Tuesday, October 30, 2007

bad influence

bad influence, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Don't these two look like an evil pair? The little guy is actually a lemon cuke that got neglected in our garden. It's about 3" tall and has a hard rind like a pumpkin. It glows a pretty yellow.
Tomorrow is the big night and today we had a family meeting, mainly about candy. We finally hammered out a genuine consensus that the girls can eat as much as they please on Halloween night, then keep 17 pieces to eat in the following days (after a good meal).
Though India says she won't keep any. She doesn't want it around.
It was a very successful meeting!

Humor Test #2 - Santana Shreds

Someone took this concert footage and cleverly overdubbed his own 'music'. I watched this with Jerry and we laughed so hard I was crying. Hats off to Marc D for showing us this.

Creative Falling

Humor Test - Violent Combat Robots

I wonder if you'll think this cartoon is funny. Neatorama describes it as: Tim Maloney mashed up (re-wrote? dubbed over?) a classic 90’s saturday morning cartoon Exosquad into this: VIOLENT COMBAT ROBOTS, a team of intrepid spacement who use the power of science to lay waste to everyone on the planet! It really made me laugh out loud--perhaps because it probably deviates so little from the actual content to achieve a shocking parody.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The High Street Party

Last night we ventured out at dusk to the High Street block party, in search of some spooky fun.

One of our friends, Peg, had suggested folks come as a character from a popular song. Krista decided to be Black Magic Woman (from Santana). She had just painted this old violin case she had and filled it up with cool magical stuff--including three shrunken heads of her past boyfriends.
She had a full moon Scorpio potion, and special fortune cards she'd made. Even a wax voodoo doll of Cheney (with three strategically located pins--one in his heart: to open it; one in his throat: to make him speak only truth; and one in his third eye: to open him up to love energy?--Krista told everyone that she only uses her dark magic for good).
There was more stuff in there, but suffice it to say, it was way cool.

Eden was a witch. But she tore her hat off as soon as we arrived, so that she could run around with her friends.

India was a jellyfish. Several people told us that if there had been a costume contest, India would have won it hands down. I'm afraid it was a bit cumbersome and made it hard to dance, but she was into it.

I was a pirate. There were quite a few pirates there, thanks to Johnny Depp, I suppose. I hadn't been a pirate since I was ten years old and didn't know if I could carry off the persona. But I really enjoyed it.
I even wore one of Krista's earrings! I hadn't worn an earring for about 15 years. I thought the hole would have closed up.

The High Street party is pretty damn cool. The street is blocked off, and they had a stage with live music. One house has an outdoor bar which is all lit up psychedelic. Also, a fire pit.
It's a street potluck, too. So there are tables set up and the food comes in waves and is quickly devoured.
This year, some burning man folks drove over in a beautifully lit contraption--hard to describe really. There was a big covered wagon part in the back where about 10 people could sit. The thing had lots of faces and blacklights and fake fur. It was cool.
One house hosts an outdoor movie for the kids. This year it was Beetlejuice, which was a bit too scary for some of them. There was also a loft at one person's house, where the girls snuggled out of the cold. And it was cold, at least for Sonoma County. Brrrr. No wait, I mean: Aaaaarrrrrrrrrrr.

I forgot to bring my camera! These photos courtesy of Dave and Annelies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Finished Roof

The Finished Roof, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Yesterday Eden and I headed over to Dave and Annelies' to help finish the roof for the cob bench.
I had come over the day before and we hung the beam and cut rafters and generally worked out the design--then I had to go. Dave got most of it done after I left, but we had enough to do yesterday that I was quite sore this morning.
Since the structure isn't really sturdy enough to climb on, and has a steep slope behind it, getting the top all screwed down was hard!
Dave acid etched the galvanized roofing, so it wouldn't be so damn shiny. I think the whole thing looks pretty good. Though maybe a little bit like a bus stop?
I have to admit that once the roof was up I became very nervous about the posts being anchored enough in the cob. As it stands it feels really sturdy, but it's easy to imagine a strong wind catching that roof like a sail!
Dave talked about designing a permanent brace on the back and I was thinking about a cob buttress for each post. It wouldn't take too much work.
Of course the thing still needs plaster! It was supposed to be done by now, but we've had unseasonable rain and the bench is just a bit damp still.
More photos on Flickr.

andy & joe

andy & joe, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

On Sunday my sister Andrea and her husband Joe dropped by for a visit. They had just come from the Bioneers conference down in Marin County and were all fired up by the experience.
It was really great to get to visit. We walked over to Krista's studio and enjoyed the very warm October weather.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ron Paul

I'm fascinated by the Ron Paul candidacy. At first I thought he was just the Dennis Kucinich of the Republican party--someone bringing vital questions and ideas into the debate, but without any chance of winning the nomination--someone seriously 'off message' and forcing the other candidates to squirm a bit.
But it seems that Ron Paul is actually raising a good deal of campaign money, and consistently doing very well in post debate polling. My folks would have loved him--they were old school Republicans: fiscal conservatives and social libertarians.
I'm not saying I support the fellow. I think some of his ideas are nuts. But if it were a choice between him and Hillary Clinton, I'd probably go with Ron Paul.
There are a number of very slick Ron Paul videos out there on YouTube and such. They have such a propaganda feel to them that instead I'm posting this simple clip of debate footage, in case you want to know more about the guy.

Okay, on edit, Krista thinks I should put in this next video (one of the propaganda ones), because it does contain much more information about the dude. So here it is:

How To Talk Like A Pirate

This educational clip may be useful if you decide to seek a job with the current administration or one of its corporate sponsors.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Silly

I saw this last night and it made me laugh out loud, for real.

open studio

open studio, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

The first of a series. It went well. We were blessed with gorgeous weather and a number of good friends came to visit. At one point we were even sitting outside with Krista playing guitar for us!
I have to say, the studio never looked better and will only improve as new art comes on line over the coming weeks.
More photos over on Flickr.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Open Studio

Tomorrow is Krista's first open studio since she did Artrails two years ago. It's going to be so much better than Artrails was or could've been.

We've been working away over there and I have to say, the place looks great! To me. Not to Krista, alas. She knows how she wants it to look, poor girl.

Anyhow, it was raining hard this morning and rather dark, which was perfect for getting the lights set up. Except that I had to drag in the extension ladder and it was dripping like crazy!

I'm really glad that Krista is doing a series of these open studios, since she wants to have all these different things to show and there is no way to get it all done in one go. For example, she wants to paint this old violin case she bought, but it's barely started. It's going to look really cool too. She might even paint it tomorrow, though she's not sure if she can really paint when people (if people) are visiting. She might feel too self-conscious.

She also wants to paint on purses and bags and shoes and even neckties! She wants to do 'light forms'--paper and copper wire lanterns we were trying to get going for the Oregon Country Fair. And lots and lots of paintings. Lots of little ones and maybe a few big ones.

My vision is that she'll be out front on a sunny afternoon, playing and singing some cool song she wrote, passing the guitar around with friends. Folks'll drop by to see her art and talk and maybe there'll be a spontaneous poetry reading in the afternoon. People will hang out and laugh and tell stories and maybe she'll even sell some work!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Join Our Focus Group!!

Krista and I are getting ready to have six new paintings printed up as cards for her Deva Luna art business. It's been several years since we did a printing and I'm excited. I think this will really vitalize her business. The hard part is choosing which images to print--that's where you come in.
I've set up a temporary blog: Deva Luna Focus Group, where you can see the 16 contenders and vote for your six favorite. You can also email us if you have comments or want to rank your choices.
We're only going to leave the blog up for a few days, as we have to make the decision early next week. So if you feel so inclined, here's the link: Deva Luna Focus Group
Thanks for your help!
ps. the paintings were originally in alphabetical order, but I had some of the names wrong! Please consider the order random.

On Edit: this was a really cool process to watch. We've had 35 people vote so far, with the poll closed by tonight. We were surprised by some of the votes and it has really influenced our decision making! For example, I was dead set against As A River, Like A Snake, which Krista really wanted to print. So it's currently the number two choice of 35 people--I give in! I was pretty sure we'd print Egg Rain of Spring, but it only has 6 votes. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Early October here is sunny and warm. I love it. My bell peppers are finally turning red and orange. Some of the tomato plants on the deck are finally offering up big heavy and succulent fruits. The six wonderful tomatoes out in the raised beds are getting ready for the end. I still see a few yellow blossoms here and there, and we've got more nice red tomatoes on the vine still. But their end is near, I'm afraid. Out of six plants, I've got one Japanese eggplant. But at least it's very pretty! I've been totally neglecting my cucumber plants and have some scary looking cukes out there! I keep meaning to get some lettuce starts and trade out some of the tired old plants.

These days we have several big projects in the works--getting new cards made and Krista's open studio. With the card printing we're choosing six new paintings to be cards. I think that having new work will revitalize our card business. It's exciting putting the art out there as cards. The images really travel that way. The open studios are to be a low key affair. Still, they may be fun--I want to get some live music set up for at least one of them.

I've also been pushing to have more regular sit down dinners, with the girls taking a turn cooking. Once we started it made a major shift in our family dynamics. The girls both started taking a more active role in homemaking. It feels timely. The days are definitely getting shorter. Harvest time is upon us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Bench Project

Urbanite, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Some time ago, our friends Dave and Annelies expressed interest in building a cob bench in their backyard, and asked if I’d like to be involved. They had a pretty good sized pile of subsoil, from putting in a garden path and it looked like good clay. I gave them a materials list and we started in on the project last Wednesday.
India came with me the first day and the four of us laid an “urbanite” foundation from concrete chunks that Dave had scored around Santa Rosa. We also raised up the posts they’d bought for the roof structure and put in nails for the cob to grab onto. After India and I left, they also put in some concrete around the posts to help secure them, and around the surface of the bench to fill in the gaps.

The Foundation

The Foundation, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

It took us about two and a half hours to do the foundation. It’s eleven feet long and about five feet wide at the end. This was my first experience laying urbanite. It’s heavy!

Cob Making

Cob Making, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

On Saturday most of our playgroup, The Tumbleweeds, gathered to help make and apply the cob. There were eleven adults and a most of the girls joined in once in a while. I gave a few demos and ran around checking batches and soon we were building up the seat of the bench and getting the urbanite covered up on the sides.
I was amazed at how fast people caught on and how much we actually accomplished. It does take a lot of work to make a cob structure, but it’s fun and pretty low stress. Between the different steps of making batches, forming cobs and applying it to the structure, you get a pretty thorough workout.

The Cobbin' Tumbleweeds

Cobbin' Away, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

With such a big group, I was finding myself pulled in too many directions for a while—checking batches, adding sand and helping apply the cob. So I was very glad when Jean showed up a few hours into the project. She’s also had cob experience and helped a lot with the design details and especially getting the seat flat with a slight slope to shed water. I think Danny took the lead in getting that job accomplished—and since he’s a cabinetmaker by trade, it looked precise!

Cob Feet

Cob Feet, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

Finished for the Day

Finished for the Day, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

We worked all day, from about 11am to 6pm or so, with a break for lunch, and parted after a pizza dinner—tired but hopefully happy. It was great getting to work with these folks. We'd spent a lot of time together hanging out, camping and such. Working together to build something was very satisfying.

The Very Next Day

Installing the Bottles, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

I came back the next day, yesterday, to help Dave and Annelies finish. Alas, we didn’t quite finish, despite applying 5 big batches and worked for five solid hours.

Dave had excavated some new subsoil and it had much more clay in it, so it took a bit longer to get the batches right; and because we had to add so much sand the batches were huge. We were really missing those extra eight adults from the day before!

Here you can see how Dave had cut bottles and then taped them together to install in the bench back. We used a level and a crusty old stick to get them placed right.

So Far So Good.

So Far So Good., originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

It also took extra time to add the bottles and a glass plate, though they’ll make the finished bench look really beautiful. I think the bench was only one batch away from completion, and I hope they’ll finish it today. I was a little disappointed not to see it done yesterday, but I think there’s a certain magic to Dave and Annelies finishing it just the two of them, or with the kids. Maybe I’ll drag my tired body back over to photograph the final bench later this afternoon.

And of course there’s always the plaster to put on in a few weeks!