Friday Filler – Getting Back to Normal…Mostly

Thank Grog It’s Firday!! 

So, today, in Oregon (the State of the REAL SPRINGFIELD) we began Phase One of the “Covid Re-Opening” plan.  We were able to do so, because in Lane County (which is also the home county to the REAL SPRINGFIELD), our numbers have been so low, as to be almost negligible.  But, this isn’t about that particular “Getting Back to Normal…Mostly.

No. Believe it or not, this is actually about “Getting Back to Normal” in TSTO…mostly.

Because, the fact is, during all of this recent Covid Craziness (and the most recent “TSTO Event”), the game just kept being the game.  Same routines. Same results. Same minor distractions. Same kinds of SNAFUs (which stands for Situation Normal All F’d Up), and is an old military term.  If you don’t believe in military SNAFU’s…then just wait until the military is in charge of doing the vaccines.  But, I digress…

The fact is…when you look at our Springfields, almost NOTHING has changed, except for a little more (a lot more?) clutter added to the landscape.

But for me…one of the most important characters in my game, is back to “normal.”

That’s right, Grandpa has taken off his “wrasslin tights,” and put on his normal street clothes (thankfully it’s not “no pants Tuesday”) and is doing his job, of feeding pigeons to the black hole, next to the Supercollider, so it doesn’t grow, and swallow up Springfield. He does so with the help of the ghost of Mona at his side, while Shary Bobbins remains aloft (as the effects of being too close to the Super-Conductor, keep her airborne in penance for her original appearance during Easter of 2014).

No. That is not a typo.  Shary first appeared during the wHellish Easter update of 2014…when they first started doing Easter updates…before they stopped doing Easter updates.  More than SIX YEARS AGO.   And yes…while holding a grudge against Sherry (and EA) for that long may not be healthy for my PTSD therapy (brought about by the Easter 2014 update),  I’ll live with the consequences.

But, look carefully at the picture…what else do you see?

There’s Baby Marge…not to be confused with Young Marge…or Marge…or Muscle Marge…or any of the other Marge-types that wander around Springfield AT THE SAME TIME.  So maybe seeing her by the black hole makes the most sense, as Time/Space could be disrupted if Grandpa is gone for a while…which he was...during this event.

But, the picture also shows the duck, wheeling his nuclear waste by the Supercollider, and Lisa, getting FAR TOO CLOSE to Mr. Bergstrom, which in another time/place, may have created all sorts of tabloid gossip, but now just makes you ask, “where are your masks and gloves??”

And walking away, perhaps too casually, ignoring it all as if it didn’t exist, is “the Parson.” Who is likely just trying to get to the golf course, which also recently re-opened in most states…but has been open in Oregon, for the duration.

What a weirdly distorted reality.

But, really…what is reality?
Especially during this time that seems more, and more, unreal?

Because…if you look at the picture again…after just a minute of contemplation…it has all changed.

With the exception of Grandpa and Mona (who may or may not really be there), everyone is gone…except way up in the top right corner, Baby Marge is wandering off. Her original location replaced by the freakin’ turkey that haunts me as a reminder to the REAL TURKEYS who wander our neighborhood, unfettered by fear, due to local regulations. If the impending “meat shortage” turns out to be real, they may not be long for this earth, either! Because they wander around without fear…even though the rest of us are terrified.

And that is really what most of this is all about, right?

Fear. It is the the fear that “The Game May Be Over!” (both figuratively and in reality). It is the fear that “Nothing will ever be the SAME!” even though “the same” hasn’t been the same for years and years.

The old saying goes, “There is nothing to fear, except fear itself!” which sounds great…except if it is spoken by some wizened-up old guy coming out of a packed bar, and belching and burping without a mask, as he grabs your arm and tells you that he’s “proud to have his freedom back,” while he steals yours.

But, that can’t happen in Springfield. Because in Springfield, even when things are AWFUL (like Easter of 2014…damn you wHell and Shary!), they always get fixed, and get back to normal. Unless you are talking about the countless bugs that we have just learned to live with…because we really don’t think they’ll ever really get fixed. Living with bugs. Acclimating…to keep playing.

Isn’t that what the “New Normal” is in TSTO (and the rest of our reality)? Just learning to live with whatever the next incarnation of “normal” turns out to be. Because the fact is…we don’t have a freakin’ clue what “normal” is going to look like in a few weeks and months.  We may WISH things were as bad as they were during  Easter 2014.

Or…after a time to adjust…and appreciate some of the good things that have come out of this, we may continue to say, “Well…at least is isn’t as bad as Easter 2014,” so we can placate ourselves for the things and people we will certainly lose.

I’m not super optimistic about a lot of things right now.  I stopped being optimistic about TSTO a long time ago.  The game has been “on a ventilator” for well over a year now. But, every once in a while, the game wakes up…and shows a glimmer or two of “the old TSTO.”  But, it is a glimmer.

In physics…everything is thought to be in a state of Entropy, which in simplistic terms, is defined as “the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. Entropy is the general trend of the universe toward death, disorder and chaos.”

No system remains completely unchanged and inert.  But, it is the fact that most change takes place over extended periods of time, that we just don’t notice it or acclimate to it in ways that help us accept it as “normal.”  When it comes to the environment, and the slow but steady pollution of “our home,” we tend to simply accept it, because is happens slowly, and in ways that are easy to identify. Kind of like the old adage of the “frog in a slow to boil pot.”  It’s not really that bad…until it is.

But, when things happen in a hurry…outside of the “normal,” we are forced to see it as it really is, and do our best to adapt (jump the hell out of the pot), or to completely ignore the reality, and pay the consequences (become a meal for Entropy).  Weirdly…for millions of years…natural selection has been very efficient at deciding who the “winners and losers” are in any adverse condition.  We’ll have to see where natural selection takes us on this new journey.

So yes, we are back to the ” old new normal” in TSTO…during a time when the “New, New Normal” is anything but.  And nobody knows if/when Entropy wins, and chaos becomes the the best we can do.

Oh. Man. I really have to watch which mushrooms I eat on my mushroom burger. Some of them…well…make me more than a little “deep.”

Look, here’s the thing…
Life is transitory at best. There are no givens, no sure things, no guarantees, no matter how much we want them.  Life is defined as a constant state of change…and most certainly a change for the worse. But, we keep trying, right?

And now, that I have NEW EYES, I see the world far more clearly than I did last year, or the year before. And in some cases…I guess, I wish I couldn’t see things as clearly (like when I look in the mirror).  But, I’m still here. And TSTO is still here.  And if you have read this far…YOU are still here.

Are we the same as we were a few months ago?  Nope. But, we’re still here.


I’ll leave you with a funny pic my daughter Katie (the one who works for CBS News in NYC, but commutes to her home in New Jersey every day) sent me. In Oregon, we have fewer Covid cases/deaths for the entire state, than just the COUNTY in which Katie lives. Our I-5 signs flash, “Stay at home! Save lives!”  But, in New Jersey…on the Turnpike?  I guess they know how to face up to things with a sense of humor.  I like that. Same message…mostly.  But, one that shows their toughness.

May we all live to laugh about this in the future.

Stay Safe. Use Common Sense. Keep Yer Distance, Pal!

31 responses to “Friday Filler – Getting Back to Normal…Mostly

  1. I play a free zombie game that is giving out free hero days (their version of premium, paid for side of the game) for this last year of flash. I think they had given up on the game a couple years ago, but some of us diehard fans of the game kept on playing and hoping for a reprieve. I think in hopes we’ll transition to some of their other games if they can keep us with the franchise. there is a beta version that might take us beyond 2020. Simpsons has way more fans, I think, someone will figure out how to make it viable. I hope, it’s been a good run, hope it continues.

    • As others have posted, it will likely remain around, as long as the show remains on the air. I think what most people lament and mourn, is the loss of “quality game play.”

      The writers have done a great job with dialogue…in fact, improving over the years. No complaints there. The programmers? Not so much.

  2. Thank you.

  3. Say, is there any way possible we can request EA to allow us the option to get rid of extra items we dont need? it doesnt matter it we’re not offered money for them; just to rid our inventories suffices.As an old timer to the game, i sometimes think that may be why my game glitches or slows down so much. It would be nice to streamline our inventory a bit.

  4. Professor Miller, Thank you for todays lecture, insightful and entertaining, but I need to ask which sections will be on the final exam?

  5. Yah, Bob good job on this challenge. Looking forward to the next one.

  6. If Pat thinks our signage in NJ is funny (I’ve seen everything from “Don’t be a Knucklehead”. To “Don’t tailgate, cars or people”), he should see the NJ Twitter account…

  7. Just read an article that a scientist postulates that “black holes” are really “dark energy stars” .

    • Yep. Not actually new theory…and not shared by many physicists. But something is out there that is pushing/pulling that isn’t easily measured.

  8. Keep Yer Distance, Pal!, Put it on a T shirt, make millions, got to admit I am not looking forward to what ever normal comes next, I do know it won’t be good, more cars = pollution, back to a work that’s losing 90million in wage and running costs a Month, who also just announced major cut backs in the next year.

    I must admit at 56 young I enjoyed the isolation, daily walks, cooking, DIY, gardening, but when that end and my routine changes who knows what’s round the corner.

    Nice post patric, stay safe all, mind your distance, it’s not over yet.

    • Nope. Not by a long shot. Working from home since 2009…the only real change for me is having an office mate 24/7.

      Going golfing right now…we both agree, I need to go alone. LOL!

  9. Phew !!! That was a long post, even for you Patric.
    Loved the motorway sign😂 &
    keep taking those mushrooms !!!

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Good thoughts Patric. It is funny how so many people are just so inflexible that they just cannot adjust to change. Unable to work from home, unable to be with their families, unable to function without constant noise and social stimulation. Sure, I miss doing some things, but overall, the change has been wonderful for my mental health.

    Ohio is in the top 20 for covid cases, but things are opening up here. Outside dining is opening up. I’m glad in that some restaurant workers will be able to work again, but I won’t be going. Too soon. I will let others test the waters.

    It’s going to be a long while before things go back to what they were.

    • Yeah…our Country Club opened more today…with limited, by reservation, limited seating. It may be the only place I trust…kinda…If I sit outside on the deck.

      But, anything remotely resembling a buffet? No. Thank. You.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I want to see things open back up, but just in a controlled and responsible way. Gym owners were suing the state that they be allowed to open. But I can’t think of a worse place to be, people don’t wipe the machines as it is…

        Anyways, they are now permitted to open, as are public pools! What the?

        I won’t be visiting either.

        PS: that study you linked to is interesting, but the methodology is bad. Still I agree with the overall conclusion.

        • Unfortunately, there are very good studies with solid methodology. It’s still mostly throwing darts.

          For me…it’s just common sense. Stay out of large groups. Avoid people without masks. Wash your hands a lot.

  11. Harold Robinson

    EA says. “No. The game is not ending. … Perhaps once the show ends (if it will that is) with its final season, the game probably will keep going for another few more years. There is still 30 years (season 1 to 29 and some in current season) of stuff in the show to add to the game.”

    Since the Simpsons show has not ended the game won’t end unless EA changes their minds.

    • There is “ending” and then there is “staying alive…barely.” Anyone who has played the game for more than 4 years, can see/feel the difference. This is about EA deciding it can still make money from it…with as little effort as possible. It comes down to the argument of “Quality of Life – vs- Quantity of Life.” At some point…it just gets sad to see something once great…being “not so.”

      • Couldn’t agree more. I cling on to the hope that this game will become great again but sadly don’t really believe it will.
        Still as it is at the moment it still gives light relief to the situation we are all in.

        • Extremely light. For me, the amount of distraction it offers doesn’t even equal counting people on the street wearing masks.

          Off to the golf course. Gotta try out the new eyes!

          • Great I had my first game back Wednesday & playing this morning. Felt weird .

            • I hit the range…it was glorious. I hit around 100 balls…all of my clubs…and as it turns out, actually SEEing your ball flight, and watching it land really adds a LOT to the game!

              Going out for 9 with my wife this afternoon. I can’t wait…

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Very true. We need an event with compelling content and new challenges.

        Also, farming has removed a lot of incentives….I just farm up whatever I need.

        • Compelling ACTIONS would be something I would look for…over content. Especially since it has been over a year since they increased the item limits. Content isn’t as much a problem as “where do I place it?” More to do…more interesting aspects. But, we are dreaming. Not likely to happen.

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