The Northern Light The student newspaper for University of Alaska-Anchorage. Thu, 14 May 2015 18:28:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Film Review: “Age of Ultron” carries a lot of baggage Thu, 14 May 2015 18:28:40 +0000 WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ALL PREVIOUS MARVEL MOVIES BELOW

It has been two years since the Chitauri invasion of New York. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been all but obliterated, and the sinister Hydra has risen from their ashes. In their hands: Loki’s scepter, the key to Baron von Strucker’s so-called “age of miracles.” With the Avengers so tied up, Tony Stark decides to put his “Ultron” initiative into motion, amplifying the effects of his robotic Iron Brigade with a more comprehensive artificial intelligence.

If that last paragraph didn’t make any sense to you, you are not ready to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” It’s a fine film, but it’s wrapped in a universe that’s becoming more and more unwieldy for those who aren’t caught up, and that’s slowly starting to become a pretty big issue in Marvel’s cinematic saga.

Of course, under Joss Whedon’s direction, the characters are very well fleshed out. The heroes still have that trademark chemistry that makes them so incredibly likable. And the villain, Ultron (James Spader, “The Blacklist”), is surely one of the Marvel cinematic universe’s best yet, with a cocky and charismatic personality to eerily reflect his creator’s.

However, “Ultron” is loaded with extra plotlines that seem to make it a needlessly heavy film. Whedon felt the need to stuff the movie with cameo after cameo and plot thread after plot thread, and the result often feels like a mess. A very well-written mess, but still a mess.

For example, Thor has a nightmare early on, and he temporarily leaves the group to investigate it. However, since the film’s running time couldn’t exceed two and a half hours, this thread is quickly tied up with all the grace of a piece of toast smashed into your mouth when you’re late for work. A new character is introduced almost two-thirds into the movie, and the film rolls with it and hastily throws him in with the rest of the group as if he’s had his own movie as well. Yet another character, played quite well by Andy Serkis, is built up, and then quickly dispatched as if to say, “Oh, you’ll have to wait until one of our next movies to see this guy!”

This is an ever-growing problem with Marvel’s movies, and I’ve blown it off as a non-issue until now. As great, well-written, and epic as their movies are, they’re starting to become as impenetrable to non-fans as the “Metal Gear Solid” series infamously is. A person who’s not into Marvel could have easily walked into the first “Avengers” film and still have a pretty good grasp on the story at any given moment. But now, with so many plot threads from so many other movies, they’ll need to spend more than 21 hours of film-watching to get a firm grasp on “Ultron’s” story.

But with that all said, it’s a great story if you’re caught up. The old heroes are still great, the new heroes are quite interesting, the villain is superb, and the action scenes that tie the story together are breathtaking as usual. But if you’re not already invested in Marvel’s universe, “Ultron” is a very hard sell.

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Q&A with Young Dubliners Wed, 13 May 2015 02:30:20 +0000 The Young Dubliners have been around since the late 80s and were created by Keith Roberts and former member Paul O’ Toole. Through the years, the band has released ten albums and has toured through the United States and Europe. Keith Roberts, lead singer and songwriter talked to The Northern Light about his life as a musician and his favorite places to perform thus far.

TNL: You’ve been in the band since its start in 1988. When you formed this band, what were you hoping to accomplish?

Roberts: “I owned a pub in Los Angeles and I wanted a band that played every weekend in Los Angeles. All of a sudden we had a record deal and started getting hit up in the bar. Eventually, the bar was sold out every night. We got offered a song on a contemplation album and we ended up being the only one to airplay nationally. It’s what I wanted to do as a living so I sold the bar and went on the road and sold the first album in 1995 and have been on the road ever since.”

What’s your favorite part of performing?

“It kind of amazes me after all these years we still play. When you do this for so long, you lose a little bit of a shine or something. Life throws you curve balls and you end up going to places that you’ve never been, your family grows, etc. we love playing those shows. Now that we have been playing so long, you look forward to playing the songs you write. You can play those and end up enjoying it now instead of when you did when you were younger and didn’t know what.”

Where is the coolest place you’ve performed?

“Alaska is the coolest place to perform. A lot of places stand out where the crowds are always great. In all honesty Alaska is a place we love to play. We love it so much so we’ll spread it out from Homer to Fairbanks. I love the great outdoors so that helps too; you guys check all the boxes for me. We try and come up to Alaska at least once a year.”

Have you ever met an idol of yours or musical legend that you’ve always looked up to?

“One of the well known facts about being a musician is they turn out to be assholes. Mike Scott from The Waterboys was a huge influence on me, he inspired me and I waited to meet him at the event. I had drank so much I couldn’t even form two words together. I wasn’t so drunk that I realized what was happening, but speaking was definitely a problem at the time. I walked over to the porta potties at the event after sobering up a bit and saw him again. He said ‘you guys should come watch the show from the couches on the side of the stage!’ He told me that they went on in fifteen minutes after The Flaming Lips opened for them. In that time I got myself drunker than I had in that whole day. I had a blast with them and they had such a wild show. That was a highlight for me since he was such a nice guy.”

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Chad Carpenter’s Cartoonist Mind hits the big screen across the state Wed, 13 May 2015 02:00:54 +0000 The movie posters state “like Sharknado without the sharks…and there’s only one of him…and he’s a moose.”

Chad Carpenter, local cartoonist known for his famous “Tundra” comic strip, is excited about his new project that recently came to life. His new film “Moose the Movie” has been quite the talk for the past several weeks.

Carpenter talked to The Northern Light about his initial inspiration for the movie.

“I got back home from Fairbanks two years ago and since it’s a six hour drive I had plenty of time to think about stuff. I always dabbled in video projects and one day I decided that it would be fun to do one and make it as Alaskan as possible. The movies I always liked as a kid were independent films, ones that didn’t cost a lot to make but put a lot of heart and soul into it. It has always meant more than the 200 million blockbusters,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter says that he has been approached by Regal Cinemas and Coming Attractions Theatres. Regal Cinemas is picking the film up for around 10-12 movie theaters in the state and Coming Attractions Theatres wants to put the movie into northwest theaters.

There were many members of the community that contributed to the film. Through months of production, props that were needed were posted on the Moose website. From old trailers to trucks, the people provided what was needed.

Benji Beach appeared in the film as an extra and had a song featured in the film.

“I got to be an extra for a couple days of shooting-it was a blast! I also had the opportunity to work alongside Jon Ong to do a song for the movie. Jon has worked with legends like Barbra Streisand and Rod Steward. The song is called “Drift in the Wind” and you’ve got to see the movie to hear it. You can hear more of my music on iTunes,” said Beach.

The film stars Zack Lanphier as Ranger Zack Del Pollo. Lanphier has known Carpenter since he was ten and is currently a Wasilla High School history teacher.

“I have known Chad since I was ten years old, when he would pay me $2 to leave him alone for two hours while he worked at the fair. Our relationship has always been a little unique to say the least. So two years ago when he mentioned he wanted to make a movie and have me be a small part of it, I was excited. I learned so much on set, mainly because I had no business being there! I had zero idea what I was doing and no clue what I had gotten myself into. I continue to tell people I basically acted like myself and my face did stupid things,” said Lanphier.

The movie will also appear on May 14 at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, one showing at 6 p.m. and a second at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at and UAA students and staff will receive a discount. Starting May 22, Tikahtnu’s Regal Cinema will be showing the movie. Tickets are available at or at the door.

“Go and see Moose. The cast, crew, and musicians that worked on the film are not only some of the funniest people I know, but also the friendliest. It is definitely worth carving out time in your busy schedule to see!” said Beach.


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Overtime Column: The Finals Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:40:55 +0000 In honor (or disdain) of finals week, I look ahead to “the” Finals: the two weeks at the beginning of summer sports fans hang out with LeBron, whichever team he belongs to and whichever team is standing in his way of a title.

At least, that has been the status quo the last four years.

Even though the NBA playoffs are still young, with two rounds of action to go before the Finals, I went ahead and made some predictions. I gave myself the liberty of choosing two possible Western Conference champions and two possible Eastern Conference ones. Here is my best stab at the four match-ups we are likely to see in the Finals.


Golden State vs. Cleveland

LeBron’s first championship run with Miami ended when his team overcoming Kevin Durant’s in the Finals; each superstar was trying to outshine the other on the biggest stage in pro ball. In a parallel way, this is LeBron’s first championship run back with Cleveland, and he very well meet the newest A-List superstar in the Finals: Stephen Curry. Curry led the Warriors to the best 2014-15 regular season record, with a winning percentage just north of 80 percent. The Davidson-alum is the second coming of Reggie Miller but with some added playmaking. The atmosphere of these games would be outrageous. Both San Francisco and Cleveland are starving for a title — and both teams have the talent to bring one home.


Prediction: Cleveland in 7


San Antonio vs. Chicago

Unlike a Golden State-Cleveland matchup, both these clubs have had the “dynasty” label attached to their name in the past. The main difference is San Antonio is still coached by a hall-of-famer, whereas Chicago’s legendary coach Phil Jackson moved on a long time ago. These teams have a similar makeup, with selfless stars and reliable role players, but I would give Chicago the slight edge if Derrick Rose plays up to his potential.


Prediction: Chicago in 6


Golden State vs. Chicago


Chicago may be the only Eastern Conference team with the ability to win in the Finals over Golden State. Behind guards Rose, Jimmy Butler and Aaron Brooks, Chicago can experiment with which guards can best defend Curry. Chicago has big men that can defend as well, which could give Golden State’s pick-and-roll some trouble.


Prediction: Chicago in 7

San Antonio vs. Cleveland


This matchup would be a treat for no other reason that it would be the third consecutive year the Spurs face off against King James in the Finals. However this time, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili would be facing a different, more youthful “Big Three.” So far, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have been playing well in their first respective postseasons. But the Spurs’ Big Three have been together for over a decade, and this is the first season Cleveland’s Big Three have been together, which makes me side with the Spurs.


Prediction: San Antonio in 6



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After Graduation Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:35:02 +0000 For seniors: What do you plan to do after graduation?
For alumni: What did you do after graduation?


Chloe Akers


Languages, Theatre

“After graduation, I just want to hug my parents and thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do for me. I have them to thank for giving me the best life any child could ever have.”


Nicole Deren


Journalism, Philosophy

“I plan to take some time off before pursuing more school, have a homework-free adventure and move to Portland. Try adulting.”


Cameron Cowles


Applied Science, Computer and Networking Technology

“I applied for a job in IT and I made 907 Gamers as a Facebook group. When I wasn’t hired, I focused more on the 907 Gamers project, and I’ve been focusing on that instead.”

Audri (768x1024)

Audri Pleas



“I finished my tenure at KRUA (88.1 FM), but I made it a point to be jobless until August. I went to New York, Spokane and Seattle for a three-week vacation, and I did a couple freelance articles with the Anchorage Press and that’s when I got real with myself.”


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The Cost of Graudation Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:32:59 +0000 Seniors looking to graduate after years of paying for college find themselves with a new dilemma: How to pay to leave. Many may don’t know it until the time comes, but graduation is a costly event.

The cost of graduation first starts when outgoing seniors apply to graduate. At UAA, seniors must pay a $50 fee when applying to graduate. But what is the fee actually for?

“The application for graduation fee supports DegreeWorks in a number of ways,” said Lindsey Chadwell, assistant registrar for Degree Services and Transfer Credit Evaluation & Records, in an email. “It helps us (Office of the Registrar) pay for the software itself, as well as the programming of all university and degree requirements each year and significant ongoing maintenance and support. The application for graduation fee also supports the cost of diploma paper.”

In addition to the cost of just applying to graduate students who want to walk in Commencement will have to pay even more. For Commencement, students must have a cap, gown and tassel, which all total to $40 or more depending on if the student is getting a bachelor’s gown or master’s gown and hood.

The Commencement ceremony has historically cost UAA around $50,000, which helps pay for the venue, graduate hooding ceremonies, decor, music, the sound system, event staff and videographers. University Advancement is primarily responsible for the Commencement ceremony and therefore the money comes out of their budget. Administrative Services and Degree Services also help pay for the ceremony.

While the budget for the ceremony might seem like a lot, the cost of Commencement has decreased. Bridgett Dyson, University Advancement’s special events manager who coordinates the Commencement ceremony, said this lowered cost is because the event is at the Alaska Airlines Center instead of the Sullivan Arena.

“With the budget situation we’re trying to be really fiscally responsible, so we’ve trimmed several areas like decor. The Alaska Airlines Center is actually given us a lot of opportunities to trim expenses.” Dyson said.

Before the Commencement ceremonies were held at the Alaska Airlines Center Dyson said the venue, the Sullivan Arena, cost the university around $11,000. The Alaska Airlines Center only costs $7,500. The Alaska Airlines Center also allows University Advancement to save on decor because the Alaska Airlines Center is a newer building and less has to be done to spruce it up.

Advancement is also saving on the audio since the Alaska Airlines Center has an in-house sound system and the building was designed to have good acoustics. Advancement now only has to pay for technicians. Dyson said the budget for audio support has been cut by two-thirds at the Alaska Airlines Center.

One of the biggest costs of Commencement is the program. $7,000 was spent on the Spring 2015 Commencement program.

“It’s usually one of our biggest (costs). It’s cost a lot more in the past, but we have been able to work with our paper vendors and things like that to get that price down significantly,” Dyson said.

While the cost for the program is high, many feel that it’s well worth it.

“That’s something we hear from students that they really feel is an important keepsake from the day. We’re trying to find that fine line between being conscientious of the university’s fiscal budget situation, but also still maintaining a celebratory atmosphere for our students because they worked so hard. This is their big day and it just wouldn’t be a celebration without some of these things,” said Sarah Henning, UAA’s Public Relations and Marketing Manager.

Some other costs of graduation include the labor costs for set up. Dyson said the cost of labor varies depending on when the venue allows setup to happen. For Fall Commencement the ceremony’s setup began at 5 a.m. that same day, whereas Spring Commencement the setup can be done during normal business hours, which will allow Advancement to save some money.

A shuttle to and from the venue to overflow parking at the UAA Arts Building is also provided for graduates and their families. The service costs $600. When the ceremony was held at the Sullivan Arena the shuttle ran from the Commons to the Sullivan and cost nearly double what the shuttle service now costs.

While the total cost of graduating can seem overwhelming at times, the university has cut expenses wherever possible by moving the ceremony closer to home, allowing UAA to see its students from classrooms to Commencement.


2015 Commencement Infographic-02


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The future is not set Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:25:57 +0000 By Klax Zlubzecon

Translated by George Hyde

Well, the last stretch is upon us again.

This is the fourth time I’ve written about finals, so I’ll keep it brief. Study hard. Remember to sleep. Eat heartily. Remember what your finals schedule looks like.

Being the Commencement edition as well, I suppose I should address the graduating class again as well.  Congratulations. You’ve shown the world that you can survive years of studious hell, which hopefully prepared you for real life. All of you will go on to do great things. Make the Slug Empire proud!

This last week has actually been pretty ho-hum for George and I. Finals week snuck up on us really well, and even then, we’re barely reacting to it. All George has left to do is a couple easy GER tests and he’s home free, and the most he’s worried about is his obligations to this paper over the summer. And he worries about that on a regular basis anyway.

In fact, we’re more stressed about the post-semester parties than anything else. One of them involves a viewing of this summer’s greatest hit, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” Another one has us fretting about how we’re going to get six Costco pizzas to a room full of anime fans. Yet another is a formal affair for his Japanese Tea Ceremony class, and I’m not exactly a fan of George’s tea-making technique. Even yet another is an awards banquet for the Alaska Press Club, where we’ll be rooting for our fellow Northern Light writers in the running.

And then there’s Commencement itself, where George is passing out papers to graduation-goers. He might have given you this very copy that you’re reading right now. Be sure to thank him on the way out; he’s the fat, long-haired guy in black.

But alas, this will be his last semester passing out papers at Commencement, because his next one will be his last at UAA. George only has a few GERs to knock out before he graduates, and he has grand plans of doing post-production or broadcasting work at one of the local stations afterward, with some blogging and YouTube game reviews on the side. It’s nice that he has ambition.

But what about me? I don’t know what happens after graduation. My entire Earth life has been here on this campus, with only a few vacations to show me what life outside of UAA is like. And seeing as both George and I are burned out from vacationing, it’s unlikely that George or I are really going anywhere this summer aside from maybe a Rush concert in Seattle. Man, what nerds we are.

What is a brain slug to do? The fleet still has many, many years to arrive here, and I won’t have a group of devoted TNL fans at my beck and call for long. I can’t do much heavy lifting or other work without George’s help. I could maybe blog and continue this column that way, but who would read it? George already has a hard time plugging his YouTube game reviews in the paper as it is, so imagine how hard it’d be to mention the new Seawolf Slug (“Anchorage Slug?” I technically wouldn’t be a Seawolf anymore), now in blog form.

I still have about seven months to think about it, but saying that will only make me procrastinate. I’m genuinely nervous about this.

George assures me that I’ll always have a place to stay, though, so that’s sweet of him. We’ll think about the end times when they come. For now, though, expect the column to run at least through the end of the year.

To the graduates walking the stage this semester, I will say this. Don’t be scared like I am. It’s as Sarah Connor accidentally writes in “Terminator 2”: the future is not set. In fact, be excited. Change the future as you see fit. Make the world that the Slug Empire will inevitably invade years from now a better one than it is now. I know it’s possible; you just went through years of studious hell to make it possible. Now make it so!

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Finals stress; reflections of a weary senior Thu, 30 Apr 2015 02:22:28 +0000 The last two weeks are always a chaotic mess for me. Even when the rest of the semester has run smoothly and fallen into a comfortable rhythm, those final couple days seem to spontaneously unravel in an instant once I actually look at a calendar and see that I’m out of time once again.

It’s always the same pattern, too: beginning with intense stress and lack of sleep, supplemented by artificial alertness gained from running Red Bull through my coffee maker in lieu of water.  Then a spectacularly mediocre performance on my finals before finally enduring the post finals mania as my brain struggles to comprehend the sudden lack of stress.

I vaguely remember the end of my first semester at UAA. My last final was some sort of math course I’ve long since forgotten, though I distinctly remember oversleeping and misplacing my car keys, requiring me to sprint to class half dressed through knee-deep snow. I arrived 40 minutes late, hair pointing in every direction, wearing mismatched shoes and my roommate’s too-small pants, and just helplessly gestured at professor holding the stack of tests. Once the final ended, I’m pretty sure I went on autopilot, wandered slowly back to the residence halls and promptly fell asleep on my living room floor. Rather than a fluke, this was more than representative of what was to come over the next four years.

In my freshman year, sleep deprived from finals, riding the high of completing another semester and disgruntled by what we considered to be unnecessary fees, me and my roommates used our remaining meal plans to purchase Subway for everyone in the Student Union as an act of protest. Still laboring under the mental strain of our first college experience, we hid nearly a pound of cheese throughout the van of the fourth roommate as vengeance for his passive aggressive behavior during the year. My other roommates deny knowledge of this and claim that the cheese was entirely my idea, but that’s not how I choose to tell the story.

My sophomore year I distinctly remember cooking all my food — in part to host a feast and in part because I didn’t want to pack it home — stuffing all my belongings into a truck and leaving on a weeklong kayaking trip in Homer through the university outdoor recreation program. This was by far the best way to end a semester, until I returned and noticed that while I had been camping in a yurt and capsizing in rough seas, the rest of the world had wondered why I hadn’t been returning their calls. I returned home to a full inbox, a full voicemail and a truck that smelled exactly how you would imagine a week’s worth of my possessions cooking in the sun.

Junior year went perfectly up until the last week when hundreds of dollars of water quality assessment equipment was stolen during my final field assignment for a biology course. Halfway through sampling a an area of Chester Creek that ran orange with polluted sediment and contained more than one submerged shopping cart, we turned around to realize that someone had followed us into the wood and stolen our crate full of gear, presumably hoping to make meth. In addition to losing our logbook — which accounted for most of our grade — we also lost notes and study guides for all our other classes.

By the time finals had passed that semester, I threw everything I owned into badly battered boxes that were never again opened and called it a day. When that summer began the next day, I found myself sipping coffee in Kaladis, feverishly searching for a summer job and accompanied by an Aloe vera plant that seems to have walked off from some far-flung region of campus and tucked itself in my luggage.

If the first three years were any indication, I should be frantically running around trying in vain to finish strong before the summer. Yet somehow, it feels like any other week filled with minor due dates and reasonable deadlines.

Maybe college finally broke me, or perhaps my apathy has finally overwhelmed my motivation. But I like to think that after four years of academic stress my brain has finally just learned to filer it out as meaningless noise.

Capstone due in a week? No problem, I’ll just slam some coffee and hammer through it. Move out is tomorrow? Well I guess I’ll start packing tomorrow morning. My laptop lost my entire draft of an econ paper? Oh well, I wasn’t overly happy with that draft anyway.

By the end of your senior year, those stressors that seemed so important as a freshman become laughable as more important issues take the forefront. Employment, summer plans, what you’re eating for dinner — suddenly everything becomes more important that college stress as a senior. So I’ll finish those last few assignments and calmly dive into summer break without incident for once. After four years of insanity and finals, I think I’ve earned it.

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