Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jammin' With the Daniels

I know there's never a need to apologize for long delays in posts here, after all, it's not a prime-time sitcom or anything with an exact schedule. However, I do like to let my readers know what's going on when one minute I'm posting every day or so and the next, no posts at all. So, here's the deal - I've been majorly ill for about a week AND trying to pack up every item in my house for an upcoming move, and I've had my hands full (literally most of the time). I'm just glad to be doing this here and now, because blogging her is a little bit of a release for me, and believe me, I need the release right now. And so, without further delay, here's the good stuff...

Well, the Daniels family has had a weird last couple of posts, even weirder than usual. To recap, the family took on Austyn Strange and Debbie Kearney as "boarders", Jack Daniels died, Debbie fell in love with Alex Kent, Regina activated a servo named Jack who fell in love with Regina and Debbie, and Jack wound up beating up Alex out of jealousy before being shut down by Regina. So much has changed since the earliest days of the Daniels clan, Regina is the only one who even has that last name anymore, the house has basically just become a boarding house for loonies. Luckily, with the exception of "robo Jack", all the loonies at least get along.

Austyn: "Seriously, you just haven't had chili until you've tried MY fabulous chili!"

Regina was nice enough to keep Jack deactivated almost all of the time, realizing that it would take a lot more than a robot wearing a tattered jacket to fill in for her late husband. Of course, this prevented her and robo Jack from fully realizing any potential for a relationship, but from my perspective, that's a VERY good thing (the whole kissing robots thing just makes me feel a little creepy, and I'm a huge sci-fi fan even). Her sacrifice wasn't for nothing, though, as it gave Alex the freedom he needed to further solidify his relationship with Debbie. Alex and Debbie had been an exclusive item for a while, with no recent trouble from Gia or robo Jack, and Alex felt it was time to take things to the next level.

Austyn: "I just find busts disturbing…they're like little armless, legless men made out of stone!"

Yes, Alex took the plunge and proposed to Debbie, and she gladly accepted. Perhaps she thought getting engaged and eventually married would mean actually moving into a home the couple could call their own, but that was not the case. It did, however, mean party time to celebrate the engagement, and there's no better place for a party in the Monkeesim neighborhood than Schroeder's Jam Land (you'd think with all the attention I've given the place in the last few posts that I was trying to promote an actual club). Schroeder's has been pretty magical lately, it's where Leon and Katrina found love (at Rinoa's expense, but we'll ignore that), and it's where Schroeder himself hooked up with Mia Kay. One can only imagine what wonders are in store for the Daniels clan.

Debbie: "Listen, you overgrown toaster, nobody invited you here!"

One of the main attractions of Jam Land (that never really gets used) is the big electric guitar right in the middle of the club. Schroeder had to work long and hard to even get it to put it in his club, forcing himself to actually get a job in the music career and work till he qualified for the reward. Things would have been a lot easier if I'd just had University installed when the club was constructed, as Schroeder could have had a whole band set in his club with no effort on his part at all, but that came later in the "alternate reality" version of Schroeder's (we'll get to that another time). Debbie decided if nobody else was "jamming", she might as well. Alex was quick to applaud, just like a good fiancé.

Every performance is "standing room only", since there aren't any chairs out on the dance floor...

Debbie actually wasn't all that bad on the guitar. I don't know if it was because she was really talented, or if it's one of those items anyone can pick up and be good at, I've never experimented with it all that much. Aside from Alex, though, everyone else pretty much ignored Debbie while she played, they were too busy crowding the bars, making desperate attempts to actually get the attention of the bartenders. Evenings at Schroeder's tend to feature a fair mix of unusual individuals from around town like vampires, werewolves, and other freaks. Austyn and Nicholas Everdark were busy chatting, discussing some of their mutual likes and dislikes. If there's one thing the Daniels family can learn from these trips out on the town, it's that they're not the strangest sims in town (close, but not quite).

Nicholas: "You don't look like you get much sun either, dude…"

On a side note, you'll notice almost every sim in these pictures is wearing their outerwear, for reasons I can't quite fathom. All my buildings have roofs on them, and door separating the inside from the outside, yet my sims have a weird habit of keeping their coats on even indoors, giving those who favor trench coats the appearance of flashers. Then, there are folks like Debbie and Rooster who seem to be dressed for the hottest months of summer amidst them. I don't know…weirdness. Anyway, while Austyn was busy having his chat with his new undead buddy, robot Jack was busy scoping the scene for robots, and Debbie and Alex took up position at the opposite side of the building from the others…and at opposite sides of the bar from each other. Now, that's love…

Debbie: "Ignore that bald headed bum, I had my hand up first!"

Left to her own devices, Debbie isn't what you would call the most flirty or affectionate sim. While she's never had a problem being open to affection from others (maybe a bit too much, given that whole Gia Fitch phase), she's never been prone to initiating a lot of PDA on her own, and while in public, she didn't really spend a whole lot of time with or around Alex. Funny, since the whole point of everyone hitting the town to begin with was to celebrate the couple's engagement. Like I told you, weirdoes. Austyn eventually got left alone by Nicholas Everdark, who went to talk to Eowyn Hartman, one of the local elves. He decided to express his displeasure at this development with a nice, bluesy number on the electric guitar, which was listened to by no one.

Vampires chatting with elves? This is starting to feel a lot more like "Everquest II" than "The Sims 2"!

Well, it's hard to tell if Austyn had a romantic interest in Nicholas, since nothing particularly romantic transpired between the two of them (Nicholas is engaged to Melyssa Everdark anyway, so it's for the best). Debbie noticed Nicholas was done talking to Eowyn, and decided to play the part of the social butterfly and chat him up a bit. It's just like the post-Leon Debbie to basically ignore poor Alex on the night of their engagement, yet have ample time to chat with a vampire she barely knows. She did have a more complex motive for this though, as she decided it might be funny to play a trick on Austyn with the help of Nicholas. Clearly, this can't be going anywhere good.

Nicholas: "My trench coat? Why thank you, it's one of a kind!"

Debbie's "brilliant" gag she decided to pull on Austyn was to have his new found friend, Nicholas, hypnotize him and turn him into a vampire. Yeah, that sure sounds like a funny gag. With friends like Debbie, who needs enemies? Little did Debbie know just how high a failure rate there is for the "influence to bite" command. For starters, folks seem to be immune to the hypnosis if they're not good friends with the vampire already, which seems to totally defeat the purpose of hypnotizing them in the first place (if you're good friends with someone, you should probably just ask if you can bite them, not hypnotize them). Also, if the sim you want bitten is doing anything else when you influence a vampire to bite them, chances are the vampire will get bored waiting to hypnotize them and just give up. Well, Austyn wasn't currently doing anything, so Nicholas did attempt to put him into a "bite trance"…

Austyn: "If you're trying to hit on me, this has got to be the worst pick up I've ever seen!"

As it happens, Austyn and Nicholas hadn't become good enough friends for Austyn to fall under Nick's spell, and thus, he remained a "normal" human, while Debbie's influence points went to waste (that will teach her, although probably not). Even though Debbie's plan didn't quite work out, watching the attempt was a lot more amusing than watching everyone try to jam on the guitar to an audience of no one. During all of this drama, Jack was off doing his own thing, and had finally spotted a "female" of his kind, Dot Matrix Andrews. While Dot was currently "involved" with C-3P0 Andrews, it was never really an exclusive relationship, and Jack's flirtatious advances seemed to be well received. Guess that works out well for Regina, who, by the way, seems to be the only one in the family sitting down, having a drink, and minding her own business through all of this.

Dot Matrix: "I don't usually come here that often. Usually I pretty much just sit in a corner at home collecting dust!"

Dot and Jack actually hit it off pretty well, although I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. Dot was activated with the brain patterns (or however you put it) of Amy Andrews, while Jack was essentially a clone of Regina, and Amy and Regina were best friends for a long time while they lived together. Somehow, it makes sense to me that the robot "offspring" get along so well, although I feel there's a not-so-subtle element of creepiness buried somewhere in this situation as well (I'll leave it to you to pick it out). At any rate, Dot and Jack decided to go somewhere a little less crowded, namely, out back behind Schroeder's where Schroeder's trailer is located. Their privacy was interrupted by the presence of Debbie, who at this point was pelting Katrina Wilson with water balloons.

Debbie: "Maybe if I soak her enough, she'll take that silly coat off!"

If you look back at the "The Show Goes On" post (second picture down), you'll be reminded of the fact that at one point, Debbie had a not-so-innocent interest in Katrina, which we can only hope has gone the way of the dodo bird since Debbie started dating Alex and is now engaged (not to mention Katrina has a kid, is engaged to Leon Hartman, and has no interest in girls to speak of). It's always hard to tell what Debbie's motives are for doing anything, but they turned out to be innocent in this case, and she just threw balloons, and no little puffs of hearts appeared at any point in time. Maybe being with Alex really has made her a changed woman (and not the sort of changed woman breaking up with Leon Jackson made her). Morning came, and Debbie and Katrina were still tossing balloons, while Jack was still putting the moves on Dot, with continued success.

Jack: "I know you don't have any muscles, but if you did, believe me, you'd enjoy this!"

As for Regina, well, the entire night had passed, and she hadn't done a single thing worthy of us laughing and pointing the finger at her. Dang it all. The family has had plenty of drama in the recent past, though, so it's totally understandable Regina would want a break from that. All good things must come to an end sooner or later, and eventually, it was time for the family to head back home to the nut house for a break. It's time for a break for us for the moment as well. Now, most of my time in the coming weeks will be devoted to moving, so I won't have time to accumulate any new sim material, but the good news is I have two posts still ready to go, and I hope to put them up in the next few days. First, what ever became of Antonio Wilson and Aimee Andrews after they moved out of the old house? Then, we pay a brief visit to a strange, totally different neighborhood, where vampires, werewolves, and other "weird" sims aren't allowed…or are they? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Around the Town #150

Whew…what do you get when you spend all weekend and two days of the week doing nothing but packing or hauling stuff around? Tired, that's what you get, and that's what I am. Alas, I'm not so tired that I couldn't find the energy to hammer out this, or 150th Monkeesims post! Quite the accomplishment, since I'd only posted 70 some times when I thought this blog was done for the first time. It seems like the Captain Hero #100 post was just yesterday, my, how time flies! I hate to waste any more time griping about how bad the weather is or how overworked I am when we could just get on to the good stuff, so...

Anyway, here we go with another exciting (hopefully) visit to the Monkeesim neighborhood, and since I'm an equal opportunity blogger, we'll be checking in on a few of the less visited individuals. If you think way back, you'll probably recall the days when the neighborhood had an evil organization called C.U.S.S. (Criminal Underground Secret Service) operating behind the scenes, devoted to creating chaos and mayhem (which I'm pretty sure are the same thing). C.U.S.S. had been slowly falling apart, and after Lawrence Madrox of the most recent team was killed, Reeve Madrox was the last C.U.S.S. agent in town, and not even a very good one. Reeve's boss, Falco, came to town to keep an eye on him and make sure he was up to no good. In the end, love proved to be stronger than the bond between Falco and his underling Reeve.

Reeve: "You are most fortunate to have found me, my darling!"

Yes, Reeve fell in love with Leon Jackson's ex, Claire Redmond, and the two were quickly wed. Rather than try to sway Claire to follow his former evil ways, Reeve decided he preferred to join the side of good, and C.U.S.S. was officially dissolved. As for Falco (last we saw, he was locked in a greenhouse prison), he was sent packing in a taxi, doomed to live out the rest of his days in the dreaded "family queue", where he could do no harm to Claire or Reeve. So what does a recently married former C.U.S.S. member do for fun without evil deeds to occupy his time? Well, that was indeed the question needing to be answered. The couple decided to head down to the Freetime Lounge, mainly because it hasn't been featured in a post for quite some. Notice the presence of my sim likeness watching TV and wearing a scarf indoors.

Reeve: "If you find this to be boring, I can always perform for you on my violin at home instead."

Being out in such a public place, there was some potential for an awkward situation, with Claire having ended her last two relationships so abruptly and less than gracefully. It was the two Leons she really didn't want to see, although Leon Hartman was the guilty party in their breakup, and Leon Jackson's failure to tell Claire about his ex, Debbie, resulted in the end of their relationship. Still, nobody likes an ex, even if they claim they do, and Claire was in no rush to see hers. She needn't have worried, though, as Reeve was more than up to the challenge of kicking some butt if anyone hassled Claire, but no Leons appeared, and there was no butt kicking, just karaoke.

Reeve: "What do you say we do a duet of 'Back in Black'?"

Being out in public was a weird experience for Reeve and Claire, partly because they never really get out of the house, and partly because they don't have any friends as a result of being such home bodies. Despite how busy the lounge was during their visit, nobody really paid much attention to the pair, it was sort of like they were invisible (perhaps folks recognized Reeve as a former C.U.S.S. agent and still assumed the worst of him). It didn't bother Reeve and Claire any, though, they'd become one of those sickening couples who were so happy with each others company they just didn't need anybody else (no offense to that kind of couple). That, and they had some stuff they wanted to discuss in private.

Claire: "I know you're trying to be good, but just think of all the money we'd have if you pulled a bank job!"

Those little grapefruit looking things with the cream blob on the plates in the picture there look disgusting, by the way. Anyhow, I have considered on occasion, since Reeve and Claire got together, having the couple start up C.U.S.S. again to reintroduce that "bad element" into the neighborhood, but really, there's enough bad stuff as it is I've come to realize. There's the non-C.U.S.S. "Justin the Jerk", sims getting into stupid fights with one another for no good reason, fires, I really need to go on? The idea of having an organization to start trouble or dispose of annoying sims just seems unnecessary, especially with an escaped gorilla on the loose twisting peoples' heads around backward, like poor Jean Trevolto.

Jean: "Hey, since when did my @$$ get so big?"

Okay, well, that was just a little weird there, but there is no gorilla in TS2 obviously…not yet anyway (there is Bigfoot, but I don't have that expansion, and he doesn't twist peoples' heads around last time I checked). Anyway, there would be no more C.U.S.S. for our happy couple, Reeve decided to let fate (and me) be in charge of any bad fortune bestowed in the Monkeesim neighborhood. Reeve decided he and Claire's outing just wouldn't be complete without a visit to the cemetery to mourn the loss of his old pal, Lawrence. Claire didn't know Lawrence, but she did take time to acknowledge the irony of the fact that the first C.U.S.S. "accident" victim, Jenna Boyle, was herself a doer of evil deeds. Guess there's just no loyalty among evil doers.

Reeve: "You were indeed a most excellent bro, bro..."

Fun, fun times. Maybe not some (or most) peoples' idea of fun but whatever. With the decision to spend their lives like normal people and avoid unnecessary trouble, at least we know the Madrox family won't wind up being the victims of a weather machine "accident" any time soon. Speaking of such an accident, we now turn our attention to none other than Mia Kay Wilson, the very sim who caused the death of Reeve's good buddy, Lawrence (in her defense, Lawrence was being an obnoxious scoundrel before she "offed" him). We won't worry about interrupting anything important with Mia Kay, because if there's one thing we've learned from all the times we've observed her, it's that she never does anything important…

Mia Kay: "I'm so sick of losing to myself at cards!"

Mia Kay has begun to experience some frustration recently. She'd been pulling a lot of "fifth wheel" duty when Antonio and Aimee still lived in the house and Leon moved in to be with Katrina. It never bugged her all that much initially, but when Aimee and Antonio moved out, and Katrina and Leon spent all their time together, that left only Seth for Mia Kay to hang out with, and he wasn't exactly the greatest conversationalist. She has friends and family in town, but she was starting to feel the bite of the romance bug, and as far as she could tell, all the good guys in Riverblossom Hills, Downtown, or in Bluewater Village were taken. I'm not joking. She decided to take a chance, though, and a change of clothes later, she was haunting Schroeder's Jam Land, where Katrina met Leon…

Mia Kay: "I thought someone told me once that blondes were supposed to have more fun!"

Well, sitting at the bar with the female bartender, a clown, and homely guy in a track suit wasn't doing much of anything for Mia Kay. Track suits are kind of ugly, Mia Kay's not into clowns, and while she was starting to become desperate for love, she wasn't to the point of hitting on women yet. Luckily, Schroeder's was designed to cater to all types of people, and there was a second bar with a male bartender, none other than Rooster Fitch. Rooster isn't exactly the pick of the litter when it comes to guys, but again, Mia Kay was otherwise surrounded by Armando Cox and one of the female Hartman plant sims, so her options just weren't that great. Schroeder Fultz happened to be making the rounds behind the bar, though and he thought Mia Kay was just dandy.

Schroeder: "Hey, babe, you wanna' make out?"

It just so happens that this is the very side of Schroeder's Jam Land where Katrina and Leon first met, and there must be some sort of magic behind that. Schroeder decided the business of managing his establishment could be put on hold for a bit while he chatted with Mia Kay for a while. Now, when it comes to sim adults, the game itself doesn't differentiate between sims who have been adults for a while and recent adults, but Schroeder would be one of the former, as I'd envisioned him to be in his early 40's when I created him. Meanwhile, Mia Kay would be closer to her early 20's, making Schroeder old enough to be her father, but the age thing didn't seem to bug them too much (like I said, the game doesn't care what age I envisioned them being, as long as they get along, which they were).

Mia Kay: "The only thing better than hugging it out with someone is when everyone stares at you while you do it!"

Yes, if there's one thing that Katrina and Mia Kay have in common, it's that they both move quickly in the guy department. That, and they don't have any problem with getting all "handsy" right out in public, as previous posts have shown (well, with Katrina, not so much with Mia Kay). If you think the pool of decent guys Mia Kay's age in town is starting to run dry, the pool of available women in Schroeder's age range is far, far worse. Heck, I don't think there ARE any single women that fit that classification. Thus, Schroeder had no problem with Mia Kay being younger than him, as if anyone really expected that he would. He also had no problem playing tonsil hockey with her right behind the bar while his patrons looked on.

Allyn: "If nobody's going to claim this drink, I'm taking it!"

Well, love can bloom in the strangest places. No wonder Mia Kay hadn't found her true love before, she'd always been browsing the selection of young men around town, she never thought "the one" might be a scruffy, biker vest wearing guy twice her age. Everything worked out just fine for the two of them, because Schroeder had pretty much given up looking for love, I guess sometimes it just finds you. Anyway, everyone comes to Schroeder's, and the Daniels family is no exception. Next time, we'll see what sort of lunacy develops when the whole Daniels gang drops in looking for a good time. The weirdness is pretty much a built-in guarantee. See you then!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Top of the Heap

This has been a long, long weekend for a variety of reasons. For starters, we're getting ready to move before too long, and the packing began in earnest this past Saturday - everything has been tossed around every where, and it looks like a tornado hit my house. Oh, and speaking of tornadoes, we DID have some hit some of the towns not too far from here, and there were incredibly strong winds blowing for like two days that littered the yard with big branches and made it impossible to sleep. To top it all off, sewage has been backing up in our basement on a daily basis. Sound like fun? Oh, it is...

Last time we saw Rinoa, she seemed to be recovering more or less from breaking up with Leon and kicking him out. She realized if she was going to get promoted at work, she needed to make friends of her own to make up for the ones she lost when Leon left, and invited a bunch of folks over, including Peter Miller, who she formed something of a romantic relationship with. Well, checking in now, we find she still hasn't gotten a promotion, despite keeping up her skill points and making sufficient friends. Rinoa had gone and bought a servo, but thus far, hadn't activated it, probably because she knew of the bad fortune others who had activated them experienced.

Rinoa: "…zzzz…Leon's a jerk…zzzz…"

Inviting people over is easy. Actually getting them to accept the invite and show up is a little harder. Turning them into actual friends once they agree to visit your house takes even more work, especially when you try to befriend multiple people at one sitting, and the effort required to do that coupled with the energy she was devoting to her job was just too much for Rinoa. She fell into a rut where she was just too tired to invite anyone over, but she still longed for companionship. The easiest solution to the problem was to purchase one of those little bricks with faces that are so popular around town. Considering every family in town owns at least one of the dumb things, I think the only person the bricks really cheer up is Amy Andrews, who gets to pocket the money from their sales.

Rinoa: "I would kiss you, but you really need to shave..."

Well, Rinoa may have been teetering on the brink of going off the deep end, but she still had enough sanity about her to know that talking to a brick wasn't going to get her anywhere (as much fun as we all know it can be). She decided that if she had any free time, and she wasn't going to spend it building skill points or pursuing new friendships, she may as well be spending it doing something that would still be somewhat productive. She didn't have a garden planted at the moment, and she was feeling to lazy to bother getting one started, so she instead decided to grab a fishing pole and pay a visit to the pond behind that house.

Rinoa: "Fishing at night during the winter is much less crazy than talking to a brick!"

It really was high time that Rinoa catch some fish to stock her fridge. Virtually every family in the neighborhood I've ever controlled has wound up with a large supply of fish, either by way of fishing themselves or buying it at the Daniels' fish stand. Rinoa has been the one exception, and for no good reason, she's just never appreciated the value of fish. Maybe it's because she doesn't want the annoying penguin who comes into houses and jumps around in front of the fridge if it's stocked with fish (she usually has plenty of vegetables in there, and there's no annoying creature that shows up to try to take away your fruit). Whatever the case, Rinoa never had an opportunity to experience the wonderful benefits of fish, because as soon as she cast a line, the pond froze over...

Rinoa: "Clearly the whole world hates me..!"

Poor Rinoa. All she wanted was someone or something to occupy her time, but after finding no satisfaction in talking to her brick buddy, and being "frozen out" by her own fish pond, she was starting to get desperate. Despite the horror stories from families who had activated servos and had to deal with the subsequent indecent proposals and jealous rages they seemed prone to, Rinoa decided there was no harm in activating the servo she'd purchased. After all, she wasn't in a serious relationship yet, despite her romantic interactions with Peter Miller, and even if she was, she wasn't about to let some lousy robot decide who she was dating.

Rinoa: "I dub you 'LE-1 Hartman'..."

Hmmm, ever get the idea maybe she's not entirely over Leon yet? This whole situation sort of echoes the whole weird situation with Regina Daniels and her robot replacement for Jack Daniels when he died. The difference, though, is that Rinoa decided to take advantage of having an extra set of hands around the house, and rather than give the servo lots of time to make a pest of himself, she instantly ordered him to work. Her first official act was to plant a garden, which she and LE-1 spent plenty of time tending. Rinoa decided if there was any pest spraying to be done, she'd leave it up to LE-1, since she'd already caused enough excitement the last time she turned into a plant sim.

Rinoa: "He may not have Leon's looks, but at least he's good for something!"

LE-1 didn't turn out to be as obnoxious as the Jack Daniels servo or C-3P0 and Dot Matrix Andrews, mainly because Rinoa continued to keep him busy and kept social interactions with him to a minimum. Not to say she didn't interact with him at all, but not in a misleading semi-romantic fashion. Having "someone" around the house though did get her thinking she might be ready to have some real company over again, and so, Rinoa invited Pete over again to hang out. It was a little late to begin with, and the two hung out for a bit before Rinoa took a break to make dinner. Well, when she was finished, guess what - Pete had gone off to bed again, just like on his previous visit. He did get up a while later to eat, but by that time, the food was more than a little funky.

Rinoa: "Maybe I should just be dating LE-1..."

Rinoa was starting to get the very distinct impression that if things were to get serious with Pete and he were to move in, she'd be right back where she started when she lived with Leon, having to do all the work around the house herself and make all the money at her job while he hung around the house sleeping and doing nothing (an accurate assessment, since that's just what Pete does at the Jones house). Rinoa's invitations to have him over became fewer and fewer, as she spent all of her time trying to keep herself in a good mood to be ready in case the promotion she'd been waiting for for so long ever became available. As luck would have it, she did eventually get it…

Rinoa: "Does this space suit make me look fat?"

Getting promoted to astronaut not only meant a pay raise, but it also gave Rinoa the opportunity to get as far away as possible from the real Leon whenever she was launched into space (however frequently that might happen). Suddenly, there was little time for socializing or anything of that nature, as Rinoa found herself burning the candle at both ends again trying to build up skills to be promoted once more. Having LE-1 around the house became more important than ever, as suddenly it was Rinoa who was neglecting any form of house work, wholly obsessed with career advancement instead. LE-1 had no problem with helping around the house, but like all servos, he had a tendency to seek out fun and excitement from time to time as well. He purchased a robot making station and spent much of his time making little robots…

LE-1: "I suppose this is the closest I'm going to get to reproducing..."

As with the promotion to astronaut, achieving General seemed to take forever, and it wasn't because Rinoa didn't have the required skills or friends - it's just that the world seems to hate Rinoa, and wanted to make her work for it. Day after day, she went in to work in a perfectly good mood, with a near full aspiration meter and still nothing. Eventually, though, the powers that be caved in, and she got the final promotion, as well as the snazzy threads that go with it. It seemed the perfect time to get a haircut to commemorate the occasion, and Rinoa decided to finally put away the blue dress thingy she always wore and use the General threads as her everyday wear. Talk about making a fashion statement…

Rinoa: "Being important just isn't as much fun if you don't remind everyone of it constantly!"

Yes, much had changed for Rinoa since she first appeared in our story. A sim who started out interested in little more than flitting around from guy to guy and fooling around with guys other than the one she'd most recently "flitted" to transformed into a no-nonsense, career driven, responsible individual. As much as I hate to see that happen to anyone, it really seems to be what Rinoa has been best suited for all along, it's just that it took her several lousy romances to realize that guys weren't what she needed. Of course, that didn't work out so well for Peter Miller, who was just starting to get attached to Rinoa and warming up to the idea of being with her on a long term basis.

Rinoa: "Sorry, Pete. Maybe you can find a genie lamp and wish for another girl!"

Poor Pete - so close to finding love for the first time here at Monkeesims, only to have the rug pulled out from under him at the last minute. Even when Rinoa is trying to behave responsibly, she still manages to break peoples' hearts. We'll leave Rinoa and the gang on what's more or less still a happy note, though, and drop in on the Everdark family instead. Last we saw them, they'd just moved into a new house in the middle of town, one that more or less resembled a normal house. Unfortunately, building and decorating the house was costly, and money would soon be needed if the family was going to survive. Luckily, the gang came up with a solution that didn't even require leaving the house…

Presenting the "Fangs for the Memories" junk store...

Yes, the solution was so obvious, I was amazed I hadn't thought of it before (although I don't think I've had Open for Business as long as the Everdarks have been around). With four otherwise unemployed family members and ample extra room in the house, conditions were perfect for transforming half the house into a little "knick knack" shop, complete with everything nobody ever wanted. Kali took control of the cash register, while Melyssa handled most of the customer relations and shelf restocking. Meanwhile, Kyle and Nicholas did basically nothing. So typical of males, even the vampire variety.

Kali: "If only I'd gone to college, I could be working a better job!"

Ordinarily, the idea of having sims run a home business hasn't appealed to me, mainly because it's more fun to open up a shop in the business district (with the exception of the Hartman Garden Center), but I suddenly realized the value of being able to do so with the Everdarks being unable to stay out of the house past certain times. A fringe benefit was the family members were able to socialize with the customers in between sales, allowing them to meet a bunch of people they might not otherwise have met. Apparently, everyone in town was in need of old statues and cursed idols, because the business quickly picked up momentum, and Melyssa was restocking almost constantly.

Melyssa: "You get a free 'Frogurt' with each cursed idol you purchase..."

The junk store business turned out to be profitable that money was no longer a concern for the family, thanks to all the weird local sims who have nothing better to do than shop for knick knacks at 4 in the morning (now that's customer loyalty for you). Let's hear it for rampant consumerism! Coming up next, we've heard nothing out of Reeve Madrox or his wife Claire since they got married many posts ago, mainly because they've never been the most exciting characters. However, one question remains unanswered - what has become of C.U.S.S. since their marriage? Also, Katrina Wilson has found love in the form of Leon Hartman, and Antonio and Aimee moved out of the Wilson house - but what of poor Mia Kay? Will she ever find love or a life of her own? You know of course there's only one way to find out. See you next time!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fangs For The Memories

Welcome back, everybody! Not sure how it is in your necks of the woods, but I'm enjoying yet another not-so-lovely rainy day out here. Pretty sick of the rain by now, especially since if it keeps up till tomorrow, that will mark yet another softball game rained out, and I'm really wanting to play (our first game was rained out as well, I was pretty bummed). I'm also not a fan of the rain because while I no longer live in the crappy apartment I used to complain about so much here, I do rent a house now that has a basement that tends to flood every time we get any kind of rain, and of that I am definitely not a fan...

I'm a fan of the unusual, thus, it's easy for me to focus a lot on stuff that I consider "weird", and more or less ignore mundane "normal" stuff. That's why I've always been such a fan of weird sims like the zombies from TS1, and the werewolves, aliens, zombies, and vampires from TS2. I've made a great effort not to include too much of that in the regular Monkeesim neighborhood, but not a perfect effort, because the vampire population keeps growing (while the werewolves have increased a little, but not nearly as much). Thus far, most of the vampire and werewolf residences have been located in an obscure part of town. What happens when we move the Everdark vampire family smack dab in the middle of town?

A house only a vampire could love...

Yes, previously, the Everdark home was just a crypt with four coffins, a phone, and not much else, and the family had to rely totally upon community lots for hygiene, food, and other needs. That pretty much sucked. Even vampires deserve better than that. When we join the family now, we find their new digs to be much more hip than the old crypt they once lived in. It even features a hot tub right in the middle of the main room, just like all good homes should. Finding themselves in a much more domestic setting got the family members thinking about stuff like marriage and children and all the things most ordinary sims think about sooner or later, and it wasn't long before a proposal was made…

Kyle: "Dude, will you marry me?"

That's just a joke. There WAS a proposal made, but it was actually made by Nicholas (the guy in the middle) to Melyssa (the gal in the middle). Kyle is just congratulating Nicholas on his engagement in the pic above. It wasn't long after that Kyle decided to take the plunge himself, and proposed to Kali. I'm sure relationships between vampires and non-vampires are possible and all, heaven knows there are plenty of werewolves in town in relationships with normal sims, but the convenience of vampires being engaged to other vampires can't be denied, since their schedules match perfectly. It took a little bit for everyone to get used to having stuff to do around the house besides crying over tombstones (though that was still an option), but it wasn't long before Kali was busy trying to boost her logic skills, while Melyssa worked on mastering the whole cooking thing.

Kali: "Hey, you just glopped macaroni on the board again!"

I can understand Melyssa pursuing the whole cooking thing, since it serves a purpose within the household, but the logic points Kali was busy earning were basically good for nothing as long as she wasn't able to hold down a normal job (I've never actually had one of my vampires get a job, but I imagine there are some problems if they get stuck on the day shift). I guess there's the possibility that she just enjoyed playing chess and that's why she was doing it, but why would someone want to play chess when there are so many more exciting games out there (like TS2)? As a side note, I really like the TV area in the new Everdark house - it's the perfect setup for folks who simply can't agree on what show to watch…

Melyssa: "Why do they always have to ruin perfectly good red meat by cooking it?"

Eventually, Melyssa decided she'd learned all she needed to know about cooking, which wasn't very much. However, vampires don't get hungry very often, and as long as it's night time, even if their hunger need isn't full, it still doesn't get depleted, so elaborate meals didn't seem like much of a priority around the house. Melyssa noticed (somehow, despite the lack of windows in the house) Heath King, the DJ she bit because she didn't like his hair, walking past the house, and decided to greet him. It's the least she could do after turning him into a creature of the night without his permission. Heath seemed to have gotten over that whole incident, and was more than happy to chat with Melyssa. He's either gotten over it, or has the hots for Melyssa, which won't do him much good since she's engaged now.

Heath: "Love the shoes, babe..."

Heath is an unusual case in that most of the time, anyone who's not a member of the Witte or Everdark family who becomes a vampire is give a potion shortly after and "persuaded" to cure themselves. Otherwise, the population of random vampires on community lots begins to grow, and the chances of sims I'm not controlling and don't want getting bitten being bitten increases greatly. Everyone agreed that Heath looked much better with his vampire hair than he had with his DJ hair, and there didn't seem to be an urgent need to change him back. While the family was enjoying the location and accommodations of the new house, Melyssa was dissatisfied with the atmosphere outside. The weather at the crypt had always been snowy and gloomy, and there didn't seem to be any reason for that to change just because they'd moved to a different lot.

Melyssa: "I just hope I don't accidentally fry someone with lightning!"

Personally, the winter season in TS2 is my least favorite, but after seeing great films like "The Fearless Vampire Killers", I realize that the snowy atmosphere is a must for any would-be vampire's property, even if they're not cool enough to live in a castle like Alfred Witte. Of course, the down side is that while snow may provide a cool, dreary look, it also reduces the amount of time sims can spend outside (especially when they're wearing open-toed shoes like Melyssa). Good thing the new Everdark home has plenty to do indoors. Of course, even a great home will always have some little thing wrong with it, like the fact that the new house happened to be haunted by not one but four ghosts. That's what you get when you use tombstones as lawn decorations I guess.

Kyle: "Will you please just ignore the ninja ghost? I'm trying to tell you how much I love you!"

The Everdarks have always been a fun loving bunch, more so even than a lot of the other families in the Monkeesim neighborhood, they've just gotten a lot less exposure because for one thing, they're vampires, and that's a little weird, and for another, they arrived in the neighborhood later in time than families like the Andrews, Daniels, and Hartmans, and the "older" families are the ones I'm usually tempted to spend the most time focusing on. Well, despite their somewhat reclusive existence, the family decided it was time to start being good neighbors and invite some folks over for a little housewarming bash. They invited Alfred and Zondra Witte and Heath King, which isn't that surprising, since they're vampires as well, but they also managed to get Amy Andrews to show up, though she was the only normal sim to accept the invitation (she only knew the family because of their frequent visits to Radio Shock).

Nicholas: "You guys ready for a little 'Spin the Bottle'..?"

It had been a while since the Witte family had gotten together with the Everdarks. If you recall, the Everdarks became vampires to begin with after coming to town and staying in Alfred's castle, where they were systematically bitten and transformed one after the other, and Alfred was forced to kick them out because their rowdy behavior was disturbing his otherwise peaceful life in his castle. Both parties had a reason to dislike one another, but time heals all wounds (including the little puncture holes on the necks of the Everdarks), and the desire to hang out with other bloodsuckers was eventually greater than whatever grudge the two families might have had against each other.

Nicholas: "So, Alfred…they tell us you really know how to Smustle!"

The family and the guests spent quite a bit of time just dancing. I guess when you spend half your day crammed inside a coffin, you really have to do something to stretch those achy limbs, and flying through the night as a bat to terrorize the local villagers is just not enough). Lucius Wolfenstein, "butler" to Alfred and Zondra, had come to the party as well as the resident werewolf (a role once filled mainly by Tommy Wolf, but less and less as time goes on). Lucius and Tommy have never gotten along, probably because Tommy was responsible for Lucius contracting lycanthropy to begin with, and I guess some folks don't like morphing into a hairy fleabag and being too energetic to sleep at night.

Kali: "Sorry, but there's someone in the bathroom. Can't you just use a bush outside?"

Sometimes I feel a little sorry for Lucius. I mean, he was more or less created just to do chores at Alfred's castle since Alfred and Zondra can't do anything themselves during the day, and his very first experience in the Monkeesim neighborhood was to be placed as a resident in Tommy Wolf's house, savaged, and kicked out immediately after to be moved into castle Witte. No wonder he's such a bitter grouch (not that the natural decay of werewolves' "niceness" points doesn't have something to do with that). To top it all off, his bedroom in the castle is the size of a closet. On the bright side of things, Lucius and Alfred are pretty good friends (despite his unofficial "servant" status), and they always enjoy chatting together when Lucius isn't scrubbing toilets or checking himself for fleas.

Alfred: "…whereas the cattle market has witnessed exponential growth due to increases in blah blah blah..."

It's kind of funny to see some of the stuff that Alfred and Lucius talk about, when you consider the fact that the Witte castle has no TV or internet or easy source of information. Sure, there's a newspaper delivered daily, but I've never seen a single one actually brought inside and read. I guess Alfred is technically a senior citizen, and did have plenty of exposure to the "normal" world before Amy Andrews bit him and started the whole vampire thing, but his knowledge of current events will still seem to be a bit limited. Anyhow, while vampires may be different in a lot of ways from regular sims, their basic interests seem to be the same. Despite the variety of attractions in the new house (TV, chess board, dart board, and so forth), the hot tub was filled to capacity at every possible moment.

Kyle: "It's not that I don't like the sun itself, I just think the fact that it means almost instant death kind of sucks..."

The new Everdark home appeared to be a much more appealing party spot than the crypt they originally lived in, and while the family never actually threw a party when they lived in the crypt, I feel safe making that assumption since there were no amusement items of any sort in the crypt (and you can only talk to people for so long before it gets dreadfully boring). Well, most folks seemed to think it was a great party spot. Amy Andrews took off before the party was even over and nobody noticed her leave. Despite that, things were really hopping, and the Everdarks seemed on their way to a most excellent party score. Of course, well all know what that means. Yes, due to the late hour and the fact that everyone was having way too much fun, that butthead of a cop showed up to break things up and send everyone packing.

Officer: "…and section 27-43-11 of the state code clearly states that you can't bury people in your front yard!"

It's always pained me that you can't do anything to successfully keep the officer from entering your house and ending things, short of deleting him (I'm not a social miscreant in real life, but I think it would be cool if sims could wrestle the cops like the burglars do and make them go away). Dawn was only a few hours away, though, and unlike regular sims who could keep it going straight on into the next day, the health risks associated with doing so for the Everdarks were just too great. Anyway, that's pretty much a wrap for now. So the family has a new house, but still no steady source of income…how to solve such a knotty problem? We'll find out next time, as we also check in and see how Rinoa is doing since the last time we visited. Be there, you won't want to miss it!