Posts Tagged ‘Casino Royale’

Almost a Gambler

on September 20, 2011 in Misc 6 Comments »

First of all, my apologies to any of you who stopped by yesterday only to be greeted by a page that said “Account Suspended.”  In my non-cyber life I am very, very good about paying my bills.  However, when it comes to this blog I can kinda space out when an annual payment is due…. Oops.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, you know what Layla/ action hero stuff I was finally ready to do this last weekend?  I was going to go gambling.  As in head for a local casino in the foothills outside Denver where I can lay down cold hard cash and play games of Texas hold ‘em.  Which by the way I’ve never played with anyone and never for cash, but hey, gotta start some time, right?

If I’m sounding less than wildly enthusiastic about this, there’s a reason:  I’m just not a gambler by nature.  I mean, I LOVE adventure and excitement and lots of physical risks and thrills and spills, at least the kind that don’t inflict physical pain and injuries.  But gambling?  Nope, doesn’t do a thing for me.

Of course I’ve been in a casino at least once where I played a couple slot machines (nickel level only) and came out two dollars ahead.  My reaction was a sarcastic Whoop-de-Doo.  I mean, risking bodily harm or even death can be fun.  But risking my money?  That’s what small cap funds are for, and even those I stay away from.

The problem is action heroes are often whizzes in any casino.  They walk in like winners and walk out with money stuck to them like lint.  In Casino Royale M even assigns James Bond the official task of winning over $100 million dollars from the bad guy in, like, the most exclusive card game in the most exclusive casino in the world.  Guess what happens – HE WINS! (Shocker, I know.)

But here’s a reality factoid:  In Ian Fleming’s original Casino Royale novel, which was the first in his Bond series, even a swank gambling joint is a weary, grim place.  “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.”

Or at three in the afternoon, I might add.

Still, Layla/ action hero duty calls, and I really did have the firm intention this last weekend of dragging my reluctant backside to said casino.  I was even kinda looking forward to it, which gives you an idea of how bored outta my mind I’ve been from too much work, both the paying kind and the writing kind.

But on Saturday the weather was crappy and I had chores to do, so I figured I’d go Sunday.  Then Sunday rolls around and a few REALLY CRAPPY THINGS happen and it was like, okay, my day is shot to hell.  I’d rather be up in the hills losing my hard-earned money.

So now it’s Tuesday and I’m at work.  But one of these upcoming weekends I really will go to a casino, where I intend to win lots of money.  Because action heroes never lose and because I really, really need the cash.

Technically No Action Hero

on June 14, 2011 in Misc Comments Off on Technically No Action Hero

There’s a scene in Casino Royale that brings out all my techie insecurities.

It’s the one where James Bond (Daniel Craig) gets into the security room of an exclusive resort, instantly figures out all the monitors, singles out the onsite security camera he wants, sees (apparently with X-ray vision) where the discs of those cameras are kept, finds and inserts just the right one, fast forwards/rewinds that disc with its record from a couple days earlier that shows the bad guy arriving at the resort.  Gets all the info he needs from that shot.

I would need a half hour orientation to do what Bond does in one minute.

It’s funny what can intimidate us, action hero-wise.  Martial arts?  Done ‘em — kinda.  Parkour?  Done it – badly.  Learn how to handle guns?  Yup.  Learning languages, how to climb anything, how to tail targets, etc. etc.?  Ongoing process.

You get the idea.  These challenges I can handle.  But make me face a battery of snazzy new computers and the latest in technical security devices and hotshot gizmos, and my nerves give out.  I have to put on my reading glasses (so unglamorous) and tell myself, “Don’t panic, kid – you can do it!”

I am so not like Nikita.

There she is in every episode, not only looking sleek and confident and in deadly perfect physical shape, but hacking her way into any sophisticated high security computer system that dares to stand in her way.  On the good side, she and Bond and their breed make tech savvy geekiness ultra cool and desirable.  On the bad side, they make me feel like a dim kindergartner.  Yes, there are books out there like Hacking for Dummies, which maybe I’ll look into.  Except that for people like me reading Arabic would be easier.

In the meantime, I’ve gotta figure out simply how to access the zipped artwork someone has sent me for my book cover.  And here I will pause to CHEER MIGHTILY THAT I’VE GOT SOME GREAT ART FOR THE COVER OF THE COMPASS MASTER!

Now back to feeling technically incompetent as I try to open the file folder (can’t at home ‘cause my computer software is too old/incompatible/whatever), then at work (turns out my company’s security system has blackballed this procedure), and next at Kinko’s, my last hope.

Here’s something you never hear Bond or Nikita say…


What I Gotta Do

on July 9, 2009 in Misc Comments Off on What I Gotta Do

First, the facts of my life.

I work the usual 40 hours in an office.

I go to epee fencing two evenings a week (a cool sport that in my back-story of Layla she doesn’t do, hence I’m one up on her).  Then after fun with friends and the usual grind of errands and chores, I don’t have much free time.

I will need to explain to friends and family (at least I have no children to embarrass and right now I’m single) why I, a grown woman who appears to be of sound mental health, intends to skirt along the borders of La-La Land by acting like a fictional character and living out some of her adventures.

As for my free time, it will now be filled with the skills I need to learn.  Here are a few of them in no particular order:

  1. Pick locks (Layla is an expert)
  2. Get in and out of places I don’t belong without being caught
  3. Climb around structures like they’re jungle gyms
  4. Climb up buildings and rappel down them
  5. Skydive
  6. Paraglide
  7. Archery (did it as a kid, but I need to learn how to shoot a trident that’s attached to a rope)
  8. Parkour (the sport used in the opening sequence of “Casino Royale” when the bad guy is evading Bond by leaping, sliding and bounding over barriers as if they’re tools of escape)
  9. Scuba (did it once off the coast of Cambodia, but I wasn’t yet certified; now I have to get good at it)
  10. Aerial dancing (okay, that’s more like Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider” when she soars on a cool bungee contraption in her castle, but I still wanna do it)
  11. Lots of other cool stuff like surveillance and evasion techniques
  12. Brush up on French and get serious about learning at least basic Arabic (Layla doesn’t speak it, but with my own passion for archeology in the Middle East that’s what I’m going with)

First up: parkour

I didn’t plan on pursuing the toughest skill first.  The trouble is, one of the best places in the country to learn parkour (which is related to freerunning) is only minutes from where I live, and a ten-week course begins this Saturday.  That means I either take the classes now or wait a few months.

So parkour it is.

According to Wikipedia, parkour is a discipline focusing on moving from one point to another as smoothly, efficiently and quickly as possible using only the abilities of the human body.  It is built on the premise that any physical or mental obstacle can be surpassed.

Also in Wikipedia:  After the attention that parkour received following the film Casino Royale, the British Royal Marines hired parkour athletes to train their members.  Colorado Parkour began a project to introduce the discipline into the U.S. military and it is slowly being introduced into the USMC.

So in essence, parkour does not use acrobatics like flips, while freerunning does.  Yet here in Denver the two terms sometimes seem to be  used interchangeably.

Since what Layla would need to do is parkour (both in my novel The Compass Master and in her back story), then that’s what I’ll be doing.  Hence no flips.

For a peek at the kind of are-you-insane stuff I’m supposed to learn, here’s a YouTube video filmed at the gym where I’ll be taking the classes.