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May 17, 2007

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Got the word from World Carfree Network HQ in Prague that due to a miscommunication 130 copies of Carbusters were sent in error to a distributor in Seattle--could I pick them up before they got tossed? Sure I could. Got on my bike and rode to 316 Terry, the heart of a massive Paul Allen ego trip, construction on every corner and the streets themselves, ruts and rails, South Lake Union being transformed into a hive of biotech complexes and the mixed use (housing + retail) developments that will serve the workers, complete with local-only streetcar tracks. Well, that's progress, a return to the company store, nowadays called "vertical integration."

I get to the address and see Brad Beshaw, formerly of Hypno Video, Confounded Books, and now Steel Tigers of Death. "You work here?" Yeah. Smiles, handshakes, introductions--his boss is in the white dumpster, carefully packing unsold 2007 page-a-day and wall calendars for their journey to the recycler long before their numbers are up. Sex, Zen, Cats, World Almanac, Thich Nhat Hanh, Paper Airplanes, and food art. "Take as many as you want," she says. So I load up my bicycle saddlebag, then precariously bungee the box of magazines to the rack.

I ride to the Alibi, almost lose my load in a turn, restrap, then lock up at my spot in Post Alley, hoping no one will go to the bother of stealing the box; maybe they'll fear it's a bomb. I put up the latest round of posters, catch a double vodka tonic, then head out for the slow roll back home, pausing copiously along the waterfront to enjoy the sun and sights of the Sound.

The condos lining the waterfront remind me of the stacks of calendars, partly because they seem made of paper (well, same plants--trees--mostly) and partly because there's a metaphor lurking there, the empty schedules, the boxes to be filled and days crossed off, spent pages torn and tossed away....