Saturday, December 08, 2007

Not Easy Being Green

The holiday season is definitely almost upon us. I can tell this because it's that time of year where my kitchen looks like a disaster as my wife bakes endless dozens of cookies and soon there's not even any dirty counter space to set dishes on. Then I get freaked out by the kitchen disaster and tell her I hate Christmas, and then we get in a big argument, and I wind up hating the sight, smell, and taste of cookies for months to come. Ah, tradition…my new favorite is when the sleet and chilly rain turn my yard into mud and my dog wants to go outside every five minutes so he can get muddy and make me stand in the rain.

Yesterday, Clarence Andrews was having a very bad couple of days, fighting people, then fighting some more, then fighting invisible rabbits…it just was not going well. Meanwhile, Amy was having a ball doing her own thing since Clarence insisted on being a grouch. Now, I wasn't going to reveal this before, but there is a connection between Amy Andrews and Captain Hero…they are one and the same (I think I just heard a collective gasp of amazement there). Well, Amy's job as Captain Hero may require her to rough up a no-good-doer every now and then, but that doesn't mean she really enjoys it. During one of her visits to Marty's I witnessed her making nice with Spruce Hartman, who she made cry during the Captain Hero post.

Amy: "I think the black and green look fabulous together!"

Spruce seems to have turned over a new leaf (ho, ho, ha) to some extent, because he played nice with Amy, and didn't abuse anyone else in the place the whole time. It appeared he was there to hang out with his son, Elrond Hartman, who you may remember from the short bit on the elven tiki nightmare house a while back (and he had a brief romantic interlude with Katrina Wilson after her horrendous date with Andrew Pearson). It's actually surprising that Spruce hasn't gone the same route as Elrond and taken the plant sim "cure", since he seems to have less interest lately in harvesting vegetables than in partying all night, but I guess the simplicity of the "three basic needs" of plant sims is just too good to give up for some folks.

Spruce: "Way to go, son! You get those dance skills from your old man.."

Actually, I can't say Spruce is the only one who finds the Hartman Garden center a tad boring, especially during this outing. I think half the patrons at Marty's were plant sims. Maybe there was some sort of special going on like free Evian hour at the bar or something. Whatever it is, it was pulling them in like plants to sunlight. They should be giving Rinoa some sort of special discount too for having spawned all these plant sims to begin with and resulting in all this business. The exciting news about this outing in general is the fact that Clarence actually left the house this time. He was doing much better after the whole invisible bunny incident, although he inexplicably showed up in his shorts, despite the fact that there's neither a pool or a hot tub at Marty's. Clarence doesn't wear a bathing suit in the hot tub, though, so I guess he has to get use out of those trunks some time.

Amy: "I know I said dress casually, but I wasn't thinking quite that casual..."

All that interaction with the plant sims at the club got Amy thinking she should plant a garden of her own at home (especially since no matter how much she sucked up, Spruce didn't offer to give her any produce as a gift). And so, she planted some rows of tomatoes out in front of the house and begin caring for them regularly. I'd learned a lot about how to tend a garden since the first ones I planted, and was determined that the Andrews vegetables would be top-notch or nothing. Meanwhile, Clarence decided it was time for some company, but since the cop was busting every party the family threw without fail lately, he decided to call up Alex Kent and invite his entire family over. That's half a party there…

The Kent clan stands around on the front yard…can you say 'party animals'..?"

I'll give extra credit to anyone who can figure out who two of the Kent family members are based on (Tom and Alex in the middle of the picture above to be precise). Jason (far left) and Bruce (far right) are my own creations. For some reason, Jason and Bruce are attracted to one another. Granted, none of the Kents are related, but still, where did that come from? This was but the first time I witnessed the game assigning dating preferences like that without input from me, and it happens again further down the road. Anyway, Clarence saved the Kents from wandering around aimlessly on the lawn, and corralled everyone into the hot tub. Isn't it great how everyone always thinks to bring swim trunks with them wherever they visit? They can't all be like Clarence who does without such things…

Apparently, there's something on the outside of the hot tub there that's just too racy for us to see...

Okay, who's up for a totally random rant here? I've got one for you then…what is up with the PENGUIN? The first time I witnessed the penguin, it was snowy out, and I thought, "oh, funny…there's snow and a penguin". Then it went into my house, which was a little strange, and tried to get jiggy with my fridge. Still weird, but I can deal with it. Well, now it's summer in the neighborhood, and the damn thing STILL walks right into my sim houses and starts jumping up and down in front of the fridge. Forget the mystery of the Kents…I want to know what the deal is with Chilly Willy here. I tried building a fence around him to capture him, but in addition to being unpredictable, he also has the ability to walk through wood. Crazy penguins.

It could be worse…it could be a polar bear...

Amy has devoted a fair amount of time to gardening before, and as a result, she'd developed an amazing talent - the ability to talk to plants. Okay, so any idiot can talk to a plant, but I think the special thing here is her ability to understand the plant and vice versa. This is a great thing, because no matter how hard I try, my garden produce plants always wind up looking a little ill when I grow them outdoors, and a little talking to does amazing things for plants (in case you've never had a chance to witness it first hand). The best part of all is that Amy got a social boost for talking to the tomatoes, so when Clarence was busy being a hermit or hogging the hot tub with the Kents, it didn't matter... the tomatoes were always up for a nice stimulating chat.

Amy: "I agree, Mr. Tomato…they really need to rethink their industrial zoning policy."

Part of keeping the perfect garden is taking careful care of it, and Amy was determined to do that without the help of a gardener (they don't seem to give plants enough care anyway with their visit every three days - it's just not enough). This meant lots of late night weeding and watering, and lots of spraying of the pests that inevitably came to visit. I know, I know, there are lady bug lofts to take care of pests too, but that's just trading one swarm of bugs for another. Why have bugs at all when you can just zap em' dead with pesticide? Well, as eventually happens to all dedicated gardeners (of the sim sort, that is), Amy eventually fell victim to the pesticide that kept her veggies so nice and bugless…

Amy: "…*koff*…I knew I should have used the 'low' setting..."

Yes, it was bound to happen sooner or later…Amy became a plant sim. There are tons of them wandering around the neighborhood, but thus far, only Rinoa and Amy have actually made the transformation from regular sim to plant sim. She was a little confused at first…hey, wouldn't you be? After the moment of confusion had passed, though, she pulled out the sprayer again, and picked right back up where she'd left off before. Now, Amy's had thoughts before of having another child since Aiden grew up and moved out of the house, but it never really became too much of a consideration because Clarence worked so much, she'd have to care for the baby most of the time herself. However, the idea of being able to have a plant baby with minimal needs and high intelligence right from the get go was just too intriguing. And so, it wasn't very long before…

Presenting Amy and Aimee Andrews...

Amy and Aimee…now that won't be confusing at all! Now, you can't tell by looking at her, but Aimee is a pretty special child. You see, in her quest to fight boredom, Amy maxed out all of her skill points, and achieved gold badges for both gardening and fishing. In other words, Amy is one talented sim, making Aimee one talented kid (not that there's much a plant baby can do with all those skills, but you should hear her on the xylophone!) You know how folks are always talking about how quickly kids grow up, and that's never truer than when it comes to plant sims. It seemed only a matter of days before Aimee went from playing in the toilet all day long to being a full grown adult. Adult plant sim, but still.

Amy: "It's like looking in a mirror…but not really…"

Talk about your big changes. How was Clarence taking the whole plant sim daughter thing after all the other craziness lately? Would Aimee attempt to put all her inherited skills to use, or become a couch potato (or other vegetable of your choice)? Would Amy stick with the plant sim thing for good, or find herself yearning for the days when sunlight was a luxury and not a necessity? Will all this Amy/Aimee stuff confuse Clarence (and us) into oblivion? Decisions, decisions. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some sort of answers in our next post. Okay, so there will for sure be some answers in the next post. Hope to see you there!


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