Stay out of trouble!

Written by Sally Naylor-Hampson
Signing off…

The whacky, the strange, the funny, the serious, the personal, the outdated, the offensive, the hypocritical. We’ve covered it all here at Illegally Blog.

So to sign off here are a few reminders to keep you out of jail:

– If you’re planning on buying a pig in France, don’t call it Napoleon

– Find a spouse before your holiday in Florida, unless you want to be jailed for parachuting on a Sunday

– Don’t chew gum in Singapore

– If you’re a toothless woman moving to Vermont, make sure your husband gives you written permission to wear those fake teeth

– Shave off that mustache when travelling to Eureka, Nevada, USA, or you won’t be kissing any women

– Take that ice-cream cone out of your pocket whilst in Kentucky, USA

… Thanks for reading!

A law to protect our feathered friends

Written by Zoe Blain
Week 11: Signing off 

What a wacky eleven weeks of illegality it has been!  Here at Illegally Blog we have well and truly wrung our brains dry of topics. For my final post I have been inspired by Brian Cox. Brian Cox the cockatiel that is, who is perched on my chest and making it very difficult to type.

Exactly six years and two days ago I got my first cockatiel Oliver. The breeder was an Indian man and let many of his birds live un-caged indoors. Earlier this year my boyfriend and I bought a breeding pair (Brian Cox and Carl/a Sagan) and one female  (Taco) from a man in Mornington, Victoria. He kept his parrots in two shed-like aviaries outside. He claimed he had been breeding for over twenty years. Whilst Oliver is an expert flyer, Taco, Brian and Carl are slow, have difficultly landing, frequently hit walls and tire very quickly. Brian has lost half a toe and broken several blood feathers in these sorts of accidents.

 

Carl Sagan and Brian Cox… What a couple

PETA and campaigns such as Oscar’s Law are attempting to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. Whilst my local pet store has responded by reducing crowding and increasing enclosure space for mammals, the birds are still kept in a poorly lit, windowless room. Although the cages are quite large, they are vertical, which makes flight difficult for parrots. Most disturbingly, many of the cockatiels are covered in bald patches (they are known to pull out their own feathers when stressed) and have mattered crests due to dust build up, which can result in fatal respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, I have come across much worse conditions.

My birds in one of their outdoor cages 

Although state governments offer a code of practice detailing how birds should be kept in captivity, there is no indication that breaching these guidelines is illegal, or will suffer any consequences. Cockatiel websites often encourage people to purchase directly from breeders to help combat mistreatment. However, my experience earlier this year has caused me to distrust the industry. Not only did I discover that Taco was actually a male, but that Brian and Carl suffer health and behavioral problems due to the practice of selective breeding  to create rare colour mutations.

Due to the ethical debate of caging birds it’s unlikely that concrete laws will ever be properly enforced concerning captivity.  However, I believe that every parrot owner can make a difference. After being given full reign of the house my three newest cockatiels have slowly improved their flying skills. Brian just crash landed into the couch, but at least it wasn’t a door. Although Oliver poos all over my bedroom I prefer him sleeping there than in a tiny cage.

A glamour pic of Taco and me

Thanks for reading my posts everybody! I hope you’ve enjoyed the puns, alliterations and Photoshop phenomena.
Ciao for now!
-Zoe

Fish and chips

Written by Sally Naylor-Hampson
Week 9: Accidental illegality

As a kid, my family and I would spend the summer holidays at Aireys Inlet, a small coastal town nestled between Torquay and Lorne, on the Great Ocean Road. We would stay in a cute little beach house right near Split Point Lighthouse. Yep, the lighthouse famous for it’s appearance on the TV show, ‘Round The Twist’! One year my brother and I decided to make a fishing rod from a large stick we found in the backyard. We shaved off the excess bark, and fashioned a fishing line to one end. We spent hours on it, perfecting our masterpiece until we thought it was ready to test out at the local beach. We climbed around to the far side of Eagle Rock, tucked ourselves inside a small hollow to protect us from the harrowing wind, and threw the line in. Immediately my brother felt the line tugging. Reeling it in we found a large fish gasping, speared to the hook. We chucked it in our broken bucket, and threw the line in again. As soon as the line touched the water another fish would bite into the steel hook, and another, and another. Quite quickly we had 5 or so fish twitching and heaving in our small bucket.

Laughing and cheering my brother and I ran home, excited for Dad to cook us a seafood feast. Although as we were sprinting across the sand, weighed down by meaty flesh and our massive fishing rod, we noticed a sign: ‘Eagle Rock Marine Park Sanctuary’, and in small print, ‘Fishing Prohibited’.

We never told our parents where we got the fish as they smiled proudly, tender bodies mashing up between their teeth. Needless to say, I haven’t been fishing since.

Privacy Paranoia

Written by Zoe Blain
Week 10: Surveillance/ Surveillance Laws 

At my high school it was compulsory for all students in year nine to purchase or rent a Mac-book. I have always had a personal vendetta against Apple (possibly inherited from my PC loving father), so I stubbornly ran the unstable Windows platform. Little did I know that this choice saved me from dozens of lunchtime detentions.

Before our Mac-books were bestowed upon us we were warned of the consequences of visiting blocked internet sites, playing games in class and storing illegally downloaded files on our hard drives. Naturally these rules were broken, and everybody got very good at quickly minimizing windows.

I was in English class when it happened. One of my good friends was playing a flash game next to me. Suddenly the screen dimmed and froze. A word document opened and slowly, across the screen the words “get back to work” materialized. My friend slammed the lid shut. Minutes later the resident IT troll appeared at the door and confiscated his computer. I was amused. He was outraged, and spent the next half hour trying to digest privacy acts on his phone. Nothing he found helped his case. Over the next week, more laptops were pried off students and rumors begun circulating: “The IT guys can search your computer from the staff room…” “They can turn on the webcam and watch you…” Despite the allure of Photobooth many camera lenses were covered with duct tape. Students begun turning off the Bluetooth and WiFi out of fear of being spied on.

One of my other good friends was rather computer literate. He started showing people how to change their IP addresses so they could visit blocked sites without being watched. Sometimes he charged them, sometimes he didn’t. Then one day in assembly we were warned that the punishment for this modification was re-imaging.I ignored these threats and rumors, continuing to browse Myspace and download torrents in every class. I suspected that it had something to do with using Windows. When word got out many kids switched. Windows wasn’t available to the next lot of year nines.

To this day, I still know a lot of people who are very edgy about being spied on through their mobile phones and laptops. Some even believe that all smart phones can be programmed to switch on the camera or voice recorder remotely. They warn that Facebook can track you and Google saves copies of your internet history once a week. I don’t really care whether this is true or not. I sometimes even purposely jeopardize my “cyber footprint” with sarcastically scandalous statuses and revealing blog posts. Surveillance has a sly, unavoidable presence in 21st century life. So, as ill advised as it may be, I choose to take my chances and ignore it.

Hmmm high angle, blue lighting, hidden face and computer code… this guy must be a hacker! 

For further reading have a look at this paranoid cracked article: http://www.cracked.com/article_18532_5-terrifying-ways-your-own-gadgets-can-be-used-to-spy-you.html
And if you’re overly concerned check out these helpful government tips: http://www.privacy.gov.au/topics/technologies

Byron Bay Blues

Written by Zoe Blain
Week 9: Accidental illegality 

I have forged signatures, grown psychedelic plants, drank disguised bottles of tequila on trains, switched price tags in stores, devised fair evading routines, strode through red lights and scribbled on walls. And to this day, the biggest fine I’ve ever had to pay was a six dollar fee for an overdue library book. The fear of being caught keeps a hefty criminal like me sharp. So it makes sense that the closest I’ve ever come to being charged was for something I didn’t even know was illegal.

The sun was rising in Byron bay and dozens of tourists in pajamas were hauling guitars and gas camping stoves into kombi vans and station wagons. My boyfriend was moving a crate of tinned peaches off the driver’s seat, and I was yelping in outrage across the pavement. Several police offers prowled down the street, rapping on windshields to wake sleeping occupants.
“Get up! You need to move on! It is an offence in Australia to sleep in a vehicle. If we catch you again you won’t be so lucky.” Once we got moving the cops left. There was no way we could afford a caravan park or motel so we decided to Google “free camping grounds” in the area. Nothing came up. We parked in a more secluded spot and went back to bed. Late that night when returning to our car the police were back.
“You aren’t planning on sleeping here are you?” They shone a torch at our makeshift bed in the backseat. With a head full of licit and illicit substances I started to panic. My boyfriend told them he was returning to collect something.
“You better move your car.”
“But I’m drunk.”
“What about her?”
“She can’t drive.”
They watched us walk back down the road from which we came.

After a hearty twenty minute search for anything indicating the illegality of sleeping in cars this morning I came up short.Forum posts from confused backpackers dominated the results. Then there were those “a fifteen minute power nap could save your life” campaigns. I resorted to searching “is it illegal to sleep in your car in Byron Bay?” A few events websites claim it is and will incur a fine.  However not one page cited an amount, nor any mention of state or federal laws. My boyfriend and I are planning another Byron trip this summer. Maybe this time I won’t be so readily compliant to move.

Home sweet  home 

Smuggling Hilarity

Written by Sally Naylor-Hampson
Smuggling / Import laws

When I think of illegal smuggling, I think of the guy at my work that watches ‘Border Security: Australia’s Frontline’ when our supervisor isn’t watching. I think of Schapelle Corby’s tearful face printed on the front page of ‘Women’s Day’ in the waiting room of the dentist. I think of the man I saw a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks that joked he had a bomb in his bag and was taken in for questioning by airport security. When I think of illegal smuggling, I always think of international trafficking incidents. But when I mentioned to my Dad what this week’s blog topic was, he laughed and reminded me of the time my Uncle had tried to sneak weed to his brother in jail.

Curious of whether smuggling illegal goods into prison would be as bizarrely entertaining as those on ‘Border Security’, I did a little bit of research. The stories I read weren’t just your stereotypical crook doing the dirty work, but instead those meant to be enforcing the law. Yep, Henry Marin, an L.A County Deputy, was allocated courthouse security one afternoon. He brought a bean and cheese burrito into the courtroom that had heroin hidden inside, which he intended to smuggle into the courthouse jail. He didn’t get away with it.

As we all know, visitors and employees of a jail are searched thoroughly upon entering and exiting. Of course, this makes smuggling very difficult, leading to drugs shoved up anuses; inside the soles of shoes; or stitched to wigs. Although a few inmates attempted to get around this hump. In Colombia, a trained pigeon was found trying to fly into a nearby prison, but didn’t quite make it as it was weighed down by excess marijuana tied to it’s body.

One woman didn’t seem to get the memo about prison security though, as she tried to sneak her husband out of jail in a suitcase

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