[personal profile] penta
So, I have another character being drawn up (by another player) for the same game for which I posted highly detailed questions about Israel (admittedly probably too detailed) - only he's playing Russia, and he's trying to draw up a character who served in the Soviet Army as an officer semi-realistically. (It's *after* the character's military career that everything goes interesting.)

I want to write him a summary of the Soviet Army officer's career path, what service branches are available, etc., but nothing I can find tells me the basic stuff. It's all focused on generals and stuff. (Looked on Wiki, looked on Google, neither helped. I found a monograph on dtic.mil that was from 1975 and provided *some* detail, but expected me the reader to know more than I do to make sense of stuff.)

To quote his draft summary: "(1) Early life.  Born in 1959, he follows a similar course to Putin (joining the military instead, but attached as an "adviser" to one of the Soviet Bloc countries after a tour in Afghanistan which gave him a scar on his upper right arm from a Taliban attack).  He resigned with a TBD officer's rank in the middle of the 1991 coup attempt (a la Putin; he's simply younger) rather than join in the attempt (which he percieved as doomed)."

He's trying to figure it out in more detail than that, but the problem is that he (the player) and I (the GM, one of two, responsible for helping him draw up his character - he does the important work of figuring out policies and stuff, the meat of gameplay, himself) can't find anything much about anything re the company-grade and field-grade officers of the Soviet Army and how they were trained, or how their careers progressed, or anything.

In specific:

1. As the character was born in 1959, presume he enters officer training from civilian life sometime around 1977. How long is his officer training, and how is it decided whether he goes, say, infantry or airborne troops?

2. What's the career path like from initial officer training (including "what rank does he enter service at?" - the materials I can find state "Lieutenant", but the Soviet Army has 3 Lieutenant ranks!) to, say, battalion command?

3. What additional school-type training would he undergo during that career path, and at what times during his career? (I can help the player figure out good tour-of-duty mixes once I have that information.)

4. What service arms existed in the Soviet Army? I often hear of officers referred to as a "Colonel of Infantry", "Colonel of Air Defense", "Colonel of Strategic Rocket Forces" - but what are the possible options for the "of x" formula?

5. Were ordinary officers even assigned as "advisors" to Warsaw Pact forces, or only Political Officers?

I know these are really detailed questions in some regard. I'm trying to keep them general, but even the general stuff is hard to figure out. My objectives for this are:

A. Figure out what rank, highest, would have been plausible for what I'm currently thinking is a fairly obscure-ish Russian serving as a Soviet Army Officer from 1977-1991 - if the player wants lower, cool, but I as GM need to have a clue what's "too high".

B. Figure out what his career would have looked like - where would he have served, at what levels, doing what? (Especially key to figure out when he would have served in Afghanistan.)

C. Figure out if the early life posited is *plausible*.

I thus don't need to know deep details (at least not until a player requests a detailed bio of their Russian adversary from their intel people, at which point I may be back...), but only be able to work out a summary. I can do the hard part of the work myself and with the player, but I need help figuring out the foundational stuff before I begin that.

(Edited to add: Link to something Google *did* dredge up for me, and my note that what I was sent was a draft summary of the character, not a full bio. We'll be working on the full bio once we have the summary agreed to.)

chomiji: Shigure from Fruits Basket, holding a pencil between his nose and upper lip; caption CAUTION - Thinking in Progress (shigure-thinking)
[personal profile] chomiji

I'm having no luck with Google searches on this (my Google technique is usual pretty good), and though I have found some decent diagrams of traditional Chinese homes, they don't go into this level of detail.

When a visitor arrived at a non-lordly Chinese home (say, a lesser merchant's home) in the "classic" Imperial period that is popular for costume dramas, how would he announce his presence? Would he ring a bell, knock on the door, or what?

I'm guessing that a well-off home would have a doorman of some sort, who would announce a guest, but what about a house that had no servants, or only a scullery maid or something?

Thanks in advance for any input you might have.

[personal profile] penta
OK, so...There's a game I'm helping restart (after a ten year break) called World Alliances and Rivalries. (Yes the website is bad, we drew it up a few days ago in the middle of the night fueled by coffee and insomnia.) We're not sure yet when we're doing as a Point of Divergence (except that we know it'll be after 7/1/2017, because the whole reason we're restarting it is partly because Trump gives us an opening...and partly to heal from Trump-caused trauma...), but I got drafted to play Israel (on the grounds of "Look, you didn't suck at playing a tiny country last time, you do research real well, and we need someone in the Middle East").

So I'm doing my research and trying to figure out a scenario to make my character PM as the game needs...The problem is, I don't read or speak Hebrew at all (neither does anybody else who plays!), and the English translations of key materials (IE, the English translation of the Basic Law on the Government) seem to literally be missing a few lines with no indication as to what should be there or how important it is. (We are talking the English translation on the Knesset website. I cried in frustration when I figured this fact out, because ugh.)

This is going to be a bit scattershot of a post (I didn't want to put multiple posts up when it all seemed to boil down to a related set of issues). I've done my fair share of Googling and Wikipedia hunting, but there are questions those don't answer.

Questions on Israeli Government:

1. It's said in the British system that the Monarch has the powers "to encourage, to warn, and to be consulted" (and that they shouldn't really want any others). Israeli politics are at least partly based off of the Westminster System, so...Does that also apply to the President of Israel? Does he get updated on state affairs, does he get consulted by the PM?

2. Just how much power do Knesset committees have to conduct oversight of the government? Both theoretically and in real terms. It sounds like they have normal oversight powers, but maybe that's me drawing on experience with the US Congress or the UK Parliament that doesn't apply...

Questions on the IDF (numbering continues to make answering easier) - please note for reference, my current draft has this character born December 1977 and drafted somewhere around 1995-96, and I know the law has changed since:

3. Someone please explain to me the proliferation of Sayeret units. I realize they're mostly recon units in theory, but they're also special forces...So I'm eventually confused (aside from a few units) as to who does what. I made my character a Sayeret Matkal vet because, well, it seemed like an obvious choice for "Special forces vet", but now I'm realizing that that could be cliche...but I can't figure out what the other units do, so I'm confused.

4. Officers are drawn from conscripts and have a four month training course. Sayerets have an...18 month? training pipeline. Do officers do officer training and then unit training, or...? How does that all work? How are Sayeret *officers* recruited and trained? Not looking for deep details, just how long from "I got drafted today" to "I'm a fully qualified officer and out leading troops starting tomorrow" or something.

5. Are officers held to a conscript's 3 year term of service? Is it longer? (I presume it is, but how much longer?)

6. Presuming a guy just wants to serve his conscript term as an officer and then get out and start civilian life, given what I mention above, how long is he in for, what age is he getting out at, and what rank is he getting out at? What rank does said officer transition from "an officer" to "an officer who's going to make the IDF a career"?

7. Wikipedia is being confusing. It mentions stuff like Rifleman 01, Fighter 07, etc. when speaking about training. It sounds like stuff I should have a clue about to draw up a character. What is it talking about?

8. Reserve service: OK, when does a guy with that background (Sayeret unit, officer) stop being liable for reserve service; how frequently is he called up for said service, how long are the callups in non-emergency situations, and (because the internet doesn't give me too great a clue) what the heck do they do (besides, I presume, training of various sorts)?

9. Just what are the benefits post-service associated with service as a conscript, or what were they in the 1996-2000ish timeframe? Do they vary between officers and enlisted conscripts? (I looked this particular question up about 20 different ways on Google. I found plenty of mentions in English of benefits during service, or that benefits post-service exist, but no mention of what the post-service benefits (or in-service benefits) actually are or would have been at the time.)

Yes, I make my characters unusually detailed. No, that is not standard for the game it's for. It's how I learned to draw up characters and scenarios, regardless of the roleplay or the setting; it's worked so far, and in this game it enabled me to (last time) play a character otherwise completely unfamiliar to me with a good degree of clue and "I actually don't appear to suck at RPing this character".

Thanks in advance for anybody willing to help me not be dumb. :)

(Edited to remove questions that non-sleepy me found answers to in stuff I'd already looked at...)

[personal profile] penta

OK, so, for a completely separate RP than my last few posts (still set in an AU of the "Ender's Game" universe, but still), the characters are going to be going to UN Headquarters in New York. Basic theme is that because they're superintelligent and multilingual, they're being loaned by the International Fleet for a bit as (to quote a previous post in this DWRP PSL) "...a translator, protocol monkey, interpreter, and escort to VIPs at the UN" - basically, since they're both on Earth for reasons, and they both live in or near NYC, this is how they earn additional funtime on Earth until everybody decides it's time to send them to their next stop, ICly.

Questions I have re UN Headquarters:

1. What exactly is security like? I've never been to the UN IRL, so I don't even know the basics like "Do they make you have special badges" or "Are the security people armed usually". Not looking for deep details, just what someone working there wou

2. When heads of state (like POTUS for example) come to visit the UN, do they bring their own translators/interpreters, or does the UN provide em?

3. New York gets *cold* in the winter (I know, I live in New Jersey), and the UN campus being right along the East River...Yeah I prefer not to think about what the wind does. Does the UN campus have underground tunnels for movement of people on those stupid cold (or, in the summer, stupid hot) days, or is movement between buildings all via the outdoors?

4. Bonus question, maybe someone here's worked at the UN: How good, or bad, are the staff cafeterias at the UN, and how expensive are they (compared to eating out in NYC usually...)?

Sources tried: Google ("UN Headquarters" and following links from there), UN.org, Wikipedia on UN Headquarters.

[personal profile] penta
So, following up on [personal profile] kate 's awesome effortpost in response to my last post here (asking about the organization of an ER department), I've got another question...it actually is in regard to the same character (my character's mom).

Just what is the career path for an ER dept nurse? Like, what's next?

Working assumptions:

1. The nurse has a BSN, but maybe is less-enamored of the shift-work lifestyle than she was. Is willing to get a graduate degree.

2. Nurse wants to continue with patient care, but also slowly move into management tasks (since I can only imagine ER nursing in an urban hospital is a high-adrenaline field that rewards youth and such things like reflexes or dexterity or stamina over more cerebral things the older folks can do) if the possibility opens itself up.

3. Nurse's husband? A SWAT team cop for the local PD. Meaning yeah, both parents (they have 2 kids - one is a supergenius at a space boarding school run by the government, the other is at home (and also a supergenius)) doing shift work can be crazy. Doable, but crazy.

I figure before I decide on a path, I should ask to see what the realistically potential paths are, presuming the character doesn't want to reboot their career entirely.

Sources searched:
Google ("emergency nurse" "career paths")
Wikipedia (the article on the MSN degree is not very helpful at describing what those with the degree do...)
discovernursing.com (actually semi-helpful, but still would like to know more)
graychalk: (Default)
[personal profile] graychalk
Hi, I was wondering if anyone here might know the time discrepancy between when a TV show episode is aired vs when they were filmed (preferably for reality TV, game shows, or competitions)?

I googled this, but most information I came across were for TV series and sitcoms, and the time seems to vary anywhere between 2-6 weeks. If I'm understanding it correctly, it seems the early episodes were filmed earlier but the latter episodes may have a shorter time discrepancy. Also, the time has been shortening in modern days as opposed to back in the old days.

What I'm curious about is whether this applies to reality TV or reality game shows. Does anyone know anything about this?

ETA: Or shows that involve the audience or fans to vote for contestants (along the lines of Dancing with the Stars but not completely live?)
birke: (Default)
[personal profile] birke
This question is fiction-related. Is it theoretically possible for a Somali citizen living in Somalia to obtain a fiancee visa to Ireland? There is no Irish embassy or consulate in Somalia, so I'm not sure if she would have to be resident in another country first. 
[personal profile] penta
OK, this is an odd question, but worth asking.

For the same universe as my last post: My character's mom, ICly, I have decided is some sort of ER person. Not sure if Nurse or Doctor just yet. (Dad is a cop who just made it onto the SWAT team.)

To help me decide, I'm looking for position descriptions (and how many there are at each position, particularly per-shift....Also, how many shifts are there per day in an ER usually?) for the Emergency Department of a major metro area hospital - ICly, the character's from Boston, so I figure one of the major trauma centers up there like Mass General, but I'll take source info from anywhere in the US.

Sources searched:

Google (though I'm not sure how to structure the query)
Wikipedia (looking through links from the ER article)
[personal profile] penta
OK, so. I can find, online, a summary of what the short form birth certificate in Ontario contains so far as fields/what info is on the thing.

However, the Ontario.ca website on the matter just says that the long form birth certificate is...longer. Not real helpful, guys!

Reason I'm asking:

For an RP I'm involved in (based off of "Ender's Game"), one of the students was raised by their dad. Who sucked at the whole "being a parent" thing in numerous ways. So my character had the bright idea (they have a crush on the target character to motivate them) of seeing about helping find their mom, who the target character never knew. The plot is largely "for the d'awwws", so to speak.

One of the *obvious* questions as we start this mini-plot is "What info would be on the character's birth certificate?"

Well, character was born in Toronto, neither of us IRL is Canadian, hence the question here. Also, since I'm the GM (of sorts) of this plot, I figured a handy GM trick would be to draw up a text copy of the full birth certificate.

Sources searched:

Google Ontario "birth certificates" "long form"

jjhunter: closeup of library dragon balancing book on its head (library dragon 2)
[personal profile] jjhunter
x-posted to [personal profile] jjhunter; related to previous comm posts re: women labor & textile traditions and abandoned castles

I'm looking for thoughts, links, meta snippets, quotes, etc. related to 16th - 17th century French food / politics / culture, esp. concerning the Centre region of France, and more generally to overarching trends in France re: shift from 'medieval' to 'Renaissance'.

In particular, information re: the following is especially relevant:

  • feasts hosted by high ranking members of the nobility - particularly as would be appropriate for major occasions such as formal recognition / celebration of a new infant heir (if it helps, am thinking late 16th century specifically)

  • formal & informal positions of significant power women ('noble' or otherwise) could be recognized as wielding in their own right; bonus if you name specific women as examples and/or summarize briefly how such women acquired their power & what they did with it

  • the economy - how did people of various classes make their livelihood, and how did this change (or not change!) from the 1500's to the 1690's? To what extent did France's economy & French politics / French social tensions related to the economy mirror those of surrounding countries during this time period, and to what extent were they localized? Again, I'm particularly interested in what's going on in the Centre region, but it's also helpful to get a sense of the national context & national trends in order to properly contextualize the local specifics.

  • spinning / thread and fiber production traditions - where did people in France get their clothes? Who spun the thread that was used to weave the cloth that was used to make the clothes? How did they spin that thread? (Spindles? Spinning wheels? some combination thereof?) Were the participants at any stages of the fiber -> clothes production process in France organized or professionalized? i.e. were there guilds or other formal or informal associations for those who herded or spun or wove or fashioned clothing?

  • songs or folk tales that reference spinning from 16th century or earlier in France (note that literary 'fairy tales' are more of a 17th century on -type thing)

  • politics - my current understand is 1.) feudalism, 2.) ???????, 3.) 18th century events --> French Revolution; I need help getting some kind of a handle on that '?????' bit
Any assistance you can provide, large or small, deeply appreciated - thank you thank you thank you.

ETA: can haz tags, plz?
jjhunter: closeup of library dragon balancing book on its head (library dragon 2)
[personal profile] jjhunter
x-posted from [personal profile] jjhunter

Am hitting research overload, and hoping to crowdsource the last bits I won't have time to look into myself. Any thoughts or links or meta snippets or quotes or whatever, big or small, you might be moved to offer on the following subjects would be deeply appreciated:

  • Organized or semi-organized traditions of women's labor, current or historical, particularly as related to periods of conflict with forces of industrialization, changing gender norms, globalization, and/or regime change, and especially as related to traditions of women's labor that provides a degree of economic independence for the women themselves

  • Ditto except in regards to small-scale or self-organized traditions of any kind related to textile production (esp. spinning or weaving) in periods of economic, social, and/or political conflict with governing authorities or society at large

  • collapse of particular textile industries - e.g., when the silk market crashed after nylon & other synthetic fibers introduced - and what happened to the people whose livelihoods depended on the then 'outdated' industry
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Thought experiment I'm hosting over at my journal, [personal profile] jjhunter: Come All Ye Castles, Ancient and Neglected
So: castles. Let's do a version of this thought experiment with a castle, say a château (-fort or otherwise) like the Château d'Ussé in France. If you take humans out of the picture for a hundred years, what happens to that building and the land immediately surrounding it? If we were to take snapshots of particular elements at 10, 20, 50, 100 years, what would that progression look like?

For those more historically than scientifically inclined, it would also be really helpful for me to have a better sense of what the year 0 / baseline conditions would be like right before the theoretical castle is abandoned. Assume that right up until the moment of abandonment, the castle is fully functional, and of a size to host / entertain visiting nobility. How might it be constructed? What species of plants and animals might be intentionally (or contrarily) present within the building and the immediate surrounding grounds? How many people might live or work there year-round? What's the climate like in the Centre region of France in the 16th - 17th centuries? Is it any difference from what the climate's like now?

Tangential, but related, research topic: what might people be eating in that region of France during the late 16th century? Where would I even start researching that?

A/N: admins, can haz appropriate tags?
jjhunter: Drawing of human JJ in ink tinted with blue watercolor; woman wearing glasses with arched eyebrows (JJ inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Via the Wikipedia rabbit hole, I recently discovered that 'Sleeping Beauty' was written & published as an 'original literary tale' by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé. The entry for the latter, however, suggests that at least some of the fairy tales he wrote for that collection had their roots in popular folk tales of the time.

What I am looking for help finding - and honestly am not sure how to effectively do so, my usually excellent google fu is scrambled - are the following:

proto texts, related texts, transformative texts, and a good English translation of the original French text )

Any suggestions or advice, no matter what scale, are very much welcome.
tree: a figure clothed in or emerging from bark (Default)
[personal profile] tree
So I'm hoping one of you wonderful people can help me. I'm looking for a model of car that was available in the USA in 1997 that would not be too noticeably out of place in 1980. Alternatively, a car that was available in 1980 that would still be usable in 1997. I'd prefer the former, but I can figure something out for the latter.

Basically, I need a car in which my character can travel back in time and drive around in that isn't going to loudly shout, "This kind of car has not been conceived of yet!"

My gratitude, you has it.
firestar: (Default)
[personal profile] firestar
I'm looking for two things, really: a) how people would refer to a child that is not their own (google tells me it would be Xiao *name*, but I'd appreciate some confirmation on that) and b) ...okay, b is a bit long-winded. A character I'm writing for has been de-aged back to about 9 years old and doesn't remember anyone, so he's now tacking jie and ge onto everyone's names; however one of the other characters is exclusively called Xiao Qiao and I don't think Xiao Qiao Jie is... something that would work. Her name is Qiao Qian but she's never referred to that way so I'm a bit at a loss how to work this and google is not helping.

Language is Mandarin, not Cantonese, and it's fic for a Taiwanese drama; I'm not sure if there'd be much difference between Taiwan and the Mainland for this, but I'm mentioning it just in case there is.

Thanks in advance.
snowynight: Kino in a suit with brown background (Default)
[personal profile] snowynight
I'm researching for a fic with a suspension bondage scenario. From my research on kink bingo wiki and wikipedia, it has the potential risk of screwing your hands and using a sling instead of cuffs can be safer, but I can't find out how to set it up safely with sling or any suspension rig. So help? I 'm thinking that the scene will be in a private home. Money and space are not a concern, but it'll be all right to set it in a club if it's impossible to do it right  privately.

keywords tried: suspension+bondage+sling, suspension+bondage+sling+help, suspension+bondage+sling+help+how+to, suspension+bondage+guide
[personal profile] penta

I've looked all over the net for info on these...Unfortunately, it's not stuff that's "interesting" enough for wikipedia, seemingly. And my skill at structuring Google queries is beaten by the questions.

A bit of background: This is a sci-fi...thing...being written by me and a co-author. We may publish, may not. Essentially, it's a spinoff of stories generated through an RPG based off a novel series, so publishing would require us to "file off the serial numbers" of the setting, which (given the setting) is somewhat hard.

Now, for assorted reasons, my co-author (not Catholic, not even Christian, though they grew up Protestant) decided they wanted to challenge me. And have their character (an Italian) become Catholic, like my character (an American) - on-camera. We've done some exploration with it, but we're rapidly reaching where my detail knowledge runs out.

Hence my questions:

1. Do Catholic parish churches in Italy even use pews as Americans know of them? Never been overseas, and I know not to take what I see on TV (ie, massive Papal masses, or basilicas like St Peter's) as normative for, say, a small parish somewhere.

2. It's been a long, long time since CCD class for me, and while I know the terms for church architecture by instinct, it'd be nice to have a guideline/illustration for my co-author of what I mean when I speak of the narthex, apse, etc - and for me, since it's been, as noted, years since CCD. Floor plans for (Catholic, preferably older) churches...anyone know where to look?

(Edit: I should add some detail - the church I'm thinking of is a parish church, sort of small, based (architecturally) off the parish I most frequently went to Mass at as a kid (not always; it wasn't my territorial parish); I can't describe it architecturally, don't have the vocabulary...but there are pictures on its facebook page which might help someone with more of a clue?)

Also edited the subject line to be more useful.
[personal profile] penta
OK, so. For a Star Trek RPG I'm doing, I'm designing an audio-visual transmitter thingy. (Details aren't entirely relevant, I think, though I'm willing to be corrected)

I decided for ease of description that the device (meant to clip to the collar of a Starfleet uniform and transmit back what it sees/hears to a "mission control" console, when the wearer is on an away team, to the sending ship) is about the same size as those lapel microphones used by journalists IRL during live shots. Just the microphone bit, not the powerpack on the belt.

I discovered such devices are also called "laval" microphones.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the key part of what I need to turn my idea into a proper bit of tech for my RPG group: Just how big, in terms of dimensions and weight, are the microphones? (Not the microphone and powerpack and cord between the two, just the microphones) I'm blind enough IRL that I can't really tell, from pictures, how big the things are supposed to be.

Preference: Because the group wants dimensions in metric, I'd like that. However, because I'm not natively metric, including the US conversions would be nice, too.

No idea how to tag this, either.
househesson: a woman with her black hair blown across her face (Ping - hair in face)
[personal profile] househesson
I need to do some research on what life would be like for two characters:

#1 is a Japanese-American male who grew up in the Midwest (around Flint, MI) and relocates to Chicago shortly before the story in question starts. I'm concerned about what would be different for him, living in about the same environment as I do as a white female.

#2 is a Chinese female growing up in China, region/location to be determined. She is abandoned by her parents; probably they couldn't afford the baby or didn't want their only legally allowed child to be a girl. I'm concerned about what possibilities there are for her upbringing (remaining in China, not being adopted by an out-of-country family).

Please give me links, book recs, whatever I can read to get some realistic ideas!


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