Thursday, January 31, 2008

Creatures of the Nightclub

Greetings, one and all? How the heck are you doing? Uh huh…yeah. Good to hear. I'm doing okay myself, thanks for asking. A little hungry today because I basically forgot to eat yesterday (that's what happens when you have a busy productive life…or so I'm told). Actually, I was just too lazy to cook anything, and you know how sometimes it's just annoying to have to stop what you're doing to put something together to stuff in your mouth? Well, yeah…it was like that. Luckily, I have my feed sack size bag of sunflower seeds here with me at work, and if I eat enough of those, I just might survive till the end of the day (if not, well, it's been a pleasure knowing everyone).

I used to hear from certain readers of this page fairly regularly during it's Sims 1 era, not so much anymore, but I know most of the old readers had a pretty good memory for details when it came to the stories posted here. Now, I'm not sure how much of the Sims 1 section anyone who reads it now is familiar with, but if you are, you might have picked out some of the characters who have "occurred" in both the Sims 1 and Sims 2 parts. Well, we've got more coming up today, so hold on to your hats. I try not to do that just for the sake of doing it, because new sims deserve a chance in the spotlight too, but some sims I just miss a little from time to time and don't feel their stories were entirely over yet. However, before we get to that, let's focus on a previously unseen lot in the neighborhood...

Your average, everyday mausoleum…or is it?

Yes, we've seen the Silent Grove Cemetery, established by the late Captain Jack Daniels, but this ain't it. No, this is actually a cleverly disguised residential lot that LOOKS like a community lot. Remember the deserted swimming pool home of Shaggy Rogers? Yeah, it's sort of like that. And yes, I know, there is a ridiculous number of tombstones in the Monkeesim neighborhood, but I can't help it if it's a dangerous place to live (I also can't help it if I didn't realize it was possible to die from hail, since that's not mentioned in anything I've read).

The ghosts definitely add to the overall charm of the place...

Yes, this is no ordinary mausoleum…it's the home of the Everdark family. See, a while back, after Castle Witte was completed, I started to feel there was just too much unused space in the castle. There were several tower rooms with no real use, and while there were plenty of ways to keep busy in the castle, they just weren't being put to very good use by Alfred or Zondra, the castle's owners. Thus, four fun loving sims from the Everdark family moved into the castle with Alfred to help liven things up. Eventually, they all wound up getting bitten by either Alfred or Zondra, and their late night rowdy behavior started to annoy Alfred a little, so the Everdarks eventually had to find their own place, and here they are…

These aren't any ordinary bats…they're special DOOR OPENING bats...

The whole vampire thing started with the actual "head vampire", Count Derek Wren, who bit Amy Andrews, one of my first TS2 sims. Well, she didn't want the whole vampirism thing, so she passed it on to Alfred Witte, who's been a vampire ever since. Alfred eventually holed himself up in his creepy castle with his wife, Zondra, and they don't get out much. Three vampires was enough for me for a long time, but eventually, I realized Alfred and Zondra were wasting their "gift". Staying up all night in a creepy castle is all good and fine, but you're wasting the whole "no decay of needs" thing if you don't get out on the town and party all night long. That's where the Everdarks come in. Meet Melyssa, Nicholas, Kali, and Kyle.

Not exactly suits and gowns, but they've got the black thing going on...

I confess I have a thing for sim vampires. I'm not a real fan of vampire movies or TV shows, but I AM a fan of making the sim type stalk around and turn into bats and "bleh" every passing sim. Heck, why have special powers if you're not going to use them? That was my thinking, anyway. I've never really tried to orchestrate a romance between a normal sim and a sim vampire before, but it doesn't seem like it would work out all that well. Thus, one might find it terribly convenient that Nicholas and Melyssa are romantically involved, and Kyle and Kali are a couple as well. Heck, if any of the four were involved with non-vampires, they'd probably just bite them by accident while necking anyway. At any rate, the foursome's favorite hangout was the Freetime Lounge, and the fish tanks seemed to be a real point of interest for some reason.

Nicholas: "No, I'm fairly certain you're not supposed to eat them…"

The bad news for the Everdarks (and the Wittes too, for that matter) is that when I first designed the Monkeesim neighborhood, there was no such thing as vampires, so I used "vampirism" as a turn-off for most of my sims so there wouldn't be any relationships affected by turn-offs. In other words, there are a lot of "haters" around town with a dim view of vampires. The Everdarks are just like the rest of the sims around town, though, aside from the whole ageless and immortal thing…and their tendency to sleep in coffins. And rather than drinking blood like those creepy TV vampires, the Everdarks drink the same thing every other sim in town does - booze (or "juice" if you believe what the game tries to tell you).

Melyssa: "What's a gal got to do to get a Bloody Mary around here?"

My wife actually dislikes the sim vampires, unlike me. She'd gone for a while without playing the game, and there weren't any around when she first started…then, when she came back, there they were. Like the werewolves, she didn't know anything about their behavior, and assumed they would somehow harm her sim without provocation. I tried to set her straight, but…well, she still doesn't like them. Despite the strong anti-vampire sentiment, there were some sims like Kitty Wilson who took the time to discover the Everdarks were more than just a pain in the neck. I have sims who hate red heads too, and they managed to overcome that, it just takes a little doing. Of course, most people aren't afraid of being bitten on the neck by someone just because they have red hair (despite the rumors about their natural bad tempers).

Kali: "I don't care much for blood, but I do love a good milk shake whenever I can get one..."

Whatever you may think about vampires, they've really got it made the way I see it. Plant sims and servos may have fewer needs to fulfill, but like it or not, those needs still decay as long as they're up and about. With vampires, sure they have a limited number of hours during the night they can actually be up and active, but when you think about the fact that they don't have to fulfill needs at all during that time, you just can't beat that. Especially when it comes to skill building. It's just too bad that since vampires can't really work a daytime job, there's no good use for all of those skills. Not unless you call being the best at singing karaoke a skill (I for one do)…

Nicholas and Melyssa belt out their rendition of "Love Bites"...

Okay, so it's not entirely true that you can't make money without a job in TS2. There's always the robot and toy tables, but this all takes place before I had OFB, so quit jumping the gun. :-P There are still poker tables and the ability to man the D.J. booth for a few quick bucks, though. None of the Everdarks had the patience to sit and play poker for any length of time, though. Kyle was all for kicking Heath King, the regular D.J., out of the booth, so he could reap the rewards. Heath was left with nothing to do but wander around and try to socialize, but when you're as ugly as he is, finding someone to chat with can be a real chore. He did manage to corner Melyssa long enough to make her listen to him for a minute or two.

Melyssa: "Sorry, but I can't just stand here talking and pretending nothing is wrong with your hair!"

Man, I hate that hairstyle. I think the game knows it too, because Heath is the D.J. who shows up the most, when I know there are at least three others that have a random chance of appearing. Melyssa wasn't a big fan either, and as soon as she'd developed enough of a relationship with Heath, she exploited it by biting him on the neck. He was promptly banned from being a D.J. forever more, but the good news is his hair magically changed to a bushy normal style when he turned into a vampire. The game got revenge on me later when my wife built a new neighborhood - there are THREE PC sims with the old Heath hair, and they ALWAYS show up. Grrrr. After the gang decided they'd had enough fun at the Freetime Lounge, they headed out to the Silent Grove Cemetery. Just because. They didn't see any ghosts while they were there, but Melyssa did spend a fair amount of time talking to Antonio Wilson.

Melyssa: "It's not great hair, but it's not worth biting him over either..."

Yes, I love my vampires. But I won't bore you any further at the moment with their antics (I'll save that for a future post…heheh). For now, it's time for a radical shift in theme and family now. Think, if you will, way, way back to the beginning of the Monkeesims blog, back to the days of TS1 before there were any expansions installed, back when sims were forced to stay home all day long except for occasional trips to work. Yes, those days blew. One good thing that did happen back in those olden days though was the marriage of two of my favorite sims at the time...

Remember when...

Look familiar? Yeah, that picture was featured in the first actual post, and in case your memory isn't serving you all that well, that couple is Julie and J.D. Wilson. J.D. was the owner of the house that Marty and Kitty Wilson used to live in, along with Kevin and Kammy. Well, Marty and Kitty hadn't seen or heard from them since moving to their trailer in the new Monkeesim neighborhood, but that was all about to change. As we hook up with Marty and Kitty today, we find that much has changed. J.D. and Julie have come to town, and it seems they missed the company of the others. It wasn't long before Kitty and Marty ditched the trailer and were sharing a much nicer living space with Julie and J.D. - just like the good old days.

Kitty: "Remember when J.D. got drunk and kissed that clown at Marty's birthday?"

Yeah, there was a lot of catching up to do. After all, it's been some time since Marty and Kitty had a chance to hang out with J.D. and Julie, and even when they did live together back in the old days, everyone was usually caught up in what they were doing and not much else (especially Kitty, back when she was still famous). Now, with no more kids to worry about (Mia Kay or Katrina, specifically), the gang was free to do just like they'd done back in the good old days, back before they'd had to pretend to be responsible. Of course, they just wound up sitting around the table chatting a lot and not much else. No doubt it's about the old days again…

J.D: "Remember when Marty and that clown got in the hot tub naked?"

Don't worry - the multiple references to Chucko the Clown do NOT mean I plan to bring him back any time soon. As much as everyone loves a clown there is such a thing as too much, and we already have Homie D. Klown. That, and it's hard to make a clown given what the Sims 2 sim creator has to offer (not that I think there needs to be an upgrade to the editor or anything - they've given us ninjas, and that's all that really matters). Anyhow, the layout of the new house (which I failed to get a good picture of) was very similar to that of the original Wilson house, with a few minor adjustments. However, things weren't quite like they were in the old days yet. Back in the day, J.D. was a master chef who cooked for everyone. Now, nobody has any cooking points, and burned toaster pastries seemed to be the only thing getting cooked. Clearly, a study session was in order…

Julie: "This sucks…I thought we already knew how to cook!"

That there is part of the reason I hesitate to bring sims from the old neighborhood over to the new - while I can keep their personalities the same, it kind of sucks to have to boost their skills back up to what they once were in the original game, and I know I could cheat and all, but I just don't wanna'. Usually, I don't even care much if they have the same skills or not as long as they don't start fires every time they cook, but it seems a little strange when sims like Kitty, who had maxed creativity skills back in the day, make people cover their ears when she starts playing the piano. As with the whole cooking thing, Kitty was promptly put to work restoring her creativity skills.

Kitty: "I wouldn't have to do this if that @#$% Marty had put a piano in the trailer like I asked him to!"

Well, eventually, everyone got their skills close enough to what they once were to keep me happy. I'm not that much of a freak. We can just assume that if J.D. isn't the master chef he once was, it's because he's been sitting on his bum not utilizing that talent…same goes for Kitty and her creativity (we all know she hasn't done anything creative since moving into the trailer). While Kitty and Marty were adjusting to once again living in a home that was more than ten feet wide, the younger Wilson gang decided it might be a nice time to pay a visit. Katrina, Kitty and Marty's daughter, Mia Kay, J.D. and Julie's daughter, and then Antonio, Kitty's brother (who I really think needs a warmer outfit given the piles of snow, but what do I know?).

Antonio: "Uh, hey, guys, your front door is standing wide open!"

Yes, this house just happens to be the same one the Kent family first moved into, with the same front door that never closes, and despite the modifications the Wilsons had made to the place, the door remains screwed up (talk about a literal "open door policy"). It's okay, though - if this living arrangement turns out to be anything like the Wilson house of old, there will be a constant unstoppable stream of weirdoes coming by anyhow. Granted, there used to be an upstairs bar with a karaoke machine and some other goodies to attract the masses before, but you've got to take these things in small steps. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was the old Wilson house.

Kitty: "I can never remember all of the Lucky Charms shapes!"

Aside from the lack of Kammy and Kevin, and the addition of Antonio, things were starting to feel like the good old days again for the Wilsons. Sure, things weren't exactly the same, but they weren't shooting for a reenactment or anything (and Mia Kay and Katrina rarely played chess together back then, it was usually video games). One nice thing about the whole arrangement is that this time, nobody had a real job, and Julie and Kitty weren't forced to run out every couple days to work on their fame careers. No, they had plenty of money saved up for the time being, and Marty was still making a few bucks here and there from his club. Another benefit to no fame career was not having the obsessed fan hanging around the joint - instead, there was the angry Spruce, Kitty's old nemesis…

Spruce: "I'll get you, my pretty…yee hee hee!"

If you remember anything about the original Wilson house, you'll recall that they had a couple of hot tubs out front that were the most frequently used form of entertainment (there was no regular bar at the time, so sims hadn't discovered binge drinking yet). Hot tubs are great because they trap sims in a confined space where they're forced to socialize while getting several needs fulfilled at the same time. I don't remember why exactly, but the Wilsons insisted on using the little models that only held two sims instead of four, which was very inefficient (okay, so maybe they bought that kind so they could "play" in them, which the four person models didn't allow).

Marty: "Are you still on that Lucky Charms thing?"

The new Wilson house has two of the four person models, for a total of eight slots instead of four (you didn't really need me to do that math for you, did you?) Kitty and Marty's side of the Wilson family (themselves, Katrina, and Antonio) piled into the first tub, so they could catch up on what had happened since the last time they chatted. Without looking back, I think I can safely say there wasn't too much ground to cover. Katrina and Antonio had moved into a different house, killed a neighbor, and Antonio seemed no closer to ever getting married to Aimee Andrews (not that there was any huge rush, mind you). Otherwise, there wasn't really much to cover. Meanwhile, Mia Kay chatted with her folks in the other hot tub. She didn't have much to discuss besides the new house and dead neighbor either…oh, and politics, of course.

Mia Kay: "You know, I really thought Jack Daniels had a chance in that race for mayor!"

Hot tubs are fun, but they're not perfect. The best of times always wind up getting ruined by the same stupid thing - spontaneous combustion. It's understandable that, being new to things, J.D. and Julie weren't familiar with the little "personal thermometer", but ignorance didn't protect J.D. from bursting into flames after being in the tub a little too long. Luckily, Marty is no stranger to extinguishing burning sims, and had his extinguisher handy. Better yet, there was already a smoke alarm outside for barbecue mishaps, so the fire department showed up too. It wasn't necessary…Marty was already on top of things…

Fireman: "Hey! Watch where you aim that thing!"

Well, that didn't exactly end things for the evening, but that's a good place to cut this post off for now (unless you want to go for the Monkeesim "most pictures" record). Coming up, we've spent a fair amount of time watching sims kill time from day to day, but sooner or later, the whole money issue pops up again. How to solve it? Get a job? Hah…that's funny. But no. Jobs are okay for some sims, but there are others who'd prefer to do everything they can to avoid the life of carpools and 9 to 5 shifts. And then, of course, there are those more adventurous sorts who are willing to get their hands dirty, but ONLY if they're running the show! Join us over our next few posts as we see who brings home the bucks, and who's just out of luck!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Heck Freezes Over

Grrrrr…what a frustrating day. And it's not even 9:30 yet! If you ever want to teach yourself the meaning of patience (or irritation), simply get a job that involves calling "customer service" numbers or automated "help lines" for any portion of the day, and you'll be thoroughly frazzled by the time the day is done. My day has just begun, and already I'm ready to throw my PC monitor out the window and put my hard drive in a suplex. Maybe I have anger management issues, but I'm too tired and crabby to worry about that right now.

I sure hope I can do justice to the post for today. Now that life's got me all crabby and stuff, I'm not feeling terribly wordy, witty, or any of those other positive emotions. I just want to get out of this stupid place for the day and say "buck" it all. But the "show" must go on, and so it shall. So let's see, what were we covering today anyway? Oh, yeah…Leon Jackson. Last time we really focused on the Jacksons, Leon found himself dumped by his fiance, Claire, but his mail carrier, Kerrie Bradshaw, came by to deliver a little TLC while Leon was at his lowest. After a brief courtship, Leon proposed to Kerrie, and since Leon is "the man" (or at least he used to be), of course she said yes. Nothing changed much after the engagement, the couple usually just sat around on Leon's bed and chatted. Man, they're not even married yet, and already life has become a bore!

Kerrie: "So, what time does Conan O'Brien come on?"

Okay, that was a cheap shot at married life there, but I get to make them from time to time, being that I'm married, and seeing as how I've experienced the dip in excitement that occurs after it happens (I've been told it's not just me it happens to). Really, the whole boredom thing had a lot to do with Leon trying to adapt to life without hitting on women. He was cool with the whole monogamy thing as long as it was with the right woman, but there was no denying that he missed the thrill of the chase, and seeing how many different females he could get away with "seeing" at the same time. If that's what he was hung up on, he must have forgotten his first recorded TS2 dating experience, when he flopped miserably at the Freetime Lounge before getting into a fight with Tommy Wolf.

Leon: "How did we get…oh, wait, it's a flashback..."

Yeah, that was also when he went on his blind date with Kerrie Bradshaw where she ditched him after five minutes because he was boring. Good thing he still made some sort of an impression, or we might not be where we are now, and Leon would probably still be sitting in a chair outside his boat, stinking to high heaven. Anyway, things were anything but boring for the rest of the harbor crew. Moon Unit had grown into a toddler, and Moon Dawg and Keri had their hands full trying to teach her all the toddler skills as quickly as possible. Let's face it - children are unpredictable to start with, and who knows what to expect with an alien child? It just made good sense to make sure she was as well trained as possible to get a jump on anything unusual…

Moon Dawg: "Once we master walking, we'll see if you can fly…"

The good thing for Leon about living with Moon Dawg and Keri is that in addition to being easy going, they didn't really care who he dated, they greeted all his girls with open arms (and the realization that he'd likely move on to someone else by the time they got attached). Leon getting engaged to Claire had come as sort of a surprise. Leon breaking up with Claire afterward did not. Just the same, Moon Dawg and Keri believed that sooner or later, Leon would settle down with someone, even if neither of them would be alive to see it. Kerrie seemed to be a good influence on Leon, and after a while, she still hadn't shown any interest in any shady looking sims in black dusters.

Moon Dawg: "She may be good for Leon, but she bowls just like my granny, mon!"

Kerrie was a serious social type, and she actually preferred to hang out below deck where the action was instead of sitting in the cabin topside watching the TV or sitting on the bed. It wasn't long before she could usually be found at the poker table or bowling alley, and Leon usually tagged along with her, resulting in he and Kerrie hanging out with Moon Dawg and Keri (sheesh…there's that Keri/Kerrie thing again). This was good for Moon Unit too, because that meant there was always someone around to keep an eye on her and give her attention when desired. And we all know the old saying about how it takes a ship full of weirdoes to raise an alien (or something like that).

Leon: "Hey…I SEE you trying to deal off the bottom!"

Ow. I just bit my lip, and I wasn't even chewing or eating anything. That's right on par with when I occasionally get some of my own saliva down the wrong pipe when I'm not even eating, and start having coughing fits. I think I qualify for some sort of stupidity award for those talents alone. Anyway, having committed to just one woman didn't mean Leon had to give up all his womanizing habits, it just meant he had to restrict them to one female, and he seemed to be okay with that. After all, with all the abuse he'd taken in recent past from females who were angry about being dumped or mistreated, sticking to just one and NOT getting beaten up seemed like a nice alternative. Plus, Kerrie had special qualities that Leon was growing quite fond of…

Leon: "I just want you to know I'm totally okay with the whole naked in the hot tub thing!"

Aside from his disastrous first blind date with Kerrie, and a visit to Da Tiki Hut with Debbie (and Moon Dawg…don't forget Moon Dawg), it's long been Leon's practice to limit his womanizing to the love boat. After all, the boat is full of various forms of free entertainment, not to mention it's Leon's "home base", and there's a certain comfort that comes with that. However, Leon had long ago decided that Kerrie wasn't "just any chick", and as much as Leon doesn't actually know about women vs. what he thinks he knows, he did figure out that the time had come to do something special to celebrate their having lasted so long together (it may not seem like that long to you folks, but trust me - it's been a while). Thus, Leon swapped out his regular duds for his pink tux, reserved only for special occasions (such as drinks on the deck on Friday night or attempted marriages).

Kerrie: "Why, Leon…your tux is so…so…pink!"

Now, I confess that I bought my expansions in a screwed up order. It started with me getting TS2, Seasons, and Pets all at once, so I began my TS2 life with community lots available within my neighborhood. That was what I got used to - a quick drive to any of the local lots when I felt the need. Later, I purchased Night Life, and while Downtown had it's cool points, the load time just wasn't always worth what the clubs and stuff downtown had to offer. Then, I got Open for Business a while later, and fell in love with Bluewater Village and businesses run by my sims. In other words, the Downtown area has been mostly ignored by my sims. Leon decided it was time to explore a little, though, and see what it had to offer. The first thing is had to offer was Jimmy Jones, angry at Kerrie for being with another guy when he thought they had something special together. Well, think again, buster!

All that mail bag toting has given Kerrie tremendous smacking power...

In case you're wondering what Jimmy has to do with this, look back on the "Keeping up with the Joneses" post. No time to recap, Dr. Jones! After Kerrie smacked around Jimmy enough to dislodge any misconceptions from his head about who she was dating, she found Leon, who had been keeping a safe distance from the confrontation. Way to protect your woman there, Leon! Kerrie was actually in much better shape than Leon anyway, and really didn't need his help, but it would have been nice for him to at least pretend to jump to the rescue. At any rate, Leon noticed a fine looking restaurant loaded with trees and cacti and other plants, and decided to give it a whirl. The establishment was dedicated to protecting the environment, and if there's one thing that Leon really cares about, it's the ecology. Wait…I mean it's chicks.

Leon: "You really impressed me the way you beat up Jimmy earlier!"

Aside from the dining experience, there didn't turn out to be a whole lot else to the place aside from looking at plants (and I don't need to tell you any more than you already know about Leon I'm sure for you to realize that's not his bag). It didn't matter, though - the outing was one of Leon and Kerrie's first chances to be alone together off the boat, and it was working it's magic. After ample amounts of flirting and telling dirty jokes, Leon attempted to put soap in the fountain, but failed due to a strategically placed moat. The couple decided to head back to the boat, where quite unexpectedly, Leon suggested he and Kerrie be wed in a secret ceremony out on the deck. I guess since Leon owns the boat, that sort of makes him a captain, and captains are supposed to be able to perform marriages, but this might be stretching it a little. Regardless of the odd circumstances, Kerrie agreed, and thus, the impossible happened…Leon Jackson was wed.

Leon: "Perhaps later we can celebrate over a fish sandwich!"

Werewolves, vampires, plant sims, alien abductions…of all the odd things in the Monkeesim neighborhood, Leon Jackson getting married is by far the strangest yet. It was inevitable, though, because besides the local gardener, Leon had already tried to hit on pretty much every woman in the neighborhood at one point or the other, and he wasn't going to find better than Kerrie any time soon. Well, good luck, Leon…we hope to never hear you refer to this happy event as your "first marriage". We'll leave the happy couple for now. Up next, you think the Jackson family and their "house boat" are strange, there's even stranger out there yet. Plus, some familiar faces from the TS1 days of this blog put down roots in the new neighborhood. Don't miss it…or you'll be sorry!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Show Goes On

Greetings, folks! Good to have you back (or here for the first time, either way). You know, you never really appreciate what you've got till it's gone. No, I'm not referring to yesterday's post, I'm talking about the ability to turn your head to look at stuff without rotating your entire body. I think I slept wrong last night or something, because my shoulders and neck are so stiff and sore for the first time in months that I literally have to turn my entire body to look around. I feel like a friggin' robot…a really stupid looking one. And of course yesterday was the first day I didn't exercise in weeks, so I'm convinced that's the reason why everything is out of whack, which is…stupid…

I was skimming over the oldest of the old posts on this blog up through the most recent the other day, and I realized something - during the original TS1 posts, none of the sims besides Steve Jackson ever died, and even he came back right away afterward (one could argue that Stu died in the "Curse of Bozo" posts, but that was all imaginary, remember?). Now, in TS2, it seems like sims kick the bucket almost on a daily basis, but most of them just get right back up and dust themselves off after someone pleads for them. Fear of losing a sim is minimal, and the loss of Jack Daniels was sort of a big surprise for me. Suddenly, everyone seemed to be a candidate for permanent demise. Sucky. Well, a week or so has passed since Jack died, and the family seemed to be dealing with things pretty well...

Regina: "It's okay. I have those two weirdoes living with me still…"

Yes, Regina may have lost Jack, but she was by no means alone, thanks to having allowed Debbie Kearney and Austyn Strange to live as guests in her house. They may be a couple of oddballs, but in hard times, even odd company is better than no company. Also, her old friend Amy Andrews started spending a lot of time at the house, which she hadn't done much recently with all the stuff going on with her and Clarence (I know we haven't covered any of it lately, but it's been happening). Despite her initial bad luck since breaking up with Leon, Debbie eventually found a guy in the form of Alex Kent. She and Alex loved to talk on the phone for hours on end about this and that…thank goodness there's no real phone bill in TS2.

Debbie: "That Katrina Wilson is one hot babe!"

It's kind of odd to call up a guy you're interested in and then gush about someone else like that, but that's the new Debbie for you - just kind of odd. It's also odd that she's wearing Regina's old "hoochie shirt", but you may have noticed in the first picture that Regina wasn't wearing it any longer. After Jack's passing, it just seemed somewhat improper to be "showing off the goods" like that, though Debbie didn't have any reservations. Of all the people in the Daniels house, the only one who didn't seem to be coping with things very well was Austyn. Regina was busy hanging out with Amy a lot of the time, and Debbie was constantly chatting with Alex, leaving Austyn stuck with the TV and the Martha Steward show. Oh, and don't forget Conan O'Brien. Never forget about him.

Austyn: "When are you going to do something about that hair, Conan?"

As much fun as it can be to gab on the phone with someone for hours (or so I've been told, I actually hate talking on the phone), and despite the fact that phone conversations in TS2 are one of the safest ways to build relationship points, Debbie wanted more - like actually having Alex come visit the house now and then. There wasn't much to do at the Kent house, so Alex was fine with that, although I'm not quite sure he really got the point of the visits. He'd usually show up, be greeted by Debbie, eat something, then vanish for the rest of the visit, while Debbie waited inside for him to come hang out with her. One of his favorite haunts was the chess board outside. Wow, what a party animal.

Debbie: "My, Alex, what huge logic skills you have!"

Debbie herself had no interest in the chess board, so Alex just played by himself. With the hot tub only about ten feet from the chess board, though, it was only small matter for Debbie to change into her bathing suit and lure Alex to take a break and hop on in (resulting in the disturbing realization that Alex is one of those Speedo wearing sims everyone is so afraid of). The dip in the hot tub allowed Alex and Debbie some time to solidify their relationship a bit more than they'd been able to over the phone, and it wasn't long before the little hearts were floating over their heads. During all this, Debbie's pal, Gia, had invited herself over, and decided to hang out in the living room and watch TV. Debbie went in to take a shower, and when she got out, Alex wandered in and planted a big smooch on her. Gia didn't seem to pleased by that…I don't think…

Gia fulfills her +1000 point "stop being best friends with Debbie" aspiration...

Well, I've been playing TS2 for a while now, and I'd somehow gotten the idea that no matter how good a sim's relationship with another sim, they'd never initiate a romantic interaction without player approval. Recently, though, I've had sims putting the moves on each other without warning and falling in and out of love without my permission, resulting in a lot of sims furious with each other. While the whole Debbie and Gia thing was an accident to begin with, Gia had definitely gotten the wrong idea about their "relationship", and had been constantly attempting romantic interactions with Debbie every time they were in the same room. The realization that Debbie was interested in Alex came as something of a shock, and Gia let her hand do the talking…

Debbie: "Will you move? I'm trying to see that creepy guy behind you!"

Well, it looks like Gia won't be jumping into Debbie's arms while she's in the bathroom any time in the near future. I didn't see much of a future there anyway to be honest. Debbie didn't seem to overly concerned either, to be honest - she's got plenty of other friends besides Gia - who needs those Sim Dump folks anyway? Debbie had Austyn to pal around with still, and while she'd been having it out with Gia, Austyn had been dreaming up his latest exciting night on the town. There's been a lot of activity at the Silent Grove Cemetery since Jack had it constructed, but most of it revolved around barbecuing or water balloons or folks playing "red hands" with each other. Austyn had something completely different in mind…

Debbie: "So, you want to wait around and see if we spot any ghosts?"

To be honest, I'm not really sure how the whole ghost thing works. I know for starters that a ghost buried at his own house doesn't come out every night. I've had houses where a sim died and I NEVER saw them in ghost form (I took these pictures quite some time ago, and Jack has yet to show up as a ghost). I've only seen ghosts at my community lot cemetery once, and that was right after Jack "interred them" there. Since that time, I've never seen a ghost at the community cemetery, and it got me wondering if it's just really rare that they show up, or if they'd ever come out at all on a community lot. All I do know is that Austyn and Debbie didn't have any luck with the ghost thing.

Austyn: "No ghosts yet…but I found a vampire!"

Yeah, the Monkeesims neighborhood has had it's share of fatalities since it transitioned over to TS2 - the cemetery was pretty full, and in addition to there being vampires buried there, there was at least one werewolf (you know, old man Felmer). The only thing that wasn't buried there yet was a plant sim or social bunny (and believe me, I tried to "off" the social bunny a time or two). Anyway, Debbie got tired of looking for the ghosts that seemed to be taking the night off, and decided to socialize a little bit instead. She spotted Mia Kay Wilson, who was hanging out by herself. Don't ask me what she was doing alone at the cemetery after midnight - maybe feeling a little guilty about the death of Lawrence Madrox finally.

Mia Kay: "Well, we used to have genie lamps back in the old days!"

Debbie and Mia Kay had a nice long chat, after which Debbie had to fan herself because of the little puff of hearts over her head with Mia Kay's face in the middle of it. Poor Alex Kent has a long road ahead of him, with Debbie behaving like the biggest hoochie in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Austyn got bored of looking at tombstones by himself, and decided to eat some hot dogs. He sat down with Willow Hartman, who he probably mistook for the Grinch (and we all know Austyn has a thing for the Grinch). Willow didn't seem concerned about the fact that there was no sun out…or the fact that plant sims don't need food. He sat around with Austyn and chatted for what seemed an eternity…

Austyn: "That's no ghost…it's just a white dog..."

Well, guess what…the gang never did see any ghosts. It doesn't matter, though. What matters is that the Daniels house gang seemed to be getting along okay without Jack, and things were starting to return to "normal". A little boring, perhaps, but normal just the same. At any rate, now that we've seen a little of Debbie's life after breaking up with Leon Jackson, perhaps it's time to see how Leon is doing with his new lady love. Then brace yourself as we prepare to enter a series of posts showcasing some of our friendly neighborhood sims as they try their hands at a little business ownership. Don't worry…it's not as boring as it sounds! :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gone Too Soon

First off, this is the second time I'm posting today alone, so if you haven't read the "Metamorphosim" post yet, you might want to (or parts of this will NOT make sense).

Anyhow, as the no longer "politically correct" Fat Albert would say, "hey, hey, hey!" How's it going? Never mind, I can't hear you anyway, and since there's not usually very many comments posted here any more, that doesn't really work either. It matters not, though…just as I talk just for the sake of talking at work when nobody listens, so I post just for the satisfaction of doing so. Plus, this stuff is destined to be the 20th century version of Shakespeare when I kick the bucket and people of the future go digging through internet archives looking for hidden intellectual gems of the past. Okay, so maybe not.

I've been playing around with the new neighborhood my wife put together, and it's interesting…in a very dull kind of way. I find myself greatly challenged designing only "attractive" sims sans vampirism or any other ugly affliction, all living in "normal" houses with regular jobs. I did manage to sneak in some sims who are exact clones of sims from the Monkeesim neighborhood, but they have different names, so it confuses me sometimes. I'll always prefer the sims featured here, though - they have the most unusual behavior and interesting lives...

Did I say "interesting lives?" Oops...

Yeah, so that's not the greatest example. No doubt, the residents of the Daniels home are all recovering from the excitement of last post, where they all went out on the town hunting for guys and failing miserably. Nobody seemed to be having any luck in the romance department (besides Regina, who's already married to Jack), and Debbie decided that if everyone was going to be sitting around at home, they should at very least invite some company over to do it with them (by "do it", I mean "sit", you perv). While Austyn and Debbie have met some colorful people on the road of life, Debbie decided to give the folks down at Sims Dump #1 a buzz. After all, everyone else seemed to have jobs and couldn't be bothered to skip a day to come visit the Daniels home…yeesh…

Reavis: "We want Amy! We want Amy!"

I don't know why Reavis and Alec are thinking of Amy Andrews in that picture. She wasn't at the house at the time or anything. Maybe it's like when sims try to use that machine to reprogram themselves and it fails, and all they think about is grilled cheese. Dunno'…it's just what happens (guess she's just one of those sims whose always on people's minds, even those who've never met her). Anyway, all of the Fitch family showed up, though I'm not sure how many of the Sim Dump gang not related to the Fitches decided to come. Here, we see Rooster, Reavis, and Gia hogging the couch. Funny - Debbie invites them over so they can sit around together, then when they do show up, everyone bolts.

Rooster: "So, like, who even lives here, anyway?"

I'm not really sure where everyone was. Either at the dart board up in Austyn's room (formerly Vyn Daniels' room before she grew up and moved out), one of the PC's in the house, or using the hot tub or bar. The points of interest in the Daniels house are very few. Actually, that's a lie, there's quite a bit to do around the house, it's just that sims have very limited interests. At any rate, Debbie eventually wandered back into the living room and said hello. Maybe it took a moment for folks to recognize her, because the response was minimal at first. I checked in on Debbie a bit later, though, and she was in the bathroom with Gia. Gia at least seemed happy to see her…maybe a bit TOO happy.

Debbie: "Oof! You've put on a few pounds, haven't you?"

I guess Gia just never got over her accidental crush on Debbie, and the "leap into arms" hug resulted in a little puff of red hearts above both Debbie and Gia's heads. Silly Gia - she should know that Debbie has eyes only for Regina. Speaking of Regina, while everyone else was having a gay old time, she found herself wishing her man, Jack, would spend a little more time around the homestead. As if in answer to her unspoken wish, Jack's carpool arrived moments later and dumped him on the curb. Jack came bearing good news - he'd been promoted to elementary school teacher! I'm sure all the kids love to hear Jack's tales of his old pirating days, minus a few of the more colorful details, of course.

Er…Jack, that's Regina you're waving to, not Amy...

Jack was pretty excited about the promotion. Ever since he met Regina and gave up his life of crime, he'd been wanting to make a positive difference in people's lives, and while being a successful chef was okay, filling people's stomachs just wasn't as satisfying as filling their brains, which the teaching career was allowing him to do. Sure, it seemed like he'd been spending all of his time at work or studying to improve his job related skills, but it was all paying off in the end. Of course, with everything going so well, the tombstones in the back yard began to serve as a reminder of less glamorous days. Jack could often be found standing by them, thinking of the individuals he and Clarence were responsible for disposing of, either intentionally or accidentally.

Ghost: "Hey, what about me…your old pal, Felmer?!"

Jack wasn't the only sim with bodies buried in his back yard. There'd been a few accidents here and there around town, resulting in several families getting stuck with unwanted tombstones or urns on their property, and they just couldn't bring themselves to sell them and make a few bucks off the death of somebody else's loved one. Of course, the usual reward for their compassion was having a ghost wandering around on their property terrorizing them whenever possible, which just doesn't seem fair. When people like Reeve wanted to visit their departed friend or relative, they'd have to visit the house where they died, assuming it was a convenient time for the residents. Just not a really great setup.

Reeve: "I shall avenge Lawrence…with this water balloon!"

Well, Jack has made a pretty decent sum of money in his day, and the $20,000 he got for each sim he permitted to live with him didn't hurt either. He got to thinking about how he didn't really want tombstones in his back yard anymore (if indeed he ever did), and it seemed that since several of the sims he'd housed had died while living there, perhaps their money should be put toward a good cause. Thus, Jack invested a moderate sum into establishing the Silent Grove Cemetery, final resting place for unwanted back yard sim tombstones. It wasn't long before every family in the neighborhood moved any tombstones they had sitting around to the cemetery. Apparently everyone else was thinking the same way Jack was.

The barbecue grills are just an added bonus...

Obviously, it just makes good sense to have a cemetery in town, especially if people keep dying. Quite unexpected, though, was the large amount of traffic the cemetery got. Folks showed up in droves to hang around out front by the barbecues and chat and grill hot dogs and have water balloon fights. Every now and then, someone would actually walk among the gravestones, presumably looking for a loved one, but usually, it was just party central. I'm just not sure everyone quite got the point of the place. You may find that odd, but we're talking about the same neighborhood where the people didn't seem to be able to grasp the concept of a "public pool". This from sims who can easily find their way through a maze on the very first try if you put them on one end and click for them to move to the exit…

Debbie: "I just love this park, but what's with all the stone tablets?"

It appeared that Jack's plan had worked - everyone had easy access to their deceased loved ones, and a place to hang out and throw water balloons at each other to boot. The fringe benefit of all of it was that Jack was free of the guilt of the tombstones in his own back yard once and for all, and everything seemed right with the world. However, into every life, a little rain must fall, and with that rain, a little lightning usually falls as well. We don't like lightning. It's noisy and catches stuff on fire, and is the number one cause of death in Riverblossom Hills. That having been said, one night, while wandering outside the house in the rain, Jack was struck down in a flash of lighting that would have been spectacular if it wasn't so horrific…

Somehow, it was a lot funnier when it happened to the Grinch...

It took everyone on the property a moment to realize just what had happened, but when they realized Jack was dead, they sprung into action. The ironic thing is that they were all in the hot tub, which is usually the first target for lightning during a storm, but Jack had had the good sense to put the hot tub under Vyn's room, which stuck out from the main house. At any rate, Regina scrambled to try to plead with the reaper, but it just didn't happen. He'd either decided he wasn't going to pay attention to her, or Debbie's butt was blocking her from getting to him or something, or they'd just taken too long to get out of the hot tub. Whatever the case, the pleading never happened. The time had come for poor Captain Jack.

Austyn: "Nooooo! Don't take Jack! Take Debbie instead!"

Well, there's a some bitter irony to the timing of this. Jack JUST got done putting together a cemetery for other sims that had passed on, and then this happens. Not to mention the fact that he'd JUST finally come to terms with his past and managed to move on. I guess if you're going to "go", it might as well happen after you have everything straightened out, but it still sucks. While the death of most of the other sims in the neighborhood sucked, most of them didn't have nearly the friends and family that Jack did, and it seemed necessary for everyone to get together to honor him. His daughter Vyn, son-in-law Aiden, and good friends, Clarence and Amy Andrews showed up for the event. As mayor, Clarence lead things off, followed by some words from his widow, Regina.

"He's gone too soon it seems…leaving behind his unfinished dreams..."

On the up side, it was the first time that Aiden, Vyn, Clarence, Amy, and Regina had been together for quite a while, and ironically, it was classified as a "family reunion" and a positive thing in the memories of those sims. Well, even though Jack had constructed the Silent Grove Cemetery while he was still alive, the family decided they'd rather keep Jack around the house in "urn form" rather than have to visit the cemetery to see him (the cemetery is literally right next door to their house, so that's a little lazy on their parts). And so, the urn stayed in the house. As interesting as it would be to have a "pirate ghost" wander the house, though, Jack never bothered anyone, he just stayed bottled up (I supposed it's too early to make a reference to a "bottle of Jack Daniels", but I can't help myself).

Amy: "Let me know if you want me to change the channel, Jack."

Well, sims come and go in the Monkeesim world, but the passing of Jack Daniels was the first death that truly sucked, not only because of all the time I'd invested in him since the very beginning of the neighborhood, but because it really bummed out his friends and family for a while. However, the show must go on, and I assure you it does. Farewell, Captain Jack…there will never be another. Up next, Jack may be gone, but the residents of his home aren't. Will Regina find love again? Will ANY of the sims in the house find love at all? Will the ghost of Jack ever show his face (or nose)? Join us next time, as we search for answers to these questions!