Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ugandan transgender man refugee/ bone- marrow donor

Dec. 12, 2016 "Ugandan transgender man secures refugee status in Edmonton": Today I found this article by Clare Clancy in the Edmonton Journal:

Adebayo Katiiti believes returning home to Uganda is tantamount to a death sentence.

The 22-year-old Ugandan, who identifies as a transgender man, has qualified for refugee status in Edmonton. He arrived in August to compete at the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships before returning home. But in the midst of the competition, Katiiti started to receive threatening text messages from his own family. 

“My family called me evil,” he said. In Uganda, same-sex relationships are illegal and can lead to lengthy prison sentences. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as well as their allies face discrimination and assault.

Days before his trip to Canada, Katiiti was arrested when police stormed the Mr. and Miss Pride Pageant during a private celebration in Kampala. His family saw a video of the event that circulated in the media and effectively outed him.

“I know what it means to be gay back home,” he said. “I was undressed. I was humiliated … pulling out your hair, beating you up, treating you like a non-citizen in your own country … forcefully taking pictures of you. All those things I went through with the police.”

Katiiti said his decision to seek asylum in Canada was unpopular with his teammates because they were concerned it could hinder their ability to re-apply for visitor visas.

 “It was a really hard decision,” he said. “I don’t regret it.”

Coach Nate Freeman, who formed the team, said visas were valid until January. He’s hopeful the situation won’t affect future athletes.

“This was an extraordinary circumstance,” he said. “Everyone wants what is best for Adebayo … even if status is granted, the road can be really hard.”

Katiiti said he has found support through the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, which guided him through the refugee claimant process. He was granted the status Nov. 16 and said he plans to apply for permanent residency, and eventually citizenship.

“I’ve seen the beauty of Canada through the queer people I’ve met and the St. Paul’s United Church community,” he said.

He added the most difficult part of becoming a refugee has been leaving behind the LGBT community in Uganda. He had been passionate about helping his peers access medical services despite rampant discrimination in the Ugandan medical system.  

Now Katiiti is focusing on building a new life — one that has changed drastically in a short time. He is dating a Canadian woman, living with a family and is planning to pursue a career in sports, as a physical trainer or a lifeguard.

“I played soccer at the national level in Uganda,” he said. “I dream to be on the national (soccer) team of Canada, but I don’t know how to get there.”

For now, he is committed to swimming, soccer and floor hockey. 
“But I don’t know skating,” he said with a laugh.

Katiiti acknowledged there are challenges that come with being a refugee — he has faced instances of racial discrimination, such as being shouted at while waiting for a train. 
“A lot of things I can handle,” he said. “I can’t compare those things to what I’ve been through.”

He believes he is lucky, knowing how many people are in hiding in Uganda, fearing for their lives because of their gender or sexual orientation.

“Many of them are chased away from their families and have nowhere to go … I believe I have work to do for them. I hope I can change their lives one day.”

"Bone-marrow donor, recipient remain close": Today I found this article by Dave Lazzarino in the Edmonton Journal:

Edmonton woman, Maryland man urge others to consider donating

When Allison Atlas was diagnosed with leukemia, it set off a chain of events that travelled from her home in Maryland in the early 1990s to Edmonton and Europe and continues today.

A call went out for bone marrow donors and Bethesda, Md., resident Ken Wagner stepped forward. An engineer who designs electronics for NASA, he figured why not see if he could help.

“I didn’t match her and she ended up passing away because she never found a perfect match,” said Wagner.

But his file in the registry remained and into the picture stepped Edmonton chartered accountant Kristina Milke.

“I was diagnosed with leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, in 1994,” Milke said.
She was 27 then. Doctors told her without a bone marrow match, she wouldn’t live past 30, maybe 32.

“I was kind of numb,” she recalled. “The doctor’s telling me that they think I have leukemia and I’m looking at her and she’s like, ‘You’re not saying anythig.’ And I said, ‘I don’t really know what leukemia is.’ I honestly didn’t know what it was. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know.”

Doctors will normally look to siblings for a bone marrow donor because it offers a one-in-four chance of a match. Milke has no siblings. Instead, they went to the International Bone Marrow Registry, a growing list of nearly 30 million people who have come forward as potential donors.

Wagner was a match. He was contacted and asked if he’d be willing to donate.
“I knew it was a woman who lived outside the United States, that was the only information I had,” he said. “And they asked me if I would do a couple more tests and then would I donate bone marrow. I said, ‘Of course, yes.’”

A two-hour procedure involving hypodermic needles being injected into either side of his tailbone removed around 800-millilitres of bone marrow. It was put into a cooler and sent to Edmonton. Wagner felt sore for a week while his marrow replenished, like he had been tackled roughly at the waist, but was back to work a few days later and back playing sports within a month.

For Milke, the struggle had just begun. She underwent chemo and radiation therapy, killing off all of her white blood cells in preparation to be given Wagner’s bone marrow.
She dropped down to less than 100 pounds, lost all her hair and her taste buds were rendered temporarily ineffective.

Wagner’s marrow was administered intravenously. Her white blood cell count was taken 20 times a day to see if it would take, hoping graft-versus-host disease or other unexpected complications wouldn’t reduce her chance of survival.

She spent the next year recuperating, determined to find out who had given her a second chance at life. According to the rules, she had to wait a year and the donor had to be willing to be identified as well. All she had from him was a written letter, unsigned, that she received along with the donation.

It took her a few attempts to work up the nerve to call. When he answered, he knew it was her.

“I thanked him. I said, ‘You don’t know who I am but you saved my life.’”

Awkward at first, the two have become close, taking part in family celebrations and being there for the losses.

“I call him my brother, he calls me his sister. There’s no other way to describe our relationship at this point,” said Milke.

“I don’t have any sisters,” said Wagner, interjecting without interrupting, the way a story gets told by simultaneous siblings.

“I have brothers. But sisters can tell you things that ... they have a different set of eyes and a different perspective on things, so I enjoy having her as a sister and that’s something that I treasure.”

The two aren’t exactly alike. Milke is emotional when she tells the story of their meeting while Wagner, an engineer to the core, prefers calculations.
“The whole process is just a cotton swab on the inside of your cheek,” an ever-humble Wagner said.

“I don’t think of it as heroic, I just think of it as something you do. I’m not somebody who can save lives normally. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a teacher, I’m not a fireman or a policeman. I’m just an engineer.”

What they see eye-to-eye on is the importance of the registry that brought them together.
“It’s one of those things that you can do to save somebody and not have to give your life for them. That’s what makes it so cool,” Milke said.

The numbers back it up. From the drive that Wagner took part in, 200 donors have been matched to recipients.

Milke’s case wasn’t much different. Of the people who volunteered to register when she got ill, she knows of one who proved a match for a young boy in Europe.

The process has changed slightly in the past two decades. The two hour extraction procedure is down to 45 minutes and is only used five per cent of the time — the other 95 per cent is no different than taking blood.

And stem-cell blood, including the more than 700,000 units of cord blood units stored in Edmonton, is now being used to treat more than 80 diseases.

But with nearly 1,000 people still waiting for a marrow match in Canada alone, both Wagner and Milke hope their story prompts more people to call 1-888-236-6283 or go online to

For Wagner, the reason to donate is just too obvious.
“It’s the thing that I’m most proud of that I’ve done in the world.”

Dec. 15, 2016 "December tough for new couples": Today I found this article by Joanne Richard in the Edmonton Journal:

Festive fare isn’t the only thing that can give you heartburn. It’s not the most wonderful time of the year — for single men, that is.

Not dating in December sucks! According to an survey, Canadian men hate being single at Christmas, and are far more likely than women to view it as a romantic holiday to be shared with that special someone. Women think Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year to be single.

But while the single men are bemoaning love, those coupled up are big on gift giving. Men are more enthusiastic than women about exchanging holiday gifts — 67 per cent of men think that it’s important to buy gifts for a new partner, compared with just over half of women.

Men are also happier to give big gifts earlier: 13 per cent of men (and just six per cent of women) think it’s OK to gift something big, expensive, and/or meaningful within the first month of dating, reports the survey.

However, men may want to rethink this festive enthusiasm, as 39 per cent of women reveal that a fancy gift too soon into the relationship makes for discomfort not cheer.

A few more stats that came up: Celebrating the holidays as a couple is more important to men than women — 36 per cent versus 26 per cent. And more men than women think it’s the perfect time to introduce their new partner to the family — 65 per cent versus 50 per cent.

According to EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine, overall the survey suggests that the main difference between women and men regarding Christmas holidays is that men prefer to spend time on focused activities like choosing nice gifts for those they love, while women devote more attention and time to hosting the best Christmas ever — “an often stressful situation when they might feel that everything needs to be perfect! This naturally means that they have other things on their minds besides love.”

She adds that this could also be the reason that men are more enthusiastic about exchanging holiday gifts with their partners: “If men feel they have less to worry about, they are free to focus on gift giving as one of the biggest parts of the day.” Women, on the other hand, feel they’re juggling it all.

Interestingly, this seems to be a phenomenon repeated around the world. “We repeated this study in several countries, and found that men are more into gift giving than women in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Norway. However, Sweden and Hungary buck the trend: in both countries women are ones most enthusiastic about gift giving,” says Marine.

Meanwhile, being single in December can be a struggle for singles everywhere. End-of-year traditions with family can mean facing questions about your love life: Who are you dating? Did you finally meet someone? When will you get married?

“The questions are hard to avoid and, for some, it can feel like they’re the only one still looking for love,” Marine says.

She says it’s actually a great month to start dating and meeting people, at least online — for there, these singles are not alone in their search.

“In fact, every year at EliteSingles we notice a peak in registrations around Christmas and New Year’s.”

Overall, the end of the year is always a time for self-reflection and for many singles that will involve the realization that they don’t want to be single at this time next year. “Happily, December is a great time to do something about it!” she says.

Apr. 28, 2017 "Mind your manners, bachelorettes": Today I found this article by Jaimie Woo in the Globe and Mail about mainly women and their bad and rude behavior at these LGBT/ drag queen places.

My week:

Mar. 14, 2018 Spring TV season: All my fall TV shows will be ending soon.  I usually watch 6 or 7 TV shows a week.  Now I am going to record the series of all these shows.

I will have these shows as backup in my DVR in case I'm really bored, and there are no shows to watch during the summer.

In summer 2017, I watched 5 shows.  I had saved the TV show Salvation on my DVR.  I had watched the pilot and didn't really like it.  After they aired all the episodes, I did end up deleting it because I didn't want to watch it.  Also fall has arrived.

1. Timeless: I saw the season 2 premiere and it was good.

2. McMafia: I saw the pilot.  I really liked the lead character, but I am unsure if I will watch the rest of the series.

Alex Godman, the English-raised son of Russian mafia exiles, has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of their past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend, Rebecca. But when a murder unearths his family's past, Alex is drawn into the criminal underworld where he must confront his values to protect those he loves.

3. Deception: I saw the pilot and it was really fun and exciting.  My sister liked it too.  I will watch the rest of the series.

Cameron Black is the world's greatest illusionist. At least, that's what people used to call him - before his greatest secret was exposed and his career destroyed. Even worse, Cameron has good reason to believe this was no accident. 

3. Instinct: I will check out the pilot: This looks interesting like Criminal Minds.

A former CIA operative (Cumming), who has since built a "normal" life as a gifted professor and writer, is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose.

4. The Detail: The promo said it's from the producers of Rookie Blue.  I really liked Rookie Blue. However, I saw the TV show Ten Days in the Valley, also from the creator of Rookie Blue, Tassie Cameron, but I thought that show was just average.  I will check out the pilot.

Three female homicide detectives solve crimes while also dealing with their personal lives.

5. The Terror: I don't really expect to like this show because it's set in the 18th century, but I will check out the pilot.

The crew of a Royal Naval expedition searching for the Arctic's treacherous Northwest Passage discovers instead a monstrous predator. 

6. The Crossing: I will check out the pilot because it's seems very interesting:

Refugees from a war-torn country 250 years in the future start showing up to seek asylum in an American town.

Woman texts wrong message, funny answer:
A text to the wrong number is doing more good than Tony Wood ever imagined.
Wood, a father of six from Sedalia, Missouri, received a text from an unfamiliar number with photos of a woman trying on an evening gown. Instead of simply replying "wrong number," he decided to respond with humor.

"I believe this message was intended for someone else," he wrote. "My wife isn't home, so I couldn't get her opinion, but the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress! You should definitely go with that one!"

He also included a photo of five of his six kids giving the sender a thumbs up.
Twitter user Mandi Miller posted screenshots of the exchange, garnering over 176,000 retweets and almost 700,000 likes.
"Syd accidentally sent pics of her dress to the wrong number and this was their response," she tweeted with a cry-laughing emoji.

There's a reason why Wood's wife wasn't home to offer fashion advice — she was at the hospital with their four-year-old son, Kaizler, who is battling leukemia.
The viral tweet raised awareness for the family's GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses during Kaizler's treatment, and donations began pouring in. The campaign has now surpassed its $10,000 goal by almost $5,000.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Why people-focused businesses always win"/ negotiations

Nov. 13, 2017 "Why people-focused businesses always win": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Junk removal doesn't exactly hit you right in the "feels." It's an annoying thing people want to get over and done with – or they avoid it for years. The industry is notoriously fragmented, with subpar companies capitalizing on customers' need to get rid of stuff quick. In their haste to make a quick buck, they neglect a more important need: emotional connection.

As our former board member Simon Sinek says, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." He's right: People are more likely to choose a brand they connect with on a level that goes beyond the business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship. They want brands they spend their hard-earned money on to resonate on a personal level.

No one wants to feel like a means to an end. That's why customer-centric, people-focused businesses will always win.

Why customers make the emotional choice

The most successful brands have it figured out: An emotional connection has a bigger impact than customer satisfaction. Exceptional service can make up for a mediocre product, but the opposite is rarely true.

Let's take Starbucks, for example. No matter where you are or what you order, you always know what you'll get. The barista will always be friendly and smiling, and a triple no-whip mocha frap in Kuala Lumpur is the same as one in Seattle. It's amazing how, even in the most foreign of countries, a white cup and a green mermaid can give you the feeling of home. Starbucks' consistency is killer, and it has created a level of comfort and trust for customers.

The customer journey doesn't start and end with a transaction. There are many touchpoints along the way, from the first time a customer encounters your product through the purchase process to the follow-up. You want every one of these interactions to create a lasting, positive impression.

B2C isn't the same as it used to be. Now, it's H2H – human to human – and it's changing how people choose and interact with brands.

Want to make a sale? Stop trying to sell

Establishing an emotional connection with customers hinges on their experience with your company. People know when they're being sold to – and they don't like it. Your primary focus should be to build a relationship, not to make a sale. Yes, companies need to sell to make money, but a people-first approach will earn trust and build positive rapport with your customer. That's how you close the deal.

It's really about converting every customer from transactional to relational. Transactional customers have a one-and-done attitude towards your company; they'll use your product or service in a one-off situation and never come back. These are customers who don't have a personal connection with your brand, often due to a second-rate experience. But a relational customer will return because you gave them feel-good vibes and treated them like a person, not a customer.

It takes time to build a reputation for your brand but seconds to break it (looking at you, Uber). Like any other relationship, the brand-customer connection relies on trust and accountability.

At WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, we promise to provide the quality you'd expect in a timeline that's unexpected. If we didn't follow through, we'd undercut our brand and our relationship with customers. If you ordered something on Amazon and it took a week to arrive, would you use the service again? Maybe, but I bet you'd be skeptical.

You don't need to promise the world, but you do need to live up to every promise you make. It makes a huge difference: Relational customers are twice as valuable as transactional ones.

Authenticity matters

Fostering relationships with customers is dependent on the people who represent your company. This means everyone from the front-line employees who interact with customers daily, to corporate staff toiling away behind the scenes. Every person in your organization plays a role in the customer experience, whether they're writing ad copy, building online booking software or knocking on a customer's door.

The ultimate goal for any company should be to inspire a team of brand advocates: people who embody what your business stands for and live it in everything they do (in their personal and professional lives).

For example, our goal is to give customers a happy, easy, stress-free experience – so we hire happy, fun, approachable people who are inherently optimistic. This ensures the authenticity of our brand and our customers pick up on it. It's a simple concept that can have massive impact.

Getting people to connect with your brand on an emotional level is a challenge every company faces. But it doesn't have to be complicated. If we can do it with a junk removal company, anyone can.

"Six main reasons why negotiations fail": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Bob was a lawyer with a reputation as a great negotiator. He was tough, bellicose and obstinate, a yeller and table banger, willing to say no without further discussion.

Mike, also a lawyer, was the polar opposite. He was clear about his objectives, centred and calm when everyone else was losing their cool.

He exemplified the three qualities that Corey Kupfer, author of Authentic Negotiating, says are central to success when bargaining, be it for work, a car, or a new home: clarity, detachment, and equilibrium.

"There are many people like Bob out there," Mr. Kupfer, principal at a New York City law firm specializing in negotiations, says in an interview.

"I hope more and more people will move over to the Mike end of the spectrum, which is more effective."

The Bobs of this world fall prey to the six main reasons negotiations fail:

Lack of preparation

In an overwhelming era, it's easy to forsake preparatory time and hope you can wing it in the discussions. Mr. Kupfer says he is constantly amazed at how ill-prepared people are for negotiations.

It's vital you prepare externally, learning about market conditions, history, and other factors that might influence the deal.

But you also need to prepare internally, knowing what your objectives and bottom line are.

What are you willing to pay for this purchase? What will be the title and actual work of the person you intend to hire? If ill-prepared, externally or internally, you will likely stumble.


Many deals are killed by pride and self-importance. You might not ask for information you need or be unwilling to give up something relatively minor that wounds your ego.

But there's the opposite as well: Individuals not accepting their own worth. That is common with freelancers, contractors and others who quote an hourly rate but fold at any sign of resistance from clients because, in their heart, they don't feel they are worth the prevailing amount.

Wanting to be liked can also be a killer: You make a concession to win the other side's appreciation. Wrapped up in ego can be a dangerous determination to win at all costs.

"Your goal should never be to win the negotiation," Mr. Kupfer says, referring to the desire to be able to brag afterward about how you crushed the other side. Often, he finds, such negotiators fare poorly, winning the one point they obsess about and not noticing other areas where they are unsuccessful in gaining their objectives. And if you talk too much, stroked by ego, you could be giving away information you shouldn't and are not listening to understand the other side's points.


There are many ways fear can assert itself in bargaining but Mr. Kupfer says the most common are fear of failure and fear of the unknown.

If you are uneasy, the contract you are negotiating won't work out well and you could sabotage the deal rather than addressing and perhaps calming those fears.

Negotiators often fear the new, uncertain or different world ahead and, again, avoid a deal that would be worthwhile.

Mr. Kupfer cites an entrepreneur who kept thinking up reasons a deal that would double his business could end up hurting rather than helping him. The solution was to write down his fears, which showed they were minor, easily addressed, or unlikely.


Negotiations will fail if you are too rigid about the structure of what is being developed – rather than simply being clear about your end purpose, and open to how to design the deal – and unbending on time.

Some people are so desperate for an immediate deal, they give everything away while others push too hard and send the other side packing.

"Go with deal flow and don't be rigid about pace, timing, or how the deal looks," Mr. Kupfer says.

Getting Emotional

You can't be a robot. But you also can't allow emotions to get out of control in bargaining, losing your temper. Simply take note of your emotions – why are you upset? "Stay objective and figure it out," Mr. Kupfer says.

Lack of integrity

Deceitful tactics will come back to haunt you. But you also want another form of integrity: ensuring the deal is in line with what you really need and want.

That brings us back to clarity, detachment, and equilibrium.

Know from the start what you truly seek.

Be detached.

You should have a preference for making a deal but also be comfortable if it doesn't happen. If you have ever found yourself bidding more for a home than you thought it was worth, you lost your detachment.

Don't get thrown off in the heat of negotiations. Maintain equilibrium.