It’s been a week and I haven’t ordered the new iPhone yet. That’s progress!

My name is Sara, and I’m an Apple-aholic.


Hi Sara.

Thanks. Like most of you here, it started years ago with an iPod. Just a little, 32GB iPod. Everyone else already had one. I tried to be a good girl and just use my little non-Apple mp3 player, but everyone made fun of it. So I gave in to the peer pressure and tried my first Apple product. I’d seen my dad using them, so really, how much harm could there be in trying something Apple?

And at first, I had it under control. That one iPod was enough for me for a long time. True, I started toting it everywhere with me, just in case. And yes, I used it to hide from uncomfortable social situations. Turn it on, slip those little white earbuds in, and suddenly I felt good again. Was it a crutch? Yes. But I couldn’t see that at the time because it was just one little iPod.

I should have known there was a problem when I had to have it wired into my car because I just couldn’t function without it. And when I would panic if I didn’t have it with me. But one little iPod can’t hurt you, right?

But then I got my MacBook Pro. I’d had a Dell laptop (which, admittedly, I had wanted because they came in colors. I’m a girl. Deal with it.). And that’s when the addiction really got bad. Because I never wanted to touch that old Dell again once I had my MacBook. Oh no. Everything just felt RIGHT when I used my Mac. Everything worked.  There were no more viruses to worry about.  No left button/right button confusion. And I felt superior to all those PC people who had to hit “CTRL” instead of “Command.” Losers.

And I didn’t even have an iPhone or an iPad! Clearly I wasn’t an addict. Addicts couldn’t be away from their Mac products for longer than three seconds without dying like the the guy who drank from the wrong cup in the third Indiana Jones movie. I, on the other hand, chose wisely.  I could leave my iPod in my purse for most of the day and be fine.


That’s how they suck you in though. That MacBook is a gateway drug. Because it came with a free iPod touch. Which meant that I was using Apple more than ever. I could leave my old iPod in the car and use the touch for everything else. I could even use it to get online when I had wifi and was away from my computer.  Which, yes, I could do with my Blackberry, but it was just BETTER with an Apple product.

And oh how I clung to that Blackberry! I saw how addicted my dad had become to the Apple way of life, and I know that addictions are hereditary.  I didn’t want to go that route. So I vowed never to get an iPhone! Never to get an iPad! Never to fall prey to that Apple-induced madness that possesses addicts every time a new product is announced! Oh no, not me! I didn’t have a problem! I could stop any time I wanted to.

Addicts, however, tend to surround themselves with other addicts to justify their behavior. And my parents are no different. Like the worst of smokers and drinkers, I started using my parents’ iPads when they weren’t looking. A websearch here. A Facebook update there. An email. A YouTube video. A round of Words With Friends. But they caught on. And because they don’t see their own addictions as a problem, instead of castigating me, they bought me an iPad for my birthday last year. The Apple TV quickly followed suit.


And after that, there was no turning back. I woke up at 2:45am the night that the iPhone 4S went on sale to make sure I was alert enough to order mine EXACTLY at 3am. I claimed I had a doctor’s appointment and left school early the day it was delivered–the FIRST day that anyone could have one, to rush home to set it up. Behavior that a non-addict would find simply appalling.

I couldn’t stop though. I popped apps like they were TicTacs. I spent countless hours installing things I didn’t need, had no use for, but craved because they were there and they enhanced my Apple products like nothing else could. I preferred texting other Apple users because they too acted like our behavior was normal. They got it. And with iMessage, I could see when they were replying to me. And we could send emojis. Non-Apple users didn’t understand and judged us for preferring the company of other Apple-aholics. Clearly THEY were the ones with the problems.  Not us.  Never us. And even if some of my friends were addicted, I wasn’t.  I couldn’t be an addict. 

But when they announced the new iPhone 5 and I actually debated spending $700 on one because my contract isn’t up for another year, I realized that I had a serious problem. Buying the iPhone 5 was the equivalent of going SEVEN Springsteen shows. (Okay, three with Ticketmaster fees. But still). I have bills to pay. A mortgage. A schnauzer to feed. And I was actually debating spending that much money just to get the new iPhone a few months earlier.  Not good.

Maybe there was a way though.  The day that the announcement was made, I tried to figure out if I could make the money.  But when I posted this on my Facebook (JOKINGLY):

And got THIS as a reply from someone who shall remain nameless, but whom I will from now on refer to as the Creepiest Person I Know:

I realized my addiction had gone too far.  (NO I DID NOT CONSIDER HIS OFFER.  I’m NOT that bad!  But that is a REAL, UNEDITED message that I got the night that the iPhone announcement was made.  SCARY.)

So I’m taking a stand. I’m going to try to break the cycle of addiction. I can make do with the 4S with the upgraded iOS6, which does let it do most of the same stuff as the iPhone 5.  No, it doesn’t have the slightly different body to let everyone know immediately that my phone is superior to theirs in every possible way. But I’m strong. I can manage. And, God willing, with the help of other Apple-aholics out there who are also fighting the urge to spend $700 on a slightly better phone just because it’s new and Apple makes it, I can resist the daily temptation to buy the iPhone 5. I know the craving won’t ever actually go away. But I just need to take it one day at a time.

That’s all any of us can do, right?

It’s been on sale for pre-orders for over a week now. I’ve made it a week so far.  And that’s longer than I ever thought I would be able to last. It’s been hard.  Especially because my dad ordered his right when they went on sale. And I was lying there in bed, staring at the ceiling, praying that I would have the strength to stay away from my MacBook.  Because I knew that as soon as I sat down at that screen, I wouldn’t be able to resist going to the Apple homepage and ordering that phone. But I’ve made it this far, and I keep hoping I’ll have the strength to resist even when I see other people with the new iPhone.

Damn you, Steve Jobs! I feel your icy grip clutching me from beyond the grave!

God, I want that phone.

Stolen from http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple
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Everything I know about cars, I learned from Springsteen songs. Help!

I know absolutely nothing about cars.

Okay, I guess that isn’t true, strictly speaking. I know how to drive them. I know that they run on gasoline. I know Bruce Springsteen likes to sing about them (even though he admits he doesn’t know that much about them either).  And I know that the second anything stops working in mine, I need to call my dad ASAP.

That is the full extent of my knowledge of cars.

I have no idea what goes on under the hood of my car. When I open it, it looks like an super-complicated game of Mousetrap, with lots of random doohickeys that make it run. But honestly, as far as I know, there could be little gnomes running on a hamster wheel who are REALLY the reason why my car goes when I push the gas pedal.

So when my “check engine” light came on last week, I did what any rational person would do.

I became convinced that my car was going to explode and began dictating a will to Siri. That’s legally binding, right?

Turns out, I just didn’t tighten the gas cap well enough the last time I filled my car up and apparently THAT causes a “check engine” light. But even once my father reassured me that no, my car was NOT going to explode (actually, his exact words were that it PROBABLY wouldn’t explode, which was somewhat less than reassuring), I still had to bring it to the dealership for them to reset the “check engine” light.

Luckily, I befriended the service manager at Toyota years ago, so that was a painless procedure. Until he reminded me that I need to get my car serviced before I drive it to Brooklyn to see the Gaslight Anthem in a couple of weeks. And unfortunately, it’s almost at 90,000 miles, which means that I needed to get the timing belt replaced.

I have no idea what any of that means. All I know is was going to cost me something like $1,100. Which is ELEVEN Springsteen shows! (Okay, not really. It’s three plus Ticketmaster charges. But in a perfect world, it’d be ELEVEN shows that I now can’t go to! Although in a perfect world, I’d be at ALL of the Bruce shows with no timing belt issues. I’d also be stick skinny, married to Leonardo DiCaprio, a world-famous author, and I’d have a shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos’ look sparse. Clearly the world is not perfect.)

So, I cried a little, but agreed. Because I can’t afford a new car right now. And I DO love my car.

And in fact, I love my car more than ever now, because while it was in the shop, I drove my brother’s old Jeep.

Back in 1999 when my brother got the Jeep (from my uncle—it was already four years old then), he thought it was the hottest car on the planet. He pimped out the stereo system and you could literally hear him coming from about a mile away. Seriously. It was better than a LoJack.

Fast forward to Wednesday when my dad gave me the keys.

“We need to discuss a few things about driving it,” he said.

A few things turned out to be a lot more than I expected. For example there are warning lights on for parts of a car that I’ve never heard of. I don’t know what a rear cooling sensor is, nor do I know what it does or why it’s “bad.” Does it have tattoos and piercings? Does it need to go to the time out corner? And is it ACTUALLY okay to ignore it like my dad says it is?

The key fob works, he explained, but only if you’re trying to lock or unlock the rear passenger side door. It’s useless on all other doors.

The brakes are “slow,” he told me, “so leave about double the stopping distance you’d normally need.”

Air conditioning? Hah. That died years ago.

Planning to drive anyone else? Not a good idea. There used to be seats in the back, but they’re long gone.

Need to open the back hatch? Watch out because It doesn’t stay up. But there’s a pole in the back of the jeep that dad told me he uses to prop the hatch open with.

As he walked me through the basics of driving this relic of my brother’s adolescence, my eyes wandered to the spare tire holder, which looked oddly misshapen. “What’s wrong with the spare?”

“There is no spare. There are jumper cables and motor oil in there.”

“What happens if I get a flat tire?”

My dad just looked at me like I was an idiot. “Don’t get a flat tire.”

Needless to say, I was a little concerned by the time I got into the driver’s seat. Which wasn’t helped by the fact that I started the car, released the emergency brake, put it in drive, pressed the gas pedal and—nothing happened.

My dad knocked on the window and I rolled it down (THAT actually worked without me breaking out the 80s-style hand crank). “You have to put it in reverse for a second to go forward because the brakes lock up.” Silly me, I should have thought of that.

So, taking my life in my hands, I put it in reverse, then back into drive, and it mercifully lurched forward.

“This isn’t so bad,” I thought as I pulled away. It’s MUCH higher than my car and I DO like feeling tall.

That feeling of contentment lasted until I got it up to 30 miles per hour, at which point the car began to sound eerily like the Loch Ness Monster giving birth to a rabid elephant.

I quickly called my dad. “Is it supposed to sound like this?” I shouted over the car’s hideous cries of agony.

“Yup,” my dad said. “It’s fine.”

At which point, I realized that one of two things was going on. 1) My dad hates me and this was all part of a plan to kill me while making it look like an accident because there was NO WAY that this car was going to get me to and from school and the gym while mine was in the shop, or 2) the car ALWAYS sounded like that and we just couldn’t ever hear it over my brother’s subwoofers and ghetto fabulous music.

Right now, I’m leaning toward option 2, as the car DID safely get me where I needed to go. My hearing hasn’t quite recovered, but I’m pretty sure that old Nessie is either going to have that rabid elephant baby soon or else finally reach the end of her days. Nothing can make a noise like that for that long and live.

And my timing belt was replaced, so I’m back in my car with a new-found respect for the gnomes that keep it running so smoothly.

I’m poor. But I’m back in a hot car that actually works like a car is supposed to. Whatever that means.

And as my dad pointed out, if I ever DO want to run over that goose that stalks me in the mornings, I’m free to borrow the Jeep any time.

Attention Bruce fans: it’s time to rebel! Occupy Ticketmaster!

Like most other rabid Springsteen fans, I spent a large portion of my weekend dealing with the utter failure of a system that is Ticketmaster.

I won some.  I lost some.  I got the 15-minute wait time message that lasted close to two hours.  I ripped out huge chunks of hair in frustration.  I cried.  I smashed things.  I roared my terrible roar and gnashed my terrible teeth.  And, in the end, I wound up with the tickets that I was looking for.

Others weren’t so lucky.

Ticketmaster claimed on Friday that the problems were caused by scalpers, who launched a massive cyber attack on the site.

Which I might be more likely to believe was really the issue if Ticketmaster didn’t own TicketsNow, one of the biggest resale sites out there.

And if seats for the shows hadn’t been on TicketsNow BEFORE the on-sale date.

Yeah.

Sounds fishy to me too.

Clearly, something needs to be done.

And of course, as the future ruler of the world, I have the solution.

First, Ticketmaster needs to be deposed. That much is obvious and uncontested. I think that anyone who tried to buy a ticket from them over the last few days is in absolute agreement that this needs to happen.

The question is how.

Unfortunately, cyber attacks don’t seem to be the answer. If Ticketmaster is telling the truth, then all cyber attacks accomplish is making the fans angrier. It didn’t actually bring about any kind of a change, it just dicked everyone over.

So if we want to actually overthrow Ticketmaster, like with any evil dictator, we need to do it old-school. I mean, we can use social media to organize the protest, like Egypt did, but in the end, it’s going to need to be a storming-the-Bastille type revolution.

Their corporate offices are in LA, so I recommend we do it when we’re out there for the LA Bruce show in April. You know, the whole kill two birds with one stone type of deal.

But what happens when Ticketmaster is gone?

Lots of people have been suggesting better ways to deal with ticketing. I’ve heard rumblings on the message boards of people blaming Bruce’s camp for this snafu, as well as suggesting that there be a fan club to help the “real fans” get tickets first. And I mean, that’s not the world’s worst answer. But it’s not the best answer either.

The problem is that when Ticketmaster has been destroyed, odds are, much of the rest of society will fall apart as well. There will be complete and utter anarchy as people scramble to get their tickets without the totalitarian despotic regime of Ticketmaster dictating how our tickets need to be obtained. And unless we put another system in place, there will be riots, natural disasters and biblical style plagues as people try to get their tickets.

And that’s just what I’m gong to inflict on the people who keep me from getting MY tickets.

Luckily, I have the answer.

We need a Hunger Games-style, to-the-death, battle royale to determine who gets which tickets.

No really. It’s the perfect solution.

Think about it. The scalpers won’t bother, because they’re completely soulless and just trying to profit off the misery of others. They’re not going to risk their OWN lives to get tickets to see Bruce.

But the rest of us? Oh hell yeah. It’s on.

AND it fixes a lot of other things that everyone has been whining about on recent Bruce tours. Think about it. How many times have you NOT been in the front of the pit because little kids were up there? How many times have you sat through Bruce pulling them up to sing “Waiting on a Sunny Day”?

They won’t survive the ticketing process, so that problem is solved. AND their annoying parents will be so busy trying to protect the little ones that it’ll be really easy to take them out too.

And how many times have you been surrounded by drunken idiots yelling out requests for songs that no one wants to hear? Like the idiots who brought signs requesting “Mary’s Place.” I mean, REALLY? You REALLY want to hear “Mary’s Place” again? I only went to four shows on the Rising tour and STILL spent more time listening to that song than it would take to watch Gone With the Wind. Twice.

Luckily, with my system, the drunken idiots would no longer be at the shows, because they’d be the first ones to go down after the kids in the battle royale. It’s REALLY easy to knock a drunk down. Just put on a strobe light. They fall down on their own. (That actually works. And it’s REALLY fun to do if you’re sober at a party. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Deal with it.)

Of course, some people might argue that a better system might be to just sell tickets the day of the show at the door. You show up, pay, go in, done. No more scalpers. But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the competitive edge? Where’s the sheer joy of beating the crap out of the people who want to get your tickets?

No, my solution is clearly the answer.

Or, I suppose the government could step in and actually enforce some of those antitrust laws, which, as I understand it, were written to prevent corporations like Ticketmaster from holding a complete monopoly and causing problems like those that happened this weekend.

That might work too.

Springsteen tickets go on sale today: Game on.

I’m not exactly an athlete, but today is opening day of the one sport that I’m a pro at.

Yes.

Springsteen tickets go on sale today.

Game on.

To the non-competitive fans out there, I know it doesn’t sound like much of an athletic activity, but trust me, it requires months of preparation, mental agility, cat-like reflexes, and the patience of a Buddhist monk.

If you’re smart like I am, you’re in constant training. There’s no off-season when you’re serious about getting Bruce tickets.

The preparation starts with location and a credit card. For any given tour, there are certain cities that are likely to get concerts. It’s important to anticipate which of these are within a reasonable driving distance (a twelve-hour radius is acceptable on your own, more if you have a second driver going with you), and to make sure that you’ve bought enough stuff with your credit card to rack up the mileage points to enable you to travel to the shows outside of that reasonable radius. I recommend charging all concert tickets on mileage credit cards, because then your tickets work toward your travel goals as well. This stage of the training process can take years, but if you’re an chronic shopper like I am, you can make training fun.

Next, you need to take up yoga. This is the part that’s hard for me. I’m not a patient person. If I’m going to work out, I want to run and lift heavy things. (Yes, like running toward sales and carrying shopping bags loaded with shoes. Shut up. I work out for real. Jerks.)

You see, to deal with Ticketmaster, you need yoga. Because Ticketmaster is the single most evil corporation in the history of the world. It’s a little-known fact that it has been around for hundreds of years, since LONG before you were able to buy tickets online, or by phone, or even in a kiosk (which was before my ticket-buying time). I actually have a theory that Ticketmaster was single-handedly responsible for the Kennedy assassination, the Holocaust, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (which started World War I), the Indonesian tsunami, George W. Bush, and the Microsoft corporation.

Seriously. The root of all modern evil.

And it’s apparently an unbreakable monopoly since the Live Nation merger, so there’s no way around dealing with them.

But you need yoga because it’s imperative that you are able to keep calm when dealing with Ticketmaster, even when you get the dreaded error message that tells you that there’s a problem processing your order when you pulled the exact seats that you wanted (GA, in my case—if it’s not the pit, it’s not perfect!), and you get thrown back into the queue, then told there are no tickets available.

Normally, when this happens, I turn into the Incredible Hulk. Literally. I turn green, sprout massive muscles, and run around smashing everything in my path yelling, “SARA MAD!” But with yoga’s meditation techniques, I’ve been able to control my anger to the point where I only turn slightly green, grow muscles that don’t destroy my clothes, and am able to grit my teeth, tell Ticketmaster to go do something that isn’t anatomically possible for it to do to itself, and keep hitting refresh, hoping that that tickets that an error message screwed someone else out of will pop back up for me to buy.

Trust me, without yoga, the cost of repairing the swath of destruction wreaked by Ticketmaster rage far exceeded the exorbitant Ticketmaster fees. And that’s saying something.

You also need to be prepared to type in the randomly generated “codes” that Ticketmaster provides to ensure that you’re human. And which are also the primary source of amusement for Ticketmaster employees other than causing system errors after giving you great tickets. One time the randomly-generated code said, “Nice try, loser,” right before saying there were no tickets available. Another time it said “No Bruce for you.” And another one said “ham sandwich.” (Okay, that one MIGHT have been random. Or it could have been a subtle jab at me because I’m Jewish and onto Ticketmaster about orchestrating the Holocaust.) But the more practice you have at reading and rapidly typing in those infuriating codes, the better your ticket chances are.

In order to get tickets to multiple shows (and let’s face it, I’m going to be at multiple shows on this tour), you sometimes need to perfect the art of being in multiple places at once. Tickets for both Philadelphia shows go on sale at the same time tomorrow (from ComcastTix, which is like Ticketmaster but with a less reliable website. Fail.). If you buy for one show, the second one will be sold out by the time you finish your purchase. I recommend cloning yourself and training your clone to buy tickets. However, I’m on a teacher’s salary and since it apparently costs $50,000 to clone a dog (and since cloning people isn’t legal… yet… muahahaha), that option is out for me. So if you can’t afford a clone, or have issues with playing God, you need a partner. I, for example, will be forced to rely on a less trained helper (my dad) to get tickets for the other Philly night. Pray for me. (Just kidding, daddy! I have faith in your abilities! But please try hard!)

And it’s wise to remember that buying tickets is a marathon, not a sprint. Because I’m not JUST planning to go to shows in New Jersey, which go on sale today. Oh no. I’m getting up early on a Saturday to buy my tickets for the DC and Philly shows tomorrow.

But even once I get my tickets, it’s not time to rest yet. It’s just time to start training to buy my tickets for the second US leg of the tour, which hasn’t even been announced yet.

And time to start training for pit survival–If you don’t condition your legs and bladder, that’s an uncomfortable experience. Worth every second of it, but uncomfortable all the same.

Good luck fellow tramps!

Let the ticket-buying begin!