The new media does not feed us fully formed chunks, but broken chips and blips of imagery. We are required to piece an identity together to create a configurative or modular personality. This explains why so many millions are desperately searching for an identity.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A practical guide to preparing for a buffet party

Planning any party can be indeed stressful, however, thorough planning and arrangements could eliminate many difficulties and result in a more controlled and memorable event.
A buffet party is certainly the fun answer to most home entertainment woes when more than eight people are invited. It can be just as impressive as the more conservative sit-down menu if some articulation is afforded on aspects such as presentation and display of the food. A buffet table should also provide the perfect excuse for impressive settings, perhaps with swags of flowers or greenery as well as a large main decoration. The food should be decorative too and must be arranged for ease of access when guests serve themselves.
Depending on the space available you could either place the buffet table against a wall in order for guests to move along in front of the table and serve themselves or situate it in the middle of the room so that guests can move around the table. No matter the system, there should naturally be a starting point for serving indicated by a pile of platters. Furthermore, a buffet set against a wall, the main decoration should be at the rear of the table and positioned centrally. When guests are walking around the table the decoration should be placed in the centre for maximum effect. The buffet table should also be set in a cool, well ventilated place, away from radiators and covered with a protective cloth before adding the decorative linen as spillage is bound to take place.
Ensure that all dishes are easy to reach and there are serving spoons at hand. Any meat that needs carving should be set in a position to one side of the table so that your guests do not obstruct access to other dishes while they carve. Remember to also check the availability of foods, topping up dishes and tidying the buffet occasionally.
Set the napkins and cutlery separately on a side table while napkins should generally be used for informal buffets. Disposable plates should be sturdy and of good quality as thin plates could sag and make eating difficult. Or invest in large number of good quality, large plastic plates which are ideal for entertaining in large numbers. They are ideal for large parties and informal buffets as well and generally more practical than China plates.
The buffet table should be set with savoury items for the main part of the meal. Starters should be brought to the buffet at the beginning of the meal with the hosts assisting with it.
Serve the desserts and cheese from the buffet only once you have removed the main dishes. If set before clearing the main course then prepare a side table for them.
Implement sensible arrangements for receiving the used dishes and cutlery when preparing a buffet. Usually at large events some guests will be reluctant to bring their dishes to the kitchen so it would be a good idea to set up a trolley cart where these may be placed out of the way.

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How to avoid buffet pitfalls

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stress in childhood

An increasing amount of children today are falling victim to the negative effects of stress in greater numbers than ever before. The causes of stress tend to be mainly environmental namely: family; friends and school, until the pubescent phase sets in and adds further troublesome hormones to already indiscernible mix. This condition has been recognized and diagnosed recently due to the sheer number of occurrence. Children do have to deal with violence, peer pressure, underage drinking, drug abuse, pressure to have sex and to achieve good grades, bound to a back-to-back extracurricular activity programme, to have a social life and to ensure that all the adults in their lives are pacified. Young kids are exposed to similar challenges and experience their fair share of stress. They are sometimes faced with difficult family situations and peer interactions. These challenges may not seem difficult to adults but could cause substantial stress reactions in children. Childhood experiences do have an impact on the individual throughout their adult lives as children who are poorly nurtured are less able to deal with stressful situations. These adults are more than likely to react in an extreme manner and maintain high levels of stress hormones long after the stress subsided, compared to their well nurtured counterparts. Parents should subsequently provide a supportive, loving, nurturing environment to ensure that their children are equipped to deal with unaviodable stressful situations. Children will then form the neural pathways necessary for healthy stress management. Situations of extreme neglect may actually destroy neural pathways that were already established resulting in possible learning disabilities. Some stress could be good for your kids as it could enhance performance when it is most necessary. It could also prove to be a valuable learning curve as stress is an integral part of life.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Doing something memorable each day

When last did you change your routine and succumb to that nagging impulse to do something new? Break away from those repeatative cycles during the agonizing 9 to 5 may be as difficult as we make it. It certainly changes the way we feel about ourselves and life itself. We will need to break free from the daily doldrums and inject some excitement into our routine. We can simply begin by having that one new experience every day. This is where the possibilities become endless and encourages the individual to think laterally and embrace open mindedness. How about not reacting when someone shouts at you? Starting an interesting hobby perhaps? Or taking a different route to work? Life is now as you will never get today again. These new experiences can particularly become important when we age as they tend to take more time to process, making time appear to last longer. The more familiar and mundane the world becomes the less information our brains record and it seems that time is passing at a quiker rate. Hence, when we are older we will probably wish to slow down the years. It is not our age that becomes the problem but the continuous processing of familiar information.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

New “Evil Dead” has old school feel

All fans of retro horror would hail the "Evil Dead" franchise as effortless splatter horror and its classic elements were essential to the development of the sub-genre. It was mainly remembered for its relatively crude, yet histrionic, special effects and straight forward plot that was simply orgasmic for us gore junkies.
The films were spawned around the theme of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian text which wreaks havoc on a hapless group of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Tennessee. The series includes The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) all written and directed by Sam Raimi.
Horror fans are generally not easily fooled and the latest installment will have to compete, probably unintentionally, with the original, basic formula. It could be the unfortunate case of due modernization that actually taints the intended result. The new “Evil Dead” remake was directed by Fede Alvarez in his feature debut and had teamed up with Sam Raimi and the original star Bruce Campbell who were the producers of this lofty project.
Critics are divided though on whether this new version has done justice to the franchise or provoked contempt amongst fans who have endured a marginalized genre. Mark Olsen of The Times wrote that the remake “has a gleeful exuberance of its own analogous to the mad invention of the original”, and added that it “nimbly walks the fine line of tribute, update and doing its own thing” and provides “plenty of over-the-top gore, great gushing geysers of it”. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, however, stated that “it feels like a lot of other remakes of the 70’s and 80’s horror titles”. Personally, old school rules once more with a modern presentation. Expect more of these to come with the genre slowly regaining its prominence it enjoyed in the eighties.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Retroscope: 2 April

2 April 1983: Progressive Rock band, Pink Floyd scored their third #1 album with “The Final Cut”. This concept album was the last of the band’s releases to include founding member and lyricist Roger Waters. It was originally planned as a soundtrack album for the band’s 1982 film Pink Floyd – The Wall. The direction of the album shifted with the onset of the Falklands war as a gloomy critique of the conflict as well as the perceived betrayal of his father.
2 April 1987: U2 started their 29 date North American Joshua Tree tour at Arizona Activity Centre.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Humanity’s quantum leap

A new civilization has emerged in our lives bringing with it new family styles, changed ways of working, loving and living, a new economy, new political conflicts and naturally an altered consciousness as well. We may have already adjusted to this new tomorrow but many, terrified of the future, have been attempting to restore their dying world that have given their identity evading all thrusts of this explosive new civilization.
The First Wave of accelerative change erupted ten thousand years ago by the invention of agriculture followed by the Second Wave with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. The next phase of transformation, or the Third Wave, was described as a Space Age, Information Age, Electronic Era or the now banal term of global village. Zbigniew Brzezinksi had fashioned a term called “technetronic age” while Daniel Bell described the coming of a “post-industrial society”. Soviet futurists even spoke of the STR, a “scientific-technological revolution”. All this histrionic intellectualization cannot, however, expand on the full force, scope and dynamism of future changes or the potential pressures and conflicts they trigger.
Humanity faces the most significant social upheaval and creative restructuring of all time. The habitat for humanity will change as families are torn apart, economies shattered, values disrupted and political systems and fragile political systems providing an indicator of what the key power struggles of tomorrow will be.
Our new way of life will be based on diversified, renewable energy sources; new, non-nuclear families; novel institutions such as online communities or chat rooms and on radically changed schools and corporations of the future. The Third Wave civilization will, as Alvin Toffler suggested, will “heal the historic breach between producer and consumer giving rise to the prosumer economics of tomorrow. This phase could possibly be the first truly humane civilization in recorded history.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid: A night of controversy

Tuesday’s highly anticipated game between Manchester United and Real Madrid will be sadly remembered for the controversial sending off of the mercurial midfielder Nani. As a stolid neutral it was brazenly marred by a hasty decision by an official that showed a red first and enthusiasts of this football special generally agree that he did not deserve the sending off. Furthermore, in the 62nd minute after Raphael Varane’s close range header was headed into the back of the net before it hit off Rafael’s arm it spun clear of the goal and none of the officials saw it to have judged it as foul worthy and play resumed. Before the start of the match stalwart Wayne Rooney had been left of the side which should be raising questions about his future at the club. His wife Colleen then delivered a riposte by her tweet stating that she could not believe that he was left out. We all know what the final result was and was by no means a fulfilling football outing for both sides. It was a game that Mourinho had so adeptly described as “The world will stop to watch the tie” but later added that “We didn’t play well. We didn’t deserve to win.”

The rise of the throw-away society

In the past society was engaged in handcrafting goods and all creative and productive energies were directed to maximize the durability of the product. Permanence was ideal then and man built to last. Society remained stagnant with clearly defined functions and economic logic dictated the policy of permanence. Even if these goods had to be repaired it would last for a considerable long time especially the more expensive item.
Once the rate of change accelerated the economics of permanence was replaced by the new economics of transcience. Advancing technology had lowered the cost of manufacturing much more rapidly than the cost of repair work. It now becomes more cheaper to replace than to repair. These items are built cheap, unrepairable, throw-away objects, even though t may not last as long as the repairable objects.
Advancing technology also makes it possible to improve the object as times goes by. More improvements are coming at ever shorter intervals and it makes hard economic sense to build for the short term rather than the long. As change accelerated and reached into more and more remote corners of the society, uncertainty about future needs increased. We have then built for the short term to avoid commitment to fixed forms and functions and literally “play it cool” by making the item adaptable. The rise of disposability is a direct result of these powerful pressures. As change accelerates and complexities multiply we can expect further limitations of man’s relationships and things.

Is an era of professional parents possible?

A smaller number of families in the future could possibly raise their own biological children and be replaced by a system of professional parents performing the traditional childbearing function. Raising children successfully requires an actual skill that the masses arguably do not possess in adequate measure. Yet anyone regardless of their mental or moral qualification will attempt to raise their children as long as it is their biological offspring. It continues to be performed by the indomitable amateur ranks though.
Consider the present cracks in the system and the post super industrial revolution and the increase of juvenile delinquents in all economies, we could seriously challenge the relevance of these old misfit caretakers. There are certainly better ways of coping with this problem but professional parenting deserves to be evaluated in an era of specialization especially as there is a pent up demand for such an innovation.
Would today’s biological parents gladly surrender their children to these professionals as Alvin Toffler suggested in his phenomenal Future Shock? And would it be considered an act of love rather than rejection? These parental professionals would be actual family units assigned to rearing children. Families could be multi-generational by design offering children an opportunity to observe and learn from a variety of adult models. The professional family would induct new children as old ones “graduate” in order to eliminate age segregation.
Society would then breed a wide diversity of genetic types and have their children nurtured by mother-father groups who are equipped, intellectually and emotionally, for the task of having a wholesome and fulfilling childhood. How long will the traditional family facing the constant pressure of change act as a shock absorber in a post industrial age of novelty and perhaps succumb to this experimental model?