Monday, January 28, 2008

Birds, words and turds

More fury, less love
I hate cliche's. Not just phrases overused in fiction (anyone unfortunate enough to have been edited by me will know this already - it's tired language and you lose your reader - and the spark of the narrative, as soon as you stop searching for great new words and phrases, and start regurgitating old crap).
But even more than cliche's are phrases that have either 1) lost their meaning through overuse or 2) make you want to strike the speaker just because they uttered it.
I have been recording the phrases I hate the most, including things grabbed from the media, used, and spat out again (usually months/years after they stopped being funny/relevant). I have tried to make a list of them, but I started a bad habit of writng things down on perfume sample cards and torn off jokes from my desk diary and now I am in a snow storm of paper, with notes like 'Renew membership' (to what? The ASA, The Croissant Society, who?) and 'Daniel Radcliffe is a kissable tiny man' (When did this start? Isn't he twelve?). So I have a bunch of them, but these are the ones I remember so far.

'24/7' - i.e. 'I'm working/wanking/practising twentyfourseven...'
'At the end of the day...'
'Talk to the hand'
'As you do'
'Don't even go there'
'It's all good'
'Thinking outside the box/square' - said by people who believe they're much more interesting than they are.
'Hot/cold enough for you?'

More love, less fury
To even up the fury of the post, I'll soften the vibe with a picture of the six handicapped finches I've been caring for. I bought them all for $1 because no one wants handicapped birds for breeding and as Barney was stuck on the bottom of the litlte cage they were in, he was covered in bird poo. The first couple days I had them I washed him every day and held him in the (often lifesaving) heater in the bathroom upstairs and he now looks great)
They all have bits missing/broken but they're remarkably resilient birds. Barney has two broken wings, so has the toughest time, because he pitches forward into things - the floor, the water bowl, the seed dish - and has nearly drowned a couple times. Also gets stuck upside down on his back like a turtle, and without wings, can't right himself.
I've obviously put heaps of stuff in their big cage (the all lovee flying about - except Barney of course) but he hates being left, so I've figured out a couple ways for them to be able to fly about but for him to stay high up - birds love being as high up as possible - and not left out.
I noticed when I didn't do this the birds didn't fly much and instead stuck around Barney protectively, which I thought was a bit unfair - although lovely, so I have made a big flying area and some ladders padded with grippable material so he can hop slowly up. I hold him and go through the ascent a couple times a day and he's getting into it. I think he just gets frustrated if he relaxes on a thin bit, because he topples over.
Birds have hollow bones easily broken, so I've tried to pad as much as possible, but also don't want him to suffocate in it, so I think everything has a certain compromise. He is slowly getting the idea of climbing/hopping up the ladders himself, but I dash into their room (Stuart's study) all the time to check on them, and sit doing work near them when I can). The flightless budgies are in my office, but I couldn't bring the finches in because 1) the cage is big and 2) they are noisy at various times of the day and kind of distracting.
I tried three different cages we already had before buying this excellent one on wheels and lots of upper story doors because the bars on the others were to wide and they squeezed through, and also access was through one big door which also enabled them to escape. I spent a lot of the first couple weeks running around the house with my butterfly net, Houdini and Zeke love flying around so on days I'm home I sometimes just let them out to do this. They fly back in when they get hungry.
How to tell who's who
Barney - larger, broken wings, missing toe
Huxtable - pale, mutated beak, one leg
The Dude - pale with one foot
Zeke - Zebra finch with half a leg only
Polly - pure white, missing foot, sits with Barney a lot
Houdini - escapes the most - has one crazy feather sticking out his back. One leg

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