June 14th, 2011

bunny with pancake

Mongolian Spiritual Practices?

I recently changed my main character from Chinese to Mongolian, which solved a number of problems but also destroyed most of the backstory I'd constructed for her. I wanted to incorporate various ghosts or demons into the story, as well as dogma, but I'm having a very hard time finding dogma or spirits for Mongolia and keep encountering Chinese mythology instead.

I remember a presentation made by a National Geographic photographer who had been in Mongolia talking about his experiences with a young female shaman he encountered, and about how when she reached a certain age, she'd gotten very sick and was left somewhere. Surviving and returning meant that she was recognized by the spirits and had become a shaman.

Anything on Mongolian shamans and their spiritual practices, or the above-mentioned practice of leaving someone who starts to exhibit strange symptoms to see if the spirits will recognize them would be greatly appreciated. I'm having dubious luck with google, and people who I would normally consult about spiritual practices are drawing blanks on Mongolia. Thank you!

Taisho Japan and Joseon Korea lady names

Setting: 1910's to 20's, generally. Jumps around a lot (time travel), but the problem characters come from alternate Taisho-era Japan and a non-colonized Joseon-Dynasty Korea that doesn't morph into an empire.

Premise: Rip-off of The One (Jet Li) and every other alternate-universe story. Children's book.

Two versions of a major character are Korean and Japanese, either a princess (preferably the Korean one) or an aristocrat (Japanese), though I'll be fine with having both as princesses or aristocrats. I'm having trouble with the names, as my knowledge of Chinese characters go as far as online dictionaries (Breen's, Yellowbridge, and Wiktionary) and my knowledge of period- and class-appropriate names comes from hours spent slogging through the wikipedia pages of the royal families. And in any case, I have my favorites and wouldn't want to limit the name options to the list of royals there...

I need names that sound good to the English speaker's ear and appropriate for the character: intelligent and strong (I realize this is subjective, so let's just say she's an antagonist who becomes an anti-hero), though the kanji and hanja don't have to be either. Since she grows from child to young adult through the story and I'm leaving the door open for older versions to appear, the name should also fit her at different ages.

I want Reiko (怜子) for the Japanese version, but I have no idea if this is appropriate, especially as I've noticed that upper-class lady names tend to be three syllables and use the kunyomi/nanori readings. Other names on my list:

Ayako (絢子) - appropriate, with several princesses and aristocratic ladies with this name; sounds too soft to my non-Japanese ear, though, and probably prone to mispronunciation
Yuriko (百合子/優理子/愉理子) - don't know if it's appropriate, as in addition to my problems with Reiko I've only seen one lady from a daimyo family with this name generations after the period; also, might be too much as my chosen surname is a three-kanji one ; also prone to mispronunciation
Kiyoko (潔子) - too "cute", might sound weird, doesn't sound smart; also prone to mispronunciation
Aiko - last resort, as it's too "cute", doesn't sound smart and to me doesn't fit a grandmother

I'm more undecided with the Korean version. Names I stole from the royal family are Hae-Ryeon (海孌 or 海蓮) and Jeong-Hwa (婷/正/貞/淨/禎/靖 和/華). My attempt at originality (by finding out that there's such a name via Google) is Hye-Ryeong (慧令).

Opinions and suggestions, please. Any information about naming patterns would help. And feel free to tell me how neurotic I am. :)

Research: wikipedia pages of Korean and Japanese royalty, also the Korean and Japanese wikipedias with the aid of Google Translate. And the online dictionaries, of course.

Meningitis treatment in 1960s, Boston area

Settings: Mexico City and Boston/Cambridge area, late 1960s - early 1970s.

Searches already made: various regarding head/skull fracture injuries, bacterial meningitis, brain injury rehabilitation, medical rehab in the 1960s/1970s. I've looked at postings by survivors of head injuries and meningitis infections. Searching for anything on the history of health care in Massachusetts swamps me with current politics -- it's hard to find much detail about previous decades.

My character (male, age 18, previously healthy and well nourished) suffers a basal skull fracture during a beating. Some days after the beating, I think I want to have him come down with bacterial meningitis. Eventually he’s treated with antibiotics in a hospital and recovers. I'm trying to determine how far I can take the progress of the infection, and over how many days, without causing death or severe disability for the character.
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[men] Tic-tac-toe Whip

Lots of questions regarding impact play...

I'm researching impact play and having a hard time find solid answers on things. I've googled bdsm, sadism, masochism, sadomasochism, d/s, domination/submission, impact play, and all different types of impact toys.

The story is a futuristic BDSM universe piece, but that shouldn't have an effect on any of this.

At the moment I'm specifically wondering about new impact play toys. In term of leather ones, I've read that they're stiff and need to be broken in. I'm wondering why exactly that's a bad thing. Does it make them erratic? Hit harder? What? Also how exactly do you break them in? Is there a set amount of time? From what I understand rubber ones are usable from the beginning and will retain and similar stiffness throughout their lifetime?

Also in term of leather toys, what are the dangers if they aren't well taken care of? For example, what if they dry out and crack?

In terms of how they feel on the person that's being hit, is there much difference between a slapper and a crop? They seem to serve similar purposes to me.

With tawses is there any consensus on the straps are called? I've read straps, fingers, blades, tails, etc. Also how would that feel? Does each strap hit at a different time? If they all hit at the same time, what's the difference between this and a strap?

I'm also in need of some good resources about cane and whip use specifically, but I'm open to resources on any type of impact play outside of spanking.