Tag Archive | charles

4.53 That Love Thing

Mom and Dad getting older was a great opportunity for three teenagers with romance on their minds. Music was playing, the adults were drinking, and there was lots of dancing.

Leah squealed when Sky asked her to be her girlfriend.

It seemed a foregone conclusion that Forest would be taking Ali to the prom, though nobody was quite sure why.

And Hunter took a deep breath and made himself go talk to Miyuki.

“Um, hi. I was wondering if you ever danced?”

“Not really,” Miyuki said. “I’d be really bad at it anyway.”

“Me too,” Hunter agreed. Then he wasn’t sure where to take the conversation. It was a relief when Dad went to blow out the candles.

Everyone else seemed to have this love thing down.

Mom and Dad couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

And were always sneaking off to strange places to do unspeakable things with each other.

Sky and Leah were so head over heels for each other that they stood out in the rain to tell each other sweet nothings.

Even Forest was composing poetry for Ali. It wasn’t terribly good poetry, but nobody dared tell him that.

Why couldn’t Hunter even manage to start a conversation?

Sky was the only person Hunter could talk to without feeling self-conscious. She never made him feel awkward or foolish. So she was really the only person he could turn to for romantic advice. “You make it look so easy,” he told her. “How do you tell someone that she’s all you think about?”

Sky looked wistful. “I don’t think I do,” she said. “I never know how to tell Leah what I think of her. She just seems to know.”

Romantic, but not terribly helpful for Hunter.

It wasn’t all bad. Far from it. The new program at the Round Table Culinary Institute had finally made learning fun. Hunter had always loved to cook, but this wasn’t just about cooking. It was about the entire food supply, including sustainable agricultural and livestock techniques. Hunter was fascinated.

It combined his love of food and flavors with his love of living things.

Hunter started spending a lot of time in Charles’s garden.

And time he spent with Ghost and Enigma became fresh windows into the world of other animals.

He even had new techniques to persuade Enigma to be less destructive. They didn’t always work, but it was progress.

His parents still helped him with his homework, but now it felt more like a conversation than a battle.

Sometimes he and Sky would just sit at the dinner table and work together in companionable silence.

And to his own surprise, he also started gong to the Monmouth Archives library after school to read about exotic plant and animal species.

He’d made huge progress in his special reading class. Dyslexia was a challenge to live with, but now that he knew its name, he could make progress. He couldn’t describe how liberating it felt to spend hours with his nose buried in a book.

Meanwhile, Charles and Veronica were coming to terms with getting older. Or perhaps they were forcing age to come to terms with them.

Charles started to get a taste for the nightlife.

Veronica was hatching schemes for a new invention.

And now that Sky and Leah were settled into their relationship, there was some time for other friends. She started hanging out a lot with Adam Bookabet after school.

They shared a passion for music.

Sometimes they’d head next door to Honeyduke’s just to grab some jam time at their rehearsal space.

Adam was one heck of a drummer.

But these days he looked really sad and distracted, and he’d become too good a friend for Sky to let that unhappy look pass over his face day after day without saying anything.

“What’s wrong?” she asked after a jam session. “You know you can tell me anything.”

“I thought Ali Mentary-Hodgins and I really had something,” Adam said. “All of a sudden she won’t return my phone calls. She dashes away before I can talk to her after school. And now I hear through the grapevine that she’s going to prom with your brother. I would never do anything on purpose to hurt her. She won’t tell me what’s wrong, and it’s tearing me apart.”

“I’m so sorry,” Sky said. “You’re right. I’ve seen her with Forest a lot recently, but my brother really keeps to himself. I’ll see if I can find out something for you.

Adam gave her a grateful smile. “You’re really the best kind of friend,” he said.


So apparently StoryProgression thinks that Adam Bookabet and Ali Mentary are a match made in heaven. Forest used the voodoo doll to max out his relationship with Ali, but she kept having to leave before he asked her to be his girlfriend, and then SP would pair her off with Adam again immediately. Forest had to break them up like 3 times. I could have turned off Ali’s ability to start new townie relationships, but considering that she’s ensorcelled, it didn’t seem right.

I have reduced the frequency that SP runs most of its scenarios. It does seem a little nuts that it can run 2-3 cycles and send someone on a couple of dates and make them committed SOs within 24 sim-hours.

4.52 It’s Time

Sky was walking on air. She and Leah spent every spare moment together.

It was if there was magic binding them together, and their relationship progressed quickly.

For Forest, there was most certainly magic in the air. He spent a lot of time alone with his dusty books and arcane equipment.

Hunter couldn’t bring himself to pick up the phone to call Miyuki. He desperately wanted to talk to her, but what if she didn’t want to talk to him?

He poured his heart out into love letters, but he couldn’t bring himself to mail any of them.

Veronica made some time to continue her study in Sim Fu after she returned from China. She could always get a special session with the instructor.

But mostly she blew things up.

A lot.

The Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy had grown larger than Charles could possibly have dreamed. Day and night, it was filled with students young and old.

There were far too many classes for Charles to teach them all anymore, so he focused on teaching the advanced students and hiring the best of them to teach the beginners.

One day, he came to work to find an old friend waiting for him.

“You’ve come a long way,” Wu said. “I wonder if you’re ready now.”

Charles nodded. He appreciated that this was not a social call. “I can only try,” he said.

“Then let’s have at it.”

When the spar was over, both men were panting and covered in sweat. Charles’s entire body was buzzing. He knew he had never fought so well. Wu had forced him to find parts of himself he would not have found on his own.

Wu’s face broke out in a smile. “I knew you could do it,” he coughed between breaths. “I’m honored to call you an equal.”

That day, Charles Sample was inducted into the order of the great masters of Sim Fu.

This was the situation Charles found himself one afternoon as he ordered a drink from the Garden Gnome pub.

The young man who blew out the candles on his birthday cake and took the reins of this family’s future had been lonely, frustrated, and frightened. The future he’d seen for himself had been a simple, solitary one spent fishing.

He wondered if his younger self would ever have believed he could be a husband, father, mentor, and adventurer. That he would have a family and would migrate that family away from their ancestral home to a truly strange and alien place. That he would be a respected teacher that martial arts students came from all over the simworld to study with. That he would make a real difference in helping creatures like himself live as equals with other sims.

Probably not.

Maybe it was just as well.

When you were surrounded by family and friends and the knowledge that you’d made a difference, growing old didn’t seem so bad.

Happy Birthday.


Charles has been my favorite sim, bar none. And he’s lived FOREVER. Aside from 2012 being a year of turmoil for me, probably the biggest reason his generation has taken so long is that I gave him a World Adventures LTW and have been sending him on so much travel. I think he’s lived through enough days for two sim-lifetimes at this point.

I officially pass the torch at the YA birthday of the heir, which will be in 2-3 more posts. But Charles’s story is well and truly told at this point, I think, and he’s already been stepping aside to give the limelight to his kids. I’ll miss him, but it’s time.

BTW: That’s Cherimoya Marmalade in the foreground while Charles is smashing blocks.

4.50 The Cats Will Play Too

“We have two tickets to Shang Simla,” Charles said as he hung up the phone.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Veronica asked. “Can the kids handle the house by themselves for a week?”

“The right time to ask that question we be before I gave them our credit card number,” Charles said.

“I did ask that question before.”

Charles shrugged. “It won’t be long before they’ll have to prove to themselves that they can handle it, whether or not we trust. We might as well give them a test run for being responsible.”

Veronica sighed. “I always was the one who cared about our material possessions.”

Charles grinned. “I’ll go break the news.”

Trepidation or no, travel was calling to Charles again, and if he didn’t answer it, he’d be climbing the walls. And Veronica wasn’t the type of woman to selflessly hold down the fort while her man went off to have fun. So they found themselves on their way to China.

“I know what we’re going to do first,” Veronica said with a sly smile.

Charles grinned. “Ready and willing.”

She laughed. “Oh, before that.” She took him by the hand and led him back toward town.

“But, wait,” Charles said. “I could have taught you a class in Sim Fu at the academy any time.”

“That’s not the way I wanted to learn,” Veronica replied in between breaths.

The experience wasn’t as peaceful and anonymous as they might have liked. Charles’s name preceded him these days in Shang Simla. It wasn’t every day that ghost men applied to the greatest Sim Fu masters for permission create their own branch of the art. In addition to photographing them for the local paper, Charles was asked several times to give interviews.

Still, the reporters were respectful, and they got enough space for Veronica to qualify for her first belt.

“Now is time for that other stuff,” Veronica said. “Let’s head back to the hotel.”

Charles looked at her wickedly. “Why go back to the hotel? I thought you were the exhibitionist.” He pulled her into the locker room.

They spent a lot of their vacation separating and meeting back up, which was the usual rhythm. Charles took long walks in the hills around Shang Simla.

And studied native flora and fauna.

While Charles was on some longer tomb exploring expeditions, Veronica dabbled in actual archaeology. The area was filled with sites of ancient pottery and artifacts that weren’t important enough for the history-rich local government to bother with.

On one expedition up a foothill to the local mountains, she came upon a breathtaking blue and white bird clawing amongst the grasses.

He was so wild he didn’t even know to be afraid of humans. Veronica was mesmerized.

After a gentle afternoon of sitting and talking to the bird and offering him tidbits from her pack, she persuaded him to perch on her arm.

“Shall I hug you and pet you and name you George?” she asked him quietly, her eyes twinkling. “No, I do think you’re the hugging type.”

She named him Aral after the mountain instead.

He turned out to be a rare Spotted Sixam, and the Shang Simla government wasn’t too keen to let Veronica return home with it. But Veronica was even more stubborn than the local government, and Aral stayed with her after all.

Charles had an animal encounter of a different kind. One morning, he discovered a stray cat was watching him while he slept.

He wasn’t sure how she’d crept in, but she seemed to have a thing for ghosts. She immediately let him pet her and followed him around the hotel.

Veronica took some time to do a few daredevlish things that she wouldn’t have wanted her kids to catch her at.

And she made a great friend of a fellow traveler from Egypt.

Unfortunately, he seemed to get the wrong idea and started calling her to flirt at all hours. She had to set him straight about her relationship status.

Charles explored some truly breathtaking tombs.

And found himself, against all expectation, in a real battle for his life.

Never before had his expertise in hand-to-hand combat been anything but a physical and mental exercise. Fighting in a genuinely life-threatening situation was something he had never expected to do and would never forget.

After he defeated his assailant, chest heaving and ghostly blood pumping, he was shocked to see the undead mummy shatter into a thousand shards and crumble to dust before his eyes.

Charles’s heart ached. The creature had been trying to protect his tomb. Charles couldn’t help but feel that somehow, in a different life, they should have been allies.

He returned to find the cat curled up inside his hotel room, waiting for him.

“You’re almost a ghost yourself,” Charles said as he cuddled the cat. “All fluff and no meat on your bones. If you came home with us, we could fix that. What do you say?”

Ghost didn’t say anything, but she made her approval known anyway. Charles headed into town to find a travel carrier for her to match the bird carrier Veronica had picked up a few days before.

“Still crazy after all these years,” Veronica said on their last night in China.

“May the next years be crazier,” Charles agreed.

“Now the truth will come out,” Veronica said as they boarded their flight back to Avalon. “Will the house still be standing when we get back? Will our kids be safely out of prison?”

“I vote yes for both things,” Charles said. “If our kids are going to screw up, they’ll be a lot more creative than that.”

And indeed the house was not only standing but surprisingly clean. “How were the wild parties?” Veronica asked Forest as they dragged their luggage in from the taxi. “Any dancing girls?”

“Do I look like I wold be hiring dancing girls?” Forest demanded. “Sheesh.”

“I told you everything would be fine,” Charles said.

“You were right,” Veronica said as she looked around.

“We didn’t do so badly as parents. Our kids are pretty responsible.”

Veronica smirked. “Responsible enough to bury the bodies before we get home,” she said.

“That too.”


This would have been a lot more entertaining if it had actually been posted back-to-back with the teen story the way I’d intended. But here it is, EXACTLY a month after the teen party post. I didn’t plan that. That’s awesome.

Charles FINALLY got to fight some mummies. Two, actually, though I didn’t post pictures of both. I always visualized him as being tomb fighter martial artist, but then he never got anything to fight. Watching him kick some mummy ass was very satisfying.

Veronica got a +20 Daredevil moodlet for Woohooing in public at the Sim Fu Academy, then a -20 moodlet for being publicly disgraced as a celebrity. Poor Charles was stuck with just the -20.

And we add our first pets to the household!

Last night, I actually played the triplets’ birthday, which marks the official change to Generation 5, almost exactly a year since the transition to Generation 4. This legacy is going to be the death of me. I’m not actually that far off of being caught up, though, so we’ll see that birthday in maybe 5 posts or so.

4.48 Full Lives

Veronica’s career was thriving in her new home.

In addition to her normal work collecting spirits, The Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center had her hosting seminars and giving lectures at Chivalric Preparatory School. Her name was starting to become a household world on the sleepy island.

Some Avalonians like Ariel Hodgins treated her like a local celebrity.

Ariel was full of questions about supernatural creatures that might be in the area. Most of them Veronica had never heard of, but she pretended to know what she was talking about.

Field work had never been more interesting. Current research indicated that Avalon Island lay on an undersea rift with the faery lands, leading to periodic magic eruptions and a higher level of ambient magic in general. That had affected the citizens in pretty eye-catching ways, though it didn’t appear to be dangerous.

Her home visits even took her out to the place where her ex-boyfriend Willem Yo was living with his new young fiance Faith Cagley. They’d apparently moved to Avalon for the climate.

Willem’s intentions were kind of creepy. The third time he asked her if she’d like to go out for drinks sometime, she pointed out that Faith was coming home, and he shut up.

Some relationships were better off dead dead dead.

Forest became even more of a loner than he had been before. It didn’t seem to bother him. He seemed to like it.

He headed out to the park a lot at dusk and never told anyone what he did there.

And then there were all those strange noises that came out of the basement in the middle of the night.

Sky’s eating habits were still disgusting, but she tried to keep them private most of the time.

Hunter’s troubles in elementary school compounded when he got to high school.

Charles and Forest spent a lot of time trying to tutor him, but it didn’t seem to help.

Veronica got really frustrated and yelled at him when his report card came home, which made the whole situation worse.

If so many people were working so hard to help him and his grades were still low, he figured he must be a real moron.

He was in that frame of mind when he had to visit the Sufficiently Advanced Tech Center (SATC) to finish a report for science class.

It happened to be Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and Sky was there with Veronica.

Veronica was called on an emergency house call just as the visit ended, so she left Sky and Hunter to find their own way home.

“Look,” Hunter said. “That’s a nice looking dog coming to visit!”

“Hunter!” Sky hissed! “That’s MacDuff Voss! Stay away from him!”

MacDuff belonged to Emma Voss, one of their new high school classmates. She had brought him to Avalon Island when she came to live with foster parents after her own parents died. MacDuff was the meanest, most dangerous dog on the island, and of course Emma and her foster parents would never believe how bad he was.

And here were Emma’s foster parents now: Tam and Martin-Luther Butterfield-Callender.

“He doesn’t look so bad,” Hunter said. “I think you just have to be extra gentle with him.”

“Hunter, don’t–!” Sky cried. But it was too late. Hunter reached his hand out for MacDuff to sniff. And MacDuff barked happily and nuzzled under Hunter’s hand for a scratch.

“How do you DO that?” Sky demanded.

“Do what?” Hunter asked.

“That,” Sky said in exasperation. “Make every nasty creature you meet into your friend.”

Hunter shrugged. “Animals aren’t that different from people. You just have to figure out how to talk to them.”

Sky sighed. “I don’t think you have any idea how talented you are.”

“I’m not talented,” Hunter said. “Besides, you make every musical instrument you meet into your friend. And Forest makes every math problem he meets into some kind of scientific advancement. I’ll never be like you guys.”

“Why would you need to be like us?” Sky asked.

“Because you guys are smart,” Hunter said scornfully. “I’ll tell you a secret. The only reason I’m not failing school is because I Forest lets me copy his homework. And even then I get it wrong half the time.”

Sky frowned. “I knew it was bad, but that’s even worse than I thought. Look, I know you’re not stupid. Mom says you’re just not applying yourself, but I’ve seen how hard you work. Have you ever thought that there might be something else making it extra hard?”

“What do you mean?” Hunter asked.

“I don’t know. But maybe you should at least talk to your guidance counselor. It’s their job to know things like why smart guys don’t do well in school.”

“Wow,” Hunter said. “I didn’t know you’d even noticed.”

“Of course I noticed,” Sky said. “You’re my brother. I love you.”

And lastly, Charles’s career also took off running. With all the sweat and love he poured into the old dojo building, he made a tidy profit from selling the Sample Spirit Dojo to a businessman from Japan. His business as a Sim Fu instructor was also turning a nice income, and he was able to fund the construction of an entirely new academy building at the top of Isolde Peak in Avalon.

There was no better atmosphere to train and meditate on the whole island.

Charles also officially received his black belt from a panel of Sim Fu masters assembled by Zhan Wu. He was well on his way to becoming a master of the art. And his reputation preceded him to the island. He had students signing up before the Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy opened its doors.

Not long after the academy officially opened, a familiar face turned up.

“I told you I’d make it out here to finish my training,” Adjo Ursine-Sample said with a grin.

Charles’s face lit up when he saw his uncle. “Did I ever say I doubted you?”

And so they got to sparring.

Adjo gave Charles a real run for his money. He’d more than earned his blue belt, and Charles was honored to grant it to him.

They hugged as they parted. Charles didn’t know it was the last time he’d see Uncle Adjo, but it was probably better that way.

Toya called not long after after Adjo returned home to report that her husband had died suddenly of a heart attack.

Adjo had lived a full life. He’d built a musical empire. He had the happy marriage and huge family he’d always dreamed off. Charmaine, Starr, Valerie, and Darrin were all grown and out of the house, and Brenna was about to graduate from high school, but their little late surprise daughter Karina was still a toddler. She’d never really know her father. Charles had lost his father Cyclone at about the same age. “You know I’m here if you need anything,” he told Toya, and he meant it.

“I know,” Toya said through tears on the phone. For an Evil politician, she’d always been a loving wife. “I’ll remember. Thank you.”


Well, it had to happen sometime. Shanni’s still alive, but she’s pretty old. I’ll miss both the twins. I kind of hope Shanni has a child with Jeanna, but no such luck so far.

Hunter followed Forest around for most of his childhood, but soon after everyone’s teen birthday, Sky and Hunter rolled simultaneous wishes to be each other’s BFF. Sky really has come out of her shell, and not just with music :).

I pulled a bunch of interesting pets out of the simbin and scattered them in the town with random traits. One of those dogs was Emma Voss’s dog MacDuff. I get more StoryProgression notifications from him than any other dog, and all of them are about him mauling some poor sim or pet.

Forest has rolled a crazy number of wishes to play hopscotch. I added a game to the park, but there’s never anyone there when he shows up to play with him. I guess he’d want to keep it a secret anyway.

I didn’t have NewSea’s Elizabeth installed when I first ran the game, and thought the hair that Ariel rolled kind of suited her, so I left it. I did give Sebastian back Charles’s hair :).

Willem Yo really did hit on Veronica when I left her on autonomy at the end of a job, pretty much in full view of Faith. If that’s the kind of dirty old man he’s become, I’m no longer sorry for treating him so badly in this legacy. Then again, maybe it was all those rejections that twisted his soul…. At any rate, sorry Redhead about Faith! At least Morand is very happy :).

Well, my memory is upgraded and the Windows 7 virtual machine is running like a charm. The performance is a massive improvement on what I was getting, as tested with the Wonderlands. However, I have been really nervous about loading up the Samples for fear that there was something more wrong with them that was causing the crash on load.

As of this writing, I have loaded the Samples and played for 15 minutes before I had to shut down because my daughter woke up from her nap. During that time, nothing crashed, and that’s much better than I was getting before. That’s not a REAL test, but it’s encouraging. I’ll suck it up and actually try to play a real session soon.

And I’d better because it turns out I’m WAY closer to caught up than I thought. I have laid out one more post after this, and I have parts for about three more, but I have to actually finish playing some current stuff before those can be done. So, wow. I’m not sure if I’ve been that close to caught up this year. It’s a bit unnerving.

One note: I did find one big performance issue that was affecting both the Wonderlands and the Samples. I downloaded some custom content

4.47 Second Chances

“So, you designed this place yourself?” Charles said as he looked their new home up and down.


“Designed the floorplans and supervised the construction!” Veronica said. “Surprise! I hope you like it!”

“It’s just the sort of thing you would have designed,” Charles had to admit. “And, it’s beautiful. It’ll just take some getting used to.”

“I made it with you in mind, my love,” Veronica said. “It has an outdoor dining room that doubles as shelter for an outdoor bed. We can sleep outside without getting soaked.”


Veronica smirked. “Really. I expect to be well-rewarded.”

The house also overlooked Isolde Falls. The view from the third story window was one of the most beautiful on the island.


Avalon was certainly… different. The more they wandered around to meet the locals, the more they realized just how different.



Charles spent a lot of time supervising the construction of the Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy.


Veronica hit the gym when she wasn’t working.




And she made a friend or two almost immediately.



It helped that she couldn’t get enough of Avalon’s residents, both professionally and personally.

The kids were less concerned with the exotic Avalonians. After all, Charles and Sky were strange enough that everyone pretty much took it in stride. The triplets started to settle into the house and make it their own.




Meanwhile, Shanni and Jeanna Yo were settling their family into Chateau Crumplebottom nearby. The boxes were barely unpacked when Charles and Veronica received an invitation to a wedding.

“We figured, why wait?” the note at the bottom said.

The ceremony was a small affair on the grounds of the chateau.

Shanni and Jeanna both wore white. “I’m a bride, and I’m old to boot,” Shanni said. “I can do whatever the hell I like.”


Jeanna took Shanni’s name and became a Crumplebottom, which let Shanni keep the same name as her children. “It also helps with the inheritance,” Shanni whispered to Charles. “I won’t be around forever, and I want to be sure Jeanna’s well taken care of. The money all passes down through Agnes. I do hope she wouldn’t mind.”

“I’m sure she’d approve,” Charles agreed.

After they tied the knot, the new Crumplebottoms took the family to the Sphinx nightclub, which they rented out for the afternoon.


The Avalonian bartender knew his job, and drinks flowed as fast as anyone could drink them.


The only person who didn’t seem to be having a great time was Jeannette Crumplebottom.


Whatever she thought of her new stepmother, she wasn’t talking.

Then Sky discovered the unused stage, which hosted a lovely grand piano. She couldn’t help but sit down and stroke the keys.


The soft musical noodling began to resolve itself into melodies under her fingers. She started to play louder without realizing it.


Suddenly, a voice cut through her thoughts.

“I don’t know if it’s too forward, but do you mind if I join you?”

Sky looked up to see her first-cousin-once-removed, Garry Crumplebottom.


“Oh” Sky said. “I didn’t want to bother anyone.”

“Are you kidding?” Garry said. “I’ve been dying to find someone to jam with.”

“I’ve never played with anyone,” Sky said, casting her eyes down shyly. “I don’t know if I’d be any good at jamming.”

“Let’s try and find out,” Garry said with a gentle smile.

So they tried.


It was if they cast a magic spell between them.


Sky had always loved music, but this… this was different. It was if she and Garry made an empathic connection, as if she knew what he’d play before he played it. The harmonies they built were far more than anything she had ever been able to do alone.

Soon the family began to drop what they were doing to come and listen.


When they finally stopped, Sky looked up to find everyone staring at her.

“I… I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t know if we were allowed to play on the instruments. Are we in trouble?”

“Are you kidding?” Charles exclaimed. “I had no idea you were so talented!”

Sky blushed. “I didn’t know how to do it. Garry showed me how.”

Garry laughed. “You didn’t require much showing. You’re amazing, Coz.”


“We have to do this again,” Sky breathed as they got ready to go home. “Would you like to come over sometime to do more jamming!”

“Sure thing!” Garry said. “Just let me know when.”

Sky realized she’d found what she wanted to do with her life at last. Perhaps this move to Avalon was the right thing after all.


So here we are! It didn’t take any time at all for Sky to come out of her shell. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact that children can’t play musical instruments (?!), but teens can. It’s nice to see her getting some screen time.

The new house is Utopia, downloaded from ModtheSims. The Samples will be living on a Steampunk theme for a while to match Veronica’s sense of style.

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.

4.42 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 :).