Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 New Year's Resolutions

Okay, the following is my new list of New Year's Resolutions for 2011, and I plan to record the progress of my following these goals right here on The Lonely Sock! Here goes:
1. Have Fun!

 Everyday, read the entry from The Almanac of the Infamous, The Incredible, and The Ignored by Juanita Rose Violini.

 Everyday, read the entry from This Book Will Change Your Life by Benrik, and actually attempt as many tasks as possible!
--> Record progress on blog and join Benrik cult!

 Go to a different restaurant, cafe, or bar, every 1-2 weeks!
--> Record progress on blog and evaluate restaurants.

2. Improve Fibromyalgia – Become Physically Independent!

 Exercise daily, mostly with Wii Fit or other Nintendo Wii exercise programs.

 Abstain from Fast Food, Soft Drinks, Candy, and other Junk Food.

3. Be Creative!

 Complete 1st issue of magazine.
 Make crafts using reused and recycled materials.
--> Post pictures of all on blog along with instructions
 Design, sew, and paint original clothes.
--> Post all clothes on blog.

4. Read More!

 Record books or essays read on blog and briefly discuss/review.
 Record all books I plan to read on blog.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ads For Proactive Solution Insult Your Intelligence

I have to speak out about this. Proactiv Solution commercials totally insult the public's intelligence! Maybe I'm just noticing this because I've become so interested in AMC's Mad Men, a show about an ad agency - but I have been paying a lot more attention to ads lately, particularly those that use ridiculous tactics.

Ads for Proactiv Solution feature celebrity endorsement, but it’s clear that the endorsements are scripted in such a way that they specifically use and rely on the public’s perception of that celebrity – even if those perceptions are false. It’s as if Proactiv Solution knows that many people identify celebrities with the characters they play and their portrayals in the media, and thus assumes that everyone is ignorant enough to do so.

For example, one ad features actress Jenna Fischer who plays receptionist Pam Beasley on NBC’s The Office. Her character is one who works nine to five, Monday through Friday at a desk in an office. Her character is one who has to get up early, get ready, drive to work and be there at a specific time just like many average working people. Now, I’m not saying that actors and actresses don’t have to do this as well while they are filming, but I think their schedules might be a tad different than average people.
If you watch her Proactiv Solution commercial below, you will see that Jenna Fischer emphasizes the time she has had to spend in the morning concealing her acne. I find this odd since it implies that she has a regular nine to five, year-round job that she has to wake up early to get to. She’s an actress ... even if she does have to wake up early to get to her job, there is a make-up artist at the set who puts make-up on for her when she gets there ... she wouldn't even be putting on her own make-up!

It's clear to me that Proactiv Solution assumes that the public will see the receptionist Pam Beasley from Dunder Mifflin rather than the actual actress who plays her, and is actually counting on the public to have such a misconception in order for their ad to work!

So far, I think every annoying Proactiv Solution commercial has done this, however subtle.

For example, one version with singer Avril Lavigne states that she "doesn't let acne push her around." Of course she doesn't! She's wearing a leather jacket in this ad, so obviously she's really tough! Even people who don't know much about her know that she's been seen in "tomboyish" and punk clothing, which people probably associate with nonconformity, boldness, and toughness.

Usually when companies use celebrity endorsements, it seems like they aim the ad at fans who might wish to be like those celebrities, and thus people who know a little bit about that celebrity. Proactiv is doing the opposite. The ads are geared to everyone, so they rely on assumptions the public makes about specific celebrities due to their portrayals in the media, the characters they play, the clothes they wear, or the way they appear in magazines.

Bottom Line: I've been somewhat curious to try Proactiv Solution myself but every time I see one of their commercials I realize I can't bring myself to give money to a company that assumes I'm stupid enough to associate celebrities with stereotypes.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

DVD Storage Box Craft Instructions

One of my goals for this blog and my eventual magazine (yes, I still plan to create one) is to include craft instructions for inexpensive projects that require re-used or recycled materials found in the home. This is important to me for two reasons:

1. The prices of craft supplies sold in stores are disgustingly high.

It seems to me that an unfinished item sold for the purpose of finishing or altering should not be so expensive. When you buy something, you are partly paying for the work or service of having it put together, painted, completed, etc ... and since raw materials are by definition not completed and meant for the buyer to complete, I believe they should be far less expensive than a completed item.

2. With the poor economy, I think it is doubly wrong to sell an unfinished, raw materials for just as much money as a finished item, if not more.

It seems to me that only the affluent can really afford craft supplies such as scrap-booking supplies, and I’ve always seen crafts as originating from the actual trades that people learned to make a living (occupations such as carpentry, pottery, quilting, etc ...) Skills that used to be learned for the sake of earning money are now near-impossible to use to make a little bit of extra money because it would be impossible to break even. Craft supply industries have become for-profit industries.

In conclusion, I would like to provide less expensive craft ideas that include recycled materials that one might normally throw away, thus saving money and promoting environmentalism and resourcefulness. My first item is a decorative storage project, entitled DVD Storage Box.

I developed this idea because I was running out of space for DVDs and wanted to use some kind of box that could:

. easily hold the remaining DVDs upright instead of sideways or lying down in piles
. be pulled out and pushed back out of sight like a drawer
. display the DVDs when pulled out so that rummaging through them would not be necessary
. appear to compliment the decor of the family room so that it would not look out of place

I thus chose the following materials:

- cardboard box left over from an 18-pack case of Coca Cola

- dark red fabric that closely resembled the red of the family room rug

- gold ribbon

- scissors

- stapler

- hot glue gun


1. Measure the amount of fabric needed to cover the outside and inside edges of box so that no cardboard will be visible. You may also wish to cover the inside and outside bottom with the fabric.

2. Cut the desired amount of fabric.

3. Staple or hot glue fabric in place so that fabric is taut around edges. Try to keep all staples or glued areas level. Use as many staples as desired. Staples and glued areas may face outside, inside, or both if necessary to hold fabric in place.

4. Choose a ribbon that will best compliment the fabric colour and decor of the room, and measure enough to line the box so that it covers any staples or glued areas inside and outside.

5. Cut the desired length of ribbon.

6. Using the hot glue gun, glue the ribbon along a straight line all the way around the box so that it covers and hides any staples or glued areas. Do this along the inside and outside of the box. You may also wish to glue an additional line of ribbon around the box parallel to the first, as well as one along the rim. Use your best judgement and your own imagination.

This was my finished product:

It stores many of my DVDs so that they are standing upright side by side instead of lying down one on top of the other in towering piles. This box slides behind a row of DVDs kept on a shelf beneath our TV, and if we go to the side of the TV we can easily slide it in and out like a drawer. This is much neater, more attractive, and far more convenient than having the remaining DVDs stacking in piles behind the other DVDs.

Ideas for Variations

. You can also use this craft idea for CDs, Video Games, Computer Programs, and Books that you wish to keep neatly and conveniently displayed.

. You may also wish to line the box with some kind of paper like gift wrap.

. It might be interesting to try using leftover wall paper, especially if the box is used in the same room where the wallpaper is visible.

If you have any craft ideas that involve recycled or re-used raw materials, I would love to hear about them. Please share any ideas that might promote environmentalism, resourcefulness, and just plain common sense.