Sunday, January 29, 2006

Your correspondent

CIMG5614, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Eden took this photo of Chili and I. Chili is getting very old. She wants to be loved all the time. She's a good excuse for a nap.

Meredith and Steve

CIMG5452, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.


CIMG5534, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Danny waxes poetic as inspiration strikes.


zoe, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Zoe and her cat.


We've been enjoying some choice google videos lately, seen via some guy's best of site. Everything from amazing guitar or ukelele solos, to totally weird Japanese acts.

Tonight I faxed letters to my California senators, asking them to filibuster Mr. Alito. And I sent out an annoying email plea to all my friends to do likewise. We all get so busy it's easy to miss when our democracy is being overthrown from within. This Alito dude is bad news.

I also made curtains for my new massage studio this afternoon. I used a few classical sarongs from Bali and two of Krista's balinese silk hangings. Looks good. We decided that I should use our back room instead of Krista's studio and I'm really happy about it. It's a beautiful space. I called or wrote to my long time clients and hope to be up and running very soon. I also went out and bought new sheets! I got three sets of cozy flannel sheets for only $12 each! On sale. A nice affirmation for re-starting my practice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Homeschool Bowling

India and I have been going bowling monday afternoons for the past 5 weeks or so. One of the homeschool moms set it up. We went yesterday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and the place was packed. Usually it's a ghost town.

Both India and I had record scores for our last game! She rolled 126 and I got 216!!
My previous high was 181 way back when I was India's age. My dad was upper management in Atlanta's public transit company and at some point we joined the bus drivers' leauge. I got to bowl with 3 black bus drivers, which was so cool! Of course I must have totally sucked. The drivers were all very good and quite serious about competing within the league. I think the management folk were evenly distributed to handicap all the bus drivers' teams evenly.

India is probably the best out of all the kids, although her style is pretty weird. Somehow it works for her. I'm glad we get to go bowling together. It's fun.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Unsolicited Advice

Buy some silver. Maybe some gold. Do it soon.
(If you happen to have any savings.)

Why? Because the US dollar may soon plummet in value. Will likely soon plummet in value. So if you happen to have any savings, the value of your savings is about to decline. Perhaps radically. It's hard for normal folks to comprehend, and for an idiot like me it's nearly impossible. But I've got some smart friends who have been patiently trying to explain these things to me.
And they say that the government is printing so much money the printing presses are melting. This means inflation. They point out that foreign governments are starting to quietly offload dollar reserves for other currencies. Uh oh! And there's that pesky Iranian Bourse that's firing up in March--that'll either start world war III in earnest or kick the legs out from under the ol' petrodollar. And speaking of petroleum, what happens when prices inevitably skyrocket? Hmmmm.

So buying gold or silver is a hedge against inflation. As the dollar loses value these metals gain in value. Still, it's not really an investment to make money so much as an effort to keep your money from going away. If you consider the costs of just three things: housing, heating and health care you'll get a sense of how drastically inflation is rising. Inflation means that your money is worth less and less.

Personally I dislike gold. I agree with the lepreuchan in Finian's Rainbow who says that it's not intended for mortal folk, it's too powerful and causes chaos and misery. Certainly the mining of it tends to result in environmental attrocities. Call me soft hearted. Or soft headed, I don't care. Silver, for me, just seems cleaner. On the other hand, if you have gobs of money you'd like to preserve, gold is alot more convenient--for example, $10,000 worth of gold weighs about a pound and $10,000 worth of silver more like 70 pounds.

Okay, so here's what you do: take your cash money down to the ye old coin shop and buy some pre-1965 half dollars or quarters. You can also buy silver bars or one ounce minted units, but I think you're safer with the old coins. And ignore all those pretty 'collectible' coins. Take a bag of silver coins home and stash 'em under the ol' mattress. Or if that's too lumpy dig a hole in the back yard or something. I don't care. Just do it. By the way, you use cash so the government doesn't know you have it. Especially if you are buying gold. They've confiscated gold in the past. They just might do it again. (Which is also one argument agains keeping your loot in a bank's safe deposit box.)

Now on the other hand--just on the off-chance that the banks all go bust (that your bank goes bust), it might not hurt to have some cash money too. That you can keep under the mattress. I doubt it'll happen (though it sure did in Argentina not so long ago). If it does happen though (perhaps if the real estate bubble really pops hard) your cash money will become very very valuable, at least for a time.

There. You've been warned. Now I can sleep peacefully.

Of course, maybe you don't have any savings anyway. In that case....Uh....Hell, I don't know.

Be of good cheer,

ps. Krista pointed out that this all makes it seem like we have thousands of dollars stashed under OUR mattress and I've just posted an invitation to robbers. So I had to take the money out of our mattress and bury it in the backyard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm Going!!

I just did it! I bought my ticket to Bali!!

Turns out I'm not going as a courier after all. Being a courier would be a great way to get over to Asia, or just visit Hong Kong. But it was too much stress trying to make the connections for Bali. I think I would have saved maybe $200 and added many many hours of travel time and uncertainty. I guess I'm getting older or maybe wiser--I'm actively avoiding stress (um, not counting actually going on the trip). I also spent a little more on my ticket to knock out one whole airport transfer and 6 hours of travel time on the way back. The flights are 22 hours and 19 hours going and coming home. Ugh.

My flight will be about $650 more than just having our sarongs shipped here. I figure I'm going to earn that money somehow or other before I go. Maybe I'll call all my old massage clients and set up my table. Maybe I'll call a bunch of old Deva Luna accounts and get extra orders.
I've got some time anyway. I'm not leaving till the end of February. Nearly a year from our last flight.

One thing that's bothering me: we bought so much cool stuff last time and had it shipped via cargo, that we don't really need or want anything else. But I made friends with lots of shop keepers and some craftspeople. I also suspect that business is bad since that last bombing a few months ago. I'd like to support these folks.

So I'll put it out there to you, my dear reader: if you can think of anything you'd like from Bali, let me know and I'll try to procure it for you. I expect to have a whole duffel bag's worth of space to cram with sarongs, hammocks, buddha statues, musical instruments, carvings, chess sets, hand painted silk pillow cases, ikat clothing or blankets, etc.. If there's something you want get me some money and I'll bring it back if I can (sorry, no contraband) at cost. Not to pay for my trip but rather to support the good folk making and selling their excellant craftwork. I'm serious about this, you can write me at

Anyhow, I'm way excited. And a little scared! I'll be on my own this time. Yikes.

Oh well, back to defeating the Alito nomination and closing down the old storage locker.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Been Hibernating...

Sorry it's been so long. I've been hibernating. Finally, yesterday, the sun came out and it was lovely. It's been raining for so long and so hard that I've hardly shown my face to the sky. Here in old Santa Rosa we were untouched by the flooding. Our new house was very cozy.
The photo above is from Christmas morning. Santa did a lot of shopping at the goodwill this year and was very successful at it. I splurged and got Krista a black resonator guitar so that she can start her own jug band. She's been hard at it learning rag time.
I was looking for gifts more in the $5 to $13 range--until she wrote another new song. This new song, New Moon, put me over the edge. I really think Krista could be recording some day, or even performing! The joke is that her playing and singing are so quiet it's hard to hear her--and you really can't play a resonator quietly! Anyhow, she's wanted the thing forever and has taken to it like a duck to water.
In other news, I may be heading back to Bali soon, to pick up our 150 sarongs and re-visit the old stomping grounds. I think I've found a courier flight with Jupiter Air to Hong Kong and our travel agent Kristina with AirBrokers came through with a Hong Kong to Denpasar source. I may be able to do the whole round trip for about $500. Knock on wood. That's only $130 more than having the sarongs shipped!
Ah, a week in Ubud. I've got it all pictured in my mind. Stay at the Gayatri again, meals at Tutmaks, a $5 massage every day. Hell, twice a day! Play chess with Made our driver. Hang out with the guys in the alley. Drive around with Nyoman, our other favorite driver. And bring back those damned sarongs we ordered back in May last year.
I'll keep you posted.