Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Praise of iPad

As many of you may already know, this time next Monday, I will be on a plane, probably somewhere over rural Pennsylvania, en route to Ireland. I'm going to Ireland (and eventually Scotland) for a two-week tour with my choir. I anticipate that it will be incredibly awesome - if for no other reason than the fact that the legal drinking age in Ireland is approximately five - but luggage size requirements are, unfortunately, keeping me from bringing my laptop. To ameliorate this problem of my inability to communicate with my family/check Facebook/write this blog, etc, and because we wanted one and we got a good deal, we decided to buy an iPad. So far, it's turning out to be pretty much the best decision of our lives. In this post - which, for the record, I am indeed writing from my iPad - I will briefly explain some of the thousands of ways in which the iPad is making my life and the general world a better place.

 Firstly and most importantly, let's talk about games. Obviously, the only reason I even upgraded to a smart phone was so that I could constantly and easily waste my life playing Angry Birds and Draw Something. Now that I have an iPad, this life-wasting has become even easier! On an iPad screen, I can actually see, in detail, the exquisitely crude structures that those pesky little pigs (read: weirdos in some Silicon Valley control room) design. Of course, I have to scroll back and forth across the screen to see both the pigs and my avian catapult at the same time. But it's all so big and awesome-looking!! On the topic of big and awesome-looking, the biggest advantage of the iPad, both at this point and probably forever, is the massive upgrade it affords me in Draw Something competition. How many times, my fellow "drawsome" artists, have you painstakingly labored over a complex, three-point word, only to have your efforts foiled by a misplaced swipe by your pudgy fingers on that impractically tiny little screen? With the weirdly enormous iPad screen, this problem is no more. I can create masterpieces! I can write out entire sentences! When faced with the word "Jordan," I can draw not only a vaguely racist picture of Michael in his Bulls jersey, but also a low-quality copy of the deceptively complicated Air Jordan logo - without even straining for space! Friends, if you wondered why I've been dominating you lately, you now know.

When I'm not using my iPad to embarrass both my friends and myself on Draw Something, I am, of course, using it to become a more informed, productive, and generally intelligent member of society by reading! My first and most brain-exercising eBook endeavor consisted of reading the copyright info and cover page of Stephen Colbert's new book, "I Am a Pole, And So Can You!" I would have read more, but I have no money, and that is where the free sample ended. (This, of course, is the first of many reasons why real books are superior to their technologically-advanced counterparts. Were I reading this as a real book in a real bookstore, I'm confident that I could have polished off at least a chapter before a green-apron-clad employee found me and kicked me out of the store. Sampling real books, while a lot less legal, is a lot more fun.) After this first experiment, I upgraded to a full-length book - that I (okay, my mom) paid for and everything! This book is Joel Stein's "Man Made." So far, I'm loving it just as much as I love Joel Stein himself, namely, way more than is normal. I've been convinced for years that, were I a Jewish male instead of a Catholic female, I would be Joel Stein. This book is confirming that suspicion, page by side-splitting page. This book has also taught me that my car is manlier than Joel Stein's, which is distressing. However, the best part about reading this book on my iPad is that I'm reading it at all. Given that Logansport is an uncultured hick town and has closed down every bookstore it has ever had, I am pretty stranded here when it comes to new reading material. With the iPad, all the new reading material in the world is literally at my fingertips. Luckily, my only source of money for these eBooks is iTunes cash, which, since we buy it in $25 increments, runs out very, very quickly. Left to my own devices and a credit card, I would, by this point, be several million dollars in debt.

 And finally, the iPad affords me the unique ability to simultaneously look both very wealthy and very stupid. Since we got the latest, fanciest model, and since no one in Logansport has really caught on to the whole iPad thing ("iPad? Who makes that, Tampax?"), carrying this baby around lets everyone know that I am rich, tech-savvy, and probably important . The secret, of course, is that I am none of these things. Best Buy had a sweet deal going and we tricked their system by opening a credit card that we will never again use. I have basically no clue how to use this thing to do anything but download and play games I already mastered in miniature on my phone, read books (as I have been doing since the early 1990s), and do simple tasks that make me look incredibly foolish. And as for being important? Well, to put it simply, I have very few leather-bound books, and my apartment (read: dorm room) smells not of mahogany but of Bath and Body Works and, as my dad recently declared, "carrion." But when carrying an iPad, all of these pesky truths are masked by an air of elitist awesomeness. At the same time, though, the iPad allows me to look like a complete idiot. Currently, I am trying moronically to type on a keyboard just small enough to completely destroy the immaculate typing practices I learned through years of elementary-school computer classes. This afternoon, I tried my hand at iPad photography. For those of you who are unaware, there are few dumber sights than a person taking pictures or videos on an iPad. As I've discussed already, the iPad is really, really large. In turn, holding the iPad up in front of your face to take a picture makes you look really, really stupid. This is what I did all afternoon while sitting in the handicapped section of McHale watching children's choir practice. And in case I didn't look stupid enough taking pictures with an iPad, I eventually realized that, despite my firm grip on the direct center of each end of the machine, I was not even remotely blocking the lens. Based on the lens location on anything else I've ever taken photographs with, this fact confused me, and I spent the next several minutes combing the device for a lens like a puzzled zoo monkey investigating its lunch. I am quite certain that these kids all went home and told their parents all about the weird barefoot girl with the iPad who provided their entertainment at choir practice today.

 So, in conclusion, iPad, I think I like you. I can read books like I live somewhere with a bookstore, I can dominate my friends on Draw Something, I can look really important, AND I can look really stupid. Ultimately, what more could you really need in a piece of technology? Readers, be prepared for more of these typo-ridden posts in the next couple of weeks from the Emerald Isle. Joel Stein, if, by some strange chance, you are reading this, rest assured in my firm promise that I am not a stalker. And Apple, for this sparkling review of what is largely your most pointless product, you are welcome.

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