Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A House Full of Elders

After their brief celebration for Rigoberto's retirement, Charles went and made dinner for everyone. He was on a quest to make 10 different perfect dishes, but so far he'd only been able to get his Eggs Machiavellian to come out perfect. Still, he kept trying. After dinner, everyone milled about doing their own things, some of them chatting with the teens that had come home with Damien and Dylan after school even though both had had to leave to go to their jobs. As everyone was getting ready for bed, Dylan chatted some with Carina Akers and discovered that there was some attraction there. Perhaps this will develop into more in time. For now, they're really just getting to know one another.

Despite the fact that she was a Superstar Athelete, and the family was very well off, Jeanna was still a compulsive moocher whenever the opportunity arose. The next morning, she even went out to the garden to hit up Hank's ghost for some money. While she was doing that, Charles was busy making breakfast, and was able to get the French Toast to come out perfectly.

The next day was Charles' birthday. He ended up transitioning to elder and celebrating by himself in the kitchen after making some Ratatouille (which didn't come out perfectly) because I'd forgotten to have him arrange a party for it. The rest of the family was home for the most part, but they were either in bed or were in the other room chatting and didn't bother to come in to help him celebrate.

The birthdays kept on coming with Benito and Jeanna celebrating their birthdays the following day. Jeanna was supposed to work that day, but I'd decided she was taking the day off. Convincing her of that took a bit of doing, however. Finally, after forcing her back home after the second time she'd teleported to work, I got her to the cake. Most of the party guests were there by then. Benito couldn't wait for cake and was making himself something to eat in the kitchen, so we let him wait to blow out his candles until later. Both transitioned to elder, and it was now a house full of teenagers and elders. At least I didn't have to worry anymore about Jeanna getting pregnant again from all the risky woohoo she and Charles had been having.

Carolyn of course had to play her guitar at the party, but people usually didn't mind. In fact, most would stop what they were doing and gather around to listen to her when she started playing. (This time she started playing all on her own.)

While she was playing, various people's cell phones started ringing. This was nothing new, as the cell phones in this family are ringing all the time, sometimes with opportunites, more often with endless date requests, and rarely with someone just wanting to chat. I'm not a huge fan of the new attraction system because of this - my sims, including the married ones, keep getting way too many calls from other sims asking them out on a date. Damien was one of those whose phone rang, and when I had him answer it, it was a date request. More interestingly than most of these requests however was the fact that this time it was another guy that was asking him out. Apparently the game (or maybe it was one of my mods) decided that he's gay even though I haven't had him do any romantic interactions either way so far. I strongly considered letting Damien accept, but it was late, and he was pretty tired already, so I had him decline - for now. I made note of who it was for future exploration though.

The evening ended on a sad note when Mara Britt, Benito's mother, who had come over for the party, passed away while using one of their laptops. Benito couldn't even get into the room to say a final farewell to her because everyone else had crowded in to watch and the doorway was blocked. She left an urn behind that will have to be dealt with (I had Benito take it to the cemetery the next day).

Carolyn had the next day off, and after lounging around chatting with various family members for most of the day, she decided to see if she could find anymore new space objects. It wasn't long before she'd found one. She named it C-Medina-Britt-2. The next day was a good one for Jeanna as well, for she received another promotion to Sports Legend and was now at the top of her profession. And of course, what do all Sports Legends decide to do? No, not go to Simneyland. Jeanna, like many before her, decided to retire. Benito threw confetti while Dylan clapped, and no one waved the weird monkey sign.

Sunday evening, Carolyn went to the telescope again to search the galaxy. She'd gotten hooked on looking for new stars and she hoped to find at least 5 of them. She found her third that night.

The weekend passed fairly uneventfully, and on Monday morning as everyone was waking up and getting ready for school or work, Rigoberto had a chance to chat with his father's ghost. He never got to see him that much when he was alive, and rarely interacts with him now, but this time he started a conversation on his own and I encouraged it along.

A little while later, Paula Trotter, who used to be their maid, called Rigoberto and asked him out on a date. Usually I have him decline these requests the same as the others since I don't really want to get him involved in a romance at this point, but this time I decided "what the heck" and let him accept. He met her out at the science place, and even though she'd called and asked him out they were strangers to each other at first. They talked for awhile, though it wasn't really a date.

Another date offer came in later in the day, this time for Carolyn. She's gotten plenty such offers of course, however this one was notable because it was from the Grim Reaper. If I were her, I'd be worried. Out of curiosity, I had her accept. She met him at the lake out by the Landgraab and Alto mansions and they chatted for awhile. They were just barely acquaintances, so as with Rigoberto and Paula, it wasn't really a date.

Meanwhile, Dylan had gone home with Carina Akers after school to get to know her better. They sat at her family's dining table and worked on their homework together with her little brother. They hung out together for awhile afterwards, he had dinner there, then he headed home. I would have liked to have used the time to improve their relationship more, but I had some difficulty getting them to start and continue a conversation since one or the other of them kept sitting down at the table for something.

The next day it was Damien's birthday, and Carolyn threw a party for him. It got off to a bit of a bummer start when Sharonda Noel, one of their former maids, died just as the party was getting started. Amusingly enough, there were so many people crowded into the front room that Grim couldn't get in the front door and had to go around and come in the side door of the house to come get her. Everyone just stood around staring at her ghost while he went around. The sound effects had even finished before he got to her and it was just silent. Kind of weird.

As soon as the scene with Sharonda and Grim had played out, Damien headed outside to blow out his candles and everyone followed along to watch and cheer for him. Byron had come out his grave early that evening and was on hand to watch, and Grim stuck around for a bit as well to cheer. He blinked out just before Damien completed his transition to Young Adult. Damien picked up the Family-Oriented trait.

One of the first things I did after his cake was done was send him to a dresser and mirror to get outfits and better hair set (yeah, I don't care for the cornrows on him). I also had to go in with Master Controller to fix his traits, because I'd discovered when the window popped up to pick his new trait that the Neat trait hadn't stuck on him when he turned teenager. Here he is after he got a bit of a makeover.

Carolyn had invited Dylan's friend Carina Akers to the party to give him a chance to socialize with her more. When she showed up, I discovered that she's apparently aged up to Young Adult already, so I may need to rethink setting Dylan up with her. He still has a few days yet before he ages up, but it could still work between them I suppose.

The next day passed unremarkably, but the day after that saw the end of the road for Rigoberto. Just as his father had before him, he passed away while working out on the treadmill. Rigoberto contributed 4 points to the challenge during the time he was in the household.

Rigoberto French's Achievements
  • Traits - Evil
  • Career - Military
  • LTW - Become an Astronaut
  • Skills
    • Handiness - Tinkerer

Carolyn consoled herself after Rigoberto's death by searching the galaxy again. She found a few more stars which she named C-Medina-Britt-4, -5, and -6 in keeping with the others she had found. Charles made a few more attempts at perfect dishes before taking a shower and going to bed, and Dylan went down to the school to help fix the boiler and ended up being out after curfew. He didn't get caught, however.

The next morning while Carolyn was still in bed, Kesha decided to haunt it. Remarkably, Carolyn did not wake up right away.

Next up: Dylan becomes a Young Adult and possibly takes a wife? Damien starts his career as a Journalist, and likely we will be saying goodbye to at least some of their parents as well.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Life Goes On

The day after Byron's death was fairly routine. Rigoberto and Carolyn went to work, Charles went down to help some accountants with a problem they were having (though why they called the local 5-star chef to help with accounting work is anyone's guess), and Jeanna and Benito teamed up to tackle the garden. The cheeseplant died and there was no one left that could start another one going, so they sadly had to simply throw away the lifeless stalk. Damien went to school and Dylan played with the xylophone toy. Life went on. Carolyn got a promotion at work that day and reached the top of the Science career, while Charles decided to quit his job as a chef despite earning a raise that day when he went in (he had a wish to quit locked in, but I'd had him go to work that day to complete an opportunity, otherwise he would have quit earlier).

As everyone else was getting dinner, Benito sat down at the chess board to work on a new strategy he'd thought up, and in the process he mastered the Logic skill and completed his LTW. Time to start working on those skill achievements.

Another curious thing I've noticed with the ghosts is that Alesha seems to have developed quite a penchant for working out in the afterlife. She never did much in the way of athletic activities while she was alive, but since she died she quite frequent will hit the exercise equipment or turn on the stereo and work out to it when she's out of her grave as a ghost. Interesting how they can develop their own new interests like that.

The next day Carolyn planned a funeral for Byron. Several people showed up, and fittingly enough, Byron's ghost was still out and about. Grace Curley encountered him in the kitchen, and was so frightened by the experience that she fainted. Kesha was also on hand for her husband's funeral, and while Hank and Alesha had been out earlier that night, they had both retired to their graves again by the time the party started.

For some reason many of the guests kept getting thought bubbles about Damien. I'm not sure why they did, other than perhaps because he was dressed in his exercise clothes when it was a formalwear party. They probably were thinking "the kid is crazy". Well, yes, yes he is.

The party went well, with most of the guests leaving with smiling thoughts. Damien spent the time chatting with another little boy who'd come, trying to become friends with him, and though they got to know one another fairly well, they weren't quite friends yet when the boy had to leave. Later that evening, it was time for Dylan's birthday. Charles went and got him out of his crib and set him on the floor, but then wandered off into the other room instead of staying to help him celebrate. He transitioned into pajamas just like his cousin's, and picked up the Excitable trait.

One of the first things he did was to go and find his cousin Damien, and the two boys sat down for a game of chess. They talked about how dirty the house was after the party.

The next day Benito went over to visit his family for a bit in the morning, then came home to tend the garden which had been ignored the day before while the party was going on. While he was out there, his old girlfriend Miranda Quintanilla came by to...break up with him. This is actually the second time she's come by to do so, and they were already back to Acquaintance stage before this, so I dunno why she came by again this time. Benito was pretty calm about being rejected by her, and they chatted for a bit before he went back to his gardening.

Later that afternoon, Grim came for Rigoberto, but he was prepared with a Deathflower and so was able to hold off Death for awhile longer. This is a good thing since he still hasn't completed his LTW, though he is getting closer. Now I'm just hoping he doesn't linger on too long after he finishes, because I'm quite ready for there to be fewer people in this house.

Apparently the experience of seeing Rigoberto almost die prompted Benito to go out and mourn Byron. Actually several of them had autonomously gone out to mourn at Byron's grave since he'd died. He's the only one I recall being so mourned up until now. The graves were all misty because Grim was still on the lot, chatting with Carolyn in the living room.

Carolyn's sleep pattern had gotten a bit off for some reason, and she went to bed very early then woke fully refreshed at around 2:30 in the morning. She decided to try an experiment on the refrigerator. When she had finished, she had made it so that the fridge would now randomly make noise. A little while later, after being creeped out by the noise while she was eating, she reversed her experiment.

The next day Rigoberto used the Not So Routine Machine to go to work as he often had. Something went amiss this time, however, with strange lightning flashes and static, and he found himself trapped in some sort of weird Dreamscape. He had a few encounters there where he had to make some decisions, one that went ok, and another that didn't go quite so well, but eventually he was able to escape back to reality. He was, however, late for work by that time, though he'd thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Click to see full size. He also got a buff from the experience.

The following day Benito got an opportunity from the Bistro to deliver some produce. They had plenty of high quality produce amassed by then, and he was able to run the requested items right over. Once he had done so, he gained the ability to plant cheese and eggs, so rushed home to replace the cheeseplant that had died a few days before.

Soon it was time for Damien's birthday again. This time Carolyn decided to throw him a party, primarily because she wanted to be able to play her guitar at a party again. She was finding that she quite enjoyed doing so. Once all the guests had arrived, they gathered around the cake that had been set up out back, and Damien blew his candles out and transitioned to teenager. He picked up the Neat trait.

As she'd intended, once the cake had been cut and everyone who wanted some had eaten theirs, Carolyn set up in the living room and played for their guests.

Now that he was a teenager, Damien had the desire to earn some spending money of his own, so the next day after school he went over to the cemetery and got a part-time job as a mausoleum clerk. A job as a grocery bagger would have been too normal after all (and that part-time job has already been done so wouldn't have garnered any extra points). While he was there he picked up some seeds in the area that he hoped would prove to be Deathflower seeds since he'd heard his parents commenting that they needed to grow some more...just in case. He also picked up some interesting rocks he saw laying around.

Rigoberto had gotten a promotion that day and was now only one promotion away from fulfilling his dream of becoming an astronaut. He had the next day off, however, so since he couldn't accomplish anything toward his LTW, he spent the day upgrading things around the house to put his handiness skills to use. Carolyn had the day off as well, and she spent it at the telescope trying to locate new celestial bodies as a favor to someone at work. A little while after noon, she found one.

Charles is a very friendly sort despite not having that trait. He is constantly going up to people to chat, often whether he knows them or not. Below is one case in point: He never met his grandfather Hank Goddard because Hank was long dead before Charles was born. I'm sure he's seen his ghost around all his life, but they've never interacted. Nevertheless, when Charles woke up really early after having gone to bed early, he immediately decided he wanted to go talk to Hank. It ended up that I had to help them along a bit since he did the typical freak out when he actually got in the room and saw the ghost, but then they had a nice chat. Charles did a "friendly introduction" and they were immediately friends.

That Saturday was Dylan's birthday. Charles arranged for him to have a party since Damien had had one for his teenage birthday. Several people were in attendance, and Dylan's Aunt Carolyn entertained the guests with her guitar, just as she had at Damien's party. Dylan picked up the Loser trait when he transitioned and everyone in attendance agreed that it was an awesome party.

On Sunday, Carolyn took some cheese down to the Bistro and gained the ability to plant steak and burger patties. This will be good for their garden. She then set up outside and played her guitar for tips, her playing encouraging people to stay longer and order more. Meanwhile Rigoberto helped out at the grocery store with putting a puzzle back together, then looked around for a baby to steal candy from. Across at City Hall, there was a crowd gathered, apparently to petition the Mayor to hire some clowns.

Rigoberto didn't see any babies around anywhere, but he did run into Grace Curley and struck up a conversation with her. He realized that he was really quite attracted to her, though she was already in a relationship with someone else. Being the evil sim that he is, however, he flirted with her anyway.

That evening, Dylan decided he'd get a part-time job, so he went over to the spa the family owned and applied for a job as a spa specialist. He was hired right away, though they told him they wouldn't need him for a few days yet.

Dylan was so excited about his new job that he stayed up all night, and was dead tired when it came time for school the next morning. Just before dawn he'd decided that he wanted to be an Illustrious Author as his LTW. He downed some cappuccino to help keep him awake for school. His uncle Rigoberto was doing the same when he went in the kitchen because he had been up all night as well and had to go to work. For some reason, no one in the house went to bed until really late that night, if at all. Instead of waiting for the carpool to show up, Rigoberto used the Not So Routine Machine to teleport, and ended up having another adventure in the Dreamscape.

Click to enlarge

The coffee only helped so much, and by the time school was over, Dylan was so exhausted that he passed out in front of the school on the way to the bus.

Despite everyone's exhaustion, it was Carolyn's birthday that day, and she was determined to have a birthday party to celebrate it, even if everyone passed out everywhere from fatigue during it. She called up Benito's family and some of their friends, got a cake, and got ready. Once everyone was there, she went out to blow out her candles. Kesha even came out of her grave early that night and was on hand to watch her daughter transition into elderhood.

Meanwhile, Jeanna missed the first part of the party since she'd had to work that day, but it proved to be a banner day for her as well, because she got the much sought after promotion to Superstar Athlete and completed her LTW. She ran home afterwards to join the party already in progress to tell everyone the news.

The guests hung around afterwards, and by the time they left everyone agreed that it was a fabulous party. Benito found his wife during the festivities and assured her that he still found her quite attractive and was still very much in love with her even though she was old and grey now.

I figured out that night why no one had gotten any sleep the night before. As part of his upgrading campaign, I'd had Rigoberto do the "wire the house with speakers" upgrade on the good stereo downstairs. This apparently makes it so that when that stereo is turned on, the music plays in every room of the house. The problem with this is, that stereo is almost constantly playing, because that's one of the first things the ghosts usually do is turn it on. Jeanna is also notorious for turning on the stereo first thing she gets home or gets up. Thus, the music must have been waking everyone up and keeping them awake and I hadn't noticed it until the next night. I immediately set Rigoberto to doing a different upgrade on the stereo to cancel the effect, but it was a struggle to keep him on task because of ghosts interrupting by floating into the room and making him stop what he was doing to make the "eww" face at them, or everyone else in the house who was trying to sleep crowding around trying to turn the d**n thing off. Carolyn was getting particularly cranky about it as you can see below. Eventually it broke from being turned on and off so much, and I had them leave it broken for the time being.

Benito had been away from the Chess circuit for awhile since he'd attained the rank of Grand Master, and he decided the next evening to go participate in the chess tournament being held in Central Park. Unfortunately due to a glitch, or taking too long, he wasn't able to complete the opportunity (it claimed he'd left the venue even though he was sitting at the chess table the whole time). He did win 2/3 matches though before the glitch canceled it.

The next day was a banner day for Rigoberto, for when he went to work he received the long-awaited promotion to Astronaut and so completed his LTW. While he was quite pleased with himself, he was also starting to feel his age, and he decided that it was probably a good time to retire now that he'd reach the top. He'd leave the actual running around in space to the younger men. Damien's friend Samir Vaughn was over at the house and gave Rigoberto the same sort of ovation that Kesha had given Byron upon his retirement (what is up with that sign anyway?)

And since this seems like a good place to end this post (and is where I stopped playing last night), I'll wrap it up with a brief discussion of few changes in policy that I've decided on. First is regarding how I'll make note of my score. I've decided it might help anyone reading this go get a better sense of my progress if I include my current score at the end of each post, then when a sim dies, I'll do the recap of how many points they contributed and what their achievements/contributions to the challenge were like I've been doing thusfar. Second, I've decided that to keep things moving as far as progression of generations, and to limit how long sims hang around taking up a spot in the house, use of a Deathflower or of Ambrosia to hold off death or old age will only be allowed if the sim has not yet completed their LTW, and will still only be allowed once per sim regardless. I may end up having to move sims out in the future once they've finished their LTW to make room for others, but we'll see. I'll probably decide that on a case-by-case basis when the need arises.

Currently score: 83
Possible points (Base Game): 174
Percent complete (of current possible): 47.7%

I'm now close enough to 50% completion of current content that I'm now trying to decide at what point storywise it will make the most sense to add World Adventures to the mix here. When Rigoberto dies (he's the last of gen 2)? When Carolyn, Charles, Benito, and Jeanna die? When Damien and Dylan become adults? When the first gen 5 sim is conceived? I'm kind of leaning toward the last option, though I'd love to hear others' thoughts on the matter if anyone cares to chime in about it.

Next up: An aging household, and maybe some new romances?