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Adventures of the Low-Rent James Bond

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Rules to Being a Low-Rent James Bond (Rule Number Three) Mar. 30th, 2004 @ 03:13 am

After a short writing hiatus (to be honest, I was having a touch of writer's block on a few other projects and took a little break from the whole exercise), I'll continue with my current series on the "rules."

Rule #3: Always Be Prepared.

The Boyscouts got this one dead on. Always be ready for an adventure. If you're not ready, or worse, have to get ready, then you'll miss out. Just think back over how many opportunities, both large and small, you missed because you weren't ready for them. You must avoid not being ready at all costs.

Physical Preparedness

At any given moment, an adventure can present itself. If you're not ready for action, you will miss your chance to seize the opportunity.


  • Dress Up, Even If You're Not Planning on Going Out: It is far easier to "dress down" than to dress up. It's one of the unwritten laws of the universe. Therefore, if you keep yourself looking at the top of your game, then you can respond quickly when an opportunity arises. When the phone rings, you're ready to leave. If you have to change to "dress down" you only have to worry about changing your clothing to "whatever" is in the closet. If you're not dressed up, you now have the problem of picking out the clothing you need, getting cleaned, removing lint and on and on.


  • Keep Your Car Ready: Keep your car clean, well-maintained and filled with gas at all times. That way, when you need it, it's ready to go. You don't have to stop by the gas station for a fill-up (try that with a date or before going to a classy restaurant). The car looks better clean (have you ever needed your car dirty?). You don't have the problem of being late, or worse, entirely missing an event because you're stuck on the side of the road.


  • Keep Your Home Clean and Organized: A clean and organized home is one you can let anyone into without worrying over what they'll think. Once a living space is clean and orderly, it's far easier to maintain that way, saving you time you can use on pursuing your adventures.




Mental Preparedness

If you're not mentally ready for an adventure, you will allow it to slide by or, if you accept the opportunity, mess it up entirely. Remember Rule #2, Educate Yourself. This is your first step to being mentally prepared.


  • Learn to Improvise: Improvisation will keep your mind sharp when something unexpected happens or you are forced to alter your plans. If you're adept at improvisation, you're not only able to handle these "hitches" but also confident enough to handle them without a second thought.


  • Learn to Adapt: Adaptability to new and novel situations are the life's blood of any adventurer. If you are flexible enough to handle anything that comes your way, then you can easily and readily seize every opportunity life offers you. In time, your adaptability will gain you a new found confidence in your ability to grab life by the horns.


  • Keep a Positive Attitude: A positive outlook on life, no matter what's happening, will allow you to identify opportunities for fun and adventure as they approach you. Keep negative thoughts, and especially negative people, at an arms length or better yet, avoid them entirely. Constantly reinforce your mental attitude by focusing on your successes rather than dwelling on perceived failures.




Closing

Keep yourself ready to go at all times. Be aware of what's happening around you. Keep your eyes and ears open always watch and listen for opportunities for adventure. You'll soon start seeing just how full of fun and excitement every day can be.

Extra Credit

"I'm Bored." Edit these words from your vocabulary. Never say them again as long as you live.

Why?

Simple. If people hear you say "I'm bored," what they really hear is "I'm boring." You definitely do not want to be perceived that way. Worse, the fact is, if you say "I'm bored" you have no one to blame but yourself for that state of being. If you find yourself bored, bloody well do something that's not boring.

Current Mood: awake

Rules to Being a Low-Rent James Bond (Rule Number Two) Mar. 18th, 2004 @ 01:17 am

Continuing my series on the Rules to Being a Low-Rent James Bond, we come to:

Rule #2: Educate Yourself.

The cliché "knowledge is power" is one of the great human truths. The more you know, the more able you are to converse with others, as well as handle new and unknown situations. These skills are vital to anyone who wishes to have an adventurous life.

Read everything you can find. Focus on your interests, but also expand those interests into other subjects you've not done any research on. Even if you think you know "enough" about a subject, continue to read about it (you'll be surprised just how much you don't know). Watch the news, read the newspaper and not just from your home country, read the foreign press as well. Get subscriptions to magazines you're interested in and at least one you have a passing interest in. Talk to other people about their interests, learn from them, and then go out and verify what they've said. Take classes at the local college or tech school. Take courses from your local Community Education. Attend classes at the library or bookstore if they're offered.

The key is to build a very broad base of knowledge from which you can draw. There is no such thing as "useless information" because even the most useless fact could become a good way to start a conversation with a new friend.

With this newly formed base of knowledge you're better able to react a situation with clarity and confidence. More to the point, when a new situation arises, one you've never been in, you can draw upon your information to react accordingly. New experiences are the meat of an adventure. Finding yourself in such a situation, or even planning it yourself, is just the start of a memorable experience.

There is a side benefit to increasing your knowledge. You become more valuable to the community. This translates to more respect among your friends and neighbors at home and more money at work (See Rule #1).

Keep this in mind as you set out on your adventures.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Rules to Being a Low-Rent James Bond (Rule Number One) Mar. 17th, 2004 @ 11:44 pm

Two posts in and already I'm getting requests for information. One of you people on my friends list has a load of curious readers.

I'm starting a series that will run for the next few days covering the "rules" to being a Low-Rent James Bond. The format will be fairly simple ad straight forward, one rule per post. If you have questions or want clarification, post to the comments page.

Rule #1: Never Run Out Of Cash.

I can hear your minds turning that one over. "But Michael, you're the Low Rent James Bond.... What's all this about cash?"

The fact of the matter is, money makes the world go 'round. We all need it to do things with. We need to to travel, to drive, to eat, to have a place to sleep, to buy a new suit.... Money is a necessity, and cash is doubly so if you want to have an adventure.

You should always have enough cash on hand, in your pockets, to get through the day with some left over. Why cash? Simple, cash is accepted everywhere. Credit cards are great, I have several myself, but not everywhere takes them, credit machines can "go down" or you can max out a card without knowing it. Cash, however, is accepted everywhere. Never will cash be turned down.

With a supply of cash, you know you are covered for any eventuality. Meet up with an old friend and want to go to lunch? You're covered. See something you "must have?" Covered. Find a movie you've never seen playing in an out-of-the-way theatre? Covered.

Another advantage of cash. Tipping. Always tip and tip well. You will be remembered and it will pay off. Credit cards don't work that well when trying to tip a doorman.

That's Rule Number One. See how easy this is going to be?

Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic

Business as Unusual Mar. 15th, 2004 @ 03:57 pm

There are two types of adventures. The first is the Planned Adventure. These are the ones you sit down and decide to have. Rock-climbing, going to the casino, visiting Disney World, rafting... That sort of thing. You know these are coming and have planned them out. You have your budget, your "to do" list and you know almost exactly what to expect.

The second kind of adventure are the ones that sneak up on your and blind side you. The come out of nowhere, these Accidental Adventures, and you're completely without a plan. Getting lost while driving, meeting a famous person at the mall, witnessing and the stopping to help at a car accident. These are usually the smaller ones. The ones you never expected, and if you're not ready, the ones you miss entirely.

I'll get this whole thing started with a small adventure I recently had. It is a perfect example of the second type of adventure, the Accidental Adventure.

I have been on a job search for a while now. As such, I'm interviewing all over the area at any company that catches my interest. So, I called a local communications company (I'm withholding the name because I don't want the third type of adventure "Got Sued by a Major Corporation For mentioning Them In A Bad Light In My LiveJournal Adventure") and discovered they were hiring entry level technical personnel.

I arrived at their building about fifteen minutes early for the interview I'd set up by phone and when I stepped off the elevator at their floor, I found myself among a throng of American and Japanese businessmen greeting one another. As luck would have it, I'd accidentally walked into the middle of a tour group from Japan who were there to assess the company they might be purchasing.

It wasn't possible to politely push through the little crowd at the elevator banks so I simply waited for them to move on. This would be a long wait. The Japanese were handing around their business cards to their American opposite numbers and didn't seem very happy about the response they were getting.

For those that do not know, there's a sort of ritual in Japan when it comes to the passing of business cards. It is practically a sacred ceremony in business circles and failure to do it properly is viewed as an insult or a slight against the person giving the card. The proper procedure, in brief, is to accept the offered card with both hands (a small nod is a plus) and then, while holding the card in both hands to read it thoroughly (front and back) before carefully placing it safely in a pocket (the inside pocket is preferred). You then offer your own card.

The Americans were not doing this. They were taking the card, glancing at them, and then shoving them in a pocket without a second though.

After a few moments, one of the Japanese businessmen noted no one had greeted me and immediately came to me to offer his card. I took it, following the proper procedure, and, while placing his card carefully in my inside pocket, pulled out my own cards and gave him one. He did as I had done with a small smile and a nod.

Suddenly, I was the center of attention of the Japanese. All of them made a point to give me their card and receive mine. They talked with me about their flight, their trip to America, the facility we were in, their upcoming tour, their hotel. In short, they began to treat me as if I was the most important businessman in the room, all because I knew what to do with their business card.

After a moment or two of then, one of the Americans leaned over to another and said "who is that?" The man he was talking to opened his mouth, paused and replied "That's Mr. (mutters) from accounting."

After about thirty minutes of being the center of attention, I politely excused myself, stating that I was sorry I couldn't tour the facility with them, but I had some very pressing matters to attend to and finally got to the secretary about my interview. I was now half-an-hour late.

My interview was missed. The secretary informed me that I wouldn't be given a second chance at an interview. That is, until "Mr. Mumbles" intervened and told he I most certainly would be interviewing on Monday.

We spoke for another ten minutes. During that time, he told me he couldn't understand why someone off the street, with no connection to the company (yet) had managed to become the center of attention for their visitors but he was glad it happened, because suddenly the tension he'd sensed in them was gone. I simply told him it was easy, if you knew and respected their customs. Near the end I said to him "I could teach you the proper way to accept and bestow meishi." He waited, looking at me expectantly. And then I added, "of course, I'll have to be on the payroll first."

The moral of the story? Preparation + Knowledge + Opportunity = Adventure. This area is teeming with foreign owned companies, mostly German and Japanese. So I learned the business customs for both, to make myself worth more to those companies. When the opportunity presented itself I took it, and impressed the company I wanted to hire me and got a small adventure out of it. Will I get the job? Who knows, but I know a group of Japanese businessmen who remember my name because I was the only one who knew how to handle a business card.

Current Mood: amusedamused

The Beginning Mar. 15th, 2004 @ 03:08 am
Folks,

I cannot say it enough: have an adventure every day of your life. It does not matter if it's a small one or a big one, any adventure will do. That's why this journal exists.

I freely admit, this journal is not written for you. It's written for me. It's a record so I record these things for myself. But if you want to read, its going to be right here waiting.

If it inspires you to have your own adventures, fine, excellent, I did a little good in someone's life. If you get a laugh, that's great too. If you think it's all silly, excellent, it's at least made you smile.

Mind you, not every little adventure will be here, just the ones that make me sit up and take notice, even though I lived it. Sure, there's going to be some "small stuff" here, the little things that happened that, for some reason or another amused me, but mostly this is where I'm going to remember.

So, sit back, grab a drink and pop back occasionally if you're interested. I know I am.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
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