May 20th, 2008

Evading Drug Tests in Michigan; also Pot.

Location: US, Detroit/Chicago area
Time Period: Fairly recent (within past 5 years)

I have a character who graduated from Western Michigan University and, after applying to a bunch of jobs in the Detroit and Chicago area, went on to become an economics teacher at a high school in inner-city Detroit. He's really a nice guy (if a bit of an alcoholic), but during college he was a tremendous pot-head.

I know that drug testing is required for a lot of jobs, and I know that my cousin got accused of being a druggie when he went to do a drug test for his HR job because his hair wasn't long enough for the type of test they do. My character has long, long hair, and three years after he gets this job his hair is far down his back (and he's 6'7"). Basically, this means that even though he stopped smoking over a year before he graduated, he might not have been able to hack off and grow out enough hair to have his hair free of residual marijuana by-products for the interview and still be the right length in the current setting. I found out that shoulder-length hair carries about two years of info, so he's definitely got his two years of heavy use from chin to upper back. I'm guessing that if he cut his hair for the job interviews, he probably went for a ponytail down to the upper back (his hair is uncontrollably curly if there isn't any length on it, and he decided that showing up with a neat ponytail would be better than an outrageous, unintentional 'fro).

How could he have handled getting this job if he was required to do a hair test? How would an employer respond if he said straight-up before the drug test that he had been doing marijuana during his earlier college years but had stopped? Are there provisions for self-reform?

Also, I'd like a few personal experiences with marijuana (both smoked and in brownie form). What does it taste like? What's the sensation? What goes into making a really good pot brownie? I'd do my own field research, but when I was in Amsterdam I discovered that pot is one of my migraine triggers. :)

Googled: "drug testing", "hair-based drug testing", "detroit public schools employee drug testing", "toklas brownies" (Wikipedia has some pretty good instructions on how he'd do it, I'd just like to know what makes them 'good')

Russian pet names

When/Where: Russia, mid-1980s.

Searched: Googled "Russian pet names," "Russian affectionate names," and "Russian affectionate names +Judith"

Situation: I'm looking for an affectionate nickname an elder Russian man might use on his American mentee, a woman named Judith. Both have an extended lifespan (she is nearly a century old, and he's better than double that), so while she is significantly younger than he and is studying under him at a renowned research institution, she wouldn't merit the sillier type of pet name used for, say, a child.

Does anyone have any suggestions or guidance? Thanks so much in advance!

Benefits of marriage in Canada

Okay, I need to know about the benefits of marriage in Canada (specifically Ontario). All of my google-fu has yielded nothing but the information that married couples would not be able to file a joint tax return as in the U.S. I realize "benefits" is a very broad term; I'm thinking of economic benefits first and foremost, though legal wouldn't go amiss. And I also realize it would be impossible to list all of the benefits since they come from such a variety of areas, but if there are certain things written into Canadian law that would be awesome. Basically, I really just need a few specific examples of an economic benefit of marriage and I will be golden. Even if it's totally ridiculous! Any help is very appreciated.

Sucide methods

Setting: Modern times with the last fifteen years or so, North America, Upstate New York, urban fantasy.
This is part of the character's back story.

I have a character who at this point in time is a severely depressed alcoholic who can see thoughts. The reason he drinks is because if he gets drunk enough he can no longer see thoughts. He goes on an epic bender for a week, and wakes up in the ICU with no memory of how he got there. He is told that he attempted suicide and has barely survived. He was staying at a crummy motel at the time of the bender and the maid found him and called 911.

My problem is what method of suicide should he have botched? I have no idea about these things.

making alcohol/poison

I can't think of how to google this.

Scenario: Post apocolyptic USA. There's no power and no internal combustion engines. A group of people are traveling. One of the group is kidnapped and held for ransom--the group's food.

I want the group to break the prisoner out by getting the captors drunk or poisoned. But they are in an isolated area, and all they have to work with is the food and medical supplies they've brought. They have no drinking alcohol.

Could alcohol or poison be made from typical food/medical items quickly enough to make this work? They'd have a week or so, tops.
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