Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Winter Bear

Friday, January 3rd 2014 by Pat

sleepy bear

It’s not unusual to see bears wandering around town but the one I saw last night was up way past his bedtime. Here’s the story by Casey Kelly at KTOO.

Comic Con Wrap Up

Thursday, August 8th 2013 by Pat

I feel like I should try to throw a few words at summing up my Comic Con experience before the memory completely fades. I loved it.

We got there early this year so Aaron and I were able to catch up on sleep, eat ice cream, and watch Pacific Rim. Good times. Just eating burritos and hanging out with one of my best friends was a nice way to start the trip.

Our rental house had a lot of Buddhas and sexy lady paintings so I felt right at home when we got moved in. A dozen of us pitched in this year and rented a place, I think that’s the way to go, much more fun than a hotel and less expensive. I guess the downside was the short bus ride to town but even that wasn’t too bad.

Marian and I went out for some wine and Brussels sprouts when she got to town. It was good to have a date night after she’d been out on the road so long. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have eaten the Brussels sprouts.

On Tuesday, Aaron and I took a really long bus ride out to a niche bookstore in a stripmall to catch a presentation by Cory Doctorow. It was excellent, the kind of casual and conversational experience I knew I wasn’t going to get at the convention. Doctorow writes for Boing Boing which has been my primary source for tech news, inspiration and internet culture over the past several years.

Doctorow’s book, Little Brother, was an Alaska Battle Book a couple years back so it’s all over the state. I picked up my copy in White Mountain. I finally cracked it open this week and it’s incredibly topical considering all the Snowden revelations about U.S. government surveillance. I’m a sucker for dystopian novels and I can’t wait to get home and continue reading this one tonight!

Wednesday involved lugging bins into the convention center for preview night but Aaron let me sneak away and go to a release party for W00tstout, a colla-beer-ation between Wil Wheaton, Drew Curtis, and Stone Brewing. It was great, I loved it, and I don’t normally go for those kind of beers, but I could do with a lot more of that one. The venue was, unfortunately, right at the end of the runway which meant a lot of interruptions during the talking bits but a generous uptick in airplane jokes.

Thursday was the first long day at the convention. I think we sold some comics, it was a blur. In the evening, we went to W00tstock, a variety show full of music, comedy and storytelling. It was a blast hanging out backstage but also incredibly weird. I’m not used to such a distinct social hierarchy and when I get put into that kind of famous person fish bowl, I sometimes feel like I need more air.

Of course, it’s got to be incredibly weird from the other side of things. Can you imagine being Neil Gaiman or George R. R. Martin hanging out anywhere at San Diego Comic Con? I bet it feels like everyone is watching you and waiting to deliver an over calculated hello.

Patrick Rothfuss gave me a copy of his children’s book, he seems like a good dude. The best part of the night for me was eating deflated pizza while watching Jamy Ian Swiss perform card tricks and seeing a very nice music video by the Doubleclicks for their song, Nothing to Prove.

The fake geek girl chatter goes round and round in the nerd circles and I think this brings it right down to the ground in a very lovely way.

Molly, Marian, and The Doubleclicks had a concert together on Friday night and it was the best. I’ve heard them all play a lot and I don’t know if it was atmosphere or my own mood but it was the most pleasant and wonderful show I’ve seen them put together. The ice cream helped. If you want people to love your music, make sure they have plenty of ice cream going into the show.

I had some great breakfasts and lunches and dinners of course. That’s always a favorite part of the convention, sneaking across the Smurf Bridge to burrito land or meeting up with friends to try food I can’t get back home.

I got to hang out with Vera and Jeremy a bunch. I gave Kazu a big hug and caught Jason in passing a few times. Scott was drowning in fans every time I saw him, always smiling though. Chris and Maurene were there, married now. And I shared a house and many pizza slices with Tony Cliff and Dik Pose.

I just think those flight artists are the best people ever. It’s their 10th anniversary next year. I’ll have to make a card.

Working the booth is always a joy for me, I love talking to the people who come by and it really makes me happy when a group of kids gathers around the comics bin and starts reading through everything. It’s fun to guess who they’ll turn into, what the world looks like to them.

After the convention was over I came back and found that I’d been included in a wrap-up article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I guess I wore the right shirt on the right day. The EFF is the group I believe is doing the single most good in the world today. They’re way out ahead of the curve on digital rights and working hard to extend our civil liberties in a vast, rapidly expanding, space that is often misunderstood by lawmakers and misused by corporations. They’re kind of the digital equivalent of the American Civil Liberties Union and I’m proud to be a footnote from their trip to San Diego.

Predictions for next year.. Tony Cliff will win an Eisner Award and go to a pool party. Aaron and I will eat all the burritos. I will have a book.

Comic Con 5K – 2013

Wednesday, July 17th 2013 by Pat

Comic Con 5kIf you’re in San Diego for Comic Con, let’s go running!

The Comic Con 5k is a casual run/jog/walk for anyone who wants to work off some con nachos. We’ll meet at 8am on the back steps of the convention center and head out along the water front.

Disclaimer. This is not an official event, it isn’t any kind of event, running is incredibly dangerous and I can’t be responsible if you trip on an invisible jet and skin your knee.

Emerald City Comicon 2013

Wednesday, February 27th 2013 by Pat

We’ll be exhibiting at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle this weekend. If you manage to wade through the sea of batmen (batmans?), you’ll find us at booth 2606 along with Marian Call.

Very much looking forward to this weekend, Emerald City is great!

roots-sm2

Marian Call – Live in Europe

Monday, February 4th 2013 by Pat

mc europe
Marian Call’s Live in Europe album has been released! I’m probably singing, clapping, coughing and farting in the background of those songs! Seriously, she sounds amazing. So much love.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Monday, February 4th 2013 by Pat

When I visited England last fall, we were traveling at an incredible pace and I had only a few tiny moments to myself.

During one brief hiccup in time, I managed to slip away to Kensington Gardens where the Peter Pan statue lives among the trees and ducks. I’ve always loved Peter Pan, more so after meeting and studying with Stewart Stern.

I just had enough time to do some cursory sketches, snap a few photos and breathe the air. When I returned to Juneau, I completed this illustration.

peter-fin-b

If you like it, I have a few limited prints available in our gallery and online store. Here are some of my sketches…

peter sketches

Mordor Unlimited

Tuesday, December 11th 2012 by Pat


I was traveling through England with Marian and we ended up in Birmingham for a meetup with her fans. Birmingham, as it turns out, is where J.R.R. Tolkien grew up and where he saw the pastoral lifestyle of his youth trampled by the industrial revolution. This immediately got me thinking about drawing orcs in business suits.

I love the idea of orcs in suits.

So here are a few comics that loosely inspect the pastoral/industrial conflict in the Lord of the Rings through the all-seeing eye of Mordor Unlimited Finance.

It’s kind of a Bane Capital meets The Office meets Sauron thing.

Sky Surfing

Wednesday, October 31st 2012 by Pat

I suppose this one is fairly similar to my other comic about flying, there’s just something magical, inspiring, and terrifying about floating through the sky in the belly of an aluminum tube… even if the math does work out.

I’m told the math works out. It does, right? It’s sure going to be awkward when someone actually checks the math and discovers giant metal birds really shouldn’t be able to soar across the Earth.

Of course I’m thinking about flying because I’ve been recently. I’m off trekking about Europe with Marian Call and Scott Barkan, it’s a really wonderful experience, I recommend it.

Here’s a picture of me with a ton of camera gear strapped to my front, a bag of perpetually dirty clothes on my back and a couple giant boxes full of CDs and miscellaneous gig equipment. Escalators are easy. The fun part is when we hit a narrow stairwell or an overcrowded train.

Home soon. Loads of photos and sketches to share when I get back.

Philosophy Club

Monday, October 22nd 2012 by Pat

Rule 1: We do not think about Philosophy Club

I made this comic because I thought it would be fun to draw René Descartes, he just looks like a total bad-ass French dude. Kant makes an appearance as well, playing the part of the stuffy philosophy club president.

I haven’t studied much philosophy, maybe one class somewhere along the trail, but I sure do think it’s a romantic pursuit. I’m not sure if being a philosopher is a profession these days or if it’s just a collateral occupation to anyone who thinks about the world.

My favorite contemporary philosophers have mostly disguised themselves as comic creators – Bill Watterson, Randall Munroe, Kazu Kibuishi. I also like Malcom Gladwell and Michael Pollan. Bob Ross. I think he counts. Yeah, Bob Ross definitely counts.

As it happens, I’m writing this from France, just a few blocks from Voltaire’s house. It’s nice outside. I’m going to go explore, that’s what a philosopher would do.

Bear on a Wet Tin Roof

Thursday, September 20th 2012 by Pat

Bears are fairly common in downtown Juneau, this guy was climbing around on our roof yesterday. He sure was itchy and incredibly agile.

This bears was probably drawn to downtown Juneau by garbage and other delicious aromas. This particular alley is often littered with trash from local winos and must have smelled appealing.

There’s been an effort to enforce bear proof garbage containers which has done a lot for the problem but “bear proof” doesn’t always mean bear proof to these clever animals and sometime they get bold enough to skip the bin and break directly into homes and businesses.

I know several people who have had bears in their homes and while I haven’t heard of them hurting anyone, there’s a frightening potential for a physical encounter. My dad had a few cubs wander into his house and my mom had a bear climb in her bedroom window and get away with a bag of sugar a couple years back. Live here long enough and you’ll probably have a bear story too.

The story of this particular bear has a sad ending. He was hauled away and killed not long after being darted. A news article mentions that this is likely the same bear that invaded a downtown yogurt shop and was seen climbing on another rooftop in the area. He was a repeat offender and was getting far too comfortable around people. I don’t know if it would have been possible to relocate him but some attempts to relocate has been unsuccessful and expensive.

If you’re concerned about bears, please keep Juneau tidy and store your garbage indoors until garbage day.