July 23rd, 2008

Sheryl Nome

Drug induced paranoia

Where: UK
When: Modern Day
Scenario: Character J, an undercover spy, is unwittingly exposed to a drug capable of inducing/enhancing paranoia in those that take it, close to the end of his mission. The mission ends shortly afterwards, and J returns to his base and has a routine blood and urine test. J is fifteen years old, quite muscular and very physically active.

What I need to know: Are there any drugs out there that specifically induce paranoia or make an already paranoid person even more so? Preferably it would be something that can be dissolved in a bottle of water. How long do these drugs take to work? Would they be easily detected in a blood/urine sample? Would the doctor know what he is looking at? How long would the drug take to kick in and how long would it be effective for? Would it have any other affects on him?

I can handwave this in the fic, but I really don't want to if I can use something that really exists. Illegal drugs are fine, since the guys who put him in this state aren't really what you would call 'good guys'.

Googled: "paranoia drug induced", "drug induced paranoia" and variations. Mainly got conspiracy theory sites and medical sites that I can't understand.

Thanks in advance.

Learning the American accent

Setting: today, American midwest
Previous searches: American accent, learning American accent, wikipedia and linguistic sites

I am not a linguist, so a lot of my searches are frustrating because I can't read the phonetic notation and none of the learning sites are providing me with what I want to know. Most of it's people pleading for help and not stating their specific problems. I've got a British man (technically Irish, but he's passing himself off as British with that stiff-upper lip accent I've read is called Received Pronunciation) who needs to disappear into the population pretty quickly.

What I want to know is, given his current accent, how hard would it be for him to counterfeit a standard American accent? On that note, what would be particular problem areas, or specific parts of the accent that would be harder to pick up, and thus might give him away? I'm thinking along the lines of that that generalized upper Great Plains, sort-you-hear-on-tv accent. Also, due to the nature of the situation, he has no voice coach or anything of that nature, so really he's just winging it. Where might he quietly find information on learning the accent without outside help, assuming he has some prodigious resources to work with? I'm useless on this topic, because I happen to speak in the generic accent which is so desirable, and don't know what the sticky spots could be.

Thanks in advance!

American hymns, circa 1862?

Time/place: Virginia, 1862

Can anyone give me suggestions for a hymn one might sing to comfort himself if he felt a premonition of death? The tune should be one that an outsider would find melancholy and even rather eerie.

The singer is a Virginia farmboy in 1862; the hearer is a Philadelphian in the early 1980s.

(And yes, I admit to Googling "The Southern Harmony" but throwing up my hands in despair at the sheer number of MIDI files to listen to, so I'm throwing myself on the mercy of Little Details.)

How to artificially trigger an asthma attack

I've tried looking around, but I haven't the faintest clue how to google this.

I've got this character with pretty severe asthma. Pollen and dust are the primary triggers, but exercise exacerbates an attack if it happens during periods of physical exertion (like a basketball game, for instance)

So my question is... how does one artificially induce an attack? My character is the star player on his basketball team and needs to be taken out mid-game. Would someone tossing a handful of superfine talcum powder or sawdust right in his face do the trick?

ETA: I've finally decided to go with a severe peanut allergy, as that fits my purposes better than a simple asthma attack. Thank you very much for all your help- it's much appreciated!
Bowie anxious
  • argosy

Pregnancy Complications

When: Modern day
Where: Miami
Search terms tried: pregnancy complications, pregnancy complications bleeding, pregnancy complications hospitalization

I have a 33-year-old woman in otherwise reasonably good health in the latter part of her first trimester of pregnancy (could be early to middle of 2nd trimester if it works better for this).

I need some kind of complication that gives her symptoms (like cramps or bleeding) bad enough to land her immediately in the hospital with the baby in great danger. HOWEVER, I can't have the doctors either save the baby or have her lose it right away. I need for there to be about a day where they can't tell if the baby will survive -- doctors could be actively working to save the baby or taking a wait-and-see approach, either way.

What I need to happen is for her boyfriend to arrive at the hospital and not be told immediately the baby is fine or the baby didn't make it. It needs to drag out a bit. Also the baby needs to survive, in the end.

Is there anything that can cause this? It can't be anything like an hit to the stomach. It needs to be something they didn't see coming (although the doctors can have seen a little bit of risk in her pregnancy earlier, just nothing they worried too much about). Ideas?