Posted in Falconvale (retired), My Sims 3 Challenges, Sims 3, Ze Miscellany

RIP Falconvale

I finally decided to stop beating a dead horse.  An issue with Lacee (Osprey’s imaginary friend) caused a glitch that I could not find a work-around or fix for.  And let’s face it – I was dreading going back sorting through memories and catching up with the story .. that I started late in the first place.  That, and I learned a lot through playing Falconvale and trying out the challenge, and I think I have a better handle on how not to let the game’s innate settings get the best of my story (example: the dang ice cream truck and nonstop paparazzi!!)

After being so frustrated by my seeming inability to fix the problem (I’ll try to detail what went wrong in a postscript in a second here..) – I actually pretty much stopped playing Sims for all this time (hence the lack of updates).  (Although I did spend some time working on/writing/setting up what I’ll dub my “mystery project”- a challenge I’m writing from a vague idea up- but more on that another time.)   However, the impending release of Supernatural brought back the addiction, and despite rather looming and time-consuming real-life changes (err.. again, postscript!) – I unearthed my Sims game and spent another three or four days futilely arguing with my Falconvale save file.  (Fruedian slip – I just had to correct my mis-spelling of “file” as “fail”… hm..)  Besides the fact that I ended up thoroughly annoyed at the game in general .. I didn’t really give up – I just decided discretion really may be the better part of valor, and I ordered the hearse for the game/challenge/story.  I will eventually build another Falconvale town.. but it won’t be on that custom world (Sunset Valley 2 also got the brunt of my frustration and got uninstalled) .. and it won’t be with those sims/story.

Now, on to the good news.  I have (after a day of wracking my brain and searching custom worlds) come up with a brand new story, a new idea.. and a new challenge beginning.  This time I resolve to write the story along with the game, so I won’t get ahead of myself like I did with Falconvale.. and also.. this time, the story really is going to take the reins and dictate how the challenge is played.  But more on that later.  Now to finish this post, and get going on the new story.  .. also.. going to have to archive poor ol’ Falconvale on the blog.. (more procrastination ensues..)

Postscript 1 – or – “What Killed Falconvale”

As I mentioned, it was the imaginary friend’s fault. (When in doubt, always blame an inanimate object, they can’t argue.. or can they…) At some point during play, Osprey’s imaginary friend was following him around (as usual).  She was in “child” age-state, and not “real” yet, he was a teen.  I finally managed to get the relationship high enough to use Osprey’s saved “morph” potion to make her real, and, impatient as usual, I ignored the fact that it was late in Osprey’s awake-time/day, and I barrelled ahead with making her real.  Once I triggered the “make me real” scenario, my game (as it did on all other imaginary friend transitions) decided to take an extended hiatus (load) moment – but of course, time keeps going, and his needs kept going lower while the imaginary friend continued to glow…. eventually, he went into needs “failure”, and got lower and lower, until I worried enough to cancel him out of the interaction and send him to replenish needs.  The game kept going, I lost track of the fact that the whole interaction had been cancelled, I suppose I figured I could simply restart it.  The next day, the doll in question tried to age transition to catch up to Osprey, and again got stuck – again, I got bored/impatient and cancelled it.  Stuck her back in the inventory when he went to bed, and went to check on some other households.  When I came back, I tried setting her on floor, and the doll appeared frozen, and wouldn’t come to “life” no matter what I did, no actions available.  I tried everything I could think of and then some, finally, even attempting to simply delete the doll, or stick her back in inventory and forget her.  However, all was clearly not forgotten, and the next time I switched households to check on someone or other, the game simply refused to load the Falcon household any longer.  Upon actually downloading “errortrap” and some other mods, it was clearly showing the doll/imaginary friend persona was blocking the load of the household.  After the above detailed frustration, I finally deleted the save file and the custom world and went on my merry (.. or, not so merry) way.  Later, I discovered that the game automatically backs up the game whenever you use a different save game name, so I was fairly sure I have old files before the error happened, however, it’s probably a good week or more of game play back in the story, and I’m far to annoyed by the whole issue in general to attempt to rescue it any longer… so.. goodbye, Falconvale and the Falcons.  🙂

Postscript 2 – real-life changes..

As a final addendum to this post, I will explain what I meant by real life changes for anyone curious or interested.  If you’re not, simply move on to whatever you planned to read next.. 😉  As I think I mentioned in the “about me” posts, I have homeschooled my daughter since preschool.  Long story short, as she’s getting older and closer to high school, the less confident I feel in my ability to manage her educational needs AND be the mom she needs.  We’ve found another schooling option that will allow her to get the education she needs, as well as parental support.  She will actually get to do school online, and I get “demoted” (or promoted) to “educational coach” instead of “teacher” – someone else makes the lesson plans, I just help make sure the lessons get completed and classes get attended, etc.  She’s very excited.. and with “all” my “free” time, I decided it was time to make a transition in my life.  So.. after two failed attempts at college in the past, and 12 years since I’ve seen the inside of a classroom, I took a leap of faith in myself and enrolled in the major/program I’ve always wanted to pursue anyway.  The college is online, so I will be able to be around for my daughter and family… the only issue was getting in.  I had to test in at a Pre-Calculus + math level to even be ACCEPTED to the program.. not to mention other placement tests (that weren’t an issue).  Somehow, I managed to brush up on my math skills enough to be accepted.. and I even managed to secure the financial assistance!  So, as of the beginning of September, I begin full-time classes with Devry University in a Bachelor program for “Game and Simulation Programming”.  (Which is actually a part of their engineering college, and, from what the advisor says, one of their more difficult programs.)  I certainly won’t be dropping out because I’m bored this time….  (interestingly enough, one of my first two classes is Advanced Composition (I had a good number of English credits transfer, so the lower classes are already crossed of my list).. which should keep me busy and working on creating/writing more – so hopefully that will improve story quality on simmy challenges.. hehe!)

Posted in Falconvale (retired), My Sims 3 Challenges, Sims 3

Chapter Three – When is it “Me Time”??

Chapter Two – Starting a Family << | >>

Day by day, life went on for the little family.  Jessilyn spent more time fishing, gardening, cooking, and fixing things that broke.  Between clogged toilets and broken sinks or showers, it seemed there was always something to do.  Upgrading things so they would be self-cleaning only made sense to save time.


With all the fixing and upgrading, Jessi reached level 5 of the handiness skill!  Dave wasn’t slacking either, and spent his days Jogging, working out, or finding critters to sell.  His nights were spent watching the stars.  Where he found time to sleep, we’ll never know!  Then, one night, he spotted something in the sky he’d never seen before.  After writing a letter to the mainland observatory, they decided they hadn’t seen it either.. and he was awarded some money for finding a new star!

Not only a new star, but level 5 logic!

Finding out his new hobby might also help add funds to the family, Dave kept working on it, and soon he hit level 5 in both logic and athletic.  He still spent time daily with his son, and watched him grow and learn to do new things, like spit up all over clean clothes, and roll over – almost off the bed.  The things that new parents never think of before hand.

Jessilyn practiced cooking with her new produce from her garden (now level 5!), and soon her cooking reached level 5 as well.

Level 5 cooking = more things I can make!

She had even learned how to make Sushi to make use of all her fish from fishing – although they still tended to be used as fertilizer in the garden far more.  Fishing got to level 5 as well, and finally the ocean catches started getting a little better. Life in the little family seemed close to perfect.. if a little busy.

Still very much in love...

Dave also decided to order a Chemistry set to practice his logic on – and, well, because it simply sounded fun.

Stand back.. I'm doing SCIENCE!

(oh and yes, that’s another paparazzi in the background.. crazy people just won’t leave this family alone!)  Before they knew it, Peregrine had finally grown up to be a toddler.  With Jessi being busy with fishing and gardening much of the day, Dave took time out from his skill-building to spend time teaching young Peregrine some things he would definitely need to know.  First order of business… talking.  No more of this crying at all hours and not telling us what you want, ok young man? .. Right..

Peregrine can talk! (maybe he'll tell dad how much burnt hair smells?)

… Perhaps dad only took time out of his skilling because his latest Chemistry concoction failed miserably? … Noo.. can’t be.  (hehe!)

With days that seemed even busier, Jessi woke one morning to an ominous message..

Yep, you guessed it..

All that woohooing and being in love clearly has side effects.. Jessi finds out she’s pregnant again.  With nothing to do for it but order another crib, daily life goes on.  Crawling around on the hardwood floors is great for keeping things swept up, but Dave is sure there’s a better way.

Getting around is so much easier this way, son!

Peregrine took right to the walking idea, and slowly he even started to get the idea of potty training.  With all the time spent with Peregrine, Dave barely had time for anything else, and getting in a few hours of star-gazing seemed almost like heaven for him.

Time to get up? But I'm still sleepy!!

Time flies when you’re always busy.. and while Dave was chatting with the mailman outside one morning, he heard Jessi yelling inside.  A few hours later, young Osprey was born.

Welcome to the family, Osprey!

(oh and yes, that’s Jessi that stinks, not the new baby.. hehe)  He was born with light blonde hair like his mama, and a much quieter disposition than his brother.  Clearly these two were not destined to be “two peas in a pod”.  But there was little time to worry about such things for now.  With two very young children in the house, a garden to care for, and skills to learn, there was never a spare moment in the Falcon household.  Even making friends with the paparazzi had to be put on hold to keep a handle on all the daily tasks that needed juggling.  Taking time for keeping their relationship good seemed like a must, so once the kids were asleep, Jessi and Dave would try to cuddle and find time to talk before they simply passed out from exhaustion.

Uh... oh... again??

A a couple mornings later, while attempting to take out the trash Jessi drops everything as she realizes…. sure enough, she is pregnant again.  With such a lack of time, Jessi finally let Gyr loose back into the world.  She simply couldn’t bear to see him sold into a pet shop.  One day, she promised, they would find another falcon – or perhaps, even Gyr!  (actually, the poor neglected thing croaked, but heck, this sounds better – hehe!)

Finally.. a girl. Welcome, Lanner!

Before Osprey even aged up to toddler, birth round three began.  Dave – once again – decided to make himself scarce, and simply cared for the other two children while Jessi kept herself busy screaming at Dave to get her some ice chips or something.  They named her Lanner, after the beautiful and fast Lanner Falcons in the (real) world – because she arrived so fast, of course!  Again with the gorgeous red hair from Dave, Lanner immediately showed an interest in the world around her, much more so than her brothers.

Too many babies.. not enough sleep.

Poor Dave felt a bit overwhelmed, but completely blessed.  Osprey and Lanner both had gotten mysteriously empty packages in the mail from “long-lost” relatives, while Peregrine hadn’t.  Perplexed, but determined not to allow the slight to harm his son, Dave threw himself into caring for his ever-growing family.  As he watched his children grow, he began to worry more and more about their safety.  Finally, he decided he would found a police station for their little town.  Well.. when it became a town, that is.  First he had some research to do, learning about crimes and profiling, and getting logic and athletic high enough to be worthy of a police chief title.  .. maybe he’d better find another officer or two as well..?  .. Nevermind that now, though.  There’s things to learn and kids to care for … oh, and…

Osprey turns toddler..

Osprey is now mobile as well.. so that should make things even more interesting!  What a cutie.. although his hair certainly could do to grow a little bit.  (wink wink)

That night, Jessi and Dave finally had some time with all the kids asleep to talk.  What they needed, they felt, was some more recruits to help build their town.  Jessi had a couple contacts back on the mainland who had helped her with some of her repairing problems over the last few months (weeks in simtime), so she decided to give them a call and see if they would be interested in joining her town-building project.  Since Dave wasn’t interested in starting up the military base, perhaps one of her repairman friends would be?  A new military base was sure to bring jobs and interest in the small community.. and she was afraid if she didn’t take the general up on his offer soon, he might change his mind!  She liked Dave’s idea of starting up a Police Department, but agreed it was probably a ways off still.. the priority needed to be finding someone to run the base-to-be.. and founding Jessi’s fishing hole.  She had noticed recently that the horses had taken to using the falls as their home base, and she felt if they set it aside as a fishing hole and wildlife reserve people might be more interested in her cause as a whole.  Exhausted, but excited about their town’s prospects, Jessi and Dave fell asleep.

Of course, babies don't sleep as long as adults...

When Lanner woke up for her feeding, Dave was nice enough to get up early to care for her (and the two toddlers she woke up… eeks!)  …. and yet another day began.

Chapter Two – Starting a Family << | >>

Posted in Falconvale (retired), My Sims 3 Challenges, Sims 3

Chapter Two – Starting a Family

Chapter One – A Place to Call My Own <<  |  >> Chapter Three – When is it “Me Time”??

Starting a Family

Very soon, Jessi noticed some disturbing nausea and other symptoms.. and sure enough, a test (pop-up.. lol) confirmed that she was pregnant.

Expecting? Oh yes...

Since she was already awake, Jessi set about doing some house cleaning and maintenance – it appeared the sink had stayed dirty so long that it had broken!  After pulling out her handiness manual, she decided she might be able to fix it on her own.  It took two tries – but wonder of wonders, it was fixed!

Broken sink? .. No problem...

Since her jammies and fuzzy kitty slippers were now completely soaked from the sink fiasco, she did another load of laundry, and cooked up a nice breakfast of waffles for her new husband to wake up to (from one of their very few eggs).  After a lovely breakfast, the first order of business was ordering Dave’s bike so he could get around the town as well.  Jessi had more fish to catch, and she headed to the shore to work on her fishing.

Since his bike wouldn’t arrive until the next day, Dave walked across the street to the old farmhouses (left over from the original colonization attempt) and searched through their weed-ridden surrounding property until he found a few seeds for Jessi.  Content that he had a nice present for her, he then aimlessly walked around town, wondering what he would do with his life from now on.  He’d always wanted to be a Sports Star.. but now that he was out in nature, he figured that was pretty silly.  He didn’t want to have to commute across the bay to the mainland, and without a harbor or an owned boat, that was pretty impossible anyway.  Sighing, he wondered what an athletic sort of guy could do.  He’d learned Photography while working as a Paparazzi, but his camera had been one of the many personal items he’d had to leave behind.  To pay tribute to his darling Jessi’s dream, all he had brought with him was his diploma and his clothes – not exactly an auspicious start to a life, was it? …  He wondered for a while whether he ought to start a Military base with the offer Jessi had secured from the mainland general… but he’d never been one for buzz haircuts and the thought of drilling every morning frankly made him sick to his stomach.  For now.. he resolved to do something with his desire to be athletic.. and ordered a stereo and a workout tape or two.  After watching poor Jessi struggle with morning sickness AND a broken sink that morning, he also resolved to learn a thing or two about wrenches, tools, and fixing things, so he headed home and set about reading the handiness manuals she had in her .. interesting.. bookshelf.

Oooh! A wild horse!

On her way home from fishing, Jessi saw a wild horse and her foal for the first time, as well as a deer.  Amazed by all the wildlife, she vowed to… someday.. tame one of the horses for her own.

The long bike ride to the shore every day was taking it’s toll on pregnant Jessi, and she decided to hire some mainland workers to dig a small pond on her home property.  Obviously, it would have no fish – yet – but hopefully she would soon be able to stock the pond from her own fishing adventures.  With the baby on the way, she also decided another home addition was going to be necessary… so she had the workers put on a baby’s room and install a permanent awning for a “garage” of sorts.  It would protect the washer and the bikes from the elements.  As the pregnancy progressed, Dave obligingly started doing more around the house.

What a considerate man he is...

Dave also started making good use of his new stereo and bike.  He spent several hours each day combing the local flora and fauna for collectibles to send back to the mainland for sale.  Money was getting tighter and tighter with all these home – and family – expansions, and they still had to think about Jessi’s dream fishing hole.  Dave finally mastered the basics of Athletic, and started jogging instead of biking sometimes on his money-making jaunts.

Up down up down.. (I'm a little teapot?)

(in the picture, you can also see the half-wall and fence/gate kitchen “addition” I installed for them.. and the sleepy Falcon)  All this exploring led Dave to wondering more and more about the world around him, especially the night sky, and he ordered a telescope so he could see the stars closer.  Pretty soon, he mastered the basics of logic, and wanted to know even more.

What's up there??

All this sky-searching led to some more soul-searching, and Dave began to wonder .. yet again.. what he would do with his life.  He had to do something!  He didn’t feel right just doing nothing, and the town had to grow.  … eventually, at least.  And not just with their family.  Perhaps he should think of what would help the community out.. and use his new Logic skill.. and Athletic… hm… more thought was going to have to be undertaken.

Then.. one fateful evening, Jessi went into labor.  Since a hospital visit was out of the question, she simply sweated and screamed through it.  Tylenol didn’t help much, and her ire rose.. and with it, the annoyances with the “little things”.  Before you know it, Dave was running around cleaning the entire house for her, hoping to appease the mother-to-be.

Dave cleaning house while the baby is born..

(clearly, looking out the window – he wishes he was anywhere else!!)  After an eternity (it seemed), the new baby was born.   A boy!  They named him Peregrine, in honor of both their last name, and the town.

Meet Peregrine..

Soon after seeing the wild horse and the deer for the first time, Jessi started noticing hoofprints around her garden, and some missing produce.  They didn’t mind sharing, but when it was their only food source, it only made sense to protect it.  A visit the next morning.. or rather ..home-invasion of the furry kind.. drove that point home for sure.  (out-take.. lol)

A home invasion of the furry kind. (notice the pedo-bear ice cream truck too.. lol)

(oh, and that’s another paparazzi about to get squished by the wild horse… note the baby horse peeking around the house-corner.. apparently he’s a bit more shy.  this pic also gives a better idea of what the home looks like currently – the solar panel and wind turbine are in the back yard, the pond off to the right..)  A fence was clearly going to be necessary, and the newly-handy Dave set about building her a fence for their food garden.

The baby was a joy – well, ok.. most the time.. – and the home-life stayed busy.  Jessi finally got tired of cleaning the sink, and installed a self-cleaning mechanism.

Yay.. no more sink-cleaning!

On a roll now, she decided fire-proofing the stove was a must with a baby around, and Dave watched the baby for her.

a spartan baby room.. but it works!

He loved spending time with his first-born son, anyway, so caring for him while she worked on making their home safer seemed like an easy trade-off.

There.. all safe!

Oh.. and one final note.. the falcon, Gyr, learned to talk.

Gyr learns to talk..

Chapter One – A Place to Call My Own <<  |  >> Chapter Three – When is it “Me Time”??

Posted in Falconvale (retired), My Sims 3 Challenges, Sims 3

Chapter One – A Place to Call My Own

>> Chapter Two – Starting a Family

A place to call my own….

Jessilyn Falcon began life in Sunset Valley with her family, and she grew up in the normal way.  Father and Mother worked nine to five, and she was an only child… so she spent a lot of time on her own.  She began to like it this way more and more.  In her early teens, a stereo her father was upgrading spontaneously caught fire, and the fire department arrived too late to save him.  Lost and sick at heart, her mother wandered aimlessly through life for a couple weeks, then made a reckless decision to go swimming in the community pool when she was already tired.. and drowned.  Because Jessilyn was “too young” to live on her own, she was promptly put into the social services system and dropped around from home to home, never really fitting in anywhere.  Finally one family decided the only place for her was boarding school, and sent her off to the School of Peace and Love, one of the cheapest schools, and the one that offered the most tuition support for a lost, outdoorsy-type teen.  As soon as she graduated high school, Jessilyn was free of Social Services, and she packed what little she had, and the stipend they had given her as her “start in life” .. and she left town.  Literally.  She researched in the library and found an area that had once been slated for colonization, but had been abandoned.  Through pleading and contacting the media for support, she managed to get City Hall to allow her to re-zone the area and re-instate postal and cellular phone services.  She knew life would be tough, but she felt she could make it on her own.  She initially petitioned for a small military base to be installed, but they insisted she would need to recruit her own commanding officer to move to “that god-forsaken place” before they would even think about it.  Jessi packed just enough food to get by, and had a wind turbine and solar power cell shipped out to the island so she would be able to run electricity to her new home.  She also arranged to have a well dug and a rudimentary water pipe system installed from a local underground spring… and then she took the plunge.  With nothing but some money, the clothes on her back and some changes in her suitcase, a little bit of food she felt would last her until she could find her own sources, her cell-phone, and her diploma.. she set off for the land of new beginnings.

Meet Jessilyn!

… At least the grass was green and lush, right?  With some help of contractors she had hired, Jessi set about building a small home.  She knew she would need to expand with time, so she planned ahead as much as she could.  She also tried to use as much as she could in the way of local resources – logs and wood harvested from the local forest.  During lulls in the construction, she explored the area.. and the lush green-ness struck her everytime.  Soon she began to call her little home “Falconvale”.  She noted lot of small wildlife in the area that she felt she could catch because of their non-shyness around humans, and contacted a pet store back in Sunset Valley.  They agreed to buy anything she would catch, and the postal service agreed to ship the live animals – very carefully.

Home Sweet .. Tiny Home

Finally, her tiny home was complete.  Two tiny rooms – living area and bathroom – and just the bare amenities… but it was home.  She put in a call to have her wind turbine and solar panels.. and well dug.. and sat down to wait.

Learning cooking and handiness while waiting

While waiting, she decided it was past time to “better” herself, and set about reading all about cooking.  There was no sense in burning down the house when there was no fire department, right?  After picking up cooking, and the workers still hadn’t arrived for their appointment, she decided she’d learn handiness.  It wasn’t like the repairmen lived right around the corner, either.

Finally, the workers arrived and set to work, and with them her new bike and … the paparazzi.  All that media attention she’d had to get to make City Hall let her move had backfired.  Now they were sending story hounds after her!  She guessed it only made sense – not many people had the guts to set out into nowhere, to build a town from nothing.  People were only curious, right?  Sighing deeply, she made her way over to the two journalists that were sent, and completed the interview.  One of them, Dave Ramsey, seemed extremely interested in her ideas to start a new town, and .. maybe she was reading him wrong.. but it seemed he might be interested in her, too!?

They talked all day as the workers did their job, and by the time darkness had fallen and the workers had finished, Dave and Jessi had decided they needed to pursue this attraction between them.  A quick, awkward first kiss goodbye before the workers and Dave set off in the boat back to the mainland.

Jessi and Dave's first kiss.

Jessi, feeling a bit lonely for the first time since she had moved to Falconvale, headed inside to plug in her appliances, make dinner, and go to bed.

Early the next morning, she set off on her new bike to explore a bit more.  She managed to catch several animals to send to the pet store, and, even better.. she found what she was just sure was a lettuce seed!  With her limited food stocks – and equally limited cooking knowledge, finding this was a godsend, and she hurried home to plant it.  One of the animals she had managed to catch was an injured falcon, and Jessi decided to order a bird tree and keep the bird as a mascot.  While ordering the bird tree, she decided to order a washing machine and a clothes line, since her clothes were getting rather ….grungy.

The next day, the bird tree arrived, and with it… Dave Ramsey!  They decided to call this day a “date” and spent all day talking and getting to know each other before the boat had to leave.

An exciting ... date?

(note the dirty sink in the background.. haha)  After Dave left, she did laundry for the first time on her own, and headed to bed.  The next morning, with more exploring and animal catching, she also discovered a tomato seed, and hurried to plant it.  While exploring, she noted a wonderful waterfall lot, and decided she wanted to make it into a fishing hole… if only she knew how to fish.. so she set about learning how to fish.

A week or so later, while tending her tiny garden, she finally felt she understood the basics of gardening… and planted some more seeds she had found recently.

The mini-garden

(note the paparazzi in the Lord Sponge t-shirt.. I swear I didn’t put him in that…)  Over the week, Dave and Jessi had kept in touch, and, finally, they decided to tie the knot.  He really believed in her “living simple” approach, and wanted to do everything he could to help.  .. So Jessi proposed.  Unorthodox, yes, but so was her home.

After, of course, a romantic woohoo...

He said yes, and stayed the night – (starting a family wouldn’t be a bad thing, either!) The next morning, they filled out all the appropriate forms.  Jessi hired some workers to put a small addition onto the back of her tiny cabin to support a full bedroom with a double bed, and once that addition was complete..  and the marriage license arrived…  they had a small .. and VERY private ceremony at home.

.. yep, he's thinking about bed again already!

The wedding night was everything Jessi could have hoped for, and she fell asleep in her new double bed in their new bedroom with romantic visions of a wonderful family dancing in her head.

Another new beginning... what comes next??

>> Chapter Two – Starting a Family

Posted in Falconvale (retired), My Sims 3 Challenges

Introducing … Falconvale – a “Nothing is Free” Challenge!

The first challenge I’m going to attempt to blog/story-write about is my “Nothing is Free” challenge.  (Mod The Sims – The “Nothing Is Free” Challenge)  I started this on the Sunset Valley 2 world from Sims 3 Exchange.  The basic premise of the challenge is to build a city from nothing – a completely blank, unpopulated world.  I’ve already started the challenge, but I haven’t gotten all that far.. so I only have a little catch-up to do on the story writing.