Let’s begin at the beginning. Waaaaaaaaay back in the early 2000’s (yep, two decades ago), I belonged to an irreverent message board forum that I stumbled upon (isn’t that the way most of this internet stuff happens?). This was way before Google and FaceBook and Twitter began using algorithms to push content at you that they think is suited toward your interests (please stop sending me ads for penis enhancement…my plumbing works fine!). So, when I say I stumbled upon the forum, it really was by happenstance.
This forum was mostly a place to vent…in the safety of your own head…with a small audience of fellow attendees, who gave as good as they got back. It was abusive, relentlessly Non-PC, and hilarious. And, pretty much, off of the public radar. Some of the things I posted there would put me in “cancel culture jail,” by today’s standards. At that time, I went by the “handle” of CrabbyOldGuy.
It was the first term of George Bush II, and I had a LOT to say. Far more than I could roll out on a Forum Board. As I owned an internet services company (for my real job), it was easy to come to the conclusion that I needed a web site. Something public. Something more permanent. So in May of 2005, I went to get the crabbyoldguy.com domain name. It was gone. Taken by another old guy (keeping in mind that I was only 51 at this point. Hardly old. But, pretty plenty crabby).
So, after a search, I found out that crankyoldguy.com was available. Cranky? Crabby? They both make the point of my general attitude. I bought it…and CrankyOldGuy was born!
And, then it got complicated. REALLY Complicated.
I started writing. A lot. I got more and more politically active, all while raising a family…enduring the hardships of raising teenage daughters, then having THREE kids in college at the same time, as I maneuvered the business world of online broadcasting, proprietary systems and services. It was a lot.
I wrote and got involved heavily with Obama’s first campaign…and began advocating for local change through a wide range of programs, activism and volunteering. CrankyOldGuy was my release. My place to vent. My place to have some fun.
And then things got weird…and yellow.
Shortly after the death of my Dad, and needing a diversion from my grief, I came across a mobile device game about the Simpsons. Having “two degrees of separation” from Matt Groening (Deb went to school with his sister, I worked with her husband at Will Vinton Claymation), I started playing. I got my grandsons involved because we could play together remotely, and they lived 100 miles away.
Then, I started posting to a forum for the game…TSTOTips.com, and through a series of events, ended up taking over the site…and then spinning it off to TSTOFriends.com and then joining the ranks, leaving the ranks, and then re-joining the ranks of TSTOAddicts.com. ALL using the CrankyOldGuy handle.
Loads of drama. Loads of territorial struggles, and weirdly loyal fans who should know better than to pick a side when it’s about a game…designed by a company who has all but forgotten it…based on a franchise that is long in the tooth, and has been sold off to Disney. Who cares? It’s a game. Right?
Well…”back in the day,” the sites all garnered millions of page views a month. And at the peak, we had readers from 110 countries, and actually made money. But, it was a TON of work. I still had my businesses…my family…and was still working through the loss of my Dad.
I tried to quit several times…because it really felt silly. It felt silly, because it WAS silly…even though we had a HUGE audience. Through all of this, there were several visual incarnations of CrankyOldGuy. Including a book we wrote, and then a “refined version” that happened when I rejoined TSTOAddicts back in 2016.
The Book, which came out in 2013, was #1 in Great Britain, and reached 55 in the United States…for about 7 hours. And then…like most of the internet success, it just wallowed in the “Freemium World.” Turns out that people who play a free mobile app game, don’t pay real money for books. Go Figure.
The Various incarnations of CrankyOldGuy while writing about The Simpsons Tapped Out. I own the first two. The other one is being used (this final time) under the Fair Use copyright laws that protect blogs and news sites. Look it up.
CrankyOldGuy started as CrabbyOldGuy in 2002…but became CrankyOldGuy officially in 2005. I have written thousands of online posts as CrankyOldGuy. Thousands. But apparently the “image” of CrankyOldGuy (me) is not mine. Kinda.
I’m not going to get into a copyright war over an image of me. The fact is, I don’t care enough to give it a second thought. The “owner” of Addicts paid a guy a couple hundred to do renderings of pictures that I sent them (so, I actually own the ORIGINAL likeness, for which no release was signed), but they were used on a site that I do not own. Again…not worth quibbling about. Or so I thought.
This is where it get REALLY, REALLY complicated.
So…I posted something a couple of weeks ago, about Donny Junior…and as a result, landing in Twitter Jail for 12 hours. I got a message from said “Owner of My Image” that they didn’t want to have to deal with the Secret Service showing up at their door, because I told Donny Jr. to “Eat Shit and Die,” because the “graphic she owns” is associated with a threat to the son of the former President.
And then I remembered the story about a couple I knew who argued over a record collection during a protracted five-year divorce battle. And neither of them even owned a turntable.
And that’s the point. Arguing over a $200 cartoon rendering, that only “kinda” looks like me is just silly. Really silly.
The “owner” of my likeness isn’t really worried about the Secret Service. The owner of said likeness and I are simply polar opposites politically. And admit it or not, this had more to do with my leaving than the fact that I was bored with the game, bored with writing about the game, and only did so, because I used the money earned to support our Non-Profit work in Uganda. Said “income” had reduced to a trickle. The game is 9 years old (originating in the spring of 2012) which is about 96 in Internet Gaming Years. It is old. Boring. And requires no skill. It used to be fun. It used to serve a purpose. Now it doesn’t. But IT’S A GAME!!!!! There are far more important things in life, than arguing over a likeness…of a guy who is me…who I legally don’t own (unless I want to spend thousands in court fees).
So….YES…IT’S TIME FOR A MAKEOVER!!
I AM CRANKYOLDGUY. Cranky is me…Patric…(Pat to my childhood friends). And the fact is, there is freedom is divesting myself from the entire Simpsons Tapped Out world (which is shrinking faster than a muddy puddle on a day in Bakersfield on July).
I’m done “hiding” behind a cartoon character. I’m changing the headers. I’m changing my graphics. And just like embracing my very first pedicure a couple of weeks ago, I am looking forward to the makeover, and the reduction of piles of dead and annoying skin.
I’m still Cranky. And believe it or not, bringing this tale full circle….I AM ALSO CRABBY again! Because as I was researching this post, to see who still owned crabbyoldguy.com, I found out that whoever owned it before, let it lapse. So I snatched it up. It’s worth $13 a year to own my legacy.
I guess it depends on how old, the “old guy” was in crabbyoldguy.com. The other “Old” guy could have cacked. There are a lot of people my age cacking. My Father-In-Law used to say “croaked.” That was before he croaked himself, and using “croaked” is just too sad right now. I prefer “cacked,” which was used by British troops in the trenches in WWI.
Those Brits…loaded with hilariously weird words for the basic parts of life.
“excrement, act of voiding excrement,” Old English (in cac-hus); as a verb, “to void excrement,” mid-15c., from Latin cacare (see caca). Related: Cacked; cacking. Cack-handed (also cag-handed) “left-handed; awkward” is from 1854.
Yep…there is nothing more “awkward” than cacking in a trench. Or croaking. Neither of which I prefer to do, especially if the battle is over a silly graphic of me (as in Me=CrankyOldGuy since 2006).
So…like so many other things during my “newly found freedom of retirement” and living whatever life I have before I croak/cack, I’m just letting it go…and moving on.
I wish the “Owner of My Image” all of the luck in the world. No hard feelings. At least this way I don’t have to pretend to respect Donny Junior, or Donny Senior, or any of the other Donny’s that she may like (she may also be a Donny Osmond fan…who knows?). None of them deserve my respect. So…there’s that.
Besides. Who wants to be a freakin’ cartoon, when you can be a stylized “Photo-Shop-Filtered” version of yourself. It’s a heck of a lot more real…honest…and who I really am.
Life is too short. Cartoons aren’t real life. And TSTO is just a silly, very-old, game.