Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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January 7, 2013: After some hard thought, I've decided to officially shut down this blog. I know I haven't updated it in a while, but I thought I should let you all know so you can remove it from your RSS feeds, etc.

Reason: I've decided that I need to find ways to make more time to read and create books.

I had great fun working on illustrating I'M BORED (written by Michael Ian Black, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in Sept/2012) and am now working on writing and/or illustrating new book projects. In addition to my picture book projects, I also want to get back to my novel writing.

My challenge: I want to do too many things and am currently involved in too many projects. My solution: To prioritize and cull.

You can find out what I'm working on at or follow me on Twitter at @inkyelbows.

Thanks so much for your support and interest in my projects.

-- Debbie

Entries in launch (3)


Lining up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto (Part 3)

This is the final instalment of my iPad Lineup report: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

Above: I'm in this video of the lineup! I appear near the beginning and am the one doing the shameless promoting. :-)


8 minutes left!

Reid and I both made an attempt at playing a card game on a makeshift table but soon gave up. I ended up reading an e-book (Mitali Perkins' THE SECRET KEEPER) much of the time while he played Carcassonne and watched movies/tv on his iPad 1.

Line-up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale mall

By this time, the line was pretty huge. An Apple employee told me later that there were an estimated 400 people in the line. Whoa.


Forgot to mention, by the way, that I took all the photos in this report with my iPhone. I had forgotten my point-and-shoot, but thought the iPhone did a decent job. I used my iPhone Twitter app and yFrog to post photos to Twitter. My iPhone chewed through battery pretty fast as I read and posted on Twitter.

SO fun keeping up with what was happening other iPad 2 launches and purchases elsewhere:




But finally (FINALLY) it was our turn! A group of Apple employees burst of the store, cheering and clapping, and ran up and down the entire line doing high-fives with those waiting.


Employees high-five crowd just before the launch



When they got back from their high-fiving, the Apple store employees gathered in front of the store to give us a pep talk (like we needed any more revving up at that point!):


Pep talk from the Apple store team

The black curtain was pulled down...


Opening up the store for the iPad 2 launch

To reveal a human corridor made of the Apple employees inside, all cheering and clapping:

Opening up the store for the iPad 2 launch

The more cynical of you may want to point out that this whole scene was carefully choreographed, all designed to make us feel great about spending our money on iPads (and maybe some accessories!). what? After spending 11 hours in line waiting for iPad 2 launch, I'd much rather be greeted this way than walk into a quiet store as if it's any other day. Bring on the party!

Musicians performing in the corner of the Apple store

I like the fact that each person buying an iPad gets his or her own clerk helping them. Mine was Jocelyn, and she was very relaxed (I didn't once feel as if I was being rushed through so she could get to the next customer) and seemed genuinely tickled that I had lined up for so long for my iPad.

Jocelyn declined to be photographed, but here are some other cool Apple employees I met during the line-up:


With Chris

With Erica from the Apple store

And here's the photo that Reid took of me with my NEW IPAD and red magnetic cover:


My new iPad 2 and red cover!

More about what I think of the new iPad 2 in a future post when my euphoria has died down a bit and I'm able to use it more.

But back to the 11 hours in line. As I said before, it wasn't just about buying an iPad 2. The 11 hours whizzed by pretty fast because of everything that was going on around Reid and me: the conversations between fellow Applenerds in person and around the world, the anticipation and building excitement, the being RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL.

As for the iPad itself, I can't wait to try out this new incarnation for my reading, illustration, writing, music composition, photography, social networking, keeping up with industry blogs, and sooooooooo much more. Jeff and I have already Facetimed with our friends over in Belgium via our iPads.

And yes, I'll probably be waiting in line again when the iPad 3 launches. :-)

I blog about the iPad, e-books and digital publishing, children's e-book apps and apps for creative people at iPadGirl and I tweet from @iPadGirl. You can find out more about my other projects at

My 3-part iPad Lineup report: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.


Lining up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of my iPad Lineup report: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we were pretty surprised that Yorkdale Mall would make people stand in line for ELEVEN HOURS without being permitted to sit.

One of the Apple employees said that they would try talking to Yorkdale management about letting us sit, but warned us not to count on anything.

I was tweeting about the whole thing from @iPadGirl on Twitter, of course, and here are a couple of comments that came back:


Meanwhile, Reid and I got a surprise visit from Jeff, Ruth and my nieces! They were very careful not to cross the barrier strip lest people think they were line-jumping.

Jeff comes by to offer moral support


MattOne of the things I enjoyed most about lining up that day was meeting some of the other people in line.

As I mentioned in my previous post, after all, it takes a certain amount of craziness (unless someone's paying you) to be in the line in the first place. Enjoyed meeting Matthew Slutzky, for example (see right), co-founder of Buzz Buzz Home. He had his laptop and iPhone with him, and created a new Foursquare venue for the iPad line-up.

Conversation was also fun. iPad launch news from other parts of Toronto would ripple up and down the line. The Eaton's Centre line got ejected because they broke the rules! But now they're back again! Some guy in the Eaton's Center line had stayed there overnight!

Whether true or not, these rumors were fun to pass along. Our group got all excited when one of us spotted someone further back who ALREADY HAD AN iPAD 2!!


I immediately had to go over and check it out; the fellow obligingly let me touch his red magnetic cover as well as posing for the photo above. He was in the line to support his friend who DIDN'T have an iPad 2 yet.

A member of our line group, Stephanie, wasn't going to get an iPad 2 herself either. She was there "as moral support" for her boyfriend:


We exchanged iPad stories, compared Apple accessories & gear:


Cool iPad case & Hello Kitty iPhone case from Hong Kong

Above: this cool iPad case & iPhone case were bought in Hong Kong!


Meanwhile, I was getting tweets from others around the world who were also in line for the iPad 2 or had just gotten their iPads, like @developit in Australia:


She also posted pics from some of her line-ups.

My friend Steve was in a line-up in Germany when he posted the following:



Then around noon, BIG NEWS. The security guard announced that "your message has been received" and that Yorkdale Mall had changed its mind about us being permitted to sit.

In fact, they were going to bring us chairs! These would be given out while supplies lasted, starting with the front of the line:


Yaaaaaaaaaaay! My guess is that the Apple store employees managed to convince Yorkdale management after all. Kudos to Apple for helping us out, and kudos to Yorkdale for listening to them. And thanks to all those who tweeted their support!

Anyway, there was much cheering and clapping. :-) And CHAIRS!


Erica chats with the line-up

Speaking of Apple, I thought it was great how often they came out to update us, answer questions, generally let us know what was going to be happening. And they partnered with Second Cup to provide free coffee:


Apple employees getting coffee for us

Meanwhile, excitement was continuing to gradually build as the line grew longer and the launch time neared:


Line-up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale mall

And then we noticed that the Apple employees were starting to shut down the store in preparation for the Big Launch:


Apple store prepares to open for the launch

Wahoo! And someone was coming around to find out in advance what type of iPads we wanted. Each person was allowed to purchase up to two. I was buying for Jeff and me. Reid was buying for himself and (ironically) the friend who mocked us for standing in line.


Warning people that they'll need an Apple id

I asked for two black 64 GB Wifi-only iPads. Here's my ticket:

I have my ticket!

...and my line group with their tickets:

My line-mates

Continued in Part 3.

My 3-part iPad Lineup report: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

I blog about the iPad, e-books and digital publishing, children's e-book apps and apps for creative people at iPadGirl and I tweet from @iPadGirl. You can find out more about my other projects at



iPad 2 Line-up at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto (Part 1)

You are reading the first of my 3-part iPad Lineup report: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.

My friend Reid and I lined up for 11 hours in front of the Apple store in Yorkdale Mall on the day the iPad 2 launched in Toronto. So did 400 other people, according to an Apple employee I talked with when I made my purchase.

Some may think we were crazy. A friend of ours has pointed out that there were no line-ups (or very short) at the Best Buy outlets in the city. Others were asking why we didn't just order them online and have them delivered. From another: "Didn't you just buy an iPad?"

While I understand where these comments were coming from, I need to clarify: I wasn't just lining up at Yorkdale for an iPad 2. I was there for the whole experience: to be right in the middle of all that rabid excitement and anticipation, to be hanging out with people who were as iPad-obsessed as I am. It wasn't just about the iPad 2 -- it was about everything this event represented.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

My line-mates

More about the excitement about the event...

I feel the same way about movie premieres where the movie is one I'm really, really hyped about. Like when the Lord of the Rings movies came out! Lining up for hours with equally obsessed fans was part of the experience. I wrote a comic about the experience and have started a new one about the lineup for the upcoming The Hobbit movie.

Yes, I'm lucky to be getting an iPad; not everyone can afford one. I also know I'm not a typical female consumer -- I dislike shopping for clothes and shoes, only doing it when absolutely necessary. If given a choice, I'd opt for computer hardware over jewelry any day.

Line-up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale mall

Anyway, my iPad 2 is Jeff's birthday present for me this year. The deal: I'd have to line up for it, and get his as well. Sounded like a great arrangement to me!

Reid picked me up at about 5:30 a.m. Reid and I have been friends for a long time. Reid, his wife Luisa, Jeff and I all met back at the University of Toronto. Reid was my first boyfriend (Luisa and Jeff were both seeing other people at the time); the four of us are still friends, and Luisa is one of my closest pals.


I mention this because I think it's kind of cool that some of my nerdy group of pals back in university are just as nerdy many years later. I know that more of them would have been in line with us if they didn't have to be at work that day.

First in line! They were here at 3 amWhen Reid & I arrived at around 6 am, there were already twenty people ahead of us in line. The fellow to the right was the first in line; he'd been there since 3 a.m.

As soon as we arrived and said hello to the others in line, they let us know that we were supposed to get a numbered ticket from the security guard. Then they lowered the voices and whispered, "Ask him about the rules!"


I'm #21 in the iPad 2 line-up at Yorkdale Mall

So we asked. And here were the rules that Yorkdale Mall had for those waiting in line:

1. No sitting (squatting ok).

2. No leaving the line except for washroom breaks.

3. No photography.

4. No rowdiness.

5. Rule-breakers would be ejected from the line. Apparently someone had already been ejected earlier that morning.

I was floored. The mall knew that the Apple store wasn't going to start selling iPads until 5 pm. They expected us to STAND FOR 11 HOURS??!??

I asked the guard whether people who had trouble standing that long could occasionally sit on the floor. He shook his head and said that only people who could stand were allowed to be in the line. I asked him about handicapped people...surely they'd be permitted to join the line.

The guard repeated that only people who could stand could be in the line. English was not the guard's first language, so I'm ASSUMING that he didn't really mean this.

Shortly after, the guard collected all the numbered tickets, saying that we were to memorize our numbers.

As soon as the night guard left and before the morning guard arrived, we all took advantage of the chance to sit:


Line-up for the iPad 2 at Yorkdale mall

Then the first Apple employees began to arrive, and they immediately handed out cookies:


Apple employee offers cookies!

and bottled water:


Apple offers us water & cookies as soon as the store opens

We told the Apple guys about the no sitting policy, and they said that unfortunately they had to adhere to Yorkdale Mall's rules. Apparently at last year's iPhone 4 launch, it was way too chaotic, with people in line grabbing chairs from nearby restaurants as well as sprawling out into the aisles, making it difficult for other mall patrons to pass by.

Second Cup guyThis was confirmed by a fellow I met at the Second Cup (which was smart enough to open  before the rest of the mall opened). He said he was one of the first people to get an iPhone from the Apple store in Yorkdale last year, and the line got out of hand.

Meanwhile, the day security guard(s) showed up, and one of them told us that we would be permitted to sit until the mall opened at 10 am. After that, we'd have to stand.


Continued in Part 2 and Part 3.

I blog about the iPad, e-books and digital publishing, children's e-book apps and apps for creative people at iPadGirl and I tweet from @iPadGirl. You can find out more about my other projects at