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Minimalists gives minimalism a bad name

Minimalists gives minimalism a bad name

By KATELYN ROBERTS

Aztec Press illustration by Katelyn Roberts

With New Year’s resolutions devised, put into place and maybe even already abandoned, January and February produce all kinds of hip lifestyle buzzwords.

As a vegan, I already chant the antioxidant-rich language of organic superfoods and probiotics. Recently, however, the “minimalism” trend caught my attention.

Minimalists live efficient lives, and sometimes strive for self-sustainability. Utilitarian forms include tiny homes, living out of a backpack and carefully choosing what to consume.

CHOCK-FULL CHILDHOOD

I didn’t grow up as a minimalist. My parents raised me and my two siblings in a five-bedroom suburban home on a perfect cul-de-sac.

My toys included a storage tub filled with Barbies, Bratz and Diva Starz. I had princess pink curtains and a stained glass rose window, and I definitely knew how to trash a room during one of my wild play sessions.

My mom hosted huge parties, always bought decorations from Mexico for the back patio and saved every single craft project, homework assignment and school photo.

My dad preferred quality over quantity with his trips to the dollar store but if we didn’t clean our rooms, he threw everything away.

After the divorce, my mom’s new small home was cluttered and full of kids’ memories. My dad’s apartment was sparse and clean, and we ate the same thing every night.

This is important, I promise.

WHERE TO BEGIN

Minimalism has weaved in and out of my life, but always seemed like an unachievable, laughable, only-at-Ikea concept.

Still, the lifestyle appealed to me because I dislike mindless consumerism, product fetishism and society’s need to constantly buy new things.

Saving money and the world are just two perks.

I started by donating a lawn-and-leaf bag of clothes, shoes and bags, and a box of utensils and dishes, to my nearest Goodwill.

I resolved to make all of my own clothes in 2017.

SEEKING INSPIRATION

For more inspiration, I watched a documentary on Netflix that has received lots of hype.

“Minimalism” follows two reformed rich men who travel across the U.S. preaching their minimal lifestyles.

The film makes Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus look like assholes. One longboards and the other reads his struggles as a wealthy man like slam poetry. There are no strict rules for minimalism and everyone’s interpretation is different, but I disliked the message of these two men who are triggering changes in so many people.

To me, minimalism just makes sense. I’ve had things and clothes and knick-knacks, and now I’m sick of the clutter.

But a lot of people haven’t had enough things to be sick of. Unlike these two six-figure-earning gents, most people can’t afford one nice $300 jacket instead of the five $20 jackets they recommend.

MISGUIDED MENTALITY

The minimalists addressed this on their website, after receiving some heat for preaching an idea that seems difficult to attain. Great, I thought. They aren’t so bad after all.

I was wrong.

The minimalists say poor people can benefit even more from minimalism.

“If we have less money, then we must be more intentional with how we spend it,” they write.

This mindset bothers me.

It’s the same mindset that doesn’t tip servers, the same mindset that tells those living below the poverty line not to enjoy a simple comfort like a beer or a snack.

Yes, it saves money to skip a latte or an IPA, but for many, that’s the only affordable pleasure.

I agree the world benefits when people feel released from pressure to own a car, home, television and the latest iPhone and video game consoles.

However, you can’t change the world by bragging in a blog about your lifestyle choices.

It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when followers tout the benefits of minimalism from a privileged perspective.

LESS IS MORE

Self-righteous minimalists give minimalism a bad name. My position is to take what you can from it.

I’ll continue living with fewer possessions and riding my bike to work, but I don’t plan on preaching my lifestyle to those less fortunate.

As I take my first steps into a more minimal life, I know I got my sentimentality and my need to save childhood memorabilia from my mom. Therefore, I allow myself unlimited picture frames for photographs and a drawer that stores (23 years worth of) birthday cards.

Minimalism can be for everyone, and it would lead to a healthier society. Let’s just be reasonable in our efforts.

Katelyn Roberts is trying to live a sustainable and efficient life in her 400-square-foot home in Barrio Viejo. Most of her belongings are for sale at Goodwill and Speedway Outlet.

 

The All Souls Procession

The All Souls Procession

by ALEX FRUECHTENICHT

Photos by Larry Gaurano

The All Souls Procession is an annual event that draws over 100,000 people into Tucson each year.

According to their website, “The All Souls Procession is an event that was created to serve the public’s need to mourn, reflect and celebrate the universal experience of death, through their ancestors, loved ones and the living.”

Starting back in 1990, the All Souls Procession has deep roots in the community, with people keeping the event completely donation-based funded.

Twenty-five years later, the event has grown into an event spreading across the country and even parts of Mexico.

The event lasts only a few hours, starting on 6th Avenue, heading down Toole Avenue until reaching the ceremonial grounds on Congress St. where the urn is burned.

The volunteers encourage everybody to help donate for the hungry ghosts in the event.

This year’s event held one of the largest amount of attendees, somewhere around 150,000 people to the streets of downtown Tucson.

Performers treat people to entertainment before the event kicks off at sundown.

Performers treat people to entertainment before the event kicks off at sundown.

This performer leads the procession with two fiber optic whips that change color.

This performer leads the procession with two fiber optic whips that change color.

The All Souls Procession draws crowds of all ages, from the elderly to children, watching and participating in the event.

The All Souls Procession draws crowds of all ages, from the elderly to children, watching and participating in the event.

Face painting is offered for those who wish to decorate their bodies in paint for the celebration.

Face painting is offered for those who wish to decorate their bodies in paint for the celebration.

The ceremonial urn is lifted into the air and set ablaze for the crowd at the end of the festival.

The ceremonial urn is lifted into the air and set ablaze for the crowd at the end of the festival.

The end of the celebration brings many key players of the Procession for an explosive finale.

The end of the celebration brings many key players of the Procession for an explosive finale.

Hordes of people flood the streets, creating a massive movement for the Procession.

Hordes of people flood the streets, creating a massive movement for the Procession.

Skulls are decorated for the event, celebrating beauty, even in death.

Skulls are decorated for the event, celebrating beauty, even in death.

 

Attendees often bring totems for their lost loved ones, including messages written out on signs.

Attendees often bring totems for their lost loved ones, including messages written out on signs.

Tucson Comic-Con craze

Tucson Comic-Con craze

by ALEX FRUECHTENICHT

While Tucson Comic-Con isn’t nearly as big as San Diego Comic-Con or New York Comic-Con, there’s no doubt that attendees take just as serious as they would anywhere else.

Held every November at the Tucson Convention Center, TCC is open to the public, allowing Tucsonans to unleash their inner nerd and buy some cool merchandise.

Many attendees choose to dress up as their favorite characters, or cosplay, and take photos with other people.

Each year, the attendance grows in both attendees and exhibitors from all over Arizona.

The atmosphere is always inviting and a great way to spend an otherwise uneventful weekend in the early November Tucson sun.

If you’ve never been to a Comi-Con, your next chance is  Phoenix Comic-Con Fan Fest this December in Glendale.

Aztec Press photos by Larry Gaurano

Judge Dredd sits above the convention floor, welcoming people into the convention.

Judge Dredd sits above the convention floor, welcoming people into the convention.

 Sakura Haruno lets the floor of the convention know that women can do cosplay just as well as the men.

Sakura Haruno lets the floor of the convention know that women can do cosplay just as well as the men.

Kiba the Cosplay Corgi made an appearance at Tucson Comic-Con this year, including a Link from the Legend of Zelda cosplay.

Kiba the Cosplay Corgi made an appearance at Tucson Comic-Con this year, including a Link from the Legend of Zelda cosplay.

Darth Vader and his daughter, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan admire the fellow cosplayers upstairs.

Darth Vader and his daughter, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan admire the fellow cosplayers upstairs.

Cosplayers walk the show floor, perusing booths for art prints and memorablia and merchandise.

Cosplayers walk the show floor, perusing booths for art prints and memorablia and merchandise.

 

Two sides of the immigration debate

Two sides of the immigration debate

Congressmen Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., held a forum on the topic of immigration at Pima Community College’s Proscenium Theathre on April 17. The forum turned contentious when several audience members began to shout during Grijalva’s and Gutierrez’s speeches. Grijalva and Gutierrez stressed the importance of becoming a documented citizen and using immigration law not to pursue families, but criminals. As attendees began to leave the auditorium, protesters gathered outside displaying signs supporting strict enforcement of immigration laws.

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10-year-old Bobby De La Rosa speaks through tears to an audience of more than 150 people to tell the story of his mother’s arrest by Border Patrol agents six years ago. Bobby was the first speaker during the forum and explained how his mother’s deportation has led to the separation of his family in order to make ends meet. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)

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Jim (no last name given), a local actor and self-proclaimed republican, has a friendly discussion with Jim Thomas, a member of the Southside Presbyterian Church and democrat, on issues ranging from immigration to abortion laws. Southside Presbyterian Church currently shelthers Rosa Robles Loreto. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)

 

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Curtis Baxter quietly listens to Congressman Raul Grijalva’s opening statement. Baxter arrived as a protester but did not interrupt or shout during the presenters’ speeches. A small group of motorcyclists from a local motorcycle group attended the forum to hear out the congressmen and voice their own opinions on the subject of immigration. Several members of the group left during Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s speech to join the protesters outside. (Nick Meyers/ Aztec Press)

 

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Del Dawley is escorted out of Pima Community College’s Proscenium Theatre by PCC police officers April 17 after protesting an assertion by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., that immigrants fall under the protection of the American flag. Dawley remained outside for the rest of the forum, gathering with other protestors and voicing an opposing perspective on the immigration debate. (Nick Meyers/Aztec Press)

 

PHOTO: Students protest state budget cuts

PHOTO: Students protest state budget cuts

Students protest Gov. Doug Ducey’s 2016 state budget, which saw nearly $100 million in cuts to state education. While universities took major cuts, community colleges in Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties lost 100 percent of their state funding. Pima Community College will experience a $6 million cut, which led to a governing board decision to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour during a meeting on March 11. (Photo courtesy of Daisy Rodriguez-Pitel)

Picacho Peak Civil War Re-enactment

Picacho Peak Civil War Re-enactment

Every March, hundreds of families travel to the base of Picacho Peak to watch more than 200 re-enactors provide live, historically accurate accounts of the western-most battles of the Civil War. Popular among enthusiasts, adults and children alike, the booming cannons and occasionally hilarious portrayals of battles are both entertaining and educational. In between re-enactments, families are encouraged to explore the Confederate and Union camps and talk with re-enactors as they experience an authentic Civil War experience. Unique shops open their tent flaps to sell Civil War-style memorabilia and gifts.

 

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Re-enactment enthusiasts fire a replica cannon during the mock battle of Glorieta Pass. Cannons are donated and maintained by organizations dedicated to the history of the Civil War, such as the Arizona Civil War Council. (Aztec Press/ Nick Meyers)

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Re-enactor Walt Nichols takes a puff from his pipe in-between battles. Nichols played the role of Cpt. Alexander McRae in the Battle of Valverde. (Aztec Press/ Nick Meyers)

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A Confederate fighter reloads his rifle in the face of approaching Union soldiers during the re-enactment of the Battle of Glorieta Pass at Pichaco Peak State Park on March 21. (Aztec Press/ Nick Meyers)

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A wounded member of the Union forces uses his bayonet after being injured to move himself from a field of casualties. Re-enactors are enthusiasts who try to display an accurate portrayal of what battles may have actually been like. (Aztec Press/ Nick Meyers)

A HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN

A HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN

By EDUARDO CALDERA

When I feel the need to get away, I often find myself making a trip to Windy Point on Mount Lemmon.

There I can leave the stresses of life behind, escape reality and find peace in nature while connecting with myself.

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Ryan Petronella (bottom) and Nathan Wikstrom take a moment to catch their breath as they climb Hitchcock Pinnacle. Visitors find a variety of ways to enjoy Windy Point, from picnics to photography to simply enjoying scenic overlooks. (Eduardo Caldera/Aztec Press)

The summit, only a short drive from Tucson, provides therapy and healing to the soul.

In less than an hour you can be surrounded by hills and nothing but the soothing sound of the wind rustling through trees. With no cell phone service and just the right amount of distance from town, it’s the perfect location to clear your head and recharge your batteries.

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Hikers enjoy panoramic views of the Tucson valley from atop Windy Point rocks.

Before moving to Tucson, I was not much of a hiker. Besides the occasional walk in the park or drive on a long open back road, I was rarely outdoors. I moved to Tucson mid-January and quickly realized I needed an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

I had moved from a town on the fringe of the suburbs of Phoenix where in seconds you could be on a dirt farm road with no one around. I desperately needed an oasis.

One day, on a spontaneous decision, I grabbed my camera, filled my tank with gas and started driving with no plan in sight.

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Fog shrouds the 25-mile Catalina Highway that traverses Mount Lemmon.

I shortly found myself navigating the twists and turns of the Catalina Highway. Popular among tourists and residents, this lonely highway is the main route up and down Mount Lemmon.

Before I knew it, I came across Windy Point. With its breathtaking sunset views and therapeutic effect, I realized that I had found my safe haven.

Some of life’s greatest joys stem from a spontaneous decision. Don’t be afraid to jump out on a limb, do something crazy, something different. You’ll never know what lies ahead until you go find out.

Who knows, your Windy Point might lie just beyond the horizon.

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Awe-inspiring sunsets await visitors to Windy Point on Mount Lemmon. Sites all along the Catalina Highway provide relaxing get-aways for stressed-out Tucson city dwellers. (Eduardo Caldera/Aztec Press)

Sparks fly at contest

Sparks fly at contest

Local high school students put their welding and automotive skills to the test at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus Feb. 7-8 in two Skills USA competitions. The events took place at the welding lab and the automotive lab.

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High schooler Patsy Ortega competes under watchful eyes and a “Think Safety When Welding” sign.
(Aztec Press photos by Nellie Silva)

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The welding lab at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus sports a welded copper PCC logo

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A high school student wears a protective jacket while welding during the Skills USA competition

Photo Spotlight

Photo Spotlight

Photo by Patrick Mueller: “I took this photo last semester at Gates Pass with a large-format camera.”

Lightning

Lightning

Photo by ERNESTO ESQUER Using my Pentax K1000 film camera, I was able to capture this shot during an amazing midnight lightning show last summer. My cameras will be within arm's reach once again this monsoon season.

Circe's Tears

Circe’s Tears

Photo by KIKI NELSON I found Circe's tears tangled up in a web in a forgotten cemetery on the California coast.

Assail

Assail

Photo by LEE WHITNEY I photographed this reflection of the Unisourse Energy Building while talking with some of the Occupy Tucson residents. I never grow tired of capturing visions of Tucson, further strengthening my love for photography, both digital and film.

Cyanotype

Cyanotype

Photo by KARLA BURROLA. Alternative process in photography has opened infinite possibilities for my interest in darkroom manipulation and experimentation. This 19th-century cyanotype process has taught me to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness in every print, by learning to appreciate the process of creation.

Lil' cowboys

Lil’ cowboys

I took this photo at the 87th annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Rodeo. These two lil' cowboys were talking about the buckin' stock before they rode the sheep as "Mutton Busters." Photo by LEFTRICK HERD

Tucson Sunset

Tucson Sunset

photo By Megyn Fitzgerald

photo by Megyn Fitzgerald. As a pizza driver, I get the opportunity to view and photograph lots of sunsets. I took this photo on my iPhone.