Hey…Let’s Start the Week With a Laugh…from RYAN!

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I was just about to head off to bed, and my dinger dinged…telling me I had an email alert.

It was telling me that Ryan had just posted a new comedy piece…. COOL!  Haven’t seen hide, nor hair of him in weeks… As it turns out…he was doing some cave exploration!

Check it OUT!
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Keeping Balance…Winning Teams…Valuing Time

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A TSTO term continues to resonate in my mind…”Life Currency.”  Such a great description of time. It’s the most valuable thing we have in this existence. It is finite. It is immeasurable in its value. And we often find ourselves finding ways to waste it.

But…I get it. Sometimes you just need to compartmentalize and turn off the distractions. Sometimes you NEED distractions from obligations. And sometimes your distractions start to feel like obligations. In all cases…it’s best to just turn some things off.

I did yesterday. The Annual Miller Golf Tournament was yesterday.  I started playing golf 7 years ago…and my sister Molly (the LPGA teaching pro) started the tournament immediately…in order to humiliate and defeat me. She is very competitive. She has never given me a lesson. And as of yesterday… her teams have only won, two of the eight years the tournament has been played…INCLUDING YESTERDAY…hehehehehe…

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It’s Time to Redefine the Word, “Hero.”

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The world has become a crazy place. The disparity between those who live a life in the rarified air of the upper 1% in income, and those who live in the lowest 1% in income has never been further apart.

Through all of it, the “common man,” those of us who work hard to maintain a semblance of a shrinking middle class, end up passing our time, and seeking entertainment, by deifying “heros” who represent a strata of performers who can do something we can’t.  We love our music, movies, television and sports figures. We typically measure their success by box office receipts, record sales, or net worth (in the case of wall street or tech billionaires).  But in the case of sports, are as likely to make them heroes in our minds, for statistics as inane as Yards After Contact, Yards per Game, or how they boost the stats in your fantasy football league.

By now, almost everyone in the world is aware of the “Very Incredibly Bad” week the NFL has had. Several cases of domestic violence, and a couple of child abuse charges just don’t say much about the caliber of people playing one of our national pastimes.  But the story of Adrian Peterson shook me to the core to such a degree, that I woke up this morning with a fire in my fingers to tell another story.

We need to know REAL heroes when we see them. And as a society…we have lost our way.

Let’s start with how much Adrian Peterson is making WHILE suspended from his “job” of running a football, while avoiding being tackled by other highly paid man-children.  Adrian, the highest paid running back in the NFL, is making close to $700,000… a week. That is not a typo. That is also before all of his endorsement deals. That’s $23,000 dollars a day.

Adrian Peterson is also known for fathering as many as 7 children with as many mothers. Adrian Peterson must love kids. Or making kids. He certainly has a penchent for “guiding” kids.

Now…I am going to introduce you to three REAL heroes, who I would offer, do REAL world-changing work, and earn between all three of them, less than 1/1000th per day combined what Adrian Peterson earns…while saving children.

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Correct and Efficient Strategies for Juggling Three Updates…

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OK…so, EA is making the point that this is NOT a period of EALP…and is turning into a PORU on steroids!

It’s a little like the folks in SW United State complaining about drought conditions, and then facing three weeks of torrential flash floods.

But unlike the ramifications of wildfires, flash floods and earthquakes (yes…it seems that God is mad at California), this is just a silly game, doing its best to keep us engaged after a long period of nothing…

SO…What is the best method for “having it all?”

It’s easier than you think.
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SHOULDJA?  Üter Zörker

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I loves me some chocolate. And sweets. Mostly cinnamon rolls. And Ice Cream. Which is why after I stopped playing football and rugby, I really had to watch my weight. I feel bad for Uter (no…I’m not going to keep typing the umlet thingy). I was a “husky kid” when I was young…and because of that HATED the “name game” song that was popular when I was in third grade.

Sing it along with me…

“Sally Sally Bo Balley, Banana Fanna Foe-Fally, Me- Mi-Mo-Mally…Sally!”  Now do it with Pat. Get the picture?  Me and Chuck. We were cursed.

I get that fat kids are funny…they have been a staple of slapstick humor for generations. Luckily for me…I stretched out in 8th grade…and grew 8 inches in a year. Yes…I was a freak.  I was also an athlete…and by the time I was in high school…nobody called me fat. And if they did…I just laughed…and beat the crap out of them.  Nobody snapped me with a towel for being a fat kid…unlike Uter…who got snapped by Homer (no slim-Jim himself) in one of the episodes.

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So did I buy Uter? Especially after EA jacked the price back up to the “greedy” level of 160 donuts after giving us Akira and the Happy Sumo for 100 just a couple of weeks ago?

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Complete Cheat Guide to Level 45 and the Fat Kid

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We were pleasantly surprised to find another Level Update (45) to divert our attention from attacking, being attacked, and general boorish, violent behavior with the seemingly unending Clash of Clones update in TSTO.

This update is “traditional” in every sense of the word- in that it offers both a selection of fun FREEMIUM content, as well as some Premium offerings for those with donuts to spare.

As always, I preface this with the fact that Cheat Guides refer to using information that has been gleaned from site who like to Power Post complete walkthroughs by any means possible (hacking or expansive use of donuts, ill-gotten or otherwise). But we offer the information by means of doing our best to offer you as much information as possible.

SERIOUS SPOILER ALERTS FOLLOW-
If you don’t want to know…DON’T click below!

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LEVEL 45 DROPS OUT OF NOWHERE…

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HolySweetMotherofJebus!

Level 45 just dropped… In-Game Update…

Patti and Selma Start…so keep them free!

Spoilers Follow…
If you don’t want to know…don’t click below!
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New Survey…Whereyat?

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Well kids…we still have THREE WEEKS before the Barbarians pick up stakes and go away. Three. Long. Weeks.

I have not rushed the game. At all. And my tapping time has greatly diminished since the opening salvos where exchanged. Even still…today, I finished the Quest Line for Level 44…Yesterday I got the “treasured” Homer/Barbarian Statue for reaching 38K gold, and I admit to kind of haphazardly visiting neighbors to collect FP. I should have the tetherball today…and will certainly have Teeny by the end of the month.

Next week…they will kill off a character. OK then. Something “new.”

Where are you in your “Quest to prove that the Simpsons can INDEED be as boring as Clash of Clans…er…uhm…clones?  And how are you progressing on Level 44? Take the poll on the right…

Here is the most recent poll results…
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Yawn…what’s NEXT? Oh…wait! Family Guy Tie-In!

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I know I don’t have to say it…because I am seeing the same reactions across the blog-o-verse and the activity (or lack thereof) from neighbors. But, man…this is the BUSIEST lull ever.

I remember Whacking Day…and that by the time it was finally over, people were ready to lose it. I don’t feel “whacking day whacked out,” but I DO feel like we need something else to keep things interesting…outside of attacking…clearing…attacking…clearing, LONG after we have for the most part earned everything we thought we wanted…and still have more than THREE WEEKS to go on Clash of Clones.

So What’s Next? And WHEN?
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Breaking Down the 4th Wall…BIG Time! – Lessons Learned.

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In theater, the fourth wall is defined as:
The thin line that exists between a story and reality. When a character in a story tells the reader in some way that they know that they are a character in a story, that is called ‘breaking the fourth wall’. (Urbandictionary.com)

This game has always been more than a tad “4th Wally,” with constant references aimed toward the player, that the characters are in the on the joke. And the outright taunting that has occurred in dialogue over the past few months has been well-documented.

But, now, it just feels like the overriding message from EA/Gracie (assuming that Gracie writers are still involved in the dialogue) has taken a completely different turn.

What once was more of a taunting rebuke at the stupidity of those who tap and expect something in return, or hack to get something for nothing, has now turned into a less-than-subtle plea to “get a life” and move on to something more valuable with your time. Some is wrapped in artistic nuance…other lines are far more intriguing, as if they are suddenly our best friend, telling us that there is far more to life, and that an intervention may be in the offing.

Here are some plumb jewels (not Cheaters) of lines from the past few weeks that point toward yet another change in the “relationship” we have with TSTO.
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Turning Giving Into a Game…and Giving Credit Where It’s Due!

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It’s time to give credit where credit is due. And in the case of our community’s work to help the children of the Rural Ugandan Village of Buyijja, the list is small…but growing.

I have said before that the majority of the gifts of love given to these projects are coming from less than 1% of the overall number of readers who come here. After doing some math…and seeing MULTIPLE names on several projects, it is far less than 1%.  But for the sake of alliteration, I will continue to use the 1% figure.

The reason is that during the huge hubbub that surrounded the “Occupy Wall Street” a couple of years back, the big deal was that less than 1% of the population controls most of the wealth in the world.  I have quoted “giving facts” before as well…the fact that 85% of all donations are given my less than 5% of the population.

Here’s the deal…I don’t know how much money any of you have…but I know that a handful of you don’t have much…but continue to give. I am amazed and humbled. To date…this community has raised close to 8,500…and we are approaching the halfway mark toward another $4500. AMAZING…

But again…WHO is giving…often repeatedly…must be noted. It is easy enough for us to see how much digital stuff our neighbors have. It’s easy enough to see what kind of digital dollars they have amassed. But, in this case…nobody has been given proper due for DOING SOMETHING THAT REALLY MATTERS.

That changes today.

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The Kumiko Question is FINALLY answered… or is it?

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Since the appearance of Kumiko in the game, as well as the Simpsons TV show, there has been a great deal of ambiguity surrounding her relationship to Comic Book Guy.

She became “canon” when she appeared in the episode “Married to the Blob,” (S25E10) and played an important role in giving Jeffery Albertson (Comic Book Guy), a more well-rounded personal life. OK… that was a cheap shot at CBG’s “well rounded” physique. But, it was a pivotal moment in the show, as well as the game.

Yes. CBG had “been” with Edna (who hadn’t?). But for the most part, CBG had been relegated to fantasies about anime and super-hero women. Who knows what happened in the back room after the “The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop” closed each night.

You can read the recap of the episode here, but I for one, thought it was a brilliant mix of humor, pathos, and retribution. After all…Comic Book Guy finally found his one true love, and was happily married by Stan Lee’s ghost.

Or was he?

The question should have been answered by the Episode Tie-In update that hit TSTO at the same time. However…rather than ANSWER questions…the ambiguous details of Kumiko’s character have continued to plague the game, and the Simpsons since January.

UNTIL NOW… We finally get the answer!! Mostly…

WARNING…SUPER SPOILER ALERT…
If you don’t want to know…don’t click below!

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Something NEW! A Regular TSTO Post. Ratings, Info and more on Level 44

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I know…I know. I have been accused regularly of “not writing what you are SUPPOSED to write on a TSTO Blog!” Don’t get me started…

But hey…I guess even I can bend the rules in my head (so many rules…so many rules…) to deliver something unusual for this place…a Regular TSTO Post about Regular TSTO Stuff!

I know you drive-by-info-seekers love this stuff…so here goes!

Wouldja? Wheredja? Whatha? Coming atcha!

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Remembering 9/11

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I’m not going to get into a huge political discussion here. It’s not the place.

But…what I will say, is that this date is a time for reflection on a topic that draws some of the most conflicted feelings one can imagine.

I have a daughter and loads of friends who live and work in New York City. The events of that day were horrific by any standard of the imagination.

My wife and I visited the 9/11 Memorial on our last visit. It is breathtaking and stirs emotions of all sorts…as it was meant to do.

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EA Is On Board…Time to Keep Working!

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It’s starting to freak me out just a little bit… But I think EA is watching me. They seem to be reacting to stuff that I am thinking…and writing about…and well, so far, it has been kinda cool…but a little freaky.

Shortly after writing about my life in broadcasting…we got KBBL. OK…coincidence.

Then, as I ranted during and after the Easter update…when I was basically so raving mad about the Whell aspects of basically being forced to buy donuts to get Shary Bobbins, that I all but held people hostage while we started raising money for the projects in Uganda…one of which was a playground.

With the amazing Stonecutter update…what was one of the prizes?  A playground for the daycare.

Now…they are doing it again…

After weeks of crazy stuff…inactivity…and consternation over relatively crappy content for the very odd Clash of Clones update… we got a “mini-content” update that included…
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Almost Halfway there…It’s Time to Be the Frog

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Mission Accomplished! (and not the George Bush aircraft carrier kind). I have reached, and acquired the Catapult…which was my ultimate goal when this 50-day battle began. I didn’t really care about the Homer Statue…and I still don’t.

I placed my Cat-a-pult where it REALLY belongs…not in a castle yard…or anywhere near the Clash of Clans stuff that will placed into storage soon enough. Nope. Mine went where it will give me the most pleasure…and makes the most sense in my Springfield…the Cat Lady’s Back Yard.

Where else should it go?  She flings cats. This is the ultimate cat-flinger…and mine is set to launch the cats over the brick training wall, and into the fields behind the High School.  Purrrrrrrrrfect!

You think this is cruel???

Well…check this out!

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Why I Bought the Happy Sumo

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No…it’s not just because “I had the donuts.” No, it’s not because I love sushi. No, it’s not because I wanted to see even more diversity in my Springfield.

It’s because this building and character are from one of my favorite Simpsons episodes…and even then, not for the reasons you might imagine.

But…I DID buy the Happy Sumo.
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Surviving Clash of Clones – Creative Solutions for Killing Time

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Yes! We are almost halfway through Clash of Clones! Erh…well we’re at least past the 1/3rd mark!

So…that is GREAT news to those of you who are still struggling a bit to hit the calendar marks. TONS of you are completely finished with the update, and have collected everything, without spending donuts! That’s GREAT news for you (not so great for EA).  And I am guessing that the majority of EVERYONE is saying, “What? That can’t be right! Their can’t still be 30 more days of this!!!!”

That would be me.

But fear not! I didn’t get to be 60 years old with a smile on my face, without figuring out ways to kill time when I have to wait for something. Add to this the fact that I am married, and have five daughters… that mere fact alone makes my wait time exponentially longer for virtually any event.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS and SUGGESTIONS to Making the Rest of the Update Bearable!

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Why I am still tapping…

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On October 1st…just a little over three weeks from now (and still not done with this silly CoC update), I will have been a regular tapper for TWO YEARS…

I’m not really sure what to say, as the emotions involved are truly mixed.  I don’t even want to begin to imagine the hours I have dedicated to this silly game.  There have been hundreds of posts…tens of thousands of comments moderated…an almost 300 page BOOK…and more personal tapping time than I care to admit.

All of this was done while running a company that services more than 160 radio markets, being a husband, father and grandfather, and playing far more golf than any active man of 60 deserves.

I have almost quit at least 4 times over the past 6 months. The futility and “time sink” (drain if “Life Currency”) has taken its toll…and apathy becomes my worst adversary. But…there is a reason that I still tap…and write…and moderate…

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Level 44…COMPLETE CHEAT GUIDE

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Well…the good news, is that this a pretty straightforward update…OLD SCHOOL TSTO style.

There is a fun, solid Freemium quest-line with some funny characters and a building…and then a Premium Option for those that have to have everything…that is reasonably priced for a building/character combo.

And BONUS…TWO new FP Prizes!

Walkthrough and Spoilers to Follow…IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW…DON’T CLICK BELOW.

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YOUR SUPPORT NEEDED… a call for help from K6Angels

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Community…I just got this from K6 Angels (Karen) a long-time member and community contributor.  Her grandniece is in need of support in her battle against cancer.

This comes on the heals of the HUGE “Stand Up To Cancer” which raised over $100M last night on three networks. But, this is your chance to donate directly to someone who is fighting the battle…this little girl is from another developing nation, without the kind of options available to most.

Here is what she wrote…and HOW YOU CAN DONATE.
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The Best Strategy for Level 44 and Clash of Clones Combined

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A funny thing happened on my way to the 3rd hole yesterday…Level 44 dropped.

On a Friday afternoon.

EA NEVER does updates on Fridays…because updates invariably bring bugs, SNAFUs and glitches, and programmers and support folks don’t like working weekends. But they did.

Ironically…or not…the update centers around a computer nerd (apparently a nerd who hasn’t been killed off yet, gathering castle gold) named Kyle, but nicknames and known as Database or “Data” for short. Matt Groening once said that this was his least favorite recurring character, and I have to admit, that I barely remember him, even though he has appeared in more than 25 episodes.

I had a choice to make…as do you. Drop everything and focus on this update…or realize that LIFE often needs to intervene in what has turned into one more reason for opening your padular device several times a day…so get gold, all of the items…AND NOW…all of the COOL STUFF in this Update!

As it turns out…you can HAVE IT ALL… Take my advice…and follow my logic…
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Dear EA… You Need Help. Let US Give You An Update Idea!

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It seems that of late, I am getting a reputation for being TOO cranky about EA and TSTO. I am reminded to “Stay on Topic,” which means, “you have derailed this site from its original purpose…giving us TSTO information and entertaining us with TSTO related posts!!!!”

Moi? Au Contraire!  I just happen to dislike this update. So shoot me…with one of Lisa’s pointy little arrows.

If you love this update, so be it! Go for it! Have a blast!

But, the reason I dislike the update, is because EA is OFF TOPIC… and there is no good reason for it!

Here’s the proof!
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The Forum – Chat Experiment…Week One

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Man…I leave you alone for a few days, with no supervision and this is how you repay me?

I TOLD you that I was suspect of Forums and Chat Rooms and similar features, because the TROLLS always take over.

I TOLD you that I would pull the thing if you guys couldn’t behave like a community…

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The Start of Something New – Community Forum and Chat

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I said that there were some changes coming. I was hoping to take some time to bring this one around…but the fact is, this long-winded, lackluster update has forced my hand. Oh…and it is a social experiment for me, to see if THIS COMMUNITY is actually different than any other online community in which I have participated. And, I love social experiments!

Yes…that is a challenge. Because in my almost 20 years of working with online forums, including some of the first chat-room experiments in the early days of AOL…they rarely work out well.

BUT…YOU WILL PROVE ME WRONG…RIGHT?

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While Everyone Else Was Off Playing at War…

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We did something that mattered…

I just got pictures from Emma…and my face hurts from smiling.

What has been SO difficult for me…and why I have been “less than patient” with the typical “Drive-By Info seekers” who continue to do their best to tell my what this blog is SUPPOSED to be about, is that I know better!

What started out as “just another blog about TSTO,” has morphed into the ONLY blog that covers TSTO, but as a community has actually changed lives…rather than just wasting them, playing a silly game.

And one life in particular has been changed forever…

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QUICK WALKTHROUGH…with ALL of the Surprises Unrolled…Mostly.

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There is no doubt when you see the walkthrough in its entirety, that this is one of the greatest Zero-Sum-Gain updates ever.  This is busy work…for the sake of busy work. And EA is going to just keep making fun of us for playing.

At one point…they become so abusive in the number of Elixir required to continue, that anyone with a brain in their heads, or a REAL life, is going to ask, “Why am I doing this again? And what is the big reward???”

However…some of you WANT EVERYTHING…and in order to WIN EVERYTHING…you need to be able to plan your time…

SPOILERS FOLLOW- If you don’t want to know…don’t click below.

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The Great Missing Elixir Truck Mystery Solved???? – UPDATED-AGAIN

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So let me get this straight… you WIN THE RIGHT to BUY an Elixir Truck? OR…you GET an Elixir Truck when you hit 9,500 in Gold?

It seems like a simple enough question…if you are insane enough to think that EA would actually GIVE you FREE Elixir!! But…if our community member’s call to EA support is any indication…uhm…the truth is stranger than fiction.

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A Message From the REAL World…

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OK Folks…the same old thing is happening again, that happens with EVERY update…we are being deluged with comments, requests, posts, and whines from loads of random Drive By Info Seekers who aren’t regular community members. That’s cool. I get it. You want GAME INFO.

But…the REAL WORLD is CALLING…and needs your help.

I can/and will continue to post game info. I promised to do so…even though the time it takes on a daily basis is overwhelming. Happy to do so…IF you continue to also take the time to Do Something of Value…while you piddle away time and treasure on this update.

We need to stay focused on what is really important.
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Unlocking the Mystery of Unlocking… Again. Marge, Castles, Skins Oh My!

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It seems that there is either some REALLY crappy game logic (likely) or EA just doesn’t care to make things make sense (also likely) in the way that the character skins, and castle parts are unlocking.

We HAVE covered this…but, I have now personally moved through the point where MARGE finally unlocked…and it made no sense to me at all.

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The Interview with ALL of the Answers…to questions I asked…of Yeardley Smith

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It is always interesting being on the “reporting end” at press opportunities. Hanging around with the other Press guys is a hoot, as everyone tries to jockey for the best shot, or to get the celebrity’s attention long enough to get your questions answered.

When the “voice of Lisa Simpson” came to the REAL SPRINGFIELD today, there was no jockeying or pushing in the press room, and every question was answered…along with a photo op and autograph, in the confines of a room in City Hall, Springfield, Oregon.  It wasn’t until we got on the streets, for the BIG EVENT…that all of the pushing, and shoving and line-cutting started…and that was just for the donuts!

The EVENT? The unveiling of a Matt Groening-inspired mural, in the heart of the REAL Springfield…introduced by the actress who voices Lisa, Yeardely (pronounced YARD-ly) Smith.

I got a press credential. I got all my questions answered and more…as well as a picture, autograph, poster and a donut!

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Recharged…with Miracles and Community Giving!

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I have come back from my golf trip re-energized and ready to keep feeding you information on Clash of Clones… I will give you a report, a little magic, and a picture from the tournament… as well as a report on the fundraising!

It was a GREAT weekend, all around!

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We Interrupt This Battle For…

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I thought I would turn the tables for once. Regular media is loaded with “Crawl Graphics” at the bottom of the screen, as well as full-blown program interruptions when there is some “Breaking News” to share.

The News that is “Breaking” is rarely good news…and usually has to do with some disaster, or war, or death of a prominent figure. It is the kind of thing that we are trained to react to, like Pavlovian dogs when meat powder is sprinkled in the vicinity.

But, today, as we are all mired in a TSTO Clone Battle, I am interrupting the Mayhem, for a more important message…
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Clash of Clones Q&A…Community Style- Mechanics of War

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This update is very complex on the surface…but, I suspect will start feeling very repetitive pretty quickly.
There really isn’t much to it. Like Clash of Clans…you pretty much just blow stuff up…and try to keep others from blowing up your stuff.

But…because the EA programmers are pretty damn lazy…no…make that really lazy…they had to use much of the same game logic as they have used in other updates. So there is a LOT of similarity in the basics…especially when compared to Last Halloween.

Unlike many of the other Hacker/Cheater blogs, I am playing in real time, much like you. I am not rushing with donuts…I am just letting the game unfold. There are some BIG differences between this update and the last few (NO Whell!! Thank You Jebus!), that should be noted.

I do have some gaps here, that we can fill out together. I know there are a number of you who LOVE figuring out the details…(Adam) and may even write a column on subtle changes (Adam)…but here we can take some broad-swath swipes (jeeeze…talking like a barbarian with a college education), at some of the basic things we have uncovered about the Mechanics of Earning/Winning/Defending etc.

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Get New Friends to Beat Up and Beat You Up… Clash of Clones

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OK. This is a VERY odd way of going about “Friendship.” But it is obvious that you NEED your neighbors to come and blow stuff up…so you can collect the reward when you repair it. And you need neighbors so you can go and blow their stuff up.

I admit. It’s not my thing…although, maybe it’s like playing “The Dozens” in the locker room.  The Nastier and Meaner your action…the more people laugh.

“Your Mom is so…”

Anyway…Sign Up in the Comments Below for New People to Beat Up

TSTO Clash of Clones – COMPLETE CHEAT GUIDE-UPDATED

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Once again, I will start by making something very clear. I abhor hackers. However, in the case of this silly game, they always serve a purpose.  They break into the servers…and gather info, so none of US have to break the law.
OK then.

So…as always, the following CHEAT GUIDE is a combination of actual experience as I get through the update in real time, and what I have been able to glean from the cheaters/hackers/frackers who rush to brag about their actions. Let them have their day. Soon enough, EA will clamp down on them.

Until then… HERE IS THE GUIDE TO ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!

SPOILER ALERT!!! If You Don’t Want To Know…Don’t Click Below!

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Turning TSTO Into Something That Matters…The Next Project

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It’s amazing to me that this “garbage time” has been extended to such a degree, that the game of TSTO has been shedding players faster than pounds on the TV show, “The Biggest Loser.”  But, for reasons that must seem evident to all of the REAL Community Members here, it has once again given us the chance to focus on things that REALLY matter.

So much has transpired over the past 60 days in regards to TSTOFriends morphing from a TSTO/info/commentary site into a “TSTOCommunity in action” site, that it makes the head spin. What started out as a simple request to help my daughter’s efforts to get school supplies and books for a rural village in Uganda, where she was doing an medical internship, has now become an ongoing effort to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children who live in conditions so unimaginable, that immediate support was required.

Supplies, books, a playground, and shoes for the more than 250 children of this school have been delivered, as well as a year’s tuition for “one of the bright lights of a child” who was forced to leave the village, because her mother needed to rescue her sister from strife on the border of Sudan.

This Community has proven to be an exemplary example of what people can do, when they set aside differences of religion, politics and borders, to simply act immediately when help is needed.

I can’t be more proud of what we have accomplished. And now…I am asking you to help once again.

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Turning Garbage Time to Hope…The Payoff! Shivahn’s New School!

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Well…never let it be said that this Community and TSTO blog don’t put garbage time to good use.

The LAST time we had an extended break, we kinda broke the record for quick fundraising, to help send Shivahn to a boarding school.  The outpour of support and affection was amazing…And now the PAYOFF…

Here is a Thank You from Maddy (all who donated will get a personal copy) and best of all, some pictures of Shivahn’s new school, as well as some pics of the supplies and clothes that your money helped buy.  Emma has been a very busy man this week, splitting his Prometra duties, and using his spare time to buy little girl’s clothes…

If there is a more fitting task for a former Ugandan National Rugby player, I don’t know what it is. This man has a heart of gold, and we are so lucky to know him.
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The Value of the 1% to TSTO and the World…

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I really don’t know what to say. This CrankyOldPragmaticCynicalGuy is sitting here, choking back tears of mixed emotions.

I am overwhelmed with the immediate response of the 1% of this community (actually a tad lower), and am at the same time, overwhelmed with the realization that you are never going to let me out of this.

I am coming up on a year of blogging soon. A year. In TSTO time, that is a lifetime. That is 6 months longer than St. Tony put in at TSTOTips. I really battled with how long I want to do this…

Until now.
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Community Post… FREE DONUT MONEY!

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Kerry, one of our favorite community contributors has a GREAT WAY to earn Money…FREEMIUM STYLE! You can use your money for donuts. buying shoes for and school supplies for kids…or just for your own needs!  This is pretty cool stuff… and it’s FREE

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Best Update(s) Ever Part II…the KBBL Connection

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I should have been upset I suppose. It was as if the writers and programmers had conspired to reach deep into my soul and twist around my guts a bit, just to let me know that they could. But once things started to unfold, I was left with the reality that they were actually honoring me for my fortitude, and rewarding me in the only way they knew how…by tying so many aspect of my own life together with this past month of updates, that I had no choice, except to call this IKEAIIOMB (I Know EA Is Inside Of Me Because…).

As I outlined in the first “Best Update(s) Ever” chapter, there are loads of reasons to call this past month the best, most fulfilling time period in the history of TSTO. But, it’s actually #’s 6 and 7 on the list that really coalesced to make it clear that IKEAIIOMB.  The radio station and the elephant.

AHA!!! You may yell (you are, after all of these months, still prone to yelling “Aha” when you think you have found a mistake in my logic). “AHA!” (you say again, not to be deterred). To which I say, “Not So FAST, Bub!” (I call everyone “Bub” when I am about to cut them off at the knees). “I KNOW what you are going to say…”

And I do. I’m kinda creepy that way. It’s an aftereffect of the NDE. But I digress…

The fact is…you were going to say, “BUT WE GOT THE ELEPHANT BACK IN FEBRUARY…and we JUST GOT THE RADIO STATION! HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE CONNECTED???”

To which I would reply, “PLEASE turn OFF your CAPS key!!!” And, then “Because, they are tied together in one of my favorite episodes ever, and I didn’t remember it until the radio station became a prize…and Maddy saw an Elephant!!”

Before you shake your head in confusion, ( I can see you…I TOLD you I was creepy that way), just sit back and let me spin a tale that will explain it all. Once you see that EA is doing this ENTIRE Update for ME…it will begin to make sense. Really. I promise.
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A Tale of Shoe City… Generosity Between Friends.

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I realize that we have a load of new readers after this last update. That’s swell. But, as I did in April and May, I am going to suspend the TSTO blather for something MUCH more important.   A TSTOFRIENDS THANK YOU!!

As regular readers know, after becoming thoroughly disgusted with EA and their abject abuse of trust, lack of fair play, and forced gambling from Christmas through the Easter updates (6 months!!!), I was done writing about TSTO.  And then, an amazing thing happened.

Yes…I used a bit of emotional and literary blackmail to get the job done…but I tasked our readers to DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL with their money (rather than hand it over to EA)…and to help my daughter Maddy, raise funds to buy shoes for the students of the Buyijja Village School in rural Uganda.

More than 100 of you responded… and as “penance” for achieving our goal (and a LOT more), I promised to write nothing but positive reports about EA for 30 days. Luckily for all involved…EA came up with a great update that made my job easy.

FAR EASIER, as it turns out,  than it was to actually GET the shoes (for more than 250 kids) in a city of almost 2 Million people…with no central market…and then having to transport them more than 60 miles across rough jungle roads.

It is an amazing story…and YOU ALL MADE IT HAPPEN! (at least those I am happy to call true friends!)
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LEGO Simpsons Creations!

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Ryan here, and did someone say LEGO Simpsons Creations?! We have a very exciting break from the usual nonsense and quite frankly, a breath of fresh air. Too much TSTO is not good for the soul. We try to have our fun, but it’s also nice to just enjoy the community.

And our community has provided us with something extraordinary today. The timing is incredible, considering the recent release of real life LEGO Simpsons, tomorrow’s long-awaited LEGO episode and well, the Blocko Store in the Easter update I guess. Our great friend and invaluable community member KookyKerry is an artist, an entrepreneur and a pretty genius lady in her own right.

She has created something pretty cool involving Simpsons LEGOs that we wanted you all to see, and if you’re able and interested, to support. There is nothing more fun than when we get to share in something with a member of the community of Friends. TSTO is all well and good but real life is (or should be) happening all around us and we’re always flattered when someone shares a bit of theirs with us.

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TSTO Friends Community: AboutChoo!

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Ok so here’s the deal…

We here at TSTOFriends have an AMAZING community of readers, commenters and genuine friends. We laugh, we cry, we yell, we poke fun and celebrate the good times while propping each other up in the bad times. So in some ways it’s more like a family…a big crazy family; but without squabbling over inheritance (who gets rich Uncle Zeke’s gold!?) Before you start thinking this is going to be another sappy, “lets hug” post let me clear things up: it’ll only be like, half that.

We’ve had some pretty cool projects and opportunities for community participation. There are the amazing array of Guest Posts, the always fun Poll Results and Discussions, that fantastic Holiday Writing Contest we had and a smattering of other things in the Community Art and Writing Center. A personal favorite of mine and Patric’s was the TSTO Community World Map and Downloadable Travel-Brochure project.

Now besides all this fun, we often have outstanding ideas come from you, the readers. Whether it’s something for us to write or do or wear or parse…it’s all good fun. Now it’s time for a new twist. Continue reading

TSTO Community World Map and Downloadable Travel-Brochure

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This place is amazing…no doubt about it.
When people ask me what makes it so unique and different than other TSTO Blogs/Forums…the answer is easy- THE COMMUNITY.  We continue to be blown away by the interaction, civility, intelligence, and desire to share.

Nothing proves the point better than our Put A Pin In It map experiment. Well…TAKE A LOOK. More than 75 pages (and growing) and close to 37,000 words (and growing) this document is a testament to the power of the Internet and a “Silly Little Game” to cross boundaries, borders and differences- to become a single community.

THE DOWNLOADABLE .PDF Version of our Incredible TSTO Community World Map is done.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY

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