September 27th, 2009


Common philippine ant species

Hey guys,

I'mm writing a story based on a particular Filipino myth. In Filipino folktale, ant mounds are attributed to the dwende, or dwarves, and people have to politely ask permission to step by, or risk falling ill. The story is set in the Spanish era of the Philippines, roughly in the 18th to 19th century (I still only have the broad details of the story!)

I've been googling madly all afternoon and going gaga. 8} I'm looking for information on common native ant species in the Philippines, particularly those that do inhabit human gardens and build the mounds that could be attributed to the dwende of Filipino myth.

I've found antweb, which is a great sight for detailing a lot of ant species and photographs, but not so great for finding out what I need. I've also found discoverylife, which does talk a little about ants and where they nest, as well as providing information on where they can be found. It does mean having to click on every single link, and I'm still not sure which species are the ones I'm looking for. I've also found antforum, and while some threads do talk a little about Philippine ants, it's not in the detail that I need.

Googled: Philippine ant species, black ants philippines, common ant species philippines, dwende myth ant species, ant mounds species philippines, ant species manila.

Gun/Weapon help

I'm not familiar with guns and I'm being overwhelmed by choices.

I have two female characters both of whom are of average height and weight and I need to give them an arsenal. I need handguns that can be concealed by a IWB holster probably semi-automatics given the situations they'd be used in. A Shotgun or a rifle, it doesn't need to be powerful but good for both short and long distance (if possible).

Compound Bows, a good hunting choice in dangerous situations or just good imagery in my head?  

Structure of old-timey cargo ships

Cargo ship C. 1910

I've had a bit of a technical issue which has had me beating my head against a wall for a week and change, and I'm honestly not sure where to look for an answer. See, the problem is, I'm writing an action scene on the deck of a converted cargo ship, and I realize I know almost nothing about boats.

Here's what I need: I need some sort of a room or structure or something on the deck of an old cargo ship (circa 1910), which a person could be chased into, and subsequently escape via some other means of egress to the outside than the door they entered. Preferably some sort of a hatch or something in the ceiling. I realize I'm being terribly vague here, but I speak no lie when I say I'm completely ignorant in this area, and as such, I'm quite open to suggestions.

Titles, Inheritance and Marriage Stuff in 1875 Victorian England

Setting: I'm starting in November of 1875, and the story will probably take me through the end of the Season in August, and possibly longer. The majority of it will be in the West Side of London.

I've picked your brains on this subject before (here, to be precise) and my story has made some changes thanks to your amazing help. I'm currently reading What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool, and I have two more books on the way, Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain and Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England.

Some details on the story: The main character, Alice, is 17 and I intend to have her debut/presented in January. Her older sister Eliza (24) will be presenting her and will serve as her chaperone; Eliza was widowed in December of 73, so her mourning period is ending and she'll be returning to society. Her son George II (named for his father) is approaching his second birthday. They are being assisted financially by their Uncle, who is a baron, because their own parents (their father is their uncle's younger twin brother) squandered away the money they had. Their mother has been ill with consumption for about 10 years.

I'm sorry for the absolute ton of questions! I just like to get things right when I can.

1. Am I correct that a baron is the bottom of the peerage totem pole? Also, I'd like to double check a few things- that they would be more likely to be referred to by their last name than their geography, and that their eldest son would also be called Lord even though he does not technically hold the title yet. How would the two younger sons be referred to in polite society?

2. Could the family have the baron title and also a baronet "title"? (I know baronet is not peerage, but it is inherited.) Could said baronet be passed to the younger brother instead of the elder baron, who I'm assuming probably wouldn't want it? If not, what would be an appropriate job for the younger brother of a baron? Would he have to have one, if he'd married wealthy and they'd acquired land? Would his daughters be precluded from being presented to the Sovereign if he wasn't at least a baronet?

3. The late husband: I could use some help on what to do with him. I wanted him to be in Society, and I wanted there to be some kind of fuss about his son's inheritance. The son was born three months after the father died. If I make him a baronet, say, what would happen for the son if Eliza remarried, especially someone of a wildly different rank?

4. All this being said: because of her small dowry and her father's status as a non-peer, her aunt is not expecting to make a great marriage. I'm planning to do a bit of Elizabeth and Darcy here, with a gentleman being drawn to her despite her (wildly) inferior rank. What would be a good rank for him to cause some gossip and turned heads, but not have them be total social outcasts if they did end up married?

Thank you so much for all your help!

Edited to fix some code I screwed up.

Good versus better-winning poker hands

Background: Character K, a cocky double (triple? quadruple??) agent, is consulting character E, an international financier who's also a broker of information, for some sensitive data. E is a manipulative bastard and has challenged K to a poker game, the stakes being if K wins, K gets the information no strings attached, but if E wins, he (K) has to spend the night with E before he can get that information. E hasn't revealed all the stakes, but K has an inkling that E has less than honorable intentions toward him.

Now, what would be a good hand for K to get that would make him think "I can't possibly lose this", only to have the rug pulled from under his feet when E smirks and lays down his own hand, which is even better than K's?

Googled and Wiki'ed poker hands, and it's rather dizzying.

Treats from home and Campus drinking.

Location: Fictional university, Modern day USA.

Terms searched: New York delicacies, care package, various combinations of alcohol/drinking campus/universities.

Background: Group of freshmen attending a moderately-sized liberal-artsy university.

1) One character, originally from New York City, receives a 'care package' from his mother, which contains, among other things, some kind of edible treats, which he shares with the other character from NY.

What kind of things would be likely? Can be anything, so long as it's mailable. (He's from a very rich family, so it could easily have been FedExed, if it's perishable) But preferably something the other character, who's not from as rich a background, would also remember/miss from 'back home'. Has to be something very 'New York', to explain why he's not offering it to everyone.

(Googleing mainly gets lots of people claiming something they make is a delicacy, and I'm looking for more anecdotal examples)

2) Where would most of the drinking on campus go on? The main characters are all 18, but there are others who are older who'll buy them stuff, so getting a hold of alcohol isn't the problem so much as where to drink.

None of the characters are in fraternities/sororities (though they do go to parties at them, sometimes) so would it be possible to drink in dorms? (Either in rooms or in common areas?) How likely would they be to get in trouble with campus security, provided they weren't being violent/damaging?

And what are they most likely to drink?
bowl of cereal

Secluded spot for making out in Los Angeles

Hello all, I am looking for a secluded spot in Los Angeles to set my fic in.

The location needs to be somewhere my characters can park a car in at approximately 2am in the morning. I'd love for it to be a beach but from what I've found, most beaches close at sunset.

From research I've found out about the Temescal Canyon Overlook and Mulholland Drive, but I got the idea that these places are frequented by couples looking to do the deed and I'd love a place where there would be absolutely no other people to bother them.

So to summarize, I need a place

-in Los Angeles
-where a car can park at 2am
-and secluded

It would be lovely if the location had
-a great view
-or a beach of some sort
but that is optional.

Thank you so much for any help!

edit: How does the Redondo and Torrance (RAT) Beach fare? Is it closed at night?