A New Beginning
Natalie, Harrison, and Carrie
I know. Try to contain your excitement. Harrison and Carrie were the first adult sims I introduced into Pleasantview, along with their teenage daughter, Natalie. Harrison started a semi-successful career in the medical profession, until he got fired on his very first "chance card". Carrie spent the majority of her time keeping the house in order, cooking, and doing all the other fun tasks that basically keep a house running. Natalie reminded me of why I don't usually like having teens in a family - they generally take a lot to keep happy, have school work to do, and don't contribute much of anything to the household...just like in real life (okay, I don't really mean that...or do I?)
Well, Harrison managed to save up a decent amount of money before getting fired, so he didn't immediately go looking for another job, opting instead to spend his time hanging out at home with his family and pursuing his various interests. That may sound like fun for him, but I got pretty bored watching it, and I was forced to resort to extreme measures to make things a bit more interesting, namely, sending Natalie to college (because we all know that going to college just to escape a boring home life always winds up having GREAT results!). I won't bore you with the details of her college career, though, instead, we're going to jump forward post-graduation, and see how Natalie is faring as a grown-up in her own home. Oh, and you can forget you ever saw Harrison or Carrie for now, because they've yet to be seen since Natalie moved out (although the neighbors have yet to report a strange smell coming from their home).
Natalie: "Mom and dad who??"
While Natalie managed to graduate at the top of her class and all that good stuff, very little of her actual time spent at college had anything to do with studying...at least, not school work anyway. You see, Natalie has the bad fortune of being a "romance aspiration sim", my least favorite breed of them all (emphasis on the word "breed"). Being sort of a serial monogomist myself, I've always found myself trying to pair my sims with one other significant other at any given time (although we all know there have been plenty of exceptions to that rule here in the past). Romance sims aren't happy with monogomy, though, and even if their in a happy relationship with one other sim, they are constantly aspiring to "make out" or "woo-hoo" with multiple other sims, which can of course create problems.
Natalie: "I wonder who I'll make out with today?"
I've tried keeping romance sims before, but it's so hard to keep them happy without them having to "cheat" or having them come off as kind of slutty (I don't know what else you can say about someone who aspires to have 20 simultaneous lovers as their life-long aspiration). However, I do love a good challenge, so I decided to let Natalie stay single and pursue her "romantic" ambitions. Her parents would be so proud. One thing I failed to anticipate though prior to pursuing Natalie's "20 simultaneous lovers" ambition was the fact that there weren't a whole lot of eligible sims in Pleasantview to begin with, and about half of the sims I'd added to the town were women. Not to be one to stand in the way of Natalie's dream, though, I decided to let her "expand her options", and allow some hens into her henhouse as well as co...roosters, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). It was for the greater good, after all.
At last count, Natalie had 16 lovers on the hook, none of whom had discovered each other, and it was getting exhausting. It got to the point where she was needing to spend almost an entire day on the phone keeping existing relationship levels high, while having less and less time to devote to finding new "conquests". It got to where it was feeling a lot more like work than fun, and just reading about it now is even tiring me out a little. Luckily, there's more to this story than Natalie, so let's move on, shall we? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jack Johnson!
Who says an old car hood can't make an attractive dining surface?
I'm not talking about the singer, obviously, I don't care for him that much and really have no idea what he looks like. No, this is Jack Johnson, the most easy going sim in Pleasantview, Archduke of doing nothing, Lord of the listless. He arrived in the neighborhood around the same time I was getting tired of keeping up with the work involved in realizing Natalie's dream. He represents the opposite of hard work and ambition, spending his days pursuing fun and whatever "goal" happens to tickle his fancy. It's impossible to talk about Jack though without first discussing his living conditions. Remember our post from way back when that featured my sim, Shaggy Rogers, who lived at the abandoned public pool? Well, Jack lives at an abandoned park/playground, which isn't that much better. Observe...
Jack is a collector of sorts. And by "sorts", we mean junk.
It's hard to truly capture the majesty of Jack's home in such a small picture, but you get the general idea. His yard has the look of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, minus the radioactive mutant survivors. The former bathroom now serves as the actual "house" on the lot, complete with all of the comforts of prison.
It's a gross place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.
The truly strange thing about Jack's property is this: while to your average human observer, the place looks like a dump, Jack and visitors to the property consider the place an aesthetic paradise. I guess the game only pays attention to the overall value of the various "decorations" on the lot, and takes no notice of the questionable arrangement or use of them. Aside from a few random items just put there for looks (like the cars), most of the litter in Jack's yard actually serves a useful purpose at one point or another, despite the fact that it looks like a tornado was responsible for the layout. As night begins to fall, Jack's humble domain is transformed from private junkyard into Pleasantview party central...
So much better than partying at the actual dump!
Yes, despite a selection of much nicer places to hang out in town (not by much, I'll admit), the majority of the "in" crowd sims were always too happy to accept the nightly invite to come hang out at Jack's place. This probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, I've known plenty of people who would sit smack dab in the middle of a giant pile of elephant dung if it meant free booze, and Jack always had plenty of "party punch" on hand. The way people suck the stuff down, it's a good thing none of Jack's friends ever drive to these parties (come to think of it, I believe there is only one actual sim-owned car in the entire neighborhood, so most sims don't have much of a choice). The punch was only one of the major attractions, the other being the "bubble blowing" machine.
"This party totally blows...bubbles!"
The two guys on the right side of the bubble machine there are Jesse and Elvis, and on the left, we have Jack, and a fella who bears an uncanny resemblence to Leon Jackson (that's not his name, though, I honestly don't remember who he is, not that it matters at Jack's place). Despite my inability to remember his name, the Leon looking guy is actually one of the more frequent visitors to Jack's pad, not just during the evening parties, but during the more subdued daylight hours as well, during which he and Jack would sit across from one another and discuss the state of the economy and exchange nuggets of philosophical wisdom (okay, that last part is total crap, but he does stop by). Another of Jack's actual friends is his good pal, Butto Cooper, pictured below eating rotten pizza by candlelight...
Butto: "Some call it rotten...I call it extra flavorful!"
Jack doesn't pick his friends based on their eating habits, as you can probably tell, although he has very little room to poke fun at anyone else for anything based on...well, everything about him. Now, when Jack throws his parties, he doesn't do it as one might expect with the "throw party" action, because then everyone leaves after only a few minutes. No, sir, Jack places each call individually, extending his invite personally, and if someone he invites wants to bring along a friend, well, all the better. One of his friends, Dale Cooper, did just that, and the friend he brought along was none other than our own Natalie Jones. Funny thing too, because I don't recall her and Dale ever meeting while I was playing her, seeing as how he's one of the few remaining sims in town she hasn't bedded.
Natalie: "I'm sleepy. Wanna' go to bed?"
I joke about Natalie, but despite her unsavory aspirations and less than stellar local reputation in Pleasantview, she's one of my favorite sims. Despite Dale constantly cheering on Natalie while she played pinball, it actually wasn't enough to convince her to start up a romance with him. Wow, if that doesn't do it, what WILL? Natalie actually went home before a lot of the party goers, due to the late hour, and the fact that with 14 other people there, it was impossible to get to the bathroom without it being occupied. The next morning, however, while Jack was outside looking at the monumental mess of cups and half eaten pizza in his "yard", Natalie happened to walk by, and was greeted by Jack. There was a bit of casual conversation, then that's when the magic happened...
Jack: "Hey, there's something on your butt...my hand!"
Charming, eh? It's like something out of Romeo and Juliet. I expected Natalie to give Jack "Summer teeth" for the little @$$ grab maneuver (you know..."summer" over here and "summer" over there...), but apparently, one of the many ways to Natalie's heart is through her butt. That sounds bad, but you know what I mean. Now, while Natalie has been in (and technically is still in) many relationships in Pleasantview, she initiated the majority of them, and for the most part, they were instigated with the intention of getting closer to that "20 lovers" goal. Jack was the first to actually initiate things with her, and the results were fast and undeniable.
Jack: "So wadda' you say, do I get to be number 17?"
Yes, even on Jack's grass free, dusty, trash strewn yard, where nothing else can grow, love is capable of blooming. The question is, is it the real deal, or is Natalie just smitten by the fact that for once, someone has put the moves on her instead of the other way around? Will she forgo her mission to achieve her life-long dream of having 20 simultaneous partners, or will she settle down and make something of what she has with Jack? Am I reading way too much in to this, considering they only met one day prior to Jack putting the moves on her? Only time will tell!
Well, it feels good to have posted again here, and I plan to do it again soon, though not necessarily on a daily basis. Next time, we'll look at some of the other locals I've added to Pleasantview, and see how their paths unexpectedly intertwine...or something like that. Until then, peace and simminess to all!