Level 49…Festooned with Mafioso and Stereotypes. Yay-a! The Basics-a…

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Level 49 has dropped, and with it comes one of the longest standing traditions in cartoons and basic multimedia humor…making fun of the “sketchy side” of Italian culture.

This update is hilarious…the dialogue is great. But rather than starting off with a “BANG,”  as in “we had to take Vinnie for a ride,”  it starts off with a young Italian cooking prodigy, doing his best to “escape the family business.”

Let’s take a look at all of the fun… and let me tell you, “It’sa Fnnny-a Stuff-a…Really-a!”

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LEVEL 49 UPDATE is HERE!

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WOW…BOOM! Early in the morning…and it’s a new update!

Level 49 has dropped… with a flavor of MURDER…

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Family Guy Weekly Update – Take 1

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I am always open to experiments. Especially when someone else is doing the work. I’m lazy that way.

And…if I am perfectly honest (and why wouldn’t I be?) I think it is always fun to do something nice for someone, while tweaking the noses of someone else you don’t care for. This kills two bliss-ninnies with one stone. So why not?

There are loads of cross TSTO/FGQFS players…and the ladies at FamilyGuyTips.com are making a go of it in the FG world. PLUS, they have agreed to run some weekly plugs for our work in Uganda…so DOUBLE WIN!

This is an experiment…and if you really hate it, I’ll reconsider. But, hey…again…it’s a win/win, and why not play nice…right?

So…without further adooooooooo…..the first Family Guy Weekly Update.

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Connected at the Pixels…But, are we more?

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Last night, something unthinkable, almost earth-shattering, and seemingly devastating  happened.

No…it wasn’t the huge “biggest on record” snow storm to hit the East Coast of the United States. It was bigger!

Facebook and Instagram went offline for almost 3 hours!!!!  O. M. G.

That’s right folks. For almost three hours WORLDWIDE, people couldn’t see what others were eating for dinner, or what each other’s pets were up to, or what we thought this very moment about the deflation of footballs, that either did, or didn’t effect the outcome of the playoff game between New England and Baltimore last weekend.

It was terrifying!!  The boards on “IsItUp.com” lit up with people certain that the Chinese, North Koreans, Russians, ISIS, ISIL. et al had finally exacted their revenge on Western Culture.

In the end, it turned out to be a “self-inflicted wound,” caused by Facebook techs, who were uploading a new logic system…and blew stuff up.

Nothing was lost. Every “like” and snarky comment was restored. But, MAN…did it ever make you stop to think about how things have changed in the world in the past decade.

It makes one question the value of a life tinted with the hue of phosphorescent blue faces, looking down into screens, instead of into one another’s faces.

And then…when Facebook was back up again…I all but forgot about my feelings of self worth being questioned…and went back to seeing what my “friends” were up to.

But, this morning…I couldn’t shake the feeling that something has happened in the evolution of the species…
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What…So Electric Rocket Vehicles Aren’t Real? MUUUUUSK!!!

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First of all, I understand that a goodly number of you can’t watch New Simpsons when they come out. It’s a bummer…but, a sad reality regarding international cable company licensing and on-demand options.

That said, last night’s Simpsons, featured inventor Elon Musk, and was loaded with all sorts of funny, futuristic jabs at what is and what isn’t possible…

OH…WAIT…that was actually Elon doing a Post-Episode Twitter-Blast, defending himself from a comment that Lisa makes at the end of the show.

Elon is an interesting guy…even when tinted in Simpsons Yellow.
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To Add or Not to Add…That is the Question!

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Let’s keep this simple. Over the weekend, I was contacted by a new blog, interested in doing some “guest posts” about a mobile game that is very popular.

No. It wasn’t one of the Bliss Ninnies tossing an olive branch. It was from a new blog about Family Guy Quest For Stuff.

I admit to still having the game on my phone…but only looking at it when there is an update…so I can see what they are up to. I haven’t played it…actually tried to do anything in Quahog, in months.

HOWEVER…I know that many of you still play both games. So…the question is, “Would you be interested in a weekly post from the new blog?”  It’s called FamilyGuyTips, and is of no direct connection to another “Tips” site that is now infamous.

Let me know with your comments below.

I applaud anyone who is nuts enough to start a daily game blog. Or, should I say I clap for them through tears and warnings of “you really sure you know what you are doing?”  But, after I am assured that they do…I am happy to just clap.

Let me know what you think!

Dear EA…REALLY???

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When left to idle devices, those of us who have been playing this silly game for more than two years, become restless during garbage time. We have short memories. Was it only a handful of days ago that we were complaining about the elves still hanging around our towns?

Was it only a few days ago, that our towns were covered in snow…and we were chilled by the prospects of not ENOUGH time to get all of the Free Christmas Clutter that was being offered?

Yes. Yes it was. But, we are an entitled lot. We want to be entertained…and we want to be entertained with something worthy of taking us away from our busy, important, cluttered lives, to a realm of silly, unimportant, but addictive, tapping.  And we want it NOW!

No lame tie-in “updates” that are barely enough challenge to keep us checking our screens. No Gil offers to buy a bunch of stuff for money/donuts, that don’t have any real connection to larger, complex update.

Idle minds between major events, are the breeding ground of malcontents. (Hey…what a great rhyme! I think I’ll make a T-Shirt out of that!!), so let’s get EA thinking about “What’s NEXT!!”

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Sharing Good News During Garbage Time

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It’s one of those old stories of “I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”

Always wanting to get the bad news out of the way, so I can move on to something more interesting and fun, I will start with a couple of facts.

We had an update. It was/is a small episode update. I has very little activity, and a some really odd tie-ins (which makes me want to watch the episode to figure out what’s going on).  The update is going to run until Midnight on January 28th (PST)/8AM GMT. So…that means a REALLY boring weekend, TSTO-wise.

Meh…

The GOOD NEWS???
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Episode Tie-In Update…the Musk Who Fell to Earth

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Man…EA is SO random in their updating these days. But, it’s something…right?

A small update hit, with a small questline, tied to the Simpsons Episode that is hitting us this weekend.

Click Below for more Info…

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. If you don’t want to know, don’t click below.

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A Brick Shortage in Springfield! – UPDATED

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One of the reasons that I enjoy playing TSTO, is that it so closely resembles real life.  “Pffffffttttt” you may say. And of course I wouldn’t blame you, as most of us have five fingers, and not nearly the overbites that seem to afflict most of the Springfieldians ambling round our city.

The aspect of real life that applies to my theory, is that of having to deal with random events, and the effects that these events may have on us. Just as I have noticed that there are clearly two kinds of water glass people in the world (half full and half empty), I have noticed that there is a similar correlation to the way in which people react to change.

Some are able to adapt, and keep moving, seemingly enjoying the challenges of modifying their activities to overcome adversity. While others, seemed mired in their own versions of “why does this have to happen to me?” to such a degree, that it renders them incapable of moving forward in their lives.

I have found that those who do not like change, and do not adapt well to change, are the control-freak types who like everything in the right place, bricks in a row, no deviations. Those who can adapt easily, seem to enjoy the challenge of making things that don’t seem to fit, work in some other fashion, using whatever is available to them to find a way to enjoy life.

One would think that the Glass Half Empties (GHE) and the Bricks in a Row (BIR) would be one in the same, with the GHF (come on, you can figure that one out) and the Easy Adapters (EA), being one in the same as well.

Not so much. Especially as it applies to bricks, and life, and things being tossed randomly out of order.
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UPDATE…on an update…

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Something is happening… at 6:30 AM PST, my device forced me to do an App store update…and then took FOREVER to update the files…

And when I opened up the game (which twice tried to take me back to my Non-ID Springfield which is on level 5), I got…

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Getting Back to the “Normal”…Water

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Garbage time…that horrible space between updates, when there seems little or no reason to do much of anything, except wait, has been upon us for some time now. I usually fill this space with non-TSTO ramblings about all sorts of aspects of life, both real and imagined. But, recent events have left me feeling frustrated and sad.

It’s easy in this world to feel overwhelmed by people’s innate ability to lose perspective. It’s even easier to succumb to the overwhelming feeling of “what does it matter?”

And then, thankfully…I am reminded that we can, and do make a difference…when we try.

Talking with Emma over the weekend, it is obvious that his world was shattered with the sudden loss of his father less than two weeks ago. But, in his grief, and telling me of the special place in his heart that those who sent memorial funds for his family share, he looked into the SKYPE camera and said, “it’s time to go back to work.”

And, he’s right.
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SHOULDJA? Princess Helvitica and Castle Equalia

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I was initially torn on this one. I have to admit it. As the father of five daughters, I am infinitely aware that almost every little girl has a Princess in them, just below the surface…and it doesn’t take much to bring it out.

Witness a recent video I took of my granddaughter on a recent visit to their home, to celebrate a belated Christmas.

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Bonus…Garbage Time Content!

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While EA is obviously going into a brief stage of EALP…

I found this on the interwebs this morning.  I thought it was a nice diversion from Gil, another castle, and otherwise marking time, until something of consequence happens in the game.

What’s it like to be a Simpson’s Writer?  Let’s find out…
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Free Islands… Not So Free Gil Deal…

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Another Post Holiday Update has hit…but it’s mostly just a “sorry for the hassle” freebee and a Gil Offer for an oddly out of place, Offer on a “Life Size Castle” for Lisa.

Let’s take a look.

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App Store Update Available…Update Changes

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There is an app store update available. If you download it…it will get rid of the elves.

AND…

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Looking Back to Look Forward Part II

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There is really no other way to say it…we in the midst of Garbage Time with this update. You are pretty much resigned to a couple of actions…tapping elves, or collecting bells, and neither of them takes a terrific amount of brain power (or need for my continued explanation).

So, this is a perfect time to continue “Looking Back at the Year that Was” so we can “Look Forward to the Year that Shall Be.”

Let’s see….where were we?
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Thanks To You, The 1%ers…and the Contest Winner(s) Are Announced

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As we all finally get to the place in the game, where we can take a breather (Nativity installedZutroy eating cats), I find myself once again marveling at what has happened here over the past year.

Maddy and Ali are home for the holidays, and this morning we SKYPED with our expanded family in Africa.  Emma and Kato (Maddy’s other guardian angel during her internship in Uganda) talked for almost an hour, over a clear, wonderful connection.  All I could do was smile…my heart almost bursting with pride and wonder at how this world has become so interconnected. And, that a disparate group of just over 200 people,  has come together, over a silly game, to change the lives of countless children they have never met.

If we tried to take this story to Hollywood, they would laugh us out of the studio…as it seems completely implausible.

“So…let me get this straight,” the studio weasel would say through a clenched cigar. “You start playing this goofy kid’s game…and start writing about it…and you almost quit a bunch of times, but then your daughter goes to Uganda, and you decide to turn it into a way to raise money for projects to help kids who live in a rural village in the jungle? Man…I think we did something like this with Eddie Murphy…but he was here…and was some king, or something.”

So…maybe the pictures of the big “Thank You” posters with representations of my TSTO character are a bit confusing. I get it. But, it DID happen…and is continuing to happen! And we have huge plans for 2015. But, we have to say THANKS first…to the 1%ers who made it all happen.

And now…I will.

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And the grandest celebration was had by all…let’s keep it going!

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I realize that right in the middle of a HUGE update…even one dedicated to the spirit of giving…most of you are bothered when I go “off topic.”  But, as I have stated a few times recently, if it weren’t for the way this “topic” has changed this blog and the community, I would have pulled the plug long ago.

So whether you are part of the 1%…or the “still to be convinced…or can’t be distracted from my tapping” 99%- I’m going to interrupt the update cycle for a HUGE CELEBRATION…and a call for support.

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Server Connection Problems in the UK

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Yep…it’s been a nightmare. There has been nothing official reported…but, my guess is that the server in the UK is getting a denial of services attack or something big enough to make connecting near impossible through WiFi…which rely on DNS/IP connections.

There have been some “solutions” reported…using your 3G/4G…but be aware that you are running off of your data plan. So if you don’t have unlimited data, it could get a LOT more expensive than the cost of donuts…

Please report any solutions you see…it can help everyone.

Phase One Countdown Calendar

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There are some really odd things going on…like people reporting that they got the Nativity Scene FIRST…but what most of us are seeing is something that is pretty much the same as everyone else…

For the most part, it is interesting that they have timed this to end on the 24th…just like an Advent Calendar. We ALWAYS had one as kids…every year. My Mom still sends them to all of our kids and the grandkids. It was fun…every day…opening the little door, to find the treat, or the surprise picture. The 24th was almost always the Nativity.

But we don’t earn a prize every single day with the basic countdown…so, it’s not really the same. But the Nativity is a nice way to remember something about the holiday, other than Black Friday.

Staying on track to get the Nativity Scene by the 24th seems to flow LIKE THIS…

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It’s Official…It’s Been a Year to Remember!

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Let’s start by saying that if you had told me that I’d be doing this on my own, after a year…and that the entire focus of the blog had switched from making money, to helping children in a rural Ugandan town…I’d have laughed in your face.

Not just a chuckle. But, a really, really, really, long, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKIN’ MIND????” kind of laugh. The kind of laugh I reserve for people who tell me that Jack White is the best guitar player in the world. That kind of laugh.

But, here I am…after having written more about a silly game, and countless other topics related and not-so-related to that silly game, than would fill a large religious text if I had been counting (which thankfully, I stopped doing months ago, when the amount of words and pages made me feel foolish).

If ever there was a testament to the concept that “Life is Stranger Than Fiction,” it would have to be the sojourn that has taken us over the past year, to this very place.

I admit readily that it wasn’t JUST the travails of TSTO that created what we have today. It was a combination of circumstances that seemed to gather together into a perfect storm of redemption that simply could not have been foreseen, even by the most creative screen-writers around.

Redemption? Yes. Amazingly, that word must be used here. Because, it is almost impossible to escape the original intent of this blog, its roots of creation, and the ultimate change that has happened in me. It would seem insane, and completely improbable, if it hadn’t actually happened…and, with loads of witnesses (you readers).

Follow along…

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When you know you are alive; A reality check on greatness.

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You know you are alive when you experience almost every emotion possible, in a single weekend. And this past weekend has had it all.

We started with overwhelming sadness, at the passing of Maddy’s boyfriend’s brother. It was heart-wrenching, and one of those senseless deaths that was a result of many years of bad choices. But, nobody should lose a child or a brother at such a young age. We grieve for their loss, and hope that brighter days are ahead soon. But, it has been consuming…supporting their family, while supporting Maddy, as she supports Bret’s family from within. Devastating news…followed by a family memorial gathering…as participants and observers of the deepest kind of sorrow imaginable.

It was my wife’s birthday this weekend, with some of our closest friends coming down to celebrate and watch the Duck game with us. The Ducks won, we all went out to celebrate at her favorite Mexican restaurant (where the margaritas are as big as your head). At the restaurant, we ran into the guy who introduced me to rugby, and inadvertently introduced me to Debbie. Ironies and synchronicity continue to amaze me. I hadn’t seen him in 25 years, but he could tell by the gathering, that we had endured and prospered through the years.

And finally…this morning…I got pictures of our latest project in Uganda…and I was filled with pride, admiration, and gratitude in ways that caught me off guard. The change our work will bring to the children and village is incalculable. My appreciation for all involved is boundless.

It’s almost Thanksgiving…and it’s time to truly be thankful.

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Thanksgiving – The Definitive SHOULDJA Guide

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I’m not in a subjective mood today. The idea was to write a “SHOUDLJA” about the Thanksgiving update. But, we just got word this morning about a tragedy in my daughter’s boyfriend’s family, that has me not only distracted, but really “not feeling it.”

While we wait, in that awful limbo between finding out about something, and being able to help, I find it is best to stay busy. Which I will do. But, again…please be aware that my opinion of buying digital baubles…in general…is being tainted by my emotions this morning.

BUT…the blog must go on. Right?

So…a Thanksgiving Update Shouldja it shall be.

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Thanksgiving 2014…and the first Glitch of the Season..that isn’t a glitch.

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After a weird start with Homer’s bad joke about Black Friday… we jump right into Flander’s quest to enlighten the world about Thanksgiving…as Puritan Flanders….which is placed into your inventory. You will also get Sacagawea Lisa skin…if you didn’t already have her.

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LISA and Homer start an entirely unrelated quest…one to get Lisa a reed for her Sax-a-ma-phone.

IMMEDIATELY…we are faced with a problem of Too Many Homer quests…as both Ned and Lisa require Homer to move forward. I know. This gets confusing quickly…

But…the confusion is short-lived. The Homer-Lisa part is only two quick quests, before stalling to make us wait.

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Thanksgiving Update Drops Like A Thankgiving Balloon…

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Nothing says Thanksgiving like a bunch of balloons and your mother-in-law.  Why? Because they are both gas-bags!  (*rim shot).

OK…my mother in law isn’t a wind bag. But, that’s beside the point…
Mrs. Bouvier is here…to remind you that you don’t do anything right…and aren’t good enough for her daughter.

There is also a TON of premium offerings…at full-blown premium prices…(EA’s version of the anti-black Friday)

MORE TO FOLLOW… Check back soon!

Why This Site Survives…

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In the middle of the week, I had a note from my favorite Troll, a guy from Beverly Hills, no less…who is one of the freaks that writes every once in a while to let me know what losers we are. He changes his ID email all of the time…but, because I can trace route his IP, I know who he is.

Of course…the sheer illiteracy of his posts are self-evident in their ignorance…but they are entertaining nonetheless. Here’s his latest:

From Joey1234: I get you are a cranky old man who lost the little following he and his bye bye former partner once had. Who r u kidding? You really think once tsto is gone you’ll still be here? There’s a reason you don’t show your site hits lol. Cya never to return.

Oh…but that were true. The never to return part. But, it was ironic that it showed up, just before I once again had clear validation as to WHY we’ll still be here…long after TSTO is gone.

This week…we once again, proved that we are WAY different than other TSTO blog sites.
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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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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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