Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana

Big trouble for folks in the Philippines. I get so many requests for money, from so many different groups, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and tune them out. Just today I deleted an email from Oxfam America without even opening it. But tonight I happened to see this set of photos on Boston Globes "The Big Picture" and was struck by how hard it's going to be for these folks to get through this disaster. Guess I'll pony up some money. At least I feel I can trust Oxfam to use it well.
Check out the photos here. If you want to donate, here's a link.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I'm only about 20 minutes into this film so far. It explores shamanic consciousness and the disenchantment of the western world view. Awesome visual montage with trippy music and What The Bleep style interviews with some very articulate and interesting folks. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Excavation Complete, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

On Monday Jerry pulled the sand out and we came over to check it out. I was surprised at what a difference it made, and I'm still not sure how to explain it. Somehow having the big empty space inside makes the whole thing so much more beautiful, intriguing, appealing....full of potential?
Jerry is itching to get a fire going in there, but it really makes sense to wait a few days, to let the air dry it out more. We don't want any big cracks, and too much steam escaping from too wet cob could certainly make them. I've seen a few very sad photos. So patience is called for.
But I did stick a candle in there! That was cool.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take a Little Trip

Check out this gorgeous travel photography by Lucie Debelkova on Flickr. I've got the link set to take you to an awesome slide show. Just let it run, sit back and enjoy and you'll get to see some remarkable places. Down in the lower right hand corner you should see a button to make it full screen. My favorites start after a minute or so.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Snail Shell

The Snail Shell, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

This afternoon we got the cob oven to a nice level of completion. All we have to do now is remove the sand (next Tuesday), let it air dry, and build some drying fires.
Hopefully it won't crack too much.
After a few weeks of drying out, we'll mix up a nice batch of finish plaster and have at it. Jerry chose a subdued snail shell design and Krista helped pull it off.
I'm pleased with the outcome so far, although I'm a little sore. We build the base fairly low, which was right for the yard, but it meant a lot of bending over to apply the material. Oh well, soon to be forgotten.
We had a lot of help. Yesterday we were lucky to have a 15 year old homeschooler Ben and his dad Charles. They were way into it and worked really hard with us in the blazing heat. Ugh.
Today we had Meredith and Jon and Zephyr and Julie from up the street, along with Joyce, Krista and Eden. A most excellent crew!
You can see the photos here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Images of Burning Man 2009

My Flickr pal Tristan (aka loupiote (old school)) has an incredible set of photos from this years event. Click here to see his Flickr set. If you choose to go for uncensored access, just be aware that there are a few R or even X rated images. At this point I believe he's still adding to the collection. He also has sets for years past. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

Here's a link to an excellent article by Michael Pollan on the need to reform the American diet, if we're going to succeed with universal health care.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We're # 37!!!

Cob Oven Update

We got to this stage yesterday. The fire bricks are resting on a bed of sand, and more or less level, but with a slight slope toward where the door will be. Our next step is to build a dome of sand (which will define the oven space) and then a cob shell over the sand. Actually, this shell won't have any straw in it, so I guess it's not exactly cob.
We're planning to then scoop the sand out of the shell and build a fire inside to harden the shell. Once that's done there are two more layers to add (and maybe some plaster), then it's pizza time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cob Oven

Foundation, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

I'm helping Krista's dad Jerry build a cob oven in their backyard. We used some really top notch "urbanite" we scored from some neighbors.
Jerry laid a good bed of gravel then we built up the walls. He wanted the oven to be fairly low, so as not to block the view of the garden. I thought it looked like a wishing well from some communist country--all gray concrete filled with gray gravel.
Jerry later added a layer of glass bottles and fine pumice stone for insulation purposes.
Yesterday we borrowed my friend Karen's pick up truck and drove to my other friend Peg's house and shoveled in a full load of premium clay soil. We drove (very slowly) back to Jerry's and wheelbarrowed into their back patio, then wheelbarrowed out the big pile of crappy 'topsoil' he'd excavated for the foundation and then drove (very slowly) back to Karen's and unloaded it in her side yard. By the end of that little venture we were a bit worn out (to say the least).
Today we made two batches of cob, with the help of Krista, Joyce and Eden. Basically we just built up a little curb of cob around the perimeter and a thin floor of cob to hold a nice level bed of sand.
The fire bricks go on top of the sand, and that's tomorrow's labor of love.
It feels great to be building something again, especially an oven. I can practically taste the pizza already. Which is some consolation because I'm damn sore all over!

The Base

Jerry preparing the foundation.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Seeing this film was a birthday present from Meredith and Steve, and a very good one.
We all loved this film. For me it worked on every level--a great nostalgia trip, lots of engaging side stories, a very authentic and wonderful acid trip scene, transformational stories, great music and lots of naked women! Far out!
Actually, there's one scene of naked people bathing in a lake that took me right back to a powerful dream I'd had a few months ago.
Anyhow, we all loved it. And I reckon it's a good film to actually see on the big screen. It was a pretty big event, after all.
By the way, there's zero footage of bands actually playing on stage. You only see the stage in the far distance. I liked that. With half a million souls attending, the show on stage was only a tiny part of the whole trip.