April 3rd, 2005

Finnish mindset?

Hi, guys. I'm trying to find information about Finnish people; more specifically, the attitude/mindset, especially of Finnish youth. The story I'm planning is going to be set in mordern-day Helsinki, but I wanted to get the Finnish 'attitude' right. Are there any major distictions? I'm looking to explore the 'darker' side of Finnish society, so any help is much appreciated. Thanks so much in advance.
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Birds eye view

I am writing a story in which a recently blinded mage occasionally uses his familiars' eyes to see. He has two familars, a magpie and a cat. What would the world look like through the animals' eyes. Do they see the world in color? Does the bird just pick up motion?
I have seen birds eye sequences in movies and on TV, and the world seems distorted and askew, but I could not find out if the film makers were being thorough or creative.
Thank you.

Expensive cars

Okay, I tried to find this on Google, but it was definitely a case of too much of a good thing.

Any car aficionados out there? Could you give me an example of an SUV that a very rich 40-year-old man with something to prove would drive? Or a larger car even? No sports cars - there has to be room for four.

Thank you as always for your help.
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Medieval Insults

Okay, I'm looking for medieval insults for a pseudo-medieval fantasy story.

The problem is that all of the ones I find through google are humorous, not actually vicious.

Considering the circumstances, I've got one of my main characters going to the other one thinking she's done him a favor (by killing someone who she blamed for 'corrupting' him), and he replies with something like "get away from me, bitch."

Only I'm not sure whether they'd call people that or whether that's a more modern term.

'Harlot' was something I'd considered, but it's just not the right sort of insult for the relationship between the two of them. 'Swine' also doesn't seem to fit very well for the character.

Anyone know of anything? I'd try to get away with tone of voice, but he's the sort of character to throw in an insult, too.

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And while we're at it, I know 'shit' was used at least in the Renaissance (oh Dante), but I don't know whether it reached the broad use today. Since one of the most important characters has a rather dirty mouth, what's an epithet he could mutter when in a lot of pain or in a difficult situation?
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Inquiry on New York street life.

I was wondering if anyone here had some details on the street-level underworld in New York. For example, exactly who the major players are. Unfortunetly trying to look up things on "gangs" and "New York" really only gets you information about the Leonardo DiCaprio movie. What I'm looking for is basically: "Who's on the streets in New York from day to day, besides the shoppers and businesspeople?" Any information on New York's streetlife from the homeless to street level mob operations would be really useful to me. I've been looking, but I haven't managed to dig up anything of particular insight.

Thank you!

Questions

Okay, I tried Google and searching everything short of "flying monkey penguins purple" to answer these questions, and I got nothing. Perhaps someone could help?

1.) In 19th century French sanitariums (or when dealing with someone who is clearly mentally unstable while they are in a regular hospital) what kind of sedatives would be supplied to a patient? Searching for methods of psychiatric treatment in 19th century turned up the expected midieval torture devices so I wouldn't be surprised if "sedative" meant "beating the person into unconsciousness", but if there was something they gave the patients does anyone know what it is?

2.) What kind of narcotics would one have access to in Britain in the 1940s, if any? Would it be unusual for people to have access to drugs on the East End just after the Blitz? (The character doesn't actually take drugs, but is suspected of it, so I need the person accusing her to name a substance or two.) My searches just got the British Narcotics Anonymous and an interesting but not terribly informative essay on Canadian drug addicts who move to England.

(no subject)

So what are private investigators like in this day and age? Their offices? How to contact them? What kind of people take on the job? How professional are they? Can you tell me about the guys who investigate for large corporations? More specifically, just a quick summarization of how a businessman would call and set up a meeting with them.

And an easy way to avoid homework, but alas.