June 13th, 2007


Car repair shops Charleston, South Carolina, USA

This is only for an RP character, and isn't that important, but I'd like an idea on it anyway.

I need a well known repair shop. It's the one where the 'higher end' vehicles tend to get repaired. (Classics, BMWs, etc) Basically, I'd like it to be one of the shops that specialises in higher end/model specific repairs. I'd kinda like it to be the kind of place that someone would really recommend to a friend. "Oh, you have a [insert expensive/classic car here]? Then you want to take it to [this shop]!"

Does anyone from the Charleston area have any idea of a shop like that? Attached to a dealer is fine, free standing is fine. Even if you can just give me a geographical area (like; "Most of the higher end dealerships/repair shops are here.") that'd help as well, and I can fake it from there.

I'd like for the shop to have a pretty good 'word of mouth' reputation. Meaning people know they're going to get treated honestly/fairly when they go there, and are willing to spread the word, even if they don't advertise too heavily?

Anyone have ideas? I've looked up 'car repair shops, Charleston' and other combinations, but I don't know the "reputations" of the shops that Google is pulling up.

Beer at teen parties: kegs vs. "beer balls" vs. single serving options

Setting: Small town Washington State, USA in present time.

Google terms searched: beer balls; party balls; party beer balls; Coors beer balls; Bud beer balls; and all those same things in their singular forms.

I'm writing a scene where a sixteen-year-old guy is in charge of obtaining beer for a party. (He'll probably enlist his older brother's help. Or use fake ID or something.)

I've heard that beer kegs are particularly troublesome for teenagers because you have to be 21 to get one (obviously), the deposit cost is high, there is a lot of paperwork to fill out, and the keg has to be returned within 72 hours. Rather than having him deal with that, I thought it might be better to thwart him from getting a keg in the first place and make him have to bring the beer in some other container.

In my research, I came across something called a beer ball (aka party ball) which, according to some article, is all the rage at college campuses these days (or was in 2004 when the article was published) because the balls hold 55(?) glasses of beer, don't have to be returned like a keg, and are smaller and less conspicuous.

I'm wondering, is it true that beer balls are mainstream at parties for underage kids? Would a few beer balls be a better way to go than a keg? Or might packing his car trunk with a ton of cases of beer be more likely/realistic for this scenario?

Pewter vs. silver

If you bought something made out of silvery metal, how could you tell if it's silver or pewter? Googling says to try nitric acid to see if it's silver or not, but is there a less dangerous method? I took a silversmithing class a few years ago, so I know silver can have firescale (black marks caused by too much heat). Can pewter also have firescale? Or some other kind of oxidation? Various websites say modern pewter can't tarnish, but silver can. I know silver has a distinctive smell. What does pewter smell like? 


Mandarin speakers

Are there any Mandarin speakers here who'd be willing to help me out with some phrases in Mandarin for a Firefly fic?

I used to belong to Firefly comms, but I left several years ago before being bitten by the muse again.

I know there are sites that "translate" your phrases into another language, however, what they produce isn't necessarily fluent (or correct) Mandarin, and the phrases I'm looking for are not ones that you'd commonly find translated from English into Mandarin. For instance, nobody in my story wants to know where the toilets are, or how to get to the town hall!

If you are, or know of, a Mandarin speaker, I'd love to hear from you.

Thank you!