Hello World

In the first eighteen months of the new Fortress Mamea, our chicken flock increased a number of times. (We can’t remember how many times; we’re softies with fuzzy memories.)

How could we say no to the girls when they got broody? They were merely heeding the call of nature. And when the fertilised eggs hatched and there were soon cheeping puffballs of fluff underfoot — how could we say no to life itself?

When some of the puffballs grew into ambitious young roosters and started beating up on Ghost Dog, ending the aspirants’ lives was an easy choice. After a couple of culls, I called a moratorium on our chickens having babies. It’s all well and good when everyone’s getting along, I could imagine my mother lecturing me, until it’s time for someone to end up in the pot.

The flock has remained at a steady twenty or so the past eighteen months. It’s required vigilance: collecting eggs every single day, turfing wannabe broodies out of the laying boxes so they don’t get ideas.

Throughout the month of December, I noticed one of our chickens behaving suspiciously. What with the festive season and everything else, her movements were noted but not closely observed.

More fool me:

Pollo and brood. (Photo: DJ Ash.)

Fifteen chicks arrived on New Year’s eve.

Brilliant. Just… brilliant.

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2017 on Stage

I’m as shocked as you are: I haven’t done a best-of of live theatre since 2012 — and even then I lumped it in with the screen stuff.

Highlights from 2017:

  • Riverside Kings by Natano Keni and Sarita So — Wellington talent to keep an eye out for;
  • Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn by Red Leap Theatre — dance theatre usually leaves me a little bewildered — but Kororāreka was exhilarating and captivating;
  • Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, Auckland Theatre Company — a big show, a rock ‘n’ roll story, and awesome, extravagant theatre.
Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn, Red Leap Theatre. (Image courtesy Red Leap Theatre, www.redleaptheatre.co.nz)
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2017 in Pixels

Teaser poster for 2017 film Get Out.png
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Enjoyed on the big screen:

  • Rogue One
  • O le Tulafale (The Orator)
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • The Lobster
  • Get Out
  • The Big Sick
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Lucky Logan
  • Dunkirk
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Honourable mentions: the hilarious and disgusting Girls Trip; David Michôd and Brad Pitt‘s slow burning War Machine;  the chemistry between Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in The Hitman’s Bodyguard; and the excellent I, Tonya Harding.

Goliath, 2016 TV series, title card.jpg
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Binged on the small screen:

  • Goliath
  • American Crime Story: People vs OJ Simpson
  • Legion S01
  • The Knick S01–02
  • The Expanse S02
  • Better Call Saul S03
  • The Handmaid’s Tale S01
  • The Americans S05
  • Stranger Things S01
  • The Punisher S01

Honourable mentions, including those moved here to give new titles a shot: Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin in Apple Tree Yard; the fitfully funny Brooklyn Nine-Nine S01;  creator and showrunner Noah Hawley shows how it’s done in Fargo S03; and, of course, Game of Thrones S07.

Favourite poster of the year? Without a doubt:

Courtesy JoBlo Movie Network — www.joblo.com
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2017 in Points

Animal Vegetable Miracle.jpg
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My reading output (input?) this year was better than last year. But it coulda should’ve been much better. Standouts from the reading diary:

  • Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver — I maybe should’ve read this when the Lovely Wife suggested it before agreeing to follow my wife to rural Northland;
  • Ratatouille (2007 draft) by Brad Bird;
  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses 007–029 by David Lapham — I thought this sprawling small crime epic was consigned to the unfinished classics section of comic history until I tripped over this at the local library;
  • Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl;
  • Lazarus X+66 001–005 by Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, Steve Lieber and Michael Lark — a very welcome salve while the main Lazarus series is on hold;
  • Atlanta S01E01 by Donald Glover;
  • Te Puhi by Cian Elyse White — a beguiling slice of New Zild history about our first Māori Miss New Zealand;
  • The Pissy Tits Gang by Rosie Howells;
  • The Walking Dead 162–174, including Here’s Negan!, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn — the Negan character arc in the Walking Dead comic is a masterclass in humanity, patience  and compassion.
Image courtesy The Walking Dead Wiki www.walkingdeadwikia.com
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Nonagenarius

The Mamea family had a get-together earlier this year. With almost all of his progeny in one room, my father announced that this year he was turning 90 years and he expected a full and proper celebration. In the (brief) silence that followed, my siblings and I exchanged looks, jaws mid-chew, our mouths full of food.

Our father has always had good timing.

The thing is… we’d celebrated his 80th in 2006, which meant we’d all forgotten that last year, 2016, should’ve been his 90th birthday. But we hadn’t really forgotten because somewhere along the line, someone had unearthed this document:

He’s not officially 90 for another two years. He snuck in his 80th three years early.

“What’s with the numbers?” the numerically-bonded amongst you ask. “How could we forget his 90th birthday?” the emotionally-integrated amongst you cry out.

We did that 80th shindig on his say-so, and in the intervening years a fog of confusion has grown where official documents say this, our father says that — and our father’s answers have differed slightly with each asking/confirmation. Also, he’s 80-plus, for pete’s sake; his birthday/s was/were almost a century ago now, and, for a large part of his adult life, birthdays were irrelevant.

Some might say there’s a rich vein of family history here. For my siblings and I, it was another memorable moment in the life of being a Mamea.

Wearing my writer helmet, there’s an interesting character feature here that might come in handy at some point. Not the obvious age-defining-character angle, but more how multiple birthdates — all equally valid — inform backstory. A lot (could have) happened in that two to three year gap between my father’s possible birthdays: he was born either before or during the Great Depression; he was born either before or during the rise of the Mau movement in Samoa. The timing of his arrival on this planet could make a world of difference in his upbringing and character.

Like anyone and everyone else, both real and imagined, there’s more to Pater Mamea than meets the eye. It just requires some thought and a little patience.

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