Catastrophe Theory: Before the Storm

Scientists in movies are always finding answers. But scientists in real life? Their job is to come up with questions they can’t answer yet.

Dolly’s advisor (paraphrased)

Never trust anyone who says they’ll cure cancer. Cancer is a general term for life gone pathological, and anyone who says they understand how life works, let alone the unimaginable number of ways it can be exploited, is oversimplifying. There’s never going to be an easy cure because it’s different for every person. That being said, some of the strategies we find will kill some tumors, even if they don’t work for others. But if the original question is too complicated for us to answer, it raises another issue: what is the right question?

Never trust anyone who says they can guide people to happiness. Unhappiness is a general term for happiness gone wrong, and anyone who says they understand how happiness works, let alone the unimaginable number of reasons people can be suffering, is oversimplifying. There’s never going to be an easy solution because it’s different for every person. That being said, some of the strategies we find will make some people happier, even if they don’t work for others. But if the original question is too complicated for us to answer, it raises another issue: what is the right question?

This story has jack shit to do with the above concepts. It’s just some Sims.

(Do bear with me, folks. The writing gets better. Earlier posts are being left as-is because I want my own writing progress to be part of the story. I highly recommend skipping forward to a later entry to see how drastic this stylistic shift is.)

The Jeong-Espinosas: Kale and Additional Kale

Claudia Espinosa

She can win Miss Universe, but she can’t do Navasana.

Claudia Espinosa (Foodie, Goofball, Bro; Bodybuilder aspiration), i.e. Patient Zero, is a master of health and fitness. While establishing herself in the neighborhood as “she who hits the gym 24/7,” she learned to grow her own vegetables and embrace her foodie nature. Her first boyfriend was Zach Griffith; they met at the gym where he worked as a very cute personal trainer. But despite his deep voice, deeper muscles, and cool purple shirt, he turned out to be hella emo, so they broke up. Next she targeted Rex McMahan, who also went to the gym and had cute little glasses, but he turned out to be an abusive fuck, so Claudia went back to the drawing board.

And by Claudia, I mean me, and by drawing board, I mean CAS, because nobody in the neighborhood was good enough for my Claudia. She immediately clicked with one of the two options, thank goodness.

Like most long-lived Sims, Claudia has lived two lives and stopped competitive bodybuilding after the birth of her first child. Nowadays she screams at people about food being RAW. She has a well-documented tendency to hit the sauce if you leave her alone for more than 2 seconds. She says her favorite drink is the EAPA, but, being a foodie, she will immediately complain about low quality if she actually orders one. Her favorite color is yellow.

Michael “Mike” Jeong

Mike “Quad God” Jeong

This dish right here is Claudia’s husband Mike Jeong (Bro, Music lover, Self-Assured; Comedy aspiration). MJ took a weird path in life. He started off as the gregarious, party-boy foil to his roommate’s shut-in artist, rocking and rolling all night and following his best friend around every day. First, he brought home the Simoleons as a comedian. I don’t know what kind of comedian he was, but, look at him. Doesn’t he look loud? He was probably one of the very loud kinds of comedian. His fame grew out of a very specific set of skills, skills he learned knocking people over with his barrel chest at the club. (I don’t know why people he bro-bumps don’t just bounce off.)

MJ developed a quick wit and hidden depths, but lost the ability to keep up with every girl at the club. Then Ms. Head Gym Bunny dragged herself out of the locker room for one goddamn hour and hauled her ass to where he was at. They started out as fast friends (presumably from screaming BROOOOOOO at each other over the pulsing electronica), but, at some point, they realized the only reason she was going out was to see him. Long story short, after a long courtship period, they lived happily ever after as Broseph and Brosephina.

The birth of their first child sort of scared the crap out of MJ (we’re starting in the middle here) and he switched careers from comedy to BUSINESS like an ADULT. And while his legendary skills of schmoozing and manipulation work great here, MJ isn’t really the suit-and-tie type. (He may be the tearaway suit-and-tie type.) In a bizarre, unpredictable twist of personality, he started brushing up on home repair, math, and astrophysics, of all things. Now he still turns heads when he enters a room, but can also go to space. Maybe aliens like slices of beefcake? I don’t know.

Mike has a tendency to bounce around near stereos more than other Sims. His favorite color is blue.

Charles “Charlie” Jeong-Espinosa

This prodigy already knows how to dab and roll up his sweatpants

And Charlie makes three. Charlie was the first child born in my Sims 4 games, and man, was he a little angel. By ‘little,’ I mean ‘massive,’ and by ‘angel,’ I mean ‘fucking dork.’ Even as a toddler! He aged up from Inquisitive into Genius, which may have been something latent from his father. God help him, though, he’s staying away from the videogames and making an effort to be well-adjusted. There are no such thing as neckbeards in this exercise-driven family.

Charlie isn’t really being challenged by anything right now. Later, he might struggle to find an identity separate from his parents, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

The Lius: Painting and also some of The Violin

Xiyuan Liu

Painting is notoriously overpowered in The Sims, to the point where every game has a Painting Bitch. Xiyuan is this Bitch.

After Claudia tanked it w/r/t the dating thing, roommates Mike Jeong (Fig. 2) and Xiyuan Liu (Creative, Perfectionist, Good; Music aspiration) were created. Two best friends making it in the entertainment industry! Each cuter than the last!

They eventually succeeded: Xiyuan became a famous pianist and violinist, Mike a famous comedian. Eventually, they (I) got bored and needed something else to master. Xiyuan quit his job as a professional musician to work as a… gallerina? I know Charlotte from Sex and the City is a gallerina, but don’t know what the male version is. Google says they’re the same! It also says that Xiyuan’s job has more authority than a gallerina, so scratch that. He and Mike moved into a bigger house on his artwork money. But as Claudia started dominating Mike’s attention, Xiyuan’s jealously prompted him to leave the house occasionally and try to find a suitable partner. He started going out to clubs with Mike and Claudia, looking for that special someone—and she never showed up. Everyone at the clubs was too different from Xiyuan: too hot-headed, too flirty, too wanting-to-do-stuff-and-not-stay-at-home-painting-for-hours. He had devoted a lifetime in Sim years to searching, and came up empty.

Then one night, he and Mike were invited to Aliens Night at a seedy dive bar. The party ended past midnight, and Mike was done—but for some reason, Xiyuan stayed. That’s when she walked in. Aileen: Music lover, Good, Neat; Fortune aspiration. It was a long and tedious courtship, but they married shortly after Mike and Claudia’s wedding.

Xiyuan is one-track obsessed with painting, to the extent that he paints autonomously if left alone for a second, and his walls are covered in masterpieces. When Mike and Claudia moved out, Xiyuan and his family were not allowed to keep the house, or even split the six-figure house funds. What they did instead was move in with the Jeong-Espinosa family, collect their furniture using a packing mod, and split to move into an empty lot. Xiyuan sold about 10 paintings. Tripled the household funds. Back into their old house with their old furniture in no time.

Xiyuan tends to want to talk to plants more often than other Sims, loves fruitcake, and likes his objects overly posh and light pink.

Aileen Liu

You lucky, lucky woman.

Aileen (Music lover, Good, Neat; Fortune aspiration; née Jensen) was rescued from a 60-second existence as a homeless, unemployed rando. As such, she started as a blank slate with few ambitions. Marrying Xiyuan prompted her to start a job in the Tech Guru industry and master programming. She now runs her own startup, Find Your Phone, an app which displays a screen of text saying “Your phone is in your hand.”

Aileen’s new role was solidified by a sweet New-Age-nerd-mom makeover. She loves maxi-dresses and hates fruitcake.

Xishu “Shu” Liu

Shown after the redesign of his randomly-generated “have you watched Boku No Hero Academia yet, it’s really good” look to his “my father’s son” look. The glasses are mandatory. The glasses are everything.

Xishu inherited his mother’s looks and his father’s creativity. There are no tiger moms or screaming, raging, vein-popping dads here, because stereotypes r dumb. On the other hand, HE IS NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE WITHOUT KNOWING HOW TO PAINT AND PLAY VIOLIN.

Shu ended up surprisingly normal; that is, he would rather go out and play on the jungle gym than sit in the studio and constantly draw. Regardless, his activity table is in the middle of his dad’s professional art studio. His crayon drawings are displayed right next to the masterpieces. Cute!

Shu’s favorite color is red. He autonomously cleans up in other people’s houses. Actually, forget that he was categorized as surprisingly normal above, because one time he went over to Charlie’s house and made a beeline to the master bathroom to take a lavender bath. You know, like kids do.


Life in a utopia wasn’t enough for these six people. Good intentions weren’t enough; they never were. Everything that follows is a desperate attempt to stop these six people from ruining their own lives. Everything that follows is set in a universe where people, even simulated ones, are given the freedom to create their own problems.

This sucks, take me to the story’s splash page

Just summarize the first 30 posts so I can get to the good stuff, thanks

9 thoughts on “Catastrophe Theory: Before the Storm

  1. This is…I didn’t even know that I needed it but I do. I know I am VERY late to the party but my lands this just cracks me up (Doesn’t he just look loud? Um. Yes. lol). I’m sorry that I have to go to sleep like an adult instead of reading this all night but I will be back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hell yeah!!! Weird SimLit authors unite!

      (People often stop reading at this post because there’s a *huge* stylistic shift between this and the later chapters, so I’m relieved someone enjoyed it for once. Whew!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “he went over to Charlie’s house and made a beeline to the master bathroom to take a lavender bath. You know, like kids do.” LMAO. Idk if you’ve ever seen John Mulaney’s stand ups, but that reminds me of his bit that is very similar to this.
    Loved this. You’ve got a great style and voice. I’m so excited to read it all!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m speechless. I’m so absolutely amazed here and so glad I found you. Eternally grateful to Cathy here. First off, I’m super invested already and wish I could just read on but someway, somehow, I’ve once again found myself still on my computer at 4 am when I promised myself that this night, things would be different (which is what I tell myself every night at around 1.30am, only to get to experience that 5 am after all…). But man, your story…

    Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore the way in which you combine the Sims part of the simlit with the prose part of it. It’s extremely effective – I always love me some screenshots for visualization, but I also really liked the way you added the traits and aspiration after every character not unlike the way in which humans may be introduced in real life settings through their career or whatever is deemed a necessary addition to one’s name for the setting they find themselves in. It reminds me that I am, in fact, reading a Sims-based story here, but it’s not nearly disruptive enough that it would interfere with the prose part.
    Then, the humor! Man, I’m such a fan. I absolutely ADORE stories with a great sense of humor and I feel like I may just have hit the jackpot with yours!
    Lastly (for now), the characters. Like you said on my page, these messy characters, man. I just fucking love them. Adore them more than anything. My non-Sims stories are even more focused on them… so it’s something I absolutely love seeing in your characters. I can’t wait to read more!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, dawg :D! Whoa, I’m speechless back—now I’m wishing I said something this nice on the first page of yours.

      It tickles me every time someone gets hooked on the first chapter: knowing what I know now about storytelling, I would have structured the introductions differently to create more tension, and it really is a steaming pile of feces next to the later chapters (they get dialogue! They get impossible-to-write dialogue that takes hours per character because they each speak different dialects of Simlish! And code-switch!). So glad there are people who can get sucked into this bizarre mess from the get-go!

      I hope you get some sleep, though; and good luck on your reading. (Actual school reading. Not mine.) If you read slowly enough, you’ll get to Part II before the final four chapters are published. Just like a main theme of Pariah is “is everyone a jerk? Yes,” here, the underlying tone is “could this get any darker? Yes.” So the finales are pretty rough.

      Like

  4. So I have ended up here entirely randomly – I stumbled across your thread on the forums and while I only skimmed through it to avoid spoilers, I saw something about the feeling of not belonging (something I can relate to as a type four personality) and Rocky Horror reference… so naturally I’ve decided to head over.

    Considering you’ve pointed out there will be a big shift in the tone I’m taking this first chapter as a standalone piece (I definitely haven’t seen an introduction quite like the first couple of paragraphs in simlit, but it does set a scene, in spite of not being directly related to the rest of the entry!)

    I’ve got to say that I’m loving your dry sense of humour that comes shining throughout the chapter, some of the remarks here are pure gold.

    I’m curious to see those stylistic changes now – but I do agree that it’s worth leaving older chapters as is and follow the writer’s development. It’s one of the best and worst things about simlit, you can’t really go back to edit because the story is “out there”, but at the same time you can get feedback as you go, which can really help!

    PS: I tend to read on my tablet so my comments are always riddled with typos. I apologise in advance. I promise I do know how words work (for the most part! 😆)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, dawg, random stumbling is the best! Welcome!! Always happy to meet another simmer who appreciates a good Rocky Horror reference, of course. I hadn’t heard of the Enneagram personality classifications but felt called-out by the Type 4 description. And this? “Their familiarity with their own darker nature makes it easier for them to process painful experiences that might overwhelm other types”? Oh yeah, you’ll be just fine here.

      The jump in quality from whatever this is to recent posts is Swole Doge vs. Cheems territory, IMO. But if you managed to stick it out past the first post, you’re golden! It’s all uphill from here. The meme reference means this comment will be passé by the time you read it.

      And despite the number and diversity of words here, this is a judgement-free zone as far as typos are concerned. You do you, bruh.

      Liked by 1 person

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