About

Adam Naming the Beasts by William Blake,
pen and tempera on fine linen, dated 1810.
The original is located at Pollok House in
Glasgow, a property owned by the National
Trust for Scotland.
'The antipodes' is another way to refer to Australia and New Zealand; "anti" meaning opposite and "pode" meaning foot. So it is a label that hinges on geography, and highlights the physical remoteness of the region relative to Europe, whence it was colonised in the late 18th century. But I think that while these two southern countries are both old democracies and belong to the developed world, their people are different from Westerners elsewhere. Indeed, their people are different from each other. But I use the label "antipodean" because I live in Australia and was born here, although I have lived elsewhere for an extended period as well.

The blog was launched in January 2006 at about the same time I enrolled to do a postgraduate journalism degree at the University of Sydney, where I was an alumnus having completed my undergraduate Arts degree there some 20 years earlier. I had just moved into my own apartment after having shared a house for some years. I had a Woolfian room of my own in which to contemplate things. The blog has remained multifaceted and anarchic since its inception. Book reviews were an early staple and because books remain a point of fascination for me the reviews have continued on and off.

For reviews the date shown is the date of first release or publication or, for translations, of first publication in English. I read very many more books than I ever finish and (mostly) only books I finish reading are reviewed here, which means that I probably liked them if they get a run on this blog. Ditto for movies.

Posts on this blog are composed in the Johnsonian way, all in a rush, and each one takes me about an hour to complete; there's very little time given to reviewing posts once they are published. The good doctor is said to have written his pieces in twenty-minute flurries; I am just a little slower though a lot less compelling than he was. But if you enjoy a post, please why don't you make a comment.

The only extant portrait of Jane Austen, this
sketch was painted by her sister Cassandra
around 1810. Austen was a big fan of the
famous Samuel Johnson.
How the blog looks

There is information about traffic on the main page of this blog but there is no information there about the blog's changing appearance over the years. In real life I am a person who cares about my appearance if it enables me to be inconspicuous on the street but I have put some thought into how this blog looks to readers in the wider online world.

Most blogs were fairly plain and use of images was rare when this blog was established on 22 January 2006 with a very simple design.

Just after graduating a 2nd time from Sydney University, on 22 May 2008 I changed the blog's appearance. I made the stationery green, changed the font from Verdana to Calibri, and I also changed the subtitle and description. I changed the subtitle again on 20 December 2008 and on 29 June 2009.

After relocating my household from Sydney to southeast Queensland in June 2009, I reached the milestone of 1000 posts on 21 August 2009 and on 23 September I took the plunge and changed the name used on the blog to my real name; this was the day my first feature story appeared in a magazine.

The next 18 months saw a few minor changes. On 5 October 2009 I again changed the subtitle, and again on 2 November and also the next year on 26 April 2010. (This latter was a quote from Leon Battista Alberti, 1404 - 1472, the famous Genoese Uomo universale: "A man can do all things if he will.") Then on 16 July 2010 I deployed a new visual design that included switching the font from Calibri to Ariel. This is the design you see today.

On 5 February 2011 I stumbled and suspended posts because I had been posting daily over the previous year and had found that time taken up blogging was too much; I thought I needed to focus my energies on publishing stories. But on 15 May I resumed posting, though less frequently than I had previously.

The blog saw the first use of headlines on posts, a practice that I have continued, on 8 August 2011. I noticed a significant uptick in page views immediately after this change.

A 1985 drawing of mine from a photo of
Henry Miller (1891 - 1980) included in my
edition of his novel Black Spring (1936).
There had been a number of maps on the blog's main page, added over the years one by one, but I removed these out of concern for the blog's neatness on 1 January 2012. Blogger 'Pages' were added to the blog on 3 July 2012, including this page, because I wanted to say more about the blog but I didn't want to crowd the main page with too much detail.

On 28 September 2012 I changed the subtitle again, and again on 18 October 2012. On 12 February 2013 I gave the National Library of Australia permission to archive the blog in perpetuity, at their request, which involves them scraping it once a year, cataloguing it, and making its contents available to the public on the NLA website.

I put the 'Followers' widget on the blog's main page on 19 March 2013 and I added the quote from Gandhi to the blog's main page on 23 March 2013; I don't know where this quote comes from and there seem to be many different versions of it online, but I keep noticing it and because I think there is something in it I decided to add it to the blog.

On 4 May 2013 I added the 'Themes' page to the blog in an effort to better define and highlight the material it contains; this step was part of my attempt to understand and communicate what the blog stands for, and what it might mean to people in the community. I did this because I am always interested in finding ways to improve the blog's performance and attracting readers to it. On 5 May I changed the subtitle once again, and then again on 6 May (this time to my name; a branding tactic).

I had my website developer, B-Side Design, add the PayPal 'Donate' button to the blog on 21 May 2013. On the same day, I removed the blogroll (the list of links to favourite sites), finding it difficult to keep it up-to-date there being no way to verify links other than to individually test them for currency.

On 3 June 2013 the blog exceeded 1000 pageviews in a single day for the first time. September 2013 saw the blog exceeding 20,000 pageviews in a single calendar month for the first time.

Because the 'Donate' button was remarkably unsuccessful I decided to take a big step and on 10 October 2013 posted on the blog my intention to make blogposts paid-for in future. In addition, the blog will no longer be hosted on Blogger but will move, instead, to my private website at matthewdasilva.com.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello there M.D. Here is a voice from your past!
As Mr Clarke said in one of you're English reports, and I para-phrase, " Mathew, You'll do okay and be one of the silvertails..."
You have certainly provided some vicarious pleasures to this old cranbrookian (yecchhh) with your online friendship by cyber proxy. Hope your mum bears up ok. I always thought she was the nice one out of your parents. Send us a hello when you get time, Roger.
sophie8roger52@gmail.com

roger of bangalow said...

Another attempt to say hello.....

roger of bangalow said...

I feel like a sailor lost at sea on a foggy night - one of these messages will get through, no doubt ( I'm sure messenger pidgeon was more effective ). Anyways, say hello M.D, when you get a free moment . Regards, Roger