Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chapter 30: Tomb Raiders

The 'Jimmy Sprocket' series enjoys worlwide popularity, and fans in every nation wait eagerly for the next volume to be published. Ai Pei, one of Rex's contacts in Shang Simla, has an idea to capitalize on this anticipation. He asks Rex to pen a Jimmy Sprocket book for the Chinese market.
Agreeing to this wrong on many levels, but Rex is desperate to be writing something, anything, and the Jimmy Sprocket story comes to him easily. Of Course 'Jimmy Sprocket and theGhost Town Blanket' will not bear Rex's name on the cover and no one will ever know he wrote the unauthorized volume.

Tamsin and Rex make another trip to China do deliver the manuscript, and do some gem collectingg and insect hunting while they are there.

They return home for Sheridan's birthday.

The mayor awards Tamsin the key to the city in a ceeremony in front of Roth Hall.

 She's a bit surprised by the attention her work has been getting. To her, it was always just paranormal research, she never thought about the community service she was performing.

Rex gets another tattoo. The winged sword encapsulates his mixed feeling about writing the Jimmy Sprocket book; the freedom from his writer's block, the guilt of stealing another author's character for an illegal market. But like his role in authoring the book, the meaning of his tattoo is obscure to all but him.

He would feel better about his authorial theft if it had truly broken his writer's block. But after completing the Jimmy Sprocket title, Rex finds himself still unable to write something of his own.

"I don't understand it," he cries on Tamsin's shoulder, "It used to be so easy. Words flowed out of me like they had their own life. Now when I sit at the keyboard, nothing happens. I'm a failure."

Tamsin embraces her husband, "You are not a failure. Look at what you've done with your museum."

"With your money," Red complains.

"If I dumped a pile of money in that old barn, it wouldn't be a great museum. You made it what it is, you curated all the exhibits, and you continue to add to the collections. You should be proud of that."

Rex sighs, 'I am. But -"

"But you are so hung up on being labeled an author that you can't enjoy being who you are?" she quips.

Rex smiles, with some bitterness, but it's still a smile. "You're right, I shouldn't be so hung up on it."

While they travel, Rex is free of his worries, so Tamsin suggests a trip to France. The first thing she wants to see there is an ancient burial mound.

They discover an entrance to the ancient tomb, and Tamsin insists they go inside. Rex is more reluctant.

"It's an historical landmark," he says, "We should leave it alone."

"I want to see what's down there," Tamsin says.

The first thing they encounter is a locked door. "Pull that statue out to cover that floor switch," Tamsin suggests.

"Floor switch?" Rex asks, "That can't posibly open a padlock on a chain." But it turns out Tamsin is right, the stone's pressure on the fkloor plate releases the padlock and the chain drops to the floor. "Weird," Rex breathes.

In the newly opened chamber they find another statue for Rex to drag onto a floor plate, while Tamsin sticks her arm into a hole in the wall.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Rex asks, "There could be snakes in there."

"There could be treasure," Tamsin answers.

Tamsin swipes an ancient vase from the floor.

"Stealing artifacts from ancient burial sites has to be a international crime," Rex notes, "I really think we should leave this stuff here."

"Nonsense," Tamsin answers, "No one's been down here for millenia, they'll never miss it."

"And how are we getting this loot past customs?"

"You're a museum director," Tamsin answers, "You're bringing in new acquisitions."

Eventually Rex's inner collector overcomes his hesitation at looting the old tomb, and he becomes as enthusiastic as Tamsin in raiding it for its treasure.

Avoiding the crowded hostel, the couple prefers camping out in the countryside.

Their tent provides a bit more privacy than the hostel beds.

Tamsin explores a more modern tomb today. The Champs les Sims mausoleum looks much like the one in Riverblossom Hills.

But like the mausoleum in Shang Simla, this one is patroled by angry zombie bears.

They spend their last night in France in the Nectary. Tamsin lights a cozy fire while Rex reads his latest book club book.

"Be careful," Rex warns, not looking up from the page, "You'll burn yourself."

It's true, fire does burn.

Done reading and playing with fire, the couple makes the last night of their stay a romantic one.

Tamsin rates her husband's performance very high.


Challenge Notes:
Before Rex moved into the house, SP novel writing push had him start on a novel. I couldn't let him finish it once he moved in, but I didn't make him scrap it. When he got the opportunity call to bring a book to China, I accepted and he got to finish 'Jimmy Sprocket and the Ghost Town Blanket'.
In France, I did have Rex accept the first tomb adventure, because I knew there were good gems down therefor the museum, and because poking around tombs is a very Tamsin thing to do.
The rest of the time was spent picking up gems and insects, and excavating dig sites.

Here's a couple of outtakes:

Paparrazzi. I love it when people say the paparrazzi in Sims makes celebrity more 'realistic'. Because in real life the paps can follow celebrities to bed and snap photos.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chapter 29: Gem Quest

Rex's casual collecting had become something of an obsession since opening his museum, and he soon found that the local rocks and insects were no longer enough. He and Tamsin set off for China to find more exotic items to display in the museum. Of course, the trip was not all business.

The couple spent some time at the academy practicing martial arts.

At night they camped out in the hillsides overlooking the Forbidden City.

The trip was as much a honeymoon as a quest for new museum pieces.

Tamsin did some excavating by the local cemetery.

As a child, Tamsin had enjoyed the school field trips to the mausoleum, so she decides to explore the catacombs.

Nothing like this ever happened to her at home.

Rex got good enough in his martial practice that a local challenged him to a sparring match. Tamsin watches from a safe distance, cringing every time Maya kicks her foot in the direction of Rex's crotch.

Her husband moves gracefully, and Tamsin finds herself turned on watching him spar.

That night they rock the tent until dawn.

They return to Riverblossom Hills with new gems, metals and insects for the museum, as well as a fine set of relics for their home.

Rex gets a new tattoo to commemorate their trip.

And it turns out they've brought home an unexpected souvenir from their travels. Tamsin and Rex are going to be parents.

Rex keeps up with his martial arts practice. Still suffering from writer's block, he vents his frustration by kicking the wooden practice dummy.

Tamsin and Rex have a son, Sheridan. Rex is thrilled to be a father, but at the same time, he'd expected to have at least a couple novels under his belt before he had his first child. He's fallen behind his dreams and can't get the inspiration to catch up to them.

Tamsin got into the Ghost Hunting profession to help Rory McGreggor. Now that she's succeeded in her goal, she decides to keep working at it. She's upgraded hr banshee banisher to be more efficient, and built a spirit positioning device to help locate spirits. And the ghosts she helps to move on out of this plane seem genuinely grateful for her aid.

Challenge Notes:
So, I've chosen Rex as the tattoo addict, obviously.
It's been 5 generations, and I just needed to go to China. After a whole generation + plus listening to Darius' Chinese music station non-stop (I love Chinese music, myself. Though my favorite is Indian, not represented in Sim world, lol), the urge to travel was just too strong. And it's great opportunity to get more gems and stuff for the museum. I'll probably visit the other locations as well, though I'm not doing tombs or adventures. Well, Rex did do an 'adventure' his sparring match was from a call he got asking him to spar twice with Maya Wang. Rex won both matches. Then he got the opportunity to reach level 5 in martial arts and meditate in the scholar's garden for 2 hours. After that will come a request to do the Resolute Fist Retreat tomb. Haven't decided if I'll do it. If I do, I'll stop after that, leaving Pangu's Axe and stuff for any future rolled adventurer career. All my vases and relics were found digging in excavation sites, not tomb exploring or shopping. Thanks to Buzzler for the dig site fix mod.

Tamsin has reached level 10 of the ghost hunting career, which was also her LTW.
Rex is still working on his LTW, max Athletic and Logic. He's got to level 7 in Athletic, mostly from jogging around the town collecting gems, etc. The Logic is going a little slower. He's a computer Whiz, so I have him spend a few hours every night playing chess on the PC.

Corinne still needs to sell around 14k worth of inventions to max her career. She's 96 days old, so she may not make it. She has made 2 invention gnomes.

Roll for Generation 6 is Single Parent, 1 child, Crime/Thief career. Goal is Hobby/Obsession and Misc Fun will be Fighter. So that's mostly all new rolls for me. I've done single parent, one child before, but not the others. I've never actually taken a Crime career Sim to maximum before, Nothing against that job, I just moved on from those Sims before I finished their careers.
I rolled first child as heir, so it's Sheridan.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chapter 28: Jurassic Technology

Rex opens up to his wife about his writer's block. 'I sit in front of the computer, and nothing comes to me."

"You wrote really great stories when we were in school," she answers, "I think you're just putting too much pressure on yourself. Let it go for awhile, and it will come to you." Sh could just as easily apply her advice to herself, she's been fretting nonstop over her inability to find a solution to Rory's problem.

Rex decides to give Tamsin's suggestion a try, and the next day instead of sitting in front of his computer waiting for words that don't come, he goes jogging.

As he jogs he picks up stones and gems he finds along the path. He's always collected these kind of things without much thought about doing anything with his growing collection, but now an idea strikes him as he lifts the piece of space rock. His collection could be more than just junk strewn around the house, it could be organized, catalogued and put on public display.

While rex is out jogging and formulating his new plan, Tamsin has been busy experimenting with the captured spirits she's collected with her banshee banisher. She's come up with a new formula that temporarily transform her into a ghost. This is a major breakthrough; she needs only to reverse this process to return Rory back to life, right?

While in her temporary ghostly form, Tamsin has a bit of fun scaring her father.

"Tamsin! No!" Rex shouts in despair when he comes home and finds his wife is a ghost.

"I'm not dead," she soothes him, "It's just the temporary effect of a potion I created."

"You scared me," he sighs, "I thought I had lost you." The effect wears off moments later, and Rex tells Tamsin about his plan to build a museum to house the family's collection of gems, insects, sculptures and other oddities.

Rex converts and old farmhouse to a museum, and adds a modern new gallery to the property to house the high tech collection. He calls it The Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Corinne's invention get their own gallery space in the old farmhouse.

And the gems and metals are displayed in the next room.

On the second floor he's displayed a variety of oddities and interesting artifacts, including some spirit jars donated by Tamsin, and an aquarium.

The sculpture garden goes in the space between in the old and new buildings. In the newer building, Rex has filled one gallery with high tech gadgets like the hover bed. The second gallery remains empty, ready for whatever next takes his fancy.

With her mother's help, Tamsin built a spirit scanner to help her detect spirits and ghosts in the area.

With her new device, she is able rouse more communicative ghosts rather than just the howling spirits hat flit about and haunt objects. These ghosts deserve better than just being vacuumed up in her banshee banisher, so Tamsin spends time getting to know them, soothing the worldly concerns that keep them tied to this plane, and convincing them to move on. Sh also questions them about ways to help a ghost trapped between life and death, ideally to push him into the 'life' direction, but if death is Rory's only option, it might preferable to his current state.

"Death Fish," the apparition says, "You need death fish."

Tamsin can't get anything else out of her, and lets her go.

Her next haunting is at the old Goolsby place. Her mother's ex-husband Raymond, born a Goolsby, now lives here, but he wasn't born here. His family had left this place generations earlier and it's currently owned by Lalita Ramaswami, who Raymond Goolsby married after he and Corinne divorced.
Tamsin looks at the empty sprit jars in the haunted work room and wonders if one of her ancestors had been Ghost Hunter.
The ghost she has to deal with here knows nothing about the history of this house or the family that built it, and when asked about Rory's dilemma, he only says, "Life fruit."

Now that he's an elder, Darryl starts freaking out about social security.

Using the essences of her collected spirits with death fish and life fruit, Tamsin has come up with a new potion. She calls Rory and invites him over, planning to try it on him, but it's not enough. Autumn had fished up several death fish, and Corinne had plenty of life fruit leftover from when she created Tomas, so Tamsin asks her father to use his incredible cooking skills to come up with a recipe using those two ingredients.

"It doesn't sound very appetizing," Darryl remarks, "Death fish, bleck."

"You don't have to eat it," Tamsin answers.

Darryl is very confident in his cooking abilities, even when faced with the challenge of making something with such unusual ingredients.

When Rory shows up, Tamsin tells him she's finally done it. 'I haven't tested it, of course," she warns him, "There's no one but you to test it on."

Rory has eaten dirt on a dare many times in his life, so he's not afraid to try some weird fishy fruity dish even if it emits a weird glow.

The dish takes effect immediately. The weird glow that came from it is now coming from Rory.

And then he's alive again. Life rocks!

Then Tamsin tells him to drink the pink stuff in the beaker. Being brought back to life hasn't changed Rory's daredevil nature, and he chugs the potion back.

And he starts to sparkle.

"I'm..young again," he says, realizing what's happened to him, "I never thought you'd actually be able to do anything. And here I am, alive and young."

"I'm glad I could fix my great-great-grandfather's mistake," Tamsin says. And she's also proud of herself, discovering a way to resurrect a ghost and reverse aging. But she'll be keeping her achievement to herself; if MorcuCrop got hold of this research, who knows what kind of self-serving, evil use they'd put it to. She was glad to use it to fix their mistake, but she'll never use this formula again, or ever publish her findings. "Whatever you do, Rory, don't tell the MorcuCrop people what I've done for you."

"Are you kidding? I'm never going into that place again!"


Challenge Notes:
With The Museum of Jurassic Technology built and purchased, the Awesome requirement is fulfilled.
I'm still adding gems and metals to the collection, and I plan to create a large display of space rocks as well. I'm also going to have Rex muck around with using the display case to make big gems & skull cuts. Chances are he'll never make much money as a collector, as I'm keeping just about everything he collects. But even though the family spent half its wealth on the museum, they are not at all in need of his income.
I'm a bit disappointed you can't put insects on the display cases. I do plan to add an insect collection to the museum. I also need to get more pictures.

There is a real life Museum of Jurassic Technology here in Los Angeles. It is the inspiration for this museum.
The architecture of my museum is inspired by this Colognese Mill Bread Museum.
I loved the way it incorporated an old structure with a more modern one. It seems so appropriate for Riverblossom Hills.

I did have to move Rory into the house temporarily to get him to eat the ambrosia and drink the potion. But he brought nothing to the family & moved back out immediately afterwards. I'd been putting the pieces together for this for some time, getting Autumn to fish for death fish, having Darryl learn the ambrosia recipe, getting the Young Again potion. Now Rory is alive and a YA, and free to live a whole new life. When still a ghost, he adopted another kid recently, so he's got a teenage son right now.