Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

A Beautiful Man

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Life
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Twice last week, I panicked.  In both instances, it was iPad-centric.

The first time I was at work, on my way to wash some dishes from my lunch.   As I walked toward the kitchen, thoughts whirling, I momentarily lost track of where I left my iPad (it was sitting locked up at my desk).  I turned around and began sprinting back to my desk, only to have that reclusive memory come to the fore, while I skidded to a stop.  A woman sitting at her desk, looked up at me and laughed.  I grinned, face red.

The second time was this past Saturday.  I had rented a car to drive about two and half hours away to a beautiful Ojibway native reserve to attend the funeral of a distant family friend.  Before leaving, I debated leaving the iPad at home.   But, I had no idea where this place was, and figured it would be good to bring the iPad for its GPS ability.

On getting to the church, I placed the iPad beneath the passenger seat.   If someone came by (and let’s face it, for thieves, cars at a funeral service become optimum targets), then at least they wouldn’t immediately see anything worth their while to steal.

After the service, my brother-in-law and I walked together beneath the warm sunlight toward the cemetery. As we passed the spot where I parked I looked over and saw an empty parking spot.  I gaped in disbelief.  “Where the fuck is my car?”

Jim (not his real name) said “what?”

“My car.  I parked it right here.  Oh dear God no.  No way.”

He said “are you sure you parked it here?  There’s another lot—”

“No.  NO!  I parked it right here.  RIGHT HERE”  I could feel my heart racing.

I took out the key fob and activated the lock, hoping to hear a horn beep.   I pressed the button like crazy, but the only sounds were birds chirping.

We turned around and began walking back to the church.  My mind was already churning with everything I would need to do. Had to start by remotely wiping the iPad of all data.  Thank God I had purchased insurance.  I would only be out the deductible, which was $300.00.  I could get a ride home with one of my relatives and—-

Then we saw the other parking lot.  It was identical to the one we had just left.  In every way.

I looked at Jim.  He grinned and shook his head.  We began to fast-walk to the end of the other lot, with me holding my key fob out, pressing the button like mad.

Eventually we heard it:  a faint far-off but hopeful “beep!”

Jim stopped, getting ready to head back to the cemetery.  But I wasn’t quite convinced yet, so I kept walking toward the now incessantly beeping little car.   “Wolf.  It’s there.  You can hear it.”

“I know.  I just have to check something.”   I had to check that this was my car and not someone else’s.  I also had to check to make sure my imagination wasn’t running wild again.

It was there.  Right where I’d left it.

In the meantime, the rest of the congregation had paraded down to the cemetery, getting ready to bury a beloved man.  And here I was, panicking over an iPad.

Priorities.

*********************************

Fred was the husband of my mother’s best friend.

I first met him as a child.  In the midst of the horror that was our continually upset household; when the Beast would roar and rage at everyone; where we stepped carefully around him, wary of setting him off; where we lived in fear almost all of the time; where we reacted to the continue pressure by the use of humour; where we lived for the weeks – because the weekends promised hell; Fred (Freddie as his friends called him) would visit with his wife.

At those times, the Beast somehow managed to control himself.  His conversation toned down to the occasional grunt.  He acknowledged these visitors while us children gathered around them in relief.

Freddie face would light up in a smile, at everyone, including us kids.  His soft voice promised acceptance and care.  And he was an amazing storyteller.  Toward the end of his life, he wrote a book of his stories, which was eventually published.   They read one of his stories at his funeral, involving the raid of local police and the RCMP at his apartment early in his marriage.  They thought he was involved with a moonshine gig, and they tore his apartment apart looking for the elusive booze.   Turns out they got their intelligence wrong.  But not before they terrorized his household, as well as that of his landlord.   Freddie said that they came storming into his apartment, and into his room, stomping on the floorboards looking for hollow spots.  Then they upended his mattress, causing him to fall out the other side, where he hit his head against the wall.  “It was then that I woke up” he said.

The congregation laughed at this.

That was Freddie.  He found humour in everything.   As we eventually learned to do, as well.

He was such an amazing gentle man.  He was one of those quiet unassuming people who you could overlook, if you weren’t careful.

To us, he was a God-send.   I remember often wishing that he had been my father, instead of the Beast.

He was 84 years old, and he lived a full life.  And he was well-loved, as was evidenced by the standing-room only attendance at his funeral.

I truly wish I had kept in better touch with him over the years.

You know something?  I think his influence was the one factor that proved to me that you didn’t have to be a bellowing monster, to be a man.

He was beautiful.

I think he would have laughed at the iPad story, too.

Panic in Paradise

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

After sauntering into work and hunkering down in the cube farm that I call “life at the office”, I fired up my email and cherry-picked what I thought would be the more urgent emails to read first.

Including this one (paraphrased):

“I know you meant the best here, but someone dropped the ball and that device should have been sent to a different department, not back to the vendor.  And now we are behind for about a month because of it.  Maybe our two groups should meet to talk about best practices?”

I sat back.

Read it again.

Sat back again.

I didn’t need to see my neck to know that it was glowing a subtle shade of red.  I could feel it.

Ever have one of those times when you’re so angry you don’t know what to do?   When you know that if you say anything it’ll be wrong, mostly because there is *so* much you want to say, all of it equally important, that it will get lost by the time you utter the words?  Where you know that the nothing would frustrate you more – not even the slight to which you intend to respond – than not saying exactly what you mean to say?

That’s the time when it’s best just to hang back, and let that little piece of heaven that the guy left for you in the offensive email just percolate a bit longer.  Let it steep in your gut, until there’s a sense that you want, need to expel it.

Some will read that quote up there and not understand the offence that was given.  That’s understood.   In today’s world, the political man will not out-and-out call you a dumb fucker.  Not like Don Draper would anyway.

He’ll find a way to say it with subtlety and style.  He’ll say it in such a way that you and he both know he said it, but the words he has chosen won’t allow you to grab hold of it.  You in effect have no visible proof that he said anything even remotely offensive.

That’s what this was.  What’s more, he cc’ed the rest of the world on it too.  He didn’t want just me to know I was a dumb fucker – he wanted everyone else to know it too.

One of the guys who works for me saw it, and he knew exactly what it meant, and he called me.

“You know – I went back to his original email.  What he said wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right.”

“Yeah, I know.” I replied. “I was going to respond to his email but it probably would have been a mistake.  I need to cool down a bit first, at least, before replying.  Nothing worse than inarticulate rage.”

“I agree.  Anyway I just wanted you to know what I thought.”

“Thanks – I appreciate it.”

***************

The day went on, and I forgot about it.  Or thought I did.  There was other work to do.  And besides, sometimes when someone sends an idiotic note to you in anger, the best thing you can do, the thing that will drive them around the bend, is to fail to respond.

My brother used an even better method:  when someone sent him a hateful email, he replied back but didn’t say anything.  It looked as if he wrote it, erased it, *MEANT* to write something but forgot, and just hit “send”.

The person replied back, wondering what he meant to say, and he again replied with an empty response.

He did this several times, while his correspondent became livid with rage.

I loved it.   There’s a reason I admire my little bro.

Eventually the end of the day came, and it was time to leave.  I took a last trip to the washroom (bringing my iPad with me, because you can’t leave that thing just lying around anywhere).

Then I came back, packed up my stuff, and started to walk to the elevator.

Then I realized that my subconsciousness had been working all day on a reply to him.  I wasn’t aware until it all came together.

So I rushed back to my desk and started to write it out.  It felt good.  It was subtle but the message was quite clear:  “you need to get your head out of your ass, buddy.”

And as I sat there, trying to find the perfect way to end the email, a thought dawned on me:  I couldn’t remember bringing the iPad back from the washroom.

I jumped out of my chair and ran all the way down the hall to the washroom.  As soon as I opened the door, I knew it was too late.  The floor had been washed.   That meant the cleaner had been in.  And sure enough – my iPad wasn’t there.

I saw another cleaner (one who empties the garbage, but doesn’t wash any floors) and I asked her if she had seen him.   She could hardly speak a word of English.  I don’t know what she said but I raised my voice a little and spoke slower (why do people always do that?  They’re not deaf, and English is still English no matter hooooowwww slllloooooowww youuuuuu  gooooooo).

She shrugged and pointed up.

“Oh – he’s washing the upstairs washroom floor?”

She nodded, still pointing.

I wasted no time.  Instead of waiting for the elevator, I ran up a flight of stairs.  Breathlessly, I opened the bathroom door.   The floor was dry.  He hadn’t been there yet.  Which meant he was still on his way.   There was time.

There was also another washroom on the same floor but at the other end of the building.

I ran.

Sweat trickling down my shirt, I slammed open the bathroom door.  The floor was dry.  He hadn’t made it to this floor yet.   Maybe he was on the original floor but at the opposite end of the building from the original washroom I’d been in.

I barreled down the steps and, got to the washroom and…..there he was.

He smiled at me, in a completely unEnglish-speaking way.  (I knew it, as soon as I looked at him).

I gasped and wheezed, trying to get my breath back.  “Did you clean the other washroom?”

He looked at me, puzzled.

“Other washroom?  Clean”  (Dear God, did he know ANY English words?)

“Oh jes!”  He nodded, grinning.

“Did you see my iPad?”

He cocked his head sideways and just stared at me.  He seemed interested.

“iPad.   You know – iPad?”

The puzzled look remained.

Suddenly I had a thought.  I reached into my pocket and pulled out my iPhone.  “it looks like this – only four times bigger”

Puzzled look.  Then, he shook his head “no”.

I gave up and walked back to my desk.  I’d already decided to remotely wipe the now-stolen iPad clean of all files.  (Yes, there’s an app for that, and it exists on my iPhone)

I sat at my desk and looked over at the bag I was carrying when I had first decided to go home.

There it was.  The iPad was in the bag the whole time.  I had panicked for nothing.

It’s a focus problem, you see.  In that, I don’t appear to have it.

September 21 is the date I’ll get the final evaluation; the date they’ll tell me whether I have ADD or am just plain scatter-brained.

But at least I still had my iPad.

Suddenly, that offensive note didn’t seem like such a big deal.  If I had sent that note and gotten emotional catharsis out of it but lost the iPad, it would have sucked badly.

I shut the computer off and went home.

Wolf Sales

Posted: June 25, 2010 in Life
Tags: , ,

For once, the office was quiet.  Me and my iPad came in and found a seat among the multitude of empty chairs.

The doctor, who was standing by the reception desk looking through medical charts, glanced at me over her glasses and smiled.  I smiled back.

I like her. 

But then, I have a predisposition of goodwill to people who smile at me.

A few minutes later she finished with the file and then motioned me in.  I closed my iPad and followed her into her small office.

The first thing I did was show her my latest toy, like some 10-year old boy, at show-and-tell.  “Check this out, doc!”

And with that, I opened up the iPad and started showing her some of the cool applications.  Like the weather application that shows videos of weather, depending upon the city that you choose. 

I don’t mean videos of news reporters, giving weather reports.  No, these are videos taken of clouds, at cloud-level as the plane races through them.  Or overhead straight-down videos of rain hitting the ground.  Or amazing videos of a full moon, as it gazes over a field, while the wind ruffles the grass.

Most people humour me when I give this demonstration.  I know this (remember my last blog?  I read people, right?  How could you forget so quickly?  Geeze, people.) and I show them the device anyway.  Their patient reactions don’t matter.  I love this thing.  My iPad and I are coming up on our third week anniversary.  I may have to buy something for it, in appreciation.  Or just send it an email.  Maybe a poem. 

Oh my iPad
How ever much  I love thee.
Playing with you always and for too long
Even when I have to pee

(Yeah.  I’ll work on it.)

The doctor didn’t humour me though.  I saw a spark of true appreciation in her eyes.

“Can I use it?”

I beamed.  “Sure!  Go ahead.”  And with that, I turned it completely to her and watched as she smiled and began playing with it.

She tried out different applications, all the time asking me questions.  “How much did you pay?  Are you keeping your iPhone data plan?  Can I use this for my recipes?  I love to cook.”

This appointment had turned a direction that was much more interesting than I had anticipated.

“Well doc, they start out at around $500.  This one has the most storage and has internet access so I paid about $1000.00.  How many songs do you have?”

She looked at me thoughtfully.   “Not many.  Only a couple of hundred.  I don’t do the music thing that much.  I’ll probably only use it in the kitchen.   Wait – do I need a data plan or can I just use it on wi-fi?”

“Well you probably won’t need one with large storage, and yes you can get one that just has wi-fi.”

“Hmmm” she said.  “We don’t have wi-fi in the office but we will have internet soon.”

I could see the wheels turning, as we both sat there in silence.

Her eyes focused back and she looked at me.    Then she smiled again.   “I’m going to treat myself to one of these.”

I couldn’t help grinning back.  “You won’t be sorry.  I promise.”

“And I think I’ll get the large one.”   Her eyes fairly glowed.  “You know – I can get one of my friends to fill it with all of his songs.  He has a massive collection.”

Her excitement was infectious.

My first bona fide convert.   As Barney Stinson would say:  “This is awe…….(wait for it)…..SOME!”

Her normally serious face dimpled in actual pleasure.  It was great to see.

“Now, what did you want to see me about?”

I told her, while thinking the whole time that…..

I’m pretty sure Apple owes me some money now.

iPad

Posted: June 15, 2010 in ADHD, Life
Tags: , ,

Ever since Steve Jobs started talking about the iPad (well, even before that) I have drooled for that thing. 

Consequently, the Life Priority List changed, just a bit:

1. Food
1. a) iPad
2. Clothing
3. Shelter
4. Transportation

Last Friday I walked into Future Shop.  Can’t remember why.  But I saw a big iPad display sitting there, all shiny and sparkling.  And it wasn’t even real.  It was cardboard.

I wiped my face, and turned to the nearest sales guy.  “So.  You have any 64 GB 3G iPads in stock?”

“I don’t think so.  Let me check.”

He checked.

“No.  But we should be getting in some more tomorrow.  Apples sends its shipments to us every so often and tomorrow they’re scheduled to send us another one.”

“Oh.”

“I can take your name and number and send you a text if they arrive.   What do you think?”

Still disappointed, I said “sure” – and gave him the details.

The next morning I was downtown having breakfast and suddenly had a thought.  There are a bunch of Future Shops around town, and they have a great website where you can specify what you’re after, and it’ll let you know which stores have it in stock.  I quickly did the deed and found one store in Toronto that had one.  So I paid the bill and off I went.

The Apple girl was cute.  That’s the first thing I noticed.  And she was excited.  Not about me, of course – just my business. 

(The business about buying an iPad. Geeze.)

When I told her what I wanted, her bright smile disappeared behind a disappointed frown.  “Oh I’m sorry.  I think we’re all out.”

I said “OK” and turned to go.

“Wait.   Let me check with one of the Future Shop guys.  Just to be sure.”

I shrugged, and waited, while Jeremy (I think that’s what his name was) grabbed a key to the storeroom.

A minute or two later he came out.  “Here.  It’s the last one.”

And there it was, too.  A 64 GB 3G iPad.  Top of the line.

I felt like a 1950’s guy, all happy about his Mercury. 

Or that father in “A Christmas Story” – all excited about his new prize:  a leg lamp.

Or like Ralph from the same movie, with his Red Ryder BB gun.

Truly, the iPad was a thing of wonder.  A brand new technology, and there it was, sitting in my hands.  I remembered how so many people at work knew I wanted one.  Every day since it came on the market, they’d asked if I had one yet.

And now I did.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go right home until several hours later, so asked if I could set it up right there.  They said “sure”.

Later that afternoon, when I was at the ADHD workshop, I took it out and flipped it on so that I could take notes.   When someone several rows back gasped “it’s an iPad”,  I smiled, knowingly.

I took it to work with me yesterday, and showed it off to everyone.  Even people I didn’t know came up to watch as I demoed some of the cool apps on the thing. 

There was one thing I hadn’t counted on though.  One little detail in the experience that just never occurred to me.

Paranoia.

It’s not like my e-book reader, which I didn’t mind leaving out on my desk.

This puppy is *expensive*.  Also, it’s cool.  There was no way I was going to leave it sitting around. 

Hence, like a little puppy, it follows me everywhere. 

Losing it or having it stolen (which is the same thing) would suck so bad.  Almost as bad as losing my iPhone.

Last week I went to the movies, and at one point had to leave to use the washroom.  For some strange stupid reason I decided to check my email.  (Yes, *before* I actually did my business).  Instead of sticking it back in my pocket, I left my iPhone on top of the TP dispenser.  I remembered thinking “better make sure I put it back in my pocket before I leave”.

I finished up (all the while distracted by a host of different thoughts) and washed and went back to the movie.  There was some pretty cool music playing and I wanted to use one of the iPhone apps to “listen” to it, so that it could tell me the name of the song and the artist.  I reached into my pocket and……..

I jumped up and made a mad dash for the washroom.  There were dozens of people between me and the place, all just getting out of another movie.  I ran into the washroom and opened the door and….there it was.  Right where I left it.

Heart thumping hard, I walked back to the theatre, grateful and shaken.

So maybe you can understand that there’s some residual angst around owning these things.

I picture some Buddhist master grabbing the iPad from my hands and intoning “son, you don’t own this.   It owns you.”

And I picture myself grabbing it back and saying “yeah, fuck you, Master.”

Still.   It is a thing of beauty.  Isn’t it?

…..preciiiiousssss….