Showing posts with label Antipodes blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antipodes blog. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why blog ?

I spend a few minutes every day making sure that my Antipodes blog stays alive. It no longer serves any useful role in my daily existence, but I want the blog to survive as long as possible... à toutes fins utiles [for any reason whatsoever].

I can insert a new article in either English or French. [Je peux insérer un nouvel article soit en anglais soit en français.]

A lot depends on what I'm writing, and the readers I have in mind. [Beaucoup dépend du thème de mon article, et des lecteurs que j'imagine.]

Readers can reply either in English or in French... or both. [On peut insérer un commentaire soit en anglais OU français, soit en anglais ET français.]

Whichever language I choose, some of my readers will be satisfied, and the rest annoyed. [Quel que soit mon choix de langue, certains lecteurs seront contents, et les autres ennuyés.]

Maybe my blog will end up as a workshop tool for people interested in English/French. [Il se peut que mon blog finisse par être un outil pour des gens intéressés en le couple anglais/français.]

There are many more exciting things in my existence than the English/French duo. [Il y a beaucoup de choses plus excitantes dans mon existence que le couple anglais/français.]

Please correct any errors in this blog post. [Prière de m'envoyer d'éventuelles corrections d'erreurs dans cet article.]

Friday, December 23, 2016

To blog or not to blog ?

Aujourd’hui, la question se pose. Mon blog souffre. Son pronostic vital est engagé.

Il fut un temps où Antipodes renseignait un certain nombre d’amis, dont quelques membres de ma famille en Australie, sur mes activités et mon état général, y compris mon état de santé. Aujourd’hui, tout ça, c’est du passé… surtout depuis que j’a pris la solution de m’exprimer principalement en français.

Ce blog avait une autre utilité, plus personnelle. Je m’en servais comme un miroir me permettant de regarder ma propre écriture, ma façon d’aborder en mots tel ou tel thème. Aujourd’hui, j’ai assez d’expérience de la fabrication de phrases pour me passer de critiques publiques, parfois de voix anonymes, des personnes que je ne connais même pas personnellement. Si je veux savoir si l'un de mes textes (en français ou même en anglais) est bien fait, j’ai des amis à qui poser la question. A quoi bon placarder l’Internet de mes écrits personnels ?

Autrement dit, pour conclure, je crains que mon blog n’a plus aucune raison sérieuse d’exister.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

I've changed the sense of Antipodes

Looking out upon an upside-down universe

Many voyagers have imagined for ages that the word "Antipodes" refers to a land on the other side of the globe. So, ever since the day I started this blog, I saw this term as a suitable title, since the blogger was born in Australia, which is roughly (very roughly indeed) an Antipodal location with respect to my new home place, France. Besides, that blog title gave me a pretext for popping in fragments of Australian news.

But, in recent years, the challenge of incorporating into my blog the theme of my land of birth has become hard and tedious. First, there's not really a lot of interesting stuff that happens in, or can be said about, Australia. Second, above all, I have fewer and fewer communications with Australia, even through the Internet. So, I was finding it more and more difficult to write anything at all on that subject.

So, I've finally decided that it would be preferable to eliminate altogether the subject of Australia from my Antipodes blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To be "tired of" can indicate brainlessness

When I decided to leave Paris and move to the Dauphiné province, I had the ridiculous impression that I was becoming bored with the French capital. To be honest, it was William Skyvington who was becoming boring, not Paris. Samuel Johnson [1709-1784] illustrated this kind of situation in the case of the British capital.

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual,
who is willing to leave London.
No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford."
I recently published a few stupid blogs about blogging. I soon realized that it was akin to saying that I was tired of London. So, I deleted those silly posts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why was I absent for so long?

It's a crazy story... like many things in today's world. I was fed up with my costly iPhone contract, so I simply discarded it. Unfortunately, that phone link was being used periodically by Google to verify that I was indeed the owner of the Antipodes blog. As soon as the iPhone number disappeared, it was as if Google considered that I no longer existed. I had to go through several dull processes to convince Google that I existed and that I was indeed the fellow named William Skyvington who was in charge of the Antipodes blog. Finally, everything seems to have fallen back into shape.

Friday, March 28, 2014

As dumb as they come

Lots of dumb folk, thinking themselves smart, send fake comments to my Antipodes blog, with links to their own dull blogs. In doing this, they hope that their comment will get published and bring traffic to their own blog. Here’s a nice example, which deserves a prize for stupidity:
Anonymous has left a new comment

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I'll definitely be back.

Feel free to surf to my homepage: buying nail clippers () 
It so happens that I did in fact write a book on the subject of my blog post, which is full of pictures. Fake comments of this kind get filtered and they end up rapidly, of course, in my trash can. So, my family-history research is not going to help this fuckwit to sell his nail clippers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I've dropped my flag counter

It was amusing to see the number of nations whose citizens apparently visited my blog. At the end, the count had reached 171 countries. But I've never been particularly confident in the authenticity of all these visits, and I have the suspicion that certain visitors were dropping in merely to search for new flags to add to their personal collections. I've never bothered to look into how they actually go about this quest from a practical viewpoint, but I'm convinced that this business exists. So, I decided to drop my flag counter. In its place, I've reinstalled a simple site meter… just to be able to check, from time to time, that Antipodes still has readers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My first Mac application

For every new computer platform, programming environment and language that a prospective software developer encounters, this is the time-honored first step:

It doesn't look like much of a world-shaking achievement. However programmers know that, once you've mastered the famous Hello World exercise, the rest is relatively easy. Only dimensions and details change...

My plans have evolved considerably over the last few days. I first became interested in the Apple development environment last year, when I purchased an iPad. Floating around in my mind was the idea of developing a blog reader for Antipodes. Google (owner of the Blogger system) makes available a so-called API (application programming interface) enabling software developers to access directly the actual blog files.

My future software device (whose name I prefer to keep secret for the moment) will make it easy to consult the archives of my blog, containing over 1700 posts. Well, over the last few days, I've decided that it would be a better idea to produce, not an iPad application, but an ordinary Macintosh tool, which could maybe enable users to print out parts of my blog in some kind of book format. Later on, once the basic Macintosh software is fully operational, I could look into the idea of creating an iPad version.

Initially, I intend to develop this tool specifically for my Antipodes blog. But I would soon propose a tailor-made version, for a low price, to any blog owner working with Blogger. This would enable bloggers to send copies of the tool to all their friends with Macs. Meanwhile, if bloggers wish to show their writings to friends and relatives without computers (I believe that such people still exist), they can use the printed-paper solution.

ADDENDUM: Having described my intentions concerning the development of a Mac-based blog reader, I hasten to add that I'm perfectly aware that many bloggers and their readers might find my project ludicrous, in that they see the blog phenomenon as totally ephemeral, on a par with Twitter, and hardly worthy of an archival dimension. I certainly don't see things in this superficial light. On the contrary, I believe that a blog is a serious and interesting autobiographical document, capable of charting the blogger's personal evolution over a period of months and years, at a psychological as well as a practical everyday level. It can function as a timeline of events.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Living all alone here at Gamone, I'm obviously concerned by the risk of stepping out of my shower and slipping like an idiot. So, I use a pile of bath mats. Besides, I refrain systematically from removing light bulbs by perching myself upon a swivel chair (like my dear departed grandfather Ernest, at the age of 93). I hardly need to add that, when I have great ideas (an almost daily occurrence), I never dart out of my non-existent bathtub shouting Eurêka like an idiot.

Really, you would have to be as dumb as an Ancient Greek to behave like that. Instead, dry as a bone, I pen calmly a blog post…

In a recent post [display], I complained about the fact that it's annoying to hear people claiming that their minds boggle when it's merely a matter of evoking phenomena that can be explained explicitly by science. But I added that I'm still awed by aspects of our real world, which I evoke from time to time in my Antipodes blog. To replace the worn-out boggle, I needed a verb capable of designating my regular blog-oriented attempts at evoking the awe of existence. The needed verb is bloggle. From now on, whenever you find me calling upon the writings of Richard Dawkins and his ilk (not elk) to clarify and celebrate our earthly existence, you'll understand that William's mind is simply bloggling.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Antipodes is now being fed to Twitter

Today, I decided to start using an excellent service named twitterfeed that systematically feeds all new Antipodes articles to my Twitter account, named Skyvington. So, if you wish to be alerted to new posts, click on the Twitter icon, to follow my tweets.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Second circus thoughts

I'm profoundly encouraged by readers who advise me not to simply abandon Antipodes, like an uncouth man who decides abruptly to walk out on his family. You know the charming anecdotes: Darling, I must go out and buy a box of matches... and the bastard disappears for a quarter of a century! There have been phone calls, too, including one from my ex-wife, who almost threatened to leave me if I abandoned my blog. (I'm joking. Divorced on 22 November 1977, we live conveniently in opposite corners of France.) What my dearest Christine actually said was that Antipodes has always served a useful purpose in informing friends and family members of what's happening at Gamone. And it would be silly to ignore that down-to-earth role of my blog. Besides, I prefer to write blog articles rather than send out emails or make phone calls. Curiously, in spite of being the proud owner of an iPhone, I've become relatively "anti-telephone" over the years. And, while I vaunt superficially the merits of Twitter, Google Wave, Google Buzz, etc, I'm aware of the limited scope and depth of these new-fangled vectors of communication.

As for Facebook, I must admit that I would be most happy if this so-called social networking system were to leave me alone. (To be truthful, it doesn't bother me too much.) Its ridiculous symmetry of the "Me Tarzan, you Jane, us all friends in the jungle" kind dismays me immensely. At least, in a blog, you can speak out your mind without fearing that such-and-such a sexy Jane in the jungle is going to scream out that she no longer wishes to be your friend, and walk out on you.

But I do seriously believe that Antipodes might not necessarily be the ideal platform upon which to attempt to deal with many of the most profound themes that inspire me... which are better left to my ongoing autobiographical typescript entitled Digital Me. For example, a recent straw that almost broke the Eskimo's back was a naive comment suggesting that I might be "pulling the legs" of my readers when I evoke certain marvels of modern science and technology. It's very hard to react intelligently to this kind of feedback, because it undermines the very essence of a blog, which is the possibility of expressing one's convictions and passions, while hoping that readers are sufficiently well-informed to know, at least roughly, what you're talking about (which apparently wasn't the case in the Eskimo domain). But I had committed exactly the same kind of indelicacy, as a comment-sender, in suggesting that a respected blogger friend might not have the right to talk of such-and-such a celebrity as a scarecrow. Antipodes is quits.

Maybe I should concentrate more upon my basic blog articles, rather than letting myself get carried away by comments. But, isn't that a way of saying that I'm an asymmetrical and antisocial blogger? That might be the price I must pay (willingly) in order to create the necessary operational context for the useful pursuit of Antipodes.

We bloggers are minor circus clowns, but the blog must go on...

Monday, February 15, 2010


Blogging has become an enjoyable everyday activity for me. However, it consumes a certain quantity of my creative energy that might be devoted to other challenges. For some time now, I've been thinking of terminating Antipodes, in order to concentrate all my limited resources upon another task that fascinates me more profoundly: the pursuit of my autobiographical tale entitled Digital Me. There's also my genealogical research, which I would like to tackle more regularly and deeply (particularly my latest passion for Y-chromosome research concerning my Skyvington ancestors). And I'm also determined to bring a couple of movie scripts to successful fruition.

I haven't yet made a firm decision, but it's becoming more and more likely that I'll do this. If so, I intend to use the Accessor software I developed (see the banner in the margin) to index correctly the totality of my articles. In any case, if I were to make this decision , I would abandon my blog abruptly but quietly... not with a bang, but a whimper.

POST SCRIPTUM: It goes without saying that, having terminated the blog approach, I would rely upon Twitter, Buzz and old-fashioned email to communicate briefly but effectively with the outside world.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Flag century

[Click the graphic to get a more readable view]

Concerning the flags identifying the origins of readers, the arrival of a visitor from Ghana has just enabled the Antipodes blog to hit the century mark.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


My blog editor indicates that this is my thousandth Antipodes post. So, I take this opportunity of thanking everybody who has been reading my Antipodean stuff.

The more I write, the more I'm convinced that I do indeed live in a world turned upside-down. I don't know why, but this idea pleases me immensely. If it weren't bad biology, I would conclude that it must be my Aussie genes...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New gadget in side column

In the right-hand side column of this blog, just below my profile block, I've inserted a new gadget labeled LATEST COMMENTS. This helps to solve a common problem. From time to time, readers browsing through my archives decide to comment upon a relatively old blog post. In such cases, the comment is likely to go unnoticed. This new gadget indicates the three most recently-received comments, even though they might refer to old posts. For example, Ken de Russy has just attached a comment to my New Icarus article of 28 September 2008 [display].

Incidentally, I must apologize for my laziness in indexing my posts within the context of my Accessor tool. It takes a lot of time and energy to perform this task, and I simply haven't got around to it. In this domain, I wouldn't be surprised to find that Google, one of these days, will propose a magic tool capable of transforming an entire blog into a PDF file that can be browsed through like a book. The existence of such a feature would render my Accessor more or less obsolete. In general, I'm awed by Google, as I've often said. But, for somebody like me, it can be frustrating at times to develop a tool such as Accessor while knowing full well that, one day, Google will do it better. Hey, that would be a great slogan for this ubiquitous corporation:

One day, Google will do it better!

They can pay me for this brilliant idea by sending a check to my Gamone address.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Accessing old Antipodes posts

Ever since I started the Antipodes blog, on 9 December 2006, I've been aware that it's not necessarily easy to find an old post on such-and-such a topic. One might say that this is a non-problem, in that a blog is essentially a vibrant entity geared to the present, like a daily newspaper. Readers shouldn't normally be too concerned about past posts. For me, though, as a blog author, the question of past posts is primordial, for the simple reason that I would like my current posts to conform, more or less, with what I said on similar themes in the past. So, I've been constantly interested in the question of being able to look up easily my past posts.

Today, I'm happy to release a software tool named Accessor that lets you find old Antipodes posts by means of author-provided keywords.

In other words, it's me, William Skyvington, author of the Antipodes blog, who provides readers with keywords (referred to as keys) enabling you to access rapidly the posts that concern you.

As of today, I think my new system works OK, but there might still be technical bugs or operational things that should be improved. To meet up with the Accessor tool, you can click on either the above graphic or the logo in the righthand sidebar of the Antipodes blog.

Please be patient. The Accessor device will only function ideally when I've found time to index (manually, as it were) all my past Antipodes posts... and this will take a week or so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


There'll be a nine-day interruption in the Antipodes blog from tomorrow Thursday, 21 February up until Saturday, 1 March 2008.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Google is good for you

I never set out intentionally to take control of the title of my blog: the term Antipodes. Consequently, I'm amused to discover that, when you use Google with the expression antipodes blog, six of the ten findings on the first page refer to my blog. The explanation, I think, is obvious: the Antipodes blog is in fact hosted by Google. So, by drawing attention to my blog, Google is kindly keeping things in the family, as it were. Thank you, Google! In politics, I believe that this phenomenon is called nepotism.

Incidentally, since I'm talking about the term Antipodes, I take this opportunity of pointing out explicitly that I do not limit the sense of this word to its conventional usage, as a synonym for Australia and New Zealand. To my mind, this term designates "the other side of the globe". The Greek etymology is "having the feet opposite". That's why I tend to use the adjective "antipodean" to designate generally any kind of upside-down situation. What this means is that, for every spot on the planet, there's a specific place on the other side of the world that could be referred to as its Antipodes. When I was a youth in Australia, I imagined (rightly or wrongly from a strict geographical viewpoint) that the Old World of Europe was my Antipodes. And now that I actually live in this particular Antipodes, the term has reverted in a sense to its familiar meaning: the Australian continent. For me, I like to consider that my birthplace (Australia) and my present homeplace (France) are linked by means of an antipodean relationship... which is often of an upside-down nature.