hells_half_acre: (Sam strung-out)
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I have to research light aircraft for a story I'm writing, except that I'm afraid to type it into google for fear that the Americans will find out and misinterpret and put me on some no-fly list, and then I won't be able to go to my friends' wedding in Bermuda next summer.

I'm also avoiding going to sleep because I don't want to wake up and have to work for 7.5 hours. Today I slacked off so much, I probably only got two hours of work in. It's ridiculous. I'm such a very horrible employee. I keep trying to think of jobs that I wouldn't mind doing, and I keep coming up with nothing. When left to my own devices, I tend to just read or write all day...but I just read predictable romances, because anything not predictable makes me too nervous. And I don't have the self-confidence or discipline to be a writer. Plus, you know, I'm not very good...I mean, all the literary tricks I've ever pulled off have always been by accident.

Once, I wrote a poem about Hamlet and handed it in instead of doing an essay. The teacher gave me an A, because I had used a lot of the same words as Shakespeare used in the play. I was happy for the A, but quite embarrassed by the comment, because I hadn't done it on purpose - I just have a slightly antiquated way of talking sometimes. Hamlet is my favorite tragedy though. There are so many good lines in it. Plus, it's basically a play about procrastination, so I can relate.

Obligatory Supernatural Topic:

You know what kind of annoys me? When people write wee!chester fic where Sam and Dean know that it was the yellow-eyed demon that killed their Mum. Boys and girls, we know for a fact that Sam and Dean did not even know that it was even a demon until mid-way through S1. I can't remember now when they found out about the yellow-eyes, but that might not even have been until Sam SAW it in Salvation. So, ladies and gentlemen, please stop writing fic where Dean is 9 and is all like "Sammy, we'll kill that yellow-eyed Demon and then I'mma going to take you to Disney World, bitch." Because although the sentiment is nice, the mistake ruins it for me. I apologize if this seems unnecessarily harsh.

Seriously, look it up...first half of S1 is all "the thing that killed our Mom", then John calls from that telephone booth and he's like "whazzup, my homies? Muthaf*ckers a DEMON, my bitches!" ....yeah, ok, I took some liberties with the script...I think it was more along the lines of "It's a demon...a pretty nasty one at that."

Ok, so...a good sign for when I should go to bed is when I start doing dialog in really stupid slang. And yeah, work is going to be even worse on less sleep, so I should probably go to sleep now...
 


Date: 2009-11-03 11:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
Point one: Which light aircraft do you need intel on? I mean, I went through a phase (when I was between eight and thirteen) where I was practically mainlining aircraft intel, so I might be able to help you out some. If you're not sure what sort of plane you need, describe its purpose in your story and I can let you know what plane to use.

Point two: I'm so with you on the whole maintain-canon-congruity thing. My main peeve when someone writes wee!chester fic is that so very few of the authors pay attention to both canon and the fact that the boys grew up in the '80s and '90s. Cellular phones didn't start becoming all that common until the late '90s, people, and Wi-Fi internet didn't make a widespread appearance until the last five years or so (I do know that the major chain hotels started offering LAN - cabled - internet connections in the late '90s, but I don't recall seeing the types of motels the Winchesters frequent offering even that until after Y2K rolled around). And that's not even getting into the fact that laptop computers have been prohibitively expensive until recently (I can recall thumbing through PC catalogs back in '92 and '93 - a cheap laptop ran in the neighborhood of three grand (of course, that's in US money, dunno what it woulda been in Canadian), if not more. As to public computers...well, that's one area I'm willing to give a little leeway. I didn't see my first public computer until around '96, but I also grew up in the ass-end of Nowhere, Iowa.

Date: 2009-11-03 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Point One: It needs to be a small plane. Able to be privately owned. Can carry 5 passengers (including pilot), but doesn't necessarily have to have seats on the inside (besides the pilot chairs. It would actually be better if it was more of a cargo-plane style. It has to either not have, or be missing, a door behind the pilot chairs (as in, I want there to be a gap in the side where, let's say, a person could be thrown out...) Basically I'm writing a story about someone who is thrown from a plane...and I want my plane description to be believable.

Point two: EXACTLY!

Man, my Dad worked in technology in the late 80s early 90s. I remember him bringing home a laptop that cost $9,000...it was basically a bulky blackberry that only did word processing. The cheapest laptops he brought home (we never owned them, there were "trials" associated with his job) was probably $5,000...and it was huge and bulky and only had a varying-shades-of-brown screen. We were one of the first people I knew to get internet. We had it a good year or two before any of my friends did...and it was dial-up that made the dial-up noise.

And yeah, I just drove across Canada and there was wireless in nearly every motel, but I was pleasantly surprised. I've gone on plenty of trips where I had to rely on libraries allowing internet access...and even then...

And the cell phones...oh man...all people have to do is watch 80s/90s movies and have a laugh at the ridiculously huge cell phones that are only owned by the rich.

It kind of sucks that more people don't take that into account. I would love to see less-technologically advanced Hunting. It also, brings a whole knew dynamic to John being gone for days at a time...because there is NO WAY for the boys to contact him, or even know if he's alright, until he gets home. It's actually much more conducive to angst than having cell-phones and internet everywhere.

Date: 2009-11-04 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
Airplanes...

Obviously, you don't want a jet here, so you've narrowed the field somewhat. Solely based on what you said above, it sounds like you're looking for a plane along the lines of a PZL-Mielec - they're a Polish company that has manufactured small-to-mid-sized transport planes since 1938. Their An-2 model is popular with parachuting teams worldwide - in the photo, the door is on the other side of the plane, but it's positioned closer to the tail than the cockpit.

What sort of condition do you see the plane being in? Is it well-loved and pampered? Or neglected? Does the pilot/mechanic consider a well-placed kick to be a viable repair option? And what sort of terrain does the plane tend to be used in (meaning, do you see it as a puddle-jumper)?

The only other plane that really springs to mind without a bit more information is a Piper Cub, but they tend to be a little too small for what you're describing - if you're going to be throwing someone out, it'd be rather difficult in a Cub.

Date: 2009-11-04 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Ooo! Thanks! The An-1 is actually really close to being exactly what I was picturing (besides the position of the door, but that's not a set rule of the story or anything - I can easily change the position of the door in the narrative).

I was picturing a plane that was probably half-neglected. So, repairs are more careful than a kick, but the paint job isn't as important to the owners. The plane takes off from a country airfield...you know, the kind where it's farmers fields all around and then one of them just happens to have some hangers and a landing strip, and there's your airport. It goes on short runs, I think...obviously, since the owners are throwing people out of the plane, they tend to be up to no good (with a plane, for some reason).

Date: 2009-11-04 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
Then I'd definitely go with the An-2 - her range tends to be right around 500 miles or so before needing refueled (and that particular model's been in use for long enough to make it a realistic 'beater' of a plane). Her controls, unless they've been retrofitted, are all analogue (the altimeter, compass, etc.), so no computer-controls (though it is possible, if, like I said, she's been retrofitted). Just about the only 'high-tech' gadgetry she'd have in her is her transponder (the radio-beacon that identifies the plane to the tower controllers); I'm not sure if the FAA requires 'black boxes' for planes this small, though, so if it can be avoided, you might want to skip that bit.

And I used to live on the other side of one of those surrounding farmer's fields to a country airport, so I know exactly the sort of airfield you're aiming for. I used to watch the crop-dusters take off and land all the time - it was fun for me (and why I started mainlining airplane intel), though Mom and Dad always bitched about the noise.

Good luck with your story, and lemme know if you need anything else! Happy writing!

Date: 2009-11-04 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Thanks so much. Yes, the An-2 sounds perfect. I don't even think a blackbox will ever factor into the story (at least not the part we here about), so it's not that important if the plane does or doesn't have one. And actually, not being computerized might add a cool pilot-distraction-irregular-flying bit when things turn sour on the plane, so that'd be neat too.

Thanks again! Oh, one more question...what is the technical name for those double-wings on the plane?

Date: 2009-11-04 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
Um...huh? The 'double-wing' thing? I assume you want to know what the term is for an airplane with a double-set of wings, yes? It's 'biplane' - not to be confused with a 'triplane', the notorious plane of WWI's Red Baron. The lower set of wings allows the plane to be somewhat narrower (wingtip to wingtip) than an airplane of the same height, mass, and length would be otherwise (because that second set of wings allows for more lift - this is common to many transport/cargo planes that rely on a prop, because a propeller provides far less forward thrust than a jet does). To my knowledge, the lower set of wings doesn't have any special term - just 'lower' or sometimes 'secondary', depending on the speaker (actually, the only guy I knew who called the lower wings 'secondary' was a retired Air Force pilot who regarded the whole class of biplane aircraft as something akin to kiddie toys).

The plane would still have an autopilot, just to clarify things - in older aircraft like this one, the 'autopilot' switch would simply mechanically lock the controls into whatever setting they're in when the switch is flipped; any course, altitude, or speed changes have to be done manually. And, like with even modern aircraft (discounting anything currently in use or development by the soldier-boys), all take-offs and landings have to also be handled manually.

Something you might find useful - my Dad wasn't a pilot, but he was in the Army for a lengthy amount of time in the sixties and flew all over hell and back. When I was going through my 'all things flying' phase, he was fond of saying how taking off was the easy part, but landing was a bitch. He also said that landings were nothing more than controlled crashes, and he also reiterated the old flying adage, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good one."

You know, one of these days, I'm gonna see about taking flying lessons. All this plane chat's reignited my love of things with wings and propellers and whatnot. I know of a place not too far from here that offers them for ten grand (which isn't that expensive - you finish the program with a highly-marketable pilot's certification).

Date: 2009-11-04 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yes, that's what I meant. I thought it might be biplane, but then I wondered if that was a make of plane or something and not the general term....this is how little I know about airplanes, it's pathetic.

My Dad used to have his pilot's license, back when he was a volunteer fire-fighter in Northern Ontario...you had to get pilot's licenses for that, because of forest-fires and whatnot.

I like it when passengers applaud good landings. People don't do that so much anymore, I suppose. People used to applaud movies too. In German universities, students applaud when lecture is over. I think the world needs more applause.

Date: 2009-11-04 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
The world also needs more folk like yourself, who aren't afraid to admit when some area of their knowledge-base is lacking. It's kinda like me and medical crap - I may write about it, but at least I note down when I'm not entirely sure if something's right.

Date: 2009-11-04 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Ha, thanks. Yeah, I'm fully prepared to admit when I don't know something. I once spent about an hour researching Metallica, just so that I could write one particular line of dialog in my SPN/HP story. I don't like to be wrong. :-P

Date: 2009-11-07 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Another question for you:

Do you know anything about parachute flights? Or maybe just open doors on planes? I'm just wondering if they take off with the door open, or if they open it when in flight? I always thought that pressure changes made doors impossible to open mid-flight, but we've established that I know next to nothing about aviation.

Date: 2009-11-07 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
It depends entirely on how high up they're going before starting the jump and what sort of plane they're using - military jumps, for example, tend to happen from higher up than show-jumps (or for-fun jumps) and most military jumps happen from a plane equipped with a hydraulic jump-platform (when they don't happen from helicopters). As far as the beater plane discussed above is concerned...well, if it was used primarily for jumps, then the door would likely have been removed (because opening it at speed and altitude, though not impossible, is a bitch - think opening a car door while doing sixty MPH down the highway). Prop-powered aircraft go much slower than jets and jets are where you get into needing to maintain the cabin pressure; most prop-powered aircraft (including the beater from above) tend to have a max speed of about seventy to eighty MPH (dunno what that is in kilometers...um, about 130, I think). The max height on a chute-jump flight is dependent on the skill of the team doing the jumping (if I recall correctly, my granddad once told me that anything lower than 500 feet or higher than 5000 feet was best left to highly skilled professionals - he was in the Air Force - but this intel was given to me nearly twenty years ago, so I'm not wholly copacetic with it). And needing the door closed to maintain cabin integrity isn't an absolute necessity until you get up to about eight to ten thousand feet above sea-level, when the air gets real cold and real thin really quick.

Damn, is this making sense at all? I've been up waaaay too long at this point.

Date: 2009-11-07 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
That makes perfect sense! Thanks so much, that's exactly what I needed to know :-)

Man, if I ever get this novel published, I'm totally thanking you in the author's notes.

Date: 2009-11-08 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] auriliawestlake.livejournal.com
*sheepishly rubs the back of my neck*

Ya really don't gotta do that, ya know.

Date: 2009-11-03 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] duowolf.livejournal.com
That sort of mistake would throw me right out of a story. I'm usually pretty good at ignoring most stuff but getting facts wrong just kills me.

Date: 2009-11-03 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yeah, same here. Drives me nuts.

Date: 2009-11-03 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
Oh, I agree. Although it depends on how important it is. If it's one offhand mention that could easily be fixed, I tend to tell my brain to shut up because most of the time, it's really not worth letting it bug me (i.e. it's some random fic of dubious quality I'll probably forget in the next ten minutes. I put it in the same category some of the more egregious gun flubs (when I can tell, it's like a giant neon sign flashing DID NOT DO THE RESEARCH).

So that's the stuff that bugs me (as well as the 80s and 90s stuff mentioned) even though I try not to let it. Although for some of the continuity things I try not to think about it too much because too many fans do, if that makes sense.

Although I will say one thing. I think some of storyline errors (the demon things as you mention above, using salt for shot...which they really should have figured out sooner, as it actually exists in the real world. some of my neighbors keep some in case of bears) stem from the fact that there's a little bit of a problem there. It makes sense from a narrative point of view for the characters to not have known about that stuff from the get go so that the audience could learn along with them. It causes problems because in an in-story sense, it's hard to believe that they were as smart/experienced as hunting as the story establishes and yet some how were as new to everything as they were in season 1. So anyone trying to write about their pasts- even if for the show- faces the problem of either making them look like morons, or having continuity issues.


Though that does not really stop it from bugging me. Sigh.

Date: 2009-11-03 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
The salt-bullets are really the only thing I forgive, because I think they shouldn't have been new...like you said, they aren't THAT weird. I don't really see the other things as storyline errors.

I mean, not knowing WHAT killed their mum is actually believable...because it makes sense that John would be hunting EVERYTHING while searching for the thing with the right MO. Then, as soon as he finally leans what the heck it was (22 years later), he takes off single-mindedly after it, leaving Dean to continue Hunting everything else that is no longer worth John's time.

I also don't really see the boys as new to all Supernatural things. What they are is really really good at Hunting ghosts, weak poltergeists, banshees, black dogs, chupecabras, werewolves...things that they constantly mention on the show, but we never actually see them hunt (or we in the case of werewolves, they hunt seldomly). In my pre-series verse...John delegated the weaker things to the boys and took care of the tougher things himself, which is why the boys know OF the tough things, but they aren't experienced with them. As children, they probably only accompanied John on hunts that he knew they could handle, and Dean was probably only sent on solo hunts that were too easy for John to bother himself with.

But yeah, the salt-bullets should have been handled differently in the show. When I write pre-series stuff, I sort of get around it by saying that they use iron-bullets. It'd have the same effect of dispelling ghosts, is canon compliant, and still lets them be badasses with firearms.

But yeah, I'm more forgiving of some errors than others, but for some reason the knowledge of the demon thing irks me the most. They could be chatting on cellphones, while using computers at Starbucks, in 1989, just as long as no one mentions the YED. (ok...that MIGHT be an exaggeration, I'm sure those other things would still bug me :P )

Date: 2009-11-03 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
well...perhaps it was watching all the episodes at once last fall. But for example, their shock at Meg being a possessed girl kind of struck me as odd, you know, given that they'd already dealt with possession. Anyway. It's actually not that big of a thing, just something I notice in pre series fics where they end up fighting any number of creatures and I think 'wait, they didn't know about that in the show'.

Date: 2009-11-03 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Oh yeah...I had forgotten about that. That is definitely a storyline error. I mean, canonly, they dealt with their first demon in Phantom Traveller...and then for some reason a dozen episodes later that are completely new to the whole demon thing. Silly show. I don't mind when people correct THAT mistake.

But as far as pre-series fics go...if the boys are hunting it, then I prefer it when people stick to ghosts, poltergeists, werewolves, etc. If John is hunting it, then anything goes ('cept YED).

Date: 2009-11-03 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
It's not really that big of a thing. I emphasize the preseries stuff because that's what shows up in fic, but it's more the kind of stuff I think about in relation to the show's storytelling. It's not necessarily obvious, just something that I think is unintentionally implied by the fact that most of the exposition must either be delivered from one brother to another or to the both of them. They've gotten better about that as they've gone on (like with the ghouls last season, or just going really obscure). From a storytelling mechanics point of view, I wonder if it might have worked if they'd had the character of Jess live a bit longer before becoming the disposable woman. That might have messed up the story, but you know what I mean. Some sort of (even temporary) character who had to have everything explained to them. it's a cliche, but it's a cliche because it works. And it's not like TV often utilizes the first person narration...and it's not like it can use the third person omniscience the written word often uses to fill readers in.

Date: 2009-11-03 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yeah, I see what you're saying. There are a few storytelling problems in S1. I think they could have done it better even with just the two brothers, if they had just thought about it a little more. Like, instead of Sam remarking on the salt-bullets like he had never seen them before, he could have remarked that they used to be a different size/make/brand of salt...or whatever. I mean, there ARE ways around it without needing Jess around.

Date: 2009-11-03 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] claudiapriscus.livejournal.com
you're right. My dislike of the disposable woman trope was showing ;)

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