February 5th, 2005


Gun Terminology Cheat Sheet

I'm a journalism student, and in my copy-editing class the other day, the professor gave us a bunch of handouts, one of them being on gun terminology. I thought it might be useful to some folks here, so I typed it up. This was written for journalists, so when it says "stories," it's referring to news stories. But, I thought is could help those writing fiction as well. So, here you go.

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  • ac111


What sort of medication would be given to a person to help control violent, paranoid delusions?

Background behind this is I have a character, who (among other things) broke a car salesperson's nose because she was trying to sell his friend a Saturn, a brand which he's decided are connected to a 'brain control cult'. Also, she's a succubus.

Bearing in mind also that said character comes from a long line of demon hunters, so many of his delusions are, in fact, not delusions. Trouble being, most of them are.

What mental disorder might such behavior be classified as?
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  • ac111

Old Keys?

What sort of metal were keys made out of, around about the 1920s? Know a gate ought to be wrought iron, but would the keys be made of the same thing, one wonders?

What's the end of a key called? Not the part one sticks into a hole to lock something, but the other side - the part one holds onto, or that has the hole for the key-ring?

Ancient Weapons

Does anyone have any sites or information on battle fans? Specifically:
1. Were they ceremonial, or actual weapons?
2. How heavy were they? How were they used?
3. Where do they come from?
4. What were they made of?
5. What's their actual name? "Battle fan," while descriptive, is probably not what their users called them.

I tried googling it, but searching for "battle fan" brings up FAQs for video games and sites for anime.
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What do Americans call the colour Brits call petrol blue? You know, the strange iridescent colour of gasoline.

ETA: Now I know the value of getting a precise question :-) Thanks for all your help. What I was looking for was the colour like Teal (but obviously not Teal - have you ever seen a Teal they're not the colour called Teal either). I was asking because I had a very shiny dress in the eighties which was this petrol blue colour and I wanted to use it in a story with a US setting. But now I know petrol in the US isn't the same colour as ours and the name I'm looking for is in the Teal range of colour charts - I'm off to look at US fabric sites.

Thanks again - this community is great.

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I worked as an intern for the Library of Congress a few years ago, filing the answers for this service. It's the Library of Congress's "Ask a Librarian" service. If you've made a serious effort to track down some piece of information (by serious, I mean you've googled it, and you've checked your libary) and it eludes you still, you can go there and put in the question and they'll give you the resources to find it. However, the less you demonstrate that you've already done research, the less interested they'll be in helping you. If you give them the names of the places you've already checked, they're more likely to go out of their way to give you detailed information.

Sometimes, if they decide that the question is interesting or easy, they'll even answer it themselves. Once a guy wrote in because his five-year-old daughter wanted to know if there was any animal starting with the letter "X".

X-ray fish. :)

(Note: I'm recommending this for serious writers, mainly. They're required to take everyone seriously, but if you write in for a fanfic or RP information, that's a pretty gross waste of gov't time. I remember someone who wrote in to ask how much a fairy would weigh on Planet Imaginary if her bones weighed such an amount and her hair fell down to her butt. Don't be that person!)
Beth-haran (house of grace.)

Question about a...board game/quasi-RPG aimed at youngish girls, possibly US-only.

So something like six to nine years ago, I came across this game. It's theoretically designed for four players (although you can run it with 2+), and IIRC aimed primarily at youngish girls. It comes with various props (including colored plastic-jewel necklaces to designate who's in what role -- Leader, Healer, Scribe, [something], or Villain -- and a notebook for the Scribe), a spinner to decide some part of the game, and at least one (probably more than one) audio tape with prerecorded storyline narration and dialogue. Essentially, you pick your roles, play the tape to hear the "GM" give you your plothook and some "NPC interaction", and RP out stuff from there, till it's time to play the tape again. All pretty standard fantasy-for-youngish-girls: there was a talking tree, at least one fairy, an evil witch in a castle who (IIRC) could 'curse' you (I think that's what the black necklace with the spider-sticker was supposed to indicate), that sort of thing. Not extremely complex, but IIRC, it was pretty interestingly done for what it was.

I know I owned this game at some point. Two of the necklaces had been sitting on a bookshelf until I cleaned out the bookshelf and the necklaces with them, and I distinctly remember the box being somewhere in my basement until it probably got thrown out. However, I cannot for the life of me remember the title or the manufacturer, and googling on what keywords I do remember (the role-names, etc) just gets me random D&D/etc-gaming pages and that sort of thing.

Has anyone else played this? If so, do you remember what the game was called?


Edit: It's Tales of the Crystals. Yay!