Cubical dweller again

I suppose that only a handful of my readers remember the days when this blog was CubicleDweller.com. Back in the heyday of personal blogs, I wrote frequently about life at the office, working the cubical farm — you can still read those posts in the archives here. Fewer readers will know that this is how I got the name “Cubey”, which I carried forward as “Cubey Terra” for a decade and a half of building aeronautic fun in the virtual world.

As of last week, I’ve headed back to the cube farm. I’m once again working full-time as a software technical writer. What that means is that Cubey Terra will only be around on weekends, and that new hoverboard will be delayed. 


If any of my Second Life customers need help, please go ahead and message me in-world — I get those as emails, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. 

So Second Life, I’ll see you next weekend. Real life, I see you all the time, don’t I? Stop being so clingy.

Christmas leftover mélange recipe

A blender, often used once right after Christmas, and thereafter used to fill space in the back of the bottom cupboard
A blender, often used once right after Christmas, and thereafter used to fill space in the back of the bottom cupboard

This recipe is not only an excellent way to finish up the endless Christmas leftovers, but also great for trying out the blender you unwrapped two days ago.

  1. Add some leftovers to the blender jar: cold, slimy turkey meat, dried-up mashed potatoes, and veggies with the good ones picked out (leaving mainly Brussels sprouts).
  2. If you have any gravy left, add that, but realistically all you’ll have is a gallon of cranberry sauce. Add that with a deep sigh of resignation.
  3. Carefully measure 1 cup of rum-and-eggnog, gulp it down, then put the rest into the blender.
  4. If you have any fruit cake or short bread you can optionally add them or you could keep them until next year. They’ll be completely inedible by then, but nobody will notice, since they’re never actually eaten.
  5. Purée until smooth. If you need more liquid, add the tears of young children who didn’t get exactly what they wanted for Christmas.
  6. Decant the mixture into a large, disposable cup, and throw it vigorously at your neighbour’s garish lights-and-sounds Christmas lawn display — it’s best served at Santa’s head, but Rudolf or Frosty are reasonable substitutes.

After the overwhelming merriment of the holiday season, a large mug of this mélange of Christmas cheer can bring relaxation and smug satisfaction as you peer between the curtains at your confused neighbours.

How I love Christmas

Children everywhere in this time zone are at this moment practically quaking and excitement of jumping out of bed to see what Santa brought them. That was me, an undisclosed number of years ago. More than a few. Okay, a lot of years.

What do I look forward to in Christmas Day these days?

  • Annoying people by sleeping late.
  • Eating a proper breakfast.
  • Looking back on a full day and knowing that it won’t be back for 364 days.

I think of Christmas in the same way that the writers say, “I loathe writing, but I love having written.”

I love having Christmassed.

Merry Christmas, all. Don’t worry. It’s over soon. 🎄

Technical issues with this site

Due to a strange technical problem with my web hosting company, PJMCo, my site has been down for a while. It seems to be back for the moment, but as I change web hosts, there may be another day or so of weirdness. I’m in the process of rebuilding the layout, menus, and images.

Owners of Terra vendors in Second Life, your vendors should be back online and working just fine. Should the vendor backend on this site have issues, the vendors safely go offline. So please leave them in place while I resolve the website side of things.

I didn’t know how much of my life depended on cavers.ca being up and running until it vanished.

Caramel sauce recipe

Who doesn’t like caramel sauce on ice cream or a brownie? Nobody. Nobody but the scum of the earth.

In fact, if you want to find out if you should be friends with somebody, offer them a dessert with caramel sauce. If they refuse, kick them out of your home and never speak to them ever again.

This is caramel sauce. It’s important. I don’t think I’m being too extreme.

20150318-caramel_spoonThe greatest thing about caramel sauce is that it’s not some magical substance that can only obtained in a bottle at the corner store. It’s so amazingly easy to make, that you’re about to find out why you’ll never buy it again.

Why make it yourself? First of all, the bottled stuff isn’t real caramel. It’s almost certainly corn syrup with flavours, thickeners, and preservatives. You don’t need any of that. The real thing is caramelized sugar, cream, butter, and a hint of salt. That’s it. These simple ingredients can make a miracle substance that has the power to win you friends forever. That, or just rot your teeth and add pounds to your waist. Win-win, right?

Here’s how you make yourself a hero to your family and friends.

WARNING: Treat hot sugar very carefully. If it spatters on your skin, it can burn you badly.  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice (I’m not certain, but I think the lemon helps inhibit sugar crystallization.)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter in 1″ cubes
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation

  1. In the bottom of a very deep pot, place the sugar, water, and lemon and place on medium heat.  DO NOT STIR.
    NOTE: The pot should be much deeper than you appear to need because when you add the milk (later), it will froth up energetically.
  2. While the sugar is heating, heat the cream in a separate pot until it starts boiling, then reduce temperature to warm.
  3. Stages of caramelizing sugar from wet, granulated sugar (left) to dark amber (right). Darker than this will taste increasingly bitter.
    Stages of caramelizing sugar from wet, granulated sugar (left) to dark amber (right). Darker than this will taste increasingly bitter.

    When the sugar begins to boil, watch the colour carefully. It will change colour from light amber to dark. Be vigilant because the time between a light amber and dark is less than half a minute, in which time the flavour changes from sweet bland to bitter and burned. Catch it in between, and your caramel will be flavourful.

  4. When the caramel reaches the right colour, remove it from heat and carefully stir in the hot cream until it’s an even colour. WARNING: It will froth up energetically, and by “energetically” I mean it’s just short of an explosion. 
  5. Before you’ve lost the heat, add the butter and stir until it’s an even, creamy colour.
  6. Add tiny amounts of salt to taste. Some people enjoy salty caramel; others don’t. It’s up to you.
  7. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
Caramelized sugar mixed with cream and butter
Caramelized sugar mixed with cream and butter

NOTE: You can control the thickness of your caramel by varying the amount of cream. For caramel sauce, use the amount indicated above; for caramel filling for cake or chocolates, reduce that amount.

If your caramel solidifies in the refrigerator, warm it gently in the microwave or on a stove top, stirring regularly.