No I've not given up writing! I just wanted to let you know that I'm not going to be publishing anything new story-wise until August - I've a couple of weeks in the sun planned and some family time too. However I'll be taking my notebook and pen with me, so expect some more adventures in Starlight Shores when I get back!!
I do a bit too much of everything. As well as playing the Sims (which includes writing, learning PhotoShop, contests, magazine work etc) , I knit, make jewellery, spin, play an MMORPG, manage a family, socialise with other families, spend a lot of time learning and playing with my son and generally try to fit about 72 hours of activities into each day. Don't get me wrong, I prefer to be busy than inactive. Since my current situation prevents me from working for money, having lots of activities filling up my time, especially while the rest of the family are at work/school, is just what I need. In fact it's partly why I've gotten so involved in the forums for the Sims in the first place!
Yet a part of me wonders what will happen when I actually have to go back into the workplace, which will probably be next summer. What hobbies and interests will I still manage, and what will have to be dropped? Possibly by next summer we'll have reached the end of the Sims 3 lifespan and looking at a possible Sims 4 or similar - who knows? Would I move to Sims 4? If life stayed how it is now, then yes, but if I'm working again would I risk investing hundreds (including store purchases) into another game or would I have to say thanks, but no thanks?
I can't give up my crafts, they keep me sane, and knitting in particular has helped me make friends with locals, rather than just hanging out with the ex-pats, as I've found myself heading off to craft groups in small but very friendly yarn shops. And part of the reason I love playing the MMORPG (lord of the Rings Online) is because I get to share that hobby with my husband, who spends a lot of evenings immersed in the world of Tolkein.
Thank goodness I don't have to decide how to drop any of the things I love until next summer. In the meantime there's baskets of yarn and fibre to wade through, a new expansion in my MMO coming up at the end of the year, and of course Ms Perry's offering followed by the very nice looking Diesel Stuff Pack and at least one more EP before Christmas!
It took a while to get here, but Spring is definitely here now in Sweden. The tulips are coming out in the garden, the apple tree is threatening to start blossoming any day, and it was even warm enough today for the menfolk in the house to wear shorts! I've been feeling very spring like in game to, mainly thanks to a great thread being run on the Sims3.com forums, in Creative Corner, called Spring-a-licious. The thread is a place where people can post their spring-related builds, sims, patterns, recolours etc. I really love threads like these. Not only are they a great place to show off your latest creations, but they are very welcoming and open to all types of creativity. Do go and check it out - it's full of all kinds of goodness.
May brings the Spring, but it also brings the end of Blythelyre's month-long poetry contest on the forums. I missed the first half of the month, due to holiday, but I've tried to make up for it since my return, with a fair degree of success too. I hadn't really thought of myself as being able to write poetry, but somehow the words came and I was able to complete most of the assignments - some better than others! I am beyond grateful to Blythe for running these contests and for letting me learn something new about myself! I've now got some plans running through my head for a Sims related Epic Poem, but I guess I should concentrate on my other projects first!
Talking of which, Chapter Three is up for Perchance to Dream. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to any feedback.
I used to work for a government agency that helped further education/adult learning tutors understand how to use technology effectively to engage learners. While there was some advice given around "nuts and bolts" courses (MS office, using email etc), a lot of what we talked about were "transferable skills". For example, if you can get a computer illiterate person in through the doors, and then maybe get them to look up their family history, find a favourite topic (football, soaps, crafts) and show them where the best websites for their interest was, or show them how to catch up with their daughter in Australia, etc, then not only are they engaging in the "primary" task you've found for them (the family tree, the football forum) but they are also learning how to research and surf the web, how to use email, how to upload photos, how to use Skype, and so on. We saw time and time again how people's confidence and self esteem grew when they realised what they were doing!
Recently I've been thinking a bit about my own transferable skills. At the moment I don't work, due, more or less, to the contract my husband has here in Sweden, including a recompense for my "loss of earnings" from my former UK job, and tax issues surrounding that. As my son is in school all day, this leaves me with a lot of time on my hands, once the essentials such as shopping and cleaning are done.
A lot of that time is spent working on crafts. I knit, spin, braid and have just started making jewellery. All great skills, but they were things (jewellery aside) that I did in the UK, and apart from the odd stitch pattern, I've not really learned any transferable skills for the workplace once I'm back in the game.
But the Sims? Ah, what haven't I learned!
1) I can write. OK I kind of knew this, as my previous job in marketing involved a lot of copy-writing and editing. But what I had all but forgotten was that I could write creatively. I could pull stories from my imagination and put them to paper, I could even write poetry - something I haven't done since my A levels 18 (gulp!) years ago and only rediscovered this past week.
2) I can use Photoshop and other image editing software. While I'm still learning some of the more advanced techniques, I've gone from being a "point and click and upload" person, to someone who thinks about their shot and composition, and has learnt about layers, levels and other tools which give me greater scope in my future work, as I can mock up ideas for campaigns/promotions myself, rather than conveying my thoughts to another member of staff.
3) I've improved my eye for colour. Although as a crafter I've always had a basic understanding of colour, through remodelling houses, and recolouring clothes, I've gained a better understanding of what colours go well together and where colour can completely turn an outfit/item on its head. While I'm not sure just how useful this knowledge will be for my future career, it's a boost of self esteem knowing that I can have my own virtual fashion line!
I'm sure there are many other things I have learned, and am hoping to learn (video manipulation is high up there on the wishlist).
So what have you learned in The Sims?
So we had the Katy Perry Showtime Edition, and now we're getting Katy Perry Sweet Treats and KP sim point bundles too. As a completionist I felt compelled to buy the KP Showtime Edition, even though I don't usually like celeb endforsements. As an artist she pretty much passes me by, unless one of her songs ends up on Glee! I'm currently on the fence with the upcoming stuffpack though. It's a lot of money for essentially just "stuff", and as I'm way older than the KP demographic, I don't feel the need to have KP endorsing my game. Still, the temptation to have a fun fantasy land and try out a Berry Sims world is fairly tempting, plus it would feel strange not to have it it when I have all the others (yes, guilty as charged of being materialistic and completionist).
Talking of completionist, the KP sim point bundles are really bugging me. The cost of these bundles compared to similar amounts of points on offer without the KP extras is at best optimistic on the part of EA and at worst a rip-off. Having noticed how EA are marketing Sweet Treats (specifically telling people in the live chat they they only need the base game - hence firmly targetting the tweens with less disposible income perhaps), how do they expect the same people who are KP mad to have the kind of money needed to buy 3 individual high priced sim point bundles? So far I am resisting all temptaion, having a bank of points already, in the hope that they will one day appear in the store to buy separately.
So what are your thoughts on Ms Perry's involvement in the Sims franchise?
I have a background in copywriting and editing and a love of The Sims. I also love traditional crafts, such as spinning and knitting, and when I'm not playing The Sims, I'm often found in Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings Online.
Want to contact me? Visit mypage at the sims3.com site, if you're a member, or email me at misselpheba.simsATgmailDOTcom