Story last updated at 3:07 p.m. Thursday, December 12, 2002

HOMER'S BEST BETS
Tripping triskaidekaphobia, Betsteroids! That's right, tomorrow is Friday the 13th. In the 14-year calendar cycle, you have a 1-in-25 chance of being so unlucky. The world's next Friday the 13th is in June, when the sun will shine and the worst that can happen is getting caught in the rain. So play it safe this weekend, eh? Don't whistle in the dark, don't walk under ladders, step over cracks, avoid crossing paths with black cats and don't ingest sense-impairing substances. Go to safe events, like book-signings, bird-watching, the AIDS ball or cold-water body surfing.

BEST BOOK BET: The last time Sharon Bushell had an autograph party for her book, "We Alaskans: Stories of People Who Helped Build the Great Land," the event turned into a big party with some of Homer's local pioneers a hootin' and hollerin' and carrying on. Sharon signs again from 1:15-4 p.m. Friday at the Homer Senior Center dining room. Boogie-woogie boy Mr. Johnny B plays piano.

BEST THE BIRDS! THE BIRDS! BET: In a normal year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count can be a challenge. Oh no, not for the 103rd annual event Saturday, at least in Homer: bird watching should be cushy, barring a major storm blowing in. Show up at 8:30 a.m. at the Alaska Maritime Refuge Visitor Center on the Sterling Highway next to Ocean Shores Motel. Dress for the weather and bring spotting scopes, binoculars and field guides. There is a $5 fee to help with publishing the results.

BEST ICKY BOYS AND OOKY GIRLS BET: The Betster got a trip to the principal's office in 6th grade for painting my arms green in art class -- right before square-dancing the next period for P.E. OK, that was, like, so immature, I know. Kids and adults, go dancing when Dance Circle North sponsors a square and contra dance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Boys & Girls Club. Rather Be Dancin' plays and Rich Kleinleder teaches and calls the dances. Beginners are welcome. The cost is $6 and children under 12 are free and must be accompanied by an adult. Bring clean-soled shoes.

BEST BE AWARE BET: For a while there in the 1990s, the Betster dreaded reading alumni newsletters for fear of reading that another friend died of AIDS. We've learned a lot about AIDS, but misconceptions remain. The Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic is hosting its annual gala, the 2002 AIDS Awareness Ball, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday at Alice's Champagne Palace. Though there's a memorial corner to remember friends and family, it's not only a somber event. As usual, they have a great spread, with appetizers from Fritz Creek General Store, Kachemak Bay oysters, a silent auction and raffle drawings. Too Fat to Fly performs. Tickets are $20 in advance for members, $25 for nonmembers and $30 at the door.

BEST FROM KLAWOCK TO AKIACHAK BET: They'll be coming from all over Alaska, the few, the hardy, the 224 wrestlers of the small-schools division 1A-2A-3A representing 47 teams. Homer High is the host, but won't be competing, though teams from Seldovia and Ninilchik will be there. Competition begins at 3 p.m. Friday and goes through Saturday night.

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