Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meanwhile 3 hours from the playa

Meanwhile 3 hours from the playa
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Vango and Love Toy rolling in with the Party Snail! It's soft!

Truckee CA

Truckee CA
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Homer, the simpatico canine, checks out his Truckee, CA, vacay digs
with wonderful Emma and Lizzie, while chris and I get ready to do some
critical shopping and head for Burning Man 2009. (ps: chris will fix
your wifi-- whether you like it or not)

Today — Burning Man: Pre-show jitters

Sun's coming up in Reno, NV, and after a typically sound sleep in Marge, we're off on all manner of errands. And then we're going north to Burning Man 2009 "Evolution," in the middle of the Black Rock desert.

I'm feeling pretty emotional about this — there's excitement and an almost equal amount of anxiety. Is this really a good idea? I know, for instance, that I despair of leaving Homer in Truckee, CA, for a week, and if I do, I can only imagine how Chris feels about it. We will both miss him terribly, I fear.

Also, we've got to buy food today and I don't really get what to get, if you will. I've been told things like "soup out of a can" and "powerbars," and that sounds wretched, to be perfectly honest.

Reno is apparently teeming with "burners" and there is an electricity in the air, I must admit. Also, everyone here — even the crustiest WWII RV camping vet dude — has heard of Burning Man. Or at least the fact that "there's naked girls running around all over the place there." For the record, I'm pretty sure that the legend and lure of nekkid girls — and the affiliated photographs — far outweighs that actual quantity of nekkid girls at, well, anything. But it's always gonna be the first thing you hear, is that there are naked people. Because — by and large — we as a society are not a naked people. Nor do I predict becoming a naked person, just for the record. Though I do look forward to wearing my pajamas and some other fun costumes. I brought two capes, because, to paraphrase my fellow Kentucky Friar and inspiration, John Darko: "If as a kid? You liked wearing capes around? Then Burning Man is for you."

So that remains my hope: That "Burning Man is for me" and that my "performance anxieties" will wane and I'll have a deeply inspiring time. That's what I want, as a creative person, ans so that's what I'm asking The Man for: To be deeply inspired as a creative person.

We're in for quite a week, I think that's pretty obvious. I'm also wondering when I'll next sleep. I wouldn't be surprised if it's not until after the sun comes up on Sunday.

Final note: as anticlimatic as it may seem, I also don't know how much I'll be blogging from Black Rock City, for a number of reasons:
  1. Still very unclear about internet/phone access — Many seasoned Burners pointedly don't want these things. Many who have deep strong feelings about the inspirational power of The Man, long to be "unplugged" from those network tendrils that have come to dominate our lives.
  2. In keeping with #1, I don't know how much I want to be blogging and even — photographing. I know I'd like to do some of these, but I also would like to embrace the spirit of The Man, and unplug myself for a few days, and see what that's like. (this coming from a guy who is currently standing in an Airstream — standing — concocting a blogpost, when he should be getting in line for the showers.
  3. Definitely don't know how much I'll be twittering for a combination of reasons #1 and #2. If there is cool shit happening around me, and I have my face in Tweetdeck on my phone? Well, I just will really endeavor to avoid that, at least for the most part.
I'm just saying is all. Worst case, there will be some postscripts to the Burning Man experience, and I'm sure you haven't heard the last from me for a week. But it might be good for Mick to keep his head out of teh Netz for a spell. And not really sure how that happens. But I'm at least cognizant of the fact that it could wind up being a cold turkey sort of situation.

Regardless, there is a BIG PLAN to do a phone-in Live From Burning Man report on Trivial Thursdays, probably around 8am next, with my pals, supporters and guest hosts Kakie Urch and Brian Connors-Manke. DON'T MISS THAT!

Ok, really — I better take a shower. Definitely don't know when that is going to happen again…

BTW: Thanks so much for following this odyssey. The many comments that I've gotten — through Facebook, twitter, and this blog — have filled my heart with delight. And many followers have also offered valuable advice on a myriad of topics, often within a critical time window. In other words, thanks to some of you for helping to keep this show on the road!

More soon, probably, more concision, and in a few hours — the road to Burning Man.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

I actually woke up to this today (me under purple). How does a person
not wake up when a 70 lb dog gets in their bed?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

The Jeffries Brothers are plumb outta gas on Utah HWY 6 --
Nowheresville. Turns out Jeffries the Younger is quite prone to this.

We realized our doom about an hour ago and had the grandest time
hypermiling -- judiciously starting and then coasting sans
ignition -- for over 10 miles at about 6mph.

This speed gave us a strange and rare opportunity to leisurely discuss engines and gas mileage and such— even as we were running out of it. Something very placid about driving 4mph. We started wondering about things like "what is the optimum speed to drive a car that's nearly out of gas?" and then during the hypermiling phase: "how much gas is wasted in the ignition when we start the engine?" and "what speed should we get 'er up to before turning of the ignition each time?" The only one we came up with a policy on was the last. (40 mph).

When the jig was finally up, a car stopped immediately and gave Christo a lift. AAA told me (as he was speeding off in the company of strangers) that the next gas was ... 4 miles away. If we had managed to hypermile our way there, I would have felt like the slo-mo champ. As it is, no complaints. Unless Chris' Samaritans turn out to be killers. Uh-oh...

The Man has Risen!

Twitpic - Share photos on Twitter

hello? you have a call from Burning Man

@edrabbit 's very popular blogpost about the state of telephony at Burning Man this year (click through to read)
clipped from
Burning Man Iphone

What do you guys think about cell phones on the playa? Good, bad, who cares?

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Hooray for Aspen Street Coffee in Fruita, CO! Keeping me caffeinated and productive on a glorious Thursday AM. Listened to my own radio show at 6am local time (west of the Rockies means early-early for East Coast communications) with my amazing special guest hosts Kakie and Brian. Thanks so much, you guys were great!

Chris and I will forge on to Utah today and hopefully spend a bit of leisure time (neither of us knows what that means, btw. Chris will be working on Marge, and I'll be working on design-y stuff) among the southern Utah desert wonders.

Oh — we had a mishap in storage-land: A can of varnish turned over in the way way back and did grievous harm to some bags, but not really to their contents. Last night, after we arrived, I didn't have to drink bourbon — I just cleaned up the mess and got a head full of mineral spirits. (swoon)

Burning Man is just days away. And the man is up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homer headed out

Homer headed out
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Homer's ready to roll out of Topeka. Me, too. We're getting a late
start today and I'm feeling the crunch of time. Ideally we need to
make Denver tonite but that's quite a haul.

Are we going to make it to Burning Man by Saturday at 6pm?

That's our stated goal, and here's why: we have the early-admission
passes that get us in before 40000 start thronging the gates six hours
later at 12:01am. And that is less a "convenient for us" thing than it
is a "secure the Kentucky Fried camp perimeter" thing. Because at
12:01, the weeklong free-for-all begins and we've got a lot of baloney
sandwiches to serve.

Which brings me back to this: Topeka, Kansas, is a looong way from
Black Rock City. Let's get this Land Yacht on the road!

Morning in Topeka

(Just a quick update, much more to come later )
Topeka KS — The Brothers Jeffries got a good night's sleep — some even got a bed. Some are still asleep in said bed — and a nice if short visit with cousin Jamie and her family the Racing Prathers. Jamie grew up in Michigan and we visited there many times. Jamie said last night that she never would have imagined that she would live in Kansas one day, but I don't see much to complain about today: it's breezy, dappled in sunshine, with swaying green trees all around their back yard.

Yesterday, our travel down I-70 was nicely punctuated with a stop at Road Food-endorsed Booches, a pool-hall joint in Columbia. Booches reminds us: Plates. Why again?

This AM, got to talk some with hubby (and 3-time national SCCA champ) Jesse, who offered some travel advice, as our task today is to head for Denver, and then across the Rockies. I have a greater respect for the gravity of this after driving the rig yesterday for 4 hours or so.

She drives real smooth, but it's important to remember the sheer heft of what you're pulling. Uh-huh! That having been said, brother Chris pointed out to me that if you watch the rear-view mirror as people pass, that many of them are staring admiringly at Marge, which is totally true. And a great elixir to combat road weariness. It's hard not to smile every time you see somebody mooning over our sweet rig. Thanks, Wally.

Gotta get some work done now. May God continue to bless and watch over The Internet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Destination: Burning Man — Curdsville KY packing

Destination: Burning Man — Curdsville KY packing
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

It's a photoset of the Brothers Jeffries Burning Man departure, from Curdsville Kentucky!

Running On Empty

IRL wake-up call gets fuel injected: Owensboro step-brother Todd "T-N-T" Tyler has stepped up and bailed me out of that expensive tank of gas that Penske was wanting to pump for me — on top of an already overpriced and oversized rental truck.

In this case, the term full service is reserved for family.

Thanks, Todd!

Next stop for the Brothers Jeffries, loyal dog Homer, boxes of costumes, cases of Ale-8-One, pimp bikes, and let's not forget the Kentucky Fried Camp's "retail structure? Topeka KS to visit cousin Jamie and her race-car building/driving family.

Zoom, zoom!

Our checkered flag though is still off in the distance: Burning Man by Saturday. Construction and all manner of mods to Airstream Marge every step along the way. What comes next? Plumbing? Walls?

For now, it's time to attempt an exorcism of the dozens of flies that managed to stow away from the Farm. What is up with the flies?!

Regarding the photo: So far? Being blonde is pretty fun.

The Morning Oops

dateline wentzville MO wal-mart parking lotIRL woke me up this AM and didn't hand me a cup of coffee. IRL was on the phone wants $5 a gallon.

Let's back up — last night the Brothers Jeffries pulled away from Curdsville, Ky., and have made a nice foray to the far side of St. Louis — Wentzville MO to be precise.

Nearing 2am, with not really all that much of teh tired, we struck out on a couple of alleged RV Campgrounds and decided — with little begrudgment— on Wal-marts. After some fun that included being the near-only shoppers in a SoopaStore — three times — and a 2am parking lot bike ride, we had hit the hay in Marge, for a dreamy slumber.

Now I've been rolled —by a phone call from Penske in Owensboro, informing me that I had returned the truck on empty.

Oh, damn. True, that. Accidental, but nonetheless true.

Faced with the spectre of $5/gallon for them to refill, doing the frantic, half-awake and without a pencil, on the phone trying to resolve the situation that is now so 400 miles behind us.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quick trip

Quick trip
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Wow, we're already "out west!" that was quick!

Mick Jeffries

Load out!

Load out!
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Not quite leaving, but the concept has been agreed to. We're packin
it in and Rollin' 'em out ... Um, soonish...
Mick Jeffries


Originally uploaded by mrtoastey
Could really use that IRL cut/paste function to put contents of
oversize box, L, into shiny capsule, R.

More complicated than it seems? Probably. Especially when you're
dealing with a gross of costumery and a couple pimp bikes.

Mick Jeffries

The new American holiday?

The new American holiday?
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey
2 brothers. A work-in-progress semi-gutted Airstream. 13 cases of Ale-8-one, a ukelele, no plumbing but plenty of tools and laptops ... and 2000 miles and one week to Burning Man 2009. Yeah -- it's like that.

Hitched to Marge

Hitched to Marge
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey
As in: we both are. Before we can head cross country there's an exhilarating (terrifying? Daunting?) list of things to do, and then 100s more that will be done en route. Last night while I painted generator pans and theorized battery housings, brother Chris upgraded the hitch and tweaked the braking system. Pass me that wrench and keep it tuned here to friends!

Waking up Marge

Waking up Marge
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Our farm in curdsville ky (reflected) is the launch base for a whole
mess of electrical, carpentry, and theorizing for Airstream Marge, who
is a blooming beauty with complex internal issues -- like many of us.
Notice the window full of lumber. If you can't see it, just nod and
believe. 7:45am: time to fire up the chop saw and build some battery
cages. Inside shots to come but you have to promise Marge that you
won't stare too much. She's sensitive!

Mick Jeffries

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a beginning

NOTE! If you're reading this on Facebook, I recommend that you go to my blog directly. Facebook tends to mangle bolding and italics among other pretty things that a graphic designer like myself takes very seriously! Go read this at Mingle Freely! The blog of Mick Jeffries!


The odyssey has begun — My brother, Chris, and I are headed to Burning Man 2009 in the Black Rock desert comma middle of nowhere comma Nevada. There will be at least 40,000 people there.

It's not the kind of thing you decide to do overnight, at least — not if you live in Kentucky.

Me, I've wanted to go to Burning Man since at least the mid-90's shortly after it started blowing up. I can still picture WIRED magazine's cover (may even still have it) and the headline and Bruce Sterling article: "Greetings from Burning Man: The New American Holiday"

Thanks to Facebook, once the opportunity arose this year (largely due to my brother having bloomed into a midlife momentary vagabond—albeit a very high-tech one — and recently becoming the owner of an Airstream trailer — we call her "Marge" and you'll see plenty of her plenty later), I started reaching out. And I quickly found Kentucky Fried, the loose affiliation of Lexxies and Lexpatriates with whom we'll be convening in 7 short days. But not just a loose affiliation, Kentucky Fried is a bona fide Burning Man theme camp, and as such we've got a sweet spot in Black Rock City at 3 o'clock and avenue F. Take a look. Kentucky Fried is also comprised of at least four ER doctors, a psychiatrist, and an opthomologist. No, this isn't a Rainbow Gathering, folks.

Chris and I are the early arrivals, too, which in and of itself is exciting. Burning Man begins at 12:01am August 31, but we plan to be at the gate at 6pm August 30, with our valuable-as-gold early admittance barcode in hand.

First, though, the Brothers Jeffries are gonna drive across the heartland, with Marge in tow, full of gadgets, gizmos, a couple pimped out bikes, more costumes than you can imagine, cases of Ale-8-One and the beloved and delightful Homer. (Homer isn't going to Burning Man. No doggies, sorry!)

Right now, I'm sitting on the deck at my parent's house in Owensboro. Behind me is the Penske rental truck (12') that I had to rent to get the stuff here, to meet Chris. Not because there's that much, but because it was the smallest truck that I could rent one-way from Lexington to Owensboro, silly.

Stay tuned. I'll be blogging, Facebooking and tweeting (follow mrtoastey) our 3-week adventure and would be delighted to have you along for the ride.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

R.I.P. Les Paul

clipped from
Les Paul (1915- 2009)
The World Has Lost a Remarkable Innovator and Musician: Les Paul Passes Away at 94
New York, NY…August 13, 2009…Les Paul, acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor, passed away today from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plain, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. He had been receiving the best available treatment through this final battle and in keeping with his persona, he showed incredible strength, tenacity and courage. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the thoughts and prayers from his dear friends and fans. Les Paul was 94.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Robert Massin

This book, which I happened across at the Owensboro Public Library untold years ago, I see in retrospect as an enormous influence on my decision to practice graphic design.

I was reminded of it because of the wonderful Natasha's Balagula Theatre, who is performing Eugene Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano" soon.

sample pages from Eugène Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano. Typeset and illustrated by the French designer and innovator, Robert Massin.

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