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Heralds of the Sword album release

10 Jun

The Bakersfield based band The Heralds of the Sword blend the sounds of heavy metal with an epic fantasy story. Think J.R.R. Tolkien meets Metallica.

The Heralds pose - from Heraldsofthesword.com

The Heralds pose – from Heraldsofthesword.com

 

When the weather gets warm grab a jacket and some skates

17 May

The San Joaquin Community Hospital Ice Center of Bakersfield is a great break from the heat. While the temperature in Bakersfield climbs closer and closer to triple digits people begin to fantasize about the winter. Going for a few hours of skating can transport the average person from 102 degree heat to a frigid wonderland.

Located on 1325 Q street, next to the Maya Cinemas and McMurtrey Aquatic Center, the ice rink is large and can easily have over 100 skaters on it at once.

The cost of admittance for adults is $8.00. Children and senior citizen receive a discount. If you don’t have a pair of ice skates the Ice Center rents pairs of skates, in figure skating and hockey varieties, for $3.00 a pair.

Skating can be a daunting task for the uninitiated though. However, the staff at the Ice Center are willing to walk beginners through everything from lacing skates to how to safely pick oneself up of the ground in case of a fall. Attendees can also check-out an “ice walker” if they need more stability.

A word of warning though – the place is cold. A jackets, warm pants or leggings, gloves and thick socks are a necessity when going skating. There aren’t many feeling more shocking then slipping and collapsing knee first on sub 30 degree ice while wearing shorts.

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From the SJCH Facebook page.
A group of children watch while their instructor demonstrates hockey techniques.

 

Sippin’ with Winton: A Bakersfield barista

13 May
Barista Andrew Winton can create similar works of latte art. From gimmecoffee.com

Barista Andrew Winton can create similar works of latte art. From gimmecoffee.com

 

A quick interview with Andrew Winton, a barista at Dagny’s Coffee.

 

 

Shooting the breeze in Bakersfield

10 May

Shooting guns is fun. Every since I first saw Arnold blow away the T-1000 by firing a shotgun with a single hand, guns have fascinated me. Not enough to actually buy a gun, I think they’re more of a hazard than they’re worth, but enough to want to fire one every now and then so a place where I can checkout a gun for an hour and take shots at a target is right up my alley.

Second Amendment Sports offers that. Located on 2523 Mohawk street, the store and range are one of the larger facilities of its type in Kern County.

Their most appealing part is the gun rental selection. My love of guns extends to what I see in movies so being able to use the same Beretta 92FS Neo used in the “The Matrix” or a classic “Dirty Harry”-esque Smith &Wesson revolver is a blast for me.

The average person can expect to pay about $20 plus gun rental fee, safety equipment fee and ammunition to use at the range.

Second Amendment Sports does offer various memberships though. Ranging from $20-$225 per year the memberships include discounts for guests, discounts on equipment rentals and discounts on purchases. Second Amendment Sports also offers discounts for members of the military, law enforcement officers and senior citizens.

For those who are a bit more serious about firearm ownership than I am, Second Amendment Sports also offers training on everything from basic handgun technique to precision rifle training.

There is also a gunsmith on site to help with any issues you may run into. For ore information you can contact Second Amendment Sports at 661-323-4512.

 

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Second Amendment Sports Arizona Location. from Yelp.com

College kicks off its centennial celebration surrounded by flowers and tree.

4 May

Michael Wafford

Drawn by the allure of history and the fragrance drifting from green houses overflowing with fresh flower, hundreds were drawn to Bakersfield College on April 20 for its eighth annual Gardenfest.

The Garden Fest was as much a celebration of BC as it is a celebration for the community college’s Horticulture department.

“It was designed to be an open house for the agriculture department but it turned into an open house for the whole school,” said Lindsay Ono, an environmental horticulture professor at BC.

While the hundreds of plants showcased BC’s agriculture and horticulture departments, it was a single tree that was the focal point of the celebration. For the last seven months volunteers have planted 99 trees on the BC campus, according to Amber Chiang, marketing director at BC. During Garden Fest the 100th tree, an old age oak, was planted on campus.

“Bakersfield College is a terrific place and we want it to continue for another 100 years,” said mayor Harvey Hall before grabbing a golden shovel to help plant the tree.

Hall wasn’t the only person getting their hands dirty. Sally Sterns, horticultural technician at BC and Garden Fest’s planner, helped shovel the oak into the ground as well.

Although the tree planting was the focus of much of the event, Sterns said, “The most satisfying part of Garden Fest for me is that it is an event that is free to the public. Anyone can come and attend because the price of admission doesn’t keep people away. It’s free to the public so they can come and spend the day in a family friendly event. . .They can come and have a really good time.

Summer Bakers, a BC student, had a similar sentiment. “It’s great, relaxing. I’ve liked all the vendors and the jump houses, for my son.”

The event has drawn thousands of attendees in the past according to Sterns. “Ono and I started Gardenfest eight years ago. We had five vendors and 75 people came and it’s grown over eight years into what you see now: over two acres of vendors and thousands of people who come through here over the course of the day.”

The event also commemorated BC’s 100 years of existence by selling 100 red-and-white rose bushes.

Alongside the plants attendees were also treated to seminars on everything from installing a waterfall to learning how to cook a better steak on their backyard grill with Pat Coyle, head of BC’s food and nutrition department.

The event had professionals providing information on pet care, outdoor leisure, cooking, arts and crafts and environmentally-friendly home improvement.

Over 150 vendors displayed and sold plant life, gardening equipment, outdoor furniture and landscaping accessories at the event, according to Chiang.

Proceeds raised by the event will benefit the BC horticulture department.

 

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Good times at Garden Fest

29 Apr

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Shovelers pile dirt onto a live Oak at Bakersfield College’s Garden Fest on April 20. The tree planted was the 100th tree planted on BC’s campus this year as a celebrations of its century of existence.

 

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Artist Chris Borbon draws a caricature at BC’s Garden Fest.

 

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Tiffany Hoggart and Don Hoggart pose for a father and daughter caricature at BC’s Garden Fest.

 

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Chef Pat Coyle instructs a crowd at Garden fest on the finer points of grill operation and technique at BC’s Garden Fest. Coyle’s was one of several home and garden presentations held that day.

 

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BC president Sonya Christian and Bakersfield mayor Harvey Hall stand while professor Lindsay Ono speaks about the turnout of Garden Fest.

 

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A bee walks across the stigma of a flower at Bakersfield College on April 20.

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Geeking out and about in Bakersfield

28 Apr

While Bakersfield’s most famous forms of entertainment are its country music, with artists like Merle Haggard being synonymous with the city, and its dining — particularly its affinity for sweets — the city does have other things outside of listening to sweet guitar twang and filling ones stomach with complex confections. On a lazy Saturday morning I find nothing more enjoyable than sitting down and immersing myself in a video game, comic book or just shooting the breeze with like minded individuals at one of these locations.

Gamestor: With three locations in Bakersfield Gamestor is the biggest non-corporate video game chain store in Bakersfield. The stores are set up as a combination video game store and lounge. While their selection of modern day games is decent its the chains dedication to retro-gaming that is their biggest draw. The stores carry consoles and games from the 1980s to modern day. For me, there was nothing more exciting than seeing a Super Nintendo Entertainment System sitting on a shelf next to a crate filled with slab gray cartridges. Even just thumbing through a pile of old games sends me back to the days of my childhood when I’d stay up until 5 a.m. playing through games like “Mega Man X” and “Final Fantasy III.” Gamestors selection gives me the ability to relive those days again.

The stores also repair video game consoles, iPods, iPhones and other electronics.

Leeters: Located inside the East Hills Mall, Leeters is one of the larger comic books stores in Bakersfield. The store has racks upon racks of comic books, an area set up for PC video gaming, pool tables, Dance Dance Revolution and areas for tabletop gaming.

The stores biggest draw is its lounge are. The store provides games for people to play free of charge. They range from more casual board and card games like Apples to Apples to more hardcore games like Warhammer 40,000. The store also regularly host tournaments for popular games and offers workshops to help get people into new and complex games.

Otto’s Video Games and More:  Located on White Lane Otto’s is the newest store on this list. While it doesn’t have the amount of sheer backlog  back catalog that the Gamestor chain does Otto’s have a very nice console gaming area, with very large screens, and a section set up for table-top gaming.
They are the largest supplier of Warhammer 40,000 in the area. Their table top and video game areas also offer more room than that stores mentioned above.

Correction: Information about Otto’s Video Games and More game release schedule was incorrect. Otto’s follows all official release guideline for its retail products.