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Shannonia expands: Plateau . Nothing on top but a bucket and a mop and an illustrated book about birds . And so, hearts in our mouths, we enter the dark, forbidding jungles of suburbia... Country Corner Estates. (Also known as Cookie Cutter Estates. Also known as Clear Cut Estates.) Conformity strictly enforced by a fascist Homeowners Association. Want to paint your house something other than white? They'll grudgingly let you paint it off-white. You want to plant red azaleas along the driveway? Hmm, let me check the bylaws... You let your grass get over 3/4 of an inch high? Better run, here comes the lynch mob. So you've just moved into your fabulous new home, which looks exactly like the homes of all your neighbors, who are all as uptight and conformist as you are. OH MY GOD! You just saw a bear or a cougar wander through your back yard! Call animal control! We can't have this, think of the children! You love living near nature and all, but you didn't bargain for this! The developers that bulldozed the forest and built these houses in its place did it fair and square! Those animals that used to live here will just have to go somewhere else! The Mayor has recently instituted an experimental form of Animal Control. People who call to complain about dangerous animals in their yard get shot by tranquilizer darts, then hauled off to some wilderness miles from their home and dumped there. It's still early, but so far the response from the four-legged constituency has been extremely favorable. Fogerty's General Store. This neighborhood supermarket at one time was actually an old style general store. Then it was bought by a heartless, faceless corporation. They retained the original name, but the customers were not fooled. It just isn't the same. One of these houses is a meth lab. Try to guess which one. I tried about twenty different techniques to get roads to look as smooth as possible at the tops and bottoms of hills. There were always going to be gaps and bumps, no way of getting around that... Eventually I just went with tiles that are loosely attached to one stud under the high end. To my surprise, they have all stayed in place during transport. The people who live in these houses hate with a venomous passion that new housing development to the south, and daily curse their new neighbors for ruining their idyllic life in the woods. The native peoples displaced by these original homesteads would laugh and laugh at the bitter irony, if they hadn't all been driven to extinction. Of the five smaller houses in this picture, three have already been foreclosed on, one is in imminent danger of being foreclosed on, and one is still tenuously owned by a man who will soon kill his entire family and then himself because his adjustable rate mortgage skyrocketed and he and his wife both just lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the Shannonia city council has just voted to give 800 trillion gazillion dollars to a group of billionaire banking tycoons to fund their next big get richer quicker scam, and to raise all property and sales taxes to fund this. Oh, and to congratulate themselves for speedily addressing the problem, they voted themselves a big fat pay raise, too. The lady in the yellow house is cheating on her husband with the man who lives in the blue house, who is cheating on both her and his wife with the lady in the white house. The man in the white house has recently decided or discovered, or however it works, that he is gay, and has been leading a secret double life that is eating him up inside. The people in the tan house watch the scandalous stories unfold before them on their favorite primetime soap opera about the dark side of suburbia, and wish their quiet little neighborhood was as exciting. This is the residence of a very noteworthy AFOL here on MOCpages, respected and beloved by all... which actually rules most of them out. All right, forget the respected and beloved thing. Anyway, I can't tell you who it is, because then everyone else in the clique would start whining about how I didn't give them any house in Shannonia. Like I need that. Wager Hill. The story goes that Black Jack Merrimac (gold prospector, inveterate gambler, and grandson of the infamous pirate, Captain Jack Merrimac) put the deed to this hill in the pot on the strength of the aces-up full house he was holding... and got beat by four sevens. By the time his opponent found that the deed was a fake and he'd bought that proverbial bridge, it was too late for revenge... Black Jack had already sailed to Argentina. Collier Bluff. I know some of you won't get it right away, if at all, and I take a sick joy in confounding you. "Oh, we're doing all right, but we're not rich," the homeowners will demur. Hm. You have a huge house on a hilltop with a spectacular view. Where I come from, we call that rich. Heading north up Skunk Drive. Named after a famous company headquartered in Shannonia, though the CEO is far too modest to ever claim it himself. In our next installment, we head back to where a lot of the people who live here work and play: downtown, for one last time.


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