Throwback Thursday: Engineering

For the most part, I’m useless with fixing things. In particular, I think of how helpless I am whenever my computer or my car starts to show problems. I can put oil or windshield washer fluid in the car, I know generally where things are under the hood; and with my laptop…I’m a master of Ctrl-Alt-Del and I know how to remove the battery, I guess?

But sometimes something just clicks for me. One such instance is when our Baby Einstein Nautical Octopus suddenly stopped playing music. Unlike almost every other Baby Einstein product, this one has no easy access to the battery pack. So this broken octopus just got moved around the living room, back and forth, for months, until finally, inspired by the physical presence of my parents and my desire to show what a capable, initiative-taking mom I am, I decided to Do Something About It.

I used a seam ripper (owns a seam ripper, +5 pts; knows where it is, +5 pts) to cut open the underside of the octopus, and pulled out some of the fluff. When it became apparent that I couldn’t get the music box out of the opening I’d created, I used a pair of scissors to just chop up the rest of the underside (used clunky giant scissors for delicate surgery, -3 pts). I got the box out, found the right size screwdriver to open it up (+3 pts) and discovered that the octopus needed 3 watch batteries.

For a week or so, I looked for the right size batteries everywhere I went, but never found them. Finally I decided to check Amazon, where I found a 3-pack of LR44 batteries for $1.77 with free shipping (+10 pts for luck!).

Finally, on Tuesday morning, I got around to replacing the batteries, which didn’t immediately fix the problem. But I decided to see this project through to the end, so I stitched up the octopus, held my breath, and pulled the purple fish cord…

…and it erupted into bubbles! And then, when I did it again, into nautical-themed music! And then bubbles again! And then different music!

octopus 1

Recovering from surgery

octopus 2

Reunited and it feels so good


The throwback aspect of this post is that this reminds me of a time back in 2003 when I lived in the dorms, and I had to Save the Day.

Some friends and I went to the local movie rental place and picked up a VHS copy of Orgazmo, a 1997 film by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park. We got it back to our dorm room, where we had already borrowed the TV and VCR from our RA (my roomie and I didn’t have one of either). It had been quite a hassle to move it down the hall, so this was kind of a special night for us.

But when we tried to play the tape, it just whirred and whined. And when we popped it out, the film inside was twisted around one of the reels. But on the outside of the tape, there was a sticker across the seam, so that if you opened up the case, They would know, and then They could fine you.

But then in a flash of brilliance, I realized that I could just take out the screws, crack open the tape like a clamshell, keeping the sticker firmly attached to each side of the opened case, and adjust the film.

Which I proceeded to do, proudly, while purporting modesty. I put the whole thing back together and we popped it in the VCR, and then we enjoyed 95 minutes of NC-17 comedy.

orgazmo collage


Ten years later…and I still have these Orgazmo pictures on my computer. Crazy.

Also, I’m still a freaking engineering genius.

1 Comment

Filed under Awesome, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Technology

One response to “Throwback Thursday: Engineering

  1. Denise

    Fun post!! I have always been one to try to fix something before tossing it, and now it is easier than ever! I can find most instructions for how to fix almost anything online. (though I did just look for your octopus and found NOTHING! However your post was #1 in goggle search

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