Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hooked on Sardonyx (Affeto Sardonice)

It's a cloudy dreary chilly day in Dallas, which is fine because it all goes well with my mood today. Downtown, the streets are filled with people on their way to lunch.

I've just ducked into one of my favorite places called Porta di Roma, a Chinese takeout place. Just kidding, it's Italian food. The name means 'gateway to Rome', but no matter how many doors I open here I can't see Piazza Navona through any of them.

The food is really authentic and the view is great because it's directly across from Neiman Marcus, the famous high end retailer. People watching is at its best in Dallas here. You can see millionaires pull up in chauffeured stretch cars, or maybe a homeless guy wearing a baseball cap with wings slowly pushing a shopping cart with watermelons dressed like Cabbage Patch Kids (tm).

As for myself, I need to stop back into Neiman Marcus today because:
a) my personal shopper there has rent due soon and keeps tweeting me
b) they finally have their secret cookie recipe for sale as in the urban legend, or
c) I want to see if the sardonyx bowls that were full price last year on sale now

As is the case when taking tests, 'C' statistically is the right answer.

Sardonyx is a type of onyx / calcite with just the right red / brown colorations that nice sconces and lighting fixtures try to copy with patinated glass. But, this is the real mineral deal that was used for thousands of years and usually worth more than gold.

In Venice, in the treasury of the San Marco cathedral, they have wonderful sardonyx treasure cups taken back in the fourth crusade like this one with the lower section in the rare stone.

Going back further, first century Romans created great works with it as the cup of the Ptolemies and 'Great Cameo of France' below.

I'm kind of a sculpture guy first, so you can understand my appreciation for a material that is so workable like this from a carving standpoint, and also has such beautiful color and translucency.

Some nice sardonyx sconces are called for in my media room. It's probably not a good idea though to just hang the Neiman Marcus bowls on the wall with duct tape and bailing wire? I think they were $11,000 last year.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mongorians (i Mongoli, fanno carne buona!)

Well, well, well my blogchum lovelies, it's been a busy week and a half-ish, but we meet again. I've chopped more mosaic marble pieces than I'm comfortable to admit. Also, I'm working on some top secret art projects that only a dear few know the details of, but in the meanwhile...

Let's talk about some Changs... On OWO's blog, I think I commented about a Mongorian Beef recipe that was pretty good, so maybe it is high time that it was shared amongst the blogosphere with its rich Mongolian goodness, oops Mongorian goodness. You can make this in the privacy of your place without having to see what's on the giant horses' end at the restaurant.

The Ingredients (stuff to put into said recipe)

The 'sauce'
2 tsp veg oil
2 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

The 'meat'
1/4 cup oil
1.5 lb flank steak
1/3 cup cornstarch
large green onions

First make sauce by heating the veg oil in pan on medium. Add ginger / garlic and do a miniature stir fry for a few minutes, it makes you feel like a giant. 'HA HA HA, I'M A GIANT MAKING A NORMAL SIZED STIR FRY.'
Then, add the soy sauce and water mix (1 cup total) into the fray that is the wee stir fry.
Next, melt the brown sugar in as if it were the wicked witch of the west.
Boil it all for about 3 minutes until slightly thicker, then cut off the heat and pour the sauce off somewhere (like in a bowl or something).

Ok, now get out the steak and slice it all into quarter inch strips with a really wicked sharp knife against the grain of the meat and at a 45 degree angle to the plate (so there is more surface area of the beef).
Put the cornstarch over the beef and work it in as if you were Danny DeVito luckily getting to give a massage to Holly Hunter (it's totally extra credit if you get that reference). Let the meat with cornstarch on it sit for 10 minutes while the 'meat oil' heats up if you know what I mean (because oil was put in the pan and you turned the burner on).

When hot, throw the meat on and brown it a bit, then add the sauce (remember that bowl you saved), let that boil for a few minutes, and finally add the green onions.
Stir it around in the hot wetness until the onions go wilty (the metaphor is almost poetic in its simplicity).

Anyway, I hope this will be helpful until the next post in which I will put up something art and or neoclassically related in some form.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Deja Vu

So I have to ask, have you read this blog post before?

Some years ago, I'd read a book called 'Innumeracy' by a fellow named Paulos. In it, he pointed out how most people don't have a good scale for measuring the probabilities of an incredibly vast number of possible events.

We tend to remember the one match of millions of things that we might have thought of subconciously. At that moment, we might have a strong sense of deja vu or enthusiastically inform people 'Yes, I dreamed this would happen!' So much input gets processed by our brains without really noticing what all is going in.

Still, it's hard to shake the notion that sometimes the premonitions (for lack of a better word) are a bit too accurate. It can be frightning at times. I'm sure that many others have these prophesorial visions that seem to come true also, but here are some of mine.

1) Mid-day December 23, 2010 - Driving to the mall, I switched the car radio and predicted the Mariah Carey 'All I want for Christmas' song would play. AND IT DID. Is she related to Drew Carey?

2) Afternoon of January 7, 2011 - I kind of thought the whole Charlie Sheen thing wouldn't work out well.

3) Morning of February 2, 2011 - Visions of Oriental Salad with Macadamia Nut Chicken at Kona grill appeared before me in my sleep. That very day, I found myself inexplicably at lunch eating the very same food!

4) March 30, 2010 - Dreamed that in my office, I had a very real increased gravity feel, and light became blindingly bright out the window, and I saw a face of the Ahmadinejad guy from Iran. Luckily this one has not come true yet.

What premonitions or deja vu incidences have you had? Do any of them repeat?