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So... I am still actually way behind with the Newburys and shouldn't be playing with/posting about any other Sims right now but I just installed Nightlife the other day and wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly/get the hang of the novel concept that is going out on a date before returning to them. So I headed over to Belladonna Cove instead and reacquainted myself with my Sims over there! As it turns out, they're just as awesome as I left them (barring a few unfortunate wardrobe/hair choices due to me reorganizing and deleting custom content like a madman since the last time I played them) and, of course, I couldn't resist the urge to capture it all in the form of pictures! So here we are, a very brief (hopefully, though I'm afraid I'm getting reattached to them) diversion from the Newburys:
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I haven't posted an actual new entry since the beginning of the month so here is a brief bulleted list of random things that are on my mind right now:

  • My Best of '08 list can be found here. I'm rather happy with it as of right now. Let's see how I feel in a year.
  • I've been updating my ongoing list of things I've read, watched, and listened to this year regularly so check that out if you're interested in my opinions on things like that.
  • So now that I'm done with '08 albums, I'm already onto '09 ones. I've kind of downloaded a bunch and not kept most of them after one listen because they weren't really things I thought I would like much in the first place but I have found one gem so far: A Camp's Colonia. It is Nina Persson from the Cardigans' solo/side project and this is her second release and it is so so so beautiful. "Golden Teeth and Silver Medals" came up on shuffle a week or so ago and I fell so in love that I was afraid to listen to the rest in case it didn't measure up but the whole thing is gorgeous. Lovely pop songs bathed in beautiful string and brass arrangements, smart lyrics, and Nina's flawlessly pretty voice. So so good.
  • Also, Asobi Seksu - Hush. It's no Citrus but it sounds pretty good; I still have to listen to it more to really get a feel for it. However, I can say that Yuki's voice is amazing on this record.
  • Okay, I am going to attempt to say this without making it sound totally weird, but I am insanely attracted to Andrew Bird. Like, I'm not even that into his music (though I could see myself liking it more if I actually gave it more than my passing attention) and it's not really a physical attraction (though he is a rather good-looking man) but I'm just, like... attracted to him as a person or something. I don't know. I can't explain it. But every time I see or hear about him, I'm just instantly interested and intrigued for some reason.
  • And also, I'm very excited for Maria Taylor's new album. From the two songs she's released so far (three if you count the version of the title track that's on Savannah Drive) this could potentially be her best album yet. Though, is it troubling that I'm actually more excited about Andy LeMaster's involvement than about Maria herself? I mean, I love the girl. But I'm slightly obsessed with Andy. Anyway, yes, I am looking forward to it.
  • I'm going to attempt to work on some writing today or tomorrow so I should have something in that department to post soon.
  • Also, I uploaded about a million new Sims 2 pictures here and here. So if you actually care about that, there you go.
  • Also, PRESIDENT OBAMA. It is so surreal to me still. I was about ten when Bush went into office so I don't really have any proper memories of anyone but him as president since politics weren't exactly on my mind at eight years old. So it's so strange to have a new one. Every time I hear "President Obama" on the news I just kind of can't believe it. So exciting, though.
  • Also, I sure use the word "also" a lot, don't I? Also, also, also.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take a moment to indulge myself and drool over all the pretty:

PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY )

Okay, I'm done now.
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This is as of... around midnight today. I know it's still a day until the new year but I figured my charts wouldn't be changing much within that time frame so I just said to hell with it and copied them all down now. So because I am a maniac here is basically every incarnation of my Last.fm chart I could come up with:

Top 50 Artists )

Top 50 Songs )

Top 50 Songs (with only one appearance per artist) )

And fuck. This is JUST FUCKING FANTASTIC. I hate my life.

To take my mind off this monstrosity of a fuck-up (and the fact that I should be doing more productive things), here are some Sims pictures. If you want to see them all, just go to the gallery. I'm way too lazy to upload everything there and then post every single picture to this and I bet no one besides me looks at them anyway, so, yeah, it doesn't matter.

The Thompsons: A (Very) Brief History )

College begins... NOW! )

One more thing. This is fantastic:

I love Zooey. Why is that girl so amazing?
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  • No Doubt. Holy shit. I know my last post was about them but I am seriously obsessed. I have listened to hardly anything else for about a week now. Gwen Stefani pre-solo career is totally my hero now, I'm telling you. Return of Saturn is especially doing a lot for me. I can't believe I used to own that album and yet I still only remembered, like, two songs apart from the singles. How could I be so dense back then?!? The entire album is so damn good. "Six Feet Under", "Artificial Sweetener", "Too Late", "Suspension Without Suspense", "Home Now", "Dark Blue"... seriously. I know that's almost the entire thing but it's that good! There are only two songs I wouldn't consider awesome and they're still pretty great. One of the non-single tracks I did remember though is "Staring Problem" - I actually used to adore that song. I'm pretty sure I even wrote some story using the lyrics as inspiration and I really wish I still had it somewhere because it's probably hilariously terrible and would have given me a good laugh. Anyway, I think I'm, like, going to buy all of their albums used on Amazon or something because, hello, I need them! Apart from just listening to them, I also got all nostalgic watching the music videos and live Tragic Kingdom show DVDs that came with the Boom Box set... I've had that almost since it came out and I had never watched the live DVD (or listened to the b-sides disc). Jesus. Love love love. Okay, moving on...

  • Pushing Daisies. Maybe it's just because of the fact that pretty soon there will be no more new episodes for me to devour, but I seriously think this show gets better every week. You'd think I'd be really sad watching it but it still hasn't completely sunk in that it will be over soon - I think the depression will set in once there are actually no episodes left. And I will just have to watch it on DVD over and over and over again. It just makes me feel so idiotically happy every time I watch; I love all of the characters and the droolworthy wardrobe and sets and most of all, that pretty much every piece of dialogue uttered is hilarious and instantly quotable. A couple highlights from Wednesday: "Don't be pecking me, woman. That's the peck of cahoots which we are definitely not in." Everything Emerson says is golden. And also Ned telling Chuck, "Are we weird now because I did it with your dad?" - also laugh-out-loud hilarious. And unsurprisingly, next week looks amaaaaazing as well. Olive and Emerson's synchronized "oh HELL no!" - completely brilliant. *sigh* It figures that the only show I've ever loved this obsessively is apparently ignored by most everyone else. What is wrong with you, world?!?

  • Reading. I just finished A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby which I believe is my fiftieth book read for the year, woo! I wasn't going to finish it because I had to return it to the library in a few days and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get it done, but once I started, it was a really fast and enjoyable read. Extremely hilarious. Which is weird to say about a book that has a plot centered around four people who want to jump off the roof of a building, but it's true. I laughed out loud on several occasions which is rare for me with books. Overall, it was really fun and witty and I'm glad I decided to actually read it. I wasn't going to get any more books because I still have a couple I bought that I haven't read yet, but I ended up checking out two more. Oh well... I guess I do have forever to read the ones I own so it doesn't really matter.

  • Sims! It doesn't seem like it, since it was only two posts ago, but the last time I posted pictures was almost three weeks ago. What?! Must. Fix. Now. Here are updates/selected pictures for each of my current families:
Cartwright )

Ruby & Will )

Perkins )

Also... )

Why, yes, I am aware what a dork I am. It's better to embrace it than deny it, right?
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Time for more Ruby and Will gushing? Yes, I think it is.

You know you want it! )

There are about a gazillion more pictures in the gallery. So I've decided that they are basically my favorite Sims ever, everrrrr. Too. Cute. I'm way more excited about them than the storyline I'm really supposed to be working on right now, but at least they're kind of part of that, so I can be obsessed with them without completely abandoning everything else. Though Ruby is now one day away from growing up and Will is about eight or nine days away, so before I can play them again in college, I have to get all the other Sims involved in the story grown up as well, so I will not be able to squee over them for awhile. Sad, I know. However, it does give me more incentive to play through everyone else's childhood years. Just so I can see Will and Ruby! They are going to be beyond adorable in college. Gah. I can't even think about it without imploding with cuteness.

Anyway... in other non-Sim news, saw Twilight yesterday. I'm not sure what I really think about it, but I'm leaning toward the bad side of the spectrum. I mean, I did enjoy it in the uber-cheesy, so-bad-it's-good way but on the other hand, I kind of hated a lot of aspects of it, even looking at them from that perspective. The biggest thing is that based on his other work, I do think Robert Pattinson is a fairly talented actor, however, there were quite a few points during Twilight that made me feel like cringing on his behalf; most notably, the part where they're talking in a tree and he starts saying "my family, we're different from other vampires..." or something like that. The look on his face is just, ugh, he looks constipated or something. And sometimes his accent seemed off and the makeup was really doing him no favors.  However, the part where Bella first walks into biology class, his reaction was hilarious and I really hope it was intended to be because I don't see how that could be meant to be taken seriously. As for Kristen Stewart, she was mostly pretty good, but sometimes she got a bit iffy as well. She mainly bothered me during the hospital scene at the end, when Edward was saying something about how she should go and live with her mom, and she was all freaking out and saying he couldn't leave her, blah blah blah, there was just way too much stuttering and stammering and it was just really awkward and seemed more campy than truly emotional. And the special effects, oh my God, they were terrible. The end fight scene with James wasn't too bad and mostly believable, but the rest - the climbing up trees and leaping through the forest - looked just horrendous. You could tell it was so low budget. But the worst offender of all was the sparkling, sweet Jesus, the sparkling. They should have just taken it out - it looked like they just put some body glitter on him and called it good. And not only that, it looked all... fuzzy and so fake, like it belonged more in an 80s-era movie than a movie made in 2008. Seriously, they should've just foregone the glittering; it's the stupidest quality of the vampires in the books anyway. And, at the very end, I think it was when Edward was trying to get the strength to stop sucking Bella's blood out, there was this uber-cheesy montage of their relationship with, I'm pretty sure, Rob's own song playing over it - and the song is just terrible and totally ruined any poignancy that may have had. Sorry, Rob, but you do not have a good singing voice. Just the use of montages in general was annoying; they replaced potentially revealing scenes with montages of them talking while music played; pretty pointless waste of space. Anyway, it wasn't a completely terrible waste of time, but it wasn't amazing either. Honestly, though, my expectations were not that high so it neither exceeded or failed to reach them. It was pretty much exactly what I was expecting it to be.

Holy shit, that was long, sorry. I'll try to make this shorter. I finished the book American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld the other day and I have mixed feelings about it. It took me forever to finish and seemed to progress really slowly. During pretty much the entire first three parts, I couldn't even focus because I kept thinking, "When the hell does he become president?!?" That is the part that the book's been hyped around and it's not even that long despite being the most interesting part. So it did get good at that point but the rest just seemed way too drawn out and detailed and boring. And something about the writing bothered me. It was just really bland or something. And when I checked it out the librarian told me that the ending was "surprising in an unexpected way" but frankly, I was not surprised at all and it was totally expected. I knew that she was going to do something to "betray" her husband because of how vehemently the differences between their political opinions were made clear throughout. And as soon as she mentioned them voting the first time he was elected, I was sure that it would eventually be revealed that she didn't vote for him, it seemed obvious to me, and I was right on that as well. So it wasn't a total letdown but I was expecting it to be a lot better.

Finally, Pushing Daisies is officially over. I am so depressed. I at least hope they show all of the remaining episodes at some point and I will be buying the second season DVD the minute it comes out. But apparently it ends on a huge cliffhanger so that makes the fact that it won't be resolved even more depressing. I really hope that talk of a movie in that article isn't just talk. While I would probably seek out the comic book version mentioned if that comes about, the reason I love the show so much is mostly because of the acting (oh my God, the glorious acting!) and the beautiful sets and that stuff cannot be replicated in a comic book. So I really hope a movie or something happens. Why must this always happen to me? I have never been this upset about the cancellation of a TV show ever. I hate that the general public is apparently too dense to realize the awesomeness of this show. I mean, I'll admit to watching my fair share of reality shows and CSIs, but I realize that that's pretty meaningless shlock while Pushing Daisies is something real and creative and smart. Gah, it's not fair. Anyway, in light of this news, I feel the need to post a bunch of PD picspam or at least Lee Pace/Ned picspam. Stay tuned for that.
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Alright, so basically my current goal in Simworld is to recreate the characters from this story I am writing/putting off writing as Sims. I'm not really going to attempt to imitate the plot completely because a. without giving away anything, it just simply ends way too sadly for me to put my precious Simmies through that and b. I've kind of come up with a gazillion alternate endings in my head (though I'm sticking with the original one if I ever do finish the actual story) so I'm going to try to work some of those into the Sim version. This isn't really meant to be taken seriously as, in my opinion, it's really hard to make something serious when it revolves around the fucking Sims, for Christ's sake. It's just something fun for me to do so that I don't get bored and stick to the same generic "get married, have lots of babies" route that I always go down in the game.

So! With that being said... here's my plan. I am moving each of the main five characters into the neighborhood one at a time, as toddlers (except Ollie, who is starting as a child just so that he and Daniel have an age difference; I briefly considered making them twins for the Sim version but decided against it) with their parents and letting them grow up into teens (while taking plenty of screen captures, of course) before moving onto the next character. That way, I won't get overwhelmed by trying to sync up a million houses on the same schedule or anything. Then once they're all nearly out of their teen years, I will move them to college where the real fun will ensue, yay! I've tried to model their looks and personalities after they are in the story as much as possible; I even downloaded a shit ton of new clothes, hairs, etc. just so that they would be perfectly represented. I am so lame, I know.

Anyway, first up is Andy because he's my favorite and the most accurate representation looks-wise, I think. He's just so cute and friendly-looking, which is perfect. (Also, as far as looks go, I made all of the characters as adults and then aged them down to toddlers and they all are surprisingly adorable still, which I was afraid they wouldn't be.) Also, his Sim family is the most genuine because, honestly, his parents were the only family members I really had completely fleshed out and they turned out just perfect; the others are all quite "meh". So, I present to you a few highlights from Andy's childhood. All of the pictures with short explanatory captions can be found here.

Andy Cartwright: The Early Years )

Not very eventful so far, I know, but I told you - the real fun won't happen until college. Until then, they are just basically living normal kid lives. At the moment, he is a teen and I am planning a little bit of fun so hopefully things will be more interesting soon.

However, right now, I am totally enamored by these two other Sims. Their names are Ruby and Will and I originally planned to make them solely to serve as some non-townie friends for Andy but they have stolen my heart! They are the most adorable Sims to ever exist, I do believe. I felt bad about abandoning the Rileys before they ever had a chance to get started so partly as an ode to them and partly because I'm lazy, Ruby and Will ended up being slightly tweaked and teen-ified clones of them. I already thought Annie Riley was uber-adorable but somehow my slight changes made Ruby even cuter. Seriously. I spent way too much time taking pictures of her every facial expression. And Will is nearly as cute as well so they're perfect for each other.

Let the picspam ensue! )

Also, Will's lifetime want is to send three children to college and Ruby's is to have six grandchildren, so they can be my couple who has a gazillion adorable kids! Yay yay yay! Seriously. Their cuteness kills me. And to think, they were just supposed to be background characters...

Anyway, that's all for now. Much more to come, you can be sure of it. (No, I am not embarrassed by my obsession, should I be?)

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Shannon

January 2012

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