Homer's Best Bets

  • It's all downhill from here Skiers stop at Megan and Jan Spurkland's home on Diamond Ridge for the Wine and Cheese Tour on Sunday. The tour started at the Baycrest Hill trail head, making skiers work for their cheese on the long climb up. Some skiers wore wool and used old wooden skis. -Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

You know how everyone says that modern social media is like way cool? On Facebook you can connect with old high school classmates, long lost relatives and people stalking you under made-up accounts. Seriously. The Betster read about this recently, where a woman got fired because she accepted a friend request from a fake friend who turned out to be her boss spying on her. Why would someone accept a friend request from someone she didn't know? The Betster gets those all the time, but suspects that Brandi, Toots and Pixie have more in mind than just wanting to talk about modern literature.
What no one warned the Betster about, though, is spoilers. If you live in way-rural Alaska, television reception can be spotty, cable nonexistent and high-speed Internet too expensive. The Betster gets TV entertainment the sneaker-net way: DVD rentals. This works out well until you're in the second season of Downton Abbey and someone on Facebook watching the third season live reveals that Downton Abbey actually is a secret alien base and the show is being turned into a prequel for Lost. OK, the Betster made that up, but last week after the season finale the Betster had to zip through any Facebook newsfeed that began, "OMG! I can't believe what happened on Downton Abbey!"
No spoilers, Betsteroids! Back in the 20th century when Alaska got TV shows on a two-week tape delay, there would be a little tag for series teasers on live TV broadcasts that read "not current in this time zone." That's the Betster's viewing habits -- not just a fortnight behind, but months behind.
Well, if delayed TV viewing is the price we pay for living at the edges of technology, heck, it's worth it. Where else can you see moose walking down the streets or stroll down an icy beach and watch otters and seals play in the surf? It's all part of life here at Latitude 59 degrees and some change, all the more reason to get out and enjoy some of these Best Bets:

BEST JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN BET: Ever since Homer -- the poet, not the town -- wrote The Iliad, poets have been writing about war. As part of the Big Read for Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried," Kachemak Bay Campus adjunct professor Erin Hollowell discusses "The Poetry of War and Peace" at 6 p.m. today at the Homer Public Library. She'll present examples from World War I, the Vietnam War and the Middle East conflicts.

BEST GET BACK BET: "Backcountry" in our neighborhood doesn't require a road trip -- it's in our back yard. Check out the Backcountry Film Festival at 7 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre. Sponsored by The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club and The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition, the festival shows seven short films on backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Tickets are $10 at the door and support those organizations. Door prizes will be awarded at intermission and tickets include a chance to win a Black Diamond backcountry ski package.

BEST KEEP GOING BET: From kindergarten to adulthood, writers who won in the 21st Annual Kenai Peninsula Writer's Contest read their works at 7 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts. Give them a hand and hear what they have to say.

BEST FAKE IT BET: Yeah, yeah, the Betster has been getting tired of friends posting Facebook updates about their awesome tropical vacations. Make your own vacation at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Alibi with Kachemak Bay Family Planning's Beach Party. Grab your grass skirt and aloha shirt and listen to live reggae music. There will be a costume contest, a raffle, prizes and more. Tickets are $10 at the door.

BEST ROUND AND ROUND BET: Hey, it's a nice half-hour or so ski on the Sunset Loop ski trail, but if you're trying to do 300 kilometers, well, phew, that could take a while. Fortunately, the Homer Middle School Husky ski team will be combining efforts in its Ski-a-thon fundraiser. Cheer them on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Want to pledge at $7 to $15 a skier? Contact a Husky skier or call Alan Parks at 399-3096. If you show up at the trail parking lot on Diamond Ridge with a couple of dead presidents, they'll probably take your money.

BEST LAST CHANCE BET: This could be the last chance to see Top Cover, the U.S. Air Force Band based at Joint Base Elmendorf and Richardson. The band visits Homer for school concerts and then does a free public concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Mariner Theatre. See story, page 12.


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