How I recently taught my old geezer husband how to use a computer

Apparently, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks...although it takes a very long time and a shitload of patience. My husband, Martin, a very smart, funny, talented, yet shy man has avoided using a computer...until a few months ago. Hell, he could barely use his cellphone...or email. The good thing about having his smart phone on the same data plan as my son's and mine is that he uses so little data that we never have to worry about overages.

He came from an extremely dysfunctional family where his father told him from an early age that he wouldn't be good at doing anything practical. Coupled with the fact that he is way too smart for his own good and could be a very successful contestant on Jeopardy as long as there are no American sports categories, he became the class clown at school to avoid being teased by his stupider classmates.

We should have gone to LA when he was young and very handsome; he might very well have had a successful movie career. But he probably would have ended up like Andy Dick with whom he appeared in a play in Chicago in 1987 before Andy went off to Hollywood to make his fortune...

Martin grew up in a 1950s boom town in the north of England, populated by denizens from all over the British Isles. Because of his amazing ear for languages, he was able to mimic every accent he heard. When it came time to find a lucrative career, he eventually ended up doing voiceovers for radio and TV. This suited his personality perfectly...potential financial success without the fame. In voiceovers, you only hear the voice, so nobody knows what you look like... and you can make A LOT of money or none at all or anything in between.

Here is one of his most successful TV commercial campaigns that ran for 3 years. You might even remember it...

This woman is not my's his voice in the background. If you click on the top 2 images when it finishes, you can watch 2 more of his commercials. There were 4 in all.

Martin essentially auditions for a living. He goes to his agent's office, records an audition for a radio or TV commercial which usually take a few minutes and then he either gets the job or he doesn't. If he gets the job, he records the commercial and then waits for the residuals to start rolling in. That's the best case scenario. For 25 years, he was able to make a decent living doing this...until technology ruined everything. The good news is that there are other opportunities in addition to radio and TV to voice video games, apps, audio books and internet commercials. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to set up your very own home recording studio.

Now, with everybody and his brother who has a microphone, a computer and audio recording software, able to submit his MP3 from anywhere in the world for every single audition, things have really changed. In the old days, if you lived in Chicago, you were up against only other Chicagoans. Now, there is much more competition for every audition, not to mention the fact that Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson seem to appear or voice every single commercial. Apparently, $20 million a movie is not enough for them; they have to take work away from people like Martin.


After schlepping downtown from Rogers Park, a very time consuming undertaking, recording countless auditions and booking very few jobs over the past 4 years, I decided that Martin needed to find another "income stream" before we ran out of money and ended up "living in a cardboard box." He had recorded audio books in the past, in the days when they were "books on tape." We all remember those, amirite? OK...well, the old geezers will remember these. They are now referred to as "audiobooks" and unless you live near an audio book publisher, you have to record them in your home studio and send the finished product via MP3. I mean, how hard can it be? We're both intelligent human beings, although technologically challenged...

So, began the home recording studio project; erecting a soundproof booth in the basement of our house. That took longer than expected, as does everything, but it was completed and it looked great. Then our basement flooded and we had to put "the project on hold" while we dried out the basement; no small task.

The next step was to buy a microphone and audio recording software; the simpler, the better. We went with Audacity. We watched a shitload of tutorials, especially those labeled "For Beginners." I was the "expert"...bwahaha...I downloaded all the necessary software and we were in business, so to speak. Slowly, between the two of us, we figured it out, for the most part, although we could still use some help with cut and paste...if any Audacity experts out there want to help, we would really appreciate it. I still had to show Martin how to export the finished soundtrack to an MP3 and then attach it to an email in order to send it to his 60 gazillion times. But, here we are, only a short 8 months later...don't get me started on the fact that it took this long...and he can do the entire process on his own. Woof woof woof!

Next up...driving. Oy.

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you will enjoy this one...
I refuse to work for less than I am worth

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