Mike LeChevallier's blog

6:26 PM on 01.25.2011

If you like knowledge and things that are fun, play QRANK

I'm a trivia dope fiend. That's a fact. I watch Jeopardy! every single night. When I know I'm not going to be home, I have my cable box set to automatically, ritualistically DVR it as if someone is paying me to. I will check out any debuting game show featuring contestants answering random questions about any variety of topic no matter how obscure the content may be or how cliched and unoriginal the program's overall format is.

I hereby challenge each and every one of you to a hardcore mass-marathon game of Trivial Pursuit. I've never lost a round of it in my life. I have an entire segregated section on my iPhone dedicated to trivia-related apps. These examples are only a fractional description of my love for accumulating random intelligence from all corners of the universe.

By far, the best (free) trivia-centered app out there is one called QRANK. I highly suggest checking out this app (available in the App Store for Apple devices and you can also play via your Facebook account) especially for Japanator readers not only for your often demonstrated pride in flaunting believed genius, but also because on many an occasion while playing the game, Nippon-related queries have been tossed out before my ever-cycling brain (see: the header--it's is one of today's questions). Thanks to my knowledge of the field I can provide a correct answer. It's possible trolls like this that make me glad I keep on my toes: You write for Japanator and you don't know shit about Japan? GTFO.

QRANK: Your Social Quiz Addiction (Apple App Store/Facebook)
Developed and Published by: Ricochet Labs, Inc.
MSRP: Free

The concept is simple: 20 new questions a day, every day of which you can choose 15 (they refresh at midnight CST) focusing on a variety of subjects (Entertainment, Literature, Sports, Science, Technology, Business, Politics, Pop Culture, etc.), some are topical, some are more historically based. The writing staff putting the questions together does an exemplary job with wording--and get this, common partakers of the game can submit their own questions as well.

If someone is lucky enough to get their question selected for use in a daily game, QRANK will personally award you with one of the many quirky achievements that you can acquire. The Texas-based production team is very much all about communicating with the players by providing solutions for their various problems ("Why haven't I gotten the ______ award yet?") as well as personal satisfaction for their extra efforts.

What do I mean by "extra efforts"? Well, for a first-hand example, a few weeks back I made a hashtag on Twitter called #QRANKacronyms (I'm sure you can figure out what tweets were about), which took off with a number of responses. A couple days after I started that hashtag, I opened the app up on my iPhone to discover that I had been awarded the FOQ (Friend of QRANK) achievement and a pat on the back from QRANK's Twitter account. An achievement in the app for something spur-of-the-moment that I did on Twitter. That's pretty awesome.

The art design/layout and music/sound effects of the application are all relatively top notch for the budget, there are minimal pop-up advertisements that you have to wade through and, even if you do end up feeling like an inbred for not placing high enough on your local or state-wide leaderboards, the dread of failure can be a motivation to return the next day and try again.

So, even if you come out looking like an imbecile whilst watching Jeopardy! or playing Trivial Pursuit with your family and/or friends, QRANK has such a joyous, social and community-driven vibe to it that it allows you to unite with others in your stupidity. My protip for kicking ass in the game is to just read the news, like you probably should be doing. There's also helpful powerups to narrow down answers and reveal bonus tiles, and QRANK also gives one hint per day on their Twitter page. I, of course, dominate for the most part and unite with my fellow trivia whores in scholarly sanctimony. Sadly, there are also those who are shameless enough to cheat by using two devices. They give the nerds a bad name.

[By the way, the answer to the question in the header is Smuggling marijuana. Oh, that 1980s Paul McCartney. He should have known Tokyo PD doesn't mess around.]   read

5:29 PM on 12.22.2010

2010: The Year in Film

Now, I know the Jtor community is well-versed in all media formats and doesn't watch anime alone, so I can only assume that it's shameless self-promotion time.

Post your own lists here if you wish. Discussion = encouraged.   read

2:38 PM on 07.31.2010

Otakon '10: Troll = successful, fire alarm pulled

And the streets are flooded with thousands of nerds.

UPDATE: Turns out the fire was legit. It seems flames broke out at one of the food stands or something. I still believe there was trolling afoot.

Must have been someone from the cult of Roy Mustang.

More photos in gallery via #Otakon twitterfeed.   read

9:39 AM on 07.18.2010

The Holyspeak Registry 1: Five Years Ago I Saw You Today

What's up, Jtor people? I thought I would drop my shiny new podcast (featuring myself and long-time cohort Eric Haberman) here. Topics vary. Many lolz to be had. Hopefully it will at least become a weekly thing.

[embed]15716:411[/embed]   read

6:09 AM on 07.10.2010

The only Durarara!! AMV you will ever need

Well, it's finally done.

I've been attempting to put out a full Durarara!! AMV for quite some time now. I was working on two concepts side-by-side: a Shizuo/Izaya video, and a video that compiled the first 12 episodes showcasing most of the characters. The end result I came up with here is a combination of both that I'm confident works pretty damn well if I do say so myself. If me and the other DRRR!! freaks (i.e. Karen and Ben) ever get around to an All Durarara!! Day, maybe I'll slide this over to the front page. For now, I'll drop it here.

I honestly tried to keep major spoilers on the DL, so anyone can check it out. Let me know what you guys think.

Wavves - Linus Spacehead

[embed]15612:381[/embed]   read

1:59 PM on 07.07.2010

You don't even want to know


12:36 PM on 05.27.2010

If you haven't noticed, the about page has been updated



In all seriousness, I'm issuing a formal hello to all of you.

Now flame away.   read

3:45 PM on 05.25.2010

Thou shalt not devour contents of Totoro bento

One way ticket to Hell.   read

2:09 PM on 05.18.2010

Arakwa Under the Bridge (8-bit)

There is no doubt in my mind that this would be an amazing game, covering a wide assortment of genres.

1) Weird dating-sim type thing with Nino. This could also involve fishing.
2) Planting/garden care with P-Ko.
3) Musical Battles with Star.
4) Trying not to be killed by Sister/Stella. (2D fighter?)
5) Withstanding Maria's insults via some kind of button-mashing, memory game.
6) Keeping the Metal Brothers afloat. Or maybe a platformer of some sort.
7) Follow Whitey's lines.
8) Maye something Phoenix Wright style with The Mayor?

The possibilities are limitless.

[embed]14918:300[/embed]   read

11:12 PM on 04.27.2010

Who says Tweeting isn't a lucrative pastime?

Correctly answering a question from FUNimation (via their Twitter feed) about Tatami Galaxy proved to turn out pretty well for me.

[embed]14691:284[/embed]   read

3:17 AM on 03.06.2010

Durarara!! in Dreamland


What it is.   read

9:49 AM on 02.25.2010

Ride a giant wang at a Penis Matsuri

Pierce the heavens with your...

While scanning the archives of one of my recently discovered Japablogs, Through Eyes From Afar, I came (pun not intended) across this particularly, um, arousing(?) entry about a "phallic centered festival celebrating fertility" where "riding and sucking the object of worship may form part of the festivities." These festivals are known as Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus, かなまら祭り) and Hōnen Matsuri (Harvest Festival, 豊年祭), and are typically held near "penis shrines".

Erect(ed) Shrines

The author states that, "The food and tourism economy reaps benefits from the festivities."

Reaps benefits indeed.

This was originally linked to in a more recent post about the Top 5 Most Intriguing Matsuris that the author has seen.

Koke no Domon

The other types of matsuris included an icy-moss cave festival (above), which most likely just came to a close in parts of Japan (as it runs through mid-February) and a more typical style Hina Matsuri (hina-nagashi 雛流し) where "straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, taking bad spirits with them."


Ironically enough, one of the matsuris also listed is a Japan Blog Matsuri, "a monthly blogging carnival for English speaking bloggers who write about Japan", which apparently takes place every month. Has Japanator taken part in such a festival? Hmm. I wonder.

It was nice to see some out-there festivals featured. I'm still a fan of the much-loved Kid's Day, probably due to this famous episode of the Pokémon anime.

Meowth becomes a hero in this episode, and that was pretty cool.

Although, I think there was some real pedo stuff going on there. How old is Meowth supposed to be, anyway? Are pokémon generally ageless? I don't know. This is a different subject altogether.   read

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