Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miss Falfaren and the Missing Troll King

Note: This short story was first published in the Wire Harp as an after piece, modeled after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Silverblade, one of his mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes. While the concept of the story and the basic merit of the characters was enough to get the story in, I was not satisfied how it turned out.  So I spent last Spring Break finishing the story, since what I had put in there was an excerpt. However I still was not happy with the finished product. A couple of examples of this would be the characters were not how I had pictured them and the story itself was in first person, which I am not a fan of writing. Needless to say, I have spent the last week revising the story and I have it to where I am comfortable walking away from it for a little while...

Below is the first part of the story.


The dwarven priest Watson Silverhammer turned to the door. His blue beady eyes watched as his detective friend entered his apartment and removed her plum colored fedora, revealing her pointed ears and long and curly black hair . "Ah Falfaren, what a pleasant surprise," the robust, black bearded dwarf greeted with a smile. "What brings you here?"

Ireniana Farfalen quickly placed her coat on the rack near the door and brushed the dust off of her studded leather tunic. She turned to her friend as he was scratching his chin.  "I am afraid Watson that I will have to keep my visit short," she said in her soft voice.  "I have a new case."
A loud whistle sounded off from the kitchen, alerting the dwarf  that his tea was ready.
"It's all right Watson," Falfaren said as she gracefully walked over to the wooden rocking chair near the window.  "Grab your tea, and pour me a cup if there is enough."
Watson smiled once more then entered the kitchen, grabbed the teapot and two cups, then returned to the living room.  His shoulders rose as he poured as the tea. "The usual amount of sugar and milk." 
"You don't I don't like sugar and milk in my tea," Falfaren said as she took her cup. "You wouldn't happen to have any brandy?"
"Not since you drank my last glass," the dwarf remarked quiety.  After sipping his tea, he leaned back in his chair.  "So which case are you working on?"
"I have decided to take the offer to travel to Manatreese to look for the king," she answered.
Watson was not surprised.  For the past week, emissaries from the troll kingdom had attempted to persuade him, and Falfaren to find their missing king in the Manatreese ruins, a place that is said to house demons and other evils 
"I would be most happy in going with you to the ruins," Watson said, breaking a moment of silence.  "Providing you don't think of me as a distraction."

Falfaren stood up and placed a warm hand on the dwarf's shoulder.  "My dear Watson nothing would make me happier.  I could use your healing magic and war hammer as you could use my keen skills and sword techniques. Now, let us enjoy our tea and then we will be off."

To read the rest of the story, follow the link to my fiction page: 
Al's fiction drawer.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A fighter's identity

A fighter's identity 

Al Stover / Reporting, Images & Production

A fighter's identity

Rick "The Pitbull" Welliver is a former pro boxer is the owner of Spokane Boxing and Martial Arts. This is his story from his transformation from pro to coach.

related links:

Storycorps:  My Daughter the Champ: Raising a Boxer

Covering my first MMA event: Rage in the Cage

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fresh from the grill

Fresh from the grill

Al Stover / Reporting
Britney Locati /Photography

published in issue 41.8 of the SFCC Communicator

Shadra Beesley sits down at a table just as the waitress places a form in front of her which lists different cuisines, and illustrations of animals that represent types of meat.

A half an hour after filling out the form, the waitress returns with a plate of yellow fin tuna marinated in a spicy sauce.
The Globe Bar and Grill located on North Division Street, lets their customers customize their dinner order, every Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Howard Bateman, a chef at The Globe created the custom cuisine menu.  Bateman said he began making customized meals three years ago.

"I had friends coming in who were picky and after 20 questions I would make them something," Bateman said. "Then I thought, 'what if I had a form to give to them to fill out?'

"I starting giving the form to other people and it took off pretty quick."

The customer begins by selecting whether they want an appetizer, an entree, a salad, a sandwich, or a pasta.

The customer then selects what meat they want and what type of cuisine they want. Choices of cuisines include Greek, Japanese, Moroccan and Indian. A customer can also combine two different cuisines. Bateman said many customers have come with all sorts of elaborate orders.

"Some people will check the 'Other' slot and write German," Bateman said. "Some try to be funny and order Indian food with cow."

Other options on the form allow the customer to take off any ingredients from their food, whether or not they want their food to be spicy or creamy, and choose what kind of side dishes they want to go with their meal.

According to Bateman, the prices for the custom cuisine are compatible with the items on the Globe's menu.

"If someone orders something similar to a chicken sandwich, we look at the price of a chicken sandwich and compare the price," Bateman said. "If they add or subtract ingredients, we adjust the price and add it."

Theresa Kiehn, who has been working at The Globe for the last two years, said the restaurant does a lot of business from the custom cuisines.

"We definitely have our regulars every Thursday, and sometimes people will come from out of town," Kiehn said. "If it's a group of six to eight people, I warn them that their food will take some time to make and everyone is totally fine with it."

Kiehn adds if customers can also call in orders and different requests ahead of time.

"If they want something like a rack of lamb, they can call and Howard will go shopping for the food so that way we have it that Thursday night."

Bateman added customers from as far as Switzerland have come to The Globe to experience the custom cuisine.

"They asked to take a form to see if they could do it back home," Bateman said.

Although Bateman is the mainly the person who makes the custom orders, he said other chefs will sometimes come to as he puts it, play in the kitchen on Thursdays.

"Occasionally one of my boys will feel brave and try it," Bateman said.

Beesley, one of the Globe's regular customers said she loves the surprise of the of the custom cuisine.

"You don't know what you're getting until it arrives," Beesley said. "It's always delicious and always one-of-a-kind."

Spokane's segregated past recounted

Spokane's segregated past recounted

Al Stover / Reporting

published in 41.8 of the SFCC Communicator

Students and faculty filled the seats in sn-w'ey'mn Rm.110 as Jim Kershner and Brooks R. Holland discussed Spokane's issues of segregation and human rights that went as far back as the 1930s.
Kershner, an author and reporter for The Spokesman-Review, and Holland, a law professor at Gongaza University came to SFCC on Feb. 24.

According to instructor Heather Keast, Kershner had been a guest speaker on campus previously in some English classes and Ryan Simmons contacted him to speak at this event. She added that the school went through the American Civilian Liberties Union's (ACLU) Web site to contact Holland. After exchanging e-mails, both Kershner and Holland agreed to come to campus.

Kershner began his discussion by talking about how there were traces of segregation throughout Spokane.
"While there were no Jim Crow laws, Spokane was no different than other northern cities," Kershner said. 
According to Kershner, the different racial issues Spokane has faced in the past included segregation in restaurants, incidents where real estate agents would steer black clients to a specific district, to black entertainers being forced out of the Davenport Hotel. There were also no black professionals like teachers, dentists, and attorneys.
"Spokane was restrictive for jobs for minorities in the 1940s and 1950s," Kershner said.
Kershner is also the author of Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life, a biography about Spokane's first prominent black attorney and civil right leader. As he was interviewing Maxey for a story, Kershner explained to the audience about Maxey's struggles in his early life and how his deeds as an attorney helped contribute to the city being less restrictive to blacks. One example Kershner used was the Eugene Breckenridge case in 1951.   
"Breckenridge applied for a job in Spokane, but no one would hire him," Kershner said. "Maxey went to the superintendent and convinced him to hire Breckenridge." 
Holland then talked about the different state law institutions that dealt with human rights issues in Spokane, such as the Spokane Human Rights Commission (SHRC), where citizens can file complaints of discrimination. According to Holland and the City of Spokane website, all nine seats on the SHRC's board are currently vacant. 
"There are a lot of things that can be done, but with no one in those seats, it's very problematic," Holland said.
Holland spoke of topics such as racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and how institutions outside the city have been involved with human rights issues. One example is the Otto Zhem cast that took place in 2006 and was revisited in March 2009. The Center for Justice, a non-profit law firm, represented Zhem and his mother Anne in a civil suit against the city of Spokane.
"The Center for Justice became involved and a civil suit was brought to the Federal Court," Holland said. "A federal grand jury prosecuted the police officer."
First-year student Miranda Oliver said both speakers were informative and she had learned more about the Otto Zhem case.

"I had heard about the case, but I didn't know a lot about it," Oliver said. "It was interesting to hear about how it was dealt with."
Kershner said while Spokane has improved over the years, he still feels that there are still subtle forms of discrimination.
"It will always be that way," Kershner said. "There is still work to be done." 

**This story was published in Issue 41.8 of the SFCC Communicator

Students snag free food at farmer's market

 photo by Kaitlin Allen

Students and staff looking for an alternative to Sodexo headed to the last Farmers Market of winter quarter outside of the SUB.

On Tuesday, March 16th, there were various breads, apples, and mixed berry flavored yogurt available, free for students.

According to Erin Grimmer, who was overseeing the Market, the food came from Second Harvest Food Bank, located at 1234 East Front Ave.

"We started at 11:30 so it's kind of hard to guess how many [students attended]," Grimmer said.

Student Shantilly Higbee said she came out to the market to get free lunch.

"Free food is always nice, and it's good quality food," Higbee said.

The next Farmer's Market will take place in Spring quarter.

Students snag free food at farmers market from Sfcc Communicator on Vimeo.

This was a quick online package put together by myself, Kaitlin, and Madison McCord.

To check out how the story looks on the site, follow the link SFCC Communicator

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CCS basketball takes fifth at NWAACCs

CCS Basketball takes fifth at NWAACCs

Al Stover / Reporting
Rick Harrison / Images

The CCS basketball teams are bringing home two more trophies to the trophy case.
Both the men's team and the women's team took fifth place in the NWAACC basketball championships this last weekend.    The men's team headed into the championships with an overall season record of 21 wins 5 losses and a divisional championship, while the women's team came in with a record of 16 wins and 9 losses, according to the CCS athletics Web site.
Chris Pynch, who scored 61 points throughout the tournament, said that it felt good to be back to the playoffs.
"I'm glad we made it, most teams didn't," Pynch said. "It gave us more time together."
In the first round of the playoffs, both CCS teams were defeated by their opponents. The men lost to the Clackamas Cougars, 65-55. The women's team lost to Lane Community College, 57-31.
Both CCS teams were victorious in both their first, and second round games of the consolation bracket. The men's team defeated Shoreline with a score of 90-74, then followed it up with a victory over the Big Bend Community College, 82-76. The women's team defeated Highline Community College, 69-55 and then went on to defeat Umpqua Community College, 81-73.
In the final round of the consolation brackets, the men's team beat Bellvue College, 74-69 while the women's team defeated Columbia Basin, 65-60.
In addition to placing at the top of the consolation brackets, both teams were honored with players being named for the NWAACC All-Star teams.
The men's team was honored with two players being named for All-Stars in the Eastern region. Zachary Humphrey was named for the First team while Pynch was named for the Second Team. Sophomore Griffon Jones was named the Most Valuable Player for the Eastern Region.     Pynch said that making it back to the playoffs gave him and his teammates a chance to spend more time together.
"We're all good friends outside of the court," Pynch said. "It's going to be really tough, not seeing them, but I'm excited to see what's in the future for us."
The women's team was honored with two players being named All-Stars; Megan Eisenmann for the First Team and Brooke Randall for the Second Team. Randall said that playing in the tournament was an experience. 

"It's a fun environment," Randall said. "Of course I will be playing next year and hopefully making back here."

Follow the link below to the Communicator website to read the story in its entirety.

CCS basketball takes fifth at NWAACCs