Monday, February 28, 2005

Fake Passports Finally Returned

Fake Passports Are Returned
Posted February 28, 2005

CINCINNATI-As written in last week's Breaking News, posted on Feb. 21, the Austrian artist, Robert Jelinek, had his fake passports confiscated from his luggage at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a customs agent thought they may be harmful if imported. The Contemporary Arts Center reports that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that the items will be released and returned to the artist. These "passports" were supposed to be included in the exhibition "Incorporated: a recent (incomplete) history of infiltrations, actions and propositions utilizing contemporary art," under the group "Sabotage."

The exhibit is a group of six artist groups who have adopted pseudo-institutional fronts to engage in political and socio-economic activities. Other artist groups included "The Atlas Group," "Institute for Applied Autonomy," "Newsense Enterprises," "Temporary Services" and "The Yes Men."

Saturday, February 26, 2005

6th Annual: Open That Bottle Night

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2005

OTBN was created in 1999 for a simple reason: All of us have that one bottle of wine that is so special to us that we plan to open it on an important occasion, but never do. On OTBN, as a world-wide community, we prepare a special meal, finally open that bottle, and celebrate the memories.

We found this article on the Wall Street Journal and thought it embodied a great amount of merit.,,SB110747617716745627-search,00.html?collection=wsjie%2F30day&vql_string=wines+with+a+past%3Cin%3E%28article%2Dbody%29

Quick notes for the evening: (add'l notes can be found in the link)
1. Stand the wine up
2. Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees).
3. With an old bottle, the cork may break easily.
4. Otherwise, do not decant.
5. Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.
6. Serve dinner.
7. Talk about the person who gave you the wine, or the circumstances under which you received it. This makes the wine resonate in a very sweet and personal way.
8. Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might be or might once have been.
9. Save one last glass in the bottle.
10. After the dishes are done, drink up, and enjoy those very last moments of a special night. asks that you drop them a note about your evening, although, we'd like to hear about it, too.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Chinese Horoscope for 1965

My MIL is hilarious. She's more pious than superstitious, but more often than not, she's humourous. Once in awhile, Andrew & I will find ourselves on a conference call with both of them, discussing work matters, etc. She'll continue with, "Well, I've been reading your horoscope."

"Who's?" we'll chime together.

It so happens, I found my Chinese horoscope 2005 forecast during Year of the Rooster.

For those born in '65:
Your lucky sector is the Southeast (142.5° - 157.5°) of the home provided it does not house unfavourable time energies. This year is the best for you to carve a niche for your career. You must be able to differentiate between good and bad friends. In order for you to show off your talents, you must have a strong determination. Be extra careful when dealing with documents and contracts. Your wealth luck is good and there will be gains in your investments. There will also be chances in striking the lottery.You will become a popular person this year and you will go on many dates. Do be faithful towards your love partner. "

Hmm... if I really believe that I didn't have options in my life and that I didn't control my fate, this looks pretty damn good. Let's see what happens with both the forecast and my determination combined. Stay tuned.

For your personal forecast, you can go here:

Status du jour

After pestering him about her condition, I learn that her health is steady but not necessarily on the rise. I encouraged him to at least send out a quick note to inform the rest of us -not immediately in the circle- because we just can't get the hourly updates. I just received a note yesterday that she now needs a tracheotomy to relieve the stress on the vocal cords. God, a trach...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

New Zealand Unveils Stonehenge Replica

Celts, rejoice! A full-scale replica of Stonehenge has opened in New Zealand.

C|Net - Located roughly 90 minutes from the capital city of Wellington, Stonehenge Aotearoa is designed to educate the public about astronomy and the technical capabilities of the ancients, as well as draw tourists. It doesn't look like the present-day, crumbling 4,000-year-old stones in southern England. Rather, it tries to re-create how the structures may have appeared at the time of their ribbon cutting.

More than 1,000 hours of astronomical calculations and surveys went into the design of the structure, which took about a year to erect, according to the Phoenix Astronomical Society, which came up with the idea for the replica and built it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Artist's 'fantasy passports' confiscated at airport

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) -- Fake passports created by an Austrian artist for a contemporary museum exhibit were confiscated at an airport after a customs agent thought they might be harmful if imported, government and museum officials said Tuesday.

"I think it says a lot about the condition of our world today, that everyone is understandably on the alert," said director Linda Shearer.

The items were supposed to be included in the museum's exhibit titled "State of Sabotage," which focuses on government or corporate power over the individual, Shearer said.

The items belonged to an art group headed by Vienna artist Robert Jelinek, and included what the government described as "fantasy passports," along with ink pads, rubber stamps and ink. They were taken from Jelinek's luggage February 9 in Detroit as he headed for Cincinnati.

You can read more of the ridiculous story here but also note, I believe art effectuates truth. Or is it the opposite?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Day Treat

Both Andrew and I have our fortés, specially when it comes to the kitchen: he cooks, I eat. Simple. Luv that! However, I do enjoy concocting ingenious chocolate decadence every once in awhile.

My culinary alchemist and I shared an evening of pork tenderloin with wine reduction sauce, baby aspargras, sweet potatoe and a luscious bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel; inspired by one of our new favorite Atlanta restaurants: Vine. Additionally, I made every exception to get my carcass into the kitchen to do something nice for my beloved and decided to create something totally new.

Manhattan's ice cream parlor, Serendipity 3, gave me impetus to attempt their Frozen Hot Chocolate. Realizing that the prep time was minimal and we'd have fun sharing a little chocolate tête-a-tête, I can see how this was 'the bomb' 50 years ago.

Frozen Hot Chocolate Recipe

6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates
2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice
Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings


Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted.

Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Enjoy with a spoon or a straw.

Our recommendations
We shopped at our local Wholefoods and picked up hazelnut milk chocolate, Ghirdelli's double-chocolate chip and dark chocolate bar. We also used only 2 cups of ice since all 3 cups taxed our blender.


I just had to make my Valentine a card:

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York Chocolate Cafes

Hershey bars are for the weak - one needs to travel to NYC to get a taste at a local chocolate cafe! Each cafe has its own personality and at most cafes, chocolates from the display case are $1 to $3.50 apiece; desserts requiring a fork run $5 to $8. Hot chocolate so thick you'll need a spoon and a cold water chaser runs $3 to $7.

The Chocolate Bar, in the West Village
(48 Eighth Ave., near Jane Street).
Specialty: Chocolate tea. light, palate-clearing alternative to the thick hot chocolate.
Treats: creatively flavored -- rosehip chocolates and seriously spicy brownies.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven (350 Hudson St., near King).
Specialty: Chocolate is made from scratch, starting with the cocoa beans. Window show of candymakers in white gowns assembling goodies amid the mini-factory's gleaming silver tubes and vats. The spacious, light-filled, unpretentious cafe has a warm and welcoming staff. Cookies and other treats are also available.

Payard (1032 Lexington Ave. near 73rd Street).
Specialty: Masterpiece collection of chocolates named for painters. Picasso is dark chocolate flavored with Earl Gray; Van Gogh is chocolate with pistachio, and Chagall has pralines.

Chocolate Chess, anyone?

La Maison du Chocolat (1018 Madison Ave., near 78th Street).
Specialty: Togo, dark chocolate filled with mousse ($6), is a nice alternative to individual chocolates. There's another Maison at 30 Rockefeller Plaza if you're ice-skating or visiting the newly reopened Museum of Modern Art (53rd Street near Fifth Avenue).

SOHO Boutiques
Vosges Haut Chocolat(132 Spring St., near Greene).
Specialty: The unusual combinations, like white chocolate with olive oil and Kalamata olives, and "Budapest" -- dark chocolate with Hungarian paprika.

Lunettes et Chocolat (25 Prince St., near Mott).
Specialty: Eye candy. The store sells eyeglass frames -- $225 to $1,000 -- and MarieBelle chocolates -- two for $7. Chocolates here are miniature works of art, topped with colorful, edible geometric designs and silhouettes, all silkscreened on cocoa butter with natural food coloring. Wash them down with spicy hot chocolate, containing cinnamon, nutmeg and chipotle. (Another MarieBelle is located at 484 Broome St., near West Broadway.)

The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park (Two West Street, at the foot of Manhattan, near the Bowling Green subway station):
Specialty: Chocolate Bar. Fridays and Saturdays in February, at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., plus 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.

Finally, if you've got an extra 100 bucks to blow, go to FAOSwartz(58th Street and Fifth Avenue).
Specialty: Volcano. A chocolate-and-ice cream concoction, with candy boulders and chocolate caramel lava, serves four; kids get hardhats and shovels before digging in.

We've love to frequent Marie-Belle on Bloome. They've got thee best hot chocolate served up European style. We enjoy bringing it back as a gift to our kitty sitter.

Marie Belle

Why Darker is Better

We don't have to avoid chocolate altogether on St. Valentine's Day.

My daily South Beach Diet Newsletter confirms that limiting the milk chocolate consumption and head straight to the dark. Why?

Darker is better and frankly, milk chocolate tends to contain quite a bit of sugar. Choosing the plain chocolate bars are often labeled with a percentage of cacao (50%, 70%, etc.) shows the higher the percentage, the more antioxidants it contains. One can find these at your local Wholefoods stores and other specialty spots.

Woo-hoo! We've just purchased a combination of sweet dark, milk chocolate hazelnut, and double chocolate for a special dessert I'm making for my honey tomorrow night. I won't reveal it until it's made, so hold tight and I'll disclose the recipe Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Pheadrus de la Felidae Isle Poste

Year of the Rooster 2005
It has been my penchant to procrastinate in the most creative ways. I've just joined an artistamp group and have finally busted hump to combine both my calligraphic endeavors with layout. Aside from the fact that I've wanted to begin a series of Chinese New Year animals...

Here is my first official release from the Felidae Noir Press:

Additional components of this overachiever include:
*Contacting the director of this group to assign a personal AML#, mine happens to be #223.
*Personally create a fictitious 'Issuing Authority' and 'Issuing Country'. I am Countess Phaedrus de la Felidae Isle (Protectorate of Baccharoo) and my issuing authority is the Felidae Noir Poste.
*I will soon have my own authentic mail cancel stamp with my real zip code. Details forthcoming.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Optical Illusions

One would think I am ransacking the net for the strange and bizarre. However, it just seems to be my lifestyle to point these things out while others believe certain products and beliefs 'just exist without question.' It's a designer's creed to create and understand optical illusions in pursuit of the client's final product.

Here is the classic example of an optical illusion. Do you see a young woman or an old lady. Bonus point if you see both.

Now, I have to ask, do these cheese spreaders look like mice to you... or do they look like members of the KKK?

The reinforcment of this illusion is that the product is large and faded against the stark white background, while appearing to loom over the landscape like a cross on a landscape. Moreover, the contrived product with rounded arms seems like a friendly introduction for a KKK larve playground.

Swatch "Bunnysutra"

The makers of this particular Swatch want us to believe these bunnies are just actually snuggling together. Well, if that's what they call it these days...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Cask Wines

As aspiring oenophiles, we're reading good things about boxed, er, cask wines. "Cask" wines are the new name for "boxed" wines with the quality from the wine-in-a-bottle but at the fraction of the cost. We've begun to open our minds and our palates to vineyard and technology experimentation. With the evolution of plastic, it's amazing how they've been able to stave off the oxidation process for almost nine months; the boxed wines are now in the ring with the better of them.

We're delighted to report that one has definitely passed our taste: SE Australian BoxingRoo Shiraz.

It's dark purple with a creamy, berry nose. It's rich and soft with distinctive spicy berry and gentle currant flavors. It's about $18 for a 3-liter box, equivalent to 4 bottles. They've even got a measure on the side with the number of bottles displayed. One can't see how much remains since the box is, well, cardboard. I like it because it looks like software packaging.

As far as we know, there is only one place that sells it in Raleigh -but we're not revealing the location.

Georgian Wine

Okay, we bought this Georgian wine strictly because of the bottle. Asking a few questions, we learned it's a sweet red -which suits us perfectly. We haven't tried it yet, but I have scanned the tag attached. I'll take the photo later and we'll definitely post our reviews. I just need to learn more about it before I open the ceramic bottle -I get only one attempt at opening the bottle correctly.

What I've recently learned about the Kindzmarauli: Red, naturally semi-sweet wine, 100% Saperavi varietal, from the Kindzmarauli microzone of the Kvareli area in the Kakheti region, Republic of Georgia. It has a distinguishable varietal bouquet, intense aroma, harmonious and velvety flavor.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Calling Cards Reinvented

I had been talking about this idea for a long time now and it's come to fruition. Actually, I didn't do anything about it, someone else has.

Street Cards are a great way of keeping in touch. Not to mention, a blessed way of breaking the ice for those of us who can't seem to open themselves to new people.

This is just super cool and super easy.

We love that!

gapingvoid: inspiration

I've just discovered this book gapingvoid: how to be creative by huge mcleod and I love it. Additionally, on his blog I found a fabulous collection of bizcard art. I wish he'd print up t-shirts or something because I found the one I want.

"Wolf vs Sheep"
No, I don't have an answer to which option is better. Both exact a heavy toll, eventually.