February 21st, 2009

The Last Unicorn

New Orleans & Mardi Gras

Setting: New Orleans, Carnival season/Mardi Gras, present day (up to ~10 years ago)

Hi, I'm writing a short story for a challenge set in New Orleans during Carnival. The setup is basically two people trying to find a third somewhere in the city. However, I've never been to New Orleans or a Mardi Gras festival, so the atmosphere feels pretty lacking. I was hoping people could share some of their anecdotes or experiences - particularly things like what is the temperature like (is it humid?) and just how crowded can it get? What is the general vibe of the festivities? How are the daytime gatherings different from night? Collapse )
struggles of a writer

Arch of Swords with multiple services and cake-cutting question

x-posted to military_beta 

Location: California (specifically LA, around 2010-11)

So I have a character who is former active duty Army, currently in the Reserves. He's getting married in a very lavish black tie ceremony, complete with the Arch of Swords. The problem is that he has attendants from the Army (and the Army Reserves), the Navy, and the Marine Corps.

Would it be possible to have an arch of swords with all three of the services representing? It's especially important to him to have the USMC officer there, since she's his little sister. The wedding is not on a military base, so would that make a difference?

Second, and this is kind of silly, but is there any protocol regarding the type of sword that will be used to cut the wedding cake? My character is a West Point grad and has his own sword, but I'd really like him to use his sister's USMC officer's blade instead. Everything I can find says the groom should use his own sword if he has one; would using someone else's be a sticking point?

Thanks in advance!
Red dress

Not for a story - but curious about the science of The Abyss

I recently watched The Abyss again - that 1989 film by James Cameron about a deep sea drilling rig and aliens.

I've looked around the internet and found lots written about some of the bad science, like the fact that the crane is much lighter than the rig so it wouldn't have dragged it along the seabed and such.

What I can't find any info on is deep sea diving without a suit.

There are various scenes where characters hold their breath and swim through the water in just their regular clothes and I was figuring, at that depth their bodies would probably be crushed by the pressure.

WOULD they be crushed by the pressure? Or would it be safe to swim at that depth without a pressurised suit on?

Breech birth c-section complications

I have a contemporary setting in a US city. My character gives birth to a breech baby who dies after several months.

Most of the deaths resulting from breech births have been corrected by doctors switching to c-sections in nearly every case. I've googled lots of stuff about breech births and complications, but I haven't encountered anything from a c-section breech birth that would cause death a few months later (rather than within a day or two of birth).

I could always have the baby die by SIDS, but I'd prefer it be related to the birth.

Thanks!
old times good times

southern texas morning birdcalls

OK, this is truly a little detail in the story, but I'd like to get it right if possible.

Where: Southern Texas (about 30 miles outside of Cotulla, in La Salle County). The specific location is a large ranch, approx. 7,000 acres, with a predominance of scrub-brushy-type vegetation around the lodge. Turkey, mourning doves, and quail are present for hunting purposes, although it's mainly a deer hunting ranch. I assume there would be plenty of other native birds on the grounds.

When: 2007, mid-to-late January, early morning (just before to just after sunrise).

What: My character wakes up early to birdcalls. What's he hearing? I'd like the 'first birds up'-- if I had set the story where I live, it would probably be seagulls, but I don't think that's going to work. :P

searches used: southern texas winter birds, southern texas early rising birds, morning birding southern texas january, and variations.

ETA: Looks like the inventively noisy mockingbird will work for this story-- you rock, little_details!

Monsters/ghosts/critters of American folklore

Apologies for the vague and general question—God knows we've had one too many of those recently. I am looking for a monster. Or a ghost, or weird happening, preferably specific to either American folklore, or Native American folklore and religion, located within the vicinity of the states of Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Missouri, Tennesee and Mississippi. I'm looking for anything from Mormon angels to local lake monsters to the proverbial giant catfish or the like.

The story is inspired by the show "Supernatural", although technically these critters are not the baddies of the plot, so I need a "monster of the week" for several "episodes".

The plot begins in New Orleans and will later involve going into West Virginia, so the Adena mounds and the Mothman* will figure later on.


*Although the setting of this series of stories is the early '50s, before the first sightings of the Mothman, it's too perfectly localized to resist.

Searched: the Wikipedia category "American folkore legendary creatures"