Is individualism to blame for bad manners?

I wrote about how our society is losing its good manners. I received some excellent comments, and the one from Sal made me think about family interactions.

Sal Said

I just had a big argument with my wife about this. For some reason, her 18 year old daughter doesnt say hello to people as she walks in the house…

…My wife has said in the past that to her daughter you dont need to do this because you are part of the family, and my response is that family is even more important than strangers.

I am making a statement that some might strongly disagree with, but I think that part of the problem with our society is individualism. Our society is addicted to winning, being the best and having the most is what capitalism is all about. Are we ready to pay the price?

Most teenagers in every culture go through a rebellion phase. They try to branch off and develop their personality and become an individual. In Colombia, most kids then get through this phase and rejoin the family unit. They come back respecting the values and core morals of the family. Respect for your elders is not just encouraged but expected, and age is looked upon as wisdom and not a handicap.

I have observed in America how teenagers after going through their rebellion phase do not come back to their families. Most of the time they develop their individualism and become a whole new person at times denouncing anything that would connect them to the past generation. I believe this is to blame in part to the loss of manners now a days. Our youth is striving so hard to separate themselves from the previous “un-cool” generation that even basic principles and common sense are ignored and forgotten.

Being in a household with a mixed culture, Cielo being born and raised in a smaller town and me coming in with the Colombian background as well as the big city life I experience have come up with our own little culture. The important thing is to not just drop one of the cultures but as a family unit come up with your own. I believe the Colombian culture has a lot to offer, and we adopt as much of it as it fits our lives. The small town living that Cielo grew up around also brings a lot of positives that have really made me slow down from the 24-hour big city life. We both still love Chicago and visit quite often, but can do without a lot of the congestion and stress that comes from a cosmopolitan city.

I think not just in our household but in all households it is important to compromise your beliefs and come up with what is best for the family. I don’t think is right to just ignore how one person lives or has lived before just for the sake of continuity. In Sal’s case I think that teaching his (step)Daughter respect and greeting people when she comes home is important. I believe that while a compromise can be reached in other terms, that keeping that sense of family involves greeting and personal contact. I think he should care, and believe in incorporating what I believe is a very positive thing into his overall family culture.

What do you guys think?

The Biggest Loser Finale

Besides survivor, which I was not a fan of until a couple of seasons ago, reality TV is not all that popular with us. I don’t dislike it, but at times I find it boring. Not the Biggest Loser. I watched most of season one, but I did end up watching season two religiously and got Cielo into it too.

The show has contestants compete against each other in a weight loss challenge to determine the biggest loser. This season it was men vs. women and even though it did not really crush the idea that men have an easier time losing weight than women, it made for an interesting interaction.

The show gives the contestant a chance to live in a ranch away from the “real” world where they have a gym available to them around the clock. The biggest advantage they have is their personal trainers. Not only do they push them to work out like maniacs, but they also help them out with their nutrition. Two very good personal trainers, Jillian and Bob, help each of their teams achieve their goals. I think that Bob does a better job from what I have seen on the show. He attacks the emotional aspect of the weight and empowers people to feel better about themselves. Now, it is not secret that I battle with my weight all the time because my metabolism seemed to not be Y2k compliant. I have a hard time losing weight even though I love working out. My biggest problem is food intake. I love food.

At the ranch the contestants still face temptations regularly. Sweets seem to be the order of the day when they want to get people to cheat. Surprisingly everyone for the most part keeps focused and sticks to their diet.

The show is more about changing lives than losing weight. I think the trainers do an excellent job of teaching people how to interact with the “real” world and keep to their diets. I know what to do to eat healthy, and I know each day that I eat something bad is a decision I make. While I could sit here and say that I try to eat healthy the reality is that I love fried foods way too much. Carbs forget it, I cannot live without them. I have tried. I also know that I can work out like a maniac and still accomplish nothing without watching my caloric intake.

The finale was not as good as the rest of the series. I think they tried to do a whole “lets copy survivor’s finale” and ended up kind of just making it too long, too anticlimatic. It was amazing to see the last 3 finalst change so much, but everything else just made it too long. I would have rather have it be a one hour finale instead of two.

I am not sure if watching this season will be the thing that motivates me to lose weight. I know after thanksgiving I hit a weight that I have not been for probably 5 years. All I know is that the transformation the people in the show experienced seemed to be life changing for all of them. The after pictures for both Matt and Pete are just simply amazing. They seemed very proud of themselves, and like the show’s theme song says… what have you done today to make you feel proud?

Yes I am a gamer

I might not be addicted to watching sports like most males of my age group might be… but I do admit that I am addicted to playing videogames. I am not sure how much it really affects my maturity level or not but I am willing to hear some opinions.

Videogames have been part of my life since I was very young. I still remember the first time my Dad took me to an arcade when I was probably 7 or 8 and I played an arcade version of Dig Dug. That day my addiction to computers had begun. I had no clue what made a TV respond to a joystick but all I knew is that it was just the coolest thing I had ever seen. I don’t think my Dad would have ever imagined that he was starting me in a path to what one day would become my career as a programmer.

During my childhood I would go to the arcade as often as I could. As far as home systems I received an Atari 2600 for Christmas when I was around 10, but did not have another home system until I was 17 and I had my own job. I did play Nintendo and Sega at my friends’ houses. Also in Colombia you can find little “game centers” where a bunch of TV’s are set up with home consoles. I have actually seen these places pop up now with Xbox gaming centers, but for the longest time you only saw consoles at home.

I actually saw the first computer games back in Colombia. I played Tetris and Prince of Persia at one of my friend’s house on a computer. I did not actually get my own computer until I started College. That computer was still in use by my sister until last year when she finally got a new one. I did not do too much gaming on that computer, but the next two which I still have at home were both gaming oriented machines.

I have had a lot of consoles after college; regretfully I never really had a chance to take advantage of them to the point that it almost feels like a waste of money. Most of the consoles that I have owned have been recycled by selling back old systems and getting new. I was also lucky to get in on package deals from people getting rid of their collections for next to nothing. I have played plenty of computer games lately and I feel like it is money well spent. Also my gaming computer performs other tasks that make it a good investment.

You can see how much I love videogames, but I feel that my addiction is not a problem for the following reasons. If it were to interfere with my personal life I would drop it. I would not choose to play games instead of going out and bowling, or watching a movie. However I do enjoy playing videogames. I like playing videogames not because I am good at it; I play for the fun of it. Even though I am above average at a couple of games.

I think having an addiction to videogames is better than say a controlled substance. I don’t think that you can really hurt anyone but yourself playing videogames. While I do not advocate the complete addiction to them, I do think that it is not a bad one. I put it in the same level with the addiction that some guys have to professional sports. Where they are so dedicated that they will drop everything to watch a game. I love watching sports, but in the grand scheme of importance, the only thing that even keeps it on the list is that it can be a social activity.

Videogames now, with the introduction of multiplayer games has become a social activity also. Not just online communities but gamer communities in real life (IRL). LAN Parties bring people together that have a common interest and starts to erase the antisocial stereotype of gamers. I think the word gamer still has a negative stigma in a lot of people’s eyes, but I think that as time goes by more and more people will see that almost anyone can be a gamer. There should be no stereotype attached to the activity.

Cyber Monday

Today is known as Cyber Monday. Today is the Monday following Black Friday. Black Friday, for those who do not wake up early to take advantage of the sales in the various retailers around the country, is the day where a company can go from the red to the black on their books; in other words, they can start making a profit. Since the Internet begun to gain popularity it also started to sell stuff. I even wrote an article about how online sales vs. brick and mortar retailers might compete. And now we have Cyber Monday, the day when online retailers start their holiday shopping season.

I have purchased holiday gifts online before. Mostly from Amazon, which is one of my favorite online retailers. This post however is going to be about security, and what you should watch out for online when making your purchases. I believe it is a good thing to remind everyone to be careful when using a credit card online. Before we start that though, I would like to let you guys know about a couple of places that I buy stuff from so you can get in on the deals.

NewEgg
One of my favorite online retailers for all things electronics. They have awesome prices on computer parts, as well as systems already put together. If you have a techie on your shopping list do visit them. They have the best shipping record in my book. When I build my latest computer, I purchased 90% of the parts inside of it from Newegg and I got everything in 3 days.

Amazon Toy Store
Yes you heard right, Amazon.com is the place for toys. I have purchased several educational toys for my niece there. The cool part about it is that there are very good reviews of the products from customers. Hearing from parents about how a Toy worked or did not from personal experience is worth a lot more than my opinion on how a toy looks.

Amazon DVD
Everyone loves a DVD. From your in-laws to your friends. You cannot go wrong with a DVD. It could be a bestseller or simply a new release, but if you know something about that person you will be able to buy a DVD for them. The only legwork is to check out their DVD collection and see what they have already.

Also don’t forget people’s wish lists. A lot of people know a days have an Amazon wishlist, go and make one of their wishes come true. It is really easy to find people, you just have to know their e-mail and voila.

Ok, so those are my store recommendations to make your life a little easier… but what I really want you to be on the watch for this online shopping season is security. The phishing attacks are on the rise along with viruses. Please be very careful about opening your e-mail. Anything with an attachment that you do not expect, don’t open. Check with the person first before you launch even what might be the cutest or funniest joke. Never put personal information on a site that has solicited it via e-mail. I am 99% sure that your bank, online retailer or even ebay will never ask you to change your password or send them your Credit Card or Social Security information. Please be careful.

Also, watch for 2 little clues when shopping online. Before you enter your Credit Card information into any online form you should see 2 things. 1st the URL http thingie should have an S at the end of it. HTTPS means that you are now securely connected to that website. The second clue should be a little padlock at the bottom right hand side of your browser. Always do that double check before you enter your CC on any retailers website. If those two are not present don’t enter it. Also if you get a link from an e-mail that you did not solicit, be careful and just go to the main site, instead of following the link. Just this week I got an email from “ebay” and they had mimicked the site to almost perfection. But of course it was only a phishing attack. Don’t be too scared, just be careful and have fun shopping online.

Happy Thanksgiving Blogsphere

Yesterday Cielo and I hosted out first Thanksgiving dinner together. Not to brag or anything, but it was the best Thanksgiving meal I have been a part of. The turkey came out awesome, and we have tons of it left.

Today I have to go to work, but I should be able to do tons since it is going to be quiet. I attempted to go to Best buy early, but as you can see in the latest picture from flicker lines out the door even at 7Am is ridiculous. There were lines there since 5 Am. Crazy shoopers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go to top