The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

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Inside Column: No longer bored

Liz Kelley, Inside columnist

I have an addiction to apps. Specifically, applications for my iPhone.

Not only do I waste time always fiddling with something on my phone, I also spend money on some of the dumbest apps imaginable. It’s concerning. I know it’s a gross waste of money, but I just can’t beat my rationalization of, “It’s only 99 cents! Liz, you’ve wasted way more than 99 cents on plenty of other stupid things. At least this will probably entertain you for a few hours. Cheaper than a movie!” I can be very persuasive … to myself, at least.

If you ever notice me on my phone, tapping away, I’m most likely playing some idiotic game. At least people think I’m really popular and texting my friends all the time, right? Right?! False. I am probably trying to breed a certain type of frog in Pocket Frogs, or perhaps playing Texas Hold ’Em as a dog in Dogs Playing Poker – I play both frequently.
Quite frequently. Instead of working on this column I found myself playing Amateur Surgeon 2.

In this game, you become Alan Probe, a rogue surgeon who uses pizza cutters and knitting needles to operate on very unique patients. It was originally a very addictive game on Adult Swim’s website, and now it is a very addictive iPhone app. So addictive, in fact, I played it for a solid hour.

I had a similar troubling experience with Plants Versus Zombies. Zombies attack your yard and you have to choose special plants to help defend your house. It’s adorable and combines my embarrassing interest of zombies and iPhone games. It was a combination too great for me to resist. I came home from class one day and started playing. Two hours later, I realized I had completely lost track of time.

I’ve seen this weird time-sucking phenomenon happen to other people as well. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, was playing with my phone while we were waiting for the bus to go to another friend’s house. She barely spoke to me the entire half hour commute. Every so often she would mumble, “Wait … OK, what does the watermelon do?”

Don’t even get me started on Angry Birds. No really, don’t get me started:  I’ll black out and still be muttering about pigs and castles two hours from now.

But it’s not just the games. I also have a horoscope app that I know is a full load of rubbish but is still quite amusing. I have an app that tells me all about my finances (“You spend too much money on apps”). I have an app that tells me what’s on TV, but only the channels I watch. I have an app that tells me other apps I might like. I’m out of control.

The Netflix app kind of took over a week of my life when I realized I could watch “30 Rock” episodes while I was standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts. Amazing!
I’m never bored. It’s a good and bad thing. It’s good because it makes me appear very patient and independent.  I’ll say, “Oh, it’s OK you’re 20 minutes late to lunch, no worries,” or, “I got lost on my way here, but then I just Google mapped it on my phone and look at that, I’m 15 minutes early!” or, “Who’s that guy in that movie with the dinosaur? Oh hold on, I’ll just look it up on my phone.”

It’s also bad, though. I always have my phone attached to my hand. I never just daydream and people watch anymore. People are supposed to be bored sometimes. We can probably thank boredom for the invention of the wheel, light bulbs and airplanes. That was completely made up, but give me a second and I’ll look up the real story on my phone.
I do have a line that I will not cross. I will not download apps that make fun fart noises. I just won’t do it. When the day comes that I pay 99 cents for a button on my phone that farts, that will be the day I check myself into rehab. I’ll be okay though, because there’s an app for that.

Liz Kelley can be reached at [email protected].

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