Cake-nado

The Sims 4 is a buggy game. It always has been.

I don’t blame the game developers. I can’t even comprehend the complexity of this game. It’s an entirely open-ended game, with no script. Players can do just about anything they want to with it. Plus, there are a lot of game packs, stuff packs, and expansion packs out there. The number of combinations of these packs a player can own, or not own, is enormous. I don’t know how a game developer can foresee every possibility.

The team behind The Sims 4 does a pretty good job of releasing bug-fix updates regularly.

I’ve put up with the bugs. Sims walk through solid objects. Sims get stuck inside solid objects. Sims ride bicycles through restaurants. Sims go to bed exhausted, immediately get out of bed, and then pass out from exhaustion. It’s kind of funny, most of the time.

However, this new bug – the cake bug – has been making me not want to play the game until it’s fixed. It’s not a game-breaker, but it makes the game too annoying to play.

The Sims living in Daisy Hovel are constantly baking cakes. It’s usually white cakes, but they do occasionally bake sugar-free carob coconut cakes. Cakes pile up, in various states of completion, in the kitchen and dining room.

Cakes In Progress

This happens in other households, but it’s a minor issue compared to Daisy Hovel. I think this is because Daisy Hovel contains the most Sims – six Young Adults, Adults, and Elders.

It’s more than just an excess of cakes. Sims bake cakes, but rarely eat them. They bake a cake, don’t eat it, become hungry, and bake another cake, and don’t eat it. When I direct them to eat a slice of cake, or on the rare occasion that they eat cake on their own, they become ill from an unbalanced diet (i.e. too many desserts).

I’ve reported this bug to the Sims 4 developers, along with over a hundred other players having the same experience. I saw a solution that blamed it on the Foodies Unite! Neighborhood Action Plan, but I don’t think that’s it. I can’t find any neighborhood in my game that has that N.A.P.

While I was waiting for the bug to get fixed, I started moving cakes into the refrigerator. I think there’s at least 20 cakes in there.

Then, I started moving cakes outside, onto the deck, and into the yard. Sims seem more likely to eat them outside, for whatever reason. And, if they don’t, cakes go bad and the maid will clean them up. At least the kitchen and dining room look less cluttered.

Too Many Cakes

But then, I came up with what may be an interim solution, until the bug is fixed.

What if I removed the oven from the Daisy Hovel kitchen? Sims couldn’t bake cakes, and they could live off those 20 cakes, and whatever else is in the refrigerator – until the bug is fixed.

Then I wondered what to do about the microwave. Should I leave it? Sims could make quick meals, which also makes them ill over time, but at least they couldn’t bake cakes.

Then I came up with a better solution. I put the oven in the household inventory, and replaced it with a grill. Sims could still cook healthy meals. I left the microwave.

Goodbye Oven

So far, it’s working. The Sims of Daisy Hovel are eating healthier meals, and they’re eating the leftovers from the fridge.

Healthier Meals

The cakes are disappearing from the yard.

Last Cake

 

 

Beer, Bacon, And A Favorite Band

Tonight, Phillip and I watched Abney Park’s third “Quarantined” live-streamed concert.

First, we had a dinner of cold salads with leftover roast mixed in. (It’s hot in Seattle, and even hotter in our apartment.)

While we watched the show, we snacked on bacon. Phillip drank Diet 7up mixed with Plantation Pineapple rum. I drank one of my favorite beers: Irish Death, from Iron Horse Brewery, in Ellensburg, Washington. It all seemed appropriate for an Abney Park concert.

Irish Death

We enjoyed the show. Toward the beginning of it, Robert Brown talked about the problem of doing three shows to a limited audience, while trying to make each show seem fresh. I think they did a good job with that.

Unfortunately, throughout the concert, the audio and visual were out of sync – by a lot. It was disappointing and distracting. (There was no live chat, so we couldn’t point that out to them.)

Despite the out-of-sync technical issue, the music and the performance were both excellent. The band did some old songs, and some new songs from an upcoming album.

They also did some 80s covers of Billy Idol and Duran Duran songs. That’s a new direction for them. Abney Park has been around for a long time, and they’re constantly evolving. That’s fine with me.

Unlike the first two concerts, the stream never froze tonight.

Overall, it was a great stay-at-home concert.

Abney Parl 0801

Masks In The Mail

There were two thick envelopes for me in our mailbox when I got home today. Both contained face masks.

The elastic on the cloth face mask I’d been given at work has started to stretch, and it no longer fits as snugly as I’d like. So, it was time for a new one.

I’ve been seeing Durian and The Lyon at street fairs for years. I’ve bought a few bow ties from them. So, I was thrilled to see that they were selling handmade cloth face masks. I ordered a classy “elephant” gray one earlier this week.

It shipped via the U.S. Postal Service. I was expecting it some time around today.

I’m rather pleased with my new mask.

DL mask

While I was ordering the mask from Durian and The Lyon, I decided to order a package of five face masks I’d seen advertised at Old Navy.

Old Navy had several design sets to choose from, but I couldn’t choose individual designs.

When I opened the Old Navy package, and showed the masks to Phillip, he remarked that it was just like buying a package of underwear. You pick out a package based on a couple of designs or colors you like, but there’s always at least one design or color you just have to put up with. I like that.

The package was being shipped by UPS, and was scheduled to be delivered on Monday. I was a little concerned about that, since things get complicated if no one’s home, and the delivery person can’t or won’t get into the apartment building.

But, just like it happens with Amazon deliveries in our neighborhood, UPS delivered the package to the Post Office, which delivered it safely to our mailbox.

ON masks

Face masks are the fashion statement of 2020.

I figured I supported a small business and a large corporation this week.

P.S. Save our Post Office!

Something To Celebrate In July 2020

I returned a library book today!

The Central Library is now among the 10 Seattle Public Libraries accepting book returns on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from noon to 6 p.m. It’s a short walk from my office.

I wasn’t sure which of the Central Library’s two book drops would be open: The automated one on 4th Avenue, or the box on 5th Avenue, or maybe both. It made sense to me that the 5th Avenue box would be the one, since the books would later be gathered and disinfected, and it would probably a good idea to have them all in one compact space.

I walked over to the 5th Avenue side of the library during my lunch break. The entire entrance was taped off, including the drop box.

So I walked down Madison Street, toward 4th Avenue. I saw a few library employees inside. It was looking hopeful.

The library had set up a new drop box near the entrance. The automated book drop had a sign saying it was closed.

So, my initial assumption was mostly correct. It was the drop box that was open – just not the one I was expecting.

There were three people in line ahead of me, all maintaining social distancing.

Central Book Drop

I dropped off my book, and had just enough time to snap a photo before another person arrived, book in hand.

Someday, the Seattle Public Library will fully reopen, and someone will enjoy that copy of An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon, as much as I did.

That makes me happy.

Plus, it was a nice afternoon for a walk.

 

I Read Y: The Last Man, Volumes 3 and 4

Y: The Last Man, Volume 3 (Issues 11-17) is titled One Small Step. It was published in April, 2004.

Yorick, Ampersand, Agent 355, and Dr. Mann are joined by a Russian soldier named Natalya, who leads them on a detour to a specific spot in Kansas, for an event which could potentially save the human race – or, at least, change its present course.

Alter and the rest of the Israeli soldiers learn (along with the reader) who hired them to find Yorick Brown, and why.

We’re introduced to the Fish & Bicycle Traveling Theater Troupe. (That name is perfect!) Then the story takes off on a wild twist.

As I read this volume, I began to feel that the series had lost some of its initial humor, but then Fish & Bicycle meets Ampersand, and the humor returned. I enjoyed the growing relationship between Yorick and Agent 355. I continued to feel that Alter (the Israeli leader) was the least interesting main character. Alter seemed rather one-dimensional.

Y The Last Man cast

Y: The Last Man, Volume 4 (Issues 18-23) is titled Safeword. It was published in December, 2004.

It’s been a year and a half since the plague wiped out every creature with a Y chromosome. Pygmy shrews are probably extinct. Other smaller mammals will be gone soon.

Yorick Brown meets Agent 355’s long time friend, Agent 711. First, Yorick has to promise 355 that he won’t make any convenience store jokes.

Yorick wishes he hadn’t met 711. Things get very dark for a while – even darker than a plague wiping out 48% of the world’s population.

Y: The Last Man is an adult graphic novel series, as this volume’s title suggests.

Yorick learns to avoid the “violent femmes.” (The humor returns.)

The travelers find themselves in Arizona.

Dr. Allison Mann – half the reason for this road trip – is looking like someone who can’t be trusted.

I’ve lost track of all the theories characters have put forth about what caused this plague. No seems to know yet.

I am loving the twists in this story. Just when a situation seems hopeless, it gets resolved. When things seem peaceful, it becomes hopeless. The story is comedic, until it becomes horrific, until it becomes comedic again.

I have no idea what’s coming next.

Looking For Shopping Carts At Fred Meyer

I had considered suggesting that Phillip and I take a drive to the Douglass-Truth Library today, to return a book I’ve had since early March, but then The Seattle Public Library added the Central Library to its list of libraries accepting book returns. I decided it would be easier to walk from my office on Tuesday and return it there and then.

So, instead of a trip to Douglass-Truth, we drove to the Fred Meyer in Ballard. Phillip decided it was time for new sheets and pillow cases.

Of course, face masks were required within the store.

Normally, when we walk into that Fred Meyer, there’s an entrance area where (seemingly) hundreds of shopping carts are stored in nice, neat rows. Today, however, there were only five or six, all being sanitized by store employees.

We didn’t take a cart. We hardly ever use a shopping cart.

As we loaded up our arms with bedding supplies, it became apparent that we were going to need a shopping cart. Phillip sent me to go find one.

I went to the entrance closest to where we were. The last shopping cart was being taken by a customer just as I got there.

I walked to the entrance on the other side of the store. (It’s a very large store.) There was one cart left, and an employee was finishing up with sanitizing it. I took it, after confirming that I could.

I’m not complaining about the shopping cart situation. In fact, I’m praising the Fred Meyer store and its employees. It was a good idea to keep the carts sanitized, and I think the store had the right idea to reduce the number of carts. Trying to keep up with sanitizing (seemingly) hundreds of carts would have been a logistics nightmare. Besides, limiting the number of carts was probably a good way of limiting the number of customers in the store – maintaining social distancing.

Phillip bought enough bed stuff to completely fill our car trunk.

On our way home, we stopped off at Drunky’s Two Shoe BBQ. They were open for dine-in, but we asked about ordering to go. They were agreeable to that.

I ordered a chicken pot pie. Pot pies are one of my favorite foods. The woman at the front desk told me it would take 25-30 minutes. So, I returned to the menu to find something else. Then the woman suggested that they could give me the pot pie unheated, and I could heat it at home. That would work, I replied.

The kitchen wrote the heating instructions on the take-out box. It turned out deliciously.

On the way to Fred Meyer, and on the way home, we had a nice drive through Fremont, Wallingford, and the U District.

It’s been a good day.

Maybe I Can Return A Book Soon

On Tuesday, on my way home from work, our apartment manager was standing outside the building. I stopped, said hello, and we had a nice talk – just a friendly chat. While we were talking, a text arrived from Phillip: “By the way, the library is open.”

When I walked into the apartment, I told Phillip that I thought he was mistaken. The yellow tape had been removed from the entrance to the Capitol Hill Library, but the Seattle Public Library web site still listed a tentative opening date of August 15 (or, at least, the last time I looked).

Phillip replied that he’d seen a notice saying that the libraries are open for pickups and drop offs, and, besides, when he’d walked past the library on his way home, the doors were open and there were people inside.

I replied that I was pretty sure that notice was from the King County Library, and the people inside the Capitol Hill Library were probably a maintenance crew. But, I admitted that he may be right. Maybe Seattle’s libraries are opening sooner than expected.

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I walked up to the Capitol Hill Library entrance. The book drop was locked, and the sign in the window still said the library was closed until further notice.

So, maybe not.

Then, last night, I found the notice Phillip had seen. It was on the Seattle Public Library’s Facebook page. It had a link to the SPL web site.

The library is opening the book drops at nine branchs, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, from noon to 6 p.m. – or until the book drops are full. The Capitol Hill Library is not among the nine, nor is the Central Library, but the Douglass-Truth Library is, and it’s not very far from home.

The Seattle Public Library has extended all due dates until August 15, and it doesn’t charge late fees.

Things are looking up. And Phillip and I were both right.

Alphabet Mystery: Corpse

“C” is for Corpse, by Sue Grafton, starts off with a terrific pair of sentences: “I met Bobby Callahan on Monday of that week. By Thursday, he was dead.

The novel was first published in 1986.

C is for CorpsePrivate Investigator Kinsey Millhone meets a man named Bobby Callahan at a gym named Santa Teresa Fitness.

(Sometimes it takes me a little while to see the obvious. Here, in the third book I read in the “Alphabet Mysteries”, I finally saw that the characters at the center of these mysteries are named after the letter of the book. Guy Maleck in “M” is for Malice, Elaine Boldt in “B” is for Burglar, and now Bobby Callahan.)

Bobby Callahan is at the gym for physical therapy. Nine months earlier, Bobby’s Porsche drove over the edge of a bridge. Bobby survived the crash with physical injuries and scarring, but his friend Rick, who was in the car with Bobby, died at the scene.

Kinsey and Bobby become attracted to each other. Bobby tells Kinsey that he believes that someone deliberately ran him off that bridge, and that the same person is still trying to kill him. Unfortunately, Bobby lost some of his memories as a result of the crash. He can’t remember the crash, and he can’t articulate why he believes that someone is trying to kill him.

Bobby Callahan hires Kinsey Millhone to investigate the crash. Kinsey agrees to take the case, based solely on her feelings for Bobby.

Bobby comes from a wealthy, and troubled, family. Kinsey is invited to Bobby’s family estate, for his stepfather’s birthday, where Kinsey, arriving in a Volkswagen, feels she’s out of her element. (Later, at her office, Kinsey smells the Half-and-Half, decides it’s probably still good, before pouring it into her coffee. That’s the life Kinsey Millhone is used to.)

During this social gathering, Kinsey meets Bobby’s teenage stepsister, Kitty. Kinsey is concerned that Kitty looks both anorexic and drugged. Bobby, his family, and the guests, don’t share Kinsey’s concern – until Kitty collapses from an apparent drug overdose, and is hospitalized.

Kinsey develops a friendship with Bobby’s mother, Glen.

Then Bobby Callahan dies in a second car crash. The coroner’s initial finding is that Bobby had a seizure, likely caused by his head injury from the first accident, and lost control of his car.

Kinsey Millhone has some money left from the retainer Bobby paid her. She decides to continue the investigation into Bobby’s first car crash. When she’s asked why, she explains: “To settle accounts.

Bobby had had a memory of a small red address book that he gave to someone for safekeeping. He can remember neither the importance of this address book nor who he gave it to. It’s all Kinsey has to go on.

“C” is for Corpse is a self-contained story. I’m having no problem picking a letter at random, and reading the series out of order. At the same time, the book is faithful to the continuity of the overall series. Elaine Boldt is mentioned briefly, but it’s not necessary to know who she is. Recurring characters Henry Pitts (retired baker, writer of crossword puzzles, and Kinsey’s father-figure landlord) and Rosie (the colorful and outspoken owner of Kinsey’s favorite restaurant) make appearances.

There’s a subplot involving Henry’s new girlfriend with a suspicious past. In another book, this might seem like filler – a way to bring Henry, Rosie, and a few more words – into the story. But, here, it adds to the realism of the story. Kinsey Millhone is a busy private investigator who doesn’t have the luxury of devoting her entire life to just one case. While she’s investigating Bobby Callahan’s car crash, she’s also writing invoices for past and present clients, dealing with a client who’s skipping out on their bill, and also investigating Henry’s girlfriend.

I don’t have much experience with murder mysteries, but this seemed like an unusual one. Kinsey Millhone is working on a case for a client who’s no longer alive. The case is based on the client’s faulty memory. It may have been an attempted murder followed by a successful murder, or it may have been two accidents. The key clue may just be an address book, and not a clue at all.

This was a fun mystery, full of procedure and red herrings. But, above all, it was a fascinating character study. I loved it.

Two Weeks

I’m back to work tomorrow, after a week off. Unlike the week off I had in June, this time I know where I’ve stored my login password.

I was ticked off about the week off in June.

This past week, I was ticked off about it again, but it was countered by the feeling that I was ready for a week off.

In June, I didn’t feel like going anywhere, and there was not much open even if I did decide to go somewhere.

I started off Monday and Tuesday pretty much like I did in June – doing nothing, other than a walk up to Bauhaus for coffee.

Then Kelly invited me over for lunch on Wednesday.

I drove up to Everett on Wednesday, and Kelly and I had lunch at a tortilla factory.

On Thursday, my sister scheduled a visit with our dad at the assisted living facility in Kenmore, and I met them there. Dad recently turned 90 years old. I’m impressed by the facility he’s living in. They set up a table outside, with chairs placed a safe distance apart. I had to wear a face mask (of course) and I had to wait at the front door for a nurse to take my temperature while I promised that I wasn’t displaying any worrisome symptoms.

Our visit with Dad was limited to thirty minutes. Dad is hard of hearing, and my sister recently had throat surgery and could barely speak, so I got to be an interpreter between them.

Phillip took Friday off, and we went shopping in the U District together. The University Bookstore limited our visit to thirty minutes, so we had no time for browsing – we got what we needed and left.

It wasn’t a week off that I’d asked for, but it was a week off that I needed.