By KATELYN ROBERTS
With the Aztecs’ last meet before nationals under their belts, every national qualifier earned is being counted.
On Feb. 17, Pima Community College’s track and field teams competed in the NAU Tune-Up Meet in Flagstaff.
Freshman Colin Dylla qualified nationally for the 800-meter race with a time of 1 minute and 58.17 seconds, taking fifth place Freshman Filimone Tu-avao qualified in the weight throw with a throw of 51 feet and 7 inches.
He earned ninth place. Freshman Jymil Toney improved his national qualifier in the high jump with a new mark of 6 feet, 8.75 inches.
Sophomore Sam Shoultz took second place in high jump, matching his season-best mark with a mark of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.
In the long jump, freshman Cam Duffy earned second place at 22 feet and 0.75 inches, and Treyshon Malone earned third with a jump at 22 feet and 10 inches.
Next up, PCC track and field will head to Pittsburg, Kansas, to compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Indoor National Championships.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the ease of access to virtually anything anywhere all of the time, technology still seems to stifle our growth as a coexisting community.
Filter bubbles are the reason you see posts from your closest friends, you laugh at most of the memes in your feed and you always see oddly accurate sponsored suggestions.
Social networks like Facebook collect information on the posts you like and share, your search history and the friends with whom you interact. The collected data plays a role in what you see on your newsfeed.
This results in an echo chamber called a filter bubble. Everyone’s bubble is different, but it isn’t directly created by you. It’s created by the website’s algorithm, which makes selective guesses about what you’d like to see next time you log into Facebook.
After a few clicks and an extensive search history, you become separated from opposing viewpoints.
Filter bubbles are the reason you don’t know too many folks outside your political spectrum.
They’re the reason a Trump win surprised many of us. They’re the reason the left sees the right as a bunch of racist hillbillies and the right views the left as a bunch of LGBT Satan-worshippers.
We just don’t understand each other. For something that was supposed to enhance communication, Facebook has done quite a good job of sheltering its users.
Brilliant coding goes into these algorithms and they’re quite handy, especially for businesses needing to know specific details about their clients. (Hey, I didn’t say it wasn’t also creepy.)
Krishna Kaliannan created EscapeYourBubble.com in response to being completely baffled by the presidential election results.
The site’s tagline is “be more accepting of others.” Its purpose is to send news articles your way that you’d normally not read or even see.
Harvard Business School student Henry Tsai created Hi From The Other Side, which connects users with people who would normally not be friends. Its tagline is “Meet someone who supported another candidate.”
It’s a little more complex, a little more specific and a lot more committal. Its sole purpose: understanding each other’s ideologies.
If you’re interested but not ready to meet a stranger from the other side of the ideology spectrum, you can just subscribe to Hi From The Other Side’s newsletters. That allows you to live vicariously through previous matches.
Pima Community College and University of Arizona student David Bresnick, a junior majoring in computer science, is familiar with filter bubbles.
“I knew the election would be everywhere all the time, so I turned it off before it was literally everywhere,” he said. “I put on ‘Trump’ and ‘Clinton’ filters for Google Chrome, so no ads or anything popped up too much.”
By KATELYN ROBERTS
While on Facebook the other day, I received a notification from my friend Mike. His profile picture appeared to the left of his witty comment and I clicked on the thumbnail to get a closer look.
That had been his picture for awhile now, and I could tell it was a childhood portrait. When I clicked to see the full-sized image, a brief thought of how cute he was crossed my mind, but I was quickly overtaken by a deep sadness.
I looked into the child in the photograph’s eyes and compared them to Mike’s eyes now. I started crying.
Mike is not the type of person to make me cry.
I’ve felt this way looking at my own childhood photo albums but I wondered why a friend’s baby picture, especially one as insignificant as an old coworker’s, could also make me sad.
I dug deeper. Why does childhood nostalgia make us sad?
When you’re a kid, you’re not intentionally painting memories to make yourself sad later in life, and that’s the joy of being a child: being able to take every sweet, careless moment for granted.
Well, those fond memories get bundled up and shoved into a treasure chest in your mind.
They later come out to strike you with a bittersweet, wistful sadness.
I asked some Tucson friends what sort of scents, objects, sounds or memories brought them back. Some of their replies included:
- Joop Cologne
- Maltese puppies
- The hour before the sun sets in October
- The smell of citrus blossoms
- Cedar wood
- A-Ha’s “Take on Me”
- The sound of snow crunching
- Root beer floats
- Reading books during the early hours before the sun rises
- Strawberry Shortcake dolls
- Scented pencils
- Grandma’s makeup
- The elementary school library
- Darkroom fixer
- Dove soap
- Freshly-mowed grass
- Little League
- Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon
- Smoking pipes
- Antibacterial soap
- John Denver’s “Rhymes and Reasons”
- Orange and purple Halloween lights
- A skateboard’s wheels rolling over cracks in the sidewalk
- The New York City subway
Anything can take you back, particularly picturesque objects like fireflies or a sunset.
For me, it’s my mom’s sundresses and the smell of fresh dill.
The duo reminds me of my mom hanging out in the backyard with us, gardening, or calling us inside to try on the matching dresses she sewed us.
I find myself yearning for a past that feels comfortable and normal.
For many of us, being a kid was lonely, even frightening. Why would those with tough childhoods want to go back?
You’ve heard it before: “Things were better back then.”
I always figured people referenced the past as “the good old days” because it had less technology and simpler pleasures. Or, they were blurring out the hardship and remembering the good stuff, as we all do.
In my research, I found many online forums about the topic. A number of people admitted to even having addictions to nostalgia.
Nostalgia is, after all, a concentration of all the good memories we’ve collected. That sounds like a drug to me.
But that is between you and your therapist.
Apparently, if these folks, myself included, were around during the 17th through 19th centuries and fell into a stupor of memories, we’d be diagnosed with a psychopathological disorder.
The Swiss physician Johannes Hofer created the word “nostalgia” in 1688 by combining the Greek word “nostos,” meaning “homecoming,” with “algo,” meaning pain.
It seemed to be most common in soldiers missing their home and children missing their mothers.
In “The Future of Nostalgia” by Svetlana Boym, the first people stricken with the disease were those displaced during the 17th century like “freedom-loving students from the Republic of Berne studying in Basel, domestic help working in France and Germany and Swiss soldiers fighting abroad.”
Boym described nostalgia as a disease of an afflicted imagination.
The melodrama of deeming nostalgia an illness sounds crazy itself, and should be filed away with other ridiculous ailments of the past like “women’s hysteria.”
According to “Dying of the Past,” Michael S. Roth’s study on nostalgia in the 19th century, nostalgia as an illness was considered so serious that some soldiers even faked it.
But there is a helpful lesson in this research.
For me, nostalgia is my biggest kryptonite. As soon as I sense the feeling coming, it cripples me into a somber daydream.
While my sister will patiently listen to me dwell on the past and even interject with her own memories, we eventually cry it out, snap out of it and continue to live our lives.
Just as baby Mike grew up and was replaced by 40-something Croc-wearing Mike, many moments we hold onto from the past will change, age or decay.
And that’s life.
It’s OK to be afraid to face something from the past. It’s OK to miss something from the past.
Luckily, this is the 21st century and we won’t be electrocuted, tortured, shamed or covered in leeches for it.
But too much of it won’t get you anywhere. Living in the past is easy. Facing the unknown is not.
Childhood nostalgia is my fear of the unknown, my apprehension to take steps into my unwritten future, my search for comfort.
After all, we find comfort in the familiar.
By KATELYN ROBERTS
We’ve all seen “Feel the Bern” merchandise, “I’m with Her” T-shirts and “Make America Great Again” baseball caps decked out on babies, students, Uber drivers and your racist grandpa.
Social media has also enjoyed the strongest influence ever in a presidential election. The candidates know this, and use it to their advantage.
For instance, Donald Trump utilized his social media accounts instead of paying $2 billion in advertising, according to a study by mediaQuant.
Researchers and strategists agree the quickest way to make news is by posting it directly to voters.
University of Arizona freshman Britanee Hudson, 23, and many others use Facebook as their vehicle for election information.
“I don’t watch the news,” Hudson said. “I, like most millennials, don’t have cable and have no interest in biased, fear-mongering media that I seem to find whenever the news does happen to be on.”
Hudson admits she’s not as knowledgeable as she’d like to be on Tucson politics but said, “I will be by election day.”
She began following politics after hearing a speech by a Democratic candidate for Arizona attorney general.
“I first became abnormally interested in local politics for my age in 2014 because I got the opportunity to hear Felecia Rotellini speak in Mesa,” she said.
Hudson was impassioned by Rotellin’s stance on immigration reform, so “started looking in depth with other local representatives as well.” She uses sites like Ballotpedia.org to research bills.
Oftentimes, however, voters don’t have enough information to make informed decisions about local politics.
This is where apps like Countable come in.
Countable keeps users up to date on local politics, whether you’re a student trying to ace a class or a citizen who wants to learn more about local issues.
Wired magazine calls it an “an easier way to pester your local congressmen.”
Countable is available for Android and iOS. Sign up for free, enter your zip code and select your interests. You’ll see your local politicians immediately, and can contact them. Each member has a profile on the app.
Users can get updates on which bills your local representatives voted on and how they voted. They can also watch voting in real time.
The user-friendly, photo-heavy layout is easy on the eyes too.
Countable offers a blog for daily news, and frequently rotates house and senate bill bios. Videos explain basics like why political ads have to end in an “I approve this message.”
The app only asks the user questions. It’s never biased, which makes it accessible for everyone.
I’ve personally found it useful for classes and for remaining politically aware.
Hudson put it well: “While this presidential election is of greater importance to me than elections in which I’ve voted in the past, it isn’t the president who going to raise the minimum wage or legalize marijuana in Arizona.”
By KATELYN ROBERTS
Tucson’s inexhaustible sunlight is producing power at three Pima Community College campuses.
Solar panel installation finished in January at the Community, Downtown and West campuses, along with the Maintenance and Security facility.
Power is produced through rented panels installed by SolarCity. The college then purchases the energy from SolarCity.
PCC signed a 25-year-contract with SolarCity and Solon last year. SolarCity finances Solon, another local solar power provider.
The dual-purpose panels utilize the climate’s renewable sunlight while creating shaded parking spots for vehicles.
Trees removed during the first phase of Pima’s switch to solar will be replaced by June 30, 2017 with help from Solon and Solar City.
The companies are working with the college to identify the best locations for the new trees.
Finances motivated Pima’s entry into solar power, according to Bill Ward, vice chancellor of facilities and college police.
The college is not reaping tax incentive benefits because it rents the equipment, but expects to generate savings over time.
“Over time” is the operative phrase.
Solar power incentives focus on money saved rather than significantly lower energy bills. Electricity prices rose 2.5 percent each year from 2000 to 2006, and are following a steady upward trend.
Because rates continue to rise, Ward said monthly savings will increase. The college has estimated savings between $6-8 million over the contract’s lifetime.
“At the time of installation, the cost of power is expected to be just slightly below grid-tied power,” he said via email. “Estimating cost without solar and comparing it to actual cost with solar is very difficult.”
Savings will be applied to “overall budget cost reduction,” he added. “The college can plan for the best way to utilize the reduced energy costs.”
Ward explained there are four different rates depending on time of year and amount of power consumed, along with charges and taxes, both flat and percentages.
“You can see why our utility database needs to be updated to really compare the solar savings,” he said.
Ward said Pima’s cost comparison will be released in the next few months.
Despite the lack of solid figures, Ward said the college is pleased with its solar experiment. “Solon and SolarCity are performing to our expectations, which are very high,” he said.
Saving money isn’t the only reason Pima made the decision to go solar.
“Energy efficiency is always a consideration when the college is reviewing, purchasing or maintaining equipment and systems,” Ward said.
Pima is switching to LED lighting and working with Tucson Electric Power on energy-saving incentives. Even urinals are undergoing water use evaluation.
Electrical use had decreased 12 percent, natural gas use is down 24 percent and water use is 14 percent lower this year compared to the previous two years, Ward said.
The college created a new energy resource manager position last year, and hired David Davis in March 2015 at an annual salary of $72,617.
He’s is a certified energy manager who focused on instrumentation and monitoring in his previous position at SunEdison, a solar company similar to SolarCity.
“Davis has a wealth of knowledge and has worked both in the solar services industry and for an electric utility company, and is very familiar with this technology,” Ward said.
Davis would like to see more solar units installed. “I’m definitely a supporter of solar technology,” he said.
By KATELYN ROBERTS
Sending an email to another country, associating with someone on the TSA No-Fly List or simply contacting someone by mistake can trigger an algorithm of commands that scan your browsing history, location data, text messages, contacts and online purchases.
Mining dating, whether by a business or the government, isn’t unusual. However, most Americans were unaware of widespread surveillance until former NSA subcontractor Edward Snowden released classified information on global surveillance programs.
The revelations have lead to increased use of encryption-enabled chat apps. Encryption is the ability to secure data by encoding text, data or photos. It takes a password to view encrypted messages.
What was once a tool for government officials, spies and criminals is now accessible to everyone.
WhatsApp made encrypted messaging available to more than a billion users in 2013. “Secret Conversations” further normalizes encrypted chat thanks to WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook. Google’s messaging service Allo and calling service Duo began offering encryption capabilities in May.
I’ve grown increasingly passionate on this topic after watching “Citizenfour,” a documentary about Snowden. Others aren’t as paranoid as me.
Pima Community College freshman Eldon Fielding doesn’t use a password on his phone, saying he has nothing to hide. Nevertheless, he values his privacy.
Daniel McClelland, a student at both Pima and the University of Arizona, is on the fence about data mining.
“If my browsing preferences, general information and nothing incredibly personal are being used, I don’t mind,” McClelland said. “But if it’s something I’ve come up with or made, that’s a breach of my intellectual property.”
McClelland isn’t worried about his own information.
“If I do have something to hide, I have a VPN for that,” he said.
By KATELYN ROBERTS
When I walked into Celestial Rites and took a seat on a couch in the shop’s cozy backroom, one of the owners told me not to be nervous.
He could tell I was nervous? Of course he could. Michael Kraych reads energy for a living.
With his partner Jennifer Kraych, Michael has owned Celestial Rites for five years. The shop started on Seventh Street and Hoff Avenue, but the Kraychs outgrew that space and moved to a storefront on Fourth Avenue.
“It was great for starting out, but it was only 600 square feet,” Michael said of their first shop.
Michael has been a palm reader for three years. He sought a form of divination and began palmistry after having his palm read.
Jennifer, on the other hand, has performed tarot readings for 19 years. Her sister gave her a tarot deck when she was 17.
She also became a Wiccan at age 17, but the shop focuses on more than the Wiccan faith. Books on Satanism, Nortic magick, Celtic magick, black magick, Voodoo and herbal remedies line the shelves.
Delicate stones and crystals hang on the branches of a tree display. A collection of small cauldrons and figures are thoughtfully placed throughout the store, along with an assorted supply of incense, oils, powders, tinctures and card decks.
Two crystal balls are set up underneath the glass counter top.
“I tried to use a crystal ball once,” Michael said. “It just gave me a headache.”
The shop owners also make and sell dream pillows, puppets, herbal blends and magickal herbal candles.
Celestial Rites is for “everyone with an open mind,” the owners insist. They cater to most religions but agree there isn’t much Christian influence.
When it comes to acceptance in the community, the couple hasn’t received negativity beyond a Bible verse written in chalk on their front door.
The verse was Leviticus 19:26: “You shall not eat any meat with the blood still in it; neither shall you use enchantments, nor practice sorcery.”
“There are extremists everywhere,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer comes from a background helping mentally disabled hospital patients at University Medical Center, and has a passion for helping people.
The Kraychs agree more Tucsonians are open to the idea of the metaphysical. In fact, Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States.
“It seems like a lot of people are drawn to the goddesses we have on display, like a relation to Mother Earth and environmentalism,” Michael said.
The rising normality of feminism also has a lot to do with the increasing love for goddesses, Jennifer added. But even more so, she said a rise in spirituality has drawn more people into Pagan culture.
The shop will host a henna artist for the street festival and a psychic who can communicate with animals and the dead later this fall.
With Halloween nearing, the Kraychs expect the usual customers looking for capes and kitschy costumes.
“It’s all Hollywood,” Michael said, referring to customers who expect to cast a spell or dress the part.
Rather than “Happy Halloween,” the Kraychs might offer a “Blessed Samhein” greeting.
Samhein, pronounced saw-wen, is the witch’s new year in the Wiccan faith.
“It’s the thinning of the veil, or when the veil between the living and the dead is thinnest,” Michael said.
The Kraychs will celebrate together and have a private ceremony after Halloween.
Jennifer plans on dressing as Hecate, the queen or goddess of the witches.
“I’m not green,” she said. “I don’t have warts on my nose.”
543 N. Fourth Ave.
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday: Noon-7 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-5 p.m.
By KATELYN ROBERTS
Turn on your device. Connect to Wi-Fi. Plug into power. Agree to terms and conditions. Wait.
It’s simplicity and ease in five steps. All you have to remember is your password.
Whether it’s a quick software update or an app that helps you fight evil unicorns from entering your nightmares, almost all of our interactions with electronics exist behind a screen.
We tap on it, use multi-touch gestures, move a cursor, click, scroll, drag a stylus and swipe right (but usually left).
And that gets the job done. It gets some of the most important code in the world done. It does the math. It makes the app. It designs the logo. It clicks the link. It shows you how many likes you have.
But what about physical and discernible technology? What about tangible technology? Something you can create on your computer and see the results of not behind a screen, but in the palm of your hand.
For Ivan Davis, that something is 3D printing, and it’s alive and thriving.
David has 25 years of software development under his belt and operated a lot of specialty machinery throughout his career. After carpal tunnel surgery, however, he didn’t want to go back to typing for a living. So, he thought about opening a 3D print shop.
3D printing technology has been around since the ‘80s, but it’s only become accessible within the last five to 10 years. Maybe your high school shop had one. Now your techy neighbors and co-workers do.
The most common type of printing is called fused deposition modeling. FDM 3D printers are like laser-jet printers for photos and documents, except a third dimension is added by stacking layers as well.
Filament is melted by a hot tip. The user’s computer-drafted model is created layer by layer.
“I tried to do a lot of research,” he said. “Tucson has 100 embroidery shops, but not much 3D printing, and I can’t really sit around a desk writing code for 80 hours a week anymore.”
“I managed to use the rest of my savings from my corporate days,” he said.
Soon after, New Pueblo Tech was born.
David plans to keep the store focused on 3D printing services, sales, support and creative DIY technology. New Pueblo Tech will sell various gadgets, including wearable technology.
Cyclist jackets that light up when you signal, 3D-printed gun parts, fishing lures and smart watches are all for sale in the shop’s Adventure Tech section.
“I’d like people to be able to work on their own stuff too,” Davis said, referring to his three 3D printers, dye-cutter, stifling machine, hologram lab, and laser engraver and laminator lined up on tables in his studio.
David just sold his first printer to the University of Arizona’s 3D print lab.
“I wish I could keep 15 printers in my inventory, but I’m not Walmart.”
David is also making DIY kits for customers to make the tech life a little more accessible.
“I want to use everything I have to make stuff for people,” he said.
In Suite 153 of the former Firestone building located in the Warehouse Arts District at 439 N. Sixth Ave., the shop is preparing to open its doors. The first week of October will mark the opening of Tucson’s first 3D print shop.
Davis rented out a unit inside of the building, which hosts galleries, studios, shops and even a gym and is already planning collaborations with his neighboring renters for Tucson’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
“I’m really glad I found this space,” Davis said.
For more information, visit NewPuebloTech.com, or contact Davis at Ivan@NewPuebloTech.com.