>Oh, you know where, now I can’t see, I just stare. . . .

>Posting from: Willmar, MN
Listening to: Pearl Jam — Ten Redux Re-mix

Today was one of those travel days that don’t make any sense to me. It seemed like a slam dunk when the trip first came up; I simply needed to fly to Minneapolis, get a rental car, then drive a couple hours to a little town slightly north and west. There is a direct flight on Northwest from Missoula to Minneapolis a couple times a day, I take it all the time en route to destinations yonder; easy, right?

No, wrong!

That flight was nearly double what the cost was for me to get on a Horizon/Alaska flight in Missoula, fly to Seattle, and then get on a Northwest flight to fly back across the friggin’ country to Minneapolis. How can that possibly be cheaper or easier for anyone concerned? I understand that Northwest is now Delta and they are partnered with Continental and Alaska and blah blah blah, but still. There was a sign up at the Horizon counter when I arrived (at 5:30 A-freakin’-M) already announcing the flight was overbooked and they would offer vouchers for free future travel to any volunteers who would be willing to take a later flight. Same thing when I got to Seattle — the NW flight to Minneapolis was also overbooked. What sucks is I have so many miles on NW that I typically fly first class, but not this time. When I got to Seattle I tried to flex a little elite muscle but first class was already checked in full; I did get moved out of the middle seat I was supposed to be in for one on the aisle. That was good. So instead of being squeezed between the only two people on the plane bigger than me I got to get clobbered by every person making their way up the aisle to the lavatories, and also had the pleasure of having multiple immense, polyester, squishy, unknown asses shoved in my face. Ah, the glamour of frequent travel.

I got to Minneapolis early enough that I had time to check out a couple bookstores I’ve known about for a while but never had opportunity to visit.

Arise! Bookstore is this awesome little ultra-left shop in a part of Minneapolis I’d never been through before. Lots of health food stores, record shops, thrift stores, etc. I hope I have time to visit again when I head back to Minneapolis on Wednesday before flying out Thursday morning. I felt a little old, though, as the place is definitely aimed at your young, punk rock anarcho/marxist/activist. Here they are in their own words:

Known as an activist information hub for the Twin Cities for over ten years, the Arise! Collective provides works of resistance by Marx and Engels to Audre Lorde, John Zerzan to bell hooks, Annie Sprinkle to Noam Chomsky.

I enjoyed the place, even though the young guy sporting the impressive mohawk sitting behind the counter seemed more interested in surfing the web than talking Resistance with what probably seemed to him to be a burned out old hippie. Oh well, at least he didn’t hassle me about taking pictures.

I picked up one of their Arise! Atlas guides. It’s pretty cool; it’s a little pocket-sized guidebook consisting of “200 pages of street maps, bicycle routes, day trips and radical local history.” I love stuff like this. I also picked up a couple free newspaper things and the latest issue of Socialist Appeal. Put that in your loofah and scrub with it, Bill-O!

It wasn’t much of a drive from there to DreamHaven Books, a store which “specializes in new and used science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and media books, comics, and graphic novels.” If that doesn’t have my name written all over it, I don’t know what does. I found it easily enough, looked in the windows, and snapped a couple pictures.

Hands shaking, wallet trembling in anticipation, I walked around to the front door . . . and learned the sons-a-bitches are closed on Sundays and Mondays! Jesus! That’s less Capitalist than the damn Marxist joint was! Don’t they realize this is America and we have an economy to resurrect?!

So yeah, I better get back to Minneapolis in time Wednesday to revisit this joint or this trip will be one for the flusher, I can tell already.

As for the drive to this wonderful oasis that is Willmar, MN, I wish it was more spring and everything was green. I know this area can be beautiful in the right weather, but this wasn’t it. Gray, and growing cold, with 12-18 inches of snow supposed to swoop in overnight. It makes the cold I’ve been battling feel that much more welcome. I tried to snap some gray photos of the dead-looking scenery and frozen lakes and rivers, but my photography-while-driving efforts were poor. Nonetheless, here you go.


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