Category Archives: Friday Filler

Friday Filler – When Fairness Stopped Being Fair – the Rise of Birch Barlow

Thank Grog It’s Firday!! 

OK. So, clearly this is a loaded topic for every Tapper, of every political persuasion. So…I’m NOT going to go into the politics of this Mini Update…at all.

We, as a nation and a culture, are way, way, way, too far down the road to put the genie back in the bottle.  From a world dominated now by cable news networks, myriad “news” outlets, and a seemingly infinite number of Internet-based “news/opinion/editorial” outlets proffering untold versions of the same stories with their own slants, the genie that was the Fairness Doctrine was uncorked, and allowed to run rampant without restrictions.

As someone who has worked in media/broadcasting and political communications for the better part of my entire adult life, I can actually remember a time BEFORE things got out of whack, and the green light was given to the Birch Barlows of the world.

How long ago was that?
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Friday Filler – When Anarchy Meets Cool…


Thank Grog It’s Firday!

At least part of this mini update revolves around a Premium Character that I bought in a heart beat… One, might say, a “Heart Attack and Vine,” beat.

For anyone who is a fan of Tom Waits (he is in my top five favorites artists), you may or may not remember that Tom voiced Lloyd, in the episode, “Homer Goes to Prep School” (E9S24) which is where the Preppers come from. What’s interesting to me, is that this one of the lowest rated episodes (according to the rating bots at “” where you can watch every episode online). But I beg to differ…especially in current conditions where “the end of the world” is fairly regular dinner conversation (if you live with people who give too much credence to the headlines than they should). This episode is hilarious, and could have been shot in a remote Southern Oregon town, where loads of real life “Preppers” live off of the grid…or grow pot…or both. But I digress…

Homer starts the doomsday talk with, “I guess despite all of our so-called civilization, anarchy lurks around every corner like a racially diverse street gang, on a network cop show.” Classic…
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Friday Filler – When Are You Too Old For Games?

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

This has been “one of those weeks,” when all of my deadlines conspired to rob me of precious sleep, at a time when I am supposed to be celebrating time off with the family. The good news about getting old, is that we supposedly require less sleep. As I have been getting about 4 hours a night for the better part of the past 2 weeks, and I am still here to write about it, I’m going to go with that. Coffee helps…as does being able to smile every time I play the “obituary game” in the Sunday paper.

The fact is, when you are young, the thought of living to a “ripe old age” is simply ludicrous to most. When Paul McCartney penned “When I’m 64” when he was 24 years old, it was obvious that he was actually having fun with concept of trying to imagine his life 40 years in the future. And let’s be honest, it wasn’t a pretty picture.

“Send me a postcard, drop me a line, Stating point of view…
Indicate precisely what you mean to say,
Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form, Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four”

“Yours sincerely wasting away?”  “Will you still feed me?”  Holyfreakinshirt!! That sounds like Elder-Abuse!!

Let me make something perfectly clear. I’d be fine with getting old, if my body would just stop aging. And as far as “staying young at heart,”  I play and blog about TSTO don’t I???  This is NOT an old man’s game!  You need really good reading glasses to see the damn screen details!!

So, what does 64 feel like?  Continue reading

Friday Filler – Maybe This Isn’t Just Another Christmas Update…ALIENS!!

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

I can’t believe I’m saying this…but maybe my post a couple of weeks back, asking for an Alien Invasion is for real,  and may be closer to the truth than we want to admit!

In that post, I made the point that humans only really seem to come together in times of great global conflict. And that maybe it would take an alien invasion to bring us all together (hence the relevancy of this TSTO event!).

But, I thought I was mostly joking…until I read some of the headlines this week.

Aliens. They are real…and they are messing with our military!!
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Friday Filler – Are You a Grumple or a Giver?

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

It’s interesting what playing a game for years will do to your opinion of buying or not buying a returning item in the game. Much like the game of life, our wants and whims can, and perhaps should change as we evolve.

Case in point…

When the Grumple first came into our game, I refused to spend money to acquire such a nasty-tempered goblin. It just seemed so “anti Christmas,” at the time…even though “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was the story that was being lampooned.  But then, it occurred to me, that the story of the Grumple doesn’t exactly end well for the Grumple (he gets shot by Maggie), and that if they are bringing him back to life (as they have for countless other characters from the show), then there must be a larger reason for having him.

So…I bought him. And then, ran through the entire questline that comes with him. Turns out…he is kind of a nasty dude, who probably deserved to get shot by Maggie. He didn’t learn a thing on his second chance.

So then…in THIS Christmas/Holiday/Winter update, we are able to buy the Peak Inn and Lyla…who as it turns out, ALSO died on the show, but is being reanimated for TSTO.  She comes from the episode “Four Regrettings and a Funeral.”  Once again however, it was likely that it was Burns who should have died and not Layla, and he clearly didn’t learn his lesson either.

But what can WE learn from these stories or others we see during the holiday season? The fact is,  if there is any lesson to be learned from watching endless holiday TV specials and classic movies, it’s that “it’s never too late to change…redemption can be yours!”  (unless you are the Grumple).

So where does that leave us in TSTO, and what lessons can we learn for our own lives?
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Friday Filler – TGINBFOCM!

Thank Grog It’s Firday!! 

And Thank God It’s NOT Black Friday Or Cyber Monday!

I’m writing this early, because I am actually going to be on the road on Friday (today…but not really today).  I am still reveling in the reality of escaping Black Friday and Cyber Monday almost completely unscathed.

I had an “insider’s view” of how this all works, as my daughter Ali, who lives in San Francisco, and is in management with Gap Inc. (the online division), was actually working remotely on her Thanksgiving visit. It was amazing to watch…as she checked sales, comparative numbers, and then calmly stated “it’s looking like a record year for sales, and my business (women’s knits and action wear) are up almost 75% over last year.”

Yikes. Now THAT is a turnaround.  Gap Inc. also has a ton of other well-known brands, including Old Navy…and there was a huge turnaround in Brick and Mortar stores this past Holiday Shopping Frenzy…with online sales also breaking records on Cyber Monday.  Amazing. How “up” can you keep going?

Meanwhile…in our games…Black Friday and Cyber Monday were mostly like shopping at a casino…hoping to get the payout you wanted, when you dropped a few donuts.

I mostly skipped both incarnations… Did I feel Un-American or like a CrankyOldTSTOGuy?  Nope.  I felt relaxed…
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Friday Filler – Thanks for Thanksgiving…Hold the Turkey

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

Yep. Been “one of those weeks” when the combination of work, tapping, charities, and volunteerism has colluded to make my life a bit insane. And then…there was the whole iOS debacle with the Thanksgiving takedown/launch.

I’m not going to take the blame for this. Even though, there was a part of my paranoid “lizard brain” that immediately seized upon the “EA is doing this to me because of the things I have said about their lazyassprogramming (EALP) in the last event!” But, would they penalize an entire subset of players (millions of others who use iOS padular devices) just to get at me????   Well…like I said…it was likely just my “lizard brain” talking.

But, this time of year, due to a wide range of reasons, I prefer to admit to calling my “lizard brain” my “turkey brain.”  It’s not that great a leap, as I’ll explain.

But with the NEW THANKSGIVING MINI-EVENT gobbling up our tapping time, it is not so much  a question of IF we are going to succumb to turkeys, but how MUCH turkey we are willing to endure? And do we really want a Turkey NPC roaming our towns?

And…perhaps Lisa is on to something!  Maybe it’s time to Turn Away From Turkey, and look for an alternative. If for no other reason, than to help stem the rising Rural Turkey Invasion!
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Friday Filler – The Final Word on Donut Farming…Nooooooooooooooo!

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

Before any of you start lining up your pea shooters to cover me with spitwads from the peanut gallery…let me start with an apology. Mostly.

Holyfreakinshirt!!!  Why do you DO that?  (the voice of reason in my head screams loud enough to make the wild turkeys milling about in the front yard startle).  “If you are going to apologize, then DO it!! Don’t always say you’re sorry, with an explanation…that is insincere!!”  (Man…the voice in my head is really on  guilt trip now!).

The fact is…I had been warned. Alissa had actually told me, “Don’t go there! The farmers are very protective of their farms!!!” But, did I listen?  Noooooooooooo!

Even when I thought I was being “non-judgmental and inclusive” by actually trying a week of KEM farming, and reporting my personal statistics, and even going so far as to see the value of “Team Safi” casual donut farming (CDF), it really wasn’t enough.

The backlash was instant…huge…and bordering in insane (as far as anyone can actually declare anyone to be insane, in a world that is clearly off its hinges). I kid you not…there were calls for my banishment…and worse (sorry…but, it isn’t cool to suggest doing harm to my nether regions…even if “nether regions” is a metaphor for Krustyland…at least I think that what they were implying).

It is clear…that this is simply a topic that can’t be dealt with on a public forum
–no matter what the intent–if you want to avoid a very divisive, and dangerously fractious argument. And calling any action “obsessive” in a game that requires obsessive grinding to succeed, was off base.

And so….I will apologize.
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Friday Filler – Reality -vs- YOUR Reality In the XP and Real Worlds

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

The entire debate about donut/vehicle farming comes at a really ironic point in my life. I am a little more than two months away from my 64th birthday. Yes. I am THAT old. Too young to get full Social Security, and still a year away from Medicare. But, one of my marketing clients, who is a financial planner, had me do a series of podcasts about “planning for retirement.” Man…did I learn a lot.

Mostly, I learned that I am NOWHERE NEAR being able to retire anytime soon. I won’t bore you with the multitude of reasons, but suffice it to say, that being self-employed for most of my life has been a roller coaster, and “pension” is a word that never really entered the equation. So…I will do everything I can now, to maximize my earning/saving potential (after I pay for two more weddings…), and hope that I live long enough to benefit from my work.

That’s kind of like the whole recent debate about XP Bonuses and Donut/Vehicle farming. The analogy is really a good one. The earlier you start, and the more disciplined you are, the better your “golden years” are going to be. Which of course is all relative, as none of us knows how long we will actually live, or how long TSTO will actually continue…rendering either argument or game plan completely moot!

That said…Here is my rough take on the best way to “Play Either Game.”
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Friday Filler – The Value of Our Most Precious Currency and Giving Back

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

There is nothing like an insanely busy fall season to bring home just how important our most precious TSTO currency really is.

This term was coined in some sense by Frink, although I can’t remember exactly when and where in the game dialogue. It had to do with time/space and how important time is to everyone in the game…and the game of life. And it stuck with me. Life currency…what a concept!

Certainly, nobody knows the expense of this valuable commodity like our Founder and Leader, Alissa, as the stats of reaching 100 MILLION hits, and being involved with moderating almost a half million comments would attest. The old saying, “that’s an hour of my life I won’t get back” never rang truer than than the hours, and hours and hours that she spends keeping this place alive for the rest of us, every single week. Yes…we all do “a part.” But, it is really a “one woman show” with a handful of bit players.

That said…she has always referred to TSTOAddicts as “her baby,” and judging by the amazing Mom she is in real life with her daughter, Riley, you can only imagine how dearly she protects and manages the moment-by-moment goings on that happen here.

Can it go on forever?
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