Aesthetics is the study of beauty.
It’s the study of emotional values, sentiment and taste and involves all fields of the arts; music, communication arts, painting, photography.
It involves focusing not just on what the propositional or informational content of a text is, but also how that material is represented or otherwise rendered.
The word is ancient Greek but the modern form of this field was inaugurated by Immanuel Kant in the 18th Century in his studies of critical and aesthetic judgement.
Acts of kindness makes us feel better. It’s the little push from thinking of something sweet and actually doing it: that is a spark of magic.
- Arrange for a happy hour with people you want to know better. Beer always loosens social constrictions and creates new friends.
- Send a “thinking of you” card to someone who lives five minutes away.
Tell them how much you enjoy their company.
- Take photos of every holiday and important get togethers. It might seem like overkill, but if you dig up the photos in a year, hit Print and send them to the other party, they’d be stoked.It has a longer lasting impression than posting it on facebook.
- Call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Make sure it’s someone that you absolutely, genuinely love. There’s no reason to hang onto old relationships just because you’ve known them for so long. Guilt is one of the ways to know you’re keeping in contact for the sake of it.
- Buy a book that you think will help/cheer someone and gift it to them.
- Blow up a picture of your Mum and yourself and send it to her with the words “thank you” scrawled in the corner.
- Cook extra food for someone who’s been uber busy, deliver it to their house.
- Go out of your way to recycle. Think of all the lives you’ll be benefiting in the future.
- Buy flowers for a boy.
- Write a short thank you email to a journalist that wrote a brilliant article – the good people in media need love right now, they’re being the worst hit of this “economic crisis”.
- Send a letter of positive affirmations to someone you love that lives far away.
- Do some research into non-profits and charities around you. Pick one that matters and offer up your skill set or money.
- Leave a gift where someone least expects it. In the fridge, behind a computer, in a shoe.
- Create a fairy tale from the adventures you have with your best friend, how you met, the dangers you’ve overcome and the happy “in the end” future.
- Encourage art. If you know a budding artist, get their work framed, if you know a photographer, create a photo book using the many online tools available.
- Write sweet little nothings to your lover and leave it on the bathroom mirror or in their jacket. Make sure their Dad doesn’t borrow said jacket (that happened to me last week).
- Go to the $2 shop and get a stack of temporary tattoos, find the nearest person under 15 years old and give them huge tattoo sleeves.
- For someone jobless/down: write inspirational quotes and stick it around their house when they least expect it. Drag them to the gym and get a good work out, the endorphins will do the rest.
- Buy tickets and ear plugs to a concert for someone who rarely goes to a gig. Dance like an idiot at the edge of the crowds with them.
- Eat at the most unhealthiest place imaginable. Order the triple beef/cheese/heart attack combo with a large coke and fries. Don’t feel an ounce of guilt.
I bet everyone has a soft spot for Seasame Street. It’s still a hip show. Ben Stiller and many more dance and sing for our entertainment and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s the best-of vids. Add your own in the comments.
There are still some songs my sister and I sing to each other, specifically “the word is no”.
Andrea Bocelli is my favourite skit.
I know this is embarrassing, but I had a huge crush on the Goo Goo Dolls’ lead singer when I was 14. I have no excuses. Please forgive me.
It’s an REM mosh
Old school Destiny Child
I know this just made your day.
This is a quick fix for your sweet tooth and if it has fruit, it must be healthy.
- One pineapple, peeled and cored. Or, if you have two seconds, canned, sliced pineapple.
- Pineapple cake mix, or butter cake mix with one teaspoon pineapple flavour
- Whatever eggs etc. the cake mix requires.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven according to the cake box directions. Make your cake batter as directed.
- Put your cake tin over a medium heat and add the butter to the bottom. Once the butter is melted, make sure the whole area is covered and add the brown sugar so it’s evenly covering the tin. It should resemble wet sand, don’t freak out.
- Lay out the pineapple rings on top of the sugar. If you want to be kitsch, put cherries in the middle of each ring.
- Gently fold the cake batter into the cake tin and bung it in the oven.
- In 40 minutes, check the consistency by having a peak through a crack in the door. If it looks like it’s not cooked, close the door gently so the cake doesn’t flop. When it looks done, skewer the middle of the cake with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, take the cake out. Grab a fork. Let the cake cool in the tin for 20 minutes then gently turn it upside down onto your serving dish. If any of the rings stick to the pan, use the fork to take it out put it quickly in place on the cake.
D.C is completely different during Summer, it comes alive.
Sometimes I have to take a step back to realise that we’re in America’s capital and nothing did it better than watching some Jazz next to the Washington Monument.
9am: Wake up. Reply to emails. W’s still sleeping. Doze off next to him.
11:00am: Adapting an omlette from Jamie Oliver‘s latest book for brunch. It’s a hit in our one bedroom apartment.
1:45pm: It was stifling hot and I was sweating my ass off after an hour of listening to Jazz. W. and I walked over to the Natural History Museum to get a coke. I call it a soda and he gives me shit about my somewhat increasing American accent and vocabulary. Even though we forgot at the time, the Saturday marked our one year anniversary of being in the States.
3:15pm: Walked around the animal section and got excited when we saw a whole wing dedicated to Australia. We argue about what whether the Tasmanian Thylacine was, in fact, the Tasmanian Tiger. He claims victory through a google search.
4pm: In the arvo, we sit on a bench and after a quick search for movies (there’s an app for that), I bought tickets to Terminator 4. It was great because we didn’t have to show up to the cinema uber early and wait around. W. downloads the latest version of Twinkle on my phone so I can update my facebook and twitter status at the same time. If this ain’t love, then I don’t know what love is.
Sometimes I think we take for granted how easy the iPhone makes things.
4:20pm: There was a garden festival (whatever that means) opposite the Washington Mall so I look at scaled plants that had been around for 300 million years. Put my infatuation with the iPhone into perspective. Realised I was leading us in the opposite direction to the cinema. Turned around.
5:30pm: Walked up and down D.C’s sad excuse of a Chinatown. It’s a small street that has two Irish pubs on it. We settle on Nando’s. Word to the wise: somehow the American Nando mild sauce is not the same as Australian sauce. My attempt to eat vegetarian was dashed when the butternut pumpkin salad was spicy. Settled on a bland kid’s meal. Humilitation! Nando’s: one. Resistance to spicy food: zero.
6:20pm: Had a frozen yoghurt at TangySweet. It was too sour for my liking. Thought about ice cream while I finished it. Headed over to the cinema.
7:10pm: Sitting in the cinema with a kid’s size popcorn and coke. It’s humongus. Not only can you get buttered popcorn but you can actually ask for extra butter to be poured on top of your bucket. I would ask for double the servings of melted butter, but this is for W. and he cares about longevity.
9:30pm: Back home. I loved Terminator, it had stark lighting, great music and easy to understand characters. The repetition from the other films really came together in the story. There’s something comforting about it. W. wanted more of a plot and teased me about Christian Bale, I have a wee bit of a crush on him from his Little Women days.
I see a little bit of the Matrix’s influence in the film. Now that’s a movie I loved inside out. My friends and I would write quotes from it on the insides of our arms during science. Yeah, we were cool.
12am: Fall asleep to the sound of the fan. Happy.
So says Phillip Toledano, a man that left advertising for photography.
He photographs from the heart. I admire that. You may know him from his site, Days with My Father, in which he documents his last days with his declining Dad, a heart breaking drama in which you already know the end but it’s still emotional. My mother and aunty cried when I sent the site to them. It touched me, even though I couldn’t relate his story to any of my experiences.
His photography ranges from an inside look at phone sex operators to disturbingly empty office buildings, whatever he’s photographing, you can see what he’s thinking in his images. I like that.
His biography reads: “I believe that everything should start with an idea, whether it be a single idea, or a series. I also believe that a photograph should be an unfinished sentence. There should be space for questions.”
What more is there to say?
This took around two hours to make, including cooling time. I thought that wasn’t too bad, I had plenty of time to run around and do my thing.
First things first, take out three eggs and two sticks of butter (225g) so they get to room temperature by the time you need them.
Ingredients for cake:
- 2 large eggs, at room temp.
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 cup vege oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot black coffee
Ingredients for buttercream icing:
- 6 ounces (170g) semi-sweet chocolate, either in chips or broken up
- 2 sticks (225g) unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 large yolk, at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sifted icing sugar
- Butter and flour the inside of your two 8 inch cake tins. Line the bottom with baking paper and preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and cocoa into a mixer bowl and mix quickly with a wooden spoon for 30 seconds.
- In a medium bowl pour the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
- Using a mixer on slow, add the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the coffee and stir just to combine. It’ll have a runny consistency, don’t freak out.
- Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula and pour the batter evenly into the two cake tins. Bake for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 30 mins then turn it onto a wire rack. Make the frosting during this time.
- For the frosting: Put the chocolate into a glass bowl and blast it in the microwave for 15 second intervals. Mix thoroughly after each blast, otherwise the chocolate will burn. Once it’s melted, set it aside so it reaches room temp. Boy, we’re loving things at room temperature, aren’t we?
- Using the mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it becomes lighter in colour, should take around 3 mins. Add the egg yolk and keep on a-mixing for another 3 mins.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the sifted icing sugar in four intervals. Scrape down the side of the bowl occasionally. Add the chocolate on the mixer’s lowest speed and when just combined, start spreading it on the cooled cake immediately.
Adapted from a wonderful Ina Garten recipe.