Alaska Robotics

Archive for the ‘Local’ Category

Lost and Found

Friday, September 18th 2009 by Pat

Someone left a tote bag in our office, it’s red with a blue cartoon dragon and contains an Alaskan Grown hoodie, candles, shot glasses, a rain coat, a “Defenders of the Earth” coloring book, a package of instant dinosaur capsules, and a birthday card for someone named “Boobies.”

It’s a geek Cinderella story.

Labor Day

Sunday, September 13th 2009 by Pat

Last year I celebrated Labor Day by recognizing and supporting artists whose work I enjoy. It’s a way to elevate creative expression and hopefully, if other people create similar lists, I can learn about new bits of wonderful I have yet to discover.

The idea comes from Arlo Midget, he called it the True Fan Boost, an extension of Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans concept. In talking to Arlo, one of the main things I picked up is that it’s not just important for artists to reach out to fans but for fans to consciously support artists. If I were trying to write a pop tech book I’d call this Labor Day list an annual micro patronage.

There aren’t really any rules, last Labor Day I bought something from each artist on my list and wrote a bit about why I chose to support them, I tried to stick to local, independent, or emerging creators who might get more out of a couple bucks and some recognition. If you want to make a similar list, feel free to follow your own parameters and please post a link in the comments so I can see what you came up with.

The Gregory Brothers

The Gregory Brothers are the musicians/geniuses behind Auto-Tune the News but that project shouldn’t define them. The three brothers, Evan, Andrew, and Michael along with Sarah Fullen have a whole array of collaborative projects and the deeper I dig, the more amazing things I find.

After obsessing over Auto-Tune the News I discovered some of the group’s more serious music. I picked up “Meet the Gregory Brothers,” which has a lot of slow soul and funk songs. Hopefully there will be plenty of Sarah Fullen on this collection, I love her surprising voice and the personality she puts into her vocals.

I’m also excited about Andrew Gregory’s “The Color Red,” and “The Lost Year” which seem to have a good mix of adventure and heartbreak. Clever, simple songs, short stories for a Sunday afternoon. I think this will be good drawing music.

Randall Munroe

XKCD,  a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.Randall Munroe makes XKCD, a smart and romantic stick figure webcomic. He announced his first book, xkcd: volume 0, which should be out soon and I’ll pick up a copy when it appears. For now I’ll have to be content with an XKCD Button Pack.

Dani Byers

The Play Thing
Dani is an amazing local artist who outgrew Juneau and floated away on an airplane. She used to contribute to our site with her Geek Fetish comic but now she makes decorative cookies and plays the squeeze box.

Dani is one of the smartest and most talented artists I know and her vocals sound like cedar, smoke, and whiskey. I wish more of her work could be found in the world, I may have to commission something.

Sean Tracy

Sean Tracy, Trouble
Sean Tracy is a local musician who plays the best drinking music I’ve ever heard. He’s clever in the same way as John Prine and his songs are filled with the kind of truth and humor that can only be found sitting on a bar stool.

Another great local artist, Mitch Watley, did the cover art for the album. He draws Night Shelter and has taught me a lot about working digitally.


Flight Volume SixThe flight anthologies are what drew me back into comics after outgrowing clumsy superhero stories. The flight anthologies collect comics with a focus on strong storytelling accented by beautiful illustrations rather than relying on chromium covers and holograms over substance.

There are several members of the Flight crew I should mention, they’re all very talented and deserve individual recognition but I’ll just take a second to note a few here.

Chris Applehans

Chris is also a Flight artist, I met him briefly in San Diego last year. Maybe it was the blur of the convention but he seemed sort of disconnected – in a good way – as if he might experience reality at a slightly differently angle than most people.

It was comforting, like meeting someone deeply spiritual or severely jet lagged.

I wish I could pick out a print from each of the flight artists but funds are limited and I’ve been meaning to get this one for a while.

Best Chair

I ordered through the Nucleus Gallery and if you want to pick up something of your own before October 31, 2009 you can use this coupon code for 10% off: Y24TASD5


Well, that’s my list for this year. It’s by no means comprehensive, just a shout out to some of the many artists who influence my own work and make the world a better place to live. Thanks!

New Shirt Designs

Monday, August 24th 2009 by Pat

I’ve magicked up some new shirt designs in preparation for our annual trip to Bumbershoot, Seattle’s Arts and Music Festival.

As usual, I’ve delayed until the last minute and now we’ll just have to cross our fingers that we get our new ink before we leave town. Either way, these should be available sometime around mid-September, unless you’re able to come visit us at Bumbershoot, in which case, please do!


I suspect that the banana gun predates the pistol and was, in fact, the inspiration for such a weapon. This design uses the Nevis font created by ten by twenty.


The raptor Xing sign appeared in one of my sign week comics.


This whale design was originally created on a tiny scale for a button pack, I blew it up for the shirt. Kabooooom!

The mailbox design was salvaged from one of my earlier comics. The overall strip was poorly executed but I always liked the last frame and underlying absurdity of the whole story.


We had a little space left so we ran through some old comics looking for something to put on a shirt. This dinosaur came from the Introducing Alli comic.

Juneau Fashion

Sunday, August 23rd 2009 by Lou


Libby Sterling Interview

Thursday, August 20th 2009 by Pat

Capital City Weekly

We sat down last week with Libby Sterling and chatted about work, inspiration, creative expression and life. Libby writes for the Capital City Weekly and put together a flattering profile of our group after the conversation.

It was a pleasure to talk to Libby, we probably asked her as many questions about her work as she asked about ours.

In addition to writing for the paper, Libby is a talented photographer and musician playing with the Little Black Raincloud Company, a talented group putting out an honest sound laced with melancholy. The music is like the silver surface of a puddle just after it rains – reflective, fragile and wonderful.

She shows promise and patience as an animator and filmmaker but aspires to step sideways from that work to become a photographic illustrator, working with miniature sets and models to create still images. She sites Christopher Sickels as inspiration for the direction of her future work and her short film, The Orphan, offers a glimpse of the character and set design she’s been experimenting with.

Libby is the kind of person that makes Juneau a place I like to live, I hope she sticks around.

Buy Back America

Monday, July 27th 2009 by Pat

Update – HD version on YouTube

Last weekend was the JUMP Society Film Festival where we premiered a new segment in our “Buy Back” series.

This time around we explored our nation’s unfathomable debt and the intangible wonder of the American dream.

Feel free to download the music and do your part to pay off the national debt.

The “Buy Back” Films:

Pass the Ball – for Victory

Monday, July 6th 2009 by Pat

For Victory

Alaska is bigger than Sarah Palin.

I met her once, she was wearing flashy dancing pants and seemed like a nice enough lady. I introduced myself, we talked for a few minutes, and after our conversation was over, I realized I’d forgotten to let go of her hand. Oops.

It’s too bad she spiraled into a form of leadership marked by discordant jibber jabber and divisive politics. I thought she had some real potential.

I wonder what we’ll get out of Parnell, hopefully he’s not just an empty sweater.

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

Listener Supported

Wednesday, May 27th 2009 by Pat

Lucid Reverie Creative Design

Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the first version of our online store. I’ve made a lot of changes and I think it’s much more functional now.

We eliminated unnecessary categories, widened the layout, and added an inexpensive first class shipping option for smaller orders. I also made prints of my comics available along with buttons and a few limited giclée prints.

We wanted to get the word out about the store so we decided it was time to pony up and actually buy some advertising. We’ve done a lot of design but we don’t run the advertisements so it’s a new world for us. It seemed like an ad in the Juneau Empire would cost more than our rent so instead we’re spending a few bucks on Facebook and seeing if it pays off. They have ridiculously acute targeting for their ads and hopefully we’ll find the one guy who loves independent short films from Alaska.


Who should see this ad?

Who’s interested in our films?

Uhhh.. People from Juneau.

Who else?

My dad.

He’s from Juneau.

You can also find my comics in the real world at Wm. Spear Design and soon at Miner’s Postal Station. If you want to go into either store and feign interest I’m sure it would help convince the owners that they made a good decision in carrying my prints.

… and while we’re talking advertising, here are some of my favorite television commercials of all time!


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!