November 18th, 2005

Fine Italian wines?

OI have two characters who will be having a rather classy lunch at an Italian restaurant. the MMC is an arrogant asshole, but rather elegant., so he will be ordering the best winees the house has on offer - only, I do know the ypes of wines broadly, but not specifics of the name and vintage.

So, if someone could name me extremely high quality/expensive Prosecco and Pinot Nero type of wines, I would be extremely grateful.

*is a wine dunce*

Lady Di's death

Asking in the hope that someone remembers this better than I do, or was more interested at the time.

I'm trying to figure out what it would have been like to work for a UK tv news show on the night of Diana, Princess of Wales' death, which I'm using as background for a story. I've managed to find a certain amount of mention of the volume of coverage in the US and discussions of the role of the paparazzi prior to the car accident, but otherwise I'm at a dead end.  I'm not interested in the accident itself, only details like: would key personnel be called in as soon as the accident itself was mentioned, in the early hours of the morning/late night, or did the hysteria not pick up until later? At what point did the solid overage begin? Was it immediately apparent that this might turn into a death story? (In other words, at what point did shows start hurriedly knocking obits together?) Is it credible that a (not particularly scrupulous) journalist based in the UK would be flown hurriedly over to France? Did mainstream news shows shell out for crash scene photos?

(And, frankly, I'm not going to trust any article I pull up that calls her Princess Diana, i.e. two thirds of them, because if they're too sloppy not to give her a title she was never entitled to, I have great doubts about their accuracy on other points.)

Sword making --Steel barstock

Alright, I Googled and found the term I wanted but not the weight.

Now, I know most medieval swords weighed 2-5lbs-ish. But does anyone how much the steel barstock weighed?

The barstock was the lengths of steel that were just what they sound like bars of steel that would eventually be made into blades, or anything else that was needed.

So, any definitive sources on how much it might have weighed? I'm trying to work a "trade by weight" kind of thing and can't find that particular thing out. Stupid NaNo.
  • Current Mood: busy

18th-century clothes question

Hurray newbie with a question.


So, I'm writing a story that takes place in 18th-century Venice, with the composer Vivaldi as one of the characters. First draft is already done, but in the second draft I ran into a bit of a snag. Specifically, the afore-linked portrait (which may or may not actually be Vivaldi; there is another portrait that is probably much more accurate). Some friends and I have been debating what on earth that red drape thing is that he's wearing the first portrait (in the second, it looks like he /might/ be wearing something similar, although it's not in color, so we'll never know for certain).

I thought maybe it was something priests wear, because Vivaldi was an ordained Catholic priest, but quickly found out that wasn't the case. I did find a picture that shows men dressed in similar red drapey things (http://www.baroquemusic.org/bqxvivaldiosp.html) from the same time/place as Vivaldi, but I have no idea if they're priests or simply men who work at the Ospidale pictured. Vivaldi did work at an Ospidale in Venice for much of his life; I honestly can't remember off-hand how common it was for the employees to be priests, but I do know that Vivaldi wasn't the only one in existance.

So anyway, we've gone from capes to cloaks to travel cloak things to simply a decorative drape used for the purpose of a portrait. We don't know. Any suggestions?


In any case, I'd also like thoughts on the guys in red in the Ospidale picture. Who they might be, and what that is they're wearing, and if it's a part of some uniform/dress code/whatever (which I'm assuming it is, because several of them are dressed the same).

US Legal Qualifications/Child Custody Cases

This story is set in the US, modern day, California. And I think some of the answers may be more opinion than factual, but I have no way of guessing how the ins and outs of the California legal system works:

1) I know that applicants for the California district attorney's office have to undergo a background check. How feasible is it for someone with an arrest record for assault/murder (a charge that they were later found innocent of) to be able to get a job as a lower-level lawyer in the DA's office? The arrest also occurred while the character was still a minor. Am I correct in believing that his arrest record would have been expunged? And, even if it was, would that still be a factor in whether or not he could feasibly get this job as an adult 10+ years later? (I really want to get this guy into this job, so any suggestions for how to wank it would be most appreciated...)

2) Two parents are getting a divorce and fighting over custody of their kids. All other things being equal, would it help the mother's case if she revealed that she'd had an affair and the youngest child wasn't actually her husband's? Am I correct in thinking that the husband would lose his claim on that kid? Also, how is this likely to reflect the decision on the other kids? Will it reflect poorly on the mother that she had an affair? Or would an effort be made to keep all the kids together? (Again, I want the mother to get sole custody of the kids. I just want to know which side should leak the bastard kid's true parentage.)

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help. Because I can make what I think are logical guesses about these things, but I have no expertise whatsoever.