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Birds of a Feather

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Birds of a Feather

April 605
Simdale Valley
Narrated by Naomi Redbird

Naomi is 33.  Her sister, Laney, and brother-in-law, Declan, and Sandy Bruty are 41.  Daniel Ono is 44; his wife, Dr. Sayuri Ono, is 49.

This is Naomi’s first post.


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It’s almost a year and a half now since I moved to Simdale Valley.   Sometimes it feels like ten years.   I miss Ripp, and I’m still ambivalent about living in this small town.   My sister, Laney, settled here, and told me about the low cost of real estate.  “It will be so good for Charlotte to grow up knowing her aunt,” she said.  “And you can finally have your own salon, like you’ve always wanted.”  So I took the leap.  I figured, if it really doesn’t work out, Port Prominence is only an hour away by ferry, and after living here a while, I’ll have some connections that will help me get settled in the big city.  But for now, this is where I live and work.   I do enjoy being able to pop over and see my niece, Charlotte, and I even got to meet little Ethan, my nephew, the day he was born.   He’s about 20 months old, now.

Aubrey called me one morning from Birds of a Feather, my salon.  She’s my receptionist.   “There’s a couple new customers here, asking for you,” she said.  “I went ahead and let them in even though we weren’t open yet.”

“I’m on my way,” I said as I grabbed my shoes.  No breakfast this morning, I guess.

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Luckily,  my house is right behind the bakery next to my salon, through an alleyway.   I was really lucky, too, to get a business right on the square.  I get the local customers, but I also get lots of tourists, which  puts me right over the margin of being able to stay open.

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Honestly, I don’t think the guy looked any different after his makeover, but he seemed happy.  Other than those two customers, it was crazy slow the rest of the day.

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Finally, at 5:30, we decided to close up.

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When I got home, I called Sandy Bruty.   We met the day she came into my salon, distraught about her unexpected pregnancy.  I gave her a new look, and we’ve been best friends ever since.  In this small town made up of June and Ward Cleaver clones, we need each other.

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We talked a while.  She’s got her little boy, Zach, who’s two, so she needs an adult (other than Zane) to talk to sometimes too.  Zane can be a poor listener, between running Jack’s Place, and just his personality.  From what I’ve gathered, the two strengths of their relationship right now are chemistry, and Zach, rather than understanding each other.

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I told her I was feeling kind of lonely, and she suggested throwing a get together at my house.  “I haven’t even hung my pictures yet,” I said.

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“This will give you a good reason, right?” she replied.  “We should invite the Onos and your sister.  That’ll be a good size group.  Zane can’t come.  He’s training new staff at the restaurant.”

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“Sandy, I don’t know if you remember a couple months ago, at Chelsea’s party… Daniel was really coming on to me.  Do you really think inviting Daniel and his wife to my house is a good idea?”

“What I remember,” she said, “was a harmless flirtation.  Besides, I know you.  You don’t like having this between you and Dr. Ono, and you’d rather get any conflict out in the open.”

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After no breakfast or lunch, I was starving.  I opened the fridge, planning to scarf some food before cleaning up and showering.

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No food.

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I called for some Chinese food and wondered if anyone would come to the party, in the rain.

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Twenty minutes later, I had rearranged the furniture, hung the pictures, and showered and changed.

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Sandy was so excited about this party when she arrived, with all the other guests with her.

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I was a little reserved around Dr. Ono, but apparently she didn’t harbor any ill feelings towards me.  I knew, in this tiny town, word of our indiscretion must have gotten back to her and would have given my favorite shoes to know what she was thinking.

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Laney gave me a big hug, as if I hadn’t just been at her house last week, watching Charlotte and Ethan.

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Doctor Ono was definitely keeping an eye on Daniel, but I don’t know if it was because she’s suspicious, or just because she’s only got eyes for him.  But he didn’t look at me, or say a word to me, the whole get together.

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Then he kissed his wife, right in front of me.  I’m really glad I never tried to contact him after Chelsea’s party.  Staying clear of him is for the best.  Johnny and I both had a lot of flings after college, but we were never homewreckers.

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Soon I forgot about the whole drama with Daniel, and Sandy and I were having a blast.   She was telling me about some of the funny things that happen at Jack’s Place.  Most of the time, the place is full of tourists waiting for the next ferry.

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Then she told me that Chelsea Finnbar’s been taking the ferry to Port Prominence and Summerton, and not coming home for days at a time.  She’s Senator Phillips’ new campaign manager, and she might move to Port Prominence soon, rather than commute.

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“What about Julien?” I asked, “Is he going to move too, do you think? ” I asked.

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“Julien just took a job at Market Street,” Sandy replied.  “So I don’t know if he’ll want to give that up.”  Market Street has the fanciest restaurant in Simdale Valley and one of the best in the state; for an aspiring chef like Julien, working there is a real opportunity.

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The Chinese food finally arrived, and I dashed out into the rain to get it.

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When I went back inside, Laney and Dr. Ono had started dancing, and everyone was cheering them on.

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This was not a scene I had ever envisioned of my uptight sister.

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Declan, Laney’s husband, seemed to be in a bit of shock too.  I love her, but it’s true.  She’s a type A person.

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It was quite entertaining.  Dinner and a show.

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Whether to put a stop to the exhibition, or overcome with affection for her, Declan eventually swept her into a dip and kissed her.

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After that, everyone began excusing themselves.  I had hoped they’d stay a lot longer.

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I think I might adopt a cat.

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  • In the last incarnation of Simdale Valley, in my Strangetown ‘hood (which I lost a few years ago due to Store Edition and SecurRom, grrrr!), Naomi Redbird and Ripp Grunt were one hot item.  They finished Fiesta Tech at about the same time, moved into apartments near each other in the city, and had a smoking hot chemistry.   I felt so bad for their other dates, because if either of them  were on a date with another sim, and one of them walked in, they’d usually  ditch their date (not the event, but they’d turn all their attention to each other).  I had thought to bring Ripp back in this neighborhood, but I might wait until they all move to Sims 4.
  • My game still seems to have that glitch where the only way to get new customers is to close and open the store.
  • I realized after playing half this update that I’d not correctly installed the clean/empty templates Sims 2 needs to keep from generating all the pre-mades and townies. So I replaced the neighborhood folders in the program files with empty templates, then put my game from 2014 back in, and tested it again.  Finally, no extra townies or premades!  That’s how I prefer this neighborhood.
  • Naomi didn’t roll any wants to interact with Daniel, and he seemed to avoid her.  She wanted to go on a date, become friends with Senator Phillips, and become best friends with a guy named Toby.    Daniel and Dr. Ono must have kissed in front of everyone about four times, and Dr. Ono pinched Daniel’s rear, too.   From Dr. Ono’s behavior, it doesn’t seem she is too worried about Daniel’s flirting at Chelsea’s party, if she knows about it.  I’m interested to see what it’s like when I play next time–they will be visiting Seiki at PSU for Parent’s Day for the May 605 update, which means they still won’t be the active household.
  • This was sort of a “get my feet wet” kind of post.  I had forgotten how to do basic things like send sims to community lots!

6 Comments so far:

  1. Echo Weaver says:

    This is actually the first Sims 2 story I’ve read, I think. Stylistically, it’s very different from Take Me to the Moon. There are lots of characters to learn. I really appreciated you linking back to previous posts with important events so that I could get context. Looks like you ported over your previous Simdale Valley posts from another blog?

    Your style is different too. I see that you have a lot of CC in your Sims 2 game, whereas you seem to be going with the EA stuff in Sims 4. It’s fun to see the different styles.

    • Hi Susan! Thanks for reading it, and leaving a comment– it’s probably a little hard to get into, jumping in like this. My Sims 2 game would be so much easier to maintain if it were vanilla, but there’s so much fun stuff out there, and alas, every sim and lot is full of CC, plus so many mods that can’t just be yanked out, so it would be a monumental task to take it out at this point. This neighborhood and story I write from a much less whimsical point of view than the Take Me to the Moon story, and I try to tell each update from the perspective of a sim in that household, even if it isn’t told in first person. Basically, in Simdale Valley, although I still use the gameplay and game engine to generate the character and setting, I try to present everything that happens in a believable light and develop the characters in a believable way through the events. Still, I think it is fairly light overall; I don’t tend to get into very serious topics very deeply although I might touch on them. It’s still a type of escape for me, from working in counseling with trauma and crisis daily, to write this.

      • Echo Weaver says:

        Well, Sims 2 doesn’t have performance problems with too much CC, does it?

        I don’t have anything against CC. However, I’ve actually been pulling the high-poly count CC hairs out of my game. After years of playing, I find that I no longer like having hairs of radically different art styles in the same game. Also, I kind of like the EA low-poly hairs. I’ve dumped a bunch of EA age conversions for children and toddlers in to increase variety. I’m pretty happy with the hair options in my game right, and the low poly is good for performance.

        The mods, however, are pretty out of control. And almost everything I have contributes to my play style in a way that’s hard to give up. I have everything running all right, but I want to be careful not to make it worse :).

        As for writing style, I really like this chapter. I was drawn in quickly into Naomi’s life. I think we have similar priorities. I don’t deal with real life stress as part of my career the way you do, but I’ve seen enough in real life that I’m not steering my characters toward anything terribly dark. Sims doesn’t seem to me like my first choice for telling a story like that anyway. I enjoy building an escapist Sims world that is a little bit charmed and safe.

        • That’s a great way to describe it– “a little bit charmed and safe.” For a long time I didn’t even really notice differences (consciously) between different artistic styles of hair custom content, but the more you play and choose those, the more aware you become. I don’t know how it is in Sims 3, but some of my sims 2 custom content file names have been converted into a long string of numbers and I don’t know which file is which. I spent a lot of time in 2013-14 organizing my downloads and so most of it is organized, but there’s maybe 3 dozen files that I can’t identify and don’t want to just yank out or go through the trouble to use a logical sequence to identify them. After Sims 2 Ultimate Collection came out, it had a couple updates. I don’t know if they’ll be doing any more. It would just be easier to reinstall and keep my game running well without CC and mods because some mods have to be put in certain program folders and then Origin updates Sims 2 Ultimate Collection and it affects them. For example, I had a great lighting mod that made sunset and sunrise take a sim hour and change colors, but I’d have to find the documentation and figure out which program files were overwritten by a game update, and where they go to put them back. Most Sims 2 documentation was written for Mansion & Garden, not Ultimate Collection, so it doesn’t always work and that means further troubleshooting/experimenting. Other than that, I don’t have anything against CC either, especially in a game that’s already finalized and won’t be having more updates. I have the game disks, too, but thanks to SecuRom they don’t all work now. Sometimes I enjoy figuring stuff out about the game, but sometimes I just want to play and not worry about it. As for load times & cc, before I organized my downloads folder it took my (old) decent computer about 25 minutes to load the game. Without CC the same computer took about a minute. Fortunately, the game is running fine without all the pieces to the lighting mod in place, at least for now. I’m enjoying Sims 4 being virtually issue and worry-free, though.

          • Echo Weaver says:

            It actually sounds like Sims 2 modding is more intricate than Sims 3 modding.

            Back in the Bad Old Days, you had to create a modding framework that involved messing with the core game files that way. It was a single setup, though, that pointed the game to read files from a Mods folder inside your The Sims 3 folder. At some point along the way, EA quietly decided to support that Mods folder directly. So then you didn’t need to fiddle with the game files anymore. You just created a Mods folder with a config file in it that you can download off a modding site, and you put the mods and CC in the folder. Pretty tidy.

            There are still some mods, called core mods, that replace game files the way you describe. Awesomemod is the legendary one. I believe that the standard NoMosaic censor-removing mod is also a core mod. But you don’t really need to use those. You can get all the Awesome and NoMosaic functionality by running Twallan’s NRaas mod suite. Those are all scripting mods that just need to be dropped in the Mods folder.

            Your sunset mod sounds gorgeous. I’ve played with lighting mods, but I haven’t done much with it. A lot of the EA worlds have different skies, and I didn’t want to make all my worlds the same. I don’t seem to be able to stop fiddling with my game, so I’ll probably go back to it at some point. I’ve been seriously thinking about adding a mod that exaggerates the sunset/sunrise changes that go with the Season expansion so that you can have long summer days and short winter days much more like they are where I live.

  2. maisie says:

    Great update Shannon! It was definitely strange seeing a TS2 update with the old crowd!!! Made me miss you over at N99 even more. Sandy’s makeover is just amazing to me, you’ve really made her look authentic and not like a weird cartoon. I like the idea of Naomi getting a cat, and hopefully she finds some way to entertain herself in the mean time. Her home is really quite nice, and the party was a success too. I was a little worried myself, but it seems everything went well, and no one started up an affair which is always a good thing. 🙂

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