Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FLASHBACK: April 1981

Hail Nastralia!

The once mere pastime of imagining a fictional nation which was headed by me developed by this time into a full blown obsession.

As I look back on it now, the whole resurgence of this pre-pubescent fantasy may have been inspired subconsciously by the problems of my development of a mature sexual/proto-adult security due to the February experiences between John N. and I.

I, no doubt, wanted to regain the feeling of security I enjoyed before then. But I took it another step...rather than just security in this world, I created an impenetrable alternate universe where I ruled supreme and could not, ever, be harmed.

The original Nastralia was a democracy. I quickly created a "mot de guere" for Imperium and wrote about the evolution of the Nastralian Republic, "peacefully", into the Empire of Nastralia. (Shades of ancient Rome not ignored here.)


It was during this time I created the title "Riothamus". I found in old historical documents that this term was actually used in early Dark Age times to designate the King of England. Rio taken from the REX of Latin and Thamus for the river Thames.

Most of the tangible evidence of my obsession with Nastralia was created during this time. I would spend hours upon hours drawing maps and writing histories. Most of these were stored in a loose-leaf binder given to me by John C. many years earlier. The inside pockets of the Mead binder were decorated not only by my illustrations of the Nastralian crests and Flags of Nastralia, made of paper, and stuck on with Scotch tape, but, the Crest of John's impression of his Portuguese heritage was also there, as he had hand-drawn it back in circa 1975.

Because of loss of items through the years due to natural dis-interest or mis-placement, the book-binder and a crude map stored in it, or two, were the oldest physical artifacts of Nastralia.

These were tossed, consciously, into a dumpster in Casselberry in 2003, with all other documentation of this "realm", including every map, treaty, document and history made since...including this year, when much of it was made.

Why?

Koyaanisqatsi has not been kind to my past or to the repairation of who "I am". During the most severe months of Koyaanisqatsi, it seems, in retrospect, much like the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. The Terror was not designed to be a destructive period...but it was thought to be necessary to destroy the "anciene regime" in order to reconstruct a new and superior society. Yes, the republicanism created as a result afforded the genesis for a better society, we now see, but did it have to come at such a cost? This is what now was to be asked about Nastralia.

My parents took note of my increased interest in drawing...though I doubt either of them took a keen interest in exactly "WHAT" I was drawing...I highly doubt that either one had ever laid eyes on any materials of Nastralia, For all it's importance in my life during this time, they never were aware. As in many things, they lived a separate life from me.

The notice of increased time spent drawing was awarded by a gift of a (what turned out to be) good quality adjustable drafting table. From 1981 on, I would use this table for 22 years. It was one of the most useful gifts ever given to me. It succumbed, as well, to the Koyaanisqatsi destruction of February 2003.

During these early 80's times, drawing these maps, and imagining the development of of world empire, I frequently thought..."Why am I wasting my time doing this...It will never amount to anything".

The answer was simple:

"It is not a story for public consumption. It is not to develop into a book or film. It is as an aid in psychological stability. A relatively innocuous stress relief device designed to quickly build up the spirits and exploit as a motivator in various new goals.

The concept worked, but perhaps not the way most would consider successfully.

It lent me to belief I was superior to most all new concepts. I stuck to my guns with almost all opinions, alienating old and new friends.

Feeling "alien" and unrelated to all of humanity, I alienated them, treating them as either temporary playthings or total waste products.

Fast forward a few years...and: Here I am.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hooked On Sims ...Again!

A while back, like 2 years ago, I posted about a ressurected interest in the PC game The Sims after I bought an expansion pack (Hot Date) and could do all sorts of new things...what's more, the game had built up a quite energetic fansite community and all sorts of new objects and skins were available for free download.

Back then, if you remember, I had just become reaquainted with my own internet connection again after the worst of Koyanisqatssi had taken it's toll and left me, literally, disconnected, for about 2 years, give or take a few malware infected (or should I say, infested) months in Spring of '04 at Cypress Springs (aka Ranchero de Cucaracha).

Well now it's the Sims 2, somewhat the same game but enhanced graphics and some cool aspects like characters aging and and eventually dying of natural causes. (good, because it always caused me a little pang of guilt whenever I had to murder a character I was tired of (ya, right)).

The game came with pre-installed neighborhoods, one featuring a couple of the pre-installed families from the first game like the Goths. In this game, the wife of Goth family patriarch Morimer has died "mysteriously" and her ghost is seen in some locations.

I've been spending lots of time with this neighborhood and here's what I got so far...

Mortimer lived in his smallish (compared to some of the doozies I've built) but nicely outfitted mansion with his grown adult daughter Cassandra and his young son Alexander.
Cassandra was set to get married to Lothario but somehow the wedding date kept getting pushed back.

The trellis and buffet set up for the big event in the Goth backyard instead was used by Mortimer when he accepted a proposal to Gina Caliente, the gold digging blond who lived down the street. Alexander then had a birthday and became a teenager.

Cassandra and her new step mom hated each other and got into a terrible fight.

A day or 2 later, Mortimer's life graph was very near the end and he was coughing more frequently. Feeling good enough to show off his Level 9 cooking skills though, he began preparing a nice pancake breakfast, but somehow Alexander entered the kitchen and distracted him. He really was totally showing signs of old age as he stood there looking at Alexander and the pancakes turned to brown, then black on the stove.

The fact that I then paused the game, went into Buy Mode and "accidentally" removed the doors to the kitchen without replacing them and re-entered Live Mode was not so good an action for the health of these 2 sims.

The fire first consumed Mortimer and after the Grim Reaper beamed him up to SimHeaven, I decided to spare young Alex and made him use a fire extinguisher to put out the remainder of the fire. But, likely due to the fact that he was just a young teen lacking skills, he failed to put out the fire and was soon fully engulfed in flames.

After their deaths, both Cassandra and Dina were a mess...Dina became a bit wacked and started playing pirate in the upstairs bathtub at every opportunity.

So sad.

Dina eventually moved back in with her sister and as a result gained only the default 20,000 simoleans rather than inheriting Mortimer's nearly one half million.

But with the 20 Gs, she did buy some new furnishings for her and Gina, and also a hot sports car!

Another wedding took place the day after the Goth ceremony, at John N.'s mansion. After much wooing, he finally married me. (As should have been in real life decades ago...Sim life corrects the Universe at last:)

But things between us have been a bit rocky. We got in a big fight a few Sim days ago and are slowly mending the rift. John is still a bit upset with me. I don't remember the reason but it might be when I went downtown and started flirting with Don Lothario (who may not be as straight as he seems...hello Cassandra?) and Jeremiah Gaylord the husband of Nathan who I had an affair with (including one night of YooHoo)...but I thought all of that was before I created and started going out with John. Oh no, now I remember, John and I had a pool party a few days after the wedding and I flirted with Jeremiah again, including attempting WooHoo in John and My bed! GASP! I'm such a whore. Serves me right for playing drunk (in real life) and making bad decisions. And John's the romance sim. I'm a knowledge sim.

Here's a rundown of a few more of the families in the game:

Jeremiah and Nathaniel Gaylord, a bi-racial gay married couple. They were one of the first I created. I moved them into the "doule-wide trailer style" house next to the pre-fab Broke family.

I'm playing both them and the Broke family without the motherlode cheat, so they have to make their money the old fashioned way...they have to earn it.

Ric is in there in a pretty fair replica of his condo. Remember a couple years ago when I posted the Sim screenshots of his (then our) house in the original game. Looks better now. I even included the whole pool area, jacussi, clubhouse on his property. His house and furnishings were created with just enough money from the motherlode cheat, but now he has to show off his fortune aspirations and make money in his business track career. Embarassingly, his character and mine have a crush on each other...GASP...how NOT like real life.

Aliscion and Albert are in the game. They also are being played as non-cheats. Their characters kinda look like them...so scary.

They live near the Pervy family.
Oh yes, how sick am I...

Uncle Tim Pervy aka Father Tim O'Flagellate somehow was able to adopt 3 young teenaged boys, despite the fact he is a registered sex offender arrested for diddlin' with his altar boys. Wonder how he will treat his smooth, virile young "sons"? How good of a "Daddy" can he be?
Oh, ya, I went there!

As an homage to one of my favorite TV shows as a kid in the 70's...The Brady family is here. Their house, at least on the inside, is a pretty good recreation (within the game's object and building option limitations) of the famous home. In mine though...there are plenty of bathrooms.

But not as many bathrooms as the Tudors. Having recently seen the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age, I resurrected Queen Elizabeth the First, her hand maiden 'Beth and the man they vied for in the film, Sir Walter Raleigh. I threw in a court jester for good measure. The four of them, dressed in somewhat appropriate period costumes, live in splendor in a huge 4 story castle complete with a moat and English hedge maze.

Among the 45 rooms are a conservatory, ballroom, library, 3 kitchens, 2 formal dining halls, a throne room, a meeting hall, a chapel, a gambling hall, a pub, 6 bedrooms, several parlors and 14 bathrooms. No dungeon. This is a happy kingdom. (Besides, methinks Uncle Tim will build a dungeon in his perverted home)

Not quite as opulent as the Tudors' castle, I pain-stakingly recreated one of the most famous mansions in the world. The White House. But in my version, it's already after the 2008 election and the tenents are none other than President Hillary and First Gentleman Bill Clinton!

Oh what joy they feel being back in the saddle again!

I built only the main house, no West or East wings, and eliminated the ground floor so that it would be 2 floors. The first floor has acurate representations of the Blue Room, Red Room and Green Room, The State Dining Room and East Hall. The upper floor includes my rendition of the President's living quarters, the Queen's Bedroom (that's what it's called...not Hillary's bedroom), and the Lincoln Bedroom, complete with cash register. (No just kidding about the cash register, but, now that I think of it I could probably bring over a cash register object from Downtown...hmmm, that'd be hilarious).

Oh, since I didn't build the West Wing, I put the "Oval Office" on the second floor and placed TWO desks in there. ('Cause you know it will be like having 2 for the price of one!)

Remember Crocket and Tubbs from Miami Vice? They have a sweet 1980's minimalist-style pad in the Little Miami section of town. Complete with pink neon flamingos, all-white furniture living room, top-floor disco and, of course, a slick silver "Ferrari".

Another TV re-creation: The winning father/daughter "team" from this past summer's reality show "Big Brother 8", Evil Dick and his once-estranged daughter, Barbie-doll wannabe Jennifer. They have a cool rocker-pad just next door to the Caliente sisters.

Last of my own creations are the Collins, Barnabas and Elvira. They moved into the little one-room shack near the water tower after I moved in the pre-fab Oldie family and killed them off via starvation. The Collins have added more floor space, and a second-story loft. They get the occasional haunting from the ghosts of the Oldies, but they don't mind, they like the occult. After all, it should be pretty obvious that I am gearing for them to be bitten by the Vampire Lord or Lady to bring them into the Fold of the Undead.