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For many years I have been organizing stationary events for Renn Fayre (The Sunny De-Lite Room, The Black Lodge), and even after I had graduated I felt the need to exert my influence over the maleable minds of the younger students. Thus was born the Shrine to Toast. But I was not alone in my efforts, as I soon discovered that I was not alone in my fanatical devotion to toast. Thanks to the efforts of The Random Decorations Czar® (a.k.a. The High Priest of 12-Grain, a.k.a Stately Wayne Manor), who managed to procure an amazing amount of funding from the unsuspecting Reed College Student Body, the dream became a reality. For weeks the team sifted through piles of disused electronics in hopes of finding the platonic ideal of the toaster. I found it (a ToastMaster, circa 1955, restaurant grade, 4 slots, 16 lbs of raw toasting power), but I could not find a way to justify an $80 charge to the Student Body. (hey, after the tens of thousands I spent on my education, they should have let me have it). All told we ended up with about 8 toasters (including 2 4-slots). Mostly modern, with the shining exception of the auto-slot Sunbeam, which was slated for demolition.

The crew for this event included The High Priest of 12-Grain, Saint Jam (seen on the right), The Crouton King, The Acolyte of Buttermilk Wheat, King White and Extra Yummy French Toast. We gathered together over 20 different kinds of bread, butter, jam, cinnamon sugar, peanut butter, and honey to provide for a truly sumptuous repast for all needy passers-by. The toasters themselves proved to be the most recalcitrant piece of our plan. A word of advice here, never try to plug 6 toasters into 1 power strip. After pressing the breaker buttons on the strips frantically for a few minutes, then running around searching for a long appliance extension cord, we finally got all 7 toasters toasting happily away all at once. The High Priest of 12-Grain, King White and their housemate Tirza had spent an evening creating a recording of selections of hevenly music and toast quotations ("Toast is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere" -Blaise Pascal). Finally the atmosphere was complete and we were ready to open our doors to the thronging masses.

Here we see the High Priest of 12-Grain infusing the shrine with his toastly goodness. King White absorbs the glory and meditates on his navel. Saint Jam gazes lovingly over the flock who have made the pilgrimage all the way from the front lawn to see what commotion is brewing behind the vaulted gothic doors of the Chapel. Soon the curious, and the just plain hungry are filing up the steps to request their favorite form of toast. Many are bewildered by the startling array of toast enhancement products spread before them.

Others are struck by a profound admiration for the shiny row of toasters. Still others are mesmerized by the unearthly glow arising from the sacred alter. Toast is dispensed. Word spreads quickly, and the delightful aroma draws many a young person with the munchies. We preach the word of The Toast to these young impressionable minds. And yet we must close our doors for a few minutes for the Ritual Sacrifice...

Having been inspired by another toaster person on the Web, we decided to set one of my favorite toasters on fire, using the The Strawberry Pop Tart Blow-Torch Method. Unfortunately, they were out of Strawberry Pop-Tarts at the Safe Muffins, so we settled for 'Smores Pop-Tarts, thinking that marshmallows catch fire pretty well. As you can see from the photo, we made a crass error. This was the largest flame we were able to coax out of the toaster. I believe this has something to do with the soothing powers of chocolate, but I won't go into that here. Anyway, the The Blessed Strawberry Pop Tart Blow-Torch Page shows that there can be a much more dramatic effect from this experiment. Somewhat disappointed by the lack of giant flame, we packed up the shrine and went our seperate ways, only the join up again for a much more fantastic display of pyrotechnics, the Renn Fayre fireworks. Thus ends the tale of the Shrine to Toast.


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