Millennium + 12

Confessions of a graduate student, writer, and soon to be lawyer, PR tycoon or professional journalist.

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V i s i t o r s ♡

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end."

Back then; New Poem

Back then
By: Alaina K.

I still remember the way the lemonade tastes
The way we danced in the rain
And the cops never gave chase
It was easier back then
Easier than it will ever be
Again.

And I still remember the look on your face
As we planned for forever,
How little we knew back then
The way we were naive and how we’ll never be
Again.

And I still remember the way we skinned our knees
Those minor scars
Compared to those broken hearts
The way a band aid fixed it all
The way we would rise and fall
Because we believed.
The way it will never be
Again.

And if you need a way to escape
Looking back is always the way
Music in our CD players would take us away
Into a light, a familiar, a faraway place
The way only lemonade used to taste
That look on your face
The way time never remains
Again.

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The past is more important than you think

The past is more important than you think:
My philosophy on being “stupid” your freshman year, and why we were ACTUALLY really smart.

By: Alaina Kirkpatrick

^^*Residence halls and my old dorm, PV East.

^*We are no longer freshman, but we aren’t that old yet either.

^Remember that :)

This is life in your 20’s.

At 23, I will never be a drunken sorority girl again, but I won’t be at home knitting and watching TV every night either.This is the best time of our lives, and the best age in my opinion. We live it up, but we are smarter now.

When I was a freshman starting school at ASU, I thought I knew everything.

I remember a friend of mine who was older telling me that she could always pick out the freshman because they all wore their lanyards around their necks and always walked to the bathroom or class with a big group. I thought I was so ahead of the game. I never wore a lanyard and didn’t really mind walking around sometimes without a posse. I even avoided the age-old trick of people who get so self conscious about walking alone that they have to pretend to be talking on the phone. And super loudly, so everyone knows they have friends or something.

I avoided the glaring, in your face signs that I was a freshman, or so I thought. But my age showed in other ways.

Like how I was just so impressed by everything. The older kids were more jaded. They saw the same campus everyday for the past three years, so they kept their heads down like native New Yorkers. Looking back, it all seems so long ago. I’m not only past my third year in college, but a grad student now.

I could ask, “where did the time go?” But I’m not like that. I don’t need to think like that because I focus on living life to the fullest.

But every now and again, I like to look back. We’re at the perfect age where we can laugh at ourselves a little for being freaking idiots. But we still have our whole future ahead of us.

Time is just a collection of years whizzing by us as we try to hold onto the good moments and savor them.

For most people, freshman year was all about doing what you THINK you were supposed to do.

Like feeling inclined to screw up and to get drunk every weekend, even if our better judgement knows otherwise. But that’s where human nature comes in. We as people are stubborn in that way. We don’t want to just take advice from other people. We want to have our OWN experiences and decide for ourselves. And that’s when I came to a revelation.

With everything there is a silver lining. And what I’ve realized is that our stupidity as freshman is all part of this brilliant bigger picture. That long before we went to school we predetermined that we were going to act that way. That deep down, we all WANTED that real “freshman” experience. That even though we had friends telling us not to wear lanyards as freshman, some of us did it anyway.

Because, maybe, all of our own insecurity and insanity is just in our heads. I don’t think we care what people think as much as we say we do. I think a lot of times it’s simply a battle inside our own heads. But in the end, we would rather stay true to ourselves.

So we put on the lanyards, and take shots on a Monday in our dorm rooms because WE CHOSE TO! We wanted to! And that’s why life is so great. We have all of these choices, and better yet, we made them. And we stand by them.

And as freshman, maybe we had a glimpse into the future. We went out on a Monday because we knew someday that we’d look back and not beat ourselves up over it.

And that’s the point where I’m at now.

I’m not so far away from that year when I was a clueless freshman, but I’m no closer to turning 40 and being a mom with kids either. And I’m OKAY with that. I have now accepted (and love) the fact that I make the choices in my own life. I am the dictator of my future. Sure, you can’t predict everything. You can’t control how other people are going to act. You can’t control how the world is going to work around you.

But you CAN accept and love yourself just the way you are.

Love who you are now, but LOVE WHO YOU WERE TOO! Because it’s more a part of you than you think.

I’m 23. But I’m also 22, 21, and 20. When we age, those other years don’t go away. Or else we would subtract a year every time we got older. Things don’t go in reverse. We aren’t taking away all of the good or bad moments in time that are our pasts. We’re ADDING to them.

It’s important not to dwell on the past. Over thinking is never a good thing. But what we should do is look back on things once and awhile. Recall a fun memory and think about how it’s affected your life. Because if you take a moment you’ll realize that that one random Monday night in September of your freshman year has EVERYTHING to do with today.

We are learned human beings. We learn our behaviors, our thought patterns, we learn how to live life the way we want to because we pick up on things. Like the mother who says fuck all of the time and now has a two-year-old who can’t stop saying it. We remember things that make us feel good and we try to relive them again. We are pain-avoidant by nature. Staying true to the theory that the past affects the present SO much more than we could ever begin to know.

So, here’s my advice to you. Don’t look back at freshman year and say “I was so dumb, forget it.”

Because you weren’t dumb. You were, in fact, very smart. You picked up on learned behaviors and made it a central part of your life.

Because what you don’t realize is that somewhere in the back of your mind, you have a vivid picture of what you want for your life. It’s what drives us every day. It’s behind every decision that we make. It causes you to drive to work every day. Helps you pick out what groceries you want. What friends you make. What guy or girl you like.

It is the power of the past. And it will be with us wherever we go. And if we acknowledge it, it can be a part of the great present and future that is our lives.

On your next birthday, one year older and one year wiser-definitely.

My Philosophy on the Gym, Cell Phones, and “Looking Cool” in 2014.

My Philosophy on the Gym, Cell Phones, and “Looking Cool” in 2014.

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So here’s my thing: people are too worried about being cool to even care about being friendly anymore.

Take the gym for example. If someone even, God forbid, looks over at you, or smiles at you, it’s awkward. Because since the other person feels like they’re almost doing something they’re not supposed to and breaking this “aloof” barrier, you feel like the whole thing is ridiculous, and therefore it gets awkward, and THEREFORE the whole thing gets blown way out of proportion.

Remember in the olden days, like in the 90s, when people didn’t have their cell phones as a barrier? Like you HAD to talk to someone, or else like pretend to file your nails and look down? You didn’t even have the OPTION of looking down at your phone.

Now it’s like people are lost in this other world that isn’t even necessarily better, instead of being present, right here right now, in the REAL world. They can say a quick hi on their cell phones, or a quick yes on tinder, but if they saw you in real life they’d just be looking down at their phones, swiping yes to you on tinder or saying a quick hi on their cell phones. Aka, they’re missing out on the real you. And what’s more, on the real THEM too.

I’ve come to the conclusion where I’m like, who cares what people think? Who honestly cares? I’d rather risk looking like a dork and smile and wave hello to someone, rather than pretend to be on my phone when I don’t even want to be.

There’s a difference between doing things you REALLY want to do, and doing things because they’re cool. And I think way too many people these days are just focused on looking cool. But I’m over here waving like, come on guys! It’s fine to TALK and look up, and wave at people. Since when did keeping to yourself become cool? Someone needs to explain this new societal concept to me, because, I don’t get it. And honestly? I’m not sure if I even want to.

Let’s be clear: I love my iPhone. I love talking on it when it’s easy and convenient and I’m bored and it’s necessary. But I will never be one of those people with my nose buried in my phone SO MUCH that I trip over my own feet on the treadmill. Or almost get hit by a car because I’m not watching the crosswalk. There are two different worlds out there. And I think it’s super important to be a part of each.

And like the Kaskade song says, “don’t be fooled by your emptiness, because there is so much more room for happiness.”

Next time you see someone, whether it’s someone you know, or a stranger walking down the street, look up from your textathon and wave and smile at them! It’ll make their day. I promise.

:-)

~Alaina

When people ask me why I get fit…

^what I live by.

^where it all began, as a swimmer at CF.

^some of the coolest friends I met while a swimmer at ASU, sasha and ashton

^my team at Arizona State taught me a lot.

^but I learned the most at this place-the Rec at the University of Arizona.

When people ask me why I get fit, I tell them this: it saved my life. It has been my saving grace through hard times, kept me out of trouble, and most importantly, helped me to find it within myself to push myself physically past anything that I ever even knew was possible. People ask me: how do you buy into fitness? And I say that there is nothing to buy into. It just is. And that is the absolute truth. There is no fad or ploy behind getting a good work out in. There is nothing you must give in exchange for pushing yourself. All it does is truly, honestly, makes you feel better about yourself.

When I first started working out this year and was not as comfortable in the gym or the weight room, I would look around and see what everyone else was doing. I would try to see myself through their eyes, making sure that I wasn’t making any critical errors that would get me noticed. The only thing that I did right in that situation was to watch my form. While keeping everyone else in mind in order to be considerate in a gym is important, let me tell you this: DO YOUR OWN THING! Working out is a time not to be concerned with what everyone thinks. And you know what? Nobody even cares! If they are doing it right, they will be too busy focusing on themselves to see if you could only manage to do a half of a pullup rather than a full one. You rob yourself of precious time when you are too heavily focused on everyone else. I’m not saying you need to plug in your headphones at full blast and be dead to the world. A great fitness trainer once said it perfectly: “find a perfect mix of seriousness and smile while working out.”

I learn so much about myself while I’m at the gym, sometimes even more so than in the classroom. I found out what works for me, what I’m capable of, and how hard I’m willing to work at something that some people give up on. As a former division 1 athlete, of course I know what it’s like to work hard in the pool, in dry land, in the weight room, and on the track. But during the time that I was a swimmer, I wasn’t always doing those things for myself. I was doing them because I was part of a team, and also because there was a lot of pressure to be great and to become a college athlete. While I was good enough to get recruited by some good schools, somewhere along the way I would temporarily lose that element of doing things because it was what I really WANTED to do. In college, every morning we’d be up at 5:30 AM, head right to the weight room for an hour, swim for two hours, go to class, head back to the track or dry land, do circuit training for an hour and a half or run up to 7 miles, get back in the pool for 2 or 2 and a half hours (no end time for afternoon practice) then wake up and do it all over again the next day. While I can say I’ve never swam with rocks in my hands before I went to college, there was ZERO down time to reflect on what we were doing and why we were there. It was an intense amount of physical stamina to keep up with their training, and there wasn’t much time for anything else.

Somewhere along the line, being JUST GOOD ENOUGH starts to be good enough. But most people don’t want to just be good enough. They want to be great. And when you want to go from just good enough to great, something has to give. Whether that’s training harder, keeping more focused, or just to set your sights on other things. Some people would say to me “wow, that’s great that you were even good enough to make a team like ASU as an athlete” and I would say yes, but the key word is GOOD ENOUGH. It boils down to this: how do you envision your life, and what do you strive for? It is a big deal to be a college athlete. It’s difficult, it’s exciting, and it’s something that I won’t forget during my time. But the thing that I took away from it wasn’t something that developed while I was there. You would think that I learned my biggest lesson about fitness while doing my most physically challenging regime as a college swimmer. But I didn’t. I learned it afterwards, in the gym, at the UOFA rec center, just like everyone else.

I learned that it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re just starting, if you’ve been doing it forever. It doesn’t matter what your goals are. What matters is that you have them. You are NEVER going to be happy until you start doing what YOU want for YOURSELF. 

So don’t look at your life and ask yourself what you’re supposed to do, or what you think people want you to do. Who cares?! This is about you! I will always have great memories of being a part of a team, and being a team player is of course a key element in many parts of your life. But when you’re at the gym, or when you set goals, do it for yourself! So many people get so caught up in the small things that they don’t see the big picture. Like Brad Pitt says in Fight Club, “this is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” So whether it’s fitness, or getting a new job, or changing your lifestyle, or doing something unconventional that you’ve always wanted to do, just go do it! What’s the worst that can happen? You fail? So what! Even if you can only do half of a pull up, that’s a start. And remember, nobody’s looking anyway.

:)-Alaina

My take on Eminem

So, here’s the thing about Eminem. Okay so I get that it’s no longer 2001. It’s 2013 and house music is in and angry rap is out, etc. See I’m all for house… Hey, I was practically front row at Tiesto… don’t really remember being front row, but I guess I was. I can get my EDC on at 11 in the morning, don’t get me wrong. Maximal crazy, all day, every day. Or not really. Whatever. I paid my dues. I paid homage to the stoner music fad in ‘11 with Rebelution, Slightly, (check out my abbreviations, I got cha) Bob Marley, etc. But when I was doing all that, and the only mary j i had any real interest in was for that soul singer who had that one decent song in like ‘97 or 2001 or whatever, i didn’t think it was quite the right fit. Like I was at Rebelution wearing like a short ass dress feeling all stressed out for a test I had and everyone else was like high and having way more fun. So I was like c ya, I’ll just go home and be stressed and not chill and so on.

But anyways, ever so often when I’m shuffling through my iPod/iphone/itunes/whatever i come across an Eminem song. And I’m like, hey I really like Eminem. So I’m at the gym blasting like Lose Yourself or Cleanin out my Closet on the stair master, and I’m checking over my shoulder to see if anyone else can hear what I’m listening to or laughing or what not. But no one seems to be paying much attention, so I decide I’m safe. But ever so often when I think someone’s looking, I quickly change to like Kaskade or Afrojack or something normal. But then a part of me is kind of annoyed that i even have to do that. If i’m on the stair master listening to Eminem what’s it to you, you know? I’m not wearing like baggy Carolina basketball shorts and a backwards hat with Air Force Ones, i’m seemingly normal looking and don’t appear to be angry/wigged out, so too bad. I like Eminem. sorry.

So, The Slim Shady LP of 1988 was a little too angry for me (Bitch Skit, etc, plus i was only like 7 years old so, whatevs, give me a break). When Slim Shady—-> Marshall Mathers it was a different game. Like Slim Shady is too sketch for me, but Marshall Mathers could or could not be waiting for me in a dark ally… but not guaranteed. So Em revealed his real name, and I was shocked to be honest. In a good way.

Anyways, his 2000ish album Marshall Mathers LP gifted us with The Real Slim Shady, aka Chris Kirkpatrick you can get your ass kicked. Luckily we aren’t related, although I told some people in elementary he was my uncle. As well as Stan, which supposedly he stole from Dido but her original song sucked anyway so whatever. Anyways, by 2000 Eminem (Marshall Mathers omg, real name) was in my CD player. I’d alternate between like my scratched B*Witched CD, some Daft Punk, Eiffel 65 (i had to do spell check for this one, i guess eifeil 65 is spelled incorrectly), Britney Spears, you know the underground hipster musical choices. But as much as I loved Britney, somehow Eminem would always end up back in my CD player at the end of the day.

So it was like ‘02, I was potentially angry but not, and then Em came out with The Eminem Show. Sorry but Hailie’s Song and Sing for the Moment had me hooked. This hardass who supposedly hates the world goes and dedicates a song to his adorable daughter… so cool. I mean, we all know how you feel about Kim. I actually don’t even know her/don’t think she really did anything, but I think she’s a bitch too. And Sing for the Moment? Aerosmith’s original was brilliant. But if Em can remix it without totally fucking it up/making it sound more badass…so game.

Okay so fast forward to 2002-2006ish (all of those years kind of blur together, sorry). You get Encore, which was basically some of his best material (Mockingbird) combined with the beginning stages of his identity crisis (Ass Like That/Just Lose It/ potentially Yellow Brick Road). Okay so Mockingbird was the highlight of that CD. B-/C+ on that. Oh and not sure exactly when D12 came to be, but that was a little embarrassing Em.

Next CD, Curtain Call aka back with all of his old classics. I mean to be honest, if Japan would have so kindly informed me how to burn a CD back during this time I could have easily made Curtain Call like way before it came out. But whatever.

Then finally, we come to Relapse/Recovery. Not sure if I liked Recovery better just because I am a positive person, or because Recovery had No Love and Space Bound (love is evol spelled backwards let me show ya) and the always motivational I’m Not Afraid. I realize it was about him beating his drug addiction, but I kind of use it for other purposes like if I have to go to the grocery store but don’t really feel like it. I know. It is what is is.

But either way, after this many albums most singers would be over by now (Taylor Swift, hate to say it). But I think that Eminem’s latest album was one of his best. He’s honest and matter of fact, and to be perfectly honest…pretty relateable. As much as I love house music, I can’t listen to a song by like Skrillex and think to myself “Man, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites really does describe exactly how I’m feeling today.” Although idk. You never know.

But, no I don’t want to listen to Eminem all day every day. But if I feel like it ever so often, I have nothing but respect.

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<3

The music resides and it thrives in a place that takes my heart and soul.
And the way it plays for me… the world will never know.

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Nick Piecoro got his shot at sports journalism after answering phones for the Arizona Republic his freshman year of college. Now as the Republic’s current sports beat writer, Piecoro shares his love for baseball, Buster Olney, and his success story of one journalist’s journey from the bottom to the top.

 

Q: You are considered one of the most prominent sports writers to ever work for the Arizona Republic. How did you get your start in sports writing?

NP: Am I? Haha, thanks. I guess I got started just by working hard and getting lucky. I worked on my high school and college papers, worked for a local weekly paper out by where I grew up in the West Valley and thanks to a friend at school started answering the phones in the Republic sports department when I was a freshman at ASU. I slowly earned their trust and wound up working two internships at the paper before I graduated from college. I went away for a year to work at a small paper before returning to cover preps. About a year later I was covering baseball. 

 

Q: You are the beat reporter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Does baseball have a personal significance to you?

NP: Yeah. I’ve always been a baseball dork. I probably wouldn’t be a sports writer if I wasn’t writing about it. 

 

Q: You post a lot of your news updates on twitter. How has social media changed the course of your reporting?

NP: It is definitely provided an easy way to interact with readers and created more of a 24-hour aspect to my job. I try to post news there and links to my stories. I mean, the job is still the same as before in a lot of ways but there’s just far more avenues for news to get out these days. 


Q:  How are the Diamondbacks looking this year?
NP: Pretty good, actually. They’re near the top of the division despite some injuries. Things are going really well for them. 

 

Q: In comparison to sports like basketball and football, do you think that baseball gets the same amount of media coverage?

NP: I don’t know, actually. Not in phoenix, I guess, where I think football is definitely king. I mean, I guess football gets most of the attention everywhere in this country. But in places like New York and Chicago and San Francisco I think baseball narrows the gap a little bit. 


Q: What is something surprising that people do not know about you?

NP: Oh gosh, I don’t know. I don’t feel like I have any crazy secrets. 

Q: Are there any sports journalists that have inspired you? How has this affected the way you cover sports?


NP: Oh for sure. When I was in school, I used to love to read Buster Olney, who was then covering the Yankees for the New York Times, and also Gordon Edes, then the Boston Globe’s Red Sox writer. They were terrific (and still are) and definitely influenced the way I cover the game. 

Q: Some critics believe that sports coverage is not news. How would you respond to that?

NP: Meh. We take ourselves pretty seriously and are ultra competitive about breaking news. It might not be life and death stuff, but I can assure you I work just as hard, maybe harder, than a lot of people in news departments.

Reminiscent Beach

 

Reminiscent Beach

By: Alaina Kirkpatrick ©’13

 

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Surrounded by purple skies
As I live in this moment tonight
The glow of the ocean reflects your eyes
The dark clouds divide and I can finally see the light.

His smile is nothing but a memory
My feeling of longing is dead and gone
As I let the twilight darken around me
The past no longer feels like home.

As the sun sets I looked behind me
I saw nothing but a stretch of shore
Footprints were visible but just as quickly
The ocean washed away the people I didn’t care about anymore.

It’s called Reminiscent Beach
Purple skies calm the waves, they’re never alone
It’s a place to reflect, a place that forbids you to forget
It’s where you remain when you can’t let go.

The beach is the epitome of beauty
But it’s an illusion that’s tricking you to stay
Because underneath the exterior there are cracks
Past memories hold you underwater as you try to swim away.

Darkness has replaced the waves crashing in your eyes
Instead they are filled with moments from your past
I try to take your hand and guide you ahead
I look to you but you’re still looking back

Your footprints don’t disappear in the darkness
They stay vividly lit as we continue through the sand
Ocean waves aren’t enough to make you forget
And I’m struggling with something that I can’t understand.

I decided to give it one more try
And looked behind me to try and see what you see
The waves swiftly commanded me to move forward
And you stayed behind to live in your memories.

The beach knows that I don’t belong here
It knows that my past is no longer a part of me
Rain starts to pour, and I knew for sure
That I had to say good-bye to Reminiscent Beach.

I’m walking a little faster now
I reach for your hand and realize you’re far behind
I’m miles ahead as I start to run
Leaving the past further buried in my mind

I start to slow down, I’m waiting on you
I can see you standing in the distance
But your eyes aren’t dry as you stare at the sky
Still thinking about what you’re missing

I run towards the past in the opposite direction
The stars sparkle as they show you what you could have had
I call your name but you’re walking away
I try to catch your eye but you’re still looking back.

I write your name in the sand
But the waves are swift and they wash you away
I have to keep running towards my future
Hoping your past memories will start to fade

I know you’re not ready to leave this place
The sun shines all the time, time keeps you close
If only to remind you that the darkness will eventually find you
Theres still something you can’t let go

Reminiscent Beach consumes your days
Sitting in the shade and surfing the waves
Past memories still swimming beside you
Winter comes but yet you still remain.

One day your shadow asks the burning question
His image overwhelms you as the sun shines
How long are you planning to stay here,
You know that you can leave at any time.

You looked down at your shadow
And you said with utmost certainty
I’ll leave this place when I can can’t see her anymore
I’ll return to the world when my past is ready to leave me.

Your reflection looks back at you
You can sense the confusion in the waves
“But your past is already gone,” he said
I’m afraid you’re a little too late.

The more time you spend at Reminiscent Beach
The less you are able to see
That your chains want to break to stop the heartache
So that you can finally be free

Time goes by and I venture back to the beach
I come across your footprints still vividly lit
And as much as I don’t want to see the truth
I know that you still don’t want to forget.

I continue down the path towards the ocean
Surrounded by a purple sky and I know that I’m free
Running towards my future I can’t help but look back
And wonder if you’ll ever catch up to me.

 

Sunflowers

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You told me happiness grows along the weeds like sunflowers

It’s my guiding light when it grows cold

The look on your face, hard to contemplate in windows streaked with snow

Running free for awhile,

Minutes pass like miles

In fields spun with gold.

Lost in time

Hard to climb when I’m drowning in those April showers

If I walked past you on the street now,

You would never know.

 Darkness revealed, running through the fields,

You found a way to make me grow tall

Do you remember that dance,

Hold the world in your hands,

It’s yours.

I look to the sky

It never seems to shine

The way it did before.

 Clues in a cracked mirror

Three places

Did I tell you I got your letter?

Never let the rain cloud your spirits

Hold the world in your hand,

It’s yours

You told me happiness grows along the weeds like sunflowers

While I swam in that river you would try to hold me up

Rocks all along the water, marking the way to rock bottom

I wanted it all,

But did I want it badly enough?

 I didn’t want the sun to shine on me

Not without you there to see.

Moments I can’t seem to find, years undefined
As I struggle to plant seeds of time,

A sunflower can’t grow in a broken home.

Trying just to rewind, but you’re running far behind

I catch a glimpse of you but then I’m alone.

 You told me happiness grows along the weeds like sunflowers

Smile on your face,

Hard to contemplate in windows streaked with snow

Lost in time

Hard to climb when I’m drowning in those April showers.

If I walked past you on the street now,

You would never know.

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