4.46 Moving On

When Charles got up in the morning, Veronica was still up. She was even in her work clothes, so she definitely hadn’t been to bed the night before.

“What’s up?” he asked. “Clearly you are, and you should be sleeping.”

Veronica gave him a strange look. “I was wondering,” she said sheepishly. “How attached are you to Sunset Valley?”


Charles frowned. “I’m the fourth generation Sample to live here. I never thought about living anywhere else. Why?”

“Well,” Veronica said. “The Landgraab Science Center got a call from the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center on Avalon Island. They have a unique paranormal situation out there, and they heard about me after that stunt at City Hall. They’re, um, trying to recruit me to work in their town.”

“Whoa,” Charles said.

“I know it’s a lot to ask,” Veronica said. “But I would really like to go.”

“I need to think about it,” was all Charles could manage.

That night, he found himself sitting at a bar in the club district of Sunset Valley.


He’d watched this town grow from a sleepy town to a flourishing community with an active nightlife and even a decent film business. In fact, his dojo had contributed something real to Sunset Valley’s growth.


Still, had he just assumed he would live here all his life because his parents and grandparents had? What else was out there? If he stayed, would it be because he loved his home town or because he was afraid of something new?


“I can always go back,” he said softly to himself. Charles was a traveler. He loved new places and new experiences. In the end, wasn’t moving to a new home just a kind of travel? He was hardly barred from living in Sunset Valley again if that was what he really wanted to do.

All right then. He’d go, but only if the kids wanted to do it.

That last part didn’t turn out to be as hard a sell as he expected.


“I think Mom’s going to find us an amazing new place to live,” Sky told Forest as they played in the park after school one day. “It can’t be worse than here.”

“The people of Avalon Island are supposed to be pretty weird,” Forest said. “There could be all sorts of things to learn there.”

Hunter was so unaffected by the whole thing that he took a nap.

“Wow! I can’t believe it,” Aunt Shanni said when he told her.


“You know,” she said once it had sunk in, “There’s a Crumblebottom Chateau on Avalon Island. Agnes left her fortune to me, and, well, I’ve been thinking about moving to someplace that doesn’t make me think of her every moment. You see… Jeanna Yo asked me to marry her, and I said yes! Does that make me crazy? She’s young enough to be my daughter!”

Charles couldn’t help but smirk. “Well, only if you got pregnant in high school.”

Shanni laughed a bit self-consciously. “Well, yeah, I guess that’s true.”

“Nobody’s going to think you’re crazy for being happy,” Charles said. “I’m really happy for you.”

Adjo took the news pretty well all told.


“I’m the retired husband of a workaholic politician,” he said. “I have frequent flier miles. You’re going to instruct me in my next belt, don’t worry.”


And Wu….


“There’s no Sim Fu instruction on Avalon Island,” Wu said. “It’s a perfect place to establish a fresh branch of the art if you think you’re ready. Did you know I have a nephew who lives there? I visit Avalon more often than I visit here. Though I warn you… you may find the people there a little surprising.”

All told, by the end of the day, moving across the world felt a lot like moving to the next street.

The one real loss was Jabari. Charles had known they were drifting apart for some time, but breaking the news of his departure made it clear. They sincerely wished each other the best, but Charles knew that with an ocean between them, their once brotherly closeness was a thing of the past.

In light of the big news, the Samples decided to have a private birthday party for the triplets before they moved. The intimate affair seemed like the right way to say goodbye to their home.

First Forest…




Then Hunter…




And at last Sky…





They ate their cake in the yard as the sun set and listened to the waterfall.


“I guess I’m going to miss this place, at least,” Sky admitted.


“Me too,” Charles agreed. “Let’s hope the next place is better.”


We made it to the last Sunset Valley post! Did you think it would ever happen? I’ve been playing in Avalon for months, and I love it. Which of course means that I have a huge queue of posts again. I will never be caught up. I need to accept it. It’s the nature of the beast.

Here’s a closeup of our triplets:



Hubba hubba! Our evil boy has grown up into quite the fantasy fodder.



I assumed that Hunter had dark brown eyes like Veronica, but it turns out his eyes are very dark green. I’m not sure where THAT came from. Could Layla have had very dark green eyes? At any rate, it really does make him a good case for an identical twin of Forest, though he came out normal weight and Forest is skinny.



She rolled glasses when she became a child, and I forgot to give them to her. So maybe her ghostliness made it take longer for the bad vision to show up. Heh. Charles didn’t get glasses until teenagerhood either, despite having terrible genes for eyesight.

I redid her clothes and glasses later, but I don’t seem to have taken a CAS shot of it. And she’s in the process of blinking here. Argh. I’ll have to see if I can’t provide a better CAS shot of her later.

Their faces are so similar that they could almost be identical triplets. Fortunately, I think that face is pretty awesome.

I haven’t been posting much here because I can’t play the Samples right now, and I was wasting all my time for the family on figuring out why. I still would like to dedicate a post to the excruciating process of discovering this because I’m going to bet there are other Mac users who are getting the same behavior and are pulling their hair out. I friggin’ learned to read crash logs to figure this out. I can never get that part of my brain back. Blast you, EA.

So here’s the technical jargon: Windows 7 is a 64-bit operating system. Mac OSX is a 64-bit OS too. In fact, Mac OS has been 64-bit for longer, and it’s arguably better-integrated and more efficient about it. However, The Sims on the Mac is run in a wrapper called Cider that emulates Windows. I knew this, and though it provided slightly slower response times, it did all right, so it seemed like a decent tradeoff to be able to play the game when it was released like an ordinary Windows user.

But it turns out that the emulation used on the Mac is Windows XP. No really. So all the beautiful computing power of my i7 MacBook Pro has been wasted running a game inside an emulation of 10-year-old 32-bit Windows. This did all right until I installed the last three expansions all at the same time, and then it gave up the ghost. I can play my new Wonderland legacy, probably because it’s a brand new game in an EA world, but the Samples Error 12 and crash to desktop as soon as I load them up.

Somebody said, “They call it Cider because it squeezes the juice out of your Apple.” Damn. They’re right.

The sad solution is that I’m going to have to play the game in Windows 7. To be able to do that without switching to running Windows all the time, which I don’t want to do because I’m a !@#$ Mac user because I like the !@#$ Mac, I intend to run it in a Windows 7 virtual machine within my OSX. To do THAT, I need to upgrade my memory. The memory arrived yesterday, but now my parents are visiting for the holidays, and I won’t be able to upgrade for at least a week.

Then again, the effect should be seamless because I’m about 10 posts behind anyway. At least I won’t be wasting so much stupid time troubleshooting.

So there, DragonWife, is the medium-length version 🙂 :).

4.45 The Cold Equations

After breakfast one morning, Zahra began to feel strangely warm and light.

She’d been around long enough to know exactly what that meant.


















I held off posting this because I couldn’t think of any words, so I decided to let the pictures speak for themselves.

I couldn’t really capture this in still shots, but what Zahra was doing with her fingers there was tracing numbers in the air like equations. I’ve never seen any other sim do that when they die. I wonder if it’s a Genius thing.

Rest in peace, Zahra. Better yet, work on that love life of yours.

4.44 Where Did the Time Go?

Stories about the scene Veronica had made at City Hall were all over the papers the next day. Within a week, the science center phones were ringing off the hook. Some people just wanted to learn more about the program, but many had some kind of supernatural event going on in their house.

Business for Veronica was hopping.


Some customers got a lot more demanding. Genvieve Goth was the worst person Veronica had ever worked with. She spent the entire time Veronica was there screeching. “I called you here to do something about this thing! So do it! What are you waiting for!”


“Waiting for you to get out of the way, ma’am,” Veronica said with a smirk.


“I mean, I could have let you step into the beam, but that tends to send your individual atoms on separate vacations.”

Genvieve stopped talking then and went to pour herself a drink.


Her reception at the Ursine-Langerak residence was very different.


Charmaine was out, but Maya was home and watched everything Veronica did with reverent appreciation.


She treated Veronica like some kind of celebrity. “This is more like it,” Veronica said to herself.


“It’s finished!” Veronica announced.

“What’s that?” Charles asked.

“Why, the treehouse! The ultimate in scientific child entertainment.”


Charles looked the monstrosity up and down. “Usually people build treehouses with wood.”

“Wood isn’t very scientific!”

“I guess it’s more scientific if it has a lot of rivets.”


“Maybe we should be the first to play in it.”


The kids would never know.

Charles’s work was also hopping. His skills as a martial artist and as a teacher grew stronger every day.

One afternoon, a familiar face came walking onto the grounds of the dojo.


Charles couldn’t believe his eyes. “Sensei! It’s been a long time!”


“You invited me to visit your dojo a lot time ago,” Zahn Wu admitted, “but it’s a bit of a long trip.”


While Charles and Wu caught up on each other’s lives, Adjo and Toya arrived with baby Karina. “No time like the present to take up Sim Fu!” Toya announced. “Adjo’s going to give me some pointers.”


Charles looked at the new baby and wondered if that was such a great plan, but who was he to judge?


“So what do you think of teaching?” Wu asked.

“I never realized how much I would enjoy it. I learn more about martial arts every day just by helping people understand,” Charles said.

Wu nodded wisely. “Spoken like a true master,” he said.


They were interrupted by the sound of angry shrieking from the dojo. Adjo stalked outside and paced around the front lawn, fuming. “This better be baby hormones,” he growled. “That woman is making me crazy!”

“Uh, yeah,” Charles said. “Sorry about that.” Better to stay far away from Adjo and Toya’s relationship. Nobody understood it. Sometimes he wasn’t even sure they understood it.


“You sound like a true master of Sim Fu,” Wu continued. “I wonder if you fight like one.”


Charles grinned. “Let’s find out.”


Charles couldn’t remember ever being in a sparring match that intense.


They opened with a few attacks and feints to size each other up.


Then Charles threw his very best attack.


And Wu knocked him to the ground with a flick of his hand.


Wu then proceded to pummel him.


He was so fast Charles couldn’t even see the blows coming.


“Wow, sensei, I’m well and truly humbled,” Charles said. “I may talk like a master, but you fight like one.”


“You’re closer than you think. Work on your technique, and we should do this again soon.”

“Absolutely, sensei!”

Charles got right to work that night.



The treehouse was a big hit, especially with Hunter.


He would declare it a space station, orbiting an alien world of energy beings, and he’d only let Sky and Forest up if they could tell him the airlock password.


It was the most assertive anyone in the family had ever seen him.


The other two triplets were quick to follow along.



Even Forest, who usually liked to be in control of everything.



“I was wondering,” Hunter said wistfully as he sat with Forest in the treehouse with Forest. “Do you believe in magic?”


“Hmmm,” Forest said with an unnerving gleam in his eye. “Magic.”

Zahra had a brilliant idea for enhancing the mysterious lawn gnome that made it back from Egypt with Charles. Charles didn’t remember picking it up, but it started appearing around the house right after he returned from his last trip there.


After Zahra blasted it with the experiment ray, she discovered the most unpleasant tasted of old fridge in the back of her throat.


The gnome started spending most of its time watching television.


This couldn’t have been what was supposed to happen.

“Let me check my notes,” Zahra said.


Man, Zahra’s experiments NEVER turned out right!

Maya Langerak kind of got hit with the ugly stick. I wish I knew who exactly her parents were.

This is the composite post, combining about three things that would have been their own posts. But since I didn’t have a lot of text in mind, this seems like it worked out pretty well as a montage of Sample life.

4.43 While Sunset Valley Sleeps

Zahra found herself driving Fabian’s old patrol car to work every day. It was familiar, and it reminded her of Fabian. And it moved more slowly than the other vehicles the Samples owned, which suited Zahra just fine. Her reaction time wasn’t what it used to be, not that she’d admit it to anyone.


One afternoon as she was leaving the lab, her phone rang. It was the emergency ringtone that she had set for threats to the city or all of mankind. Mad scientists had to make allowances for those sorts of things.


The voice on the other end of the line was the Leader of the Free World. “Zahra Sample! Thank goodness we reached you!”

“Just a moment,” Zahra said quickly. “Let me put this call on million bit encryption.” She flipped open the hidden compartment on her phone and flipped a switch. It beeped. “All right. Go ahead.”


“We have reason to believe that Sean Flynn, the Emperor of Evil, is building a doomsday device in his lair. He could activate it as early as tomorrow. Help us, Zahra Sample. Simworld has never needed you more.”

“I understand, ma’am,” Zahra said. “I won’t let you down.”


A doomsday device. Of all the bad timing. She was getting too old for this.

She spent the afternoon reminding herself of the most common varieties of doomsday devices and their hidden weaknesses.


She had to face it. Simworld needed her, but she was not as young as she used to be. She would have laughed at facing down the Emperor of Evil in her prime, but at this time in her life, she could be defeated. If she valued her life, she should refuse this assignment, but that would be cold comfort if Mr. Flynn’s dastardly plan succeeded.


After dinner, she sat under the stars and contemplated her options.

Sky broke her out of her reverie. “Would you read me a bedtime story, Grandma?” she asked innocently.


All right then. If this might be her last night on the mortal plane, what better way could she spend it than reading to her only granddaughter?


She let Sky drift to sleep in her bed and gave the little girl a gentle kiss on the cheek. Her family couldn’t know what she was up against tonight, so this would have to be her goodbye.


Now she was ready to face danger and save the world.


Perhaps a police car was not the most stealthy way to approach the hideouts of the Criminal Overlords, but the truth was that disguise offered her little protection where she was going. She preferred to have the comfort of Fabian’s memory.


She drove to the edge of town, as close to Flynn’s hideout as she dared.


She had all her equipment. There was no reason to delay.


One does not simply go into the Criminal Hideaway by the front door. Zahra knew the path to take on foot to the back of the apparently-abandoned warehouse.


The path took her to the back entrance of the Flynn’s lair. She took a moment to compose herself, used her pocket scrambler to break the code on the door, and walked inside.


They say the sounds of the epic battle between good and evil could be heard from Bridgeport to Moonlight Falls.


Unfortunately, Sean Flynn himself escaped to fight another day.


When the doomsday device was destroyed and she had scrambled their ability to build another, Zahra emerged from the lair and dusted herself off.


A new day dawned over the warehouse, a new day that the Simworld might not have seen if not for Zahra Sample’s bravery.


Now it was time to go home and take a nap.


OK, that was the most hilarious opportunity I’ve ever seen. What you see is pretty much exactly how it happened. The game was so lagged at this point that she arrived at the warehouse around 3am, so it was a happy coincidence that Sean Flynn happened to be leaving work at the time. The actual evil madman in the opportunity had a different name. Heh.

Then when Zahra completed it, she got a small amount of money and maybe a little bit of job performance (she was already level 10, but perhaps she could have gotten a raise). I guess saving the world really is a thankless job!

Since I haven’t played the criminal career yet, I’d never actually looked at the criminal hideout rabbithole. I’m glad I looked at it before we left Sunset Valley. I think it’s the most awesome-looking rabbithole in the whole town.

4.42 Set It Free

When Veronica was leaving for work one evening, she found Kirby Hawkins standing by the gate, grinning at her. “Care to comment on woohoo with a dead thing?”

Veronica stared him down coldly. “Ada told me you were harassing my sons at the park. Do it again, and I will call the cops.”


She watched him smirking at her as she drove away. He knew as well as she did that the thread had no teeth. The police hadn’t been helpful when they were living with one.

Veronica had to come up with some other way to retaliate. She couldn’t keep them out. She couldn’t reason with them. And the police couldn’t do much when her family wasn’t under physical threat.

“All right,” she said to herself. “I’ll give them something to write about.”


Not long after, Veronica received a summons to Sunset Valley City Hall. Long ago, Charmaine had put her in for an award for her ghost work, and apparently the city agreed with her.


She was received by city officials with intimidating pomp and circumstance. The kids were in school, but Charles was able to attend the ceremony with her.


She was presented with the Key to the City and a medal of honor. The ceremony was performed by Vice Mayor Tamara Donner because Toya was on maternity leave.


“I want to thank you again for your amazing work in protecting the city from paranormal threats,” Tamara Donner concluded. Her handshake was firm and professional.


“I see,” Veronica said. “Vice Mayor, I would like to show you something.” She pulled a canister out of her carrying bag and glanced over her shoulder.


Charles was waiting patiently. He had no idea what she had in mind.


“You see,” Veronica said, “we bring all variety of spirits back to our labs at the science center. We examine them and ask them some questions. Then most of them, we let go.”

She demonstrated.


The spirit uncoiled from the canister with a happy sigh. It seemed to wave at Veronica as it dissipated.

Tamara Donner shrieked. “What were you thinking! You let that thing out at City Hall!”


“And what do you think it’s going to do?” Veronica demanded. “What makes you think it’s a threat at all? Because you think it looks creepy?”


“I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve collected a ghost that was causing anyone any trouble. Most of these spirits aren’t looking to bother anyone. Some of them want to protect a home or person they remember. Some don’t want to exist at all.

“They’re nothing like my husband Charles here. Most of them are memories of something that was once alive. But we can learn something from all of them. That’s what I’m trying to do.”


“These are memories of real people. They were someone’s parents and lovers and children. They didn’t ask to be caught between worlds, and you all are treating them like vermin. It’s the same way you treat the real, living ghost people who live in your cities and pay your taxes.

“I don’t need your medal for protecting the city from spirits. I should have one for protecting spirits from the city. Think about that.”


Charles’s eyes almost popped out of his head, but he couldn’t think of anything to say, so he didn’t say anything.

Veronica called over her shoulder. “Hey, paparazzi, did you get all that? I can help you spell if you need it. I’m looking forward to reading the paper!”

Charles and Veronica rode home in silence. Finally, as they were getting out of the Vaguester, Charles asked, “What was all that about?”

Veronica sighed. “If we can’t beat the media, I thought we could use it as a pulpit to do some good.”

“You could have warned me,” Charles pointed out.

Veronica nodded. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I did it. But if it helps, everything I said was true.”

“So you’re releasing the ghosts you capture?”

Veronica nodded. “Well, some of them are angry and potentially dangerous. But the rest we are just relocating to places where they can hopefully be happier.” She took his hand. “Come with me. I’ll show you.”

She took him to the balcony outside their bedroom and pulled out her canister again. “I thought maybe you’d like to release a few together.”

After she released the first one, a surprising face peered through the wall.


“I felt a spirit nexus somewhere around here,” the ghost of Cyclone Sword said in an echoing voice. “Did you see it?”

Charles laid eyes on his father’s face for the first time.


“You’re the ghost of my father,” Charles said haltingly. “My father was a ghost like me, not like you, but you’re still him.” It sounded even more confusing when he said it.

Cyclone gave him a blank smile. “So you’re my son? I think someone told me I had one. Pleased to meet you.”


It wasn’t exactly a tearful reunion, but they floated together with Veronica for hours, greeting spirits and wishing them well.


At last, Cyclone’s ghost said, “This has been lovely, but I’m starting to think that three’s a crowd.” And he drifted off the way he had come.


Maybe three WAS a crowd.

“You’re amazing,” Charles whispered. “I was only looking to marry a partner. I didn’t expect to find an advocate at well.”


“I know I’m amazing,” Veronica said with a laugh. “But I like to hear it just the same.”

“I have a better idea,” Charles said.



It annoys me that you don’t even get a moodlet for releasing captured ghosts.

Sorry that both of the main characters were oozing green stink for the whole scene at City Hall. Ha! I can’t remember why they had so badly neglected their hygiene.

4.41 Wedding Aftermath

Romance was in the air when everyone returned from seeing Ada off. Charles and Veronica didn’t have many occasions to dress to the nines, and they liked what they saw.


“Eww,” Forest remarked. “Isn’t is supposed to damage our young minds to watch our parents being gross on each other?”


“I didn’t read that child psychology book,” Veronica said with a chuckle. “But I suppose we can help your delicate mind by going to our own room.”

Charles glanced over at the dining table, where Sky was sitting alone, arms crossed, staring down. “I’ll be right up,” he said. “I’m going to grab a slice of cake first.”

He tapped his daughter on the shoulder, warm ectoplasm touching same. “I’ll cut you a slice too.”

“Check this out,” Forest told Hunter. “It’s awesome. Dad just taught me how to play. I didn’t know he ever engaged in any exercise of the mind.”


“Ok…” Hunter said warily. “It looks really complicated.”

“It is,” Forest said. “That’s the beauty of it. “All the pieces do something different, and you have to line up a bunch of moves and counter-moves in your head.”

“You’ll trounce me,” Hunter said. “I know you’re a lot smarter.”

“It’s Ok,” Forest said. “Sure I well, but you can still think of it as a learning experience.”


“You know what’s the most awesome about this game?” Forest continued as he showed Hunter the complex moves the pieces were supposed to make. “It’s a little model of society. You have pawns that can’t do much, and their job is to be sacrificed to save the leader. Then it’s the leader’s job to get all the most powerful pieces working together to protect him from the powerful pieces on the other side that want to destroy him. It’s just like life.”

“Hmmm,” Hunter said. “I guess that’s like some people’s lives.”

Forest immediately took his queen.

Charles sat down with Sky for an evening snack. “So,” he said quietly, “What’s with the face?”


“You have Mom. Forest and Hunter have each other. Great Aunt Shanni and Great Uncle Adjo are close. Everyone was so eager to see each other at the wedding. Except me. Nobody’s ever eager to see me.”

“Wait,” Charles said. “I’m eager to see you every day.”

“You’re supposed to say that,” Sky pointed out. “You’re my dad.”


“You know, we’re fish of the same color,” Charles said. “I’m a ghost man, same as you. I know it’s hard.”

“You’re like a Sim-Fu god. Everyone respects you. You don’t have to go to school where everyone keeps their distance because you’re so creepy.”

Charles remembered back on his childhood, where people didn’t keep their distance because they almost never saw him. At the time, he’d have given anything just to be more than a shadow. But he couldn’t say anything like that. It would come out as, “You think you have it hard? When I was your age….”

So he just said, “It will get better. It doesn’t seem like it, but trust me.”


She forced a smile. “Thanks for trying anyway. Here, let me clean up.”

“Good grief, Sky!” Charles said. “That is NOT cleaning!”


Not much to this one, but it was a little bit of character activity right after the wedding with everyone in their formals, and it didn’t seem appropriate to let this stuff steal Ada’s thunder.

I’m going to start trying to pick up the pace here. I’m at a point where I want to do an heir vote, and I want everyone to meet Generation 5 as teens before I post one. Plus, it’s high time everyone got to see Avalon and hear what’s going on with your cross-pollination sims.

It’s HARD for me to pick up the pace, though. I seem to have a psychological block against leaving out anything interesting. I have sorted the pictures for the rest of the posts I’m planning to do in Sunset Valley, and it looks like there are five more after this one — that’s including a montage post that includes several episodes I’d expected to post separately. Heh. I’ll see how fast I can put text to them and get them out.

Also, following my strategy of buying expansions from Amazon Download when they go on deep discount after the release of ANOTHER expansion, I now have Showtime. Nobody in Gen 5 will probably have much to do with it, since those characters are essentially complete, I’m not clear how many special lot spaces I’ll need in my almost built-out Avalon to be able to do much with it. We’ll see :).

4.40 Will the Real Ada Please Say “I Do?”

When the news about Fabian reached Ada, Alberto never left her side.


Well, he never left her HOUSE anyway.


Whether this was a comfort to Ada was between her and Alberto, I guess.

(That’s Ada’s bed Alberto is sleeping in.)

Alberto, Charles, and Zahra all suggested to Ada that she postpone the wedding while her grief for her father was still fresh. But she shook her head. “Dead people are parents too,” she explained.

The ceremony was, of course, to be held at the Sunset Institute of Modern Art. “They’re opening a gallery for me,” Ada said in passing.

“They’re what?” Charles asked in astonishment.

“Oh, a gallery dedicated to my work. They’re letting me use the room for the ceremony before it opens.”

She said it as if it were no big deal. Perhaps her muse always knew she would be that successful. Charles rolled through a dozen different responses and just settled with, “Convenient, that.”

He and Sky were among the first to arrive, which wasn’t terribly surprising.


Followed by Jeannette Crumplebottom.


Garry Crumplebottom.


Charmaine Ursine-Langerak and Starr Ursine-Sample Andrews were both on their honeymoons. Charmaine sent affectionate regards. Starr hadn’t said anything. The younger Ursine-Sample kids were there, though.





Toya’s half-sister and foster-daughter (of all the weird combinations) Valerie Ursine.


And Latrice Hodgins, who claimed to be somebody’s date, though she never specified whose.


Shanni and Adjo stood back and watched three generations of Sample clan running about.


“It’s been a wild ride,” Shanni murmured to her twin. “And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”

“Tell me about it!” Adjo agreed.

As if to make Adjo’s point, Toya waddled into the art museum.


“This baby’s going to pop out at any minute,” she said at the top of her lungs to be sure everyone could hear. “Can you believe it? At my age!”

Hunter cast about the rapidly-filling gallery. Something was definitely amiss. “Forest, where’s Grandma?”


“Huh?” Forest said. “I saw her before we left home.”


“Uh, oh….”

Indeed, Zahra had a flash of inventing inspiration as the family was loading up in the Motive Mobile, and she found herself unexpectedly delayed.







By the time she got herself together, she found that in all the confusion, the rest of the family had left without her.

Back at the art gallery…

All eyes turned to the couple as they walked into the room.

Alberto hadn’t dressed up as much as you might expect, but at least most of his body was covered.


And then there was Ada. The room went silent as her family gaped.


Shanni had spent hours on the look. She called it her masterpiece.


“You have to look just right for that all eyes on you moment!” Ada’s aunt advised, and who would know better than she?


Ada glided into the room as if she were walking on air. She looked down the aisle at her husband-to-be, and something in her face fell.


“I’m so sorry!” she cried to nobody in particular. “I just can’t do it!”

“Ada!” Charles exclaimed. He tried to get across the room and to be close to his sister.

Ada had just lost her father, and she had not yet let herself express her grief. She’d always marched to the beat of a different drummer, to put it mildly. There was no telling what she might do now.

With a wordless snarl, Ada threw up her skirts and disappeared for a moment in a cloud of white satin and lace. The sound of tearing fabric filled the air.

Then the wedding gown hit the far wall with a fluffy thud. The jeweled tiara followed right after.


“Oh!” Ada sighed. “I feel so free.”

She turned to Shanni with a chagrined smile. “I tried. I really did. But it just isn’t me. I can’t start a wedding with a lie.”


She turned to her assembled friends and family. “This is who I am. We — my muse and I — need to do this our way, or not at all.”


She dashed up the aisle to a bewildered-looking Alberto. “Will you still marry me, weird and weirder, till death do we part?”


Alberto laughed. “Are you kidding? If I wanted a normal girl, I wouldn’t be here.” He walked to the wedding arch and waved for her to follow.


“She’s always been like this,” Toya whispered to Jeannette. “I hope it’s not genetic.”



Zahra didn’t feel safe in Veronica’s souped-up sports car, so she found herself driving Fabian’s creaky old patrol jalopy as fast as it would go into Sunset Valley downtown.


Some folks dashed away from the road as she dashed by. She wondered what they had to hide. (That’s good old Arvid Voss there.)


Just as Ada opened her mouth to begin the ceremony, Zahra came crashing into the gallery, yelling, “I made it!”


“Mom!” Ada cried, dashing away from Alberto to give her mother a hug. “What happened?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Zahra panted. “The point is you’re going to get married with your parent here. Don’t let me slow you down.”

Ada giggled. “Here we go!”












And they became Ada Lovelace and Alberto Sample-Royale.

“The house isn’t going to be the same without her in it,” Zahra said wistfully.

“Yeah,” Charles said.


“By the way,” Zahra said to Adjo as they waited in line for cake. “After all these years, you have to know what goes where by now. You’re having another kid to keep Toya out of trouble, aren’t you?”


Shanni chuckled as she walked by, humming, Ask me no questions. I’ll tell you no lies….


Adjo smiled back blandly. “Toya and I love being parents,” he said. “It’s not my fault that my wife loves motherhood more than she loves taking over the world.”

The reception ran late, but reluctantly guests drifted away to go home and sleep it off. A party couldn’t last forever, not even this one.


Soon the art museum was empty and the lights out.

Except for a few people who couldn’t quite let go of the moment.


We’ll miss you, Ada.



So. Many. Pictures! I cannot believe I took so many pictures. I know I go progressively more nuts with each big extended family event, but I just can’t help it.

Up until I decked her out as a bride, I hadn’t realized just how beautiful Ada grew up to be.

Latrice Hodgins got glitched throwing confetti and was still tossing it when the whole household left and the lights went out….

I have to say that sim genetics were not kind to Latrice. I think the new lesson is, “Never make a baby with Xander Clavell.”

To my annoyance, it turns out that sims won’t sit on those sofas during the wedding routine.

I wish the portrait of Alberto had come out better. It would have made the last shot more poignant. Ah, well. Ada couldn’t get married immediately after returning from vacation because she’d wasted so much time getting a good portrait of Veronica (dude — the portrait generator does NOT handle dark skintones well) that she hadn’t quite finished up her writing skill. After Fabian died, Alberto became a “legitimate” member of the household, so I had Ada paint his portrait for the Pinstar point. It’ll only come into play if Ada and Alberto actually have kids, which — to my surprise — they haven’t done as of this writing.

Ada Lovelace Sample left the household with 130,000 lifetime happiness points. She completed the Illustrious Author Lifetime Wish.

4.39 Final Meditation

It was Fabian’s day off, and he was up early to train at the dojo. He crept out carefully to be sure he didn’t disturb Zahra while she slept. Mad Science was taking more out of her these days, and she needed her beauty rest.

Fabian was going to test for his red belt, and he wanted Charles to be wowwed by his moves. He threw his all at the training dummy. But all of a sudden, something felt wrong.


Lisette Williams wouldn’t take her eyes off him. He wanted to believe that he was a hot stud muffing all sweaty and working out, but he was too old and wise for that fantasy. “What are you looking at?” he demanded. But the words came out strange and hollow….


Then he realized what was wrong.

The air grew cold, and he felt icy breath on the back of his head. He turned around to face the Grim Reaper.


Well, that kind of wrecked the mood. Fabian looked the dread apparition up and down. “Aren’t you a little young for a soul collector?”


“Hey,” the Reaper growled. His voice was the sound of breaking glass. “We have to start someplace.”

This was it. Fabian thought of Zahra. He’d left her sleeping sweetly in their bed. And Ada. She was getting married tomorrow, and it had never occurred to him that he wouldn’t be there to give her away. This was so sudden. It wasn’t fair. A moment ago, he felt more alive than ever in his life. And now it was over?


“Please!” he cried, falling to his knees. “Please let me have just a little more time! I want to be a better a better father and husband! You didn’t give me time to make my mistakes up to Zahra!”


The Reaper tapped his foot impatiently. He was probably rolling his invisible eyes. “If you haven’t made good on your life by now, it’s too late to start,” the Reaper said. “You done now? I have a schedule to keep.”

Thus Fabian Branch Sample was called to the Netherworld.


Zahra felt it immediately. Mad Science had raised her awareness of the invisible forces that surround us. Something cried out in the fabric of the universe and was suddenly silent.

The roaring emptiness nearly knocked her out of her chair.


“Your step-grandfather is gone,” Zahra told the triplets. He chest was so tight and aching that she could barely get the words out.


Charles also felt it. This was the first person close to him who had died since Granddad Lance when he was a teenager. This was different. He felt it like a like a burning flash across his connection to the Netherworld.

And how did he feel? Fabian hadn’t been a perfect father-figure, but he was the only father figure Charles could remember. The void he left in Charles’s life was large and aching.


The time that followed was rough. Fabian hadn’t been a perfect man, but he’d been enough. He’d touched the lives of his family.


Zahra pulled weeds until her hands were sore.


Charles tried to fill Fabian’s shoes. He was clumsy at best.


(Dude. Your spoon is *upside down*.)

After a while, the ache became a little less. Fabian had led a good life. He’d reached his career ambition. He’d managed not to destroy his marriage. He had a beautiful and talented daughter. He’d done all right with his life, really.

The Samples started letting themselves have a bit more fun again.


So long, Fabian. You have a complicated afterlife ahead of you.

[Missing picture of Cycl0n3 and Fabian’s gravestones, with a space between them for Zahra’s.]


OK, what’s with Grim going around town dressed up to graduate from high school???

Blast it, Fabian had just gotten a new belt. I was going to cancel his training so that he would show it off and pose for a picture. Then I played some of the rest of the household, and looked up to see his thumbnail had disappeared from the display. I’d’ve liked to get him with a belt other than white. Sim Fu really was his passion there at the end. His queue was filled with wishes to train and exercise.

It’s amusing how everyone in the household starts grieving instantly, no matter where they are.

Fabian died at the age of 93 with 160 happiness point.

4.38 All’s Fair in Love and News

Though the Samples never saw him, someone was spending more and more time around the school while the triplets were studying.


There were more stories to write about a bunch of hybrid ghost children, and Kirby Hawkins was determined to find them.


One afternoon, Hunter persuaded Forest to come the park to work on their homework together. Ada kept an eye on them as she finalize wedding plans.


When she looked up, she discovered she had some unexpected company.

“You don’t belong here,” Ada hissed.


Kirby smiled. “It’s a free country, and I”m here to keep information free. Do you care to go on the record with your thoughts on living with a bunch freak children?”

Ada looked up a the boys, who were completely unaware they were being watched.


“I don’t get it, and I’m not going to get it!” Hunter cried. “Can’t we just go home? I’m starving.”


“I’ll drive you back,” Ada called. “Just give me a second.”

“You suck,” she said to Kirby. “We’re going to keep you out. The kids deserve a normal life.”

“Normal like you?” Kirby asked.

“We’ll keep you out,” Ada said.


Kirby chuckled. The Samples had certainly thrown a lot of walls and technology at keeping him and his people out.


But they were really naive. All those defenses didn’t amount to much if you had someone on the inside.


You couldn’t escape the press.



I’m not writing my best work right now, but I want to tell the story. So imagine this was a lot more menacing.

No matter what I did with this lot, I never was able to keep out the paparazzi. I think it’s because it’s a rocky lot set in the mountains, and I thought the two-storey-tall boulders and hundred-foot waterfall would serve as barriers. Apparently not.

Veronica got hit again with being disgraced for Woohooing with an Occult.

4.37 Growing Pains

“I’ve been thinking, Sky,” Forest said. “I think the real reason nobody will talk to you in school is that being around you makes them think about death.”


“Shut up, Forest,” Sky said. “You think you’re so smart, but you don’t know anything about people.”

“I know everything about people,” Forest retorted. “You just let emotion cloud your judgement. I’m not saying it’s GOOD that you make people think about death, but you can’t do anything about it if you can’t admit it.”

“I don’t know,” Hunter said. “I think it’s kind of, I don’t know, spiritual that we’re all descended from a ghost who fell in love with a mortal. It doesn’t make me think about death. It makes me think about defeating death. You know, making death into just another stage of life.”

“Defeating death is called undeath,” Forest said. “Sky and Dad are totally undead.”

“You two can say exactly the same thing, and Hunter still sounds smarter than you, Forest,” Sky said.

“You won’t say that when I design the first manned spaceflight to Mars or something awesome like that. The power of the brain is what defines the world.”


“Whatever,” Sky said. “You think you can make everything about numbers. Music lets you see people’s hearts.”

“Music is still numbers and math, you know,” Forest said.


Hunter sighed. “I’ve always thought we’re more than just hearts and brains. Something more… special. Hey! Zap the zombie will you??”

The triplets were becoming their own people day by day.

Forest dreamed of ruling the world, and nobody could tell him that was too grandiose a dream.


Then again, he spent so much time on his big plans that he kept losing track of the little things.


Hunter dreamed of magic places and the secret souls inside all living things.


But he was also haunted by nightmares. He confided some of these to Forest, who only told him to expect the world to be like that.


Sky, on the other hand, didn’t seem to dream. Or if she did, she refused to talk about it.


Sky struggled with school. Homework wasn’t hard for her, but at the same time, it gave her no satisfaction. There had to be more to life than dates and figures. She quickly gave up trying to reach out to her classmates. Nobody would talk to her. They were either frightened or just creeped out by her otherness.

She did her best to have fun by herself.


Art and music were her lifeline. She wheedled Aunt Ada into showing her the basics of painting, and soon she was filling canvasses with the beauty she saw around her.


When she was sure nobody was around to hear her, she sang softly to her dolls — airy, haunting melodies that she made up herself. Sometimes the songs didn’t even have words.


Hunter had no more success socially, but it was because the thought of talking to someone outside his family filled him with terror.

He envied Forest’s easy confidence, and he spent a lot of time tagging along.


Forest could be a lot of fun. You just had to wait for the right moment. Though whatever Forest put in his pillowcases for pillow fights hurt more than a pillow ought to.


Whatever the strange gleam was in Forest’s eye sometimes, he spent hours tutoring Hunter and helping him through his homework. Hunter was endlessly grateful, and he was willing to do anything to make Forest happy. Forest was so smart, and Hunter knew he was stupid. He really tried, but it was so hard to make the letters on the page organize into anything that made sense. When Forest read things aloud, it made things so much easier.


Whenever Forest wasn’t around to help him out, Hunter tended to retreat into his imagination.


His fantasy world was so much more interesting than the real world. Nobody was hard to talk to.


And there was never a time when he zigged when he should have zagged.


Forest had big plans than his brother and sister for what to do when there was nobody around to see.


Or maybe just more annoying.


“What!” Veronica exclaimed as she stepped out of the shower. “Which one of the kids did this??”


Then she reached up, and the color came away on her hand. “Damn it,” she swore. “This stuff looks awesome. If the kids were going to prank, they could at least use better hair dye!”



Just a picture of the kids as they’re growing older. I didn’t think I could have a sim I loved more than Charles, but the triplets are giving me a run for my money. I don’t know who my favorite is.

I thought Veronica looked awesome in that prank hair dye, and clearly so did she!

Here are some Not Safe For Work pictures of our lovely legacy consort as she gets hit with the prank: Here and Here 

I almost included them, but I didn’t want to give my blog an NC-17 rating. Veronica knows how to flaunt it :).