NOTE: I killed my MySpace account today. But I didn't want to lose one of my proudest accomplishments ... The Chronicles of Mordor. They led to this blog and I think they're pretty good. I did not want to lose them. So I'm republishing them here, with slight editing.
Originally published July 2, 2008
Loyal reader(s) of my blog may remember a flood, occurring several months ago, of strangers saying they recognized me from somewhere. A few British lads even sent me Facebook messages to this affect. New Zealand is much like I would imagine Great Britain to be, save for the sunlight. I hoped I could find this doppelganger there, this evil twin, but no such luck. Maybe there is no evil twin and they got me confused with this guy.
My second day in Dunedin started at a Starbucks. Yeah, yeah. I know. I sat there leafing through the Sunday paper and buried way in the back was the news of Tim Russert's shocking death. Definitely a blow to the gut there. The big news in the country at that time? The police were being armed. Other big news? A liquor store clerk was murdered. Later in the week a woman was killed in a hit and run. As tragic as these stories are, it was odd to see all the fuss since these events constitute a Tuesday afternoon in South Florida.
During the next few days my humble hosts took me on a tour of the Greater Dunedin area, my favorite place being Tunnel Beach. To reach the beach you have to walk downhill and it just so happened to be pretty muddy that particular morning. At one point I made the mistake of rushing down said hill and you can guess what happened next.
The crowd had a hearty laugh at my expense. The biggest victim was not my bruised ego but my nice cargo pants. Mud stains all over. Nonetheless, the place was Bauer-tastic. The tunnel leading to the rocky beach, the cliffs, the seemingly endless expanse of water all made for a pretty cool sight, just 10-15 minutes away from the city.
I have to admit my mind, as well as Zach's I would venture to guess, focused on something else those days. Our Boston Celtics, last year starting Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfair while trying to lose games intentionally, were on the cusp of a championship against the dastardly Lakers. We watched Game 5 at the Terrace, the place mostly to ourselves on that Monday afternoon. The group: Zach, his friend Mike (a Boston fan) and a lad named Marcus. The most memorable part of the game, which the Celtics went on to lose, was Zach cussing intensely in my face as K.G. missed late free throws. He's a bit insane. Zach, I mean.
The next game the four of us did the same thing, and the Celtics went into halftime with a huge lead. I wasn't counting to No. 17 until midway through the third when it was clear the Lakers had no intention of trying to win. The game became so lopsided (as Ray Allen swished about a million wide-open 3s) that Zach and I could only laugh. That's when you know you have it in the bag. To my chagrin, there was no rioting in Dunedin that day. Apparently, the NBA is their Arena Football or Pro Bowling tour. The people were aware but didn't care. But I was happy! So was Paul Pierce, who deserved that trophy more than anyone else.
With the Celtics as champions, the time came to hit the road with clear minds, stale Twizzlers and a shaky iPod radio converter. The beautiful landscape of the South Island awaited and I was determined to show New Zealanders a true obnoxious American. I would kill as many endangered species as I could. I would insult the New Zealand way of life and walk around with a general air of entitlement. USA! USA! USA!
Next on the Chronicles of Mordor … how many innocent seals can Steve strangle with his bare hands? How many Northeastern stories can Zach and Steve recount until Monica runs away to Antarctica? Will Shannon Doherty make a guest appearance? Don't forget to tune in. Reruns of Mad About You are killing us so we're on the chopping block. Kinda like this guy.