Just a Little Bit “Closer”
December 26, 2007, 4:24 am
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Nothing says Christmastime more than watching 2004’s Relationship Mindfuck “Closer” starring Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman as whores and Jude Law and Clive Owen as douchebags.

Now, you may be thinking “Closer” is a bit odd of a choice for Holiday Season viewing and you’d be pretty right. But me, Monica and our roommate Hutch went down to Blockbuster on Christmas Eve and this is what our cross-cultural compromise bore. For those of you that don’t know, “Closer” is a movie about a “love square” that involves four depraved individuals who essentially fuck each other and then fuck each other over.

(Editors Note: the word “fuck” has been used three tim….make that four times thus far in this post. Plus I’ve used the word “depraved.” This is called lyrical foreshadowing. I think.)

I’m no Roger Ebert. Hell, I’m not really even a Stephanie Sears. So, I won’t be able to give a great synopsis and review of this movie other than it delves deeply into the gross, grimy make-up of relationship sex, dissatisfaction and dissatisfied relationship sex. 

HOWEVER, I will make a relevant connection here. This is the second time I’ve seen this movie.

Come with me then, as we take the Wunderluster Time Machine back to March of 2006!

My college roommate rented “Closer” and we had a watch of it on what had to have been a Friday night. Yep, dramas on a Friday night with my heterosexual male roommate. College was wild.  

ANYWAY, as the plot thickened and the relationships within this movie dissolved I sank deep within my hoodie. I watched Clive Owen interrogate his wife Julie Roberts about her on going tryst with the Jude Law. He was curious about sexual details of the affair going so far as to ask what Mr. Law’s cum tasted like. To which she replied, “like yours, but sweeter.”


Owen had cut so deeply into himself with that question, yet he found satisfaction in that lurid, complex-building revelation.

He calmly responded, “Thanks. Thank you for the honestly. Now fuck off and die.”

Now, those of you who know the Wunderluster, knew that he was in Month 18 of a 34-month breakup with a longtime flame. (Yes, those are real numbers). And while neither the Wunderluster nor Ms. X (as she will be called from now on) was depraved or a cheater, they had been through epic, soul-crushing fights of similar, withering intensity.

The Wunderluster was in therapy the following week after seeing “Closer.” No joke.

******Warning, switching from third person to first person********

Of course, I didn’t go into therapy just because I saw most of Natalie Portman’s ass. It was a lot of things, mostly having to do with Ms. X and my father. (But nobody wants to hear you bitch about your ex-girlfriend on your blog. It’s a bit weenie. It’s a bit cliché. Only clichéd weenies do that sort of thing. So, I’ll stick to the topical and timely format this space affords me.)

Twenty-one months have passed since I first saw “Closer.” So I’m wondering: how much have I changed?

I’m still totally incomplete without the youthful love I once had. But I’m far more insecure. I’m far more self-loathing. I’ve cried once. I had my first migraine. I had my first ill-advised hookup. I chased a girl I shouldn’t have. I delivered laundry for a living. I’ve gained a little weight. I have more grey hairs. I found The Smiths. But truly, that’s not so bad.

I graduated from college. I moved to California. I chased a girl I shouldn’t have. I met my Bert (Monica). I made small-town friends. I lived in the mountains. I drove across the USA. I had my first ill-advised hookup. I drank wine that tasted like bananas and flowers and shit. I found The Smiths. I moved halfway around the Earth, just for fun. I’m remembered.


I guess what I’m trying to say is the lows I’ve experienced have been devastating and trying but the sadness they’ve triggered has given my life immense texture and depth. The pain and failure derived from things not working out with Ms. X has made my resolve to be a better lover and partner in the future not just matter of hope, but a requirement of my destiny.

And that’s what was missing from “Closer.” It doesn’t track the ascent after the fall. Loss is neither the Alpha nor the Omega in that story or mine. It’s just a chapter. A scene. It’s not the whole damn movie. It’s not the whole damn book.

This is my attempt at channeling Hope to everyone reading during Hope’s most powerful calendar appearance. You should know I think about you all regularly and pray for your continued good fortune.

So, Merry Fucking Christmas.

(That’s six)



Yes, you’re appreciated
December 18, 2007, 2:03 am
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I just wanted to pop on here quickly and thank everybody (you know, you six) for reading the blog. It’s been a surprisingly satisfying outlet. Of course, it’s not so satisfying if you guys weren’t reading and responding to me. I think I’ve had 200 hits so far. And no, it doesn’t count my own hits. So some of you are pretty fucking obsessesed with me — which I dearly appreciate.

So, enjoy a New Zealand video.

Vicious Trouble Standard
December 15, 2007, 2:02 am
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Take a deep breath; I made it through my first practice. The guys responded to me pretty well. I made some points that were well received. Who could ask for more, really? While there little vestiges of my fears (i.e., skeptical, surly veterans) for the most part, most of the guys were happy to have me. It even went so well that some of the players who are going to be around Dunedin during the Christmas asked me to come in and work with them. I was down-right flattered.



Now, the hardest part of this whole night was the opening speech I gave. I was torn as to how I would introduce myself. I’ve been involved in basketball since a young age. Players, much like werewolves, can smell fear. So, my first inclination would be to be as short and as sweet as I could; show no emotion. But that’s not me. I’m emotive. I’m secure and insecure. I’m dynamic and severely lacking. But someone once told me that it would be better to not unleash myself on the first date. Hell, even my mom coined the phrase that will serve as my epitaph: “Zach, you’re a difficult person to know.” To know! My mom said that.



But I couldn’t go too hard to on the self-deprecation. So, the goal was to ingratiate, not perform a self-vascetomy. It worked. I think.



It raises an interesting issue both Monica and I have been facing since we’ve been here: the American Double Standard. The first part of this catch-22 is that we’ve been, at times, received tepidly because of the fetid stench our “Ugly-Americanism.” Maybe it’s deserved. I’m outgoing. I’m looking to conquer, although as politely as I can. But that’s not to say that I won’t share or learn. I mean, my God, all I want to do here is learn. TANGENT ALERT. So, I’ll reel myself back in here.



Ugly American



On my first day of work for the Otago Nuggets, a top coach pulled me over for a chat and mentioned the word “Sepo.”



“You might hear this word, Sepo, Zach,” this middle-aged Maori woman said. “And that word is an Australian term for Americans which is short for septic tank, which means that you Americans are full of shit.”






Her eyes narrowed before she explained that she and the basketball team had been burned by Americans in the past. We’re all sparkle and no substance, apparently. We talk a big game. Make a lot of promises. Use the situation for our benefit. Shag the place and leave it worse off than we found it. (Oh, what a perfect metaphor for my romantic life!)



 That’s not totally untrue, I suppose. The long and short of it from her was that I had extra to prove as I’ll be received with a healthy skepticism.



So, fuck you to the following that have ruined it for Americans: G.W. Bush, Hollywood, Paris Hilton, every politician ever except Barack Hussein Obama (Obama 2008), Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Latrell Sprewell, Michael Vick and Eddie Vedder.




Fuck you Eddie



The other part of this double-standard is the (maybe) unfair respect Monica and I get. There’s definitely an assumption that because I come from the U.S. I have some super-advanced knowledge of basketball. As if Jesus had appointed me Apostle of Hoops. People have deferred to me in certain theoretical arguments for which I know my opinions are perhaps well-thought out, but certainly flimsy. This is not for my Eastern European good looks or embarrassingly interesting body-hair pattern, but instead because I have the slightest East Coast accent and a few Boston Celtics t-shirts.



Name dropping the Boston Globe has helped. Name dropping California helps, too. And, yes, I probably do have a lot of good things to impart to these people. But should they be receptive? Would I be receptive if a random Kiwi came to Boston and started to chat me up about how “they ball in Te Anau”? Nope.



So, respect and derision are fighting a battle for my livelihood in New Zealand. This, of course, isn’t just a New Zealand thing. All over the world Americans have to prove their worth because of years of political missteps and heroic (and eventually) commercial world-saving.



In Japan for example, when American baseball imports are introduced at those zoo press conferences, their jersey is handed over with a number that represents how many home runs they’re expected to hit in the upcoming season. Many of the best home run hitters of all-time admit that hitting a homer is an almost random event. You can’t call your shots. (Quiet, Babe).



However, in the twisted psyche of the Japanese baseball collective, the belief exists that since Americans have created baseball, they should dominate the game in Japan. But of course, should the American not reach those lofty, and often times impossible standards, the negative Nipponese take immense joy in watching the failure as both an affirmation of the quality of Japanese game and yet another reminder about how Yanks promise a lot, but are just a load of shit.




Mr. Tom Selleck





When it’s been a while between meetings with my grandfather, he’ll give me a look-over and quip “Zachary, I didn’t know they stacked shit that high.”



Here’s hoping I don’t hear that sort of respect and derision until I step off the plane again at Boston Logan Airport.

Social and Slutty Networking
December 13, 2007, 2:15 am
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If there were to be a theme for my first week in Dunedin, it would be “Social and Slutty Networking by Zach.” I’ve been talking to everybody and anybody. So far, it’s turned into leads at a few newspapers and other jobs. I had a chat over at the Otago Daily Times, the major daily in Dunedin. My stutter subsided long enough for me charm the pants of those folks. They were quite taken by some of my stock witty one-liners. I took a test to be a copy editor while I was there. I’m not bad at grammar, but damn near garbage at arithmetic.

So as I’ve been networking, I’m holding in reserve an epic amount of hope. This is apparently the way in life: get yourself out there, make friends, and smile and project optimism. Certainly not my cup of tea. Or rather, certainly not the cup of tea I’ve been drinking, bitterly.

But desperation, which is the case here is manifested as a search for a job, can breed different things. In September, I needed a job badly. I had no real prospects. And though I ended up working my butt off running basketball camps and working for a laundry company (LAUGH TRACK) it was depressing. I couldn’t handle the thought of being nowhere and doing such nothing things. But, with equal desperation, I’m somewhere and doing, well, somethings.

*Our place is pretty fly. It overlooks Otago harbor, has three bedrooms and just ten minutes away from the city’s social hub, the Octagon. We finally got a third roommate last night. Monica and I laid on the abrasive American charm, which somehow worked. Although, I’m sure we looked good compared to the other New Zealand crackhouses our new friend Ed checked out. One thing you find out: you’re never more your nationality than when you’re nervous. The cloak comes off. I’m a nervous

*It’s been so far so good. The basketball people do seem to like me. I’ll be (hopefully) picking up a company car this week as well as a cell phone from the team.
*On Monday, I came into train with the team. Basically, that’s just scrimmaging. There’s really no cliché to describe how badly these men beat on me. Essentially, I was the second shortest player on the court. There were a few 6’ 10” guys and the rest were ATHLETES. I stuck with these triathletes for a good five minutes or so, but my body started to break, I was huffing and puffing like an emphazemic marathon runner. By the end, near 90 minutes later, my limbs were shaking like an expectant virgin on her wedding night. Now, the challenge here is going to be taking that performance, which all these guys saw, and walking into practice next month saying “I’m your coach, listen to my knowledge.” Yeah, awkward. And by next month, I mean, tonight, Thursday, I’m running my own practice.

P.S. — I want to upload some pictures onto here, but the internet situation in New Zealand is ridiculously slow. So while I work on that, daydream about me frolicking and being (relatively) happy.

Inept Sucktitude
December 10, 2007, 1:02 am
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So, last week I promised my six readers that I would update this blog with some yummy, entertaining stuff. And did I? Nope.

 I literally have about an hour’s worth of stuff copied onto my recorder. I’m not planning on posting all of the transcript, but rather giving some highlights of the trip here.

 But there’s also some other good stuff that has happened this week that is very bloggy, but has consumed most all of my conscious time. If I wasn’t too busy fantasizing about Tina Fey, I would write in my sleep. I bet Tina Fey can write in her sleep. MMMM…, nerdy, witty, writer-chicks. Tina Fey

 ANYWAY, Monica and I are still looking for jobs. I’ve been networking like a whore and it seems to be working. I’m having a chat this week with a guy down at the Otago Daily Times to see if he can help me find a job.

We’ve also found a house. When Monica stops being a bastard, she’ll upload some house pictures onto my computer and I’ll post them on here. It’s a nice place. We’ve been very fortunate so far. Oh, and, by the way Holiday Happiness presents can be sent to:

Messr. Zach Hosseini 

11 Elm Row

City, Dunedin 9016

New Zealand

My suggestion would be for the six of you reading this to get in touch with one another and set up some sort of staggered schedule for sending me gifts. Preferably, I’d like to get one every third day.

Ok, well, I’m going to play some hoops tonight with members of the Otago Nuggets. I’m probably going to get thrashed, but maybe I can parlay into a job.

Cheers, bitches.

Your 2008 Dunedin Nuggets
December 6, 2007, 6:00 am
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Lordy, lordy, I got a job. I interviewed with the CEO of the Otago Nuggets this morning and they offered me a coaching position. I’ll be doing a wide range of things, but the crown jewel of this opportunity would be as an assistant on the Men’s top team. I still have to interview with the head coach, but if it works out I’ll be coaching from the sidelines in New Zealand like Lawrence Frank.Lawrence Frank 

I’m going to update this properly tonight, hopefully. We’re still slumming it in a hostel, so internet is expensive. But I’ve kept my recorder handy. (Thanks, Katie). That is all for now.

Haka Madness
December 1, 2007, 3:18 am
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