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!


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