Category Archives: Friday Filler

Friday Filler – Are We the Cooks or the Frogs In The Pot?


I woke up this morning to another email update from MoviePass, the “seems to good to be true” service that works kinda like NetFlix, but with real movies. I am hopeful that they are able to figure out a model that works, because Deb and I see a ton of movies with MoviePass, now that we are done with weddings and are true empty-nesters.

But, like so many other great deals in life, they are changing and tightening their service process, because a few (maybe a lot) of people have apparently cheated the system, and found out ways to get more advantage than they are due.  This seems to be the norm these days. Great deals, slowly defray into deals that aren’t as good, or simply flip on a dime with little warning. Sovin so many ways, TSTO is a great educator about life in general. In short…”Don’t think that this is the way it is always going to be…because we know you will adjust, as long as we do it slowly.”

As a guy who can take the time to think about such things…I started adding up the number of ways this kind of thinking has slipped into my daily life over the past few months. I was kind of shocked when I started realizing how many things in my life were changing…slowly…and not for the good. And how I was just like the frog in the pot…kind of ignoring the heat, until I reached a boiling point.

There are so many examples of this in modern society, and not surprisingly, so many of them are mirrored by the changes we have seen in TSTO. 
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Friday Filler – Behind the “Behind the scenes” – Two Options

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

I’m hoping you all had a wonderful 4th of July week…as it always feels like a week, instead of a day or a long weekend, when the 4th falls in the middle of the week.  Unlike half of the country, who took off a couple of days before or after the actual holiday for an extended break, Deb and I stayed put, and just golfed, had a traditional meal (burgers and potato salad), and watched the rest of the world try to celebrate, while under heavy restrictions for the fireworks, due to the unseasonable hot weather. We went to a “hometown” celebration for a couple of hours in Harrisburg, a small town north of Eugene…and watched were planning to watch fireworks from a river bank. But, we both succumbed to a rash of “fair food” (elephant ears, ice cream, shave ice and a hot dog) which conspired to bring us home a full two hours before sunset. I was reminded that mixing spicy with dairy isn’t a great idea (I had a “firecracker burger, slathered with jalapenos for dinner). Nice. Woot. Woot. Boom!  TMI? 

With the regular TV season over…and being completely saturated in movies (we have the Movie Pass app, and have been seeing almost everything that comes out). I have actually been reading a BOOK! OK…so, not a real book, but a real book that has been digitized, so I can read it on my Kindle, my iPad, my cellphone, or any other padular or digital device at my disposal. Real books feel great in your hands…but take up loads of space in the landfill…or your shelves…or the landfill on your shelves. But I digress…

It’s a book that I HIGHLY recommend…even though it didn’t make “Oprah’s Book Club List,” (but should have). This is why we have not chosen to invite Oprah into our book club.  You can only read so many books by Deepak Chopra and other self help gurus. I’m almost 65…my self help days are turning into self preservation. But, I digress again…

The Book??
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TGIF – Just Roll With It For a Thrilling Life

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

First of all, I am going to apologize for NOT suffering the same “Lag-Tastic” problems that so many of you are facing with this update.  Unlike so many of you, who are unable to utilize the vast majority of the rides for Itchy and Scratchy Land, I am able to place and run all three of the major animated rides in my ISKLand, with no lag whatsoever.

I’ll wait...while you hate me.

I have no idea why I am not suffering…as I have a huge town…am bumping into the Item Limits, and should probably have a laggy, unfulfilling mess of lagging…But I don’t.

I think it is because, deep down, EA knows how much I love roller coasters. I love them…with all of my core. Coasters, in my estimation, are the greatest way to get a thrill that is needed to scare, exhilarate and forget your worries, like almost no other invention by modern man!

I love all kinds of coasters…including the new ones that use military grade catapults to launch you almost instantly to cruising speeds above 70 MPH. But, for all of the cool technology in modern coasters, I especially love the thrill, excitement and danger of a large, creaky, terrifying wooden roller coaster, like the one that “got my coaster virginity” when I was just 11 years old.
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Friday Filler – ISKLand Town Tours and Shortcuts to Get It All While Hardly Trying

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

I have to admit, I‘m torn.  I can’t decide if the relative ease of this event is boring, or if I am just bored because there is really nothing for me to do, as I can’t really do any more designing in my town, without major “Urban Renewal.”

Does the fact that I simply log on 4 times a day, for about 5 minutes at a crack (to clear and refresh my Ride Attendants and to Clear and Refresh my KEM Farm) cause me to forget about the game for the most part (clearly not in the best interest of EA)? Or, am I just happy to have way more free time to do things in my life that are fun (golf) and prepare for another week of “full Baby Immersion” next week?

Hard to say, really. But, I can say that I have thought less about TSTO in the past week than almost any other week since I’ve been playing…including a week a couple of years ago when I was in Hawaii…or during our 9.600 mile, 30-day, around the country road trip. Again…I can’t believe this is good for EA. Because if I am feeling that way, I have to imagine there are loads of others who feel the same. But, I suspect it is actually good for me!

This update started with a bang! (a nuclear bang to be precise), but has fizzled out to the whisper of a cap gun.

My only purchase? I bought J Edgar Hoover. And I am looking forward to buying another upcoming President. But, mostly because it allows me to make fun of a couple of human beings that I didn’t particularly care for in real life. I’m not proud of that fact…but, it is also why I have Nixon roaming around town with his bowling ball. But, I digress…

The Fact is…with very little tapping time, as of today, I have already acquired a BORT! (which will allow me to do pretty much that for the weekend) and I have more than 12,000 in Crafting Currency to get a  jump (and maybe finish) most of Act III Crafting on the first day it hits.  Like I said…boring. 

There are some quick tricks to making every visit even SHORTER…and allow you to “Get it ALL” without having to spend much time playing TSTO. 

And…there are a couple of my neighbors who have done some pretty spectacular things with their ItchyScractchyKrustyLand  (ISKLand) designs. In spite of Item Limits…

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Friday Filler – Of Lags, Limits, and Loops

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

Ah…another Act is upon us, and another “Grindtastic Weekend” awaits!  Is it possible to stay on track to “get everything,” while still having a life? Yes. Yes it is…if you are smart about how you spend your time.  Most of the “grinding” these days is actually “Grinding Lite,” as the  critical stuff only takes a few seconds.

But, EA has continued to make things challenging, once you win items…in that with the item limit restrictions in place, some of us have to be pretty clever in how we maximize our bonuses. We need to have fun with the items that we win…without getting the dreaded, “YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR ITEM LIMIT…YOU SUCK!” message (I might have been paraphrasing there a bit…but it is the way it makes you feel).

Nonetheless, (don’t you love a word like “nonetheless?” It looks like a run-on mistake…but it really is a word! Like aforementioned, and heretofore…English is so weird sometimes), where were we? Oh. right…Nonetheless, there are ways to deal with the Lag Issue that some continue to face, as well as trying to figure out ways to maximize our bonus earnings while cramming everything into the “Bonus Blue” area for Itchy&ScratchyLand.

Let’s take a look at some solutions.
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Friday Filler – There’s Whole Lotta Ploppin’ Goin’ On!


Thank Grog It’s Firday!

I’m writing this early (Thursday) because I’m going to be on the road  Today (not actually today, but Friday…which is when you are reading this…so it’s still today, kinda…). I am heading out to a golf tournament/college reunion with a bunch of my old football team buddies (those who still remember playing before they started diagnosing CTE).  It should be a wonderful chance to roll out the traditional greeting for reunions, “You’re OLD!  No…YOU’RE Old!!

I’m old. I don’t mind admitting it. My white hair and creaky body (did I mention I played college football, and then rugby until I was 35?), reminds me every day. But, that doesn’t stop me from being active mentally…right?

And, as it pertains to TSTO…that means being active in the game…active in design…and resolving to keep powering through, no matter what the game throws our way! Unless it makes us grind to a dead halt…which I’ll talk about later.

This whole “KrustyItchyScratchyLand (or KISLand as one of our community suggested) Post Nuke Era,” has people clearly divided into two camps. Those who have attacked the opportunity to put on their Uber-Design-Hats, and those who seemingly have been rendered immobile by the overwhelming possibilities.

It has created a reality of “Designers – vs – Ploppers.”  And there is a Whole Lotta Ploppin’ Goin’ On!

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Friday Filler – Dear EA…rEAlly? Turning KL into Plopperville

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

What a difference 24 hours makes.

I was totally ready to write one of the most scathing, loathsome, vitriolic rants ever. I had it composed in my head, and it kept me up half of the night with anxiety over blowing up our new “friendship” with EA.

And then, I got the text from Alissa…at 4:44 in the morning Thursday (it’s OK. I was up already…seething)– Ebron says EA increased limit overnight…11,600 now.

Like a missile operator, with his finger poised over the red button during the Cuban Missile Crisis…I was THAT CLOSE to going full blown Dr. Strangelove on the EA programmers.

And then, I got the text. Then I re-read my post from last week, telling everyone to “chillax” reminding everyone that “it’s just a game,” and that “real life is way more important.” And then, I felt foolish. Mostly. 

But, you have to understand how these things get started. It all has to do with trust, and trying to do the right thing, and new relationships with official NDAs and virtual slaps on the back for the good times to come…which turns into what appears to be the fustercluck of the century…with no real warning…because you ASSUMED that EA would be smarter than that. (but remember…Assume makes an Ass out of U and Me! Right?).

Let’s review.
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Friday Filler – When Life Gives You Lemons…Dealing With Glitches

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

I mean it. Sheesh! What a week.

This is the kind of week that requires you to have some perspective…and maybe make hard choices…and adapt.  Or, if you choose to really internalize and personalize the situation, just “break up,” and walk away.

Neither solution is ideal.  But, then again…life is like that. Especially when you start to get older, and life throws you curve balls that you weren’t counting on. The lesson here? Adapt, perish, or walk away.

Wait…are we still talking about the game? Oh. Right. Yes. The Game, and the multiple glitches that are becoming more and more prevalent.

Let’s take a look at the options you have…not just as a player, but as a person.
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Friday Filler – EA’s 10 Best Game-Changing Innovations

Thank Grog It’s Firday…

As we are coming off of a truly odd mini-update, I’m going to change things up a bit.  I’m going to go WAY out of character, and actually do a post that praises EA.

I know! So weird!!! 

About as weird as Mr. Burns using his pacemaker to mine BurnsCoin?  Ah…come on…who would be THAT weird?  Oh. Right. EA and the Gracie writers. It is bad enough that they have Maggie in a position to shoot Mr. Burns (again), or that Smithers is a suspect because Mr. Burns is being too nice. But, that final twist? Just. Plain. Weird.

However…in the spirit of this post, I will admit that the sundial animation is fun…and the Sun Blocker?  Pretty cool! Although it would be nice if it was more than a 5 second “eclipse of the heart” (sorry…couldn’t resist!).

But, again…before I start getting picky…on to Ten Great Innovations that EA has made to TSTO over the years.

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Friday Filler – The Trouble with Interpreting Stereotypes with Google Translate


Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

This has been a wild week for the “Crankster” and his extended family! As I may have mentioned, I am in New Jersey, visiting the latest addition to my Patric Miller Progeny, one Jacob (Jake) Patric McGuire, who is a heart-breaker already!

I will post pics after the fold…for those who love cute baby pictures. Because…this kid is adorable by any standard! Yes. I am biased…but, he is also grandson #6, so I have a pretty clear metric for measuring “adorable.”  He is. Period.

Getting away from the insanity of the worldview of day-to-day has been an amazing blessing, at a time when it seems that almost every possible thing that seems relatively harmless, isn’t.  Or, at least has come into the cross-hairs of a group that is “offended” by something or another. The Simpsons have been in the news over the past couple of weeks. It has been interestingly “cringe-worthy” on a couple of levels.

And then…in the middle of it all…I was contacted by a TSTO reader/fan from France…who seemingly refuses, or is incapable, of emailing to me in English. I get it. If I was trying to write to him in French, there could be all sorts of mistakes made. Thank Grog for Google Translate (I think)!  It helped me unravel a whole range of questions that needed closer examination, and perhaps a couple that beg the question of, “should I be flattered or offended?

It started out with this reader sending me some 3-D examples of his town…

Let’s take a look…

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