Monthly Archives: December 2014

My Wish for 2015

So here we are again
Gathered at the precipice of 2014
Peering over the horizon
Fast approaching 2015
What will the New Year hold for us?

Here’s what I want
Not for myself but for Humanity
This is what I would like
2015 to be

No more wars
Started by profiteers
No more lies
By politicians and governments
No more violence
In the streets in protest
Of police brutality
No more terrorist attacks
On poor innocent people
(What did schoolchildren ever do
To you that you had to kill them?
Or people just having a cup of coffee
With their friends in a café?)
No more fighting over Land,
Religion, Race, Politics
No more fighting, full stop.
How about some Peace instead?

No more conspiracies
To drag the veil over our eyes
No more teaching our children
False truths and fantasies
No more creative history
Wrought by the hands of men
And the minds of little boys
No more creating diseases
And then offering expensive cures
(Free the Weed already!!)
No more poisoning our rivers
No more senseless fishing
Killing poor dolphins and whales
No more clubbing seal pups
As they lay helpless on the beach
No more fracking
No more plundering the Earth
For more timber, oil, diamonds
– the list goes on
At the cost of human life
And animal habitats
It’s time to act responsibly
Like adults

Grow up, people!
Take a good hard look around you
This Planet’s falling apart
And all you do is fight like kids
In a playground?
Mother Earth needs your help
To protect, nourish and grow
So that future generations
– your children, their children
And their children’s children
May reap the benefits
This is a good planet, no
This is the Only planet
That we have to live on right now
So let’s make it a good place to live

We were placed on Earth
As Caregivers of the Land,
Sea and all its lifeforms
Not for selfish purposes
But for good
…and somewhere along the way
We forgot
Or were taught lies and deceit
Fell into the trap of
Consumerism, Materialism, Greed,
Profit and Mayhem
Me me me, more more more!
Stop it right now!
There’s plenty for everyone on Earth
If we learn to share and give
And stop feeding our own Egos
Now it is time to Step Up
Wake Up
And be Caregivers again
Not Caretakers, not to Take
But to Give back to the Planet
What we have so selfishly taken
For millennia.

Don’t wait for someone else
To start the ball rolling
If you want to see the Change
You have to Be the Change
So step up to the mark
And be ready to bat
Let’s make 2015 the year
We turn this thing around
Wipe the slate clean and start again.

AlyZen Moonshadow
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 2

Yesterday, I shared images and descriptions of several of my CD album cover mock-ups.

Here are the rest of them. In 2015 I shall be creating another series of album cover mock-ups. For fun, and because I can LOL.

image I saw these birds sitting on telephone wires early one morning, and they reminded me of musical notes on manuscript paper. Hence the title “Dawn Chorus”.

image This one was inspired by a visit to the Art Gallery on Western Australia. The poor puppet was squished into a display cube, perfect for my CD album cover.

image This was actually a giant shoe at an exhibition in Perth. I decided it was too good to pass up on.

image I seemed to like telephone/telegraph poles and lines a lot. The pole, line and tree are real, the “struck by lightning effect” is actually from a photo I took of an abstract painting.

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Enough said!

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The Griffin came from an exhibition
I decided it was too Harry Potter to pass up on, hence the title.

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The Orang Utan image came from the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia. I simply transported him digitally to the Great Eastern Highway, Perth, Western Australia.

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These socks were tied to chainlink fences outside the derelict Guildford Hotel in Guildford, to protest the Council’s blocking of the hotel owners’ efforts to repair and restore the building to its former glory, after its roof was blown off in a storm several years ago.

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The Moon image is from an App, I simply used it to illumimate and contrast with the branches of a cherry blossom tree.

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Now this one Really became a true-to-life CD album cover. It was for hubby’s electronic music, under his name ElectroCelt. I had fun creating this, using the Apps “Deco Sketch” and “Phonto”.

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 1

Sometime back in 2011-2012 I created several CD album cover mock-ups. Partly for fun and also partly in preparation for hubby ElectroCelt’s own music production…in case he was ready to release his music as an album anytime.

I had a lot of fun creating my mock-ups, and I think in 2015 it’s time, perhaps, to make up a few more mock album covers.

Anyhow, I never really got around to explaining the images behind the mock-ups. And now I will. So, without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from my collection. (These were done on my old iPhone 4, so it will be interesting to see what I can do with my new Samsung Note 4 next year).

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I loved mushroom-hunting when I lived in Spain. These 2 common mushrooms were found near my kid’s school in Australia, the sight of them brought back happy memories. So I thought I’d immortalise them with a trippy, almost 3-D effect. The title “Underground Empire” actually relates to the fact that mushrooms and other fungi first grow as an intricate system called mycelium under the earth, and what we see above ground and eat are actually its fruit.

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I spotted this very Australian bird, the kookaburra, sitting on a telephone wire, and just couldn’t pass up on the chance to create some puns. See how many plays on words you can spot here.

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Mahogany Creek is the name of an actual place, somewhere near the township of Mundaring, along the Great Eastern Highway out of Midland near Perth, Western Australia. It was autumn when we drove through it one year, so I thought it fitting to create an autumn-themed CD album cover.

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With this one it was the huge billowy clouds that inspired me. Hubby liked the title so much he has actually named a musical track of his after it.

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I was inspired to create this after visiting an exhibition about scientist Nikola Tesla in the city.

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I had several dozen images of cemetery statues on my, which I processed using predominantly the App Snapseed’s grunge and vintage filters. This is one of them. (Yes, I am susceptible to lurking about in cemeteries LOL).

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The tree-house was from a visit to Malaysia to see my ailing grandma in 2011. The plane was from the airport. I put the two together and named it “Leaving The Nest”, which is essentially what I did back in 1992 when I left Malaysia to study in England.

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This is a composite photo of 2 images from the movie “Legion”, which I shot on screen. I liked how they appeared to fit together.

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This was a fun one to create. The rows of bins were from an outdoor festival we’d been to. I just added the gore and suggestive title.

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This big tree, seen on one of our road trips along the coast, was the inspiration. Silver Gum and Paper Bark are 2 species of Australian gumtrees.

More to come in tomorrow’s post.😄

Our Rottnest Island Trip in Pictures

Some photos of our mini holiday to Rottnest Island on Saturday 27th December 2014:

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The ferry carries hundreds of hire bikes. The only vehicles allowed on Rottnest Island are utility vehicles for the upkeep and maintenance of the island. And buses to bring tourists around.

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One of the Rottnest Express ferries, seen from our ferry.

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Full past capacity on the ferry. The journey takes 30 minutes from Fremantle to Rottnest Island. Distance is 20km.

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My first smiling Quokka. They are known as the Happiest Animal On Earth. Yes, they really have a sweet smile and an inquisitive, friendly nature.

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Inside one of the main provisions stores on The Settlement. Make sure you load up on water (extremely important as drinking taps are far and few between, and it’s very, very warm out on the tarmac) and other essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellant, sunglasses. And buy a packed lunch before you set off on your bikes, as there are no other shops on other parts of the island.

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Adult Australian Raven in a tree. I’m going to research and write about Ravens next year…especially the difference between ravens and crows.

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The waters are really that clear, and really that gorgeous colour.

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Standing in the cool water. Ahhh bliss!

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Me and the Kid in the water. There were loads of boats moored around us. And this was just one of many coves on the island.

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Another cove, and more boats.

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Panorama of a dried up lake showing crystalline salt deposits.

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Close up of salt crystals on Pink Lake.

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Board explaining how pink salt is formed.

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Pink Lake.

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We will not let this hill defeat us. We will not let this hill…oh what the heck, let’s just get off our bikes and push them instead! On the way to Oliver Hill Gun Battery.

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All that way just for a big gun!

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And tunnels. I love tunnels.

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The Lighthouse, which we didn’t quite get to…on account of it being on a hill. And our hire bikes only had 3 gears, 2 of which didn’t work. Maybe next time…when we get electric bikes!

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Back to the Settlement for more water and food. This is the island’s resident peacock on his perambulations. Fearless of humans, unless they’re children chasing after it.

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Here’s Mr Peacock again, in a better light.

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The Kid standing next to our hire bikes.

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Round Two after lunch. Heading clockwise this time. Henrietta Rocks. She really does.

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Panorama of Henrietta Rocks.

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The Shark shipwreck on Henrietta Rocks.

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Jack aka The Kid in the hole. Henrietta Rocks. You can see the Shark shipwreck sticking up out of the water behind him.

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An unprecedented first. A Selfie! I never knew my new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (hubby’s early Xmas present to me) was capable of taking great selfies without the need to become a contortionist 😄.

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Another Selfie! The whole family together.

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The Kid and hubby on the rocks. Henrietta Rocks, to be precise. Shame we didn’t have our bathers, the waters looked so inviting.

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Board explaining Henrietta Rocks and the Shark shipwreck. When we were there someone was actually snorkelling around the shipwreck.

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Next stop, Parker Point. Here I got waylaid by a very cute and handsome Quokka, who led me into the trees where 2 of his mates were waiting. Okay, it’s not what you think…

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This is what my Quokka boyfriend needed. A good drink of fresh water. There were several of these cut-off bottoms of plastic bottles lying around, so I filled one up with water. And 2 quokkas came to get their fill.
It was a blisteringly hot day, even the bitumen was melting under my shoes, these poor guys would have been really suffering.

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My 2 quokka friends sharing the same water bowl.

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Steps down to Parker Point. By this time we were all so knackered we decided to forego the pleasure of a step workout. So instead, we cycled back to The Settlement in readiness to go home. Boy was it a long ride back! Up, down, up, down…definitely electric bikes next time!

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So here we are at Aristo’s Bar & Restaurant, cooling our feet until the 1825 ferry back to mainland Australia. Well no, once again we’ve been upstaged by yet another super cute Quokka.

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Joke: A Quokka walks into a bar…

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Oh, he got ejected soon after. A waiter picked him up by his thick rat’s tail, dropped him outside the bar and closed the door. Poor lil quokka. All he wanted was a drink.

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Our ship has come in. All in all, it was a good day. Tiring, hot and sweaty, lots of flies, lots of exercise, litres of terribly expensive but totally essential and all-important bottled WATER. But I’m in love with Quokkas now and looking forward to another trip to Rotto next year.

Rottnest Island for the Quokkas

Here we are on Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. A daytrip for us that started with waking up before 6am, rushing to feed and water the chickens, Japanese Quail, budgies, weiros, koi, tropical fish, dogs and cat, before leaving the house at 7am to catch the Rottnest Express ferry from Fremantle to the island.

What a day! First hubby was tardy getting ready and we left the house 15 minutes later than planned. Then McDonald’s drive-thru mucked up our breakfast order and we were delayed by another 10 minutes. Then Google Maps gave us the wrong directions, and we ended up at the wrong ferry terminal and had to rush over across to the other side of Fremantle to find the right terminal. Then the roadsigns led us on a merry chase before we found the “B Shed” terminal. Then the parking ticket machines just had to be out of order, so it was a mad rush to find one that worked, pay for a ticket, run back to the car to display said ticket, run to the tail end of the rapidly disappearing queue to board the ferry…

We just made it. But had to then stand for 30 minutes on the ferry, which was chock-a-block. We sure are a family that doesn’t do things by halves!

And then at last we were on Rottnest.

It’s a lovely place to bring the family. Sun, surf, snorkelling, scuba-diving, water sports, bicycling, Segways for hire, chalets to rent, bbq areas, camping, a strip of food places and bars, even a mini cinema, the list goes on.

We hired bikes. They had weird rubber bands around the gears, instead of the usual bike chain. There were only 3 gears, 2 of which didn’t work. Mine lacked a bell, so I had to yell at pedestrians and other cyclists. The roads were hardly flat – if you weren’t able-bodied and fit, you would struggle up the hills. And there were LOTS of hills. Going downhill at breakneck speed is a lot of fun. Cycling in the scorching sun with a cloud of flies around your head is not.

But the best part of Rottness has got to be the Quokkas. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Quokka:

The quokka was one of the first Australian mammals seen by Europeans. The Dutch mariner Samuel Volckertzoon wrote of sighting “a wild cat” on Rottnest Island in 1658. In 1696, Willem de Vlamingh mistook them for giant rats and named the island “Rotte nest”, which comes from the Dutch words rattennest meaning “rat nest”.

The word quokka is derived from a Noongar (Aboriginal) word, which was probably gwaga.

So today, here are some pics of Quokkas we saw on Rottnest. They are really cute and totally unafraid of humans. They are a protected species and the public are not allowed to touch them. (Shhh but I did tap a couple of them on their noses when they came sniffing around for food. And I poured some water into a container for them, poor thirsty souls).

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Here’s a joke. A quokka walks into a bar. No, seriously, it does.

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What Price Humanity?

Today’s post is about the good and bad of humanity, and how a person’s fate can change in an instant, in the blink of an eye. It’s a lesson in how we should be mindful at all times of our actions and how they impact those around us.

It’s also a mini round-up of this year’s memorable events in Australia. A very selective micro mini round-up, of just 2 contrasting incidents that show humanity at its best and worst. Contrasts.

First, the best of humanity. This video shows CCTV footage at Stirling station in Perth, Western Australia on 5th August 2014. Andy, a commuter, has his leg trapped in the gap between the train and the platform. At first, the other commuters are told to move to the other side of the carriage, to ease pressure on Andy’s leg and hopefully release it. When that doesn’t work, the commuters exit the train and line up alongside the carriage. In a coordinated effort, they then push the carriage away from the platform, and on the second try, Andy is able to free his leg and walk away unhurt.

This video became viral around the world that day. I was looking for footage and coverage of it, and in only one article does it mention the person who first suggested rocking the carriage sideways. Here’s the link to that article. https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/24644421/people-power-frees-man-from-train-platform-gap/ The unsung hero’s name is Jake Smith, 18, a university student from Ballajura.

A few days later, I read that a schoolgirl had been trapped under a bus, and that fellow commuters had remembered the Perth incident and used the same tactic to rock the bus and free the girl.

Power to the People. As the old saying goes, “United, we stand. Divided, we fall”. As a whole, and acting together, we the human race are capable of accomplishing amazing feats of strength and endurance. When we cast aside our differences, lay down our selfish egos, acknowledge each other as fellow human beings, and work together for the greater good, we are then truly godlike.

And now for the other side of the coin. December 16th 2014. I remember this date as it’s the day my son graduated from Primary school. It’s also the day a crazed Muslim gunman held 17 innocent people hostage at the Lindt Chocolate café in Sydney, New South Wales. For an astounding 17 hours, this evil person was able to terrorise his victims and coerce them into first holding up an Islamic flag, then using their social media profiles to broadcast his demands to the world.

The jury’s still out on this. Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, condemned it as the actions of a single crazed person with his own personal vendetta, and not the actions of an Islamic State terrorist. I see it as a miscarriage of justice, regardless of whether the perpetrator was claiming to be acting for IS or not – he had a string of convictions for assault, accessory to murder, sexual perversion, writing hate mail to the grieving families of dead Australian soldiers killed in battle, the list goes on…and yet he was released on bail and free to roam the country? A hateful man like him should have been locked up and the key thrown away, before he caused further harm to humanity.

But instead, the Sydney siege ended with 2 of the hostages being killed, and the gunman himself was shot dead by armed police, who stormed the building after hearing shots fired.

It’s the names of the 2 hostage victims that deserve to be remembered, not that of the gunman. Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson. Tori was the manager of the Lindt café, who apparently was shot whilst trying to wrest the shotgun from the gunman. Katrina was a well-respected barrister and mother of 3 young children.

There are plenty of weblinks to the Sydney siege where you can find further details of the events as they unfolded that fateful day. Here is an account of the harrowing final 5 minutes of the siege. I would like you to also please read this article which talks about each hostage, as it helps put into perspective what these poor people had to go through, and gives you a better idea of the spirit of humanity in the face of adversity.

The photo below is an aerial shot showing the growing sea of flowers laid by the grieving public near the scene of the Sydney siege. This site has now grown too big to contain, and a second temporary memorial has been set up further down the road. With this very public outpouring of grief, Sydneysiders and Australians are proclaiming that this black mark in Australian history will not stop Australia from continuing to be the peaceful, generous, open and friendly country that it is.

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Cymatics

Awesome video! And based on fact, not fiction. Science meets Music meets WOW!

http://youtu.be/Q3oItpVa9fs

Cymatics is the study of visible sound. It was first pioneered by Dr Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist. Today there are a growing number of fans and proponents of this fascinating new(ish) genre in music. Nigel Stanford is an electronic musician based in New Zealand, who specialises in trance and ambient music. The video above of Nigel’s, which I first saw on a friend’s Facebook wall, ably demonstrates the physical manifestation of music. Also remember to check out and download Nigel’s other tracks.

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Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Cymatics:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymatics

Cymatics is exciting, as it is happening Right Now. And it continues to be researched and developed by different people from different walks of life, each with an aim of their own – scientists, mathematicians, visual artists, musicians. And when everything comes together, that’s when pure Magic happens.

Happy Christmas, everyone! May 2015 bring all your dreams and aspirations to fruition.

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Artist Inspiration : Loui Jover

Loui Jover was born in April 1967 in Europe, but migrated to Australia with his family at a young age. He’s based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Loui works with ink and gouache, drawing over vintage papers, books and music manuscript. He loves using collaged paper items and old printed stock. I’m a big fan of collaged art myself, perhaps that’s why I find Loui’s work so appealing. His favourite subjects are women, specifically their faces, and he utilises the pages of vintage books as his backgrounds to convey a sense of fragility. He also paints other subjects, romantic ones such as lovers embracing or walking under umbrellas in the rain. I love his black and white ink dripping paintings, which are reminiscent of the work of graffiti artist Banksy. I also love Loui’s super-colourful, super-saturated works.

Here are some write-ups about Loui Jover’s art, which make for interesting reading:

http://www.galleryview.com.au/2013/09/07/profile-australian-artist-loui-jover/

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/loui-jover-ink-drawings

http://www.zoneonearts.com.au/2014-01-13-loui-jover.htm

As for me, I just want to immerse myself in Loui’s fantastic artwork. And perhaps be able to buy some of his art through Saatchi Art Online, where he is a featured artist.

Meanwhile, enjoy these examples of Loui Jover’s art, which I’ve pulled from Google.

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I want them all!!

A Good Pun…

…is its own reword LOL. IT’S Pun Time again, Round Two. Every now and then I like to look on Google Images for puns that tickle my funny bone. Now, my funny bone, or elbow joint if you will, has certainly suffered a lot this year…and I mean that in all seriousness, no pun intended. I’m talking tennis elbow here OUCH.

I got it from throwing loaded balls in the swimming pool. Ok, perhaps I should explain. Shelagh, our pit bull darling best dog in the world, loves swimming. Or more specifically, throwing herself into the pool to catch her favourite Ball. Now, Ball used to be a soccer ball, he was kinda old already when we found him in the bushes in our garden, but after a year of being ravaged by puppy dog teeth, he’s now just a thickskinned round sac with an opening big enough to put a hand in ooo errr… not sure that came out right LOL. So when I say “loaded ball” I mean Ball gets dipped in the pool so he fills up with water. And That’s when I launch him into the air and Shelagh either leaps up to catch him in mid-air, or jumps into the water to “rescue” him. Either way, Shelagh always gets her Ball. And my elbow tendons get more inflamed.

Wow, wasn’t that a lengthy explanation. Anyway, here are some short and sweet puns I’ve curated from Google, to cheer you up after all that.

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A Cautionary Christmas Poem

Summer’s here again
Beach towels and bikinis
It’s that time of year
In the Southern Hemisphere
If you live elsewhere though
It’s a different story
There Winter is settling in
Expect snow flurries and storms
Make sure your home is insulated

The countdown to Christmas
Begins in October for many folks
But in our home the tree
Only goes up the week before
And the presents are useful,
Informative or educational
Or all of the above
We do not consume
For consumerism’s sake alone

Santa in the Land Down Under
Prances in a singlet and thongs
His presents are in a drinks cooler
– called an “Esky” in these parts
His sleigh is a Utility Vehicle
– here it’s called a “Ute”
A Santa in traditional garb
Would be a prime candidate
At the ER for heat exhaustion

Tis the Silly Season
Let the games begin
Tis sad how the true Spirit
Of Christmas has changed
When I was growing up
It was a religious celebration
But now it’s just yet another holiday
A reason to binge buy and
Punish the credit card

Load it up, folks
You know you want it
So get it now, why don’t you
– after all, you have all year next year
To try and pay it off
Let’s all live in the future
Paying an eternity of tomorrows
For the dubious pleasures
Of today

Christmas – what does it mean?
A store Santa, hired to drive a
Sled filled with presents
Pulled by fake reindeer
Along a track high in the atrium
Of a shopping mall
Gets derailed and falls
Three storeys down
Splat! Sled, presents, reindeer and all

And what do people do?
Some film the entire thing
On their new mobile phones
– Santa’s about to go viral
Some take selfies
Others stand and stare
But the rest will scramble and
Fight each other
For Santa’s presents on the floor

My dearest wish is that this scenario
Is not the norm of our Society today
– but look at the evidence
As seen in the snaking queues
For the latest iPhones
And in America, Black Friday
The Spirit of Christmas today
Is very much that fat Coca Cola guy
In the red suit Ho Ho Ho!

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Today, the 21st of December, is traditionally the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere (Winter Solstice) and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere (Summer Solstice). Because we use the Gregorian calendar, the actual day can vary, from 21-23 December each year. This year, the 2014 Summer Solstice for Perth, Western Australia is 22nd December. Today (or, if you’re pedantic, tomorrow), people near the North Pole will see hardly any sun at all, while people near the South Pole will experience nearly 24 hours of daylight.

Here’s some information on the Solstice, if you’re interested:

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html

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