June 11th, 2008

Modern-day mermaid

Teenaged daughter's boyfriend staying over

This poll is closed.

Your daughter's boyfriend is staying over the night. They've been together for four months. She's 18 in a month's time, the responsible and mature type. Dates rarely. The boyfriend's a little younger than her, shy and polite and a good kid all around. She says they "haven't done it" yet, and you have every reason to believe her - very good parents/child relationship here. The family is middle-high class, fairly secular with a modern outlook, in a mid-sized California town. Where would the boyfriend sleep?

A guest room, or a couch if a guest room is not available.
Her room, but the door's staying open/guest bed/both.
Her room.
Other, specify in comments

ETA: the story is set in 2003. The relationship is as stable and calm as it gets.

ETA 2: the good parent-child relationship part also means that they're going to communicate expectations and concerns to each other, such as - assuming the parents are so inclined - asking if she'd be comfortable with their sharing a room or. You may assume a large enough bed. The parents and the boyfriend are getting along. There's a 10-years-old sister in the house.

ETA 3: thank you, I think I have more than enough information! Thanks you all for your feedback - I learned everything I needed to know and more, and this ended up being a very interesting discussion.
oh alvarez

Books for a thirteen-year-old girl

I've got a thirteen-year-old girl in modern-day Massachusetts who's convinced she's talking to God, and who is now the object of a media circus and nationwide attention. Suddenly there's a guy camped outside her home purporting to be selling "relics" made from pages of books she's taken out of the library.

I was thirteen eight years ago, and I was never a girl, so -- what might she be reading? She's a pretty mainstream kid, a little quiet. I imagine she'd be into realistic fiction rather than fantasy or sci-fi, interested in stuff a little more literary than Gossip Girl, and she likes humor and suspenseful plot twists. I liked Freak the Mighty and I am the Cheese, myself, but I think they're not recent enough. Bonus points if the title of the book is evocative enough on its own that someone not familiar with the book could get an impression of its contents.

Homicide INvestigations

Where: small rural town outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
When: Present day

I tried googling "murder investigation procedures" and "Criminial investigation procedures." I'm getting such a vast amount of information, I need someone who knows the basic gist of what steps of a murder investigation are. What are the basic chain of events?

A body is discovered. Nude, with no id or evidence found at the scene, we have a Jane Doe. The autopsy is completed - we have a COD. The detective is already searching missing persons files reported in the recent weeks. Now what? Can someone provide a basic timeline of events it takes to conduct a murder investigation? How long certain tasks take. I've seen "ask a cop" mentioned here, but I have no idea what that is or where it is. I suppose I could google it. 

Any and all help would be incredibly helpful. Also, this will be a serial killer thing - so once there is another body found, obviously linked to the first body, how does that change things? 

Bleeding to death, *slowly.*

Slightly morbid question here for you medical-types. This is the situation:

A character (who happens to be a junkie sitting on the street) has a piece of important information to convey. His enemies know and come running along to slash him with a knife before he can do so. They run off, but he holds out long enough to scrawl a note before he dies.

My question is: WHERE should I have him be stabbed for this to happen?

Thanks everybody! Very helpful, as always.

Causes of Mental Illness and Replacing the Mechanism of a Clavichord

I have two questions, both pertaining to Europe in the 19th century.

1) Were there any prevalent theories about the connection between mental illness and pain and/or trauma in the mid-19th century? As far as I know shell shock (let alone PTSD) weren't recognized until in the 20th century, but I'd suppose the connection was at least at some level understood. (It doesn't really matter whether the hypothetical theory links insanity with pain or trauma, because the character has experienced both.)

I've googled with combinations of search terms such as 'causes', 'insanity', 'victorian', 19th century' and also browsed through Journal of Victorian Studies, but it seems that alcoholism and masturbation were so popular reasons that they just come up everywhere. However, I have found some tables where the causes of insanity of the patients in a particular asylum have been listed, but they haven't really helped though sometimes physical illnesses are mentioned.

2) The second question is not so much tied to the time period, but the story I need this information for takes place in Vienna in the first half of the 19th century. Would it be possible / how difficult would it be to take a pianoforte or clavichord that has been built in the late 18th century, and replace its mechanism with one that was fashionable in around 1840's? Would the outer measurements or features be too different? I know that in the late 18th century, during the transformation from harpsichord/clavichord to pianoforte, such actions were sometimes made, but in those cases the outer and inner part of the instrument were made almost at the same time.

I really don't know how to google this one, but I have read about old piano manufacturers and browsed through a journal called Early Music, which provided lots of useful information but did not answer this question.

Thanks a lot in advance!