November 20th, 2006

Opera: Not for Sissies


I am currently writing a scene involving pneumomia for my NaNo project. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find anything on the treatment of pneumonia (that doesn't involve advanced scientific names for medicine that only a doctor would understand) or a day-by-day sort of, I don't know, guide to the illness that would tell me how to write this. This takes place in the seventies, in the US. So, my question is, do any of you know how someone would treat a person deathly ill with pneumonia, who cannot be moved from his house?
  • raira


My main character is blind. I've tried googling this, but I can't seem to find what I'm after. What I need to know is, what is it like to be blind? What are the little everyday things that we wouldn't even consider to be part of a blind person's life?

Please help: even suggestions about how to refine my google search would be appreciated.

Effects of eating peppers

(Hello all, rather new member here.)

In a story I'm writing, a character pops a (preferably entire, but if that's not plausible then perhaps just a small bite of) pepper into her mouth. I've googled and wikied peppers, and found that the hottest variety is habaneros, and that they cause the eyes to water, the nose to run, and a burning in the mouth. I'm not the biggest fan of spicy foods, thus my contact with peppers is next to none... and while normally I'm all for suffering for your art, I thought I'd ask before trying a pepper myself, seeing as I value my tastebuds.

What I'm wondering is a couple of things--one, how long does it take to feel the burning after you've eaten one--is it instantaneous or does it take a couple of seconds to kick in? Also, how long does it take for the pain to finally subside--the character will definitely be chugging glass after glass of water, but from what I've heard that only slightly helps.

Basically, I'm just looking for personal experience with peppers here. I want my readers to feel their mouths burning.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Coffee beans and caffeine content/effects

I have a quick question about coffee and coffee beans. I have a couple characters that do enjoy their coffee and caffeine, and I was curious as to the effects of eating coffee beans. Would the effect of the caffeine be stronger or weaker due to the fact that the beans would not be ground and brewed, and just consumed almost like peanuts? Odd question, I know, but I see two possible answers: either the caffeine would have less of an effect because the beans are not brewed, or it would be more intense because the whole bean is being eaten. For reference, they are not any specific beans, just general/generic coffee beans--I am not really specifying. This is just something odd I would like to toss in and it is not a vital part of the story; I would just like to use it to add some quirkiness to the characters.
Stop! Yoda-Time!

Australian pubs in the US

Okay, I have to write a scene where an Australian character (male, 30 years, currently living in the US) is going to an Australian pub together with his American friend. Since I know practically nothing about Australian culture I'm looking to you for help. I need some ideas, details etc. so I can flesh out their conversation. As a non-American in the US I often felt this silly joy to go to bars trying to imitate my home culture, observing the clichees, enjoying the sense of home. How would an Australian feel about that in an American "Aussie pub"? I'm especially interested in your own subjective observations of how your culture is being representing in a theme pub in the US.

What kind of "clichee" foods and drinks would be on the menu? Are there any special ways to eat something, funny fact, things to remark, wistful memories to share? Special lingo going beyond "mate" and "g'day"? I'd like the character to say something like "Oooh XY. I used to love those as a kid. We had them so and so..." What are brand names for snacks, beers, other beverages? What kind of artifacts would be in the bar for decoration? What kind of music would they play? Some classic Australian artists... maybe Aussie country music or so? ^^;

Please forgive my ignorance! But I'm hoping you guys will give me some cool and fun facts I can use to flesh my story out with!

Note: I'm not in the US right now, so telling me to check out certain restaurant branches isn't helpful ^^;. I'd check out an Aussie pub if there was one in my area, but... nope.

Fall injuries

It's one of those medical questions, I'm afraid. I've done some research on this, and so far I've narrowed down some specifics. The problem is, I need some rather general details for a specific situation and I'm not sure if I've got it right.

The subject of my unfortunate writing experiment is a white male of very lean build, around 17-18 year old. He's no athelete. Plot demands that he falls of a building 17-20 meters tall (~50-60 feet), feet down, knees probably buckled and lands on hard cement. He does need a head injury (I'm thinking a Class III concussion, if that's possible) and fractured leg bones as plot requires. The rest is cosmetic, and it's this that I'm having trouble with. I want to give him something suitably serious so it won't look like one of those lucky near-woundless falls, but that suitably serious thing also needs to be mild enough to allow discharge from a near-future hospital at around 3 weeks, tops, 1.5 weeks preferred. (Finding filler events is not fun) He has professional care at home. Preferably hobbling around outside in crutches. The internet is wonderfully detailed on specific damage, but collateral damage is sort of...hard to find, or maybe my Google-fu is not that strong yet.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

EDIT : Yes, I edited out the extra 0's. Don't ask how I made that calculation mistakes, extra 0's happen!