Look Who’s Back…


Let’s start off with the fact that I am as surprised to be writing this here, as some of you must be who are reading it. After almost three years of writing about TSTO, and almost FOUR years of playing the game, anyone with even a modicum of common sense would have looked at this headline and instantly gone to “SNOPES” to check on the likelihood of it being real.

And yet…here I am…CrankyOldGuy (who for the majority of the past three years has taken great pleasure in calling TSTOAddicts “bliss ninnies” and “EA suckups”) actually agreeing to become a regular contributor to this site…while winding things down on my own.

To quote myself, “HOLYFREAKINSHIRT!!!!!!!!!”

To be honest about it (and let’s face it…being brutally honest about TSTO has always been my credo), the game has changed…a lot! But, more important, I have changed (anyone who says you can’t teach an old guy new tricks is fullacrap).

And then…there is Riley.

My whole stance on keeping up the “Us-vs-Them” battle between TSTOAddicts and TSTOFriends went into the waste can, when I heard that Alissa had a baby girl who was in the NIC unit after she was born. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am the father of 5 daughters.  I know the overwhelming fear and responsibility of parenthood.  I reached out to let Alissa know that I had her in my thoughts and prayers, and that I knew in my heart that Riley was going to be all right.

And then, I met Riley in person. That sealed the deal.

I had been struggling for the better part of a year as to whether I wanted to keep TSTOFriends alive. It is/was like a child of sorts…of my own creation (with the help of a good friend and fellow writer Ryan Kagy…no “I have two daddies “ jokes please), and with a life and personality of its own that often surprised me in the direction it grew.

I wanted to pull the plug repeatedly.  I almost did when Ryan left to “Get A Life” (and he has!) after just a few months. But, just when I was planning to exit the TSTO stage, my youngest daughter, Maddy, threw me a curve ball.

She had surprised us all by taking an internship in rural Uganda.  She told us about a small school there, serving more than 150 kids in the middle of a jungle…with no books, no supplies, no water, no bathrooms…and she asked for our help.

When I wrote about this on TSTOFriends, and set up a small “GoFundMe” account for anyone who wanted to help, I was overwhelmed to find support from TSTO players around the world. “Friends of Buyijja” was born.

It gave the site new purpose and a new life. In short, it helped players of a silly game (run by a greedy triumvirate of companies), be able to “Do Something That Matters.” And we have. I won’t go into the details here, but Friends of Buyijja has grown over that two years. We have done amazing things for that school, and the results are self-evident.

At the same time, the game began morphing. And not in a way that made most of us “Traditional Tappers” happy. We are from a time when Level Updates brought familiar Simpsons characters, familiar Springfield buildings, and great writing… a time, long, long ago in the life of TSTO. A time before “SuperHeroes” and “Wild West” and “Casinos” started dominating portions of our Springfields. A time when you could justify the time you spent tapping (as long as you were wise enough to hide it from your loved ones and friends), and took pride in the result.

I know. I sound like an old man extolling the virtues of “sitting around the radio on a spring night, listening to the tales of Little Orphan Annie while fighting over the last helping of berry cobbler.” But hey…cobbler is good.

So…why didn’t I just pull the plug on TSTOFriends and just walk away???


I had every intention of doing just that. I have loads of other interests, including my core business (which ironically has to do with the radio business) is shifting its focus. It’s an election year and I volunteer, write and blog, and besides Friends of Buyijja, I am active at my golf club, am a grandpa to 4, and am planning a wedding (or two, or three) for my youngest daughters.


But, then…when I hooked up for a lunch with Alissa, in her home state of New Jersey, (as part of a 30-Day Rediscovering American 9,600 mile driving trip) to let her know that there were no hard feelings, and that I was very happy for her life…I met Riley. And I saw what this little girl meant to Alissa, and how much time and effort running TSTOAddicts, having a full-time job, and being the best mom ever to this amazing little girl, was doing to her.

She had “that look.”

I won’t go into details. But, let’s just say…that after running a blogs, with readerships that span the globe…comprised of readers who are more than a “little quirky” (COME ON…you KNOW you are!!). we had a lot to talk about…and more than a lot in common.

And, a plan was hatched. Call it a survival plan. For both of us.

I agreed to write…to add some “Pragmatic, Honest, Keep-EA-On-Their-Toes” articles, if I could talk about Friends of Buyijja once in a while.  I promised to keep the politics over on my CrankyOldGuy blog. I promised to keep it funny…or as funny as I could be when EA has some giant SNAFU or Glitch that makes all of our lives miserable. And, I promised to stop calling Bunny a rodent. It seemed fair…and not really very nice…considering that the motto of Friends of Buyijja is “Peace, Hope, and Love.”

And as we were talking…I noticed that Riley was listening…and smiling…and nodding along as she saw her Mommy relax and laugh. Kids are like that…especially the ones who don’t talk yet. There is a quiet, subtle strength in the way they can distract the tension by starting a game of “get the old man to pick up my toy that I am dropping repeatedly from my high chair.”

It was a deal that was natural…and easy…and made us both sigh with relief.

So…I’ll be around. Not sure how regularly. But, I’ll be here to talk about things in a way that Alissa doesn’t feel comfortable doing. I’ll help with “update stuff”…and give an opinion on which Premium stuff is worth spending REAL money on (not much), or why I think EA’s programming blows chunks (it does) or the virtues of designing a town that makes you happy (mine still does).

But mostly, I’ll be in the corner…allowed to scratch my TSTO itch in public. I’m old. I’m Cranky. I’ve earned the right to be honest with my feelings…even if rubs a few of you the wrong way.


I have a short answer… “Get over it. If we can move on…then, so can you.”

The long answer is less polite, and has a whole lot of “For the love of God…it’s a ridiculous game…GET A LIFE” kinds of things wrapped around copious explanations of how you all need to do more than just tap.

But none of us wants that….right?

And so…we’ll move forward. I will wind down TSTOFriends.  I will keep evolving the work we do at Friends of Buyijja, and ask you to join in if you choose. And when I get the urge to want to spew about politics, or media, or something other than TSTO…I will do so on CrankyOldGuy. I have learned my lesson. Really.


OK. Let’s get on with it.

Riley says so.

104 responses to “Look Who’s Back…

  1. Rita Romero Mhando

    I enjoyed the post. I did not read anything that was bad. Sometimes, I can be a grumpy old woman. I can relate. Welcome!

  2. Slightly Younger Cranky Dude

    Welcome back, COG. Glad to see you and Alissa can put your differences behind you. Life is too short for strife.

  3. As Alissa has said, some people here will jump in to defend each other when certain other posters have been slightly less than cordial and / or had a differing opinion.

    I’d say there are maybe 2 or 3 groups of 5 to 10 (or maybe it’s one core group, I’m not sure) who will talk to each other on here like its messenger and not comment much on some I the more insightful posts by relative unknown or irregular posters.

    Even though some here think there is more of a community spirit here than elsewheelre I challenge that. For the reason I listed above for one. It sometimes feels / looks like there is a class system or something not quite so severe, but a definite division.
    I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be support amongst people who are close to, if not actually, ‘proper friends’ here, but it was all too obvious as to who was going to wade in next and pile in to Patric. There’s been nothing said by him out of place or turn. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Lots of bashing of Patric by all and sundry before the ‘inks dry on his contract’ as it were. Which by the way, I did too. And along with many other comments like it, it has been taken well and handled graciously.

    I tip my hat to you Cranky.
    As I implied before, I took a while to take a shine to you on Friends, but I value your input as much as or more than anyone.
    A fresh view is a great addition to an already near perfecr site.

    Thank you Alissa, Bunny, Patric and Wookie.

    • Let’s let the “ink dry” and see what day 2 brings lol

      • That got me wondering…..
        I wonder if the phrase ‘Let the ink dry’ will go the way of the dodo in this day of digital media.
        I think of ‘mad as a hatter’ as one such phrase.
        Can anybody think of any other phrases that have gone out of style?

    • I’m truly sorry if you’ve ever felt excluded our ignored here…that’s not a good thing. 🙁 But I don’t understand how you can say that folks don’t comment on other people’s “insightful” posts, even when they’re by someone new to the site, since all of the current “regular” posters were once new here. I didn’t know a single person on this site before I started hanging out here (and I’ve still never met anyone from this site in person), so any connections I’ve made here were just from commenting here and having people respond to my comments.

      I think if you look carefully you’ll see that when someone new posts for the first time (and mentions that they’re new here), several people will usually post a “welcome” comment in return.

      Also, I don’t think the problem is when people have differing opinions here; in my experience, most people here only get upset when someone is being disrespectful in the way they express their opinions. (When you did that Patric didn’t say anything “out of place or out of turn” I agree with that in terms of his original post, but not in terms of his reply to Simp7….calling someone blatantly insulting names is not okay. (I tried to go back to find the exact phase he used, but it looks like that whole comment thread has been deleted.))

      But, again, based on what you’ve expressed that you’ve experienced or seen here, I guess we all need to work a little harder to be a bit more sensitive to how, and to whom, we communicate here!

      • You’re absolutely right in that there is the common courtesy ‘welcome to the boards’ posts. Not denying that. I feel it’s somewhat lost therefter.

        I’m not overly concerned personally about my posts not seeing too many replies to be honest. I’m not commenting to be a ‘top’ poster whom everyone wants to follow etc etc.

        There’s a definite forum vibe though, where someone would have to ‘cut their teeth’ for a while before being properly ‘in’.
        It’s also akin to a local bar. Of course people will know each other and I wouldn’t expect them to stop talking to each other or stop having a laugh, but there could do with being a little more inclusion I feel.

        • Apologises because this is going to be a ramble.
          I agree and disagree.
          When I first started using this site it was purely for the posts and then scrolling through the comments to see if anything was added info wise. After a while I started posting comments and questions and sometimes they are answered sometimes not responded to. So was it I was/am too unknown? Was the comment daft and not worth anyone’s time? Who knows. You can drive yourself bonkers with this stuff. Generally I think the people who use this site are pretty good at responding to comments. Yes when you flick through you can see the easy familiarity some have but like any social situation some are going to be friends some not. When I see someone’s comment that resonates with me or a question I can answer I’ll respond but if not I won’t. And that is where I am with this whole shebang. If Patric has something to say I don’t like I’ll shrug and move on,same as if it was you or anyone else on here.