Sunday, October 30, 2011

Digital Wonderland #18

Horses are a lot of work. Did you know that? I didn't know that. Horses are a lot of work. We could keep him stabled, but the only decent place is up by the military base and I really don't like that idea. Puzzle has been so busy caring for Skeeter. She seems happy enough, though. And like I said: She's really good at it.

Monday while I was at work they were doing scans on all of the employees. It was under the guise of making sure the staff was healthy, but as it turns out they're looking into some kind of heart valve research. As the staff member with the healthiest heart I was asked to donate it to the hospital for study. I would be given an artificial heart and monetary compensation. After careful concideration I decided to go for it. I'm not getting any younger and this hospital has given me so much. While I was under the knife Puzzle rode out to the cemetary to find a proper final resting place for Shen's remains.

Spooky, right? I was ordered to stay home and recover for a few days so I spent time with Skeeter, helping with the feeding and brushing. Outside of the hospital I've noticed a drastic increase in the amount of wildlife wandering around the nieghborhood. From stray cats...

to racoons! Look at that little bugger darting behind the stable.

Here's something interesting. Puzzle can make special granola treats for Skeeter! She can, in fact, make all kinds of gourmet treats for animals, but this is the only one that's been useful so far. Skeeter loved it! She just keeps on amazing me.

On my last day of recovery I got a very interesting call from someone I had never expected to hear from again. That criminal fellow, Dewey. Apparently his dog had puppies and he wanted me to come by and see if I wanted one.

Of course I couldn't resist the opportunity to see a fresh litter of puppies. Then, ya know, once I saw them I just couldn't go back home empty handed. Especially when this little guy tried following me! Who's a cutey little puppy? You's a cutey little puppy!!

So now we have a puppy. His name is Jack and he's already made himself completely at home. Luckily I found a delightful pet supply store online and was able to have a bed and some chew toys and a food dish delivered immediately. With any luck we can keep him from demolishing the furniture.

Been so busy with all of the excitement going on around here I totally forgot my birthday was coming up. So this is what it's like to be an elder sim? Hrm. I don't think I like it too much. I guess we'll see how badly work kicks my butt before I decide if I want to retire or not. At least I'll have plenty at home to keep myself occupied.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Digital Wonderland #17

I was so relieved when Puzzle finally made it back from the spa. I threw myself into her arms sobbing. I just didn't know what else to do! She was very understanding and thought that moving was a great idea. So she packed up those sentimental things, including Shen's urn, and I went through the real estate listings.

I did notice a few new buildings that have cropped up around Oasis, pet parks and the like. Since they're all appropriately named I didn't spend too much time worrying about it. I found, instead, a nice little ranch-style house a few blocks north of here. Should suffice for just the two of us. I think it may be a bit unlucky, though. We lit the fireplace and the living room caught fire not just once...

But twice! After that we decided it would be best to leave the fireplace alone until I could get around to making it fireproof.

On the bright side insurance covered most of the damaged items. On the brighter side as I was laying down to bed I got a visit from Shen's spirit! He held me and I felt so much better. He told me everything was ok and he'd always watch over me. It was all so very sweet.

Puzzle's reaction to his presence in our bedroom wasn't quite as accepting. She said she'd never be able to sleep with a ghost wandering around. Actually, I don't think I could either. I'd always be waiting for him or spending time with him while I could. So this weekend we'll be taking him to the cemetary so he can make new friends.

True to her word about being unable to sleep, Puzzle went for a walk around town to enjoy the fresh air and... buy a horse?! What on earth are we going to do with a horse?

Although I do have to admit it was insanely easy converting the 2-car garage into a stable. And Skeeter instantly made himself at home. That's our horse's name. Skeeter.

The next day while Puzzle was caring for Skeeter (brushing him, cleaning his hooves... really, she's a natural) I got to work upgrading his water trough. Now it'll refill automatically. It's good to work with my hands again.

And by the time I was done with that, Skeeter was all ready for me to ride! This is amazing! He's so powerful and such an agile jumper! I'm so glad we have a horse!!

After just a few hours of training Skeeter suddenly took off down the street. With me still on his back! Watching the houses fly by from atop his back was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. We ended up in front of the International Equestrian Range and as luck would have it they were about to start a jumping competition. The lady at the front desk was kind enough to let me register.

At the end of the day Skeeter and I came in 3rd place. Not too shabby, eh? By the time we got home Puzzle was sound asleep. I'm glad. And I'm so glad to have her. Retirement is right around the corner and I can't believe I'm looking forward to it. She really is a genius.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Digital Wonderland #16

Why did I ever want to join the medical profession? Why?! I mean, it was fortunate timing with the hospital being so understaffed, and the money's been great, but.... I never signed up for any of this! What's this? Well, there seems to have been a bit of a turnaround in hospital management. I'm not really clear on the details, but the new administrator called me into her office and explained that the old regime had some shady dealings with some seedy characters and asked if I could do something about severing these ties. ME?! Fine. Stricken with fear over losing my job I agreed and sought out this fellow.

He actually wasn't as intimidating as I expected and, in fact, wanted to help. At least, I think he wanted to help. He said that he'd forgive the hospital's remaining debts with no backlash from Oasis' criminal underbelly if I could convince the police captain to halt her investigation into a certain missing llama shipment. What have I gotten myself into? Time to track down the police captain.

As it turns out, my luck held. When I finally tracked her down she was mumbling to herself about how this whole missing llama investigation was going nowhere. I introduced myself and playing the role of "concerned citizen" convinced her to give up the investigation and concentrate the manpower elsewhere. An idea she was delighted with now that she could claim she was responding to public opinion rather than outright failure. I guess the crime syndicate had nothing to fear after all.... oh well, works out for me. I got a nice raise out of the deal, too.

Puzzle seems to be doing ok. She's awfully quiet, but then she was around for years without making a peep.... heh. She got a part time job at the day spa down the street and spends a few hours each day painting. Even got offered a couple thousand simoleons for an original piece by one of Oasis' local celebrities.

Apparently she has my luck. While she was doing laundry she ran into one of those creepy bear laundry gnomes. Now we have two... They seem to be fascinated by the other gnome's shenanigans.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get through she finally managed to get ahold of April. It was a short conversation and I don't think it went very well.

I'm not really sure how to deal with a heartbroken sim. I feel bad for Puzzle and, in some ways, a bit responsible. Since April is my daughter, after all. So I started teaching Puzzle how to cook. She's a fantastic gardener and it will give her something constructive to do with the fruits of her labors. She was a bit surprised, at first, when I told her she could do those things the sims on tv do. I think she's warming to the idea, though.

Now, a few days after her abrupt conversation with Puzzle, April got in touch with Shen. Needing a favor. Apparently her laptop came up broken and she wanted it fixed and can you believe she didn't even come over or have him deliver it to her house? No. She had him bring it to her at Hogan's Deep Sea Diner off the beach. I suppose I can't be too upset with her. She wasn't as clipped with her father as she was with her girlfriend and he was sensitive enough to recount the details while Puzzle was at work so as not to upset her further.

And as it turns out, it was good that he got to see his daughter. The next day the grim reaper came and took him from us. Poor Shen!!! Died alone at home while Puzzle and I were at work. Alone. At home. I wish I could have been there for him.

I have no idea what I'm going to do now. I miss him terribly. I know he'd been unwell for a while, but it's still kind of a shock, ya know? I don't know how long I stood there crying, but it was a long time. Wednesday is my day off and I... I think I'm going to have to move. I can't imagine staying in this house that he picked out for us. I need sleep. I'll talk to Puzzle in the mornin and we'll decide what to do then. I'm so glad she's decided to stay. I don't know if I could do this on my own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

B&W Cat Catching

So my sister had this cat. A nervous little thing named... let's say Saleen. I don't know how she spelled it, but that's how it sounds. Sah-leen. I don't know all of the details (nobody gives me details) but now we have Saleen. This cat should have been named "Houdini" because she has a knack for finding ways to get out. The first day she pulled the screen away from the back door and skinked out. I caught her. Then she managed to wriggle through a hole in the floor. So back I went into the wild to recapture that elusive ball of nerves.

She learned from my previous day's tactics, that much is certain. Yesterday I needed only a bowl of water and a bit of patience. Today I had to step my game up a bit. I got a can of food to bait the carrier and it still took her forever to decide she was hungry enough to risk going back inside. I sat there thinking, "I should have brought something to drink." and then "I should have brought my book!" Fortunately I did remember to bring my phone. In a fit of Let's be Artsy I opted for the monochrome filter this time.

I tried to remain still and make soothing noises, but she was definitely more wary than last time. Sitting under the house just where I could barely see her eyes. She did come out a couple of times to investigate that intoxicating aroma.

These two are actually my favorites. Especially the second one with the door.

Finally the cat started coming up and sniffing around the outside of the carrier. Possibly trying to find a way in that didn't involve going past the metal gate-door.

Still I sat patiently, trying to find things of interest that I thought would make decent monochromatic pictures.

Finally after about half an hour or so she decided she was hungry enough to take the bait. She knew that's what it was, but went in anyway. I've seen her a couple of times in the house, but not recently. Hopefully she's just hiding. I really don't want to have to do that again. Not really sure it would work again and we really don't want her going further than under the house.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nail Strip Review

Wow! Look at me. Doing a product review. And for free, too. If you've been following along a little over two week ago I tried out the Sally Hansen Nail Strips with pretty decent results. They went on smoothly and lasted, well, a little over two weeks. I just removed them because the part that sorta overlaped my cuticles was starting to chip a bit and of course my nails have grown. I should've gotten a picture so you could see (and compare, cuz that's what people do) how long they grew... maybe next time I'll remember. I only used a thin layer of clear polish to get them to stick, but they were still pretty difficult to get off. It is just nail polish and regular nail polish remover did get them off, but that must be one cohesive formula because... well... like I said it took forever. Is two weeks of intricately detailed nails worth $9? Meh. Maybe for special occassions. I wouldn't do it every two weeks, but it was pretty cool and the ladies at the bank loved them.

While we were at HEB I noticed these:

Sort of the same thing, with less variety and a couple more differences I'll get to in a second. Unable to find a price I walked over to the price-check scanner and they were only $6.50. Still more than I spend on nail polish, but they had some interesting designs so I grabbed black with blue peace symbols (you'd think I'd learn my lesson about dark-on-black from the moon and star contacts, but no) and just a few moments ago I tried them out.

Since it's close to Halloween (even though I'll be wearing gloves) I decided to only use a couple of strips and do the fingers on which I wear my rings. I painted the rest black. I was going to do blue to match the symbols, but I thought this would be more subtle. It is.... just perhaps a bit too subtle. Anyway, unlike the Sally strips these ones have an adhesive backing. This is good and bad. They stick a lot better without help, but whatever adhesive they used prevented the strips from going on as smoothly. I tried to take a picture, but it didn't come out so well. I doubt you'll make out the peace signs, but maybe you can see the jagged edge and some refracted light from the... uh... unsmoothness.

I know, awful picture. One day I'll shell out big bucks for a super megapixel camera. Perhaps if I had cuticle scissors to cut off the excess around my nail (where the skin is, the accompanying file was still sufficient for the tip) it wouldn't look so bad. I guess the real test is how long they last and if I can get them smoother when I do all my nails. I'm debating coating all of my nails with glow in the dark nail polish tomorrow and seeing how they react to that. I also fear that these will be even harder to remove even though the box says they come off easily. I guess we'll see and whether you care or not I'll let you know.

Why I Can't Sleep

I don't know if this is the full reason, but it's at least part of it. You should know by now I'm not given to freaking out over nightmares, and this wasn't even really a nightmare. I guess it was more the disturbing nature of a couple of the elements that made me wary about falling back asleep. Then once I started feeling sleepy it was only a couple of hours before I have to drop my dad of so.... here I am.

I don't remember the full dream, maybe due in part to my waking up with half my body numb. I do remember some things, though. Like being in some kind of store with Aaron, Hayley and one or two other people. I don't know what happened exactly, but suddenly Aaron turned around and he's... not himself. He started attacking. I was trying to protect Hayley without hurting Aaron so I hid her in a rack of clothes and flew up toward the ceiling. Instead of shooting fireballs like I normally do against an attacker I started shooting these pink bubbles out of my hands. They were filled with some kind of sleeping gas, but it wasn't very powerful and only slightly slowed him down. Also, bubbles are very hard to aim. I flew up through a hole in the roof and sat up there for a bit to sort of catch up with myself. The bubbles are new. I looked off the roof and Fatass and Dipshit were on the ground, but they were like ogres. Ogres wielding those plasma guns from Doom. They started to shoot at me and luckily I was able to dodge fairly well because I was still shooting out those pink gas-filled bubbles and missing horribly. They kept chasing me around the building (I don't know why I jumped off in the first place) and back inside and I tried to fly back up through that hole and barely made it. I could tell this wasn't going well at all and woke myself up. Which is when I discovered my numbness. The odd part about that is the side that was numb isn't even the side I was laying on when I woke up.

Welp, time to get dressed and take my dad to the lot. Hopefully when I get back I can sleep and have a less distressing dream.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Digital Wonderland #15

Oh how my girls are growing up. So quickly! After prom it was only a couple days until graduation. In those couple of days April and Puzzle were inseperable. I suppose that's not too surprising since it was April's attention and dedication that helped give Puzzle the life she has now, but I wonder if all sims get this close to their "imaginary" friends?

The last day of school, right before graduation, something changed in April. She knew her birthday was right around the corner and I guess that stirred something in her. Before going to bed she made a call to China and invited Liang to visit.

Shen's behaviour has become increasingly unnerving. I suppose most women would be elated to get flowers for no reason, but I can't help feeling there is some reason. Whatever it was, he wouldn't share it with me.

He doesn't leave the house often (doesn't leave his bed often), but when he does he only visits one place. The cemetary. He says it's a peaceful place to meditate. I suppose it would be, but it's still a little disturbing.

He wasn't even feeling well enough to attend the girls' graduation. Liang was there. I was there. It was a fantastic ceremony. April was named valedictorian and "Most Likely to Achieve Her Lifetime Goal". Puzzle graduated with honors and was named "Most Likely to Become a Sports Star".... I'm wondering if they felt bad for her and gave her one intended for April....

After the ceremony I took Puzzle to the cafe for a scrumptious lobster dinner. April said something about helping Liang settle in. While they were alone on the porch she started to get close and flirty and that is when Liang finally revealed that he was married. April was hurt and furious. Why couldn't he say so before?! Why had this never come up?! She ran in the house and began packing her things immediately.

As Puzzle and I were pulling up to the house Liang was still standing there dumbfounded and April came out and silently, fiercely walked out of the house and got into a waiting cab. She didn't say a word to Puzzle (niether did Liang who is still staying with us for the time being) before leaving us.

I think, though, that Puzzle knows as well as I do (and Shen will when I tell him in the morning) that we probably won't be seeing April any time soon. If at all. She looks sad, but somehow resigned. I'll make some nice French Toast in the morning and, if she's still here, tell her she can stay as long as she wants.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun with Negatives

Hello peoples. Sorta inadvertantly got myself hooked on neopets and Sailor Moon again so I haven't been simming.... much at all. I think part of me is still scared of the upcoming lag. Perhaps another part of me is waiting for Pets which came out today (yesterday; the 18th) and we haven't gotten to pick up yet. But there will be a continuation of sims. Unless installing Pets does something horrible to my game and I lose everything again. Oh noes! I hope not. In the meantime, rather than bore you to death with my mundane neopets achievements I've taken some pictures. As you may have guess by now they're all with the negative filter. It's one of my favorites. Gives things sort of an otherworldy appearance.

This first one is my desktop. It's a green Spardel (neopets) with grass underneath and a yellow/orange sky behind it.

Water and soda bottle sitting on a box in front of my air conditioner. If you're trying to visualize: As I'm sitting here at the computer, this is the stuff immediately to my left.

Here is the xbox and a ton of junk sitting on the bed. A little further to the left of where I sit.

Here is one of the many Hello Kittys on my jammies.

And just for the fun of it here's a video of Aaron playing Batman: Arkham City. I wanted to get a kickass fight scene, but he was in the middle of trying to figure out a puzzle.

And, hey, I just realized I was in such a hurry to get this stuff uploaded that I totally didn't crop or resize anything! So, hey, enjoy the bigness.

And for anybody reading this who's interested (or bored and doesn't want to get back to whatever they were doing just yet) today (fine, yesterday, whatever) was my hubby's birthday! We went to the midnight release of Arkham City which was way more packed than I expected. We did run into a guy we knew and that was kinda cool. Before handing out the games they held a raffle for t-shirts and posters which was.... kinda bad. Used to be you'd get free stuff for pre-ordering. For Bully I got the special edition because I wanted the dodgeball and stickers, but for Scarface we got a poster. Or... now that I think about it we might have gotten that because we were there all the time and "sort of" friends with the clerk by that point? I'm not sure. I just know when we paid it off they had already gotten the shipment and he gave us the poster. It's really cool, I'll have to try and get a picture one of these days. I miss Emilio..... *ahem* Anyway, they held a raffle for t-shirts and posters and the two game displays. Aaron got a shirt! :D He won on his birthday! That was awesome. Day before yesterday I was talking to his nephew and told him it was Aaron's birthday and we coordinated for him to call. You know, for his birthday. And he did! And Aaron was so happy to hear from him and it was so hard keeping that secret, but I'm so glad I did. Was well worth it. I'm glad I could help give him a good birthday.

Another present I got for him was this Yoostar thing.... you're supposed to be able to put yourself in movie scenes and do green screen stuff and we're just having the hardest time getting it to work. And it sucks ass that you have to pay for extra scenes and stuff. They give you a couple, but really? It wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to have a damn credit card. Haven't they ever heard of e-check or paypal?! Ass nuggets. Once we get it figured out I'll probably be posting the videos here and/or on facebook. Since last time I tried uploading to YouTube it totally borked my subtitles that I worked so hard to add.