Friday, May 22, 2009

~ the revenant dolphin

First off thanks to Ross. Matthew, Sue & Katherine for donating. Thanks with all my heart. Love on ya.

Second, another instalment in the ongoing miracle of nature that is Robert (the scientist in our carport).

I don’t know about you, but I have always found can-opener technology to be a frustration. Every so often, I buy a new one that promises longevity, superior ease of use and seamless efficiency, but I am always disappointed.

Even the innovative design which appeared a decade or so back, dancing in a multi-coloured chorus line on television; the kind which takes off the whole top of the can rather than just the disc within the rim – even these prove wanting, and all too rapidly find their way into the bin

Inevitably, I find myself with my hand in the back of the drawer, extracting a can-opener I can rely on – the elderly opener of classic design with the single blade and no rotating serrated wheel; the one which requires a strong arm and which chews through the metal leaving a ring of razor sharp points.

Some months back, on a whim, I bought a new translucent green opener for a little more than I would ordinarily spend on such an appliance. It was called The Dolphin, because it vaguely resembled a dolphin, and it promised all those things which the makers of can-openers customarily promise.

A month later, it was inoperable, and sitting on the side of the kitchen bench awaiting disposal.

And this is where Robert steps in.

When he is at our place, he consumes a serving of baked beans on toast approximately every two hours, and keeps a store of cans in the cupboard. I am surprised he even recognised The Dolphin as a can-opener, but he did, and upon realising it was broken, his strange, ingenious mind set to work.

The Dolphin disappeared into the carport and emerged an hour later transformed and in full working order, with fresh innards and large Soviet-style actuating device connected to the side

Though he has plainly not allowed himself to be constrained by the aesthetic of the original design, he has - with his arcane skills, his tool mill, his industrial lathe, and his propensity for massive over-engineering - retrofitted The Dolphin into the smoothest, most-reliable can-opener I have ever had the pleasure to operate.

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princey said...

What a brilliant mind, he reminds me of my dad who did amazing things like that and invented his own can opener (which can also be used as a murder weapon!!) and a whole heap of useful gadets while working as a Fitter and Turner for over 35 years. People like that are hard to come by these days. Good on ya Robert!

Sam Sejavka said...

Robert says... "That's really nice ... Thanks for the comment ... It's a shame we live in such a throw-away society ... I'm pretty good at murder weapons too."

That's all I could extract from him as he shambled back down the corridor to continue buying manuals for obscure pieces of ancient machinery on Ebay. Typically, Ebay is a huge challenge for him. At many things he is a master, at simple daily things he can be a dunce.

He's been forced to reduce the size of his massive library and today we transported about half a tonne of very esoteric technical publications - which he claims are extremely valuable - to an op-shop, which predictably refused to accept them. I tried to explain the facts of life, but nothing could alleviate his misery as we dumped the books in a skip at the back of Park Towers.

Matt said...

That's fantastic! I'd much prefer a steampunked-up can opener than some flimsy piece of designer rubbish.
Great work, Robert.
And you're most welcome, Sam. It's a pleasure reading your blog, so happy to do whatever I can to keep it going.

lily was here said...

Oh god yeah. I would kill for a decent can-opener sometimes having had all manner of types - cheap, nasty and one that almost required a 2nd mortgage but I've never had one that could last outlast my 1st marriage. Good job Robert!

Sam, you should put some drawings up for sale when you get time and if you ever get a copy of that great pic of you and MH together -signed, I'd buy one for sure.