Image courtesy Auckland Theatre Company.

The lead up to the opening has been more public than I expected. The write-ups and mentions continued in the Herald, the Listener (hardcopy only), and Tagata Pasifika have been nice to read and watch.

On opening night I was accompanied by  The Lovely WifeThe Girl and The Boy, and I was very, very happy to have my family with me. The opening night audience liked the show — that’s always grafifying. The early reviews in BroadwayWorld and Concrete Playground are positive.

For some reason this doesn’t feel real. Maybe it’ll hit me at some point — soon, hopefully, maybe — that I’ve achieved something tangible, something to be inordinately proud of. Instead I’ve been looking over my shoulder, waiting to be awoken from some impossibly good dream.

I’m biased so I shan’t exhort you to see the show.  But I will point you in the direction of the Facebook page and Twitter feed so you can decide for yourself.


The Kitten


After the departure of The Cat last year, the rat population expanded and some damage was done to Tilly the Dishwasher AND THE GODDESS WAS NOT HAPPY. Messengers were sent to the two corners of Auckland where there are animal refuges, and a connect at a southern outpost mentioned a certain fearless kitten with the kennel-name of Tango.

The name was a promising sign for us: The Goddess and I like to do a mean tango at the local RSA on occasion. Within hours of receipt of news of A Kitten Called Tango looking for a home, The Goddess, The Girl and I visited the said kitten. The Goddess and Girl were immediately smitten by the bundle of tortoiseshell fur and claws; I insisted on a ninety day trial period.

The Kitten joined the Fortress Mamea workforce in mid-February. In her first week, she quickly taught The Dog that she was not a feline to be trifled with, while as part of her familiarisation with the fortress layout, she investigated my workspace and, with careful paw placement, initiated a search for “cccoooolllll” on the MacbookPro.  I halved the trial period to 45 days.

In The Kitten’s third week, I had a bit of a plink with a few pieces from the armoury. This was my effort for the afternoon:


Without any prompting from me, The Kitten joined in:


A bit high with a whisker of a pull to the left but that sub-1.5-inch group spells eschaton for local vermin.

The Kitten stays.


Tessa 2000-2012

The Cat – actual handle Countessa de Kitty-Kat – was buried in the fortress pet cemetery late last week.

When I first met Tessa in 2002, she was a bit of a poor excuse for a feline – watching her climb a fence always made me flash on the unfortunate Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. She wasn’t heavy or anything – just… out of practice with being a cat, or something like that. She was friendly enough (no random attacks received), well-mannered (when handled with care, she gave fair warning when enough was enough), and low maintenance (she always toileted outside).

In 2003, Tessa went through a number of major life-events. The aiga, numbering three humans at that time, moved westward to what was to become Fortress Mamea. The new abode had its own resident cat, Pablo (full handle Pablo Ninja Cat), a large and gregarious chap. The aiga swelled with the sudden arrival of a fourth human, The Boy. And then The Dog was acquired.

Each change was a challenge for Tessa. She sealed her place in the fortress hiearchy with the patient and successful stalking of a mouse under the oven. She shunned Pablo who enjoyed our company until the word ‘diet’ was mentioned, whereupon he adopted the lovely Gladys across the road (who feeds him – I shit you not – on a 24/7 basis). Tessa’s relationships with late arrivals The Boy and The Dog could easily have been the final straws… but both boy and canine soon found their place in the fortress hierarchy (below the cat).

The fortress grounds have ample trees and vegetation, and soon enough, Tessa learned how to scale fences and trees like a real cat.  The local fauna have provided other exercise, the past decade scattered with the remains of a mouse, bird or rat tastefully left outside the back door for the unsuspecting barefoot occupant.  In winter she loved the wood burner – curled whiskers a specialty – while in the summer she soaked in the sun like a four-legged black hole.

Tessa will be missed.  She was loved by The Girl and The Goddess.  And although The Boy and I dreaded the racket she would make at the back door to be let into the house for —

a). fuss,
b). food,
c). warmth,
d). company,
e). a). through to d).

— we have found ourselves waiting to hear it in the morning, curses on the tips of our barely awake tongues – only to realise Tessa is no longer with us.

May there be plentiful 1kg blocks of tasty cheddar cheese wherever she is now.


Schedules and Deadlines

The Mamea household1, for the sake of the adults’ sanity and convenience (and the prevention of corporal beatings), gets through each week with the help of a dinner schedule.  The schedule for Term 1 of 2007 is:

  • Monday – macaroni cheese
  • Tuesday – baked potatoes (courtesy of The Boy)
  • Wednesday – vegetarian surprise
  • Thursday – nachos (courtesy of The Girl)
  • Friday – pizza
  • Saturday – semi-planned surprise
  • Sunday – last-minute surprise

The children’s daily demands of What’s for dinner? are already answered, our (mostly) fixed shopping list ensures we get our core nutrients, and there are no more moments of standing in the kitchen wondering what the hell to stuff the kids’ mouths with.

Adults’ sanity – check.  Overall convenience – check.  (And no corporal beatings in three years, two months, two weeks, one day and counting2.)

Schedules, like lists, provide certainty.  Y’know: something to look forward to, or work through, or work towards.  Like goals.

Or deadlines.

And schedules and deadlines ensure Things Happen.

Besides being handy for things like moving house (don’t forget the pets or children, in that order) or going on holiday (ensure the selection of travelling music is equal between adults), my writing time is rarely without a deadline – I shall write ten pages of something/anything/everything until noon or I must write ten pages before I am worthy to watch an episode of Law & Order, Season 3.

Some days, the ten pages write themselves….  Well, the pain of typing text onto the blank screen is manageable.

Most days, I stave off the urge to do (long avoided) housework and/or try not to panic as noon approaches at double-speed and/or fight off any number of other procrastinating techniques, and I write and I write and I write.

As long as I’ve done a day’s writing, I don’t get restless, guilty or cranky with family members.  Well.  Okay.  It doesn’t stop me being restless from being pulled out of The Zone (I was in the middle of a great set piece!), or guilty that I didn’t spend more time with family, or cranky (because Who wrote this shit? or It’s so haaard and I hate it and why can’t producers just feel the craftsmanship?”).

Yeah.  The writing journey has its moments.

But on any given day, I know what I’m having for dinner.

1 – I hope my family forgives my possessory credit here.  But they’ll understand.

2 – Which, incidentally, is the length of time our entire blended family has been together.