Posts Tagged ‘research’

The Oregon Regency Society: Riding Sidesaddle

There’s a wonderful post at the Oregon Regency Society by Stephanie Johansen about riding sidesaddle. Not only is she a member of the ORS, she’s a serious horsewoman. If you write anything that is historic, this is a great post. She also has a load of links to other useful resources.

So when trying to pursue becoming a sidesaddle rider, ladies need to keep in mind that fit and safety should be the two most important considerations when shopping for a sidesaddle. It is more important than authenticity, I’m afraid. So if you are a die-hard reenactor, I’m afraid it would not be advisable to have a saddle made to emulate the Regency period sidesaddle unless it had modern measures built in to compensate for the Regency design’s flaws. In fact, any saddle style prior to the Victorian sidesaddle would not be safe for you or for your horse. Even antique Victorian saddles, if you can find them, must fit your horse well enough as to prevent any issues, and may require modification.

You can read the full article at The Oregon Regency Society: Riding Sidesaddle; a very horsey post!.

Swearing is such a fascinating thing

I was writing today and hit a point where I needed my nice young Edwardian lady to exclaim with frustration.  It’s a point where a modern actress would likely say “Shit” and that’s so not correct. Oh, so not correct, for 1907.

So I wrote, When he left the room, Cora slapped her palm against the wall. “[exclamation]!”

And then after I finished the scene, I trotted off to the Oxford Historic Thesaurus, courtesy of my Multnomah County Library card, to look up oaths.  While I think she is likely to say “thunder!” or “hang it” these were some of my favorite other oaths from other periods.

  • By the mouse-foot!
  • Dash my wigs!
  • Gog of heaven!
  • Od’s lifelings!
  • Nouns!
  • So help me salmon!
  • By the pody cody!
  • By the great horn spoon!
  • Rabbit!
  • By the hokey fiddle!
  • Bread of wheat!

The Property-man in Vaudeville

Well worth reading for the view of theater in the early 1900s.

(from The vaudeville theatre, building, operation, management, by Edward Renton, 1918)

“Resourcefulness” should be the middle name of the individual who is competent to occupy the position of property-man in a theatre. There are other important qualifications, but this one is essential. He may be called upon to supply anything from an Egyptian mummy to a three week-old child, upon a moment’s notice. He must be a bit of a carpenter, something of an artist, a great deal of a diplomat, and he must be “on the job” from the rising of the sun to considerably after the setting thereof-in other words, this is not the place for a lazy or a shiftless man.

via Props.

Props — How to Research

Sure, I have to research props for stage, but I also have to research them for fiction too. For instance my upcoming story in Talebones,  is set in England in the 1920s.  I needed to find out if cigarette lighters existed by then.  Yes, but hand held ones were still a couple of years away.

One of my favorite websites, Props, as a great article with a load of links on How to Research Props.  I highly recommend it. In particular, A History of Props: A Timeline of Props and Product Usage.

When Actors Eat and Drink Upon the Stage; Variable Quality of Theatric… – Article Preview – The New York Times

While researching champagne for stage, I stumbled across this 1906 article from the NY Times.  It’s a fun read if you’re a theater geek like me.
1906 NY Times

EATING and drinking on the stage,” remarked the chronic theatregoer the other night, “always bores me when I have dined well and tantalizes me when I haven’t; but whenever I go to a theatre nowadays I am sure to find the people across the footlights either enjoying a big meal or pouring down tea or champagne early and often.”

It’s a pdf, but When Actors Eat and Drink Upon the Stage is worth checking out. If for nothing else, the wardrobe.

Update on Maggie

Those of you following me on Twitter already know some of this but I’m about to go into a whole heck of a lot more detail about Maggie. She’s been terribly unwell and while I was away, Rob sent me a warning that he thought all we could do at this point was make her comfortable.

I got home and she was basically a skeleton with fur and just hiding in the closet.  I called the vet, explaining that she wasn’t eating or drinking.  We discussed humane euthanasia, but decided that as long as she was still happy sitting in someone’s lap that we’d let nature take its course.

I was struck by the fact that she kept trying to go to the litter box with no success.

Now, this serves as a warning to everyone that I’m going to be talking about the tail end of a cat’s digestive system.

Seriously, read no further if you don’t want to know about a kitty enema.  I’ll let you know right now that she’s much better, but it does involve an enema and a cat.

I mean it.

You’ve been warned.

Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Continue reading ›

EDGE :: Amphibian Species Information

In the world of real life is freaky, check out the olm, which even has a name suited for a fantasy.

The olm is a Europe’s only cave adapted vertebrate, and has numerous adaptations for an underground life. Olms hunt their prey in the absolute dark and have developed a powerful sensory system of smell, taste, hearing and electrosensitivity. Olms are pale and sightless, although their skin-covered eyes are still light sensitive. They are an entirely aquatic species that can survive without food for up to 10 years and live to an age of 58 or more. Part of an ancient lineage of amphibians evolving independently for 190 million years, this species is now threatened by pollution and habitat disturbance. A small subpopulation of “black olms” may be a separate species requiring additional protection.

via EDGE :: Amphibian Species Information.

Research links for “Waiting for Rain”

I just ran across this article that I clipped as part of the research that I was doing for “Waiting for Rain” about how China planned to halt rain for Olympics and it occurred to me that you might be interested in some of the other research behind the story.

Sula Vineyard “India’s leading producer of premium New World-style wines.”
The Wine Story of India
Grover Vineyard – at the foot of the Nandi Hills
Wines of India
Sommelier India
The Indian Wine Industry
Wine…from India?
Also, I should probably admit that Rob wrote the initial wine descriptions for me.

Indian Proverbs
Hindu Wedding ceremony
Notes on Hindu Wedding
Indian Student Slang (Pretty sure these are outdated by now.)
British Military Slang in India (Not used in this story, but maybe someday.)
Glossary of colloquialisms
Glossary of “Inglish” slang

Weather control
India Daily
Weather control Warfare
I also read a number of books on weather control, but I don’t have that bibliography anymore. Most of the weather control websites also came with instructions on how to build tinfoil hats.

Ask the Astronaut on Space Station a Question

Astronaut Greg Chamitoff, aboard the International Space Station 220 miles above Earth, is ready to take your questions. Here’s your chance to hear direct from space. Chamitoff’s schedule will not allow him to answer many questions, but he will attempt to answer a few each week.

In this video, he talks about the concept of a “junk drawer” on the space station and technology that he he expects to come along in the future.

I could use some of that in my house, couldn’t you?

Looking for mental illness index

I’m hoping that one of you might have run across something like this in your internet journeys.

For a story I’m working on, I need an online generator that will allow me to check off mental illness symptoms and return potential diagnosis. Like a choose-your-own disorder. Has anyone seen anything like that?

Police Procedure question

I’m stymied by police procedure. I’ve posted a query at Ask-A-Cop, too, but figure you guys are smart and might be able to help.

(If you’re in the pool of people reading this or about to read this for me, you’re about to get some serious spoilers, so skip this post)

I’m writing an urban fantasy novel. I know procedures change depending on district, but since I don’t specify the city we can fudge a bit. Think of a city around the size of Raleigh, N.C.

These are the plot elements that the police would know about.

My main character, Grace, is a prominent and respected trial lawyer.(specializing in women’s issues). On Wednesday, she is jogging and calls in to report gunshots and screams coming from a house.

At the moment, I have three squad cars responding plus an ambulance. One of the officers, Regec, sees Grace, recognizes her and asks if she can shed light on the situation. Reasonable?

When the police approach the house, a man exits and then dies with no visible marks. A rottweiler gets out, from the house, and attacks Grace, biting her.

At the moment, Regec shoots the dog. Reasonable?

Only one other person was in the house, a woman, locked in the attic. The man’s fingerprints were on the gun, not the woman’s.

Would someone official (ambulance or police) take Grace to the hospital, or would she have to get there on her own?

That afternoon, she arrives home and discovers that her house has been broken into. Since she has Regec’s card, she calls her wanting a familiar face. Would Regec be able to respond? (Assuming she’s in the right precinct, of course)

The next day, the police are called to Grace’s office. They are told that, while interviewing a client, the client’s two-year old child got sucked into the ceiling and vanished. (The child had Hobbson’s Syndrome, a condition which Grace had as a child and she is the only person known to have recovered from it.) The client, a hysterical woman, also insists that this happened and blames Grace. There’s no sign of the child, but a giant gaping hole in the acoustical tiles in the ceiling. No visible way out. The client wants them to charge Grace with kidnapping. They don’t.

NEXT — later that afternoon, while lunching with the D.A., Grace gets a phone call and learns that her husband (who had been out of town) had caught an earlier flight and had been home when her home had been broken into. A shoe had been found at the scene, which Grace recognizes as his.

NEXT — That night, the police get a phone call from Grace’s parents that they arrived at her house and that it had been trashed. Thoroughly. She and her daughter are missing.

NEXT — There’s a rash of missing children, all with Hobbson’s Syndrome.

NEXT — In the wee hours of the following morning, the police receive a call about a woman trespassing. The man placing the complaint is a doctor who specializes in children with Hobbson’s Syndrome.

They arrive and the woman is Grace. She’s dirty and bruised. She tells them that she doesn’t know how she got there. She also says that there’s a boy in the woods.

How are the police likely to respond at this point?

They find the boy. He’s about nine years old but barely verbal. Naked, except for a torn shirt, dirty and bruised. He points at the doctor and says, “He stole me.” He is also on the list of missing Hobbson’s Syndrome children.

What would the police do?

What I need is for Blessenger to wind up arrested and Grace given a ride out of there. I can manipulate the scene and add other evidence now or in an earlier scene if that would help. I would LOVE to have Regec on the scene, but I think it isn’t believable — let me know if there’s a way to get her there.

I’m sorry this is so ridiculously long. I couldn’t think of a way to condense it.

Bonus points: How do officers on the scene refer to one another? “Hey Lou?”