The Pole, Newcastle

Went to see Newcastle’s newest tourist attraction yesterday – the Pole!

It all started when Newcastle City Council widened the curb before energy provider Ausgrid moved the power pole. While they’ve been trading blame back and forth, the power pole has been left in the middle of the road and, naturally, it’s gone viral and become a bit of a tourist attraction. It’s even in Google Maps!

I’m sure eventually it’ll be fixed but it was fun seeing it first. A different kind of street photography for me! 🙂

Photos © CJ Levinson 2019

Ripper Little Christmas (an Aussie Christmas Song)

I finished this year’s Aussie Christmas song earlier. This year I did an Aussie version of Holly Jolly Christmas called Ripper Little Christmas.

I chose it as it’s a fun, recognisable song and I think we could all use a bit of fun after this horrible year.

It’s more inspired by the original song than a true parody (I changed the rhyming and structure a bit as I didn’t want it to seem too cutesy) but I hope you enjoy it. And if you have any suggestions for next year’s song, let me know. 😀

Kangaroo Bauble

Ripper Little Christmas

Have a ripper little Christmas
It’s a beaut time of the year
We’ll have lots of fun in the sun
And a glass or two of beer

Have a ripper little Christmas
And when you go to the beach
Say hello to mates you know
And shout em a cold one each

Oh oh look at the lights glow
So pretty on the tree
Grandma’s baked a cake again
Save a slice just for me

Have a ripper little Christmas
Enjoy the fun and cheer
And make sure you have
A ripper little Christmas this year!

Oh oh look at Uncle Joe
He’s fallen asleep by the tree
The kids are playing in the yard
While we have a cup of tea

Have a ripper little Christmas
Hold your loved ones near
And make sure you have
A ripper little Christmas this year!

My other Aussie Christmas songs:
The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas (2008)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2009)
We Wish You An Aussie Christmas (2010)
Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2011)
Have Yourself an Aussie Kind of Christmas (2012)
Santa Matey (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2014)

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas (2015)

Star Wars: Episode X – The Dark Side Rises

Just a bit of fun to go with all The Force Awakens hype this week. I know people are starting to think about Episode VIII now but I thought I’d turn my attention further ahead, to the next trilogy. And I think I already know who the villain might be…

(Warning: there are a couple of mild spoilers for The Force Awakens in the video if you haven’t seen it yet).

Apologies for the audio by the way. I used the StarWars.com creator to make this but for some reason the share/export isn’t working so I did a screen capture instead. It made the audio a little tinny.

What did you think of The Force Awakens? I’m going to do a post after Christmas touching on it and nostalgia in general but basically I enjoyed it. I liked it but didn’t love it I guess – I thought it felt too familiar and nostalgic at times. It sets up Episodes VIII and IX well though and hopefully they will be more original.

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas

I finished my annual Aussie Christmas song tonight. This is my seventh song now and this year I thought I’d do an Aussie version of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.

I chose it as it’s one of those songs everyone knows so hopefully it’ll be easy to follow, and also because I wanted to tell a bit more of a story this year. Christmas is a fun time but it can be very hard too, particularly if you’re missing people you love. I really wanted to try to capture that feeling in the song.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions for next year’s song, let me know. 😉

Sydney Lego Santa

I’m Dreaming of an Aussie Christmas

The snow is falling, the wind is cold
The airport is crowded and grey
There’s never been a colder day
And I miss my family so far away
It’s December the twenty-fourth
And I’m still waiting here way up north…

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the summer sizzles
And it never drizzles
And there’s cricket on the radio

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
With friends on a warm December night
May your summer be warm and light
And may all your Christmases be bright

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the water shimmers
And the hot sand glimmers
And we play in the sun’s golden glow

I’m dreaming of an Aussie Christmas
With everyone I love holding me tight
May your days be filled with delight
And may all your Christmases be bright

And may all your Christmases
May all your Chrissie days be
May all your Christmases be bright

My other Aussie Christmas songs:
The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas (2008)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2009)
We Wish You An Aussie Christmas (2010)
Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2011)
Have Yourself an Aussie Kind of Christmas (2012)
Santa Matey (an Aussie Christmas Song) (2014)

It’s So Hot…

We had an absolute scorcher today. It reached 41’C near where I live in Newcastle and it was even hotter in Sydney today apparently. Scary thing is it’s not even officially summer yet.

It was so hot that everyone was talking about it and I thought I’d have some fun with it on Facebook and Twitter, so I started posting some memes. People seemed to like them so I thought I’d post them here too, with some extras.

Hope you like them. What’s your favourite it’s so hot/it’s hotter than joke? 😉

  • 39’C at the moment. And still climbing. Yowsers. It’s #HotterThan the hottest day in Hell’s hottest hotel.
  • It’s #HotterThan Smaug’s breath roasting dwarves and hobbits.
  • It’s #HotterThan bacon in a frying pan
  • It’s #SoHot I think I just saw two trees fighting over a dog
  • It’s #SoHot ice creams are melting before they’ve been opened
  • It’s #SoHot all the sprinklers have gone on strike
  • It’s #HotterThan Justin Trudeau
  • It’s #HotterThan two cheerleaders at a beach volleyball game
  • It’s #HotterThan tickets to the new Star Wars premiere
  • It’s #SoHot hens are laying hard boiled eggs
  • It’s #SoHot Olaf is just a puddle #LetItGo
  • It’s #SoHot bread is turning into toast
  • It’s #HotterThan the hottest vindaloo
  • It’s #HotterThan a taco with hot sauce
  • It’s #HotterThan Kevin Rudd’s temper
  • It’s #SoHot Donald Trump’s hair is sitting flat
  • It’s #SoHot Tony Abbott’s started to believe in climate change
  • It’s #SoHot the Transformers are turning into refrigerators
  • It’s #HotterThan a Jawa on Tatooine
  • It’s #HotterThan Rick’s haircut in The Walking Dead #YepIWentThere
  • It’s #HotterThan a firework on New Year’s Eve
  • It’s #SoHot the cat wants to use the pool
  • It’s #SoHot both taps are running hot water
  • It’s #SoHot the Sahara desert wants to sue for defamation
  • It’s #HotterThan a Vulcan going through pon farr
  • It’s #HotterThan getting stuck in a pair of skinny jeans
  • It’s #HotterThan the back of my mobile phone
  • It’s #SoHot Ben Carson is almost making sense
  • It’s #SoHot dogs are turning into hot dogs
  • It’s #SoHot all the hipsters are shaving off their beards #ExceptMe
  • It’s #HotterThan an egg frying on the sidewalk
  • It’s #HotterThan the thermostat will even show
  • It’s #HotterThan Green Arrow’s chilli recipe, the one only Batman can eat
  • It’s #SoHot Jon Snow has stopped thinking winter is coming (and also, Jon Snow? So not dead) #NeverGiveUp
  • It’s #SoHot even the flies are exhausted
  • It’s #SoHot my face burned before I’d even left the house
  • It’s #HotterThan Adele’s latest album
  • It’s #HotterThan Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers
  • Actually I take that back. Nothing is #HotterThan Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers #SorryScarlett
  • It’s #SoHot I can’t remember anything… what was I saying again?
  • It’s #SoHot my mirages are having mirages
  • It’s #SoHot I think I’ve started to crack up… #TooLate

A Sign in Wallsend

 

And on the 8th day God created the iPhone, so Humankind could talk to Him whenever they wanted.

Then on the 9th day He created private numbers to stop them from bugging him and was never heard from again.

I was doing some shopping in Wallsend yesterday and saw this sign at the Wallsend Presbyterian Church. Gave me a good laugh.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2015

Election Thoughts + More Memes

Abbottlanche or Ruddicide

Congratulations to Tony Abbott and the Coalition. It’s only the seventh time in sixty years an elected government has been defeated, so it’s quite an achievement, particularly to topple a government that’s only been in for two terms. It’s something I never thought would happen when Abbott first came to the leadership, it seemed so unlikely and Abbott such an unlikely alternative PM. But the Coalition ran a very clever campaign and then again, I never thought I’d see a PM torn down in his first term either, so I guess it shows anything can happen in politics.

I’ll be frank: I did not vote for the Coalition and will never vote for the Coalition as long as Tony Abbott is leader. His policies and social attitudes scare the hell out of me and I’d much rather see Malcolm Turnbull as PM – if he had been, I would definitely have supported the Coalition and I think they would have won with an even bigger majority. But putting that aside, Labor didn’t deserve to be re-elected at all and only has itself to blame for the outcome. When you spend all your time fighting over the leadership, surrounded by bickering and countless distractions of your own making, rather than actually governing the country, you can’t seriously think the public is going to vote you back in.

The government’s problems are strange in some ways because it’s not even that they’ve been a particularly bad government overall when you look at their ideas and achievements, particularly the NBN and the NDIS, it’s really more that they’ve spent the last six years tearing each other apart from the inside out, have kept back-pedalling on policies that they had made into central platforms (you can’t say climate change is the “greatest moral challenge of our time” and then try to back away from it, for instance, it makes you look like flip-floppers at best and a party lacking moral integrity at worst) and that they’ve been completely incompetent in selling their achievements – especially the strength of the economy, which is relatively strong, particularly when compared to the rest of the world. Abbott’s been an effectively negative opposition leader but in normal circumstances there’s simply no way a government should find itself in this position after just two terms. Which is what I meant with the caption above – in the end I’m genuinely not sure if Abbott won this election or if Labor lost it and essentially committed suicide. Or maybe it’s a bit of both.

I’m not sure what kind of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is going to be and like I said, he wouldn’t be my choice by a wide margin on either side of politics, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and I hope he’ll be one who is consultative and doesn’t try to force an ideological agenda through parliament (although that is one thing that potentially concerns me about him). In many ways because he has been such an effective negative campaigner I don’t think the public has been able to get a real idea of who Abbott actually is (which incidentally I think is also why he’s always performed so poorly in leadership polls, because it makes it seem like he’s stilted and has no personality), so it will be interesting to see if we start to see a new side of Tony Abbott and perhaps that public view of Abbott starts to change. It’ll also be interesting to see how he goes on the international stage – I actually think that’s one area where he might do quite well, with the exception perhaps of our relationship with Indonesia, which will depend a lot on what happens with asylum seekers and the boats.

I also hope that we can start to put the misogynist statements to rest once and for all as well. Gillard’s speech on misogyny was one of the defining moments in modern Australian politics and on a wider level was very true but looking at it objectively, it was also at least a little unfair on Tony Abbott. There are many, many things I do not like about Abbott but he’s not a misogynist – his wife is an incredibly strong influence in his life, he’s helped to raise three daughters who seem to be incredibly intelligent and articulate young women that any parent would be proud of and he’s introducing a paid parental leave scheme that is very generous towards women. What Abbott is is very old fashioned and extremely awkward and gaffe-prone but that doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist. It also doesn’t mean that Gillard’s speech wasn’t true either, just that it was truer on a broader level about society and I think that’s why it resinated with so many people. But hearing people constantly calling Abbott a misogynist during this election – often I think without their even knowing what a misogynist really is as well – is one of the things that’s really grated on me and I’m hoping now people will at least try to give him the benefit of the doubt. No matter what you think of Tony Abbott, the office of the Prime Minister deserves more respect than that – just as it did when Gillard was PM and she was treated so abysmally, particularly by men, many of whom were in the media, and in her own party.

In any case I guess like everyone I’m mostly just relieved this bloody election is finally over. It’s been mind-numbingly tedious but good luck to the Coalition and here’s hoping the next three years won’t be as divisive as the last and the economy stays relatively strong.

I made some more election memes last night while watching the results come in as well, so I thought I’d post them with this for a bit of fun. The one about Jason Wood was just spur of the moment – I’d not heard his quote before and it came on during the coverage and my head just about exploded when I heard it. I used the photo of Gllard as that’s pretty much how I imagine she would have reacted when she heard it too – and it’s not a bad approximation of what my face was like too. I mean, seriously Jason, WTF?

Hope you enjoy them. Who knows, I might start doing these regularly as they seem to be popular. 😉

Budgie-Man

Batman, meet Budgie-Man, our new PM.

Rudd's Concession Speech

Bye Kev. Remember, PMs come and go, selfies live forever.

Genetically Modified WHAT?

Jason Wood, one of Australia’s great visionaries.

Finally Over

Here’s hoping.

Election Fun

Abbott and the Philosoraptor

I’ve been getting into the political mood recently by making some election memes. I’ve shared most of them on Twitter and Facebook but with the election on Saturday, I thought I’d post them here too.

For the record I don’t really lean towards one party or the other and I’ve tried to skewer both equally. It’s been fun making them… it’s been a very long, dull election and being able to poke fun at it all has really been the only thing that’s made it bearable.

Hope you enjoy them and if you’d like to share any of them, feel free. If I make more I’ll post them before the election too.

Kevin Rudd and the Milky Bar Kid

Is there something you need to tell us Kevin? The resemblance is uncanny.

Tony Abbott and Budgie Smugglers of Doom

Or maybe they’re his “budget” smugglers?

Coalition of Misogynists

Glad to say I don’t own many blue ties.

Julie Bishop's Death Stare

Wonder who’d win in a staring contest between Julie Bishop and Hillary Clinton?

KRudd and the Selfie Craze

Poor Kevin. He’s so misunderstood.

Tony and the Pony

We can trust them. They’re politicians.

The Real Reason We Need Fast Broadband

GoT. The real reason we need fast broadband.

Joe Scissorhands

No truth to the rumour that the scissors were removed from Julia Gillard’s back though.

Tony Grows Up

Sorry, everyone has to grow up some time Tony.

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Christmas Salad

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating in their part of the world today.

To celebrate Christmas I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs. This year I settled on doing Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas, an Aussie version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

I’ve written five of these songs now and this was by far the hardest. It took me a long time to choose a song and I think I’m starting to run out of well-known songs as most of the best known ones don’t really suit an Australian translation (Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! for instance), so I’ll have to think carefully about which one to do next year.

In the end I chose Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas because it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and also because I wanted to do something a little different this year and try to show how it might feel for an Australian overseas at Christmas, longing to be back home. Given the number of Australians working abroad and our soldiers currently deployed overseas, I thought it suited the rather melancholic feel of the song.

The two best-known versions are probably by Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra; Garland’s is personally my favourite as it’s more serious and sombre in tone (although nowhere near as depressing as the original lyrics written for Meet Me in St. Louis, which Garland had changed), but I like Sinatra’s version as well and so decided to combine the two to reflect both versions and make it a bit longer as well.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Aussie Santa Xmas Train

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Summer sunshine is far away
This cold winter has set in to last
I’m dreaming of a place I loved but could not stay
And warm Christmases of the past…

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
May your winter days be bright
Some day soon this longing will be made right
And you’ll be home

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Tell Santa Claus g’day
One day you’ll see him fly over Sydney in his sleigh
Once again

Here we are in this new century
These happy years of promise and awe
I long to see my loved ones once again
And to hold them close once more

In my heart I know they won’t forget me
And one day I’ll be home, when funds allow
Until then I’ll just have to save up somehow
And try to have myself an Aussie kind of Christmas now

So have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Throw a shrimp on the barbeque
One day soon you won’t feel so blue
Anymore

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Grab a beer and watch the kids play
They’ll be all grown up one day
As life moves on

Here we are in happier times
These memories we cherish and adore
I find myself thinking of old friends
And wishing I was near them once more

Over the years good mates always stick together
So even when distance won’t allow
We’ll still find a way to celebrate somehow
And try to have ourselves an Aussie kind of Christmas now