The Summer of Sims and Prelims

Last summer during lockdown, I played Sims for the first time. And me being me, I quickly became obsessed. By the end of summer, I had bought all but 3 of the packs. (I don’t have My First Pet, Kids Room, or Toddler).

Over the past year, Sims has been my way of relaxing and escaping from academic stuff. Building and creating are my favorite parts of the game. I’ve been uploading my houses and such into the gallery for other people to download. If you play and are interested in seeing what I create, my username is GingerSnap425. Look me up, follow me, download my shit! (haha!)

Screnshot of my Sims account, GingerSnap425

This summer is the summer of prelim exams for my cohort. Before I can start dissertating, I have to pass a prelim exam of 3 questions from my dissertation committee; one in pedagogy, one in theory, and one in history. There are a total of 70 readings to prepare for the exam; 52 on a general list, and 18 that I added. I’ve read some of them already in classes over the past 2 years, so I just have to gather the notes and annotations I already have for those. And, let’s be honest here, I have no intention of reading Phaedrus again. (Sorry, not sorry, Plato).

I get 3 days to answer the questions, and it’s open book. Right now, I’m planning on taking mine August 27-30. Doesn’t seem too difficult, right? Hahahaha! At least it’s not like the bar exam. That’s what they’re telling me, anyway.

So, as I’m reading and annotating and reading some more, I will be building and creating in Sims to relax from it all. It’s something completely mindless which is what I’ll need. I remember when I was studying for the bar exam way back when, and I would watch the MTV reality show “Sorority Life” for the same reason. Remember that show? It was gloriously awful as most reality tv is. Doing something that takes no brain power is a must when your work consists of nothing but brain power.

And I think I’ll be writing posts about my adventures in Sims. I’m not entirely sure what to write about yet, but here are a few thoughts:

  • write about each of the packs I have, and my favorite/least favorite parts of the pack
  • build a house using only the base game and one pack (this is very difficult for me)
  • have people give me building/character creation challenges to complete

If there is anything you want to see or read about, or if you want to give me a building/creation challenge, go for it! I’ll do my best to create it, and then I’ll write all about it here!

Our Disney World Vacation – Day 7 – Our Last Day

Nooooo! It’s our last day! Tabitha did not want to leave and asked if we could live there. I wish! We could be stowaways on the Falcon!

Sadly, we were going to have to leave though. While we were waiting to check our bags in the hotel’s luggage hold center, Pluto and Goofy stopped by.

We had some time to kill before heading to the airport, so we spent a couple hours at the pool and got some lunch. I’m also adding some pictures of the hotel lobby that I forgot to post from our first day.

Then, we headed to the airport! I love these photos of Tabitha copying Tim because they totally remind me of Omega copying Hunter in The Bad Batch!

We had a long wait before our flight, but at least there was a Starbucks! And apparently Kylie Jenner sells her crappy lip kits in airport vending machines. Haha!

After a delay and some auxiliary power issues, we were finally in the air and headed home! Tabitha wanted the window seat, and she took tons of photos! We made it home a bit after 11 pm (we should’ve been home at about 8!).

The next morning, we went to Star Diner for what we considered our last vacation meal!

And that’s it, folks! That was our Disney World vacation! Thanks for reading!

Be sure to keep coming back for other content!

Our Disney World Vacation – Day 6 – Galaxy’s Edge (Again!)

Ok! Time for our 2nd day at Galaxy’s Edge!

If you remember, we were unsuccessful on our first day securing a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance. This is even after Quincy’s advice for the 1 pm queue of switching to military time, getting off the Disney wi-fi, and finding an unpopulated area of the park. That last part is almost impossible, btw.

After watching some YouTube videos and reading some articles, we had a new strategy. I really wanted to get in with that morning queue. For the 7 am queue, you can be anywhere to join. But for the 1 pm one, you have to be in Hollywood Studios which you would think would be good. But, like I said, finding a good signal AND an unpopulated area of the park is difficult.

Plus, I read that they consistently don’t load the last 10 or so groups of the day because they run out of time. And I just didn’t want to stress about it!

Now, buckle up, buttercup because this is was a PROCESS!

Tim and I headed outside our hotel building at 6:45am. I got off the Disney wi-fi and got 4 bars worth of signal pretty much right outside the door. I had the Disney app pulled up on my phone, and Tim’s phone next to me, and I was watching the second hand like a hawk! We realized the night before that his clock changed to the next minute at the 59 second mark. So at 6:59:59, I hit the join button for the virtual queue. For the next 2 screens, I didn’t look at anything and just hit the buttons I needed to as fast as I could. If you stop to read anything, you lose valuable milliseconds! And I got it!! We were in group 75! A high number, but we didn’t care! We were going to ride Rise of the Resistance! Notice the time on that screenshot? Wooo!

With that stress behind us, we hopped on the Skyliner and headed to Hollywood Studios!

We got to the park before it opened, but they still let us in. We headed straight for Smuggler’s Run, and there was already a line forming.

We realized while in line that we were in a part of the park we hadn’t seen on Monday!

Once they opened, the line moved quickly. We might have been in line 20-30 minutes before we were able to ride. We had the same roles as the first time, Tim and I were pilots, and Tabitha was a gunner. But, Tim and I switched spots, so he got to make the jump to lightspeed. (Tabitha still yelled ‘punch it, Chewie!’)

After Smuggler’s Run, we headed to the blue milk station. I don’t know what’s in it, but it’s some kind of frozen concoction. It’s a cool novelty thing to do. But in all honesty, it upset our stomachs, so we. probably wouldn’t ever get it again. We headed to Star Tours and rode that twice.

The character encounters were phenomenal that day! Tabitha had so much fun antagonizing the Stormtroopers, and she was recruited to be a Rebel spy!

We headed back to Smuggler’s Run to ride it again, but this time we had no intention of waiting in the 70 minute line! So, here’s a trick to skip it. If you don’t care about your party being split up or what role you play in the mission, then go to the single rider line. You will be on the ride in about 5-10 minutes! We rode it twice in like 30 minutes this way! The first time, Tim and Tabitha got to ride together too! I got to be an engineer both times, and the second time, my team got 2 containers of coaxium AND over 10,000 credits! Woo-hoo! Hondo would’ve been proud!

Tabitha and I walked around the little shops for a bit. The details of everything are really amazing. And yes, I took a picture of the sink in the bathroom. Because look at it! Don’t judge me!

It was getting close to our lunch reservation AND our boarding time for Rise of the Resistance. So, we headed toward lunch, and, on the way, we saw Chewie and Rey! We also found out that once our boarding group was called, we had an hour to board. It was gonna be a close one!

Lunch was at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Tabitha got chicken tenders and more fruit which meant more pictures of tiny grapes. I got a chicken Caesar salad, and Tim got the sampling of Mama’s favorites (fried chicken, pot roast, and meatloaf). No photos of these meals because we were in a rush! Plus, they just weren’t that exciting (except for the tiny grape, obviously).

So, here’s a fun fact about our weird little family. I watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 almost every day on Pluto TV. And there are a lot of repeats, but I don’t care. They will sometimes play a short before the main movie, and one of them is called, “What to Do on a Date.” We’ve seen it a lot.

It’s a typical corny 1950’s how-to video where Nick wants to ask Kay out but doesn’t know what she likes to do. At one point, he asks her if she likes a few things, and one of them is a weenie roast. Literally every time it comes on, I say to Tabitha, “Say Kay, do you like weenie roasts?” in my best Nick voice. She pretends to be annoyed, but laughs anyway.

So, as we’re sitting there eating lunch, who pops up on the televisions but Nick and Kay in the exact scene where he asks her if she likes weenie roasts!! Hahahaaahaaa!! Poor Tabitha! Photos were necessary to preserve this momentous occasion! (They’re the last two-haha!)

Our boarding group got called while we were eating, so after lunch we hauled ass back to Rise of the Resistance! Luckily, it’s in the front part of Galaxy’s Edge! They scanned our magic bands, and we were in! We still had a bit of a wait, but like many other rides, there was a lot to look at and take pictures of.

Our journey started with a mission from Rey and BB-8. Then we were loaded onto a transport ship where Lieutenant Bek would take us to our mission. Poe Dameron and Nien Nunb flew alongside the ship. We could also watch as we “took off” from Batuu. And then…oh no. Oh crap! It was the First Order!

We were captured and taken onto a Star Destroyer! We were taken through the hangar bay and into the ship. Ok, this hangar bay? Unreal! It was like we were in the movie and actually on a Star Destroyer! And they gave us plenty of time to take it all in and take videos and photos which was definitely needed because talk about sensory overload!

Once we were in the ship, we were lined up and instructed to remember the color we were standing on. Ours was red. Easy to remember. The people playing the First Order officers were amazing! They were so in character! We were taken into an interrogation cell where General Hux and Kylo Ren made an appearance. We were then rescued (kind of) by the resistance, and this is where the ride part of the ride began. We had to remember the color we were standing on because it told us where to sit for the ride portion. Finn showed up to let us know he had our backs, basically.

The rest of it was a fast moving, amazing, thrilling ride! Below are some pictures I managed to get. These are the least blurry ones!

I can’t even call this a ride. It was an entire experience! And it was phenomenal! It was the last thing we rode in the park, and it’s a good thing because nothing else would’ve seemed worthy after this!

We picked up a couple more souvenirs, then relaxed at the hotel. Tabitha got a Bad Batch shirt, a Clone Wars Jedi set with holoprojector, comlink, and macrobinoculars, and a Porg. And I got a cool hat!

Yeah, Chewie had the right idea about roasting and eating these things.

Total steps: 13,601 (My feet were like, ok that’s enough now!)

Come back tomorrow for our last day! (sad face)

Our Disney World Vacation – Day 5 – Magic Kingdom

Day 5 took us to the Magic Kingdom. We weren’t expecting to do too much here because a lot of it is for the wee little kids, but we ended up doing quite a lot! I waited until we got closer to take the obligatory photo of Cinderella’s castle, and Tabitha was happy to see a statue of Donald Duck. Then, it was off to Adventureland!

Pirates of the Caribbean was first on our list. Tabitha loved it so much, we had to ride it again!

We took a ride on the river boat. Not all that exciting, but kind of relaxing, except that my feet didn’t touch the floor when I sat down (short people probs!).

We went next door to the Haunted Mansion. This was fun ride! I managed to get a kind of decent photo of the witch.

And, I mean, did you really go to Disney World, if you didn’t ride It’s A Small World? It’s like Disney law or something! At least that’s what we told Tabitha. Haha! Plus, I couldn’t miss my can-can and hula girls!

And, if I had to listen to this over and over, then so do you! Mwaahaahaahaa! (Just be happy I didn’t put it on autoplay!)

The spinny-spinny rides get a big ‘no, thank you’ from me, so it was all Tim and Tabitha on the tea cups!

We went to Tomorrowland where we rode the cars at the speedway, the Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Despite its name, it does not spin in circles (thankfully!). It’s a shooting gallery kind of ride. It was fun. And we got to see Stitch! He’s so stinkin’ cute! Then we headed back to Fantasyland for our lunch reservations!

Lunch was at Be Our Guest restaurant. This place was so cool! The three rooms to eat in are the Grand Ballroom, The Castle Gallery, and the West Wing which is normally forbidden, but our waiter told us Beast was in a good mood and allowing people in it that day.

We had a great table in the Grand Ballroom that gave us front row seats for when Beast made his appearance! He actually made 3 appearances (bit of an ego on that guy), and Tabitha loved each one!

As for the food, we got served a 3-course French-inspired meal, and it was so good! For the first course, I had French onion soup, Tim had a meat and cheese plate, and Tabitha had a fruit and cheese plate. She kept finding little grapes that she thought were so cute, so I had to take pictures of them. And let’s talk about that French onion soup, shall we? Literally, the best French onion soup I’ve ever had!

For the second course, I had the herb-salted pork tenderloin, Tim had the filet mignon, and Tabitha had mac n’ cheese. She said it was good, but she’s had better. At least she got a giant fry (that I, of course, had to take a photo of).

The dessert course was so yummy! A lemon and raspberry macaron, a dark chocolate truffle, and a white chocolate “Chip” cup with “Grey Stuff.” We were encouraged to “try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!” And it was. Tabitha got to “paint” her “Chip” cup. Our favorite of the three desserts was definitely the macaron!

Tabitha got an awesome light up cup too!

After lunch, it was a quick walk through Cinderella’s castle to the front of the park to catch the bus back to the hotel. We just missed Pooh and his friends which was a bummer. But, Tim and Tabitha got to see Merida riding a horse and a few other characters in a mini-parade. I was inside a shop at the time making a purchase.

The purchase was Tabitha’s Pride shirt! She also got a Haunted Mansion shirt (it glows on the dark!), and a “Stay Weird” Stitch shirt earlier in the day.

Back at the hotel for a goofy photo with Ed. And while Tim was napping, Tabitha and I had dinner in the room with a cookies n’ cream cupcake that was way too sweet!

Total steps: 13,134 (at this point, I can’t remember if I had any new blisters or not. My feet just hated me.)

Don’t be like a Stormtrooper and miss tomorrow’s post about our second day at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! It was the best of the two days there!

Our Disney World Vacation – Day 4 – Epcot

Day 4 of our trip took us around the world at Epcot. Well, mostly around the world. We got on the Skyliner again, transferring twice before arriving at Epcot.

We decided to go for the rides first, so we hit Soarin’ right away which is a hang-gliding flight simulator around the world. Very cool! We rode Living with the Land next and took a boat tour through the greenhouses of Epcot. The last thing we rode was Spaceship Earth (it’s in the big Epcot ball). We headed to Test Track, but it was broken down when we got there. The whole center area between Spaceship Earth and the lake is blocked off. Major renovations going on. But at least they had the cute butterfly thingies for pictures!

We headed to Mexico, and the loop of countries around the lake. But, we ended up skipping Mexico, most of Norway, and China. Each country had a popular ride or attraction which made it a very congested area (thanks, Anna and Elsa). I did manage to get a photo of the gate to China.

We were also able to walk through the Gods of the Vikings exhibit because it’s out in the front of Norway. Tabitha represented Loki well.

Tabitha got to show her love for some of the princesses.

We still visited America, even though we’re literally here every damn day. But, we got to listen to some great live music from a mariachi band and an acapella group, so that was worth it. We also watched the animatronic show “The American Adventure.” Tabitha kept pointing out all the whitewashing. And there was one song in it where they would sing “America” all dramatic-like, so she decided to sing “Captain America” instead, but just as dramatic. I fricking love this kid.

We saw some bonsai trees and a dragon topiary in Japan.

Some cool stuff in Italy, including a weeping angel. (Don’t blink!)

Got to see the Eiffel Tower and some expensive artsy fartsy stuff in France. (I love artsy fartsy stuff!) We also found a Paris box with all the Marie stuff in a shop. Savannah has always loved Marie and Paris, and she actually owns this box! A photo of it was a must.

Side-note: The blue cloth Tabitha has on her head was a life saver from the heat! We got two of them. You just wet them, wring them out, then snap them a couple times. Snapping them does some sciency stuff, and they stay cool for a couple hours. These and her portable fan/mister made the heat a little more bearable.

Tabitha tried to make a call, but there was no bloody phone! The Pooh Bear, Rabbit, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore topiaries were so stinkin’ cute! And I really want to analyze the rhetorical significance of placing the Shakespeare Garden directly in front of the bathrooms. (Can’t escape rhetoric even on vacation – haha!)

And then there was Germany. I saved this for last because it’s where we ate lunch and dinner. Of course, Tim had to check out the model train.

Lunch was at Bauernmarkt. Tabitha and I had the toasted pretzel bread with black forest ham and melted gruyere cheese. It was so good! Tim only had a beer flight. He was saving room for dinner.

Dinner was at the Biergarten. This was easily the best meal we had all week! It used to be a buffet with all the tables together to represent an actual biergarten during Oktoberfest. Because of the pandemic, tables are now separated, and the food is served family-style right at your table. I actually preferred this because I’m not a fan of buffets (gross!). It’s still all you can eat though!

The first course is pretzel bread, potato salad, a tomato and cucumber salad, and macaroni salad. I wasn’t fast enough to get a pic of the tomato/cucumber salad because Tim and Tabitha inhaled it! The main course is bratwurst, roasted chicken, nudel gratin, sauerkraut, red cabbage, spatzle (noodles), warm potato salad, regensberger wurst, franks, schnitzel, frikadellen (meatballs), and green beans. And, of course, I didn’t take a picture of all of it, only my plate. I almost forgot to do that because I just wanted to eat!

I opted for the spatzle, chicken, schnitzel, and frikadellen. The noodles and chicken weren’t anything special. They were good, but just tasted like noodles and lemon-pepper chicken. The schnitzel was very tasty, especially with the sweet mustard. And the frikadellen? OMG! FRIKA-AMAZING!

Dessert was cheesecake with berry compote, black forest roll, chocolate chip cookies, and warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce. The cookies were cookies. I actually gave mine to Tabitha because compared to the other desserts, they just weren’t happening for me. The apple strudel was very good. But, I still can’t decide if I liked the cheesecake with berry compote or the black forest roll more. I mean, you’d think cheesecake is pretty generic, right? But let me tell you, this cheesecake was so amazing I wanted to cry!

And as if all the amazing food wasn’t enough, there’s live music! It was such a great dinner experience!

Interesting side-note: As we were walking in, we ran into Tabitha’s principal from her old school! How crazy is that?!

Rain and storms seemed to loom overhead all day. There was one rain burst during the day, and one was on its way after dinner. We tried hard to get back to the Skyliner before the storm hit because we knew they would stop running it. We didn’t make it, so we had to walk even further to the bus. And another evening storm meant no pool time. I wasn’t complaining though. I was ready for sleep!

Total steps: 17,515 (The most of our vacation! And two new blisters! Woo hoo!)

Come along with us tomorrow as we go to the Magic Kingdom!

Our Disney World Vacation – Day 3 – Animal Kingdom

Early on our third morning, Tim took a survey asking about our experience so far. He said everything was great now, but did include how it took longer to get the room, the safe wasn’t working, and only one side of the coffee maker was working. He didn’t really expect anyone to read it. But within 90 minutes, a room manager called the room and said they would send someone up to fix the safe and bring a new coffee maker. Sweet! Right after the person left who had fixed the safe, there was another knock on the door with someone bringing gifts! We got some popcorn, chocolates, a frame, and a handwritten note! How awesome is that?!

After that we were off to Animal Kingdom! There were 3 must-dos on our list for this park: Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, and the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition. We headed for Flight of Passage first because it had the longest wait time. Wait times always seemed a bit off during our stay, but in a good way. They never seemed as long as predicted. But as we waited, we had a lot to look at.

Avatar Flight of Passage was amazing! It’s a 3-D flight simulator where you’re riding a banshee through Pandora. It’s an immersive and breathtaking ride!

From there, we went right next door to the Na’vi River Journey. A relaxing boat ride down the Na’vi River that wasn’t nearly long enough!

Last on our must-do list was the safari. I knew the Animal Kingdom park would be a hit with Tabitha, if only for the giraffes we would see on the safari. She had already loved the Avatar r