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By Niloy

I love my Sims, especially the super-genius greenish Troxkeivlashit (not a Russian name). Unfortunately, I still can't figure out how to build stuff and I'm stuck with the default houses that comes with the game. If only there was some way to get him out of the house for a few years, expand his horizons, send him somewhere he could really meet some new faces.

Thankfully, here comes Sims 2 University, the first of the next half-decade's string of relentless expansion packs where players can experience "the best years." From emptying kegs to trying to cram more and more things into less and less time, from counterfeiting money to persuading "that other green alien girl" to do your term paper, this is an expansion worth attending.

Sims 2 University undeniably lives up to what a quality expansion pack should be: an addition to a game that is not scaled to be a sequel but to be a supplement that introduces refreshing new features that build on the core game play. It offers more of the addictive micro-management game play that Sims fans know and love by introducing a new teen life stage that was underexposed in Sims 2, a stage that increases the immersion of the "from birth to death" feeling of the Sims 2.

Although you can start your Sim fresh and hopeful in University, I brought my proud young Troxkeivlashitup from a child to gain the full experience. After all, any teen with passing high school grades can attend college with no difficulty. The easy application process of button clicking, and having the Danish-like Sims government who subsidizes all college funds make the admissions process even easier. For university-hopeful Sims, a good career in college can unlock new choice career paths for the years after college, as well as add two additional Wants slots for more rewarding activities for your Sim to pursue and rack up those Aspiration and Influence points.

A bittersweet wave goodbye and a taxi ride later Sim teens can start getting their learnin' on at one of three readily available schools: the Ivy League-esque Académie le Tour that touts a first-rate education but offers no Greek societies; La Fiesta Tech, the modern campus nestled in a desert notoriously known for extraterrestrial commotion; or the diverse and well-rounded Sim State. After choosing the right school, comes move-in day. It's perhaps the first sign that you may be in over your head as you struggle to choose between the dorms, your own place, or the Greek system. Just like real college, you can always move out at any time, but of course, made easier at the click of a button. The dorms are a safe bet since the food is free, and there are always fresh faces to see. The Greeks are choosey, requiring you to throw a successful get-together to get in... then constantly throwing more parties to ensure that your faux-Greek-letter adorned house is the campus' number one hot spot for drunken immorality goodness. Lastly, you can buy a lot and build or remodel a house to suit your college dreams, whether you dream of a house full of secret society members or whatever.

Aside from the new places to live and co-eds to pillow fight with, there's more random clutter to acquire. College belongings available in the Buy Mode, such as the illustrious White Rabbit hash pipeer...I mean "bubble blower," and school pennants, can increase your cool while keeping your Sim's bank account low. But worry not, there's always the grand option of working part-time at minimum wage. The job system is more convenient than outside of University, allowing you to work whatever hours you like and actually be able to use the bathroom to relieve that cursed bladder tension anytime. In addition, you don't have to hunt through the newspaper for work, instead just talking to the locals and seeing what needs doing.

Despite the countless extracurricular activities, staying in school is top priority. After all, you do get quite a bit of scholarship moolah with good grades. Once you are moved in, settled, and working in your free time, you face the same realization that brings terror to most college students in real life. You have to go to class. It takes four years of one class everyday per semester and two semesters per school year to complete any of the universities, but don't let the light class load trick you into thinking that university life is breezy. Sims 2 University is hard. There, I said it. Though your Sim students have more free time than Sim adults, that extra free time will be spent with more stuff to do. In addition to your chosen aspiration, imagine an invisible "Education" aspiration, demanding school responsibilities that lie outside of the classroom such as completing assignments, researching with a group, writing term papers, and increasing skill points through study and practice. The busy schedule of a Sim student is made a tad less hectic now with the new Influence meter located in the tool bar. Shacking up influence points will allow your Sim to persuade others to do your Sims' chores. But even after mastering the art of persuasion, your Sims will still have a jam packed schedule. This can make managing Sim students arguably more of a brainy effort than managing Sim adults. Is it a blemish? Hardly. Sure, it takes a lot more extensive planning to make sure your Knowledge Sim won't be an anti-social loner, or your Popularity Sim will pass sophomore year, but more things for Sim co-eds to do mean more voyeuristic fun!

The perks of adding University to your Sims 2 game don't just include having newer and more features. Yes, there are more fresh faces to meet and build lasting friendships with and more themed furniture to add style to your environment, and yes there are woo-hoos aplenty. But what makes Sims 2 University worth your bucks for is that it is a Sims expansion that can stand by itself. If you want to get that "just one minute more" buzz but don't have forever to spend playing, playing University from move-in day to graduation will take roughly eight hours. At the same time, you can utilize this extra life stage to build up your character and unlock new careers, which is a nice touch. It gives players more drive to see their capable college graduates soar, so they can see more in the world of Sims 2.

In the end, my young Sim Troxkeivlashit graduated on the Dean's list with a physics major, earned a few grand through grant money, became best friends with the school mascot llama, swapped spit with several co-eds, participated in the Greek system, and printed some counterfeit money. As Troxkeivlashitreturns home, he has two more Want slots, more aspiration and influence points, and a promising future working in the exclusive field of natural sciences. Needless to say, he's the envy of every block in Veronaville.


Matthew Mcconaughey

Place of Birth: Uvalde, Texas
Birth Date: November 4, 1969

With a rangy handsomeness that makes him look as if he would be equally comfortable branding cattle, Matthew McConaughey found fame shortly after making his screen debut in Richard Linklater's 1993 Dazed and Confused. After being cast in two high-profile 1996 films, Lone Star and A Time to Kill, the actor was soon being hailed as one of the industry's hottest young leading men, inspiring comparisons to such charismatic purveyors of cinematic testosterone as Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.

A product of Texas, McConaughey was born in Uvalde on November 4, 1969 and raised in Longview. The son of a substitute teacher and a former member of the Green Bay Packers, he excelled in sports as a high school student and was voted "Most Handsome" by his senior class. After graduating, McConaughey spent some time working in Australia and then returned to the States to attend the University of Texas at Austin. It was there that he met producer and casting director Don Phillips, who introduced him to director Linklater, and, after directing from UT in 1993 with a degree in film production, McConaughey was cast in Dazed and Confused.

Although his role as Wooderson, a slacker old enough to know better, was relatively small, McConaughey succeeded in winning a degree of immortality with lines like, "That's what I like about high school girls: I keep getting older, they stay the same age." After Dazed, McConaughey took on a number of supporting roles in films of varying quality, appearing in everything from 1994's Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to 1995's Boys on the Side, in which he was cast as Drew Barrymore's straight-arrow cop boyfriend. The latter film won him some notice, heightened a year later when he was cast in John Sayles' acclaimed Lone Star. McConaughey made a distinct impression in his small but pivotal role as the town's beloved late sheriff, Buddy Deeds, and was duly given his first leading role in Joel Schumacher's 1996 adaptation of John Grisham's A Time to Kill. Although the film met with lackluster reviews, McConaughey managed to attract favorable attention, holding his own against Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, and Sandra Bullock.

Finding himself elected to the throne of Hollywood Golden Boy, a status cemented by his appearance on the cover of the August 1996 Vanity Fair, McConaughey paradoxically followed his initial success with a string of small, largely unseen films before landing a starring role as a property lawyer in Amistad, Steven Spielberg's 1997 slave epic. The same year, he also starred in Contact, playing a New Age theologian in Robert Zemeckis' adaptation of Carl Sagan's best-selling novel. After again collaborating with Linklater in 1998 on The Newton Boys, in which he starred alongside Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich, and Vincent D'Onofrio as the remarkably photogenic family of titular robbers, McConaughey banded together with off-screen pal Bullock on her directorial debut, the short Making Sandwiches, the same year.

For all the hype surrounding the beginning of his career, by the time he was cast in the lead role of Ron Howard's EdTV, McConaughey had receded somewhat from the public eye, with many critics noting that despite his talent and physical attributes, the actor seemed to have trouble finding roles that would do him justice. But McConaughey's turn as the laid-back everyman who becomes an overnight celebrity when he allows his life to be broadcast on TV proved a relative success, with the actor winning praise for his endearingly dopey performance. The film itself garnered a number of positive reviews and gave a decent box office performance, and by the end of that year, McConaughey had his name attached to a number of projects, including those of his own production company, J.K. Livin'.

In October 1999, McConaughey achieved notoriety of a different sort, when he was arrested for resisting transport after the Austin, Texas police responded to noise complaints about his late-night naked bongo-playing; drug charges against him were dropped for lack of a proper warrant. After submerging in a tense struggle to find a German Enigma machine in order to defeat the Nazis in the taut World War II thriller U-571 (2000), McConaughey sweetened things up a bit by co-starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner (2002). A lightweight comedy that did little to further his appeal as an actor of dramatic or comic range, the film nevertheless kept McConaughey in the public eye and once again warmed him to a public unsure how to approach him after numerous rumors of bizarre behavior.

McConaughey's performance as a cocky lawyer forced to re-evaluate his quest for happiness after a life-altering experience in 2001's 13 Conversations About One Thing forced critics and audiences to re-evaluate their approach to the eccentric actor, and he would next re-team with U-571 co-star Bill Paxton for the nail-biter sleeper Frailty (2001). In late 2001 and early 2002 the eccentric actor at last received favorable press after coming to the aid of both woman who fainted at the Toronto International Film Festival and a sound man who suffered a seizure during McConaughey's Access Hollywood interview for Reign of Fire (2002), and though the aforementioned film fared only moderately well at the box office, its kindly star seemed to be back in the public's good graces. McConaughey next opted to lighten things up a bit by co-starring alongside Kate Hudson in the /romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Rebecca Flint, All Movie Guide.


by Tawsif

If you ever end up practicing one of those Wolverine chops on your mom's favourite flower-vase and that darned thing falls down the shelf and breaks, it's imperative to use all your criminal instincts while getting rid of the lifeless remains. You can always bury the vase in your backyard. You can spray it with insecticides to make sure that there's no bug hovering around the burial, thus giving away the location; and it helps to wear (or, at least squeeze a wee bit of your feet inside) your younger sib's school-shoes while committing the crime. That way, if the soil happens to be soft and gives away the shoe-prints, it's your sib who'd end up being prosecuted, or in certain occasions, thrown combs at. After all, breaking your mom's favourite flower-vase might not be the same as committing a murder, but by hiding it safely, you're definitely preventing one.

Bad news, dear readers! Mom has finally found the remains of her flower-vase I broke (and almost hid) about a couple of months ago, and now she's rampaging in the entire house with the wrath of seven Godzilla's! She's already asked me if it was my doing, and I've artfully denied to have ever seen that vase in my entire life. As far as lies went, it wasn't exactly a convincing one, given that it was I who had advised mom to shift the vase in my room.

Thank God, we don't have freelance fingerprint experts in our country. For all I know, mom would've probably ended up hiring one.

Fingerprints, by the way, are made of ridges on the upper-skin on hands and feet of all people and certain animals. These ridges make lines of different patterns which vary from one person to another. Hence, in a world of billions, every individual has his unique, inimitable fingerprint. Even in case of identical twins who have the same DNA, the fingerprints vary from one to another, thus making the fingerprint-analysis in a crime scene one of the most reliable means of pinpointing (and eventually prosecuting) the criminal(s).

Before we learn how the fingerprints are actually detected, let's see how it's transmitted to an object at first place. If you have something smeared on your fingers, say blood for example, the print is rather easily transmitted to anything you touch, and is usually visible to the naked eye. If you're smart enough to carry a hanky while committing a crime, however, the print can still be transmitted due to the presence of amino acid on the ridges of your fingers. The amino acid is transferred to anything you touch, and can be traced later to obtain a perfect pattern of your fingerprint.

Same is true for the fat on your finger-ridge. When you touch something, this fat is transferred, and like the amino acid, can be traced on the object. In other words, it's always advisable to keep an extra latex glove in your house. You never know when you need them.

The methods of detecting the fingerprint vary from object to object. When a print is put on a paper it can be traced with a magnetic aluminum-powder. However, if the print is much older than a few hours, a chemical known as Ninhydrin is used. Ninhydrin colours the amino acid left behind by the contact with skin, thus giving away the fingerprint.

When a print is put on a metallic or plastic object, the cyano-method is used. A few drops of cyano-acrylate are heated until it starts vaporizing. The smoke of the cyano attaches to the fingerprints, leaving a clear white pattern.

The fingerprints, thus obtained, are then photographed and saved for future use. When a suspect is found, his fingerprint is taken and photographed. Then the two prints are compared in terms of typicas. Typicas are the unique lines formed by the ridges of the finger. If enough typicas match, the two prints are considered alike, and the suspect in convicted.

The number of typicas that has to be matched before a suspect can be convicted varies from country to country. In the Netherlands the number is twelve. In South Africa it's seven. While in countries like England and America, the decision is left to the experts.

What number of typicas do they need in our country? None, I suppose. They'd catch the wrong guy and kill him in the remand, anyways.

Till next week.
(Your suggestions are always welcome at sighzone@gmail.com. Oh yeah, I'm back from the Double Cola haze. Anyone would, given that an incurable romantic threatens to take over his column.)



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