On Leslie Feist, Briefly

Leslie Feist chooses her singles very well. I have her first album (or second, but first that anybody ever heard), and of all the songs on it, I like “Mushaboom” best. Same with “1234”, which is an incredibly lovely song. At her best — these songs — her work has a sort of wistfulness and…not nostalgia, precisely, but a longing for a better time, whether it be past or present. I still think the best line she ever wrote was “We’ll collect the moments, one by one / I guess that’s how the future’s done”.




Wikipedia doesn't love me

A while ago, somebody put up a Wikipedia entry for my “Grim Meathook Future” essay. I followed it and created an entry for myself, which I thought was okay — it’s just a bio stub, nothing especially self-promotional, just a sort of “hey, this is who this person is”.

Apparently, the powers-that-be at Wikipedia want to delete it. Which I don’t quite understand, personally, because I was under the impression that Wikipedia’s ultimate goal was to sort of be an Encyclopedia Galactica. I am a published author and musician, my work’s out there…I don’t have any delusions of grandeur but I thought I had enough of a small reputation that it would be useful to have a Wikipedia entry for me.

But I guess not. Sigh. I am one of the little people.



If you’ve emailed me or sent me a MySpace message, I got it while I was gone, but I didn’t respond to anything, since I almost never had access with my laptop and Turkish keyboards are laid out completely differently. (They have two letter I’s, which is amusing when your last name is ‘Ellis’. I thought my Google account had been hacked, and they couldn’t find me in the Turkish Airlines database twice ’cause they used the wrong I.) I’m still playing catch-up on communication, so don’t expect to hear from me immediately.


I'm Back…

…and I forgot to blog the occasion.

I’m sorting through pics and videos now, and writing my two pieces. Which will appear Real Soon Now, on Another Blog, which is Still Secret.



There are dudes out front of my hotel here in Frankfurt that appear to be neo-Nazi skinheads — shaved heads, leather jackets with ‘DEMONIC PROBE’ written on them. I’m fighting the urge to put on my leather jacket and my stomping boots and roll down there, singing “Right In Der Fuhrer’s Face” by Spike Jones and getting rowdy. They don’t look that tough.

But I’m not going to. I’m not stupid.

Be fun, though, wouldn’t it? And a sort of karmic workout session, even if I got the shit kicked out of me.

Don’t worry. I’ll just sit up here on my balcony, thinking evil thoughts at their little bald heads.

God, I hate Nazis.


Flickr pics

You did know I was posting all my Turkey pics to my Flickr account, right?

I’ll title them all later. Right now I’m on time-limited stupid T-Mobile Europe hotspot access in Frankfurt. Plus I’m lazy.

I will have video as well. Plus an actual travel essay, but not here. Somewhere else. I can’t talk about it yet. But you’ll see.


Still Alive

I’m in my friend Mehmet’s carpet shop in Göreme, in Cappadocia. I’m leaving on the night bus to Istanbul (how fucking romantic-sounding is that?) in a couple of hours.

Cappadocia is amazing. This whole trip has been amazing. I have billions of pics and videos. I will be in Istanbul tomorrow and Frankfurt tomorrow night, and then going home the next day. See you when I see you.


The Edge of Europe.

Istanbul is beautiful in a way that’s hard to describe. Imagine if you took Rio, filled it with broken bits of every civilization since the Hittites, and then plunked it down in place of San Francisco.

I got off the plane and took the Metro to…well, somewhere or other. I got lost and confused, and ended up trying to explain “Western Union” to a bunch of Turkish cabdrivers, who didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, but insisted I sit down and drink strong, wonderful sweet Turkish çay (or “chai”, or “tea”) while they tried to find somebody who spoke English. This didn’t work, but we had fun.

I finally just broke down and caught a taxi to Sultanahmet, which is the historic district. I sat for two hours and talked and ate caviar with a young Russian couple and a middle-aged British couple, and lost (twice) armwrestling to Lenny, the Russian guy. (I’ve never had orange caviar. Tastes like sushi.)

Then I found my way to the Terrace Guesthouse, which is a perfectly gorgeous little hotel not three blocks from the Hagia Sophia, and extremely reasonably priced…particularly since I can stand on my balcony and look out across the Bosporus, which is the channel that divides Europe from Asia.

Western Union is not open on Sundays, so I’ll leave tomorrow for Göreme, where I plan to stay in Cappadocia. This afternoon is just relaxation and a tiny bit of cheap trinket shopping (evil eyes for everyone!)

I am extremely happy, in a way I haven’t been extremely happy in a long time.


Simple Useful Technology

Here’s what technology is actually good for: I found an excellent site with information on how to get from the airport in Istanbul to the area with the cheap, good hotels. I copied this into a text file, and sent it via Bluetooth to my new Nokia e61i. Also a Turkish PDF phrasebook.

I leave in two hours for the U-Bahn to the airport, to get to Istanbul.


In Frankfurt

I’m in Frankfurt, in the Hotel Europa, where I stayed last year. (I like this hotel very much.)

Here is what I see out my window:


Long trip, and I’m leaving for Istanbul tomorrow morning very early. So I’m not up to much here tonight — Joe and I went shopping and met up with the lovely Ginger Wang (a friend and colleague of ours). Joe gave me his old Nokia e61i phone, which I used to take that picture, and we also picked up a Bluetooth GPS unit to go with it — I’m gonna try and figure out if I can download maps to it, and — failing that — if I can use the Nokia GPS with the Macbook. I really like this Nokia on short notice — it’s got wifi capability, so I can use it even without a SIM card. It’s got the weird German QWERTZ keyboard though, which is kinda funny.

And I had Iskender kebab in a Turkish restaurant, which made me immensely happy. It’s colder than hell here, easily fifty degrees (Fahrenheit, thank you, Vanessa) colder than Vegas. But I love it. I like Frankfurt more and more every time I come here. It’s not as cool as Berlin, but it’s still an interesting city.


Off to take a hot goddamn shower. I’ll try to blog from Istanbul, when I figure out where I’m going to be.