The crystal above my sim’s head is called a “plumbbob”. Â Its color shows the mood of the sim, from the deep red of absolute despair through bright green satisfaction to the pure radiant white of sheer ecstatic happiness. Â A happiness that can be hard to understand even for those close to you, at least when it comes from inside and just keeps flowing.
Today was not “my day”. Actually yesterday took a nosedive too, after I wrote my entry for that day. Â I have had problems with the electricity to the home office for a while, as described on Tuesday. I have moved my main computer (the quad-core) into the living room, where I am typing this now. Â I kept the 3-core in the home office, but it was not entirely stable. Â Yesterday evening it turned itself off again, and the lights flickered. Â But then the lights continued to flicker, and got even worse. Â A few minutes later, the lights sputtered and dimmed and went out. They did not come back. Â Today I have replaced the fuses, and they seem unharmed, but there is still no power in the home office. Â Or in my bedroom either. Â But my mobile phone managed to wake me up this morning, hopefully it will continue to do so for the weeks I may have left here.
About that, I called the company that had the house to let at MÃ¸ll. It was not rented out yet, but they had a lot of Â people who were interested. Â Well, so much for that. Â Since the price is fixed, I have no chance to compete with the families. Â People will always rent out to a family over a single man, if the alternative exists. Â This is just common sense. Â Even if most single men above the age of 25 were not insane (which most probably are), they could still die at any time for any random reason. But to wipe out a whole family at once, you need a front-page-worthy car crash or something like that. Â So family it is.
Not that I had much time today to chase a new place to live. Â I had to get to work quickly as I had to take phone calls instead of someone who was absent for some good reason. Â I don’t have a problem with people being absent. In fact, I may start being so myself. Â After this, the guy who should take phone calls together with my neighbor suddenly fell off the loop, leaving said neighbor alone to fend a storm of phones (there was some small disturbance in the Net). So I had to step in repeatedly.
Now it so happens that I don’t normally talk. Â I mean that literally. Â I can talk for about five minutes a day (more if I can speak softly) before my throat gets sore. Â Something is up with my larynx, vocal cords or whatever it is called. Â It has been gradually worsening for years. Â I thought for a while that my lack of talking was the reason for this rather than just the effect, but I have thought about it. Â I have Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10, the awesome speech recognition program from Nuance. Â It is now so good that speaking to your computer is a good alternative to typing. Â I have used it for NaNoWriMo for several years. And each time since it became good enough to keep using, my throat got sore and I had to cut down on it. Â So this has lasted for many years, it is just that normally I don’t speak so normally I don’t notice.
Anyway, after this workday my throat was sore, verging on raw. Â Experience shows that in this state it is also highly vulnerable to infections, which is another reason why I try to avoid it when possible. Â Unfortunately today it wasn’t possible. Â I have told my boss about the problem and have been exempt from the twice-a-week half-day phone duty. Â But as permanent backup at a time where there is always someone absent, I still have to be sneaky to not destroy my throat. And some days, like today, you just can’t be sneaky, because there are people out there who need help and someone’s got to do it.
Then I came home and found that it is not just the home office and bedroom that are without power. The electric stove is also off the grid. Â It should in theory be on a different course. At least this explains why the sparky sounds came both from my computer and the ventilator over the stove even though they are in different parts of the house. Â So, no more hot meals for the remainder of my stay here. Â Oh, wait! Â There is the double hotplate / standalone cooktop that I have lugged along for 25 years where I had no use for it, just because, well, someday I might need it. Â Today I needed it. MUAHAHAHA! Â Then I kinda burned the bottom of the grilled cheese on the unfamiliar equipment. Â But still, it was grilled cheese.
And on that note, we approach today’s topic. Â You see, grilled cheese is a recurring in-joke in the Sims games, particularly Sims 2. Â The game has a few major life aspirations that determine your goals and what makes you happy: Â Family sims are happy when spending time with their family, marrying and having lots of babies, and staying with the same spouse all their life. Â Romance sims want to kiss and make out and more with every adult they meet. Â Fortune sims want to earn lots of money and get ahead in their career. Â Knowledge sims want to maximize skills and perhaps become scientists or criminal masterminds. Â Popularity sims want lots of friends and frequent parties. Â Grilled Cheese sims want grilled cheese.
Grilled Cheese aspiration is ridiculously easy to keep happy: Â Serving grilled cheese makes them happy, eating grilled cheese makes them happy, talking about grilled cheese makes them happy, and convincing someone else to make grilled cheese makes them deliriously happy for a long time.
When sims are happy enough, they enter “platinum mood”. Â This has a number of small benefits and is easily seen from the bright white glow of the plumbbob, the soul gem over their head. Normally they need to keep fulfilling new wants to stay in this happy mood though.
But there is something called “permaplat” (permanent platinum mood). Â It can be achieved by fulfilling a “lifetime want”, Â like reaching the top of their destined career, or marrying off six children, or having eaten 200 grilled cheese sandwiches. Â With the more lifelike FreeTime expansion, you can also gain permaplat from sufficient life experience, and with Apartment Life there are books you can read that will help you accumulate this experience faster after you have studied them. Â Once you have reached this pinnacle of life, you will be happy forever. Well, not exactly: Â Disappointments can still drag you down, especially if they are big or follow close on each other. But within an hour, the permaplat sim bounces back to full happiness again!
I won’t say I have reached this, exactly. Â Life is not a video game, although video games may try to reflect life in various ways. Â Perhaps if I had been Enlightened (in the Eastern sense of the word) I would have permaplat. Â But as it is, there is something similar, just not as extreme. I seem to spend most of my life in an undeserved state of great happiness, not quite ecstatic for the most part but very upbeat. Â Of course, this does not make for great journal entries, so it is sorely under-represented in writing. Â Then something happens, like parts of the house losing power or my job doing unspeakable things to my throat, and this makes for easy writing. Â But the truth is, after an hour or two I am back in platinum again, and only the pain in my throat makes me stop singing with joy.
Oh, there is a lot more to be done. A LOT more. Â When my life is over I will probably wonder if I have even begun. Â But there you have it.