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Sunday Soliloquy: Afrocity- An Accidental Study in Sustainable Design July 11, 2010

Only by the most elaborate maneuvers of denial could I pretend that I am not getting older.  Whether it is the cellulite that is taking up residence in my thighs or the pain in my left hand from ever so worsening arthritis,  Afrocity is no spring chicken.

Last Saturday, I went for sushi with a friend.  Proud of the eel and uni delectables I consumed over white rice,   I eagerly opened my fortune cookie and read something ghastly:

YOU ARE NOT OLD BUT YOU ARE NO LONGER YOUNG EITHER.

Great. Thanks for the losing lotto numbers too.

Forty-one year’s old I will be in just under a month.  I feel as though I have lived at least another twenty.  In my avoidance of aging, I have purchased a used bicycle,  bought lots and lots of creams for my face, ass, and thighs and invested in mega Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Middle age is knocking tap, tap, tap.  I look out of my peep hole…Oh nobody’s home go away.  What mother’s death in 2007 taught me was that I needed her alive to feel young.  Now that she is gone, I am left behind with her memories and orange-peel prone hips.  “Fat Girl Slim” is the $47 cream, I purchased from Sephora to help with cellulite.  Every night I rub the caffeine laced concoction into my skin after a vigorous dry brushing.  Night time prep has gone from 5 minutes as an 18 year old, to now nearly 45 minutes.  The days of splashing cold water on my face and washing with Phisoderm are over.  My ritual is quite eventful. First wash with Perricone MD, Nutritive Cleanser,  then tone, then my eye serum to combat dark circles, then my pre-moisturizing night time treatment, followed my retinol A moisturizing treatment, and of course my vitamin C/Ester eye cream.  Pretty pathetic huh?  To end the night perfectly, I drink mint tea and soy milk. This should be the last thing that goes into my stomach at night but I am a cheater and keep a bag of Kettle chips underneath the bed.   In light of the prison which is my beauty regimen, I am actually pretty low key in other areas of my life well most areas unless you count politics.

Whereas most normal women can walk into a store and see tote bags as only tote bags, I look at the ones with 100% GREEN and SEXY plastered all over and want to barf.   I see government intrusion and crazy far left moon bat political agendas. Can’t a girl,  I mean middle aged woman just find a simple tote bag and carrying it to the market without advertising an agenda or Japanese anime sex symbols?   I get it, we all must embrace internationalism and green technology.  I see it everywhere when I shop for my make-up and “war on Afrocity aging products”  .   Green make-up had quite a different meaning when I was a teenager. Then it was that awful tacky mood lipstick. Green in the tube but changed to an irritating pink on your lips and the lips of your friends. Every friend!!! They lied, no matter what mood you where in, that mood lipstick was the same shade of pink on everyone’s lips.    Now “green cosmetics” make resounding claims to keep you looking young and beautiful while being healthy for the environment but not your pocket book.   Look, I am not an incorrigible conservative that hates anything pro-environment.  I actually care about trees and rain forests.  I have seen the IMax movies at the museum.   However, “in-your face”  propaganda and legislation just does not sit well with me.    Rushing from store to store, “going green”  is like a painful stalking form of lifestyle.  You either succumb or just die.

Walking to the fridge for a bottle of water one night, my cat was whining for a wet food refill.  I grabbed the $1.70 a can premium grain free can of food made with spring water (filtered).  As I dumped its contents into his bowl, I looked around at my laundry supplies which reside in the utility room where the cats whine and dine.  Tide liquid detergent, 100% GREEN formula.  Biodegradable fabric sheets by Arm and Hammer.  Hmmmmm. Arm and Hammer…back in the day, I used baking soda just for brushing my teeth and deodorant when mom and I were low on cash.

Now the famous muscular arm and rusty hammer are on my kitty litter, sanitary napkins and dryer sheets.    Continuing to the fridge, there was the box of baking soda sitting on the top shelf next to my green tea ginger ale .  I grabbed a bottle of spring water.  Something looked different; the bottle seemed thinner almost flimsy.

Picture of me taken on the Forth of July, last weekend. Knee length hemlines are in my future. No more short shorts or mini-skirts.

Still, I was somewhat groggy and could not really identify what it was.  That is until I tried to twist off the cap.  My right hand has trouble with small caps on aspirin bottles due to my arthritis.  Now I could add bottled water to the list.

From Bezinga.com

Pro Mach Receives 2010 Green Award for Sustainable Packaging Machinery Solutions

June 16, 2010

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Pro Mach was awarded the first ever 2010 Manny Green Award from Cincy Magazine this month for manufacturing initiatives and product innovations that helped customers improve package sustainability.

Three examples were highlighted during the award process. In the first example, Pro Mach’s Fowler division, which manufactures capping equipment, collaborated with several major bottled water companies and multiple material vendors in a solution to package water using lightweight, thinner, smaller containers and caps. Fowler set up test packaging lines and engineered the capping machinery solution that allowed them to greatly reduce packaging material and maintain line speeds. One of these companies estimates they are using 1/3 less plastic, a reduction of more than 95 million pounds at a cost savings of more than $60 million. Comparable savings are also being achieved by the other producers.

In the second example, Pro Mach’s Roberts PolyPro division was noted for producing 100% recyclable single and multi-pack handles for the beverage industry that average 5 to 35 percent less resin than alternative processes. In the third example, Pro Mach’s Orion division developed a customized solution to help a fresh produce customer significantly reduce food product loss and damage during transit.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition from Cincy Magazine,” said Jack Aguero, Pro Mach Vice-President of Marketing and Business Development. “All of these sustainable initiatives have taken a team effort from customers, material suppliers, and our staff. Without the commitment of everyone involved we wouldn’t have been successful.”

Finally I took off the water bottle cap and looked at it.  It was hardly a cap at all.  The bottle label read “Our Caps are smaller that means less plastic for a greener you”….  But now my arthritic right hand was hurting and the city of Chicago taxed me a dollar for the case of water because bottle water is supposedly not green at all.  Can I get a refund?

I closed the door to my stainless steel , energy efficient refrigerator and walked across my bamboo engineered floor to my bed covered in organic cotton sheets.  My green life was not planned.  I did not orchestrate the environmentally friendly cat litter or the strange shaped light bulb in the lamp next to my bed.   It all sort of just happened over night without my permission.  Just like the cellulite on my thighs and no matter how many creams I use, it is here to stay whether I like it or not.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

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28 Responses to “Sunday Soliloquy: Afrocity- An Accidental Study in Sustainable Design”

  1. Valorie Says:

    This is so “on the money”. It really did just happen overnight! Really good, AfroCity. I loved it.

  2. Shiqra Says:

    As a lady about your age, also fighting (albeit half-halfheartedly) the battle against age, I have to say from your picture that 1. you don’t look your age AT ALL and 2. Your choice of clothing is quite flattering and I need to find a dress like that!

    However, the Green revolution isn’t happening in MY tiny little apartment. As a graduate student I can’t afford all the Green and organic crap, and I have also started stockpiling normal lightbulbs. I WILL NOT introduce mercury into my home. A shattered lightbulb should only mean glass shards, not a hazardous material spill. And as a hydrologist don’t get me started on adding more mercury to landfills and endangering the water supply. I’m sorry, but not everyone who buys those curly-fries lightbulbs is going to properly dispose of them. They will toss ’em in the trash just like they do their old batteries.

    Having been raised in extreme poverty, I do now what I’ve always done – conserve and reuse as much as possible. Waste not want not was our family motto. I read labels and try to use the best product for the job. I have yet to find a Green product that worked as well as the regular kind. I find myself using more to achieve the same results. I have a sneaky suspicion a judicious use of regular lightbulbs saves the planet just as much as using the mercury-laden Eco-bulbs, and without the hazardous materials.

    I enjoyed the article and the old magazine adverts you illustrated it with. You are right that this Green stuff did sneak up on everyone; it was a fad begging to be exploited.

    • afrocity Says:

      Curl Fries light bulbs?????? Is that what you call those???

      • Shiqra Says:

        Well, that’s my nickname for them, although it’s not original. I think the proper term for them is Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. They don’t fit properly into some of my fixtures and I am paranoid about knocking one over. So I just use regular lightbulbs, buy the wattage I need, and turn off the lights I am not using. I fail to see how adding mercury to the waste stream to save some hypothetical amount of carbon is better for the environment as a whole. This whole carbon thing smells of fad to me.

        • Janis Says:

          I think it’s real … but it’s become a fad to its supporters. Nowdays, you don’t prove you care about carbon by using less gas and buying less stuff. You buy extra crap with pictures of trees on it, and slap a Sierra Club bumpersticker on the back of your hummer.

          The planet DOES need responsible stewardship, but it won’t get it from those clowns. All they care about is whether they are carrying just the right trendy hemp tote bag to impress their friends, not whether they really needed the stupid thing in the first place. And Repubs are all busy telling everyone and themselves that things are fine. Meanwhile, no one’s actually doing anything to stop the problem.

  3. gs Says:

    1. You are an attractive woman. In particular, you were looking from the side in an image a while ago and there was such a sense of psychic presence that I was all but stunned.

    2. What makes you look your best in youth may not be optimal in middle age. Ditto for middle age.

    3. IMHO the best way to formulate a personal style is to work with the raw material of you, not to feel forced to distort yourself to suit somebody else’s preconceptions. That’s why those ads for bleaching cream etc are saddening.

    4. Since I’m all for people voluntarily doing things that make their lives better, I am well disposed toward progress in cosmetic technology. Unless our civilization wrecks itself, you might be happily surprised at what becomes available to you in the future.

    5. I almost inhaled my tea the time I read that you had a goth phase. Oh, for a photo of goth Afrocity…

    6. The ‘green products’ theme strikes me as a huge and transparent ripoff: a pretext to provide less and charge more.

    • afrocity Says:

      Ahhh, thank you G’s. Middle aged crisis I guess. Takes a little longer to start the motor in the morning, metabolism slows down, you find a gray hair and the world ends. And there are millions of products to cater to the age-phobic like me. I will never have the ectomorph body I envy but I do the best with what I have. Geeze I will be insufferable at 60 I suppose.

  4. Janis Says:

    The thing I don’t like about the “green”-branded shopping bags is … um, what the hell is so “green” about buying more shit you don’t need? Seriously — those faux-environmentalist types could just reuse a bag they already have or make one out of the leg of a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore, or a dozen other things that really would be green. But apparently the proper way for the faux-environmentalist progressive to reflect their deep love for the Earth is to buy crap. What’s so sustainable about consuming more shit, anyway?

    It reminds me of those stories I see in decorating magazines (for rich liberals) about how so-and-so and his lovely wife Bipsy buying dining room furniture for $15,000 that’s made from sustainably harvested trees for their third beach house. Hey, you know what’s really sustainable? Having one freakin house. You love the Earth so much, how about you buy less crap. I mean, if you have the money for three houses, then whatever but don’t pretend you’re some sort of Earth-loving treehugger for it.

    • afrocity Says:

      Or having a bunch of kids. I have noticed a trend in large families again 4+ kids . More people = more waste and carbon footprints.

      The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a permanent exhibit featuring and actual “GREEN LIVING” home.
      The floor is made from Brazilian wood and it costs how much to import??????

  5. AfroCity

    I say you’re a beautiful looking woman-period. No need to add any qualifiers either.

    As a man of 47, who had to deal with losing my hair at 19, swearing that I would never become bald like my father, I can relate with you somewhat, but for different reasons.

    Thank God, for Michael Jordon who made baldness and a shaved head a permanent fashion statement to get me over the hump to acceptance of the way God made me.

    Today, I think I would look silly with a full head of hair. A lot of guys may age though buy into the “no play for Mr. Gray” though. I used to claim that too. But, I passed that transition much more quickly and let the gray come in as fast as it wants.

    I know for women its different. Men get to grow old gracefully, but society is much harsher to the ladies.

    Don’t let it overtake you though!

    Aging is just a transition to a better existence in the end, especially if you believe in God.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. A lovely well put together post as always.

    I really love your thoughts on the ‘green’ trend and it’s becoming a lifestyle wheter we want it or not. It has become a super trendy trend for sure.

  7. yttik Says:

    I just love reading what you have to say, Afrocity. My birthday is next month, too. I’m enjoying getting older. You tend to care less about the little things or what people think of you.

    This whole green fad really is annoying isn’t it? My family has always been “green,” we come from along line of poor people. My grandma used to dry her paper towels in the sun so she could re-use them.

    I’ll admit it, I snicker at the SUV driving, stainless steel water bottle yippies, that think they’re so fabulously green, with their jet skies and their swimming pools and vacation homes.

    • afrocity Says:

      Ok, drying out paper towels??? NO WAY!!! LMAO. I can’t stop laughing. They must have been Bounty.

      • Shiqra Says:

        erm…I wash out my Ziploc bags and reuse them until they leak.
        And I have on occasion dried and reused a paper towel or two…or more. I simply try to exercise common sense, and get as much life as possible out of the things I have. I try not be fanatical about it though, just practical.

  8. Tiny Says:

    I must say, you do dress quite lovely…..

    • Janis Says:

      She should do forties retro stuff with the crossover V-neckline and ankle-strap pumps. That would look spectacular on her.

      • afrocity Says:

        I wear vintage clothes because the skirts are full and my 38-ish inch hips will not be seen. The only pants I own are jogging pants because nowadays they do not make pants for women like me.

      • afrocity Says:

        Wish I could wear A-line skirts too.

        • yttik Says:

          Afrocity, it’s not you!! They can’t seem to make a decent pair of pants for any woman these days. It’s like they’ve forgotten they’re supposed to making these things for human beings, curves and all.

          Actually, they can’t make pants for boys either. Do you still have the “pants on the ground” thing in the city? Out here in the boonies, it’s nothing but a sea of bums and boxers, with pants dragging on the ground. The girls run around in low cut jeans with that thong strap sticking out their butt.

          • afrocity Says:

            That is so gross. The sagging pants is something that I wish would go away. I could swear it has been around for over ten years now. When I was young, we moved from fad to fad much quicker. Maybe 3 years at the most we would stay stuck on something like parachute pants or feathered hair.
            Now I hear that they are making pants for boys with exposed boxers attached already.

            Don’t know if it is true or not but I heard that the pants on the ground thing actually derives from prison gang culture.

          • garnette Says:

            It does comes from the prison culture. It is from when men have to turn over their possessions including their belt. It somehow comes from having to hold up their pants with their hands because they don’t have a belt. For some reason, over time they decided it looked cool to have larger and larger size pants in order to really have their pants drop. I think that came from the hip hop culture.

            One time I heard a woman ask a young kid if he knew he looked like a baby when he wore sagging pants. She then leaned over to him and whispered to him why it looked like he was dressing like a baby. To this day, I always wonder what she said to him. I have always suspected that she compared the pants to how baggy pants look on a diapered baby.

          • Janis Says:

            It’s prison culture, but it’s because you can hide lots of weapons in baggy clothing. It actually ended up being a problem for thugs BECAUSE of taking belts away from them in prison.

            They take away anything that might be used as a weapon when they stick you in the tank, so thugs only had one hand left to start fights with, because they other hand was occupied with holding up their damn pants. That’s why cops love when thugs wear baggy pants. 🙂 Fewer fights in the holding tank.

  9. IslandLibertarian Says:

    I will celebrate 59 this month.
    Not a damned thing I can do to change that.
    But those greenie-weenies need changing!

    Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
    Maurice Chevalier

    It’s all an illusion.
    Buddha

  10. EdithH Says:

    I am glad I followed the suggestion to check out this blog. It feels like coming home.
    Is this the time and place to bring up the Mary Kay and Avon cults? Do you have aquaintances who contact you only when they want to sell you something? Do they really think you consumed all your makeup in one month, when the reality is that they are decaying in a drawer somewhere?
    I suppose we have to salute the marketing genuis who came up with the idea that nobody is ever good enough and the faux “green” scams. Did you see where the British government was trying to figure out away to persecute a senior citizen for stocking up on incandescent bulbs. She claimed she couldn’t read using CFBs and that the CFBs gave her seizures. The Brits dropped that in a hurry before the rest of the public caught on. Maybe in the future we can all get doctor’s notes.
    Or, speaking of scams, how about the simple souls who imagine they have made a contribution to a better world by wearing pink sequined ” Save Darfur” (or fill in the blank) T-shirts.

  11. Janelle Says:

    Fabulous post, excellent comments with some great humor and the graphics are terrific!

  12. Alison Says:

    Well, clearly you are very beautiful. I know we can look young and elegant and still feel our years but you have the benefit of pulchritude. Enjoy it. Someday you will be a beautiful 60 year old and marvel that you were worried about “orange peel” effects.


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