Archive for the ‘Alaskana’ Category

Men’s Fall Fashion feat. Sam German

In Alaskana, Fashion, UAF on September 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

It’s September again. That means (for many of you) it’s back to the academic grindstone. However, just because higher education can sometimes be a royal pain doesn’t mean you can’t at least look like (Alaskan) royalty. My good friend Sam was kind enough to sport some duds a few weeks back. Here are a few of the highlights.

Brown wool 'I.N.C.' sport coat // multi-colored handmade scarf // red cotton button-up shirt // silver class ring

'Silver Gulch Brewery' knit hat // black 'Eighty Eight' cotton button-up shirt // multi-colored scarf

Black 'Eighty Eight' button-up shirt w/stripes // wool Scottish checkered scarf // Irish tweed flat cap by 'Mavili's Hat' of North Vancouver

Gray wool Irish flat cap by 'Mavili's Hats' of North Vancouver // brown 'I.N.C.' wool coat // blue denim 'Levi' jeans // white 'Adidas' running shoes // multi-colored scarf

Whether you’re a new student or a returning one, there is absolutely no reason why a guy can’t look his best both in the classroom, at the office, or gallivanting around the quad. Say, does UAF even have a quad? Take a hint from me, when you look good you feel good. Simple as that.

Plus. it never hurts to break out a sport coat or a nice button-up from time to time. Besides, those t-shirts of yours could use a wash, no?


The Cost of 3D

In Alaskana, Cinema on August 26, 2010 at 10:54 pm

While director-chic has always been in style, the double-spectacles look never will be. Photo by Jamie Hazlett.

I have a problem with 3D films.


While I want to say “because if I wanted things to be in 3D I wouldn’t be in a movie theater,” that is not an acceptable answer. However, here are three responses that I believe are acceptable.

1) It raises the cost of the cinema going experience. The current price of an adult (non-matinee) ticket at the Regal Goldstream Stadium 16 & IMAX in Fairbanks, AK is $10.75. The price of a 3D ticket is an additional $4.00. The total ticket price to see a 3D film after 6PM is therefore $14.75.

For contextual purposes, according to the user updated Alaska Gas Prices website, the current cost for a gallon of gas at the Airport Way Fred Meyers is $3.52. With the help of a little basic math, that means that…One 3D movie ticket is worth to a ticket-buyer 4.19 gallons of gasoline.

Is seeing (not even renting or buying) one film worth over four gallons of gasoline to you? Many of you probably think that it depends on the film. If so, fair enough.

2) You can only watch it with specialty glasses. This is a problem primarily for those who already wear glasses, don’t like them, or are afraid of them. Regretfully, however, the blogger was not able to find a satisfactory name for “fear of glasses.”

Wearing a pair of 3D glasses is a problem for one reason: if you already wear corrective lenses this means you’ll have to wear glasses over another pair of glasses. For anyone who suffers from eye problems this will only mean one word: obnoxious. For those who do not have eye issues, try putting on two pairs of sunglasses and leaving them on for 2-3 hours. That level of obnoxious.

[Blogger’s note: While you can watch a 3D film without 3D glasses, you can only do so at the expense of your own pleasure. To the uncovered eye, 3-dimensional elements will appear blurry and far-away and in a film that depends heavily on 3D for it’s box office sales (see Avatar) blurry and fair away is not what you want. Unless you didn’t like Avatar, then, yes, blurry and far away is what you want.]

3) Adding 3D after a film has been shot is tacky and ineffective. With a rise in the idea that a film can be made “better” when 3D is added to it (think The Last Airbender), the result has been a lessening of the cinema-going experience. Especially when the technique is done poorly.

What do I mean? Steve Persall, a film critic for the St. Petersburg Times, had this to say:

Genuine 3D movies (sometimes called “native 3D”) like Avatar are shot with stereo cameras, with two lenses slightly offset, creating a ghost image that 3D glasses bring into focus. 2D movies use traditional single-lens cameras, and conversion to 3D is accomplished with computers “drawing” a reasonable facsimile of a ghost image. It’s a digital lithograph, so to speak, rather than an original painting.

In my opinion, 3D is fine as a novel effect. If used in the right film, it can even add a certain je ne sais quoi. However, when it ceases to be unique and starts becoming commonplace it will cease to be interesting or entertaining. One candy bar is fine, an entire box all at once is gluttony. Film goers want to see 300 in 3D, not Chocolat.

For Further Reading:

Murkowski sign vandalized

In Alaskana, Political on August 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm

While there will be a Super Special Weekend Update as promised in last Sunday’s post, consider this something a little different. Something far more graphic, and I don’t mean web-comic graphic. I mean “political protest graffiti” graphic.

My wife and I were on the way to Barnes and Noble at around 9:30 when we spotted these two signs. We returned home, grabbed the camera, and this is what we got…no other signs along College Rd. appeared to be defaced.

A vandalized "Lisa Murkowski for Senate" sign sits unmoved at the corner of Aurora Dr. and College Rd. on Sunday night. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

Another vandalized Murkowski sign. This one on the opposite side of the Aurora Dr./College Rd. intersection. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

LiBerry Music Festival as easy as pie

In Alaskana, Music Reviews on August 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Local musician Jesse Hobbs performs during the 2010 LiBerry Music Festival in Ester, AK.

I arrived at the LiBerry Music Festival at 3:30 PM. The Golden Eagle, the only pub in Ester, was packed and off in thedistance I could hear the tinny hiss of music being piped through a sound system. I heard someone (it turned out to be the “Banana Girls Ukulele Band”) up at Hartung Hall singing  a song about construction. I thought to myself  “…yep, this is it. This is Ester.”

The 5th Annual LiBerry Music Festival is aimed at raising money for the construction of a new public library in Ester. According to, the current library contains roughly 5,000-7,000 volumes and is housed in a small red building next to the Golden Eagle.

Sarie Brainerd, one of the members of the ukulele band, lives in Ester. “The community tries to have a couple of fundraisers a year,” she said, noting that all proceeds go to the construction of the new library. Brainerd has been a member of the band for two years now and both sings and plays the ukulele.

I made my way down to the Golden Eagle where local favorite Jesse Hobbs was playing guitar. Outside the pub, nestled around a small table, were the three members of this years LiBerry Pie Throwdown judging panel: Judie Gumm (a local silversmith), Natasha Beadle, and state senator David Guttenberg.

I asked Guttenberg how he’d been roped into becoming a pie judge. “I’m the celebrity judge,” he said, smiling. An older woman emerged from inside the pub and asked how the judging was going: “It’s trouble, it’s nothing but trouble,” Guttenberg said, laughing.

I know that I personally could never vote for an individual who didn’t like pie.

The all ages music festival will continue until this evening at midnight. The concert list can be accessed at the LiBerry Music Festival homepage below.

For further reading:

Ester Library’s Blog:

LiBerry Music Festival homepage:

Cadywumpus: A Sun Star Webcomic

In Alaskana, Webcomics on August 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Enter Cadywumpus 2.0.

I intend on making the webcomic a weekly update, because, lets face it, we all need a little comic relief. Yes, I did just pun up this blog a little bit.

A brief note on the comic: anthropomorphic books doing what such books do, after hours, in the Rasmuson Library. ’nuff said? Enjoy.

Local tea house offers workshops, a good strong cuppa

In Alaskana on August 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

The front portico of the "Sipping Streams Tea House" in Fairbanks, AK. Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

Over the next week, the Sipping Streams Tea Company will host two unique tea-related workshops at it’s College Road location.

This Friday, a tea basics class will be held which will highlight preparation methods for different teas, the medicinal properties of various mixes, and a history of tea itself. The five basic teas (white, green, oolong, black and pu-er) will also be discussed and drunk by workshop goers. Next Tuesday, a workshop on kombucha (a drink made from fermented tea and sugar) instruction will also be held.

Jenny Downer-Tse, the owner and resident tea expert of Sipping Streams, has made tea something of her life’s work. However, things were not always as such.

It wasn’t until Jenny’s years at Boise State that the energetic twenty-something stopped drinking coffee and started drinking tea. “I drank coffee because it was cheaper,” she said, until the receipts for her daily four-shot venti macchiato’s began adding up. “Not only that, but it wasn’t keeping me awake,” she said. “And sometimes I’d even down a 2 liter Mountain Dew and think ‘Okay, time for bed.'”

Not long after switching to tea (and moving back to Alaska), Jenny began making and selling her own mixes; first at the Farmers Market and later at Pioneer Park. In fact, a recent concoction of hers, Boreal Solace, was a finalist in the 2010 North American Tea Championships. Her first entry (an herbal blend of fireweed and low bush cranberry’s) into such a competition, Jenny spent hours working her mix and researching the championship judges preferences and tastes. She would stay up late at night, sorting through every tea leaf by hand in order to ensure total uniformity in taste and texture. For Jenny, tea is fun, but also a serious business.

Jenny Downer-Tse and the blogger enjoy a cup of tea in the main room of the "Sipping Streams Tea House." Photo by Jeremia Schrock.

Both workshops are aimed at “people who are into different cultures and continually learning,” she said, adding that such people are generally interested in tea and already customers of hers. These workshops will be the first of many this fall, including several advanced tea preparation and enjoyment classes.

Jenny, a Speciality Tea Institute certified tea expert, has also taken her tea classes to campus, having taught such classes through the UAF Community and Technical College (formally the Tanana Valley Campus).

Why host such workshops?

The answer, according to Jenny, is that “every customer should be able to choose the best quality product for themselves.” For her, the more experience a customer has the better they are at identifying “counterfeit” teas from real teas. “Even if you went to Chinatown and didn’t speak Chinese you could at least order a tea!” she said.

Also on the tea houses agenda is an upcoming radio show on 96.9 KYSC. It is set to air next Tuesday (August 24) at 7AM and will run for 10 weeks. The 2-5 minute showette will feature Jenny discussing the histories, myths and legends of tea, as well as sampling different blends with the stations DJ.

Friday’s workshop will be from 6-7 PM this Friday (August 20), while the Kombucha class will be at the same time this coming Tuesday (August 24). The cost for the tea basics workshop is $20/person while the Kombucha class is $25. Space is limited for both as only 12-15 people will be accepted. The events will be held at the tea shop, which is located at 3535 College Rd. Lower Suite B. For workshop information, contact Jenny at (907) – 457 -1660.

For further reading: