The Update That Never Ends…

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I want to believe EA. I really do. But, it seems that their “Final Day…Everything Goes!” sign is about as valid as the furniture store downtown that has a “Going Out of Business/Everything Must Go!” sign in their window…for two years now. 

The Super Hero Update was supposed to END at 1A on the 30th. It didn’t. In fact…it would appear that for the most part, they have just extended almost everything for another week. At least. 

I can only go on what is being reported by others…as I actually won everything in “regulation time.”  But, it seems that there is an “overtime” chance to get a few things for those of you who may have missed out.

THIS IS ALL SPECULATION…until someone here tells me different.
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The Greatest Gift of All… An Early April Fools Joke

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There is a side of me (one that I don’t really hide much at all), that thinks all of the seriousness about TSTO is so unbelievably silly that it makes my head hurt from laughing.

Yes. We ALL play the game. Yes. All of the bloggers have their own methods and flavor. But, sometimes…when some of these folks take themselves and their “policies” so seriously, as to contradict themselves, it make me laugh so hard (that evil, gleeful, old man chortling way) that mothers hide their kids, pets cower for blocks, and car alarms are triggered into a cacophony of happy irony.

Today was one of those days. 

Last week…just as I was heading out on vacation…I set a trap. It was a one that didn’t take much effort, but was too easy to pass up. I had some help from other parties, although they were unwitting in their support. But, man…the result is just too funny!

Here’s how it played out.

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SUPER SHOUDJA- Redux- UPDATED

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Man…just when you thought that EA couldn’t get any EALPish-er…

OK. No drum roll…no fanfare…just, BOOOM! Here’s the Beach House. No storyline, no reason it makes sense..just “you can swim in the rooftop pool!”

Bah!

And if that isn’t enough…there is no real end date that was supposed to be an end date. But you CAN buy some of the stuff that was available. But, NOT the buildings or other items that you might have missed as Freemium prizes.

And…not even a Gil deal to soften the blow.

Well…to quote the sign on one of their own buildings…”It blows!”

Let’s take a look.
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Countdown Of the Final Chapter…Worst Ending Ever?

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Again…can I say I am shocked? Amazed? Bewildered? At just how “meh” the final chapter of this update has turned out to be?

After weeks and weeks of feverish tapping, trying to get all of the prizes and special event stuff (which many of you hoped would be offered at the end), meeeeaaaarrrrrooooooh (the sound of a penny slide whistle blowing a slow, descending note)…NOTHING.

We got RadioActive Man….and ANOTHER mansion…and a HUGE Nice or hideous (depending on how you set the skin) statue…and even with the promise of the Beach House…and the return of items that could be purchased…like a GIL DEAL or SOMETHING SUPER…meeeeaaaarrrrrooooooh…bubkiss. Nada. Nothing.

Here’s what I have showing…as “LAST CHANCE TO GET IT” Stuff…
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Back From Spring Break…What Did I Miss?

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I have to admit it. I am astounded…(gobsmacked as our friends across the pond might say).  While I was forced to stay up until 1 AM the night before we left for our vacation, and the FINAL Issue #4 of the Super Hero update hit at what could be called “the worst timing ever,” it is as if I left…and nothing  changed!

It seems that while I was gallivanting around San Francisco and Sacramento, EA decided to place the game on “HOLD” for me. In between more sights and cocktails than I can count, I was able to finish off the extremely simple RadioActive Man tasks, and then go into my own version of RadioActive Man hibernation…while the game seems to have suspended its animation.

Let’s recap the week that wasn’t…shall we?
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Super Hero Issue #4…Everyone May Be On Vacation

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I admit to being happy about the complete EALPish manner in how EA has done this last Issue of the the Super Hero Update. But, it really is surprising…that there is SO little going on…so FEW options…and just, well…kind of brainlessly waiting for the next prompt.

My only thought, is that EA and the rest of the crew for TSTO has gone on Spring Break…just like me.

So far…even the introduction of the Beach House hasn’t happened (something I very much expected yesterday, but won’t happen until SUNDAY the 29th)…as Wednesdays is kind of their update Go-To day to do stuff. But here we are on a THURSDAY…with nothing new. Not even the chance to buy the stuff that you might have missed in the previous 3 Issues.

So… let’s take a break from worrying about the update…and what might happen next….and just go with the flow.
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SHOULDJA? The Beach House…That Never Was…

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What I have enjoyed about this update, is a walk down memory lane, as it pertains to RadioActive Man.  Back in the Mid-1990’s, I had an advertising client that was actually a comic book and sports card shop.  He was a friend of a friend of a friend, and once you met John Adams (he was a proud decedent of THAT John Adams) you couldn’t say “no” to him. He was a huge, sadly obese man, who other than his size, had almost nothing in common with Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons.

His positive energy, and infectious joy in everything from the latest action figures to pogs, was amazing. He acted like my involvement in the Claymation projects, and my work on various animation projects was something to be revered. And the bonus of having an insider’s view at the career of Matt Groening, was something that kept him asking questions, while plying me with every new Simpsons product to hit his store…including the first few issues of RadioActive Man.  I loved the fact that the funky, strange comic strip that had first appeared in Eugene Weekly (Life in Hell) had been a launch pad for Matt, and that all of the fame and fortune that was coming his way, was deserved.

Anyway…so, as much as this update is repetitive and kind of a grind at times…I have been having a lot of fun with the prospect of RadioActive Man appearing soon. And it looks like he will… Like REALLY soon. It would seem that Issue #4 is going to be a breeze….I will have RadioActive Man before the weekend…even on vacation...barely tapping.

I know I SHOULD reward EA for making this easy…by say, giving them money for donuts, for say…the Beach House. Let’s take a look… Continue reading

Super Heroes Issue #4 Complete Cheat Guide

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This update is different….as in WAY different!

With other Issues in this update, we have been tasked to do the same thing over and over and over and over again… but, just a couple of things.

This time…it MIXES things up in a SUPER WAY!

You start with one method…then go to another….then back to the other…then another…all the while being entertained by watching the RadioActive Man Statue get pummeled to Death…or is it Life?

Let’s take a look….
As usual…SPOILERS FOLLOW…if you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Issue #4…is HERE! FINALLY!

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So…as I have been waiting by my padular device for hours…and it is finally 1AM in the morning…it MUST BE TIME for the most amazing, most intriguing, most unbelievably SUPER update EVER!

Or at least the last Issue of the four-part update they are calling SUPER.

We have known for a while that RadioActive man could/should/will show up.  And he will/does.  That and a couple of other things are popping up right away!

SPOILERS FOLLOW…if you don’t want to know…don’t click below!

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Super Hero Issue #4 Details Being Leaked- UPDATED

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The first rumblings of the game files are starting to show some details for the Elusive and Mysterious Issue #4 of the Super Heroes Update!

spAnser’s  TSTONews.com just sent out an update on the file update we just got…
And it looks like part of what we already knew has been confirmed…
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It’s The END OF THE SUPER FELON UPDATE AS WE KNOW IT…until it isn’t…

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I have to admit…it was/is unnerving to see The Collider dead…or at least quaking on his knees, appearing to be dead.  It is one of the creepier animations in the game. Seeing someone so powerful, fall to his knees, is a reminder of the fragility of life. But a reminder that this existence, this update, and yes…even this game, is transitory at best.

And just like the Collider, tomorrow at 1AM (that’s right…Daylight Savings Time has moved it from Midnight PDT to 1A PDT), Issue #3 ENDS…and by all accounts…so does the Crafting, and the Criminal Collaring, and the Phone Tapping…

Something Super will Die…and from the ashes, Something even MORE SUPER will be born. At least that’s what is being implied by the hacker frackers.

So…how should you prepare for the impending END of ISSUES? What should you do to “get your affairs in order?”

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Super Heroes, Super Focus, Super Choices…

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It’s rare that I have something percolating in my brain that I want to write about, when such a perfect example of the dichotomy of the paradoxical nature of humanity strikes with such clear metaphysical intention…that I sit and laugh at the wonder of it all.

We are in the most active “Garbage Time” periods I can remember. There are loads and loads of us tapping hourly/semi-hourly/daily in order to reach the last character in Issue #3 without spending donuts, while clearing and visiting, and tapping, and reporting in order to get enough items to craft the final building…for a town that doesn’t really exist. SUPER Distraction…from real life.

OK. Fine. That’s part of the game.

Then there is REAL life that enters in to distract us from our distractions…the day to day stuff, like actually living, working, and doing our best to make the world a better place. REAL Super Heroes are alive…

And then there is an aspect of TSTO that has become so strangely paradoxical, and surreal, that it makes me wonder if humanity has completely gone off of the rails.

Let’s break down all three. Because if you are like me, you will laugh in wonder, laugh in awe, and then laugh in that way that only a paradox of human delusion can tweak your funny bone.

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Counting Down Issue #3…The Collider, The Canyonero, FREE DONUTS!

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This is a really SUPER update…when it comes to polarizing players. People seem to LOVE IT…or HATE IT…with not a whole lot in between.  As always…I am going against the extremes, and am falling completely into the “Can’t really decide yet, but I am glad it will be over before too long” camp.

I do give EA credit for attempting to break out of the “same old, same old” mold, and do something that other mobile games don’t do…go “Old School.”  And by old school, I mean reverting to comic books and comic characters, with the wildly fun aspects of super heroes and super villains….Simpsons style. 

It would just have been nice to go a little MORE old school…and give us more dialogue. I know the “kids don’t like to read these days.” But most of the dialogue in this update would barely make tweet level.

Perhaps we have all become Super Jaded after more than two years of playing. OK…make that, we HAVE become Super Jaded after two years…and expect more and more every update. Let’s be realistic for a Super Second…If any of this content had shown up in the first few months of TSTO, we would have freaked out with how cool, and innovative it was. Remember Whacking Day? Now there was an update that was boring to the point of wanting to beat yourself to death with a stick.  This is WAY better than Whacking Day. 

But, it is time to bring it to an end. And the END IS NEAR… at least the end of Issue #3.  There are rewards for hanging in there…as in FREE DONUTS! Let’s take a look!
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In the Middle of Super Hero Update – Who is MY Super Hero?

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I have been distracted of late. While there is a lot of “tapping” and not a lot of content in TSTO right now, we still have more than eleven days left in this update. From what we can tell at this point, the primary Issues 1-3 may end at Midnight on the 24th, and we will get a final week of SUPER FUN (and a chance to spend a boatload of donuts) on the stuff we didn’t earn in Chapters 1-3.

It’s interesting when you see the word “Hero” in the media these days. Certainly there is more to it than folks who have a super-power…although, I admit that thwarting criminals with a Pie-Bomb is creative, and a statement about the dangers of too much sugar in the diet.

I admit to being inspired by acts of courage and compassion that seem outside of what I consider to be called “predictable human behavior.” When we read about an heroic act by a firefighter or policeman, some chalk it up to “just doing their job.” Doctors and nurses fall into this same category, saving lives on a daily basis, with a super-power ability to be humble. I don’t agree when the deflect praise, but that is the standard answer we get from these men and women almost every day. The same goes for those who serve in the military. who do jobs that a very small percentage would do…unless forced into service.

We see acts of heroism from the private sector far less frequently. But, even then, it is the kind of act that is often an almost automatic reaction to the situation…and one that we would hope we would all do in the same circumstance.

To me…real heroes…the kind this world needs, are not the “I was there…and did this once,” kind of folks, but those who selflessly sacrifice to change the lives of others…every, single, day.

We have some heroes right here…at TSTOFriends. And I want to point them out…before another silly, “Super Hero” day goes by.
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Keeping a Clear Head with Super St. Patrick’s Crossover Clutter

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Wow…again… I just have to say, it feels like we have two separate programming arms working without the other knowing what is going on.  The Super-Programmers keep us busy with loads of tapping of criminals, felons, phones and suchlike, with regular updates and holiday updates forcing us to pay attention to who is doing what, to whom, and when. Or was that just trying to keep up with the Robert Durst story on HBO, 48 Hours, CBS This Morning, and 60 Minutes?

Whatever the case…you are always going to be pulled a few different directions…and as per usual, EA has devised a way to really annoy some people who need to rush Brandine’s gestation period, so she can sample craft beer.

I know. But, it makes as much sense, as leprechauns and Super villains, working to make your Springfield look confusing.

Let’s take a peek.
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Death Mountain…It’s Big, It’s Ugly, But It’s FREE!

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After the onslaught of Premium Shenanigans  yesterday, (I am writing this wearing green, just to be safe), it is nice to remember that we get something large and fundamentally important to the update for FREE.

OK…so maybe if you place a minimum wage price tag to each hour of tapping it took to get it, you wouldn’t call it free. But, you get the idea.

Anyway…DEATH MOUNTAIN… and a very short quest line should be yours today…or yesterday…or soon.

Let’s take a look.
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St. Patrick’s 2015…Free Donuts! And Some Shenanigans!

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Ahhhhh….’tis a bit of the good old Leprechaun shinnigans afoot! EA style!

In advertising terms, it’s called the Good Old BAIT AND SWITCH, designed to “Slip you a Mickey” when you are drunk on Green Beer!

That’s right…Good Old Green Gil showed up with FREE DONUTS (20 of them) and then is offering another Piece of BLARNEY… this time in the shape of another castle (I am beginning to think that Springfield is actually in the British Isles instead of Oregon).

The water is green…Green Gil is running around, along with the Leprechaun (if you already have him), and it’s time once again to debate who should march in what parade.

The Shenanigans? Give the drunken sots 20 “Free” donuts…and then offer a “Deal” at just 115 donuts??  There is a ton of other Premium stuff available…most of it old. But, a couple of new items as well, if you don’t have enough Green Stuff in your Town.

Click Below for all of the details…and pass me a green pretzel.
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The Zenith City -vs- Real Springfield Building Placement Guide

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It’s been a very odd update in many ways. Some of the obvious EALPish behavior has been documented here (lots of tapping…not much dialogue), but to me, one of the biggest problems is LOADS of new buildings, with no new land…or common sense in where to place this “New Zenith City” in your existing Springfields.

As I cruise around my neighbor’s towns, I see that very few of them have actually dealt with the “where should this go?” on a permanent basis, and I admit to being in the same boat. Too many buildings…not enough room.

However….there are a couple of ideas that seem to make some sense, once you get over the fact that some of this stuff is just, kinda…OUT OF PLACE.

Let’s take a look.

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Looking Into the Future and Issue #4 of the Super Hero Update

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As I have mentioned a few times in the past week, if the Super Hero update was meant to mimic a comic book, or graphic novel, it would be about 5 pages long.

The ratio of tapping to dialogue in this update is one of the worst ever. I realize that there are loads of games out there where dialogue barely comes into play. There is no real storyline with Candy Crush, or Clash of Clans. Even Family Guy Quest for Stuff doesn’t really have much but a few one-liners.  But this is The Simpsons Tapped Out…and it is based on a show that even after 26 years, has some of the best writing anywhere.

So where is it?

Unfortunately, if we look into what is available in the game files for the rest of this update…it is lean, to the point of almost non-existent, as well as punitive if you don’t have a key PREMIUM character.

This is a new tactic, that seems to be a possible trend.  Let’s take a look at what to expect in the coming weeks left in the SuperHero Update.
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When Size Matters…Crafting the Times Building

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I wanted this to feel like a n accomplishment that warranted my effort. I really did. I wanted to feel “SUPER” about how clever I was to set the timer on my iPhone for every 8 hours, so I could stay on track to earn this illustrious edifice and homage to one of the last vestiges of journalism in the modern age.

I’d seen that EA could “build ‘em big!” as witnessed by Claus Co. and  the very cool, very retro (black and white) skyscraper where King Homer hangs out.  Both are huge…creative…and were well worth the effort that went into getting them.

I know that “size doesn’t matter,” at least that’s what Men’s Health magazine says (Cosmo may beg to differ), but dammitallanyway…I have to admit, I was hoping for a little more.

Observe…
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In the End…It’s All About the Handcuffs…

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We should have known. With 50 Shades of Grey still locking up box offices across the country (I know...bad entendre… could have gone with “whipping the competition” or “smacking box office backsides” or “dressing up the box office numbers in leather”…but I decided to err on the side of good taste), it only seems logical that EA would make Handcuffs the Most Difficult Item to collect in our hopes of crafting all of the Zenith City buildings.

And in the strangest twist of irony, we find out in the most recent Simpsons Episode Sunday night, that the Lovejoys like a little leather, to spice things up at home…and Marge still looks hot…and isn’t beyond card counting, for a good cause…but I digress.

However, the most restrictive actions and lessons in obedience have come from this update.  I have learned my place. I know that the master of TSTO is, and always will be, EA (and their cruel, ambivalent, programmers)…who make us wait, and wait, and wait, for the final rewards…while making us pay if we are impatient.

Am I proud at how easily I have been trained? Not on your life. But it doesn’t change the fact.

Case in point…
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The Homer? Really? – UPDATED- UPDATE on the UPDATE

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I am willing to admit that if we are going to get the Canyonero, we really did need to get “The Homer.” But…man. 82 donuts?  Where did they come up with that price?

Let’s see if we can make sense of this.
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Server is Back…Are You?

Boy…OK….so maybe I forgot to click a couple of plugins when I swapped things out…like, the “FOLLOW OUR BLOG” link.

If you GOT a notice via email that this post happened…GOOD! It means that you are still on the list to receive notices when we have a new update.

IF YOU DIDN’T… PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO SIGN UP AGAIN…over on the right>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

All of the bugs are worked out…I’m pretty sure. Mostly…unless there was something else I forgot.

In any case- Glad to Be Back…and Hope to See YOU Back soon!!

Level 50 SHOULDJA? Premium Buying Guide

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I know this is a little late.  But, I was kinda busy upgrading the server. So, shoot me! No…actually….don’t shoot me. That would hurt. A lot.

There was a rash of odd stuff that came around with Level 50…and if any of you are still sitting on donuts, waiting for my opinion, I am always happy to oblige.

So…HERE is my take on “SHOULDJA” for Level 50.

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Super Hero Update – The Math of Issue #3

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I’d like to report that there were some “Sweet Deals” and loads of “New Fun” in this update…but I can’t.

It feels just like Issue #2- except the currency and faces have changed.

Again…if you buy the Membership Card…you are nuts. You. Do. Not. Need. It.

Here is the way it breaks down…by calendar date. Remember…we have almost Two Weeks to complete this.

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Superhero Issue #3- Complete Cheat Guide – with Walkthroughs

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So, speaking of cheats…like most of the TSTO Tapping world at this point, I am lifting most of this info from the WIKI.  It has already been corroborated by a number of the hacker-fracker types… and so, it must be true. Right?

This part of the update is WAY light on content….and WAY heavy on tapping. Big surprise. Right?

We shift gears from Pie-Bombs to Death Rays…and there are a couple of new characters and buildings. But, for the most, it feels pretty much like Issue #2…with creepier villains.

SPOILERS FOLLOW…If you Don’t Want to Know….Don’t Click Below!!

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When Hackers Come to Play…

Yep… we have been hacked almost all day. Gotta love the hacker-fracker-bots…from Russia with Love…and China…and Belgium…and here in the good old U. S. of A…

We are back up….and pissed. But, back up.

Preparing for Issue #3…and Death Ray Insanity

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As most of you have figured out by now(because I continue to refer to the WIKI as the actual BEST source for this stuff), there is a TON of information already known about Issue #3.

Here is the obvious stuff…

1. It will begin at MIDNIGHT (Pacific Daylight Time).  I will most likely stay up…even though the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time, there is a 25% increase of heart attacks.

2. If you have completed issue #2…and have Dr. Colossus…it will auto-start, and you will almost immediately begin with the NEW currency…Death Rays. And you are going to be amazed at how many of them it takes to get anything.

3. If you are SMART (and I know you are), you are going to hold off on clearing a few of your criminals, so you can get a jump on this Issue when they convert from the now, almost useless Pie-Bombs, to the aforementioned Death Rays.

4. If you haven’t reached the total for Dr. Colossus yet, just keep tapping and collecting. Issue #3 will wait for you. 

5. This update is still fun…if convoluted….and is REALLY making us tap our brains out, in the hopes of finally getting to Issue#4 and RadioActive Man.

BUT THE BEST PART…

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Bartman Overload – and Solutions With Bartman Walkthrough

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Let’s face it. Without Bart, the Simpsons just lose their edge. Sure…the perpetual mystery revolving around how a shlub like Homer could hold onto a hottie like Marge creates some tension, and how Lisa came from their DNA, a perpetual mystery. But, without the irascible scamp that is Bart, the show just doesn’t have the zing. Bart says what everyone is thinking, is always looking to do something edgy without actually being “Bully Bad,” and in the end, just wants to be loved…sometimes inappropriately from older women.

So, why wouldn’t we welcome it when Bart is called into duty in the game?

Because, it seems that like so much of this update, Bart can suddenly be a “little too much.” Or if you are paying attention, A LOT TOO MUCH as it pertains to quests that need him.

I bought Bartman. I wanted him. I bought the Bartman Cave. It just seemed logical.  But, who would think that the Level 50 update would make our choices for “Which Quest to Bart?”…or uhm…START first would become a challenge?

And as a “Premium killer of felons” his value is even greater. What’s a sky finger to do??
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Level 50 Update Cheat Guide with Walkthroughs

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As I mentioned in another post, I am always flummoxed by the “feast or famine” patterns of TSTO. And this particular update feast, feels like we are being fed by a fire hose full of liquefied pie parts, and delegated tasks that are hitting us from several angles at once.

Level 50 looks like a ton of fun, and brings us two of the most requested characters in TSTO, Helen and Jessica Lovejoy. If ever there was a pair who had fallen far from the apple tree of Original Sin…these two are it.

While the SuperHero Upate uses very few Springfieldians, these two use a handful…especially if you have Luann, as you will get a bonus walkthrough.

SPOILERS FOLLOW- If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Maximizing Your Neighbor Visiting Time

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Imagine if TSTO was real life…and you were rewarded for visiting your neighbors. Let’s say that every time you stopped in to say “hello,” they handed you some money, and a handful of cookies that you could turn in for a prize later, when you collected enough of them.

Now imagine that some neighbors gave you money, a handful of cookies, and a some coupons redeemable for ANOTHER prize. And for the the first 30 neighbors you visited, things were pretty cool…(although you seemed to get less cookies as you went along), and then suddenly…BOOM! No cookies…and less, and less coupons.

It’s almost as if the rules of being Neighborly started penalizing you for being TOO neighborly. But, then when you went home, you found out that loads of the neighbors you had visited, had stopped by to give you a BONUS cookie…for free!

Well. That is pretty much what is happening now that we get Friend Points, and Pie-Bombs, and money, and bonus phones, and more Pie-Bombs when we clear the call alerts from our own towns and visit our neighbor’s towns.

Being Neighborly has never been more complicated!

But…here’s the breakdown, and what you can expect.
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Loving or LoveJoying? Level 50 Basics Broken Down

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As has become the norm of late, EA is throwing a Level Update into the middle of an already complicated (if ritualistic) Limited Time Update. And that is of course the first order of business of which to remind you…Level 50 is a full update, with NO time limit. So, decide first, if you even want to start it.

Of course you do. Because that is the way we SuperTappers are wired. Plus…the LOVEJOYS ARE HERE…one of the most requested missing characters in TSTO.

There is also a LOAD of distractions that aren’t really seemingly related to anything, unless you do some digging. And a couple of new Friendship Prizes, as if we didn’t already have enough reasons to tap our friends (pie-bombs and phones anyone?).

Let’s take a quick look at what is being offered…and a few hints into the “why should I care?” side of things.
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Level 50 Drops…in the Middle of Pie Time!

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Well…because things aren’t complicated enough…Level 50 has dropped…with a bunch of NEW stuff, and related stuff, and stuff, stuff.

Unfortunately…no new land…which is going to make the Bart Cave, and the other items harder to place amongst the ever-growing list of Zenith City structured… Come on, EA. Another strip of land?? Please?

Here’s the quick breakdown…
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Math Conundrums In Crafting…Tips, Logic, and Plans

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I don’t want to state the obvious right away, but it will save time. “EA is going to slant the game to make it possible, if difficult, to win the update prizes, while taking advantage of people’s natural tendency toward impatience.

In simplified terms, “If you can’t be patient, and methodical, it’s going to cost you!” And…one of the solutions is going to cost you anyway.

Let’s break down our Goals…then take a look at the math…and a couple of solutions and methods.
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To Bartman or Not to Bartman…That is the Question

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I am guessing that at this late hour (almost 8 hours past the time Bartman has been availabe…sorry…I was sleeping), many of you have already pulled the DT on Bartman…the SuperHero skin for Bart.

However, there may be a few of you sitting on the fence, saying, “What would Cranky do? He HATES spending donuts on useless stuff…”

And you would be right. Usually. 

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Further Thoughts on Crafting Anxiety…UPDATED

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It would appear that the daunting task at hand, and my less than positive post yesterday, has many of you in a tither.

“I might as well just quit…” has been bandied about, along with, “I am SO far behind! I will never do this!” and “Do we HAVE to get ALL of the buildings first to move on?”

The answer is pretty obvious…
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The Reality of Crafting…Warnings and Lowered Expectations

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I used to love the hilariously strange “Lowered Expectations” bits on Saturday Night Live Mad TV.  As I get older, and more experienced in the ways of the world, I find myself singing the theme song to myself more and more. Life just isn’t what we are told it is going to be when we were younger. And, neither is this update.

Wow! BOOM! ZAP! ZOW!  You? You CrankyOldGuy? You are trying to be pragmatic, and not get your hopes up?  Tell us why???” I hear you asking. “And how is it you made the leap from a dating web site parody, to TSTO in one fell swoop?” (man…I love that phrase…so often misquoted and used out of proper context…the meaning and origin of which can be found here).

Well…sorry kids, but all of the indicators are here. EA, lured us into what seemed to be one of the most creative updates ever, but seemingly has resorted to familiar levels of frustration, that forces me to “lower my expectations.”

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Another Loss to the Simpsons Legacy

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We got bad news today. We lost Leonard Nimoy, whose appearances on the Simpsons were brief but iconic.

(CNN)Leonard Nimoy, whose portrayal of “Star Trek’s” logic-driven, half-human science officer Spock made him an iconic figure to generations, died Friday. He was 83.

Nimoy died this morning in Bel Air, California, his son Adam Nimoy told CNN.
According to his granddaughter, Madeleine Nimoy, the cause of death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His “Star Trek” co-stars, including William Shatner and George Takei, expressed sadness at his death.

He only appeared on two episodes…but arguably two of the best episodes ever.

My only hope…is that this will FINALLY make EA bring us the Monorail. It is fitting. It is fair. We want it.

Rest In Peace, Leonard.

SuperHero Overview – Week One (Weak One? Biff! Boom!)

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We are just past a week into the SUPER HERO update, and while it is really too early to give a full appraisal of my feelings about this one, I am going with my gut (punch) here, and make a sweeping generalized statement that will likely encapsulate the rest of the update.

“This update is alike trying to eat a nice meal with friends at the park, but you become so distracted with swatting away the ants, it takes you a very long time to figure out that there is nothing to the actual meal.”

OK. I know. Kind of a convoluted metaphor. But, hear me out.

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Mini-Update…Donut ShakeDown…RadStation Air Fortress

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OK. So, maybe I’m a Springfield Purist…and maybe I remember tapping my backside off, to get the HoverCraft not that ling ago. But…REALLLLLY???

They want us to drop 225 Donuts…pull the DT BIG TIME, for something that may be a cross between Ernie Pie’s obnoxious, ubiquitous, air space pollution, and the Whale?

No. Not thanks. I have the donuts. But, this thing…as a permanent feature to my Springfield, which is already struggling to remain at least a reasonable semblance of “real and normal” under the plague of “Fantasy Buildings,” is gonna be safe from this one. Sorry.

I’ll have to take pleasure in seeing this thing in my neighbor’s towns. And stifling a laugh.  It’s only available for 4 days??? Good.

OH…and they also did a mini-whine-“PLEASE BUY THE MEMBERSHIP CARD” bit…we already discussed it. It isn’t needed…really. It is a waste of time/money, and goes away at the end of the update. Just sayin’… Gotta keep it real here!

When is a Hole NOT Just a Hole?

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Looks can be deceiving. Really.

If you look at the picture above, you see a young man, standing on a big pile of red dirt.

“Why is he digging?” you might ask.  “Where is he? We are getting pounded with our 4th straight week of snow and ice…he looks very warm!”  you might observe.

“And…what does this have to do with Pies and Death Rays?  I thought this was a TSTO Blog?” some of the sillier, ill-informed and narrow thinking of you might comment.

Well…again…looks can be deceiving.
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Great News For Those Who Have Real Lives! And Some Bad News For Those Who Don’t…

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I have checked this out a few times now, because I actually have a real life. I slept last night for a little over 8 hours.  I played golf and had a series of meetings yesterday afternoon, that took me away from TSTO for almost 7 hours. In short…I lived a lot more like a normal person, and not someone who has the freedom to tap….all…day…long.

And I noticed something that is important to the sanity and happiness of those who have real lives….
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SuperHero Issue #2 – Cheat Guide with Walkthrough and Crafting Tips

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We have a NEW super hacker/fracker in the blog-0-verse. This kid is special…he is obsessed, and what’s even more impressive, English isn’t his first language, but he does a Bang Up job of converting game files he has “purloined” into working dialogue. He has been here and there, even here-here…but you’ll see him contributing to the WIKI, the Forum, and now as a regular poster at Topiz.

I once made the mistake of using some of his information without giving him credit. He is all about the credit. He is a regular Ed Snowden that way. Happy to do the dirty work of stealing information, but wants the world to know he did the work. That’s cool. They made a movie about Snowden…maybe they’ll do the same for  .

Anyway. I’m not going to take any of the credit here. I got almost all of the information you are going to read from his posts. I am admittedly lazy when it comes to breaking into other people’s servers. But, as I have said before…just like Snowden…we all benefit when the hackers give us information. Mostly.

So…Thanks LPNita! You are doing a great thing to help the game, humanity, and the world as we know it. OH…and if you want to SEE IT ALL…There is a better place, The SIMSONSWIKI.COM…where EVERYONE comes to steal info. 

That’s right kids, there is always a better source, with better arranged information. You don’t really need me, or LPNito, or the Bliss Ninnies. I hope you come here for more than just information…but, if not…There ya go!

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW- If you Don’t Want To Know…Don’t Click Below!

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Issue #2 – The Math of Pie Bomb Success- With Calendar

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Let’s all be abundantly clear that we are talking PIE and not PI here. Big math questions are best left to those with big math brains.  Don’t believe me? Here is the FIRST paragraph explaining Pi in the WIKI.

“The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle‘s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi” (/p/). Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a common fraction, although fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used to approximate π. Consequently its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. The digits appear to be randomly distributed; however, to date, no proof of this has been discovered.”

Or..you can watch this guy try to explain it in 3:14 (clever huh?).

In short…Pi is one of those things that just IS…nobody completely understands it. We just know that without it, a circle can’t be a circle…and without circles, trying to ride a bike is next to impossible.

So…again…thankfully, we are talking about PIE here, or Pie Bombs to be more specific. At first the Math for reaching the final goals are daunting. But, as always, once you break it down logically, it makes sense (unlike the math in the U.S. Tax Code).
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BOOM! Just Like That…We Are Collecting Pie Bombs – Issue #2 Basics

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OK…Because I love you guys…I stayed up until midnight to see what happened. And it did….just like that, BOOM! New currency, and we are off to collecting enough Pie Bombs to open the National Bank of Springfield.

Let’s Take  a Look!
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The Great ClownFace Mystery…

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I have to hand it to EA. They like messing with the criminals!  For years, they have been plagued by the Hacker/Fracker types who think its just fine, to hack into the EA game servers to reveal update information before it is live to the game.  It’s illegal. There is no “gray area.”  But, EA seems thwarted in stopping it…until recently..

The new type of updates, with STAGED quest lines and prizes, have all but screwed up all of the cheaters and criminals, as they are not posting information to the game files, until just before they go live to EVERYONE. So…the the big “We know something you don’t” is now pretty much a moot point. Hilarious.

HOWEVER…there are some BIG questions…that NOBODY in the blog-o-sphere seem to be able to answer, regarding the final leg of this FIRST CHAPTER of the Super Hero Update.

This is a community in action…and we Share information as fast as we can figure things out. But, at this point, there are a couple of big unanswered question.

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A Night of Awards, A Recipe, and Our OWN Winner!

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Deb and I are movie freaks. We consume movies the way Andre the Giant was rumored to take down entres at five star restaurants. We saw all of the nominated “best pictures,” most of the shorts, and all of the “Best Actor/Actress” award movies. We host an annual Oscars Party with our book club…and we were ALL in disagreement as to what we thought should have been “Best Picture.”  That is a good thing. It means that there were so many quality movies this year, of such varying topics and styles, that choosing just one, really was preposterous.

It is a rare year, that I am happy with virtually every award given…and I was.  The best part of the awards???  NO KANYE!  Yes…there was controversy over the apparent snubbing of “Selma.”

But, the fact is, on some level, the best part of the movie was indeed rewarded…and that was the absolutely amazing “Best Song” award to John Stevens (aka John Legend) and Lonnie Lynn (aka Common) for “Glory.”  If anyone who lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and remembers King’s assassination, shortly after the march on Selma…and saw that performance didn’t weep…you have a heart of stone. It was amazing…the best moment of the Oscars Ceremony.

I almost choked on my Cilantro Burger (which I served…and will share in a recipe below the break).

But…we had OUR OWN WINNER over the weekend!  And THIS AWARD is LONG overdue!
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Pace Yourself to Enjoy The Update More…Just Like Life

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We are at the START of another long update period, and it is clear by the fact that there are already people asking “what should I do now?” that loads of us are already done with Chapter One, and ClownFace is now roaming our towns.

If you aren’t there yet, relax!  You still have a couple of full days to go before the countdown to the next chapter is even available (Midnight Feb 24th PST)…and there is no indication that it really matters. So…unless you are WAAAAY behind, chillax. You will get there. 

For those of us who have crossed over into “Bonus Time” we face an entirely different challenge…”What do we do now? I’m bored, but there are still loads of criminals and felons cluttering up my streets! Is it worth it for the FREE DONUTS????”
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It’s A SUPER SHOULDJA? Premium Items Rated…

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I am going to take a wild guess here, and say that there are a couple of elements/clues that tell me that we aren’t done seeing Premium Content for this update.

Yes…we have a small handful so far…but, the offerings and prices are pretty puny, in comparison to other major updates. That’s good…because there are TONS of Freemium prizes to be earned. But there are also a couple of missing elements from leaked files, and some HUGE Question Marks revolving around the final chapter.

Let’s take a look at what we know about first…and break down the “Shouldja” pull the Donut Trigger to purchase them. It’s in interesting challenge, with a “No-Brainer” and some pretty random stuff.

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Super Hero Update Math Guide- Chapter One

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The thing that is both maddening and fun about the way EA does updates, is that it is a very slow evolution toward being fair. It took them three updates of the hated WHell, before they figured out they were shedding players faster than Mrs. Muntz sheds her clothes at closing time.  It has also seemingly taken them a while to figure out how to keep you being “Neighborly” during these friend-driven updates, without giving away the farm.

More on that later.

I am really enjoying the Staged Update tactic, as it keeps the Hacker/Fracker/Cheaters a tad more honest. Just a tad. But a tad. You CAN’T rush the game, beyond each chapter, and the information isn’t placed into the Game Files (where the hacker/frackers break into the EA servers) until minutes before the update hits. Cool. And, it levels the playing field for everyone.

BUT…it’s ALWAYS ABOUT THE NUMBERS, when it comes to being fair. And for the most part, EA makes the Freemium Items Attainable…as long as you are willing to find a good pattern, and give up a few minutes…OK…hours a day to Tapping.

I have devised a perfect method for both…

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SUPER HERO COMPLETE CHEAT GUIDE- with Walkthroughs and Premium Guide

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As always, I am going to start with the disclaimer that hackers, frackers, and those who blast through the updates with ill-gotten (hacked donuts) are cheaters. But, once again, as the interwebs are the wild west of copyright law, I have no issue once again, passing along what is available out there, after gleaning the information, which they stole.

This update is keeping the hacker “look inside the files” folks on the ropes once again, as it is staged, with only enough information being put into the game files to get you through this portion. There is LOADS of guessing, and conflicting “expert opinion,” but I, as a humble reporter and critic, have done my best to pull the information together.

As is the norm, this community and our shared experience is the best “expert.”  Input, corrections, and tips are always welcome!

AND NOW…on to the CHEAT GUIDE AND WALK THROUGHS.

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

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Super Hero Update Basics…WOW! BOFF! ZAP!!!

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Uhm…WOW!!  OK…EALP is officially OVER.

This is a VERY creative…entertaining, and FUN update.  I have been laughing since the first frame. Great…great stuff. The only “bummer” is that there seems like there are going to be a ton of NEW buildings…with NO NEW LAND.  But, at this point, it is just so much fun…that I don’t mind. Yet.

I will be doing a FULL CHEAT GUIDE as soon as I can…but, for the time being, Here are the BASICS…as much as I have figured it out.

There is a LOT of information….and I WILL Update This Page as it unfolds…

As always, SPOILERS TO FOLLOWIf you Don’t Want To Know…Don’t Click Below!
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Holy Pie Man! The SuperHero Update is Here!

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Wow…I’m not going to lie to you (why would I?) This thing looks like a BLAST!

The interface has changed the screen to look like a comic book page…and the captions for the dialogue are comic book in nature…

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It has a great super-hero theme that plays… and starts immediately with a 30 minute task to have HOMER FLING PIES INDOORS…

Pie Man..Here we come!

More Below the Fold…
As Always…If you don’t want to know…don’t click below!
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HOLYFREAKIN’ PIES! A SUPER Update is About to Hit…UPDATED

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spAnser’s back!  The Super HackerFracker from tstonews.com…and there are some GREAT items loaded in the game files for the newest update. CHECK YOUR APP STORE REGULARLY…as this will be an App Store Update.

But…the List of FUN STUFF in the files looks like this one is going to be a HOOT!

It is a MAJOR UPDATE…not a pretend, just messing with you, update like we have seen recently. Loads of new buildings, characters, and a ton of fun.

There is no way to know when…but EA doesn’t load the game files with this much stuff, unless there is something ready to drop. So BE READY

SPOILER-LEAKS-RUMORS below the fold…

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Family Guy Weekly Report – 02-13

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It’s Zooeymarie from FamilyGuyTips again, to provide you with a weekly update of the current happenings in the game, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff!

FGTQFS has received Week 2 of the Romancing the Clam update, here is a rundown:

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While We Wait…Taking Time to Say THANKS!

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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

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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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10 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Knew Them…

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I will start by admitting that I am not a true Simpsonsoligist.  I love the show…and have watched it pretty much since its inception (except during most of 2000-2010), but I don’t immerse myself in minutia.

However, in almost every episode recently (which all seem to have elements of looking back into the past) I pick off one or two things that makes me go…”Huh…I didn’t know that!” (kind of like watching the “who died” portions of awards shows).  Then, I dive headlong into Googling the details.

The most recent episode, “Walking Big and Tall” had a few of those moments.

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Family Guy Weekly ReCap – 02-06-15

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I know it’s frustrating…especially when we are stuck in limbo and Family Guy has an update. Why can’t EA take a note from Tiny Co?  Hard to say…but, let’s just go with it, and be happy that ZooeyMarie from FamilyGuyTips.com is here with a recap of this week’s action!

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Tell Them What They’ll Win, Vanna! Vanna?

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I am pretty darned pumped about this prize.  I have to admit, I wish I could enter.  I love this kind of stuff.

When a script is done for a show like the Simpsons, it goes through all sorts of revisions. Everything from basic rewrites, to tightening up lines to fit editing/animation, can change the script until there is a final draft copy.

This one, was written by one of the best-known writing teams, in the “Golden Era” of the The Simpsons.

And it can be YOURS!
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Best TSTO Contest EVER…Send EA a Message!

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Enough “playing nice.” I have tried. I really have. TSTO fans get upset when I am too critical of the game, or the lazy, lackluster nature of some of the updates. But, dammit…sometimes CrankyOldGuy rises up out of my inner being, and takes over the sweet, placid façade I wear most of the time that I am bloviating about the game.

But…this most recent “update,” was a slap in the face.  And getting slapped in the face will generally bring about two types of actions. You can wince in pain, and cower up against the wall, and “take it.” Or, you can slap back with something that brings the “slappee” a bit of their own medicine.

Let’s start with the fact that EA is lazy. They took the time to write topical and timely humor about the Super Bowl, and tied it to a funny bit of Stonecutter mythology. It seemed like we were going to get an update…that was worthy of us waiting for almost two weeks for something bigger and better than the Level 49 update.  We were expecting hearts and flowers, and some Friendship Prizes that would help us need our neighbors again… But Nope. JUST ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO GET US TO SPEND MONEY ON GARAGE SALE ITEMS AGAIN.

Well…it’s time to send EA a message…and hit them in their big, fat wallets.

Well…I’m not waiting around for them. I’m going to launch the BEST TSTO CONTEST EVER…and this is something you’re GOING to want to win!
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Family Guy Weekly Update – Take 1

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I am always open to experiments. Especially when someone else is doing the work. I’m lazy that way.

And…if I am perfectly honest (and why wouldn’t I be?) I think it is always fun to do something nice for someone, while tweaking the noses of someone else you don’t care for. This kills two bliss-ninnies with one stone. So why not?

There are loads of cross TSTO/FGQFS players…and the ladies at FamilyGuyTips.com are making a go of it in the FG world. PLUS, they have agreed to run some weekly plugs for our work in Uganda…so DOUBLE WIN!

This is an experiment…and if you really hate it, I’ll reconsider. But, hey…again…it’s a win/win, and why not play nice…right?

So…without further adooooooooo…..the first Family Guy Weekly Update.

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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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Getting Back to the “Normal”…Water

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Garbage time…that horrible space between updates, when there seems little or no reason to do much of anything, except wait, has been upon us for some time now. I usually fill this space with non-TSTO ramblings about all sorts of aspects of life, both real and imagined. But, recent events have left me feeling frustrated and sad.

It’s easy in this world to feel overwhelmed by people’s innate ability to lose perspective. It’s even easier to succumb to the overwhelming feeling of “what does it matter?”

And then, thankfully…I am reminded that we can, and do make a difference…when we try.

Talking with Emma over the weekend, it is obvious that his world was shattered with the sudden loss of his father less than two weeks ago. But, in his grief, and telling me of the special place in his heart that those who sent memorial funds for his family share, he looked into the SKYPE camera and said, “it’s time to go back to work.”

And, he’s right.
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Looking Back to Look Forward Part II

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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

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

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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!

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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.

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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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Thanksgiving 2014…and the first Glitch of the Season..that isn’t a glitch.

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After a weird start with Homer’s bad joke about Black Friday… we jump right into Flander’s quest to enlighten the world about Thanksgiving…as Puritan Flanders….which is placed into your inventory. You will also get Sacagawea Lisa skin…if you didn’t already have her.

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LISA and Homer start an entirely unrelated quest…one to get Lisa a reed for her Sax-a-ma-phone.

IMMEDIATELY…we are faced with a problem of Too Many Homer quests…as both Ned and Lisa require Homer to move forward. I know. This gets confusing quickly…

But…the confusion is short-lived. The Homer-Lisa part is only two quick quests, before stalling to make us wait.

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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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LEGO Simpsons Creations!

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Ryan here, and did someone say LEGO Simpsons Creations?! We have a very exciting break from the usual nonsense and quite frankly, a breath of fresh air. Too much TSTO is not good for the soul. We try to have our fun, but it’s also nice to just enjoy the community.

And our community has provided us with something extraordinary today. The timing is incredible, considering the recent release of real life LEGO Simpsons, tomorrow’s long-awaited LEGO episode and well, the Blocko Store in the Easter update I guess. Our great friend and invaluable community member KookyKerry is an artist, an entrepreneur and a pretty genius lady in her own right.

She has created something pretty cool involving Simpsons LEGOs that we wanted you all to see, and if you’re able and interested, to support. There is nothing more fun than when we get to share in something with a member of the community of Friends. TSTO is all well and good but real life is (or should be) happening all around us and we’re always flattered when someone shares a bit of theirs with us.

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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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