Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week Six Part Fourteen: Pinenut Plaza Dormitory and Zeta Zeta Epsilon Greek House

Marion Landgraab: 25 years old. Aspiration: Pleasure. LTW: 50 1st Dates. Astrological sign: Gemini.
Jacqueline Riedmayer: 23 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become the Law. Astrological sign: Aquarius.
Gretchen Riedmayer: 23 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become Space Pirate. Astrological sign: Aries.
Jaden Kules: 22 years old. Aspiration: Knowledge. LTW: Become Space Pirate. Astrological sign: Scorpio.
Margaret Landgraab: 19 years old. Aspiration: Popularity. LTW: Have 20 Simultaneous Best Friends. Astrological sign: Gemini.
Sarah Pons: 17 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become the Law. Astrological sign: Aries.
Ingrid Riedmayer: 17 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become Chief of Staff. Astrological sign: Gemini.
Family trees:
Jackie and Gretchen
Marion and Maggie 
Sarah and Ingrid

narrated by Sarah Pons

The year I went to college, there were seven of us...six girls and one guy. We were supposed to live in Sim State Dormitory, but we ended up getting moved after the first week because they needed to fumigate it...bugs or something.

Anyway, while they were getting our new rooms at Pinenut Plaza Dorm ready for us, we killed the time shopping for clothes. I mean, what else are six girls going to do with a few spare hours? I think Jaden looked at cell phones the whole time we were there.

Even though Jaden really didn't get our collective obsession with fashion, the seven of us were soon really close. I knew almost everybody before, 'cause I'm related to almost everybody, but seeing them around town wasn't the same as living with them.

Of course, it wasn't all socialization. We all kept our noses to the grindstone pretty well, in fact, and maintained 4.0 averages.

After our freshman year, we moved over to the Greek House with Douglas Long, who had been there the year before the rest of us. While we were moving in, this random cheerleader girl kept trying to strike up a conversation with me. Douglas says she hangs around all the time but has never actually tried to pledge or anything.

Jaden and Douglas bunked together in the mens' dormitory; I think Jaden was happy to have somebody who wasn't always talking about shoes and makeup. The women's dormitory wasn't big enough for all of us girls, so we switched around between that and the two double rooms.

Not long after we moved in, Jaden and Gretchen started going out together. They worked together in high school, so they've known each other forever, and they have a lot of common interests. I was super happy for them. (In addition to them both being my friends, Gretchen is my first cousin twice removed. I know that doesn't seem very close, but family loyalty runs deep in the Riedmayers.)

Speaking of family...I always felt bad for my cousin Ingrid. She had kind of a rough childhood and was very moody and withdrawn for a long time. She really blossomed in the Greek house, though. Sometimes I even caught her doing lighthearted things like juggling.

She also gave us all makeovers regularly. I think even Jaden let her cut his hair a few times.

Ingrid wasn't so happy when the secret society came to abduct her. I guess she hadn't been paying attention to the rest of us getting snatched one by one, because she thought she was genuinely getting abducted and almost broke this guy's nose hitting him with the back door. We managed to calm her down and she still got into the Landgraab Society.

Jaden and Gretchen were still going strong...

And I had started a little something with Douglas.

The only crisis we had was the one time Marion set herself on fire. We're not sure what happened...maybe some grease got on her clothes? Anyway, most of us were studying upstairs when it happened. Maggie ran down first to help.

Douglas ran down to help too. We didn't all want to get in the way, but he could tell that Maggie was panicking. Fortunately, the fireman also arrived quickly and Marion manged to survive with nothing but minor burns...a small miracle, considering.

I don't know if maybe that put Jaden in mind of his own mortality, but at any rate later on that year he took Gretchen down to the Crypt O' Night Club. It's not the most romantic place, if you ask me, but Gretchen told me about it later and said that while they were having drinks at the bar Jaden told her that his parents had met each other at that very bar, about thirty years previously. She thought that the evening was magical even with the creepy atmosphere.

After they had a few drinks, a table opened up and they had dinner. After they ate, Jaden proposed. Gretchen was expecting it (I mean, they'd known each other about ten years and been dating for five...) but she said it was still an amazing and emotional experience, hearing him declare his devotion to her.

Jaden got the DJ to put on some slow songs for them, and they danced the night away before coming home to the Greek house.

Around the same time, Ryker--he graduated from ZZE a few years before we started--came to visit, and when Jackie went out to greet him he bent down and kissed her hand.

From then on, the two of them spent pretty much all our parties making out.

Again, I hasten to reassure you all that we didn't spend all our time making out and going on dates. A lot of our "dates" involved heading up to the computer lab in the attic and seeing who could finish their term paper the fastest. Maggie usually won the race, but then she had to spend a lot of hours editing, whereas Jaden and Douglas could crank out perfectly polished essays in the first try. (Not 'cause they're guys. Just 'cause they're super nerdy and the rest of us aren't so much.)

Douglas graduated while the rest of us still had one year to go. I was really proud of him--he got a 4.0 and all sorts of honors--but also really sad to see him go.

Maybe I shoudn't have been, but I was actually surprised when he called me over and got down on one knee...right there in his graduation gown, with the photographer snapping pictures all the while. Good thing I was dressed up from having just attended the graduation ceremony. I said yes, of course. It was wonderful to know that our separation would be brief...Douglas told me after he proposed that he had gotten some land just down the street from my parents. He'd supervise the building of our house, and then we could get married as soon after my graduation as I wanted.

After Douglas left, we had an open space in the house (it's against the law to have more than 8 people in a rental) so we asked a girl named Anna Jeffress to pledge. She and I had been friends for a while, and became even better friends afterwards.

I know Jaden was sad to have the only Y chromosome in the house after Douglas left, but at least Anna was a good study buddy for him. She's at least as nerdy as Douglas. Jaden and Anna kept the rest of us on task during that last year...maybe it was just because my mind was on my wedding, but it seemed like the last months until graduation just dragged by.

We all finally made it, though!


1. As you might be able to tell from the loading screen pic, I was having trouble getting Marion to age up properly. She looked like a teen and could only wear teen clothes, but she had all the YA interactions available. (She could flirt with the other YAs, etc.) I tried moving them and all sorts of other things. What finally worked was aging her back down to teen in SimPE and then reloading the lot...she aged up to YA properly as soon as the lot loaded. Hopefully I won't have any more trouble there.

2. I don't hold with gender-based stereotypes, but I must admit I found this group's conversations hilarious. The girls all have high interest in fashion and would seriously talk about it ALL THE TIME and Jaden would always have negative interactions, because he has low interest in fashion. (He managed to become best friends with everybody nonetheless.) I can't remember if Douglas has any interest in fashion or not.

3. I have been planning on marrying off Ryker and Jackie for a long time, but at one point this play session I decided to see if he was more attracted to any of the other girls and maybe switch things up if he was. He must have got wind of my plot, because he kissed Jackie as soon as she greeted him. (This caused her to fall in love and him to fall in crush, so I had them make out a little bit and then he fell in love too.) They only have one bolt, but I guess bolts aren't everything. :)

4. Anna is a Knowledge Sim with the refreshing want to Max All Skills. Her astrological sign is Sagittarius.

5. Everybody got 4.0, Big Sim on Campus, and Secret Society. I'm like a machine. 

6. I'm working on a graduation post, so you can see everybody else in their caps and gowns.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to get into private school/win the headmaster scenario in The Sims 2

First, a disclaimer: This is certainly not the only way to succeed; probably it isn't even the best way. But I know I was totally lost the first few times I tried this and now I have it down to a science, so take what tips you like and use them as you will.


1. Make sure your house sits relatively close to the street and is easy for Sims to navigate. Remember that stairs are like Sim kryptonite. Relatedly, try to have at least 4 or 5 good-sized distinct rooms on the ground level of your Sims' house. (If you have an eat-in kitchen, you might consider putting up a wall and archway, etc.)


2. Decorate! Flooring, walls, and lights are the essentials. (I always forget to give my Sims lights until it's time for the headmaster to come over. Good thing they can read in the dark...) Then plaster the walls with paintings. I like paintings best because they don't take up any floorspace, and there are quite a few high-scoring 1-tile paintings, so you should be able to fit them in between windows and doors. To test your decorating abilities, select a teen/adult/elder Sim to wander around and make sure their environment motive stays in the high green.

It is not necessary to decorate anything other than the ground floor of your Sims' house, for reasons that will become clear in a moment. You also do not need to decorate really tiny rooms.

2b - The Quick and "Dirty" Decorating Method: Buy one high-scoring statue (in the description, it will say "Environment 5", "Environment 10", etc). Buy Mode is still accessible during the headmaster visit, so you can pick up the statue and move it from room to room as your Sim gives the tour, thus giving you a higher tour score without tedious decorating or spending tons of cash. In this case, statues are better than paintings because you don't have to spin around looking for a blank wall. Just plop that sucker down in the middle of the room.

3. Have the teen/adult/elder Sim with the highest cooking skill start cooking as soon as "Serve Dinner" (rather than "Serve Lunch") becomes available. Try to have them cook something nice, like pork chops or salmon or turkey or lobster thermidor. (I've gotten 45 points from lobster thermidor alone, seriously.) If they burn it, make them try again until they get it right. Once they succeed, put the leftovers in the fridge and don't let anybody eat them.

(Step 3 only works if you have Seasons, I think. If you don't have the ability to "Put away leftovers", don't worry. I'll address that in a minute.)


4. "Invite headmaster" is its own tab on the phone. I am reasonably certain that teens can call the headmaster; I don't know if children can. The headmaster will arrive at the first 5 p.m. after your call. (So, if you call at 4 p.m., he will arrive an hour later. If you call at 6 p.m., he will arrive the next day.)

Don't bother inviting the headmaster if no child/teen has a grade of C or higher. (I am not sure about C minus; I think that might be too low.) This does mean that you can invite the headmaster as soon as your child ages up, since they age up with a C.

(For my readers playing a non-English game: The school performance bar has to be at least halfway full.)

5. As soon as your children get home from school, PUT THEM TO BED. If they're not sleepy, confine them to an out-of-the-way corner with a skill book or something. The goal is to have them doing something that they will keep doing for 4-6 hours. Lock them in the basement if you want; I don't care. The headmaster doesn't care either.

Do the same with other extraneous Sims. You should have no more than 2 teen/adult/elder Sims up and about by about 4:55 p.m. (Sim time, of course.) One of these Sims will henceforth be referred to as Tour Guide, and the other as Chef, for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.

6. The headmaster arrives at 5:00, as I mentioned above. Have Tour Guide go greet him. Click on the headmaster and select "Entertain > Give Tour." Have Tour Guide "Go here" to whatever room in the house is prettiest. Click on the headmaster again and select "Show Room." Then repeat until the headmaster thanks you for the tour. (This usually happens once you get about 45 points, which usually takes me 4 or 5 rooms, though I think I've gotten it with as few as 3.)

This is the part where my advice to make the ground floor as nice as possible comes in. DO NOT TAKE THE HEADMASTER UPSTAIRS. I once had a headmaster stuck upstairs for hours. I don't care how pretty the rooms are up there, it's not worth it.

I also generally avoid bathrooms or other tiny rooms because of potential route failure.

If you have shown all the rooms you want to show, you can also click on the headmaster and select "End Tour."

7. While all this touring is going on, have Chef pull out the leftovers from back in Step 3. If you don't have Seasons, have Chef cook. If Chef burns food on the first try, have Tour Guide kill time by serving the headmaster espresso or bar drinks. (I'll cover these topics later on.)

When the food is set out, click on the headmaster and select "Call to Meal." The headmaster will sit and eat for what seems like forever, and the food score is all or nothing...if you time out when he has 1 bite left, TOO BAD FOR YOU. So try to serve food fairly early on in the evening. If time is running short, don't let your other Sims sit and talk to him while he eats; that slows him down and the schmooze points are negligible.

8. If you want schmooze points, do NOT use the "Schmooze" interaction. Just build relationship as you would with any other, joke, etc. I don't usually get a lot of schmooze points, so I don't have any other tips for this category.

9. You can get bonus points for three things: Espresso, drinks from the bar, and hot tubbing. To get the espresso points: Buy an espresso machine. (Obviously.) Have your Sim (usually Tour Guide) "Serve Espresso" rather than "Make Espresso." (The former produces 2 cups; the latter only 1.) Have your Sim drink one of the cups. The headmaster usually takes the hint and drinks the other cup.

Drinks at the bar are similar. Serve, partake, wait for the headmaster to catch on and join you.

For the hot tubbing, get in and ask the headmaster to join you. (He might also join you on his own; I don't know.) I dislike this bonus point opportunity, though, because it can lead to lots of route failures if you're not careful and that's just a pain.

10. Once you top 90 points, the headmaster will say "X, Y, and Z have been accepted into private school", shake hands with one of the parents, and leave. (People can get more than 90 points, of course. Say you have 85 points and then the headmaster eats lobster--you'll end up with about 130 points total because of getting 45 in one shot.)

I find that a good tour and a good meal can be enough all by themselves, but if your Sims can't cook lobster or something it's easy enough to nudge the points over the top with espresso or drinks. As I mentioned above, I almost never use schmoozing or the hot tub.

Using this method, I can get private school admittance in less than 2 Sim-hours, and I think the headmaster scenario lasts for 4 or 5 hours. It's been a while since I've timed out, so I'm actually not sure.

I hope this post is helpful to somebody (is anybody still new to Sims 2 in 2013?) but if not I had fun writing it anyway.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Week Six Part Thirteen: Enterprise Park

Ryker Owens: 39 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become Prestidigitator. Astrological sign: Gemini. 

No family tree this time. Ryker was the Greek House placeholder a while back and is currently not related to anybody, though that will almost certainly change soon. :)

narrated by Ryker Owens

So, y'all want to hear about my life? There's not much to tell, I guess. I've been friends with Tim since we were little and in a group home together, and the story of how I came to Prosperity Plains is about the same as his, 'cept I was more friends with Rishell than with her brothers, and I didn't end up marrying anybody. Not yet, anyhow.

After I graduated from Sim State I did move back to Prosperity Plains, on account of the fact that all my friends lived there. Didn't really have anywhere else to go. I'm interested in the performing arts and Tim put in a good word for me at the club where he had worked for a while, but at the moment they don't have any openings. So I got a job as an adjunct back at Sim State. Funny, isn't it, how it's easier to get a job teaching drama than it is to actually perform?

I tried to foster as many friendships as I could...when people asked me if I wanted to go downtown, I went. I figure a lonely guy like me needs all the connections he can get.

I also kept in touch with my Greek House "siblings" and all their various siblings and cousins and what have you. A bunch of new kids from Prosperity Plains had just started at Sim State, and I made sure to give them tips on how to get into good old ZZE. I hope it ends up meaning as much to them as it did to me.

Ryker's house at the end of the week. I don't know why I made it blue. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Upstairs is a bedroom/study and a bathroom.

I like the way the exterior turned out.


1. I didn't actually take any notes. Single Sims are very boring, especially when they're too poor to go on vacation.

EDITED TO ADD: CC credit: In the introductory picture, Ryker's eyes are Philadelpia Story by Juri Anne, used as default blue. I also have Set 1 as custom eyes, though nobody in Prosperity Plains has custom eyes (as far as I know). You'll see more CC credits as I go along.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week Six Part Twelve: The Castle

Corbin Todd: 46 years old. Aspiration: Romance. LTW: Become Hall of Famer (fulfilled: Become Professional Party Guest). Astrological sign: Libra.
Audrey King: 39 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become Criminal Mastermind. Astrological sign: Scorpio.
Charles King: 3 years old. Astrological sign: ?

Note: I realized as I was writing this post that Charles King should actually be two calendar years younger than his half-brother Charles Riedmayer, not one. I like the storyline potential of them being closer together in age, so I'm pretending that the previous update spanned 6 years (from 2039 to 2045) and this one spans 8 years (from 2045 to 2053). This magic math doesn't affect gameplay at all (Charles and his younger sibling would be in the same college batches regardless of whether they were born in '42 and '45 or '43 and '46); it's just storyline. 

Corbin and Audrey are both townies, but Corbin had 4 children with a playable before he ran away with Audrey, so he's irrevocably part of the timestream now. Edith and her children were played already this round, in Part 7.

"Peter Pan"
narrated by Audrey King

I'm surprised you want to hear from me, the "other woman" in the story started by that silly Riedmayer woman. But here I am, so I guess I'll say my piece.

My first son, Charles, was what you might call an "accident". That didn't please me, let me tell you. But I thought, "Well, I'm not getting any younger, and I have to leave my money to somebody." So I made an arrangement with Corbin, and next thing I knew we're practically domestic, with two sons.

Yes, two. William was born on Charles' third birthday. I would have preferred a girl, but both boys are ridiculously good-natured, and a girl probably would have been even more of a diva than me--I mean, really, with Corbin as a father?--so I suppose I got lucky.

William wasn't an accident, because Charles was constantly asking for someone to play with him, and I figure that since I already had a kid demanding attention 24/7 there wasn't much danger in having another. And it turned out that they actually did keep each other entertained, so that's a relief.

Corbin and I have a pretty good thing going. He's actually really easy to manage, if you know how to do it. I mean, the only real trick is that you can't expect him to be faithful. I don't care one way or the other, as long as he does his bit with the rugrats.

Funny thing is, he actually does. Maybe it's just 'cause there's two instead of the FOUR that crazy other woman had, or maybe I just know how to keep him in line better, but he's managed to keep the boys alive so far.

I'm not one to gush over the baby years--or much of anything, really--so let's just skip ahead a ways. Mercifully soon, the boys were both old enough to go to school--Charles was 8, and William was 5.

I decided it was high time to call up the headmaster of the private school...Corbin's other kids had gotten in the year before, and I wasn't about to be outdone.

The ridiculous thing is that Corbin got it in his head that he wanted to invite his other sons over the very same day of our interview with the headmaster. (His daughter was at college, and anyway she doesn't speak to him.) Still, the middle one--Fritz--managed to sit down and have an intelligent conversation about literature with the headmaster and I, while Corbin was being stupid and trying to discuss video games with another one of the boys.

That didn't go so well. Shockingly, not every young boy likes video games. Kind of like how I'm a woman but don't like pink and fluffy kittens? You'd think Corbin would get that, but then again he doesn't really understand women either, even though he likes them so much.

Afterward we were relaxing in the hot tub, and Corbin was saying how surprised he was that the other kids seemed so grown-up already. I guess part of it is that he hadn't seen them since they were toddlers, but the other part could very well be that he's never grown up himself, so he can't imagine that anyone else does.

The Todd/King family got a gypsy lamp sometime this week, so they were able to make their downstairs a lot fancier. 
The upstairs got fancier too. 
And here's the whole house. They definitely need to buy some windows with their next bit of spare cash.


1. William is a clone of Charles. Boo. At least they're cute. Corbin is pretty good at fathering cute kids, even if he is pretty lousy at raising them.

2. Both boys have 10 outgoing points and as a result their social motive is constantly plummeting. I actually got social worker warnings two or three times. Audrey wasn't kidding when she said they want attention constantly.

3. Corbin rolled a secondary aspiration of Family partway through the round, which is why I had him invite over his sons. He'd never even met Charles R. As you can see, their first conversation ever didn't go too swimmingly. Charles really does hate video games. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week Six Part Eleven: The Academy

Veronica Whitfill: 35 years old. Aspiration: Fortune. LTW: Become Hall of Famer. (Fulfilled: Become Prestidigitator.) Astrological sign: Libra.
Rishell Whitfill: 35 years old. Aspiration: Knowledge. LTW: Max All Skills. Astrological sign: Pisces.

The Whitfill family tree is still quite straightforward. We've already visited the twins' three older brothers this round. (In parts four, eight, and nine.)

"Rainy day"
narrated by Rishell Whitfill

One day, Ronnie and I were sitting around eating breakfast when I suddenly got an idea. So I said, "You know that money we've been saving for a rainy day? Well, it's raining now. Let's go on vacation."

So we did. Our brother Donte had gone on his honeymoon to the Far East and told us all about what a fascinating place it was. I think Veronica would rather have followed our brother Blake's recommendation and spent a week lying around on the beaches of Twiiki Island, but I won out this time. We'll go to Twiiki Island next time it rains and we have some spare cash lying around.

Ronnie managed to enjoy herself anyway...or so I gather, based on the fact that she had this ridiculous grin on her face half the time we were there.

I ended up making friends with this local woman, who even stopped by for a visit one day when she happened to be in the States anyway. I like her a lot, and I think if I asked her she'd go for settling down and starting a family, but when I'm honest with myself I realize that I'm just not ready to move on from Jill. I know, deep down, that our relationship will never be more than it is, but the desire I've had lately to start a family isn't strong enough yet for me to just wash my hands of her and move on.

Anyway. My love life isn't the best, but I'm still doing really well in other areas. I managed to get a perfect score on my SKILL test--Donte did that years ago, and I couldn't let him one-up me.
I also became known as an "ecological guru" because of some books I'd written. I think next I'd like to go into medicine...I think my research could really help come up with cures and vaccinations for some of the deadly diseases that pass through from time to time. (My biological parents were killed by guinea pig flu, did I ever mention that? Ronnie and I were just babies and Blake was a toddler.)
Veronica did well too. She had been a competitive boxer for many years (you wouldn't think, she's so tiny and sweet, but she has a mean right hook) and then a coach, and a few years back she was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Now she says that she'd like to get out of the limelight a bit, maybe do something in the science field, like me or our sister-in-law Millie.

After a while, we had saved up enough money to finish the big house we'd started for ourselves. We don't need the room, really, but who wouldn't want to live in a mansion and feel like a princess if they could? Plus, it gave us enough room to invite over our brothers from time to time. They're all so busy with their kids that they don't have as much time to plan and prep for parties, but Ronnie and I have tons of time and now tons of space, so we can have our whole extended family over as often as we'd like. I think Mom would have liked how we've all stayed close over the years.

I left their little studio apartment much as it was, because I didn't see any reason not to. 

Just across the lawn, they have their mansion: Kitchen, dining room, living room/front hall, hobby room, and a secret room behind the stairs for the cowplant. 

Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms, a whole bunch of bathrooms, a workout room, and a computer room. 

On the third floor is a laboratory.

I am not at all satisfied with the outside of the mansion. Any tips for getting that roofline to cooperate would be much appreciated.


1. Rishell's lady friend actually got invited over because I needed to lock her in an empty room until she started doing Tai Chi so that somebody could finally learn it. (That method works much better than just hanging around the Far East for days, incidentally.) I would let them get together, but Far East Girl is a Family Sim and the population of this town just doesn't need that.

2. Rishell had enough lifetime aspiration points to roll a secondary aspiration of Family, which is why she's suddenly started to think about settling down. I'm happy because it means I can start distributing Comfort Soup among the Whitfill families. 

3. Rishell fulfilled her LTW and IW: Max All Skills. Her new LTW is to become Chief of Staff. She's also topped two careers: First Mad Scientist, and now Ecological Guru.

4. Veronica fulfilled her second LTW and third TOC when she became Hall of Famer. (Previously, she wanted to be Prestidigitator and also became a Rock God.) She's giving her brother Donte a run for his money when it comes to topping careers. 

Otherwise, this household was super duper boring. I might have to have Rishell adopt a kid just so I'm not so bored.