Living in the nation’s proud first-designated “Dark Sky City,” I benefit immensely from enjoying a robust relationship with our planet’s view of the cosmos. I think this issue is deeply important, but so many people are acclimated to no longer having a clue what they’re missing and what’s at stake. And so many fellow Flagstaff residents take our nights for granted and complain when the city council won’t bring in an arena or more shopping malls or car dealerships. The AZ legislature is poised to renege on a promise to ban lighted billboards on our remote highways. The night sky isn’t just a pretty landscape where it’s available, though. Humanity’s very ability to collectively wonder about our place in the universe is compromised. This is a bigger deal than it might first seem. The stars are quickly going extinct from our awareness and our consciousness. We’re content to let wardens like Neil de Grasse Tyson be our gatekeepers to wonder. But each one of us across the globe should be able to be reminded on a nightly basis that we’re indeed small, and yet miraculous. We lose our night through choices, not necessity. We should all be more passionate about bringing it back to our neighborhoods. We really must protect what Dark we have left. Anyway, this is a good article on HuffPost today that glimpses into the issue…
I’m beyond thrilled to announce that GORE-TEX® has asked me to join their “Dream Team” of adventure writers and photographers to collaborate on a major new creative endeavor for the online GORE-TEX® “Experience More” platform. For starters, I’ll be publishing a number of essays and photographs recounting my solo thru-hike of the Arizona Trail last fall. This is an incredible honor and privilege for me. I’m very proud to be partnering with the most amazing line-up of outdoor professionals. This feels like an awesome affirmation of the unique journey I undertook, and it’s a real hoot to officially be labeled a professional adventurer! I can’t wait to watch this project unfold and see where it leads. Please check out the first essay, now live, here. I’d love it if you’d click on the little blue “F” and “Twitter bird” icons that appear to the right margin of the article and post the link to your social media accounts! Traffic is destiny! And then come back here and let me know what you think. http://www.gore-tex.com/blog/hiking-and-backpacking/road-mile-zero-hiking-arizona-trail/
Far out! You’ve hunted down Austin Aslan during the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt! Welcome! You may have arrived here via PAULA STOKES. (Or my Team Orange #YASH host ELLE COSIMANO.) Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to learn about the hunt. And if you’re experiencing any technical glitches, don’t worry, Glitch Happens. Pop over here for your pill.
(((Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 3rd at noon Pacific time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.)))
I would love to keep blabbering on and sit down with you over some tea, maybe share an episode of Star Trek: Next Generation with you, but I realize you have, like 144 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR) other blogs to visit in the next couple of days before you WIN ALL THE GLORY!!! So, I’ll keep this thing moving along…
Oh, wait, real quick. Do me the ginormous honor of following my twitter feed. I promise, it doesn’t bite. @Laustinspace. Do it. DO IT NOW!
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! MELISSA GORZELANCZYK!
I’m very excited to host Melissa, the YA author of ARROWS which released from Random House / Delacorte Press, January 2016. ARROWS is a modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.
And without further ado, here’s a link to her bonus material!
Best of luck, Melissa, with all of your authorly success! And best of luck to you, dear treasure seeker. Win, win, win!
Before you scurry off to visit the next author on the hunt, the very frightening and bone-chilling RIN CHUPECO, please feel free to peek around my entire site for a while and follow the links to my two YA survival-disaster sci fi novels, THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD. And please leave a comment below, let me know you stopped by!
It’s time for another whirlwind adventure. 180 authors! 180 book giveaways! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for a blink of the eye! (The Spring YA Scavenger Hunt goes live on Tuesday, March 29th at 12 pm Pacific Time and comes down on Sunday, April 3rd at noon Pacific time.)
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are NINE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM this spring, but there are NINE teams total –RED, BLUE, GOLD, GREEN, ORANGE, TEAL, PURPLE, SILVER, & PINK- each with 20 authors. for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Title:The Islands at the End of the World
Author:Austin Aslan (he’s here on WP, and he writes back, guys!)
Specs: 355 pages of story, followed by an excerpt from a sequel.
Publishing Info: Wendy Lamb Books, 2014
Note: I saw this a few times at the library here in town, picked it up, and put it back. But last time, my wife is the one who handed it to me and said, “I think you should read this one.” She always gives good recommendations, so I decided to try it after all. And I’m so glad I did! I follow MixedRaceFeministBlog both here on WordPress and on Facebook, whose articles and comments have started opening my eyes to the perils, annoyances, frustrations, and isolation that mixed race peoples across the world suffer from at the hands of society. This book helped me to understand more.
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This is fun. It’s come to my attention that a fan produced his own book trailer for THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD a while back. I’ve enjoyed seeing his vision of the novel’s tension materialize “on screen.” I owe a belated thank you to Ryan Russo for sharing this out…
I can’t stop thinking about The Revenant, and director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also made Birdman. These are so easily the best two films of the past two–or even three–years, maybe even further back. They share many obvious similarities, yet they’re so, so different. I’m genuinely sad to up-end Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina as my year’s finest films (both of which share actors with The Revenant), but when a true champion comes along, you have to bow. I’m so excited to see further Iñárritu projects. His thick, almost viscous use of symbolism in each frame, and the deeply-ambiguous interpretations of what might actually be going on in any given scene are wonderfully welcome departures from safe film-making. The use of flowing water, low-angled, filtered sunlight, swaying trees, wind, snow, avalanches, blood, graves, wombs, the muddy lines between the good and the bad (hint: this is no Cowboy vs Indian tale; every one, every nation, every tribe, is complicit in perpetrating the evil that can grip humanity), and Iñárritu’s petering interest, as the film closes, in defining for the audience the morality of revenge (yet he doesn’t advance a nihilistic conclusion, either–quite the opposite), all serve to utterly haunt me days after leaving the theater. I simply MUST see this movie again, to pry into these scenes and the imagery, and to better formulate my own interpretation of the film. I’ve already ranted about the grizzly bear scene, so I won’t add more on that here. One thing I’ll say now, which strikes me as probably coincidence–but I can’t put intentionality past a director so obviously, madly genius at story-telling–is that I’m intrigued with how similar the ‘dead horse scene’ is with an iconic moment on Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back. With a new Star Wars film showing across the hall in seven different theaters while I was watching The Revenant, this “shot across the bow” of traditional, safe film-making strikes me as tantalizingly intentional. But that’s the glory of Iñárritu: he won’t ever tell us exactly what he’s thinking. We have to figure it out on our own. This movie truly makes my brain hurt. I love it when a film does that. And with the exception of Birdman, the last commercially-successful film I can think of that achieved such notoriety for me was 2007’s No Country for Old Men. As I did with The Revenant, I rushed home the night I saw that film and confidently declared it the year’s winner for Best Picture, some 10 months before the award was actually announced. I rarely do this. But I’ll do it again, here. No film in the past few years comes close to succeeding with such high ambitions as does The Revenant. It would be a scandal for this masterwork to fall short of 2015’s Best Picture and Director award. Alejandro González Iñárritu genuinely deserves a double crown–for the second time in two years.