Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chapter 63: Blue Bird Lamentation

"Maybe I should spend less time playing with the guitar and more time painting," Ceth worries about her hobbies, not wanting to neglect any. She can't pick which ones are most important to her.

Despite his unassuming appearance, Ben Rossi has nearly mastered the charisma skill, and excels in his career. He's now a city council member, a title that comes with new responsibilities... like raising campaign funds.

Ben takes a moment to console his grieving mother. Terry Taylor finally married her longtime lover and the father of her children, becoming Terry Rossi just a single day before Igor died of old age.

Terry recomposes herself, donating a hefty 10,000 simoleons to Ben's campaign.

"Your father was so proud of you and Ada," she says, trying not to break into tears again.

Ben's cousin Ada Rossi is still reigning higher than him, currently as Monte Vista's mayor.

Poor Perenna. No matter what she does, her body will not return to its youthful state.

Oh well. Take the good with the bad. She has grandsons to spoil now.

"I think Mom's tiberium hoarding is suspicious," Carlos tells his little brother.

Milo frowns, confused.

"It's an extraterrestrial substance, you know."

"So are lots of other rocks..."

"Are you okay, Ben?" Lucida snuggles close to her husband, feeling sick when she learns his father passed away.

"Yeah," he says, sounding a bit distant. "My father and I made peace before I moved in with you. I'll miss him, but... I don't have regrets about anything. I didn't leave anything unsaid."

"That's good I guess," Lucida murmurs. "I don't know if I'll be so calm when my parents... go."

"Do you... think I'm being cold?"

"No, no... I mean... even if you were, your parents kind of phoned it in anyway, so..."

"They did their best or whatever," Ben says.

"Or whatever," Lucida agrees.

Ceth ages up to teen, leaving childhood behind... or so she thinks.

You know the rule, Ceth. Show us your face or your age-up didn't happen.

That's better.

Though Ceth's attitude made it difficult for her to make friends as a child, high school offers new opportunities. Ceth makes friends with older students like Gillian GilsCarbo.

Ceth finds herself invited to classmates' houses to hang out, which is new.

Anselmo here probably could have picked a better start to chatting her up than homework.

He's heard rumors about Ceth being extremely smart and also extremely snobby, and at least the first one quickly proves true...

Gillian arrives to sabotage her twin brother's already failing attempts to woo her friend.

Anselmo sighs. Ceth dropped him like a hot potato once his sister showed up to hang out with instead.

Ben only bought this Roos hoodie to make his wife hot for him.

It totally works.

Springtime is here again. One is never too old to hunt for colored eggs.

This spring festival boasts the addition of a hot air balloon.

Nothing about it particularly screams "romantic activity", but it has been marketed as such.

"Here goes!" Reggie announces. "If we die, we die."

The balloon is not programmed to go super high, but it gets high enough to be a minor thrill.

If moodlets can be trusted, today is Reggie and Perenna's wedding anniversary.

They celebrate with some finely aged juice.

"Do you see anything?" Perenna whispers, as if anyone else could possibly hear them.

"Um, I see Izzy talking to a bird," Reggie says.

"What? Where?" Perenna adjusts the binoculars.

"Right... right down there." Reggie points.

Perenna tilts her head. "Is she finally adopting a familiar?"

"A whatnow?"

"You seriously don't know what a familiar is, Reg?"

"I... um... no... I think no?"

Perenna laughs softly. "Never mind it."

"You're making me feel like an ignorant hedgemage again, love."

"I like you just the way you are," she says.

New acrobating outfit.

You can stop contorting now... you're at home...

Ceth tags a wall.

The need to leave her mark on something is animalistic, perhaps, but also deeply tied to her general feelings of uncertainty and restlessness. Why was she abandoned? Will she ever get magic powers, like her biological mother apparently had? What isn't her adoptive family telling her about her biological family? They're always so vague about it. Ceth feels like something is being intentionally withheld from her.

She paces back and forth in her bedroom. All she knows is her mother (named Cayenne La Mer) was on the run with a male sibling (named Luis La Mer), the two stayed here, and then they vanished along with Izalee's cousin Rain. Was her weak sensitivity to magic the reason she was left behind, she wonders? Or was her mother captured and harmed?

It shouldn't matter, of course, she tells herself.

She's here. They're not. The end.

Etc.: I felt bad about Igor and Terry. I was planning to have Ben visit and congratulate his parents on their long overdue wedding (I was shocked when SP gave me a popup about it!) when I got the notification for Igor's death just a few sim hours later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chapter 62: Seagulls

Ceth treks out to the lighthouse, to see up close what has always been a hazy, mysterious pillar in the distance. She likes the ocean. She doesn't understand why. It is unforgiving and inhospitable towards human life. Why should it bring her any comfort?

She sighs. Way at the top of the tower, the light slowly rotates, and the seagulls circle as if they are chasing it. Perhaps the ocean is comforting because there is the wistful thought of mysterious lands on the other side?

Ceth frowns, listening to the crunching noise as she drives the tip of her boot further into the snow. She has always felt like she's really supposed to be somewhere else, doing something else. But without such things as gods to tell her what it is, she must bury these disconcerting feelings. They don't make any sense... nobody would understand...

Ceth waves to the imagined shores far away, and to the light, and to the gulls, wishing for a moment that she could see what they see, and go so far as they can go...

Of course, they do not answer.

Perenna bumps into Maria Giordano in town.

 Star cut unlocked!

Milo ages up.

"Ugh," Ceth complains. "You look like you were attacked by a highlighter."

"Can I still play up here with you guys?" Milo begs.

Ceth blinks. "Yeah, of course. We're been waiting for you."

There are no spare rooms left in the house, so Milo gets to sleep in the nursery. Forever.

He was allowed to redecorate a little bit, but his parents said the pink floors stay.

Reggie cooks a big mushroom omelette breakfast to kick off Milo's first day at school. The table isn't big enough to seat the elders with everyone else, but Reg doesn't mind.

This is Carlos's favorite dish by the way, but he's too absorbed in the Adventures of Raymundo to eat right now.

"Carlos, put the book down. Milo, set the plate on the table to eat," Ben uses a warning tone.

The manners of these kids. Like they were raised by wolves or something.

"What does Dad even do, again?" Carlos grumbles. Six o'clock in the morning is far too early to eat breakfast or have to see a tie, in his opinion, but if he wants to see his father before school this is the hour he has to get up at.

Lucida gets her chance to participate in another simfest, this one at the big outside park.

The stage setup feature is glitchy and unpredictable. What you are seeing here is four different themed sets layered on top of each other. While setting up, it was a western theme, but once Lucida started performing, objects from every other performance popped up as well.

Ben's sister, Tori Taylor, shows up in the audience, standing way back from everyone else.

She grew from an awkward teenager into a not-as-awkward adult.

She is not to be confused with Ben's cousin Tami, his cousin once removed named Toni, his mother Terry, or his other sister Lynnette.

Ben himself shows up after his workday ends. Lucida is still chilling at the park, "watching the show", even though her competition is invisible (or, I suspect, glitched nonexistent). Everyone just keeps cheering...

"Why don't we go home?" Lucida suggests.

"But what if you win?" Ben asks. "What about your prize?"

"Maybe you can give me a prize," she purrs.

Lucida does end up winning this snazzy trophy.

Ummm. C'mon, now, Perenna. That was part of Scarlett's beloved collection.

Caveman gnome and witch gnome are getting along nicely.

Carlos lets out a long sigh. "Ceth, do you mind? Trying to do my homework."

Ceth doesn't stop strumming on her guitar. "I'm already done with my homework. It was easy."


"So go do yours in your room. Slowpoke."

"Or YOU could go play with your dumb ukulele in YOUR room."

"Slow slow slow slow slowpoke. Carlos is so dumb. ♪"

"I'm going to remember this the next time you want to copy off my math homework."

"Math is for boring people ♪"

"Every material comfort you have is because of math."

"Boring people exist to make me things ♪"

Literature is definitely not Carlos's best subject. He'd almost rather gouge his eye out with this pencil than tell the teacher what they want to hear about Nick Carraway's importance to the history of narration.

Milo is very different from Carlos, always happy to build social bridges and try to talk about Ceth's interests, even when he has no understanding of them. As the youngest child in the house, all he wants to do is hang out with and be accepted by the older kids.

Much like his mother as a child, Milo has seemingly endless energy.

Lucida does her best to entertain Milo when the other children are too caught up in their own interests to pay attention to him. She is pleased to have such a close relationship with her children, though she hopes they eventually make friends outside the household.

Lucida demonstrates a fancy catch.

(Notice how frozen Izzy's garden is.)

"Ow! Don't throw so hard, Mom!"

Carlos finds being a werewolf really helps with immersion when he's pretending to be an alien, or an astronaut infected with space-plague.

"I think we scared Ceth," Milo points out.

"She's just acting," Carlos scoffs. "She wants to grow up to be an actress now."

"I thought she wanted to be a painter."

"Before that, it was a rock star..."

"And a fashion designer," Milo recalls, shuddering.

"You morons are ruining the scene," Ceth whispers.

Gem hunting!!!!

The tiberium collection worries Izalee. Its psychic energy resonance is pretty strong. She can hear her own thoughts projected back at her when she gets too close.

Ben praises Ceth for doing her homework. Ceth may be a smart kid, but motivating her to do things she doesn't want to do is a constant battle.

The days grow warmer as spring approaches. The snow never got deep enough for anyone to fulfill their wishes involving snowball fights or snowmen. Kind of sad.

When spring finally does arrive, turning most trees a pale green, Izalee is of course thrilled to get back to her garden. She has a lot of work to do.

Etc.: Nick Carraway is the narrator of The Great Gatsby. What do you think about Nick? Fill in your answer on the scantron in number 2 pencil only please.

A) The Great Gatsby had a narrator?

B) This is a joke, right?

C) What do you mean the book was in first person?!

D) No, I swear I read it! Nobody named Nick did anything!

In other news, my boyfriend bought me a new graphics card so I could play No Man's Sky. This was a highly unexpected move, and I've been trying to show my deep appreciation by playing the shit out of No Man's Sky. He seems to be having a lot of fun watching me play. Updates may be a little slower as I try to learn alien languages one word at a time, while being gnawed on by angry space goats.