the month of aftermath... (the pack part 5)

it has been almost a month since my cousin larry finally left dunedin after his 2 week long visit of awful.

i'd like to claim that i'd done something amazing with the month of novemeber, and fix all the problems that larry caused with his popping by. the truth is i've been too depressed to care up until lately. i let larry tear apart my life, but i could have easily stopped him by just saying no.

so here i am. a whole month gone by, and so little to show for it...

i've been back to work for the whole month after the 2 week impromptu break caused by larry. though ms. rhonwyn gave me a promotion, she hasn't contacted me since leaving the country, and thus work hasn't been any different on a day to day basis than it was before.

security guarding used to be so thrilling and exciting, but since larry and peter have been harping on about how lowly a position it is i've lost my interest for it. now it's just paying the bills, and a very boring way to do so...

though due to the lack of danger to the displays i've had plenty of time to further my exploration and learning in the museum. watching various films on the maori i'm starting to get a feel for this very interesting and cool culture.

perhaps the coolest thing i've had time to look at and learn more about were the moas. we have more moa skeletons in the natural history gallery than anything else. they give the dinosaurs at the tyrrell a run for their money on most skeletons in one gallery...

so with what i've learned time for some info sharing.

first things first... most moas are NOT known from true fossils!

to be a true fossil you have to be more than 10 000 years old. most moa remains are from within the last 650 years. way too young to be considered true fossils.

however as there are true fossil remains of moas dating millions of years into new zealands past, and the moa went extinct before modern style documentation could record them they are from prehistory, after a fashion.

what are moas?

well moas were large flightless birds from the ratites group. this group includes most large terrestrial flightless birds such as ostriches, emus, cassowarys, and kiwis. these birds all lack proper attachments for flight muscles which explains why they all have such short weak wings, and as a group don't have any flying members.

there were 11 species of moa in modernish times (i mean modern in geologic terms), and all were herbivores. their diets consisted of plants of various sorts. Ferns, flax, leaves, fruits, berries, twigs, and seeds were eaten by on type of moa or another. moa species varied in size from the 1.5 metre Pachyornis to the 3 metre tall Dinornis giganteus.

these largest known land animal of the Cenozoic in a land dominated by not mammals, but dinosaurian ancestors the birds. indeed new zealand was not just home to large land birds, but also the largest bird of prey ever the Haast's Eagle (pictured in the nice painting i found on the innerweb above) which hunted moas.

both the moa and eagle were hunted to extinction after the arrival of the maori people to new zealand. what makes the moa's so significant was their description and reconstruction by sir richard owen. the same guy who would name and describe dinosaurs a few years later (though he got the moas pretty much right... he kinda missed the mark on us dinosaurs).

so yeah after spending a bunch of times wandering through the moa gallery this is some of the info i picked up.

linking all my knowledge i can tell you one more tidbit. moa is not the traditional name for moas. rather the maori before europeans used to call them te kura. the story goes, but i'm not sure i believe it, that when europeans became interested in these bones they'd ask for "more, more". the maori still learning english thought this meant the europeans called the birds moas... yeah i'm not too sure i believe that either, but it's the story...

anyways that's the only highlight of work.

otherwise i just sit around here "patrolling" the completely safe and boring museum... there has been no sign of ms. rhonwyn around here. no calls, letters, or even mention of her on any recent memos. so unless she suddenly reappears out of the blue my promotion is just in name only (well okay and pay... can't complain too much i guess... my salary appears to have doubled... but for what work i wonder?)

after stewing in pity for myself i decided i needed to get out more, and change my surroundings. i needed to do something that relaxed myself...

there was one thing that got me out into the beauty of the countryside and the ocean which i hadn't tried in a while...

fishing! which i have to admit calmed me down a lot. it puts you in the moment, and allows your mind to let go the outside world.

you can just take in the tranquility of reality around you. the pristine hills around you. the calm elegance of the water...

and of course trying to catch dinner!!!

which i'd like to claim i'm closer to than my first attempt fishing... how do those spinosaurs do it?

where spinosaurs catch fish... i seem to catch nothing but old discarded footwear!

seriously this isn't funny like in the cartoons!

i've only caught old shoes! i want a fish!!!

so as you can see these fishing retreats only helped with the forgetting my troubles so much.

though i will unlock the spinosaur's secret, and thus get one step closer to being a better tyrannosaur than larry (like to see a big brute like him wait patiently on a pole and line!).

after nearly a whole month of this. work and than the odd fishing outing i grew weary of how my life had become devoid of people.

craig wasn't answering my calls, emails, or even mentioned in recent memos... oh oops sorry wrong tangent... you get the idea though. he'd cut off all contact with me after i was kinda mean to him due to larry messing with my head.

there was one person i could try to patch things up with i decided last week, and after wasting most of the month pouting and stewing i decided to take life by the horns (though hopefully not ceratopsian style horns!) and try to take back some of my old life from my mistakes...

owain, my best friend in new zealand thus far, had been terrified by his encounter with larry simply from true tyrannosaurian language... larry had convinced me this was because owain didn't respect my culture. in reality larry needs to face up to facts, we t-rexs are really scary when we talk (even if you're fluent in our tongue!).

fortunately owain agreed to meet with me so i could explain. though i thought the way things had gone last month i was just getting a more satisfying conclusion to this part of my life. what did i have to lose? i might as well at least get the applogy off my chest before he never called, emailed, memoed... ah nuts!... me again...

i told owain the majority of the story. which he listened to politely. what can i say owain is a real nice guy!

"that sounds like a rough visit man," owain stated at the end of my narrating. "no wonder i haven't heard from you in a little bit."

"i'm so sorry my cousin scarred you, and i didn't contact you in such a long time, and that i'm such a miserable friend!" i blurted all at once.

owain looked at me puzzled for a second in response...

than suddenly he broke out laughing. "traum you're so funny," he chuckled. "you thought i was upset with you too?"

"yeah," i hesitantly responded.

"not to fret my friend," owain assured me. "i won't lie, i could do without seeing your cousin ever again, but i didn't hold it against you. as for your disappearance these things happen. you had some stuff to sort. happens all the time. the important part is you re-emerged!"

i felt relieved, and kinda surprised to be honest. he wasn't mad at me, and for the first time since ms. rhonwyn met larry something to do with my cousin just blew over. no drama. no epic. it was just back to normal.

owain patted me on the head. than kinda embarrassed at the unusualness of the gesture noted. "i'd gave you a shoulder slap, but you don't have very defined shoulders..."

"yeah their kinda anchored around my ribcage," i joked.

"so what are you going to do?" owain asked. "this pack sounds like it might try to muck with you again."

"i don't know," i admitted. i had simply been thinking about what i'd already lost this whole month. owain was right though. the pack could very well return. whether it was just larry or someone else from their ranks.

"well i'm here for you if you need help," owain offered. "just so long as i don't have to take on something like you cousin," he amended.

"thanks. sadly i might need it," i pointed out. "i hope not, but the way my life tends to go..."

than i thought of something owain could maybe help me with right now! "you won't happen to be able to talk to craig, and help me fix that would you?"

owain's face took on a grave look. "he's pretty mad at you, but he won't talk about it. the couple times you've come up he just changes the subject," owain reported.

"oh man," i muttered in sadness. i could only imagine the hurt i'd inflicted on my legal guardian.

not only was inflicting that kind of emotional damage bad enough, but craig had been able to confront larry and make larry back off. craig knew about the pack, and probably could help get clear of whatever schemes they might launch at me.

instead i'd effectively kicked myself out of his life, and worse still craig probably thought that i was now part of the pack.

owain sensed my sadness. "cheer up man. with all of us united down here what can those bird wannabes do to us?" he raised his hand for a high five. "to a united front."

i gave him a high two back. "to a united front," i pretended to say enthusiastically. deep down i knew we didn't stand a chance if the pack really wanted to play rough. especially when our front consisted of just me and owain...

the rest of the afternoon was awesome though, and marked the end of my miserable month of november. me and owain hung out just like before larry's visit.

in fact everything about larry's visit graduated from my present day concern to the past. his visit could do nothing more. good or bad. it just had happened.

i had to face the future, and what the consequences of larry's visit were going to mean...

the first of these arrived in an eeeeemail waiting for me when i got back home to the dell.

it was from mike the librarian . he'd completed a brief for me about the pack. included in it was this symbol... the emblem of the pack of the primordial feather !

this was the face of my possible enemy. though made of individual dinosaurs, mike and craig had both warned me that once a part of the pack you simply became a branch of the pack. meaning that this emblem represented any one of them.

in its centre a tyrannosaur skull incarnation of coelurosaur power, floating above a theropod foot print made of feathers. surrounding this were orbiting talons and feathers. i understood the composition on a... i guess instinctive level... it was the symbol of hunters. of dinosaurs who weren't afraid to do what ever it took to get what they wanted.

i only hope that i never see this emblem again...

1 comment:

The Ridger, FCD said...

I'm glad Owain is still your friend. Hang in there - I'm sure Craig will come around after he has time to get over his emotions. You know he's only this mad because he loves you so much, right? If he didn't care, he wouldn't be so upset.

Not that that helps right now, I'm sure.

(And you might check on what you're using for bait.)