, I exceeded 10,000 lights on my house and in my yard. It is my life’s goal to signal airplanes, to have astronauts say “Houston, the shuttle will be able to navigate home, for we have seen a light to guide us,” and to know the light is my house.

I want to see the Christmas star, and I want to signal back right at that shiny ol’ thing.

I had three 20-amp circuits added to the house just for the holiday season. Thanksgiving through Epiphany (the traditional 12th day of Christmas, Jan. 6. Yes, I AM into this big).

So what in the name of Santa’s long underwear does that have to do with trucks? Bear with me.

Jami Jones wrote yesterday about Grote’s new LightForm LEDs. For truckers, this is something that I think will make a real difference in the future. A fraction of the weight and power consumption of current lights, so small they’re thinner than a penny, but bright enough to meet standards.

Long life, less weight, less power. This is one of the more impressive opening rounds I’ve seen at a truck show in terms of real developmental leaps ahead.

They showed us marker lamps, amber and red, long strips that could form a kind of light-up conspicuity tape. LightForm is so flexible it can be used for applications well beyond trucking.

Like a long line of lights in a straight line along a gutter or fascia board, outlining your roof, around your windows, covering your house. Taped on, permanent, tough enough to withstand the elements, tested in conditions the toughest truck endures. Low power consumption, high light output.

Permanently installed, never requiring me to climb up on the roof again, never causing me to confront my continuing and confounding fear of heights.

Yes, I finished my interview, asked my last question about applications for trucks, I turned off the recorder, I looked Dominic Grote in the eye, and I asked, “could you use these things for Christmas lights?”

He smiled and said yes.

Praise Jesus and pass the extension cords! Christmas came early this year, and I have satellites to signal.


  1. Holy mother of Thomas Edison - I could put these on that long fence in front of my house.

  2. They're paying guys to think this stuff up and it looks well worth it. Personally, when I think of an "endless string" of something, it's press releases at MATS. As a writer, you're no dim bulb, brother: thanks for plugging a little levity into a long line of product news.

  3. Like trucker/lyricist/singer Ray Carlisle said in "Good Advice," "Every year at Christmas people put chicken lights all over their houses." C'mon back. Ray is there at the show!
    Danny Schnautz
    out of Pasadena, TX

  4. Don't tell my husband he'll have me send them over to the sand box (middle east) along with his uniformed blow up santa cluase. Then put them all over the house when he comes home.
    B Sutton IN