Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Man Vs. Machine

Before I get on with the actual post, let me take a moment to express my heart felt thank you to all who came by to say hi and offer up well wishes for Randy. When I talk with him next I'll be sure to pass them on.

As I was doing some long overdue catching up on various blogs the other day, I came across one in particular that hit my funny bone just right. It was penned by Kelly who writes at Cross Your T's. The post, titled, "How to Fold a Fitted Sheet ... Me vs. Martha!" can be found by clicking here. As you can probably ascertain from the title, it's a great comparison of how a "trained professional" versus the rest of the world folds a fitted sheet. If you've ever wrestled with trying to fold one of those scrunchy cornered monsters you'll enjoy Kelly's take on how to tame one.

Inspired by her post, I thought I'd do something similar with a man's perspective of setting up and programming a DVD/VCR player.


I had Lisa find the User's Guide that came with our DVD/VCR combo we purchased several years ago. (It should be noted here that as a man, I had absolutely no idea where the manual was, let alone if one ever existed in the first place.) Sure enough she came out of her office/craft room within a minute carrying said booklet. Dang that woman is good!

Step 1

According to the manual the first thing you are to do is to connect the DVD/VCR to the TV. "Using an RCA-type audio/video cable (red, white, yellow) connect the line out jacks on the back panel of your DVD/VCR to your TV's line in jacks. Use the three cables as follows: red for right, white for left, and yellow for video."

How a man begins this simple process:

Look for the colored cable thingies that came in the box. Look again when you don't find them the first time through. Ask your wife if she's seen the cables that you're sure were in a small plastic sleeve when you opened the box. When she informs you that there was no such bag, state "I knew we shouldn't have bought this cheap model." and tell her you'll just go up to the store and get a set of cables. Climb into your truck, start it up and realize you are out of gas. Mutter something to yourself like, "Dang it, I should have filled up on my way home last night when the gas light came on." Go to the gas station to fill up then proceed to the local electronics store.

Once at the store, ignore the sales person at the front who asks if he can help you find what you're looking for. Walk past the new 60 inch high definition super deluxe TV's and think about how nice they would look in your living room. Grab a credit application and put it in your back pocket "Just in case". Stop by the video game console and play a game of "Death Shooter Squadron" with a snot nosed little kid who proceeds to kick your butt while rolling his eyes in disgust at how easy it was to defeat the "old man". Mutter under your breath that the kid's parents probably let him spend way too much time playing games and not nearly enough time doing school work, thusly justifying the walloping you just received. Take a gander at a few CD's and then remember you originally came in for a set of connection cables. Find the wall of wires and finally pinpoint the space where there are normally red,white and yellow cable combos. Notice they are currently out of stock on these. Offer up a colorful metaphor just loud enough for the sweet little old lady in the isle next to you to hear. Apologize for your outburst, then realize you distinctly remember having a box of left over wires and cables on the shelf in the garage. Convince yourself that there will be something in there you can use and head back home feeling good that you saved the ridicules price the store wanted for the cables anyway.

Once back home, locate and open the box of wires and cables. Comment on how smart you were for saving all these gems. Upon further searching, discover there are no yellow or white cables, but there are in fact, three black RCA-type cables of various lengths. Grab a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie, then label two of the cables with a "W" and a "Y" respectively. Go into the house, get "the look" from your wife at your handiwork then connect the DVD/VCR to the TV.

Step 2

The manual instructs you to, "Plug in the DVD/VCR to a standard 120/60Hz wall outlet. Avoid pressing any buttons on the remote control or the unit during Auto Setup. While your DVD/VCR is running Auto Setup, "AUTO" will blink on the front display. When the Auto Setup is complete , the current time will be displayed on the front panel."

How a man continues this difficult process:

Pull the cabinet that the TV sits on away from the wall. Locate the DVD you couldn't find three years ago and were subsequently charged for by the rental store for a lost item. Comment on what a dumb movie it was in the first place and how it really frosted your shorts that you had to pay full price for it when it couldn't be found. Hear "OH MY GOD!" come from your wife as she looks at all the dust that's collected since the cabinet was last moved, then wait for her as she insists on vacuuming behind the cabinet before you do anything else.

Once a thorough cleaning and disinfecting has occurred resume the task at hand. Locate the power strip that currently has all available slots in use. Unplug the light for the goldfish tank containing a single goldfish that was won at the county fair four years earlier. Recall spending twenty dollars for your five year old to throw ping pong balls into a jar to win the thirty-nine cent fish. Secretly hope it will somehow kill off that darned fish that otherwise just wont seem to die.

Plug in the DVD/VCR into the now vacant spot. Look at the display and notice that it shows "AUTO" blinking. Immediately grab the remote control and press every combination of buttons imaginable. Become increasingly frustrated that nothing seems to work. Make a comment like, "I can not believe they can't design one of these things that works right." Finally, settle for a series of dashes displayed across the front panel, being resigned to the fact that you will never see the current time displayed on any DVD/VCR ... ever!

Step 3 & 4

According to the manual, you are to turn on the DVD/VCR combo, then do the same with the TV.

How a man continues this ridicules process:

Turn on the TV. Notice that the baseball game is on. Become engrossed with the game and continue to watch it for the next forty-five minutes completely abandoning the DVD/VCR for the time being. When your team loses again for the fifth straight time, comment on what a bunch of overpaid bums they are and resume with the DVD/VCR setup. Turn on the DVD/VCR.

Step 5

The manual instructs you to, "Set the button on the back of the DVD/VCR combo to either 3 or 4. Remember to set the TV to this same number when operating the DVD/VCR. You have now successfully completed the setup of your new DVD/VCR combo. Congratulations!"

How a man completes the impossible process:

Slide the DVD/VCR into place completely ignoring the fact that there is a button on the back to select a viewing channel. Tune the TV to channel 2 and notice there is nothing but snow on the screen accompanied by an obnoxiously loud hissing sound coming from the speakers. Throw your hands in the air and exclaim, "What the *%#@! I did everything just the way it was supposed to be done!" Watch your wife leave the room shaking her head as you continue your tantrum. Mentally run through all the steps you've taken over the past four hours while attempting to program this blinkity blank thing. Pull the cabinet away from the wall again. Check your master electrician style wiring. Determine that Edison couldn't have done it any better. Play with all the buttons on the remote one more time. Unplug and re-plug in both the DVD/VCR and TV, "Just in case". Just before you fling the DVD/VCR across the room, discover the button on the back for selecting channel 3 or 4. Wonder out loud who the idiot was who "changed" the selection from channel two to 3 or 4. Click the button to three, then tune the TV to the same channel. Smile as you see the screen boldly display the DVD/VCR manufactures' icon. Holler out, "Honey, I got it!"

Give a fake, "Ha Ha Ha!" as your wife comes back into the room wearing your son's catchers mask asking, "Is it safe now?" Grab the DVD she hands you to put in. Without looking at the movie, hit the eject button and place the DVD into the open slot. Sit back in your chair, hit the start button and wait for the movie to begin.

Wonder why you ever started this whole process when you realize your wife has selected the lastest chick-flick starring Matthew McConaughey.



Mel said...

ROFLMAO!!!!!!! this where I admit that I'M the one who'd be dashing back to the house (after several detours and "OH look a chicken" moments) to locate the cables I just KNEW were in that box?! And HE'S the one who'd be slipping in the chick flick!?! LOL

LOLOL We are soooooooo into role reversals in this house that it really IS that predictable!

Oh Jeff--you're tellin' on me......LOLOL

Finding Pam said...

OK Jeff, you lost me at step 1.
I am so not into directions. Thank goodness my hubsand is into them.

Nice to see your post on my sidebar. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Sandi McBride said...

which is why Mac is not allowed to touch anything more electronic than the laser mouse to play with the cats. Very very funny...but so true it's scary! Matthew McConaughey huh?

Jeff B said...

Mel- Don't worry, your secret's safe with me. riiiiight.

Pam- You gave up to early. It doesn't get interesting until the end of step one.

Sandi- McConaughey seems to do a bunch of the same type of movie.

Thom said...

I'm with Pam...I'm no good with instructions. LOL. I just look at the pictures on the box and go from there LOL. Might take me for forever but oh well. Nothing like trying and starting over and over again LOL :) Again my thoughts for Randy and his family :)

Nessa said...

We have a box where we put all of the manuals as soon as we open the item we purchased. That's all we see of the manuals.

We have found it best to let the kids set up all of our electronics while we sip cocktails.

Thursday Thirteen - My Drive to Work

buffalodick said...

I just call my kid, who works in Tech support for an Internet provider.. I feed him, he hooks it up or fixes what I screwed up..

Bond said...

Dude...never ever tell the world about this again...

this is super secret man stuff...

i have a 'put-it-together' gene and can set up 6 component audio video systems with my eyes closed...

Sandee said...

My hubby reads the entire manual before he starts putting anything together. Drives me bonkers.

Have a terrific day. :)

Thumbelina said...

Hi Jeff - I some how missed your last post and I am sorry to hear about your friend. Glad the faith is still there though. God didn't bring illness and disease into the world but he won't let us suffer more than we can cope with (1 Corinithians 10:13).

This post today is just perfect - I think you are blood related to my husband! He is EXACTLY the same as you. And yes, I do have to clean behind the TV!

Starrlight said...

Now THAT was awesome!

Akelamalu said...

When we get new equipment and MWM starts with the technical I go out! LOL

Mike Golch said...

and I thought that I was a clutz,now you went and proved it.

Kelly H-Y said...

That is hilarious ... and quite true! I especially loved the part about discovering the dust that's been building behind it and having to take care of that first.

Thanks for the blog/post mention ... I appreciate it!!

BJ Roan said...

My Hubby reads the entire monotone, and then reads it again! I'm more of a fly by the seat of her pants kind of gal. If all else fails, I read the manual. Very enjoyable post! And what's wrong with Matthew McConaughey hey hey anyway?

Jeff B said...

Thom- I'm convinced that is why the pictures are on the box. That way we never have to look at a manual.

I like your style. Let the kids set it up while you have cocktails. Brilliant!

Buffalo- You're on the same page a Nessa. Bribe the kids. Good solution.

Bond- I shall be calling on you at the next big electronics purchase. And sorry for letting the man stuff out of the bag.

Sandee- I can see you fiddling with the thing as he reads.

Thumbelina- Thanks for the scripture. Part of my questioning is why He still allows sickness. I know the pat answer is so we will draw nearer to and rely more on him, but, but, but ...

Starr- Glad you enjoyed it.

Akelamalu- Lisa does the same thing. It's safer that way.

Mike- Sorry to shed light on that. Bwahahahaha

Kelly- No, thank you for the inspiration! And yes, the back of our TV is pretty much dust free. :)

BJ- What's wrong with Matthew McStudahey is that it's not fair that he should get to hog up that much good looks. He could leave some for the rest of us average Joes don'tcha think?

jennifer said...

I laughed out loud at your instructions. What a hoot!

I hadn't set the clock in my car back after daylight saving time. My husband borrowed my car today and set it for me. When I climbed in it this evening, I was confused for a moment over the time! Ha!

Have a great weekend Jeff.