Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Jones’


on October 7, 2010 in Misc 6 Comments »

Last night, hell almost froze over.

For the first time ever, I turned into an attacking animal.

Not out in public, since that would be slightly illegal.  Instead, for one brief fencing bout, I turned into a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy attacking bloodthirsty beast. 

How crazy was I?

I almost beat Jim in a bout.  I got eight points to his ten.

Jim is one of those fencers I dread going up against .  He’s scary good.  Been fencing for at least 15 years.  Goes to national tournaments.  Is like the Borg in Star Trek because, when someone gets a touch against him, he assimilates what his opponent has just done and instantly devises defense strategies to prevent it from happening again.  You can even see through his mask how his face is moving as calculations rush through his head.  His free left hand twitches as if counting off counterattacks.

About a year ago I got way up to six touches against him, but it’s been downhill ever since as he (with robotic efficiency) kept improving while I pretty much hit a plateau.  For a long time now I’ve been lucky to get two or three touches against his ten.

Then last night I finally, really, truly ATTACKED and never stopped ATTACKING.

I didn’t use sophisticated tactics.  I didn’t have second and third attacks planned should my first fail.  I just LUNGED and HIT, JUMPED and HIT, RETREATED and PUSHED BACK and HIT.

I realized afterwards that I’d stopped thinking.  Instead what I FELT pushed me the whole time.  It was like being controlled by an unleashed, wild desperation.  A screaming instinct kept telling me to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.

Which, by the way, you’re supposed to do in fencing.  Or pretty much in any martial art.

Afterwards, I was exhilarated (EIGHT POINTS!), but I also felt weird.  I’ve been fencing for about four years with months off here and there, yet for the first time I had experienced absolute unbridled aggression.  For the first time I successfully put myself in an attack mode and stayed there.  What I felt was a kind of unthinking dark place that was very un-nice, unfeminine, unpolite.  The conscious me vanished and a fierce subconscious took over.


Afterwards I was a bubbling sweetheart.  I was also kinda in awe.  At long last I personally understood that this is what James Bond is like when he fights.  Or Indiana Jones or Alias or Nikita.  Or Layla, for that matter.

Break on through to the other side, Jim Morrison sings.

I finally got to the other side.

Action Fashion

on March 4, 2010 in Misc 2 Comments »

Indiana Jones machete

Putting together an action fashion wardrobe ain’t so easy. But for those of us writing about a lead character in a thriller (and for me, living like that character), it’s a necessary ingredient we’ve got to work with.

The good news is, I’m using Layla as my role model and she dresses more like Indiana Jones than James Bond. No expensive, high-maintenance outfits for her. She also has what I wish I could get: a 1930’s elegance mixed with modern-day touches.

futuristic costume

This means perfectly cut dresses and trousers, skinny pants tucked into boots, a brown leather jacket, and tops or sweaters with clean lines that cling without restricting her movements, ‘cause she’s gotta be able to move freely. Oh – and she doesn’t own a whole lotta clothes because shopping bores her.

I put Layla in a brown leather jacket because black leather can look too hard. When I was in Belgrade I saw Serb tough guys ad nauseum wearing black leather jackets like some kind of uniform, usually unzipped just enough to show off their holstered guns. They looked like rabid rottweilers. Ever since then I’ve gravitated toward the softer, earthier look of brown leather. But yeah, Layla still has black pants and sweaters and some black ankle boots (flat-soled and comfortable so that she can run and climb in them). And now I do too – except for the perfect lace-up ankle boots, which aren’t easy to find.

Because The Compass Master takes place in November I haven’t thought out her summer duds other than what she wears while roughing it on the Panamanian island. Basically hers is a sleek, simple look she can toss into a duffel bag at a moment’s notice.


Wrinkle resistant fabrics are a must. And given that she works mostly in Europe and the Middle East, she’s also picked up the French flair for style, hence everything she wears fits perfectly, and when she has to impress she might throw a Hermès scarf ($275) about her shoulders. Beyond the scarf, she can’t be bothered with silly over-priced designer stuff.

Obviously Layla dresses the way I’d like to if I were more sophisticated. She also looks a lot better and she’s years younger. Damn it. But I gotta thank her because simplifying my wardrobe to match hers has not only saved me money (of which I have an ever-dwindling amount), it’s made me throw away all floral prints (what was I thinking?) along with semi-hippy items left over from my long-ago Boulder days.

Currently the only things in my closet I don’t especially like are some of my work clothes – bland things I can wear to the office and not care if they get worn out. Still, I’ve resolved that once they do get threadbare I’ll replace them with fewer, cooler pieces I feel good in.

I can do this and get away with it because I’ll be modeling myself after a realistic woman like Layla. If, however, you’re personally going for an action hero along the lines of Van Helsing or Ripley in Alien or Bruce Willis at his most kick-ass, then human resources might take you aside for a little chat.

The Plan

on July 7, 2009 in Misc Comments Off on The Plan

I’ve decided that the best way for me to start my plan is by asking two questions.  The first one is:  If I am to become like Layla  Daltry, am I using a realistic model?

As characters go Layla is pretty believable.  Certainly she’s no cartoon-like Lara Croft or Indiana Jones or James Bond.  It even seems that she’s evolved to become something more than fiction:  a creature woven from the bone shards of my own long buried desires and set-aside ambitions, a flesh-and-blood woman emerging from the better than average angels of my nature and my too infrequent adventures, a glamorous avatar who in her youth did almost everything right hence unlike me did not have to settle for a fallback life.

The second question is:  How do I compare to Layla Daltry right now?

The answer hurts.

Layla picks locks and gets into places she doesn’t belong, scampers across rooftops, climbs up and down buildings, and finds hidden and lost rare ancient manuscripts and other antiquities in exotic places — for a price.  I don’t.

Layla lives in a penthouse in Dublin, Ireland, worthy of Architectural Digest.  I live in Denver, Colorado and my place is nice but should not be photographed for any earthly reason.

Layla can get around in a couple modern languages and is fluent in Latin and ancient Greek.  My French has deteriorated into near non-existence and I’m struggling to teach myself basic Arabic.

Layla is a graduate of the University of Chicago and holds a master’s in the literature of early and medieval Christian history with an emphasis on archeology.  I only have a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Colorado that I pretty much never used.

She also once had a lover who was in the British SAS and taught her special forces skills that help her lead a danger-edged life.  Me?  I wish.

Now for the most glaring differences between us . . .

Layla Daltry is still relatively young — about thirty — while I’m well into middle age.  Damn.

She’s beautiful and I’m not.  Double damn.

Worse still, I’ve become aware of how over the years a part of me began to shrink into the confines of my resume, my job description, the petty demands of my daily life.

I mean, I’ve certainly done some exciting and even outrageous things.  Like Layla I’ve flung caution to the winds and gone on a few risky jaunts to different parts of the world (Pakistan, Bosnia, etc.).  But for some years now and without really being aware of what I was doing, I downsized myself and my life so that now even my perception of myself has diminished into a melancholy blur.

Layla would never, ever do that.  And now I must stop doing it.