Monday, March 24, 2008

Smooth Move, Leon

Well, hello again, everybody, and welcome back. I'm not feeling terribly chatty today (on a personal level, anyway), even after having a pretty good Easter and three day weekend. Depending on how much anyone looks forward to hearing me ramble on about myself, I guess that could be either good or bad. However you look at it, we'll just get straight to the good stuff for now...

Well, if you remember our last post at all, you'll recall that Leon Hartman was behaving in a manner not conducive to the survival of he and Rinoa's relationship. Fed up with Rinoa's short temper and less than supportive attitude toward his laziness, Leon had gone downtown in need of a break from her nagging, and wound up at Schroeder's Jam Land. There, he met the young, nubile Katrina Wilson, and he proceeded to "make time" with her (I'm not sure anybody but my dad uses that terminology anymore, but I could be wrong). After some PDA and a little smooching at Schroeder's, Leon and Katrina parted ways. Leon could have decided to just forget about Katrina and try to fix what was broken between he and Rinoa, but that wouldn't have been Leon. He followed his less admirable instincts instead, and tracked down Katrina at her place of work, Andrews Radio Shock.

Katrina: "Sure I remember you from yesterday, Larry..."

At this point, Katrina was still unaware of the fact that Leon was already involved with someone, and just figured he was a nice guy who was interested enough in her to pay a follow up visit (never mind the fact that she hadn't told him where she worked, and the fact that he was able to figure it out so quickly is a little creepy). Leon, on the other hand, was treading on dangerous turf, and while Rinoa paid little attention to what Leon did during the day while she was off trying to support them, it wouldn't be long before Rinoa figured out Leon was being unfaithful if he kept up the obvious public displays of interest in Katrina. Leon's no genius, but even he was smart enough to recognize the potential dangers in what he was doing. He decided rather than take the risk of someone seeing he and Katrina together in public and reporting it to Rinoa, he'd simply bring Katrina home instead…cause THAT's a lot smarter!

Leon: "I know Rinoa could break me in half, but it's so hard to care!"

Actually, while bringing Katrina home does sound like an incredibly stupid idea, thanks to the reliable nature of sim work schedules, and the fact that they never come home early from work, coupled with the fact that the sim world is exempt for tell-tale things like lipstick on coffee cups or the scent of another woman's perfume lingering in the air, there was zero chance that Rinoa would find out about the relationship if she didn't witness it first hand. That was the original plan, anyway. But wait…there's a twist to all this! See, before last post, we hadn't covered Leon and Rinoa for quite some time, so these events actually took place a while ago. Back before Katrina was even pregnant. As a matter of fact, these events have a lot to do with WHY Katrina was pregnant. When viewed in that light, things suddenly start to make a little more sense now, don't they?

Yep…there's definitely a resemblance...

Those of you who figured it out earlier can pat yourselves on the back. Seth Wilson is none other than the secret love-child of Leon Hartman and Katrina Wilson. Of course, Seth didn't come along right away. Leon decided that however poorly he felt Rinoa treated him, there had been something between them at one point or another, and she was a great household provider. It would be stupid to throw all of that away for someone he met during happy hour at Jam Land, no matter how good the chemistry between them had been. Leon started to feel a little guilty (that's a first) about his unfaithful behavior, and began manifesting this guilt in extremely suspicious ways, like cleaning around the house and gardening.

Rinoa: "I knew he'd been hoing around behind my back!"

Well, Leon is no Mensa candidate, and Rinoa didn't get so far in her military career by being stupid. Leon's odd behavior just screamed of him being guilty of something, and given his single minded interest in romance, the possible offenses he may have committed were narrowed down significantly in Rinoa's mind. Plus, she knew Leon could only go so long without getting a little lovin', and he sure wasn't getting it from her. Rinoa may not have actually witnessed Leon and Katrina together, but she knew…somehow she knew because shortly after Katrina turned preggers, Rinoa became "furious" with Leon and Katrina. If there was any question Leon was headed for the boiling water before, Rinoa decided to clear away any doubts by beating the crap out of him…

Leon: "Ouch! Where's Alfred Witte when I need him?"

Now, at first glance, it's easy to understand why Rinoa would be irritated with Leon (assuming she knew the extent of his misbehavior, and the fact that he got Katrina pregnant). However, when you consider the fact that she totally acted like "little miss slutty-slut" when she was dating Tommy Wolf and messed around with other guys not once but three different times, her behavior kind of reeks of hypocrisy. Maybe she's had time to get some perspective since those days, or maybe her time in the military has taught her a few things about ethical behavior. Or maybe she's just a big, fat hypocrite, who thinks it's okay for her to do whatever she pleases, but heaven forbid anyone ever do her wrong. Hard to say with Rinoa.

Rinoa: "See if I ever plead with the reaper for you again, dirt bag!"

If Leon was getting the cold shoulder from Rinoa before, it suddenly seemed like things were about to get a whole lot chillier. He continued living in the house with her, but when she was home from work, Leon's life revolved around avoiding being poked, slapped, insulted, or beaten up by Rinoa. While locking the door to his room so only he could enter or leave provided him a little bit of sanctuary, it certainly wasn't a very fun way to live. After Seth was finally born, and the Wilson family thoroughly wore themselves out trying to figure out who Seth's father was, Leon eventually decided he had nothing to lose by paying a visit to the son he'd never met. It beat the alternatives back home.

Leon: "He definitely has my boyish good looks..."

Though it had been some time since Leon and Katrina had last been around each other, Katrina still had a crush on Leon, so she wasn't opposed to having him around. Leon wasn't opposed to being around people who didn't beat him up, so incidentally it worked out pretty well for him too. The Wilson family was used to having all kinds of traffic, relatives or otherwise, so Leon's presence was hardly an inconvenience. Since Leon was nowhere to be found when Seth was originally born or during his time as an actual baby, he didn't have the advantage of the automatic relationship boost that's usually granted between parents and children. However, he and Seth got along pretty well, and becoming best of friends was an easy process (which can't be said of in regards to all of Leon's attempted friendships).

Leon: "I'm still not sure why you're dressed like a convict..."

Amazingly enough, the whole fatherhood thing seemed to agree with Leon pretty well. For all the things he's not interested in, not good at, or too lazy to do, it was a pretty unexpected and refreshing change. Even without any "outside intervention" (i.e.. controlling by yours truly), Leon spent a great deal of time with Seth, trying to teach him everything he knew (minus any education regarding women, which is the topic he thought he knew the most about). Well, as little as he actually knows about girls, Leon had the common sense to realize two things: his chances with Rinoa were pretty much shot, and he was in love with Katrina. Thus, when Katrina proposed that Leon move in, he accepted without hesitation, and without bothering to collect his meager belongings from he and Rinoa's house. Unexpectedly, Leon fired back with a little proposal of his own…

Katrina: "I just hope we actually get married some day, unlike Antonio and Aimee!"

Obviously Katrina accepted the engagement proposal (thus the rings over their heads), but unlike some couples in the neighborhood who've proceeded straight to the next step with an "insta-marriage", Leon wasn't in any rush to make that happen. Probably a good thing, because Aimee would have been really, really jealous. She was still waiting for Antonio to finally set a time, place, or date for their wedding, but he'd yet to show any signs that he intended to do so any time soon. Meanwhile, Aimee was spending a lot of her time playing with Seth and wondering when she would have some kids of her own. Poor Aimee. Antonio seemed oblivious to her anxiousness. He was too busy playing poker and talking to visitors about sum wrestling.

Aimee: "If I'd stayed a plant sim, I could have had kids on my own a long time ago!"

Well, Aimee and Antonio talked things over a little bit, and with Leon now living in the house with them, Katrina, Mia Kay, and Seth, things were starting to get just a little crowded. Two solutions presented themselves. The first would be to kick out everyone but themselves and have them find another place to stay, but considering the crappy wages everyone was making, that seemed a little harsh. The alternative was for Aimee and Antonio to move out and find a place big enough for the two of them, which seemed a little more practical. Thus, without bothering to take the meager furnishings, Aimee and Antonio said goodbye, called up a taxi, and moved out of the house they hated so badly when they first moved in. Incidentally, I still don't like it much.

Mia Kay: "Wait! Who's going to cook for us now?"

Having Aimee and Antonio gone was a big change for the household. While Antonio was much older than Katrina and Mia Kay, and especially Aimee, it was always Aimee who really directed and kept the household affairs in order (not affairs like the kind Leon and Katrina had, the other kind). She'd made the most money, was a master chef, and was the only one really prone to picking up after herself when needed. Katrina and Mia Kay are kind of slackers, and we all know where Leon's tendencies lie. Suddenly, the house was occupied only by people who didn't cook or clean, which doesn't sound like such a great arrangement. Their hearts were in the right place, though, and they made an effort to make sure that at least Seth was well cared for and not surrounded by piles of filth.

Mia Kay: "I could be watching the cooking channel, but then I'd miss Conan O'Brien!"

Well, a lot had happened in a short time, and to say that both Katrina and Leon's lives had changed radically would be an understatement. Just a short while ago, Leon thought he was destined to be with Rinoa, now he's engaged and has a kid with Katrina. Katrina has a baby, her fiancé living with her, and her long time room mates Aimee and Antonio are no longer around. Katrina and Leon both did their best to keep up with Seth, though it seemed at times that it took both of them and then some (i.e.. Mia Kay) to keep him happy and meet all his needs. The good thing about having Leon around was that he had no job to begin with, and didn't bother getting one after moving in with the Wilsons, so nobody had to take off work to watch Seth.

Come on guys…try to look happy!

All joking aside, Leon and Katrina seemed to be a much better match for each other than Leon and Rinoa had been. Neither one of them ever seems to take anything too seriously, aside from looking after Seth. Leon had finally found someone who liked him for who he was (whatever that may be), and Katrina was finally free of the rigors of dating and looking for love and the hazards that came with it (like getting into fights on blind dates). Sounds like it worked out pretty well for both of them, don't you think? Well, speaking of dating and looking for love, most of the folks living at Leon Jackson's "Pimp Harbor" residence have found love and freed themselves from the dating cycle, but not the recently arrived Steve Johnston. Join us next time here as we drop and witness his attempts to find that elusive, crazy little thing called "love". See you later!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not So Great Together

Well, it feels like ages since I blogged here, and that's probably because it has been! My motivation to write has been a little less than usual recently, but I've also been on vacation for a week with no internet access, so I couldn't have posted here if I'd wanted to. My wife spends a lot of time with photography, and she tried to get me into it over her spring break, and she actually met with some success. I've been taking a lot of pictures lately, and posting and blogging about them is time consuming. Trying to find the time to post here AND on my photoblog, well, forget about it! This blog still has a special place in my heart, though, and I refuse to let it "die" while I still have material waiting to be posted, so here we go...

As you'll probably recall, when I first started telling the stories of my TS2 sims here on this blog, we spent a fair amount of time following the Leon and Rinoa Hartman, and their rocky road to romance. Basically, Leon was obsessed with Rinoa, and she was obsessed with treating her boyfriend Tommy Wolf like dirt. After putting in to action a daring plan to get rid of Tommy, Leon and Rinoa finally had their chance to make things official and be a normal couple. Was it worth all the trouble? Well, I'd like to answer that with a resounding "yes" for all you fans of the pair, but for some reason, once Leon and Rinoa finally got to be together, the magic between the two seemed to fade away, if it was ever really there to begin with...

Rinoa: "I told you to quit putting those stupid pictures up in my room!"

There were a lot of old bad feelings between Leon and Rinoa as a result of their falling in and out of love when Rinoa was still dating Tommy, and while they didn't seem to matter so much when Leon and Rinoa's was just a forbidden romance, they certainly seemed to matter when the pair became an official "item". Once the adventure and excitement of pursuing the relationship had passed, it gave the pair plenty of time to focus on little irritating things that had come between them in the process. Rinoa realized she was sort of getting the short end of the stick, as Leon still had no job, and his "romantic vision" of making a living as a struggling artistic was becoming more of an annoying income-free reality. Rinoa was getting a little tired of pulling all the financial weight around the house, among other things.

Leon: "…*sniff*…how did I get stuck with such an evil witch?"

Yes, it appears that the reality of Leon and Rinoa being together at this point didn't really compare to the dream romance they'd imagined. Leon was sticking to his old ways, despite Rinoa's nagging, and refused to find work or make himself useful around the house (besides cooking the occasional meal or unclogging the toilet when needed). Given how small the house started to feel to Leon when he realized there was nowhere to go to escape Rinoa when she got in her "moods", his only recourse was to get out and visit one of the local community lots. It just so happens that around the time Leon was desperately seeking a temporary safe haven, Bluewater Village was welcoming "Schroeder's Jam Land", one of the hottest hangouts to hit the area thus far…

Flaming ninjas always make everything better...

As you might have guessed, Schroeder's Jam Land was the invention of Schroeder Fultz (in case you were confused and thought there were a lot of other Schroeders in town). It was your basic bar and dance club hybrid, with the addition of the electric guitar career reward from the music track for jamming on (I had yet to buy or install University at this point, or I'd have probably just used the basic instruments). All in all, it wasn't a bad little establishment, and it quickly became a level ten business, meaning the place was constantly hopping (and it didn't require nearly the work Radio Shock or Kitty's Korner did, proving that life is unfair). Leon hadn't been yet, obviously, but he was pretty certain Jam Land had to be better than sitting at home getting nagged at.

Leon: "I just want someone to make out with…is that really too much to ask?"

Well, the population of the Monkeesim neighborhood has certainly grown since the first few TS2 posts, while Leon has remained a "home body" for the most part. I don't know why it is I never felt compelled to send him out of the house more often when I used to visit the Hartman home, maybe because he do what he did best without ever leaving: pine for Rinoa. Or maybe I felt he didn't deserve an outing since he never actually worked or helped around the house. Or maybe Rinoa was so busy hogging the spotlight that I totally forgot about Leon altogether. It's hard to say. There were tons of people at Jam Land when Leon first showed up, but he didn't know a single one of them, and they didn't seem terribly interested in getting to know him.

Leon: "Dude, what's with all the blood suckers?"

Not knowing anyone wasn't necessarily the worst thing in the world. Most of the people Leon knows are also friends of Rinoa, and no doubt they've had their heads filled with stories of what a lazy, worthless bum Leon is, and who needs to have to hear about stuff like that when you're out looking for a good time (even if it's true)? Leon certainly wasn't interested in that kind of hassle. He didn't seem to be interested in too much of anything when he first entered the bar. He wandered over to the dance floor, but didn't dance. Then he headed over to the bar and didn't order a drink. He stood around by some people but didn't talk. He did manage to catch the eye of Katrina Wilson, another sim who hasn't spent much time away from home in recent past.

Leon: "Wait, isn't that her there on TV?"

It's nice to know they share a common bond in the form of their fear of leaving the house, although Katrina has plenty of reason to be afraid with her history of getting beaten up constantly during her outings. Leon was simply anticipating people wanting to beat him up before it ever happened. If he was worried about Tommy Wolf, there wasn't much need for concern, since Tommy had gotten over Rinoa a long time ago. Actually, trouble came from a source Leon never anticipated - Spruce Hartman. It's been a while since Spruce got put in his place by Captain Hero, but Leon seemed to be bringing out the worst in him…

Leon: "Well, I 'double minus' hate you too!"

Like Justin the Jerk (who we haven't seen or heard from in quite some time), Spruce tends to have a nasty streak toward folks he's never met for no reason at all. However, he's the son of Iris Hartman, the plant daughter of Rinoa, making him Rinoa's grandson. No doubt, Spruce had a thing or two to say about Leon and the lack of effort he'd been putting forth in he and Rinoa's relationship (like it's really any of Spruce's business). Well, Spruce may be a tough guy with shades, scary clothes, and stubble, but Leon wasn't intimidated by him. Leon may be a big wimp, but he's still man enough to slap the crap out of anyone who gives him trouble (cause you know how manly slapping someone is)…

Spruce: "Ouch! I know where you live, dude!"

If Leon was really serious about the whole thing between he and Rinoa, it might be prudent for him to remember that he'd be Spruce's step-grandfather if he and Rinoa ever got married, and then Spruce would be able to tell folks that his grandfather was an abusive scoundrel who slapped him around at the bar. And let's face it, Leon's reputation can't stand to take much more of a beating than it already has. Well, Leon seemed to have forgotten about Rinoa more or less by the time he was done rumbling with Spruce. Not only had he caught Katrina's eye earlier, but she managed to catch his eye as well, and he quickly dropped into his "shameless flirt mode". Oh, Leon…have you learned nothing from all the posts making fun of you and your fickle behavior?

Leon: "Rinoa? Rinoa who?"

Now, on a side note, you'll notice that neither Leon or Katrina have the little green "sim diamond" over their heads here. No, it's not clever editing, it's because while Leon's activities make for a great post, he wasn't actually under my influence, nor was Katrina. He's just that much of a flirtatious scumbag that he was pursuing the thing with Katrina all on his own. Poor Katrina was basically oblivious to what kind of putz Leon really is, and was too taken in by his "looks and charm" to really care too much. Leon was too excited about the concept of having a woman interested in him who wasn't nagging him to get a job or do something with his life to care about the effects his actions might have on he and Rinoa's relationship.

Leon: "Yeah, I learned how to dance watching 'Hitch' over and over..."

Well, to this point, there was still hope for redemption for Leon. After all, while the attraction between he and Katrina was undeniable, he'd only tried charming her and done a little dancing thus far, and that really doesn't amount to a whole lot. It wasn't like they'd gone out to the secret photo booth behind Schroeder's and done something dirty. They were bordering on shameless behavior though when Katrina decided to give Leon a backrub out on the dance floor. If Leon was any kind of a gentleman at all, he'd have informed Katrina that he had a girlfriend who was a highly trained soldier who probably could have broken both of them in half with one hand tied behind her back, but with things going so well, it just seemed like a bad idea to mention that.

Leon: "You're so much better at that than Rin…er…my massage therapist!"

Well, thanks to some sort of "romance inhibitor" built into TS2, even sims who have mad chemistry with each other and maxed out relationship points still don't seem to try to take things to the next level on their own, and Leon and Katrina may very well have remained in the "very friendly platonic friends zone" for the rest of their days. However, Schroeder Fultz, owner of Jam Land (and the sim who I was actually in control of this whole time), decided he hated to see a pair with such potential go to waste, and used his "influence" on Leon to convince him to go for broke. Okay, so THAT's crossing the "platonic friend line" a little bit, but Leon never was very good at staying inside that line to begin with.

Leon: "What Rinoa doesn't know won't hurt me…!"

But wait…doesn't Katrina have a baby? Isn't she acting a little irresponsibly, hanging out at Schroeder's club and flirting guys and ignoring her inhibitions (if indeed she has any)? Maybe, but on the other hand, maybe not. Has Leon thrown away his chance with Rinoa, or is there any hope she'll forgive him for his piggish behavior? Will she even find out about his piggish behavior? He is a pretty stealthy pig when he wants to be. Anyway, too many questions all at once here. The answer to most of them will hopefully be revealed in our next post, and hopefully the next post won't take weeks to arrive! See you then!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welcome to Kitty's Corner

Hey to one and all, and welcome back. I was wondering when I'd drag my butt back here and get another post up. It's been a little tricky lately because I'm getting ready to switch positions at work, which has meant a lot of changes in schedule and a lot of packing. A LOT of packing. I had like five large boxes of stuff come out of my cubicle, which is more stuff than I think I actually own at home. How sad is that? Pretty sad, but most of the stuff here at work is garbage anyway, I just can't bring myself to throw it away (it's stuff that teeters on the border of being garbage but not quite stuff you want to pitch. Man, I hate that sort of stuff).

I don't know how much I've discussed it here before, but I'm a huge Star Wars fan (by huge, I don't mean in the physical sense, and by fan, I mean geek). This past weekend, I finally broke down and bought a Master Replica Force FX lightsaber. I know this may not mean anything to non-fans, but I'm pretty jazzed about it. In a nutshell, it's about as close to being a replica of Luke Skywalker's saber from the original film, and if you never thought it was possible for an adult to spend hours posing in front of a mirror and swinging around a toy saber, think again. It cleaned me out, so I'm about to wind up living in a cardboard box, but it's okay, because I saw a segment on Oprah last week about how to find your food and furniture needs in your local dumpsters (gross).

Okay, anyway, on with the sims. I confess I passed up the opportunity to buy the Freetime EP in favor of buying the lightsaber replica, and it was a tough decision, but Star Wars is my first hobby, and I knew for a fact I loved lightsabers. I'd heard good things about the new EP, but wasn't willing to give up buying the saber in case it actually sucks. Now, I think a part of me was putting off this post because I just didn't know what to say, but let's see how it goes. As we join the Marty/Kitty/J.D./Julie Wilson family, they are nowhere to be seen at the moment, but we'll snoop around their house anyway. Last time we visited, there was no upstairs to the house, but now there is. The downstairs was a little short on space for recreational activities, so it seemed the only logical solution to the problem.

Nothing fancy, just your average, ordinary upstairs computer and karaoke bar.

The problem with adding the "pimped out" upstairs to the house was that everyone was instantly attracted to the bar, as is the case with every sim home that features a bar. And if the bar hadn't been there, it would be the poker tables they were drawn to. The solution to this problem was simple, though, since all the temptations were isolated upstairs, the door to the upper floor was simply locked so nobody could get in until the proper time. I know, this sounds a little weird since all of the Wilsons who work just own their own businesses and basically all the time they don't choose to visit those businesses is leisure time. There are more important things than having fun, though, like skill building. Well, not to me in real life, but hey, I have to have priorities for my sims. Given the ample unused property behind the house, the family decided to invest in a nice, modest pool.

Now with triple the ladders for extra protection against those pesky deaths by drowning...

I don't have any really good pictures of it, but all in all, the Wilson house had become more like the Wilson estate than just a house (I'm not sure what the exact definition of an estate is, but it sounds fancier than house does). The down side to that, as with any house in my neighborhood, is that once I feel the property has expanded to it's full potential and there's not much left to buy, that's one less thing to focus on to fight boredom while playing a lot (and we don't want the older Wilsons to fall into the same rut the younger ones were falling into in our last post). On the up side, a property with a lot of stuff built on it usually means the sims living there are never bored, and that was the case here finally. While the upstairs bar and poker room was originally intended to be used just for parties, I did eventually open it up a bit more regularly so the sims could get to the computers they were so desperately wanting to use.

Marty: "I'm just not so sure this qualifies as togetherness time…"

I have no objections to sims having nice houses with lots of stuff to do, but I always try to be careful not to make them TOO nice, or I run the risk of having no reason to send the sims out to community lots ever. Let's face it - load times suck and some of the pre-made community lots aren't worth two picks and a flick (just made that saying up), but at the heart of Sims 2 is the social interaction, and if your sim's house is so great that they have everything they need and then some, the temptation to stay home and miss out on contact with other sims is very strong. Let's face it - that's where the REAL fun is at. Nobody wants to watch their sims play around with gadgets at home all day long (well, nobody I know does), even cool ones like the karaoke machine.

Kitty: "I feel like I'm singing in the fiery depths of hell!"

Well, Marty has his club, and J.D. has his car lot, and Kitty was starting to feel a little left out. She's never really been the type to be content to sit around on the sidelines (heck, back in the olden days, she was the only family member who really did much of anything), and while it was all good and fine for her to help with the other businesses when needed, there just wasn't a whole lot to do, and she really wanted to be the one in charge. And so, she sat down and tried to figure out what sort of service was still needed in the area. Obviously, cars and dancing were already covered, as were tiki coffee and casual dining. However, a really nice restaurant had yet to be created, and Kitty decided it was up to her to fill that need.

Ladies and gents, welcome to "Kitty's Korner"...

What is it about misspelling place names that should start with a "c" with a "k" that suddenly makes the place so much more appealing? Now, Marty never actually purchased the building his club is in, I designed it before I got OFB, and never felt like having to actually manage it as a business to keep things hopping. J.D.'s car lot wound up being pretty successful with a minimum of expenses besides the cars themselves. Kitty figured that Kitty's Korner would run just as smoothly, but she failed to take into account that I'm kind of an idiot, and with me managing things behind the scenes, the restaurant would quickly become a money pit, almost to the same extent as the early days of Andrews Radio Shock.

Welcome to "Kitty's Korner"…again, but with no roof...

While using family members to help work the business is always the cheapest way to do things, Kitty knew right away that she would have to have some non-family employees hired to fill the numerous different positions around the place (or she would be the only one working there if I visited while playing another family). She hired Allyn Wolf to work the register, despite her having no register skills to speak of. Regina Daniels was hired on as the greeter and seater, a job which didn't seem to require any special skills to do well from the beginning (maybe it does require them, but I've never seen a customer get frustrated because of a greeter being too slow). Regina did have some sales experience from working at her fish stand (rarely), so she might have been better suited to ringing up customers, but that would have made too much sense.

Kitty reserves the hardest job for herself - sitting on her butt...

You're probably wondering what the register in the place was for, since restaurants don't require a register, but I forgot to mention that Kitty's Korner also has a little book store in it. There were actually more book sales than food sales on average, so thank goodness for the books. Any good eatery pretty much needs to have a good chef, and finding one on short notice was a little tricky. The only person with massive cooking talent that Kitty knew well enough to offer a job to was Aimee Andrews, who already had a job as Chief of Staff on the medical career track, but she was more than happy to give that up, and accepted Kitty's offer (most folks say that surgery and preparing food are pretty similar). Of course, Aimee has quite a few talent badges, so hiring her actually cost a fair amount of money.

Aimee: "Chief…chef…it's only a difference of one letter…"

As with Amy and Radio Shock, hiring so many employees really started to put a drain on Kitty's finances. It was easy enough to make Marty, Julie, and J.D. work as the greeter, cashier, and server while Kitty talked up the customers, but nobody in the family was prepared to take over duties as chef when actually visiting the lot, because nobody knew how to cook. Well, since there were a ton of books right there in the store, and Kitty spent a lot of time sitting around anyway (the books were cheap enough that most customers already decided to buy them before Kitty could give them her sales pitch), she decided to sit around with a book and study cooking so she could be the chef if needed, and save a boatload of money.

Kitty: "For the last time, no! I really don't want to read aloud to you!"

The first few cooking points came pretty easily, as with all skill points, but then it started to take longer and longer for Kitty to learn anything new. Since it was at a community lot she owned instead of her home, there wasn't a little progress bar showing up over Kitty's head even though she was gaining skills, and that made things a little annoying. Eventually, though, Kitty had enough skill to take over the cooking duties, and take over she did. All of the actual paid staff were sent home, and the Wilson family officially took over all of the positions at Kitty's Korner themselves. Some cheap people will do anything to save a buck, but by this point, Kitty had already lost thousands of dollars paying employee wages without bringing in enough money to cover them. Not the sign of a good business, but you don't need me to tell you that.

Marty: "First the car lot, now this! Why am I always the cashier?"

Switching out the paid staff for family employees was probably the best move Kitty could have made at the time, because with no employees around to pay, and the books rarely needing to be restocked, pretty much all sales were pure profit. Of course, food isn't a huge money maker, so the positive cash flow was still little more than a trickle. Kitty found herself way too busy with the cooking to annoy customers with her sales pitch anymore, so J.D. was given the double task of waiter and customer schmoozer. At this point, the book store section had cheap, average, and expensive books, and it actually took a little work sometimes to sell the expensive ones. He'd developed quite the sales talent working at the car lot, though, so most customers were no match for his persuasive abilities.

J.D: "Believe me, you NEED a copy of Oprah's biography!"

As with my other stores, there were plenty of crabby customers coming in who served no purpose but to decide before they even started looking at stuff that they weren't actually going to buy anything. J.D. had a gold sales talent badge, but it had absolutely no effect on these vile creatures, whose only goal was to crush the hopes and dreams of anyone trying to make a sale. I usually see to it that those killjoy types are quickly dismissed to make room for "real" customers, but for some stupid reason, the same set of people always seem to show up over and over in cycles, and the crabby ones always seem to be crabby. That was just fine with me. They had only themselves to blame when I got frustrated and used the "boolprop" cheats to make them fat before they left the store.

Burglar: "Does this place offer a 'five finger discount'?"

After what seemed like an incredibly long time, Kitty's Korner achieved financial stability, in that it was bringing in more money than it was paying out on a regular basis (so long as the Wilsons were the only ones working, with none of the paid employees called in). Kitty decided that the slobby clothes most of the family were working in had to go, and insisted on fancier attire. To further abuse her role as the business owner, she decided that the eight hour shifts everyone had been pulling originally just weren't enough, and kept the store open until the wee hours of the night/morning (with a brief closing of the business in the afternoon for a break). The Monkeesim neighborhood has a booming vampire subculture, and staying open ridiculously late was the only logical way to exploit that.

Marty: "So, have you read the latest in the 'Twilight' series?"

Yes, it wasn't long before Kitty's Korner was pulling in the "freaks" hand over fist. Apparently, vampires, werewolves, and servos are literary nuts (they took advantage of the book section a lot more than they did the restaurant part of the establishment). I guess when you're considered "weird" or "scary" by the rest of society, it never hurts to have a good book to sit down with at home to wait out those torch and pitchfork carrying mobs laying siege to your house. Seriously, though, by this point in time, especially in the evenings, every other sim I'd see wandering the community lots was either a vampire, werewolf, servo, or plant sim. It was almost to the point where the "normal" sims would be the ones getting the funny looks.

Marty: "You wanted 'self-help'? Try the 'mechanics' section! "

Well, anyway, all's well that ends well. The business was doing fine, and that's all the more I want to say about it. Seriously, if I do any more "business heavy" posts here, I'm going to have to stop reading my own blog. Actually playing OFB is fun, but trying to depict the progress of my sim businesses without being hideously boring is a painful process at times. I do have at least one more post on the way with a little reference to a home business, but the good news is two-fold, because that post is a little ways away, and it's not your everyday business. But for now, no more of the "b" word. When we first began the TS2 era posts here, we spent a fair amount of time with the Hartman family, but we haven't heard much from them since Leon and Rinoa hooked up. How have things been going since then? Are they even still alive? Only time and our next post will tell!