• Fortune Cookie Narrative •

Agent Rubiks Tilbit Goes For a Walk

One day Agent Rubiks Tilbit was on his way out of the Agency building – he had stopped in briefly to alert one of the other agents to some suspicious activity related to the crime ring that worked out of the Vesterbro neighborhood of the city – and was now on his way home.

Tilbit couldn’t have walked more than a few dozen feet past the agency when all of a sudden a colorful figure flew past him and he caught a glimpse of a green derby hat vanish around the corner.

Frozen for about half of a millisecond, Tilbit contemplated the significance of the seemingly random encounter before deciding to pursue the mysterious figure down the street. Accelerating over the uneven cobblestones and scanning the lines of pastel-painted row houses along the path to see if his target had entered one he noticed a flint of green duck into a pub just ahead.

“The Smiling Man” read the sign above the entrance. Tilbit waited a few seconds before entering the establishment – he wanted to make sure there was no questionable activity in the surrounding vicinity. Once he was sure that there was nothing suspicious lurking nearby he cautiously walked into the restaurant.

Sitting at the counter was the green hat man who upon Tilbit’s entry swiveled around in his seat, stein in hand and spoke directly to the now very surprised Rubiks Tilbit: “I have a proposition for you Mr. Agent.” the mystery man said.

What my fortune cookies told me:

“A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature.”

&

“Be receptive to new ideas from all fronts.”

• Agent Stories •

Spy tales have many twists and turns – perhaps even more than Vonnegut could predict! But let’s try to apply his method to the film I watched this week: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The story begins “above average” with the suave and sophisticated Solo proposing the mission to Gaby in order to enlist her help. A rogue KGP operative attacks them during their flight between East and West Germany, but they manage to get away without a scratch.

I would say that the story hums along at this level up until the first climax occurs when Solo learns that the KGB agent (Illya Kuryakin ) will be his partner for the mission. As the three characters team up the story takes a dip once Gaby reveals to Alexander Vinciguerra that Solo and Kuryakin are both spies and their lives are in danger. The line dips even lower when Gaby’s secret plan to aid her father is foiled and her father is subsequently killed.

Upon Kuryakin’s rescue of Solo the curve swings up again and when the two agents join the UK chief Waverly in a rescue mission for Gaby and it keeps going up, up, up as they destroy the atomic weapon and return safely to mainland Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

•How Does A Song Make You Feel?•

I decided to go with a classic. Climb Every Mountain from the Sound of Music closes the movie and I can’t think of a more triumphal or powerful way to end a film. The chorus of voices seem to lifting up the Von Trapp vamily higher and higher into the alps and every time I hear it I can’t help but feel content.

• Emotional Lyrics •

• Sentimental •

This song induces such happy feelings in my soul. The music is reminiscent of oldies style musical scores so I’m transported to a nostalgic place and I imagine myself into a bygone era where I can just be carefree and sing-narrate my life.

• Invincible •

This song seems to command the listener to take back all insecurities that they possess and take control of the future. I feel so invincible!

• Uncertain •

Music by this group always leaves me feeling rather unsettled because their sound is part calming and part invigorating and at the end of each song I feel rather stuck between the two: peaceful repose and incitation to action.

• Agent Dossier •

Rubiks Tilbit

Recruited as Charles Finch, Agent Rubiks Tilbit is quite an enigma – even to the majority of the staff at the agency in Copenhagen. It is believed that the superiors must be aware of Tilbit’s life before he began undercover work, but as no one at the agency actually interacts with these leaders no information regarding Tilbit’s past has never been verified.

Stories and rumors circulate (as they do at any place of work) regarding his past life, but aside from the few, small details that Tilbit has let slip on limited occasions such as the fact that he was married at one point and shares his birthday with the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the agency’s best spy is generally mum on all topics personal.

Six feet tall with a strong build, Tilbit is always well-dressed and his person is meticulously well-kempt. Sometimes sporting a small, bristly mustache and at other times clean shaven, Tilbit’s characteristically stiff persona is generally marked by a disinterested expression, but snatches of a more easy-going demeanor are sometimes visible in his bemused glances.

Agent Rubiks Tilbit’s cover has him work as a bonds salesman and when he is not on a mission that takes him out of the country he reports to Danske Bank on H. C. Andersens Blvd.

Tilbit’s expertise in the field and his customary tidy habits that never left any unfinished business allowed him to be the best field agent in the Copenhagen office.

[To be continued]

 

• Spy fiction •

The article “TV Spies and Secret Agents” that discusses the genre was extremely detailed and gave useful background regarding the major TV series about spy work since the 1960s. One point that was brought up in the article was how the majority of the heroes are pursuing some type of “noble cause” which I had not really considered up to this point, yet I would agree is quite accurate.

I also learned a new term, “spy-fi,” that the British series The Avengers was apparently famous for introducing which refers to spy fiction that includes elements of science fiction! So clever.

Before I begin my analysis on the genre I wanted to comment on how remakes operate (see what I did there?). For instance, I’m familiar with new films like the 2008 Get Smart or the 2015 version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which I decided to watch this week, but I’ve never seen the actual shows that these films are based on.

I suppose that these new films could be viewed as being an extension of classic spy series to the next generation, yet I wonder if the elements that made Get Smart with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon or The Man From U.N.CL.E. with Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, for instance, so unique and successful in their time have been lost.

I watched the 2015 The Man From U.N.CL.E this week in order to do a short analysis of the genre and now I plan on watching the original series so I can really see what it’s all about!

 

Analysis

There are definitely certain elements – well-known tropes – that have come to be associated with the spy series and films. After watching enough espionage films a simple formula is discernible: Suave / Stylish spy + technologically advanced gear + exotic locations + epic menace = successful spy oeuvre.

I would also add that there is a certain imagery in spy series and  spy films that remains constant despite if it’s a serious or less serious take on the genre. For instance, the show Get Smart is deemed “lighthearted” and yet the handsome tuxedos, the shiny weapons, and the blinky headquarters are all present. In this way, the show meets a certain standard associated with the spy fiction even though the overall ambiance of the show is comedic.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

.

I really enjoyed this film! Such breezy vibes which I think can be attributed in large part to the score which included a lot of 60s hits and fun, dance songs that ultimately led to a care-free feeling throughout the film even as the characters are on a highly classified and highly important mission.

I think that the most comedic scene is when Napoleon (seated at a safe distance) munches on a sandwich as the song Che Vuole Questra Musica Stasera plays overhead and watches his partner Illya Kuryakin who is engaged in a high speed boat chase try to outrun his opponents. 

The three agents in this film and the various enemies are all supremely glitzy and glamy – full of charm and the heroes always succeed in beating the bad guy all with enough time to take a stroll through the beautiful location and drink a glass of champagne.

 

• Weekly Summary (1/27) •

• Hello all •

I worked on three different projects from the assignment bank this week including a written assignment, a web assignment, and a visual assignment. The three follow my hero Neapolitan Napoléon as he journeys to America, constructs a new super secret spy residence and begins his fieldwork. So far all we know is that he has been sent to the United States in order to save this fair country from a terrible menace. Stay tuned!

The final assignment that I worked on was a fun first attempt at imitating Stephen McMennamy’s work in which he takes two photos, usually one of a larger scene – a macro shot – and one of a smaller object and connects them in fun surrealist ways. I love his photos and would like to attempt to create images that are more in his spirit through the coming weeks that I spend time crafting in Photoshop. 

The Secret Life of a Spy 

Create a Room 

Combophoto

Daily Creates

I also worked on a few daily creates. I really appreciate these short exercises because they give me a short reprieve from my other studies and allow my brain to work in another direction. I also love seeing my classmate’s creations and being able to see the creative turns they took that differ from my product even though we began with the same prompt.

Daily Create – 1/24

Daily Create – 1/25

Daily Create – 1/27

• Create Your Own Room [or Palace…] •

In my last post I mentioned that I am planning to construct a palace that will serve my purposes as a spy in the United States. My top secret residence will be a place to plan my operations and also give me a few comforts of home.

In these things it is always important to consider the different amenities that one could or could not include. It is also critical to maintain a humble balance between practicality and luxury. My secret residence must be a fortress, secure from all possible danger as well as comfortable and provide me with the lifestyle that I have grown accustomed to.

As I was planning my [top secret] palace I decided to create a Pinterest board to help with the planning process. Here are the highlights of my  masterpiece, I’ll explain as I go along.

First, there must be entertainment for my off duty days. A bumble bee roller coaster is my stress reliever of choice because the bee is the symbol of my namesake, Napoléon himself, and I like to think that it is the creature that best represents my secret agent style:

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221217/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221222/

Part of the grounds must also reflect my royal namesake:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221374/

My orchestra must have a place to rehearse my theme song!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221766/

And for when my stuffing gets low I have my very own re-fluffing center. If ever I need backup more agents can be made:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221876/

And of course, my control room where I plot all of my missions:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/356347389251221909/

To see my board:

https://www.pinterest.com/sdickshinski/la-chambre-de-neapolitan-napol%C3%A9on/

• The Secret Life of a Spy •

Here are a few excerpts from my counter identity’s journal:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Today marks the day that I leave my home land. I have been called in on a secret mission in the United States of America. Unfortunately, I cannot yet reveal the details of this mission – no, not even in the confines of my diary – but I can say that it involves the saving of those fair 50 states from a menace that has appeared recently.

Below is the last selfie that I took in France. In the background is my beautiful home. It was hard to leave, but the mission that I have undertaken is worth all sacrifice. Plus, I think that I may be able to arrange to have an acceptable property built in America……

Lovingly,
NN

PS. I will sign all of my future entries with NN for Neapolitan Napoléon – my secret identity.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Tough day in the world of spy business. On interacting with some locals today they told me that they didn’t understood what I was saying. Is my accent really that strong? I need to do a better job of integrating myself into the landscape.

Too depressed to write more today,
NN

Monday, January 23, 2017

Woe is me! The first phase of my mission has not gone well. It seems as though I will be here longer than planned. So far there has just been delay after delay. I know one thing that will cheer me up from my botched field work: constructing a new home!

Until next time,
NN

Thursday, January 26, 2017

As I settle into this new country and attempt to conduct my field work in the best way possible I believe the time has come to build a [top secret] secret agent hide out fit for a king. I’ve started to design my royal abode by creating a Pinterest board. I’ve pinned my most favorite things. Would you like to take a look? Look at my next post to see what I’ve found. Feel free to tell me what you think.

Sincerely,
NN