LIKE YOU, I got sucked into this stupid, stupid non-game game “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” (“It’s life-ruiningly fun!” says Homer). Unlike you, I do not own a smartphone, and play it on my little iPod dealie, which is technically a mobile device, I guess, usually for ten minutes as I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep, if I’ve already worked through that months’ stack of Archie Comics digests and Harriet Carter catalogs.
As you well know, what you do in “Tapped Out,” see, is you tap on stuff and build things and send Simpsons characters on little tasks, and are occasionally mocked by these same characters for doing just this through word balloons, Level Up screens, and occasionally – very occasionally – short clips of exclusive animation. And brother, we all of us deserve to be mocked. Because there’s absolutely no point to any of this! It’s a complete waste of time!
Speaking of complete wastes of time, you’ve been thinking of starting a Tumblr account, but every single idea has been taken. Almost. The truth is, every single idea has been taken but two. And here’s one of them:
And it’s all yours!
Yes! Go ahead! Steal it! Hell, I don’t care! Technically, yes, it is my idea and you might want to send a couple hundred dollars my way as a token of your appreciation, but between this blog, my regular job, my court-mandated community service picking condoms off the beach in Santa Monica and the cardio bootcamp I run for overfed feral cats (We meet twice a week in the alley behind Vallarta Supermercado in Winnetka, 6 pm sharp!), I don’t have the time. I can’t take on any more projects!
So look, pal, The Simpsons: Tapped Out Glitches is all yours if you want it! Just clear it with Gracie Films, Fox Digital Entertainment and EA Mobile.
And just to get you started, I’ve compiled
a bunchway too many of screen shots of some of the more delightful glitches – “texture glitches” as they’re officially known – that I’ve come across. Yours for the taking, there, buddy!
[By the way I learned they’re called “texture glitches” from the Tapped Out player’s best friend – the only website you’ll ever need to answer all your Tapped Out questions (or some of them at least), Tapped Out Tips.]
Anyway, on with the images!
It seems that almost every unique, one-of-a-kind building in Springfield is subject to being temporarily multiplied and appearing in place of the houses you can build.
Above, in place of a row of White Houses, is the Try-N-Save, backwards – as all these glitches seem to be – with the coin-operated kiddy rides, normally in front, splayed out above each store.
Classic! A row of pink houses is replaced with multiple Moe’s Taverns, here with what seems to be a plague of rats. It’s actually just the entire animated sequence of the one rat that runs along the roof when anyone is inside on a task.
The Mapple Store stands in for a cluster of Blue Houses. A row of computers for sale can be seen in the little squares by each store. You can’t usually see them very well because they’re obscured behind the glass of the front doors.
Overlapping Gilded Truffles.
Here’s the House of Evil, your one stop evil shop, which was only available during the Halloween update. The items seemingly raining down to the left of the stores is the merchandise in the store window. I can’t tell what these things are but it’s a good bet one is a monkey’s paw and another is a cup of cursed frogurt.
Eleven separate post offices right next to one another. No wonder the USPS is in trouble, right? Ha! Ha ha ha!
What causes these texture glitches? No one knows. They’re like a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a vest. Or a Mystery Box within a Mystery Box within a Mystery Box and so on, infinitely. Which hasn’t happened to me yet, but I keep hoping.
Also, by “no one knows,” I mean some programmer or coder or game designer could probably explain it to you, but it likely involves the terms “dongle” and “fork” and no one’s allowed to use those words anymore.
A row of Java Server coffeee houses taking over for the Pink Houses. Insert late 1990s ubiquity-of-Starbucks joke here.
Six Howard’s Flowers shops stand in for a clutch of Blue Houses here…
…And even more Blue Houses here. What episode was “Howard’s Flowers” from? I don’t know either.
Perhaps these glitches stand out because they’re multiples of the buildings you only get one of, standing in for a group of houses in a “house farm.” It’s entirely possible that single regular houses may also appear as glitches, but I wouldn’t notice because the coloring of, say, the purple and pink houses are kind of close. And also, I’ve got houses strewn willy-nilly all throughout Springfield, and if one orange house is suddenly a brown house for two minutes, it’s not even going to register up here. (I’m pointing to my head.)
The area above – normally a cluster of Blue Houses – seems to be one of a couple places in my Springfield particularly prone to glitches. Here we see that Tom O’Flanagan’s Pub, from way across town, has mysteriously appeared here.
Skip’s Diner. I don’t recognize this from the show, unless it’s the place where John and the Simpsons went to eat in “Homer’s Phobia.”
A big wad of Cool Brown Houses – available only for a short time to promote the current season’s episode “The Day the Earth Stood Cool.” Overlapping as they do, they look like hideous condos from the late 1970s.
This is the other place in my Springfield where my game usually tends to get all glitched out – a smaller section of Blue Houses. Could it be that the Blue Houses are the problem? Here we see they’ve disappeared and in their place, four Police Departments seem to be sinking into the ground.
The Try-N-Save appeared here, too.
These glitches don’t affect game play, by the way. They’re like digital mirages. If you tap on, say, any of those, eh, Evas-N-Yrts above, it’ll tell you it’s a Blue House. Sometimes if I scroll away until it’s no longer in the screen and then come back, it’ll have returned to normal. Other times it’ll be something else completely. And sometimes if I just stay there without moving around, the glitch will eventually cycle through a number of different structures.
And it’s not just buildings that suffer from texture glitches:
Here’s a bunch of floating blue Dumpsters with the left side of the lid – the side that Cletus lifts up, behind each unit, showing the three different positions used in animating it.
Six weather stations! Neato!
Channel 6 news vans with their various elements strewn alongside each one.
While I’m way too old to understand computer programming, and don’t have a definite explanation for these glitches that are mainly isolated to two specific areas, I have narrowed things down to a couple of possibilities: I either made the mistake of building on the hallowed ground of an Indian graveyard, or – and I think this is much more likely – there’s a particularly strong electromagnetic force below Springfield resulting in occurrences we just don’t understand. This also might tie into Hans Moleman’s disappearance underground every 108 minutes and the mysterious polar bear in Mr. Burns’ office.
Bridges are another element that seems particularly prone to appear randomly. Above, in a glitch worthy of Escher, sort of, Fat Tony can be seen “taking care of a problem.” Or half of him, anyway.
A few fountains have been disassembled on the lawns of some Purple Houses.
My experience has been that the longer I play the game, the more likely it becomes to see these aberrations. If I just spend a few minutes in it, there’s no problems. But if my Springfield session is longer than about eight minutes, all hell begins to delightfully break loose.
And as for visiting friends’ Springfields, I’ve only noticed one glitch, but it was magnificent:
The Santa’s Little Helper balloon (from the Thanksgiving update) has been multiplied five times and exploded into each of the individual elements that make it up. I don’t remember who’s Springfield this was, but I envy you, friend, if you experience this sort of thing on a regular basis.
Occasionally it’s the characters themselves that get all glitched out. My favorite – and by Godfrey, I know I took a screen shot of it, but I can’t find it – was when Santa’s Little Helper (the actual dog, not the balloon) briefly replaced each of the lamp posts I had placed around the town hall. He was in a begging pose, and each of the posts looked like statues. It was, yes, a delight.
This was one of those instances where it kept, changing, too. Shortly after that, the posts turned to Dr. Nick…
…and then Grandpa:
…where they’re doppelgangers of the real Abe Simpson sitting on a bench feeding pigeons.
Above, two still images of Krusty in a walk cycle from the “Inflate His Own Self Importance” task are enlarged and mysterious have replaced two pine trees behind the Muntz house.
Again, a slightly-larger than normal version of a character – Groundskeeper Willie – has appeared. There’s normally a trash can where he is. Creepy!
This one makes no sense at all. Larger-than-life-Luigi is either standing in a Valentine’s Day heart tree while tossing a pizza, or ascending to heaven. Or climbing the tree trying to grab the pizza dough as it ascends to Heaven.
Other glitches are similarly absurd.
This one looks like an elaborate sliding tile puzzle that someone gave up on because it was just too damn difficult.
And my very favorite:
It’s like Kandinsky and Warhol collaborated on a Simpsons: Tapped Out texture glitch.
Now most of my, what, six regular readers are probably saying, “God almighty, that was a long post! I don’t come here for this crap! I don’t even play this stupid game and I’ll tell you one thing, Ted – I sure as hell won’t now! In fact, you might have to start writing ‘my, what, five regular readers’ after you wasted my time with this!”
And I understand your frustration.
But know this: A year and a half ago I wrote some nonsense about these ridiculous “Koo Koo Birds” stuffed animals which inexplicably gave me by far the most hits I’ve ever gotten. “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” being among the top-grossing games in Apple’s App Store, there’s a good chance that this near-endless parade of images and long-winded conjecture about something I have no business trying to explain just might push my blog’s average number of daily hits toward that golden “Baker’s Dozen” range of about 13 or so again!
ATTENTION brainiacs! Calling all wordsmiths!
Now’s a great time to pick up the home version of “Words with Friends” – the thinking man’s game! It’s on sale at Target! $17.99! For a limited time only!
The popular mobile game comes to life! Says so right on the box!
Now you can play the blatant Scrabble ripoff in home, in person, with actual physical tiles, against opponents face to face, just like Scrabble!
However, I’m wondering how Words with Friends: The Home Version handles its legions of genius mobile players’ most-beloved feature: The ability to continually place random letter combinations that kinda sound like they miiight be a word in various places around the board until they stumble into something that the game accepts.
LIKE YOU, I collect tiki mugs and related exoticabilia.
Unlike you, I’ve done so for ages. I’m not some Ionakana-Come-Lately who just started a few years ago when it became wildly trendy. No, I began collecting tiki stuff a little before that, when it was just reasonably trendy.
So you can imagine my delight when I was over at Petco recently picking up some more of that anchovy-flavored hairball paste Mr. Whiskers loves (on a crisp Ritz cracker) and I happened past the aquarium department where I saw this:
…And it took me but a moment before I realized, why, that’s not just any Easter Island mo’ai, that’s Squidward’s mo’ai, from the perennially popular Nickelodeon cartoon “Spongebob Squarepants!”
Sure enough, when I backed up a little bit, why, there was Spongebob’s pineapple house!
And it was right next door, to the right – our right – of Squidward’s place – just like on the show. Happy accident or Spongebob-loving Petco employee with an obsession for accuracy? I think we’d both like to believe it’s the latter.
These aquarium decorations are from the good folks at Penn-Plax and they’re just two among a number of Spongebob decorations for the well-dressed fish tank.
They’ve even got the Krusty Krab!
In addition to these buildings, they’ve also got little resin figures of all your favorite Bikini Bottom citizens – Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Mrs. Puff, Plankton, even Gary.
And what strikes me, and now you, about these decorative houses and the characters – is how very on-model they are. That is, how everything looks exactly as it does on the show!
But let’s make this a teaching moment and use poor Sandy Cheeks’ ghastly, distorted countenance and the unbelievably agonizing pain we must assume she is experiencing as a warning to any of you less-experienced divers out there about the gruesome effects of surfacing too quickly.
OH, sure, if you go by the calendar, it’s still nearly three weeks away.
Some wait until they see that the red, red robin has returned from her warm winter home in the south; others until the crocus and daffodils are pushing their way up through the soil. But here in the West San Fernando Valley, we have a different harbinger of the coming season. A most frightening omen indeed.
Last night I saw the first crane fly of spring.
Life size…? Not unless you’re somehow reading my blog on the screen of an IMAX theater.
There are those – renowned entomologists, smug Wikipedia editors, know-it-all neighborhood children, irritable 911 operators, and so on – who will naively insist to you that these obscene brutes are harmless. That the clumsy, nearly comical way they flap at you is merely due to their gangly limbs and weak wings and that they pose no danger to humans.
Don’t you believe it.
There’s a reason why the Mexican people have dubbed this creature chupacabra volando, literally “enormous evil flying goat-sucker from Hell.” Proof of the vicious, insatiable bloodlust of these demonic fiends? A distinct lack of goats in my neighborhood.
Now if these beasts could just develop a taste for rooster, maybe we’d all be able to sleep past four a.m. and the local cock-fighting syndicato would move their operation to Tarzana.
IT’S FUNNY how things work out sometimes. I was leaving the gym the other day and I came across this in the parking lot.
Can you see the seat covers in the car? They’re these:
I’d been looking for someone to take care of Nana Parsnips when I take off for Vegas for a long, lost weekend-slash-bender. What better In-Home Care-Giving Service than “California’s #One In-Home Care-Giving Service” that features the Grim Reaper as their unofficial automotive upholstery logo, right?
But it gets better, and unfortunately, if I were to prove it, I’d open myself to all sorts of litigation and even more people picking on me at the gym when they realize I’m the jackass taking pictures of vehicles in the parking lot.
Anyway: The website of their in-home care-giving service, which I ingeniously blacked out to minimize the inevitable settlement I’ll be paying for the sake of entertaining you, what, six regulars…? Well, when you visit it, and then click on the “About Us” section offering little bios of their employees…?
It plays the 1972 soul hit “Me and Mrs. Jones.”
Honest to God!
Sure, they’ll probably end up killing Nana, but at least she’ll die with a smile on her face.
They sure are thorough!
And to add insult to injury, the ticket this poor bastard got for parking in front of a fire plug was more than the cost to rebuild his truck!
LIKE YOU, in my travels around this crazy world we call the internet, I’m forever taking little screencaps (or “screengrabs” if you’re from Canada) of things that intrigue me. But enough about the contents of that folder I’ve got buried in another folder, in another folder, and so on, twenty folders deep, intentionally mislabeled “2008 Taxes.” (And yet it somehow seems to float to the top and open on its own to the delight of everyone behind the counter every single time I bring my laptop in to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store.)
No, I’m talking about all these other screencaps that end up sitting on my desktop forever because I decide I need to do something with them. I need to hold them up to the light for all to see and address them somehow. Whether they’re odd, amusing or infuriating, I’m sick of seeing them here, so let’s get them off my computer and on my website, where no one will see them! Well, except for you, what, six folks, bless you. So gather ’round for the screencap clearance sale!
Did I say “sale”? My mistake! These are available to you at no charge whatsoever! All free today!
Let’s start with this one:
Oh boy, another Batman origin story! What’s it been, two months since the last one? “The origin of the Dark Knight as you’ve never seen it before!” I guess that means the overhead shot of young Bruce Wayne in short pants kneeling by his two murdered parents in the circle of light from the streetlamp above has been drawn from an exciting new angle!
I guess that’s a little, eh, esoteric if you don’t read comics.
Well, instead, try this one on for size:
Ignore the thumbnail in the middle – for now. It’s the two on the sides you need to worry about. Like you, I never noticed it before, either, until I saw this: Bill Maher looks exactly like Chris Cooper! Isn’t that weird?! I speak for all of us when I say now I’m kind of jealous of that photo in the middle! After seeing this, who wouldn’t want to be the meat in a Bill Maher / Chris Cooper sandwich?
See, this was worth a blogpost, right? Onward!
Now, this here – as you know, I’m an inveterate complainer, and I had some reason to bitch about some meal I ate at some fast food joint, so I got online and took their customer satisfaction survey. Upon doing so, I had even more to complain about! Namely, this:
It reads, in Spanish, “Click the flag to enter the Spanish version of the survey.”
“Ted, you racist bastard,” you’re saying, “How dare you have a problem with catering to those who refuse to help themselves by integrating into American society and learning English! How dare you!”
No! No no no! Dear God, no! That’s not my point at all! Jesus, no! No! ¡Dios mio, no!
No, my only point was that it seems to me a bit discriminatory of the good folks at the Yum! family of fine quick-serve (industry term) establishments to use the Mexican flag as a clickable icon for those who happen to live in America and only speak (and read) Spanish. I mean, if the language is “Spanish,” shouldn’t they use the flag for Spain? Isn’t it a little presumptuous for the Yum! people to imply that the Spanish-only-speaking folks in this fine, fine country of ours all came from Mexico?!
That was all I was getting at. Sheesh! Let’s just move on.
Came across this next one when I was on the Garmin website. As you probably know, you can update some GPSs to speak with different character voices – Muppets, Star Wars, Simpsons and, inexplicably, a Yeti that only grunts. Here, the pitch for the Cookie Monster bundle:
“Just don’t be surprised if he makes detours to the nearest bakery”…?!
Yeah, that’s what I want to read about a device whose sole purpose is to efficiently and accurately guide me to where I’m trying to go!
“Honey, my water broke an hour ago! We need to get to the hospital – I’m crowning here! Why did you drive us to Bundt Munch?!”
“I don’t know! Cookie Monster sent me here!”
“We arrive at destination! Now go in and buy me cookie! Ah num num num!”
And this – and I don’t even remember where I saw it, but like you’re doing right now, I fell in love with this sequence of images immediately:
That’s awesome! Shouldn’t this be some sort of meme? Who do you send these things in to be considered for memes? How can I nominate this one? It would totally be a cool meme, right?
This was on eBay a while back, for sale, as-is:
It’s missing seven pieces! The opening bid was $12.95! That’s crazy! I saved it as a screencap because I knew you’d think it was crazy, too! Five missing pieces – where’s the Buy-It-Now button, because I’m ready to drop forty bucks on this thing! Six missing pieces – I’ll put in a bid for twenty-five bucks and not a penny more! But seven missing pieces? Good grief! Get the hell out of here!
From the Unfortunate Choice of Words Department:
Not only will I help stomp out domestic violence, I’ll smack it around and give it a couple of black eyes while I’m at it, because it’s worthless and it was asking for it!
Hoo boy, there go half my regulars. Don’t worry, Ted, they’ll be back. They always come back.
Below a hard-hitting piece on the recent and then-trending sale of Don Knotts’ house, on the website of local hard-hitting news leader the LA Times:
Thanks for asking! Now I feel like I’m part of the story! However, the poll would have benefited from a third option, “I’m still holding out for Morey Amsterdam’s place coming back on the market.”
Last week it was time for Mr. Whiskers’ checkup and oil change. I wanted to see if he needed another goddamn rabies shot. So I did a search on it!
What an idiot I’ve been. I’ve been trying to prevent cat rabies, and here I could have been stocking up and saving on it!
Now here’s just a couple of examples of something I’ve been seeing all over the place for months. We’ve gone from the helpful, concerned-sounding “Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s” links which at least imply a modicum of concern and sympathy…to this: An alarmist, taunting, uh-oh, “good-luck-brother-you’re-gonna-need-it” angle:
Fortunately, I guess if you’re five for five on their checklist, you won’t remember how crass and cold-hearted this approach is.
This was at the top of Google News for a little while one day last week. I can’t be the only one who saw it, but here it is in case you missed it:
Later, when it wasn’t the top news item, but was knocked down on the page by a few stories, they still hadn’t fixed it!
It’s rare, but sometimes the obvious bias of the news media has delightful results. Though there are those – Leon Panetta, women in the military, and perhaps chimpanzees – who might have reason to disagree.
And speaking of Google News, from the Ya Think?! department:
Stop the presses! Stop the presses and give whoever wrote that headline a frickin’ Pulitzer! Jeez, I’m turning into Jay Leno here with the funny headlines and also the unbridled contempt and hatred all my peers have for me.
Recently, a pal without internet access (don’t ask!) asked me to go onto the IKEA website and look something up for her. Here’s a sign-up form I happened across:
Let’s go in for a closeup of the pre-checked box there, hmm?
Oh by all means, IKEA, yes! Send me inspirational emails and updates! My subscriptions to The Watchtower, Daily Devotions, The Word Among Us and Our Daily Bread have all run out and I need some spiritual guidance! Praise be to the almighty Billy Bookcase!
Like you, last month I spent some time going through my inbox, trying to stem the tide of all the time-wasting emails I get from companies when I enrolled in some store savings program. So when I clicked on the link to unsubscribe from CVS emails, I noticed two things: One, that when I signed up for the little savings card that is tied to these emails, it seems I was enrolled in the “ExtraCare Beauty Club” program. This actually makes sense because I am indeed a hideous monster and I need all the extra care I can get in the beauty department since it looks like I was beat with a club.
…And two, evidently there are enough people who consider unsubscribing from unwanted emails…but then take a long, hard look at their life and at their choices, have a change of heart and decide to give their relationship with a spam-sending company a second chance to try to make it work – there are enough of those people for said corporation to include an opt-out-of-opting-out button. These same folks, we must presume, don’t know how to close a browser window or use the backwards button. God bless them.
And God bless this guy, who seems to be a cross between Carol O’Connor and 60s character actor Liam Redmond.
“Parkinson’s, eh? This sounds like it could be a fun quiz! Maybe I’ll do better on this than I did on that Alzheimer’s one, where I only got three out of…three out of… …I wonder how late Woolworth’s is open.”
Did we find out who’s in charge of officially declaring things memes? Because, pal, I’ve got another nominee here! Or should I say “nomin-meme!” Or maybe I should really say “nom-meme-atee!”
Kind of makes you wonder just what sort of websites I’m visiting when I’m not writing this garbage, doesn’t it?
Here’s something fun I saw on a fireworks site last year. Kids love this!
You’ll pardon the “assorment” and “noveltiesi” typos. The four-year-old Chinese girl who typed this up only has seven fingers.
“At first I really wanted to be on Guy’s game show and win cash, but what am I going to do with money? An experience like this, however, is priceless.”
Five lucky second prize winners will receive a text message from Rachel Ray.
Last month I was on the disgusting City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Sanitation website. (Note here “disgusting” refers to the City of Los Angeles, not its Bureau of Sanitation nor its website.) I was trying to find out how our weekly trash pickup was affected by Martin Luther “King” Cole’s birthday, Jr. That’s when I happened across this:
Oh, sure they can have a Dead Animal Collection, they can collect dead animals free of charge, but you pick up a couple of flattened squirrels off Laurel Canyon for an art project, or for if you ever decide to teach yourself taxidermy, or just to have, and suddenly, your friends and family are quietly making calls to producers at “Confessions: Animal Hoarders.”
But more importantly: why would a website direct users to their “local yellow pages”?
We’ll end with my favorite screencap that features just two lines of text that some might say don’t go together at all:
But not me! I wouldn’t say it. I’m trying to figure out the significance of the photo they used. Is this little girl herself an evil socialist? Or is she patriotically ratting out suspected socialists in her class? I didn’t click on the image, so we’ll never know.
I think that’s plenty for today.
Man, did I pick the right elliptical at the gym today or what!
In the receptacle dealie on the left! Look! Look!
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – I couldn’t believe it either!
What’s more, there’s a good half inch left!
Couldn’t come at a better time, either – right now we’re in the middle of a dry, windy, cold snap here in Los Angeles, which has turned my usually luscious Slovak lips into a cracked, bloody mess!
WHY is it that if we’re so much more enlightened, if things are so much better here in the twenty-first century, there’s a dearth of fat, balding, middle-aged men willing to wear a diaper and put on a homemade sash for New Year’s Eve? Aside from that private club I went to once, I mean.
The festive gent seen here in a photo similar to a few hundred curiously specific 1950s New Year’s Eve snapshots floating around on the internet was identified by my dear great aunt – with a steel trap for a memory, she has – as the guy who lived across the street from my grandparents.
And now this treasured family photograph has been harvested by a handful of complete strangers for their Tumblr pages. You’re welcome! But if I see it on the cover of some awful “upcycled paper” journal on Etsy, I’ll sue you for every last hand-made knit hat with ridiculous dangly pom-pommed ear flaps that you own!