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!


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