Anything is possible

The question I have been asking myself for a while now is should I acknowledge the monumental lack of blogging activity, or just start up again, as if by ignoring the gap it won’t have happened.

But I can’t treat it like the elephant in the room; it is just not in me to do that. Just how did I go from such sparklingly-awesome blogging, to the desolation and tumbleweeds which have been prevalent the last year? Seriously, if Bright Meadow had been a puppy, you’d have called the RSPCA on me long since. What happened to the blogger at the peak of her game?

Would that I knew.

Was it Twitter taking all my thoughts? A job I adore in my dream sector? Living in a new and stunningly beautiful city? Perhaps it was just that I grew older.

Or a combination of all of the above with other things I don’t want to acknowledge in the mix.

What next? I genuinely don’t know. It hurts to think that Bright Meadow has reached the end of the line, but at the same time I just don’t know what I would write about if I was to start blogging daily/weekly again. I had a moment a few months back when 9rules went through more change and, what with one thing and another I gave up the leaf. It was a hard decision to take. 9rules was this HUGE thing that happened to me back in the summer of 2006. You cannot underestimate the sense of pride I had when I first put up the leaf. So to let it go?

Even now it makes me blink a bit in shock. But I just wasn’t the same blogger any more and the leaf wasn’t where I was at.

Yes, a part of me, a large part, wants to kick Bright Meadow back into gear to see if I can earn that leaf back. Just to see if I can. Because I still have it in me somewhere.

But should I? What would I get out of blogging consistently once more? Surely my efforts are better spent at writing that blasted book and living my life.

Bright Meadow though… It’s something special to me. I want it to have a future. I just don’t know what the future is.

Yet.

Code…

Because someone asked – the code you need to make a picture a link:

<a href=”http://9rules.com” title=”I like reading 9rules”> <img src=”URL OF YOUR PICTURE.jpg” alt=”” /> </a>

Ooops?

There was a post here that tried to point out, whilst stressing there was no blame attached, things happen to the best of us with regard a slight 9rules domain mishap.

Then… Oh, I don’t know. People picked up on it, the humour in the situation WASN’T appreciated, comments started getting a bit snotty, then Spam Karma went into overdrive and threatened to nuke my entire comments database (uh, I think I won’t let that happen)…

All in all, the post deserved to die. (And as an aside, I’m back to just Akismet. I know how to work that!)

I would like to stress, ONCE AGAIN because I don’t think it got noticed before, I fully support the 9rules chaps and chappette. They have brought much greatness and supreme quantities of joy to the Web. It doesn’t have to be anybody’s fault – things happen. I actually find it quite reassuring to have this little reminder that no one is perfect and safe from the flying fickle finger of fate.

So yes, send your love, respect and good luck to the 9rules team, and lay off the snarky comments. They deserve the former and really don’t deserve the latter.

Blog Club – Apple

So it’s time for the second Blog Club. This week’s community is Apple (that’s the computer company, not the fruit). If you can’t remember what Blog Club is all about, go here

Anyone who’s spent any time around me or the blog will know I’m a bit of an Mac fan. Their stuff is just so shiny (in both the literal and the Firefly meanings of the word). I got an iPod back when they were still so cool they were sub-zero – my brother got one of the very first ones that had square corners, click buttons, and a perspex top (very funky looking) and I got one of the second gen ones that looks more ‘iPoddy’ with the smooth corners etc, but has the buttons in a separate row above the scroll wheel. I love my iPod and wouldn’t be without it and, even three(four/five – I’ve lost count) years on and two car crashes later it’s doing beautifully. The battery still holds enough juice for a transatlantic flight (plus airports at both ends)… And ok, I’ll stop now. I do love my iPod (though I am starting to consider getting a newer, sexier, video version.)

I also own a titanium 12″ PowerBook G4, lovingly named the PocketCalculator for it’s teeny size. I’ve had that three, nearly four, years now as well and again I wouldn’t be without it (though it is partly responsible for my RSI – tip to anyone pondering one of the smaller MacBooks – get full sized keyboard if you plan to do lots of typing). You’d have to pay me serious amounts of money to run a PC as my home computer again.

I expect I’d own lots more Apple stuff if it wasn’t so frelling expensive.

Why do I love Apple’s so much? Apart from the fact they are just so pretty it would have to be because they just work. Yes, things go a little odd from time to time, but a lot less than PCs do. Most days at work I have to restart my computer three or four times due to inexplicable system crashes. The Mac? Once every couple of weeks, if that.

I also find them so much simpler to use than Windows computers. Switching from Windows to Mac was a bit of a learning curve, I will admit. Three years on I am still learning the best way of doing things but that is because I am having to unlearn a decade of Windows. Three years to learn how to use something… That doesn’t sound too easy, does it? And it’s not just me – on the odd occasions Moose uses the PocketCalculator it takes her a few tries to do things sometimes. Ditto my father.

So why do I say it’s ‘easy’? Because really it is. If you don’t have to unlearn Windows then you are laughing. We got my mother a MacMini for her birthday last year and, let me stress this, it is the first computer she has ever owned or used. Strange that she should have two such tech-minded offspring and such a gadget-freak of a husband and remain innocent, but it happened. Within a very short space of time, Mum was able to email, find things she wanted on the Internet, and download her pictures from her new digital camera. So those aren’t the sexiest or most complicated things to do on a computer, but it’s all she wants to do, and she can do them. I don’t have to explain why she has to click on the ‘Start’ icon to turn her computer off. I don’t have to explain double clicking. I don’t have to worry about her getting some malicious virus and unwittingly passing it on to everyone in her address book. I don’t have to explain file structures to her – all her pictures are stored behind the scenes by iPhoto; all her emails in Mail. All the programs she wants to use she loads quickly and easily from the dock. So when she calls me up for help as she does sometimes she will say “I clicked on the stamp picture on the bar at the bottom – that’s how I get my email right?” but that’s OK. She doesn’t need to know the program is called ‘Mail’. It’s friendly, it’s pretty, it’s straight forward, and she’s even once or twice braved the help option and found the answer to her question.

Tell me this – would YOUR computer illiterate Mum be able to use the Windows help option and find the answer? Hell, *I* can’t use the Windows help option and find the answer half the time!

So there you have it. I’m meant to be talking about the Apple Community and I go off on one about my Apple experiences. Yes, there are some downsides to Macs (price, the rapidity that an OS becomes obsolete, less things compatible with it – e.g., webcams! etc) but… I don’t care. I’m a Mac Fan-Girl and I expect I always will be.

Before I let you go, here’s what I was meant to be talking about – the Apple community blogs and a few posts I found interesting:

Paul Stamatiou – now, I should point you to one particular post on Paul’s site, but picking just one is impossible. Regular Sunday Roast readers will probably be familiar with Paul’s site already because I do tend to link to his stuff with monotonous regularity. Um, what else to say? He’s freakishly talented, I’m more than a little jealous, and… Yup, that about covers it 😀

SchwarzTech reviews lots of stuff. Again, I couldn’t pick just one post to link to. I daren’t read this site on a regular basis because I just find myself drooling over the pretties that I can’t afford. Every now and then though, when I can’t resist a little fantasy shop, I pop on over because I trust their reviews of things.

All you Firefox for Mac users out there will have noticed that the default theme is, well, ugly, and just doesn’t fit with the essential prettiness of Macs. I thought I had it fixed with the ‘brushed’ theme, then I read this article and found the ‘GrApple’ theme. So much better!

So not technically a post about Apple, this post from the uber geeks (in the Apple community) is a pet peeve of mine, so in to the list it goes 😀

Last but by no means least, we have ‘The Apple Blog’ and their round-up of free web design tools. Invaluable.

Enjoy, I know I do 🙂

blog club, blog_club, 9rules, apple, mac

I’m the passionate one

Let the games begin…

So the day is finally here. Bright Meadow is nestling happily in it’s appropriate communities and I’ve been formally introduced on the 9rules blog. Seems like it’s as good a time as any to introduce myself to any new readers who might stray this way.

Firstly, hello new people
*waves*
Welcome to Bright Meadow.

What can you expect to find here?

A lovely community of people.
Wonderful blog minions.
Um, other fun stuff.

I could go into depth but that would just spoil the fun of you getting to know me, and me getting to know you. Take yourself over to the about page for a bit more of the boring bio stuff.

It’s all fairly relaxed around here. I try and post at least once every two days – sometimes it’s more than that, sometimes it is a little less (life has a nasty habit of getting in the way) – but you are always guaranteed a Sunday Roast on, not surprisingly, Sunday around midday (UK time). In the past year I think I’ve missed like one, maybe two, and that was Christmas-time and right after I split up with the then-BF. Both good excuses I think 😉 I talk about whatever comes off the top of my head. That includes, but is not limited to, my life, my friends, and my job. I’ve yet to talk about my pets… no, wait, I have talked about my pets (houseplants anyway. I have no pets at the moment due to evil landlord issues). I also talk about all kinds of stuff that are only tenuously related in my febrile imagination. You know those long rambling conversations you have with mates on lazy summer afternoons where you start talking about how you like your burgers cooked, then end up by solving the drought in Ethiopia, with a detour in the middle to work out what is the coolest superpower? Yeah, Bright Meadow’s kinda like that. Fun, but I haven’t got a frelling clue what’s going to happen next.

And I have a tendency to ramble. Never been concise in my life.

Before I scare you off for good, I will just say Scrivs was right when he said I write for the passion. I love it. I’ve made stories up and played with words literally since I can remember. The first one I ever wrote down was when I was six and it was about a big blue sea serpent who was very nice and rescued the princess of the pirates from a horrible fate. And found lots of treasure. I said I enjoyed doing it, not that I was any good at doing it. You’re just the poor unfortunates who are on the receiving end – things were so much easier before the internet, weren’t they? 😉

I will leave you with what have been some of the most popular posts here on the site (list a mix of personal favourites, those with lots of comments, and what my stats package thinks lots of people have read).

Watch out for the penguins now!

Blog Club – Anime

The first rule of Blog Club is… Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I started to write this post with an introduction to the whole ‘Blog Club’ idea, then when I was about three paragraphs in, Tammie beat me to the punch. Seeing as how this idea was her baby in the first place, and I don’t think I can explain it any better, I point you in the direction of the linked post for more information.

Basically it boils down to this: we have two weeks to discover a 9rules community and write something inspired/based on/about that given community. Simple. The aim of blog club is to discover the communities in 9rules and to highlight these communities. As a new comer to 9rules the sheer wealth of fellow blogs is a little overwhelming, so a little structured reading seems like a good idea.

So, without more ado or further gilding the lily, here’s my Blog Club submission:

The community for this round is Anime. After history, anime is the smallest community on 9rules with just three blogs. In one respect that makes it a good (and easy) place to start. At the same time my heart fell because the amount I know about anime could be poured into an egg cup and still leave room for a decent sized egg. So I apologize at the start of this post for any factual errors and confusions that are bound to rampage their way through my words.

Japanese movie and television animation, often having a science fiction theme and sometimes including violent or explicitly sexual material.

That’s the definition my dictionary widget provides me. A dig further using Wikipedia doesn’t exactly clarify matters in my brain.

In fact I could spend this entire post talking about what is and what isn’t anime, leaving both you and myself even more confused, and not talking about the pretty blogs I discovered, so I won’t. In my mind ‘anime’ is 1) animation, 2) Japanese. Let’s just leave it at that.

For someone who has held a life long love of science fiction and fantasy, has played one or two role playing games, and watched a fair few cartoons growing up, anime never really figured on my radar. You’d think I had geek credentials enough but clearly not. So when someone says “anime” to me I think straight away to the two Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen (and loved), Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Then I remember that I got Appleseed out of the library on DVD on impulse and really rather enjoyed it. But that’s it. Three animes (is that an appropriate plural?) in near twenty four years. Ouch. My geek hat is clearly slipping.

As I pretty soon exhausted my own experiences of anime, my thoughts started to wander into territory that isn’t strictly anime: cartoons and graphic novels. In my brain anime, cartoons, and graphic novels all share something, and that is their artwork. It is the artwork that links them all together. I read V for Vendetta in the same spirit I watch anime – sometimes with the words, sometimes without. Each time I come away with a slightly different story because I’ve ‘read’ the pictures differently. For someone who is much more comfortable with words, this is slightly odd, but I can stare at this form of artwork (graphic/manga/anime) for stretches at a time and understand volumes.

With anime pictures really are worth a thousand words.

I love how meaning can be conveyed without speaking. I also love how drawn characters can be more believable and truthful than standard actors.

More than all that though, I’m left with the impression of how frelling pretty anime is. Even when portraying horrific war and destruction it’s… breathtaking.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to rush out and empty Forbidden Planet of their entire anime stock this weekend, but if anyone has some anime they’d like to lend me (burn to DVD and post me, whatever), I’ll be more than happy to watch it. Look on it as a way to fill in what I’ve just realised is a big gap in my education.

blog club, blog_club, 9rules, anime

Gotta love 9rules

You might have been asking yourself why I wanted to join 9rules.

It’s the people of course.

How can you not want to be a part of that?

And don’t forget to check out their scrumptoulicicious new look. It’s more than just a pretty new face as well – lots of shiny new bits to play with and explore. I’d tell you which communities Bright Meadow is in, but that would spoil all the fun of looking 😉