Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Family Resemblance

Welcome to all you first time visitors to this blog, as well as those of you who read it regularly (I think that mostly includes me and a couple of relatives if I'm lucky). I feel like someone is choking me right now, not because they actually are, but because I decided to wear a dress shirt and tie today, and ties always have a little bit of a gagging effect on me. Thank goodness I don't work at a place that requires them daily - I can't imagine having to work with so much of my precious oxygen cut off from my brain. Actually, there is supposedly a "business casual" dress code at my place of work, but last time I checked, sweat pants and T-shirts weren't business casual (unless you're a track star), but there's a heck of a lot of that around here, and it's not on me.

I don't know what got me thinking along these lines, but I remember an era where it seemed like every movie I bought featured Ryan Reynolds, and every one of those movies featured a shot of his butt at some point or another. How thankful I am that we seem to be past that era…and that I sold all those movies. That's enough of that random thought for now, though. Ryan Reynolds isn't a sim (though if he were, his butt would be blurred out, thankfully). We are here to talk about sims, so let's change our focus. When we first drop in on the young Wilson family, we find Antonio out and about shopping for some new clothes. Why he'd want to replace those stylish duds he's wearing now, we'll just never know.

Antonio: "It's just not very practical winter wear!"

The funny thing (to me at least) is that Antonio is a full generation older than Katrina and Mia Kay (Katrina is his niece), but you certainly can't tell by looking at the outfit he began his Monkeesim life wearing. Judging by his clothes, he looks younger or at least about the same age as the girls. It just seemed like it was time to update his outfit to something a little more distinguished or respectable. Especially since my sims aren't "allowed" to age into elders, the only way to depict the passage of years is by giving them "older" looking clothes. That's usually the only hope most of my sims ever have of getting new clothes, because generally, I'm not much of a clothes monger. The idea of dressing my sims in a new outfit every day is just too tedious for me. Anyway, Antonio opted to wear a nice leather jacket everywhere instead of a tank top. So now, instead of being under-dressed for the cold months, he's over-dressed for the warm ones.

Antonio: "Didn't they tell you? The 50's are making a comeback!"

No doubt now that Antonio is all dressed up, people will ask him stupid questions like if he has an interview or if he ran out of clean clothes and had to resort to the nice ones or crap along those lines. Oh, wait - I'm thinking of the idiot stuff people ask me every time I wear anything nicer than a Hefty bag with arm and head holes cut in it to work (you'd think I was the biggest slob in town the way they talk it up when I'm not wearing my normal everyday wear). You'll recall from before that even though Katrina had finally had Seth, she was still working, and her and the rest of the family were still taking turns calling out from work to baby sit. You may be thinking that they could have just called the Nanny, but she's one of the most useless sims. Her and the pet trainer should hook up and eat other peoples' food and do nothing together.

Mia Kay: "How did I get stuck having a baby all the time without the fun that comes from making one?"

Aside from the slight change in schedule that came with people calling out to watch Seth, life in the Wilson house was getting boring. Very, VERY boring! Like, "oh my gosh, someone please shoot me and end the misery" boring! I can't say it was the fault of the family, because they were doing everything they could to liven things up, but they'd been stuck in the world's ugliest house with very little to do, and managing their needs and schedules was becoming a big pain in the you-know-what, and nobody had left the house for any reason but to work in ages. Something had to be done. Well, nobody did do anything besides boring stuff and baby watching, and I was at a loss as to how to help them out of that rut, even with my limitless power over my sims.

Katrina: "I guess I could watch the baby, but where's the fun in that?"

Yes, I realized just how hideously dull things had gotten when I took into account the fact that the whole beginning of this post was dominated by discussion of Antonio buying a new jacket and Ryan Reynolds' ass. I'll be sure to make an appointment to get my head checked later and see what the implications of all this are, but for now, our focus is still on what big losers the Wilsons are. The family as a whole was beginning to suffer the same sort of problems the original Wilsons from my TS1 house had encountered, my inability to keep so many people happy at once. Fulfilling needs is tough enough, but once you throw the aspiration meter in there, well, forget about it! Everyone did their best, and having so many people around to help out with the baby did provide enough of a break for everyone that nobody went crazy.

Aimee: "You know, he even looks a little like you!"

Hmmm…that's kind of gross if you think about the implications, but here's a freebie for you: Antonio is NOT Seth's father. That's not even possible, due to how the family was created (the game considers him a parent rather than Katrina's uncle, but close enough). Sorry if you thought you'd discovered the deep down dirty truth about Seth's parentage, but even the bulk of Seth's family was still clueless on that front, so you get to be too. The fact is, by this point, nobody really cared who Seth's dad was - Seth was just sort of there and that was good enough for everyone. It's not like there was room to move anyone else into the house if the father ever did show up and decided he wanted to spend more time with his kid (yes, I know the eight family member limit had not yet been exceeded, but that's not what I'm talking about, all you wiseacres). Anyway, seeing as how Seth was going to become a toddler sooner or later, it made sense to buy some toys and stuff for when he aged. That was the excuse Antonio and Katrina used to buy toys, although they used them quite a bit themselves.

Antonio: "Next time I get to be Robot, and you're Brick Man!"

I hesitated a little to let them buy a Sir Bricks-a-lot, since every time one of my families gets one, they tend to drop everything else to play with the dumb thing, but there was no reason to deprive Seth just because of the strange obsessions of the adult sims. The robot seems to be oddly popular as well, though not nearly as much as the brick. Katrina spent almost her entire day off playing with the toy robot before deciding she should probably spend some time with her own baby too. This gave Antonio just the opening he was looking for to get his hands on the robot. Sadly, he discovered the stupid thing was broken, meaning it wasn't just maternal instinct that made Katrina decide to put it down and pick up Seth instead.

Antonio: "Gah! Robots are supposed to be our faithful servants!"

Those robots break ridiculously easy compared to most other objects that have the potential to get broken. They're pretty easy to repair, though, even for sims who you've never seen pick up a tool in their entire life, and I've never seen anyone get electrocuted fixing a robot before. Anyway, after a span of time that seemed to have no end, Seth's birthday eventually rolled around. Lucky for Seth, I was familiar with the birthday/baby aging process by this point. When it came time for Aiden, my first TS2 baby, to age into a toddler, I could not for the life of me figure out what I was supposed to be doing to assist the process. I kept getting "help with birthday" interactions queued, and had no idea what was supposed to be happening for an entire day…

Katrina: "Hey, what idiot put four candles on the cake?"

Looking back on that picture, you might be wondering who the guy in the red suit is. Could it be Seth's father, there to celebrate his son's first birthday? No. The answer is that he's absolutely nobody of importance! I have no idea who he was or what he was doing at the house, but even intrusive weirdoes with bad fashion sense are happy to celebrate someone's birthday for a free piece of cake. The big news about the whole birthday thing, besides the fact that it was enough of an event to pull in strangers off the street, was that it signified the time when Seth would stop looking like all the other generic sim babies, and finally show signs of his parentage…

Presenting the latest in fashion for baby prison inmates...

Now, to the casual observer, little Seth may appear to be just another baby with overly intelligent looking features and prison inmate looking clothes, but if you're like me and know who the male parent is, the resemblance is astounding. Heck, from the looks of things, the only thing Seth really got from his mom was her skin tone, the rest came from his old man. Unfortunately, for those of you who have yet to make the visual connection between Seth and his father, the mystery remains unsolved for now. Something about Seth aging into a toddler and having a little more personality caused Katrina to start spending a lot more time with him. Suddenly, teaching him to walk and talk and all that good stuff seemed like a lot more fun than spending time with the toy robot. She hadn't been able to teach it a darn thing.

At least one of his parents is finally giving him the time of day!

The whole baby training process seemed a lot easier this time around than it had the last time I remembered having to go through it. I think last time was with Moon Unit Marley, and it seemed to take forever (and it seemed even longer with Jaden and Kati Daniels). That, and Katrina used the aspiration reward milk to speed up the process and give Seth a healthy glow. The stuff worked, though, and before you know it, Seth was able to walk around on his own and say stuff like, "where's my Daddy?" and wander around outside while nobody seemed to have any idea where he was. Katrina tried in vain to get Seth new clothes, but at this point in time, I had yet to figure out how to shop for clothes for children (don't email me about it, I figured it out since). His night time clothing selection was definitely the most "unique".

Seth: "Let me out! I'm not an animal, I'm a human being!"

Those panda pajamas made me laugh like an idiot (perhaps we can simply refer to them as "pandamas"…hehe), and I wasn't in any hurry to get rid of them. The family decided they needed to just accept Seth no matter how odd his everyday wear was. It wasn't as bad as Jaden Daniels' little white tuxedo she wore when she was a baby. The older Seth got, the more space he seemed to take up in the house, and it started to become evident that sooner or later, something was going to have to change. Fitting Katrina and Mia Kay into a small room together worked okay at the moment, and Antonio and Aimee we doing just fine sharing the double bed in their room, but once Seth outgrew his crib, he'd either have to sleep on the couch, or something dramatic would have to take place. Antonio didn't seem particularly concerned about this, because he had other things on his mind…

Antonio: "What's the deal with lady bugs? They get in your house, your car, your pants…I hate em!"

The most logical solutions to the inevitable overcrowding problem were that either Katrina would have to take Seth and go live with Seth's dad, or Antonio and Aimee would have to move out and start their own life together elsewhere. Aimee had supported the family, bought the new house, and paid most of the bills since she first moved in with the Wilsons, yet it seems like having to stay in the world's ugliest house sharing cramped quarters with a bunch of nuts like the Wilson gang would sort of be like getting the short end of the stick. At this point, Aimee was just waiting to hear anything at all from Antonio as far as when they'd actually be getting married, but as with the identity of Seth's father, that remains a mystery. We'll be putting all this mysterious stuff on hold for the time being, though, as we visit Kitty, Marty, Julie, and J.D. for a bit, and see what they're trying to pass off has having a life. See you next time! :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robots and Evil Squid

This has been the longest week for me, and only a couple days have gone by. It's not because there's been a lot of particularly bad stuff happening, though, it's just been really snowy and gloomy outside for the past couple weeks, and that takes its toll on my brain - I have snow on the brain, so to speak. With snow comes the mentality that I should be at home drinking coffee sitting in a warm, quiet room, not in a brightly lit office environment where everything is air conditioned even in the winter, having to click away at a keyboard all day long. No wonder I don't get anything done when it's snowy out. I still have the "snow day" mentality from when I was a kid in school and a big snow usually meant a pretty good chance of getting at least one day off. They never call out at my job. Being an adult sucks.

On that happy, happy note, I must clarify that I'm actually doing pretty good, if you ignore my little issue with gloomy weather. I was born in Los Angeles, and I've never quite embraced living in a state where it's cold so much of the year or there's so much weather variation. Having all that change at the age of 12 was like having TS2 installed and installing "Seasons" and abruptly changing everything your sims know about the weather. Speaking of sims (how's that for a segue?), let's move on to them, because they're a lot more fun than my personal mumbo jumbo. As we enter the neighborhood, we find ourselves at the Andrews home, where the adorable and talented Amy Andrews is busy flying a kite...

Amy: "At the first sign of lightning, I'm letting go of this crazy thing!"

Yes, it was lots of fun to craft all kinds of goodies to sell at Radio Shock, but curiosity eventually got the best of Amy, and she decided to try out some of the products she was selling to test them for fun and functionality. That way, when folks asked her how something works or if it's any fun to use, she'd actually have something to tell them instead of just standing there looking dumb. She was smart enough not to test the obviously evil variations of some of the items like the clown-in-a-box and the evil kite (she just left the evil clown sitting around the house where people like Clarence could keep using it and peeing on the floor as a result). Buddy was the first to test the "water wiggler", and was somehow able to turn it on and off at will. That is one smart pooch.

The eternal battle of dog vs. plastic, water spewing octopus!

Eventually, Amy got tired of playing with all of the toys and gadgets herself, and decided to try them out on an unlikely focus group - kids! Now, I know it's been a while, but if you really stretch your brain, you'll recall that Amy has grandchildren (I know, she doesn't look it), and this fact didn't escape her. She called up Aiden and Vyn, who brought their daughters Kati and Jaden over to the house. She also called up her daughter Aimee, who isn't exactly what you'd call a kid, but she's close to the same age as Amy's grandchildren, which is enough to make you drool with confusion. The kids (and Aimee) managed to get Buddy away from the water wiggler long enough to play around with it a bit themselves, then decided to gather around the pitifully small dining room table for a bite to eat.

Jaden: "Have you guys ever been to Pimp Harbor?"

Really, with all the improvements that have been made to the Andrews home since they first moved in (it was actually one of the template homes in the beginning, but you'd hardly recognize it now), it's amazing they'd never bothered to add something functional like a bigger dining room, but since Clarence and Amy are the only real residents, and everyone else has a tendency to eat sitting at the couch, I guess it wouldn't have gotten much use. Antonio Wilson eventually figured out where his fiancé had gone off too, and decided to come join in the soggy front yard fun. A little later, Antonio and Vyn retired to the hot tub, where they assumed they'd have a nice relaxing soak, until Clarence joined them and tried to bore them to death with his endless, tedious talk about politics and the challenges of being mayor…zzzz…

Vyn: "If he doesn't change the topic soon, I'm going to hold my head underwater until he shuts up!"

Despite everything she already had going on in her life, including her family, her dog, taking care of the house, and minding Andrews Radio Shock every few days, Amy still found herself getting bored, and while Clarence was making okay money as Mayor, it was only about half of what he was making when he'd reached the top of the sports career track (the only reason he switched was because of a life long aspiration to become the best on the slacker track). The solution was simple - if she had a job of her own, she'd be making more money, and it would kill a few hours during the day when she was usually sitting around at home by herself while Clarence and even Buddy went off to work.

Amy: "Actually, I'm just playing the sims right now…the job can wait!"

Whew…speaking of work, I'm incredibly tired right now. I wrote the above yesterday morning while I had time, and since then, the rest of the day has gone by, followed by a night of my wife elbowing me every five seconds saying I was snoring, and now I'm about as close to being a zombie as you can get without actually being dead. I just can't seem to find the motivation to work (and it's a good thing I'm not right now). Anyway, back to Amy. After a little searching, she decided on a job in the business track, which is handy because she didn't have any strong preference about what profession she entered (she's been to the top of a couple of other career tracks before, most notably law enforcement). Amy's carpool left at the same time as Clarence's, so regardless of what would normally be picking her up, she wound up taking the helicopter to work.

Amy: "Can't we just get a nice, inconspicuous limo instead?"

Like all sims with maxed out skill points, it didn't take Amy more than a couple of days before she was a CEO (wouldn't it be great if it were that easy in real life?). As with the top position in so many other career tracks, the CEO money wasn't all that great, but when it was combined with the money Clarence was making as Mayor, it wasn't so bad. The real benefit to Amy taking on yet another job, of course, was the career rewards. The family had started storing the less interesting ones like the lie detector and podiums in their upstairs attic, but it seemed time to start putting some of the fun ones to good use. Clarence pulled out the putting green, since, thus far, there's been no indication the sims will have access to a full size golf course any time soon (you thought the bowling lanes and skating rinks were big objects, just imagine how big that puppy would be).

Clarence: "It's all in the hips, baby…"

By this point, thanks to the questionable crafting skills of Katrina and Mia Kay, who made the toys at Radio Shock, Amy had gotten to see most of the "evil" variations of the toys sold at the store. However, due to a lack of units produced, nobody realized there was an evil version of the water wiggler. Then one day, while Amy was restocking the shelves at the store, behold, she filled the empty wiggler spot with the coolest "evil squid" variant. She decided it was just too cool to allow someone else to buy it, and quickly reclaimed it for her own use at home. The old, boring octopus model was quickly discarded, and folks gave the squid a test run, with decidedly "un-evil" results…

Well, it LOOKS evil anyway...

Yes, while there's a noticeable difference between the regular octopus model and the "evil" squid, the squid didn't actually do things any differently from the octopus. A little research later on my part seemed to indicate there was a risk of "flooded lawn", but after days of using the stupid thing the only thing to get wet was the people jumping around in the water spray, and they suffered no ill effects. I'll admit I'm a little evil myself in that I get a good laugh out of the effects the evil clown-in-a-box and evil kite have on sims, and I was just the tiniest bit bummed when the so-called evil squid didn't deliver the goods. Oh, well. Now, with Amy and Clarence both having jobs and being pretty busy, there were a couple times it was tempting to reactivate the household servos, but just recalling all the trouble they'd caused already was enough to squelch that temptation.

Clarence: "It's okay! You can listen to me play the piano for hours!"

The maid (and Amy, who still couldn't shake some of her old maid behaviors) did a pretty good job of keeping the place clean, but there was no denying it was pretty tempting to activate C-3P0 or Dot to have them wander around and pick up garbage. They inevitably wound up wasting time doing recreational stuff instead though before their desire to do chores kicked in, and it just wasn’t worth the trouble of repositioning them in their corners in the piano room later to be deactivated. Amy figured out a much better solution, and didn't have to look any further than her very own store. She brought home a "cleanbot" and a "hydrobot" to take care of garbage and watering needs, making the servos a little more useless than they already were.

Dumber than their servo cousins, but much more efficient!

I have to say, the little rover droids do a pretty good job of handling their individual tasks, if you ignore the fact that the cleanbot can't scrub toilets or get trash off counters. My sims have a terrible habit of dumping plates and trash on the floor wherever they go, and having a robot to handle those alone made a huge difference. The hydrobot was a little less useful since nobody ever caught on fire, but it's ability to tell when the garden plants needed watering was superior to my own, since I have a tendency to drown them. Eventually, Amy started to feel a little guilty about leaving the servos to collect dust. Sure, they were mostly useless and concerned only about satisfying their own selfish desires, but she'd raised kids before too, and they were the same, and it wasn't like she'd stood them in a corner until she needed them. Eventually, Amy reactivated them for little bits of time here and there so they could go do their thing, whatever it happened to be.

Dot: "I am going to be SO buff!"

I don't really have anything strongly against the servos, even after the less than stellar experiences both the Andrews and Daniels families had with them. At the heart of things, they aren't normal "sims", and I suppose they so badly want to be that they overcompensate with excessive interactions with their "owners" and pursuit of "normal" activities. I just don't like it when they try to flub up existing relationships by making shameless passes at their owners, or they waste all the food in the fridge making meals that aren't needed. Of course, servos, even with all of their quirks, are less disappointing than the dang "evil" squid, which after several more days, still had yet to demonstrate any evil behavior.

Squid: "I've got scary glowing eyes…what more do you want?!"

If nothing else, all the stuff getting crafted at Andrews Radio Shock has been amusing and occupying the family, which is a lot more fun than just watching it get bought up by townies and never used at all. Over the next few posts, we'll be paying a visit to the Wilsons of both Wilson households in the hopes that they can provide us with some sort of amusement. Then later, we'll visit Leon and Rinoa Hartman. It's been a while since we checked to see how they were doing. Have they found the ideal life together Leon seemed to hope they'd have? Has Leon actually made anything of himself since the last time we saw him? I wouldn't bet on the latter, but we can always dream. Take care, and drop by next time!

Monday, February 25, 2008

When Androids Attack

Hello, hello, everyone! It's a glorious, wonderful, amazing day here, and if I keep using enough over-enthusiastic adjectives like that, I might actually start to believe it! Actually, it's kind of a crappy day for no particular reason, besides that it's still cold out and has been for weeks and weeks, I'm basically broke and eating Saltines for breakfast and lunch during what's supposed to be a ten hour work shift, I have to pee, and there are some other factors at work bringing me down, but do I really need to list anymore? Believe me when I say that if I actually kept a real personal blog, it would be jam packed today (which is part of the reason I don't keep one - who's got the time?)

After playing TS2 and its expansions for hundreds of hours, if you're like me, you've been exposed to lots and lots of the in-game radio stations. I finally broke down and started seeking out some of the songs in their English forms, because it was just too weird listening to and singing the simlish versions, which were the only ones I knew. Is it odd that the songs seem so strange when you can understand the words, as opposed to singing along with gibberish? I think the sign of a good song though is when you like it even without being able to understand a single word, which has been the case with some real songs I've liked in the past anyway.

The focus of our last post here was how Regina Daniels activated a servo named Jack, and how Jack said to hell with doing chores and decided to hit on the females living in the house constantly instead. Needless to say, this made for a weird situation in more ways than one. It was weird for Regina because the real Jack Daniels hadn't really been dead all that long, and it was strange for Debbie because she'd developed a crush on Alex Kent, and didn't have room in her life for a relationship with a robot on the side.

Regina: "That Conan O'Brien…what will he think of next?"

Alex has had a rough road ahead of him where his courtship of Debbie is concerned. When he first took an interest in her, she wasn't officially dating anyone, but Gia Fitch had a crush on Debbie, and took offense to anyone else trying to put the moves on her. That all came to an end eventually, after Debbie got tired of being slapped by Gia and Gia got tired of slapping Debbie and the two parted ways. Alex decided the coast was clear for the time being, with that crazy, jealous Gia out of the way, and proceeded to start wooing Debbie again. Poor Alex was totally unaware that Jack had turned into a self-proclaimed "pimp bot", and wasn't taking people putting the moves on "his women" lightly…

Debbie: "Oh, Alex, you're so much better at that than any robot!"

Like any other illogical sim in a situation like this, Jack sprang into action when he saw Alex and Debbie getting intimate, and proceeded to try to administer a good slapping to Debbie. And as usual, this made no sense, because what Jack saw that set him off was Alex kissing up Debbie's arm, which Alex had initiated. Jack didn't bother trying to slap Alex, of course, because that WOULD have made sense in some weird way (really, Alex had called dibs on Debbie before Jack was even activated, so he really had no business getting huffy to begin with). Poor Debbie - between fighting with Claire over Leon Jackson, getting beaten up by Gia because of Alex, and now getting slapped by Jack, her love life has been a constant war zone. It's amazing she has any interest in love at all anymore (or feeling in her face).

Jack: "Preparing to initiate 'Whoop-ass Program!' *bleep*!"

Yeah, sometimes I don't know which is worse, being stuck on Leon's boat back when she was together with him while he invited all manner of folks to live on the boat with them, or her current situation, where she's STILL living with weirdoes, and now fighting with them all the time. I'd say things were better before, but she was the one that gave all that up so no need to feel too sorry for her. Anyway, as much as Austyn loved to hang out with Debbie, he'd decided to keep a safe distance from all the hand to hand combat that was taking place, and had to find ways to busy himself in the meantime. Austyn decided it was time they gave the original Captain Jack a proper burial, and gave him a nice little grave behind the clubhouse he used to love so much.

Austyn: "If only I'd gone to college! Then we could have brought you back as a zombie!"

It did occur to Austyn at one point or another that the little resurrection phone career reward could bring Jack back, but there were two problems with that idea - the first was that University wasn't installed yet (more than a little setback), and even if it was, bringing back Jack would require somehow introducing a school age child to the family to go to college, or moving in a college graduate, and both methods involved bringing more people into the house, which was the last thing anyone needed. In the end, Austyn decided Captain Jack was probably enjoying his peaceful dirt nap, and given how much he hated being awaken prematurely while he was alive, one can only imagine how he'd have felt about being brought back from the dead. Meanwhile, Regina saw how much trouble robot Jack was giving Debbie and Alex, and decided he had too much time on his hands. She insisted if he cared about her, he'd get a job, and help support the family.

Regina: "You're not looking for a job! The computer's not even on!"

Ironically, Jack found a position as a school teacher, on the same track as his namesake Jack. Or maybe it's not ironic. Maybe it was an attempt by robot Jack to make himself so much like the original Jack that the family would forget there ever was another (he may have a great big eye, but he'd never have the first Jack's great big nose). Regina decided that if Jack was going to be working, she might as well get a job for the first time since moving to the neighborhood (she'd maxed almost all of her skills, but never really put them to good use). Regina got a job on the medical track, working really weird hours, but she didn't care, because the family has the worst sleeping habits in the neighborhood.

Regina: "Debbie…hello!...I know you're in that trash can!"

While Regina was making decent money even at the lower levels of the medical track (not too low, mind you, due to the high level of skill she started her career with), being out of the house late at night and leaving everyone else to their own devices might not have been the best idea. See, without Regina around, while he wasn't at work, Jack had nobody else to occupy his time really, and he turned his attention back to Debbie. He may not have shown any signs of harmful intent toward Alex previously, but he was furious with him, and decided to let it be known one evening out by the hot tub. Quite unexpectedly, Jack walked up to Alex and started poking him, which eventually turned into Jack slapping him instead. Well, Alex is no pushover, and wasn't about to be slapped by some lousy tin can without slapping back…

Alex: "Ow! That kind of hurts my hand!"

Yeah, smart move there, Alex, since Jack clearly doesn't look advanced enough to have any "pain receptors". I imagine slapping a robot in the face probably would do more harm to the normal sim's hand than the robot, but nobody stops to think about these things when tempers start to flare. Jack eventually decided all the slapping stuff was for sissies, which, let's face it, it kind of is. He decided to give his "fight program" a little test run instead, and went to town on Alex. Well, the bad news there is that since Regina had maxed her body points before she activated Jack, he's one buff son of a gun, while Alex is just average. The fight was short and humiliating, and unlike Katrina Wilson, Alex didn't feel any need for a rematch - the outcome was sort of a forgone conclusion…

Austyn: "Can't you two just play nicely?"

The butt kicking was basically symbolic, and useless in the long run, because it didn't put Alex off of wooing Debbie, nor did Jack increase his own efforts to win Debbie's affection after demonstrating his "dominance". So, there you have it - robots can be petty and vengeful too (might be something to ask your local robot dealer about before investing in one yourself). Jack decided to finally turn on the charm full steam and see if Regina changed her mind about the whole not dating thing, and this time, it worked. By this point, I'd given up on canceling romantic interactions between the two before they occurred, I just cringed every time Jack decided he wanted to smooch with Regina. I was NOT going to be queuing any romantic interactions between the two of them myself, though…no "woo woo" for those two…

Jack: "Once you go Jack, you never go back!"

So here we have it - Regina and robot Jack paired up together, and Debbie and Alex together as an official "item". Suddenly, Austyn found himself playing the part of the "fifth wheel". The worst of it was that with the rest of the household partnered up together, nobody was really interested in getting out of the house like they once had to make the scene and cruise the clubs, and Austyn wasn't terribly interested in doing it all by himself. Now, a more intelligent type might have considered picking up the phone and calling some of the potentially interesting sims met during previous outings, but that never occurred to Austyn. Luckily for him, "Lady Bricks-alot" was on the rebound since Jack decided to shower his attention on Regina instead.

Austyn: "You're so much more than a doorstop to me!"

I know what you're thinking, but it's not any stranger of a relationship than Jack and the brick…or Jack and anyone else for that matter. The important thing is that everyone finally had someone else to occupy their time, no matter how strange some of the pairings might have been. Believe it or not, the pairing of Alex and Debbie is a bit of a strange one, even if it doesn't seem so on the surface. I know, they're both "human", so that's a good start, but Alex is really a highly intellectual type, and Debbie is…um…good at cleaning. And she likes to have fun. She's not very intellectual, though. Don't forget, she's really a blonde underneath that deceitfully dyed red hair...

Debbie: "Are you sure you don't want to play Battleship instead?"

Somehow, the two still seemed to get along smashingly. There's always been something a little strange to me about Alex, though I'm not sure what it is. Part of it might be that he doesn't have a lot of "background story" to him, since I've never really spent much time with the Kent family, but at the same time, there are quite a few families in the neighborhood that are that way, so it shouldn't really matter. Eventually, Alex stopped being part of the Kent household, as he decided everyone else in the city was living in Regina's house, and he might as well do the same. Of course, living in the house presented a challenge since robot Jack lived there too and hated Alex. Alex decided if he was going to protect himself from getting his butt kicked regularly, he'd better get in shape and fast. Debbie decided to join him to provide a little motivation, despite having a pretty high body score herself…

Alex: "I'm not sure if this is less painful than getting beaten on by Jack!"

Well, it was nice that Alex was trying to make an effort to take care of himself, but Regina, being the selfless type, realized that Jack was causing more trouble than he was worth for the rest of the household, and still wasn't doing any cleaning. Thus, she decided it was time to "power down" Jack for a while, until he was really, really needed. Guess that "robot romance" wasn't all that spectacular if she was willing to turn it off just like that. That, or she liked the idea of being able to switch off "her guy" when she didn't need him and start him up again when she did. I know a few women that would find that a really attractive concept. Anyway, before we delve too deeply into all that anti-guy stuff, it's time to draw this post to a close. Tune in next time as we find out what Amy and Clarence Andrews are up to since we last heard from them. You can bet it will be more of the usual weirdness…See you then!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Don't Know Jack

Don't you hate it when you realize after a few hours of out and about that your fly is open? Wondering who all noticed but was too nice to say something, or who all took a huge shortcut to walk around you so they wouldn't accidentally see something they really didn't want to see (on the off chance you were going commando, which I'm proud to say I was NOT). Yeah, we're talking about me in this particular case. The good news is nobody is really awake or paying attention at the time of morning I'm writing this, and it's not like I had to get up on stage and make a speech with the barn door open or anything like that. Plus, even if someone had said something, I work with almost all women, and I'd have just come back with the witty reply, "what were you doing looking down there anyway?" Oh, I am truly a comic genius…

I learned a valuable life lesson this morning, by the way. If you use a cell phone as an alarm clock, which I do (I don't even remember how that began, so don't ask), make sure you don't have the phone set on "silent" when it comes time to be used as said alarm…it doesn't do a whole lot of good that way. Thankfully, the alarm in my head is still working fine, so I got to work on time. Anyhow, today we're going to visit with one of the longest running families in the Monkeesim neighborhood, the Daniels family. They've had the dubious honor of having some of the strangest changes made to the family structure since their conception. First it was just Jack and Clarence Daniels, then Jack married Regina, they adopted Vyn by accident, let Debbie and Austyn move in, then Jack died, leaving only Regina, Debbie and Austyn. Well, that's all about to change…in a very weird way...

Regina: "What's a good name for him? How about Jack?"

After Andrews Radio Shock was up and running, Amy Andrews gave her old friend, Regina, a servo to help around the house a bit (I believe that was before Amy discovered they can be more of a pain in the butt than a help sometimes, but it would have been rude to take it back afterward). And so, Regina activated the servo and named him Jack, in memory of her former husband (duh). Since there was no way to dress Jack in normal clothes, she opted to have him wear his "formal" jacket, which was as close as she could get to the original Jack's pirate coat. Like the servos Amy activated at her house, Jack pretty much did his own thing, and work seemed to be the last thing on his mind (kind of like with Austyn and Debbie). Since nobody really cared much for chores around the house, Regina paid Radio Shock a visit and bought robots to clean, water, provide food, and zap intruders.

Less and less like "The Sims 2" and more like "Mega Man"...

Considering Regina still employed a maid (whoever was doing that sort of thing since Amy and Debbie both gave up being maids for love), and the fact that she'd purchased an army of household robots, Regina didn't care too much about the fact that Jack was acting like just another useless sim around her house. She actually came to appreciate his company, even more so when Debbie and Austyn were off doing stuff together without her. If it was a substitute for the original Jack that Regina was looking for, it might have worked out better if Jack had been around to activate the servo and infuse it with his personality, but nobody said it was a perfect plan. Actually, since Jack was basically a robotic "male" clone of Regina, they got along perfectly - and since the new Jack had no job, he was able to spend more time with Regina than the original, career oriented real Jack.

Let's hope Jack's "punch strength" is set on "low"...

As for Debbie and Austyn, it's questionable if they noticed there was a new member in the house, robotic or otherwise. As usual, they were so caught up doing their own thing that they weren't paying too much attention to what was going on around them. Heck, if it weren't for the laws of the sim world that dictate that household sims can't head off to do non-work stuff while you're playing the rest of the family on the lot, I doubt they'd have stuck around the house as much as they did (no doubt they'd be off looking for ghosts or cruising Marty's for guys). At the moment, the pair had actually found a form of entertainment that didn't require travel or money - thanks to recently added expansions, they'd been granted the ability to play "rock-paper-scissors", which is about all they could be found doing for the longest time…

Austyn: "I think I'm about ready to go pro!"

On an amusing side note, my brother and I actually hosted a rock-paper-scissors tournament when we were in college together, and it was a huge success - I've had a special place in my heart for the "sport" ever since as more than just a great way to decide who gets the last Arby's mozzarella stick or who has to wash the dog after he's spent two hours playing in the mud (think of all the time people have wasted trying to use logical discussion or persuasive argument to solve those problems). Anyway, if you think Regina being best friends with a robot named after her dead husband is kind of weird, it gets stranger yet. Sure, Jack enjoyed hanging out with Regina, but more than anything, he loved spending time with his toy brick the family bought at Radio Shock. Almost leaves you a little speechless, doesn't it? It does me, and I've seen a lot of weird in my day...

Jack: "How about a little kiss, my love?"

Just imagine what their kids would look like. Looking at that picture got me thinking - that toy is normally named "Sir Bricks-alot", but since there's a female version, that name doesn't exactly fit, unless it's a cross-dressing brick. Let's not even go there. As fond as Jack was of uh…Lady Brick-alot, their relationship sort of hit a brick wall (hehe) when he realized their interactions were limited to one sided conversations and him teaching her tricks. Meanwhile, Regina had developed something of a crush on Jack, which needless to say is a little creepy, but to each their own. It did work out well for Jack, because instead of having to "power down" in the corner and collect dust, he was able to share bed space with Regina. Oh, the pain…and the weirdness…

Regina: "I don't really like being stared at while I try to sleep..."

You'll be happy to know that nothing happened between the two of them while bunking together. That's one interaction I'm glad doesn't occur randomly, because Jack had developed a crush on Regina in return, and had started trying to put the moves on her during waking hours. Despite Regina's feelings for the new Jack, something in her head (probably me) reminded her that the original Jack hadn't been gone that long, and it was too soon to move on in that way. I'm one of those weird people who doesn't really think a robot can ever replace a lost love in a romantic capacity, but maybe I'm just saying that because I've never been hit on by a robot of the opposite sex. Regina decided the best way to keep her mind off possible robo-romance was to keep herself busy with her own business in Bluewater Village.

Presenting the "Catch of the Day" fish stand...

I can't say that the Daniels "family" has much in the way of talents, but most of the family members have fishing badges, and the way to exploit that for money seemed all too obvious to Regina. The lot for the stand was very small and cheap, and aside from the cost of the small shack, the fish coolers, and the pond, business costs were minimal. Of course, you can only charge so much for a fish, so it would still be a while before the place paid for itself, but in the meantime, "Catch of the Day" was serving a very important secondary function - it was keeping everyone busy. Jack was stuck working the register, while Austyn and Debbie fished, and Regina wandered around pressuring customers to buy fish.

Jack: "You sure you wouldn't rather make out instead?"

There was a huge passage of time there since what's written above and me picking it up again here. Life and it's many methods of making you want to crawl under a rock got the better of me, but I'm back. I actually spent the last half hour or so trying to figure out what the English versions of some of the songs on the sim stations are, and let me tell you, it's not easy if you don't have the game in front of you. Anyway, Regina seemed to be sort of a natural at the whole sweet talking customers thing, except where those naturally grouchy types were concerned, but who cares about them? As for Austyn and Debbie becoming professional fishers, there wasn't much of a learning curve there, since it was the exact same thing as fishing at home, except they were getting paid for it.

Austyn: "You know, if we just dropped a bomb in the pond, we could catch them all at once!"

As usual, the old "if you sell it, they will come" rule applied just as much with the fish as with anything else sims can stick a price tag on (Regina even set up a display of old boots her and the gang had caught, and they sold pretty quickly). Folks came in droves to check out the fish stand, and the fish were getting bought almost as quickly as Austyn and Debbie could pull them out of the water. One of them even caught the fabled "golden trout", although Regina hung on to that one since, like Amy, she wasn't sure what was so special about it (besides the starting price of $500). The coolers were eventually stocked with four of each kind of fish, two jumbo and two regular size. The jumbo trout were going for some outrageous sum I can't remember exactly at the moment, but it was a heck of a lot more than I'd pay for any fish...

Grinch: "I'm actually looking for the day old smelly fish..."

Regina eventually hired a talentless local sim to work as the cashier when the family wasn't actually visiting the fish stand, but I don't remember who it was. That's because Jack was working the register the whole time the family was there, and was doing a pretty good job. It seems to me that servos always have some cash register talent from the very beginning, and there wasn't a single shopping bag full of fish thrown on the ground as a result of excessive wait times. You can't really beat a servo when it comes to the register, because they don't have a comfort need, and the needs they do have don't deteriorate noticeably for a very long time. Plus, Jack was loving the opportunity to make social contacts while he worked…

Jack: "You look familiar…are you me??"

Well, the opening day of the fish stand was a much bigger success than it had any right to be, although there was a long way to go before it would be turning huge profits. Really, trying to run a fish stand as a business is a chancy chore, since you can never guarantee you'll have enough of any given fish in stock (unlike with baking and crafting, were you can choose how much of what you produce). After Austyn and Debbie had a few talent badges, they actually stopped catching the smaller fish most of the time, which would have been good if I Regina was just selling the jumbos, but was annoying when it came time to stock the small fish coolers and there weren't enough. At any rate, the family eventually had enough of the fish business for the time being, and everyone piled into the "Mystery Machine".

Debbie: "I still can't believe you fooled us into working!"

Everybody knows that after a long day of working at a fish stand, the best way to unwind is to go to the local cemetery for a few laughs. Regina wanted to make sure nobody was vandalizing the place, and Austyn and Debbie decided to give the whole ghost hunting bit another shot (if they'd just invite Shaggy Rogers and his dog, Scooby to live with them, they really could be the dysfunctional, wannabe Scooby Doo gang). Well, somewhere amid all the failed ghost hunting, Jack got a little fresh with Debbie, and oddly enough, she seemed to be okay with it. Man, that Jack is a player! Further weirdness ensued, and the couple wound up slow dancing without music outside the cemetery gate.

Debbie: "If I close my eyes, I can pretend he's Brad Pitt!"

I don't know about the rest of you, but having an expressionless robot putting the moves on all the women in the Daniels house like he owns them kind of gives me the willies. It's like the start of some bad sci-fi film where the robot grows too attached to it's owners, then goes berserk and winds up hacking them to pieces later on. Thankfully, servos can't hack sims to pieces like those movie robots, but that only helps eliminate a little of the "creep factor". I have a theory that since servos have so few needs that need to be met, and their usually sufficiently filled, they have very little choice but to endlessly socialize with other sims, resulting in their high relationship scores with their family members. Whatever the case, if Jack was going to be putting the moves on anyone, it really should have been Regina, since she was the one letting him sleep with her (you know I'm not talking about the dirty way, so don't go there).

Debbie: "Hey, watch those hands there…Brad..."

Robots slow dancing and copping a feel in the cemetery - this is just a little too creepy for me, you know what I'm saying? Bring back the days of Tommy Wolf making out with the chicks in his werewolf form, cause that seemed a lot more normal. I know those robots are supposed to be our faithful servants, but that's just taking things a step too far I think. Well, in case you're wondering just how much worse things can get robot-wise, you'll get to find out at least a little bit in our next post. Will Jack's jealous ways keep the women in the Daniels house from finding love elsewhere? Will the family be forced to shut him down and put him in his place? Will someone "accidentally" coax him into the hot tub and end the nonsense once and for all? Visit us next time, and you'll be the first to find out!