Well, I heard from some people who were enjoying the Goldfinger updates, so here we go. If you’re not intereted in the continued non-adventures of Mr. Bond, you might want to skip this post.
Let’s see, where’d I leave off.
Bond offers to pay for the attractive woman’s repair bill and hotel. She insists that he drive her to Geneva instead. Bond agrees. After they reach this agreement, he orders her to go get them lunch. She does so without argument.
He drives like a maniac all the way to Geneva. When they get there, she gives him her name and the name of the hotel where she’s staying. He checks in on her later and finds it was a fake name and the hotel never heard of her.
Bond finds Goldfinger’s lair. He attempts to sneak up on it under cover of darkness and nearly trips over the woman, who is hiding with a sniper rifle, clearly planning to kill Goldfinger. He attacks her, then quiets her by pointing out that he’s “A friend.” She explains that her sister was the female employee of Goldfinger’s that Bond shared the romantic off-camera weekend with earlier in the book. She says that part of her sister’s job had been allowing Odd Job to paint her gold so Goldfinger could have sex with her, and by proxy, gold itself (That’s more like it!) He killed her by not leaving a patch of skin bare so her skin could breath, like in the movie.
Bond swears vengeance. Then Odd Job shows up with a bow and arrow and Bond and the girl give up without a fight.
They are taken to see Goldfinger. Bond attacks him, and is swatted down like a fly by Odd Job.
Bond wakes up to find himself strapped to a table saw. Miss Masterton (the woman) is tied to a chair and drugged. They turn on the saw, which creeps toward Bond’s crotch inch by inch. Bond tries three things to get out of his predicament. He sucks up to Goldfinger, and when it becomes clear that that won’t work he offers to work for Goldfinger. When that fails too, he closes his eyes, holds his breath and prays for death.
Bond blacks out.
He wakes to find himself strapped down and being transported. Goldfinger tells a doctor that Bond and Miss Masterton are insane, and that his taking them to a clinic to be made sane again somehow. Bond comes to his senses and begs the doctor for help. He literally begs. Goldfinger twirls a finger around his ear, and the doctor promptly sedates Bond.
Bond wakes up naked in a room with all his clothes cleaned and folded. He gets dressed. He sees that Goldfinger has spared him, so he decides to use this extra chunk of life doing something he enjoys: abusing the Koreans who work for Goldfinger. (You think I’m kidding, but he actually refers putting them in their place, which is “lower than apes.”)
Goldfinger comes in to explain why Bond and Masterton are still alive. He was impressed with the qualities Bond showed while strapped to the saw, holding his breath. He decided that the two of them will work for Goldfinger. Goldfinger is engaged in a monumental criminal enterprise. Goldfinger then gives the original version of my favorite speech from the film.
“Man has climbed Everest and he has scraped the depths of the ocean. He has fired rockets into outer space and split the atom. He has invented, devised, created in every realm of human endeavour, and everywhere he has triumphed, broken records, achieved miracles. I said in every realm, but there is one that has been neglected, Mr. Bond. That one is the human activity loosely known as crime.”
(At this point, I’m getting worried that the book is going to stop being pathetic, and will turn into what I always think of as a James Bond adventure.)
The crime Goldfinger has planned will generate lots of paperwork. Bond will do this paperwork, and Miss Masterton will be his secretary.
(I breathe a sigh of relief.)
Those of you who have been clamoring for an archive page will be happy to know that I finally made one. Sorry for the delay.
In what was the first real test of my new hosting solution, Basic Instructions spent several hours on the front page of DIGG yesterday. I got over 130,000 unique visitors. It would appear from the comments that the site never went down, and when I checked on it the site came up like nothing was going on. If that’s not a ringing endorsement of Squarespace, I don’t know what would be.
I’m cutting out the detailed blow-by-blow of my reading of Goldfinger, as I have no reason to believe anyone was enjoying it but me. I will say that we finally got something resembling action, which Bond responded to by immediately getting captured, resigning himself to death and trying to hold his breath, so as to pass out and not experience the pain of his killing, and later begging a bystander for help. LITERALLY BEGGING! He actually said, “I’m begging you!”
So, tomorrow … tonigh, by the time most of you read this … except those who are reading my archives in the future … let me start over.
On the night of 1-14-10, my wife and I will be attending the Jonathan Coulton concert in Orlando, FL. I will be wearing the original Infini-Tee, but I will not have a goatee. Missy will look pretty much like she always has. The first person to walk up to us and say “The details are unimportant” will get mailed a signed copy of my book later.
Now on to the important business: The Goldfinger update!
I am reading the original Ian Fleming novel “Goldfinger.” I expected it to be as slick and action-packed as the film. That has not been the case. Before I continue, let me show you the importance the film has in my life. Below is the one drawing I’ve ever done that I liked enough to hang on my wall.
It’s called “Son of Henchman,” and I flatter myself to think that it’s amusing, if you’re both a Bond fan and an art historian.
Anyhoo, if you want to catch up to where I left off, here’s a link to my last post. Now that we’re all caught up, here’s what’s happened since then. I promise I am leaving out no “good parts.” You may find this more entertaining if you hum the James Bond Theme as you read, for irony’s sake.
Bond and Goldfinger get into a high-stakes game of golf, which is described stroke for stroke for what seems like all eighteen holes.
Goldfinger cheats shamelessly, which is presented as the height of classlessness.
Bond wins by cheating, which he feels no guilt about doing.
Goldfinger invites Bond over for dinner.
Bond arrives at Goldfinger’s home, and Goldfinger immediately leaves on business, promising to be back in thirty minutes.
Bond snoops around and finds … nothing. Well, nothing but the film camera Goldfinger used to film Bond snooping.
Bond destroys the film, then frames the housecat for the destruction.
Goldfinger returns. Goldfinger pets the cat. He and Bond eat. They discuss the poisonous compounds found in liquor.
For after-dinner entertainment, Goldfinger has Odd Job (FINALLY ODD JOB!! This should be something!) break the banister and the mantle in Goldfinger’s own house.
Goldfinger explains that Odd Job is one of only five men in the world to have achieved a black-belt in something called “Karate.”
For the finale, Odd Job throws his hat across the room. Now I quote: “For an instant the rim of the bowler hat stuck an inch deep in the panel Goldfinger had indicated, then it fell and clattered on the floor.” (That figures, I thought.)
Goldfinger points out that using the hat in this way damages the felt, but that Odd Job is able to fix it, as he is handy with a needle and thread.
Goldfinger rewards Odd Job for putting on such a good show by telling him he can eat the cat.
Goldfinger bids Bond farewell, and mentions he’s leaving the country the next day.
Bond goes to the airport and plants a homing device on Goldfinger’s car. It is explained that the receiver is in Bond’s Aston Martin. The device tells Bond roughly how close he is to Goldfinger’s car, and nothing else. The device has a range of one hundred miles.
Bond spends an interminable amount of time “following” Goldfinger by hanging back several miles and trying to guess what direction Goldfinger is traveling. If Bond guesses wrong at a fork in the road, he has to speed back and take the other fork. He does this more than once.
Bond sees a beautiful woman driving a Triumph. He fantasizes about a romantic interlude with her. How they meet, where they dine, how she demurely rejects his advances. It’s all quite prim. Then, when he gets to the part where she gives in to him, he coyly trails off. Then he realizes she’s tailing Goldfinger too.
He watches through binoculars while Goldfinger has a picnic. Goldfinger hides a gold brick under a bridge, presumably for the Russians. Bond steals it.
Bond notices the attractive woman is tailgating him. He stops that by slamming his car into reverse so she rear-ends him. She slaps him (the only bona fide act of violence in the narrative so far) and he condescends to her.
That’s where I am. I’m over halfway done with the book.
I'm afraid you'll be subjected to a fresh comic today. Sorry about that.
I'm currently reading Goldfinger. I've always loved the movie, so I figured I'd give the original novel a shot. I'm 25% of the way through it and it is breathtakingly slow. Here's a synopsis of the story so far.
Bond sits in Airport. His flight is canceled.
Bond meets someone he knows. They share a big crab dinner, about which Bond feels guilty.
Friend tells Bond he's being cheated at cards. He offers Bond money to find out how.
Bond meets Goldfinger, and watches him cheat his friend at cards.
Bond figures out how Goldfinger is cheating and foils him by intimidating a woman.
Bond spends lost weekend with the woman. We hear about it after the fact and get no details.
Bond goes back to London and is assigned a desk job he finds boring. He considers writing a book about beating people up.
M assigns bond to investigate Goldfinger. First stop, the bank of England for a chapter long speech about gold. Turns out it’s quite valuable!
Bond goes to Goldfinger's favorite golf course, which; coincidentally, Bond spent a whole summer playing at when he was a teen. There he has a long conversation with a caddy.
That's where I am right now. At first I found the book confusing, after all it's a James Bond adventure and the closest thing there's been to action is Bond remembering killing a Mexican while he sits in the airport. Now I see that my mistake was in approaching it as an adventure book. I have started seeing it as a comedy, where the joke is to plunge Bond into a series of situations, each more stupefying boring then the last. Approached this way, the book is a masterpiece.
I’ll let you know how it ends.