Superheroes II – Battling Bosses – TSTO Joins Me at Arches

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I have to laugh at the way that TSTO and Life mimic one another sometimes.  Yes…you have to stretch a bit for the symbolism, but sometimes it just works out.

Like when I was able to place my National Park right near my Western town, which has a TON of very “Arches National Park” imagery, and was then able to add a camping trailer (Milhouse’s) for a few measly donuts (40) to make my memory of the “Rediscovering America” tour complete.

It is perfect…and very satisfying…as trying to drive 8.5 hours a day…stop and see all of the amazing sights (like Arches National Park) along the way, and still have time to tap just wasn’t going to happen.

OH. And there is a GIL DEAL…and Some Boss Fighting With a Giant Crab thingy… called “Pinchy.”

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I am glad that TSTO and life don’t mimic one another THAT closely! 

Here are some tips on fighting…and some pics from Arches! Continue reading

Rediscovering America Tour Continues… Links to What You Missed

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I know the world is going nuts right now. And to enjoy our mega-cross-country-trip, I have all but had to just turn off the news, and not look at any news on Google.

It has mostly worked, to keep my blood pressure down…and my temperament in a “less Cranky mode.” There is plenty of time to get into that when we get back…

Here are links to a few of the posts you may have missed…if you need a diversion as well!

Discovering America Days 22-23 – Deep in the Heart of Texas

Rediscovering America Day 21- The 8th Wonder of the World…Creepy!

Rediscovering America Day 20 – Small Town Charm and Political Mayhem

Of Caves, Rocks and Fossils- Another View of Creation

Rediscovering America – Day 18 – The Colonel, Noah, Abe and Me

Have fun! I know we are…

Bastille Day…

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Imagine my shock and horror as I pull into a McDonald’s on our road trip, and see the awful news from France.

There are no words to say about yet another horrible tragedy. The world really is coming apart at the seams.

My deepest condolences to France. I know that the entire community shares in my sadness on what should be a joyous day.

Peace, Hope and Love…really are the answer.

Superheroes Final Chapter Calendar and Critical Dates

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As I have intimated, I hate being a quitter before the game final update is even halfway through…but, I have looked at the schedule for the next week, and know that it isn’t going to lend itself well to tapping…

Brady TX to Amarillo, to Sante Fe, to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, to Moab and Arches National Park, to Boise, and finally home. I guess I’ll have to trade the possibility of getting a Crab dude in a white coat, for the final leg of a trip of a lifetime.

BUT…I know that many of you are still spending your summer tapping…so the least I can do (and it is the least) is to provide you with a calendar and some critical dates, so you might “get it all” in this final chapter of the update.

Here ya go!
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Bastille Day Brings Us a Hottie- Time to Get Out the Briquette and COOK!

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I am going to guess that very few people who aren’t French, actually know what Bastille Day is. I do. But. I’m weird that way…plus I saw “Les Miserables” several times.

Much like our own Independence Day (and maybe Guy Fawkes Day in Great Britain), the modern version of Bastille Day is mostly about fireworks, food, drinking and general frivolity. In truth…it was a bit more sombre.

From a very nice article from Time Magazine, Bastille Day marks the anniversary of the storming of a grand fortress that was infamous for holding political prisoners, during the first moments of the French Revolution in Paris in 1789.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the origin of Charcoal Briquette, a member of the Fossil Fuel Four in the Simpsons, as well as TSTO.

I’m not really keen to place another French flag in my town…I already have one from Tap Ball. But, hubba-hubba-hubba!!! Who wouldn’t want CB running around town in her tight fitting spandex.

I haven’t crafted a single thing in this update, that I wasn’t forced to craft…knowing that I had to hoard to get the 4,000 Game Cards required for the combo. I may not have reached the end of Issue 2 (as I have clocked more than 6,000 miles on our cross-country trip). But, I managed to keep winning my battles- and that’s all I needed.

Now…SHE IS MINE!!! WhoooHooo!

Here’s the Walk Through that goes with this saucy, hot, redhead! Continue reading

Superheroes Issue III- (Mostly Complete) Cheat Guide

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Well…it was bound to happen. The perfect storm of circumstances that was going to make it next to impossible to do the Cheat Guide for the final update, while traveling close to 10,000 miles back and forth across the country, with spotty internet connections.

I’d like to say that I have been working hard to pull into any availbable McDonalads or Starbucks to be able to hit a “Free WiFi” spot, because I care so much about the game that I was “duty bound” to get the information up. But, the fact is, I’m in a place (Greensburg, IN) where there are no McDonalads or Starbucks.  I’m not kidding.

I know…mind blown. I this still America????

The connection at the Bed and Breakfast were we are staying is slightly better than a dial-up modem, and it won’t keep me connected long enough to even fight a battle, let alone do research.

But…I am now huddled in the corner of a small radio station client’s office…preteding that I am doing some “very important business.” And I guess…as it pertains to your world…I am.

The Final Issue of Superheroes is finally here.  We are in the final stage, the last battles, the final pages…before we turn back to “normal.”

What should we expect?

Spoilers Follow- If you don’t want to know, don’t click below! Continue reading

Final Hours of Superheroes Issue II – Last Chance for “Super Content”

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I know. My “meh” is showing through the headline. But, part of my dilemma is simply that I can’t log on…even if I wanted to. 

I’m in the heartland of America right now. As in, somewhere between 1965 and 1985. The Bed and Breakfast where Deb and I are staying, while visiting one of my smallest, small town radio clients, has an internet connection that may in fact be powered by “Lightning Bugs.” They are everywhere…but their power sputters and flickers, and is providing a connection so weak, that I can’t even log into the game. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! What am I going to do?????

Not play.

But, that shouldn’t stop you!

At midnight, Issue III will load automatically…but with that, will come the disappearance of many of the Level II update offerings.

IT IS IMPORTANT if you want to move on to Issue III, that you FINISH all of the Issue II tasks. So…do it. Then, you can start anticipating the fun stuff…right?

Here’s what’s going away… Continue reading

Where Are You on The Countdown Calendar?

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OK. I’d like to say that I can “do it all” while I am on this mega-trip.

But the fact is… I can’t. I’ve tried. I am doing my best to keep up, but I am not even close to the Calendar

I am supposed to be at the Plastic Prison today…and I am not even at the XRay machine.

I am going to have to just come to the realization that living life…in real time…when you are driving 8 hours a day…and seeing the sites…doesn’t allow for 4-hour breaks, and I won’t get it all.

No worries….HERE’S WHY…

Have a great weekend… I know I am.

Of Buried Hatchets and Medical Excuses…

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This giant cross-country trip has brought about so many wonderful surprises, and the chance to meet up with old friends, meet new friends, and even meet old friends for the first time, that there had to be one of those “hey…why didn’t we do this sooner?” moments that was bound to come along.

And, that is exactly what happened this afternoon, when two old friends, who’d fallen out of favor with one another, took the time to share a meal (with family sitting in buffer) and mend some fences.

A lot of updates have passed since the first days that Ryan and I used to write for TSTOAddicts…and then came TSTOFriends…and a book…and maybe even a medical condition that turned me into a raving assclown (or hole if you prefer).

If you want details…keep reading.
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It’s The 5th of July…Time for a “Cool” SuperDeal!

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What comes right after the celebration of our Independence?

Why…more Great Deals Of Course!!

It is an American Tradition. Every holiday is marked by “Huge Special Savings!!!” on the same assortment of stuff you can almost always get at a discount, because it is almost always a holiday of some sort in the retail world.

In fact, I almost had to cut my cross-country trip short, because I continued to get “FINAL DAY” message alerts yesterday about the “HUGE 4th Of July Blow-Out” at my local Guitar Center where I could present a very special personal coded coupon to receive 15% off the regular discounted prices!  And man…I am really short of guitars on this trip!!

But, EA is a different sort of “retailer.” They prefer to charge FULL price…on loads of “limited time offers” that seem to make sense, for about as long as it takes for the current update to expire.

Which is the case with Today’s “Must Have Offering,”  Coolsville and Milo! Continue reading

In Celebration of the 4th of July…Two Versions

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The 4th of July is one of those “supremely American” holidays that like most others, has kind of lost its way from the original intent.

It is a celebration of the Declaration of Independence, which started the revolutionary war properly (as it has been kind of a guerrilla/domestic terror action up to that point), and laid out the groundwork for why we needed to be “self-governing” and free from our “British oppressors.”

As we have loads of “Brits” in our TSTO community, I will sidestep that last bit. We both have our own issues with government. So we can just all give one another a pass on that one.

In TSTO- you should have won both the “Free Eagle” and the “Fireworks Pinwheel.”  They are free. And I admit to liking things that fly and things that blow up.

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The other “inalienable right” is to eat too much food and sit in large groups to watch fireworks, while doing our best not to injure ourselves shooting off our own “semi-legal” fireworks.

This is an American “right.”  We get to do it because we won. 

Nobody celebrates the “Bay of Pigs,” or Vietnam or Korea.  And we sure as hell won’t be lining up anytime soon to celebrate Iraq or Afghanistan.  But we DO honor those who serve…because too a person, they are doing something that the vast majority of us do not do. They act to do something to keep our basic rights and freedoms whole. 

Most of us still don’t vote regularly. And if we do, we “vote with our gut” rather than taking the time to actually research the issues completely. It’s easier to regurgitate the latest media rhetoric, or talking head blather, than to take the time to form an educated opinion.

But, hey…THAT’S OUR RIGHT!!!  Right?

However, even in this partisan, fractious time, there are a couple of things on which we agree…and there are a couple of very easy fixes. 

I WROTE ABOUT IT HERE…

Have a safe, happy 4th!  I know I will! Deb is making her world famous potato salad! Whoohooo!

PatrioticOldGuy
Patric

Catching Up with Cranky…And RYAN!

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That’s right… for those of you have been along for the ride since Day One…you know who Ryan is. For those of you who haven’t…you SHOULD!

Old/New friends hooked up again for a meal of Ethiopian food (what else?) in a beautiful small town in New Jersey (where else?).

It was a lovely day…with a good friend…and not a shred of tapping between us.

CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY…

Catching Up with Cranky…

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I have been playing when I can…which isn’t much. I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on the daily calendar. I might get Clobber Girl today…but that means I am about 10K behind. Meh…

I’m seeing some of the most amazing stuff you can imagine…every day…and having a blast not thinking much about TSTO.  Except that today and Tuesday…I will be thinking about TSTOFriends…and our beginning, a LOT!

Why?  Because in less than an hour, I will be hooking up hooking up with Ryan Kagy, my old original cohort in crime, and co-author of our book together.

Tuesday…I will be hooking up with someone who is another “co-founder of sorts,” with an amazing connection to the “why we did this” in the beginning.

In the meantime…. CATCH UP with Blog Posts about the trip…and enjoy your weekend!! 

CLICK HERE FOR THE MOST RECENT REDISCOVERING AMERICA TOUR updates.

SuperHeros “Quick Battle” Comes Quicker

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It seems that good old EA is seeing the drop-off in play on this update. Don’t get me wrong…I think it’s swell. I think it is rEAlly EAsy…as long as you can hit things every 4 hours or so.

But…it DOES get tedious pretty quickly, so the ability to fight an entire battle with the push of a single button, is appealing.

According to GIO, and the original game code, it wasn’t supposed to show up until July 3rd. But, when I logged on tonight…BOOM!! There it was…

Here are the details. Continue reading

4th of July – What’s Premium And Real…And What’s Not

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I guess I should be used to this by now. After all, this is my 3rd TSTO 4th of July. No. Wait. It’s my 4th!  HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!! Something about that sentence makes me tired. But, I digress…

Anyway…the 4th is here again, with a ton of clutter and crap that is expensive. Kind of like the National Budget (have you ever read the budget? It’s available online. Read it. You’ll never want to pay taxes again).

It does make it pretty clear, that there is a true cost for Freedom. And even in TSTO, if you want to celebrate Freedom, it’s gonna cost you…a lot. 

Then, there is the irony of offering up a Premium National Park…during the same week that I GOT A GREAT DEAL ON REAL NATIONAL PARKS!!

Whoohooo!!

Let’s take a look…
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SuperHeroes 2- Issue 2- Complete Cheat Guide- With Calendar

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Well…thanks once again mostly to GIO over at the WIKI, almost everything you needed to know about ACTII has been up over at the WIKI for days and days and days.

That is a good thing. Because, it allows you to plan for what you think you need, and how you are going to get it…even if you don’t really need it at all. And, it allows me to keep driving across the country, without sweating how I am going to post the next bit, while trying to tap at 70 MPH on I-90.

Most of this Issue’s Prizes are oddly specific…and it kinda feels like EA/Gracie is reaching. But, I guess the whole thing comes down to, “If they are gong to tap during the summer…and during the weeks around the 4th of July, they are hooked enough to “want it all,” even if “it all” isn’t all that great.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a look…

As always...SPOILERS FOLLOW- If you don’t want to know…don’t click below!!

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Final Hours of Act I Superheroes 2 – Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em

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I know…I know…the graphic above doesn’t have the new “goat.”  Fear not…I haven’t shaved it yet. I just didn’t want to mess with the graphic while I am on the road…and short of time.

Back to business…

Act I ends tonight, or more accurately, tomorrow morning at 1 AM – PDT- Patric Daylight Time. There are a couple of things to deal with here…mostly, just burning some Playing Cards for your Act I Crafting Prizes that you may want…and switching to the New Currency…with NEW Prizes at the same time.

Issue I Prizes will go away (including the Prize Track Prizes), and Crafting Prizes will swap out.

Crafting Cards will carry over…so DON’T BURN THEM UP NOW IN PANIC…especially if you are trying to save them up for a “Major Prize” at the end of the game.

OK? ‘Nuf Said?  Carry On…

OH!!!! And if you want to figure out what THIS PIC is about… follow our trip HERE…

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Day 2- Rediscovering America…It Takes Balls

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So…as it turns out, trying to blog on the road, when we are covering 500+ miles a day, you don’t have the time or energy to blog. I sure as heck am glad that I am done with Issue I of the TSTO update…so I really am not tapping at all.
But, I will continue to do my best…to keep you up to speed on the trip- even if I am blogging at either midnight, or 4:30 in the morning…like today.

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Some Times You Just Hafta Have the Balls to be Different – Day 2

Last Week for Issue One…First Day of a Marathon

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It’s funny…mostly.

When people find out that my business is internet based, and that I can work from anywhere that I have a connection and my laptop, they almost always say, “Wow…that’s cool. It must be nice to make your own hours!”

Uhm. Well… yes and no.

The fact is, the company I own does Web-Based tools and applications for broadcasters across the country. Radio is a 24/7 business…and because I am always connected by padular device or smart phone, it means that I am always working. As in...always.

It’s kind of like fighting battles in this update. It is relentless. I am on “vacation” for the next month. Which means that I get up early, or stay up late to work at every stop on our 29-day trip. I also check email all day long…oh…and tap every 4 hours.

But, no complaints. It is the life I have chosen…and the good news is, I can tell my boss to pound sand, any time I choose. Heck….I have fired myself for insubordination more times that I can count in the past year alone!

But I AM on the road….and at least my “tapping world” is “Cake.”

I have almost reached the “Grand Prize of Act I” with a Week to Spare!!

How did I do it?
Continue reading

Gil’s Back! WhooHoo! With an Insane Offer!!

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Hey!

Good Old Gil is back, just in time to say goodbye to us for our long trip across the country!  Boy…he rEAlly knows how to temp someone to spend some of our hard-earned vacation money.

This offer…is so thoroughly Gil like, it’s… Continue reading

You Asked For It…And You Got It! Boom!!!

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I get it. I really do.

While many of you enjoy my “sidetrack ramblings and rants” about issues not related to TSTO, a vast majority of you would most likely just prefer me to “stick to the TSTO.”

Well…as promised, I am making some radical changes in the way I use this site, and have figured out a way to be able to say what I want, what I want, about any topic I choose, and still be CrankyOldGuy.

Just not here.

Henceforth (and who doesn’t love a sentence that begins with “henceforth?”), this site will be dedicated entirely to TSTO blather/game info/tips/tricks/commentary…as well, as updates on our FriendsOfBuyijja projects.

Sorry. But, you get the “duopoly,” of TSTOFriends/FriendsOfBuyijja, because the project started here, and frankly, most of you still need to be admonished to “Do Something That Matters.”

But on all other issues…or as the new site says, Wisdom, Ramblings and Rants, about almost anything, you will now be pointed to CrankyOldGuy.com.

What most of you don’t understand, is that CrankyOldGuy has been mine for more than a decade. And I have been CrankyOldGuy, long before I was actually old.

But the world is coming apart at the seams. And I need someplace to vent, or I’ll lose my freakin’ mind (what little of it is left).  So…follow along. Or don’t.

You want to know what I think of the elections, or gun control, or selfies, or the assclowns in congress, or why I wish I was 20 years younger because of the huge changes in media and the opportunity to own/control your own art? Well…you won’t find it here. Family…Politics…Entertainment…Media…and a huge, dollop of common sense pragmatism. It’s all going to be “over there.”

Bottom line…the FUN stuff is going to be there. This place is going to be whatever/whenever I choose to post about this “silly little game” that has consumed me for more time than I choose to admit.

Just remember…YOU ASKED FOR IT!!

Let’s get on with it. 
www.crankyoldguy.com

Superheroes 2 -Halfway Through Issue One- Random Info and Dates

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As I wrote about just before the weekend, this update is EAsy…if you don’t mind fighting a LOT of battles…like, every 4 hours.

There is the bigger questions of, “Is This Stuff Worth The Trouble?”

That is harder to determine.

There are some dates coming up, for limited time clutter and crap…as well as a target you should be hitting if you “want it all!”

Let’s take a look…

Continue reading

SuperHeroes 2 – Looking Forward and a Warning

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This update is loaded with action…and content…and stuff. But of course, most of it won’t fit in my town, as I have once again reached my “Item Limit.”

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Meh…

No worries. As I have discovered by checking out Gio’s Amazing Work on the Wiki...a TON of this is just made up for this update anyway. So…pardon me if I don’t want it in my town.

As I said in another post…EA has gone SUPER PREMIUM CRAZY…with almost 3,000 donuts needed to “get it all” in regards to what they are offering. Granted…some of it is from SuperHeroes 1…and I already have it (most of it being in storage). But, man…rEAlly EA?  That is a TON of donuts. Even if a ton of you juked the system and leveled up to level 900+ for Bonuts.

This thing is going to seem like a VERY long update.

Thank goodness I am leaving.
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Battling Neighbors – Social Battle Prizes and Basics

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You remember the old adage, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”  Well…this update is kind of like that. Although, as it turns out, you really aren’t doing much for, or against, your neighbors.

It’s not like Stonecutters, where you could knock down a building or cause other mayhem. This is actually more about going to a neighbor’s town…stirring up some trouble…and then getting rewarded for it. Kinda weird…but OK.

There are prizes to be won…but, most of them will become useless after the update is over, as they are very “Super-Hero-Neighbor-Centric.”

But, no worries…it’s pretty straightforward, except this time, you are the bad guys, fighting their bad guys/heroes to win points, so you can win more bad guys. OK, forget the straightforward part.

Let’s take a look… Continue reading

REAL Superheroes Are In This Community!

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I find it ironic that after the past week of events have transpired, that we find ourselves playing a “Superheroes Update” in TSTO.  I get it. It’s a good distraction from events that can make you question the future of the world.

And the fact is…there are days when you look at world events, and feel helpless to do anything about it.

But, I am buoyed by knowing that this blog has been a gathering place for REAL Superheroes that are actually helping us win the war on ignorance, intolerance, and illiteracy.

These people are amazingly Super. And yes…you too can be Super as well!

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SuperHeroes 2- The Master Plan for Getting Everything

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If you take a look at the huge master list of “Dates” for this event…and then match it up with the even HUGER (is that a word, Donald?) list of stuff we can win (and buy), it becomes very important to have a strategy, so you don’t waste your Update Currency (UC) on stuff that will detract you from winning.

Because…let’s face it. When it comes to being a player in Western Culture, it’s all about “getting stuff,” and “winning.” Right?

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SuperHeroes 2- The Basic Math with Calendar

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Well…I spoke too soon about “fairly glitch-free” on this update. There are loads of issues being reported- most of them having to do with slow/buggy/SNAFU’d interfaces that go back to the same old EA update problem…too big for lots of lower memory padular devices.  I am not having any issues on an iPad I…but, it is slow…and I hardly have anything else running. So, not a good comparison.

The only thing I can say, is “clear memory,” (apps you don’t have, too many pics, or too much music/media). There isn’t a real solution.

As far as Math Numbers? Well…as I stated from the beginning of this update, it isn’t for everyone, and the need for a severe number of  battles (which can take as much as 3 minutes to fight…and a ton of time between neighbors to load), may burn some folks out. So far…almost 1/3 of my neighbors (I have 100) aren’t playing the update yet, for whatever reason.

But…the GOOD NEWS is, that as has been the case in recent major updates, the primary Prize Track is pretty EAsy to hit. I have not been tapping incessantly, but am already almost three days ahead of The Calendar. Yay.

There are loads of battles to be fought. There are loads of criminals to be collared. Let’s Take A Look At The Math… Continue reading

Super Hero Game Play- Battle Strategy

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Once again, if you like playing battle/fighting video games, you are going to love this update...at least for a while.

Almost every aspect of this update, especially if you “want it all,” is going to require loads and loads of daily battles between your team, the bad guys (who are also on your team) and your friends and neighbors (who aren’t really your friends in this case).  Confusing? Well…so is the whole SuperHero concept. Is anyone rEAlly Super??  Apparently that has to do with how much heart(s) you have…and your ability to heal quickly.

Let’s break this down…because there really are a TON of nuances to “winning the battles” that will ultimately help you win the war against summer leisure.

SPOILERS FOLLOW…if you don’t want to know, don’t click below.
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SuperHeroes 2- Basic Tapping Guide- ACT I with Walkthrough

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Normally, at this stage of an update, I would publish a “Complete Cheat Guide.” But, this thing is complicated, convoluted, and just a little more than you can break down in one post (or five).  However…I will do my best to give an overview…so you can at least start enjoying (if that is possible) this Super Superheroes Retread.

First impressions…
This thing is going to burn out a lot of players. I know…”why are you harshing on the game already?” I don’t want to. REAlly. It’s just that in the short time I’ve been playing…I’m already annoyed by the time and effort involved with almost every aspect. This is not a “casual tappers” update. It is loads of tapping, loads of fighting, and loads and loads of different ways to play.  No wonder Gary took his computer home to work over the weekends…it is a Programming Masterpiece! (if you are a fan of lots and lots of angles, twists, turns, and Premium offerings).

In Short. If you LOVE Super Hero based stuff…you are going to LOVE this Super Update. If you don’t…not so much.

But…hey…it’s Summer, right?  Who has anything better to do during the summer??  Oh…and this thing is slated to go through almost half of the Summer(through the end of JULY!). So…put your bathing suits and grillers away. You won’t have time, if you want everything…

SPOILERS FOLLOW- If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!

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HolyFreakinPieMan- The Super Heros Update Is LIVE!!

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Wow…I guess I pissed off Gary!  EA…in a shocker…just released the Next Chapter of the SuperHeroes update!

It is in the iOS world…and likely in other versions soon.

Quest Starts with:
Fallout Boy- 6s
Pieman (Homer)- 6s
Build Orphan Alley (Free)- 6s Build
Bartman (if you have him) starts with a 4-hour task to text RadioActive Man
This will launch the event hub and items in the store….

Should be interesting as we try to unite heros and villains to save the town! (sounds like the election).

UPDATE:
This thing takes off FAST.  Homer (Pie Man), Fallout Boy, Krusty, and Bart(man) are all in action in the first ten minutes…and you need to clear a TON of a chunk of land for the first Freemium Building/Landing Pad.

But…I am going to say this now…THIS UPDATE IS INSANELY COOL FROM THE VERY FIRST SCREEN!!! No wonder they wanted to get it out before the other one officially ended (which it did, as soon as you update).

Final Day for a Chilliad Discovery…NEW UPDATE Coming?

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Once again, if you haven’t figured it out yet…or haven’t read…or heard…or discovered in your own game…Tonight at Midnight, is the last chance to get everything you want that is Chili-Centric. 

And…perhaps as soon as tomorrow (but not likely, because that would make too much sense) EA is set to launch the most SUPER REBOOT ever!!

Continue reading

The More Things Change…Winding Up To Start Again

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We find ourselves in some very familiar places these days. We are struggling to find something “positive” to say about the waning days (no…it isn’t waning here…the sun has been out almost every day) of the “Homer’s Chilliad” Mini-Update.

It was kinda fun. Kinda funny-ish in the dialogue. And Kinda EAsy to finish.  I did buy the Pro Shop and Coyote with my newly-won bonuts, and I am kinda-mostly OK with the purchase. And your last chance to do the same Ends tomorrow night at midnight- Patric Daylight Time.

But…like most of the update clutter these days, you really have to think long and hard about where you are going to put what you have won.

Kinda like the upcoming Presidential Elections….

NO. RELAX. I’m not going there.  At least not here… Continue reading

The Best New Idea I Didn’t Have!

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In my newest efforts to “reach across the aisles” in a bi-partisan manner (Friends-vs-Addicts) I want to be the first to help promote a great idea…even though it isn’t mine.

The folks at Addicts have posted a really fun contest, that came from one of their readers, and bears taking a look-see!

This is a really clever way to engage Simpsons fans, and add some fun and competition to what could be a very boring summer. OK. Forget the boring part about summer…mine is getting wilder by the minute. But, you get what I am talking about.

Let’s take a look!
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Counting Down to BIG CHANGES!! And Some True Insanity!

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So…as it turns out, Bernie’s run is all but done. Word has it from those in the campaign, that he will suspend the “official” part of the campaign after the Washington DC primary on Tuesday (and then take his agenda to the Convention). That will kick the “real battle” into gear, between Billary and Trumpet…for another intense, expensive, incredibly nasty FIVE FULL MONTHS of General Election mayhem.

CoyoteThank GOD we only have a handful of days left with this update in TSTO!!

Most of us are done…we have all we can get from consuming “Insanity Peppers.” And in just a little more than 4 days and 15 hours (as of this writing at 9:30 AM on 06/10…Patric Daylight Time), the Insanity that is Homer’s Chilliad will disappear, only to be replaced sometime thereafter with the next rumored “Super Hero” chapter. At least that is the rumor.

But what is NOT a rumor…and is guaranteed to happen… Continue reading

Getting the Free Stuff…and Passing the Stupidity Tests

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There is something weird going on with TSTO right now. I have to admit, some of this stuff is weird and out of character, even for EA.

It’s like they are testing our capacity for blind stupidity or something.  It’s not just the obvious stuff…it is loads of little stuff, that makes no sense whatsoever.

And…then there is the “LEAK” that was reported yesterday, of content to come. Really? Come on. Who is running the TSTO ship these days??? Someone in a superhero outfit?? 

It’s EAsier than ever before to get Free Stuff…especially if you are careful to ignore the temptations of crap that is useless, or just clutter.

Let’s dive into the abyss together…
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The Definition of Insanity (Mode)

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So…as most of you have heard, the Definition of Insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”

So. Call me insane. 

I keep expecting EA to do something that makes sense…and I keep expecting people to understand what this community is really all about.

But…just to make things “clear as mud, while hallucinating on an overdose of Insanity Peppers,” I will explain the Insanity Mode of the game…while trying to explain the lunkheadedness of some of the people who come by here to grab information

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Duff Gardens Returns! (?)

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It has been reported by one of our stalwart community members, that Duff Gardens has returned to the store menu for those of you who missed out on it.

As I bought it before it disappeared, I can’t verify this…so LET US KNOW if that is the case with you as well.

As always, if this is true…EA is just doing the minimum to promote this. EA…kings of minimalistic information. 

However…the question still remains, SHOULDJA buy Duff Gardens, even if you can??

Let’s take a look…
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Homer’s Chiliad- Complete Cheat Guide with Walkthrough

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Yep. I’m a couple (few) days late on this. But, the fact is…I had MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO…

The fact is…there isn’t a whole lot of mystery to this mini-update. It is, pretty much what it appears to be…a lot of chili growin’ and some hot, hot, hot, dialogue. As has been the case with most of the recent updates…heck…MOST of the updates…if you buy any of the things that are supposed to “help you complete” the update, you are wasting your donuts. You don’t need them.

There is really simple math going on here, and the only real mystery is whether buying the Coyote and the Pro Shop have any real advantage to them whatsoever.

Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Doing the Impossible…

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First of all…I want to start by thanking those who helped us reach our goal for this term of School Supplies and Books. I will post their names after the fold.

The list is short…with many familiar names on it…but, also some new names.  Some are repeated…because they donated more than once. If your name isn’t there…you know why.

Muhammad Ali continues to inspire me these days. After seeing a number of specials over the weekend, and watching the amazing “When We Were Kings” for the umpteenth time, I continue to be amazed at his tenacity, and equally huge heart.

“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
— Muhammad Ali

What I have found in life, is that changing the impossible to something achievable, is simply done through repetition, determination, and hard work.  Impossible, to improbable, to achievable, to success, is not done by dreaming, or wishing. Success in the light of inconceivable odds is done by planning, taking action, and adapting when you reach roadblocks.
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Time to Pay the Rent…

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“The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
― Muhammad Ali

The reality of this quote hit me on two levels this weekend, as two seemingly unrelated events took place.

The first was the loss of a man who transcended the sport that brought him worldwide attention, and evolved into a lifetime of service and giving, in an effort to show his gratitude for the gifts he was given.

The second was the expiration/renewal process for the hosting of this TSTO blog, from which our work in Buyijja was born.

I know. They hardly seem related whatsoever. But, hear me out…

A year ago, I had to upgrade to a larger, managed server to handle all of the traffic that we get on TSTOFriends.com.  The “silly game” indeed has a worldwide reach, and we still get thousands of readers from around the world on a daily basis, with numbers swelling to the tens of thousands during major updates.  As most of you know, I almost chucked it all in after the first year, as I couldn’t justify the time and expense I was dedicating to almost daily blogging about a “silly little game.

But, then…as seems to be the way things work out in my life, a new REASON for TSTOFriends was revealed when we mobilized the power of the TSTO worldwide community to “Do Something That Matters,” by supporting the school in Buyijja, Uganda my daughter Maddy brought to our attention during her internship there in the Spring of 2014.

The renewal options for the WordPress managed server with GoDaddy included a 3 month/6 month/1 year/2 year option.  When I set it up a year ago, I selected “one year,” without hesitation.

This time…I selected “3 months.”

There is a reason for that…but it may not be the reason you are thinking.
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Homer’s Chilliad…the Basic Ingredients

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OK. For those of you who are going to start saying, “but there are still bandits in my town!!” I will say this. Stop it. Just stop it.  You NEED TO DOWNLOAD THE UPDATE FROM THE APP STORE TO CONTINUE!

If, like most of the world, you did that on Tuesday, today we got an Automatic Update Event that started with a short dialogue with Homer, a handful of 6s tasks, and then a short explanation, a Premium offering or three, and then into a series of 3-hour tasks while you collect Insanity Peppers.

Of course, the overarching joke is that the title is based on the Greek Tragedy, by the Greek author Homer…not our Homer. But, the Chilliad, along with some hallucinatory chiles for a chili recipe, is  pretty funny stuff.

It only lasts until the 15th…so we better get started!

As always…Spoilers Follow. If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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New Update Arrives… It’s Gonna Get Hot In Her’

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A new update has popped up…it is an AUTOSTART with Homer and Bart starting…Homer starts with a handful of 6s tasks, and then we are off and running (toward the chili induced mirages).

It’s a short one…called Homer’s Chilliad (like the greek tragedy about eating too many peppers…). And it feels like a Gil Deal…without Gil, because the first three offering are PREMIUM.

More in a few minutes…

From Wild to Limbo to Mongo

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I know…I know…you purists are going to correct me. But, “Brutus” will always be Mongo to me. The original was better…but this one will do.

If you haven’t noticed, the “take down” of the Wild West was spotty, uneven, and confusing…in typical EA fashion. Stuff kind of kept working past the prizes coming down…and then they didn’t. But, now there are some expanded play options that at least didn’t render everything a simple decoration. Oh. And Mongo is back (something I asked for…) along with the Prospector (something I didn’t ask for).

Let’s take a look.

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Wild West…Looking Back At The Good, The Bad, and the Fugly

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We have a mere number of hours left to “get everything you want” during the final Act of the Wild West update. If you are really sweating out the deadline, then you really haven’t tried very hard. I was completely done with this one days and days ago…outside of collecting my final three Bonuts…which was watered down by the fact that I won another Three Free Bonuts finishing my third cycle of “Where’s Maggie” this week. Sure. They are free. But…big woop.

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But there are a couple of twists here. First, the store countdown ends a few hours before the actual event is set to time out. The Store Locks Down at 5 PM PDT (Patric Daylight Time), but the event continues until midnight (or until you download the update in the App Store…whenever that actually shows up).

This update has been a doozy!! Not only did it bring us a ton of Wild West vintage clutter, but loads and loads of basic changes that will alter the game henceforth.

Let’s break down the Good, The Bad, and the Fugly (cue the weird Western gunfight music).

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The Origins of Memorial Day and Why We Should Care

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As with almost anything of some substance in the United States, important events can be politicized and degraded by squabbling by those who would lay claim to origins, while others completely subjugate and co-opt, preferring to commercialize.  Memorial Day, falls exactly into this convoluted category.

If you Google “origins of Memorial Day,” you are met with a couple of irrefutable realities.  First, that the tradition goes back to one of the first memorial celebrations at the end of the American Civil War, and second, that there are loads of people trying to lay claim to “the first.”

In this article, two of the most popular dates/times are laid out, the first, and most popular being, “in Charleston, SC on May 1st, 1865. The Charleston Daily Courier reported at the time that former slaves — African Americans — honored 257 dead Union soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp.”

But…SNOPES…the online corrector of all that is factual and less than factual (yes…they are one of the most hit sites during this Presidential primary season), points out that there are countless similar “first ceremonies” in various locations, in and around the same time.

Does it matter? The single irrefutable fact is that people felt the need to decorate the graves of those who lost their lives in one of the ugliest chapters in our nation’s history, with nearly 1,100,000 casualties and more than 620,000 lives lost.

Which is why today, most American celebrate the event with bar-b-cues, camping trips, and “Three Day Sales” on bedding and summer clothing.

I am the first to admit that I am not a fan of war. Period. I hate the results…which in the “best case” leave countries devastated and torn long after the actual shooting is over. I am not even a fan of the new kind of “non-shooting” wars that are fought from the sky, with game-console jockeys carrying out “pinpoint strikes” on their selected targets by satellite reconnaissance.

But, I will never besmirch those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to serve the best interests of our country.

So, we decorate the graves, and shed tears of memories of lives cut short by our need to “keep the peace.”  It is a confusing reality, which seems to be built into the frail fabric of humanity in a wash-rinse-repeat cycle of unending pain, destruction and celebrations and remembrances.

Celebrate today as you wish. It is not my place to determine the how, the why or the where. And if you get a great deal on new bedding, so much the better.

But as you do, take the time to say a small prayer of hope, that future generations can figure out a better way to foment peace in this world.

The Real Story of Carl’s Dad (and Mom) The Conclusion

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As a couple of you have pointed out, a great many of us have completely finished the Wild West update with loads of time to spare.  Sure…there are still a couple of daily prizes…and 3 free bonuts still to collect, but for the most part, any further tapping of bandits, or prospectors, or starting of raves is pretty much a futile, waste of time.

So…yes, that said…I had some time on my hands to tell the REAL STORY of Carl’s Dad (and Mom).  Readership has been solid…with several of you sending personal emails that you are enjoying it. But, all good tales (and updates) must come to end. And it IS a three day weekend…so let’s get this wrapped up!

You can see the previous chapters here:
Chapter One,
Chapter Two
Chapter Three

And now…
FINAL CHAPTER

It took two full days for Lenny to find his friend. And when he did, he had doubts as to whether he wished he had. Carl was curled in a fetal position, rocking against a tree trunk, tears and snot encrusted on his face, murmuring the same phrase over and over again, “Mom…you let them take Mom…how could you?”

“Huh? What are you saying, Buddy?” Lenny said from a distance, not risking getting too close to someone who had clearly lost their mind. “How’s about you and I hit Moe’s, and have a few Duffs?”

There was no reply from his friend.

“Uh…OK then…maybe I’ll just go and get someone to help me bring you back,” and with that, Lenny turned and ran wildly back toward the Buddhist Temple in the distance, his arms flailing to keep up with his legs.

Carl continued to rock, and cry inconsolably. But his sobs were cut short, when he heard a familiar voice come from behind him…
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The Real Story of Carl’s Dad (and Mom) Chapter III

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Holyfreakinshirt! The plot is getting juicy!

Click Here if you missed Chapter One   or    Chapter Two

Chapter III

As the man walked slowly away from Moesson’s Tavern, the darkness enveloped him as the neon sign above the entrance flickered out. But, the physical darkness wasn’t nearly as deep as the emotional darkness that draped his soul. His despair, along with the trepidation of what was in store for he and the child, made him quiver with fear.

He felt the hand of the child on his face, and a strange sense of comfort and resolve wash over him as he looked down into the wide-awake, smiling face cradled in his arms. “I know I made the right decision…I made it for him…I had no choice…I’m Carl’s Dad!” he exclaimed out loud, as he stood upright.

“Yes…yes…you are Carl’s Dad. Big whoop,” he heard a voice from the darkness say. “Now let’s get the the little family back to the cave, so we can get the Helffkrampt out of this place!”
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The Real Story of Carl’s Dad (and Mom) – Chapter II

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I continue to be entertained by the mini-walkthrough that comes when you win Carl’s Dad Caverns. And there are some story clues in the dialogue. But, the rest of the story does need to be told.

If you missed Part One- Click Here…

Chapter II

“Kang, did the earth creature get into the stash?” one of the hideous green creatures burbled to the other.  “He seems to be off his nut a bit.”

“No, I don’t think so. His puny mind is just having a hard time grasping the situation,” the other replied.

The man soon to be known as Carl’s Dad stood rooted in place, the infant Carl in his arms. He stared at the beauty and tranquility of the smile on the woman across from him, as she turned to address the creatures.

“I need my time with him,” she said to them in a half whisper. “Alone time. Please leave us to our ways.”

“Very well,” the creature called Kang replied. “Goodness knows, nobody wants to see that! Kodos, let us go tend to watering. Our babies need watering.”

The man hardly noticed the movement of the creatures or the stirring of the baby in his arms, as his gaze was now locked to that of the mother of this child. She was now smiling in a way that exuded peacefulness, confidence and a trace of wanton lust.

He felt his legs wobble…and then, and once again, felt himself move toward her, seemingly without the will to refuse.

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The Real Story Behind Carl’s Dad (and Mom)

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I won Carl’s Dad Caverns last night. Pretty fun…but, they don’t tell the WHOLE story about Carl and his Dad (and Mom).  It’s time that people heard the full story. It really makes Carl someone who deserves our compassion and understanding, as well as a little help to find his Dad.

Carl sat motionless in one of the back corners of the Buddhist temple. Knees crossed, hands poised gently above his knees, his back rigid with head bowed. He was the picture of calm and contentment. But in his mind, images…graphic images…flickered over the movie screen in his cerebral cortex. And no matter how much he tried to push them away, he could feel his heartbeat quicken, his face flush, and little beads of perspiration beginning to form on his forehead.

As the ringing in his ears began to increase, and his vision began to glow with a white-hot anger that tinged colors into a yellow haze, he thought to himself, “Why, after all of this time, did all of this have to be dredged up again? Couldn’t they just leave well enough alone?  They got their gold…isn’t that enough?”

“Carl…hey…Carl buddy…” Lenny said quietly, as he nudged his friend. “You’re talking out loud. We can hear you. What gold? Leave what alone?”

Carl’s eyes suddenly widened, staring at Lenny. Pivoting his head with a hard left-to-right jerk, then realizing that everyone in the room was staring at him, he bolted to his feet, and ran through the doors, down the hallway, and out into the meditation woods. He didn’t stop running until he reached the middle of the woods, where he stopped, and dropped to his knees, screaming “Why Dad? WHY???” his words echoing out through the lush, flowered forest.

It took two full days for Lenny to find his friend. And when he did, he had doubts as to whether he wished he had. Carl was curled in a fetal position, rocking against a tree trunk, tears and snot encrusted on his face, murmuring the same phrase over and over again, “Mom…you let them take Mom…how could you?”

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New Freemium Wild West Store Items…Rock On!

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There are some additional Wild West items in the store today, and one of them is actually kinda fun (if you are fan of rocks).

It does bring up some serious questions, however.  Mostly revolving around the primary question…
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Lessons For Life from Wiggum, Apu, Sea Captain, CBG and more!

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So…I get it. This is a SIMPSONS TSTO blog, and most of you (at least 99.9% of you) ignore, or get tired of my proselytizing to “Do Something That Matters.”  It is annoying when someone keeps trying to get you to improve your life, by actually doing something other than tapping.

But, I am not alone.

In fact, one of the key character voice actors for the very game we are playing, recently gave  a hilarious commencement address at Tufts University (a hoity toity private university befitting of giving an honorary degree to someone who like me, didn’t finish college but still went on to success…he being FAR more successful).

Ya gotta love Hank Azaria. Especially if you are a fan of The Simpsons. He is responsible for about 1/2 of the best characters on the show…and a TON of them showed up for the commencement address.

Here is the Video… Continue reading

Counting Down to Getting What You Want

I am relatively surprised by the fact that with a full week to go, I am pretty much done with the update.  Sure. There are some designated “Speed Bumps” designed into this…including the Daily Prizes, and a fairly large chunk of uninterrupted tapping needed to get the final, final, prize, Carl’s Dad Caverns.

But, just as the weekend started, I got the Skinner’s Longshot skin, the Buried Gold…and 400 hats.  I admit to really liking Skinner on horseback. He finally gets to look like the Vietnam Vet he is…at least in spirit.

The rest of the daily prizes are pretty much Cowtown Clutter…and then three free Bonuts.

I completed as much as I care to complete in Level 60. The single donut per level just doesn’t float my boat enough to spend my time (life currency) on something so frivolous.

So…what am I going to do with all of my free time???? And what’s the key to ultimate satisfaction and contentment?

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Level 60 Complete Cheat Guide with Walkthrough

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I know this is confusing. It is meant to be. As I said in the last post, EA is Screwing with Us…making this more convoluted than it needs to be.  But, once they get all of the bugs/glitches/SNAFUs worked out, it is relatively straightforward.  And…yes…it DOES appear to be the actual last REAL level update, as the other 879 are just XP bumps, for a donut. One. Not two. Not Three. One. Whoop. Pee.

And there are some twists in this one… Particularly as it pertains to both the Googolplex and Duff Gardens. There is a ton of after-update-rewarding and connectivity going on, and it actually makes the purchase of Duff Gardens worth it. Kinda. Especially if you are using Free Bonuts won in other aspects of the game.

Let’s take a look.

SPOILERS FOLLOW- As always, don’t click below if you don’t want to know.  Continue reading

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…Turn and Face the Change

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Nobody likes change. People tell us that change is always good for you, that it forces you to look at your life through a new set of peepers, or walk in another person’s shoes. But, I contend that sometimes, new glasses don’t improve your vision, and that you sure as heck don’t know where that other person was walking, before you tried on those new shoes…and if they will even fit.  But I digress…

The fact is…TSTO is changing. A lot. And in typical EA fashion, it’s as though someone said, “hey, let’s play a board game,” and then the entire closet full of old games fell on your head when you opened the door. There are pieces everywhere…it’s a mess. But you wanna play, so you just dive in.

There are a couple of overarching questions to be asked at this juncture. And they both revolve around the future health (or existence) of TSTO. As in…are they killing TSTO?  Are they killing Krustyland?  And most important…
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Act III Strategies to “Doing It All”- During a SNAFU Storm

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Well…already, just a few ticks into the Act III Update, we are seeing “Conflicts aPlenty” in regards to the best way to play the game to get your best ROT (Return On Tapping).

It is further complicated, if you are still wanting to keep moving forward on Monorail Track collection, or bought “Frontier Maggie,” or the Googolplex, or Duffland as I do/did.

And now…we have the Grandmuther of all SNAFUs in the form of the Level 60 Update mess.

How do we navigate this entire mess??

There is some logic here…rEAlly, no matter what EA throws at us. And it just comes down to using common sense, and a bit of planning.

Let’s take a look…
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HUGE BUG in Level 60– Stop Rushing!!!!!!!!!

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I am going to pass along a DIRE WARNING that is currently posted on Addicts and Topix…

STOP RUSHING THE LEVEL UPS to get “free donuts!”

This is serious enough, that I am just going to REPOST what Alissa wrote on Addicts.  This one Trumps any competitive nature… it is a real, deal, threat to blowing up your game!

I know it’s tempting to level up super fast and earn a ton of donuts…but STOP!!

From Alissa at TSTOAddicts:
There’s a MAJOR bug with the game right now.  A lot of you are commenting that you’ve leveled up to Level 300+ and you’re now locked out of your game.

So…if you care about being able to play your game…for the love of God STOP LEVELING UP!!!

EA can fix this, but it requires rolling your game ALL the way back.  Imaging losing ALL of your progress?  Is it worth it?

Just wait.  Be patient with leveling up.  You’ll get the donuts…so just relax.  Go one at a time and just play TSTO.  Don’t rush to get to the top…because your game will just get stuck and you’ll be left with nothing.

Patience…

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This is a mess… good old EA, with their crappy bug checking. EALP…at its worst.

For once in your life… SLOW DOWN.

Here is an alternative– Continue reading

The LAST LEVEL UPATE??? Holyfreakinshirt!!!

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Uhm… Let me say this again… HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!!!!!!!!!!

Either they are “jumping the shark” or killing the cash cow. But either way, there are BIG CHANGES COMING for TSTO.

We just got a “LAST LEVEL UPDATE EVER” message…

What does it mean????? And Whathefreakinhell is Gil Trying to Sell Us Now????
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Wild West Act III Complete Cheat Guide With Calendar

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I have to admit it. I am REALLY enjoying this update. No. Really…there is no tongue planted firmly in my cheek when I say this. My tongue is actually wagging casually about my open-lipped smile as I write that I am rEAlly enjoying this update. Go ahead…try to get that picture out of your head.

This update has been a perfect mixture of fun tasks (just enough), balanced tapping (forcing us to take our time, but allowing us to get everything pretty EAsily), and some clever, fun, interesting items and characters that I am actually having fun placing into my my Springfield.

And, the fun isn’t over yet…Act III is HERE, and it looks like the most rootin’ tootin’ shootin’-est Act of the whole shebang!

Spoilers Follow- As always…If you don’t want to know, don’t click below.

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Final Hours of Act II…And Progress On What Really Matters!

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Ah. It was one of those weekends when being a grandpa really pays off. We had a double whammy this weekend, with a birthday party for our now-5-year-old granddaughter, followed by a double Christening for her and her 3-year-old brother (also known as grandson #3), the next day. Kids party, family gatherings, and introduction to a really fun, open minded church, were all made possible by the fact that I barely had to tap, or care about tapping…because I was in complete TSTO “Coast-Mode.”

Monorail weekly challenges to collect 5 Free Bonuts? Check.
Completed tasks?  Check.
Acquire, place and laugh at Princess and the Stables? Check.
Acquire my Free donuts, and bonus donuts? Check.
Finish another round of “Find Maggie for even more free Bonuts?” Check.
Finish the last of 10 daily prizes for even more Bonuts? Check.
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All good.

So what is a guy to do while waiting for Act III to start at 1A PDT (Patric Daylight Time)?   Continue reading

Time to Start Hoarding…

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That’s right…while I am on the message to actually “Do Something That Matters” and prodding you to give to our work in Uganda, when it comes to TSTO and the Wild West Update, I’m telling you to Start HOARDING.

Let me be clear. TSTO is a game. Our Mission in Uganda is real…with real-life consequences if we fail.  TSTO…not so much. It just resets. But, we ALL like to win…right? We all like to get ahead of the “system.”

So, here is what I mean by hoarding…

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Counting Down…Just a Few Days Left!!

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EA has figured out something about the “Tap-O-Sphere.”  Nothing motivates Tappers like putting a limited time, calendar on something to make people pay attention.

It probably goes back to the “Three Days Only” mentality of car dealership ads, or the “limited time offer” on coupons.  It’s all kinda “ho-hum” as we have all learned that most of the time, this offer is going to be followed by yet another offer, on the same stuff.  Just ask Gil.

But…we REALLY ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME…on a couple of things.

EA also seems to realize that people get excited about competitions…about going finger to finger with others, in an effort to “win” something…or at least prove that you are the best at something. This is even more fun when you are on a team.

Unless you are getting your butts handed to you…AND YOU ARE!!!

Let me explain…
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When Goals Seem Impossible…Keep On Tapping

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I have to admit it. I’m old. And sometimes my frustration with the “human condition” gets me down. When I am feeling drained, or like Sisyphus, strapping on the backpack full of boulders, to start yet another journey up the hill…I start doubting if I have lost my mind. And if maybe, just unstrapping the pack, and sitting by a nice, cold, babbling brook wouldn’t be a better way to spend my time.

But then I realize, this isn’t some goofy dating site…where all of our problems are solved by “walks on the beach,” or “quiet time by a fire” (Seriously? That’s the whole key to happiness and contentment??). No. This is real life. Where, the only way you complete something worth doing, is by JUST DOING. Action. And never giving up.

Yes. We are at that point in Act II, when it feels like we are in a constant vortex of repetition…doing the same actions (with minor modification to whatever Update Currency we need), only to look at the counter and realize that we are still a full week from the end. I already have “The Kid with No Name” but, I am still close to 8,000 badges away from the corral and Princess. Even if I am ahead of the calendar… it feels overwhelming. And then, there is another whole act!! Holyfreakinshirt!!  

What to do? What to do???
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Whacking Day Returns…For About a Minute

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You might call it, “Jumping the Snake.”  Kinda like the old Hollywood adage, “jumping the shark.”  For those of you who don’t remember the origin of this little gem, it comes from the episode in the classic TV show, “Happy Days” when Fonzie, while water skiing, literally has to jump over a shark to survive.  It was considered the point in the much-vaunted series, when critics and fans knew that the writers and creators had pretty much shot their wad, and the show went into steep decline. Here is the WIKI explanation. 

What the article, and the phrase for that matter, don’t reveal, is that this happened in the FIFTH season of Happy Days…and they went on to make another SIX seasons. But, you get the idea. It was never the same.

Many would argue that the Simpsons, as a TV series, “jumped the Shark” years ago. Some would argue, more than 15 seasons ago. Let’s not forget the whole “Homer and Marge getting divorced” bit last season. Pathetic.

TSTO seems to ebb and flow, with bits of surprises here and there…and now, it seems, that they are “Jumping the Snake” by bringing back Whacking Day…

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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There really isn’t much to say… Just do something nice for your Mom. Simple. 

Relationships with Mom’s can be complex. There are times when being a Mom feels like a thankless, never-ending job. This is the one day of the year when you can really do something to let her know that you know that she has earned the right to feel that way.

The reason I love Marge Simpson…is because she reminds me of my own wife…she stays with me, even when I deserve far less. Me and Homer…we are lucky that way.

It goes the same way with the kids. She loves them all unconditionally… that’s the way Mom’s are.

So…do something nice. OK?

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Moms out there! Your job is the most important in the world.

Ultimate Wild West SHOULDJA? Premium Buying Guide

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With every major update, comes a major swarm of Premium items to choose from.  It used to be EAsy for me to simply say, “Pass” on almost everything, as it was rarely worth the donuts for these kinds of specific updates, with very specific “flavors.”  I mean…who would put a Premium Casino in Springfield Heights with all of the rich people? Oh. Well. Bad example.

But with the Wild West update, there are a couple of offerings that have my attention…especially since I am playing with “House Bonuts.

Let’s take a look…
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Wild West Act II- Complete Cheat Guide with Calendar and Walkthrough-UPDATED

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Once again, before we start this thing…another tip of the hat, special thanks, to our good friend, Gio (LetsPlayNintendoIta) who works hard to put everything we need to know up on the WIKI. Without him…I’d actually have to work harder at figuring this stuff out. As it is…Boom! It’s right there…(Here).

As I mentioned in the previous post, just like the Burns Casino update, we are mostly just losing one type of currency (Clues), while getting two new ones (Guns and Badges)…while continuing with Pickaxes and Hats. These are now all in play to earn prizes from the Prize Track, as well as Daily Prizes from the Store…with the added wrinkle that Snake will come into the picture (with yet another jail) to add to the options you have in “starting a Craze.”

The Walkthrough Tasks are minimal. The Prizes are Fun. And again, there is absolutely no reason to buy one of the Premium Items to “help you win faster” as getting all of the prizes should be a snap.

Let’s take a look…

As always…SPOILERS FOLLOW… If you don’t want to know…don’t click below!

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Item Limits Back…Daily Limits In Place..ERGH!!!

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You call this FREEDOM????  WhatTheFreakinHell EA??  People endured untold miseries over months of travel to get to the Wild West, because they would have the FREEDOM to build, and expand, and do as they pleased, when they pleased, for as much as they pleased!

And now…right in the middle of the Wild West update, you are LIMITING our creativity and ability to progress??? Holyfreakinshirt!!

Yes. Today, I got the dreaded, “Congratulations! You’ve built the maximum number of buildings and decorations that the game can currently handle…” message.

ERGH!!

That was just after I got a couple of other surprises from EA that not only limit my Freedom to decorate, but my Freedom to Earn! The list of things in this update that are making me Cranky are growing…
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Super Bad Guy Bonus…Mongo?

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A new, and interestingly fun Bonus Bad Guy, has shown up in Act II. It’s called a SUPER BAD GUY in the game…but I’m calling him Mongo.

You Need to Get PAST the first couple of tasks:

A Fistful of Bothers Pt. 2
After tapping on Homer’s exclamation mark:
Task: Build Springfield Penitentiary
Task: Make Snake Promote Lawlessness (4h, Town Plaza)
Task: Make Springfielders Abuse Lawlessness [x3] (4h, Town Plaza)
If the user has Wiggum: Task: Make Wiggum Lock Himself in Jail (2h, Town Plaza)

But then he shows up…

The Reviled Bunch
After tapping on Snake’s exclamation mark:
Task: Capture a Most Wanted Bandit

Mongo-NOTICE

Why do I call him Mongo?? Take a look… Continue reading

Wild West Act II- Counting Down With Common Sense

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Several of you have asked the question, “What do I do after I get the Rib Hut and Wes Doobner? Do I keep collecting Hats and Pickaxes?”

Others have asked, “What do I do with my Pickaxes and Hats?”

Still others have asked, “Are there going to be Pickaxes and Hats in Act II?”

So yes. There seem to be a lot of questions about Pickaxes and Hats.

There are some pretty basic answers…as well as the answer to, “Did EA actually make us turn in TEN TRADES at the General Store to get Free Donuts?” if you just use some common sense, and a bit of Gio-Graphic Common Sense…
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Free Bonuts or Bust?

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First, yes…I saw the term “Bonuts” on Addicts. Sometimes, a word is so perfect, you have to co opt it for your own use.  EALP, Padular Device, and Holyfreakinshirt are mine…Bonuts (Bonus Donuts) belong to Addicts(or one of their followers). But, I like it. So, just like loads of rappers and hip hop artists, who have sampled bits and pieces of other artist’s (mostly James Brown’s) songs to create “new art,” I will “sample” the term “Bonut.”

In the “big mystery” surrounding the Bonuts it is implied, that once we tapped out on Act I, we were in “bonus land,” (as has been the case with countless other updates before this) and would earn Bonuts for every 1.500 clues earned. Well…forget it.

Sometimes, what you think you see, isn’t what you get.
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Gil Deal…Do You Need the Bandit Fort?

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Gil is back. And as per usual, his “deal” is less than a real deal…

If I were to use traditional cowboy matinee movie lingo to tell it like it is, I’d say, “I don’ need no steekin’ fort!!” (which of course would and should offend anyone of Mexican heritage). I admit to falling prey to this line occasionally.  Just last week, I got a birdie with a chip-in from about 30 feet off of the green, and exclaimed, “I don’ need no steekin’ greens!” Nobody in my foursome laughed. It was good for a “skin” and a dollar. We are very competitive when it comes to giving up skins.

But, in the case of TSTO…this is just another lure, to hope that think we “need” it, to stay ahead of the count of bandits collected for our calendar.

We don’t.

But if you are collecting the Daily Prizes, today you got the “Bloodbath Gulch” sign…which opened up the first “Story Finale” mini-movie…which was sadly unsatisfying.

But, let’s take a look anyway…
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Wild West…and Beyond

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I come from a family with a long, long lineage of pioneer activity here in the West. My great, great, great, grandfather was one of the original signers of the Oregon constitution, after settling along the Abiqua river, in what was to become Silverton Oregon.  You can find a short article written by my Mom for the Silverton newspaper, in 2010, Here. 

Back in Richard Miller’s day, his “world” was significantly larger than the “world” of much of his fellow Americans.  When you travel across more than 2,500 miles of wilderness on horseback, your view of the world is different than those who sit safely in the comfort of their homes, looking at maps and picture books.

The “Wild West” of my G3 (great, great, great) grandfather was indeed wild. Traveling to see “your friends” could take days, if your friends, like my G3’s were the Applegates (of Applegate trail fame) who lived 200 miles south, or even a “short jaunt” of just 45 miles to Oregon City, to see John McLoughlin in his waning years.

Every journey was protracted…communication taking weeks. And as the reunions of the founding pioneers in later years witnessed, even after just a decade or two, the world had changed immensely…

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Wild West…Un-Neighborly? Or Give to Get?

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Over the course of the past year, there has been a clear and persistent decline in the use/need of neighbors/friends in TSTO.  There hasn’t been an FP (Friends Point) prize for months, and for the fourth major update in a row, we have seen the number of neighbor visit rewards for event currency, reduced exponentially.

With this update, it seems that the “quid-pro-quo” (give something to get something) has been magnified even more, by reducing the number of “instant rewards” while keeping the number of “rewards of faith” unrestricted.

What am I talking about?  Well…let’s take a look at the numbers, and then extrapolate the reason behind it. Mostly.
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The Future is Full of Cowboy Stuff…

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I’m going to make this short and sweet…as I am on the road, and writing this between bites of a breakfast muffin and egg (not an egg McMuffin!).

This update, no matter what anyone (including Jimmy) says, is about cowboys. There is a LOAD of stuff coming our way in Act II and Act III that would make a very good case for SAVE YER’ DONUTS!

I will…absolutely…have Maggie in her Frontier skin. Maybe she’ll even shoot Burns! That is a HUGE gun!

Rather than pull a bunch of info to repost here, from the hard work that Gio did, I am just going to post this link:

THE WILD WEST WIKI.

Have fun. See you later, when we get to a hotel with wifi!

Travelin’OldGuy
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Big Hat…No Cattle…What’s Up with That?

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Or should I say, LACK of Hats, Too Many Pickaxes and no cows?

It seems that almost every update, there is a place where the “dickish” side of EA emerges, to mix with the EALP (EA Lazyass Programmers) syndrom, to have an element that is just plain annoying.

Welcome to the Act I dilemma (at least for me), Not Enough Hats.

Maybe you are not experiencing the same thing…but for me, the ratio of rewards earned from tapping Bandits, is about 3/1 or more, tilted toward Pickaxes. It’s a REAL Pain in the Axe!! (PITA)

Then today…to make things worse…
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Wild West Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

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What is very clear with this update, is that EA is heck-bent on making sure that we take our ding-dang-tootin’-time with this one.  They have put several small fences in the way of just powering through…and for the first time since the Monorail, it isn’t really about what you THINK it is about.

Let’s break this thing out, and come up with a strategy…shall we?

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Wild West Update Basics With Act I Calendar

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First of all…let’s start with something that should be obvious to any of you who pay attention. I live in the West.  It is Wild. And so, I deem myself the only real expert on matters of this update, as all of the other key bloggers live in New Jersey or Italy. Well… Joe lives in L.A., but that isn’t the REAL Wild West…it’s just where they make movies about the West.

Here in Oregon, we still have real life cowboys and native Americans (you can’t call them Indians anymore…for good reason), and also have loads and loads of Gold Mining towns (most of them ghost towns) to prove our point. So…there you have it!

And, I even live in the West Hills of Eugene, which was founded by Eugene Skinner, a real pioneer, and the model for the Springfield statue in the Simpsons. So…again…I guess we have put the “expert” question to bed.

With that said, I have to say, I am already a little put off by the fact that you apparently don’t get to shoot anyone, but instead use some sort of invisible lasso to stun them into submission…except for the rogue miners, who you have to beat repeatedly (with your tapping finger) to finally get them to stop running and hiding. Everyone who is anyone in the West has a gun. Some have lots.

I don’t own a gun, so I am happy we aren’t shooting people (yet). But there are Three Acts to this puppy…and we may be shooting people before we are done.

Meanwhile…I was just kidding about the “expert” part. I have only ridden a horse and handful of times, and bought my first cowboy hat last year. Oh well. It sounded good. 

Let’s take a look at how this update works- including some of the puzzling SNAFUs that have already cropped up (good ol’ EA).

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Wild West Update…Looking Wild and Fun!

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This starts right off the bat with a little “Golden” fun…

Things start off quickly with LISA having a couple of quick tasks…we are tasked with building the Old Springfield Town Square…alerting townspeople that there is GOLD (maybe) in Old Springfield…then Springfielder’s get Riled Up…Homer starts looking…and Lisa does research. All in 6 second bursts…

OH…and they have “thinned things out” on the task bar…allowing some of the really old stuff you don’t really want to deal with daily, to hide in a box.

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There are also “Character Prompts” that show up when a character is done or in the middle of a task. Nice.

But…back to the story!

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Wild West Is HERE! WhoopieTieYiYay!

NEWSFLASH-GENERICOK. I did it! I coaxed the bastids into doing the update before I had to leave for the meeting! WHOOHOO!!

It is going to last for a while…(the West wasn’t won in a day…right?).

In fact, it may take until May 31st to win it!

More in a bit…once I can get the update to upload (damn EA servers!!)

CHECK YOUR APP STORE! It is populating (slowly) across the network.

Looking Back to Look Forward…The End or a New Beginning?

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After years…and that is not exaggerated…of tapping, we have come to recognize patterns in the game that create a “New Normal.” The style in which the Major Updates have unfolded in the past year (Chapters, Rewards, Crafting) has actually turned out to be a way to keep the game interesting, and much more difficult to rush with donuts.  That’s cool. No complaints.

However, as everyone has started pointing out, it would appear that the traditional “Level Updates” are getting fewer and fewer (as in non-existent), with huge delays between their release.

If you take a look at the past year of updates (something that takes time to sort out, but is worth your time), you start to see a very clear pattern that points to an even more clear conclusion…

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Vegas, Burns, Taxes, Fun…Pulling Back the Throttle and Heading a New Direction

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WhooHoo!! This morning, I finally reached the goals that I had set for this update!  By really concentrating on hoarding my tokens, so I could binge-pull the slots, and play cards to my heart’s content (mostly playing “M” and “W” patterns to keep it fresh), I rolled past “Reclusive Burns,”  and when I placed him, was also awarded the top level of the massive “Player’s Club!”  Largest Possible Elevation and Expansion Erected!! And I didn’t even have to think about it…it just happened.

Then…I started looking at what I had built. “This glittering corner of my Springfield, dedicated to excess, flash, and distraction” by my own making. And it started to hit me. I had let this game once again, take me away from things that really matter.

In a fit of panic, I began reducing my digital footprint, striving to find the balance between “More!!!!” and “Enough!!”
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The Real Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes, and Lowered Expectations

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I got the Spruce Moose this morning. I have to admit, I’m not as disappointed as I was led to believe I would be. It’s not THAT small! In fact…it is as large as the Space Shuttle…and that’s pretty good sized.

In real life…the Spruce Goose would actually dwarf the Space Shuttle, and in fact, is larger than the 747 carrying the space shuttle in this picture. While the 747 is longer (218 feet/66.6 meters to the 747’s 250 feet/76.4 meters) the Hughes Hercules H-4 (the actual name of the Spruce Goose) has a huge advantage in wing size (319.8 feet/97.5 meters to the 747s “paltry” 224 feet/68.5 meters).

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So…how big would the Spruce Moose have to be if it were of comparable size to the real Spruce Goose in our game? How much space could it take up in our town? Continue reading

Lucius…The King of the “American Dream!”

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I got Lucius Sweet yesterday…and almost immediately started laughing.

His first few lines took me back to an era when boxing was huge…and his hair style…if you can call it style, was even bigger!

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It’s one thing to talk about the “origin” of Lucius in the Simpsons. But, what you really have to do to understand why he belongs in this glitzy, over-the-top homage to excess of an update, is take a look at who the REAL Lucius was.

Let’s see what the WIKI says…
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When Is Enough, Enough?

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I know you’ve heard it a million times before…but the key word to contentment, is MODERATION. It isn’t only in just knowing what you need as opposed to what you think you want, but also in realizing that balance in your life, brings you more happiness than “having it all.”

This works in life- and at this stage of the game, it works in TSTO as well.

MODERATION-tasksWe are currently faced with some crucial decisions that are going to make the management of our tapping time fun and fulfilling, or downright soul-sucking.

If you step back and take a look at all of the options we have on our task books…some of them stretching back months…we may find ourselves needing a spreadsheet to manage it all. There are Springfield Heights tasks…the Giant Redwood…Casino Tasks…Burns MoneyPit tasks…and even a couple of the random “take you off your game” busy tasks, to say nothing of the ever-present “Find Maggie” and Monorail Challenges…along with the DAILY Tasks.

It’s OK…to just sit there, with a confused look on your face, your breath becoming shallow and your vision starting to blur. That’s what being overwhelmed can do to you.

But…I want you to take a deep breath…and follow along. I’m here to help you chillax!
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Growing Up…Better Late Than Never

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Something happened yesterday that shook me to my core. I have to admit, that when something like this happens, it makes me take a hard look at most of my other beliefs. And when I do that, it makes me realize that over the years, it is far too easy to become lazy and complacent in readjusting your views.

It’s true that in that same time period, some views become even more hardened, and shift from being “just a feeling” to becoming “laws of life.”  Things like, “I am never going to run out of time to do the things I want,” become “I’d better start DOING those things NOW, because there is no way to know how much time I have left.”

Things like, “If we can only get my candidate elected, everything will change in the world,” morphs over time into, “It really doesn’t matter who we elect, until we make fundamental changes in the process…and that won’t happen…so I have to vote my conscience, without expectations for true change.”  There is something freeing in that approach.

But, the most important thing that happens over time, is that you stop trusting others to make the changes that you want to see in the world. And when you do, you are almost always surprised by how many people join you in your efforts…because they feel the same sense of desperation, futility, and hopelessness in the political process as you do.  People from disparate regions, backgrounds, and beliefs…joining to do something that gives them solace and a sense of accomplishment in their lives.

But even then...you get surprised.
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Growing Trees or Feeding Black Holes…It’s Your Choice In Life

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I know. We just got the “Giant Redwood” update last week. But I am already bored with it, and am realizing that this is just another huge, excessive, time dump, when I have better things to do.  Like saving the world, by throwing pigeons into a black hole.

Ok. I know what you are saying right now. “Oh. Man. He’s finally lost it.” But, hear me out. Whether your pigeons are figurative, metaphoric, or literal (let’s hope they are not real), the fact is, most of us find ways to do things that we believe to be necessary, to keep order in our lives, and perhaps the lives of those around us.

We may be so convinced, that we share these rituals with someone close, in order to have both an ally in our efforts, as well as someone to help talk us off of the ledge when we go too far.

But how far is too far, when it comes to saving the world…or at least our little corners of Springfield? Continue reading

What We Do For Love…

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My wife is “going through a new face in her life.”  Or to be more specific, I am.

Being together for almost 36 years, and remaining happy with one another for the most part, while remaining committed to the idea of “being in love,” is an intricate dance of compromise and give and take.

She knows that I am going to chew ice occasionally,  even though it drives her nuts. I’m trying to stop. It’s not good for my teeth. Everyone tells me so. But, I admit to liking the crushed ice (our refrigerator makes cubes and crushed ice),  combined with the last mixed vestiges of whatever drink I was drinking, almost more than the actual drink.

I have taken to drinking loads of water, Crystal Lite ice tea, and the occasional Diet Pepsi.  I’m also trying to give up the Diet Pepsi, after seeing untold videos about what it does to your insides. And yes…I know that the Crystal Lite uses an artificial sweetener that has given rats cancer. But, I am not a rat, and one large glass of ice tea after dinner, isn’t going to grow a tail. But I digress…

The point is…I do things that annoy my wife, but she puts up with them. Mostly.

I will chew the ice…she will give me the “death stare” and I will apologize, and try to chew more quietly. I get it. She is a 4th/5th grade school teacher. Her days are filled with chaos and insanity. When she gets home, she doesn’t like random noises. like drumming fingers, or chewing ice, or whistling. She HATES whistling. It is something I have given up altogether. I was a good whistler…not one of those random whistle guys. But, she hates it. Really, really, really, hates it. So I quit. Cold blowy.

However, after 36 years of being together, if you want to keep things romantic and fresh, you have to do more than just stop whistling, and apologizing for not chewing ice. Sometimes you have to do something that is so completely unusually out of character, that it gives rise to divide and debate amongst friends and family.

This is one of those cases.
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Lessons in Hubris and Entitlement

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Wow. What a Super Super Bowl!

In our OWN game, TSTO, the whole bit with Gil was admittedly pretty lame, and easy to ignore. I did.

But, man…for someone who played defense in football all through High School and College…THAT FOOTBALL GAME was a lesson in the old adage, “Offense wins games…Defense wins championships!”

But more to the REAL lesson of watching “DubMaster Cammy” get drubbed…was the danger in not realizing that in the end, bragging, overbearing confidence, and classless bravado are entertaining, but you have to be able to back it up…and few can.

But, this was also a strangely satisfying day for companies to use this HUGE audience to send some other messages that mattered…

Yes…the very strange “PuppyMonkeyBaby” ad for the ridiculously unhealthy concoction that is “KickStart.” a highly caffeinated, sugar/caffeine ladened “energy drink,” went too far. And the always hilarious Doritos ads, this time with an expectent mother to be and an  ultrasound, made mothers wince through tears of laughter.

But the winners for me… were two ads from an unlikely source.  Continue reading

When All Else Fails In TSTO…LISTEN

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My wife thought I had lost my mind. OK, let’s be honest, she has known that for a while, but perhaps thought that I was having a psychotic episode.

“What are you laughing at??  HEY! TAKE OFF YOUR HEADPHONES! What. Are. You. Cackling. About?” she opined.

“This is killing me…there is some really clever stuff here, that I haven’t really listened to,” I replied.

“Let me guess…you are watching Stephen Colbert’s hilarious “Trump -vs – Trump” interview again?” she queried.

“No. It’s the GAME!” (I never have to clarify which game…she knows) “The sound effects for some of the buildings are amazing!!”

“You’re really easily entertained…but, OK, play a few for me,” she challenged.

Not wanting to risk her not hearing them in their full, amazing stereo fidelity, I connected my padular device to the bluetooth receiver and my vintage sound system…and cranked it up.

And then, started meandering through my town…playing the FX that go with each building.

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Bonus Video…The Longest Daycare

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Sometimes I need a nudge. I’m old…and I’m like that. 

In this case, it was one of our community, telling me that ROSA appears in “The Longest Daycare,” which at first had me red-faced, because I didn’t know that…and then had me red-faced, because it wasn’t true!

So…I was right about ROSA…she doesn’t appear in any Simpsons episodes that anyone can cite (please prove me wrong…I’d like to think that EA isn’t that lazy). But, it took me searching the web far and wide, and finally stumbling across the short film, “The Longest Daycare” to finally make sense of a TON of things in this update that remind us all, that the youngest among the Simpsons, is the most clever and resourceful.

Ayn Rand plays a big part in this feature short…

But, mostly, it’s all about Maggie.
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Out of the Mouth of Babes…the Kids Are All Right!

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What is evident in the Simpsons, and often of the world in general, is that the younger the person, the more they are inclined to wisdom and simple linear reasoning that rises above the claptrap, rhetoric, and insanity of politics and societal malaise.

It is no different in TSTO. Maggie, with her quiet, sucking, observations and actions, amazes us all with her common sense approach to problems. While others must walk (quickly) toward a task, Maggie just grabs a balloon and floats over the landscape calmly (one of my favorite animations).

Maggie has been long awaited. And I have to say, that EA has taken the time and effort to make her arrival (and that of some of her other wiser punkish peer) worth the wait. The dialogue is hilarious. The conundrums they face are as fun as the solutions. It gives you hope for the future…

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The Year that Was…and Shall Be!

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I love this time of year. It is a time to look back on what was, look forward to what is coming, and make resolutions and wishes for how things should be…before you break the resolutions, and try it all again next year.

Looking back on 2015, I have to admit, that as much as I am known as a CrankyOldGuy, it was a pretty darn great year!

TSTO…as a franchise…had a couple of stumbles. But, in comparison to 2014, there was a LOAD of improvement in game play, tools, and general fun. Comparing even the worst of 2015 (some of the lame tie-in updates) and a great deal of 2014 (several incarnations of the WHell…until we all revolted), it was a far better year for fun and ROT (Return On Tapping) investments of “Life Currency” (time).

In addition…what started pretty much as an idea to do something nice for some school children in a remote Ugandan village, has now blossomed into a full-blown, ongoing effort to change lives, improve education and the health and well-being of the school and the village of Buyijja.

Let’s take a look back.  Continue reading

New Years Is Upon Us…Out With The Old!!

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Hey…wait a minute!  Out with the old? Just because it’s a New Year?  I resemble that remark!!

Yes. My birthday is on New Year’s Day.  Yes. I was one of the first born in the year of 1954.  Yes. That makes me very old, indeed. But, “Out With the Old?”  Heck…from what I hear from my fellow AARPers and Boomers, 62 is the new 60! (We are getting more pragmatic with age).

But, it’s OK. I don’t mind getting old. It certainly beats the alternative. And as long as I stay busy, and continue to make myself valuable to any and all ventures I undertake, you can’t just “throw me out.”  Really. No…really!

I mean, who would take the time to write about the New Year’s Mini-Questline that hit today…called “Out With The Old?”

Homer Starts…and continues…and requires you to care to keep logging in every half hour or so…
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Unto Us a Child…

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This time of year, no matter what your chosen religious persuasion may or may not be, you would have to be under a rock, in a remote part of Antarctica (and there are rocks there…starting to poke out of the newly melted ice caps due to global warming) to not know the story of the birth of Christ.

The entire verse, from Isaiah 9:6 reads: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

So I guess it is no wonder that in a world of conflict, fueled by religious and political differences and ambiguity, that most people kind of forget the Peace part, and choose the government part, and forget entirely the unconditional love and forgiveness part that came along when He was older.

However, when it comes to TSTO…the CHILD that has been long-awaited, is actually going to appear soon, bringing with her a wide assortment of strange quests, and frienemies, that will make us scratch our heads, and laugh.

I do that a lot these days. In a world like this…You have to laugh. Really.

Let’s take a look at what to expect…

Spoilers to Follow…If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Let There Be LIGHT!

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I just got done SKYPING with Emma, and he confessed that he has had something on his “wish list” for a while now, but was reluctant to tell me about it, “because you already do so much for the school.”

As it turns out, along with the huge increase in students for the Buyijja School, has come a new problem above and beyond the normal issues with added school supplies and teaching materials.  It seems that a number of children are coming from remote areas to get a chance at hope for a better future. These children, along with a rotation of teachers, have occasionally been spending the night at the school, as there are limited “couch surfing” opportunities in the village.

With no electrical service, generators or other forms of electricity, there are no working lights, or any facility to charge cell phones or digital devices used for communication.  They have resorted to lanterns, which are not safe in the dry African jungle climate.

Emma has sourced a company that will install Solar panels on the school…and is willing to do so in two stages of $1,500 for each stage.  We need to start with a deposit of 1/2 as soon as possible ($750 plus processing fees for the crowdsourcing).

To Boost Interest… I am going to give every person who donates at least $10 a Special Christmas Treat.
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Offering Support for Those Who Offer Hope

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As anyone who has started with the spark of an idea, and then watched it burst into light knows, with every success comes new challenges.

In the year that we have been helping our adopted village school in Buyijja, Uganda, we have seen countless successes, with the occasional challenge, and have always risen to overcome obstacles that could derail our long-term plans.

We are facing a new challenge, born almost entirely from the successes we have achieved.  And, it surprised even me…

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A Basic Primer on “Living Wide”

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It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the good old U.S. of A. It’s a weekend when we are supposed to remember those who have passed from this life, and onto the next frontier.  A weekend when we are supposed to celebrate the memories of those who went before us, and in many cases sacrificed their lives so that we may live a life of freedom.

In some ways, the weekend started early, in that I attended the funeral of the father of one of my best friends from High School.  As we sat in the quiet of the memorial service, I found myself humbled once again by a man who lived an exemplary life, and rarely talked about it. A man who truly understood the meaning of “Living Wide.

A WWII veteran who was in the Intelligence branch of the Army…serving in France, and playing a key role in several critical battles that ultimately brought Germany to a state of surrender. A track star in college on the GI Bill, who just missed running in the Olympics. A man who served in the special Intelligence division of the IRS, bring criminals and gangsters (the old school Mafia type) to justice.  A man who joined the Naval reserves, and attained the rank of Commander, and all while raising three of the most amazing kids you could ever know…all them spread across the globe, serving the needs of the less fortunate.

And I didn’t know any of this, until he was gone.

All I knew of this man, was that he was the consummate cheerleader, and local High School sports fan. He fundraised for countless school projects, was a Boy Scout troop leader, and one of the kindest, unassuming men I have ever known. Great grand-nephew of the naturalist, John Muir, he spent every extra hour of his life traveling, hiking, photographing and archiving his travels to every continent…except for Antarctica…which was on his bucket list, before passing at the seemingly still too early age of just 91.

I came away inspired…and with the feeling that I had somehow lost one of my brethren in “Large Living.”

And of course, with my own life showing bits of wear and tear, I recommitted myself to a life of “Wide Living.” Which made me decide to share what I consider a Primer on How to Live Wide.

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Using Garbage Time to Change Lives…

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Here we go again. After back to back to back updates, it would seem that we are in for another period of EALPish garbage time.  Many of us will spend this time to catch up, and do some much-needed remodeling of our towns…trying to make all of the SuperHero and Easter stuff make sense in our Springfields.  I am carving out room as I can for mansions, and headquarters, and the beach house in my virtual world…while keeping in mind, the need for a foot firmly in the REAL world.

As I have been hinting at (strongly), April is the month for “refreshing” and “refurbishing” the things we have started. It’s a month to expand and extend, while celebrating our past.

It is not a time to sit…

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Peace, Hope, and Love… You Give These Gifts!

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I admit it…I am REALLY excited about how this came out…because it was a “global effort.”  Much of the video was shot by Emma and his friends, along with video and singing in my wife’s classroom.   When I wrote and recorded the song, it felt special…as if we were reaching across the ocean to say “hello.”

Knowing what we have accomplished, and will continue to accomplish is the greatest excitement of all. All of you in the treasured 1%ers that get it…are so very, very special to me and the children whose lives you are changing.

Happy Easter… We Have Much to Celebrate! 

CLICK HERE TO SEE YOUR WORK IN ACTION…
With Our New Music Video!

 

10 Keys to Happiness…TSTO Style

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I don’t know about you, but I find myself getting lost in tapping of another kind. No…get your minds out of the gutter…not that. I mean tapping the links to “related stories” when I start with something like Google News, or FlipBoard. It’ s so easy to get distracted from the original time-waster in which you were participating, and get sucked into an entirely different stream of time wasting.

Even though we know that time is the most valuable commodity (EA even went so far as to deem it “Life Currency”…oh…wise…EA), it is easy to find ourselves seeking happiness during the cold, dark, crappy, short days of winter.

Well…fear not. Because while I started with a story about Brian Williams being suspended (deserved) and Jon Stewart announcing his retirement from the Daily Show (bummer…but not surprising), I wandered off topic onto “associated links” and made my way through “13 Most Annoying Stars” (turns out Kristen Stewart is a pill), “13 Stars You Wouldn’t Recognize Today” (Meg Ryan’s lips…eeek), and “13 Stars You Didn’t Know Were Banned From SNL” (Come on…give Sinead a break! That Pope was bad!)….until I finally stumbled onto something that made me actually feel happy…ironically called, “10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy,” (which seemed obvious, as it didn’t start with the number 13).

I was surprised by a couple of them…and pleased that I already practice most of them.  But, then I thought…”Hey…I wonder if there is a TSTO slant on these?” (because I am always thinking of you!).

So Here Goes… 10 Keys to TSTO Happiness (with a little help from science).

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Connected at the Pixels…But, are we more?

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Last night, something unthinkable, almost earth-shattering, and seemingly devastating  happened.

No…it wasn’t the huge “biggest on record” snow storm to hit the East Coast of the United States. It was bigger!

Facebook and Instagram went offline for almost 3 hours!!!!  O. M. G.

That’s right folks. For almost three hours WORLDWIDE, people couldn’t see what others were eating for dinner, or what each other’s pets were up to, or what we thought this very moment about the deflation of footballs, that either did, or didn’t effect the outcome of the playoff game between New England and Baltimore last weekend.

It was terrifying!!  The boards on “IsItUp.com” lit up with people certain that the Chinese, North Koreans, Russians, ISIS, ISIL. et al had finally exacted their revenge on Western Culture.

In the end, it turned out to be a “self-inflicted wound,” caused by Facebook techs, who were uploading a new logic system…and blew stuff up.

Nothing was lost. Every “like” and snarky comment was restored. But, MAN…did it ever make you stop to think about how things have changed in the world in the past decade.

It makes one question the value of a life tinted with the hue of phosphorescent blue faces, looking down into screens, instead of into one another’s faces.

And then…when Facebook was back up again…I all but forgot about my feelings of self worth being questioned…and went back to seeing what my “friends” were up to.

But, this morning…I couldn’t shake the feeling that something has happened in the evolution of the species…
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Sharing Good News During Garbage Time

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It’s one of those old stories of “I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”

Always wanting to get the bad news out of the way, so I can move on to something more interesting and fun, I will start with a couple of facts.

We had an update. It was/is a small episode update. I has very little activity, and a some really odd tie-ins (which makes me want to watch the episode to figure out what’s going on).  The update is going to run until Midnight on January 28th (PST)/8AM GMT. So…that means a REALLY boring weekend, TSTO-wise.

Meh…

The GOOD NEWS???
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Thanks To You, The 1%ers…and the Contest Winner(s) Are Announced

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As we all finally get to the place in the game, where we can take a breather (Nativity installedZutroy eating cats), I find myself once again marveling at what has happened here over the past year.

Maddy and Ali are home for the holidays, and this morning we SKYPED with our expanded family in Africa.  Emma and Kato (Maddy’s other guardian angel during her internship in Uganda) talked for almost an hour, over a clear, wonderful connection.  All I could do was smile…my heart almost bursting with pride and wonder at how this world has become so interconnected. And, that a disparate group of just over 200 people,  has come together, over a silly game, to change the lives of countless children they have never met.

If we tried to take this story to Hollywood, they would laugh us out of the studio…as it seems completely implausible.

“So…let me get this straight,” the studio weasel would say through a clenched cigar. “You start playing this goofy kid’s game…and start writing about it…and you almost quit a bunch of times, but then your daughter goes to Uganda, and you decide to turn it into a way to raise money for projects to help kids who live in a rural village in the jungle? Man…I think we did something like this with Eddie Murphy…but he was here…and was some king, or something.”

So…maybe the pictures of the big “Thank You” posters with representations of my TSTO character are a bit confusing. I get it. But, it DID happen…and is continuing to happen! And we have huge plans for 2015. But, we have to say THANKS first…to the 1%ers who made it all happen.

And now…I will.

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Why This Site Survives…

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In the middle of the week, I had a note from my favorite Troll, a guy from Beverly Hills, no less…who is one of the freaks that writes every once in a while to let me know what losers we are. He changes his ID email all of the time…but, because I can trace route his IP, I know who he is.

Of course…the sheer illiteracy of his posts are self-evident in their ignorance…but they are entertaining nonetheless. Here’s his latest:

From Joey1234: I get you are a cranky old man who lost the little following he and his bye bye former partner once had. Who r u kidding? You really think once tsto is gone you’ll still be here? There’s a reason you don’t show your site hits lol. Cya never to return.

Oh…but that were true. The never to return part. But, it was ironic that it showed up, just before I once again had clear validation as to WHY we’ll still be here…long after TSTO is gone.

This week…we once again, proved that we are WAY different than other TSTO blog sites.
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It’s Time to Redefine the Word, “Hero.”

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The world has become a crazy place. The disparity between those who live a life in the rarified air of the upper 1% in income, and those who live in the lowest 1% in income has never been further apart.

Through all of it, the “common man,” those of us who work hard to maintain a semblance of a shrinking middle class, end up passing our time, and seeking entertainment, by deifying “heros” who represent a strata of performers who can do something we can’t.  We love our music, movies, television and sports figures. We typically measure their success by box office receipts, record sales, or net worth (in the case of wall street or tech billionaires).  But in the case of sports, are as likely to make them heroes in our minds, for statistics as inane as Yards After Contact, Yards per Game, or how they boost the stats in your fantasy football league.

By now, almost everyone in the world is aware of the “Very Incredibly Bad” week the NFL has had. Several cases of domestic violence, and a couple of child abuse charges just don’t say much about the caliber of people playing one of our national pastimes.  But the story of Adrian Peterson shook me to the core to such a degree, that I woke up this morning with a fire in my fingers to tell another story.

We need to know REAL heroes when we see them. And as a society…we have lost our way.

Let’s start with how much Adrian Peterson is making WHILE suspended from his “job” of running a football, while avoiding being tackled by other highly paid man-children.  Adrian, the highest paid running back in the NFL, is making close to $700,000… a week. That is not a typo. That is also before all of his endorsement deals. That’s $23,000 dollars a day.

Adrian Peterson is also known for fathering as many as 7 children with as many mothers. Adrian Peterson must love kids. Or making kids. He certainly has a penchent for “guiding” kids.

Now…I am going to introduce you to three REAL heroes, who I would offer, do REAL world-changing work, and earn between all three of them, less than 1/1000th per day combined what Adrian Peterson earns…while saving children.

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TSTO Friends Community: AboutChoo!

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Ok so here’s the deal…

We here at TSTOFriends have an AMAZING community of readers, commenters and genuine friends. We laugh, we cry, we yell, we poke fun and celebrate the good times while propping each other up in the bad times. So in some ways it’s more like a family…a big crazy family; but without squabbling over inheritance (who gets rich Uncle Zeke’s gold!?) Before you start thinking this is going to be another sappy, “lets hug” post let me clear things up: it’ll only be like, half that.

We’ve had some pretty cool projects and opportunities for community participation. There are the amazing array of Guest Posts, the always fun Poll Results and Discussions, that fantastic Holiday Writing Contest we had and a smattering of other things in the Community Art and Writing Center. A personal favorite of mine and Patric’s was the TSTO Community World Map and Downloadable Travel-Brochure project.

Now besides all this fun, we often have outstanding ideas come from you, the readers. Whether it’s something for us to write or do or wear or parse…it’s all good fun. Now it’s time for a new twist. Continue reading

TSTO Community World Map and Downloadable Travel-Brochure

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This place is amazing…no doubt about it.
When people ask me what makes it so unique and different than other TSTO Blogs/Forums…the answer is easy- THE COMMUNITY.  We continue to be blown away by the interaction, civility, intelligence, and desire to share.

Nothing proves the point better than our Put A Pin In It map experiment. Well…TAKE A LOOK. More than 75 pages (and growing) and close to 37,000 words (and growing) this document is a testament to the power of the Internet and a “Silly Little Game” to cross boundaries, borders and differences- to become a single community.

THE DOWNLOADABLE .PDF Version of our Incredible TSTO Community World Map is done.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY

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