Friday, April 13, 2012

The Truman Show


"The Truman Show" is a profoundly disturbing movie. On the surface, it deals with the worn out issue of the intermingling of life and the media.

Examples for such incestuous relationships abound:

Ronald Reagan, the cinematic president was also a presidential movie star. In another movie ("The Philadelphia Experiment") a defrosted Rip Van Winkle exclaims upon seeing Reagan on television (40 years after his forced hibernation started): "I know this guy, he used to play Cowboys in the movies".

Candid cameras monitor the lives of webmasters (website owners) almost 24 hours a day. The resulting images are continuously posted on the Web and are available to anyone with a computer.

The last decade witnessed a spate of films, all concerned with the confusion between life and the imitations of life, the media. The ingenious "Capitan Fracasse", "Capricorn One", "Sliver", "Wag the Dog" and many lesser films have all tried to tackle this (un)fortunate state of things and its moral and practical implications.

The blurring line between life and its representation in the arts is arguably the main theme of "The Truman Show". The hero, Truman, lives in an artificial world, constructed especially for him. He was born and raised there. He knows no other place. The people around him - unbeknownst to him - are all actors. His life is monitored by 5000 cameras and broadcast live to the world, 24 hours a day, every day. He is spontaneous and funny because he is unaware of the monstrosity of which he is the main cogwheel.

But Peter Weir, the movie's director, takes this issue one step further by perpetrating a massive act of immorality on screen. Truman is lied to, cheated, deprived of his ability to make choices, controlled and manipulated by sinister, half-mad Shylocks. As I said, he is unwittingly the only spontaneous, non-scripted, "actor" in the on-going soaper of his own life. All the other figures in his life, including his parents, are actors. Hundreds of millions of viewers and voyeurs plug in to take a peep, to intrude upon what Truman innocently and honestly believes to be his privacy. They are shown responding to various dramatic or anti-climactic events in Truman's life. That we are the moral equivalent of these viewers-voyeurs, accomplices to the same crimes, comes as a shocking realization to us. We are (live) viewers and they are (celluloid) viewers. We both enjoy Truman's inadvertent, non-consenting, exhibitionism. We know the truth about Truman and so do they. Of course, we are in a privileged moral position because we know it is a movie and they know it is a piece of raw life that they are watching. But moviegoers throughout Hollywood's history have willingly and insatiably participated in numerous "Truman Shows". The lives (real or concocted) of the studio stars were brutally exploited and incorporated in their films. Jean Harlow, Barbara Stanwyck, James Cagney all were forced to spill their guts in cathartic acts of on camera repentance and not so symbolic humiliation. "Truman Shows" is the more common phenomenon in the movie industry.

Then there is the question of the director of the movie as God and of God as the director of a movie. The members of his team - technical and non-technical alike - obey Christoff, the director, almost blindly. They suspend their better moral judgement and succumb to his whims and to the brutal and vulgar aspects of his pervasive dishonesty and sadism. The torturer loves his victims. They define him and infuse his life with meaning. Caught in a narrative, the movie says, people act immorally.

(IN)famous psychological experiments support this assertion. Students were led to administer what they thought were "deadly" electric shocks to their colleagues or to treat them bestially in simulated prisons. They obeyed orders. So did all the hideous genocidal criminals in history. The Director Weir asks: should God be allowed to be immoral or should he be bound by morality and ethics? Should his decisions and actions be constrained by an over-riding code of right and wrong? Should we obey his commandments blindly or should we exercise judgement? If we do exercise judgement are we then being immoral because God (and the Director Christoff) know more (about the world, about us, the viewers and about Truman), know better, are omnipotent? Is the exercise of judgement the usurpation of divine powers and attributes? Isn't this act of rebelliousness bound to lead us down the path of apocalypse?

It all boils down to the question of free choice and free will versus the benevolent determinism imposed by an omniscient and omnipotent being. What is better: to have the choice and be damned (almost inevitably, as in the biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden) - or to succumb to the superior wisdom of a supreme being? A choice always involves a dilemma. It is the conflict between two equivalent states, two weighty decisions whose outcomes are equally desirable and two identically-preferable courses of action. Where there is no such equivalence - there is no choice, merely the pre-ordained (given full knowledge) exercise of a preference or inclination. Bees do not choose to make honey. A fan of football does not choose to watch a football game. He is motivated by a clear inequity between the choices that he faces. He can read a book or go to the game. His decision is clear and pre-determined by his predilection and by the inevitable and invariable implementation of the principle of pleasure. There is no choice here. It is all rather automatic. But compare this to the choice some victims had to make between two of their children in the face of Nazi brutality. Which child to sentence to death - which one to sentence to life? Now, this is a real choice. It involves conflicting emotions of equal strength. One must not confuse decisions, opportunities and choice. Decisions are the mere selection of courses of action. This selection can be the result of a choice or the result of a tendency (conscious, unconscious, or biological-genetic). Opportunities are current states of the world, which allow for a decision to be made and to affect the future state of the world. Choices are our conscious experience of moral or other dilemmas.

Christoff finds it strange that Truman - having discovered the truth - insists upon his right to make choices, i.e., upon his right to experience dilemmas. To the Director, dilemmas are painful, unnecessary, destructive, or at best disruptive. His utopian world - the one he constructed for Truman - is choice-free and dilemma-free. Truman is programmed not in the sense that his spontaneity is extinguished. Truman is wrong when, in one of the scenes, he keeps shouting: "Be careful, I am spontaneous". The Director and fat-cat capitalistic producers want him to be spontaneous, they want him to make decisions. But they do not want him to make choices. So they influence his preferences and predilections by providing him with an absolutely totalitarian, micro-controlled, repetitive environment. Such an environment reduces the set of possible decisions so that there is only one favourable or acceptable decision (outcome) at any junction. Truman does decide whether to walk down a certain path or not. But when he does decide to walk - only one path is available to him. His world is constrained and limited - not his actions

Actually, Truman's only choice in the movie leads to an arguably immoral decision. He abandons ship. He walks out on the whole project. He destroys an investment of billions of dollars, people's lives and careers. He turns his back on some of the actors who seem to really be emotionally attached to him. He ignores the good and pleasure that the show has brought to the lives of millions of people (the viewers). He selfishly and vengefully goes away. He knows all this. By the time he makes his decision, he is fully informed. He knows that some people may commit suicide, go bankrupt, endure major depressive episodes, do drugs. But this massive landscape of resulting devastation does not deter him. He prefers his narrow, personal, interest. He walks.

But Truman did not ask or choose to be put in his position. He found himself responsible for all these people without being consulted. There was no consent or act of choice involved. How can anyone be responsible for the well-being and lives of other people - if he did not CHOOSE to be so responsible? Moreover, Truman had the perfect moral right to think that these people wronged him. Are we morally responsible and accountable for the well-being and lives of those who wrong us? True Christians are, for instance.

Moreover, most of us, most of the time, find ourselves in situations which we did not help mould by our decisions. We are unwillingly cast into the world. We do not provide prior consent to being born. This fundamental decision is made for us, forced upon us. This pattern persists throughout our childhood and adolescence: decisions are made elsewhere by others and influence our lives profoundly. As adults we are the objects - often the victims - of the decisions of corrupt politicians, mad scientists, megalomaniac media barons, gung-ho generals and demented artists. This world is not of our making and our ability to shape and influence it is very limited and rather illusory. We live in our own "Truman Show". Does this mean that we are not morally responsible for others?

We are morally responsible even if we did not choose the circumstances and the parameters and characteristics of the universe that we inhabit. The Swedish Count Wallenberg imperilled his life (and lost it) smuggling hunted Jews out of Nazi occupied Europe. He did not choose, or helped to shape Nazi Europe. It was the brainchild of the deranged Director Hitler. Having found himself an unwilling participant in Hitler's horror show, Wallenberg did not turn his back and opted out. He remained within the bloody and horrific set and did his best. Truman should have done the same. Jesus said that he should have loved his enemies. He should have felt and acted with responsibility towards his fellow human beings, even towards those who wronged him greatly.

But this may be an inhuman demand. Such forgiveness and magnanimity are the reserve of God. And the fact that Truman's tormentors did not see themselves as such and believed that they were acting in his best interests and that they were catering to his every need - does not absolve them from their crimes. Truman should have maintained a fine balance between his responsibility to the show, its creators and its viewers and his natural drive to get back at his tormentors. The source of the dilemma (which led to his act of choosing) is that the two groups overlap. Truman found himself in the impossible position of being the sole guarantor of the well-being and lives of his tormentors. To put the question in sharper relief: are we morally obliged to save the life and livelihood of someone who greatly wronged us? Or is vengeance justified in such a case?

A very problematic figure in this respect is that of Truman's best and childhood friend. They grew up together, shared secrets, emotions and adventures. Yet he lies to Truman constantly and under the Director's instructions. Everything he says is part of a script. It is this disinformation that convinces us that he is not Truman's true friend. A real friend is expected, above all, to provide us with full and true information and, thereby, to enhance our ability to choose. Truman's true love in the Show tried to do it. She paid the price: she was ousted from the show. But she tried to provide Truman with a choice. It is not sufficient to say the right things and make the right moves. Inner drive and motivation are required and the willingness to take risks (such as the risk of providing Truman with full information about his condition). All the actors who played Truman's parents, loving wife, friends and colleagues, miserably failed on this score.

It is in this mimicry that the philosophical key to the whole movie rests. A Utopia cannot be faked. Captain Nemo's utopian underwater city was a real Utopia because everyone knew everything about it. People were given a choice (though an irreversible and irrevocable one). They chose to become lifetime members of the reclusive Captain's colony and to abide by its (overly rational) rules. The Utopia came closest to extinction when a group of stray survivors of a maritime accident were imprisoned in it against their expressed will. In the absence of choice, no utopia can exist. In the absence of full, timely and accurate information, no choice can exist. Actually, the availability of choice is so crucial that even when it is prevented by nature itself - and not by the designs of more or less sinister or monomaniac people - there can be no Utopia. In H.G. Wells' book "The Time Machine", the hero wanders off to the third millennium only to come across a peaceful Utopia. Its members are immortal, don't have to work, or think in order to survive. Sophisticated machines take care of all their needs. No one forbids them to make choices. There simply is no need to make them. So the Utopia is fake and indeed ends badly.

Finally, the "Truman Show" encapsulates the most virulent attack on capitalism in a long time. Greedy, thoughtless money machines in the form of billionaire tycoon-producers exploit Truman's life shamelessly and remorselessly in the ugliest display of human vices possible. The Director indulges in his control-mania. The producers indulge in their monetary obsession. The viewers (on both sides of the silver screen) indulge in voyeurism. The actors vie and compete in the compulsive activity of furthering their petty careers. It is a repulsive canvas of a disintegrating world. Perhaps Christoff is right after al when he warns Truman about the true nature of the world. But Truman chooses. He chooses the exit door leading to the outer darkness over the false sunlight in the Utopia that he leaves behind. 

If you Enjoy Yapping, you'll Appreciate Good Dental Care


Taking care of your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth, including the repair or replacement of defective teeth is what defines dental care. It's common to see a person suffering from dental diseases due to carelessness and lack of knowledge of good oral hygiene. 

It is said that healthy gums and teeth are extremely important to keep your entire body system healthy and sound. Lack of proper care and a regular check up with your dentist may lead to several diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, dental plaque, periodontal disease, mouth odor, etc..

Symptoms and prevention of tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease:

1. Tooth Decay: The main cause of tooth decay is an acid base chemistry or an excess amount of acid. This is associated with sugar bugs, those who regularly eat sweet without brushing right after. Symptoms: First, a white spot appears on the tooth, which will lead to an early cavity if not dealt with. Cavities will begin with a light brown color on the tooth, and gradually become darker. Prevention: 
• Be sure to brush twice daily, morning and before bedtime as well as after every meal. 
• Floss daily (at least once), I know it's a chore but it's your smile we're talking about here. (:--) 
• Consult a dentist for a regular cleaning and examination. Try to follow their recommendations. 
• Make sure retainers, dentures and other appliances are clean and don't skip their recommended cleaning procedures.

2. Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, whereas periodontal disease is the advanced stage of gum disease, which attacks the gums, bone and around the teeth. Symptoms: swollen gums, mouth sores, bright red appearance of gums and bleeding gums. Prevention:
• Brush your teeth twice daily.
• Gently floss the teeth once a day.
• Consult your dentist for further instructions.

Dental products to avoid: 

There are many dental care products to avoid; these include strong antiseptic mouthwashes, bleaching agents, hydrogen peroxide, fluoride toothpastes, alcohol breath fresheners and other oral hygiene products. On the plus side they kill bacteria but also promote dental plaque which will make things worse in the end.

Products for dental care are: antioxidant tooth powder and probiotic mouthwash. Consult your dentist for the best products for your situation.

Children are more susceptible to dental problems. They are prone to eating chocolates, candies and sweets and thus get easily affected and suffer from tooth decay and other problems. So it is important for parents to know the basics of good dental care and guide your children accordingly. 

These few simple steps can keep you and your family from severe pain, health hazards and will help us to keep smiling all through out the day.

Honey - Treatment for Bad Ailments


For many it may just be one part of diet through desserts but, Honey is lot more than that. It is one of the oldest remedial components widely used in many homes. The best part about honey is that it can be found in any season and can be easily stored. It is also used as a healing agent due to its therapeutic value. It has saved many lives who suffered from burns, ulcers, and other wounds.

It has good amount of minerals and vitamins which are very essential for us. Honey has an attribute which kills the bacteria. Covering the wound with honey and then bandaging it, heals the wound quickly. It fights stomach related problems like diarrhea and dysentery. Raw honey is known to treat 90% of all allergies. Bearing in mind that honey is sweet it helps keep your teeth strong and sharp.

Simple Home Remedies

To reduce stomach ache take 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp lemon juice and mix it with warm water. This should be taken first thing in the morning.

Take 6 ounces of honey, 2 ounces of glycerin and lemon juice of 2 lemons. Mix all the ingredients, bottle it, and use it when you suffer from sore throat.

Honey is great for your digestive system as well as problems like constipation. To combat poor digestion mix 1 tsp honey with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Add good amount of water to get a proper taste. Drink it to get relief from digestion problems.

Other stomach problems can be helped by having 10 gms of honey on empty stomach in the morning avoid eating for next 1 hour. Continue this regularly to get relief.

Honey can be used as a substitute for sugar which would help control your intake of calories

It can be used as a lotion to cure eye problems like conjunctivitis as well as boils in your eye. Make a mixture of equal amount of honey and warm water. Once cooled use it as an eye bath or a lotion.

Use honey to improve your appetite.

To prevent migraine have 2 tsp of honey at meals. If you are suffering from migraines take 1 dessert spoon of honey mixed with 1/2 glass of warm. Drink this liquid. If required, repeat this in next 20 minutes.

You can use honey as mouthwash by mixing 1 tbsp. of honey in a cup of warm water. This mouthwash kills germs and bacteria present in the mouth.

In ratio of 1:2 take honey and luke warm water respectively. In this add cinnamon powder and make a paste. Massage it to the itchy area; you will notice the difference in a short period. Very good treatment for allergies.

Mix 2 tsp. honey and one tsp. cinnamon powder in 1 cup of hot water. This mix could be taken by arthritis patients every morning and evening to cure arthritis.

To remove bladder infections take 2 tbsp cinnamon powder and 1 tsp honey in a glass of lukewarm water. Drink it to destroy germs in the bladder.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

How to Choose Printer Paper


Everybody wants to know about the correct inkjet cartridge for his or her printer, but what about printer paper? Inkjet and laser printers can print on a variety of surfaces, including photo paper, labels, business cards, stickers, and t-shirt transfers. One of the biggest advantages of laser printers is their ability to churn out quality prints on almost any paper. However, the same does not apply to inkjet printers. Although most of your inkjet printing probably involves standard white papers, when it comes to this medium, you may have more options than you realise. 

Inkjet Printer Paper
Although standard printer paper can do the job as well, your printouts will probably be better if you use paper specifically made for inkjet printers. The quality of your printouts is affected by two major factors: brightness and absorption. 

1. Brightness
When a type of paper is advertised as being brighter than average, it indicates that the surface of the paper is smoother than average. The smoothness of the page determines the amount of light reflected from its surface. This factor also determines how bright your images appear on the page. The brighter or smoother the printer paper is, the better your printout will appear.

2. Absorption
In this case, if the printer paper absorbs less ink, your document will definitely look better. As the paper absorbs ink, tiny dots on the page may spread outside their borders. This may cause the edges of text and images on the page to look fuzzy and soggy. To counteract this problem, quality printer papers are coated with a waxy substance that prevents the absorption of ink by the paper. A well-coated paper allows for more precise and smoother printing. In general, most of the printers on the market print at a higher resolution on coated paper than on standard paper. 

Branded Paper – To Buy or Not to Buy
It's no secret that the big names in printers, such as HP, Canon, and Epson, offer a complete line of inks and papers. Each company claims that you will get the best results when you use its products with its printers, and warns you to steer clear of products sold by other companies. 

Generally speaking, they're right. In the case of inkjet printers, especially, companies design printers, inks, and papers to work together to yield the best results. If you use third-party paper with your inkjet printer from a big-name manufacturer, the ink may spread too far into the paper before drying, causing inaccurate colours, lower print resolution, and a dull finish. Plus, it is likely that the prints will fade faster. 

The choice, after all, lies with you. Printing great photos from an inkjet printer is a tall order, requiring a perfect match between the ink, paper, and printer to work together; and the companies don't make it easy on the consumer's pocket. You can reach the most economical solution through a little experimentation. 

Alternatively, laser printers can print plain text documents or draft-quality graphics with equal ease, and you can stock up on your local office supply store's bright white copy or laser paper to your heart's content.

Getting Past the Jargon
To find out if the paper package on the shelf is right for your printer, simply read the fine print that usually lists out the compatible companies and models. Moreover, if you are interested in high-quality photo printing, you can generally see if a particular paper makes the grade.

For example, some papers may have unusual descriptions such as "swellable" or "cotton rag." Swellable paper is designed for high-quality photo printing-the coated surface actually swells as it absorbs ink. Cotton rag is ideal for inkjets that use pigment-based inks; most low-cost inkjet printers, on the other hand, use dye-based ink, so you should steer clear of cotton rag in this instance. 

High-quality paper also has a polymer coating-for both dye-based and pigment-based inks-that keeps the ink from spreading, and it protects the ink from fading over time. However, coated paper can take a number of hours to completely dry your prints. Better quality paper may also be advertised as acid-free and lignin-free; these indicate that your paper is more likely to give you the best image quality and the best overall life span. 

Checklist
It is important to remember that most branded photo printer paper from corporate names, including well-known ones, is only suitable for printing at 1440 and 2880 DPI. Here is a simple checklist to help you when deciding the inkjet photo paper best suited to your needs.

1. Always check the DPI (Dots Per Inch) of the photo printer paper.

DPI is an indicator of how much ink the photo paper can absorb per inch on the page. Using low DPI photo paper for high-resolution printing will result in poor quality prints. Usually, if the seller does not advertise the DPI of its inkjet photo paper and card, then it is likely that it is very low and therefore a lower grade paper.

2. Check that the photo paper is instant dry.

Cheaper photo paper may not be designed to dry instantaneously and can result in colour running or smudging while the ink is soaking into the paper. Once again, if the seller does not advertise this feature, then it is likely that it is absent. 

3. Decide the weight of inkjet photo paper you need.

Although the weight of photo paper and card vary, the most common weights are between 120gsm to 280gsm.

If you are printing in bulk, then 120gsm is usually sufficient and cost effective. If you are printing photographs at home, then 160gsm to 200gsm should suffice. Buy glossy printer paper if you want shiny pictures, and matt paper if shine is not an issue for you.

As a general rule, bigger the weight is, thicker the photo paper or card will be. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Security is the Number One Concern for Internet Shoppers Today


The e-commerce business is all about making money and then finding ways to make more money. Of course, it's hard to make (more) money, when consumers don't feel safe executing a transaction on your Web site. That's where SSL (Secure Socket Layer) comes into play. Understanding how SSL affects e-commerce business can also potentially help you to unlock (more) money from your customers. 

You need SSL if :
- Your business partners log in to confidential information on an extranet. 
- You have offices that share confidential information over an intranet. 
- You process sensitive data such as address, birth date, license, or ID numbers. 
- you have an online store or accept online orders and credit cards 
- You need to comply with privacy and security requirements. 
- You value privacy and expect others to trust you. 

If you are doing online business where sensitive information such as credit cards, Personal data will be transferred, you surely need to secure your website. Gaining your customers trust is of the utmost importance. Your customers will only purchase the product if they feel safe and confidant about you. 

Before the introduction of SSL it was difficult to ensure privacy over the web in online transactions. There was a general distrust of the ability to conduct online transactions and a fear that an individual's credit card information could be picked up by a third party and used for unauthorized purchases. 

SSL should be enacted on pages requiring a password or might contain personal data most clients would like to keep private. Some sites will place SSL on some pages and forget other pages that are equally as sensitive. For the sake of your personal experience with ecommerce, you should implement SSL protocol. 

Any website that conducts business over the Internet and has e-commerce transactions should use SSL (Secure Socket Layer). It is the standard way to secure transactions by encrypting data and providing authentication over the web. SSL prevents hackers from accessing personal information, impede misuse of information. 

A certificate authority (CA) is an authorized company or individual for that matter that has the ability to issue and verify digital certificates. There are several of websites that offer a digital certificate. One of the popular Global Certification authorities is MindGenies (www.sslgenie.com).

How To Improve Your Life With an Accredited Online College Degree


With the information super highway raring full steam ahead, quality accredited online college degree programs are becoming a more plausible way to get an education. Now more than ever, time is becoming a huge factor in people's lives. Balancing personal and professional lives on top of school is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Therefore, many people are choosing to get the education they deserve without sacrificing the other important areas of their lives. It is now possible to receive the same credits that you would get from attending full-time classes at a college from the comfort of your own home. 

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding if accredited online college degrees are the route that is best suited for you. It takes quite a bit of self-discipline to do well in an academic setting. However it takes even more to be able to do it from home. 

In a class setting, a routine will be set that will involve the students and the instructors getting together several times per week. But if you are learning online, it is up to you to decide what times are best for you and to make your schedule accordingly. 

There are also a few other things to take into consideration before deciding on this method. Basic computer knowledge and a reliable computer are absolutely essential to successful online learning. You will be using the computer to access your assignments, to send them in and also to conduct research. If you are not comfortable with computers, or you don't have a dependable Internet service, then you might find it exceedingly difficult. 

It is also imperative to be comfortable with the written language. Almost all of your communications will be in writing, so that is something that is very important. There is virtually no personal contact, so proper writing and communication skills are essential.

A few years ago, online learning was not as broad as it is now. There were only a few select courses to choose from and it was difficult to find the one you want. But these days you can get almost any degree you could ever dream of without ever having to leave your house. 

Whether you have an interest in law, accounting or health care you are bound to find the perfect course for you. And most accredited online college degree course can be found at the bachelor, associate and graduate levels. Therefore, no level of education is out of reach. 

One of the major costs in attending school is the textbooks. After a full program, you would normally have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on textbooks alone. Not the mention the cost of tuition. 

Many accredited online college degree programs include the cost of the textbooks in the tuition. Well balancing a work life and a school life, every penny saved adds up in the end. 

One of the best features of any online learning program is that it suits your schedule. You can learn and study any time of the day and on any day. This is a great benefit for those who wish to continue working full-time and earning their degrees in the evenings. 

The appeal of learning online is being realized by more people every day. The sheer convenience is reason enough to motivate you to earn the degree that will land you your dream job. So, make that dream a reality with one of the many accredited online college degree programs. 

Planning for a Baby Shower


Who doesn't get excited when a baby is on its way? Aside from their caring mothers, everyone in the family gets that certain thrill. Welcoming yet another being in this beautiful world comes with a certain joy. So how else can you celebrate a soon-to-be-child arrival? Have a blast with a baby shower party.

Planning a baby shower can be really fun. You can create your own party as you wish. You can either go traditional or put a little humor to your event. You can choose whatever theme you want. Unleash your creativity. The main goal is simply to have your baby shower unforgettable and fun for everyone.

To get you started, the tips below can absolutely help you with the steps of creating that perfect baby shower party for you.

- Be prepared

- Plan ahead of time. It is best to hold baby showers either on the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy.

- Look for a perfect location.

- You can opt to have your house or the backyard as your event area. If you have an extravagant budget you can scout for convenient party places which can hold your guests.

- Set the right date and time

- Be sure to check out your guests' availability, from there schedule where most of your expected guests can be free. Set a date that could easily fit to their other engagements.

- Think of the perfect theme

- There are hundreds of baby shower themes that you can choose from. Popular choices are teddies, cartoon themes, or balloons. The possibilities are endless.

- Surprise her

- To make the party more momentous, you can make a surprise baby shower for the guest of honor. Consult her close and relatives when preparing your guest list.

- Impress with invitations

- Send out invitations at least three weeks before the event. Match your invitations with the theme of the party itself with the theme of the party itself. Be sure that the invitations contain all vital information like date, time and sketched- up location. Be creative in designing your invitations.

Skin Care Nitty-Gritty


While the shelves labeled beauty care are laden with various types of products to help you with your skin, confusion lies in choosing the right product. So what is the best bet? To choose a new entrant on the block or wait for something which might still be much better. Also "whether this will suit my skin type' remains unanswered. It is important to know how to deal with our skin. Skin is not any just surface wherein you try and test various concoctions in pursuit of beauty. 

Smartness lies not in believing the promises of the product and experimenting for experiments sake but understanding the true type and texture of your skin and caring for it wisely. Cosmetics come in many form and deciding what is good for your is often a matter of personal taste. Here is a basic skin care advice that every woman should know.

- Cleansers cleanse the skin of impurities and restore the natural oil balance. Liquid cleansers are available in the market for all skin types. A good cleanser deep cleanses, opens the pores, and removes excess oil and makeup. Cream based cleansers are good for dry skin. For oily skin, grains coarse cleanser should be used. Medicated soaps should be used for acne and problem skin and hypoallergenic soaps for sensitive skin. For touch ups throughout the day, use pad cleansers.

- Refreshers complete the cleansing process. They tone, soothe and hydrate the skin and keep the complexion clear and clean. Astringents for oily and normal skin types, toners for normal and dry skin and fresheners are meant for dry sensitive or problem skin.

- Moisturizers refuel your skin's moisture and nourish it. Moisturizers form a protective shield to minimize moisture evaporation and dehydration of dry area. They help restore skin's natural moisture balance. While oil control moisturizers control excess oil and prevent blemishes, emollients are creams for dry skin that replenish the natural supply of the skin's oil. 

- Masks exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin while hydrating and moisturizing it. Facial masks for dry skin remove dry flaky skin, while oily skin facial masks fine tune the skin's texture, deep cleanse it and control sebum. 

- Foundation protects the skin by keeping the moisture in and dirt out besides giving the skin a flawless look. To choose the right shade of foundation, test the colour on your jaw line and it should be the same colour as your complexion. Use full coverage foundations for normal to dry skin and medium coverage ones for normal to oily skin.

Whatever is your skin type, take care of it through cleansing, toning and moisturizing ritual everyday. Apart from external help and topical application the skin could do much better with some effort for the system. Exercise, facial massage and a healthy diet regime can complement your skincare routine and help the skin look healthy and nourished always.

Take a Break From Tradition : Unique Gifts You Can Afford


Finding unique gifts for family and friends can be a challenge for even the most seasoned shopper. Throw in a dash of holiday madness, mass broadcast advertising and several pounds of flyers in your mailbox, and your head might be full of this year's newest must-have, but not particularly unique gifts. To make an impression, however, toss aside the traditional gift ideas that everyone will be giving and receiving and focus on finding unique gifts that reflect the interests and personality of your gift recipient.

When looking for ideas for unique gifts, think about the person who will be receiving your present. What does he or she like to do for hobbies? Do you know his favorite color or her taste in music or clothing? What does this person need? Is he or she facing any major transitions in the immediate future? Creating an informal profile will help you come up with unique gifts to suit each person on your list.

For example, if you are searching for unique gifts for your wife, take a look in her closet. What colors and styles do you see there? Perhaps you could borrow an outfit or two and take them to a jeweller as inspiration for a piece of custom jewellery like a set of one-of-a-kind earrings made to match her favorite dress. Talk about unique gifts!

A new college student might appreciate unique gifts centered on a school theme, such as a gift certificate to a local furniture or book store, a compilation of his or her favorite songs or perhaps a collage of family photographs or a painting of a loved pet to help decorate a dorm room.

Depending on what you choose, unique gifts don't have to be pricy gifts. Some of the most cherished and unique gifts are those that are handmade. Consider some of the following:

Unique gifts you can make:

• Scrapbooks – these can be as playful or as elegant as your imagination, and are a great way to store and present photos.

• Ornaments – delightful ornaments for Christmas and other occasions can be crafted with only a minimum of resources. Use common materials such as beads, wire and glue to create lovely and memorable pieces.

• Clothing & accessories – if you can sew, knit, or crochet, the possibilities for unique gifts are endless: using simple patterns, beginners can make hats, scarves, mittens, handbags, skirts, jackets and more. 

• Stories, songs and artwork – if you're a gifted writer, musician or artist it would be a shame not to turn your talents into unique gifts that family members and friends are sure to cherish, so be creative!

If you aren't the hands-on type, you can also purchase unique gifts throughout the year. Keep others in mind as you browse through craft markets, auction sales or artisans' fairs, and if you find something wonderful, tuck it away until the next birthday, Christmas, anniversary or other event. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated, and everyone will be wondering how just you find such perfect and unique gifts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not A Day Without Dictionary

There are many small ways to make your days a little more full and to take every opportunity for learning. As a teacher, I am passionate about seeing people grasp what a privilege and a blessing that learning is. If you are blessed enough to live in a place that allows or better yet encourages you to further your education, then I believe that it is right and good of you to do that. There are many, many ways for you to take learning seriously, but one of the easiest and best ways is to grab a dictionary.

There are many things I love about a good dictionary. Being an English professor, the connection is obvious. I love words. I love the power of language for communication. I think it is quite amazing that two people that have never met can sit down and have a conversation and basically understand everything that is being said because they speak the same language. While it is very true that you can speak a language and even learn new words without using a dictionary, think of all there is to learn by using a dictionary.

I gave myself a challenge a few years ago when it came time to make a New Year's resolution. Typically, my resolutions had consisted of plans to eat better and workout more, but that year I decided that I would buy a new dictionary and spend a few minutes each day reading it. Sound boring? If so, then you obviously haven't tried reading from a dictionary. It is actually one of the best decisions I have ever made. I looked forward to my few minutes in the dictionary so much that I began reading it both morning and night. Reading my dictionary daily was by far the easiest resolution to follow.

What I love about reading the dictionary is learning how much I do not know. All I have to do is flip open a page and I am confronted with how much more there is to learn, not just about my language, but about all of life. I read words that I have never heard of and I learn concepts that I didn't even know existed. Reading my dictionary is one of the most humbling and yet thrilling things I've ever done.

So, grab a dictionary. Start the process of learning new words to add to your understanding and vocabulary, but also let your time in a dictionary teach you new and exciting things about the world.