Thanks bartender, may I have another?

john chismar bartender tin toy

I enjoy browsing estate sales every now and then. A few weeks ago the sale of a local artist’s estate caught my attention. I picked through the rubble during the last hours of the last day seeking bargains. I filled a shopping bag with some hand tools, brass cabinet hardware and a disheveled tin bartender for under fifteen bucks. The major winter storm this past weekend provided a perfect time to stay inside and play with my new toy!

john chismar bartender tin toyNot surprisingly, activating the power switch on the base did nothing. Examining the bottom of the toy for a battery compartment I found a printed disclaimer cautioning, “If the bartender ceases to emit smoke, it means that the batteries are weak.” Wait, the toy is incorrectly functioning if it isn’t emitting smoke? Awesome! It was evident the batteries were bad when the compartment was opened. I put on a dust mask, pulled out the old corroded batteries with needle-nose pliers and carefully vacuumed up the remains. Then the clothes, torso and head parts were removed systematically.

I snipped the power chord near the battery compartment and connected it to 3 volts supplied from my variable voltage ac to dc transformer. Before turning the power on I set the video recorder on a tripod. I wasn’t expecting much to happen, but to my surprise the robot bartender came to life!

Everything worked as it should! Without his jacket, however, there was nothing restricting the motion of his drink shaking arm. When he the shaking action initiated the arm would flip completely backwards, my fingers are preventing the flip in the video. Excited and inspired I loosely wrapped a wire tie around his arm to restrict the motion. Doing this was a mistake, however I’m not sure why. The bartenders sequence of actions became sporadic and stuck.

john chismar bartender tin toyCuriosity got the best of me and I disassembled the gearbox beyond repair. I come across these bartenders at flea markets and estate sales every once in a while. I never knew how delighted I’d be watching the display in person. I regret busting this one and when I find another for under ten bucks I’ll try again.

2016 begins with Many Beautiful Things many beautiful things

2016 is off to a fantastic start! Amy and I celebrated New Years Eve with good friends, great food and awesome intoxicating concoctions at the Orange Squirrel. New Years Day provided an opportunity to rest and work on a few home improvement odds and ends. Also, we had the privilege of sharing brunch with superstar woodworker Jeffry Lohr and his wife Linda at their home studio. Brunch was especially cool because we shared the occasion sitting around Jeff’s gigantic live edge Frontier table. It was pleasurable to have the chance to converse, play with Jeff’s handmade yip sticks and watch our pets aggravate each other.

Amy and I wrapped up the awesome holiday weekend by attending the U.S. premier of the documentary Many Beautiful Things at Fitzgerald’s 1928. The documentary is about actor Vincent Schiavelli and the years lived in Sicily before his death.  Chef Francesco Palmieri prepared a delicious meal inspired by Schiavelli’s recipe books. Plenty of wine and specialty drinks rounded out the experience nicely. When the documentary concluded I had the opportunity to speak with director Aurelio Gambadoro, visiting from Sicily, and shake his hand.

And last but not least I decided to kick of 2016 by combining with my blog into one seamless experience. Please be patient with me as I tweak setting and continue to migrate all the pieces together. Hopefully in a few weeks everything will meet my satisfaction. My sights are aimed high for 2016 for family, friends and fun.