Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

The Last Unicorn

Monday, June 15th 2009 by Pat

The Last Unicorn
Thanks to Tara Greenwood who inspired the unicorn comic with her contribution to the office quote bucket.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen The Last Unicorn and I forgot how much I liked the backgrounds and illustrations from the film. I wanted to learn more about the animation and fell down an interesting rabbit hole.

The animation for The Last Unicorn was done by Topcraft, the same studio which animated The Hobbit. After completing The Last Unicorn they animated Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind for Hayao Miyazaki. With the success of Nausicaä, several Topcraft crew members went on to form the core of Studio Ghibli, the studio responsible for Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and many of the best animated films of our time.

Other members of the Topcraft crew went on to work for Pacific Animation Corporation, the studio behind the Thundercats, a connection I think Aaron will appreciate.

I thought that was all terribly interesting, maybe I’ll be inspired to make an animated film for the summer JUMP Festival.

The Battle of Dovecote Crest

Friday, June 12th 2009 by Pat

The Battle of Dovecote Crest

I’ve recently been enjoying The Battle of Dovecote Crest.

Dovecote is a romantic comedy with a clever, pseudo-historic backdrop and a plot driven by solid, well balanced characters. The lively artwork complements the thoughtful storytelling and the little touches daubed around the website bring it all together.

I’m enamored and I think this is a great starting point for people who aren’t interested in super hero comics or the broken pacing of strips. Of course, as they say on Reading Rainbow, “you don’t have to take my word for it…”

Owl Industries

Wednesday, June 3rd 2009 by Pat

Owl Industries

I woke up early after having nightmares about waning ambition and eternal limbo. The kind of dream where I’m trapped but don’t really care and something inside me is screaming to run but I can’t hear it anymore.

This fun music video by the Mint Chicks made me feel less unsettled. Odd considering it features a big weird owl.

THE MINT CHICKS – “I Cant Stop Being Foolish” from Samuel Peacocke on Vimeo.

The Animal

Wednesday, May 27th 2009 by Pat

The American auto giants are toppling, General Motors is flailing and Chrysler has already gone into bankruptcy. If we’re going to save the American automotive industry we need creative solutions. I propose — claw tires!!

Nothing can stop the animal.

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.

Beardcasting from Anchorage

Thursday, May 21st 2009 by Pat


Day two of our exciting trip to Anchorage for the World Beard and Moustache Championships. We had a fairly uneventful morning, more moose, papyrus fonts and a trip to visit Captain Mac the rippie world king. The evening was much more lively, filled with burgers, oompa bands, and the densest forest of beards in the civilized world.

Some time with Andy, our thoughtful and generous host.

It’s Windy and Cold.

Oompa Oompa.

Dirty Dirty Beards.

The Imperial.

Mark and the Beard Fan.