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!

Historic Women of Rhetoric

This week in my History of Rhetoric class, we read about Aspasia and other women from Ancient Greece who were highly influential in rhetoric. I was so excited that one of the discussion boards asked for a creative post. Below is what I created and posted! It was so much fun to do!

My only other exposure to Aspasia has been from one of my favorite video games Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

My plan was to play AC: Odyssey on our Wellness Days and do some kind of comparison. However, Tabitha hogged the PS4 playing Call of Duty: Cold War, so instead I turned to Sims. I decided to create Aspasia, Sappho, and Diotima in my island world named Sulani. So while technically I was doing coursework on a wellness day, it was so fun! I call that a win!

Ok, on with my creation. I made the women roommates on a plot of land that is “off-the-grid” given there were no such luxuries of plumbing and electricity in ancient Greece. I let Sims pick their body type and skin color, but I changed their hair style and color. I then picked out the most Grecian-like clothes Sims 4 has available and gave the 3 rhetoricians personality traits based on what I read about them this week.

Below are screenshots of what I created along with explanations.

Sappho is in blue; Diotima is in purple; and Aspasia is in orange. It shows Mantinea as the household name because I created Diotima first. I gave each of them the last name of where they were from. Interesting side note: when I went to save the household, I got a message saying one of the last name’s was a forbidden word in Sims, and if I continued on, I could not upload the household to the gallery. I continued, and then later figured out the forbidden word. I gave Sappho the last name of Lesbos.

Anyway, here are their personality traits:

One trait you see with all of them is the Bookworm trait. I figured it was appropriate, and I just picture these women trying to soak up any and all knowledge they could.

I added genius and creative to Sappho’s personality which gives her the extra trait of a quick learner. Creative was based on her poetry. Genius was based on several things. How her main concern was “how the women’s voice could best be heard and understood by the audience” (Glenn, 26); how she transformed the male gaze into a female gaze; and how she uses her skill as a poet to disrupt “the continuum of male-dominated poetics” (Glenn, 27).

For Diotima, I added family oriented and romantic which gave her the additional trait of alluring. “For Diotima, then, the generative power of eros (or the philosophy of love) is an ongoing pursuit, a striving, rather than any kind of completion or final attainment” (Glenn, 46). I thought family oriented was appropriate based on her belief of the “reproduction of one’s soul in another” and that a person achieves immortality by producing offspring. I don’t know for sure whether offspring means actual children or ideas, but for Sims purposes, I went with children.

Lastly, I added genius and self-assured to Aspasia (also resulting in the extra trait of quick learner). I think these traits can be summed up in this quote from Glenn on page 38:

“By every historical account, Aspasia ventured out into the common land, distinguishing herself by her rhetorical accomplishments, her sexual attachment to Pericles, and her public participation in political affairs. Her alleged connection with the courtesan life is only important so far as it explains her intellectual prowess and social attainments—and the surprise of the Athenian citizenry unaccustomed to (or perhaps jealous or suspicious of) a public woman”

The house I built for them has a garden, an “arena” area for them to practice and recite their poems, speeches, and songs, and large spaces inside for them to relax, read, and write. They each have their own sleeping area with bedding that matches the color of their dresses (because I’m weird that way). There’s a small kitchen area (I had to add a somewhat modern-day refrigerator, so they don’t starve – but it’s still off-the-grid), and a bathroom. Notice the 2 large bushes in the bathroom? Those serve as the toilets – haha!

I’ll leave you with a few screenshots of what occurred after I was done building, and the women were getting acquainted with their neighbors and living space. In the first picture, Diotima and Aspasia are debating with an anti-environmentalist neighbor as Sappho is busy building something in the sand. After the neighbor left, Aspasia and Diotima decided to join in on the fun of sand sculpting, and, in the last photo, you can see their creations.

Student’s Log – Scholastic/Quarantine Date 03.30.2020

Well, I woke up this morning, and I got myself a…wait…IT’S STILL FUCKING MARCH!! OMG!!

An upset Pam Beasley from The Office

I have little concept of time anymore. The only reminder that it is still a thing is my “To Do” list on Canvas. Otherwise, it all just blends together.

Sour Cream from Steven Universes saying “Time is an illusion”

I was productive yesterday. At least, I think it was yesterday. Not with school, of course. Instead, I organized my closet and got rid of 5 garbage bags worth of clothes.

London Tipton from Suite Life of Zach and Cody smiling and clapping

As you can probably tell, my mind is functioning almost solely on memes and gifs at this point. That and online shopping. OMG! MAKE ME STOP BUYING SHIT!!

I’m going to run tomorrow morning. Dave’s Running has virtual races for the next 4 weeks, so I signed up for those. Hopefully, DeWine doesn’t shut down the parks because people are being stupid and congregating in groups at the parks now!

Philip J. Fry from Futurama yelling “Stop acting so stupid” through the wrong end of a bullhorn

And on that note, I’m off to read my weekly affirmations from the rhetorical bible.

Student's Log – Scholastic/Quarantine date 03.23.2020

First day of online teaching. I didn’t really have anything to do except email my students. I have the week’s module all set, I’m trying to make this as easy for them as possible. (Which means no synchronous stuff!)

I also got emails/updates on my own classes. One professor is (as someone in my cohort described him) an academic angel. I swear there isn’t a nicer human being on the planet and is eliminating grades on our stuff for the remainder of the semester. We still need to do the work, but if we have issues, we don’t have to worry about our grades. My professor for my other 2 classes is giving us time to get used to the new way of life and has pushed back readings and project due dates. I love my program.

GIF of Captain America saluting

Not all heroes wear capes

Because I have been under so much stress the past few weeks, (I mean who hasn’t been?) I needed to get outside and run. We are under lockdown here in Ohio, but we can still go to parks. I had never run the trails at one of our parks, so I decided to go today. The best way to describe what happened is it was a beautiful disaster. Beautiful because I wanted to run at least 6.5 miles, and I ran/walked 7.1!

GIF of Barney from How I Met Your Mother giving himself a high five

It was a disaster because…well, just watch this video.

Strong language

Student’s Log – Scholastic date 02.13.2020

Nearing the end of week 3 of the new semester, and I’m already feeling like this…

I’m responding to some questions for a class about how I capture emerging ideas, how do I organize publications of others, where do I write, what does my weekly schedule look like…

I realized that on paper, it actually looks like I’ve got my shit together. So why don’t I feel like I do? Why do I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, and the sharks are circling?

Linda Belcher is way cooler than me