Thursday, June 18, 2009

the spirit enters into me and I submit to trust

I am way late on announcing this, but if anyone reading this has purple poetry in mind, hie thee hence to Winterfell Absinthe and der Hut des Jaegers! The theme is purple in honor of the RFL; the time is NOW (which would be five pm SLT, runs until seven pm SLT or so); so GO, already!

Remember the rules for proper poetry appreciation: no push weapons, all ammunition temp-rez only. Thanks!

Some controversy is currently being aired around and about on how Marianne McCann, noted child spokesperson, was seen on the adult continent dancing with Blondin Linden and a giant penis.

Apparently no one got pictures (or I couldn't find them); but I did find these:

M Linden in Zindra with Marianne McCann present
Blondin Linden dancing with a giant penis

Now, depending on how the two images were taken, these could have been hours apart. Was Miss Marianne still there? With the adult continent untenanted, does it matter why she was there? (She admits in her own blog that she was there, because she loves exploring new lands. And let's face it, there hasn't been a whole new continent for a LONG time!)

Me, I'm more curious as to why the voices denouncing her presence loudest seemed to take no photographic proof of things.

And I'm also amused at the concept of Blondin Linden dancing at the opening of Zindra with a giant penis. I'm sure the jokes will occur to everyone reading this, so I don't have to go into any of them.

Now, then, let's talk about dynamic image resizing; it's a very good thing, but it also strongly contributes to the death of trust in image, a state we've been moving towards for years, now. If we cannot trust the images we see, if they can easily and conveniently be manipulated, we are left with only memory to confirm our experiences.

And memory does get so tricky at times...

(If you want to play around with the concept, and you work with Gimp, they've got a liquid rescaling plug-in to do so. Make sure your version of Gimp is at least 2.4.)

In musical news, BWAHAHAHAHA...I mean, yay! Actually, that is a yay, that's going in the bandcar. Very, very keen. I'll switch my parcels accordingly when it arrives. :)

And, if I may get personal a moment...


Each year, today rolls around and I realize, I have a lower bar for the good birthday than most people. If I'm alive come today, I am happy. Everything else is icing.

But late yesterday, it struck me--I have so many others in my life that contribute to my happiness, as much as I try to contribute to theirs. And I know so many passionate, intelligent, creative people, people who would be amazing in any reality, and I realize that more than being happy for me, I'm happy, humbled and grateful to know them.

So it may be happy birthday to me, but it's also me realizing that I am very happy to know you. As much as I may disagree with some people, as much as the Lindens irk me at times, we're all here, the world is here, we're all learning together.

So it's a very good day, today, for all those reasons as well. (Even if I'm taking today off from Second Life to celebrate the first one.)


It struck me also, much as coming across this image made me miss the floating chain, how far I've come with Morgaine. And to be honest, really, truthfully, I will never be the one with the showplace home. It's just not in me. My idea of period style is not the palatial upper-crust estate, it's the faery ring off in the woods watched by Victorian photographers. It's the opium den draped in faded silk fabrics, redolent with poppy smoke and incense, small cups of gunpowder tea next to low pallets. It's the pyramid buried in the heart of London, the fogged and filthy streets of Whitechapel.

I'm a peasant at heart. But I finally feel like I have something close to appropriate on the Morgaine parcel. We'll see how long it lasts. :)

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the single densest chocolate cake I know, flourless and divine: the appropriately named Bête Noire. Enjoy.


1/2 cup (4 ounces, or 113 grams) water
1-1/3 cups (10.6 ounces, or 310.6 grams) sugar
8 ounces (225 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks; 8 ounces, or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature

White Chocolate Sauce:

1/2 cup (4 ounces, or 113 grams) heavy (whipping) cream
5 ounces (about 150 grams) white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (little over 53 ml, or 2 ounces) Drambuie, Amaretto, or Frangelico (you can also go with liqueur of choice, but these are the top three)

Whipped cream (garnish)
White chocolate (or dark chocolate) curls (garnish)

First, butter a 9-inch (228.6 mm) round cake pan (not a springform) and line the bottom with a piece of buttered parchment paper.

Combine the water and 1 cup (225 grams) of sugar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for two minutes; remove the pan from heat and add the chopped unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates piece by piece, stirring constantly until melted.

Add one piece of soft butter to the pan, stirring until it melts. Add the remaining butter, one piece at a time, until all of it is incorporated into the batter. This will take about ten minutes; keep the pan off the heat.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the remaining sugar on high speed for five minutes or so, until the eggs are light-colored and have tripled in volume.

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs until blended. Do this slowly, don't over-mix the two: you'll deflate the cake if you do!

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Set the cake in a roasting pan and add a half inch (12.7 mm) of hot water to the roasting pan to create a water bath (bain-marie). Bake until the cake is just set, twenty-five minutes to half an hour, depending on oven temp.

Remove the cake pan from the water bath and set on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Carefully slide a chill knife around the rim of the pan, put a serving plate over the pan upside-down, then carefully invert the cake onto it (flip the pan, basically).

White Chocolate Sauce:

To make the White Chocolate Sauce, place the cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then remove the pan from the stove. Add the white chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Then stir in the liqueur of your choice.

To serve, slice the cake into wedges, wiping the knife blade after each cut. Place the cake atop a pool of warm White Chocolate Sauce, or just drizzle the cake with the sauce on a small plate. Garnish with whipped cream and white (or dark) chocolate curls.

This is amazingly rich; think (very very very) thin slices. It's akin to eating a truffle, it's that dense. You can serve it hot or cold, there are adherents for both. And it won't freeze, but you can refrigerate it for up to a week.

Diabetic notes: Still insanely rich, but you can substitute the sugar in this for Splenda in equal amounts. You'd still have the sweetened white chocolate to deal with, I can't track down a sugarless white chocolate source. But it may be out there.

And that's all for now. See you Friday!

[Yes, there are other alternatives to Splenda, but few are baking-stable. For that, it's Splenda, stevia powder, which has to be measured person to person, sometimes, and there's 10% of the population who can't eat it at all...or the alcoholized sugar alternatives, xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol--which can cause severe gastric upset to many. Compared to that, Splenda becomes kind of the only game in town. But you're free to experiment.]


Darien Mason said...

Happy birthday, Emilly. My day was rather...mixed...but hey, I'm still alive, and surrounded by friends, just like you!

Alexandra Rucker said...

Splenda is teh ebil.

Alternatives (for those who object on moral grounds or who have allergies) include Xylitol (which probably will be easier to substitute 1:1, but may take some tinkering) or Stevia (if the recipe doesn't need the sugar *properties* to bake right) or.... can't think of the rest. Beet sugar maybe? Haven't tried that though.

hba said...

Happy burpday, Miss Orr :)x

Emilly Orr said...

Dr. Mason: thank you, and I hope your day was more good than bad, at least.

Alex: The problem is baking; most of the acceptable non-weird alternatives don't bake well. I added in a few alternative suggestions, but it's all what you can handle, what doesn't hurt you.

Beet sugar, I don't know, and I'm looking into something called Fructia, or something like that--half fructose, which will pop blood sugar, but slower, with stevia, which doesn't at all. And then there's agave syrup...but it doesn't come granulated.

And Mr. Antform, thank you kindly. I had a great deal of fun, terrorized my dear ones with Phantom of the Paradise and Die Hard, and for once, nothing exploded on the personal front in scarifying ways. Yay!

Alexandra Rucker said...

Agave will bake (very!) well, I've used it in place of granulated sugar at a 3:4 ratio of Agave:Sugar. Yes, liquid:granulated.

Still has the fructose blood sugar pop problem, but at least it bakes. Haven't experimented with the others in baking - yet. I'll have to research Stevia, because that really seems to be the least "quirky" of the substitutes so far.

Emilly Orr said...

You know, I keep narrowing the world view, and I should let it sink in I don't have to. Most people can--and will, if they know about them--order things over the net, and moreover, there's no great difficulty overall for almost everyone to do so. Tch. I'll see if I can find some good sources for things.

Alexandra Rucker said... :-)

Seriously, I'm still amazed at the shit I find on Amazon.

BTW... this flashed across my medical radar: "June 15, 2009 (Washington, DC) — People who use artificial sweeteners are heavier, more likely to have diabetes, and more likely to be insulin-resistant compared with nonusers, according to data presented here during ENDO 2009, the 91st annual meeting of The Endocrine Society...."

Emilly Orr said...

Yeah, but get the American people to believe that in large numbers, that's the tricky bit.

Anyone who uses artificial sweeteners also has more health problems and more sweet food cravings; and that's been known for decades, now. But if that really catches on in decent numbers, the Coke wars are over--not by virtue of Coke or Pepsi winning, but by virtue of neither one having the huge market share they crave.