For whatever it's worth, this work is copyright (C) 2000 by The Sinner. You're welcome to download it for your own enjoyment. You're welcome to repost it to any newsgroup or on any website as long as you include the entire work without any alteration (including the author's byline and these fun little paragraphs at the beginning). If you do repost it, I'd appreciate it if you let me know about it; I like to know where my stories get to. Hell, even if you only read it yourself and enjoy it I'd still like to hear from you.
Psychology 101 Section D (Dr. Samuels)
Semester Project Journal
Monday 9/25 8:13 PM
Well, Dr. Samuels liked my project proposal. When I got the paper back in class today, he'd written "I like it! Creative thinking!" across the top in big red letters. I don't think I've ever gotten that positive a response from a teacher before. This is exciting! If this goes as well as I think I'll probably decide to major in psychology.
Anyway, this document is the required project journal, in which I'll be recording my findings. Of course, Dr. Samuels told us clearly in class today that this was not a diary; we were only supposed to be recording our project results. So technically, this whole paragraph shouldn't be here. But that's the beauty of computers; I'll just edit this out at the end of the semester before I turn it in. In the meantime I'll write whatever I damn well please.
My semester-long project for Psychology 101 is an investigation of the state of the art in computer simulation of human psychology. I'll be using a program called SimFolks, which will allow me to create a number of simulated characters and watch them interact in a simulated real-world setting.
My God, I can't believe I actually made it my project to play a COMPUTER GAME! This has to be one of the greatest coups of all time! I wonder how jealous all the boys in the class would be if they knew that a girl was going to be playing a computer game all semester and getting credit for it. Don't they wish they could do a semester project on one of their macho bullshit games like Quake or something. Ha!
Okay, I have to get serious. My first simulation is of a married couple. The husband, Bob, is a stockbroker. He's about thirty, tall and dark-haired. His wife Cindy is a pretty brunette who works as a schoolteacher. I've built them a nice little house in the suburbs, complete with a white picket fence. To top it all off, they have a pair of kids: a six-year old boy, Robert, Jr.; and a three-year-old girl, Julie.
[Side note: Am I projecting myself into this a bit much? Maybe. Okay, I'll admit it's my dream to have a nice house in the suburbs with a handsome, rich husband and a pair of kids. But so what? I still want to have a career. Okay, I admit that schoolteacher is a bit on the traditional side, but it's still a perfectly honorable way to make a living, isn't it?]
[Okay, fine. I've changed it; Cindy is now a banker. Jesus, it's not like it's important anyway; the point is to examine the psychology of these people as a family; it doesn't matter where they spend their workdays. I'm not Cindy, and I think I have a pretty good grip on that concept.]
I've run the simulation through one day of sim-time. These people seem to require a fair bit of attention. I'd hoped when I first started this that they'd take care of their various needs on their own, but that turns out not to be the case. I have to tell them how to do almost every damn little thing. I have to tell them when to eat, when to sleep, when to go to the bathroom (and damn, it isn't pretty when you forget that one.) I realize now I should have started off with just a single character rather than a family of four, but I'm not giving up on these people now; I've got too much time invested in them already.
Anyway, I got them through the day more or less in one piece. I had to get them dressed in the morning -- Bob in a jacket and tie and Cindy in a power suit. The kids were easier; T-shirts and shorts. I tried to have Cindy cook breakfast, but it was a disaster; burnt toast and runny eggs. So I had her throw it all out and I fed them these instant-meal things that were in the fridge. Everyone ate, and the two car-pools and the school bus arrived simultaneously.
Everyone came home in the evening, and things were no less hectic as I tried to get them to eat dinner. I forgot to send little Bobby to the bathroom at the right time, and was rewarded with a nice puddle on the floor. When I finally got that cleaned up that and the everyone fed, it was already bedtime. I put the family to bed, saved the game, and shut it down. I don't have the energy to do another day tonight. I'll give it a run tomorrow.
Monday 10/2 7:55 PM
My parents called tonight, complaining again about how unsafe it was for me to be living alone in an off-campus apartment. Nothing new; we've only had this argument about a dozen times. I told them again that I'm nineteen years old, I'm a sophomore in college, and I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself. First, of course, they asked me to move back into the dorms. I explained again (very patiently, I thought) that I was sick and tired of living in a closet-sized room with another person, and that I'd gotten quite enough of dorm life during my freshman year. Then they came back to the old why-don't-you-live-with-a- roommate line of questioning. There I was on shakier ground. I told them that I really preferred to live alone and have my evenings to myself so I could study undisturbed. I tried to emphasize that last bit.
They don't know the real reason I live alone, of course. The real reason's name is Brad. We met last spring in sociology class and... well, let's just say we got very friendly. He's an absolute dream -- handsome, intelligent, strong. He's majoring in Economics, so he'll probably also end up being very rich. That's not why I'm attracted to him, of course, but still, it makes it very easy to see myself married to him.
Mom and Dad don't know about him. It's not that they wouldn't approve of him. He's clean-cut, well-mannered, and very pleasant to be around. It's just that if they knew about him, they might begin to suspect that he's the reason I'm living alone. Which is, of course, the case. Speaking of which, he's coming over at nine, so if I want to get this journal caught up to date tonight I'd better do it now.
I haven't made a journal entry in the past week because I've been spending all my project time just trying to get the knack of caring for the sims. But I think I've got it. I can now have the family prepare a meal, get dressed, and get to the potty on time. I've been efficient enough to work in some family activities, too -- some conversations, some playing with the kids, and some TV viewing.
Tonight, after putting the kids to bed, I sent Bob and Cindy to bed and had them make love. It was actually quite nice. They got undressed and crawled into bed. I didn't get to watch the actual act, though; it was obscured by a large pink heart that rolled slowly back and forth over the bed. I guess the game had to keep a PG rating.
Speaking of making love, the doorbell just rang, so I'll have to close this entry now.
Wednesday 10/11 11:14 PM
I was in the middle of running through another day with the family this evening. The whole thing has become kind of boring. I've added in some neighbors and had the family socialize with them. That relieves the monotony somewhat, but it's still basically just the same thing every day -- they wake up, go to work, come home, eat, relieve themselves and talk, and occasionally Cindy and Bob have sex. But that's it. That's the extent of their computer-generated lives.
I tried to liven things up by having Cindy change careers and become a fashion model. Sounds weird, huh? Well, yeah, that's what I always wanted to be when I was growing up. And I've been told I have the looks for it, too. I even did a few jobs in high school for advertisements and things. But my family was more interested in me going to college and getting an education, so I gave it up. I guess I figured Cindy should have the life I never got to live.
But I digress. In the middle of dinner this evening (Sim dinner, of course), my computer just froze. Everything just sat there, the family in the middle of the meal. I couldn't fucking believe it. And I'd just spent two hours babysitting them through another day. Rebooting the machine would have erased all that and screwed my project up royally. I tried everything I could think of, but the game stayed frozen and I couldn't get back to Windows. So I did the only thing I could think of: I went to ask Irwin for help.
Irwin lives across the hall from me. Actually, we're down at the very end of the hall, where it takes a sharp turn, so our doors are out of sight from the main hall. It's more like a little alcove, really. I think our apartments used to be one big apartment, but they got chopped apart at some point. Anyway, Irwin is this nebbishy guy who looks like he's somewhere between thirty and forty. Thick glasses. He's kind of creepy, really. Before tonight I'd never spoken to him aside from a polite hello in the hallway; I only knew his name from his mailbox. But I knew he was into computers, and I was desperate, so I went and knocked on his door.
.... There is more of this story ...