Tag Archives: American Idol

I can’t fix shit and your indifference isn’t helping

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I have the mechanical aptitude of an eraser, which means I also suck at analogies.

Maybe I have the mechanical aptitude of a stick. Not a stick that someone chooses from the forest floor and then lovingly sharpens into an effective tool, but the type of stick you’d normally walk over. The second type of stick is the kind you pick up out of necessity. It might be good for smacking rabid cave bats, or — more likely — it  will disintegrate upon impact revealing a totally rotten core.

Probably rotten

Probably rotten

What I mean is, I’m kind of,  sort of, mechanically disinclined. I can fix basic shit. And by basic shit I mean anything that takes less than 15 minutes and/or has a well done “wikiHow” dedicated to it.

Putting together a piece of furniture? On a scale of 1-10 I’m a nine.

Unstopping a drain? I’m a five.

Fixing something electrical? You’ll find me in the corner of the room sucking my thumb and sobbing softly.

But, this lack of knowledge about household repairs or the fact that I don’t even possess a basic set of tools does little to dissuade me from trying.

For example, several months ago I ran over, with the lawn mower, an electrical box that once powered a pump that fed a koi pod in my backyard. (Some of you remember my koi pond tribulations from Facebook. Those of you who do will receive a HadaFewBeers gold star in the mail in the coming weeks.)

Not mentioned, don't let drunk guys mow over power cables

Not mentioned, don’t let drunk guys mow over power cables

After the lawnmower incident, not only did our koi die of suffocation (or whatever is the opposite of suffocation if you’re a fucking fish), but our house kept losing power when it rained. Five drops of rain would fall and BAM, I’d have to reset the breaker. It was maddening, but I was too mechanically daft to put two -and- two together.  It took an electrician exactly five minutes, having never been to my house before, to diagnose the problem.

I live here and was just utterly baffled by what was causing the blackouts.

I bring all of this up because a while ago when I returned from three weeks on a business trip, I discovered the American Forces Network signal coming into our loving abode was fucked up. The video was choppy and the sound cut out every few seconds.

It was clear to me that the dish had become misaligned during a storm.

Had it been up to me, I would have wished the American Forces Network a fond farewell and tossed the whole thing– satellite dish, receiver, remote control and associated wiring — into the trash. I’d have been happy to never subject myself to another AFN commercial. But my wife, she still found the weekly line up of, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, So You Think You Can Dance and, I cringe, Desperate Housewives interesting.

Reminding you not to commit suicide, drink to much, commit sexual harassment, suffer from PTSD and other stuff for years.

Reminding you not to commit suicide, drink to much, commit sexual harassment, suffer from PTSD and other stuff for years.

Maybe AFN provides invaluable information and quality programming to service members and civilians stationed overseas, or maybe it’s the number one cause of boner cancer, I don’t know. I’d happily dump it all for one good dose of late night European television boob-o-rama marathon.

But the wife likes AFN. Using my craptastic mechanical diagnosis abilities (I pressed the signal info button on the remote) I discovered the signal strength was only one (on a scale of 1-10). It had been seven the last time I checked (which was when it was installed so god knows what it was when I left) and one was just not cutting it.

Despite having worked directly for and with AFN for years I had never actually touched an AFN dish. Well that’s not true, I’d touched them, but I’d never actually done anything more than load and unload them into my car. I might have once, in Italy, helped a friend install one.

The extent of my assistance consisted of drinking her beer, handing her a wrench and saying “Yep” a lot while channeling Hank from King of the Hill.

So clearly, I was overqualified to absolutely make a bad situation worse.

That following Saturday, with a beer in one hand, a wrench in the other and a recently downloaded iPhone app that allegedly helps align a satellite signal, my overinflated ego and I went out on to the balcony where the dish was mounted.

I could totally do this.

And actually I could. The app kind of worked, the iPhone compass worked, the internet gave pretty good instructions, all I needed was a tiny bit of help in the form of a “watcher.”

I don’t know how satellite dish alignment normally goes, but in my house it went like this: Dagmar sat in front of the television while the satellite signal and strength menu was on display; I moved the dish back and forth; she hollered the results.  As soon as I loosened the bolts securing the dish to the patio railing the dish became completely misaligned and both the signal and signal strength values became zero.

Warning, viewing this image may cause drowsiness.

Warning, viewing this image may cause drowsiness.

Apparenlty, the dish was barely aimed at the satellite when I started, so when I loosened the bolts holding it in place, it was no longer pointed at the satellite at all. What I needed Dagmar to do was for about 30 minutes intensely watch a screen that would likely not at all change and report back to me that nothing had changed all the way up until something did. I move the dish and she has to yell at me, almost every minute or so, “nothing yet” unless the signal did change and then she needed to yell that at me.

My wife has a higher tolerance for shitty TV signals (and shitty TV shows) than I do. She couldn’t quite grasp the logic of what we were doing. Sure, the signal sucked but it worked right? Also, she knows me and likely figured that barring a professional satellite installer showing up, a shitty TV signal was better than my attempting to do anything about it.

For a solid five minutes she dutifully stuck to it. But, having been married many, many years, I could tell that after about five minutes she wasn’t really paying attention anymore. As the minutes passed, her replies to my, “Any signal yet” query were met with decreasing enthusiasm .

Well, fine I figured, it’s not exciting watching an unchanging menu on a TV screen while someone asks you over and over again if anything’s changed. Finally, though, she just stopped answering all together. This I understood to mean success!

I tightened the bolts on the dish and walked back into the house to revel in my accomplishment when I find my wife’s phone abandoned near the TV. She’s in the laundry room separating the dark clothes from the whites (she’s totally racist). Her response was that aligning the dish was\10oring.

As for the TV, there was no picture at all. This really pissed me off since I felt as though I was on the precipice of a successful repair. This could have been my saving grace. I could have been a hero. But alas, Dagmar (and I say her name with a growl here) was too darn busy and too darn bored to give a shit.

Fine. My response was to leave the dish unaligned for a week. No Dancing With the Stars, no The Voice, no TV at all. Hell, I’ve said it before, I don’t watch the damned thing. I get my news from my computer/iPhone. And if I did watch TV programs I’d watch online.

If she didn’t care I didn’t care. I put the wrench away and deleted the satellite finding app.

It was kind of a tough week for her. Every day I heard about it. I pointed to the vast ocean of DVDs we own, or the library of books downstairs. I handed her the iPad she had to have a few years back and showed her how to navigate to this or that site. But nothing would satiate her.

This is only the Girls Gone Wild collection ... there were many others.

This is only the Girls Gone Wild collection … there were many others.

The week passed, slowly. Well, slowly for her.

The following Saturday I decided to tackle the dish issue again. This time her responses to the question “anything now”  were fast and loud. Every single time I called out, she cheerfully reported back. Half an hour later, the signal was on money.

For once I was right.  Suck it married life, I was right.  It felt good and it will be trotted up during every argument we have in the future.  “Oh yeah, well maybe I was wrong about that thing I did that day, but remember that day in 2014 when I was right?  Well in your face!”

Damn you jailbroke Apple TV: I have few morals, I have fewer morals now

Broken iPhone 4

Turns out this is not what jailbroke means (Photo credit: DaveOnFlickr)

One of the joys of being in Europe, besides all the castles and shit, was the military-run American Forces Network.   AFN offers troops overseas American television.

Everyone likes to make fun of AFN commercials because they suck. But I find  AFN’s programming hysterical. It’s a collection of the “most popular” shows on television in the U.S, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noted that most of the popular TV sucks. The fact that it all sucks was never truer than right now. It’s all Survivor, American Idol and Two and a Half Men (Two and a Half Men makes my skin crawl, not that anyone asked. – Editor).  Sure AFN has its moments, but those moments only come on Sunday afternoon when the news talk shows air, or in the early morning when I’m getting a look at yesterday’s evening news cast (made completely irrelevant by the internet).

But AFN’s one redeeming quality was that is distracted my wife. It allure was so strong it could draw her fine ass onto the couch (and out of my face) because, “Oh my God, The Voice is about to come on!”

When that happened I wasn’t required participate in anyting. Not a damned thing! She would watch, “shit TV for $400, Alex,” and I was free to do whatever I wanted.

I used this time of course to earn my first of many master’s degrees in “fuckoffery.” I achieved like level 40 million in “World of Wardork”, surfed every porn site that has ever existed, and started this blog.

Time well spent, in other words.

All that was only achievable because AFN aired everything I had no desire to watch. I would not be watching any of it with my wife and she knew it. Hell, I think AFN knew it – or should have because I sent them weekly emails thanking them for their fine lineup.

There are television shows on the planet I will watch, but they just aren’t on AFN. (Every time I return to the U.S., that harlot, “On Demand,” calls to me like the filthy vixen she is. Nazi Germany’s Lost Treasures, is on? Sign me up! Nova’s latest special about planets?  Let’s watch that!) I can be a TV junkie, I just don’t want to be, and here in Europe it used to be very easy to just say no.

This “agreement” between the wife and I was rock solid for 10 years. That’s like a decade or something.

I now consider that the “Golden Age” of our TV relationship.

Because along came an evil, vile, disgusting device by Apple known as Apple TV. I know, I know — all Apple products are fucking vile — but Apple TV is a special kind of hell. It has tons of shows on it that my wife knows I’ll watch. All she has to do is buy them and bam, my ass is on the couch with her. That damned TV was preventing me from doing really awesome things like internet-boobie surfing, and turned me into a banana slug on the couch. There is no way out. I’m screwed.

And then, Apple TV and its seemingly endless programs revealed its silver lining — it costs money.

You see, for years I’ve been grilled about my unapproved purchases (because those fucking things show up on the goddamn secret-spilling credit card statement).

Shortly after Apple TV’s introduction into the house, and after hours of balls-to-the-wall marathon TV viewing, the bill came in. The wife was mortified.

This was a gift of immeasurable worth.

Potato Head - Couch Potato : )

Potato Head – Couch Potato : ) (Photo credit: oddsock)

That little detail meant I would only occasionally be sucked onto the couch. AND, if she was willy nilly spending our cash on TV programs, then what leg did she have to stand on when an unapproved .99 cent purchase of “California Gurls” showed up on the credit card statement? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!.

Until some fucker at her office got a bright idea and told her about jailbreaking.

I’m sure some greasy co-worker, wearing only a trench coat, approached her in the parking lot as she left one evening.

“Psst! Hey you want free TV? I can get you free TV. It’s good too. Don’t worry you won’t get addicted. Just try it. It’s OK. It’s not stealing because we’re in Germany.  Just try it…  Take a gander at my willy.”

When she told me about it, my heart sank. I was back to being screwed.

And then I had a brilliant idea. We all know I’m basically a piece of shit. I swill beer, make shitty jokes about women, smoke like a fiend and have the kind of morals a real-life pirate would question. But when I take a stand on an issue, I pretend it’s something I really believe in. One of those issues is piracy. (No, I don’t mean the pirates two sentences back, I mean stealing intellectual property on the internet – but real pirates are also bad.)

When the suggestion that we get a jailbroken Apple TV was made we had friends  over, so what better time to get out the moral soap box, right?

Break out the soap box I did.

“Piracy is bad because blah, and artists deserve blah, blah and further NPR has said blah and then there is blah!” I ranted like only a drunken, albeit morally corrupt drunk, can.

I went on an antipiracy tirade that would have made Madonna and Metallica weep tears of joy.  Our guests had befuddled looks on their faces that said, “This is what you hang your moral hat on? You told me personally that you’d kick a puppy for $20.”

Yet, take a stand I did, until my shitty morals were kicked in the nuts by a jailbroke Apple TV and I crumpled like a 3-year old presented with candy.

One of my wife’s criminal cock-blocking co-workers, between flashing his weiner and robbing little-old ladies, loaned her a jailbroke Apple TV for a week.

I haven’t seen a fucking Apple TV bill at all this week. I have seen “The Hobbit” (a clearly pirated copy I might add) and mostly my wife has shut the fuck up.

So besides folding on my bendy-straw flimsy, moral high ground, I’ve lost something else. I’ve lost the ability to say, “No this program on TV doesn’t interest me at all, honey, please enjoy it while I surf the breasts, er ‘net.”

Because everything in the universe is on this device, she’s guaranteed to find something that will make me go, “Yes! Yes I DO want to watch that with you. Cue that shit up honey, I’ll get the popcorn,” and I’m not very happy about it.

I should write something for the blog but, “HOLY FUCK EVERY EPISODE OF TOP GEAR IS HERE RIGHT NOW” or, as it actually happened this weekend, “Todd, do you want to watch The Hobbit?”

Yes, yes I do. More than I want to do anything else ever in my life, honey!

If I’m not back in a few days someone, someone PLEASE call the police because even if a jailbroke Apple TV is not illegal I need Frodo Baggins to take ours and toss that shit into Mount Doom.

I’d write more, but fuck, there’s a lot of TV to watch.

Hey, can you Google that for me? Thanks …

Hey does anyone know the number for the take-out place down the road? No? Fuck. Maybe you know the movie schedule for Friday? Perhaps someone would be kind enough to answer for me what “Google” is, or better yet, tell my fucking wife.

Pardon that rude introduction to this blog. It was rude only because I’m at my wits end. Some of you, well a few of you anyway – OK, probably none of you – have to deal on a daily basis with a technophobe. If I’m somehow mistaken and you do have a spouse like mine, you have my sympathy and we should start a support group.

Hello, my name is Beers and my significant other thinks Tumblr is used for drying the laundry.

It’s fucking driving me insane.

As some of you remember, I bought my wife an iPhone 5 and WOW was she excited. Her old phone was manufactured by cavemen, had a battery life measured in seconds and weighed as much as the Apollo 9 space capsule. The new phone has unlimited calls and text messages to the U.S. and that shit excites her. She and her daughter can be “Chatty Cathys” all the live-long day and that’s “fucking awesome,” I’m told.

Seriously, with what is arguably one of the best smart phones on the planet today, she’s still no technically wiser than understanding that ; plus ) equals a winky face.

I had to explain what ROTFL meant to her yesterday. If you don’t know what that means than please leave the internet right now.

I recently received the following “instant message” from my wife Picture1

“Can you look up the community bank hours and tell me when they open?”

Now I shouldn’t bitch, prior to the iPhone purchase the concept of an IM would have been the equivalent of landing a man on the sun for her. Text messages were what all those damned kids were doing to “sex-up all their friends” on Friendster and MySpace. So the very fact that she can now text at all is a vast, vast improvement.

But for fuck’s sake, that message was 14 words long. By simply opening whatever shitty browser Apple shoves down our collective throats and typing “community bank hours (city name)” into the fucking search bar the answer would’ve magically appeared. When I suggested that the aforementioned method is really faster than asking me to do it (on an inferior phone, no less), I’m accused of being an asshole.

The emoticon that would convey the eye roll I just did doesn’t exist. It will never exist. It cannot exist. It was an epic eye roll.

This is the second example.

During a brief period of unemployment after retiring from the U.S. Army in 2009 my wife became acquainted with Facebook. I was proud of her. She never once sent me a Farmville request to water her marijuana plants or whatever the fuck it is Farmville players do, but rather made a few witty comments here and there and did the general shit we all do on Facebook. “So glad you had a good birthday,” and “the baby looks so cute” or the occasional, “Sorry about the penis cancer.” I mean, she got it. She avoided the bullshit that we’ve all occasionally succumbed to on Facebook. You know what I mean — click here to see who unfriended you (you fuckers), find out about the 18+ Facebook, and grow a larger penis in just two weeks — the type of crap we’ve all clicked on. You’ve clicked on that shit too, right? I’ll just assume you have.

Anyway, she picked up a job a few short weeks later and from then on Facebook could go fuck itself. Her hours of free time shrunk back to normal and Facebook died when matched against her desire to watch American Idol.

Fast forward to the new iPhone 5 purchase and the installation of the Facebook app. Just days after its purchase I get a concerned look from my wife.

“Honey, can I talk to you,” she asked almost in tears. “Why are so many people mad at me on Facebook? Why are they posting mean things about me, about me being negative and mean?”

This weird question, and you’re all thinking the same thing, is the equivalent of her asking me why dinosaurs had sex with Elvis Presley on the White House lawn. I mean, she hadn’t been on Facebook for more than four years if you discount the occasional quick check to make sure I wasn’t posting photos of my testicles willy-nilly.

I looked at her with confusion. I didn’t really check her status that much anymore because her last update was literally July 16, 2010. She’s my wife on Facebook and, this is the odd part, also in real life. I get notified when she farts on Facebook. Who the fuck was saying negative shit about her? I was failing miserably as a husband for not bringing to bear my considerable 74 Facebook friends to e-beat the fuck out of whoever the fucktard was that was talking shit about my wife on Facebook!

Still though, it made no sense. In order to have an interaction on Facebook you have to, well, interact on Facebook. As a guy who’s been called an asshole many, many times on Facebook, trust me, I know this fact.

“Honey, show me what you mean,” I finally said.

Yep.  It's personal.
Yep. It’s personal.

She pulled out her phone, opened the Facebook app and showed me. I know I didn’t laugh, but I kind of chucked a bit.

You know all that shit you (we) all post? The meme’s about, “If all you have are negative people in your life blah, blah?” or “Mean people are <insert retarded Facebook meme here>”? She — I’m not kidding — literally thought people were posting that about her. It was just her normal Facebook feed.

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry …

I’ll just have another beer.