April 29th, 2006


Smell of artistic materials

I'm trying to describe a painter's studio from the point of view of a four-year-old, in particular its smells, but the thing is that I've been rubbish at doing art since forever and have next to no firsthand experience. The painter works mostly in watercolour, ink and chalk, with the occasional project in oil.

Apart from the bland, dull, greyish smell of wet paper and the sharp tang of turpentine, what is my four-year-old likely to smell when he enters?

The Time limits on Bathwater

I can't even think where I would look this up, all I get are Japanese bathing etiquette.

How long could bathwater be left in a soaking tub before it would HAVE to be changed? The underground society I have in my novel can't refill bathtubs very often, so they only do it when they have to (on the surface, the "poor" communal baths go maybe a week before changing and they scrub in the tub; the "rich" can have American tubs that are filled when bathing is desired). I would think it's about a month or so, possibly more. I can have them soak in the tubs and scrub outside of them, like the Japanese do, and conserve the cleaness more.


Neologism for "secondary husband"

Hello all--I need a real live person for this one. *g* My expertise as it comes to English etymology is pretty much nil and I need an English neologism for "secondary husband" that wouldn't be out of place, aesthetically speaking, in the 19th Century. This is for the Secondary World of my original fantasy, and obviously I already have the word as it is spoken in the invented language of this particular invented culture, but I need an English equivalent and I really have no idea. To give you a flavour of what I mean, in my Secondary World, robots (really golems made with "scientific magic") are called clockworkers.

So... can anyone come up with something? All and any help would be greatly appreciated.

ETA: Thanks everyone for your suggestions, they're greatly appreciated. I shall try them out in the story itself and see which one fits better in context; do feel free to suggest other words, though.

maintenance rooms

I've been watching this community for a while, but this is the first time I've posted. Basically, I have a couple of above-average college students (who don't actually go to class anymore), and I`m wondering how easy would it be to break into the maintenance control room. Also, are the air ducts in a dorm all connected in the same place?

(The story centers around the two putting some type of gas in the air ducts).

Oh! One more question! If a college was abandoned, would the government step in and take over the care of it, or would it just remain abandoned, like a lot of ghost towns, malls, etc. If it helps, this college can be anywhere in the world, not just the USA.

  • sand3

Looking for a desease...

Here I've been poking at medical databases for hours then one of my friends walks past my open door, we exchange a few rules and she mentions this com and my gosh, where have you been all my life! So... I am looking for a disease, either genetic or something that an individual might have a genetic predisposition towards contracting from contagion. I want something that's likely to hit in the mid to late teens, be associated with chronic coughing fits and have the potential to be fatal (either potential or certainty, both are good). My setting is Germany, between the world wars, but it does not necessarily have to be something that's actually been identified and categorized by then. Thanks.


Foreign-language publications of The Secret Garden

Hi. I've found out from Wikipedia and google that the children's novel The Secret Garden was first published in 1909. I have not, however, been able to find out anything about foreign language publications. I have a character, a little girl in 1928, in a fictional country near to Russia, whom I'd like to have be a fan of this story. She could read Russian, ideally, but could probably also read the book in German or French. Despite the fact that her country is fictional (so I could make up a year of publication in its language) I'd prefer her to be reading it in one of those other languages. In fact, she is Russian ethnic, so her first language would probably be Russian, and as she is a girl from a wealthy and educated family, she can probably read several other languages. She does not speak English.

If you can't find info about the Secret Garden, any other similar Victorian-era children's novel would probably be fine. Thanks so much!

EDIT: THanks for your help, guys! :)

Girder, brace, support?

In the U.K., what would be the name for a horizontal support in, say, a piece of furniture--something that helps it bear weight, for instance? All I've found in the thesaurus and dictionary under "support" are vertical construction terms, but I'm looking for the generic name for something like the horizontal piece that some chairs have between the legs or a library table might have b/t the legs. If "support" is good enough I'll use that, but I was hoping to be a bit more accurate. Thanks in advance!

Teaching Martial Arts/Self Defense with false ID

Hi again guys. :D

Here's the question really quick:

I have a character in Brooklyn (that is, New York City), in 1999, who wants to teach martial arts/self-defense. She's got madcrazy skills, so that's not the problem.

The problem comes in at the fact that all her identification papers are (very well-done) fakes.

So what does she need to do to teach, and how much should she be worrying over her false identity she has set up?

chewing gum folklore

I'm trying to figure out a feasible bit of folklore for several characters of widely different backgrounds to have all heard as kids, and I think my best bet might be rumors about how long chewing gum will stay in a person's stomach if it's swallowed. I don't want accurate medical information, I want the sort of thing kids tell each other. Since the characters are still being worked out, I've got some flexibility, so it would help if I knew where and approximately when you heard the story as well as how long. (They will all be caught up in a natural disaster and need something to talk about while they're waiting for rescue.)

For example, I was told that if you swallowed your gum it would stay in your stomach for seven years. This was in Denver, in the mid-sixties.