March 25th, 2008


Tigger, is that you?

bethje 's comments are still in green.

Wednesday's park was Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's apparently very important to include that "Disney's" in there, even though it's pretty obvious that a park inside Walt Disney World would be owned by Disney. The bus that runs there has a marquee that can fit the words "Animal Kingdom," but for some reason they decided to have it change so that they can put "Disney's" on the marquee as well. Anyway, this is probably the park that I would be the least excited about revisiting if I were to ever return to Disney World, but it was fun to see once, and provided some excellent photo opportunities. The first thing we did was see "It's Tough to Be a Bug," which had some of the best 3D I've ever seen, as well as a familiar voice... The film prompted me to ponder how amusement parks are pretty much the only place where 3-D movies survive. We went on both a safari tram ride and a trail walk (one of the things we saw, I think on the trail, were spiny mice. This is interesting to me, because I used to have a spiny mouse, when I was in 5th grade. it was a crappy pet, really. The curious may ask me for details!) through the Africa area, which had several different African animals. One gorilla was in the process of eating its own feces when we passed him. The guy had known that they do this, but he said it was his first time seeing it, too. They do it to get more nutrients out of the food they eat. They eat their own puke, too. There was also a train ride to a petting zoo, although a lot of the animals were behind fences and didn't always want to walk up and be petted. Unfortunately they don't sell pellets to feed the animals, because if animals think you have food, that's when they get up in your face. The sheep and goats were out in the open, though. We didn't get a chance to walk on the Asia trail, but we did ride Expedition Everest, one of the newer roller coasters. I ended up buying a little cart containing Mickey Mouse and a Yeti in the gift shop for that ride. There was also a ride (Dinosaur: The Ride) featuring animatronic dinosaurs, and another one (Primeval Whirl) with a spinning car on a roller coaster track. Pretty much the same ride is at a lot of places, including Atlantic City where it's called the Crazy Mouse. The annoying thing was that the park's Extra Magic Hours meant it was open until 9, yet there was hardly anything to do after 6 or so.
Since we'd already used up three of our table service meals, we just got two counter service ones that day. For lunch, I had pizza, which seemed more like homemade than anything you could get at a pizzeria. I quite liked the crust, but the sauce was a little weird. My dinner was a hot dog and McDonald's French fries. bethje  had a hamburger and Chicken McNuggets for her two meals. In retrospect, and even right after ordering it, I felt bad about getting McDonalds food in Disney World. I was just really gung ho about not letting a counter service meal go to waste, and it was good, too. 

One thing I liked to do at each park everyday was look at the shops and see what kinds of things that offered at some but not at others. For instance, Animal Kingdom was the only place where I saw a plush Winnie the Pooh in a safari outfit. I like looking at things, you know?

Gaming Cats and Dogs

I've created a few more cats and dogs for The Sims 2 Pets. In general, I've tried to come up with pets that fit what I think of as the personalities and interests of the Sims I've been playing. Of course, the Sims don't always act according to how I see them, and I know I've occasionally responded to an automatic action or a desire with, "Hey, that person wouldn't want to do that!" But according to the game, they do.

Anyway, unlike in the Pets expansion for the original Sims, this one won't let you control the pets directly. It will let you know what they're doing, though, and they're usually pretty bright about fulfilling their needs. There are certain behaviors, like peeing on the floor and jumping up on the counters, and scratching or chewing the furniture, that you can discourage or, if you're feeling perverse, encourage. Actually, one of these behaviors is the pets sleeping on the Sims' own beds. It seems normal for me to let pets on the beds, so I've never had my Sims scold their own pets for that, but I know there are people who don't like that. I guess I can see it if the pets wet the bed or something, but I don't think that's possible in the game.

Pet jobs are weird, because there doesn't seem to be any difference between the ones for cats and dogs. A cat who goes into service can apparently become a seeing-eye pet, although I haven't personally gotten a cat that far up the career ladder. Another oddity is that, when the carpool shows up, the cat or dog actually goes to the car and sits on the seat just like a human Sim. I guess that made the programming easier, but it looks pretty bizarre.

There's apparently a kind of kibble that has the same effect on pets that the Elixir of Life does on humans, so I might well need to invest in some of that. A Sim pet dying would probably be even more upsetting than a Sim human dying. And since Dorothea's real-life cat Anderson just recently needed to get the same surgery for crystals in his urinary tract that he had a few months ago, I'm not sure I want to deal with unhealthy pets in the video game world as well.
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