Make art, not bore
August 9, 2009, 4:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I was going to write about something, probably about saying goodbye or some seeping sentimental thing like that. But boy do I get selfconscious when I try to write about deep stuff. I sound like an inarticulate sap. Yeesh. How’s this?

“I said goodbye this week for what felt like the millionth time. Or maybe it’s because this one felt like a million goodbyes melted together and cast into one.”

I’m still perplexed by my hatred of my own writing. People tell me I’m good. I feel like I have things to communicate. I know I feel things and think things that good writers have felt before. Yet, I read this crap, right here, right now, in this space, and I want to erase it immediately. Sure, I can blame it on self loathing or something interesting like that. But even if I accept that, it still leaves me under-communicated and without anything creative to show for all my feelings and thoughts. And maybe that’s what irks me: for all these passions I feel and the dark places my soul wanders, I have very little creative to show for it. For all Morrissey’s sadness and disillusionment, he has his music. He’s telling people about the stuff that eats him up. We adore him.  He can connect to us and the listeners can all sit around and say, “boy, that Morrissey, dark and clever.” I’m sure he derives great satisfaction from that. This stuff that churns in me (unbelongable), I have nothing much to show for it, save for the uncomfortable “this guy is getting a little too deep” phone conversations with my friends. I know deep down I’m an adequate writer, but a good thinker and great lover. If I was great writer, good thinker and an adequate lover, I bet you I could make art. But my mix of acid and sweet has left me as a directionless and disenfranchised 30-minute conversationalist.

For tonight, I’m the unsatified. The un-expressed. The un-quenchable. The unknown.

Enjoy a uncomfortably weird Morrissey photo. (He’s laying with his Oscar Wilde collection).



About Not Getting The Girl
March 17, 2009, 4:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

(Trumpets blare)

(Huge oak doors swing open, onlookers gathered gasp as a daylight drenches the room)

(Trumpets blare again)

(Smugly, Zach walks past the crowd through the royal cathedral room, refusing to make eye contact with the plebes furiously genuflecting)

Hey, what’s up? It’s Zach, and I have two jobs and I want to talk again.

What? I abandoned you, forcing you to go to other, less good blogs of other, less good Northeastern Journalism School graduates? You’re mad about that? Whatevs. I was, you know, not doing much. Staying with mom. Being bad depressed (think Morrissey), not cute depressed (think Joaquin Phoenix).  But here I am, back with yet another new life and a finite attention span for you and this blog. You’re sold? Sweet.


Right, so let’s get the formalities out of the way. One, for those of you who don’t know, I live in New York City. Technically, I live in Hoboken, NJ, which is closer to Manhattan than most of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. Hoboken is where upperclass white people in high finance moved to in the 1990’s when they were priced out of Manhattan and had a longing to live their college days over again. (i.e., there’s a lot of gyms, a lot of high rise condos and bars with Irish names, including Douchebag O’Houlihans and Patty McConformists Pub and Boring Girl Zoo). These are the people mostly responsible for the financial apocalypse that’s keeping you from ordering dessert at your favorite restaurant. Yep, these are my neighbors.

And, oh yes, the jobs. I’m not going to say exactly what I’m doing, only that I got a day job that pays well (as in more than I’ve ever made before, as in, more than $4.65 an hour plus dour editor put-downs) and another job at night that could be considered a dream job if not for the fact it pays me $4.65 an hour plus dour editor put-downs.

With money and employment no longer viable reasons for suicide, I now have the time to dedicate to this blog to focus on my real suicide inducing passions: girls and reliving the past.

But before we get on to my woe, let me also deal with one more order of business. I’m also writing because, here among 50-hour work weeks (eek!), slate-gray Ipod centric commutes (puke!) and the urban jungle concrete coffin of New York (um, Bjork?), I’ve settled on the fact that I need to be creative as I canoe slowly with the other lemmings toward a numbing life in the lower-upper middle class. In addition to that sunshine, I’ve also figured out that I do a few things well: 1. Shoot a 17-foot jump shot, 2. Possess above-average comedic timing, 3. Hug good, 4. Write a bit better than some.  When I’m not doing any of those things, I feel incomplete, like I’m wasting myself. I haven’t always been sold on that last one, but I have a few good friends who support me and insist that I can, and should write. So to you few, who have encouraged me, I truly appreciate it, even though I might sometimes express my appreciation in the form of a dismissive castigation.

About Not Getting The Girl.

1. My Saturday night in New York, my cousin and his wife invited me out to a house-warming party in Brooklyn. It was a lawyer party (not in that you had to dress up like lawyers from John Grisham novels, but that it was attended by lawyers who work with my cousin’s wife, Liz). It was a surprisingly raucous affair for a group possessing Juris Doctorates from schools with terrible sports (Harvard, Yale, George Washington) and bank accounts that would make Hurley from Lost blush. So, good old Zach does what good old Zach does, he hides in the corner, talks to the only familiar person he knows (Cousin Ryan) and lets the Bud Light take him where it desires. After an alarming drinking tour de force called a “Power Hour”, essentially just an hour of power, Zach was buzzed and pleased to be out of his mom’s basement and finally co-mingling with people not aged 50 or 14. He was chatty, and by the end of the night, was perched by the the booze, scoping out the room for women who could reject him. Well, what should fate bring him, but a pretty girl, stylishly dressed and get this, she walked over to Zach. (The fact that he was leaning against the booze counter was merely coincidental. She wanted his shit.)

“Um, can I have a drink?” the girl asked.

“You want my shit, do you, you nasty-freak-of-a-soulmate?” Zach said to himself quietly.

“A drink?” she asked again.

“Sure. What do you want?” Zach asked. “I don’t know how to make that many drinks, just a Bad In Bed, Shockingly Hairy, a Self-Righteous Self-Obsessed. Perhaps I could interest you in an Anxiety-Ridden Self-Loather, that’s my specialty.”

“I’ll have a Bud Light, please.”

You’d think that this would be the moment where our hero would lose the girl. No, this is too easy.

In fact, he did start speaking to the girl. She had a great name, a name from an ubiquitous* 1980’s song. Zach proceeded to repeat the chorus of that song over and over again until the girl smiled awkwardly at first, and then really awkwardly later. Finally, on song-reference 37, Zach broke through, and they talked about nice things other than the fact that her first name was from a song that was really popular in the 1980’s.


But the party was wrapping up soon. Cousin and Cousin’s wife said it was time to go, and like a 5-year-old/eunuch/goddamn pussy, Zach put his jacket on, said his goodbyes and left with Ryan and Liz.

(Switching uncomfortably from third person to first person . . . —-slow motion noises—. . . 3 . . . 2 . . .1.)

So there  I was, definitely drunk, but also a bit giddy that I had a nice party chat with a cute girl. As we’re entering the subway station, my cousin informs me that 1980s-Song-Girl, apparently a friend of Ryan and Liz, wanted to meet up with us at a bar. Now, you know what I’m thinking.

According to scripture: Book of R. Kelly, Ignition (Remix)

“After the show, it’s the after party.  And after the party, the hotel lobby.”


So there, I was at least on my way to some form of lobby, if not her vestibule.

But on the train, the powers that be decide that it’s late, and that they do not, in fact, want to meet up for post-party drinks. Faced with the dilemma of either going home to sleep alone and waking up the next morning to a cup of watered-down coffee and my right hand OR having a potentially late night with a girl with a vestibule, I chose Chock Full O’Nuts and Righty.

So, poor old 1980sGirl was stood up. We couldn’t find her number in any phone. Too bad.

But wait (1159 words!).

It gets better.

A few weeks go by and I’m informed that 1980sGirl will be at bar for a big soccer game that’s going to be on TV there. Of course, I make myself up nice (pluck nose hair, put on deodorant) and meet up with Liz and Ryan at the pub. I spot 1980sGirl at the other end of the bar. I know I have a second chance. So, I come up with a brilliant  game plan. First, I’ll stay way on the other side of the bar and watch the game, careful  not to acknowledge her presence because girls like to be ignored and stuff (That’s what the Pickup Artist says, anyway). That kills two birds. Game + Girl Ignore = Awesome.


So the first half goes by. By now, my cousin is furious that I refuse to deviate from my game plan, so he walks us over to where 1980sGirl has been holed up. I step towards her, trying to make eye contact so I can come in with something sexy-fied like “Hey” and add an awkward, circular hand wave. But I peel off, realizing that she is getting her coat on and leaving. She never saw me.  Final score: Future Shrink’s Billing Office 2, Zach 0.

But wait (1365 words!), there’s more.

Another three weeks go by, and one night, Zach is at da’ club, illin’, and checking out potential girls with serious daddy issues and vestibules, only to see that 1980sGirl is there. This time, drunk on job interviews and the new season of Lost, I make my move, sans-dorky hand hello. I’m back in the mix, mentioning that her name is from a 1980’s song and that she is from one of my favorite places on Earth. I apologize for standing her up. She’s learned to laugh when I finish a sentence, what more could go right?

Well, then it came for her and her friend to leave. There’s an pregnant pause. She reaches into her pocketbook and takes out an Iphone and looks at it, then looks at me. It’s here where I should know that she’s telling me to get her number. But it’s here that I realize that last week, my phone went through the laundry so I had to borrow my grandfather’s back-up cell phone which he borrowed from Zak Morris in 1987.


She has Iphone. I have Satellite Phone from movie Predator. Fuck, no number is gotten. I’m way too embarrassed. (Final score: Zach’s Future Wife’s Future Shrink’s Billing Office 3, Zach 0).

She hugs me and says, “Well, I guess I have to go. . . I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.”

“I hope so,” I say, redeeming myself just a bit.

Then out the door she went, into the New York night and surely into some other guy’s vestibule.

Wake Up The Echoes
February 2, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

For almost a year, I haven’t had much of an itch to write. The ex-girlfriend exorcisms are over. Couple that with the affirmation of success and belonging that I felt in New Zealand, I’ve been (for me) pretty content.

Nobody really wants to read about how happy you are, anyway. Happy people are gross. That’s why Travis and Oasis have sucked as they’ve aged and found families. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Richard Yates, those miserly and miserable coots, saved themselves for the scene: self-destruction. They knew eternal happiness meant total irrelevance.

If you want uplifting, read the New Testament. Talk to your shrink. Me? I’ll ramble. I’ll suffer, but enjoy it.

But, surprise! No more about the past. You and me, let’s talk about the future. I’m holed up in an apartment, broke, looking out into New York City. You’d have to be dead inside not to be inspired.

I’m writing three essays, to be released in the week before my birthday (March 7). They will be on three topics. None will be about bad relationships.  Dubious? Let’s hope you don’t need to be.

So, three essays. To you. But really for me.

Please, put down the New Testament; piss to the epistles. Cancel your hour with Dr. Finkletwine; he’s only in it for the money, anyway.

Drink some bourbon, draw a warm bath, and let’s open up those veins. But in a good way.

The Wunderluster.

Breaking up is (not) hard to do
March 9, 2008, 2:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey people, sorry I’ve taken a…well, vacation from my blogging responsibilities. (Get it, vacation, I’m in another country).

It’s been a very hectic time around here. Basketball season has finally started. (Don’t ask, we’re 0-2 and I’m stressed). Also, I got a second job at the Otago Daily Times as a copy editor. (Don’t ask, I’m not very good at it and I’m stressed).

I’m pulling down about 40 hours a week at the newspaper and balancing basketball practice and games, so you can see how one might neglect his obscenely popular blog.

So, it’s with great (some mixed emotion word) that I write to inform you, my six, that Wunderluster is (probably) going to be retired.

(I’ll wait while you cry)




 Ok, but lemme explain. I’ve never broken up with six people before. Um, I guess what I’m proposing is an open relationship. See, here’s the deal: for some strange reason, people at the ODT like me. They like me so much that they want to give me my own blog on their new website, to be launced at the end of this month. Yes, I said blog. 

Now, I’m not big on blog bigamy. So, what I’m hoping is this: that you’ll be happy for me and let me put our little thing (Wunderluster) into the background for a while and you’ll follow me over the newspaper’s site.

This is a good professional step for me and a chance to take a departure from penning Morrissey’s Diary here at Wunderluster and actually achieve my dream of penning Amy Winhouse’s diary over at the ODT.

See, the ODT is a major New Zealand newspaper. Frankly, I have no business being there. But I stumbled into the interview just days after the AFC championship game, walking on clouds. I mean, how could things go wrong? 

I’m pumped and jacked for this opportunity. Some continued support, with help from a link on Facebook, will increase my readership and turn me into the most influential American in New Zealand. (There are currently 37 of us).

Anywho, the content in this blog will be slightly different. Gone will be depressing musings about regret and Ms. X and bitching about being afraid of shit. But I mean, it’s not like the only reason you read this journal is to have a masochistic chuckle at my carwreck of a psyche. Wait a second…..

Anyway, it’s been a great three and half months. But frankly, we were never right for each other. You were always a little too shy in the sack.

I’ll come back with all the pertinent information, I’ll give you my new address so you can send me my stuff that you’ve kept in your room.

Yours truly,

The Wunderluster

(If this all goes to shit, please don’t go out with anybody else’s blog so you’ll take me back) 

A Postcard From Martin
February 13, 2008, 4:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last week I went by the library to find a book to read, as one does at a library. After realizing that I’ve read nearly every interesting book there is, I remembered several recommendations for Don DeLillo’s “Underworld.” Apparently, it’s his magnum opus. Frankly, I find it a little forward for Mr. DeLillo to show everyone his magnum opus. Seems a bit scandalous. ANYWAY.

With modern American fiction not at the top of the library circulation list in New Zealand, a helpful librarian of middle age found a copy buried deep in the annals of Dunedin Public Library. Books about cricketers and eco-tourism abound, but you can’t get a seminal work on modern Americana on the available shelves in New Zealand.

But what should I find but a handy little bookmark in the form of a postcard within this buried text. Being in the intimacy-starved state I’m in, I was overjoyed to have a window into somebody’s correspondence. On the front of the postcard was a black and white picture of an aquarium janitor squeegeeing an underground see-through window of the whale pool.

Wicked intense and interesting, eh? Well, not really. It’s an untitled photograph from Garry Winogrand from 1963. It’s a Winogrand! A Winogrand! No, I don’t know who Garry Winogrand is, either. I’m just trying to spin a yarn here. 

The postcard is addressed to:

The Keans

448 Highgate

Maori Hill


New Zealand

The postcard is dated 7 June, 1991 and was stamped in London. The text is as follows:

“Hi there! Thanks for your card from Honolulu, hope you get a nice tan! Did you go back to that bay where we went snorkeling? Can you send me Rosemary’s address? Mike — I’m half way through a letter to you — thanks for your last one. Dad — it’s too late for the stuff to be organised for Andrei and Inga, they are leaving here in a week with as much as we have organised — They should be alright. But they may pop in for a visit if they get to Dunedin. I’m still cooking and doing a bit of law clerking for solicitors. Doing some more lighting for plays, too, and starting to edit Cakekitchen video. More soon, love Martin.”

Ok, so nobody is admitting to murder, talking about a lost love one or venting about heartache, but I found this long forgotten memento fascinating if only for one reason.

This postcard was mailed in 1991. “Underworld” was published in 1997. So, for six years The Keans kept this postcard to remind them of something or someone. Probably Martin. Rosemary was probably his stepmom. Dad is dad. Who’s Andrei and Inga? Who’s Mike? What on God’s green earth was the Cakekitchen video? More importantly, why did this postcard matter?

Well, memories are funny things aren’t they? I’ve made no secret of my own difficulties with dealing with loss and moving on. It’s not so much that I don’t want to move on, it’s just that anything can set off a memory. A familiar smell, a long lost love note, a blanket, a pair of pants, a picture or perfume. They’re all an immediate transport to somewhere else. Without moving on, life can be suffering and stagnant. But then again, throwing away pictures, gifts and memory saturated THINGS doesn’t feel right either. It’s almost sacrilegious. It’s some holy shit. Like chucking a Bible in the trash.

When Ms. X and I worked our way through the final stages of separation she asked me how to stop remembering things we went through together. Every memory and familiarity had immense context. While I’m no shaman, what I said was fairly prophetic and accurate.

To paraphrase, I said “to move on we can’t sit and think about how we’re dealing with the past. We can’t make coping a conscious choice. We can’t actively forget each other. The only thing we can do is to totally look forward and let new experiences replace our old memories.”

For my own poetic peace of mind, I’d like to think that Martin never came back to Dunedin. Something happened. He fell in love…or into a coma and never returned. And for years, Mike, Rosemary and Dad suffered without him and kept this postcard to remind themselves of their beloved son, cousin, brother or friend. But at that perfect moment, the one only fate can decide, the attachment to his memory was dissolved and “Underworld” was returned to the library and somebody was OK with forgetting to snag Martin’s postcard.

See, coping with loss isn’t about defining and ordering what happened in the past and coming to some kind closure.

 Nah, it’s about finding something better to think about.

A Drag King
February 5, 2008, 1:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve passed several ideas around on how I could envigorate this journal. But for one, let me say this: the highlights of this place are my grumbling contemplations and borderline whining about things that have happened, meaning past tense, in my life. My travel writing is pretty poor, if not non-existent.

Now, Wunderlusting, as it were, doesn’t necessarily demand the topic be about seeing penguins, eating exotic meals or seeing a girl naked in the hostel bathroom. Wunderlusting as I understand is about looking forward toward adventure. As we all know, there are several types of adventures

 There’s professional adventure, for instance.


 I am on one of these now. My grip is white-knuckled. Coaching on the professional level is a constant poker match between players, coaches and other teams. You’re constantly trying to measure what the other one is holding without, of course, giving up what you’re stashing. I’ve found that I’m holding many intangibles: eagerness, wit, being personable and an ability to observe both on the human level and on the basketball court. That’s pretty good I think. But I’m up against people who’ve been to the rodeo more than a few times. My challenge is to show these cowboys I can ride having not ever really corralled a bull before. There’s a lot of posturing and it’s fascinating. I wish I could get into specifics, but I’ll have to wait and write a “Ball Four” – like masterpiece.

I’m learning at my job at a furious pace. The position, plus my relative lack of practical experience, demands it. Understanding the wave you’re riding is probably the first key to any great adventure. This brings me to the biggest black mark on my life so far. I have been on a great adventure in the past, but I didn’t really know it at the time. Sure, I had a look at what I was saying and what I was doing and I admitted that it was all pretty cool. But when I look back, I was weighed down by trivialities. Triviality is the business of the righteous and I have been Pat Robertson incarnate in the past.

Now, you probably want some sort of explanation as to what the fuck I’m talking about. But try as I might, I can’t tell you. See, I’ve tried to repay my debt for taking a good thing for granted. (This is not to say that this good thing was “the right thing” or “the only thing” for me, but rather that it wasn’t fully appreciated at the time). I mull over where I could have done better. I have dreams replaying opportunities where I went overboard with zeal. Yet, there will be no respite from this ghostly curse until I kill it.

But there’s the rub. How do you kill something that’s not alive and not dead, either. Sure, you can talk about loss, grief, death, guilt until you’ve run out of words. But what does that do? At a certain point, those topics become central to one’s day-to-day inner-monologue and engulf so that other adventures go further unappreciated.

On the other hand, you can always try to ignore regret, but I always know when I’m distracting myself.

And that’s the cycle that I’m in. Regret has the best of me. That’s why I can’t update this blog regularly. Writing about what really burns me is only going to feed the monster.  

Let me clarify: this is where I want to be. This is right. This is a good start. It’s progress. But as for this cursed cloud that hangs, well,  I just don’t know what other penance is left to pay.

(P.S. — Anyone who suggests this is all just cyclical, self-fulfilling thinking can kiss my ass and will be banned from this website.)

(P.P.S. — Anyone know the score from the Super Bowl?)

Loss Means Learning (Abridged)
February 1, 2008, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey, it’s me. You know, the guy who pooped on his friends in his last blog post and didn’t bother keeping in touch for the next two and a half weeks. Yeah, it’s me. Sorry about that, but I’ve been a little swamped.

 It’s a good thing though. There’s been plenty of stuff going on at work and I’ve been about fishing, hiking and the like. The basketball season, well, proper practices and such start on Monday. So the great odyssey is upon me. It’s all so very exciting.

 I’m going to be short and honest here until I have the time and inclination to talk at length about other interesting stuff: I meant what I said last time. Friendship is a drag. And adulthood can be quite lonely. But a byproduct of accepting these facts is not taking for granted when good friends and good breaks enter your path. I’ve been lucky to have both good fortune and good mates (NZ word for “friend”) in my life and now I feel more equipped to take care of them. Loss means learning.

 I just don’t have anything that interesting to say right now. Just bear with me, I’m putting it all together and working hard and living very happily. In the mean time, find someone to love on Valentine’s Day and don’t forget that I’m a Pisces.