Thursday, 5 May 2016

Buzz off bush turkey bastards

Hello - I'm a bastard buzzard

At first I thought they were cool. "Hey check out these gigantic birds in our backyard!" I'd never seen bush turkeys (or brush turkeys, as they are actually called), in gardens before - even though I grew up in Sydney.

A few years on and the novelty factor has completely worn off. Bush turkeys are bastards.

Ok sure, they're protected native birds of Australia, but I couldn't care less at the moment because they are PESTS. Just like possums. If they stayed in the bush I would probably still think they were cool, but they don't. They're bloody annoying backyard intruders who scratch up your garden and trash your plants.

The reason we're seeing so many more of them now is because you're not allowed to kill them or their eggs anymore (aborigines used to eat them - can totally understand why). There are also less foxes around (which used to hunt them), and lots of gardens are now shrub and mulch heavy which is just what they love.

At the moment we have four of the buggers lurking around our place - the Turkey Gang I call them. They're ugly and so destructive. I've tried getting our cat to scare them but he couldn't care less, so have resorted to spraying them with the hose. Even the kids get in on the act and try and scare them off too by shouting at them.

I know this might seem mean considering they were here before us settlers, but we live near the Manly Dam so there is plenty of native area around for them to find food and create their mounds - the piles of earth the males create to impress lady turkeys. If they're lucky, the female will choose their mound to lay her egg in, but only after a quick sexual favour has been granted. The egg is not theirs either but the next one will be, when she's moved on to some other turkey's mound. Nice.

Anyway, my efforts to get rid of the Turkey Gang aren't working. It's a downright invasion. So I've researched a few tips for frustrated gardeners like myself. Knock yourselves out fellow turkey haters... 

How to save your garden from bush turkey bastards
* Make the ground hard for them to rake - so place stones, sticks or heavy mulch around plants or chicken wire under the mulch.
* Use netting over plants you particularly love.
* Try placing a large mirror outside - they'll think it's another male and after attempting to fight it will find another place to create their shag piles.
* Don't leave pet food or other food for animals lying around outside.
* Don't leave your compost uncovered.
* Don't leave piles of mulch lying around.
* Do leave piles of mulch lying around - only if you've decided to give up the fight and coexist with the bastards. This way the pressure will be off your plants and garden beds, and they can use the mulch to make their mounds. 

Do you have any other solutions for the suburban bush turkey conundrum?

Photo credit: Birds in Backyards

Thursday, 24 March 2016

I'm too scared to go to the Easter Show

Laugh it up clowns
I used to love the Easter Show when I was little. The best part was when the special newspaper supplement came out showcasing all the different showbags you could buy. My sisters and I would spend hours looking at that thing discussing the pros and cons of different bags and what would get us the most stuff with the number of bags we were allowed to get (Bertie Beetle hands down always a winner). I also enjoyed seeing the animals, fruit displays, food and general vibe of it all - but mostly it was about the bags.

The last time I went to the show though was probably 20 years ago as a teenager. And it wasn't that fun. I went with one of my sisters and after fighting our way there on the train with the hoards of people, we stupidly tried to get money out at the venue but the ATMs were all bust and we had something like $20 between us to buy food and bags - which even back then was a complete joke. Disaster.

And now, even though I have two small ones myself, I haven't been since. I just can't face it! The crowds, the expense, the hassle, and with two children to lug around - it's not appealing at all. I hear others talk about it, and even those who say the kids love it admit it's a mission. In recent years I've sometimes entertained the notion by bringing it up with my husband, but if you thought I wasn't keen, well in no way, shape or form is he up for the challenge. The closest I've come is getting a friend to buy me some showbags.

It's such a shame though. I wish it was easier to go because I'm sure I would go back and let my boys soak up the Easter fun. But sorry, I think I'll just stick to the good old Easter Bunny visit instead. Luckily the children don't know what they're missing out on, yet...

Do you go to the Easter Show?

Photo credit: The Thud

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The writing's on the wall: you suck, Sam Smith!

I need to talk about Sam Smith and Writing's on the Wall - his theme song for the latest James Bond film (Spectre). Quite frankly, it sucks.

I thought it sucked when I first heard it on the radio. I thought it stank when I watched the movie the other weekend. And I thought it positively reeked when I watched him on TV singing it live on a talk show and then again at the Oscars - I cannot believe he won a gold statue for it (and tried to claim he was the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award, but that's another story).

Sure it's not the first undeserving Oscar to be awarded, but has the world gone mad? In the words of Mugatu from Zoolander:

I've tried to work out why I hate the song so much, and I think the main culprit is Sam Smith himself. His falsetto is TERRIBLE - and even more horrific live when he can't hide behind fancy record production wizardry. Men singing waaaayy too high is really not my thing. There are exceptions of course - The Bee Gees, Jeff Buckley, Prince, Thom Yorke, Frankie Valli and Matt Belamy to name a few - but generally I find dudes singing like chicks annoying (hello Justin Timberlake and Chris Martin). Why can't they sing an octave lower?

Anyway back to Sam Smith. His song, if you really listen to it, is not actually that bad from a songwriting point of view. If it had been arranged and produced differently, and sung by someone else (I really think a female voice would have worked better - let's say Lady Gaga for now to keep things even on the commercial pop front), then I think the song could have worked. It would have been way more powerful and perhaps done justice to the Bond franchise.

But alas, we're stuck with Sam warbling and whispering his way to a golden statue. Crazy times.

Of course, he's not the first to have produced a 007 shocker hit - Madonna ranking the highest on my shit list with her tune Die Another Day. But surely by now you would look at the mistakes others have made and be sure to up the anti?

For the record, my top Bond theme song is Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and Wings. Ok, I know it's a predictable choice, but it's an awesome song in it's own right yet also perfectly compliments the movie which is what a good theme tune should do. Other ones that nailed it are Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey), We have all the time in the World (Louis Armstrong), A view to a kill (Duran Duran), Nobody does it better (Carly Simon), and another personal favourite: You know my name (Chris Cornell) which I think is the best Bond theme for well over 20 years. It's a cracker of a song that perfectly embodied Daniel Craig's 007 and introduced a new generation to the series.

Alright, Adele's Skyfall wasn't too bad I guess either (do NOT get me started on Hello), but it certainly didn't deserve an Oscar either. At least she sang in the right octave though.

What's your favourite Bond track?

Here's the chronological list for you with clips to boot: