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What do folks in England eat for breakfast? How do you milk a giraffe? What types of cases go to the Supreme Court? Can you break a car window with a thermos? Use this Q & A forum to help supply your characters, plots, and settings with a dose of reality. Someone, somewhere, has the answer.
Posted: 6/7/2015 3:17 PM PDT
I live in California, specifically, the Bay Area. Not exactly sure what kind of information you're looking for for your book, but if you need some extra info that I didn't include here, you can go ahead and PM me and I'll see what I can do.
The Bay Area is quite a large part of the state. For me, since I've lived here all my life, I consider the Bay Area to be anywhere that is reachable on the local transit system, which we call BART. To the west is San Francisco - you probably might have heard some stuff about SF, but let's just say that it's crowded and rather expensive, and cold most of the year. It's basically the West Coast's New York - expensive, crowded, yet an urban mecha of sorts. Everyone wants to live and/or work there, but it's not too affordable. A lot of people who work in San Francisco actually commute from the East Bay via BART.
South of San Francisco is the airport, San Mateo, Daly City (which is technically a separate city than SF), Millbrae (not the same city as SF), San Bruno, etc. People live here, but there isn't much that goes on here - most of the time, the "good stuff" that happens in San Francisco is north of Daly City. For example, the nearest thing to a "tourist attraction" in Daly City is the local In-n-Out. Anything "good" is north of SF State campus. (although I do have a friend in Pacifica who runs a killer bakery)
Right across the Bay Bridge to the east is Oakland. Young people, mostly high school and college kids, view Oakland and San Francisco as having a rivalry of sorts - they have the Giants, we have the A's, they've got the 49ers, we've got the Raiders. Although the Golden Gate Bridge is more iconic in terms of creating a way of crossing the bay, the Bay Bridge is actually more popular for going to San Francisco most of the time.
Oakland is actually mostly an urban area - the suburbs for us would be in the hills. The flatlands are where you'd find downtown, including Lake Merritt, which is considered the "center" of Oakland, and some urban residential areas surrounding the lake. The hills are basically the suburbs - nothing much up there except houses upon houses. Oh, and some pretty good hiking trails. Also considered a part of Oakland is Montclair, which used to be a bustling "mini-town," but now is mostly full of retired folks. The only young people that go to Montclair anymore are the students from Montera Middle School, which is a middle school in the hills about two minutes' walk away from Montclair Village. Usually, you'll find them in Montclair after school, getting ice cream at Tutti Frutti and hanging out and just killing time. The most active part of Oakland is the Temescal district and the areas around Lake Merritt, where we have food trucks, art galleries, and "First Friday," which is basically a street fair that happens on the first Friday of every month.
Directly north of Oakland is San Leandro - nothing much here, it's mostly residential area. Even the people who live in San Leandro usually come down to Oakland for events and things.
Alameda is a small island next to Oakland, accessible by bridge from the mainland. People do live on Alameda, and there are restaurants and things there, as well, but nothing of note. Not many young people live in Alameda.
Berkeley is another city in the Bay Area where lots of young folks live - it's often considered the most hipster of all the different cities in the area. A nickname that we non-Berkeley residents have for it is "Berzerkeley." Weird stuff goes down in Berkeley, but there's also tons of events going on over there, and Cal is always hosting some sort of sports game or performance of some kind.
The BART system reaches all the way north to Richmond. There are some areas, such as the North Bay, that are technically part of the Bay Area, but since there is no way to get to the North Bay by public transit, North Bay residents don't often mingle with us southern folk. Farther east is Richmond - both Fremont and Richmond are home to young people, but I don't ever recall needing to go to Fremont or Richmond for any reason. Mostly it's suburbia.
Way way way farther west is Castro Valley, Dublin, and Pleasanton. It's basically hick town - suburbs galore. There is basically no one I know who would willingly go out to Castro Valley or Pleasanton unless they had to - I went to Pleasanton one time to visit a friend who lives out there, and there was NOTHING out there, only a Wal-Mart and a Fuddrucker's.
Southeast is Fremont - see above for my description of Fremont. Nothing out there but suburbia.
Mostly, young people in my area (I'm assuming you mean high-school aged kids) like to do a lot of the usual stuff. A big part of Bay Area culture is the food culture that is ever present here - I like to say that you can find twelve different cuisines on the same block. Food trucks (especially taco trucks), pop-up restaurants, etc. are super-popular here. Because we have so many different people from so many different areas, a lot of immigrants set up restaurants with the traditional food from their home country, and we pride ourselves on having genuine, traditional ethnic cuisines. Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian, Mexican, any cuisine you could ever imagine is available here. We even know the difference between South Indian and North Indian food.
Oh, and one last thing. We Bay Area residents have a continuous rivalry with Socal (aka Southern California). Often, folks here will ask if you're from Norcal or Socal. Socal is basically L.A. and anything south of that. Norcal is basically anything north of L.A. The "North/South" debate is pretty big over here, especially among younger people, mainly the 20-something crowd. And yes, we do say "hella" a lot, but only in front of Socal people when we want to shock them.
I don't know if I did a very good job answering your questions (I feel like my description was too vague), so if there's anything you want to know, feel free to message me and ask.
Posted: 10/26/2010 9:57 AM PDT
I'm from Texas, and with this state being so large, it's best if you get more people from different parts of the state to chime in.
I live in a suburban area of N. Fort Worth that's within a few miles of three bordering suberbs. It gets pretty hot in the summers, but we don't suffer the humidity Houston does. Our winters are usually mild. The area I live in is a growing one. The upper-middle class houses are less than 15 years old. Some of the lower-middle class to middle class neighborhoods were built in the 70s and 80s. Also, since the area I live in used to be predominately farm land, there is an old farm house on the edge of my neighborhood, and a few others are interspersed through the area. On the business side, there is a similar dichotomy. The popular chain stores like Khol's, Home Depot, Pier One, etc. are grouped together along with chain restaurants, but further south on the same busy street are a lot of older, family owned businesses- bar-b-que restaurant, garage door mechanic, a beer store made out of an old barn, etc.
As to the kids, my daughter is in 8th grade, and she doesn't just mix with kids from her school, but she hangs out at the roller skating rink almost every Friday with kids from other neighboring school districts. Emo is out of fashion here (I think it is just about everywhere). Scene is not as popular here, but my daughter dresses Scene and stands out from most of the other kids because of it. A lot of kids are into sports. The neighborhoods are fairly safe, and many of them (mine included) have parks, which allows kids to have plenty of freedom to run with their peers.
It would be helpul if you asked specific questions for us to answer, but what I have above is a general gist of life where I live.
Posted: 8/20/2010 7:23 PM PDT
If you are still working on this project, I have information about Texas. I have lived in Central and East Texas for my entire life. And I can tell you that it's not as backward as some people might think. Austin, for example, is a great cultural epicenter for the state. It's the music/movie scene (actually regarded as the "Live Music Capital of the World," at least according to their website ;))
Anyway, most of the major cities--Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston--are considered to vote liberal while the suburbs vote conservative. Where I live, out in the country, is conservative as far as the eye can see. Most rural areas are that way. Enough about politics...
I've spent most of my years in a small community. I could give some more specific details about local landmarks/history and such, but I'd prefer not to do so on a public forum. If all else fails, the internet is a wonderful place for information. And I've found Wikipedia to be a great starting place. (Even some of my professors will grudgingly admit that.)
There is a good mix of personalities, and around college areas, nationalities in Texas. Of course, you've got the standard rednecks...but there's also roughnecks, hippies, skateboarders, goths, hellraisers, bikers, preppies, "vamps," white-trash, blue-collar, no-collar, farmers, millionaires, ex-presidents, authors, etc. You get the picture. Imagine kids from New Jersey but with Texan accents. (If you write dialogue for your project, you might want to listen to each states' distinctive take on the English language).
Um, as a sidenote, sometimes people do wear cowboy boots and hats. But not everyone, and not all the time. And yes, occasionally I do see people riding horses up and down the street. Of course, there are several ranches out here, too. Random fact: many people here seem to love ice tea, Dr. Pepper, and/or Coca-Cola. I myself love sweet tea and Coke.
A couple major things you need to keep in mind if you choose to write about Texas, and East Texas in particular, is 1) Fall is Football and 2) Texas has very diverse geographic regions. Not everywhere is desert, cactus, and tumbleweed. In fact, there are seven, including the Piney Woods, Hill Country, and Gulf Coast.
The Texas Monthly is a magazine based in Austin, Texas. I've found some great articles about the state and I love their style of writing. It might be a good resource for you, so I've mentioned it.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me and I'll try to answer as best I can.
Posted: 7/10/2010 10:46 AM PDT
Thank you soo much!!
I should be updating the list with this information in a few days, mmkays? Thank you <3
Posted: 6/20/2010 1:58 AM PDT
I'm from Florida :)
I have a lot of ideas for this project. (I'm gonna work on this more and post here a format that can be applied to all the States).
I am no expert in any-thing, more of a well-round/generalist, big-picture viewer.
Fast with vision and mission. Very slow with Gestion.
What I'm good at: Solving problems, coming up with ideas for the problems. Strategic Thinking.
Classifying and Organizing.
Due to my nomad nature I know more or less about:
1. South Florida: Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami.
2. Religion: Catholic/Agnostic/Atheist/Jewish
3. Culture: African American/ Jewish/ White/ Native Americans/ Indians/ Japanese/ Chinese/ Hispanics/ Russians/ Italians/ Germans, etc.
As the whole picture goes it seems that this project Purpose and Philosophy is that with good deeds we take away the misery and separation.
Mission: To unite, establish cooperation, recover the economy, and build bridges across extremes.
Vision: Uprising the Economy and creating a better future.
Focus: On the Good. Golden Eye.
Mute and Blindness: Bad. Evil Eye.
A sort of "The Prince and the Beggard" thing.
Poor learns from Rich how to make investments, make effective decisions, and plans.
Rich learns from Poor how to make sacrifices, how to care for people no matter what, how to be more compassionate, how small things and little details make you happy, and what are the priorities in life.
Senior teaches minor about the Past, what they did during the 1930s Great Depression. Most of the best companies today were created at that time; what is to be a Citizen, Honor and Pride to serve the Nation. Because they have experience and wisdom they can identify opportunities when they see them (but they probably they go with their grandchildren how to do it), Senior tells stories of the Past
Minor helps Senior with typing stories into the computer (he will learn how to read the handwriting of his/her ancestors) and teaches him how to use the latest technology; Grandpas play video games with them.
won't be very interested in starting up a new company unless
Posted: 6/19/2010 11:54 AM PDT
I'm from Montana :) The largest city here is 100,000 people, but I live in a town of about 30,000. It's just large enough to have some things going on, but not small enough to be boring. About 8 miles away is where a go to school, and that is a town of about 6,000 people. My town has three large ski resorts within 60 minutes of main street, and is a college town. In fact, kids come to Montana State JUST to ski. The school I attend does have a problem with drugs, mostly weed. I know a few kids who do shrooms, but its not a big culture-aspect of Montana. I'd say if you were to pick a season to set the chapter in, go with winter. As the joke goes, there are two seasons in Montana: winter, and construction :) Winter is when the ski bums are out in full bloom, and people start complaining about the weather at -10 degrees. That's the kind of people we are, I guess.
Hope this helped, I have more information if I could get some specific questions. Also, is this story from the perspective of the WEbooker would volunteered the info? For example would the character in the story experience a day that I would?
Posted: 5/27/2010 10:38 AM PDT
I have lived in Pittsburgh my whole life. However, Pennsylvania is a long state and there are a lot of differences between the west side and the east side. I can really only give personal testimony about the western half - you'd have to find someone from Philadelphia to get the other side. (Of course, Philly has a bunch of interesting history because of the revolution and all that. Liberty Bell, etc, etc...) You can find out some information about PA online. Right through the middle of PA runs the Appalachian Mountains. So, on one side you have Pittsburgh, and on the other you have Philly and the NYC surrounding areas. In the center of the state are a lot of mountains, farms, etc. Harrisburg (state capital), Hershey (yes, like the chocolate), and State College (Penn State Univ) are all in the middle. I don't know much about them, but they might be something you might want to look up. Lake Erie is on the top of the state. NY, OH, WV, MD, DE, and NJ surround us.
Now, as for Pittsburgh: http://www.pittsburgh.net. I'll just give you some side notes, but if you want more let me know.
Transportation: From all of those rivers we have a ton of bridges (most bridges in the world, I believe). Because of the mountains/hills we have several tunnels. We have a good bus system, but not a very far reaching subway system. Most people get around by car. We have a lot of traffic (not as bad as the big cities), and our roads are reeeeaaallllyyyy bad. I have seen pot holes so big that they almost swallowed a bus. We still have a few brick roads. It was funny that during the G20 we fixed the roads that Obama would be on...
Sports: You cannot mention Pittsburgh without mentioning the sports. Steelers, Penguins, *cough* Pirates... we are a crazy sports town. The college kids destroyed two bus shelters when the Steelers won superbowl #6. We are insane.
The most important thing about Pittsburgh is our heritage. We have many cultures that mix together to make such a unique combination. And, if you are going to set a story here, you need to learn Pittsburghese. Yes, we have our own language.
We have a lot here in a small package. I mean, for all of the things that Pittsburgh has (29 colleges, 4 sports teams, 4 or so museums) you would think that we would be a huge city. I <3 Pittsburgh. :)
Posted: 5/23/2010 6:37 AM PDT
The states [how much information I have]
Arizona [very little]
Idaho [about 3/4]
New Hampshire [none]
New Jersey [All]
New Mexico [none]
New York [very little]
North Carolina [none]
North Dakota [none]
Rhode Island [none]
South Carolina [none]
South Dakota [none]
West Virginia [none]
Posted: 5/23/2010 6:24 AM PDT
Thank you, everyone <3 I'm going to try and get some more information around the internet, as well. I -really- want to go to the states for a short time and experience all of this for myself, but I'm not old enough to travel around--not that the economy would allow me to--and I have schooling I need to pay attention to. I'm sorry for not coming back to this thread for a while. I figured that I'd just let it sit and accumulate (since WEbook forums are very slow), but I ended up forgetting xD Thank you soo much! I'm going to put up a list of the states I have/need in a moment.
Posted: 8/21/2009 4:15 PM PDT
Hey! I love in Boise, Idaho! here is a website all about Idaho http://www.accessidaho.org/ ! Idaho is very very "close" We are all very curious, and we all love our coffee and potatoes! Well mostly all! Adults and children dont often hang out together, but it isnt like "Speak only when your spoken to" Kids are very independent. Alot of Idahoins like to hunt, but most ALL love to travel. Idaho is desert. There isnt much too see. Our Capitol building and the few things such as the zoo, and our Birds of Prey, are really the only things people MIGHT come to see. We have lakes and rivers, but no ocean. Many Idahoins will go over to Oregon just to see the Ocean. Its very common, especially in Boise! Because its dessert though, there are lots of places to do ATVs Motorcycles and things like that. lots of hills and fun places to camp if you dont want too wet. There are alot of places by rivers, but are still dry! People always ask me "Whats something kids say alot in idaho?" There are not may "phrases" that we say. which is different. We dont have many gangster type people, alothough there are plenty. If you are an inmate or a felon. The Ada County Jail here in Boise is where you go! The Supreme court for Idaho is located here in Boise, and so we get all the murderers and even the little guys. Everyone who is tried in Idaho comes Bosie. Now, I didnt really tell you too much about culture, but thats becuase, its hard to pin point. All I can do is tell what we arent. We dont think we have any accent. like those in Texas or the south. We dont say Yall and things like that. Idaho came after the civil war, so we dont have many black people either. You dont see very many at all in Boise or Idaho, so that changes the culture a little bit as well. We are mostly all Republican and we are not a "Mormon" state, although we are right next to Utah so we have alot in some areas. I hope you are not looking at this and saying "What a racist!" because I am not trying to be racist at all. I am not trying to point out different people or anything like that, I am just syaing different people create different culture! :D I hope this has helped!
Posted: 7/27/2009 4:08 PM PDT
Thank you all for your help ^.^ With Michigan, I don't care--post what's in your area. That's what I'm looking for.
Everyone that posted, I have a question--could you ---please--- post the name of the city that what you said applies to the most? What I need are Names and Descriptions, not just a little bit of insight.
Again, thank you all sooo much ^.^ As soon as I get this all together, I shall go to work on this book!
Posted: 7/17/2009 1:48 AM PDT
Michigan is a difficult state to do, I think. Because jazzyatthedisco presents a perfectly valid picture of life in southeastern Michigan, but in Northern Michigan where I live it's completely different. Our economy relies on tourists rather than the auto factories, so while we're struggling a bit it's just not that bad. There are no ghettos in northern Michigan. Lots of small businesses catering to the tourists and hunters. We have lots of wildlife, hiking trails, forests, lakes, fishing, hunting, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. There are many small towns. In the summer in Traverse City, a small-medium city on the shore of Lake Michigan, we have the week long world famous Cherry Fest, as well as the Traverse City Film Festival. There's a large hippie/artsy community and in the Traverse City area leans predominantly liberal. Michael Moore visits a lot and acts like a jackass.
A kid growing up in this area can expect to go to either West or Central High School, or one of the many smaller charter, private, college prep, remedial, and Christian schools in the area. Or they can go to Interlochen Arts Academy, an extremely famous arts high school for rich and talented children. Norah Jones, among others, have gone there. The prevailing style is probably prep/athletic and hippie. We have a good local music scene. Michigan does have a high rate of obesity compared to the other states, but outdoor, athletic activities are pretty popular around here. In the summer we have good weather, usually between 85-70 degrees. In the winter we usually have our first snow in late October and it doesn't completely leave until March or April. Snow depths in winter range from one foot to four feet, depending on location and drifting and whatnot. It usually snows nearly every day, at least a few times a week, and the sky is constantly cloudy. A sunny, cloudless day is rare and very much appreciated!
A lot of people smoke/grow marijuana. I'm not aware of any harder drug problem. We have a few problems with coke, not much with meth. More of a problem with silly wannabe hippies and their lsd, e, and shrooms but they're more party drugs than hard-core user drugs. It's easier to get weed than it is to get alcohol for an underage kid.
Hmm. This is really a brief overview. I wouldn't mind giving you more information if you want it, just PM me and tell me exactly what you want.
Hope your project goes well.
Posted: 7/14/2009 5:05 PM PDT
I live in Michigan, near Detroit. The economy around here is so awful that there are literally no family owned businesses, nor have I ever seen one in the lower peninsula. In fact, what businesses ther are generally aren't visited too much. Most of the houses and buildings are either rundown, empty, or both. Most of the kids around get into drugs or something of sort at an early age, and hardly anybody goes to college. The high school I attended last year is actually being taken over by the state because the kids low grades and test scores. I pretty much live in the ghetto, which describes the vast majority of southeast Michigan, with little exception. Everybody around here is broke. The hip hop scene as well as some goths are prevalent around here. The adults are generally stupid rednecks. Either that or drugdealers. Or both. I'm not giving you a map of where I live, that would be creepy.
Posted: 7/9/2009 7:36 AM PDT
I live in the mid-Hudson Valley area of NY, about halfway between NYC and Albany.
The area is predominantly white. There is a small Greek community and a small German community in the area. There is a growing Mexican population. You will find Mexicans working in most fast food restaurants and bussing tables at a number of restaurants. Every morning, you can drive into the city of Poughkeepsie and pick up some Mexican workers for day labor.
Most of the families in this area are middle to upper-middle class. The schools in the area have pretty good reputations. A high percentage of the parents are college educated and a high percentage of high school graduates go on to college. There are three good colleges in the area - Vassar College, Marist College and Dutchess Community College. While most people will turn their noses up at a community college, DCC is nationally recognized as being an excellent community college and is a popular choice as a means of saving a ton of money on the first two years of college.
Both parents usually work. A lot of parents (but not all) give their kids whatever they want - car, spending money, brand-name clothing. There is a startling lack of accountability in the kids in this area.
A lot of people commute to NYC. There is a definite split between the people who grew up in this area vs. the people who moved up here from Westchester and NYC. People who have lived here all their lives correctly refer to the area as Downstate NY. The people who moved up here from NYC erroneously think anything north of NYC is Upstate NY. A lot of locals resent what has happened to the area because of the influx of city people.
The people who moved to Dutchess County over the last few years because it was so open are now complaining that new people shouldn't be allowed to move up here because it's getting too crowded. Driving has become much more hazardous because of the transplanted NYC drivers. They frequently run red lights, tailgate, and cut in and out of traffic.
Because of the geographic spread in the area, kids need cars to get anywhere. Riding a bike anywhere is difficult. Roads are hilly, winding, and have minimal shoulder space. Walking is not feasible. The local mall has a rule that no one under age 18 can be without a parent or guardian on Fridays or Saturdays after 4:00 p.m.
Soccer is very popular - both intertown and travel. High school sports are also very popular and competetive.
That's all I can think of right now - I will update this if anything else comes to me. Good luck with your project!
Posted: 7/6/2009 12:51 PM PDT
I live in Ohio.
Generally, you eithier live in the extreme industralized cities, rural farm land, or a quiet suburb. I live around all three, so I can easily tell you a little bit of each area.
Cities-LOTS of factories and locomotives. Gangs are also common. People are usually suspicious of each other(I live in a bad city, it has insane crime rates)and crime is a common thing. The city I live near is called Lima and it has a lot of crime and is almost a completely ghetto city. Lots of drugs in the really big cities as well.
Suburb-Generally quiet, though you'll get a laugh at the rich white kids trying to be bad by doing drugs and wearing designer clothes that are designed to look ripped. :P Racism is way to common in all areas of Ohio, but suburbs are especially bad.
Rural farm land-it's rural farm land. A farm. In the middle of nowhere. I don't think you'll have to much of a problem thinking about a farming kid's life lol
Hope I helped a bit. A note though-Ohio is a very religious state. Forgot to mention that.
Have fun with your project, btw. :D
Posted: 6/20/2009 9:57 AM PDT
Well, I think I can help you with Arizona. I live in a small town........So, we have a few small business around here.
It's not as hot as others would think it was where I live. If you need help, please message me. I can tell you only about where I live. It's an old town. It used to be a senior only town, but now they accept everyone.
Weather- Usually hot. Can reach up to 115, where I live the lowest temp. is around 40 or 30 degrees fahrenheit.
The decor in front of people's yards are usually either rocks or grass.
I've got to go, messaage me if you have more questions.
Posted: 6/18/2009 2:50 PM PDT
Readers and Fellow Writers:
As an easy project that I could work on-and-off of, I came up with a quick idea for a collection novel. The main idea of it is to have a short-story or so based on life in each and every state in the United States of America. I'm not sure what I want to name this, but I'll probably name it after the song that inspired me, Kids in America by Cascada.
The main idea is to talk of the varieties of culture in the states, but mostly about how kids in America live thier daily lives. That means the sadness, happiness, and irony of growing up in our strange states. There will be an introduction with myself as the main character narrator that goes with the beginning of the song it's inspired by. Then, each story about the states will come in alphabetical order. Finally, there will be a few long ending "Chapters"-ish things where all of the characters from every story meet and share their experiences with eachother, eventually joining together to fight against something that I have not yet decided on.
Now, for my request. I know all about the culture, lifes, names, ethnic groups, etc. etc. of children in my area of New Jersey, for that is where I live, as well as an area to work with that I have memorized by heart. What I need, though, is a good description/link to a map of an area in each state, as well as some detailed information about the people and places there.
If you live in America, then it should be easy to describe an area that you live in, as well as the kids and adults in your area (Mainly the kids and owners of frequently visited small businesses). Please, please, please, pleaseeeeeee help me out. Learning about the culture of an area is nearly impossible to find on the internet or in a book, for it is no where near as useful as the description of an insider. If you can help, then please do. Feel free to re-eiterate the state of another if it is in a different area, for I would like to get as much information as I can.
I will be eternally greatful to anyone who can supply me with some helpful and useful information, as well as any support, feedback, opinions, or suggestions for and/or about my plot.
PS: I'd like to give thanks and credit to everyone who gives me information, so please sign your posts with a name that you would like me to use. You can sigh with "PM" if you'd like to message me a name so it is not posted in a public forum. When I say "use", I mean that I'd like to put in in a "Thank You!"/"(What were those things called in the beginning of books? I think it started with a D...)" page in the manuscript, once it is finished.
Thank you for your time~