February 26th, 2010

Tsuzuki in the snow

Making parchment/paper ofuda

Google is only yielding the basic textbook information on paper ofuda, as well as anime and fanfic-related stuff. I'm looking for any and all information on making parchment or paper ofuda. Is there some ritual that goes with it, and can anyone make them, or is this something that is reserved to Shinto priests/priestesses? Also, what sort of materials are considered proper? (I thought of a gag idea for a story in which someone makes them out of photocopier paper because they can't afford parchment, and then getting called out for it, whereupon the guilty party whines about not being paid enough to afford the right materials, but this didn't seem right somehow.)

Swearing (mostly in English and Spanish)

location: near-future New York (with irrelevant magic), research: none, no idea how, it's kind of subjective. I could probably look up a list of phrases, but they won't give me a feel for what's papercut vs broken limb levels of severity and so forth

So. My (roleplaying) character grew up in the rough part of Rochester, then became a street kid in NYC when she was 12. She's 16 now. Parental type influences: bilingual hispanic drug addicted prostitute, birth-4. Slightly prim (and rather paranoid) old lady, 4-12. Washed-out ex-Marine from the farm belt, 12-16. Plus the usual peer-group influences (though not much TV). She probably swears a *lot*.

I know the usual swear words in English (f***, s***, a**hole, etc), but I don't know any in Spanish, and she would. Also, I don't know if there's anything regional that is likely to affect either vocabulary or frequency of certain swear words, as I'm from the other side of the country (AZ). (and, well, I'm the kind of person more inclined to say "what the frell" than "what the f***")
In particular, is there anything especially juicy she might call an overbearing, sexist, self-important d*** that she has to interact with?

Edit: if it matters, Mom is probably Puerto Rican. Also, if you want to throw in your favorite foul language in Italian, Russian, and/or Mandarin, I can potentially make use of it. Nothing obscure in those, though, just what she might pick up on the streets of NYC.

Knighthood and Decorations in the Victorian Era

I've searched wikipedia for this and found quite a bit of information, but since most of it was written about the modern state of things and British nobility and honours are a book of seven seals to me, I'd like some confirmation for my deductions, please.

So, I've got a plot where several people die bravely in order to save Queen Victoria. One is a member of her royal guard, one is a minor noble (hereditary, not overly rich, his lands are in the Scottish low-lands - that would probably make him a Lord of Parliament, right? Or could British barons have lands in Scotland?), one is a trusted personal servant and friend of the queen.

I'd like to mention that she'll award them some posthumous honour for their service and sacrifice. As I understand, knighthoods weren't awarded posthumously until 1988. The Victoria Cross sounds like it would work - the definition "awarded for most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy" fits the situation to a T. However, it seems that it's purely a military decoration? Wikipedia says that "It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command." Does being under direct orders of the queen at the time of the deed count as "civilian under military command"?

Also, there are some foreigners who survive and get offered a knighthood for helping save the queen. Was that possible in 1879? And also, would it be considered a personal affront to the queen to decline the offer? (I know that was done sometimes, even back then, it's mentioned in one o Arthur Conan Doyle's stories that Sherlock Holmes declined a knighthood.) It wouldn't be out of modesty here, more like the recipient couldn't care less about being decorated by some monarch, and doesn't consider her Majesty's life worth more than the handful of lives that were given to save her.

EDIT: Thanks for the quick answers, people. It seems the original plot I have to work with (an episode of Doctor Who) already flubbed the research, what with the Queen knighting people on the spot. I guess I'll have to take some artistic license as well.
fanfic writer 2

Infection, pain and survival time after traumatic kidney removal

Okay, let's give this a try.

The setting is the year 2020, and the character is a genetically engineered human with an amped up metabolism and immune system (and if that doesn't give away the fandom, nothing will).

The situation is this: he's had a kidney traumatically removed, and was awake for the entire procedure (paralyzed but not unconscious). The people who performed the surgery aren't the greatest when it comes to sanitation and sterilization, and afterward they put him in a damp, filthy basement with just a bandage over the roughly stitched incision and no antibiotics. They also have the means to completely disable his super-immune system, leaving him weak and more susceptible to infection than a normal human. He's found in the basement at some point up to 24 hours later.

Firstly, how exactly would I describe the amount of pain involved in the procedure itself? I've known people before whose anesthesia was messed up for minor surgery, and they've told me what it felt like, but am I correct in thinking there's going to be a difference between minor leg surgery and major invasive abdominal surgery?

Second, would sepsis have set in by the time he's found? What kinds of issues would he be looking at with the combination blood loss/kidney loss/infection? Could his other kidney begin to fail, or would that take longer than 24 hours? Assuming a major septic infection and a compromised immune system, what's the absolute longest he could survive with antibiotics?

I do have the unfair advantage of being able to turn his immune system back on whenever I want/need to, and once I do that he's pretty well guaranteed to survive, so basically what I'm trying to figure out is just how sick I can get him before I absolutely have to make him better.

Google searches have included: sepsis, septicemia, kidney removal surgery, traumatic nephrectomy, renal failure, and surgery without anesthesia.

Thanks tons in advance for anyone who can help me out.