May 23rd, 2010

clappy raccoon

Living inside Yosemite National Park

I've been searching for information on this subject for a while now and I've gotten really frustrated, so I'm hoping someone here can provide an answer to my questions.

Here's what I've got:

Present day. A well-to-do family lives in a huge, sprawling mansion somewhere in California. What I'd like is for their home to be inside Yosemite National Park, or at least very close to it. The home is sort of isolated; the closest neighbor is not right next door, but probably, I don't know, a quarter mile away? There's a gate around the property. The scenery surrounding the house is of the breathtaking variety (at least that's what I'd like).

All my research shows the following: Most of the people who live inside Yosemite work there. (My characters most definitely do not work for the park.) The most expensive house inside the park that I've found any information on is a "2-bedroom/2-bath cabin for $1 million." My fictional house is a mansion, much, much larger than this. So, do any insanely rich, well-to-do people live inside the park? If not, where do they usually live that is very close to Yosemite? City names would be helpful.

Search terms: "Yosemite," "Living in Yosemite." Both yielded so much info that it was quite overwhelming to look through. And it was all about tourism and how to get a job inside the park.

Edit: You guys are giving me some great information! Thank you! I love being steered in the right direction. ^_^ Keep it coming.
008 (na eoddeokhaeyo unni)

Russian Endearments?

 I'm writing the background for a character living in Russia in the 1840s, and at the moment I'm writing a scene between a mother and her daughter (who's five or six at this point). I was just wondering if there were any sort of endearments in Russian that a mother would say to her child; something along the lines of "my child," or "sweetheart" or something like that.

Thanks a bunch!!
Great World War

“Joe - and Jane - College”

Greetings: This community was recommended to me, for a question that may be entertaining to answer.

I am writing a story that is (initially) set in an American university, circa AD 1942 - wartime, but not scraping the bottom as they were by 1945. So we're talking crew cuts and blazers, sweaters, skirts and saddle shoes.

Now, I know quite a bit about that era, and I have several contemporary yearbooks. But I'm deficient. I need visual inspiration. Can anyone suggest a movie which depicts scenes and life in an American university in the 1940s? Or, really, 1930 to 1955, painting it broad.

The only one I can think of, apart from the Marx Brothers' Horse Feathers, is The Mummy's Ghost, which was every bit the hackwork that title suggests; it was hilariously bad. (I have reason to suspect the film, made in 1944, was partially aimed at GIs overseas: In order to bring the audience up to speed, the entire backstory is related in a “college lecture” - and you have never seen such a collection of “young, tight sweaters” as the (mostly) coeds in that audience!)

If anyone has a suggestion, I'd be delighted to hear it.

Search terms: Adrian Dullard, bass guitar, orb-weaving spiders, the 1727 English cricket season, 'My Friend Irma,' imidazoleacetate-phosphoribosyldiphosphate ligase, 7.62x39mm rifle cartridge, Dr Hans-Jochen Vogel.


Coitus a Cheval & Currency Questions

Thank you for all of the great, informative responses to my posts.  I have three questions.  My fic is an alternative universe  "House MD" fic, in which the good doctor finds himself mysteriously stuck in an 18th century imaginary European/British country.  There, he meets a princess who initially reminds him on his best friend Wilson. He kidnaps her before she can marry a man she doesn't love, and they go on the run, in a carriage (THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE INN INFORMATION!), and House has stolen most of the king's gold, which he keeps in a large bag.

1) House replaced the gold coins with metal washers.  Where in a palace would he obtain metal washers?  Presumably by that time they had nuts and bolts.  If not washers, then nuts.  This was the closest I could come to something round and heavy like gold coins.  I have tried Google and, but I haven't been able to come up with the right search terms (18th c. metal washers, etc.)

2) Traveling with gold is dangerous.  Would House go to a village moneychanger to have the gold turned into paper and coin currency? (I've looked up moneychangers and moneychanger images, and mostly gotten pictures and descriptions of tables.

Third question under the cut:

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elegant lady

figures on the Medieval Wheel of Fortune

An odd request...I've been trying to identify the twelve figures shown here beginning at about 3:29. I've managed to ID'd Bellum (war) Pax (peace) Potestas (Power) Tempus (Time) Fides (Loyalty?) and Death (Mortus) is sort of obvious there but I also had some broader questions pertaining to depictions of the Wheel of Fortune:

1) I'm familiar with the usual presentation of the four stages of human life represented on the wheel but I was curious about the twelve figures depicted here. Is this based on any sort of traditional designs of the Rota Fortunae I am unaware of or should I presume that the director took creative liberties with the concept?

2) Going on the assumption that there is a Wheel of Fortune design that depicts twelve characters what are the Latin names of the other six characters?

I have searched through Wikipedia, an online Google Book called Emblems and the Manuscript Tradition which mentions six figures War Peace Wealth Poverty Pride and Humility, a few websites devoted to alchemy, astrology and tarot readings but so far nothing definite has shown up. I've used the search terms " twelve figures Wheel of Fortune " and " allegorical figures wheel of fortune " as well as several combinations of the latin names above with " wheel of fortune " or " rota fortunae " I thought I'd give you folks a shot before I decide to throw in the towel. thank you in advance!
gerard way: happy thoughts

Russian Language and 1980s California

Two questions.

1- Not sure if this is a good place, but would anyone be willing to be an on-and-off Russian translator? I need the translations and transliterations of multiple phrases for this long fic I'm writing, and I don't want to rely on online phrasebooks. Anyone?

2- In the gritty 1980s-1990s (like, the underground gay scene, strip clubs/brothels, pimps, etc.), how would the rich people react to said scene and its people? In an around San Francisco. Also, what was San Francisco like then, especially the gay scene and the police department? And what would be a rich/upper-class/upper-middle-class city near San Francisco? Or suburb?
I've tried "1980's gay history," "San Francisco 1980s," "San Francisco gay history," "San Francisco police department history," "rich California cities 1980s," and close cousins of those statement. Please help!

ETA: I've settled on Belvedere, Marin County, California, for the rich family, and Polk Street, San Francisco, California, for the sleazy underground escort strip clubs. Sound good? Also, I STILL really need someone for the Russian help!

Speaking like a New Yorker

x-posted to linguaphiles 
time: maybe 15 years from now. searches: New York slang, New York lingo
Vaguely likely sites I found: this and this

My (roleplaying) character is a 16-year-old homeless Hispanic girl. She was born in Rochester, and moved to NYC when she was 12. And, well, I'm in my 30s and from Arizona.

The GM wants me to have a list of relevant slang terminology (to go with the list of Spanish swear words I already asked for help with earlier)--things likely to come up in casual conversation. I don't know if either of the above sites actually resembles, you know, how actual New Yorkers speak, or what. So I'd love to have either a site you consider reliable, or your own New York-isms.

edit: 1. I'm looking more for regionalisms than slang per se, and 2. the game will be taking place elsewhere in the country, so I don't need too much info on NYC geography, just speech...
in flight

Embassies or consulates in Hong Kong, 1965

Hey, I'm editing a story set in Hong Kong and I have a probably impossible question. I don't even know what to search for this one. I've tried "founding dates of consulates" and "consulates in hong kong" and "embassies in hong kong" and variations thereon, but no go.

Of the Swahili-speaking African countries/East African countries -- Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi at a pinch -- did any of them have an embassy or consulate in Hong Kong in 1965? If not, would it be remotely plausible for a native of one of those countries who received a British education to be working as a British translator in Hong Kong?

There's no "hong kong (misc)" or "colonial history" so I've sort of tagged this with the kitchen sink.

'assisting the police with their enquiries', contemporary UK

(Hopefully this is the last unGoogleable curveball I'm looking at for this story...) My character [A from the original scenario] is now in the position of being asked to come in and provide more information to the police about an ongoing case -- as in, "We're starting to think that you have something to do with this yourself but we don't quite have anything that we could formally arrest you on just yet".

  • When he's escorted to the station, what would he be told regarding why he's being asked to come in? He's not being charged... yet, but the results of what he says here could establish a need to put him into formal custody, so I'd assume the police would be cautious about how they proceed with him to avoid the possibility of saying something that might spoil the case? (And this LD post suggests he'd be read the caution at the outset, is that correct for this scenario?)

  • And how would he be handled throughout? He has every reason to believe that he's innocent, so he's going to be cooperative and scared witless regardless, but would the effort be towards minimising his distress... or encouraging it a bit in the hopes of getting him to speak more freely? (Not smacking him around or anything, just being less than as helpful as they could about the process. God knows when I had to fill out paperwork for the census gig I was about ready to have told the feds I was the Lindbergh baby by the time we got through all the forms...)

  • Also, who would be present during this sort of an interview? (Cooperative subject, not under arrest just yet -- is the nearest uniformed officer inside or outside of this room initially whilst he's being chatted up by the DI?)

(Sorry to keep pestering about this same story, it's just that it somehow managed to end up involving a lot of police-procedural questions for a country not my own...)