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Old 01-11-2019, 08:08 AM   #71
Icelander
 
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Default Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

One PC, Alice Talbot, moved to Houston two years ago to attend Rice Unicersity, where she's a graduate student in anthropology. Alice was born in 1994 and grew up in a fairly secular, if New Age-y and 'progressive' household in San Francisco. She attended UC Berkely until the end of 2016 and while well read and brilliant, she would not have extensive life-experience, as a shy, sheltered college kid who's read a lot more books than she's had wild nights.

Alice is an only child. Her mother is a kindergarten teacher at some exclusive child-care facility with terribly newfangled pedagogic theories and has a PhD either in education or devopmental psychology. Her father is an actuary who believes very strongly in leaving the messy complicated business of child-rearing to his wife, who is an accredited expert. His hugs always felt like he was vaguely uncomfortable that there was no way to explicitly limit liability for one who was, after all, not responsible for those matters of the joint household not neatly reducible to mathematical formulae.

Whether by nature or nurture, Alice is shy, reserved, private and somewhat mousy. She claims to be a lesbian, but in truth has not seriously dated anyone, male or female, since moving to Houston. It might even be that she has not been on a single date since her move, which is not all that surprising, as she's seldom the most attractive person in any group of three or more. Nor is she outgoing and apart from visiting the Penemue and joining a Vovinam dojo/gym at the suggestion of Mr. Alexandre, Alice has not made any deliberate attempts to socialize or make new friends.

What wil Alice have noticed about her new home that surprises her?

Living in the Rice Graduate Apartments, does she get any neighbours with ideas about Southern hospitality or are the other grad students there as likely to ignore her as she is to forget their existence?

Do strangers strike up conversations in university buildings, book stores, cafes or libraries, not in order to chat up a college-age female with all her limbs and no obvious deformities, but actually to be friendly, invite her to church or find out about her life?

Basically, what's it like to live in Houston if you grew up in California?
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:44 AM   #72
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I mostly picked Tallahassee because I liked the sound of the name, it seemed appropriately located and because Bo Johnson is meant to be from the northern Florida of rednecks, gators and strong accents, not the southerly*, tourist and retirement community parts.

*But not at all Southern.
Yeah, Tallahassee is about 30 minute drive from the ocean, and the shore in question is swamp and wetland, not beach. So Pensacola is probably a better bet. It's right next to Mobile, Alabama, so pretty Southern. Or any other small beach town.

Did you consider the Everglades?

As regards what position he'd play on a football team... unless your players are big into American football, just make him a linebacker. Or he could be a bit of an iconoclast and play baseball. Maybe he had a shot at the minor leagues but hurt his pitching arm in a boating accident just before the scout showed up, etc... actually, if he was looking at becoming a SEAL early in high school, he might have focused on stuff like cross-country running and swim team instead of football. Or tried to go multi-sport as much as possible.

Did his parents go through college? If not, and if they made their own fortunes their own way, they might consider college unnecessary or even undesirable, depending on the college. Maybe Dad got drafted for 'nam, found out he was good at it, and served in the brown water navy. Back in the States, he starts up a business as an outfitter and guide for wealthy sportsmen, ends up selling fast bass boats and deep sea fishing rigs on the side. Smart, canny, not particularly book-learned, and with a bit of contempt for fancy-schmancy college folks with their expensive, useless degrees.

It's Uncle Sam. Uncle Tom is completely different.

One thing I forgot to mention: Florida State has a satellite campus in the Republic of Panama. I'd be surprised if other american universities didn't have similar throughout the Caribbean and Central America.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:46 AM   #73
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Default Re: Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

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Basically, what's it like to live in Houston if you grew up in California?
I can only give you minor impressions, as I've visited but never lived there. C and I went to Dallas, for a fannish event and to visit her brother and his family. The thing that immediately struck us was the climate; Dallas was having Gulf weather than weekend (I believe Houston has it almost all the time!) and the air felt not just hot but heavy from the humidity, in a way that's rare in California.

Christianity (in Texas, mainly flavors of Baptist in the Anglo population) seems to be integrated into daily life in a way that's much less common in California, though not unknown.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:52 AM   #74
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

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Food:

Possum is edible, but just barely. As my papaw used to say, "It's kinee slick."

Your grandfather is your "papaw" and your grandmother is your "mamaw." Your aunt is always your "aint" and never your "Ahnt."

In southeastern Kentucky, if you put sugar in your cornbread, there's somethin' wrong with you. Bits of crumbled bacon on the other hand, is dam' fine eatin'.

Pinto beans are made into a soup with a thick broth, usually with plenty of salt, pepper, rosemary and bacon (more salt) or hamhocks (ditto). The beans are never mashed and made into refried beans. They're eaten in a bowl with a big chunk of cornbread crumbled up in 'em. That's why they're called "soup-beans."

For dessert, crumble up a slab of cornbread in a glass of milk. Please note, cornbread frequently comes in "slabs," though "slices" are acceptable. Pie, on the other hand, comes in "slices" and "pieces," as does cake, but neither of those ever comes in "slabs" except as a joke or a compliment to the cook ("I'll take a big ol' slab o' that cake." "Oo, you musta liked it, theyun! Hyerr y'go! Y'wont some ahs-cream with thayut?")

Old ladies like squash. Everybody else puts up with it, 'cause they know it's good for you, especially alongside cornbread and green beans and ham. There's plenty of it, because the old ladies still plant this way:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_S...agriculture%29

Another word about Appalachian agriculture. A lot of the families their have seed strains, especially for green beans, sweet corn and squash, that has existed for generations. The seeds get divided up amongst the younger family members who stay in the area (which is a surprisingly large number of them, given the widespread poverty), so they can plant 'em and do some "cannin'" (see below). The quality of these family strains is almost universally superb in taste, but usually yield less than commercial varieties.

Mason jars get used for "cannin'" all kinds of things. "Cannin'" occupies a lot of time, starting in about July, and it continues until October. A basement full of "cannin'" is evidence of a hard-workin', well-prepared family, and those who can do it well and consistently are highly respected -- especially since they have to spend long hours in a brutally hot kitchen.

You eat tender young leaves of poke salad, after boiling them at least three times. Avoid any leaves with red in 'em, and do not eat the berries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytolacca_americana

Blackberries grow wild, and huge thickets of them start in creek-bottoms on cleared property. A possible summertime occupation for kids growin' up in the rural southeast is to take a one-gallon plastic milk jug, and cut out a triangular section (the spout and a section of the front) big enough to easily admit a hand. Take six of those down to the blackberry bushes, work your way into 'em, and fill the jugs.

On a late summer afternoon, boys and girls aged 12-15 can be seen walking along the side of the road, two to three jugs in each hand. They'll sell you a blackberry jug for ten bucks or so, but will negotiate. An enterprising youngster can make several hundred dollars in a summer, and keep his or her neighbors well supplied. Blackberries get used for cobbler or for "cannin'" as jelly.

Local hazards:

Copperheads:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agkistrodon_contortrix

Cottonmouths are worse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agkistrodon_piscivorus

Snappin' turtles is good eatin', but they'll take finger or toe, if you ain't careful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Snapping_Turtle

Poison Oak is everywhere (as is poison ivy, but everybody knows about that one):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_pubescens
Some of the stories my dad told me about Maupin are a little like that. Some things are rural things rather then Southern per se. They used to eat porcupine when they could get it and I understand they are liked in the South. From what I've heard (or "heard tell" to get into the spirit), the things are so hubristically confident that no one will dare their needles they get stupid and it is easy to whack one with a baseball bat and turn it over to get at the belly.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:19 PM   #75
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

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All of them. It's the American South. I'm only barely kidding. Exceptions will generally be schools where academic matters are very, very important. State champs 2002.
Depends on where in the South you are. The Deep South is more dedicated to football, while the Upper South is more about basketball. Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina in particular, especially in regards to college sports.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:24 PM   #76
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Default Re: Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

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I can only give you minor impressions, as I've visited but never lived there. C and I went to Dallas, for a fannish event and to visit her brother and his family. The thing that immediately struck us was the climate; Dallas was having Gulf weather than weekend (I believe Houston has it almost all the time!) and the air felt not just hot but heavy from the humidity, in a way that's rare in California.
Just about everywhere I have gone in the US, aside from the East Coast and Texas, I have heard warnings about how to handle the heat in what - to me - was just passably warm. It's fun/alarming to see people from elsewhere trying to handle 90+ degrees F and 90+% humidity.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:38 PM   #77
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Default Re: Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

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Just about everywhere I have gone in the US, aside from the East Coast and Texas, I have heard warnings about how to handle the heat in what - to me - was just passably warm. It's fun/alarming to see people from elsewhere trying to handle 90+ degrees F and 90+% humidity.
Fortunately, we started play at the same date as the first session. It's now the 28th of December 2018 in play.

This enables people who aren't actually locals* to survive. The first day was about 60-65 F. It's colder 'today', just over 50 F in the morning, rising to about 60 F in early afternoon.

I expect that summers on the Gulf Coast will be pretty hard to survive for the PCs who aren't locals. Caribbean might be hot, but will tend to have more fresh breezes, less humidity and overall nicer weather. Or so I'm led to believe.

My personal experience is that New York is a hell furnace in summers and Washington DC is somehow even worse. 100+F and 100% humidity was my first experience of DC.

*And who mostly have Temperature Tolerance.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:55 PM   #78
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Default Re: Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

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Just about everywhere I have gone in the US, aside from the East Coast and Texas, I have heard warnings about how to handle the heat in what - to me - was just passably warm. It's fun/alarming to see people from elsewhere trying to handle 90+ degrees F and 90+% humidity.
Here in Riverside, summer days can get above 100F; we've had some that were above 110F. Just about every apartment has air conditioning. It's usually dry or moderate humidity, but at that temperature it doesn't help much. Before we moved here, we thought anything above 90F was hot.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:27 PM   #79
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Default Re: A-way down South in Dixie

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Yeah, Tallahassee is about 30 minute drive from the ocean, and the shore in question is swamp and wetland, not beach. So Pensacola is probably a better bet. It's right next to Mobile, Alabama, so pretty Southern. Or any other small beach town.
Yeah, I think that location will about do me.

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
Did you consider the Everglades?
Briefly, but one PC has a family member there and one future adventure might be set there, so I decided I wanted to feature another part of Florida through Bo Johnson's roots.

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
As regards what position he'd play on a football team... unless your players are big into American football, just make him a linebacker. Or he could be a bit of an iconoclast and play baseball. Maybe he had a shot at the minor leagues but hurt his pitching arm in a boating accident just before the scout showed up, etc... actually, if he was looking at becoming a SEAL early in high school, he might have focused on stuff like cross-country running and swim team instead of football. Or tried to go multi-sport as much as possible.
My players watch the Super Bowl with me and that is the extent of their American football interest. Well, if the games weren't so late, they would probably watch more, but I can't say that they are connoisseurs of the sport.

I use every opportunity to instruct, however, if only to make watching the Super Bowl more interesting for them.

I imagine that Bo did pretty much every adrenaline-charged sport available in a beach town. Football just happened to be the one where a scholarship for exceptional performance was most realistic in the area he's from. Or so I assumed.

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Did his parents go through college? If not, and if they made their own fortunes their own way, they might consider college unnecessary or even undesirable, depending on the college. Maybe Dad got drafted for 'nam, found out he was good at it, and served in the brown water navy. Back in the States, he starts up a business as an outfitter and guide for wealthy sportsmen, ends up selling fast bass boats and deep sea fishing rigs on the side. Smart, canny, not particularly book-learned, and with a bit of contempt for fancy-schmancy college folks with their expensive, useless degrees.
Let's call Dad retired Navy without a degree when he went in, but with at least an associate degree by now, maybe as a mechanic or something, maybe in business (to run his own), and mom with a four year degree, working as a teacher or secretary. Hell, probably working as the office manager and bookkeeper of Dad's business.

Both want their smart, if headstrong and reckless, son to achieve more in life than they have. The fact that Bo could probably have gotten at least a partial scholarship, maybe even a full ride, to a good college if he'd elected to apply himself exclusively to that in his senior year, probably rankles a bit with his father. Even if most people who go to even the best football schools never play in the NFL, going to Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU or UGA on a football scholarship and coming out with an engineering or business degree or something, let alone a law degree afterwards, means a lifetime of connections and a very good head start to a nice career.

Sound cliched and as if an alien were trying to mimic you 'Hoo-man, Southern Hoo-man, Floridan species', or something that could ring true for an actual family in the Florida panhandle?

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It's Uncle Sam. Uncle Tom is completely different.
I can't believe I did that.

Granted, I did receive a work call just as I was writing this and I was working on several emails, but still, that's not a typo, that's a pretty major mental error.

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One thing I forgot to mention: Florida State has a satellite campus in the Republic of Panama. I'd be surprised if other american universities didn't have similar throughout the Caribbean and Central America.
That's cool and exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for in the 'Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast' thread.

I'm still going to need several academic consultants, sources, advisers, briefing officers and mission specialists for every adventure, which means that I need a steady supply of people affiliated with universities that have influence in the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:28 PM   #80
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Default Re: Houston as it Appears to West Coast Folks?

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… Washington DC is somehow even worse. 100+F and 100% humidity was my first experience of DC.
Before air-conditioning became commonplace, the UK Foreign Office regarded Washington DC as a tropical location.

The places in the US I have visited are Boston and Portland. Those have quite acceptable climates, in winter.
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