April 2nd, 2005

Ancient Chinese Armies &Etc.

Some general questions on Chinese armies of the Warring States period... oh heck, any medieval period will do, I'm not picky.

First off, and most important, what ranks are there in the army? Non-coms, officer ranks, and so on. Would any of them be cut out of the command structure if it was a relatively small army, 12 000 - 13 000 men? (Or I guess that wouldn't *be* such a small army, for the period!)

Second, I guess rice would play a big part in the diet, but are there any other traditional Chinese foods that are easy to store and transport while on the march? For that matter, if anyone could mention some old-fashioned Chinese foods or drinks whatsoever, I'd be grateful for that.

And third, what were the Chinese armies traditionally like in terms of discipline? The only period I've studied in any detail is the 18th-19th century, in which European armies all had HORRIFIC discipline codes, flogging and mutilation for the tiniest thing... is this just a reflection of the law codes of the same period, or is it something that's been common to armies everywhere and -when?

LA Neighbourhoods

Hi, this is for any of you who know LA well.

My character is driving to the Shrine Auditorium between 4 - 5 pm. What's the name of that neighbourhood? Is it possible he'd see a bike courier around there, or is it more likely he'd see a bum or hooker or some such? Is it the kind of neighbourhood where someone might get hassled or squeegeed? And last but not least - anybody know any landmarks on Figueroa Street to give my description some believability?

Whew! Thank you so much, people of Los Angeles. :0)

Absurd hypothetical on police procedure

Let's see how shortly I can sum this up. A character of mine recently stumbled over an old friend of hers living on the street. They were very close friends when they were in their early teens or so, but that was over ten years ago. She's dragged him home with her, convinced that they're going to pick up right where they left off and live happily ever after. From his end this whole "rescue" deal seems kind of weird and controlling. One night a few weeks after that, they end up getting drunk and using each other for sex. Afterwards he says some things to her that have rather hurtful and insulting implications. It's the last straw for her; he's been acting like a snotty brat almost since he moved in. She loses her temper at him and throws him out without even letting him stop to get dressed. He hangs around for a while trying to get back in. While he's out there, one of the neighbors sees him and calls the police because eeek, naked prowler.

So the police show up and what would they be likely to do? Ask him what he's about, I'm sure, but then what? This part of the story is set in a large, slightly up-scale suburb of a medium-sized American city, if that's any help. Could they arrest/cite him for indecent exposure even if it wasn't something he chose to do? I assume they'd want to talk to his friend once he tells his side of the story, but can they legally make her let him back into the house?