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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gambia can execute anyone, at any time

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

The Gambian President has decided to execute all death row inmates in just a matter of days, despite the serious concerns over whether the inmates received fair trials at all. There's no time for appeals or questions.

And to prove President Yahya Jammeh means every word -- the executions have already begun. This past weekend, nine individuals were dragged from their cells without warning or good-byes and executed. Just like that.

The prisoners were lined up and shot by firing squad. Now 38 others are at extreme risk of meeting the same end.

Don't let Gambia kill one more prisoner - stop the execution spree!

President Yahya Jammeh has set mid-September 2012 -- that's no more than 3 weeks from now -- as a deadline for carrying out this sickening plan. But he's already proven that he's not willing to wait long.

The only thing close to an explanation the President has given was during the televised speech in which he announced these plans, claiming that he wants "to rid the country of all criminals".

This is no way for a justice system, or a President for that matter, to operate. The death penalty in Gambia is often used to punish political dissent, disguised as "treason". President Jammeh has a history of making these kinds of cruel and outrageous remarks. He's recently threatened to behead all homosexuals and has urged Gambians to stop buying newspapers so that journalists would starve to death.

The insanity stops here -- no more executions in Gambia!

What's more shocking -- the executions Gambia carried out last week were the first in 27 years -- effectively ending an unofficial moratorium! Gambia is now the first West African country to execute prisoners in recent history.

These executions are a major blow to the global movement to abolish the death penalty. They violate international and regional human rights standards to which Gambia is a party. We can't let Gambia take a giant leap backwards for human rights -- stop the executions now!

In Solidarity,

Emily Helms
Country Specialist, Gambia
Amnesty International USA

birthday/ Old Spaghetti Factory/ Dashing Through the Snow

Aug. 11 Birthday: Today is my birthday.  I went to work in the morning.  After that, it was noon so I went to a bookstore and did some shopping.  My friend Jessica came and we went to the Bay and looked at bags and shoes.

Old Spaghetti Factory: Then we went to a restaurant for lunch called the Old Spaghetti Factory at West Edmonton Mall.  There's one by City Centre mall.  I've never ate there before.  I remember applying to each restaurant before years ago.  I ordered the lasagna.  The entree comes with soup.  I got the French onion soup; it was very cheesy and good.  I had that kind of soup at my restaurant before, but there wasn't that much cheese.

The lasagna was really good.  I never had a bad lasagna.  For dessert, it was a scoop of ice cream.  It was like pistachio, chocolate and vanilla mixed together.  The value was really good.  It was like $12.95 for all of soup, entree, and ice cream.  I recommend you go there.

On the comment card, I rated it excellent.  I also made a random comment that the hostess kind of looked like the actress AJ Cook from the TV show Criminal Minds.  She did look like the younger version of the actress.    

Comic book convention:
Then my friend Jessica drove me partway home through downtown.  There's this comic book convention at Grant MacEwan City Centre campus.  I see some people in costumes.  It turns out it's $30 admission just to enter.

Cariwest Festival: Jessica dropped me off in downtown and I went to the Cariwest Festival in Churchill Square.  There was loud music and people in bright costumes.  There was lots of food there.  There was one booth that sold some hair clips, and another that sold men's baseball caps and shirts.

Friends: I had some friends wish me a happy birthday in person and on Facebook.

Aug. 12: Also I talked to my friend Angela on the phone last night for 25 min.

Food: I ordered 2 large pizzas from Pizza 73 and my family and I ate it.  Then I also bought an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  It had a sail boat on it.  There was Elmo.  There was a butterflies cake.  There was one with two dolphins and one with a cat on it, and I had those designs before on previous birthdays. 

So I wanted something different.  The first I saw was a sail boat and I guess it stuck out for me because I wanted to sail away. 

Fun: Yesterday I made myself have fun.  I didn't look for an office job, pitch my script, read the business section of the newspaper or job articles like I usually do everyday.  I read book and movie reviews, and comics. 

Law of attraction: I was thinking: "I just want to have fun."  Then I thought of the song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper.  Hours later, I was going through the radio stations, and this song came on.

Aug. 15 Boston Pizza: I had gotten a gift card from there and I decided to use it.  I ordered their prime rib burger with fries.  It costs $11 with GST.  It was good and the value was worth it because the burger was big and there were a lot of fries.  However, if you are to buy burger and fries, you could go to any fast food place and get it for $6 or $7.

It turns out BP only takes gift cards if you're eating in or picking up the food.  The delivery drivers don't have the machines to take gift cards.  Not yet.

I then recycled some pens at Staples.

Friends: When I was going to BP, I bumped into my friend Sarah on the bus.  I asked if she her cell phone number has changed, and she said she doesn't have one any more because she doesn't use it.

Government: I did run an errand and I learned that the govt. doesn't take credit cards when you buy something from them.  They only take cash and debit.

Parker Young: A couple of weeks ago, I was checking what's on MuchMusic and a reality show called The Choice is on.  4 celeb guys sit in chairs that face away from the stage.  A girl comes on and has 30 seconds to tell the guys what they're like.  The guys have 30 seconds to make a decision if this girl sounds interesting enough to date.

One of the guys there was the actor Parker Young.  I've never seen him before, but he's on the TV show Suburbgatory.  He's hot in the athletic model kind of way.  Check him out:

Eric Johnson:
I've been watching Rookie Blue's 3rd season, and my favorite Edmonton actor Eric Johnson isn't on it anymore.  That's okay, the show is good and he was the bonus.  However, he came back last week with a beard.  This week he came on, and he shaved.  He looks really handsome.

I looked him up to see what else he's on, and he was on a Christmas TV movie called Deck the Halls.  It's based on a book by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark.  Here's a clip of the movie, but he's not in the clip.

Dashing Through the Snow: I was working at the Soup place in 2010, and this old lady Lucy who is a regular gave me a book called Dashing Through the Snow by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark.  It's a good mystery.  It's light and fun.  It kind of reminds me of The Baby-Sitter's Club because it's got the small town feel.  I like the book. 

They've written some Christmas mystery books together, and they have written books separately.  Mary is the mother, Carol is the daughter.

Here's an interview with them.  It's very heart-warming:

Aug. 19 Post Secret:

"I was turned down from 3 min. wage jobs this summer.  I feel worthless."  The picture has a man holding up a sign "I can be bought."

Me: I'm sure a lot of people feel that way in this economy.  I have experienced months of unemployment back in 2010.  Keep a positive attitude.

Here are some inspirational ones:

"There will never be a 'good' or 'right' time to do anything worth doing.  Do it anyway.  As soon as you can."

"Every time one of my secrets isn't posted...I take it as a sign from God to (crossed out) let go of it.   Get over it." 

Law of attraction: Yesterday I got home from work and thought I should go shopping.  The Zellers at West Ed mall has closed down.  I thought I should go to the one at Bonnie Doon.  I didn't because I was tired and planned to go on my day off.  Today after work, my mom said I could buy some new shoes and pants for work.  We then went to Bonnie Doon.

Shopping: There is a Dollerama that recently opened.  The other $1 store closed down.  There is now a customer service place in the mall.  The Zellers restaurant closed down.  The Zellers still has lots of cds, dvds, books, clothes to buy.  The food like chips is 10% off.

Aug. 21 Family Guy: I saw this episode a few weeks ago.  There's a scene where Stewie is driving a car and he hears on the radio to win Justin Beiber tickets.  He decides to call in while driving, and he hits a pole.

Radio DJ: You're caller #7.
The old perverted guy Herbert is on the phone.
Herbert: Alright!  "Never say never!"

lol.  "Never say Never" is JB song title.

Aug. 23 The Simpsons: I was watching the episode "Bart's Comet" on my birthday.  Bart discovers a comet and it was going to crash into Springfield.  I was watching it, and I don't remember this scene at the dinner table.

Homer: Then I drove away really fast before they got my license plate.
Lisa: That sounds like you had a good day dad.
Homer: But then I forgot to go to work.

Me: That's terrible.  You caused an accident and drove away really fast.  Also that's really funny that you forgot to go to work.  lol.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flag this message Send 1,000 masks to Putin

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

On August 17 three members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band who wear colorful masks to protect their anonymity, were sentenced to two years in jail for performing a protest song in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral.

The sentence was a major blow to free speech activists in Russia and around the world. But the global movement to help Pussy Riot has just begun. Be a part of it. Help us send a truckload of colorful masks to President Putin in protest.

The persecution of the three punk protestors is just one example of Putin’s efforts to clamp down on freedom of expression. Over the weekend, Pussy Riot reported that two other members fled Russia for protection. But the international attention generated by the Pussy Riot trial is galvanizing the free speech movement and sending Putin a clear message: The world is watching.

Tell President Putin that you’re watching too. Donate $20 or more to send a mask. Our goal is to bring 1,000 of these colorful masks, called balaclavas, outside the UN General Assembly in September which high-ranking Russian officials will attend. So far, we have 600. Will you help us reach our goal?

Amnesty International is working with partners including seminal punk rock club CBGB, musicians like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and others to demand the release of Pussy Riot.

We can win this fight. Please help us send a strong message to President Putin – we will not let Pussy Riot be silenced!

In Solidarity,

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

Stop hunting Pussy Riot!

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

As if the recent trial and sentencing of three members of Pussy Riot wasn't shameful enough, now Russian police are hunting down others in the band. But news broke yesterday that the two wanted members have successfully fled Russia to avoid prosecution for their alleged participation in the peaceful punk performance in a cathedral.

Make no mistake about it: Russian authorities are relentless. We watched in horror as stories, videos and tweets poured in from areas around the courthouse where Pussy Riot members were being tried. Reportedly, more than 5 truckloads of protestors were hauled away from the scene. Former world chess champion and opposition leader, Garry Kasparov, was even roughed up and thrown into a police van as he tried to speak to journalists outside the courtroom.

Just how far are the Russian authorities willing to go to silence voices of dissent?

Tell the Russian government to stop hunting Pussy Riot!

By this Friday, the convicted members of Pussy Riot -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 -- will have submitted an appeal for their 2-year sentences. As we wait for the court to set the hearing date, we will be preparing to spread some good news or sound the alarm, depending on the results.

More than 116,000 of you have helped to keep the fire for free speech in Russia burning by taking action. A special thanks to the more than 500 of you who are helping us send a colorful, but powerful, reminder to President Putin and his cronies. Your balaclavas, or ski masks -- like the ones Pussy Riot are known for wearing during their performances -- are piling up and we can't wait to send boxes upon boxes of them to Russia to show that we will not stop fighting until Nadia, Katja, and Masha are released!

There's still time to add your ski mask to the pile -- donate $20 or more and we'll send a ski mask to Putin with your name on it.

Russian authorities are testing the limits. They want to see just how far they can bend free speech before it breaks. We won't let it happen on our watch.

When Russian authorities enforce fear, we'll stand for peace.

When they evade responsibility and accountability, we'll demand justice.

And when Russian authorities demand silence. WE. GET. LOUDER!

Raise your voice with me -- free Pussy Riot now!

In solidarity,

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

optimism/ job interview/ retirement

Aug. 8 Optimism: Carol Brown sent me this article "The Secrets to Staying Optimistic while Unemployed."  I know I need to read this.  lol.

#13 says "Take it from them" as in use inspirational quotes.  I already do that.  #9 is "Look at the odds in your favor."  They have a good point that instead of looking at like you are 1 in 10 applicants for the job, look at like this: "It only takes one. Just one phone call, or email, or chance conversation at the coffee shop, or introduction, or job posting can be all it takes to leave unemployment behind."

#10 "Employ the 'one-day' principle" where you take it one day at a time.  It's also about what if this is your last day on earth, is this how you want to spend it fighting with someone?  #11 is "The Economy is not as bad as it seems" like how the newspaper only reports bad business news.  I read it everyday, and it's usually a mixed bag of news.  There is good news like new EI claims have dropped, but consumer confidence is still low.

It's about thinking differently like "#7 Don't compare yourself to anyone else" and #3 "Remember that everything changes."

Aug. 10 Job interview: Today I did a job interview at a school's food services.  I have done a few interviews there before.  One in Jan. 2011, and again in Aug. 2011.  Then I did another interview for another food department there in the fall 2011. 

I go there and there were 4 people interviewing me.  One asked questions though.  It was an okay interview, I felt at ease.  They asked good questions and I think I asked good questions too.  I asked what are the shifts, what the duties are.  I told them about my food service experience.  The uniform is a t-shirt with a logo. 

My reservations are how do I manage 2 jobs without burning out and feeling really stressed?  How do I maintain a work- life balance?  Here it is:

Schedule: This one is for another food department there.  The shifts are 3pm-9pm.  It may take 30min- 1hr to close, so I may leave by 10pm.  I would get home by 11pm and then wake up at 6am for work.

I'm imagining that I would work at my restaurant from 8am-12pm.  I take the bus home and sleep on the bus a bit and get home by 1:15pm.  At home, I will be on the computer checking my email and writing my emails.  I would take a shower, put away my tip money, maybe eat something.  I leave at 2pm and get to the school by 3pm. 

Or I get off the bus at the library and go on the internet for an hr there.  It saves me some time instead of going home.  To avoid burnout, I will have 2 days off at the restaurant.  I will work on the weekends there until 12pm.  I won't work in the afternoons there.  I will work at the school in the afternoons.

Fun: What about work-life balance?  I can still read the newspaper on the bus to and from work, and listen to music.  I can watch my TV shows on the weekends by going on the internet.  On the weekends I can pursue my writing career by pitching my script at those times.


Ask for a raise: The other day, a couple of young women I work with said they were afraid to ask for a raise.

Me: You don't have to be afraid, the worse that can happen is that they say no. 

The tip is, work for like 3 months and ask for a raise.  List some things that make you deserve to get a raise.

I guess I'm afraid that I work at my 2 jobs, and I won't be good at my new job.  I would end up getting dismissed.  Which is okay, because I have been dismissed before from Telemarketer #1 and #2 job.  The thing is: "Are you in physical danger?"  Then it's nothing to be really scared about.
Aug. 12 Rejects: Well there's nothing to be afraid of, because the school called me and said they're going to a different direction.  I wasn't hired and now I must analyze why.  I picked the night shift, and by all means there could be a lot of NAIT students who applied there and want to work nights because they have to go to class in the day.  Maybe they want more day time people.

Yeah, well at least they called when they said they would.  I had also called back this clothing store last week.  I talked about my availability, and she said she will have to think about it. She will call back in a couple of days if she wants to interview me.  She has not, and that's fine.

Book: I was reading my Job Interviews for Dummies book by Joyce Lain Kennedy.  If you get rejected, they won't tell you why you weren't hired.  Some reasons are they're scared to be sued for discrimination, so the less said, the less they will be sued about.  It's uncomfortable for managers to give a reason, and some interviewers can't tell you because the hiring managers above them didn't give any reasons either.

On Fri. I called the store back to set up a job interview.  I thought I got the time and place, but when I got there, that person wasn't there.  It could have been at another location.  I then gave my resume to the other manager at the store, and set up an interview for tomorrow.

Job: Somebody quit recently.  She has been working here for 2 yrs.  A few weeks ago, she and her long-time boyfriend broke up.  Maybe she needs a change.  Well I emailed her and asked why, and I also said we're going to miss her from the restaurant.

Aug. 14 Mental preparation: After I slept on it, I realized why I was more particularly disappointed when the school called to reject me.  I had gotten a phone call on my cell phone, and I didn't recognize the number.  I searched it on the internet and couldn't find it.  I thought it was going to be for an interview.  But it was a reject, and I wasn't mentally prepared for it.

However, I was mentally prepared for the medical clinic call back.  I called them back because they said they will make a decision in 2 weeks.  They said they went with someone else, which is fine.  I wasn't holding my breath for that one.

I thought that medical clinic was kind of interesting.  It stood out because the doctor brought his wife (who was in another medical profession) to help with the interviews.  I guess it's good to have another person with you to help judge and make sure you hired the right applicant.

It kind of reminds me when you're shopping for clothes with a friend, and the friend will tell you if it looks good on you or not.  lol.  

Store: Today I did a job interview at a store.  It lasted about 20min.  I thought the interview was okay.  She didn't write down my answers though.  I did learn it will probably take about 30min to close the store, so it's not too late for me to stay.  When it's really busy, 45min-1hr.  I can leave at 10pm and get home by 11pm.

The dress code is fine.  It looks like they're hiring a few people because some are only here for the summer.

Aug. 15 Record label: Jay Smith sent me this article "6 Things to Know when Starting a Record Label."  It's like starting on your own business and it's creative.  It talks about getting funding, legal stuff, and distribution.  It seems really hard and I'm not that interested in it.

Retirement: Hannah Peterson sent me this article "7 Expenses that can Kill your Retirement Fund."  The first one was helping adult children.

Here's a really good tip: "Some experts even suggest paying off debt rather than contributing to your retirement fund (if it’s a one-or-the-other situation), because of the high interest rates on debt compared to the low rate of return on retirement investments."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

business psychology/ keys to success/ momentum

Jul. 31: I'm nervous about my job interviews, so I'll do something productive to calm my nerves.  I will read job articles.

Business psychology: Alissa Alvarez sent me this article "The Essential Psychology Books for Business Students."  It has all these good books listed.  Here are a few.  I like the positive thinking/ attitude books:

The Winner's Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success by Jeff Brown, Liz Neporent, and Mark Fenske: "Your brain is more than just another organ in your body, as it controls everything that you do from breathing to complex mathematical calculations. Yet your brain can also hold you back, as these authors demonstrate that a large part of success is really all in your head."

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Anchor.

Here are a couple of books by 2 people I have seen TED talks from:

Predictable Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
by Clay Shirky.

Public speaking: Larry Dignan sent me this article "25 Online Tools to Teach Yourself Public Speaking."  I don't really do public speaking at my job, but this could help me prepare me for job interviews.

I like the "inspiration" section with American Rhetoric, TED talks, Rate Speeches where you can listen to good speeches that can inspire you to make a good speech.

Aug. 3: I did a mild job search today.  I went to the downtown Staples to recycle batteries, highlighters, and pens that don't work.  I went to Art Works and saw a Help Wanted sign. 

Me: Is it for part-time and nights?
Sales woman: It's for full-time and days.

It wasn't a fit for my schedule.  I see that the store Flurries closed down.  It sold bags and boots.  I saw one at Kingsway last month when I was there.

Keys to success: Here's something inspirational "Billionare's 20 Keys to Success."  I saw this on 20/20 months before and wrote about it on my blog.  But here's the list.

Aug. 7 Consulting: This consulting research has an effect on me.  I saw the promo for the new reality TV show Hotel Hell, where Gordon Ramsay goes to a hotel and observes on how to improve it.  I then thought that he was a consultant.  Well he is, and he's making a TV show out of it.

Job search: There was a job ad for a dental clinic.  It didn't say where, but I applied anyway.  He called and said it was in Fort Saskatchewan, so I turned it down.

College Pro Painters: I went through my blog, and it turns out I haven't wrote about it.  I picked up their brochure from a U of A career fair.  There is also Window Cleaning.  I did a little research on it there's an article: "Is College Pro a Scam?"

Here's an excerpt that explains it well: “'If a job is 30 hours and two painters are working on the job, they’re both paid for 15 hours of work. If they finish the job in 24 hours, they’re still paid for 15 even though they only worked 12,' Gibson says. 

On the flip side, if they work more, they’re still only paid for 15 hours each and that’s where conflicts can crop up. But at no time can a painter be paid less than minimum wage for their hours worked."

It's a franchise, and how it's not a right fit for everybody.  The brochure and article talked about how it does give real life business experience like recruit customers and painters, money management and scheduling.

Friends: Here's a way to get myself more on track with my job search.  I have a friend who's also looking for an office job, but she has a car and is more mobile than I am.  She's willing to work out of town like Nisku, so I send her those job ads when I come across it.

Retail: Today I finally set up an account at a store online, and applied for a job through there.  I was hesitant because it's like I'm giving up on my office job search.  If I have 2 jobs, then I won't really have as much time to devote to my office job search.  I signed up for a part-time retail job.

I can scale down my hours at my restaurant job if I feel it's too much.  It could be 20hrs at each job, then it would be 40hrs in total.  It's like a have 1 full-time job.  I'm good with time management and still do my job search. 

I guess my other fear is that, I have worked at this store before a few years back.  I was dismissed after a few weeks.  It's the saying "Last one hired, gets fired."  Three people were to be dismissed.  My manager told me that two were dismissed because they each only work one day a week, which is too little.  I was one of three new people who were to be dismissed.  I had a one in three chance, and I was dismissed.

That's fine.  I wasn't really attached to the job, and I did get some warning that there were dismissals in the air so I wasn't surprised.  It was the person above my manager that made the decision.  After that, it did lead me to the Soup place where I have worked there for 2 yrs.

Momentum: After setting up one account and applying to one job, it then helped build momentum to set up an account at another store.  I found this business card I got a few years ago.

I applied to a big retail store at West Ed mall.  I have applied and done interviews at American Eagle Outfitters back in 2006.  At the interview, the guy said it takes 2hrs to close the store.  The store closes at 9pm, and to clean up and put everything back, it will be done by 11pm.  That's too late for me to work.  However, if I get an interview at this other store, it may be different.

Aug. 8 Stores: I got a call back from both of those stores I applied.  I called one and told them about my availability.  I'm kind of interested in working there.  Then I am more interested in the store that I had worked at before.  One energy company called me.  I was looking for the ad when I typed the phone number in, but it wasn't there.

Aug. 9 Non-profit: There are some non-profit positions that pay well.  I found one for E4C and it's a position that needs someone with 2 or 3 yrs experience.  It pays $16/hr and it has benefits.  The one I read was temporary.

Callback: I got a call from that school.  They didn't hire me, but they'll keep my resume.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pussy Riot

I got this from Amnesty International.

Tell Russia: Free Pussy Riot Now!
Last Friday, Russian authorities sentenced Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolonnikova to two years in a penal colony for exercising their right to Freedom of Expression. 
Click here now to demand their immediate release.
Authorities charged the women with hooliganism on grounds of "hatred, planned and committed by a group of people." Expert legal opinions accepted that although the action may have been offensive to some, there was no evidence that the women had aimed at inciting hatred.
Say what you will about Pussy Riot: this may not be your kind of music. Some people find their shows offensive.
But it doesn't change the facts: Since March, these young women have been in jail and kept from their families, including small children, and they now face two years imprisonment - all because of a peaceful protest song that lasted less than a minute. Even if the performance was calculated to shock and cause offense, the activists left the Cathedral when requested and caused no damage.
The European Court of Human Rights states that freedom of expression applies not only to inoffensive ideas, but "also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population".
Amnesty International now considers Pussy Riot to be Prisoners of Conscience, and we won't give up on them.
Act now: Tell the Russian authorities to release Pussy Riot immediately!
Thank you,
Amnesty International

Wake up, world: Syrians are dying

 I got this from Amnesty International:


Amnesty International just completed a mission in Syria, where we met with residents caught in the bitter battle for control of Aleppo – the country’s economic capital and largest city.

Amnesty Crisis Adviser Donatella Rovera shot alarming video footage of families who are living amidst the bombings, executions and other atrocities being committed by government forces and militias working alongside the Syrian military.

We are working to get this damning footage into the hands of journalists around the world. Support our work and help ensure that our first-hand video is seen by influential members of the media.

Government forces are attacking densely populated urban areas where the opposition is believed to be based, conducting air and artillery strikes that have injured and killed many civilians. One man told Donatella that he returned from work to find his home flattened:

“When I went to work, I never thought that it was the last time I would see my family. I lost all that was dearest to me – my children, my wife, my brother, my cousins – everybody.”

The civilian deaths Donatella witnessed are clear violations of international humanitarian law.

Amnesty International goes fearlessly into conflict areas to document abuses and report them to the international community. Help Amnesty International shout “Wake Up, World!” with breaking reports, images and video.

The findings of Donatella’s latest mission build on satellite images Amnesty International released last week showing the extent of likely artillery bombardment near Aleppo. The images, obtained by commercial satellites from July 23-August 1, show more than 600 craters – many near residential areas.

Donatella's footage captures the faces of the families who took shelter from those bombings.

I know you can sense the urgency with which I write this message. We must keep our eyes on Syria and continue to call on the international community to stop the killing once and for all.  You can help – donate today.


Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Forced from home. Nowhere to live.

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

Next week, key officials are convening for the 2012 UN World Urban Forum in Italy to help shape "The Urban Future" in relation to housing and urban development.

However, for the more than 2 million people a year who live in slums and are displaced through forced evictions, the future is uncertain. Slum dwellings are the informal settlements -- entire communities -- set up for families who do not have permission, or are unable, to live anywhere else.

It should not be like this. And it does not have to be.

Forced evictions are illegal under international and regional law. In other words, you cannot be forcibly evicted -- no matter where you live.

Help us end forced evictions in Africa.

In a few days, we will have the ears of key African dignitaries-- including representatives from the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Union, among others. We can urge them to put an end to this injustice and ensure individuals have safe and secure homes.

Individuals like business graduate, Al Hassan Abdallah.

Al Hassan experienced slum-dwellings first-hand when he arrived in Accra, Ghana, in 2005. Like thousands of other Ghanaians, he ended up in Old Fadama -- one of Accra's largest slums where forced evictions occurred regularly. He had to carry his valuables and documents with him at all times.

Al Hassan was never sure if his home would be there when he returned.

Most people at risk of eviction -- like Al Hassan -- work, pay taxes, vote, put their children through school and contribute to the city's economy like other urban residents. But they are barred from access to city budgets, and have limited or no access to clean water, adequate sanitation, schools, health care or security.

African governments must follow through on their obligations. Call on all African governments to end forced evictions now!

The 2012 UN World Urban Forum is a great setting to remind officials of their human rights obligations.

Ensure that African governments and institutions respect, protect and fulfill the human right to housing.

In solidarity,

Tanuka Loha
Demand Dignity Campaign Director
Amnesty International USA

long weekend/ comedy comparisons/ Pregnancy Pact

Aug. 7 Long weekend: I worked in the mornings of Sat. and Sun. as usual.  However, a producer sent me a script to read, and I read it and made notes on it.  I then sent it to him.

Shopping: I did do some fun stuff like go to City Centre.  Did you know the store Tea Desire moved their store?  It went to where the old shoe store Feet First was in.  This new location is so good with the bright lights to show off all their teapots and mugs.  They also sold tea.

Concord Diamond closed down, but there are still lots of jewelry stores like Silversmith, Peoples, and Boulevard Diamond.

I went to Zellers website, and all the Edmonton locations have closed down except the one at West Ed mall and Bonnie Doon.  There's still the one at Kingsway, but they're not liquidating yet.

Aug. 9: Also Jacob clothing store is selling perfume now.  Dollerama also sells fragrances too.  I didn't know that.  There are lots of sales because summer is ending and they need to clear stuff out for the fall.

Happy Harbor Comics: I went there last month before an appointment.  It's by MacEwan City Centre campus.  They're like other comic book stores with comics, toys, books, etc.  If you're into that stuff, check it out.

Law of attraction:

Last month I heard the song "Lonely no more" by Rob Thomas (of the band Matchbox 20) at Bonnie Doon mall.  I really like that song.  Later that day I went to Kingsway mall, and they were playing that song.

Last month I was thinking about this guy that used to work at Restaurant #2.  He wasn't a really good worker because he missed shifts and was late.  One time he came in when there was an 1hr and a half left of work, so the boss said they didn't need him.  I thought about him and then later that day I was in downtown, and I ran into him.

Summer fun: Isabella Loren sent me this article "8 Ways to Make Summer School Feel like a Vacation."  It's a light article like study by the pool.  It did mention reading for pleasure, that's why there's something called "summer reading."

Comedy comparisons:

Eating in bed: I thought of this as I was eating chips in bed.  On Family Guy, there was a clip of Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street sleeping in the same bed.

Ernie: I really wish you would stop drinking.
Bert:  Yeah, well I really wish you stop eating cookies in bed because you're leaving crumbs everywhere!
Ernie: You're shouting Bert, stop shouting.

It's like on Angel season 1.  Cordelia's apartment had cockroaches so she stays at Angel's place.  Cordelia was eating breakfast, and Doyle enters.  Angel enters wearing a robe and shorts.

Angel: Cordelia, you got peanut butter on my bed.
Cordelia: I didn't eat peanut butter in your bed.  I don't know how it got there.
She leaves.
Doyle is upset because it looked like Angel and Cordelia slept together.

Doyle: Angel, you know I liked her.
Angel: She slept in the bed, I slept on the couch.

Joke: I was going through my agenda, and I heard this joke when I was working at Telemarketer #2 job.

"What did one stop light say to another?  Don't look, I'm changing."

Answering machines:
When I worked at Telemarketer #2, I called some numbers that gave me some funny answering machine messages.

"Leaving a message on an answering machine is like standing and saying your name on a crowded bus.  Some sit down and some feel comfortable.  So what are you in life of a crowded bus?"

"You got the machine which is probably due to a teenage crisis.  When it's diverged, we'll call back."

"This machine is linked in to kill this kitten if you don't leave a message.  (Meowing.)  If you don't leave a message, I will kill it.  The choice is yours."

Positive: Also when I worked there, one worker shared a story about how he called this woman.  They talked a bit and she said she had cancer and she's too busy and has to go to the hospital for chemotherapy.  She did buy the tickets later as a way to treat herself.

Wes Brown: I was checking out this actor on Youtube, and there's a little interview of him.  He talks about True Blood, and how he's on Scandal and Hart of Dixie.  He talks about he's so grateful and blessed for the work he's gotten.  The comments on Youtube are really nice.

He seems really down to earth.  He also wears dark frame glasses that I haven't seen him in before.

Donnel Shawn: I was reading my 2009 agenda and I have written him down.  He's a R&B singer and here's his song "Superhero."  Check it out:

College majors: Hazel Taylor sent me this "10 College Majors Most Likely to Experience Depression."  One of them is law.  I agree with this, because I saw someone go into law and graduate.  "Debates swirl over whether or not the actual structure of the classes directly contributes to this unfortunate statistic, or if law school just attracts a particularly depressed demographic."

The person I know wasn't depressed before she got into law school.  After she graduated, she was really happy to not be practicing law.  She has a career, and makes money.

Other things were creative like creative writing, arts, and liberal arts because there isn't good job security.  Did you know that architecture has a 13% unemployment rate?  Medicine, engineering, and IT have good job security, but it's also really hard to study.

Aug. 10 Writing: It's interesting.  When I write about happy things like the above jokes, my mood lifts up.

Pregnancy Pact: I saw this TV movie a few weeks ago.  It was on a Fri. night and I wanted to have some fun.  This came out in 2010.  It was based on a true story in 2008.  The story in the news was how a group of teen girls made a pact to get pregnant on purpose so they could raise their kids together.

The actors are Thora Birch (American Beauty) who plays the reporter Sidney Bloom who investigates the story for her teen news website.  She was living in that small town for a couple years before she moved away.  It's mainly about Sara (Madisen Beaty) and her 3 friends who get pregnant on purpose.  These are two protagonist and the stories keep it between these two.

First off, they make the teen girls who get pregnant look really dumb.  Like getting pregnant on purpose isn't stupid enough, they ignore the health risks they put their babies in.  One smokes during her pregnancy.  Another one says she's going to have a sip, or half a drink of alcohol at a party.  Later, there's a scene where they do drink when they're pregnant.

Sidney has a high school ex-boyfriend Brady (David Clayton Rogers).  He is now working at the school as a vice-principal.  It was a good story when it's slowly revealed that Sidney got pregnant and she gotten an abortion.  He has now moved on and gotten married and has 2 kids.  He really wanted her to have the baby and get married, but she didn't.

It's not until the end, Sidney makes a video for her website and says: "I said I had an abortion.  But I didn't.  Then conveniently my parents moved me to Florida.  I didn't have an abortion.  I gave it up for adoption."  There's drama as Brady says he will try to find his son, and Sidney tells him that if he does find him, don't tell her.

Sara's storyline is that she has a boyfriend named Jesse and they talk about marriage.  Sara's 3 friends are pregnant, and then she gets pregnant on purpose too.  She explains to Sidney that having a baby and being married makes her happy.  Sara's mom Lorraine (Nancy Travis.  I've seen her play a mom in TV movie The Party Never Stops) sees her throwing up.  She knows she's pregnant.

There are the consequences like how Sara's dad drags her to Jesse's house to tell him she's pregnant.

Lorraine (to husband): She faces humiliation, we face humiliation.
They fight because there are hospital bills.

Jesse says he feels guilty and stupid that he didn't pull out or buy condoms without anyone knowing.  Later Rose has her baby and has 37 stitches and tore herself down there.  I didn't predict that.  The baby is in the incubator.

It turns out it's $13,000 for one slot in a daycare.  Sidney says: "Pass out a condom that's $1 to prevent this."  Sidney buys condoms for a teen girl because she's too embarrassed to buy them for herself.  So Sidney buys it for her and says: "You either be uncomfortable for a couple of min. buying them or extremely uncomfortable for 9 months."

It's an average TV movie.  I recommend you watch it on Youtube, like I did:

The Pregnancy Project:
I found this TV movie starring Alexa Vega (Spy Kids).  It's based on a true story of how a teen girl named Gaby Rodriguez fakes a pregnancy for her school project.

Here's a clip and interview.  However, this TV movie isn't on Youtube.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

magazine consultant/ story editor/ creativity

Aug. 3 Magazine consultant: Ryan Dorhn works with business owners, marketing directors and publishing companies.  This is his business site called Brain Swell Media. 7 Story editor: I Google "How to be a story editor."

This is a helpful article.  A story editor reads the script and forms it to the director's view.  I did learn that time frame has an effect on how you work.  There are priorities that change that as soon as funding is in, you're working on the script because it will be shot soon.

TV story editor:
There's one part for scripted television.
1. Write a script for a TV show that already exists, or write an original story. 
2. Submit your scripts to TV agents.
3. Get hired on a TV show and learn as much as you can.
4. Lobby for a promotion from staff writer to story editor.

Career planner:
I did find this site where you can look up job descriptions.

I found this bookmark on my desk.  It stands for Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Association.  It's something I picked up when I was at Coles bookstore at City Centre.  I remembered it was either in 2011 or 2010. 
The author Lord Ronald Streeter was promoting his picture book called Grumpy Brother Christmas.  The story is the Father Christmas broke his leg, so his grumpy Brother Christmas who doesn't like kids has to do his job.
You can pitch your story to them.  There are author success stories and testimonials.
Aug. 9 Script pitch: Today is my day off and I spent 3hrs this morning looking for an office job.  This afternoon, I pitched my script to this production company.  I found this note on my desk that I wrote back in 2010 that told me to pitch to them.
There were also a few other production companies I was supposed to mail my pitch, synopsis, and submission release form to.  I did that earlier this week.  I had lost this piece of paper, and I was also busy focusing on my office job search in 2011 that I didn't do this.  Also my printer wasn't working, but now it does I can print out that stuff to send in.

Stephanie Levac:
Also her name was written on the same paper.  I checked my email account to find her, but it must have been deleted.  I then Google her and she's on Twitter.  This must be her because she's part of the National Film Board.
I decided to follow her on Twitter.  On another note, she kind of looks like Amy Winehouse.  I've been listening to AW on Youtube, but these two look alike with the same dark hair.

Page Master:
I found this note in my 2009 agenda to submit to Page Master Publications.  I did some research, and it's really a self-publishing company in downtown.  It publishes your books and art.  If you're interested, check it out:

Carte- Blanche:
Also from the same agenda it said "Submit to Carte- Blanche."  It's a literary magazine.  I heard about it through one of my creative writing classes in college.  I submitted a story.  I have submitted short stories since Oct. 2011.
Aug. 10 Creativity: This is related to my writing email.  I need to be more creative in my scripts.

Tim Handorf sent me this article "101 Creativity Tips for Teachers."  There are 101 tips, but it's a fast and easy read.  It's not just for teachers, but for anybody who wants to be creative.  #55 was "Give freedom, but have a focus. Give students a focus so that they have a goal to work towards."

That's like me with my job search.  I'm imagining other jobs like a dance teacher.  A little out of the ordinary, but there was a focus to a job.  

The sections are divided: Finding creative inspiration, capitalizing on the creative spark, inspiring students, creative activities, sharing and collaborating, and educate yourself. 

"#66 Get Hypothetical. Creating hypothetical situations  is one way to get creative. When you consider what could happen, potential solutions, and likely reactions, you can open up whole new avenues of thinking."  I do that with my creative writing situations for my script.  As in "What if the story was about this character instead of this one?  What would happen if we make the story about him instead?  Would it be darker?"
The thing is to focus on productive hypothetical situations like for my writing and job search.  Don't think about my hypothetical daughter working at Hooters and what I would do.  That's not a productive way to use my time and creativity.
Aug. 13 Common Ties: I'm feeling kind of down after I got another reject from a job.  I switched gears to writing.  I was going through my old emails and found that I have submitted some stories to Common Ties magazine back in 2007.  I tried to find the website and it said it had "problem loading page."  It may not exist anymore.
Accenti: I then found Accenti magazine also from my 2007 emails.  I did find a writing contest, but the entry fee is $20.  The magazine still exists.  The website looks good.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Get a "Putin vs Punk Rock" T-shirt

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

Yesterday a Russian court found 3 members of Pussy Riot
for singing a protest song in a church. Stand in solidarity
with Masha,
Katja & Nadia with a Free Pussy Riot tshirt,
made possible by
our friends at the legendary punk club CBGB.
Every purchase you
make supports our efforts to fight for human rights.
Visit our store.





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