Tag Archives: TSTO CrankyOldGuy

Friday Filler – Of Family, Friends, and Fripperies

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

I think the old saying goes, “You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your nose.”  Or something like that. But, the reality is (and has been since there was family) you may be related by blood, but you may not be friends with members of your family.  In other words, it comes down to that other old saying, “I love you, but I don’t LIKE you right now.”  I hear that more and more these days as politics and religion become the unsocial side of social media.

However, in our game,  Family, Politics, Religion and all sorts of other related topics became fair game…and the writers did themselves proud, with some of the funniest dialogue in years!

I’ll dive into some of it, right after I answer this question.  “Since when are “mini-events” (which Flanders Family Reunion Clearly Is) two weeks long???”  The answer?  Since EA and the writers have decided to stretch everything out, in order to make less work for “the team.”

EALP or SLAW?  You decide.
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Friday Filler – Respectfully Eat My Shorts Mouse Boy!

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

OK. Yes. So, the headline is a bit of a taunt to the Simpsons’ new dark ruler…if you actually believe that Disney is as bad as all of the old school, traditional media types believe they are.

I am not in that camp.  In fact, I am one of those who thinks that large, efficiently run, diverse, amazing companies, should be allowed to rise to the top, and be everything they can be, without the fear of being called “a monopoly.”  Companies that get too big, ultimately go the way of Rome, and buckle under the pressure of handling too much…with too wide a grasp. Ask Microsoft…and perhaps even Facebook. But, I like the world better with Google and Amazon. Too political?

Well…as it pertains to the Simpsons, and for that matter, TSTO, I am going to go with the belief that Disney knows what a treasure the show is, and has the kind of deep pockets, and forward thinking, to make both the show, and the game, a continued reality for years more to come. Belief is a powerful thing. It creates faith…and then reason is thrown out the window. But, I digress…

The Disney statement is bold. Yes.  But, both Disney’s new Masthead, and “Sizzle Reel” released this week when the ink was barely dry on the final acquisition papers of Fox Entertainment, would tell a story that should put this conversation to bed.

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Friday Filler – State of Despair Turns Into State of Joy

Thank Grog It’s  Firday,

So, we here on the West Coast know that you folks from colder climates are likely to make fun of all of the news of our “Snow-Ma-Geddon” (not to be confused with Rhiannon Giddens, the absolutely stunning folk/roots singer).  Not sure why my mind jumped to that…but I have had so little sleep, and so much added stress this week, that my brain (what is left at this advanced age) is in free-fall (no…not the Tom Petty song).  But, I digress…

This week, right in the final stages of planning our huge FUNdraiser for my Rotary club…and pulling 16-hour days, 7 days a week for the last 4 weeks, we got hit with what they are calling a “100 year snow event.”  It was impressively insane…but, anyone my age remembers a handful of “snow events” bigger than this one.  We did get almost 2 feet…really fast ( we got 4′ in 1969).  And it was the kind of heavy, wet snow that breaks trees…and power poles…and all sorts of other stuff.

It’s the kind of snow that had all of the West Coast folks going, “Oh…isn’t it beautiful!  I hope we get a Snow Day!” after a few hours, but then, “OH DEAR GOD…PLEASE LET IT MELT!! So they can turn the electricity and cable back on!” after three days of more snow…freezing rain…and biting wind.

And by Wednesday night…it was obvious…we had to postpone the event. So there were 225 people to be informed. Catering cancelled. Everything put on hold. And boxes and boxed of auction items stacked up in my family room.

But then…things got weirdly joyful.
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Friday Filler – Making More with Less During Downtime

Thank Grog it’s Firday!!

I am now one week away from our Rotary club’s big event. I took this on, because after doing two weddings last year, I figured, “how hard can it be to do a huge event for 200 people and raise $70K?”  Reading that line in print…makes me realize that maybe I should have read that line in print a few months ago, before I agreed to “chair” this thing.  The Southtowne SpeakEasy is going to be epic. If I live long enough to get through it.

Anyway, to say that I am not happy that we have some down time in the game this week, would be a bold-faced lie (And let’s face it…we don’t need any more bold faced lying going on in the world. Our liar cup runneth over). But, even in downtime, when everyone else has a chance to design, catch up, be creative and expand…I find myself having to do more, with less, even though I have more to work with.

That’s right…I’m talking about the idiotic Item Limits that continue to vex me. I hit it again last week. The hard item limit. The real deal, “You need to store…blah…blah….blah…” item limit warning.

And just when I had a ton of donuts to spend! But, I found a solution!

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Friday Filler – When Valentines Goes to the Dogs and Worse

I get it. Really, I do!  EA/Gracie have to stick to at least some semblance of storyline extracted from actual Simpson’s episodes.  But, man…this just took a nasty turn.

Even worse, when I went back to look at the full episode that this final portion of our Love Springfieldean Style (E12S19) event is based on, I was reminded just how much I hated it.

This episode is from the era of the Simpsons that almost destroyed the legacy of great writing that proceeded it.  Some would argue that the “Golden Era” ended after 10 years. But, I would argue that this past season has really been a return to clever, more personal stories that made the show great.

But, man…this episode…this “thing that defies description”…it really doesn’t cut it for me.

Don’t get me wrong…. I like a couple of the items we are getting for free this final chapter. But, the story behind it?  Not so much.

Let’s take a look…
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Friday Filler – TSTO Covers All of the Best of Christmas…Almost

Let’s be real here…You don’t raise five kids, especially five DAUGHTERS, without a ton of their influence rubbing off on you.  But, the fact is, the best traditions are those that grow from the love of family, a sense of gratitude, and an annual chance at redemption.

Ah…so yes…this is already starting to sound like Marge’s story in this really wonderful Christmas event.  But, of course for anyone who is paying close attention, and has a modicum of Pop Culture knowledge, you will realize that it is really a parody of the surprisingly warmhearted and sweet,  “The Family Man” starring  Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, and Don Cheadle.  This is one of Cage’s best roles, unless you’d rather see him drink himself to death in “Leaving Las Vegas.” Even though I have had a “thing” for Elizabeth Shue since “the Karate Kid”, and she is super hot in “Leaving Las Vegss,” when it comes to Christmas movies, I have to go with Cage and Leoni in “The Family Man.”  She is sooooo cute in this movie….but I digress.

Getting back to Christmas traditions, “The Family Man” is one of the movies that we watch every year…which is a growing list, that now requires a spread sheet to cover adequately. I’m not kidding. But, more on that later.

So, I was very pleased to see Marge playing the role of “Jack” and then maybe even “Scrooge” in her TSTO Chapter, “Paramours of Christmas Past.” Continue reading

An Argument for ONE Angel Lisa!

OK…so the piling on has started over my dislike for Angel Lisa. There are loads and loads of people telling me that “Lisa isn’t dead,” and that “Angels aren’t dead people, Saints are dead people” (which makes the whole Night of the Living Dead franchise take on a whole new meaning).

But, the REAL reason I am not happy to see “Angel Lisa” in our games…is very simple…
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Friday Filler – What I’m REALLY Thankful For…

Thank Grog It’s Firday!!

I am writing this early, as on the “real Friday” I will be in California, helping to celebrate the 30th Birthday of my daughter Ali, the 59th birthday of my amazing wife Deb, and hopefully, the day after a Thanksgiving that required us to drive through the night to Cali, through loads of remnants of wildfires, freezing rain, over a mountain pass,  to a remote house in the woods, that was just 30 miles away from the devastation in Paradise.   So…yes…many, many things for which to give thanks!

Of course, Thanksgiving is also a time for reflection…and looking back on how things have changed in our lives, and in TSTO.

This also comes on the heels of what has to be the most convoluted, and greedy Black Friday event ever. An event that is so egregiously transparent in it’s avarice, that it sets a new low bar, even for EA. However, by now…those of you who impulsively bought the silly donut factory for $50, have already done so…and those who listened to us are thankful. But, I digress.

The fact is, when I looked back on the first Black Friday I wrote about back in 2014, I was shocked at how angry I was about the whole thing…in compared to the apathetic, complacent, calm I feel today.  What was different?  Did the game change? Or did I?

I was a really different person a few years back.

Don’t believe me?  Well…read some portions from the Thanksgiving post I wrote back in 2014…and maybe you’ll agree that I have changed…
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Math, Science, and Common Sense for Black Friday

I know…I know…you are going to come up with a million reasons to justify spending donuts and cash on Black Friday.  It’s just the way people have been trained these days in the United States, and yes…it is creeping into Europe as well.

But, I will say this once again...do NOT let your impulses get the best of you.  At best, this is gambling. At worst, it is a complete money grab by EA. (Sorry John)

Let’s take a look at the two primary “dopamine tools” that EA employs here.
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Friday Filler – Three Things to Remember For Thanksgiving

When you reach the lofty age of nearly 65, as I have…you are right on the cusp of being able to offer “Sage Advice” for almost any topic.  The years, with all of the experience that comes with those years, make you an expert on all sorts of things. Including, “How to Make Your Thanksgiving Wonderful!”

There are really just three pretty basic things to remember to make your Thanksgiving holiday perfect.  And I am more than happy to share them with you right now, just in time for the upcoming celebration next week!
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