Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Maggie's Music Lenses & Snow

On Monday I created a lens in the Maggie's Music series, which are in a Squidoo account set up by Maggie Sansone, for Al Petteway and Amy White, a couple who now live in Asheville, NC. It took longer than I thought it would at first, but most of that was because I finalized some details of creating a module. I looked up a few things and applied them to the modules, such as changing the type from Squidoo's standard (Verdana, I think) to Times New Roman. I also added coding to make the CD titles and catalog numbers larger and in red type. Nothing fancy, just stuff I hadn't used before, so I had to fiddle a bit to make sure the code was right so I could set it up for copying and pasting.

Once Al & Amy's lens was done, I realized all the lenses I'd done so far had contained a lot of CDs - around a dozen each. Setting all those up takes a while, with a fair amount of the time just adding in the Amazon text links at the bottom of each module. just recently started adding MP3 downloads, and they appear to have added most of their Maggie's Music offerings. So for most modules, there's the CD from, the MP3 from, the CD from and the MP3 from

All the work fiddling with the code paid off yesterday. That came together with having done all the bigger lenses. What was left was mostly lenses for artists who have only released a few CDs. Yesterday I put together five lenses, probably the most lenses I've ever done in a single day. They included Karen Ashbrook, Robin Bullock, Ceoltoiri, Ensemble Galilei and Sue Richards. (No pictures for Ensemble Galilei and Sue Richards, although Sue is in the upper right of the photo of Ceoltoiri below.) Some of that was made easier by a few of the CDs being featured in lenses I'd already done, so all I had to do was cut and paste from the existing lens, then fiddle with coding if needed.

The lousy weather is continuing. After many days, the temperature did manage to poke above freezing for a few hours yesterday, but not by enough to cause any significant melting. It was also the first in many days where the temperature even came close to predicted highs. Throughout the cold spell, the predicted highs have never materialized and sometimes those predictions have been off by ten degrees or more. Some of that is no doubt due to cold winds coming from the East out of the Columbia River Gorge.

It's abundantly clear that the municipalities in this area really aren't equipped to deal with more than the merest dusting of snow. There's been some plowing, but I went out on Monday to take the MAX down to the Fred Meyer store at Gateway, and plowing has been minimal. The parking lot around Freddie's didn't look like any plowing had been done.

Even worse has been the non-response to the weather from the apartment complex management. Most cars in the parking lots I can see - from the window next to where I'm sitting and from my bedroom - have not moved since Friday because there has been no plowing. A few people have done some shoveling to get their cars out, while a few others have just been determined to spin their wheels and rock the cars back and forth until they got out. In the lot where my car is parked, some guys shoveled a couple of the first spaces near the road so they could park a pickup truck I hadn't seen before the storm, plus the car for the people downstairs next to the apartment under mine. They were only concerned about themselves, leaving a ridge of packed snow across the width of the lot which would make it difficult for anyone, including me, to get out without shoveling it away. So far nobody else had attempted it.

Considering I don't have chains, it's a good thing I haven't needed to drive. The MAX trip was a bit of an adventure. The ticket machines all seemed to be frozen. I tried to get a ticket at the 162nd Avenue stop, then got on anyway. I tried again at Gateway for the return trip and that machine didn't work either. A Tri-Met person said not to worry about it, they weren't checking fares. At least I tried. I had to walk in the road to get to and from the stops at 162nd, and fortunately the plowing had left enough space for people to walk carefully alongside the single lane of travel. Sidewalks shoveled? You've got to be kidding.

The public and private response to snow in Portland seems to consist largely of "Hey, it'll warm up sooner or later." Tri-Met at least has done their best to keep trains and buses running. Back in 2004 when we had ice and snow, the ice stopped the MAX for two days. This time, most of the Blue Line, which runs from Hillsboro in the West Hills to Gresham on the other end, has been open, and buses have filled in on the Red Line to the Airport (now open - the Red Line, that is, I don't know about the airport as I'm not flying anywhere and I haven't seen planes flying in and out due to clouds and snow) and the Yellow Line (still closed with buses filling in).

Temperatures are forecast to finally get back to normal by Saturday, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Often predictions tend toward normal the further out they go. Often in situations like this, that never happens. Oh well, I still have more lenses to make.

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