Christmas Is Coming…But When?


Ah. It’s that “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Almost…kinda…mostly.

Not sure what it is about this holiday season that has me behind the curve. I am usually one of the first to get the Christmas Lights and Pooh and Piglet out and lit up (that Pooh can really pack the Honey Beer away). But, here were are…on December 1st, and I am still looking at the calendar for a “when to launch” date.

I hate to admit it. But, I think the world has me confused. Black Friday started about a week before it was supposed to, as did Cyber Monday. It’s like the whole world was on a TSTO schedule, where dates and tradition fly out the window.

But, Good Old TSTO is going to bring us the Christmas Update Soon!! Whoohoo!  Now… we just have to figure out when.

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HolyFreakinBirthday! Kinda…mostly…


As a few of you have pointed out, December 1st is kind of our “birthday” as it were. I say, “kind of” because Ryan and I were already blogging a ton for TSTOTips, and also adding regular posts to TSTOAddicts, well before we started this independent blog. And that’s really what is was all about in the beginning…independence.

I admit it…I am not a “team” kinda guy. I have owned my own companies since I was 22…and that is….40 years ago!!  (HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!!! Good…Lord…I’m Old). There is no “I” in team. And while I like working with people…I’m not a fan of working under them. There is no I in We…but there is gratification in, “I did that.”  Go figure.

But, almost nothing I have done in those 40 years, has been so strangely tangential, as this silly blog, about an even sillier game, with such surprising results.

Anyone who is paying attention (and many of you have been with us since day one) know that I have come close to throwing in the towel innumerable times. It just seems like such a horrible waste of time and energy, with so many ways to spend that valuable life currency.

And every time I do…I realize that in the two years I have been doing this (18 of the 24 months as a solo act), it has morphed into something that gives me more joy than I could ever have imagined. The community is real. The camaraderie and shared sense of EA frustration is real. The friendship is real. But, most important, unlike any other TSTO blog (and most blogs in general) we have morphed into Something That Matters…
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Cyber Monday Deals? Again…Not So Much

As we already leaked last week…and as you most likely know by now, today is the TSTO version of Cyber Monday.

It is focused on loads of digital toys and inventions from past updates.  It also offers up a NEW BUILDING…and a hunka, hunka, Himalaya.

Let’s take a look and see if it’s worth the donuts… Continue reading

Black Friday Deals? Uhm…not so much.


I’m not going to belabor the point, but EA really doesn’t understand how Black Friday works. Really. 

Black Friday is supposed to be all about “Door Busters” that are discounts of up to 60% off the regular price or more! Instead…we are being offered time-delayed rebates…which are NOT the same as a straight discount...for the record. 

I realize that it may seem ungrateful to pull back the curtain on this very “meh” offer…especially so close on the heels of Thanksgiving, and some Free Donuts.

But, I am still in a turkey-induced haze, with pumpkin pie crumbs on my keyboard…and honesty is just the way I roll.

Here’s the way it works…along with my suggestion…
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FREE DONUTS… Happy Thanksgiving!


I’m going to keep this short and to the point. I know…many of you will be thankful for that alone!

As we already leaked…when you log on today, you get some free Thanksgiving Donuts- and some pretty silly dialogue. It’s worth logging on, only because it takes about a minute to get through the dialogue, and collect your donuts.

But to the real point of this post…It’s Thanksgiving. And even though it is an American holiday, created to celebrate the first immigrants to the New World (the pilgrims) surviving their first full winter in what would later be called America, we don’t need to make this JUST an American thing.

And…as an added bonus, I am NOT going to prothletise about the irony of the U.S. being up at arms over immigration, when we are nation of immigrants… and for that you should ALSO be thankful. But, I digress…

I am thankful for all of you. This place is a worldwide community without borders or limitations.  It is a community that has evolved from a giant cluster of people mostly looking for game tips, into a group of people who have decided to do something that matters.

We have, and continue to accomplish amazing things with your trust and support. Hundreds of lives have been changed by our efforts. There is no way to know what overall lasting effect our efforts will make on the world. But, by offering hope to those who have none, we know that we are creating a space where Peace, Hope and Love can flourish. And that…is immeasurably valuable.

I give thanks for all of you. Your support, friendship and trust means more than you will ever know.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Grateful Old Guy

When Fat is Funny…A Guide to Holiday Eating


“For all of my life, I’ve been an obese man trapped inside of a fat man’s body…”

This is the classic Homer line from the episode on which the best part of the Thanksgiving update is based, “King Size Homer” (S7E7). It is so very true of so many people I know (yes…I am looking in the mirror…and it’s really hard to type when you are seeing everything backwards).

This time of year, we continue with the American tradition of overindulgence for the sake of celebration, that starts with Halloween, and doesn’t really end until St. Patrick’s Day in March.  Don’t believe me?

Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, and it assures that we have at least One MAJOR EATING/DRINKING Day for 5.5 months in a row. It starts with Halloween (Candy binging), Thanksgiving (Everything Binging) Christmas (Candy, Caramel Corn, Drink, Food), Football Bowl Season (anything that will fit into a bowl, and goes with copious amounts of beer), Valentines (more candy and expensive romantic dinners out), and yes, even St. Patrick’s Day (more beer, and fried food…mostly dyed green).

And when the Simpson’s get involved, the Fat Guy with a Purpose takes over…This is where King Size Homer comes in. Continue reading

Tapping Turkeys Loses Value While Homer Pumps it Up!


There are always tradeoffs it seems when you are dealing with a company that is as lazy as EA. You have to take the lazy with the good. And every once in a while, you are shocked at just how much fun an aspect of the game becomes, when you least expect it.

Well…I won’t go so far as to say “least” when you are dealing with something as gut-wrenchingly funny as King Size Homer. It was one of my favorite episodes ever (S7E7)…all about a guy who just gives up on body image, and goes for the gusto in “Living Large.”  But you need to temper your expectations when it comes to EA.

I found myself wondering, “How can they screw THIS up?” after the really, truly, horrible THOH update.

Well…as I implied, good ol’ EA comes through in the Lazy Department…and then delivers BIG!
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Thanksgiving Walkthroughs with Super Spoilers!


There aren’t a ton of surprises in this update…but, there are a couple at the very end that make the wait worthwhile.

I have to laugh at anything to do with King Size Homer. When someone succumbs to their body’s inclination to just keep expanding…well…it’s funny. As long as it isn’t you.

Let’s dive into the basic walkthrough, then the premium, and then the surprise!

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

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TGITG!!! Smooth Sailing for the Weekend!


After the Meh’nsther of a Mess that was Halloween, Thanksgiving is actually turning out to be something for which we can actually give thanks!

This update is actually making me laugh, while not being so frantic as to interfere in this week’s Monorail Track Gathering…

And Speaking of Gathering, and Good News…
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Tappin’ The Turkey…Thanksgiving Basics – UPDATED (twice)


Before we get off on the wrong foot (or drumstick as the case may be), when I referred to “Tappin’ The Turkey” in the headline, it was meant not as a metaphor for something that would get Loobs commentating, but in a very literal sense. You need to Tap Turkeys to win stuff. As well as take Homer on chemically induced Vision Quests (GMO’s anyone?)…and a perhaps be trampled on Black Friday.

There are obviously a lot of questions yet to be answered here…but we do know a few of the basics.

Let’s take a look…
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It’s a Mini-Turkey Tappin’ Marathon… Thanks Be Given?


The Thanksgiving Update has just landed (which is possible, as turkeys DO fly…I’ve seen ’em). But, these seem to be highly modified…thanks to Monsarno Labs.

Starts with Homer…

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Offering Support for Those Who Offer Hope


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

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

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

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Take Down Time…Let the Waiting Begin!

Let’s be honest about…we TSTO Tappers are an odd lot.  We are all completely tortured for weeks by what is undoubtedly the most disappointing THOH updates ever…and yet now, that we are able to finally get rid of it by simply downloading the update kill from the App Store, I can almost hear the collective sigh of “is that all there is?”

Yes. That is all there is…unless you weren’t expecting EA to try and get us to spend some of our free donuts on three offerings of NPC memories of what we have just endured.

Seriously EA???  You used to GIVE us NPCs like this in the update. But…the holidays are coming…I’m sure you need to make some bucks so you can hand out holiday bonuses to your staff. So…let’s take a look.
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It’s Time for Something New…

I admit it. The past couple of weeks has been a rollercoaster of emotion. Highs…lows…and then waiting for the next hill or dip to come my way. Being a father, business owner, blogster, cheerleader, and mentor/philanthropist is a full-time job with a varying range of costs and rewards.

And the fact is…the past couple of weeks have really gut-punched me in ways that made me start dreading every new day. At this age, you really don’t want to feel dread…or that overwhelming sense of fatigue that comes from knowing that you have to strap the boulder(s) to your back, and start back up the hill in a Sisyphean pursuit to do something that often feels impossible.

But, this weekend…after a week when there were more boulders in my backpack than I could bear, a day of shared joy, that transcended time zones and  deadlines, washed away the clutter and chaos, allowing me to see a new path up the mountain, and walk with a smile on my face.

And one of them, may come as a shock to you.  Continue reading

Free at Last…Free at Last…Reaching the Last Prize


Well…as I predicted, I reached the last prize last night, and am now struggling to figure out where to put the HUMONGOUS Re-Neducation center.

It is complicated by the notice that comes up when you finish the prizes, that warns you that you only have a short time left to spend all of your crafting currency.

OH…MY! What will I do without 700 pumpkins and scary trees???????

I did buy enough Biohazard Walls and Towers to surround my Re-Neducation Center…but, that’s about it.

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ReNeducation Center…Be Careful What You Wish For


So much of Western Culture has been based on the adage that “Bigger is Better.” Let’s not go “there,” as  we don’t want to set Loobs off on one of her double entendre rants (or do we??).  But, like it or not, “Bigger” has been shrinking for a long time in regards to what you get.

While it’s true that SUVs are back…bigger than ever, because we have found ways to live with an ever-fluctuating gas price that keeps us doped up on thinking that fossil fuels will be here forever…the REST of our consumer world is shrinking.

Don’t believe me? Then you aren’t paying attention…

And YES…this will get around to TSTO and the ReNeducation Center.
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Level 59 Cheat Guide and Walkthrough


Again, I hesitate to call these Cheat Guides…but the fact is, they draw TSTO cheaters from all over the place and boost site hits, which in turn, adds to the AdSense payments, which help me pay Emma in Uganda. So…there is a method to my madness. 

The writers seem to have spent all of the time they saved hardly writing anything for THOH for this update. It is LOADED with dialogue, and has multiple parts to it, including a brief repurposing of KrustyLand. I know…weird…right? Remember Krustyland?

Anyway- I have included both the two (2) primary walkthroughs, as well as the premium walkthrough, which as I suspected, isn’t as good as the FREEMIUM walkthrough (nothing involving a cubic zirconia rarely is).

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

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Making the Best Out of This Meh’nthster of an Update


I know. You’re tired of me bashing this update. Hell…even I’M tired of bashing this update. I could write volumes about what this thing is lacking. But, really…what’s the use?  If you haven’t figured out that this is the worst THOH update ever, you are not paying attention.

And, the only thing that could make it worse, is to extend it even longer than the promised kill date of the 17th. But, even THAT is up for debate, as the calendars on the countdown are saying 16 more days. Errrrrrrrggghhhh!

So…let’s turn our attention away from the mechanics and horrible rewards for all of the required tapping and timing and more tapping. Let’s turn our attention to some of you who have “made the best of a Meh’nthster of an update, and really gotten into the Halloween Decorating Spirit…now that we are more than 10 days past Halloween…and the calendar may not end this mess until Black Friday. ERRRRRRGGGHHH!!

Sorry.  Couldn’t help myself.

Let’s take a look at some nifty decorations I found in some of my neighbor’s towns…
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Level 59 Drops with a New Italian Kid Criminal…


As predicted by Mark…and suspected by many, we have been blessed with SOMETHING ELSE TO DO!  Whoohoo…

Level 59 has dropped, and we get a New Character...a Prison Bus (again…what the heck is the writer’s obsession with Prisons????) and a new walkthrough to keep us busy when we aren’t tapping Nightmares.

Some details below… More to follow!
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Last Week for Challenges…Starts with a Di&%ish Move…


Ah…it wouldn’t be the final week of an update if EA wasn’t doing it’s best to create panic…while trying to wrench donuts from our coffers.

The best way to do that, is to entice us with the chance to get free donuts, and then make it hard to do so, without spending donuts. This is the kind of thing that I have labeled in past posts as “Dickish.” (The kind of thing that Dick Nixon would do).

It starts this week with a double whammy of making it hard to set the specific currency for your kids, while demanding that you collect a bunch of a specific currency.

Let’s take a look… Continue reading

The Final Word on the Final Act… Finally…


I hate to say it, but either a bunch of you aren’t reading everything written…including the comments…or I haven’t been completely thorough in my explanation of the convoluted mess that is ACT III. It’s most likely a combination of the two…right?  I’ll accept my role, if you accept yours.

Now…before we start, I want to warn you…some of what I am going to write is going to “harsh your joy,” “crankify your bliss” and maybe even, just plain torque you off. Because, I’m sure that there have to be at least a handful of you who think this is update is great, fun, amazing, and cool. Maybe one or two?

Whatever the case, what I am going to reveal is what I believe to be the only redeeming aspects of this update, and how to get finished sooner…so you an get on with your life in a mannered, common sense way. It is exactly that kind of attitude that will put off most bliss-ninnies. But…really…at this point, who gives a rip?

Let’s Begin at the Beginning….and GET TO THE FINALE’ !!!
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Act III Math…Living In A Time-Space Grid for Success…


Let’s  not mince words… EA isn’t making it EAsy to make sense of the logic (or lack thereof) of this Act III segment.  There are loads of seemingly random restrictions in place to keep us from success…but there ARE a  couple of ways to “trick the restrictions” and stay on track to getting all of the Prizes.

First…let’s take a look at the restrictions that can cause you trouble.
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Mutch Ado About M’nthster… Details on How This is a Different Beast…


As we all have come to expect from EA…they never make it EAsy to understand an update. Thier single page illustrations are vague…at best…and leave most of the important details out.


That’s where trial, error, and a ton of trying to figure out the details from experience come in.

There are LOADS of questions swirling around the dark seas that will eventually surround the Sunken Temple…but Here Are A Few Answers.
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Act III Starts Off With Another Switcheroo From EA…


OK. You had to know that EA was going to start things off with another FusterCluck of fun…and in this case, it has to do with the Shopkeeper’s Challenges combined with the Act III update.

Here’s the rub…

When you get past the first section of the update (Send 5 adults to the Simpson House) you will no longer be able to Roast S’Mores or Tell Spooky Stories at the Campfire… Which is no big deal, EXCEPT that the Shopkeeper Challenge requires you to squish 30 bunnies. That is hard to do…if you can’t SPAWN Bunnies from the Campfire…

There is only ONE SOLUTION…and I hope it isn’t too late…
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Act III Details with Walkthrough -UPDATED


It’s funny… I used to call these “Cheat Guides.”  But, the fact is, with Gio posting everything from the servers days, and sometimes weeks in advance, on the WIKI and the Forum for everyone to see…it’s hardly cheating. If EA is so lax as to let everyone hack their system, I guess this is what to expect. So, who am I to call it cheating?

This is especially true during an update that is so mind-numbingly boring and repetitive, that any changes are going to be minimal, and with little reward.

But, hey…It’s not my job to program them…just report the information with a tad bit of editorial comment.  ACT III is upon us, and I have assembled the information you need to know to make this act at least somewhat bearable.

SPOILERS FOLLOW…If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Luann and Kirk Go Nuts…Along With The Rest of Us


With the new Daily Shopkeeper’s Challenges for the week, came another Premium Offering that is sure to make you want to cut loose some of your donuts and join the adult fun…or not.

I blame this whole thing on the Baby Boomers…who passed it on to the Gen Xers, who seem to have passed it on to the Millennials. I know. It’s hard to know who is who without a scorecard. But, as  Boomer, I am of the generation who has deemed it important to label every generation before and after us, because we are so self-important, that we think we need reference points to keep us all separated, while doing our best to cling to youth at every stage of the aging process.

This is where Halloween comes in.

Back in my day (before selfies and Instagram…I know…I know…a LONG TIME AGO), Halloween was a holiday for kids. “The Greatest Generation” (as deemed by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same title), those who were lived through the depression, a World War and the Korean War, knew that Halloween was a fun, simple holiday, during which almost every household was a potential source of candy and treats (as well as a possible target for tricks).  Kids roamed the streets, most often with one parent taking younger kids around the neighborhoods, while the other parent manned the house with a giant bowl of candy. The “Boomers” had it great…simple, fun childhoods, without the guilt of the FDA or special interests mucking up everything.

And then the Boomers grew up… Continue reading

Looking Forward…Looking Back…Looking Down…


Ah…another Halloween behind us. Time to put away the decorations, time to stash the creepy sound effects recordings, and time to swear off “snack size treats” for at least another month.


It’s still Halloween in TSTO??? There’s another whole ACT to do???  Don’t they have calendars at EA?? Don’t they realize that even Macy’s…the most revered barometer of “when the Christmas season is really supposed to start” has already hauled out displays of Frango Mints and Holiday decorations for sale???

Nope. No such luck.

We are shackled, to what has to be the worst Halloween Update Ever, and there is still at LEAST 2 weeks to go.

Now…before you all start whining about me being TOO CRANKY about my opinions of this THOH update, I think it is fair to say that as someone who has played TSTO for more than 3 years (now on my FOURTH THOH)…written a book about the game…and blogged for more than 2 years (including more than 1,400 story posts, and more than 60,000 moderated comments…but who’s counting?) I think I know of what I speak, and could certainly be offering an “educated opinion.”  But, if you STILL don’t believe me…let’s compare some of the events from the what we have today, including WHAT’S COMING TOMORROW. 
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Act II Shopkeeper’s Daily Challenges 2.2


Ok. So the only thing that REALLY matters at this point, as far as a Monday, is that we have new Five Day Shopkeeper’s Challenges that will earn you 20 Free Donuts if completed.

20 Free Donuts.

Do I have to say it again?

Click Below for What’s In Store…

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TGITW…the Freedom Not To Care!


Thank Gin, It’s The Weekend! Yes. It is going to be one of those weekends where I pretty much don’t do anything, care about doing anything, or feel guilty for not caring about doing anything.

I do a lot. Really.  My life is pretty much jam-packed with the chore of “keepin’ up the good fight,”  “being the change that you want to see,” and “making sure nothing gets too far out of control in the world in which you have influence.”  But, sometimes…you’re just plain pooped.

The best part of TSTO being in stages (or Acts as they prefer to call them…as if these are great works of theater), is that if you stay diligent, you are actually rewarded with down time, when you just don’t give a flying fig if you touch the screen for a few days on end. This is one of them.

I earned the Tentacorp.  I earned all of my available track. There isn’t s single thing I care about “crafting,” and the currency is going to change on Tuesday, so I don’t even care about trying to work the system to earn bonus donuts…because there are none. 

Tentacorp…what can I say about Tentacorp??
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Sometimes, Wishing Isn’t Enough…

I am a pragmatic guy. After being self employed in one way or another for almost 40 years, I have come to rely on my instincts, ability to push the envelope, and to will my reality into existence.  In this world, believing you can do something is usually more than half the battle. Believing turns into action. Action turns into results. There are often course adjustments along the way, or obstacles to overcome, but I pride myself in not letting the bumps stall my progress. It almost always works.

The key word in that last sentence is “almost.”

Sometimes, you run into an obstacle that causes you not only to correct course, but to alter the plan entirely. I’m not there yet. But, I have a bad sense that we may have hit a barrier that is immovable.

And no…I’m not talking about trying to get EA to give us something worth our tapping in this update. I am talking about something that matters.
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Gil Offer Drops for THOH Seplichur


So let me get this straight…

You haven’t been reading the blog, EA?  You haven’t seen that we are bored to death, and that even if you gave us a zillion bunnies, snakes, zombies and skeletons that we would still be bored with the offerings that we could craft?

So…you think the solution is to offer a RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE bauble…that is only good for Halloween…and brings us more of the stuff we already have to many of in the first place?

What are you smoking? What have you mixed in with your candy corn and Halloween chocolate?

Am I reading this right???????
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New Challenges, New Items, Staying on Track…


It’s Tuesday (and has been for quite a while for some of you), and that means a couple of things. OK. Maybe three.

There are New (retread) Items being offered.  There are New Weekly Challenges( those actually hit yesterday). And, there is another week of Monorail Track gathering upon us.

If you are absolutely honest with yourself…none of these is new. Retreads are retreads….except to those of you who missed out on past THOH updates. But it’s all PREMIUM (what’s new?).

The New Challenges started yesterday, With a GLITCH (what’s new?).

And, we will be able to earn track for as long as they let us, which seems to be a very long time…but it is also a way to earn FREE DONUTS (which is kinda new).

Let’s take a look at the details… Continue reading

Countdown to Premium Clutter Removal


If you have donuts burning a hole in your padular device, then you may want to make sure to take advantage of the final hours that some of these retreads are available.

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The Gotta Haves…the Kinda Gottas…And A Shopkeeper Glitch


There was a brief joke when the XP incubator was introduced, about the programmers running out of ideas for content. If this update is any indication, it may not be that much of a joke at all. And even worse, the same could be said for the Simpsons series, which aired the annual Tree House of Horror episode last night.

Let’s take a look at both situations, then take the time for some honest pragmatism about where we are in the life cycle of the game, and the show. Are there any “Gotta Have’s?” in this update? How about some “Kinda Gottas?”  And…is the show on life support?

Real Simpsons fans want to know…

But first…the Shopkeeper Glitch
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XP Booster…A New Way to BOOST EA Profits?

Well, the hits just keep coming…

All I have to say is, REALLY EA???

There is a new thingy being offered, which at first seems to be a cool way to boost XP. And then, the “Twist” is revealed.

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Ancient Pond THOH Walkthrough…Donuts and LAPs Join Forces

Here’s the Good news…You get Three Free Donuts. Whoo. Hoo?

Here’s the bad news…the LAPs (Lazy Ass Programmers) are back again with the weirdest, laziest tasks ever.

Follow Along…
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ANOTHER Update…Pond, Pirates and Old Vic, Oh MY!


So…there are days when being a TSTO Blogger just feels relentless. This is one of them. After 4 days in Portland, juggling family, work, and TSTO, I was feeling pretty smug that I was staying on top of everything.

And then tonight…out of the black…ANOTHER update, with a conflicting Quest Line. EA…you BASTIDS!!

It’s weird that they didn’t launch this with the Act II update yesterday. But…what the heck. Here it is! It’s a THOH Tie-In update (around the upcoming THOH Simpsons episde)! Whoohoo! 
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App Store Update Available…Bug Fixes, and Jobs Folder Returns


An update is rolling across the App Store network that does a couple of minor bug fixes, but most important, BRINGS BACK THE JOBS FOLDER!

This tool is really helpful in management of tasks…but with all of the required jobs for updates, rail building, S’More roasting and Debauchery Exhibitions, you need to be careful how you use it!

Let’s Take a Look… Continue reading

Getting It All…and Still Chillaxing!


OK. I know that this Act seems really convoluted and overlapping and chaotic and insane…and you would be right. It is especially nuts if you are also trying to collect track, do the daily challenges, AND stay on course to “Get Everything” that is being offered in daily prizes.

Here are some CrankyOldGuy Tips on How To “Get It All” while remaining Chillaxed!
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Act II Math Including Calendar


As with the last Act, instead of an accumulative total, each item in the Act II Prizes has its own total value.  But, the cume still comes into play, in order to help you plan.

And as with Act I, there are a load of ways to earn the needed currency (Gummies), which make “getting it all” pretty easy if you tap daily.

Click below to see the Calendar, along with a couple of Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals!
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Act II Details with Walkthroughs – Updated


Act II is here with a wide assortment of craziness that is sure to entertain and confuse.  Put on your “Adult Halloween Hats” (the ones with the boobs on top), because the adults are taking over the action in Act II.

THIS is where the missing skins for both the teased characters, as well as the Simpson House, Moe’s Tavern, Kwik-E-Mart and Krusty Burger come into play. (See?  Gio would never let us down…they were in the files).

As with every Tuesday and new Act update…there are LOADS of conflicts going on, especially if you are concentrating on getting more track.  Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa are going to be busy for a while.

Let’s start making sense of this. Shall we? Walkthroughs and Spoilers Follow…If you Don’t Want To Know…DON’T Click Below!
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Act II Hits…with Improved Prizes and a New Currency

NEWSFLASH-HalloweenRight on schedule, Act II of the THOH 2015 Halloween update has hit our screens (at least I’m pretty sure, as I am doing this 12 hours before the update hits so I can pre-load the info). It’s been a whacky day and I am on the road.

This part of the update actually has a few fun items….and a new currency!

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Countdown to Act II…With Lingering Questions


Ah…Monday again. And once again, it actually FEELS like a Monday. EA seems to be confused, along with most of us, as to what the rest of the Tie-In will bring us, if anything…and there seems to be an equal amount of confusion among the hacker/fracker types as to what is actually going to hit -vs- what is in the game files waiting to hit.

One thing is for certain…actually two…Act One will cease to be at 1AM PDT(which is the official time of TSTO as it is both the actual time zone of EA headquarters and the REAL Springfield).  And…on a more relaxing and comforting note, the Rail Yard will reset, allowing us to get more monorail track.

Let’s take a look at what we know…and what is conjecture at this point…along with a mini-revue of last night’s episode. 

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Halloween of Horrors… Anything But? With Walkthrough…


I’m not going to lie to you. This is kind of a letdown…again. The walkthrough is short. Most of the items that are in the files are not only Premium, but haven’t even shown up yet.

My prediction, is that they get through the very short, and lame walkthrough posted below the fold…and then on Sunday, or Monday, or maybe even Tuesday, release some of the other related content we are seeing in the files.

Or not.

In any case, we get a mostly free building.

Click below for the walkthrough
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Halloween of Horror Update Hits…

NEWSFLASH-HalloweenRight on schedule…mostly…the Halloween of Horror episode tie-in update has hit.  There is lots of stuff in the files…but so far, none of it is live to the game, except the beginning of the walkthrough…which starts with Homer and Apu.

Stay tuned… more information to follow as we unravel this. But…be forewarned…most of the FUNNY STUFF is PREMIUM!!


Halloween of Horror -vs- THOH? New Stuff…Maybe


In a bit of a twist this year, the Simpsons staff is proving that they LOVE Halloween more than any other holiday, by having two different Simpson’s episodes dedicated to the Halloween. This weekend it will be the Halloween of Horror episode, that actually takes place in “real time” in the Simpson’s lives…as opposed to the very loose version of “real” that the Tree House Of Horror episodes usually portray (as in Bart gets killed this year).

But, if you believe the teasers in the game files (and who doesn’t?), and have been searching out what Gio has posted on the WIKI (and who doesn’t?) we have a few fun new items in store this week.

Let’s take a look!
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TGIT…New Old THOH Stuff Returns


Thank God It’s Tuesday!

What that means for me, is that right away I get to continue my quest for monorail track. It’s not that I don’t care about THOH stuff. Well…actually it is.  It’s not that the daily challenges don’t mean much, and after tons of tapping only give me 20 donuts. Oh. Wait…yes…that is part of it.

No. The real reason is that Tuesdays aren’t Mondays, and EA usually actually gives us a new update, or a new stuff. Well…today, besides getting to keep collecting track, we get the chance to get a whole bunch of old stuff again…if you don’t have it!

Let’s take a look!!
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Daily Challenges Start with a Big SNAFU! – UPDATED with FIX


Ah…it wouldn’t be Monday without  few PITA (pain in the asterix) glitches in the world. And in the case of EA…it really is best to use the old Military Term…SNAFU (Situation Normal All F&$&ed Up).

We are starting “Daily Challenges” now…because grinding for prizes we mostly don’t want isn’t tedious enough. But today, we are supposed to start getting daily prizes for our daily grinding. Whoo hoo?

Except…that for many of us (including me), it starts with a big SNAFU.

You are supposed to be awarded the House of Evil… which will then generate daily challenges…which if all completed will earn you 20 donuts! Whoo. Hoo.

BUT…the SNAFU happens if like me, you already OWN the House of Evil (and to some who don’t… Now what????? Continue reading

Campfires, Crossovers and Clutter…and Daily Prizes Coming!


As I have mentioned in a previous post, I think the most annoying aspect of many of the large updates is the “Over-Homerization” of the quest lines. I get it…EA wants to be sure that everyone at every level in the game, has the characters needed…but, really? Does almost every quest line need Homer? But, with this THOH, Bart is also being called to do all sorts of things…with LONG quests that keep him from doing other things you may need him to do. EA is just being annoying…as usual. Making it EAsy for EA…

There are also a few of you frustrated with campfire upgrades, and understanding how best to set and earn the various currency needed. It is pretty simple once you understand, and you can “trick the system” to keep your less important kids (ah….aren’t ALL kids important?) busy earning, while you have your primary “popular kids” (Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, Martin) doing other stuff after setting the path.

And finally…yes…there is yet another bit of ambiguity afoot here with EA and their Item Limitation (which seems to have increased a bit). They tell us to declutter our towns with Item Limitations, and then force us to take/craft a bunch of clutter? Let’s take a look at solutions.

We’ll start with Campfire Management… Continue reading

Halloween THOH Already a Nightmare?


OK. I admit that as a “CrankyOldGuy” I suffer from holding the world to a higher standard than most. I’m not really one of those “GET OFF THE LAWN!!!” kind of old guys…or even one who lives, dies and breaths by the latest politics, sports headlines, or celebrity gossip. But, I DO expect the companies with whom I do business, to act as if they CARE about my business. And let’s be honest, we aren’t just “playing a game” with TSTO. If you have spent any money at all, you are “in the business” of the game.

As such, you have a valid expectation that the time and money you invest in the game, will be worthy of your investment. This update is not. Not even a little. 

I am open to hearing from those of you who think otherwise, but I think this is a mishmash of retreaded ideas and offerings so far, that is just not worthy of our time and effort. Sorry. But, after the monorail…this is just a convoluted mess. 

It started out pretty darn cool. I LOVED the storytelling interludes. Clever, funny, and the kind of  reward that made if feel as if there was some real creativity at work from the programming/writing team.  As usual…the writing is the best part of the game.  The “Game Part” is now becoming a repetitive cycle of “the same old” with just a hint of different twists, to allow them to use the same programming over and over, with a new coat of paint.

But, there is SOME GREAT NEWS!!!
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Halloween 2015 – Act One Math with Calendar

For those of you concerned with “getting everything” in this first act, I have included a calendar to help you keep on track.

As I said in the first update…a LOT of this stuff is weird clutter that won’t make it past Halloween before it his storage for me. I’ll trade a “Gate to Nowhere” for a piece of monorail track any day. But, that’s just me.

Click below for the calendar and the list of HallowKlutter you can earn.

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Halloween 2015 – Act 1- Basic Info and Walkthrough

Well…every once in a while, EA does an update that makes me rue the day I decided to become a TSTO Blogger. This is one of them.

It is very similar in its framework from recent major updates, but is so mind-numbingly random and confusing (while offering up a lot of recycled stuff) that I have to say so far, that it feels very much like a “Trick” and not a “Treat.”

That said…there are some details that will help you move through this mass of mythology.

Follow Along…If You Can! Continue reading

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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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

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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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!

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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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!


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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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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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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