Weekly Wide Web

Cast Spells in Your Neighborhood

Everyone has had Harry Potter fever over the last week, so it makes sense that someone would try to bring the excitement of casting spells and defeating evil to the humdrum existences that are our lives.

That's where the new app Shadow Cities comes in.

There are plenty of multiplayer games you can play on your iPhone, but Shadow Cities is somewhat unique in that it incorporates your location by using GPS. Log in; join either the nature-loving Animators or the technology-fueled Architects (while I have mixed emotions about technology, my hatred of the outdoors made my choice easy); and then start defeating balls of energy and taking over territory in your city with other local teammates. There's more to the game than just that (hopefully), but I've just started, and so far, I've conquered the park by my house (I think), and that's something I couldn't exactly pull off in real life.

Sure, Shadow Cities is only a few steps away on the nerdiness scale from running down the street in a knight costume and waving a cardboard sword, but since the app is free (you can purchase upgrades, but they don't seem necessary), it is more entertaining (for now) to battle conquering hordes on a virtual map of Tucson than it is to shoot cartoon birds at cartoon pigs. The real world can be dull, so turning it into a game seems like an obvious solution.

Just don't try to take away the one eastside park I control.

The Week on The Range

We were awestruck by the breakdown of the GOP over the idea of raising the debt ceiling; watched state Sen. Lori Klein's nose grow as she lied about pointing a loaded gun at reporter Richard Ruelas during an interview; noted that someone was polling Tucson voters to see if they wanted Republican Jonathan Paton to be their next mayor; wondered if North Dakota was really a state; and gave a sideways glance to the new Sarah Palin hagiography.

We celebrated the swift reopening of Raging Sage; gloated that Seattle doesn't have delicious breakfast burritos like the one we ate at La Guelaguetza; vowed to give up Netflix and return to Casa Video; watched some soccer; checked in with the local rat-lovers' community; took another look at Mars; investigated the Sherlock Holmes Scion Society; celebrated Bill Cosby's birthday; said goodbye to Sherwood Schwartz; shared our fear of killer robots; celebrated the effort to create a new Cactus Drive-In; and tried to figure out Google+.

We celebrated all things Harry Potter; told you the only two things you needed to know about the Emmys; urged you to vote in the TAMMIES; caught up with the latest in the Marvel Comics universe; gazed in fear at a terrifying Japanese roller coaster; rounded up the bicycling news; took at look at the latest shows at Contreras Gallery, Tohono Chul Park and Joseph Gross Gallery; watched some fine noir at downtown's Fox Tucson Theatre; suggested you check out the jazz shows at La Encantada; and noted that jet-pack technology still has a long way to go.

Comment of the week

"LOL! We already 50 states! What kind of paper are you! GEEZ!"

—Somewhat strangely named (and grammatically challenged) Facebook commenter "Peoria Arizona" either didn't get the joke or didn't bother to read the actual post ("Maybe There's Room in the United States for Baja Arizona," The Range, July 15).

Best of WWW

If you're the sensitive sort, you might want to skip this week's edition of Talking Comics, since Arnie and Eric from Heroes and Villains discuss Ultimate Fallout, in which Ultimate Spider-Man dies. While they do not discuss what this means for Penultimate Spider-Man, Arnie and Eric do make a compelling case that people should pick up the comic, even if you end up soaking the pages with your tears.

Also, Julian D. Ybarra has a video profile of pianist and professor Paula Fan, who is performing at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal on Sunday as part of the St. Andrew's Bach Society concert series. Not only is she a stellar performer; she also is the proud owner of 22 cats.

Yes, 22 cats.

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