I know this sounds like the opening to an Andy Rooney rant ... but back when it was an event to get to play Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? in my third-grade classroom, the idea that there would be a world of time-wasting games and applications available on a cassette-tape-sized computer in my pocket would have melted my 8-year-old mind.
Now, my friends and I frequently have conversations about what apps we've downloaded, which says something about our social lives—and the era in which we live.
When Apple first unveiled apps for the iPhone, my initial favorite was 2 Across, a crossword-puzzle game which has since been buried by flashier games that aren't just fun for a game on a phone; they're just plain fun.
These days, I've become an evangelist for QRANK, a trivia game for the iPhone, iPad and Facebook. Yes, it takes a special kind of nerd to obsess over a trivia game ... but it's the little touches that make QRANK stand out. First, there's only one game a day, with hidden scoring bonuses and Millionaire-style power-ups to assist with tough questions. Rankings let you compare your knowledge of useless information to friends and other players locally, nationally and globally. It doesn't take long for anyone with a love of trivia to get wrapped up in the rankings, as evidenced by the fact that a friend of mine in Phoenix frequently complains that the people who top the Arizona list must be cheating. You can also play live games at anytime based on your location—but a Foursquare-like badge system that rewards obsession makes the daily game the app's highlight.
You may laugh at me now, but try out QRANK, and it won't be long before you're mocking your friend's low score and shamefully squealing with glee when you get the Poindexter award.
THE WEEK ON THE RANGE
We brought you videos of the debates between Gabrielle Giffords and Jesse Kelly in Congressional District 8 (as well as links to our Facebook commentaries on the matchups); shared the latest odds on the CD 8 contest, as well as the Congressional District 7 race between Raúl Grijalva and Ruth McClung; and revisited the question of whether McClung committed to a debate that she later declined to attend.
We brought you footage from a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the new state law that could ban ethnic-studies classes; shared some numbers on the early-ballot returns in Pima County; showed off President Barack Obama's It Gets Better Project video; and told you how the new Pac-12 was shaping up.
On the Chow beat, we previewed the new menu at the Cup Café at Hotel Congress; told you about the newly opened Don Pedro's Peruvian Bistro; let you know that Flavor of India was opening in Oro Valley; encouraged you to check out Tiki Tim's Grill at The Hut; and told you about plans to set a world record for the largest matzo ball.
We featured new work by Valerie Galloway at Bohemia; brought you highlights from a Dia de los Muertos show at Borealis Arts; posted videos from this year's spectacular Club Crawl®; and discovered a National Geographic tour of Tucson featuring those Calexico boys.
In TV news, we let you know that Bill Buckmaster would be continuing to host Arizona Illustrated's Friday Roundtable through the end of the year—and expressed our hope that he'd be able to stick with it in 2011.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"It used to be, 'Damn! I've been Rick Roll'd!' Now it's, 'Damn! I've been Rod Glassman'd!'
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Liss," responding to "Glassman Rocks Sweet Home Arizona" (The Range, Oct. 15), which showed off the utter absurdity of Rodney Glassman's take on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," repurposed as "Sweet Home Arizona." The video proved to be more of an embarrassing meme than a campaign boost.
BEST OF WWW
As the election creeps even closer, it's nearly all politics, all the time, between the week of Giffords/Kelly/Stoltz debates, battles over the proposed Convention Center hotel, and everything in between. Well, Tucson Weekly TV took a break from the strife and discord to look at artifacts from the Titanic at the exhibition that just set up shop next to the Rialto. We also spoke to Sean Arce, director of the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican American Studies Program, about why he's part of a lawsuit to save his curriculum.