October 3rd, 2012


Names for pet rats in French.

Possibly the most annoying and strange question I have ever asked.

It's 1875 on an airship somewhere over the Atlantic. Our French-speaking character, Max, has two fancy rats as companions. She's from Lorraine or Alsace I think. That might change.

So, what are their names? They're going to be around for two books, and I have to call them something. They're Max's BFFs.

Max is 19, works in the ship's machine shop, loves pulp adventure novels, has a very dry sense of humor, is quiet but also playful, efficient, and practical, and acquired the rats quite recently.

The rats are both female. One is champagne and white, the other is brown and white. They are sisters.

What sorts of names would sound like pet names, without being boring/overused/obvious pet names like Tabby, Callie, Rover, Rex, Shadow, Snowball, etc., or names that you'd kind of expect for rats like Squeaker or Whiskers or Scuttles. Also, Max is not the type to name them something grandiose (mythology, literature). I'm looking for something sharp and cute and perky, like Dash, Razzle, Fizzy, Snips, and so forth. But I don't know what words/names have a similar sort of association/feel to folks who are native French speakers.

I don't even know what to Google, here. I've tried pet names, French pet names, French names for pets, yadda yadda, and I'm not getting what I need, which is a subjective opinion. All I'm getting are names for pets that are French names, or pet names as in nicknames for humans. I need an actual French-speaking perspective on this, to find names that have the right "sound."

. . . Help?

(Also, mods, I hope I tagged this right.)

UK Musicians' Union, BECTU, and Union Solidarity

Time: Current
Place: UK (specifically London)

Searched: Wikipedia, each of the relevant Unions' websites, the Barbican Centre's website and wikipedia page, all of the tags on this comm

1.) In the UK--London, and the Barbican Centre specifically--if one is putting on a solo classical music recital that one has rented out the space for (yes, I know it's prohibitively expensive there), is one expected to use the stagehands provided by the Centre/does the Centre have available stagehands? Or do you hire in freelancers? It's not part of a recital series.

2.) If yes, are those stagehands members of a union like BECTU (or if not that one, which one?)? The BECTU website is extremely vague; I gather that these people could be members but not that they are. BECTU does, from what I can find, represent theatrical stagehands but this is classical music, albeit at the same venue/type of venue.

3.) If BECTU were to go on strike at a particular location, would the MU (or any affiliated union) feel the need to rearrange their lives to promote union solidarity? Barring any union-rules reason, would a union member in good standing feel the need to respect the strike?

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4.) If all else fails, I can make it so they hired freelance union stagehands (for a handwave-y reason), and give one of the musicians a union-y-ness such that he'd rather cancel the concert than hire scabs (also: they are called scabs over there, yes? Google seems to think so). Is this realistic or at least plausible in the UK, among union classical musicians? It could be in the US, which is why I'm asking.

Thanks so much in advance!

Restaurants and Ice-Cream Parlors in Sacramento, CA

Setting: Sacramento, California – present day (The Mentalist fanfic, to be more specific)

I have a couple of questions relating to restaurants and such, and I have no real idea how to Google any of them.

1. I have a 14 year old girl staying with her aunt for a few days. What would be a typical place for her to ask to go to dinner, if given the choice? It's not a special occasion or anything, the aunt just wants to give her niece a treat (and make up for keeping her waiting for dinner because she was working late – so I also need somewhere that doesn't close too early!). I'm imagining something like McDonalds, or Pizza Hut, but since I'm not from the US I wanted to know if I was on the right lines. I tried Googling “Teenagers restaurants”, “teenagers favorite restaurants”, and a few variations on that, but didn't find anything really useful.

2. The plot I have in mind has them walking to an ice-cream parlor afterwards. I've looked up ice-cream parlors in Sacramento and in the US generally, but we don't have the same parlor chains in my country, so I have no idea what any of them are like... I suppose the question is, again, what would a 14 year old pick?

(This is such a long shot I feel silly even putting it on here, but if anyone knows the area and can recommend a suitable restaurant / ice cream parlor pair within walking distance of each other, I would love you forever!)

ETA: Thank you all so much! You've been incredibly helpful, I've got lots to go on now :)