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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Orleans

Until last week, Anthony D. Gatt worked in the MaltaMedia News team, usually on weekends. He left our news team to move to the USA where he will continue to study at an American university. Starting this week, he will be attending Tulane University in New Orleans.

Yes, that New Orleans. The one that was pelted by Hurricane Katrina yesterday. If it wasn't for this violent storm hitting the colorful city on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama I don't think I'd be writing about Anthony's exploits on my blog. I barely know him. He has only worked with MaltaMedia for a brief period of time. However, we had struck up a casual correspondence when he decided to go study at Tulane.

I have a tangential connection with Tulane because two of my professors at New York University graduated from that university in the 1960s before moving to the Tisch School of the Arts. Besides this, New Orleans has a special place in my life because it was the first major American city I visited in 1994 when I first moved to the United States. I have very fond memories of New Orleans, mostly touristy stuff, but there's more of course, because I don't consider myself as a typical tourist. Some of that will make it to my autobiographical project in due time; I don't think it's appropriate for my blog just yet. I feel very awkward even thinking about the fact that when I first visited New Orleans my girlfriend's name was Katrin, especially because more than 50 people have lost their lives to a hurricane called Katrina.

What a horrible way to die. Not that there aren't worse ways to loose your life, but death by storm must be a terrible way to go.

I hope Anthony is OK. I have no way of getting in touch with him right now. I doubt he has access to his email because most of the New Orleans area is still without electrical power. I doubt his stay in this beautiful city will be as pleasant as it could have been without this weather disaster. Still, it could have been worse.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It Might As Well Rain Until September

It gives me great pleasure to announce the first podcasting series in Maltese from the MaltaMedia Online Network. Our first series deals with 9/11 from a Maltese perspective. The podcast series is based on the various webcasts that appeared on in the wake of the attacks on the USA and eventual so-called war on terror.

The new series consists of 23 podcasts released daily starting tomorrow. You can hear an introduction to the series right now. A new file will be made available every day over the next three weeks and two days. The series starts with seven reports from the first week after the attacks in September 2001. A two-part interview with Dr Jesmond Schembri, who was Maltese Consul General in New York at that time, opens the post-trauma discussions, followed by a telephone account of life in Ridgewood, a small town in New Jersey, across the river from New York City, by Fr Ivan Sciberras.

Two commentaries precede the invasion of Afghanistan, followed by two more as the "war on terror" takes on a military dimension. I am particularly proud of my participation in the Bed-In for Peace organized by Amy Burk and Andy Cox in New Zealand. That episode will be made available as a podcast on September 11, 2005.

The series continues for a whole week after this year's anniversary of 9/11. I will continue with a podcast on life as I saw it in October 2001, a little over a month after the USA was attacked by terrorists. The 3-month and 6-month anniversary are marked with their own podcasts, leading to a two-part commemoration of the first anniversary in 2002.

Following the 21 podcasts with the webcasts I produced from New York, the series ends with two podcasts featuring interviews by Martin Debattista, MaltaMedia's Editorial Director. The first interview is with Peter Cordina, head of Malta's Civil Protection Department. The other is with Reggie Schembri, who was with the Laudate Pueri Choir from Gozo, and happened to be stranded in New York for the first few days after the attacks because all flights in and out of the USA were grounded.

Although most of the material in this series has already been available as webcasts through the special features section since 2001, we feel that there's an added value to our listeners in presenting them as a series of podcasts. Besides, we are also starting the series with a newly recorded introduction, and I may even punctuate the series with a few new comments here and there...depending on the sort of feedback we get from our podcast listeners.

In any case, we hope you enjoy this first series of podcasts in Maltese. We are planning two more podcasting series for the coming months. More about that as they emerge from the pre-production stage they're in right now.

The RSS feed for the MaltaMedia Online Podcasts is here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Start Me Up

I don't own an iPod. I don't even own a portable MP3 player, unless you consider a laptop to be such a device. However, I know that portable MP3 players are becoming as pervasive as mobile phones. I actually believe that all mobile phones will soon be portable MP3 players too. In any case, I've set my eyes (and ears) on podcasting this summer.

I mentioned my summer projects in an earlier blog entry. Back then, I didn't think that I'd dedicate much time and energy on podcasting. I thought I'd manage to get to some of the other projects I've had on my "to do in summer" list for the past few years. Alas, most of my list remains pending but at least I have the world's first series of podcasts in Maltese to show for it.

Last Sunday I mentioned that things were coming to a head with my experiments on adding audio to my blog. Fellow blogger MaltaGirl, who has also played around with audio on her blog, didn't realize how serious I was about doing what I said last Sunday. I don't blame her. I'm a notorious procrastinator and I've made thousands of promises I never kept. She had no way of knowing that this was not one of them. Without sounding melodramatic, I think there's far too much at stake here.

So on Sunday evening I put together my first podcast in Maltese. Nothing spectacular, just a rehash of my experiment from last May. I put together an RSS feed for it and sent the URL to Pierre Mejlak who listened to me rave about how revolutionary podcasting can be after playing my first podcast on his newly downloaded iTunes for Windows. To be quite honest I didn't think much of my first test. Since I still pride myself as a professional broadcaster (even though I no longer broadcast on any radio or TV station) I felt that my first podcast was not suitable for broader public consumption just yet.

On Monday MaltaGirl put a fire under my butt by publishing her first podcast in Maltese. After hearing it, I decided to use it for my second podcast: another test file with music by yet another blogger, the one formerly known as Archibald. Pierre started seeing the true potential of podcasting after this second test, and everyone else involved started urging me to make my podcasts available to a wider audience.

I felt there was still too much to be discovered before I put my neck on the line for all to see. I wasn't sure what to do next, especially because I still needed to figure out the best way to handle the RSS feed since Blogger doesn't offer the same easy interface for podcasting that Typepad added to their features last week. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, Dominic Grech died and Pierre blogged about that. I was so moved by his tribute to Dumink that I decided to do a podcast about this. And so my third (test) podcast found its way to the MaltaMedia Online Network server.

My plan is to launch a long series of podcasts about 9/11 starting this weekend and building up towards the 4th anniversary since the attacks in 2001. To get there I felt I needed one more test podcast. Last night I created a few minutes of audio based on Spirit in the Sky, my blog entry from last Monday. Pierre was now as fired up about podcasting as he'll ever be, until he starts doing it himself.

Today I give you my first 4 podcasts. You need iTunes or another podcast aggregator to really appreciate what we're on about here. You can listen to the audio directly from the feed or by downloading the MP3s, but that's not what podcasting is all about. If you have an iPod or some other portable MP3 player I'd love to hear what you think of the first series of Maltese podcasts, even if it is just a test. I may produce one last test before I proceed with my 9/11 series tomorrow, or perhaps I'll just let my next podcast be an introduction to the first proper Maltese podcasting series. Whatever I decide, the plan is for the 9/11 series to start this weekend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Going Mobile

A few weeks ago, Stanley Borg invited me to write something about mobile phones for a cover feature he was producing for the Weekender pull-out, published with the Times on Saturday 13 August 2005. I wrote about 700 words in a hotel room just outside Atlantic City one morning after breakfast. The Times has now placed my text on its website, but since I know they'll remove it within a few months I thought I'd reproduce it on my blog too. Incidentally, this text is actually little more than some more notes for my autobiography project.


from Weekender - 13 August 2005

Toni Sant on Mobile Phones

You may think that someone who doesn't carry a mobile phone is nostalgic for a time before wireless telephony became as pervasive as it is today. In Toni Sant's case nostalgia has nothing to do with it. If anything, he's a futurist.

The first time I touched a mobile phone was sometime in 1990 when I worked as a radio producer at Xandir Malta. Telecell, the name of the new company offering mobile phone services back then, was a sponsor for one of our weekend evening radio broadcasts, which featured live reports from various venues. The idea was to have two or three broadcasters calling in reports from the Manoel Theatre, the Catholic Institute, the Mediterranean Conference Centre, or some entertainment venue in Paceville. I believe we even had reports from Gozo a couple of times.

It was very awkward taking the bulky grey phone that we had in those days with me to the Manoel Theatre. Yet, it felt electrifying to tell radio listeners that I was standing in a second-tier box at Malta's national theatre completely untethered, reporting live about a theatrical performance or other without the technical complexity that come with fully-fledged outside broadcasting facilities. The fact that we were broadcasting live using mobile phones was more interesting than the actual shows we were reporting about.

When I left Malta in the mid-1990s, I lived the life of a full-time university student. Mobile phones were not within our budget; even for those students who didn't mind having a huge debt after graduation. Besides, the life I chose for myself away from Malta included a stronger desire not to be reached wherever, whenever. By that time I had started using e-mail. I was among the first dozen Maltese people around the world who had e-mail. So, if pushed, I could be reached wherever, whenever... but in my own time.

Over the last five years or so, mobile phones have become very affordable and much easier to carry around. However, I have retained my desire to be reached wherever, whenever, only in my own time. To tell the truth I barely even use my landline. If it weren't also that I brought broadband internet access into my home I doubt I'd even have a telephone landline. My phone hardly ever rings anyway. The internet satisfies my most basic telecommunication needs and more.

Between wireless internet access and voice over IP, I carry with me the future of mobile telephony every day in my Apple PowerBook. Still, I have no desire to carry any of the conventional mobile phones anytime soon. Things may change once mobile phones converge with portable broadcasting devices that access the web, mp3 players and a cappuccino maker. Other than the coffee part, this sort of device will appear in our hands within the next 10 years. As I see it, I'm describing a smaller PowerBook rather than a super mobile phone. Then again, is the glass half full or half empty?

I understand that a mobile phone is often very useful. One good example is during an emergency, of course. As yet, this still does not convince me to carry around a mobile phone with me at all times. You have no idea how lucky I feel do you? I also see it as a valuable tool in newsgathering (including the sort of broadcast reporting I mentioned earlier) and in making business arrangements on the fly. Thankfully, I don't need that sort of immediacy in my chosen profession as a university lecturer and my academic research on creative uses of the internet.

In America, mobile phones are called cell phones. This is because networks are laid out in a cellular infrastructure of signal towers and relays. However, I think of the word "cell" in cell phone as if it were the word cell in prison cell or cancer cell. If you carry your cell phone with you at all times, you obviously think there's nothing sillier than the last couple of sentences you just read.

I want to retain my own sense of space and time rather than have someone else determine it for me, wherever I can, whenever I can. Life is too short. The first sentences of this last paragraph is under the maximum word count for a standard text-message, and I plan to use it the next time someone asks me why I don't own a mobile phone. Meanwhile, please feel free to contact me via my website at - I promise to get back to you as soon as possible, but not while eating dinner nor during a face-to-face encounter with someone else.

  • Dr Sant is a lecturer in Performance and Creative Technologies at the University of Hull's Scarborough Campus in North Yorkshire, England. He is also the founder and creative director of the MaltaMedia Online Network.

  • Monday, August 22, 2005

    Spirit in the Sky

    "Freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness so that we ourselves can become true and good." Photo of the final blast from aspentimes.comThese were Pope Benedict XVI's words of wisdom at the World Youth Day Festival in Cologne yesterday. Strangely, it brought to mind Hunter S. Thompson. Possibly because I visited the city of Cologne in 1994 and saw the majestic cathedral they have there just before I started reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but mostly because King Gonzo had a celebration of his own just a few hours before the pope uttered the words I opened with.

    In accordance with his last will and testament, Hunter Thompson's ashes were packed into fireworks and shot into the sky from a 153 foot tower over his home near Aspen, Colorado on Saturday 20 August - exactly six months after he took his own life with a gun here. The first time he publicly described how he wanted his ashes dispersed was in a 1978 BBC documentary. Here's how the New York Times reported the event on Sunday:

    The final send-off began with Japanese ceremonial drummers and Buddhist readings in Tibetan. Then, with a bang that Matt Wood, a Zambelli fireworks designer and producer, described as just below the level of a sonic boom, 34 lines of fireworks streamed from the ground. The whole display lasted less than a minute, after which a recording of Bob Dylan wailed with "Mr. Tambourine Man" ("I'm ready for to fade/Into my own parade"). The partying then commenced, with jam sessions into the wee hours.

    Thompson's truth and goodness were very different from the ones the pope had in mind when he spoke to the Catholic youths gathered in Germany. However, there's no doubt in my mind that this elaborate shindig at Owl Creek was all about becoming true and good.


    Yesterday afternoon, as if to punctuate the weird counterpoint between the pope and the great gonzo, Robert Moog passed away at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. No public memorial is planned. Fans and friends can direct their sympathies or remembrances to

    Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Sunshine Reggae

    This weekend Scarborough's South Bay Beach was the busiest I've ever seen it. People from close and far flocked in for Beached: The East Coast's Biggest Free Live Music Event. It's not quite like Glastonbury but it's still not bad for a beach town that's practically deserted most of the rest of the year. This year the festival opened with an evening concert by The West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra before two full days of music from all sorts of rock bands.

    I caught a couple of acts last night and another hour's worth this afternoon. The slew of struggling bands on this weekend's line-up reminded me of my days in similar bands back in the 1980s. The beach concert atmosphere brought back memories of the Swatch beach parties we used to organize down at Malta's Għadira Bay about fifteen years ago. I don't long for those days from ages past, but what I saw in Scarborough this weekend didn't have half the verve I remember from those days. Perhaps this is just cool Britannia's way.

    Serendipitously, so to speak, I came across Manwel Tabone's Reggae Club website today. I remember Manwel since way back when he started producing Reggae Club with Claudette Pace (yes, that Claudette) on Radio Malta 2 around the same time of the other music episodes I mentioned earlier. It's quite a blast from the past for me to hear some of his radio shows again. In some ways it's like finding an old t-shirt you no longer even remembered you still had in some dark closet. However, I must say he's doing an impressive job webcasting his longstanding radio show through his own website. Well, at least it's a much better job that PBS (Malta) has been doing in coming to terms with a media scene that includes the Internet. I recommend a peek at Manwel's Reggae Club website even if you're not into Reggae, just to see how in tune with the reggae world Manwel is.

    I'd also like to cast the same kind of enthusiastic nod towards the blues interlude from MaltaGirl and Antonio Olivari D'Emanuele (the blogger formerly known as Archibald). Antonio blogged about it quite nicely; these two bloggers have added yet another few megabytes worth of audio to the Maltese blogosphere.

    The sonic percolator keeps bubbling ever slightly louder. I can't wait to taste the fruit of the first full-blown Maltese brew. I've been saying that I want to get into all this for some time now. This evening I see that I must (and will) do something about that.

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Found Found Found

    This is one of the main reasons why I blog: whenever I don't blog for more than 4 or 5 days I get at least one email that says something like "are you alright?" or "are you really so busy that you don't have a few minutes to blog?" Most times, these emails come from people I know well, but not always. Sometimes they come from people I've never met in the flesh. All I can say is thank you and here I am; I've just been very busy traveling and taking care of some things that have kept me away from my blog. Besides, if you know me you also know that I rarely, if ever, just blog for the sake of blogging.

    Earlier this week I found myself very close to New Jersey's Atlantic City for a couple of days. In some ways, this made up for the messed up vacation in Miami from last month, even though I was not officially there on vacation, nor was I really anywhere that I wanted to be more than New York or Scarborough. As we walked around Atlantic City's commercial areas and the casinos on our way to the sea-front board-walk, my wife and I spoke about how incisive Jean Baudrillard's America really is. Here's an excerpt I like very much, translated from the French by Chris Turner:

    "In reality, you do not, as I had hoped, get any distance on Europe here. You do not acquire a fresh angle on it. When you turn around, it has quite simply disappeared. The point is that there is really no need to adopt a critical stance on Europe from here. That is something you can do in Europe. And what is there to criticize that has not been criticized a thousand times before? What you have to do is enter the fiction of America, enter America as fiction. It is, indeed, on this fictive basis that it dominates the world. Even if every detail of America were insignificant, America is something that is beyond us all..."

    And speaking of fiction, I'm very pleased to report that I have managed to find a book registered and released through The book is I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith who is best known for writing The Hundred and One Dalmations. This is not exactly my kind of book, not only because I normally read very little fiction, but also because it is intended for readers who are more romantic than I am. I found it in the waiting area for Gate B24 at JFK Airport in New York City on my way to London on Wednesday evening. I read quite a bit from it on the plane and now the book is back in the north of England. I plan to release it in Scarborough within the next couple of weeks or so. I'll make another note on the journal page for this book once I've released it. Integrated Mathematics: Course 1 by Isidore Dressler and Edward P. Keenan was also released by the same person at the same time, but I left that where I found it.

    I continue to be utterly fascinated by - not so much for the books themselves (just yet) as much as for the idea behind this amazing community of people sharing things in a very legal way. As I've already said on my blog, I am interested in looking at parallels between BookCrossing and P2P file-sharing. Serious analysis has to wait until I sort out my long "to do" list over the next month or so. Don't think that I'm procrastinating on this. I'm not. I'm just getting ready for the beginning of a new academic year and I'm also working on a couple of extra-curricular projects too right now.

    I am interested in the management of rights over digital media on different levels. I will be blogging more about that in the coming months because it continues to raise its head at the heart of one of research interests. This morning's 'What's Online' column, published in the New York Times, carries a review by Dan Mitchell for a new book by journalist J.D. Lasica called Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation. This new book is on my "to read/to buy" list. So I guess I won't get to the end of I Capture The Castle before I release it back into the wild.

    In the final paragraph of today's 'What's Online' column, Dan Mitchell mentions a must-see website for people who think they consume dangerous amounts of caffeine, as I do. Do you honestly still believe that caffeine is found only in coffee? Check out Death by Caffeine Calculator. The big question this website answers is: "Ever wondered how much of your favorite caffeinated drink it would take to actually kill you?" It's a lot less than you may think. Scary stuff, but I don't believe I'm ready to make green tea my only caffeinated beverage just yet.

    Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Fool's Gold

    We're in the middle of another heat wave in New York. I can't wait to get back to the cool North Yorkshire climate. Then again I realize that I still live in New York as much as I live in Scarborough. My life in New York is far from over, and my life in Scarborough is incomplete as long as I have a life in New York. So much for a simple diasporic life!

    I mention this today not because I plan to post a personal entry, as much as for three specific reasons. The first is that one of the things I'm doing right now is working on an autobiography project, which I've already mentioned in my blog. The work is moving slowly but steadily. The second is that this time last year I thought I was leaving New York, but as it turns out I still live in New York, because there's so much more to life than work. The third reason is that my beloved brother Immanuel is about to become a member of a club I've been in for quite a number of years. May he experience as much happiness as I've had in the most recent years of my membership.

    To mark this significant rite of passage, I want to share a brief excerpt from the first rough draft of thoughts going into my autobiography project, which he also took the liberty of mentioning in his most recent blog entry. The text presented here is in English but the project is in Maltese; the eventual text will be more than a linguistic translation of what you're about to read.

    About fifteen years ago, as the 1980s started to turn into the 1990s, my brother and I stood on the roof of the Savoy Hotel in Sliema with two women. I don't recall how and why we came to be there that Sunday morning. All I know is that we were there thanks to Robert Micallef, whose grandfather Krispin owned the hotel at that time. Krispin was one of the most interesting Maltese eccentrics I've ever met. During this visit to the Savoy Hotel he showed us his plan for an enormous religious monument he wanted to erect above the city of Valletta. An impossible project from the mind of an extraordinary visionary man. Krispin's monument could certainly have made the shortlist for the McMartha Award, Franklin Furnace's answer to the "genius grants" given out by the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation.

    As we stood perched on the edge of the hotel roof looking at the fabulous view of Marsamxett Harbour, Manuel and I struck up a conversation about the women who were with us that morning. They were having their own conversation on another part of the spacious roof. On that day Manuel and I came to see that this was the first time in our lives that our girlfriends were not girls but women. As it turned out, within a few years we both got singed in our relationships with these women. Thankfully, we both recovered from the heartache, and I want to believe that all four of us have become better people now.

    I hope it's not the heat wave talking, but I think my brother will appreciate this non-nostalgic glimpse at a moment in time when we saw ourselves turning from boys to men.

    There's more on my mind than this right now, of course. How can I not wish I could attend the protest at Ta' Cenc today? Or how can I not have anything to say about the farcical situation with the buses in Malta as the number of private cars on the islands continues to rise? No, this lovely Santa Maria weekend I want to give in to the cat's suggestion and take some time to smell the watermelon...or any other cliché you can think of.

    Monday, August 08, 2005


    Several weeks ago I started experimenting with audio blogging. Since then, other Maltese bloggers have dipped their own toes into making their voices heard on the web. I'm really excited about the prospect of more in the future, even if I won't necessarily care too much for all of them. Start check out some of the podcasts available on the web and you'll see what I mean.

    Besides audio blogging, I have also been thinking about the possibilities of video blogging. I first mentioned this on my blog after I met with Yury Gitman and Joshua Kinberg in March and May. Finally, I'm ready to present my first ever video blog.

    First, a few words about it. Last Thursday evening I went to Central Park to see Patti Smith perform a live show with her band. I took several photos with my digital camera. Most of them are just blurs of light because I was sitting at quite a distance from the stage and the camera is not that great. However, it does have a video option: you can shoot several 30-second video many as your memory chip can take. I remembered this towards the end of the show and managed to capture about 2 minutes from the encore in 4 short clips.

    I've played about with the clips a little in iMovie before compressing them for streaming. It's not exactly great video material, and it's far from any TV broadcast standard I've encountered in the last 20 years or so since I first started broadcasting on TV. Get QuickTime Anyway, have a look and let me know what you think. I'm thinking about putting up more video on my blog if this first clip works out well.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Not Fade Away

    Last night I went to Central Park to see Patti Smith live in concert at SummerStage, her third appearance at Rumsey Field since 1993. Although this was the first time I saw her here, it was not the first time I saw Patti Smith and her band perform in New York. Three years ago she appeared at the downtown River To River Festival, an ongoing effort to revitalize lower Manhattan after 9/11 - I even took my summer performance students to see that.

    Patti Smith dedicated yesterday's show to Jerry Garcia, the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist, who died on August 9 ten years ago. As it happens, Garcia was born on the 1st of August, so she declared this week "a nine-day week for Jerry." The highlight of the Garcia remembrance was an electrifying version of Not Fade Away, a song made famous first by Buddy Holly and then the Rolling Stones. This was neither the first nor the only cover at last night's SummerStage gig. Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone was delivered with great passion and introduced as an American folksong. According to a poll released today in Uncut magazine, it's the number 1 song that "changed the world". Patti Smith took part in the Uncut survey too, saying that Dylan's masterpiece got her through adolescence in the mid-60s.
    Patti Smith live in Central Park - 4 AUG 2005
    Because the Night made an obligatory appearance during the show, but it was also intensely pleasant to hear songs from her most recent album, Trampin'. My Blakean Year is my favorite song from Trampin' and it sounded even more alive (no pun intended) last night than it does on the album, where the poetry sinks in above the music. Peaceable Kingdom was the song she chose to play for all the people who have died, and continue to die, because of the so-called war on terror. In her anti-war rant you could clearly see that she's even more committed to peace now than she was back in the 70s when she wrote and sang songs like High On Rebellion.

    This was a more energetic, raw performance than I expected. In some ways I'm even more glad I saw this show after missing the Meltdown Festival in London last June. Central Park has its own magic aura for live music, even if you don't get a great seat. Anyway, you can't really complain when you're not asked to pay anything as an entrance fee, right?

    Although she was on stage for over an hour it felt just like a few minutes had passed when the revolutionary anthem People Have the Power brought the show to a thundering end with her amazing version of Gloria as an encore. "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." Indeed.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Give a Little Bit

    I came across a very interesting article in last Sunday's Observer newspaper online today about Bookcrossing. It is a most fascinating phenomenon: someone leaves a book they love for others to find in a public place, announces it on the Bookcrossing websites and waits to see whether whoever gets it loves/hates it too.

    There are plenty of people Bookcrossing in New York, and quite a few in the UK, even though most of them are not in the North Yorkshire area, where I spend most of my time whenever I'm not in New York. Most amazing, however, is the fact that there are several people taking part in Bookcrossing from Malta, in Malta. The Maltese Bookcrossing members have not been very active this week, but perhaps someone reading this blog will decide to join and fire up enthusiasm about this great treasure hunt. Things look quite promising because there have already been about 50 releases in Malta.

    I plan to take part in Bookcrossing by trying to find a book in New York, in the first instance. I will of course release that book and possibly others from my collection soon after; probably in Scarborough or somewhere in North Yorkshire. Part of my plan involves keeping an eye on this project to see how it compares to the whole P2P file sharing debacle. Although I realize that we're dealing with more than just bits and bytes when we exchange words printed on papers, published and originally sold under copyright, I am intrigued about parallels between this kind of sharing and the sharing of electronic files.

    I'll be looking for Bookcrossing releases in New York City over the next few days and I'll report back as soon as I find something I'm interested in, which I also manage to find where it's left by the person who releases it.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Since You've Been Gone

    Earlier today I posted a simple link from the words 'Miss You' to this blog entry. While it expressed my emotions perfectly, it was not all I wanted to do to mark the first anniversary since my friend Mario Ellul passed away. So now I'm replacing that link with this text in memory of Mario.

    Emotions of grief and mourning are among the feelings I have the hardest time dealing with. Over the past year I have noticed that I've had a harder time with these emotions than in previous years, even though (or maybe because) no one in my immediate family died. Dealing with death is something we should be taught about as we're growing up. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I'm afraid that "he's with Jesus now" just doesn't do it for me. This is especially the case when mourning people who die young, like Mario.

    While I'm fully aware that we all must die sooner or later, early deaths sadden me far more than any others. Today I want to list a bunch of things from my blog just to explore why it seems easier to appreciate what we've lost once it's gone.

    August 2004
    My Tell Tale Heart: how ironic that I should discover that my heart needs more attention just when it did.

    September 2004
    Goodbye Louis: is there really a band in heaven where Mario and Louis can play together again? Or is that idea too corny anyway?

    October 2004
    Teenage Kicks: it's most sad when we die before our dreams.

    November 2004
    November Rain: thinking about the reality of impermanence helps...or does it?

    December 2004
    Gone (you can keep this suit of lights): in the five years we've been doing this, I don't think we've had a list I've had a rougher time dealing with than this one.

    January 2005
    Favorite Waste of Time: is life too short to waste on such trivia? Why do we do it anyway?

    February 2005
    Like a Rolling Stone: and just when I think I'm getting a grip some gonzo turns on the blender again.

    March 2005
    Good Times Bad Times: how can we long for the good old days when the bad new days consume us the way they do?

    April 2005
    Death Singing: the Maltese saying Ħadd wara Ħadd, fl-aħħar imiss lill-Papa is most suitable here.

    May 2005
    Goodbye Julian: when you least expect it is the best time to make peace with the best and the worse of it all.

    June 2005
    You Can't Erase a Mirror: whenever I get a glimpse of a new dawn I dig in deep and wait for the rays of the new sun to blind my eyes.

    July 2005
    All Those Years Ago: I want to believe that we live on through the good deeds of the people we touch.