June 10th, 2010

music, serious face

Interior of diaolou

I'm going crazy trying to find pictures of the interiors of the diaolou of Kaiping. I'm trying to get a picture of what the space looks like.

I found a thesis that contains a rough floor plan of the Ruishi diaolou, which helps immeasurably, but the only interior photo I've found so far is a narrow shot of a family altar. I'd really like something more.

I've tried many different combinations of "diaolou," "kaiping", "interior", "vernacular architecture", "watchtower," you name it.

(I have technical issue with my library's website where I can access JSTOR but can't search it effectively without knowing exactly what I'm looking for, so if anyone has access and some spare time, there might be useful stuff there I haven't seen!)

Gunsellers and Soldiers

Hi, everybody -

Thank you for the mountains of help I have gotten at this great community.  I don't know how to do the answered __here thing or I'd post them, since all of my questions have been answered.

For those of you playing the home game, I'm writing an AU House fic where he is in an 18th century country loosely based on England.  (It's called Princeton-On-Sea, and the capital is Rutgers...you see where I'm going with this.)  He has kidnapped the princess before she gets married to a jerk.  Her uncle is ruler of the country, and has sent out alerts (wanted notices, etc.) for the capture of House, who is known in this world as CAPTAIN MARMADUKE RAPPORTS SEXUELS AVEC DES CANARDS DE LA FONTAINE (sorry, cut and pasted from the wanted poster).  He has two co-conspirators, a gay couple, and the princess doesn't want to go back.  I know they used flintlock pistols and blunderbuss rifles.  I have googled "gunsellers," "18th century where to buy guns" "18th century gunrunners." Also asked on ask.com.  The other question, I am not sure how to ask on the web.

Here are my questions:

1) Assuming this is around 1750 or so (I'm playing fast and loose with the timeline), how many guns would a gunseller let two men buy without arousing suspicion?  And what kind?

2) Who would go after them first?  The royal military/soldiers or local law enforcement?  I'm assuming the former, but right now they are in deep wooded country, far from either the palace or Rutgers.

Thank you so much for your consideration of these questions!

ETA: What kind of provisions would they have bought?  Cheese, sausage, bread?  (They have water in costrels.)  I'm stretching reality a  bit by having them also get saddlebags, which come in handy after they have to abandon the carriage and set off on the individual (two) horses.  Also, House places his feet in one set to help keep him on the horse while the princess does the riding.

If anyone needs a womens' fashion question answered from the 1900s on, I'm your girl.  It's my area of expertise.

Double ETA:  Thank you, my questions have been ANSWERED!  I love you all.

Childhood Surgery

Hi guys. Hoping you can help me out with something; maybe my Google-fu is just really bad, but I've been searching for hours now and I'm not turning up anything useful.

Setting: Modern Russia (or perhaps a bit in the future); United States (same time period)

Background: I have a character who was adopted from Russia by an American woman when he was a toddler. He is now an adult (mid-twenties), speaks fluent English and Russian (his mom enrolled him in Russian classes as a child, and he majored in it in college) and has a job that frequently has him traveling between the two countries. During one trip to Russia, he was able to locate his birth mother (I'm aware that Russian adoptions are closed, but it's possible; I've read accounts by people who have done it) and learned that he has a nephew (the mother was his half-sister) who is living at a local orphanage and is up for adoption.

After meeting and getting to know the child (he's somewhere in the 7-9 age range) he decides to adopt him. Now, single men aren't generally allowed to adopt in Russia, but there are extenuating circumstances (blood relation, approval of the birthmother, some powerful friends in the business/political world who are willing to pull some strings for him, etc.) and I think the scenario is at least plausible. The story isn't really focused on the legal aspects, anyway.

My question: The nephew is in need of some sort of surgery when he arrives in the U.S. I'm hoping for some sort of condition that he either would have been born with or would have developed shortly after birth, as I was planning on having my MC blame the condition for why his nephew wasn't adopted when he was little. I've considered something like strabismus, but I'd like it to be little more serious than that, if possible. It can't be for a life threatening condition or he probably wouldn't have survived for as long as he has, but I'd like for him to have at least a minor physical disability that can only be fixed with surgery. I'd also like it to be something that would not have severe long term affects after the surgery (e.g. no transplants because he'd need to be on immuno-suppressants for the rest of forever). Finally, it shouldn't be something that would affect his mental development; his mental health is as sound as it can be given the circumstances.

(Note: He does not have RAD or fetal alcohol syndrome. I'm aware that they're legit concerns in adopting older children from orphanages in real life, but they don't fit the story. I've also ruled out cleft palate for the same reason -- doesn't fit the story.)

I apologize if that's overly vague. I'm really open to anything, provided it fits the above restrictions. Even if someone can just point me in a direction to look, I'd be grateful. The only surgeries I can think of that children might need are for things like removing tonsils, which wouldn't be something he'd have had since he was a baby, or for really serious diseases such as cancer. Any suggestions?

Search terms I tried: "childhood surgery," "children and surgery," "childhood illness surgery," "surgery," "minor surgery," "minor surgery in children," and about a bajillion variations thereof. Most of the sites I've found are about preparing children for generic surgery, and don't include examples as to what they might be getting the surgery for. I've also searched "common russian genetic disorders," "russian adoption genetic disorders," etc. for ideas that might be specific to Russian orphans, but most of those websites only briefly mention genetic diseases (your child might have one, see a doctor if you have concerns) and then jump right into discussing RAD and other common PI problems.

Eta: Think I'm all set now. Thank you for everyone's ideas! :)