Monday, June 6, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
In the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that the souls of the dead could return to earth and haunt the living. The belief in revenants (someone who has returned from the dead) is well documented by contemporary European writers of the time, such as William of Newburgh and Walter Map. According to the Encyclopedia of Things that Never Were, particularly in France during the Middle Ages, the revenant rises from the dead usually to avenge some crime committed against the entity, most likely a murder. The revenant usually took on the form of an emaciated corpse or skeletal human figure, and wandered around graveyards at night. The "draugr" of medieval Norse mythology were also believed to be the corpses of warriors returned from the dead to attack the living. The zombie appears in several other cultures worldwide, including China, Japan, the Pacific, India, and the Native Americans. The Epic of Gilgamesh of ancient Sumer includes a mention of zombies. Ishtar, in the fury of vengeance says:
So he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.
If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
And the dead will outnumber the living!"
Friday, April 15, 2011
Chocolate is available in many types. Different forms and flavors of chocolate are produced by varying the quantities of the different ingredients. Other flavors can be obtained by varying the time and temperature when roasting the beans. "Unsweetened chocolate", also known as "bitter", "baking chocolate" or "cooking chocolate" is pure chocolate liquor. It is mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance. The pure, ground, roasted cocoa beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavor. With the addition of sugar, however, it is used as the base for cakes, brownies, confections, and cookies.
- "Dark chocolate", also called "plain chocolate" or "black chocolate", is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa. It is chocolate with zero or much less milk than milk chocolate. The U.S. has no official definition for dark chocolate, only "sweet chocolate", which requires a mere 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. Dark chocolate can be eaten as is, or used in cooking, for which thicker, more expensive baking bars with higher cocoa percentages of up to 85%, or sometimes 99%, are sold. Dark is synonymous with semisweet, and extra dark with bittersweet, although the ratio of cocoa butter to solids may vary.
- "Semisweet chocolate" is frequently used for cooking purposes. It is a dark chocolate with (by definition in Swiss usage) half as much sugar as cocoa, beyond which it is "sweet chocolate."
- "Bittersweet chocolate" is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (less than a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable when baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows chocolate containing at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans) to be classified as "bittersweet" or "semisweet".
- "Couverture" is a term used for chocolates rich in cocoa butter. Popular brands of couverture used by professional pastry chefs and often sold in gourmet and specialty food stores include: Valrhona, Felchlin, Lindt & Sprüngli, Scharffen Berger, Cacao Barry, Callebaut, and Guittard. These chocolates contain a high percentage of cocoa (sometimes 85% or more) and a total fat content of 30 to 40%.
- "Milk chocolate" is solid chocolate made with milk in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk (invented by Henri Nestlé in the 1800s) added. In the 1870s, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter had developed solid milk chocolate using condensed milk; hitherto it had only been available as a drink. The U.S. Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EUregulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids, however an agreement was reached in 2003 that allows milk chocolate in the UK and Ireland to contain only 20% cocoa solids. This type of chocolate must be called "family milk chocolate" elsewhere in the European Union.
- "Hershey process" milk chocolate is popular in North America. It was invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company, and can be produced more cheaply than other processes since it is less sensitive to the freshness of the milk. The process is a trade secret, but experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, "tangy" taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.
- "White chocolate" is a confection based on sugar, milk, and fat (either cocoa butter or vegetable oils) without the cocoa solids. Some consider white chocolate not to even be chocolate, because of the lack of cocoa solids. The US FDA standard of identity of labeling for white chocolate (which applies to both domestic and imported products) states it must contain a minimum of 20 percent cocoa butter, a minimum of 14 percent of total milk solids, a minimum of 3.5 percent milkfat, and a maximum of 55 percent nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners.
- "Cocoa powder" is used for baking, and for drinking with added milk and sugar. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural cocoa (like the sort produced by Hershey's and Nestlé using the Broma process), and Dutch-process cocoa (such as the Droste brand). Both are made by pulverising partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter; Dutch-process cocoa is additionally processed with alkali to neutralise its natural acidity. Natural cocoa is light in colour and somewhat acidic with a strong chocolate flavour. Natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes which also use for baking soda; as baking soda is an alkali, combining it with natural cocoa creates a leavening action that allows the batter to rise during baking. Dutch cocoa is slightly milder in taste, with a deeper and warmer colour than natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids. Unfortunately, Dutch processing destroys most of the flavonoids present in cocoa.In 2005 Hershey discontinued their pure Dutch-process European Style cocoa and replaced it with Special Dark, a blend of natural and Dutch-process cocoa.
- "Compound chocolate" is the technical term for a confection combining cocoa with vegetable fat, usually tropical fats and/or hydrogenated fats, as a replacement for cocoa butter. It is often used for candy bar coatings. In many countries it may not legally be called "chocolate". Much "white chocolate" is better described as compound chocolate.
- "Raw chocolate" is chocolate which has not been processed, heated, or mixed with other ingredients. It is sold in chocolate-growing countries, and to a much lesser extent in other countries, often promoted as healthy.
Flavors such as mint, vanilla, coffee, orange, or strawberry are sometimes added to chocolate in a creamy form or in very small pieces. Chocolate bars frequently contain added ingredients such as peanuts, nuts, fruit, caramel, and crisped rice. Pieces of chocolate, in various flavours, are sometimes added to cereals and ice cream.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Charles Bartholomew "Chuck" Bass is a fictional character in the Gossip Girl series of teen novels and the television series of the same name. He is portrayed by English actor Ed Westwick. Although he is a secondary, antagonistic character in the original book series, in the television series Chuck is one of the main characters, serving as the show's antihero. The television series character is noted for his financial ambition and personal style. Since they were children, Chuck has been best friends with Nate Archibald,Serena van der Woodsen, and Blair Waldorf, who were boyfriend and girlfriend in the past. In the TV series, he is the adoptive brother of Serena and Eric van der Woodsen and step-brother of Jenny and Dan Humphrey.
Chuck Bass Gossip Girl character
Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass in season 3
In the novels, Chuck is a relatively minor character, and has a series of flings with male and female characters across the course of the series. He got his name, Chuck Bass, from his signature chuckle in a bass tone. Chuck's role is initially that of an antagonist to the main characters. Chuck resides with his family at the Plaza Hotel on the Upper East Side and attends school at the Riverside Preparatory School for Boys on the Upper West Side, along with scholarship student Dan Humphrey. Chuck is largely friendless, but is tolerated by the others because of his family's enormous wealth. He is described as having flamboyant fashion sense, with a penchant for scarves, and has a pet monkey named Sweetie whom he carries around with him everywhere. Lazy and vain, Chuck's only interests are sex and money, and he is frequently chided by his father for lacking ambition and performing poorly in school. Following flings with numerous females and males, his only serious relationship comes near the end of the series, when he begins dating Blair Waldorf, a self-obsessed luxury loving teenager. In the twelfth book in the series, Gossip Girl: It Had To Be You (2007), Chuck is rejected from colleges because of poor grades and is sent to military school by his father. When next mentioned in Gossip Girl spin-off The Carlyles(2008), it is stated that Chuck never showed up to military school, and his whereabouts thereafter are unknown. In the thirteenth Gossip Girl novel, I Will Always Love You (2009), it is revealed that Chuck went off to Deep Springs College in California and returned a changed man, and to have dated main character Blair Waldorf in Oxford, England for a year.
It is well known that Constance Billard is an exaggerated version of the author's alma mater, Nightingale. It was revealed in preparation for the 2007 TV series debut, Josh Schwartz hired recent graduates of Ziegesar's alma mater to retool several characters. Chuck Bass was then reconfigured as a more central character, an antiheroic heterosexual playboy whose on-off relationship with Blair Waldorfserves as one of the show's major ongoing storylines. Chuck is the resident "bad boy" of the Upper East Side, and like Blair is both vengeful and manipulative; the two often scheme elaborate plans together. As the show progresses, Chuck develops a softer side, specifically towards Lily, Eric and Serena, his adoptive mother, brother and sister, Nate, his lifelong best friend, and Blair.
Charming and good looking, Chuck grew up in the Upper East Side with his three best friends and fellow elites Nate Archibald, Blair Waldorf, and future-stepsister Serena van der Woodsen. His father is Bart Bass, a self-made billionaire, in contrast to the Bass' old money friends. Chuck is often described as the bad boy of his circle. Chuck is a playboy who sees women as recreational tools. Throughout the series the viewer often sees semi-naked girls or escorts walking out of Chuck's suite. In addition to this, he is often seen skipping class and smoking marijuana, sometimes convincing his best friend Nate to join him. He tells Nate that the three things he cares about in life are "money, the pleasures money brings him, and Nate". In addition, he is shown to enjoy manipulating people and causing drama, often teaming up with Blair Waldorf, who shares similar interests.
Although he is shown to have some serious vices, such as attempting to rape both Serena and Jenny in the pilot episode, a more sensitive side of him is shown in subsequent episodes, such as his loyalty to Nate and his hurt at his father's disapproval of his lifestyle.
In "Victor/Victrola", Chuck purchases a burlesque club, Victrola. After Nate and Blair break up, Blair visits Chuck at Victrola where she ends up performing on stage, and she later loses his virginity to him in the back of his limo. Though she tries to pretend it never happened, he wins her over on her birthday when Nate fails to show up, and Chuck reveals he bought her the necklace she wanted. He also admits that he feels butterflies for her, which is a turning point in the notorious playboy's character arc, and comes to define his character in following seasons. This revelation leads to a clandestine sexual relationship. Although Chuck falls hard for Blair, she eventually leaves him to return to Nate, who has realized he wants her back, and Chuck texts Gossip Girl in a fit of anger. This leads to a temporary end of his friendship with both Blair and Nate.
In order to gather material for a story, Dan tags along with Chuck for a night, ending with the two of them in jail after a drug-induced fistfight. While in jail, Chuck tells Dan in confidence that Chuck's mother died while giving birth to him, and that his father blames him for her death, which explains their icy relationship. When Chuck later discovers that Dan was using him for a story, he feels betrayed and tells Dan that he was lying about all of it.
As Bart Bass and Lily van der Woodsen's relationship progresses, they decide to move their families in together, and Lily, Serena, and Eric become a second family to Chuck. Eric, in particular, becomes an important brother figure. When Serena begins receiving mysterious packages (porn in the mail, alcohol delivered to her at school), she automatically blames Chuck and Bart kicks him out. When Serena discovers that the culprit was actually Georgina Sparks, she apologizes, and Chuck and Serena are horrified to discover that Georgina is back in town. We later discover, while Chuck, Nate, and Blair are comforting Serena, that Chuck lost his virginity to Georgina in the sixth grade. Chuck and Blair team up to take down Georgina, and the process brings them closer again.
At his father and Lily's wedding at the end of Season 1, Chuck apologizes and confesses to Nate that he was in love with Blair. His honesty allows the two of them to rebuild their friendship. During the reception, he locks eyes with Blair and gives a very personal speech about forgiveness and persistence. She takes that as an apology and the two kiss. However, as they are about to embark on a trip to Tuscany, Chuck gets cold feet and ends up standing her up at the helipad. He is last seen using his trademark "I'm Chuck Bass" line on Lily's interior designer, Amelia, and reverting back to his old ways, as Blair leaves for Tuscany without him.
In the season premiere, "Summer Kind of Wonderful", we learn Blair has stayed in Europe. Chuck regretted his actions but told this to Blair too late as she was already dating Lord Marcus Beaton. Blair asks Chuck to tell her he loves her, but his fear of commitment stops him.
Chuck's storyline throughout season 2 mainly deals with his inability to tell Blair that he loves her. Eventually, his father is killed in a car accident. Lily adopts him so that he's able to own Bass Industries, making Serena and Eric his sister and brother. When Blair begins dating Nate again, Chuck realizes his true feelings for her. The two team up to take down Poppy Lifton, and Blair realizes that she still has feelings for Chuck as well. She breaks up with Nate. In the final episode of season 2, Chuck admits to Blair his true feelings and the two finally begin a relationship.
When Season 3 returns, Chuck and Blair are very happy and very much in love. Chuck struggles to run Bass Industries to his deceased father's impeccably high standards. He opens up a hotel, The Empire. Halfway through the season, Chuck meets a woman claiming to be his mother. Hit with a sexual harassment suit at work, he temporarily signs over The Empire. She betrays him and signs the hotel over to his sinister uncle, Jack Bass, who has previously attacked Lily and slept with Blair.
Chuck and Blair agree to team up to take down Jack, but Chuck ends up offering Blair to Jack in exchange for his hotel. When Jack tells Blair this, she breaks up with Chuck at Dorota and Vanya's wedding. Chuck tries desperately to win Blair back, doing everything from banning all of the other Upper East Side men from dating her to asking her to meet him on top of the Empire State Building. Blair decides that Chuck is her true love and she's going to meet him, but Dorota suddenly goes into labor and she ends up being late. Chuck, thinking she is finally over him, leaves the building heartbroken and nearly suicidal. When he gets home, he sees that Jenny Humphrey has arrived looking for Nate. The two drunkenly sleep together, heartbroken that their true loves don't return their feelings.
Blair appears later in Chuck's suite, apologizing for being late, and the two reunite. Chuck is about to propose to Blair at the hospital, as they visit Dorota and her new baby, when Dan appears and rashly delivers a punch to Chuck's face. He then forces Chuck to tell Blair what happened between him and Jenny. Blair breaks things off with Chuck and informs him it's for good. She also threatens to ruin Jenny's life if she doesn't leave Manhattan immediately for good. Chuck then travels to Prague to escape New York for a while, feeling as though he has nothing left. He gets robbed by three muggers who insist on taking the ring that Chuck intended on proposing to Blair with and when Chuck puts up a fight, he gets shot in the stomach. The last shot of season 3 is him lying in an alley, presumably dying.
Other story lines for Chuck in season 3 include a feud with his sister leading to him trying to break Nate and Serena up, as well as a phony sexual harassment suit filed against him by the staff at The Empire!
In the first episode of season four, we find that Chuck is alive and well, having been rescued by Czech girl, Eva (Clemence Poesy) who has no idea of his wealth or of who he is. He creates a fake name and persona as he no longer wants to be the manipulating Chuck Bass. He eventually reveals who he really is and returns to New York with her, at the request of Blair and Serena. Blair insists she no longer loves him, but still schemes to undermine his new relationship. He eventually falls for one of her schemes and breaks up with Eva. He realizes his mistake and begs her to take him back, but she refuses, saying that he showed his true feelings by continuing to believe Blair over anyone else.
Chuck then declares war on Blair and sabotages various aspects of her life by making her lose internships, inviting Jenny Humphrey back to town, and generally trying to make her miserable. They soon blossom into an enemies-with-benefits relationship.
In the "The Witches of Bushwick", Chuck accidentally tells Blair that he loves her during sex and, not knowing whether his words are true, Blair chooses to gloss over the moment. Although Chuck and Blair spend the episode striving for different ends which will eventually alienate each other (Blair to become the face of Anne Archibald's charity, Girls Inc, and Chuck to increase the revenue of The Empire by returning to his bad boy persona), Blair makes the decision to attend Chuck's Saints and Sinners party in order to confront him. Chuck confesses that he loves her, and the pair kiss in front of everyone after the curtain concealing them is pulled down. Anne tells Blair that she can no longer be a part of Girls Inc just as Chuck's publicist KC tells Chuck that she thinks Blair will be good for business. Blair re-thinks her decision to sacrifice it all for their relationship, and she and Chuck break up once again. Chuck promises he'll wait for her, and both affirm their belief that their love will reunite them in the end. On thanksgiving Chuck and Blair run into each other at Serena's house, Chuck offers to leave but She tells him that she was heading to JFK anyway and came to drop off the traditional pie and that they should get used to this. They hear about Serena being hospitalized and while they're sharing that maybe nothing can change between them, Jenny walks in and their conversation interrupts. While driving Blair home, Chuck tells her that he showed up only for Serena. When she told him that what happened with Serena made her question what she told him after the Saints & Sinners party; Chuck tells her that he cannot be her friend now as much as he wishes he could. After that Blair still sends him her traditional pie, saying that even if they can't be friends it doesn't mean that they aren't.
In "The Townie" episode, It was revealed that Lily was going to sell Bass Industries instead of giving Chuck the company back. So he sets off to New Zealand, which is not too far from Australia, where his uncle Jack Bass is currently living.
Chuck returns to the Upper East Side with revenge for Lily. Chuck's new love interest Raina and her father, Russell Thorpe, a former rival of Chuck's late father Bart Bass.