September 22nd, 2006


Chefs and journalism students...

I'm currently working on a screenplay, and one of my main characters is a young chef. Does anyone know how long chef training takes? I've heard it's usually a one or two year course, but I'm looking for confirmation on that.

Also, does anyone know about how much a chef would usually make when it comes to hourly wage? That would be extemely helpful.

Another thing, has anyone here taken first-year journalism in university? (I'm assuming so, due to the nature of this community, lol.) Oh, and If anyone here has taken it at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, any info you could give would be all but an answer to prayer, as that's where two characters in the script go to school.

Is some kind of pre-journalism college work required, or can you take it straight out of high school? And what types of classes does one take in first-year journalism? I hear that a lot of first-year courses are sort of general studies anyway, but this would be helpful to know.

Thanks for any help on these subjects, it's greatly appreciated.
gas mask

Medical terms for mental illnesses

I have a character who has an extremely obsessive personality. If it helps any, she's mainly obsessed with getting revenge on her old enemies and gaining power. It's definitely NOT obsessive-compulsive disorder because she doesn't try to wipe out the thoughts with rituals. Is there a medical term for this?

Additionally, I want her to have a milder form of schizophrenia. What subtype do you think she would best fall under or what symptoms would be common for a person with mild schizophrenia? Does such a thing even exist? I've heard Schizotypal Personality Disorder referred to as "mild schizophrenia." Is that accurate?

Is it true that patients recovering from a coma can develop Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Geez, I ask a lot of questions. I've Googled and Wiki'd to the best of my ability (which I openly admit isn't that great). Any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

Blasting and Hardening (Explosives Questions)

Regarding my last question about this subject, someone suggested the use of SEMTEX which happened to fit neatly in with my story. Now, preparing to write the scene, I looked up SEMTEX in Wikipedia and find that there are two types, one used for blasting and one used for hardening. The articles aren't particularly clear about the type of explosion generated and they're naturally short on information about what kind of blast pattern they'd create if used in an act of terrorism.

So that's my question:

In the explosion of a building, which would the terrorists have more likely used (remembering that someone on the inside does, in fact, have access to structural supports). Do they both use demo cord? If not, which one of them does?
OMG swine flu!!!

Poison that causes death within 15 to 24 hours with several different symptoms

I'm looking for a slow-acting poison. Well, "slow" in terms of not instant, but acting over several hours, but no more than 15 or so, maybe 24. I realize in terms of poisoning that's actually rather fast. It should present itself in several symtoms that present one at a time and should be relatively varied, as in not affecting just one part of the body. It shouldn't put the victim in a coma after 2 hours or so either LOL. Ideally, it causes the worst, incapacitating effect shortly before death occurs. Until then, the patient should be able to describe the symptoms he experiences so the person trying to figure out which poison it is has something to work with. It could also be some kind of medical condition or so, but I think poison works best there. I'd like it to be some chemical or medical substance, not belladonna or horse chestnut, obviously. It should be able to be cured relatively easy, too. Like, with an antidote.

I've got this book about poisons but somehow the ones I find are kinda lame. Either they are some really harmless sounding plant or they can't be treated or only can be treated symptomatically (which I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it doesn't sound very interesting). I've tried googling, but somehow it's difficult to even figure out which terms to use. I've googled and wikied the poisons I've found in my book, but that didn't help so much. It's also a bit difficult to assess the usefulness of the information.

Here's a list of poisons my books suggested that are within the timeframe I want, but someone none of them seem to fit completely.

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Ideas anyone? Help greatly appreciated...
red on my ledger

Healing Time of Ribs And Gashes

A character of mine gets attacked and two-three of his ribs are broken. He is also slashed with claws, and the wound isn't deep at all. What is the healing time for both? And is the healing time fast enough for said character to be able to walk/travel [he's desperate to go to a safe haven] in two weeks? His gashes [which are large in size but shallow in depth] are not healing properly due to the magickal nature of them, but the doctor bandaged them up as good as possible.

Thanks for any answers. :]
Batman- the riddler's hat

'30s slang

I'm writing a short story, and it's based in 30's London, but for the life of me, I'm getting hung up on a minor detail- what would someone call a sofa? I consulted one book that told me 'chesterfield', but I've always heard that was chiefly Canadian...(my mum is Canadian)

So can someone please give me an answer? I know it's totally ridiculous, but god knows I've asked dumber questions.
Edit: I think I've got my answer. Thanks everyone. :D
book nerd

Branch of Service, Rank, Unit Assignment

A different question for the same story.

I looked this up on Google and Wikipedia but it wasn't much help. Wikipedia does mention which ground units were involved in the Persian Gulf War but that doesn't tell me what I need to know. I'm trying to determine if the character's given background is even possible.

- what rank would a demolitions expert have?
- what branch of service would he likely have been in?
- what unit assignment (ie: 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry, etc) would be most likely (doesn't have to have actually been in the Gulf, just plausible)?

ETA": Thanks for your thoughtful answers and the link. I've decided to write him as a sergeant in the Army who was in the 3rd Armored Division. According to Google, that unit was disbanded after the first Gulf War and so there shouldn't be any conflicts regarding why he isn't still deployed or still in service.

[Falling down carpeted stairs]

Hey! I just found out about this comm, a really great one by the way. I'm hoping you guys could help me with something.

I'm aware that, if a person trips down any stairs, various things might occur to this person, such as broken bones, twisted ankles and whatnot. But I was wondering what would happen if the person falls down carpeted stairs.

I really don't want to kill my characters, or have them becoming paralytic.

Thank you for your help.