Online Dating

This article is one that I am writing not because I have a good opinion on the subject, but more as a PSA. Online Dating is something I am not against, but I do think that people need to protect themselves.

For about 5 years I did not chat online with anyone I did not know personally. Blogs made me relax those rules to the point that there are people that I call friends that I have not me IRL (In Real Life). However when it comes to dating I still believe that you should meet the person face to face ASAP. Two reasons. One is just protection against fraud… which is the reason for this article, the second one is because over the net people can present a facade that is so hard to bring down it would be a disappointment when the people meet.

As humans we tend to want to present our best traits when we first meet people. Eventually in a relationship we start to learn the other person’s quirks and “negative” traits. In an online relationship some things might not come up, not saying that they are consciously hidden to deceive the other person, but it is almost inevitable that you are not going to type (I am letting one out right now that would clear any room.)

A couple of people I met online through a local Yahoo chatroom ended up as more than friends. The first thing we did was go to lunch and met them face to face. That was very important to me because I think face to face is a better way to get to know someone. It is sad that not everyone is as lucky as we are to have met someone worth knowing the rest of their lives online.

A close friend of mine became trap of fraud via online dating. As I retell this story many people might say, how stupid can one be… but you have to remember that when you become involved with someone even face to face you chose to see what you want to see.

My friend developed a relationship with this woman purely online because of geographical distance. They talked on the phone and became good friends over a 3 month period. Then eventually an elaborate story developed… what it boils down to was that money needed to be sent ASAP and the girl had no way to get the cash, so my friend fronted the money. Three thousand dollars later my friend was left high and dry and this person disappeared from the face of the earth.

My point is. Protect yourselves from people online. Try to make sure that you share situations and relationships with those around you. Something you might not see as suspicious can be spotted a mile away by a friend not intoxicated by feelings.

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Being Fat Make Me Invisible?

Weight is a hard subject to discuss. A lot like racism it is hard to hear people’s opinion if one belongs to one group of the other. I have been overweight most of my life. I’ve had some periods of time when I was a little lighter, but as I joke about my metabolism checking out with the Y2K, there is a lot of truth to my battle to staying fit.

I have always strived to be in shape and have a nice looking body, not just to be skinny or follow societies standard for beauty. I do not find overweight people repulsive like so many others do. The sad part is that a lot of people that feel that way might be right next to you and you would never know.

Does being fat make me invisible? that is something that I have wondered at times. I have encountered a lot of people that are overweight and are almost shocked when I say hello or smile if we pass by at a mall or sidewalk. I get a look of surprise mixed with disbelief. I then started to understand that sometimes being overweight makes you invisible to others… or in some cases the cause of ridicule or gawking.

While there is a certain level of personal responsibility that goes along with being overweight, there are many factors that contribute to the problem. Some emotional, some hormonal, some cultural, and sometimes all of them at once. I don’t blame Mc Donald’s for making America fat, but I do to some level blame our lifestyle. Food becomes everything but what it is supposed to be… believe me, in other countries they don’t use the term “comfort food” like we do here.

So for whatever reason you are fat… does that make you less of a person? does that make you undesirable to society? Should you then just be sent to a camp with all the other overweight people so that the “pretty, skinny people” can just look at each other?

Our society is very superficial and almost incapable of accepting anything other than the norm. The scary part is that the norm in our society is dictated by pop culture, and more recently celebrity culture. I get to talk to a lot of young people via the motorcycle message board, and I constantly hear put down towards overweight people. It is sad to know that unless you are someone that looks like Barbie or Ken, most young people today will not even look at you.

I strive to lose weight for myself, to feel better physically and mentally. I don’t deny it, I would love to have a six pack instead of a keg for a belly… but it is more vanity than wanting to comply with societies standards which are unrealistic and idiotic. Other cultures look at being overweight as a sign of health, and while that is not what I promote I believe that we need to start looking at people in other ways instead of the groups that their appearance puts them on.

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Blind Readers?

Have you ever considered the fact that blind people might be reading your blog? What about the fact that if you have some of the spam authorization modules that require you to look at a picture and type what you see would stop any blind reader from ever commenting on your site?

I have resisted the urge to implement spam protection on my site. Even thought I get thousands of spam comments a week, I have been able to use some of the wordpress pluggins to prevent or at least minimize the nuisance of dealing with spam comments.

Word verification spam filter have always annoyed me. To be honest until I read an article about how blind readers are pretty much left without a means to comment on the blogs I had never considered that side of things. As the ones of you that have been reading for a while know I took an ASL class and I am very interested on the hearing impaired world… when I started my podcast, it was one of the things I considered… I never want to alienate any of my readers. However I never even thought of the visually impaired.

Most people with disabilities do not feel sorry for themselves and I believe we should not either. However, I believe that being considerate has nothing to do with pity. I think that we should all be aware of what readers we do have and make sure we are not alienating any of them.

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Elephants and Grass

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled”
-African Proverb quotes

Proverbs are very powerful ways to transmit knowledge from generation to generation. While formal education is the way that most of us get our knowledge, I believe story telling and proverbs are still relevant and important.

This African proverb makes me think of our current situation quite a bit. I could talk about politics, but I have the feeling other people are already having their fill of that. One of the news stories that has been resonating lately is the Enron trial.

I am not sure whose fault it ultimately was. What I am sure of is that a lot of little people ended up suffering loses that changed their lives. Same thing is happening locally with Delphi and the UAW. Again more elephants fighting and more grass getting trampled.

I could speculate as to know is right and wrong on the issues. I think that our society is becoming a sad place if we have to get our politics from Jon Stewart or Rush Limbaugh instead of making our own minds up. Politics used to be boring, the morning shows would never pay that much attention, but lately it looks like a circus. The morning show is full of politicians talking about the issues.

Reporters are scared to do their jobs. Journalism has become a game where credibility is not one of the pillar but just a goal. Again in the end we are the ones that lose because in the information age we are feed philosophy instead of letting us come up with our own. We have become birds that wait to be feed regurgitated news. Opinions and commentary are important, but they are worth nothing unless we are still getting the actual news from somewhere in an unfiltered way. It is time to stop being grass and begin making those elephants accountable.

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Wasteful Society

This morning besides road rage guy being behind me again, in a brand new Monte Carlo none-the-less, I was amazed by a story on the news. A family was kicked out of an all you can eat restaurant in Iowa.

Now, the first thought that came to mind is that the family, like some others I have heard about, spent 2 or 3 hours there eating more than their share. Nothing wrong with that, its an all you can eat place and well if you pay, why not. To my surprise, as the story was being told, they were actually kicked out for taking food, then a little bite and throwing the whole plate away.

What amazed me was not that this happens, but that the DJs on the radio were actually defending the family behavior. Their position was that they paid for the all you can eat buffet, so they should be able to get as much food and do with it as they pleased. What was even more amazing to me was the wacky DJs then switched to having people call in with stories of stealing food from an all you can eat buffet.

I am not sure if anyone of you has ever done this, I honestly cannot remember ever stuffing my pockets with egg rolls. I do however respect someone that does that a little more than someone that throws food away.

The family’s defense was the following…

”They told us we are not welcome there anymore,” said Dershem, a repeat customer at the Dragon House buffet. ”We waste too much food. But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won’t always eat everything, and they want something else.”

The all you can eat restaurant replied with this…

“Shes done that too many times,” Cao said. “We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants.”

The people from the restaurant had observed the family on previous trips and this seemed to be a common occurrence. I do know kids, and yes they can be very wasteful in an all you can eat buffet, but after the first time in a new place I believe they know what they like and don’t. It is also the parent’s responsibility to either limit the kids on what they take or actually go serve their kids plate. I don’t agree with the free for all kids are kids, lets take four egg rolls eat half of one and waste the rest.

I worked at the fast food restaurant with the golden arches for a number of years. It was when I first moved to the US and was still learning the culture here. It was hearth breaking to me to see how much food was being wasted there every day when I came from a place where food was only thrown away if it was spoiled. There was always a neighbor or a less fortunate person that would get the food if my family could not eat it. One of my managers told me once to not make such a big deal, was I going to take the food to the starving kids in Africa?

Wasting food has always been something that bothers me. As I moved up at the restaurant I made sure that towards the end of the night or a food change, less and less food was prepared so the food wasting was kept to a minimum. It was good for profits and the owners liked it. Actually the restaurant is set up to do that very efficiently, but lazy people would prepare extra food so if we had a rush there would always be enough. I obviously don’t work there anymore, but I am still very mindful of food wasting.

One of the things that I always heard my family said when they came back to Colombia to visit and I was still living there was that the US was a disposable society. Everything was to be used and disposed of. I did not fully understand their statement until I moved here. We compromise so many things for the sake of convenience. I am not implying that the restaurant owner here was doing it because he does not believe in wasting food or is an advocate for ending world hunger. For all I know his main concern is the bottom line. The statement that makes me almost believe other wise is the one that has the word respect. I just wish that as a society it would not be ok to take a full plate of food and waste it.

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