26 Oct 2017

The Devil You Know - Commentary 14

Dinner with Jack kept Ione off-balance, in The Devil You Know Chapter 14.

Ah, dinner.  Jack may have gone to excess here.  Escargot, elk, baby vegetables, all meant to tantalize and tempt taste buds.  I haven't had escargot, though I have been at a table where someone else has.  The texture is what dissuades me; taste isn't the only thing food has.  I also can't eat lobster bisque or peas because of the texture.  I have had elk and moose, both wild and tame.  A not-so-local anymore burger chain has elk on the menu.  Worth a try.

Ione's concerns are being waved off by Jack.  He's not doing that because she's a woman, despite appearances.  He'd have done the same thing to everyone else.  He needs Ione, so he's going to keep her around as long as he can.  Since he's the one providing transportation, he has the upper hand.  However, yes, I am aware of what it looks like.  Ione is trying to push back.  Jack, despite appearances, is not a good person.  Feel free to hate him for what he's doing here.

Computer science owes a lot to two women.  The first is Ada Lovelace, who essentially invented computer programming.  While Charles Babbage developed the difference engine to help polynomial algebra calculations, Lovelace worked out a way to program the device.  The other woman making huge strides in the field was Admiral Grace Hopper, who, among her achievements, developed both UNIVAC and the COBOL programming language.  Given Ione's educational background - math major, computer science minor, post-grad work in cryptography - having her use historical figures in computer science as a source of names made sense.  From there, though, the number of usable names drops.  Most of the major work has been done in the past few decades; the silicon chip opened up the field to better computational approaches that weren't feasible with vacuum tubes or even transistors.  However, if anyone claims that computer science is for guys only, remember Ada Lovelace and Admiral Hopper.  Without them, the field would be much poorer or even non-existant.

Karen is safe, though making a poorly thought out decision.  Unlike Ione, Karen is stucj with the vagaries of commercial flights.  Ottawa, despite being the nation's capital, has few direct flights overseas.  Everything tends to get routed through Toronto, adding time and cost to trips.  It is possible to avoid Hogtown, but that still means going through a different hub, like O'Hare in Chicago.  It's a pain.  Flights I've personally done include Ottawa-Toronto-Vancouver, Ottawa-Chicago-Los Angeles, and Ottawa-Toronto-Helsinki-Stockholm-Oslo, with the Helsinki-Stockholm-Oslo portion being one plane with two stops.  I ran into the same thing when trying to get Ione home from Paris.  This is why Jack got his own jet for the story, to avoid all the hassle of switching planes.  And, since his jet needs a co-pilot, thank commercial air passenger service for having Mara in the story.

Gemma was one of the British agents in Chapter 1 working with Ione to shut down the arms dealer.  She wasn't inside the warehouse when it exploded.  Gemma was outside and had spotted the man suspected of destroying the warehouse and its contents and killing everyone inside.  I planned to have her return, and we will see her again soon.

Mara made a quick appearance.  The opinion of Mara's outfit is Ione's.  If the viewpoint character had been male, the dress may have been better appreciated.  And, still, Mara doesn't think the dress is revealing, or revealing enough.  Again, for a character who exists because of a minor detail, Mara is making the most of being in the story.

Diesel, the cat that lives with Ione and Karen, came back because I wanted to set a detail up for later.  However, I'm not sure if I want that detail anymore.  It's not critical, but it adds to the idea of the weirdness surrounding Ione right now.  However, the story of how he moved in isn't odd.  I've had a cat, Charlie, who did the same thing.  My family had just moved in to a new place, and it was warm, so windows were open, including the basement.  One cat had already slipped in through the basement window, so I closed it, not wanting our own cat, Selina, to get out the same way.  Later, I found Charlie inside.  I picked him up and he seemed to struggle in my arms.  I put him out, then went to check the basement window, which was still closed.  When I got back upstairs, there was Charlie in the kitchen.  I noticed that the screen to the kitchen window was wide open, so I put Charlie back out and closed the screen.  That should have been the end, except I saw Charlie put his claws in the screen and slide it over so he could get in.  And the struggling?  Charlie's preferred way of being carried was to hug, a paw on each shoulder - he was big enough to do that - and purring all the way.  How do you kick out a cat that hugs?  Selina wasn't happy, but Charlie let her be in charge.

More Eighties music comes up, this time Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" being quoted.  Ione counters with "Love Hurts" by Nazareth.  It's odd; most of my leads during NaNo are not only single, but also not looking.  Even Brenna, who ended her story with Matt in The Soul Blade, wasn't looking for anyone at the beginning.  There are exceptions.  Nasty in Crossover started with Eric, so single but not looking.  Bronya and Morwenna had each other, so not looking, but not single.  Digital Magic was supposed to be a romance, but given the trend of my leads to not be looking, I do see why the story didn't turn out to be romantic.

Jack leaves Ione with a tough question.  Who is she supposed to be if not herself?  It's one that hangs over all our heads.  Not everyone realizes it's there.  For me, I do know that I put on personae as needed.  I'm still me and the persona is an aspect of me, but it's not the full me.  Some of this is just to deal with situations.  When I did call centre work, I had a professional persona on to try to give me distance between the callers and myself.  I have a different professional persona for tech support work, where I don't need the extra armour but still need some professionalism.  When meeting new people, I have a more reserved persona.  When I get comfortable around a group of people, the real me starts coming through.  It does feel, at times, that I put on the personae like a jacket.  They're all me, though, but just the parts of me that I want to project.  Ione hasn't figured that out - she hasn't needed to.

Friday, Preparing for Monte Carlo, in the The Devil You Know Chapter 15.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, when does a contemporary work become a historical piece>
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, how the adaptation sausage is made.

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