July 9th, 2008


Secret societies

Setting: A fantasy-horror Victorian London, around 1892-1897. (Set in the original World of Darkness, for those familiar.)

Search Terms: secret societies, victorian societies, hermetic order of the golden dawn, rosicrucians, gentlemans clubs, etc. Encyclopedia has nothing, neither does my huge tome purporting to cover everything about the Victorian period.

Problem: Writing a story, which will heavily involve various secret societies. Some of them will be actual societies which existed at the time, some of them will be fictional creations. The only real society I know of is the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Even then, I can't find much on them in the Victorian era, because the Order's still around in the present, so most material is about the modern Order.

So, given the scarcity of apparently available material, I'm looking for anything regarding secret societies in the Victorian era. Either detailed stuff about the HOGD I can use (even if it's just for inspiration), or general information about the phenomenon of hidden societies in that period. Anything would be a help.

Thanks in advance.
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Assault, arraignment, and personal previous history

When: Fall 1945
Where: Bakersfield, Kern County, California

My protagonist has just attacked and attempted to beat up the arrogant, slimy boyfriend of the girl he likes. The girl and the boyfriend had been arguing as they got out of a car and the boyfriend sort of grabbed her arm roughly. This sets my boy off. (Think Ryan Atwood from "The O.C".) He gets in a couple of good punches and maybe a knee to the gut before others intervene. The boyfriend has a bloody something (nose, lip, mouth) and hurts but is otherwise unharmed. There's a cop nearby who cites my boy for assault.

I want some bad stuff in his past--specifically, his other-than-honorable discharge from the Army, and the incident that caused it--to come out (he's been keeping it secret), because of this assault citation. Ideally I'd prefer it merely to be at his arraignment where he pleads no contest, but I don't know if an arraignment without a trial is enough of a venue for his "problem past" to come out. I don't want him to go to jail or have to evade the cops--it's not that sort of book--but I do want his co-workers and the girl to feel "omg why did you lie to us/keep this from us/i don't know you anymore!" and so forth.

Can his other-than-honorable discharge be revealed at an arraignment where he pleads no contest (or guilty), or in any way that does not involve a complete trial shebang? (I'm trying to avoid writing as much courtroom as possible. The important thing for me is to have the reveal of his past against his will, however that can happen.)

Searched: assault, misdemeanor, arraignment, guilty plea


Vintage cookie recipes

Does anyone have suggestions for American cookie recipes that wouldn't be out of place in the 1920s? Bonus points if they're known to be favourites with children. My character is sitting in Fairbanks, Alaska and writing her aunt in the Mid-West to ask for recipes (say, between 1925 and 1928), but while I've found collections on the Internet, actual recipes are harder to come by. All I've managed to learn is that it's too early for tollhouse and chocolate chip cookies. As a food history buff and cookie monster I'd love it if I could make something more of it than just the old oatmeal and raisin cookie.

Google searches so far include the following search terms: 1920s, cookies, recipes, recipe collections, baking, chocolate chip cookies. 


(no subject)

Searched: cost of hotels in london, cheap hotels +london, love hotels +london (which led me to find that there aren't any in the UK)

Scenario: Ashleigh and Patrick would like to be ~*~intimate~*~, thank you very much. ETA: Both are 17, and Ashleigh's just recently had his birthday earlier in the month (due to several people wanting to know how old they were). Ashleigh attends a boarding(private???) school in London, but lives at home; Patrick is visiting, and it's getting to the end of his stay in London (he's staying with his mother's cousin and her family). The last time they were ~*~intimate~*~ (though not to the same extent; they were working up to it), they were at Ashleigh's house, and Ashleigh's little brother walked in on them, so doing it at Ash's house is out of the question; and since Patrick is visiting, he doesn't want to piss off his mom's cousin, who he's staying with. Ashleigh has the brilliant idea to get them a hotel room.

Question(s): Where are there cheap hotels/motels in London--or within a close distance, since money's tight? How much would a room cost? How much guff would they get for getting the room (it's set modernly, but it's still two teenage boys getting a room together)? IS THIS SCENARIO EVEN PLAUSIBLE, because if it isn't, then I have to figure out something ELSE for them to do so that they can have their sexy funtimes.

(ETA that has nothing to do with the question: Thank you, everyone, who has pointed out to me that Ashleigh is apparently a girl's name in Britain. My only response that I can come up with at this point is: My cousin Emily. Who is a boy. Girls' names happen with boys. Boys' names happen with girls. This is, generally, how we end up with unisex names. So, please, can I stop being reminded that it's a girl's name? Thank you for all the insights, in this and the question itself.)

Non-hormonal causes of female infertility

I think I have the answer for this, but I want to make sure I haven't missed a viable alternative. To tie various themes and plot lines together, I need a young woman to discover she is infertile. This has to come as a surprise to her, so the more obvious hormonal imbalances are out--they have symptoms like excess hair, irregular and painful periods, that kinda annoying crap.

The most likely cause seems to be a malformation of the uterus. Some shapes can be worked with, others not, but it certainly wouldn't be discovered until she had problems conceiving. And it's the most invasive to fix, leaving her with the option of saying "no" with more force.

I searched "female infertility" with and with out "non-hormonal" and "female reproduction issues." Like I said, I'm pretty sure this is the best "worst" option, but if someone has something better, I'd love to know.


ETA: An untreated STI seems to be the most popular and likely candidate. My poor girl. Any other ideas? ::looks hopeful::

Bosnia: Bosnian Sign Language, Jobs for Deaf People, Measurements and Ethnicity/Accents

Hi all,

I have four more questions about Bosnia (because I pwn the Bosnia and Herzegovina tag, apparently). The novel is set in Sarajevo, October 2007. Major catastrophe, small group of random survivors. You know the type.

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Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to shed any light on these points! And thanks to everyone who's answered previous questions. I've got past 38,000 words on this novel so far, which is a record for me! Thanks for helping me out when I've got stuck!
buffy spike black&violet by gilkurtisctx

Reclining car seats....

Okay. Perhaps i'm just blanking on a good search term, but i can't really find anything. When, approximately, did the 'reclining car seat' become popular/available?

By this i mean - the kind of front car seat you can recline backwards into an almost flat, lying-down position.

I know older cars had seats that went *forward*, so that you could climb into the back passenger seat on a two-door model, but when did the seat going *backwards* become available? I know that my SO's 75 Nova didn't recline backward, and neither did my 71 Maverick, but our...hrmmm...eighty-something....eighty-four? eighty-three? Renault seat *did*.

So...any ideas?

Searched for 'reclining car seat' and 'history reclining car seat' and a couple other variations and all i got was a lot of hits for child car seats, so i'm stumped for a good search string.

ETA: I'm seeing, in the links in comments, that *bucket* seats did recline in older model cars, but did bench seats ever recline? I'm thinking they really didn't. I'm writing about a car with a front bench seat, *possibly* a split bench. It's hard to tell but it does look solid.
Do you have the answer?

Old Book on Mythological creatures

Once again, looking for obscure things.

Googled: Minotaur old book acrylic painting mythology (any and all of these words in many different combinations).

I'm trying to find an old book that I read as a child, the memory is very important to me. Very specifically the book had a page about The Minotaur, and most importantly, a detail of a painting of the Minotaur itself. I know this is a long shot, but if anyone can find this book or this painting for me, I'd be very happy--in it, the minotaur's head is a dark, dark black, with very little detail, all you can see is the shape of his head, his horns, his eyes, and the ring through his nose. His body by comparison, even though it is very strong-looking, is pale and seems almost vulnerable in contrast with the bull head.

There is a lot of black, flesh and red in the picture.

There were also pages about the Gryphon, Roc, and Cyclops. All of them had similarly starkly colored paintings, lots of black, blue, and red.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

(By the way, I realize that this is not really a community for finding things, and thank you for all the suggestions for other communities in which to look--however, so far this has been the best set of answers for finding the book I have gotten, even better than the answers I got at the book-finding communities, and I do appreciate all the help!)