Free Bonuts or Bust?

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

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

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

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

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

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

We don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WILD WEST WIKI.

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

Travelin’OldGuy
Patric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wild West Update Basics With Act I Calendar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wild West Update…Looking Wild and Fun!

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

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

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

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

But…back to the story!

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Wild West Is HERE! WhoopieTieYiYay!

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

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

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

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

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

Dear EA…Updated

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Dear EA,

It’s me…Patric (aka CrankyOldGuy).  For the past few weeks, I have made it very clear that I have commitments on Thursdays, and some Fridays, that take me away from the game for extended periods of time (about as long a it takes to play 18 holes).  I have hinted broadly, that if you are going to do a major update, that doing so on a Tuesday or a Wednesday is highly preferable for both of us (as we know your LAP don’t show up for work on time on Mondays after a “long weekend” and Fridays are the start of “a long weekend).

That being said…I would also like it if you could do the release of the major updates earlier in the morning, as opposed to later in the day (after noon PDT Patric Daylight Time) as I often have “meetings” in the afternoon, or like to watch my DVR’d episodes of Jimmy Kimmel and Late Night with Stephen Colbert (I think we can all agree that we are tired of Fallon’s “boyish energy”).

I know this sounds selfish…but, I am also thinking of Alissa over at Addicts who juggles work and being a mother to a (staggeringly cute and happy) little girl, and Gio, who lives in Italy, and hardly ever sleeps as it is.

See? It’s not all about me!

So…we know you are going to do something soon…something dirty, and deserty, with shooting and stuff. How about TODAY…at say…oh  10:30 or so?

Gratefully Yours,
COG

It looks like they are launching anytime(or day) soon!

TEASERII
This is from the FaceBook Page… MORE hints!!
“Remember, X marks the spot, XX means poison, and XXX is moonshine. Don’t mix them up, and play our update coming soon to find Springfield’s secret treasure!”

Facebook teases next update…it’s so very Dirty!!

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Once again, I had an almost tapless free weekend. The weather was at record highs…and you can guess where I was.  Yep! A funeral, and doing yard work.

I know. You expected me to say “golfing.” But “she who makes the weekend social calendar” had “yard work” written across the weekend. And when I tried to dodge it, using the old “I have to go to the funeral of the mother of one my best friends,” she graciously accompanied me to the funeral, which was in Portland, and then equally graciously, “allowed” me to do the two day’s worth of work in one day…resulting in aches in parts of my body I forgot I had.

Dirt. Loads and loads of dirt were moved.

Ironically…this endeavor kept me from seeing the Facebook notice on EA’s page about the impending update. Ironic, because it is also “so very dirty” (like the clothes my wife made me leave on the back porch before coming in to shower). But, there is also another hint, that makes me wonder if the desert and dirt have more to do with a Wild West theme…or a Mad Max theme…or cowboys in the desert fighting time travelers from a dystopian future culture of time traveling zombies.  (Man…I need to drink more water when gardening in 80 degree heat).

Let’s take  a look… Continue reading

An Argument for Apathy Regarding XP and Bonuses

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First of all, I’ll start with an admission that probably won’t shock you.  I don’t care about XP bonuses, multipliers, or earnings multipliers anymore. And, if the trend in far fewer or no level updates is going to prevail, you shouldn’t either.

I realize that a good number of you have built your entire “reason for tapping” on Freemium ways to get what you want, while amassing huge reserves of game cash, thus justifying your donut expenditures through buying items with “great multipliers” and “XP bonuses.”  But, the facts are stacking up against you, as to any real value in that logic.

Here’s why…
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Crook and Ladder-Burned Out…Too Many Days for Gil

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We are truly stuck in a conundrum of “Meh” right now.

First…if you didn’t finished the Fire Station/Crook and Ladder update…well…you weren’t trying very hard, you have been gone, off the grid, or just ignoring TSTO. It was simple. Most finished in a few days, without trying much. And now, our Fire Stations sit with a fire truck beside them, waiting for a fire that will never come, until we set the fire station on fire. Strange…and sadly unrewarding.

However, for those of you who are big fans of Super Sales like Black Friday (which has now morphed into Gray Thursday and Black Friday), the Gil Offer, cloaked pretentiously in the guise as an update, continues for a few more days.

Spring Cleaning is a sham…in that rather than actually getting rid of anything, we are asked to add to our clutter. The only reward for actually doing the EALPish tasks (sending people to clean…and then having Marge do a 30-hour cycle of cleaning at the end) is to make it look like we are being rewarded for our hard work, only to have that “reward” be a tree (either an apple or an orange) at the end.  More clutter. 

The only good thing about this, as I wrote yesterday, is that EA often does this sort of “cleansing of the donut stash” kind of offer, just before doing a MAJOR update. The evidence and history support this fact…

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Spring Cleaning for EA. SHOULDJA??

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Big surprise. As it turns out, the “update” is really just a big Gil Deal presented in a new way (that Gil is a sneaky bastid!).

The deals are good enough…pretty deep rebates…but, it’s really mostly just a bunch of retreads and bundles. That’s cool, if you want more of the same stuff we passed on before…but, I guess you have to keep trying, right Gil?

There are a couple of new items…and we do have a lot of Free Donuts from the past. So…who knows? Maybe there’s something there you want?

Let’s take a look…
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Spring Cleaning Update Hits…With Strange New Logic

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So, this is weird, even for EA…

But, two days BEFORE the last big update is over (Firehouse still has 2 more days), EA has dropped a new update that smacks of a Gil Deal on steroids on us.

SPRING CLEANING is the theme…and there is a ton of new Premium Stuff being offered. But, there are some new wrinkles in regards to other Freemium, or should I say PFreemium (say it like Pfizer) items coming soon.

It starts with Homer…but the first tasks have to do with Marge and a ton of random townspeople.

More in  a bit, when I can sort this out.

Happy Hump Day! Let’s start cleaning! Or not. Your choice.

Countdown to the Next What?

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I had a lovely weekend. I was TSTO-Free for the entire weekend. As I had completed the Fire Station update over a week ago, and because there was little else to do, I had also finished my weekly monorail track expansion by Friday (my apologies to those who don’t get to update and get free donuts with the monorail expansion bit…yes…EA needs to bring it back!!).

The weather was amazing. Sunny, with temps in the low 70s. This in OREGON, where were are supposed to be drowning in spring rain.  I played a lot of golf (3 rounds in three days), went to a friend’s 60th birthday party, and SKYPED with Emma about our next big project for our school in Buyijja, Uganda. All…without looking at my TSTO screen once. Not bad.

It made me appreciate the fact that there are far more interesting things in life than TSTO, and far more important things.

But, then…here we are, on a Monday, wondering “what’s next,” knowing that this mini-update is ending soon.

Lots of you speculated on the long-term health of TSTO, with some admitting that you were happy for the lull.  Place me firmly in that camp. But, part of playing the game this long, requires one to take a look forward, if only to justify all that we have put into the game in the past.

If it all came to end, how would we justify our existence and commitment to it all, without feeling just a bit anxious?  Are there still valid reasons to play? Is there something worthy of making an argument for the “Why We Tap” aspect of this commitment to something so silly and trivial?

I think there is.  Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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This Fire Burns Out Quickly…

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I admit it. Sometimes I miss the mark. This time, when I wrote, “The math on this update is EAsy,” I didn’t go far enough. It should have said, “The math on this one points to EALPish behavior on all counts…programmers and players.”

I’m finished with the Fire Station update. In fact, I was finished early yesterday…and hardly had to do a thing. After buying the Premium Skins (with free donuts from the last update) I just kept everyone doing 3-hour tasks…and was done with everything, without hardly having to search for a single fire in my town.

And now, I am caught in an EALPish limbo, of being told to “Continue” with the update, but with none of the fire.

This is EA Lazy Programming at its worst. A half-done update, designed strictly to create a false sense of expanded fun, only to be thrown into some sort of strange Karmic backlash when you are successful.

Here is what happens when you “win” the Fire Station…
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Crook and Ladder Update- Complete Cheat Guide and Calendar

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I am doing this post under duress. It is going to be 72 degrees in Eugene again today, and I should be golfing. But, nooooooooooooooooooooooooo… here I am working on a post about hot firemen (starting to wonder about the sexual orientation of the TSTO writers…just sayin’…).

It is a pretty straightforward update- and again seems to point out that the days of regular Level Updates are pretty much done, or are going to be very staggered.

It is rEAlly very simple…especially if you have a lot of firebug neighbors…and does give us the much talked about (like, for at least 2 years) Fire Station.

Let’s turn up the heat on this update…until it bursts into flames!
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Fire Station Update Hits…Hosing My Afternoon

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Ya know EA?  I’m getting sick of you messing with my golf time. But, this time…I’m giving you the big, “EAT MY SHORTS” and I am late to the game.

Yes. There is an update. It starts with Ned (can’t this guy keep his shirt on??)

I’ll be back with more details in a bit…but, I just got home…it’s 72 degrees outside…and the Bar-B-Que awaits!

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While We Wait… What Did YOU Do?

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Ah…another lull.  It is actually appreciated as I work to make sense of all of the fountains, and spotlights, and casinos that are now rendered to large decorations for the most part. Yes…there are some meager tasks…but none of the fun of gambling, winning, and  losing it all (just ask Pete Rose how that turns out).

It does beg the question… What Did You Do With YOUR Stuff?  

Send me screenshots of your best use of Vegas-Style design, and I’ll post it over the weekend. I’ve already seen some nice designs in neighbor’s towns…but, I know there must be more…because there was so much glitter to work with. I’m guessing some of your Springfield’s can be seen from space!

While we wait on the aforementioned desert update (while I think about the low-calorie dessert I am making for my wife tonight…add an “s” to desert because you want more dessert), take the time to send me your best shots.

Here are a couple of mine, as a reminder of what I did…
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Back to “Normal” Update Live…With Regrets

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I updated from the App Store…and man, am I disappointed. It’s almost like the Burns Update never existed…except for the plethora of Vegas Style decorations.

And yes…almost all of the casinos are now mostly just decorations.  I was faked out, when I saw that the folks that were gambling in Burns Casino seemed to be able to continue gambling as a task. But, I rushed Apu…and *Poof* nothing. It is very similar to other huge updates. We get the clutter…but none of the residual fun. Oh well.

But…hey…you can still buy Easter/St. Easter crap for a few more hours. Yip.Pee!

Back to the monorail.

However…there are a few things from this update that are in my “favorites” column…
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Burns Casino – Viva Springfield Hangover…UPDATED

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Well…as per usual, or at least what is becoming usual, the update isn’t ending when the update was supposed to end. At least not yet.

Remember…this is going to be an App Store update/fix/takedown. So until you are forced to change over, even when the change hits the store, you can keep playing, and earning, and gambling, long after “last call” has past. UPDATE- The “return to normal Springfield” is appearing in the app stores. Again…you choice as to when/if you update.

I for one, had a total blast doing a spending spree last night, and was  kind of bummed to see a “Daily Challenge” that was casino oriented.  But, it may imply that the casinos, and gambling are here to stay. “Bonus Time” did end…as planned (go figure). But, everything else seems to be in place.

I’ve already started placing my fountains…where their display of splooge-tastic eruptions can draw attention to important areas in my town… Continue reading

Final Gambling Hours…Time to Go on a Spending Spree!

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I know it’s only one day past Easter. But, if you are a REAL shopper…you know that it is days like these when the real shopping spree happens. There is a reason that the BEST bargains are always right after the holidays. And, if you have been saving up your loads and loads of crafting currency, so you could have a glorious, insanely rewarding, giant bacchanal of spending splurgery….this is the day!

I admit…this is a little like hitting the post-Easter candy bins…the GOOD stuff is already gone (or in your town). But, there are a ton of little decorations that can, and perhaps should be in your town, or at least in your storage unit for future use!

Let’s take a look…
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Easter? Come on. rEAlly?

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I already wrote that the EAster version this time around…is about as Lazy as one can get. It is clear that the EA programmers will not be getting any Easter baskets or a special “Thank You” card from the Pope.

The Easter stuff showed up today…and as I pointed out, it’s all retreads from past Easter. And, as far as I can tell, there isn’t even any dialogue to augment the Easter part of the “St. Easter” bit that came out for St. Pat’s.

Easter Float, Easter Island God, Easter Flag, Easter Pond, Easter Gate, Easter Fence, Easter Tree, Easter Egg Pile and Egg Council Guy!

There’s really nothing more to say…except that the holiday that celebrates the Resurrection and Redemption of mankind, should have a bit more notice than a bunch of fancy fences. But, hey… at least it is EAsy to write about.

But maybe…just maybe…there is something deeper to this if you think about it. Maybe the “retread” is meant to signify Christ’s rebirth as the Arisen Lord…and the message that “He will come again to judge…at the end of times.” And that if you read Revelations carefully, there is a verse about the Anti-Christ having orange hair!

Or not. It may just be what I wrote before…that EA programmers are lazy.

Click if you care to see the list with pics. But there are no surprises here…EGGSCEPT…that you get a free sign (that we already have) on Easter Day…
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Almost There…Almost…

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I’m at that really difficult time with a major update, where my desire to “get everything” is overwhelmed by my ambivalence, due to the nature of clutter and repetition.

I took a couple of days off, because Katie (our NYC/CBS daughter) is in town, and we are preparing to take a road trip south to see Ali (our SF/GAP daughter). We have wedding plans in the making…we have Africa plans in the making…and it will soon be Tax Time. So, the thought of caring about whether I can craft a boatload of clutter…or if the casinos will keep being casinos after the update is over, is hardly of my concern.

However…I admit it. I do want Arthur and Gabbo…and I HAVE been able to have some fun with water, and stars, and other crafting options. I’ll get A&G…and I have enough of the rest.

But it turns out, I was wrong about one of the BIG crafting items. It does something. But…come on…in my defense, it is HUGE and it doesn’t do much.

Of course, I am talking about…
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Vegas, Burns, Taxes, Fun…Pulling Back the Throttle and Heading a New Direction

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

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

In a fit of panic, I began reducing my digital footprint, striving to find the balance between “More!!!!” and “Enough!!”
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Act III Calendar and Basic Math

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As I have said in a couple of other posts, if you followed my advice, and hoarded your game tokens, you should now already be well into Act III prizes. If you haven’t, then you may have a longer road to go…

But, the good news is, all roads lead to Gabbo and Arthur- and it should be pretty easy to get them, if you just do the basics.

Here’s the Calendar… Continue reading

Burns’s Casino ACT III- Complete Cheat Guide

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Ah. So…it must be after 1A on the 17th…or early morning in the 17th…or some other time after 1A PDT (Daylight Savings in the land of the REAL Springfield). And that means it’s time to put on your brightest green (puke-proof) shirt, and get ready for St. Patrick’s Day…er…wait…NO!  It’s time for Act III of the Burns Casino Update. Sorry...it’s hard to keep the debauchery separate.

This is once again, one of the worst-kept secrets of all time, as all of the information I am going to share, has been on the WIKI for weeks. But, hey…now it’s here too!

Spoilers Follow…. If you don’t want to know…you shouldn’t have gone to the Wiki last week!
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Less Than Saintly Patric Unravels St. Easter- With Walkthrough

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Yes…as many of you have noticed, I do not spell my name with the “k” on the end. Thanks, Mom.

It has served me well in the past, as it separates me from the plethora of Irish Patricks, and puts me squarely into the “Welsh version.”  It has had no real ill effects, and has benefitted me at times, including the one-time-benefit of being registered for two weeks in a girls’ dormitory in college (ah…now that was two weeks to remember!).

It does make things confusing for St. Patrick’s Day, as everyone just assumes that I am just being stubborn, or “Hollywood” with the spelling of my name. Either way, it does allow me to distance myself from the silliest holiday of the year…St. Patrick’s Day.

I was raised Episcopal…and did time in the Boys Choir and as an Acolyte at the alter.  I still consider Easter to be one of the two most important holidays of the church year, and stop short of making fun of any of the cross-over traditions (Eggs, Bunnies, Sacrificial Crucifixions) that come with the holiday.

Which is why CrankyOldPatric is not fond of this version of “St. Easter.”

I get it. There are EA apologists out there…who just want me to sing the praises of anything they give us. But, ya know what? Bite me.

I know. I was going to give up aggressive language for Lent, but…ya know what?Trump has set a new standard for “Nicest Guy You’ll Ever Know,” so…well…bite me.

Here’s My Take on St. Easter…with a Walkthrough
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Easter Meets St. Pat’s Meets LAP…Today?

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Well… as luck would have it…I am on the road this morning. But, I got an alert from spAnser that something Eastery-St. Patricksy is on the way.

Hugs the bunny is back…for donuts. Along with something and someone involved with the “Notre Dame of Springfield”… also for donuts.

Nothing has shown up in my game yet…so no telling when/if this thing hits today.

It really does seem appropriate to mix church and drunken debauchery together right now… after yesterday’s primaries…we are all going to to need some stiff drinks and some prayers.

EasterTease

More on this when I know more…and hit a “hot spot” on the road…

THIS AUTOSTARTS…. you may have to shut down your padular device entirely to get the update, like I did.

Homer starts by “Drinking at O’Flanagan’s…

And yes…combining these two is LAP at it’s best… (Lazy Ass Programming).

MORE Below the fold…

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Highs and Lows…Musts and Mustn’ts – Burns Casino So Far…

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I am torn, almost on a daily basis as to how I feel about this update.  I realized a while ago, that I  feel the same way about the huge encroachment of casinos in Springfield as I do about their ever-increasing blight in my home state of Oregon.  Not wild about them…but, I get why they exist…even if I pretty much just ignore them.

Anyone who has seen a small, rural town turned into a “gaming mecca” will understand what I am saying.  In Oregon, and in countless other states where casinos have become “normal” as part of a loophole in an act designed to give Native Americans sovereign rights to their designated land (AKA reservations), we have seen a huge uptick in casinos and adjacent  hospitality industry businesses.  They are like mushrooms in a cow pasture. Let one in, and the next thing you know, you have herds of outsiders wandering around, looking for “the magic.” But you have to ignore the fact that the magic shrooms are growing in piles of cow excrement. You have to overlook the stink, to get the temporary high.

After I watched several small towns, and one of my favorite coastal towns turned into something it wasn’t really supposed to be (a stop for tour buses and RV parks full of machine tapping zombies), I pretty much wanted nothing to do with them. But then, I saw how much revenue they were pouring into the state education system and state parks. So much so, that we have become reliant on those whose happiness is reliant on “risking it all,” so those of us who don’t, can still get away from having a State Sales Tax. Don’t get me started on that one…

Here in TSTO-Land (you knew I’d get back to it…right?) and this update…we’ve pretty much just accepted the clutter, and the patterns of tapping, and the wandering gambler zombies as being something “normal.”  Plus…we know that in just a couple of weeks, they are going to go away…which is a lot more than can be said for places like Lincoln City and Grande Ronde in Oregon.

Like the real-life gambling world…there are some benefits…some things that are worth your trouble…and others that should be simply avoided.

Shouldja? Musts and Mustn’ts…Coming Up!

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Gaming The System- For a Quick Start to Act III

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Yes. I know. It’s early to start talking about Act III. But the fact is, many of you, if not MOST of you are finished or almost finished with Act II, and have Creg Demmon.

And today, you should also have Homer’s House of Cards as a Pre-Act III bit of diversion. Building another casino on “The Lord’s Day?” is more than sacrilege…but, if you have finished the walkthrough, including letting Apu bleed out in the gift shop…you probably aren’t worried about offending the Lord.

There are still more than three full days before Act III rolls into our lives. And some of you already have a great jump on things…”pre-starting” as it were, by following my advice. However…in my boredom this morning (while waiting for yet another huge stormfront of wind and rain to pass through), I did some testing to see if there is a way to “Game the System” to improve your odds…

What I found out was interesting…to say the least…
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Getting Chips Just Got EAsier…To Help Get the Stuff We Want?

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Something tells me that EA reads the blogs. Because just today, they doubled the number of chips you get when you tap a gambler…from 10 to 20. That is a good thing!

However…we are still tapping to get some things that seem to have many, if not most of us, less than interested.

I already talked about the fact that most of the casinos we get aren’t based on anything that was actually built and occupied in the TV series. But, some others items were so fleeting, or silly, or random (even for the Simpsons) that I really don’t want them in my town, even when/if I win them.

And then…there are the things that we might buy, with donuts…that may or may not be worth our time and effort.

Let’s take a look at what is coming up…and why EA may be hitting the panic button a bit.

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The Real Spruce Goose, Howard Hughes, and Lowered Expectations

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

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

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

The Marge-Ian Chronicals Episode Tie-In Hits…

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I just logged on, and got an update that seems to be a tie-in for the episode that is airing this weekend.

It starts with dialogue with two guys I don’t recognize…at all (Musk? Jobs?)…and two tasks, one with Lisa and one with Database.

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Oh…and a large list of new PREMIUM Items.  More below the fold– Continue reading

Spruce Moose and Other Update LAP Twists

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Let’s just “cut to the chase” as lazy movie directors like to do when there is a lull in the movie and the writers can’t get them out of it. The fact is…this update is is rife with artifacts that have been manipulated to seem that they are one thing, while being something very different, mostly due to Lazy Programming and Writing.

When you take a look at the actual episodes that most of this update is based upon, it’s clear that there was some serious fudging of the canon, in regards to how they laid things out. But, then…to add insult to injury, the LAP (Lazy Ass Programming) and writers colluded to pull some serious wool over our eyes to keep us engaged and tapping.

Let’s take a look…
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Act II Calendar and Basic Math Guide

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Well…if you followed my advice in Act I (as it seems many of you did), and even went so far as to take my advice to the NEXT LEVEL, as many of you did (and will for Act III), you are already well into Act II as this comes out.

For some of you who may have lagged behind in Act I, I am going to give you as many tips as possible, along with a nifty calendar to keep you on track…

SPOILERS FOLLOW…if you don’t want to know…don’t click below!!
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Burns Casino- Act II Cheat Guide – More Casinos – More Clutter

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It’s just past midnight here in the good old U.S. of A…in the Pacific Springfield Time-zone (for a week until daylight savings kicks in). It is POUNDING rain outside…and the storms are expected to hang around all week. Loverly.

So…I might as well stay inside and tap…cause I am at Level 2 in crafting…and I can start earning martinis and keychains, so I can get the Spruce Moose!

Oh…and there is a TON of other new stuff as well…

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

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Lucius…The King of the “American Dream!”

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

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

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

Let’s see what the WIKI says…
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In Preparation for Act II – Red to Green – to Mean?

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Thanks to Gio and the WIKI, we know a lot about Act II and Act III.  This is a good thing. Another thing we know. is that Act I is going to end at Midnight on Sunday the 6th…which actually means that at exactly 12:00:00:00:00:01 AM, it is Monday the 7th here in good old Pacific Springfield Time (PST) which is actually due to change to Pacific Daylight time on the 13th…when we lose an hour…after gaining an extra day in February for Leap Year…but I digress.

None of this is news, good or bad, unless you are still struggling with getting everything in Act I, before time (which I think I have obviously shown to be relative) runs out. You can do your own math. But, one very bad thing is that most of the changes happen at Midnight my time…and I am old.

However…there are some BIG changes (and some little ones) coming in Act II, as well as some strategies to be played in order to help you plan the final stage of Act I.  So, let’s see what’s coming, what’s going, and what we can do to prepare for both. 
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Cletus’s Dice Game…the Good, The Bad, and the Fugly!

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Well…just like everything associated with Cletus, his new dice game IS FUNNY!  Really. Not kidding.

I love the strange way that Cletus does everything. There is mystery and magic in every mangled phrase that comes out of his “tobaccy stained lips.” Nobody, other than Burns, embraces the strange manner in which genetic alterations due to a long line of ingesting pollutants into your system like Cletus and the Spucklers.

So…even cheating at dice is funny.

But, there is a downside to this game…as you might expect. There are some upsides as well.

Let’s take a roll of the dice and figure it out.

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What’s Coming Up…and Managing the Clutter

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A few things are becoming evident. This, like most updates, turns into a form of “grinding” pretty quickly. Granted, it’s certainly nothing like the horrible versions of the “WHell” that so many of us endured and reviled. But, I am finding myself yelling at Moe’s slot machine, “COME ON!!! I DON’T WANT MORE CHIPS! I WANT A FREAKIN’ COASTER OR KEYCHAIN!!”

I’m not proud of that. It causes breakfast with my wife to devolve into an uncomfortable torrent of silenced, accusational stares.

It is evident that you are going to have to keep tapping…to keep spinning…to keep collecting…so you have have any hope of reaching the next level of prizes in crafting.

The good news…is that if you are concentrating on grinding…you are going to collect enough chips easily to get all of the prizes in this Act.  And, better yet, there may be a new “Pre-Act wrinkle that could/should help us.

Let’s take a look… Continue reading

Miss Springfield…Time to Scratch A Little Itch?

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So right off, we are going to have another debate about “what’s fair” in the world of TSTO. As has been explained many times before, life isn’t fair…but it does offer loads of choices for actions of Free Will. You kind of get what you deserve (as we discussed yesterday in my rant about Super Tuesday).

But, in this case…it really is kind of a Win-Win! Really! Especially if you are willing to gamble…for REAL!

If you already have Miss Springfield, you are going to be able to purchase her saucy hostess skin, AND get a very funny Vegas Style sign, for just 110 donuts.

If you DON’T have Miss Springfield…you can get her for 225 donuts…but you get a REBATE of 115 donuts back. I know. Rebates aren’t discounts…oh…and you get the Sleep-Eazy Motel (with it’s tawdry silhouettes) but you DON’T get the sign.

Fair?? Fair enough??? Let’s take a look… Continue reading

Gambling, Oscars, Crafting and “Winning” More…

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For close to 20 years, Deb and I have hosted an “Oscars Party,” for our book club friends. It is made all the more interesting by the challenge that Deb and I make each year, to be sure and see ALL of the nominated films in at least the top six categories (Best Picture, Actor/Supporting, Actress/Supporting, Director).  After the Academy expanded to up to 10 Best Pictures, it is a challenge.

Thankfully, our daughter, Katie is a member of the Writer’s Guild and gets a ton of the movies for preview, and she “breaks the rules” by passing many of them on to us after she has seen them. But, some of the films just aren’t as amazing on even a large, home theater screen, compared to a movie theater, or iMax screen.

oscar-logoWe don’t vote in the competition…as we are the hosts, and winning would be bad form. But, the competition has been dominated in the past by those who are good at “Google Handicapping,” (culling all of the picks from professional reviewers, and odds makers). So, this year, I threw everyone a curve, and awarded bonus points for actually having SEEN a movie that was considered.

There were a few surprises, and a few upsets. But in the end, my system worked. The person that won, had guessed fairly accurately (everyone was surprised by the Best Supporting Actor, and the dominance of “Mad Max” for all of the art, makeup and sound awards). But in the end, they were actually rewarded for “putting in the time and effort” to actually BE PART of the overall movie experience…and they deserved to win!

That’s the way it should be in life…and yes...even in TSTO. If you put in the time, you are going to win. If you don’t…you SHOULDN’T win. But that can get complicated…because in the end, you have to ask what is really “winning” and what is just “playing the game.” But I digress…

Let’s look at “Leveling Up” to get the “good stuff” in this act. Continue reading

Viva Springfield- Important Dates and Strategies

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Now that Gio has finished most of the updating about the Burns Casino Update on The Wiki, there are some interesting twists and turns to this update that are new to the traditional “new way” that EA is doing major updates. Yes. That is a lot of “new” in a sentence…but, it’s true. This is new.

What I am speaking about specifically, is that in addition to the new way (which actually isn’t that new) that EA does major updates…Acts, with Crafting, With Daily Challenges, there is now a new thing called, Pre-Act, that is actually before the Act actually hits (hence the “pre”). Confusing? Not so much…except I am not really sure why they are doing it. But, hey…who am I to question the logic of EA. Right? They always make flawless updates, that challenge, entertain and reward us for our tapping time! Right?
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When Is Enough, Enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But even then...you get surprised.
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Viva Springfield- Burns Casino Walkthrough Guide- Act One

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This thing is huge…and it only gets bigger.

The Walk Through Guide will help you keep on track…but there are some wrinkles of which you need to be aware!

And yes…there are some serious distractions for those of us who just want to keep on track with our Monorail track building. But, this is a limited time thing…the monorail will be there waiting for us!

SPOILERS FOLLOW…
If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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Springfield Casino Cheat Guide?

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I know. But the word “cheat” is really one of the “gray areas” in this update. We are not only allowed to cheat, but we are actually encouraged, and HELPED by EA to cheat (sometimes). Very odd.

This update is anything but simple…but at least at first glance, there doesn’t appear to be any trace of the “WHell.”  But there are a ton of slots…and tokens…and levels…and “Special Gambler’s Deals.”  Actually….it all seems like pretty harmless fun- unless you are silly enough to spend real money on any of it.

Let’s break down the basics… Continue reading

Casino Update live on app store

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The teased update us live…another casino. Sure why not?

I’ll post more in the next hour… After I get it figured out.

Something Glitzy This Way Comes…

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I have this really bad feeling…and I hope I am wrong!

But the “Tease” that hit the Facebook Page last night, suggests that we may be returning to more games of chance of a “Vegas Style.”

Viva Springfield! Get ready to win big and make mistakes in our next update! And remember – What happens in Tapped Out, stays on a server forever!
http://www.ea.com/thesimpsonstappedout/

Can you say, “WHell????”

Please. No. Not the WHell!!!

We’ll see…but, it is clear that something that involves chance, risk, and a bit of sin is coming…and I can’t think of anything that would make me want to commit murder, like the return of the WHell!

Why do I think this?? Continue reading

Growing Trees or Feeding Black Holes…It’s Your Choice In Life

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

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

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

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

The EALPish Side of The Giant Redwood

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You know, what’s funny…is that I really wanted to be happy, and upbeat, and positive about the Giant Redwood update. I really did.

I mean, who can complain about growing something as amazing as a giant redwood?  For those of you who have never seen one in person, I strongly suggest you put it on your “bucket list.”  There is almost nothing on earth more humbling than standing next to something that could be more than 2,000 years old…and is alive…is pretty amazing. You get the feeling that you mankind isn’t all that important or bright.

Take a look at what I am talking about here…

So, why am I disappointed in the way this update unfolds? Because for the most part…it is just another EALP move. For those who have forgotten what EALP means, it stands for EA Lazy Programming.

EA gets EALPish when they want us to just “stay busy, and stop bugging them for real entertainment.” Think of it like a mother plopping their kid in front of a 10 hour marathon of “Teletubbies” so she can chat with her friends on Facebook.

But even worse…it is REALLY expensive!!  (not that letting your kid watch Teletubbies won’t have a societal price later on in life).

Let’s take a closer look… Continue reading

New Update Hits… World’s Largest Redwood Planted

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It seems that EA has a new way of doing things, outside of the regular Update style. In fact, these don’t seem to be traditional updates at all…but rather, just a fun, new chapter.

This is an auto start… Bart starts it, but soon, loads of characters are involved.

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Final Hours for “Romance?”

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I have to laugh. When you think about it, the rationale for EA’s version of “romance” isn’t a lot different than that of most of the Western World. What they are offering in the way of “Valentine’s Clutter,” has very little to do with the actual emotions, or the actions of showing love and affection for those we love.

Granted…some of this stuff can be bought for the “fake digital cash” that we use as currency, and often have accumulated far beyond our ability to spend it. But, some of it actually calls for us to spend real money, on something even more elusive and transitory than a “spark of romance” that starts the whole life-long process toward Valentine’s societal servitude.

Does wrapping a light post in flowers and hearts really make it a true symbol of abiding, lifelong love? Or do the daily acts of remembering how important and lucky we are to be loved make any trappings of a single day inconsequential and silly?

Perhaps it is somewhere in between…and the REAL reminders, are often the least expensive.  Continue reading

The Afterglow (or Aftermath) of Valentines Lingers

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Ah. Good old Facebook.  There are loads of studies that make it clear that FaceBook is actually something that can trigger anger and depression in people around the holidays…and that is just from looking at the political comments!

I get it. I really do. I was shocked to find a number of wives who posted the efforts (or lack thereof) of their spousal units.  One guy (a longtime friend) , when realizing that he had forgotten to get a card (when his wife gave him one in the morning) shaped the dry dog food into a heart shape in their dog’s bowl, before handing it to the dog. Nice.

Another took his wife at her word when she told him. “don’t worry about doing anything for Valentines for me…you are all I need.” Bad mistake. She bought him Duck Football Season Tickets. He got her…nothing.

Neither of these guys were rewarded…and are likely suffering the aftermath of their actions (deservingly).

But, we here in the land of TSTO are also feeling a bit of a “is that really all there is?” when it comes to the Valentines update. It is short. It is mostly retreads. And, even after watching the Simpson’s episode last night, it is also really  confusing.

Let’s break this down…and then decide if it is time to give EA/TSTO the cold shoulder for a couple of days…
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Valentines “SHOULDJA” Premium Buyer’s Guide

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I don’t want to state the obvious…but if you are spending a ton of real money on fake Valentines clutter, you are likely not going to be spending real money on valentines gifts for real people. The reward for either act is clearly not as wonderful as it is made out to be…even if you spring for something that is currently being advertised ad nauseum by the “Diamond Merchants of America” this past week.

This time of year, the pressure is on to “perform” in regards to letting others know that you care for them. And in some weird way, it’s almost like EA is pleading with us to spend money on anything…both new and randomly old…to show them that you care about TSTO.

It will not be a surprise to you to learn that I have only one real “BUY IT” and one “Buy it if you don’t have it” recommendation in this Valentines “SHOULDJA”…

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What We Do For Love…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is one of those cases.
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Valentines is For Old Swingers…Complete “Cheat” Guide

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Valentines. I have such mixed emotions about this holiday. For most of my adult life, it is a time of creative panic…”How am I going to top LAST year?” goes through my head a lot. But, realizing that there is no way I can top “the BIGGEST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER” (the day I proposed), takes some of the pressure off.

It seems that EA is going to go for the “less obvious” approach…while doing the VERY traditional thing at the same time. And for the most part, isn’t even trying to live up to Valentine’s Day Updates in the past.

They are making this update (a seemingly, and thankfully short one at that), about OLD love…with OLD people…and OLD ideals. Far less obvious than some teenage crush storyline, or watching the Spucklers procreate yet another Spuckler Spawn (seriously…who wants to see that???).

But…they are also doing the VERY Traditional Thing...especially for EA…
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Valentines Update Dropping – AUTO START

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Word is…(from tstonews.com) that the update is dropping as we speak…

This is NOT an app story update…so check your padular devices!

It STARTS with HOMER (big surprise)…

It appears to be along the lines of other recent updates…with its own currency and prize track.

More as soon as I get it further into it!

Valentines? Bring It On! But, While We’re Waiting…

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OK. It worked last time.

If we rEAlly want an update to hit, all I have to do is make it rEAlly inconvenient to cover it.

So…today…we are getting one of those amazing, clear, beautiful February days we get randomly in Oregon)62 degrees…sunny)…and I am playing hooky, and going to the golf course.

There…if that doesn’t taunt EA…nothing will!

HappyOldGuy
Patric

Lessons in Hubris and Entitlement

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Wow. What a Super Super Bowl!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tapped Tailgate-Daily Challenges-FREE DONUTS-What’s Up?

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I get it. At this point in the life ofgame (approaching 3 years since its initial release), you start to have some very unsettling feelings when EA starts acting very “Un-EA-Like.”

When Gil showed up with his TailGate offer…plus a plethora of Big Game (Super Bowl) related stuff, it was “business as usual” for EA. This is pretty typical with events that revolve around REAL world events. If you bought everything that was being offered (most of which is just recycled Tap-Ball stuff), you could EAsily spend more than 400 donuts or more to get it. Pass. Sorry Gil.
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But then something miraculous happened… Continue reading

New Update…New Gil Deal…Auto Starts

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Well…of course as soon as I rote that I was going to play golf…you KNEW there would be an update.

This one is really more of a way to extract donuts from us. A Gil Deal… for a big Tailgate party…for only 200 donuts. Sheesh…

There are also a plethora of retreaded Tap Ball items, so you can make your own Superbowl stadium… Sheesh again! Do they think this is the STUPERBowl???

OH…and there is a Homer Donut challenge…With some FREE stuff…as well a FREE DONUTS…COOL!

There are also new challenges for Springfield Heights…

I will post more on both soon.

Excited…but confusedoldguy,
Patric

While We Wait…Time for a Little Remodeling and Prognosticating

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I have no idea WHAT is going on with the next update, except that there will BE another update soon.

Topix is speculating about a few things, and one of our own community had the same glitch that Gio wrote about here…

As much as I want to believe that an update would be so geeky as to actually be called, UI_DailyChallengeSystem_Main…I am pretty sure it was a mistake, and not a look into the future. But, hey…programmers can dream, right?

What IS LIKELY?? Continue reading

Deep Space Homer…the Mission is Ending

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All good things must come to an end…right?  At least that’s what they tell us. Frankly, I get sick of “them” telling us things about our lives…they are hardly right about things like the weather, elections, Super Bowls, or things that really matter, like the Oscars.

They are usually full of well-informed opinions, that like the Groundhog on Groundhog day, are usually correct about 60% of the time, or about as accurate as tossing a coin to figure out a tie for a caucus in Iowa. But, I digress…

“They” are saying that Deep Space Homer is going to end at 7A GMT, on Feb. 4th…which depending on where you are in the world, is just a few hours away. Scratch that…I should have said, NO MATTER where you are in the world, is just a few hours away…because time zones are relative (as they like to remind me). And even if 7A on Feb 4th is actually 11 PM tonight, Feb. 3rd for me here in PST (Pacific Springfield Time) it is going to end today. So…no matter what THEY say…Deep Space Homer either ends today, or tomorrow for everyone…but at exactly the same time!!

Man…I wish they would explain relative time, and time zones in a way that makes sense. I can never remember if I lose a day or gain a day when going to Australia…which I never have…but want to do so, just before my birthday (which is on New Years), so I can have two New Year’s/Birthdays on the same day on two separate days. But, I think I have to START in Australia to do that. I’ll have to ask them…

But, what is going to change when this is all over????
Continue reading

When All Else Fails In TSTO…LISTEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

Ugh…It Must Be Monday…

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So it started out just like almost every other Monday… something went wrong as soon as I logged in.  I won’t go into details…but, lets just say that when you own an Internet Services company, you often start every day by repeating “Technology is Our Friend…Technology is Our Friend…Technology is Our Friend…Technology is Our Friend…Technology is Our Friend…”

And it went downhill from there…
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Monorail…the Update that Keeps On Giving…

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I realize that some of you (perhaps many of you), are currently only track grinding for the Five Weekly Free Donuts you get if you complete the cycle each week. But, for some of us, there is a real mission here… MORE TRACK!

As many have pointed out, as we progress into a regular weekly pattern of starting each week on a Tuesday, we remain hopeful that THIS is the week we get more than a couple of straight track (not the mini-halves…or the S-curves), but are oft disappointed in the outcome. There is certainly a “rotten, stingy bastids” aspect to this…and it borders on DB (Dickish Behavior).  But, we will persevere! We will continue to collect and build…

Why? Continue reading

Premature Launch Syndrome? Deep Space Homer…

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OK. There’s really no nice way to talk about this. But, it’s clear that EA may have a couple of glitches rolling through their “space program” that may be causing a bit of “Premature Launch Syndrome” (PLS).

Look. I know everyone (particularly the guys) are very proud of their big, tall rockets. I mean, we worked hard…tapping regularly to make our rockets this size. And, nobody wants to let a rocket as big, and tall, and substantial as that go to waste.  But, when it comes to getting the most out of the launch sequence, it really is far better for everyone if the rocket doesn’t go off prematurely. Right?

Let’s take a closer look (without actually pointing the rocket at anyone’s face).
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Don’t Let the Bear Get Us!!!

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There is a sports saying, “Be Careful of the Bear!”

No…it has nothing to do with “The Revenant” even though the bear scene in that movie has put me off of carrying “Bit O’ Honeys” in my pocket when I walk in the woods.

No…the sports saying has to do with being in condition enough to FINISH the race, or reach the goal line, or cross home plate with an in-park home run, without your legs seizing up from being out of condition.

In short…it means FALLING SHORT.

What does this have to do with TSTO? Continue reading

Deep Space Homer and Barney Premium Cheat Guide with SHOULDJA?

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There is really only one real “Dud Thud” with this otherwise really fun, and thoroughly entertaining Space themed update.

The Dud Thuds (imagine the cartoon sound of a “wha…wha” trombone followed by a muffled bass drum hit), come from the pretty paltry list of retreaded Rigalean clutter that most of already have.

However…ONE HUGE DEAL is the rebate on Barney. Yes…I am a bit torqued that everyone who didn’t already pay for him is now going to get him with a HUGE rebate…but, then again, I bought him back when he was only 175 donuts, so I don’t feel as bad…But, either way, Space Barney is cool. And he comes with the simulator…NOT to be confused with the shuttle in the hanger. Both Barney and the simulator earn stars…which help you get all of the skins and stuff in this update.

So…SHOULDJA??? Continue reading

Homer Deep Space Update – Cheat Guide with Walkthroughs

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I have to admit it… EA seems to CARE these days. At least enough to keep the game fresh, fun, and playable at all levels. In addition, they seem to have taken a hint that Freemium Players count to…because MOST “Freemium” players are really “Cheapium” players, and DO drop some dough for a donut every once in a while, if they feel the game is equitable. And now, with even more ways to get Free Donuts, in exchange for fun, creative content...it IS!

And Deep Space Homer is just that…fun and creative! It is loaded with content, funny lines, and ways to keep you having fun, without the repetitive nature of a major update, and unending bashing of the “pest of the month.”

It is pretty straightforward…and only lasts for a couple of weeks. PERFECT!  Nice job EA!

So…Let’s take a look at this update…from the inside out (as in, from inside the files a they have been spilled onto the hanger floor, by Gio and the WIKI). Continue reading

New Update Hits…SURPRISE from Space! Deep Space…

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Ha!!! My casual reverse psychology worked!!!  I said not to expect an update until next week…and this, being Thursday, my regular Men’s Day at the golf course.  But…I fooled them! I didn’t play today (because we are half-flooded from the rain).

So…an update just hit…and it looks like a BLAST!

Continue reading

What’s Coming Next?? Ask the Wiki?

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As one of our community pointed out, there have been “teasers” on the WIKI for quite a while regarding what is coming next…or at least COULD be coming next.

As has been the case with EA for years now (and it is amazing to me that it really has been years), there have always been loads of erroneous content in the game files that go unused. But, sometimes, the clutter aligns, and there are some obvious clues as to an entire New Update that could fire any day!

The first real EA clue, of course comes from EA in the form of the teaser it had with the current update download in the app store.

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So let’s take look at what’s in the files, that may align with the teaser… Spoilers May or May NOT follow!!

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Bonus Bear Time Anyone? – UPDATED Update Hits Stores!

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OK. The clock has run down to zero in the prize section…so, you can’t earn Gerald any longer.

However…as is the norm with EA…there is no “Normal” way of ending an update.  There are still bears roaming around town… I can tap them…and I can earn the “Bonus Bear Gift” (because I already earned Gerald).

And…I just played another round of “Where’s Maggie?”

There is no update in the stores. There is no auto update firing. Everything is still covered in snow, even though the dates on the server clearly had the even ending at 8A GT (midnight PST).

Yes. We are officially in update Limbo.

UPDATE….
There is a NEW UPDATE HITTING THE STORES…
What does it bring if you update now?? (and yes…you can delay it, for a bit if you choose). 
Continue reading

Final Hours…And the Unibrow Baby Starts a Bit of Mayhem

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As I mentioned last week, I finished the Bear Bopping to get Gerald, and started his quest line, while finishing up the Mini-Episode tie-in. It was all pretty easy to finish both…but, there were some questions that came up  in my mind.

Mostly…why is Gerald such a little sh#t???

When you do the traditional “Googling” (I still love that this is an actual verb now), you come up with a HUGE range of stuff…as well as some really random stuff about a “GUY called Gerald.”

It’s worth a look, as well as a recap of what to expect in the next few hours/days.  Continue reading

Final Countdown…Grinding to Success?

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I am now officially in the “hate it” camp when it comes to the song. “The Final Countdown.” It is part of a commercial that has been running non-stop for weeks and weeks, and I didn’t like the song in the first place. But now, Geico has decided that the band “Europe” was probably desperate enough for any exposure, that they could trot it out as a lark. And it is WAAAAAY overplayed.  But, I digress…

We are talking about deadlines, and goals, and rewards here… Right?

Let’s break this into two parts…the update, and expanded goals that matter.
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Big Jay Walkthrough

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I am getting a kick out of the dialogue in this one… Reminds me of SO MANY conversations we’ve had with our college-age kids.

This is pretty straightforward, and as I said before, is mostly just a way for EA to get us to spend some of the donuts we have won.

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

Tie-In Update Is Live…mostly…kinda

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There is a rumored (because I don’t have it yet…I’m calling it a rumor) update that hit(s) this morning. It is an episode tie-in featuring Apu and Sanjay…called
“Much Apu About Something…”

From what I can gather from spAnser’s tease/release on TSTONews, it mostly appears to be retreads from past 4th of July updates, (Cool Brown House, Liberty Bell, Lincoln Memorial, Liberty Lisa) but does have a Springfield Police Tank…and a version of Sanjay’s son Jameshed, just called, “Jay.”  OK Then.

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UPDATE………  I had to shut my padular device all the way down to get the update to trigger. It autostarts…

Here’s how it starts….
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Finding Maggie…and Pragmatism

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One of the rewards/benefits/curses of old age, is that you have lived enough life that you often approach problems from a far more pragmatic and realistic approach, including setting aside emotion.

A recent study came out that stated clearly, that as you age, time becomes FAR more important than money, wealth, possessions etc.  Big surprise. It goes hand in hand with the doctors who remind us that nobody on their deathbed ever says, “I wish I would have worked more!”

Of course…that is a simplified version of reality, because I am going to guess that there are more than a few people who are on their deathbed, BECAUSE they didn’t work hard enough or smart enough, and found themselves in cheap government housing, with no heat, and not enough food, in the dead of winter. Bleak. But, you see how I can get now that I am old and pragmatic!

Anyway…it really comes down to understanding the VALUE of your time…and all of the things that you could do…while you wait for the next chance to do something…which, of course, is what you do while you wait at 16-hour intervals or more, for the chance to “Find Maggie.” For up to three donuts.
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Bonus Video…The Longest Daycare

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

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

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

Ayn Rand plays a big part in this feature short…

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

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

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

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

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Mrs. Sinclair – All About Ann or Stella!!!!!!!!???

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Mrs. Sinclair…soooooo funny! Really!

As is often the situation in TSTO, the game has focused on a narrow, side-bar to the expanded story in the episode, A Streetcar Named Marge (S4E2).

In short, Marge wants to be in a play and needs to put Maggie in daycare. She chooses the Ayn Rand School for Tots, on the recommendation by the play’s director, and also because it is the only daycare not being investigated by State Officials.

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But, then the REAL fun (and the tie-in to this update) begins! Continue reading

Homer Shrugged…the Ayn Rand School Explained…kinda

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Most of you are now approaching, or have acquired the Ayn Rand School for Tots.  I’m sure most of you understand the subtle message that Homer is giving us when he finds out that threatening to blow up the town again has a way of opening doors (and destroying bar tabs). But, how many of you can honestly tell me that you understand the Ayn effect on Homer, and why I have chosen to place the school near the orphanage?

Ayn Rand…hero to Libertarians and ultra-Conservatives, is renowned for shaking the world of political philosophy to its core. And she is best known to me personally, for making me want to gouge my eyes out, rather than try to complete her almost 1,200 page “classic.”

Atlas Shrugged…what a steaming load of crap. Continue reading

Act Maggie Math – With Calendar – UPDATED

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Well…

The GOOD News about this “Act Maggie” part of the update, is that it is very simplified. There are no MerryMakers to tap. There is no Crafting. There are no leveled/upgradable buildings.

Oh. Wait. For some…that may be the Bad news!

We already had loads of people complain that they lost their chance at 20 donuts, because they didn’t finish the 5 day tasks in 5 days…before almost all of the Christmas stuff changed over to Maggie stuff.  But, I suspect, that we are also going to be just a tad bit bored, and very sick of “imaginary bears” by the time this ends…on JANUARY 19th!

There are some fun characters…but it is going to take a ton of Bear Bopping to get them all. And as there are limited ways to get Bears to Bop, you are going to have to be diligent about clearing them regularly.

Let’s take a look at the prizes and the calendar… Continue reading

Act Maggie – Premium Guide – Shouldja? With Walkthroughs

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As with every aspect of TSTO, there are always ways that EA opts to beg for money from the players. This makes sense. EA is a company. They don’t run on fake pastry. They require real money to pay the bills, payroll, and hosting costs. That said, I am still a firm believer that companies are rewarded for good service, creative offerings, and logical returns on your investment by your purchases.

So…do the offerings in this level earn your approval enough to get you to pull the donut trigger?  In short… SHOULJA???

Continue reading

Act Maggie…Complete Cheat Guide with Walkthroughs

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This update begins differently, depending on if you have Maggie or not…but quickly catches up when Maggie appears. Either way, the good news is, You Get Maggie! (if you don’t already have her).

I’m not really sure what prompted the programmers and writers to take such a complete hard left (or right, depending on your political leanings) turn away from the Christmas Update, but this feels like it was just tacked on to a different incomplete update. It’s like they already had this great update idea to introduce Maggie, and couldn’t figure out how to keep the Christmas update going…so they just tacked the two together.  But…I guess that happens when you bring petting zoos, babies, and mutated animals into a Holiday story (you don’t want to be the pooper scooper guy in that scenario!!).

You’ll see what I mean.

Spoilers Follow- If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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The Year that Was…and Shall Be!

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a look back.  Continue reading

Festivus for the Rest of Us? Final Days of Act II

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After weeks of “Holiday Merriment” I have to admit that I am really, really, really ready for something else. I do like Christmas…mostly. But, let’s be honest about it…what should be a celebration of new chances for peace and understanding, has devolved into a crazy commercial time, trying to juggle time with family, friends and football. The last one shouldn’t even be in the mix, but with a full roster of “garbage bowls” and pre-playoff jockeying in the NFL, there is always a distraction available.

It is the main reason that I wanted (and am excited to have won) the Comic Book Guy Festivus skin. Festivus, is for the Rest of Us, according to Frank Costanza, George’s Dad on Seinfeld.

When the episode first aired in 1997, the concept of Festivus seemed ludicrous to me. Now…as I creep to within hours of my 62nd birthday, it starts to make sense… Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

Homer Starts…and continues…and requires you to care to keep logging in every half hour or so…
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Weekly Challenges Week IV Cheat Guide

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OK. I have to admit it. I am becoming addicted to the EAsy free donuts that EA is giving us for some pretty EAsy weekly challenges.  Even the laziest of tappers has to be having a hard time passing up Free 20 Donuts a week!

Alas…this may be the last week…at least until the next major update…so Do the Challenges…Get Yer Donuts!

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

Merry Christmas

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Family…friends…and a holiday beard.

Our favorite time of the year!

Our best to you and yours!g

Patric, Debbie, Maddy, Ali, Ali’s Ryan

New Gil Deal… Really?

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I’m on the road today… So I can’t really give this thing proper treatment from my phone…

But I’ll give you the basics below the fold…
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Everything’s Coming Up Maggie!

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That’s right. After more than 3 years…EA has finally seen fit to give us MAGGIE! Whoohooooooo!

It has been leaked repeatedly…but, it is a big enough event that I am willing to re-leak the leaked info once again. Not sure if that is a double negative or not…but it doesn’t change the fact that below the fold…you will see what is in story after 8A GT (Midnight, Pacific Springfield Time).

Spoilers to Follow…If you don’t want to know, don’t click below!
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The Very Regular Irregular Tree Stand SNAFU- UPDATED

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Ah…as the sun breaks on day TWO of what should be a simple fix, we have no fix. That is the benchmark of an EA SNAFU (Situation Normal All FU$&ed Up). Days and days to fix something that would take a competent programmer minutes, in the “real world” where companies care about customer support.

Yesterday…half of the known TSTO universe reported that when you went to do the first challenge of this week’s weekly challenge (Craft and Place Xmas Trees Slightly Irregular), that if you already had it (as most people did, because it earns Mistletoe/Holly), the game didn’t recognize it…and you couldn’t get credit for doing the task.

Well…it’s DAY TWO…supposedly EA is “working on it” but things have gotten even weirder and funnier!!

UPDATE!!!!  CHECK YOUR DEVICES…There is an update…that fixes the challenge SNAFU… Seems EA reads!
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Korn and Cookies…It’s Not Too Late!

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First of all…WOW!!  I am blown away by how quickly we were able to raise the funds for the first round of Solar Lighting for the Buyijja Village School! This Community Rocks!! 

All of you who donated should have an email with your Korn and Cookie Recipes (check your email). If you donated and didn’t get one, please contact me at tstofriends@gmail.com

For those who donated in the first few days, I sent along a Bonus Link to be able to download music from The Claymation Christmas Celebration. You can find out more information about that project, and my involvement in it HERE.

But…It’s Not Too Late!! You can be part of this amazing effort, and still get your rewards… Continue reading

New Monorail Station Brings Good News and Bad News

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This time of year, I think about the wonderful old lady (who was most likely younger than I am now), who took care of us when we were little.  Mrs. Andersen was our next-door neighbor, and was from Norway. Every year at this time, she would make a huge stack of Lefse, which is kind of like a very flat potato tortilla…and she would smother each one with butter and sugar. I loved them.

She had this wonderful, thick Norwegian accent…and often said, “OOFDA!” when something bad happened. She was a wonderful lady, who was very much a part of my early childhood memories.

I know what she would say about getting the chance to buy the new North Pole Station for the Monorail! Let’s check it out! Continue reading

Weekly Challenges Week III – Cheat Guide – Updated

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Hey…it’s worth 20 Free Donuts. “Nuf said.

This week, as always, you have 7 days to do 5 days of tasks…so you really don’t have an excuse. Right?

And…at this point there is a HUGE BUG/SNAFU with the first challenge. With no current fix…

Spoilers Follow...If you don’t want to know…don’t click below! Continue reading

Unto Us a Child…

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a look at what to expect…

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

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

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

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

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

To Boost Interest… I am going to give every person who donates at least $10 a Special Christmas Treat.
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Get New Friends for Christmas!

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As with all of the major updates…you NEED FRIENDS to make it fun. Friends give you presents… presents give you currency…currency can be used for more stuff!  So… Friends = Stuff!

Looking for friends?  Place your USERNAME (your TSTO screen login name) in the comments below!

 

Springfield Heights Part II – Walkthrough and Cheat Guide

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Ah. Now I remember why I stopped playing the Springfield Heights part of my game.  There are so many bits and pieces to doing even the most simple task, that you are pretty much wrapped up in a constant bargaining process of acquiring parts to move on. And MOST of what you can acquire, is huge and gaudy. But, hey…this whole part of Springfield is supposed to represent the top .05% of Western society…with loads of falderal to reach a point of abject ostentatiousness.

And…every once in a while, a veiled reference to the oligarchy of the illuminati who pull all of the strings from their “Mountain Lodge.”

The funniest part of this update, is the highlight on the strange, servile worship that Smithers has for Burns, as well as the role marketing and advertising play in keeping the riff raff consumed with doing the daily work to earn the “big prize.”

Trust me. To earn the “big prize” (the Mountain Lodge) there will be LOADS of coffee, arm chairs, and yoga mats collected…so you can earn and collect smart pads and golden statues…so you can do more tasks…to earn the right to make your buildings bigger and more ostentatious. It’s a vicious circle, once you hit the treadmill of success…

Let’s take a look!
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Man…Really? Springfield Heights Returns

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OK. Not wild about posting this. Instead of a holiday update, or a winter update, or a Christmas update, we are getting another Springfield Heights Update.  Come on. Where is the snow?  Where is the Happy? Where are the elves???

Nope. Instead… we get Cookie Kwan.

It’s an in-game update…not app store.

Some info below the fold… Continue reading

Offering Support for Those Who Offer Hope

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

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

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

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A Basic Primer on “Living Wide”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Using Garbage Time to Change Lives…

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

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

It is not a time to sit…

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

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

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

Happy Easter… We Have Much to Celebrate! 

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

 

10 Keys to Happiness…TSTO Style

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

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

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

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

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

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Connected at the Pixels…But, are we more?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meh…

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now…I will.

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Why This Site Survives…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TSTO Friends Community: AboutChoo!

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Ok so here’s the deal…

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

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

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

TSTO Community World Map and Downloadable Travel-Brochure

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

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

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

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Add Neighbors- Wild West and Beyond

GET-NEW-FRIENDS

Add your USERNAME in the comments below if you want more neighbors for the Wild West Update and beyond.