January 01, 1990

About Bright Meadow

Who is 'Cas Buchanan'?
In real life, Cas Buchanan is staring the end of post graduate thesis in the face. She is researching the rather odd and esoteric field of archaeological computing (that's how computers can be used in archaeological practice, not computers that are really really old), and is specialising in social computing applications such as blogs and wiki's, and how they might be used to aid in the dissemination of ideas. Did I mention it was a little bit odd?

As a sideline, she dabbles in web-design, writing, jewelry design, and making quilts. There is a potential online store for crafty-type things on the horizon, but she needs to get off her lazy arse first, finish the thesis, and find a proper job before all that can happen.

Why 'Cas Buchanan'?
I use the name 'Cas' in a half-hearted attempt to keep the boring, academic me separate from the fun, off-duty me. This blog quite expressly isn't about my research - I can supply you with drafts of the thesis if you are genuinely interested in that. 'Cas Buchanan' then, is a personification of my creative side. Also, I use the name online in a vague attempt to mask my identity from the truly odd people out there. I say vague attempt, because my real name is all over the site if you look hard enough. I figure, if you're that desperate to stalk me, you're not going to let a simple pseudonym stop you anyway.

How did you come up with the name, 'Cas Buchanan'?
Many moons ago when I was online RPing, I had to come up with a character name in a hurry, and in the book I was reading at the time ('The Brothers War') there was this female archaeologist... One thing led to another, and she became a bit of a fixture - one-eyed barmaids being, as they are, somewhat of an oddity. For many different reasons, the name Tocasia (soon shortened to Cas) stuck, and became my online persona.

So if this blog isn't about your research, what IS it about?
Started as a means of keeping friends and family up-to-date with what was happening in my life, I have noticed the content is shifting more toward a commentary on the things that interest me, and less on basic reportage. This is subtly different from a basic diary in that, whilst I might use a recent experience to jump-start a post, I aim to use my life as a lens through which other events can be made clearer.

Ok, now I am done with sounding pretentious, promise.

I can't define what this blog is in one handy sentence (which has just screwed any remaining chances I might have had of getting into the more focused networks, but I can't pretend this blog is something it isn't).

What I can say is that I talk about what has happened in my life, hopefully in a vaguely amusing and comedic manner. I share sites that I have found, blogs I have discovered, and lots of other tid-bits gleaned from daily trawls of the Internet. Occasionally I will rant about something in the news that has caught my eye. More frequently I will rant about things that have pissed me off lately.

Whilst this blog very definitely isn't a place to discuss my research, I do find that, on occasion, something will get through my guard and I'll find I've written a 3000 essay on the mechanics of linking, or the necessity of access to information, or a philosophical ramble on why we blog in the first place, and the etiquette of blogging. All I can do in these situations is flag up the offending posts and give you the option not to read them. I have no excuse other than that I find it easier to think things through when I write them down, and when you've written 3000 almost-coherent words, it's hard to put them in the trash.

Throughout it all though, I hope to aim for tone that is up-beat, self deprecating, gleefully irreverent, and blonde in a left-handed kind of way. If on occasion I make even one person stop, think, and look at something differently, then I am happy.

Why 'Bright Meadow'?
Why not? My previous site (unsatisfactory to all concerned for many reasons) was a geocities site with a name that sounded like an old folks home. A year or so back, the Crazy Canalman and I were at a show, and were moored up next to a boat called 'Bright Meadow'. Apparently, 'bright meadow' is ye olde english for 'Shirley'. I liked the name, and when it came time to pick a name for the blog, I thought why not? After some checking, it turns out that my mother is actually 'country meadow', my own means 'bright, clear, shining', whilst my aunt's name meant 'bright one'. My grandfather's also fitted into the scheme. It all makes sense in my head. That, and it sounded suitably cheery and easy to remember.

Why 'Habitual Nervous Reaction'?
Quite simply, that is what writing is to me. It's my way of talking to the dog (see below!). That, and its a lyric from the Eve 6 song, 'Jet Pack'. I do like obscure lyrics and quotes. Most often my post titles are quotes from something, and not as arbitrary as they seem, as there is always a connection between title and post, obscure though it may be.

Talking to the dog
When the Crazy Canalman used to work from home, our dog (a black lab/collie cross called Jason) would sit at his feet. Whenever Dad had a problem, he would turn to Jason and tell him about it. He invariably found that by the time he had finished talking to the dog, he would have come up with a solution. I do a similar thing - if I can persuade Moose or the CC to sit still long enough I'll talk to them - but I also find that just writing is my way of 'talking to the dog'.

Why blog in the first place?
First, read this post.
Now -
Why not? A couple of reasons do spring to mind though.

I am doing research into the field of social computing, and it would seem a little odd if I didn't have a blog. Also, for someone who likes to write, I am the worlds worst correspondent. I keep in (more or less) regular contact with people all over the globe, and was getting heartily sick of the frequent "are you alive, Cas?" emails. Those and the "I emailed you over a month ago, what is up?" were starting to bug me. The only part of the old site that was going anywhere was the 'news' page, so I figured I would go back to basics. In time, I am planning for the blog to be part of a wider project, but that's a way in the future.

Is there anything you won't blog about?
And you'll never know what.

I keep seeing these teeny little numbers attached to words
I tend to blog in a stream of consciousness mode, and (as I have never been concise in my life), frequently go off down detours. Static footnotes proved to be highly irritating. Sidenotes, whilst having plus points, just didn't float mine, or my readers, boats. So, I decided on a bit of a fudge, and internal links. Click on the little number and you'll be taken to the footnote section. Then click on the relevant 'back' link, and you'll be taken back to where you were.

Nothing happens when I click on the teeny numbers
This is probably because I screwed up. It has been known to happen. If you see a little number, but nothing happens when you click on it (or you go to the wrong endnote), then let me know and I'll see if I can chase down the problem. I live to serve.

Um, blond in a left handed kind of way?
This is the only way I can think to describe me and the way my brain works. I am a natural brunette (and quite happy to stay that way) but I do have a tendency to act a bit... blonde. Even those who love me are at a total loss at times at my ditzyness. Best way to describe me? The blondest brunette.

I have more questions for you...
Comment on a post, or email me on:
cas [dot] brightmeadow [at] gmail [dot] com
I genuinely appreciate feedback and will reply to you. If you don't hear anything for a week, prod me with a pointy stick. The chances are I've got sidetracked by penguins (they're evil you know).

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