Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let the Games Begin

BREAKING NEWS! The winners of the Welcome Juniper party have been selected, thanks to the genius of They are:

Courtesy of Kinsey Holley, a copy of Training the Receptionist goes to Willa.

Courtesy of Erin Nicholas, elaing8 is the winner of a copy of My Three Lords.

Courtesy of PG Forte, a copy of The Extremist goes to *yadkny*.

Courtesy of Kelly Jamieson, hotcha12 wins a copy of Doll.

And since they've given away all my books, I'm awarding some Vosges exotic truffles to ... Tamara Lynn!

Congratulations everyone and thanks for playing.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Since this is my first official post as one of the Nine Naughty Novelists, I really want to impress everyone. Maybe I should talk about my books … nah. I write books, you already know that. Or my upcoming wedding … uh oh. Haven’t started planning yet.

Well, I’ve heard that some people are fascinated by Alaska – perhaps I can impress everyone by talking about our lesser-known favorite sports. No, not the Iditarod. I’m talking about the OUTHOUSE RACES.

Yep, every winter, people bring their homemade outhouses – decorated for the occasion – to the race. One person has to be on the throne, the others have to be pushing, carrying, or otherwise manhandling the outhouse across the finish line.

Yes, it’s a long winter -- we have to amuse ourselves somehow.

For instance, the NENANA ICE CLASSIC. In this action-packed event, a tripod is placed on the frozen Tanana River at the beginning of winter. People place bets on the precise moment – to the minute -- “break-up” will cause the tripod to fall into the river. Sure, it’s silly – until you hear the size of the jackpot. Last year, if you guessed right, you could have won $279,030.

Ready to move here yet?

If you lived here, you too could participate in the SEWARD POLAR BEAR JUMP. All you have to do is jump into the ocean … in JANUARY!

But what about the summer, you ask?

Yes, there is a summer. Kind of. You can always take part in the MOUNT MARATHON RACE.

That’s the one where you run a mile and a half straight up a mountain, complete with cliffs and waterfalls and rockslides, then back down, trying like hell to stay on your feet.

Maybe you’d like something more relaxing. Here’s a competition in which all you have to do is grow facial hair. (Sorry, I’m out.) THE WORLD BEARD AND MOUSTACHE COMPETITION happens every two years. Categories include the “musketeer,” “the Imperial,” and freestyle. Although this event travels the world, I’m including it because the reigning freestyle champ is Anchorage’s own David Trainor.

Not only that – Beard Team USA dominated the 2009 event. (Sorry, Canada, better luck next time.)

Unique to Alaska – and this one I truly love and attend whenever I can – is the WORLD ESKIMO-INDIAN OLYMPICS, which features events based on native Alaskan skills and games.
The Ear Pull, the Fish Cutting Competition, the Greased Log Walk, the Blanket Toss – they celebrate and honor ancient survival skills. At WEIO, competitors dress in street clothes, sincerely cheer each other on, and turn the stadium into a big party.

Have I convinced you to move here yet, or at least visit? I like to affectionately tease my adopted state, but Alaska truly is a fascinating – if weird -- place to live. If there’s anything you’d like to ask about Alaska, and what it’s like to live here, now’s your chance. Ask me anything! If I don't know the answer, I'll make it up. Couldn't be stranger than the truth!



Meg Benjamin said...

Welcome Juniper! I visited Alaska a few years ago on one of the dreaded cruise ships. I loved it and fell for an Alaskan coffee company called Raven's Brew that has the best logos ever!

PG Forte said...

Excellent first post. *g* I've always been fascinated with Alaska and, like Meg, visited there a couple of years ago on a cruise. And yes--Raven's Brew, love their "Deadman's Reach"!

I think my favorite thing about Alaska though is the light--that silvery, pearly brightness is so eerily beautiful.

Juniper Bell said...

Raven's Brew is brewed right here in Homer! My personal favorite is the "Three Peckered Goat." Even though I'm not a coffee drinker, I bought that one for the picture on the bag. ;)

Kelly Jamieson said...

My question for you is, who sits and watches the tripod to know the exact moment it sinks into the water? :-)
I'm asking 'cause I thought we could do the same thing here this winter! We live on the river and we could probably get some cash flowing on a bet like that...

I love all those wacky events and welcome Juniper!!

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