Back to Normal… Waiting for Something to Happen


OK. So…thanks for letting me take a “day off from things that don’t matter” to try and wrap my head around a week I’d sooner forget. But, as with everything, life goes on…and that means another update MUST be around the corner.

My prediction is for a Tuesday launch of the Halloween update. I’m sure most of you have seen this on the TSTO Facebook page…but if you haven’t, here is a great tip about what’s to come.
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When is Enough Really Enough?

Sorry. But the events yesterday surrounding yet another mass shooting at a college campus just 60 miles south of me has left me without the energy to write a word today about a silly game.

I understand fully the implications of what I am about to write…and remember that Tony was in part, driven from blogging by being bombarded with threats, vicious posts, and basic nuttery from NRA assclowns on TSTOTIPs.  But, frankly...I don’t care. 

Here’s what I don’t understand…
I have loads of ultra-conservative friends and relatives that espouse 2nd Amendment rights to own weapons. They are also almost all “Pro-Life” to the point of making it a part of every single political campaign in the past 20 years or more. So…how can you be “pro life” and yet prop up antiquated gun laws that so clearly allow the deaths of thousands of innocent people a year?  Do you not see the ambiguity in your beliefs?

The argument is that we have the “right” to own weapons for hunting. OK. I get that. But, at the very least, the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic/automatic weapons should be abolished. Period. There is no other reason to own one, than to kill another person. Statistics are clear…owning one endangers your own life, or the lives of your loved ones far more than those who do not own them. But…rational, pragmatic reasoning seems to be out the window.

I’m done with “seeing both sides” to this issue. Please explain to me why the families whose lives were changed forever yesterday should take solace in your freedom to put the rest of us at harm?

I’m so disgusted with the politics of this nation right now that I have all but become apolitical. Both sides are to blame…as we we, the voters who continue to allow the lobbyists and lifetime politicians to render the process inoperable.

And no… today I don’t give a flying rat’s patoot about EA, donuts, Premium or Freemium, the monorail, Oktoberfest, Halloween, glitches or SNAFUs.

I am not going to debate the merits of your beliefs. Recent history and more random mass killings than I can count in the past year have rendered your position irrelevant.

What a Difference A Year (or Three) Makes…


Many of us will “celebrate” our THREE YEAR ANNIVERSARY  of TAPPING this week. I put the “rabbit ears” around the word “celebrate” because if you think about it, giving three years of dedicated service to something that really isn’t considered “good for you,” is tantamount to marking the first day you started smoking crack. But, as a wise old man used to say, “It is what it is…”

As a seasoned, veteran tapper (who started tapping on October 1st, 2012) I can actually speak with authority to the fact that no matter how rose-colored those halcyon memories may seem, these really are the “good old days.”

Those who started when I did (when you had to tap both ways to school in a blinding snowstorm, uphill both ways), remember that it was very, very, very common for there to be server outages that often lasted as much as 3-5 days.  While the updates came fast and furious, with loads of Freemium items to suck us in, it only took a couple of weeks before we were tantalized by our first PREMIUM items during the FIRST Halloween update.

I remember at the time, ignoring the first Premium offerings (a mausoleum and the Ray Gun, which introduced Kang), and in fact scoffing at the idea of spending real money on a free game. The updates were very simple, but at the time, just seemed amazingly fun…when they worked. Was simple better? Nah. But, I shiver at how much cash I have given a company that still struggles to keep the game running smoothly, no matter how much money they rake in.

This time of year seems to mark the “Highwater Letdown” each year since. It is the lull between a huge, major update, and the almost always huge Halloween update. Last year, we were still reeling from the extremely “non-canon” Clash of Clones update, which left our Springfields strewn with castles, walls, and random pleebs and costumes of all sorts…most of which we have now stored.

The year before we were coming off of the introduction of KrustyLand, which is about as forgotten by most, as the current list of Republican candidates will be in another couple of months.

This past year has actually been amazing. Yes…there have been server nightmares and SNAFUs aplenty, but we got some of the “big promises,” such as a playable Sideshow Bob character (now…Maggie….please?), and a monorail that is/was way, way, way cooler than I could ever have imagined (even in the design that months ago that EA seems to have lifted), as well as more new content and fun than we have room to place (because of the stupid item restrictions).


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Ugh…Gil Shows Up with Oktoberfest Offerings


Well…OK then.

Once again, just when you think that EA is going to sit back a bit, and let us catch up, we are hit with an Oktoberfest Offering from Good Ol’ Gil…that mostly just signals that there will be No Halloween Update until at least mid, next week. 


This is the kind of thing that you have to be drunk on OktoberBeer to take up…but, Let’s Take A Look Anyway!
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Halloween Update Coming…You Can Count Down To It


I know. That headline is kind of misleading. But, that’s the way I roll these days, as we rarely know when things are going to hit. EA has taken to not putting things into the game files until just before they launch live, and there was nothing there today.

In the “Good Old Days” (back when TSTO first started and Tony’s TSTOTIPS was the king and only player of the blogosphere), EA was rEAlly lazy about hiding things from hackers. That’s before hacking became a huge game of leaking information weeks ahead of an event.

About a year ago, things got tightened down a ton.

But, Here’s How We Know That Halloween is Coming Soon…

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Weekend Highs, Lows and REALLY Lows…


Life is like a rollercoaster, blindfolded, standing on your head, after doing 6 shots of whisky from a dirty shot glass. You never know what’s coming. Like this weekend…when there was so much promise being offered for it to be one of the “best weekends ever,” and then it wasn’t. But in the end, turned out to be pretty good after all, once a little prospective was applied.

I’m not really great with perspective. I’m more of an “all in” or “all out” kinda guy. But, life really doesn’t work that way. The all in is fine…but all out is kind of extreme, and to be avoided at all costs.

The way the weekend could/should have gone -vs- the way it DID go is interesting…with the final lesson worth recounting.

Here are the personal hopes I had -vs- the personal reality as they unfolded…
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Our New Project…Clarified. The Next Step Toward Success.


Several of you have once again “jumped right into the pool” unconditionally, knowing that the work we are doing is important. It feels like there may be some who are lingering, because this project feels convoluted. But, nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me break it down in more detail for you.
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IRS Building Arrives with EAsy Collection Option – Updated


I’m not going to lie… I have had a long and checkered past with the IRS.  Almost anyone who has been in business for themselves has had some kind of dispute…and I have been in business for myself for more than 35 years. So…yes…there are times when I know my local IRS agents by name…and get “thank you notes” and Christmas Cards from them. If you ever want to reason to become completely disenchanted with the notion of paying your taxes, take a look at how they spend what they collect.  It’s RIGHT HERE…  Waste, graft, and boondoggles galore…it’s all there. They’d be out of business, if they had to run it like a real business. Nobody at the IRS ever justifies how the spend it…only that you OWE IT (plus penalties and interest).  I once fought a claim for 12 years…two years past the statute of limitations. They DO give up sometimes…but not often.  But, I digress…

In Springfield, just like real life, the more money that is generated, from a widening number of sources, the longer it takes to collect the revenue generated.  And…let’s face it, The IRS always wants theirs. So…NOW, you can collect your earnings faster than ever…with the new IRS building!! Whooohoooo?

Let’s take a look.

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New Unemployment Feature Makes Jobs Easier…for a price.


With the latest update (and yes, many of us are being forced to do a new App store update as well) there are LOADS of changes in the game. Most of them revolve around a new feature designed to make earning/jobs far easier.

It’s like EA is channeling our wish list, as people have been asking for this feature for a very long time (since the number of characters is now well over 100). But, like EA, everything comes with a price…as in, “it’s gonna cost you to use it.” However…unlike so many startups (yes, we are entering another bubble phase in the tech sector). if you spend money, you will make money. And it is WAY EAsier to make money now.

There are some TIPS for TAPPING, especially when you have multiple tasks/questlines running. Let’s Take a Look! Continue reading

Episode Tie-In Hits With New Character and Building


For those of you who are devout Simpson’s fans (and there are surprisingly fewer than one would think who play the game) The NEW SEASON STARTS THIS SUNDAY!!!  WhooooHooooo!!!!

And to kick things off…EA/Gracie/Fox have released a Tie-In Update. Whoohoo?

Like most Tie-In updates, there isn’t much to it…but, it does have a few chuckles in the dialogue, as well as another building, and a very weird new character.

Let’s Check It Out!
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Two of a Kind…Yogi and the Pope


I’m  not going to mince words. There are very few people left in the world from the “Greatest Generation” who are truly great. In my opinion, we just lost one of the best.

I became a catcher in Little League because of an article in “Boy’s Life” magazine about Yogi Berra. So enthralled with the story of a kid from a poor St. Louis neighborhood, who was told he was “too small” to play professional baseball, and then went on to become one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history, that I begged to be a catcher just like him.

Yogi’s exploits in the baseball field are legend. But, it was the way he communicated, and lived his life off of the field that made the world love him.

And this week, amid some of the most outrageous rhetoric to come from a political debate ever (and that is saying a lot!), comes a visit from a man who has transcended stereotype to become a vessel for change in a pious world fraught with judgement. Pope Francis arrived at the White House, in a tiny car that spoke volumes about his disdain for pomp and ceremony, with a message of hope for all people, not just those deemed worthy by religious leadership.

In the public eye, Yogi Berra and Pope Francis could not seem more diperate in nature. But, the fact is…the lives they chose to lead, are lives that promote the underdog, lift up the spirits of those who need hope the most, and live by example, rather than words.

And in case of Yogi…that is a good thing…as his words were often hilarious malanthropic jewels that entertained between the pearls of wisdom.
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Shouldja? And Wouldja? The Casino and Something That Matters…


Let’s start with an adage from a wise old man I met in Vegas.  When I asked him how in the hell did the casino owners afford such insanely lush and ostentatious buildings, he replied, “Well, they didn’t do it by letting people win…and they paid cash for all of it.”

That should tell you how I am beginning to feel about Premium Items in general in this game. As we just passed the third year anniversary of the re-launch of TSTO (on Sept, 17th 2012, after the game being pulled after its dismal start in June 2012), you have to get the feeling that we are running out of luck.

When you read the history of the game on the WIKI, you have to harken back to the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  One paragraph caught my attention. “Shortly after the iOS launch, the game was pulled from the iOS App Store due to EA’s servers being unable to cope with the demand and a plethora of serious bugs reported by users. After a month had passed, EA set up a forum whereby users could report bug issues, but failed to offer solutions to issues or temporary updates. Some users who had made in-app purchases discovered that their purchases had disappeared.

Ha! Three years…and the SAME problems?  Too funny. But, the REAL thing to remember here, is that all of this is fleeting. It exists completely at the whim of EA, and their choice to keep developing, and keep the servers alive. When there is a server glitch, all of those wonderful “digital assets” go away. Paid for or not. Poof. Gone. Sayonara!

And then there is the distinct feeling that EA is REALLY having to reach deep into the recesses of Simpsons lore to find content. Springfield Heights is kind of a fizzle. Loads of very similar content…all aimed at those those who think “being one of the rich folk” is cool. Most people don’t. There is a reason that Burns is reviled. Too much money…just for the sake of having a ton, makes you a jerk. Donald Trump comes to mind.

So…when EA offers up a casino…and another thinly veiled reference at Mob control and politics being mixed (This from EA???) you have to wonder what they were thinking. And then you may feel compelled to save your money for something that matters…


Rounding Up to Level 58 and Looking Forward

Wow. Now THAT’S what I call “taking a couple of days off!”  And before any of you start any rumors, NO…the outages over the weekend were just a coincidence. I had nothing to do with them. Promise!

But the timing was convenient…as I was “off the grid” for the weekend, “Gettin’ My Cowboy On” and having a great time with family. There is nothing to “clear the modern cobwebs” like going back to another place and time, and the Pendleton Roundup is definitely from another place and time. I don’t want to debate the political correctness of a rodeo. But, I will say, it was very hard to resist playing cowboy for the weekend. I went with no intention of succumbing, but came away with a great hat, a real deal cowboy shirt (with snaps instead of buttons). and a huge range of great memories. The rodeo was amazing. I especially loved seeing the Native American village, and their place in the rodeo in full regalia. Beautiful.


There was an amazing “horses only…no machinery allowed” parade, two days of rodeo, and nightlife on Main Street (with more shots of Pendleton Whiskey than I want to count). It was Cowboy Immersion at its finest!

Oh…and while I was checked out…TSTO was crashing…and people were, or were not able to move on to Level 58.

So…here it is…Monday…and time to get back to business…and another casino that isn’t owned by the Indians. Go figure…

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Level 58 Drops…because we really don’t have anything else to do?


I am just leaving for a 4 day trip. I will cover this mess when I can…but, suffice it to say, it starts with Fat Tony, and Quimby…and is mostly a bunch of Premium Stuff so far…

Oh…and I don’t have anywhere close to enough money to do the Mafia Car…so it will have to wait for me.
Leve58-1 Leve58-2 Leve58-3

Monorail is Done…Now For Something that Matters!

When we are frustrated with EA’s horrible attempts at “fixing the problems,” (and we are), it is EAsy to just throw up your hands and feel helpless.  It is EAsy to lose sight of keeping balance in your life, and it is REALLY EAsy to forget that there is far more to life than TSTO and getting track, and getting donuts, and seeking restitution.

Thank goodness, we here at TSTOFriends also do some things that matter…

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This being reported by Gio over at…

Monorail Takedown is here… but not as you expected!

EA has released, for iOs only at the moment, the Monorail Takedown update, but all is not well. People from EA Forum are reporting Level 57, Quimby Pool and IRS content missing! Please wait to update your game, and disable auto update for the moment. We’re talking to EA customer service reporting the problem and will update you as soon as we know something new.
Update: EA Customer Service informed me of this:

I can understand the problem, this is already an undergoing issue with our concerned team and they are continuously working on this with best of their abilities, please wait for some time this issue will surely be fixed very soon.

I would like to inform you that several other players are facing the same issue worldwide and we are aware of it,This is server generated issue and Our Specialist Team and engineers are working on best of their capabilities to fix it as soon as possible so I humbly request you to wait for sometime and this will surely get fixed, We just need your co-operation here.

BOTTOM LINE IS…. DON’T UPDATE… another SNAFU is in the works. 

Watch this space for developments…


Monorail Limbo…and Springfield Heights Returns


Well…OK then. So, as with a ton of the recent major updates, the Monorail is over…kinda…mostly. 

After getting the Rail Yard, you are now into the “permanent” phase of the monorail, in that you can work for free track, on a weekly basis, by building and collecting blueprints in the Rail Yard, and then exchanging them for track.  The Rail Yard will reset every Tuesday, allowing you another chance to tap your brains out, to collect the track as well as a Bonus of 5 Donuts if you reach 70K Blueprints.

I had reached 56K, and decided to couch the glass, metal, plastic I had collected, until the reset. It allowed me to get off to a quick start this morning.

I also was awarded a bunch of random “Real Estate Reward Points” for items I had previously purchased in other updates. I got points for both the tennis court (Tap Ball) and the Money Pool (Stone Cutters). Weird. But, OK…I’ll take them.

Then new stuff started showing up in Springfield Heights. 
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The Final Monorail Hours Get “Dickish!”

Before anyone gets all riled up over my use of the term “Dickish” in the headline…let me start by saying that the term has nothing to do with a certain part of the male anatomy, and everything to do with being a Dick…as in Dick Nixon.

According to the Newly Abridged COG Dickshunary, (with a little help from the Urban Dictionary), “being dickish” is defined as, “to be brash and insensitive to another. to put your own interests above all else. i.e. to act like Richard (Dick) Nixon.” To be specific to my use for TSTO in this situation, it is doing something crappy to someone, just because you can…even if you didn’t have to. It’s what sunk Tricky Dicky Nixon, and what may ultimately sink TSTO.

Case in point…the RIDICKULOUS way in which they are handling the “Ahead of the Track” and Railyard track earning in the final stages of the game.

EA…is being Dickish. Period.  Continue reading

Grinding to the End…Track, Life, and In Between


The hardest part of this “job,” is filling the time between updates, and update-updates, and ends-of-updates with content. What has become the norm in recent major updates, is scant content, and a whole lot of grinding to reach the next goal. Kind of like life sometimes.

I have to admit, that even with a rich, widely-led life like mine, with more irons in the fire than energy sometimes, there are days when it just feels like a grind. We all have them. Those days when you get up, and look at your “to do list” and say, “where’s the reward in this?”  And then you look at the calendar, and realize that the next vacation days are a long, long way off…and even Christmas seems like eons away.

Back to school is all consuming if you are a parent. It’s even more consuming if you are the spouse of a teacher. “Summer Deb” has packed away her summer clothes, and is already neck-deep in lesson plans, classroom management, and dealing with the unending challenges of state and federal testing requirements.

I am back to being alone in my “office,” with mostly just the voice(s) in my head to keep me company. Oh. And the cat. Maddy’s cat, Scrimpson, who has actually spent more time with his “grandparents” than he has with his “mom” since she acquired him in a fit of weakness at an animal shelter. Maddy is just starting a new career path, in her chosen field of health administration. She is also living temporarily (just a few weeks…which turned into months) with her big sister Joni and her family. She starts her new job Monday, and the countdown calendar is clicking on getting her own “cat friendly” place.

What does any of this have to do with TSTO?  Pretty much nothing. Much like the random tapping we are doing currently…when our devices work with the hideous server errors and memory issues the monorail has brought about. We are slogging…at best…toward the final conclusion, which isn’t final at all.

Much like life.

At least with TSTO, we know what is coming…mostly. We can work the system to get the reward(s). We can spend lavishly on stuff that doesn’t matter…to give ourselves a sense of reward for our efforts. Kind of like life.

Here is the way the rest of the week will shape up in the TSTO world…
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Mapple Store Countdown to Self Reliant House?


This update has been marked by a number of mid-update-updates that keep us guessing and in a semi-panicked state, as items come and go in a seemingly random way. Of course, as Gio had posted the entire set of important dates on the WIKI there really hasn’t been much panic at all.

Adding to that, is the EXTREMELY ANNOYING double whammy of loads of glitches and SNAFUs (few of which seemed to be fixed with yesterday’s mini-update-bug-fix), and the REALLY, REALLY, REALLY AMBIGUOUS Item Limitation which continues to make placing anything a battle of “what can I do without?” instead of “Cool! I will add that!” conundrum.

That said…The Mapple Store will disappear from the store at midnight…and the Choo-Choo-Choose me Train will show up, along with what is rumored to be the “Self Reliant House.” Again…it is hardly a rumor, as it was posted in the WIKI weeks ago. While it seems that the “Self Reliant House” should be a halfway house for Barney and friends, it is in fact a house that is “off the grid,” but is mostly just a decoration. It is only 35 donuts…but sorry EA…as I said before…UNTIL YOU LIFT THE LIMITS…NO DONUTS FOR YOU!

The Mapple Store??? Continue reading

Labor Day – Working Hard to Give Back to Something that Matters


I asked Siri to tell me the origins of Labor Day, and was surprised that she just redirected me to a web site, rather than just tell me herself.  I am guessing that Siri, even though she is just a “bot,” has negotiated a contract that is pretty clear about what she will and won’t do.

Yes…she has snappy retorts for all sorts of thing (tell her you love her, and you will get a kick out of her response), but she clearly draws the line at answering mundane questions on the very day on which that question should already be known by most people who are taking the very day they are celebrating off from work. Which is of course ironic, in that Labor Day celebrates work, and most people are not doing so today…including myself.

So…rather than try to explain Labor Day, on a day I should be taking a break from blogging (which is often more work than you know), I will let Siri’s “go-to source” tell us what this day is all about.

“Labor Day
, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” 

The source is a government agency???? Holyfreakinshirt! That’s nuts! We already know that they aren’t working today…

The line that jumps out, is the last one: “A yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Let’s face it. We all work hard for our money. “Work hard, Tap hard,” I always say. But, when it comes to contributing to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country (or that of the rest of the world), there is little doubt that at the foundation of that strength and prosperity, is education. Without education, the chances of actually being able to prosper and survive in this world are next to none.  Once food, water, and shelter are provided, education plays the key role in helping anyone actually rise above “surviving,” and moving into the realm of “prospering.”


“Whoa….hold on there,” I can hear some of you reading this say. “How can I prosper by giving to others?  I thought the whole thing was to build personal wealth, so I could prosper.  How does giving my money to others help me prosper?”

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Act III Advanced Math and Tapping Tips


Act III is upon us, with a handful of wrinkles and new daily caps to keep it interesting.  In addition, it has been revealed that there will be a method to continue to earn Monorail Track after the update is over, which should bring some sense of relief to those who have grandous monorail plans in mind.

The short answer, is that this last part of the update is pretty straightforward. The longer answer is that there are a variety of things to keep in mind, in order for you to reach the final goal of the Rail Yard, which will ultimately allow you to continue earning track.

Let’s take a look at Limits, Earning Options, and Tips…
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Level 57 Walkthroughs…Old People Rockin’ It!


Ok. I’m going to repeat my advice from the first post…I would really just keep your townspeople earning track rather than starting this updates, that ties up a bunch of Earners (the Simpsons and other earners).

However…at some point, you aren’t going to be able to stop yourself, and you are going to want to know what comes next, and who does it.  The good news is, most of it has to do with Old People, and actually has some HILARIOUS dialogue.  I am a bit unnerved by having to have Grandpa off of his bench near the black hole (that ‘s a whole different post), but it is worth it, for some of the Old Guy interplay that takes place.

SPOILERS FOLLOW….If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Level 57 Drops with Some REALLY Old People…


It’s always nice at my age to pretend that I’m not old. I’m not as old as lots of people…but, sadly I have to admit that I am older than the majority of people. If I am to believe the CIA (and who doesn’t believe the CIA?) then I am more than TWICE as old as the median age of the world’s population, not quite twice that of the United States population…but still…I’m old. 

But not as old as some of the characters being introduced in Level 57 of TSTO…a game that is certainly starting to show its age, and foreshadowing that they may be running down the final clock on its final days.

I have some simple advice, as it pertains to Level 57 that may shock you…
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The Giant Ants Arrive…Final Act II Prizes…LEVEL 57 DROPS!!

There are points in this game, where I really think the programming/animation staff just kind of gets bored, and starts this internal bet going with one another that starts with something like this. “I can’t believe how stupid some of the players are. Let’s come up with something so outlandish, that only the most addicted or obsessed players will buy it…I’ll bet we get more than half of the players.”  There is then an office pool with all sorts of options as to how many people actually bite on something so stupid and annoying, that their weakness at holding off the Donut Trigger, or that they are playing with hacked donuts, is revealed.

Funzos come to mind. But there are loads of other items that fall in to this category.  The whale is an example of a way that EA figured out who the REAL “whales” are. At 300 donuts for something that just sits there…the whale has become the marker for “dumbass” in my neighborhood. The ants don’t cost 300 donuts…but, they are even dumber than the whale.

Why? Because they just sit there. They are a decoration. At least that seems to be the situation…I’ve already seen them in a neighbor’s town.

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Increased Project Caps Today…as well as a SPECIAL THANKS


Just a reminder that the Project Board Caps are increased to 14K today and will remain at 14K until the final day of this act (Sept 3rd) when it will bump to 15K. This should help you get closer, if not finish up the Act II Prizes (Hippy and Uriah’s Heap)…and allow you to move into the “bonus round” to get Free Track.

Of course…getting more track, may just make your game run worse…or you may need to store some other items before you can place the track (as I did) because you have reached your overall item cap in the game. Sucks. EA gives…and EA taketh away.

So…let’s move on to something that MATTERS… Continue reading

Monorail 3rd Questline Starts with Minor Changes

With everything else going on in the game this week, good and bad, it almost slipped by me that there is a new Quest-Line starting on 08/30. It doesn’t really start with much in the way of anything that changes the game, except just being a bit annoying in the over-use of one of the primary earners (Homer).

But….as it turns out, I WAS RIGHT about the Project Limits…and again...the RODENT was wrong. Just thought I’d point that out. I’ll also post the new numbers about that as well.

SPOILERS FOLLOW…remember…If You Don’t Want To Know, Don’t Click Below. 
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Sooooooooooo Close! Let’s Top This One Off!



There were 56 of you (so far) who decided to keep the hopes of our school kids in Buyijja alive. of the thousands of people who came here for information about TSTO…and asked for advice and help… 56 of you proved to be more.

I sent the bulk of the money needed to Emma this week…but we still need to top this off to hit our total goal.  Let’s get it done.

We have written a LOT about a company that doesn’t seem to get it… a company who treats its players like expendable chattel…and thinks nothing of it. I would suggest once again…that rather than spend another dime supporting EA, that you use even $5 that would have gone to a digital bauble, which obviously can be manipulated and deleted without our consent…to DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS.
Let’s finish this off today.


Dear EA…You REALLY Don’t Get It


Dear EA,

Your recent decision to severely limit the number of items that a player can actively have in their towns, is so ridiculously counterproductive to good business practices, as to render any further trust in your corporate decision process impossible.

You may scoff at this initial premise…but, after you see my reasoning, I do believe that you may want to consider the removal of any and all employees who were involved with this shortsighted and disastrous process.

Let’s Break this down in a way that even your management team may understand (I’ll use small words and speak slowly, so they can follow along).
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Marge Gets Muscular…Shouldja with Walkthrough


Let me begin by saying that I HATE the fact that Marge is usually “Marge-In-Alized” in the game.  She is, without question, my favorite character in the Simpsons. She is wise, sexy, fun, and the glue that keeps things together in an otherwise matchstick mess that is constantly on the verge of combustibility.

At best, she is treated as a second class character in the game, and her skins are pretty random.  I bought the Tennis Marge skin, because she looked hot…and I wanted a real tennis court in my town. I was only kinda happy…in that they made her actions mostly indoor…and the ones that were outdoor, were rather unattractive (nobody looks good “crabbying”).

But…NOW…WITH THE NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR ITEMS being placed on everyone…you REALLY have to want something, because you are likely going to have to store something to be able to place what you buy.

Is Marge and the Shapes Offer Something Worth Buying? SHOULDJA???

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Staying On Track…and Doing Something With It


We are once again into a bit of a “grinding phase” as it pertains to the update. As we saw with Springfield Heights, the emphasis with this new style of update seems to be far more weighted toward tapping…and not much in the way of content/writing.  The only real wrinkle, is that because there is so little character dialogue, it’s EAsy to forget that there is anything going on besides earning track and depot parts. Most, because there isn’t.

If you have planned out your track/depot earning day well, you will find yourself with a LOT of time on your hands. That is actually a good thing. Really.

It should give you time to plan out how you want to place your track, and start the making even the half (third?) size monorail a permanent part of your town…integrated and not just plopped.

Plopping for me isn’t an option. I hate seeing neighbors with “Ploppy Towns.”  I use this term as “Plopper” the atomic spider pig we got in the super hero update, is know to do some serious Plopping…if you you catch my drift. And if the wind is just right, you can catch a whiff of his plopping.

In other words…I am disappointed that so few of you are taking the time to make your monorails look cool…and are just plopping stuff, willy-nilly onto the land. It looks “plop-craptic.”  You can do better.  But, I digress…

Let’s take a look at a daily plan for maximizing your earning and design time. Continue reading

Testing the Limits of the New Limits…With New Calendar

Well…it seems that there is something off in the game, or at least that is what I am seeing in my own game.  While it was reported in the game files (according to Gio) that the limit would be 7500. it seems to be at least 9500… and maybe as high as 10500.  I didn’t think to track yesterday’s Project Activity… but, I KNOW I was able to turn in far more than 7500.  So…today, I was expecting to get slammed with the “overage penalty” and get less than 7500…but NO.

TAKE A LOOK AT MY PROJECT REPORT…then let us know what you are seeing!

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Calendar Dates for the Monorail to Put on YOUR Daytimer!


When we look forward, it’s important to remember that calendars are our friends…even if it seemingly adds to the stress of our daily lives.

However…my feeling about knowing what’s coming, is that it also allows you to PLAN what to do in a rational, pragmatic way. LIke knowing when to set your possum alarm…or when to clear the pop bottles…or take time for a real life.

Let’s Take a Look At the Overall Monorail Event Calendar
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Getting Back on Track…


So…it seems that like Springfield Heights, The Monorail Update can, and will turn into a grind pretty quickly.  We are just crossing into week two, and we are already in a pattern of “tap/clear/tap/clear/track/tap/clear/station” that is offering a handful of track…without a ton of satisfaction.

We can IMAGINE the goal…in fact some of us (including me) have already done the math to figure out if we are going to win enough Freemium track, to build the monorail layout we want, in the time allotted.

Well at least ONE of our goals is easily achievedthe OTHER, MORE IMPORTANT GOAL…is going to take some focus and commitment!

Let’s compare both…
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Premium Items Or Something That Matters…You Decide!


I guess timing is everything…and I have to admit that my timing of late has been off a bit.  Last week, I made it clear that I wasn’t interested in continuing a “TSTO ONLY” blog…and that continuing our fundraising for Buyijja was of paramount importance to me.

Many of you responded in kind…and then the MONORAIL HIT…and I got sucked back into trying to figure out the nuances of the update, and help people along.

We hit our first goal for the water tank…but the the fact is, we have been WAY off of our usual mark (because I have not been pushy…even though many of you said you LIKE hearing about the projects)…and Now We Are Faced With Yet Another HUGE Task…with a short calendar.

Or. You can get another digital bauble that doesn’t mean jacks-quat.

EA has made a very odd choice with the Monorail…to make the stuff that matters to the build, FREE…while making something that doesn’t matter in the least, pretty damn expensive.

But the REAL issue, is that there is simply a far better choice to be made on your money…AND YOU COULD WIN SOMETHING VERY, VERY, COOL…and VALUABLE...if you make the Right Choice.

So…this is indeed a classic choice of Free Will. 

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Looking Down the Tracks…and Why You SHOULDN’T By Krusty’s Station


You knew I was going to throw a blanket on the Premium offering of Krusty’s Station…right?  But, it’s not for the reason you think. It’s because the reason most people are buying it is for the wrong reason. And knowing what is coming down the track in the future, I am telling you to PASS…And it’s ALL about the track. Really.

I get it. People get jacked up…and want to FINISH as soon as they can. But, trust me…sometimes waiting…and taking your time…is far more rewarding. Really.

Hold on. I’m still talking about the track. It’s ALL about the track. And for some people, finishing this update is a matter of making a loop of Monorail track with a couple of stations. Not for me.

Find out what I am talking about…Let’s take a look!

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Monorail…Working the Numbers In Spite of The Limits- UPDATED


It seems that calm heads have prevailed…mostly. We have something that resembles a definitive answer on Project Limits (with final testing tomorrow to finalize)…and it is an interesting wrinkle that **SURPRISE** favors EA once again.

This isn’t the WHell. It isn’t some horrible rigged system that favors one player over another, and it may actually be a minor social commentary on “Chillaxing” and enjoying your REAL life a bit, not forcing us to tap our brains out when we could/should be doing things with our Life Currency that are worthy of the term “Living.”

There are some very clear rigid rules…with a minor twist on redemption, as this portion of the Monorail update plays out.

Let’s dive into the facts…and some Solutions and Methodology to stay on track.

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Monorail Act ONE- Complete Cheat Guide with Calendar


I have to say, if there is one thing I don’t like about this update right now, it is that I actually have to WORK so hard for track pieces.  I’m sure it will change before too long…but if EA is smart (and who really thinks they are?) they will allow us to just BUY bundles of track for donuts. I for one would bite. Hard.

I am loving the way this one plays out. While some would argue that they stole the design for the basic execution from an update article I wrote in June 2014, The rest of the execution is wonderful so far…if you know a few of the nuances to help MAXIMIZE your Dump Load.

And we have uncovered a few Tips and Tricks to do just that.

But before we go too far…ANOTHER GLITCH REPORTSomethin’ Ain’t Right with the last update/task countdown. We have had reports of weird Krusty task book commands, as well as an Apu of the same flavor…asking for a REALLY random number of actions… I assume that EA will fix it. Soon. My Apu is in perpetual 4-hour-shift-mode.


Doing the task doesn’t seem to do anything except make you have to do another one…Weird. OK. Back to the Cheat Guide.

Click below for walkthrough….Math Calendar…and Tips for Maximizing Your Yield

As always…SPOILERS FOLLOWIf you Don’t Want To Know, Don’t Click Below!

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Monorail… Let the Dumping Begin!!


I can’t believe I’m saying this…but I’M SO EXCITED!  The Monorail…from one of my favorite episodes ever is actually here…at long last!

There is going to be TONS of information to cover, as this is a HUGE change to the game…OK…huge for TSTO. But, the bottom line, is that our waiting is over. We are going to get the Monorail!!

Let’s Get Started…

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Monorail…The Waiting is Over…IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This just in from spAnser and Gio (the two most reliable hacker/frackers in the business)…The Monorail is ON THE WAY.

What that means…is that it is loading into the game content server…and will start showing up in the APP Store “sometime soon.”  How soon? Don’t know…because spAnser’s auto-bot at is so choked with information that it is just circling and circling and circling.

EEEEK!! It’s downloading right now. 

CHECK YOUR APP STORE. If it isn’t there as an update, Shut Down YOur device completely, and log back in.


We’ll see. Should be interesting.

Check back for all of the latest info as I unravel it…


Coming Up On…Holyfreakinshirt! Really?


There’s no way to escape the facts. Like it our not, I have dedicated two years to blogging about this game. Two years that I’ll never get back.  Come October 1st, I’ll have been playing this “Silly Lil’ Game” (copyright Blissful Rodent), for THREE years. Three years that I will never get back. Argh.

I don’t regret it. Mostly. At least not much of it. But sometimes, even the BEST Restaurants (the metaphor we used when we launched) have to change up their menus.

Looking back, it is clear that after the “we” became “me” it was a lot harder to get motivated to care. But, I did…but mostly after we started turning this thing into something different,  compared to the other TSTO blogs that started and continue to linger, at around the same time in TSTO history. ”

But, “nobody wants to hear about that ancient s#%t” as Mike S. so profoundly stated in one of his rant emails to me. And, he is right. We’ve rehashed the history enough, to the point where I am bored with the “legend” of Tips and the evil empire of Gamezino, and all of the drama with Addicts. Writing it out just makes me feel even sillier.

So…where does that leave us?  And by “us” I mean the greater we…the community…the folks who come by daily to read and share…but mostly read.

Change is inevitable. It is the only constant in life. And whether you know it or not, I have been conducting an experiment over the past 60 days, knowing that this day was going to come.

I am kind of surprised by my conclusions. But, then again…nothing in life is really that surprising.

Here’s what I have figured out…and what is coming. (And no…this has nothing to do with the monorail).
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New Springfield Heights Stuff… Something That Flies!


I admit it…as I have said before, I like stuff that flies. I’m that guy that buys the little, cheap remote-control helicopters and hover crafts…because they give you a sense of defying gravity. It is a way to say, “Screw You Gravity!” the force that generally makes my my life miserable. “Gravity is not my friend,” is a phrase that I have adopted, and even taught my four-year-old granddaughter. Gravity makes us sag in places we didn’t even know we had…and keeps us from running 4.7 second, 40-yard-dashes like we used to when we were in college. But I digress…

The fact is, as I have related before…almost nothing in Springfield really flies to my satisfaction  Radioactive Man comes close…as does the Hawk we got two 4th of Julys ago…both fly nicely. Then there is the news helicopter…it flies like it’s supposed to, even though it can be annoying.


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Comparing EA Profits with Something that Matters…


EA just released year-end profits statements for Fiscal Year 2014/2015, and Q1 Fiscal 2015. The good news, is that it would seem that The Simpsons Tapped Out isn’t going anywhere soon. There is WAY too much money, and promise of MORE money to be made, to dump “this valuable asset” anytime soon. With Groening and Company signing up for another two years worth of seasons (at least), and getting the pay squabble with Harry Shearer figured out (poor Harry…only $300K per episode? Boo…hoo), it looks like the franchise will be alive and well for at least another two years.


I have been blogging about TSTO for almost two full years (come mid-August), and as I have related, I enjoy the community aspect, but have long ago tired of the constant drain of time and resources to be a “TSTO Expert.” I am infinitely thankful to folks like Gio (LetsPlayNintendoIta) for providing much the basic information that the “Drive-By-Info Grabbers” are looking for. Without him, I’m not sure I would have continued as of date, as my own time (life currency) has become really tight, and the game became infinitely complex and kind of annoying.

Was it all worth it?

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Ice Cream, Ice Cream, We All Scream For…Donuts???


The summer is here…and the temperatures in these parts are in record highs…we are in the middle of “oppressive heat” that is bumping over 100 degrees for a string of days…so ICE CREAM! WHOOHOO!!!

Oh.. but wait. It’s another Gil Donut Grab?

So…what they are asking us, is to part with one block of sugary carbs (donuts) for another stack of sugary carbs (ice cream).  This much sugar CAN’T be good for you. Really.

But…we are also getting reports of MORE BUGS with this update…and another COMPLETE UPDATE OF THE GAME being reported.  It is starting to feel like the expansion into Springfield Heights is not exactly working out the way EA wanted it to…


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The Math of “Getting It All” in Springfield Heights


Well. You knew it had to be daunting in some respects…right?  I keep saying this, but I’ll say it again. “This is not an update…it is an extension!”

It is meant to take a long time…and trust me. It’s gonna. 

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SHOULDJA? Limited TIme S.H. Stuff…and the Flying Car

Let’s start with the fact that at least this time around, we have another major update that was actually featured in real Simpsons episodes. In fact…at least six of them!  (according to the WIKI).

Also, we find out that Springfield Heights is actually the REAL location of Mr. Burns’ mansion…which causes a dilemma for all of us who have had it in our Regular Springfields (no…I’m not moving it).

But…as is the case with all major updates, we are being tempted to reward EA for their exemplary work on Springfield Heights, by purchasing Premium Items with Donuts (money).  There are only a couple of them, however they are set to expire Tues. the 28th at 1AM PDT.

We are getting so much Freemium stuff…do we care enough to thank EA?

Let’s take a closer look….
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Springfield Heights…Building Basics and Tips for Happiness!


OK kids….time to take a chill pill (they’re the green ones with the speckles on them that taste like pop tarts).

This “update” ISN’T an update…it is an extension…like Squidport, or Krustyland. It isn’t going away. It is going to wait for you, and wait for you, and wait for you. There are NO rewards for “finishing” it all quickly (and you probably can’t), and there are only a handful of “limited time” offers that will cost you donuts. In short…RELAX!!(take another chill pill…but no more than one per hour)

However, there ARE some things you need to know, that will help you RELAX (if the pills don’t do their job), that will help you enjoy this new twist a bit more.

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Level 55 Complete Cheat Guide and Weird Ghost Balls Effect…


There is a scene in the classic (and really scary) George C. Scott movie, “The Changeling,” where a ball, on its own…tumbles down a long set of stairs to let him know that he is “not alone.”  George, in defiance, takes the ball to a bridge miles away in the city, and tosses it into the river.  As he is walking in to the front door upon his return, the ball ambles back down the stairs toward him again…bouncing…on its own…and coming to rest at his feet. Creeeeeepy… I get goose bumps thinking of that movie.

Before we move on to the Level 55 Walkthroughs, there is a new twist in town, that made me think instantly of the “The Changeling.”  As of this update, any random balls that have been left in your town, will now start bouncing their way to the entrance of the Tap Ball arena…and then just hang around there. Bouncing. Bouncing. Bouncing….until you collect them. It’s creepy. I knew that the fans did this…congregating if you waited long enough. But, this is just weird.

I have a strip of road in front of my entrance, that keeps my players “doing their thing” when they are in Tap Ball character. Now the balls are playing along. And yes…I realize that there are enough double entendres in that sentence to keep Loobs busy for a week.

BUT…We are here to talk about Level 55…and the walkthroughs…
So let’s get to it!
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Level 55 Basics…Plus New Friendship Prize


Nothing like an update in mid-afternoon to mess with you. I’m sure EA thought I would be golfing…but I wasn’t. I was GOING to golf…and then the update hit. See what I do for the community??

The update is kind of one of those, “Not such a big deal” updates. It doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of stuff…and most of the BEST stuff is Premium. Go figure.

Remember…it isn’t a timed event, so you don’t actually have to do any of it if you prefer to wait until after Tap Ball is over next week. But, there is so little to it, with very few conflicts, you might as well start it.

Here are the basics…
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Level 55 Drops before Tap Ball Kicks!

That’s right folks… Level 55 is here, out of the blue…in the middle of the afternoon. How like EA can you get?  Ok…it is pretty EA, even for EA!

Declan Desmond, The Homer, Herb Powell, and some other fun stuff is on the way.

AutoStarts with Skinner…and a GIL offer to buy the Homer for just 82 donuts… OK. Maybe.

Then COMIC BOOK GUY starts things off.Then you are asked to build the Woosterfield Hotel…with Declan Desmond for only $1,060,000 (hope you saved some dough after buying all of that land!)

It’s a 24-hour build…so check back in a bit, after we unravel what’s next!

Ultimate Friends List. Are You Worthy?


I love the way life works. The irony of timing is always something that makes me chuckle. Yesterday, I posted something about owner of TSTOGame giving up on the game of TSTO.  He had a variety of reasons…all valid. But, he has made these types of statements before.

When I finished the post, I went back through emails, to make sure that I hadn’t missed an address for those who had earned Buyijja wristlets, and found an email I had missed from James Taylor! I love James Taylor. I mean…he’s in my top 5 “go to artists when you are feeling down” kinds of artists. “You’ve Got a Friend” “Sweet Baby James” “Terra Nova” “Something in the Way she Moves” the songs started flooding back as soon as I saw his name!

I was pumped.
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A Basic Primer on “Living Wide”

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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When Success Breeds a Need…


There are many who would suggest that the world is best left to a state of natural selection. In other words, “what happens in nature is the way it is supposed to happen…and the less mankind meddles, the better off we all will be.”

There are others who would say, “we are put here to use our tools and resources for the best possible use of the greater good. Not using our gifts for the betterment of others is the greatest sin of all.”

There are still others who would say, “please…I just want to be left alone to amass the largest Simpsons Collection in the world!” 

Different strokes for different folks.

But what I do know…for sure…is that sometimes, if you are successful in one area, you often create an entirely different need in another area. And that is exactly what happened here.
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And the Winner Is…


The children of Buyijja… they are the real winners!

We pulled the winner today. I have been on the road, and knew that it was going to be a long process, that needed help.  When I need help, I always go to Mrs. Miller…also known as my lovely wife, Debbie (Mrs. Miller to her 4th/5th class).

To do this right…I had to print the names of ALL of those who gave to the Shoe Fund, and the Book/Supply fund…and then print the multiples of those who gave more than the minimum $10, and then REMOVE those who made it clear that even if they won, they wanted us to give the prize to someone else (they are amazingly generous people, these top ten of the 1% club).

And finally…to eliminate any bias…I had Deb choose from my Rose Bowl cap (lucky for everyone except for Florida State).

And the WINNER IS…
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Using Garbage Time to Change Lives…

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!


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! 

With Our New Music Video!


While We Wait…Taking Time to Say THANKS!


Well…first of all, I am thankful that EA dumped the “Black Market Sale” ahead of the original date. We didn’t need, or want, the majority of the stuff…and the bloated pricing made the decision really easy.

Who knows when/if something will happen today? I guess we’ll be thankful if/when it does.

Second…I am really happy that the weather has flipped in the past couple of days (sorry to you if it hasn’t) and I was able to get out and play a round of golf yesterday afternoon. Golf is like pizza and sex. Even an average day doing any of them is better than most days without…or something. I am definitely thankful for that!

Finally…I pulled the trigger on the Water Project Funding. We are still a tad short, but I have faith that we will hit the mark before Sunday…which is the final deadline for The Contest… and I was happy to cover the difference for a bit. Emma has been patient. The town of Buyijja has been patient. At this time next month, they will have a new source of clean, safe, water.

But…it couldn’t be done without the 1%ers (in this case…1/4 of 1%) who continue to support our efforts, and do something that matters, while coming back to share here at the TSTOFriends community.

The list is shorter…but included a great number of New Folks who joined our efforts…and that makes me even more happy!

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10 Keys to Happiness…TSTO Style


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?


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 “” 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


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.


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Looking Back to Look Forward Part II


There is really no other way to say it…we in the midst of Garbage Time with this update. You are pretty much resigned to a couple of actions…tapping elves, or collecting bells, and neither of them takes a terrific amount of brain power (or need for my continued explanation).

So, this is a perfect time to continue “Looking Back at the Year that Was” so we can “Look Forward to the Year that Shall Be.”

Let’s see….where were we?
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Thanks To You, The 1%ers…and the Contest Winner(s) Are Announced


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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And the grandest celebration was had by all…let’s keep it going!


I realize that right in the middle of a HUGE update…even one dedicated to the spirit of giving…most of you are bothered when I go “off topic.”  But, as I have stated a few times recently, if it weren’t for the way this “topic” has changed this blog and the community, I would have pulled the plug long ago.

So whether you are part of the 1%…or the “still to be convinced…or can’t be distracted from my tapping” 99%- I’m going to interrupt the update cycle for a HUGE CELEBRATION…and a call for support.

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It’s Official…It’s Been a Year to Remember!


Let’s start by saying that if you had told me that I’d be doing this on my own, after a year…and that the entire focus of the blog had switched from making money, to helping children in a rural Ugandan town…I’d have laughed in your face.

Not just a chuckle. But, a really, really, really, long, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN’ MIND????” kind of laugh. The kind of laugh I reserve for people who tell me that Jack White is the best guitar player in the world. That kind of laugh.

But, here I am…after having written more about a silly game, and countless other topics related and not-so-related to that silly game, than would fill a large religious text if I had been counting (which thankfully, I stopped doing months ago, when the amount of words and pages made me feel foolish).

If ever there was a testament to the concept that “Life is Stranger Than Fiction,” it would have to be the sojourn that has taken us over the past year, to this very place.

I admit readily that it wasn’t JUST the travails of TSTO that created what we have today. It was a combination of circumstances that seemed to gather together into a perfect storm of redemption that simply could not have been foreseen, even by the most creative screen-writers around.

Redemption? Yes. Amazingly, that word must be used here. Because, it is almost impossible to escape the original intent of this blog, its roots of creation, and the ultimate change that has happened in me. It would seem insane, and completely improbable, if it hadn’t actually happened…and, with loads of witnesses (you readers).

Follow along…

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When you know you are alive; A reality check on greatness.

You know you are alive when you experience almost every emotion possible, in a single weekend. And this past weekend has had it all.

We started with overwhelming sadness, at the passing of Maddy’s boyfriend’s brother. It was heart-wrenching, and one of those senseless deaths that was a result of many years of bad choices. But, nobody should lose a child or a brother at such a young age. We grieve for their loss, and hope that brighter days are ahead soon. But, it has been consuming…supporting their family, while supporting Maddy, as she supports Bret’s family from within. Devastating news…followed by a family memorial gathering…as participants and observers of the deepest kind of sorrow imaginable.

It was my wife’s birthday this weekend, with some of our closest friends coming down to celebrate and watch the Duck game with us. The Ducks won, we all went out to celebrate at her favorite Mexican restaurant (where the margaritas are as big as your head). At the restaurant, we ran into the guy who introduced me to rugby, and inadvertently introduced me to Debbie. Ironies and synchronicity continue to amaze me. I hadn’t seen him in 25 years, but he could tell by the gathering, that we had endured and prospered through the years.

And finally…this morning…I got pictures of our latest project in Uganda…and I was filled with pride, admiration, and gratitude in ways that caught me off guard. The change our work will bring to the children and village is incalculable. My appreciation for all involved is boundless.

It’s almost Thanksgiving…and it’s time to truly be thankful.

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Why This Site Survives…


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.”


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!


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



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.

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