Posts Tagged ‘Nikita’

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…


My job review is coming up pretty soon.   That’s nothing to get excited about ’cause I have an office job, and you know what that means.  I sit at a desk and work on a computer and with papers and files.  Just like a gazillion other drones.  And I’m grateful for my job.

But what I’d much rather do is sit in on a job review for an AGING action hero.  ‘Cause if I hafta get older, then so does Jennifer Garner-Alias/ Jane Bond / Lara Croft / Nikita/ Mila.  I wanna see how those ladies perform when they get well into middle age, comme moi.


Per usual, employee has exhibited exceptional execution of duties in most situations, particularly in execution of designated villains.

Able to utilize martial arts, parkour, and gymnastics training to full effect.  However, the employee’s visits to a chiropractor and physical therapist have increased significantly, adding to firm’s overhead expense.

Employee is still maintaining high body count in shoot-out situations with multiple attackers.  In fact, employee often shoots more of the enemy than is strictly necessary.  We may wish to consider psychiatric review of employee for possible latent hostilities or PMS symptoms.

Employee is still capable of handling any firearm with keen marksmanship.  However, it appears that she must now wear reading glasses when using a scope in a sharpshooter situation.  This might become a liability.

Employee is still capable of handling all makes and types of vehicles.  However, rather than riding assigned motorcycles or racecars “full throttle” as directed, she has visibly “slowed down” and complains about “reckless” younger drivers in the firm.

Employee has been requesting that the firm pay for “minor” plastic surgery and laser treatments in order to appear younger and more seductive when on assignment.  She has been informed that, rather than relying on her appearance and sexual allure to manipulate male targets, she may now be better suited to missions in which her physical attributes are irrelevant.  Employee did not take this suggestion well.

On at least one occasion the employee had been directed to slip several sleeping tablets into the drink of the male enemy target.  However, the employee was overheard as describing the target as “hot” and instead “accidentally” slipped him tablets of Viagra.  The employee later claimed that she had simply failed to wear her reading glasses when choosing the tablets from her supply.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS:   Continued employment of employee is recommended, but with the caveat that she be “eased” into less physically strenuous missions and given more oversight.  Also, we believe the firm would be well advised to restrict her access to firearms and medications.

After all my hard work, you’d think that by now I’d have developed SOME skills that set action heroes (like wannabe me) apart from mere measly mortals.

You know what I mean.  Like how Jennifer Garner in Alias can go undercover in fabulous disguises, climb buildings with her bare fingers, and has a martial arts-honed body.  Ditto for Lara Croft, who also races a motorcycle across China.  And Nikita in the new TV series (which reader Ben and I wisely watch) can do it all PLUS is a hacking and tech whiz.

I, on the other hand, have only one innate action hero skill:

I am superb at the quick comeback.

Yes, you heard me right.  I am one of those rare people who, if someone dares to utter a nasty or vaguely insulting remark to me, can swiftly inflict on said offender a quick-witted, cleverly humorous verbal retort.  I can render my opponent undone with a deft parry-riposte, as we say in fencing.  One that sparkles with a brilliant turn of phrase while leaving the offender momentarily stunned.  One that destroys any chance at a counter-thrust because I skewered him or her with such a perfectly-placed joke or innocent-seeming remark that saying anything in return will only come across as snarky or dumb.

But say that he or she dares, merely DARES to attempt a counter-attack – that’s when I don’t hesitate to go in for the verbal kill.  Usually I rely on my own wit (and I don’t have half of one); still I’ve been known to pull out the big guns by quoting Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, half a dozen comedians, or – at my classiest – Shakespeare.   I also speak my mind with just enough of a smile to make my opponents think they’re in on my joke, when they’re really not, which disarms them yet more.

So there you have it.  I, the action hero of the quick comeback, have seldom thought, “I wish I’d said…(fill in the blank)” after being verbally whacked by someone.  Pretty much 95% of the time, I fill in the blank.  No, I couldn’t computer-hack or karate chop or climb/leap/dive my way out of a dangerous situation.  Afterwards, however, I can give the best possible follow-up line.


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.