Monday, September 8, 2008

What have I been doing?

It's been a little over two weeks since my last blog post. So what have I been doing?

It appears I took a bit of a break from creating new Squidoo lenses. Instead I've been doing a lot of tweaking of existing lenses as a result of a lot of reading of websites, blogs and other lenses about improving the Squidoo experience. My Girls With Slingshots lens briefly got into the top 1,000 lenses on Squidoo. That's the first time I've broken into that range. It topped out in the high 300s for a day or two, maybe three. A lot of that was due to Danielle Corsetto, the GWS author, linking to the lens in her blog that appears beneath the GWS strip.

I took a few day trips. I went down to the coast to Cannon Beach to browse the shops. Last year I remember a Celtic-themed shop and hoped to find it this year, but either it's gone or I didn't walk down the right side street. But I did have some clam chowder, then walked along the beach and took a few pictures. After that I drove down to Tillamook and stopped in at the Tillamook Creamery for some ice cream. By then, it was too late to stop in for more pictures at the Tillamook Air Museum, so I went back home.

The next day I headed off to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. It's the home of Howard Hughes' huge wooden, 8-engine Spruce Goose, which has a wingspan of just shy of 320 feet and is mostly made of birch, not spruce. Maybe it should be called the Son of a Birch?

Maybe not.

I spent most of the afternoon getting pictures of the planes with the idea of making a lens about the museum. I had already checked out and found they have a fair number of posters of WWII aircraft and others represented at the museum, so I'm thinking of doing a lens that would tie in links to AllPosters. Haven't started it yet, though.

B-17 and P-51 Mustang

B-17 and P-51 Mustang
Giclee Print

Buy at

Last week I went back to Tillamook to go to the Tillamook Air Museum. It's located just south of town in one of the last surviving blimp hangers from WWII. The hanger is immense. It's shaped like a Quonset Hut on steroids, with the top over 200 feet from the ground. It could house eight Navy patrol blimps at a time. Given the winter storms along the Oregon coast, it was a necessary shelter. I took a lot of pictures. I'll eventually do a lens with them as well.

During the past few days I've gotten back into creating lenses. If I can have 100 lenses by September 30, that will be another level achieved on Squidoo. Right now I have 80 published lenses and one in progress. Most of the new stuff is video showcases for groups that already had lenses. They're relatively quick and easy to put together, and it's fun watching the videos on YouTube to see if they're good enough to include. Not all are.

So far, I've created the following lenses:

  • A lens for the Irish Traditional group Téada
  • A video showcase for Téada - it was fairly easy to do it right after creating the lens
  • Video showcases for several Irish groups: Danú, Dervish and the Bothy Band
  • A lensography lens that gathers all the video showcases into one place and called Celtic Music Video Showcases

I'm going to try to create as many video showcases as I can during the rest of the month to help reach that 100-lens goal. I know there are some performers who either don't have any videos on YouTube or only a few, so I might try to make video showcases using those few of each and calling them Thistle & Shamrock and/or LiveIreland video showcases, providing the performers have had their music played in those radio/Internet venues.

Just today I was made aware that Squidoo has introduced a new Donations Module. With it, I can specify one of the charities Squidoo donates to and visitors to a lens with the module can make a donation in whatever amount they choose. I've already added it to about a half-dozen lenses and plan to add it to many more. Since about half my lenses are about Celtic music, I'm trying to decide if I should specify the same charity for all those lenses or spread them out. There's also a choice to donate to the Squidoo Charity Fund, which I assume spreads the donations around.

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