April 27th, 2006


A story about monks

I've done some reading and research but nothing is really helping. I'll google more later but I thought I'd turn to you guys for help.

I'd like to know the duties of a monk. This story will be mostly medieval/renaissance based but I'm willing to take some liberties with history for the sake of fiction. Would a nobleman who wasn't a lay brother be allowed to do farm work or would that be undone? Would said noble monk be allowed to teach comonon people? Would people be allowed in his cell for teachings? And if he was caught fornicating with someone, probable a daughter of a merchant, someone who wasn't rich but isn't peasanty poor, what punishments could they expect?

Thanks a lot guys.

New York neighborhood characteristics

Maybe someone local can help me with something that's probably generic knowledge over there... I'm in Europe and I can only find statistics online.

I'm hoping to find a New York neighborhood that some 20 years ago was very bad (run down, crack houses, gang trouble) but has improved somewhat since - as a whole or partially.

In this story someone from Japan (now living in New Jersey) goes on a shopping trip to NY city and plans to stop by a small specialist camera shop in (neighborhood). Her boyfriend freaks out because he lived there (in very bad conditions) for the first few years of his life and in his memory/perception it's a dark pit of hell where she really shouldn't venture.

It would be okay if the camera shop is on a side of the area that was better than the rest of it. She doesn't specify a street or anything, so if she says '' and means 'on the edge of it' and he flies of the handle because he concludes 'place, in the middle of the hellfire' then that would work.

Any help? Thanks in advance.

[edit: thanks everybody! You're such a wonderfull source for information that 'everybody knows' but the net doesn't. I'm going to go with Lower East Side - Alphabet City, because it has to still be a kind of run-down place. The boyfriend is not wrong that she's taking a risk (being small, tourist-looking and carrying some very expensive camera equipment) but it's no longer the place it's in his head. ]

lost children

Hello everyone! This is a wonderful resource and I've been fascinated by what I've seen going on so far.

Here is my question: In one particular section in my novel, a young woman's inattentiveness leads her to lose her four-year-old child (the child runs out of the house and they don't notice until ten or fifteen minutes later). What is the exact police procedure that would follow? Calling 911? Would one or several police come? Would the police drive around looking for the child with the mother? The narrator of the story is the mother's sister, and I'd like to have her stay at home during all this -- would another officer stay with her? Any and all specific details would be greatly appreciated. I've looked on "What To Do If Your Child Goes Missing" websites, etc, but they're pretty broad in scope -- generally addressing the process of flyering, etc. (And the child makes it home safely by the end of the night, just so everyone knows!)
Riza - lethal beauty

Turn of the century locomotive parts

Okay, I give up. I googled and wikied and the only things that looked like they might be able to give me the answer were images too freakin' small to read the text.

So on a locomotive, a passenger car on a turn-of-the-century era train, what's the parts of the wheels that make the infamous clackity-clack sound? I'm assuming it's the bar between them, but is that called anything in particular? And if it's something else, what is it? I think what I'm looking for is "brake beam", but I'm not sure. ANSWERED! Thank you!

(And for a bonus - does anyone know what the sound would be like from inside of such a car, either from personal experience or from background noise in movies? I'm deaf, so that makes it a little hard for me to figure out the answer directly.)

Damn fussy characters. -_-

Brown University - student life

If anyone here attends Brown University or has a close friend who does, I'd much appreciate some help getting a sense of what student life on and off campus is like.

1. What are the dorms like? Particularly Freshman dorms vs. Junior/Seniors. How common are singles? And triples?
2. Are there popular hangout spots on campus? A student center?
3. Are there any parties that stand out? (i.e. parties that are almost traditional and held every year) And is it common for students from other schools to go to Brown parties (particularly RISD students)?
4. Finally, what is Providence like? - Are there shopping areas nearby? (there has to be some kind of 'downtown' right?) Are there any places to eat nearby? And how expensive are these places? What would you say is something that every college student must do while in Providence? Or at least something that is popular among students.

Thanks in advance :)
Thrall - My Heart Calling

Broken wrist

Google tells me the minimum time in plaster for a cleanly broken wrist (that is, radius broken near the hand) is 6 weeks. After that a couple of months' training is going to be needed to get the muscles back up to strength again. Trouble is, my character's going to have to throw a football sooner than that - possibly he'll remove the cast early to do so, certainly he won't have time for much rehab.

My questions are:

- Is there any way to lessen/avoid muscle atrophy while the wrist is in a cast? Assume that the character can get access to all but the most outrageously expensive treatments, and that he's not excessively concerned about whether this will aggravate the injury or increase his recovery time, so long as he can Throw That Ball.

- After being immobile for that long, would he lose accuracy as well as muscle tone?
House, Wilson

Memory Erasing Drugs...

I'm working on a story in which memory erasing drugs are used to treat a young woman suffering from PTSD.

What I need to know is the name of any such drugs in use (or development), the expected time of use, the time before memory malfunction takes effect...and, really, any other information you might know.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I use the term "memory erasing drugs" because that is what I commonly see them called. From what I've learned, scientists aren't really sure how the drugs decrease the symptoms of a PTSD patient. Yes, the drugs have to be taken directly after an accident occurs, but the girl is going to do that. She previously suffered from PTSD, and an incident later in life causes worry for her doctor that she could fall into the symptoms again. This story is taking place in the future, though not by much, so the drug, if things work out, will be slightly more "common" then. Propranolol is the only drug I found thats being tested, and it's usually used for heart patients. I was just wondering if anyone knew anything specific about the tests.