Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Off the Grid

Tuesday, July 28th 2009 by Pat

off grid
We’ll be off grid for a few days. I’m looking forward to beer battering some Halibut and there’s a good chance the comic on Monday will be inspired by fishing and adventuring.

After a little wrangling, the HD version of Buy Back America is available on YouTube.

Aaron’s Birthday

Tuesday, June 23rd 2009 by Pat

Aaron Sleeping
Today is Aaron Suring’s 31st Birthday! Aaron is the smartest, fartiest, beardiest, most easy going, and sweetest guy I know. Aaron has recently been complaining that his memory isn’t as good as it once was so I thought it would be nice if all his friends could share some of their memories with him.

I’ve got quite a few and I don’t want to embarrass him too much but I hope he remembers the time he got trapped behind his bed.

His mattress was slightly off frame and when he jumped under the covers, the mattress flipped up and wedged him into the crack between the wall and the bed frame. His arms were pinned at his side and the bunk bed had a heavy dresser beneath it so he couldn’t budge. He had enough air and wasn’t too uncomfortable so when I came home I just heard muffled and mysterious snoring sounds coming from a seemingly empty room.

Tide Pooling

World Beard and Moustache Championships

Tuesday, May 26th 2009 by Pat

Contestant 394Saturday, May 23

Aaron looked a little green in the morning, I think he was nervous. We shuffled over to the convention center and setup shop in the press room.

Approximately three-hundred hirsute men shuffled up and down the hall trying to find the elusive registration desk. I’m not sure if there actually was a registration desk but eventually someone must have taken down their names and handed out drink tickets.

I wasn’t around for much of the registration madness because I was busy sneaking into the judges preparation room. I’m not sure if press was actually allowed but I wanted to get the inside scoop on the process.

What I learned is that judging is largely subjective and each contestant is at the whims of the assorted celebrity judges and local stylists. I’m sure this is a frightening thought for the few who take their facial hair too seriously.

At lunch, the contestants tramped down for an appearance at the Saturday market. They delighted the unsuspecting tourists and circled back around to the convention center for last minute grooming and costume preparation.


The competition started with moustache and partial beard categories and ended with the full beards and a selection of an overall champion. David Traver, a member of the South Central Alaska Beard and Moustache Club, took top honors with his stylized snowshoe beard. Overall, eleven Alaskans managed to podium out of a very wide field, I attribute it to the long beard growing seasons.

Alaskan Whalers

The highlight of the evening for me was watching Aaron swagger onto the stage with harpoon in hand. He landed second place in his category and made us all very proud.

Thanks to David Malki! of Wondermark and Andy Kline of KXLL Excellent Radio for rebroadcasting our adventures!

Alaskan Whaler – Second Place!!!

Sunday, May 24th 2009 by Pat

Aaron won second place in the Alaskan Whaler category at the World Beard and Moustache Championships!

When we arrived in Anchorage we were a documentary crew and we’re leaving as an entourage to a world champion! Congratulations Aaron you swarthy salt!


More from us tomorrow but here’s some of the other coverage:

Beards on the Catwalk Live!

Saturday, May 23rd 2009 by Slaal

You can follow the action here in Anchorage (almost) live.  The event is being webcast at  They are starting with the moustaches, followed by the partial beards (that’s me!), then finishing up with the full beards.

Cheer me on from afar!

Sea of Beards

Saturday, May 23rd 2009 by Pat

Friday, May 22
This morning Aaron trimmed and plucked while Sarah sewed buttons on his costume for the Saturday judging. We packed up and rolled into town just in time to catch the big meeting of the World Beard and Moustache Association, a group of member organizations which oversees the selection of locations for the championships.

After some brisk harrumphing and moustache twirling, the decision was made to host world championships at Trondheim, Norway in 2011 and Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany in 2013. The meeting was about to end quietly when a grand debate erupted about the organizational structure of the association. No amount of thoughtful beard stroking or whisker twiddling could produce an amicable resolution so everyone decided it would be a good time to have a parade.


The evening wrapped up with a local facial hair competition, consumption of beverages and a performance by The Beards.


Beard Journals

Friday, May 22nd 2009 by Pat

This week we’ve been reporting live from the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Anchorage and acting as correspondents for KXLL Excellent Radio and David Malki’s Wondermark. Malki requested some road journals and I thought I should share them here as well.

Tuesday, May 19
We arrived in Anchorage today, an unimpressive clump of concrete dwarfed
by vast and beautiful surroundings. This year, Anchorage will host the
World Beard and Moustache Championships, an event which takes place every
other year and has been primarily rooted in European countries.

We spent our day wandering around lost until we found a man with a brown
70’s van and a long beard. He led us down an industrial back road to the
Midnight Sun Brewery where we met up with several competitors, organizers,
and beard fans from all parts of the world. A rising enthusiasm surrounds

Wednesday, May 20
Today a large contingent of American competitors arrived after cruising up
through the inside passage of Southeast Alaska, the Germans rolled in
yesterday and independent travelers from all over the world have been
arriving by every means of transportation imaginable. Except hot air
balloon, which is a slight disappointment. I’m still hoping for a man
with a grand moustache to alight.

The World Beard and Moustache Championships kicked off in the late
afternoon with a barbecue in Kincaid Park — an odd series of fields
surrounded by remnants of cold war era ground-to-air missile bunkers.
Hundreds of grinning bearded and mustachioed gentlemen packed the event
with their friends, families, agents, stylists and associates in tow. I
counted seven film crews from as many cities and this was just the
informal barbecue.

Thursday, May 21
Today is a down day, the calm before the beard storm. We picked up our press passes and wandered around town meeting moustaches and locals. In Alaska it’s hard to tell who is here to compete and who just trekked out of the woods to pick up some eggs and butter.

Lunch at Falafel King left bellies and beards filled with hummus and then it was off to Value Village to assemble the rest of Aaron’s outfit. He’s competing in the new Alaskan Whaler category and we found some good galoshes, wool pants, and suspenders to fill out his nautical look.

Judging is based on several factors – length, color, body, and hair style all factor into the decision and costumes, while not required, are a good way to frame and give context to the facial hair.

Judges this year include local hair experts, former beard champions, celebrity dog mushers, and past judges of local competitions.

Emerald City Comic Con

Saturday, April 4th 2009 by Pat


I’m in Seattle with Cayleigh for the Emerald City Comic Con. It’s been an adventure so far — old friends, good music, lost boxes, and of course we had to flee our guest room late this evening because of a deadly feline.

Our hosts have been amazing and we owe them a good meal tomorrow. Thanks Elsbeth and Marcus!

Off to sleep if I can.. the above image is my redone space needle comic available in a limited run giclée print or the “harsh economic times” color copy edition.

Super Awesome Comet Photo

Monday, March 2nd 2009 by Lou

boringcometComet Lulin was at it’s brightest Wednesday night and it was a rare clear and moonless sky.  The comet was hard to see so I brought out the camera  after being inspired by some nice Lulin photos.   Can you see it?  It’s that green blob.  I thought it would look more impressive than this.


Monday, January 26th 2009 by Pat


I’m like a ragamuffin street urchin gazing into a warm bakery. I’ve busted hump to find and create filmmaking opportunities here in Alaska but they’re few and far between. I wish wish wish we had something like The National Film Board of Canada. The Film Board encourages and supports Canadian artists who share stories, explore social issues, and preserve their culture through film. It’s like National Public Radio, except they’re making movies — which is infinitely more appealing to me!

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, the NFB put 700 films into an online, public screening room. I immediately searched for a film Joel Bennett shared with me and to my great delight, it was included in the collection.

Nahanni is a film that sticks to your ribs. It’s shot well enough but the real meat of the film is in the unbreakable spirit of Albert Faille, a man who carries himself forward beyond reason and without hesitation. He knows his purpose, he knows his goal, he knows his heart and he is undeterred by any force.

This film gets me in the gut.

Note to Bob: Let’s go check out that waterfall!!!