Recently the Betster went up to Anchortown for a big journo conference. Periodic trips to Alaska's big city are worthwhile, if only to remind us of how awesome it is to live at the end of the road. The Betster always is stunned by how much the city keeps growing. At the University of Alaska Anchorage, where the Betster once attended, lots of new buildings have gone up. If not for big monumental art like the pile of lawn chairs or the twisted pipeline, the Betster would have been totally lost.
Things change, ya know? Also, people get older. Holy entropy! The Betster kept running into seasoned Alaska journalists who once had been gray and now looked like Santa Claus.
This Outside journo was talking at a panel about how he met his wife in college because she was in the same section of the facebook. "Does anyone here remember the original meaning of 'facebook' before Facebook?" he asked. Without thinking, the Betster raised a hand, remembering how in college each entering student got his or her name and mug shot in a pamphlet called the facebook. Busted! "You have to have a little gray in your hair to know that," the guy said, looking straight at the Betster.
Ouch! There's something else that comes with being gray. Young people call you "sir" or "ma'am," and they're doing it out of respect. Gray or not, young or old, celebrate a world slowly being reborn by getting out and enjoying life, like with these Best Bets:
BEST BIG QUEST BET: In Wagner's "Parsifal," it's a classic story: man goes off on an adventure and learns lesson. Watch the Metropolitan Opera version of "Parsifal" with a big gloomy post-apolcalyptic theme at 6 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors and $5 students or children.
BEST FINAL FRIDAY BET: We have so many dang art venues in town, First Friday isn't enough. For the last Friday at 5 p.m. today, check out the opening reception of the annual Student Art Showcase at Kachemak Bay Campus. Students in this year's painting, book arts and ceramic classes show their work.
BEST ACROSS THE QUAD BET: At the Betster's college, the humanities building was over on one side and across the commons was nat-sci, and never the twain shall meet. No one told Eva Saulitis and Craig Matkin that. In "Heart Meets Mind," Saulitis, the poet, and Matkin, the scientist, talk about the emotion of whale encounters and the science of whale research. They speak at 5 p.m. Friday at the Pratt Museum.
BEST EASY MINING BET: Why dig up mountains when there's gold in them thar old computers? Well, maybe not gold, exactly, but recoverable metals and plastics. Bring your old electronics for recycling from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Spenard Builders Supply for the eighth annual event. Businesses and nonprofits can call Cook Inletkeeper at 235-4068, ext. 34, to set up a time to drop off electronics.
BEST READ ON BET: Erin Coughlin Hollowell took her time writing her first poetry collection, "Pause, Traveler," but that's sort of the idea. Like wine and Scotch whisky, you just can't rush fine poetry. See what she's done in her book release reading at 5 p.m. Sunday at Bunnell Street Arts Center. Her mentor, Peggy Shumaker, also reads, with books available for sale.
BEST GET CRACKIN' BET: Clean up day isn't until next weekend, but starting Monday, the HoWL DiRtBaG crew will do an advance scouting trip. Heck, if the pile of bags by the Homer Wilderness Leaders' office on Ocean Drive is any indication, the whole town might be cleaned up by May 4. Kids, join the crew, earn scholarship prizes, get a free T-shirt and enter to win prizes. They'll be cleaning up daily from 3:30-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.