Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This just in: be healthy!

I hardly know why news providers like the L.A. Times do stories like Americans could prevent roughly half of all cancer deaths by doing these four things. We know we should stop smoking, drink less alcohol, exercise regularly and achieve and maintain a "healthful weight." Most of us just can't do it.

What would be more helpful is proven ways to do those things. Cigarettes, excess alcohol and stress eating are coping mechanisms. Until we find ways to manage our stress and emotions, we're going to keep smoking, drinking and overeating. More articles with more statistics on how good it is not to do those things are pointless and a waste of reporting resources.

Give us information on how to cope in healthy ways that will release us from our addictions! And I don't mean articles that claim to have found the guaranteed cure. There are all kinds of ways to get yourself off of smoking and excess eating or drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, etc. work for some, but not everyone, and there are many other programs and centers. Or you can try things like acupuncture, meditation, EFT or working with some kind of therapist (from psychology to hypnosis) to dig deep into the emotional reasons you keep overeating, drinking or smoking. Present us with those stories, media.

Instead, they give us stupid articles about how good it is to not be fat or how much healthier non-smokers are than smokers. Before this L.A. Times article came out, did we really need another news flash telling us that "the most effective way to fight cancer is to promote healthful habits that foster cancer prevention" -- ? Who needs more research that shows that their eating, drinking or smoking habits are killing them? The people who know this don't need to hear it again, and the people who don't believe smoking and heavy drinking are dangerous aren't going to be convinced no matter how many times you print it.

I already struggle with hating myself for not eating better nor fitting into my size 14 pants. Another article on how much better I'd be if I were different isn't going to help. Give us real options for tackling the emotional patterns behind our self-destructive behaviors. At this point, articles like Americans could prevent roughly half of all cancer deaths by doing these four things are insulting.

Monday, May 30, 2016

You might have prosopagnosia if...

Prosos can't tell if these are different people or not.
I'm a member of a public Facebook group for people with prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia causes you to have difficulty distinguishing faces. It's a true brain handicap that's recently been discovered in the past thirty years. If you have trouble remembering faces, get people mixed up all the time or can never follow movies/TV shows because you can't tell who's who, you might have it. Here are some more clues that you might be a proso, as we call ourselves (Prosopagnosia is also called "face blindness," but I don't like that term because it suggests that everyone's face looks to us like a smooth egg-like surface, which is not true.)

Each of these statements was posted by someone in the Facebook prosopagnosia group. They gave me their permission to use these anonymously. I've only changed the punctuation on some of them to make them easier to read.

You might have prosopagnosia if you have ever joined an organization simply because members wear name tags when they gather.

...or if you don't join a group or attend an event because they DON'T wear name tags!

You might have prosopagnosia if you have ever studied a list of names of people who are going to be at an upcoming event, so you might have a shot at knowing somebody.

You might have face blindness if you are frustrated because no matter how many times you ask people to introduce themselves to you when they next see you because you have a memory impairment that makes it hard to recognize people, no one ever does!

You might have face blindness if you feel very, very lucky that the good-looking man you were admiring turns out to be your husband!

You might have face blindness if you have ever happened upon an intruder in your home only to realize a moment later, you just walked by a mirror and didn't recognize your own reflection.

Or said "excuse me" to someone in a store only to discover it was you, in a mirror. (I have done this more than once!)

You might have face blindness if you often lose touch with friends shortly after they get a dramatic new haircut.

You might have face blindness if you've ever turned away from someone you've been talking to and immediately thought "cr@p I forgot to make note of what shirt they're wearing!" Double points if this has happened while out someplace crowded and the person in question is your significant other.

You might have face blindness if you know all the dogs at the dog park, but you never recognize any of the people.

You might have face blindness if you help out a celebrity and are confused why your coworkers are freaking out over the normal person.

You might have face blindness if all your problems were solved until Facebook started letting people change their FB profile pictures.

You might have face blindness if you can't watch a movie without a companion to tell you who is who. Or you don't really like popular shows such as Mad Men because everyone looks the same. It's like... the women look alike except the redhead, and the men all look alike except the one who has silver hair.

You might have prosopagnosia if choosing to dine alone means giving up any hope of being able to pick out your server when you need something.

You might be a proso if you tell someone you have it, and they go home and google it to see if it was safe for you to drive home!

You might have face blindness if your explanation of why it is you don't recognize people causes folks to ask stupid questions like, "Can you see my face at all?" "Does my whole face look blurry?"

You might have face blindness if you have ever warmly hugged a stranger and called them "mom."

Hahaha! Never did that, but I did put my arm through the arm of a man I thought was my husband!

Bonus points is your actual mom was standing RIGHT THERE.

You might have face blindness if you thought the movie "Heat" was a film about a man at war with himself, a police officer who was secretly on a crime spree.

You might have proso if you go to meet your long-distance boyfriend for the first time after years of dating, including talking on webcam and exchanging pictures, and you still have to ask him what he's wearing so you'll recognize him!

You might have proso if you have to ask friends who are giving you a lift, what colour and make their car is so you can be sure of getting in the right one....

You might have proso if you freak out anytime someone changes their avatar or profile picture because now you have no idea who they are, even after looking at all their posts.

You might have proso if you watched a couple minutes of the new Battlestar Galactica and decided there was no way, even if your partner was willing to explain.

You might have face blindness if you ever had to explain to a coworker why you have a post-it note on your computer monitor that reads: "Susan P: heavy set, red curly hair, Sara W: blonde straight hair, Rachel B: glasses, br hair, Mike W: almost bald, Chris F: br hair, wears bow ties..."

You might have face blindness if you avoid large community gatherings because the most common complaint friends have about you is that you are such a "snob" because you sometimes "completely ignore" friends you see in public. By skipping the special events, you avoid the social faux pas and resulting resentments caused by your not properly recognizing and warmly greeting pals you happen upon outside of their usual setting.

You might have face blindness if you have ever accidentally mistaken your boss for a client.

You might be a proso if you introduce yourself to your aunt at your grandmother's funeral.

You might have proso if you hear your boss coming down the aisle and do a double take because he is wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. This guy was big, over 6‘5" and heavy. Normally he wore dark slacks and polo shirts but there had been a bad snowstorm overnight.

You might have face blindness if you have unfortunately had to avoid talking to someone in any setting other than one-on-one because you don't know how to avoid coming across like a racist because to you "they all look alike."

You might have face blindness if you choose which landscaping or cleaning company to hire by finding out which one doesn't have workers in identical uniforms.

You might have prosopagnosia if you've argued with your significant other about your inability to distinguish between people, and s/he thinks it's just carelessness, inattentiveness or you being dumb.

You might have face blindness if you enjoy that one of the extra benefits of having a service dog for your other neurological condition is that you can tell by your dog's body language if the person approaching you is a stranger or not.

You might have face blindness if you think the worst thing about getting in an argument with someone is that afterwards you feel paranoid because you aren't always sure when you are in that person's company or not.

Yes, these are all real things that happened to people who struggle with prosopagnosia, so if anyone ever tells you they have it, please take them seriously and maybe even ask how you can help them out. Helping them might be as simple as not being offended in the future when the person ignores you because they don't remember ever having met you. It's a difficult handicap to live with, so please be patient with us.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Want to learn digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a cheap and effective way to get the word out about ANYTHING, and you don't even have to leave your home to do it (I love that part). If you have a "side hustle" or hobby you want to tell others about, this is the way. Also, knowledge of digital marketing is a great thing to be able to put on a resume/LinkedIn profile.

Andy Nathan's Digital Marketing Training Course is a five-week webinar course that's an excellent start to mastering digital marketing. It's one of the offerings of his Smart At the Start business, and I took it last month. Andy's webinar taught me a lot about the most effective programs, apps and websites to use for promoting your business. I particularly needed help understanding WordPress and how to advertise using Facebook, and Andy gave expert advice on those things plus a LOT more. I'm excited about my new marketing knowledge!

It's a bargain for five weeks of classes and includes ongoing support after you've finished the course. It meets every Wednesday in June for 90 minutes at lunchtime, and you can log in from anywhere. Andy knows his stuff, while people like me can only pretend to (and badly). And if you're already an expert, then please pass this info to others.

Friday, May 06, 2016

My new YouTube channel

Part of my new business for non-native English speakers is helping with pronunciation. To this end, Welcome Dialogue is now present on YouTube. Visit my channel for short videos that help you practice American English. So far I have videos that practice the vowel sounds "ee," "i," "oh," "ah" and the tricky sound "th." There are a LOT of "th" sounds in English and not pronouncing them correctly is one of the most common mistakes non-native speakers make. Check out this video and more at https://www.youtube.com/user/AnotherChicana