Sep. 17th, 2017

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I took T. to martial arts. One of the instructors was away, so he joined a small group lesson. After that, we went to Concord for track with Team Verge. I stopped at a Starbucks to use the loo and bought a coffee while I was there.

After track, we went to Papa Razzi, where I very carefully did not have another coffee, but did have the Caprese Bruschetta minus the mozzarella (sad I can't eat it -- they make their own). Mmmm, avocado toast with sunny side eggs.

After lunch, T. and I went home. R. had taken A. to Build a Bear and the Cheesecake Factory in Burlington, so he could drop off / recycle a humidifier that we didn't need anymore since we had the one hooked up to the forced air. A. got a Pinkie Pie at the Build a Bear and R. noticed for the first time that there is a new MLP movie coming out (yeah, because A. hasn't mentioned it more than a few dozen times and insisted we put it on the calendar <-- that is sarcasm, right there). I did some cooking.

I have taken to heart -- at least for the moment -- the idea that clutter is deferred decision making, or at least a project started that was never completed and thus it can be dealt with by completing tasks. So. I made suikerbrood finally, after buying the sugar cubes for this project in 2015. It turned out well, altho I'm going to crank up the sugar and fat next time. Maybe. It is really tasty the way it is and turns out to be utterly amazing with marmalade on it.

I have also been cooking beans lately. After making a partial old fashioned baked beans from BH&G, I finally did the full amount (altho I did still jack up the bacon and the sweeteners. Because I haven't been able to eat out much lately, and if I'm going to eat a lot of my own cooking, I'm going to quit having my own cooking compensate for the excesses of eating out and instead participate in those excesses with moderate enthusiasm) with the correct beans (in this case, navy). I soaked overnight, and started cooking them this morning; R. shepherded them along and then I baked them in the afternoon. They are Excellent. I'm a little surprised still that I did this, and that I did it without actually having to visit a store for any ingredients (I had the blackstrap molasses, and obviously maple syrup and bacon and the navy beans already). Anyway. We have probably 50-100 pounds of dry beans of one sort or another in the house, and I've been meaning to replace some of the meat in our diet with beans for a while now. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new trend.

A. asked for cupcakes, so I made her cupcakes. This time, I used the 1/3 recipe that I would normally make in a loaf pan. It's a little bit more than should be in the cupcake cups, so I think next time I will cut the liquid slightly.

Dinner was sort of ongoing snacking. I had some of the baked beans. I had some of the hummous / garbanzo bean and tahini spread that I made the other day, on rye crisp with home made refrigerator pickles. I had a green salad. And obviously, I had some suikerbrood.
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_Naked in Death_
_Glory in Death_
_Immortal in Death_

I don't know why, but I didn't read these as they were coming out, even tho I was aware of the author. I don't know if I knew they were set in the future (2060, give or take). And I don't know if that would have made them more or less interesting to me at the time.

Anyway. Random things to be aware of. J.D. Robb is also Nora Roberts. The first three books in this 40+ book series are a fairly straightforwardly arranged romantic arc: book 1 gets them together, book 2 gets them engaged, they are married in book 3. The future is definitely a future from the 1990s: everyone has electronic stuff, including what is more or less a cell phone, but every bit of electronic stuff has a specific purpose -- and the other gadgets are not necessarily connected to any kind of net or database outside itself. If you want to extra information from gadgets (including call logs from the phones) you get a disk or a hard copy of some sort. Very 1990s! The only thing missing is the PC at the center of this gadget universe, but while there are desktop computer type things, they are not obviously the hub of the peripheral universe a la the 1990s. But while the gadgets are free floating they are also not connected to the cloud as in our current world. Weird stuff. I love the futures of the past that will never be.

There are space colonies. You can call them. There isn't any obvious lag (that is, by about book 3, Robb is mentioning irritating delay, but it is not apparent in the back-and-forth, and honestly, given the apparent location of the colonies, I'm unconvinced the delay makes any sense in even its limited depiction). People go back and forth to various colonies off world the way they might travel now to Dubai or whatever -- it's kind of a long flight and there are time differences, but that's about it.

At least in this early part of the series, there are people who have same sex relationships (or at least sex), but there is no depiction of long standing, stable same sex relationships (I could have missed something in a background character, so don't hesitate to point it out!).

Roark is a billionaire! But like, low order single digits billionaire, which makes no sense at all given how much of Manhattan he supposedly owns. So that's weird. *shrug* But the dollar amounts mentioned don't cohere well at all, beyond apparently Real Meat and Real Coffee are incredibly expensive. I wish it were more obvious what an AutoChef was -- as it is, I kept visualizing the thing Batman cooks his lobster in in The Lego Batman Movie. Which is clearly not right, but it isn't clear what _is_ right.

In the first book, a serial murderer is killing Licensed Companions (yeah, about what you think -- they've legalized and regulated sex work, and there are men and women who do that work and their clients are men and women) with various 20th century projectile weapons. Politics, conservatism, hypocrisy and incestuous molestation of family members play a big role.

In the second book, high powered women (a lawyer, an actress and someone who was mistaken for a tele-journalist) are being killed by a single knife swipe to the throat. Background characters from book 1 repeat, which is nice.

In the third book, a variety of people are dying after taking a new drug with a bunch of kind of awesome effects and a couple of really bad effects. Again, background characters from book 2 show up in book 3, along with more from book 1. The female lead Eve starts actively mentoring another woman cop.

The protagonists (Eve, the cop, and Roark, the businessman) come from complex backgrounds full of abuse and deprivation. Eve has blocked a lot of her first 8 years out, and the police psychologist (who becomes such a close friend she attends Eve's bachelorette party by book 3, so you know, no conflict issues there!) is an important plot element dragging Eve and the reader through memory lanes via icky flashback dreams. All kinds of trigger issues here, and a whole lot of questions that don't even seem to occur to people.


Maybe not, but whatever. I mentioned what I did above to give you structure flavor without spoilers and to warn about possible triggers. But there are particular problems with Eve's backstory that really bother me. She basically enters social services with no name or identifying information at age 8, after being found naked, shivering, broken arm, etc. in an alley in Dallas (her last name now). Really? We're in 204x and no one thinks to pull a blood sample and run DNA on her? Foot prints? No?

OK, how about this. When Eve remembers I DID MENTION SPOILERS I KNOW I DID that her "daddy" routinely raped her and they moved around a lot and he locked her up and didn't feed her and so forth, why does no one ask, was "daddy" her actual bio father ... or did he maybe kidnap her, and her actual loving family, siblings, etc. are somewhere out there still wondering what happened to their darling 2, 3, 4, etc. year old who was stolen from them? I mean, _it happens_. I'd want to know. Eve doesn't need to ever know, but hell, you could _still_ pull the DNA, and run it against all the DNA of unsolved murders, and find "daddy" that way. And whether he was bio-dad or not. And maybe find out if he murdered "mommy" or mom or whatever and when. Or if maybe she's still out there having kids with awful fathers and maybe needs to be stopped (probably not -- Eve is 30ish). Eve remembers and immediately feels like she's guilty. I'm going, no, but there are crimes here, that maybe need to be wrapped up.

I don't know whether I'll keep reading. There's a lot to enjoy in these books, and I am compelled in some ways by the possibility that Roark is the bridge between old-skool romantic heroes who were merely rich and the billionaire sub-genre that has so taken over romance today.

Also, the puzzles are above average as mysteries.

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