DID – Flipping the Switch for Quick Remodels

In this edition of DID (Designing in Downtime) I am going to go to the vault for part of it, and then do a quick turn on easy solutions to “change things up quickly.”   Yes…this is a bit of a cop out…but I am knee deep in a major remodel, and writing time is being wedged in…like so many two-by-fours in a newly framed wall.

While looking back at some of my earliest TSTO blogging, I came across an archived story about the Candy Striped Cooling Towers, which were part of “Community Prizes” back in the day. Remember Community Prizes?

What is evident in the story, is that there were a TON of problems with the game at the time, and people were freaking out. It kind of makes me laugh to think about the types of things people whine about now. We have become an entitled bunch. But, I digress…

There are loads of items that allow you to change them up, with the “flip of a slider,” giving you a whole new look. Let’s take a look.

Without taking the time to do the research (I really do have to get back to framing in the new walk-in shower), off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of  obvious items with multiple faces.

“The Cooling Towers” are actually part of huge list of holiday themed items that can be flipped for Christmas. But, when it came out, people freaked!

Here’s what I wrote back in January, of 2014…

The REAL Story Behind The Candy Cooling Towers

As many of you know, part of our roll as bloggers and purveyors of TSTO News is “keeping it real.” In other words, when we find out something game-related that blows up a popular myth, we are not only compelled to report it, but in fact feel motivated by your trust to do so.

We have uncovered just this kind of information regarding the latest Community Prize, the Candy Cooling Towers.  Many people pointed out that they thought it seemed odd that the Candy Cooling Towers were the final prize when it was clearly substandard, and late to the Holiday aspect of the game.

The truth is even more shocking than we could have imagined.

The first sign that something was amiss was the hacked game files last week of the EA Origin servers. It was reported that a Denial Of Service attack was being perpetrated by a group intent on bringing down game sites worldwide. The group, known only as DERP, was originally reported as a group of hackers who had a grudge against a number of gaming companies, including EA.

But, we have learned that the REAL group behind this attack, were ALSO responsible for “Tagging” the cooling towers at the Springfield Nuclear Plant, and both acts were part of a wider internal insurrection by Holiday Update workers.

To understand the reasoning behind the insurrection, we point to two critical changes in the recent makeup of the commercial Christmas holiday.  The First, as we earlier reported, was significant changes in gift-giving, primarily the shift from traditional gifts to gift cards. This created a glut of Holiday workers in the Displaced Elf Repurposing Program (DERP), who had originally been acquired for Toy Factory Production by Claus Co. and were ultimately repurposed into Gift Card and Package Gathering during the 2013 TSTO Holiday Update.

When we had a chance to check the personnel records (also available through game files),  we were shocked to find out that a great number of these workers had been imported from OZ, and were  former members of the Lollipop Guild, a nefarious gang best remembered for the “Brick Road Riots” in the late 1930s. 

“Elves can live as long as 3oo years, but they are temperamental, and can be destructive when pushed,” reported Dr. Thomas Grimm, who has been treating semi-mythical characters for depression and anger issues for most of his storied career. “They are great workers…some of the most dedicated you will find. But, they don’t like getting jerked around by management.”

As was revealed in interviews with several elves who wished to remain anonymous, but went on record, the “the final straw” had been the extension of the Holiday Update for a full week.

A DERP representative stated, “Look…we weren’t wild about the mess with the whole Homer-Lisa Perpetual Gluttony/Drunkenness/Search mess. It made our lives kinda irrelevant. Nobody wanted to play the game the right way…they were getting all of the Wheel spins they needed without collecting gift cards or delivering presents to neighbors. So, the Big Guy, Mr. Claus, furloughed even more of us, while all of the Springfieldians ran around town like…well…elves. It was humiliating!”

“Then…because of their lousy programming, they arbitrarily extended the whole mess by a week, so EVERYONE had a chance to get all of the personal prizes…even though they didn’t really need us to do it,” the DERP REP continued.  “And it wasn’t in the contract!  Claus Co. is just trying to bust our union so he can get a better deal next Christmas. Well…enough is enough. Ya know?”

Apparently, enough WAS enough. DERP hacked the game origin servers, and then sped up the delivery of the final prize by changing the countdown timers. And of course, the final prize was the GRAFFITI TAGGED Cooling Towers.  Nothing says AMBIGUOUS, like decorating a nuclear power plant to look like a Candy Cane.

The only question that remains….will EA  allow the Candy Stripe Towers to remain past January 7th?  Or like the Plow King, will they render the stripes impotent once the snow has left Springfield.

Only time will tell.

And of course…we all know how that turned out. Wait…no…I don’t remember.

Anyway…back to remodeling.

Oh…how I wish I could just tap a switch and make the second bathroom remodel happen. 

But, noooooooo…. As with so many remodeling projects with older house, you discover the shortcuts the contractors did to bang the house out in the good old “Let’s build a whole neighborhood of 140 houses in 2 years, 1970s).  Great shortcuts, and laziness…like…say…pouring a couple of bags of concrete into the hole with the supply lines and the sewer connection…so you have to hand chisel, and then JACK HAMMER the concrete out so you can re-plumb for the walk-in shower unit your wife wants.

The Jackhammer was a first…and one of the “manliest” tools I have ever used. So, much destruction, so quickly…But, I digress…

Tell us YOUR favorite “Switch Flipper Building” and what you do with it…

Keep on Tappin’! 

25 responses to “DID – Flipping the Switch for Quick Remodels

  1. Springfield Elementary into the crypto-farm or set in on fire with The Paralyzer. The Railyard, Coconut Babaloo and Chateau Maison can be old and run down or spruced up. IRS building, Krustyland Shuttle and New Lard Lad have 3 different facades. The Soilant Red Factory and Radioactive Man Statue have several different stages. The Outlands event brought some new building skins I didn’t play enough to get but I do have the trashed Simpson House. Sending Jesse for 60mins to protest meat at Krustyburger is a good quick change. You can level buildings with the SWAT tank. Other than the previously mentioned Christmas & Halloween skins and Valentine cooling towers, that’s all I can think of right now.

  2. johnnyicemaker

    Lucky they went cheap on your concrete floor and there was no steel in there keeping it reinforced. My worst DIY was jack hammering 50-feet of concrete sidewalk on the side of my house. It had steel mesh (imagine chicken wire but thicker steel wiring) in the middle of it. Every time I hammered into the concrete it just bored a hole the size of the bit and then I had to dead lift the hammer all the while getting friction resistance from the hole I made. I estimated the lift was equivalent to 80-100 pounds each time I had to lift the hammer straight up. Took about 3 holes to start a crack in the concrete each time. imagine my joy when I came to a concrete patch job in the sidewalk that didn’t have the steel in it, that was like butter in comparison. Worst DIY Project Ever!

    • HATE THAT! Of course…that is the correct way to do a concrete path…so I can’t blame them. However…having to delicately chip out the live supply lines, like an archaeologist removing a dinosaur vertebrae from granite…without breaking it…and you have an idea of how much I had to lift the hammer. Too much.

  3. I want that Kill E Mart skin but noooo. I missed that event. 😿

  4. Hey Patrick.. not sure why.. but in those pics you remind me of certain someone….. in our padular devices… who… who…. who could it be…???


  5. I decided to design myself a 6 Hole Par 3 Golf Course. Since it’s the Simpsons, why would you make a 9 or 18 hole golfcourse?

  6. Love the Candy Cooling Towers tale!

    And best of luck with the house remodelling – me, I avoid DIY like the plague, as most tools seem to be designed for folks with more fingers than thumbs 🙂

  7. Looks like you unlocked the “Jackhammer Patric” skin! 🤣
    I’m not a fan of building skins, actually (but I only possess a few). Flaming Mo’s is nice, though.

    • LOL! Yep…it was fun…but I have a new respect for people that do it for a living. 40 lb. jackhammer gets pretty heavy after an hour.

      • Yikes – I’m thinking, as a musician you must be worried about injuring your hands? (But what a great addition to your home!)

      • Tracy-1ltwoody920

        As I recall, one of the job requirements for being a Utility Worker at the Water District (where I worked) was the ability to lift 90 pounds —- because that is what the combined weight of the pneumatic Jack Hammer was.
        So, although 40 pounds was a workout……

        • I can lift close to 300 pounds… but, lifting and holding for an extended period of time…while it is jumping around on concrete? Not so much….

          • Not to dis what you can lift, it is more than I can lift. I met an 83 years old female championship dead-lifter two weekends ago. She can still deadlift 285 pounds. She started deadlifting competitively 20 years ago at 315 lbs. Like Damn Grandma!

          • Tracy-1ltwoody920

            What you ‘can’ lift and what you ‘should’ lift are two separate items.
            I have no doubt of your ability, I do think that Wisdom of Age….
            Why am I doing this?

            • So true!! But, my wife is a task master…I’m just the worker. So, I life what must be lifted!

              • Sounds like another Very Fine Lady who earns the description She Who Must Be Obeyed…

                Wouldn’t swap mine for anything, though, and I get the impression yours is the same 🙂

              • Absolutely… she is the reason I am who I am. No doubt about it.

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