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, November 29, 2012

Why did Noxolo die?

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

"Noxolo was loved for being a mother, friend, soccer player and activist, she will never be forgotten by her loved-ones."
- Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee Colleagues

Why did she die?

Noxolo Nogwaza was murdered on her way home from a night out with friends. In the early hours of April 24, 2011, her attacker(s) raped, repeatedly beat and stabbed the 24 year-old—apparently because of her sexual orientation.  Noxolo was an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in South Africa.

A year after her death, no progress has been made in the investigation into her murder and her killer(s) remain at large. Help change that. Demand justice for Noxolo.

She was a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, an organization that aims to empower and inform LGBTI people and to combat hate crimes, victimization and injustice through education and awareness-raising activities.

Sadly, homophobia and hate crimes against LGBTI individuals are common in South Africa, particularly against those living in townships and rural areas. Definitive statistics are difficult to obtain as the South African government does not classify rapes according to sexual orientation.  However, in the last five years, there have been at least 10 reported cases of rape followed by murder of lesbians in townships across the country.

South African authorities must urgently take steps to put an end to these crimes. With your help, we can make sure that they do.

Please take action now. Tell the Police Commissioner to thoroughly investigate Noxolo's death and bring her killer(s) to justice.

Thank you for standing with us.


Linda Harris and Sadie Healy
Country Specialists, South Africa
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Noxolo's case is part of our annual Write #4Rights event. From December 5 - 16, we will build on Amnesty's 51-year tradition of writing letters to save lives. Thousands will gather in classrooms, coffee shops, community centers and more -- united by the power of the letter and for the cause of writing for human rights. Learn more and get involved.

A holiday message for you

I got this from Amnesty International:

"It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness."-Chinese proverb

career specialist/ debt infographic/ online job search

Nov. 12 Career specialist: I worked yesterday on Sun.  It wasn't really busy because there were cancelled reservations.  Today was so busy.  I read the business newspaper to relax.  There's a job advice column, and the people who give advice are career specialists.  I looked at my blog to see if I researched this already.

I wrote about a career development specialist here:

Ehow: A career specialist helps job seekers find jobs.

The education is training in human resources, training and development, and organizational development.  They can work in education, govt. agencies, staffing agencies, and non-profits.

Furniture merger: Today I read that the Brick and Leon's furniture stores are merging together so they could stay in business when Target comes to Canada.

Nov. 13 Henry's Finer Things: I want to add about Henry's Finer Things on 124 street in Edmonton.  They sell furniture, but mainly decorative items.  They also have a Feng shui consultant for $75/hr.  This is quite a unique furniture store.

Sales specialist:
I was looking for a job on Kijiji and this one popped up.  My Majors says it's like retail with stocking items, prepare sales contracts, etc.

The education was: Selling skills and Sales operations, and Vehicle and Vehicle parts and accessories marketing operations.

Sears: I was looking for a holiday job, and the Sears at Bonnie Doon is hiring.  They say you need to work on weekends.  The restaurant needs me to work on weekends.  Sears pays $10/hr on the clothing sections, and the makeup counter gets like at least $13/hr on one ad.  I can probably make more money at the restaurant on the weekends because of the tips.

Nov. 14: I was reading more about the Brick/ Leon's merger.  They were also competing against Sears because they do sell appliances and furniture too.

Holiday job search: I got a callback from Call Centre #6 to come into work.  It's been really busy at the restaurant.  I haven't looked for a holiday job as much I have last year because I was working at the restaurant so much.

Last year was different.  I worked at the restaurant until noon.  I then go and work at my holiday job at the Fruit Place for two weeks.  The restaurant wasn't as busy last year.

Nov. 16 Debt infographic: Colin White sent me this infographic called "American Debt Collection: Spiraling out of Control."  I learned that debt collectors work for min. wage and they get commission for the debt they collect.  They can be aggressive and harass the people who don't pay their credit card bills on time.

If they harass you, there are tips at the end: If they say they will sue you for delinquency, "go to court and ask for a documentation, it's usually not provided, or not worth it for debt collectors to find it."

Nov. 17 Hudson's Bay Company: I've been reading in the business section of the newspaper how HBC has a discount retail department store named Fields and how they're shutting it down.  I have never seen a Fields store in Edmonton.  I had to go to the official website to see the locations are in Athabasca and Barrhead.

Nov. 19 Saying: I was watching one of the Criminal Minds new eps called "The Apprenticeship."  A manager fires someone by saying: "I can't do my job if you can't do yours."  She's got a point.

I was thinking about the Soup place and how that one co-worker kept missing Mon. and Tues.  She can't do her job on those days when she's gone, but we can manage without her.

For example, an office job: You have to send something out, but the editor hasn't proofread what the writer wrote.  You can't do your job of sending it out until the editor has read it.  It's really about prioritizing and the editor may not know that this is high priority.

Nov. 20 Online job search: I went and looked at Claire's website to apply.  I'm at the North America one, and the only jobs there are in Illinois.  I called the Coles at City Centre to ask if they're hiring for the holiday season.  They said go on the internet.  I did and they're hiring at West Ed mall and South Edmonton Commons.

I take a 1hr bus ride to work.  I want to work in downtown like at the Fruit Place last year.  It's easier to get from the restaurant to the Fruit Place that way.  I can then go home easier if I worked in downtown.

Today it's also cold outside (-11 degrees.)  If I'm not going to wait for the bus and go to downtown to pass out my resumes, then I'm staying at home and applying for jobs on the internet.

Nov. 21: Last year, I was working like part-time hours at the restaurant (less than 30 hrs a week.)  Now I'm working more than 30hrs a week.  I'll give the stores my availability, but I may not get hired. 

Job list: I'm looking at this list that Call Centre #1 gave me back in 2006 when it closed down.  It has call centres that closed down like Convergys and Leger.  It also has Call Centre #5, and #6.   Throw in some restaurants, stores, and hotels.  I'm going through it because there are some things and places I haven't thought of in my job search.

Liquor delivery call centre: I then Google it with Edmonton, and I got this.  They're really far away.

RTO Rent-to-own: I Google it with Edmonton careers, and I only got websites to rent- to-own homes.

Ikon Solutions: I Google it and there are 3 locations, and it's now called Ikon Office Solutions.  It sells office supplies.

Quality Care Solutions Call Centre: I Google it with Edmonton at the end, and I get "Quality Call Care Solutions" and it's in Westmount.

I Google it, and it shows RONA, and Revy Home and Garden.

Waste management: I Google it with Edmonton.  There are 3 locations and they're far away.

Ecco Heating: I don't think I've heard of them before.  They're really far away.

Office job: I did apply to one office job on the list.  It's a good company.  It's big and I can grow and learn it.  I can use my call centre skills there.
This was on the list.  It turns out, it merged with  If you look for a job in a city, and press "search" on   It will go to

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

elections/ reading/ actors

Nov. 7 Elections: Barack Obama got a 2nd term in the White House.  I'm happy about that. Also relieved that Mitt Romney didn't win.

Flashback: I remember when Obama was voted in back in 2008.  I was very happy about that.

I even remember in 2004, when I got home from school.  It turns out President George W. Bush got a 2nd term and I was disappointed that Senator John Kerry didn't win.

Crazy day: Today it was snowing so hard.  I had a doctor's appointment at 10:30am.  I left at 10:03 am to catch the bus as 10:10am.  It was 10:25, and the 10:30 bus should come.  I walked the 1min back home and asked my dad for a ride.

Fortunately he said yes.  He didn't really have anywhere to be today.  I have to express gratitude that we had a car, and a garage to put it in.  When it snows on your car, it takes time to get the snow off the windows.  I know that from my friends who have cars, but no garage. 

The office was really close by and I got there by 10:33 am.  My dad offered to wait with me there, and we read the newspapers.  I had to wait 45 min to see a dr.  That's fine, I'm used to it.  I wasn't impatient because I was reading.  It took less than a min. to get a prescription.  Tomorrow after work, I'll get the prescription. 

The roads were really snowy.  I had an appointment with my Counselor today, and I thought of cancelling it because of the roads.  She thought the same thing, and we rescheduled.

Mental health: I thought about how this anti-depressant could be a placebo.  Maybe I don't need it.  I quit for a few days, and now I'm sad.  I don't have an appetite and I can't really concentrate.

I found this saying and I will collect in my quotes: "The first step toward change is awareness; the second step is acceptance." -N. Brandon

I am self-aware of what gets me angry.  Yesterday I had to watch that Dr. Phil ep about that girl who got pregnant on purpose.  I knew it was going to get me angry.  I thought of: "How about you print off a bunch of resumes and take the bus to mall and look for that holiday job?  That way you're not in the house watching this show."  But if I was at the mall, then the entire time I would be thinking: "I have to get home and watch this show."

Watch the episode, but don't let it take over your life.

Nov. 10 Feelings: The past couple of days was busy at the restaurant.  I know the next two days are going to be busy too for the long weekend.  The major snowfall has taken over the city, and it's harder to get around town.  I feel kind of stressed out.  The thing is, I go to work and work hard.  I go home and relax by watching TV and reading the newspaper.

Reading: I read the 24 newspaper on the bus to work.  I need to know what's going on in the city and in the world.  I go home and then I read the business sections of the newspapers the Edmonton Journal, National Post, and the Globe and Mail.  I read the comics, scan to see the entertainment section to see if there's anything interesting.  I do like reading the Globe and Mail's Life section because of the human interest stories.

My dad asked me if I am reading his book he got Don't Waste Your Time by Edwin B. Feldman, P.E.  I'm halfway through it.  I'm also halfway through From Across the River, the Poetry Institute of Canada's anthology.  My short story "Chase" was published in it. 

A couple of weeks ago, one of my co-workers offered to lend me the book Fifty Shades of Grey to read.  I turned it down, because I have so much to read.  I would like to read the book to see what the hype is all about, but I don't really like reading novels.

As a kid/ teen, I like to read fiction.  I want to be transported into a place I've never been before.  It could be realistic fiction like The Baby- Sitter's Club series by Ann M. Martin or the Fearless series by Francine Pascal.  I did read some Nancy Drew books.  I read for fun.

As I got into my early 20s, I like to read non-fiction like the newspaper.  I read the news to inform myself, I read to learn.  I do read book, TV, and movie reviews for fun.  There is interior decorating to read in the Homes section of the Edmonton Journal.

Isla Fisher: She's an actress and was in the movie Wedding Crashers.  She was also in Confessions of a Shopaholic

“After doing that (Wedding Crashers), I had 12 months where I was auditioning three times a day and I didn’t get a single job.  That was a real low point.  But with hindsight, those movies turned out to be awful, so I dodged a bullet.  If I’d got any of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” –Isla Fisher

This quote resonated with me because it's about her job search and mine.  I feel like with some places I didn't get hired at or did interviews for, I can look back and say: "That wasn't for me."  Kind of like that job where I went door-to-door selling subscriptions. 

Actors: That's why I don't really want to be a big famous actor.  You get the admiration and money.  However, there are times where you do a terrible movie, and you flopped in front of everybody.  At the very least, you get made fun of.  At the very most, your career is not as good afterwards.

Here are a couple of examples.  The least:

Jamie Foxx was on Jay Leno.  They were doing a sketch at the beginning of the show.

Leno: I love your movie.  I think everybody should watch it.
Foxx: Thank you.  I'm glad you like Ray so much.
Leno" What?  Ray?  I was talking about Ray, I was talking about your movie Booty Call.
The audience laughs.

Booty Call was made before Ray.

The most: I remember going on Fametracker Forums back in 2003 to say I didn't like the movie Batman and Robin.  I was 13 yrs old when I saw it on TV, and I didn't like it.  Someone then made a comment:

"Have you noticed that after Batman and Robin, Chris O'Donnell and Alicia Silverstone never really got any good roles after that?"

Me: Oh, yeah.  Now O'Donnell is on NCIS: Los Angeles and Silverstone did some work on the show Surbagatory.  She wrote a book about healthy living.  Here it is:

Hindsight: You know the saying: "Hindsight is 20/20 vision."'s definition of hindsight: "recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edmonton Publishing/ entrepreneur quiz/ I got published

Nov. 14 Edmonton publishing: I Google "Edmonton trade publications."  It lead me to this site:

Edmonton Journal: The first one on that list is this.  I did send my resume to them before.

Edmonton Sun: I think I did apply there.  I read in the Edmonton Journal business section that the Sun Media Corp is laying off 500 employees.

Edmonton Examiner: I applied there too, quite awhile back.  Maybe I should apply again.

Alberta Farmer: I clicked on it, and the website is a list of other Canadian newspapers and magazines.

I Google "Alberta" and it leads to these agriculture websites:

Alberta Views: This looks like a good website.  It's from Calgary.  In the About section, it writes about: "politics, education, industry, public service and the arts."

Edmonton's Child Magazine: I don't believe I've heard of this magazine before.  Maybe saw it in a waiting room.  It could be another parenting magazine in the waiting room.

Here's a good article about homelessness in Edmonton and the charities like: Boyle Street, Hope Mission, the Mustard Seed.

Greenwoods Bookshoppe: This was also on the list.  Here's an article that the bookstore closed down.

Edmonton Bookstore:
This independent book store is still open though.

Alberta Venture: This is Alberta's business magazine.  The website is very organized.

Entrepreneur quiz: Alberta Venture has this really good quiz: "What kind of entrepreneur are you?"  Here are a couple questions:

6. If given the choice, you’d rather:
A. Come up with something new
B. Try to do something that people say you can’t
C. Deal with real-life, concrete situations

Me: I would pick C. 

 8. Your legacy will be defined by:
A. What you made
B. Why you made it
C. How much you made in making it

Me: I would pick A.  I was thinking about my blog.  You can look at the blog I made. 

It turns out I picked 4 As and 4 Cs so I am "the visionary" and "the professional."  The B is
"the hero." 

Canada Wide Magazines and Communications Ltd: This is a really big company.  They have 11 self-owned magazines, 30 custom publications for clients, 10 e-newsletters, and 8 websites.

AGWA: It stands for Alberta Game Warden Association.  It's a non-profit by the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers Association.

Faze magazine: This is a Canadian magazine for teens.  I remember reading this and getting it for free at my school libraries.  I just checked out their website.  I was reading a Ed the Sock (from MuchMusic) and this woman Red who give advice to teens.  I thought the advice was good.

I read a few questions and it's like teens not getting along with their siblings, parents, people, etc.

Publishing consultant: I had written this down, but didn't research it until now.  Here's how it's defined:

"Ideally, a publishing consultancy should cover all services to authors from writing classes and assessments through to editing and marketing your work to publishers. We take authors at all stages of their development allowing writers to choose which service they require at a particular time.

For example, a writer may want an assessment from the publishing consultancy but prefers to market their own work to publishers. Another writer may want their work edited but not assessed. Another may request marketing only.

While it is preferable that an author go through all the stages of development on their script for the best results, publishing consultancies should work with authors according to their needs. So find out what the publishing consultancy offers and ask the same kinds of questions as indicated earlier in this text."

Mackwood Publishing: I did find this good publishing consultant family.  They say they help and guide writers with their projects.

Nov. 16 Resume: Today I found this writer's ad I cut out a long time ago.  I think I applied for it, but I will again.  I emailed my resume, cover letter, and the two movie reviews of The Fourth Kind and Daybreakers as my writing samples.

Nov. 20 Script flashback: I'm clearing out clutter in my room, and there are drafts of my script The Vertex Fighter.  I have drafts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 printed out.  Draft 5 is really the first completed 90 pages script.  Drafts 1, 2, 3, 4 weren't 90 pages.  I remember that night in March 2009, I pushed myself and completed it.  I felt so happy.

I printed it out on scrap paper.  I see that it was on my old Professional Writing college registration handbook papers.  I then sent Draft 5 to a production company that rejected it, and it was sent back to me.  I have two Draft 5s.  Now I'm going to throw out one of them because it's redundant to have two.

I guess I kept that Draft 5 as a memory and token of that night where I finally completed a full- length screenplay.  Yeah, well I still have that other copy.  I guess I'm writing about it, so I can get over it and move on.

Old me: As a kid and teenager, I was fun, funny, imaginative, and right-brain.  I liked to watch TV instead of do stuff.  I liked to read fiction so I can be transported to a different world.

Now I'm an adult, I'm serious, practical, businesslike, and left-brain.  I do like to watch TV, but I'm more inclined to do stuff.

Nov. 21 Script pitch: Here's something I haven't done in awhile: pitch my script.  I had written down a TV production company on a piece of paper.  I researched it, and it created the TV show Less than Kind.  I think I may have pitched to them before.  I checked my email account to see if I got an email from them.  None.

I checked my blog to see if I had pitched to them.  I didn't find anything.  So I decided to pitch to them.  If I did pitch to them before, it wasn't this year.  It was probably from the past 3 years.

Nov. 24 I got published: I got 2 movie reviews published at The Golden Vanguard.  This time when I wrote the reviews, I found it easier to write.

Here's the review for Cabin Fever:


Thursday, November 22, 2012

skip college/ college businesses/ career coach

Oct. 29 Skip college: Alissa Alvarez sent me this article "10 Famous CEOS who Think You Should Skip College."

#3 is Warren Buffet and it says: "the best education is investing in yourself. Whether this means college or something else, the important thing is to always be improving your abilities."

#7 is Sean Parker who was the first president of Facebook.  The article says: "Skip college and Google your education." “When these incredible tools of knowledge and learning are available to the whole world, formal education becomes less and less important,” he said. “We should expect to see the emergence of a new kind of entrepreneur who has acquired most of their knowledge through self- exploration.”

Caterina Fake helped create the photo sharing site Flickr.   The article says: "To learn how to be an entrepreneur means immersing yourself in an industry, watching other entrepreneurs, building things yourself, and gaining real-world experience. Take a few years off to go to college and you may find yourself hopelessly behind."

Tuition costs: Sylvia Simon sent me this article "6 Ways Students can Deal with Rising Tuition costs."  It's from the website Hat Toss and it has tossing a graduation cap as a logo.  lol. 

I did learn some things like The New York Times said that 94% of students who earn a bachelor's degree, took out a student loan.  I am the minority since my parents paid for it.  I got a 2 yr college diploma and I went to cheaper colleges. 

There's the obvious one like apply for aid every year.  I didn't know there was a Federal loan forgiveness program.  To qualify for it, you have to volunteer, be in the military, teach or practice medicine in certain communities.

Oct. 30 Break: I had taken a break from my office job search.  The last week of Sept. I spent the entire time looking at agents and getting published.

In Oct. I had gotten Call Centre #6 job.  I work there 2 nights a week.  They're really nice when I asked if I can have a shift that ends at 9pm instead of 9:30pm so I could get home sooner because I have to wake up early.  I do have start early at the call centre at 4pm instead 4:30pm.

It's mainly working full-time at the restaurant and pursuing other interests other than looking for an office job.  I was researching careers and industries, as you can see from my emails.

Call Centre #6: However, after 2 weeks, they cancelled one of my shifts.  I called to get my schedule and I have to wait to see if there's any work coming.  I'm kind of worried it will be like Call Centre #3 again.  At first there's work, then cancelled shifts, then the lay off.

Now that I wrote about it, I can get over it.  Be optimistic.  It's the wait and see time. 

College businesses:
Jay Smith sent me this article "9 Big Businesses that Began in College."  You got Facebook, Google, Dell, and Napster.  Not all of it is computers, there is Time magazine.  I didn't know that Michael Dell (who created the Dell computers) used $300,000 by his parent's money.  He was making computers with stock parts.

I learned about Insomnia Cookies where Seth Berkowitz makes cookies in his dorm and sells and delivers them.  It's now a big corporation.

Career coach: I was reading an old blog post about being a career coach.  I researched on it.

Ehow says:

1. Get an education in recruiting, human resources, or organizational development.
2. Research career coaches and attend a seminar.  Talk to them to see how coaching works.
3. Attend a career coaching course at a college.
4. "Train and develop the 11 core competencies that all certified coaches possess. Ethical standards, professional practices, communications skills, active listening, powerful questioning, facilitating learning and helping the client achieve results..."
5. Get the credentials to prove you are a career coach.
I did fine Robbins Madabes Training.  They do Strategic Intervention Coaching which is life coaching.  The video of Tony Robbins introducing the company was inspiring.

Oct. 31 Burnout: You are burned out if you hate your job, or don't really care about it.  Here are the tips from this article:

1. Don't ignore the problem.
2. Think back of a time when you were really happy at a job and why you liked it.
3. Take a break.  By all means you need a week off to relax and it's not because of the job itself.
4. Counseling.  If the break didn't help, you should go to counseling. 
5. Move on.  Either make small changes like new responsibilities, or change your job entirely.

Nov. 3 Feelings: After taking a 5 week break from my office job search, I started it up again.  I felt kind of nervous and stressed.

Holiday job: I'm looking for a holiday job today.  A couple of weeks ago I was at West Ed mall, and there were all these stores with their tables out looking for new applicants.  I applied to one today.  Last year I worked at the Fruit Place for two weeks during the holidays.

I was on the internet looking for one, and now I see that I could have applied to work at a Halloween store.

Nov. 5: I just remember why I didn't apply to work at a Halloween store: It's because I got a second job at Call Centre #6.

Job search: It's kind of interesting because my sister is always looking at job postings even when she isn't looking for a job.  It's out of habit.  Well it's good to know about what jobs are out there, and you can forward it to your friends.

Nov. 7 Customer service: Hannah Howard sent me this article "5 Ways for a Website to Provide Customer service."  Have production info, access to account info, and FAQs on your website.  If you have this info and can easily buy the product online, your website and company could make money easier.

Web Designer: Hannah Howard also sent me this article "5 Tips for Hiring a Website Designer that Rocks."  Get references, look at the websites the designer created.  The article says the website is "virtual storefront."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prepare yourself to save a life

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Does the thought of saving a life overwhelm you? Or does it fill you with a sense of excitement and hope?
We've shown that together we can save lives, and you can be a part of our massive, life-saving effort on December 10, as Amnesty International mobilizes its full world-wide membership to take action.

Be a part of this powerful event by SIGNING UP NOW.

You can choose to write one or several letters, sign an online petition, or organize a Write for Rights event with your friends, family or colleagues - one of hundreds of events we anticipate across Canada, and one of thousands taking place around the world on International Human Rights Day.

Last year Amnesty International supporters in 80 countries wrote over 1 million letters on International Human Rights Day!  

We know that the influence of letters or a huge petition tips the balance and persuades a government leader to do the right thing. We know that our efforts get results.

Will it be YOUR letter that tips the balance and saves a life? 

Amnesty International members are motivated and persistent, and we're realistic. We can work for years to secure someone's freedom or to bring justice to someone who is suffering from human rights abuse. That's why each letter-writing case featured this year also allows you to write a letter of solidarity and bring hope to people who can feel hopeless.

Sign-up to write on your own | Sign-up to organize a letter-writing event with friends, at your school, at your office
If you are unable to join us, please consider buying a symbolic Amnesty International Book of Stamps, to fund the work required to bring so many people together on this amazing day. Each Book of Stamps represents the cost of mailing an international letter for each of the 12 individuals or communities we're trying to help this year.

Write for Rights has grown from a tiny seed of an idea to become the world's biggest human rights event. 

You can help us achieve an even greater goal: we want the whole world to know that December 10th is International Human Rights Day - a day that everyone takes an action to saves lives and end human rights abuses.

Will you contribute in your own way to this phenomenal day of life-changing action?

 Sign-up TODAY

 Support our letter writers by buying a Book of Stamps

Thank you for your commitment to taking action in support of our human rights work. It's your activism that has helped us build such a powerful event. Thank you!


Alex Neve
Amnesty International

P.S. Narges Mohammadi, a widely respected advocate of women's rights, is wrongfully detained in Iran. Click here to learn about her case and prepare to write your letter. Hers is just one of 12 cases who will be the focus of our worldwide attention on December 10th. Please be with us in this phenomenal, global effort to make a difference in these people's lives. Click here and say "Yes, I'm going to Write for Rights on December 10th".

“I am alive today because the international community has heard about our work... Amnesty helped us to amplify our voice and they gave us incredible protection. Really, we must thank all the members of Amnesty International for that wonderful moral support.” 
- Jenni Williams of human rights group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

“I rarely felt alone during the solitary confinement because you wonderful people were helping me.”  
-Grigory Pasko, a journalist who reported on Russia’s dumping of nuclear waste into the ocean. The authorities put him in prison for three-and-a-half years.

I will write, tweet, stand up for Nabeel Rajab

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

You saw it with your own eyes – the power of Amnesty International's Write for Rights. Jabbar Savalan, an Azerbaijani student who spent almost 11 months in prison for a Facebook post, was released shortly after being featured in the 2011 Write for Rights event. That's the power of your letters.

I hope you’ll join me in taking action for Nabeel Rajab, an activist in Bahrain initially detained for a tweet. Nabeel is one of our 2012 Write for Rights cases and needs your support.

I know, with your help, we can have as big of an impact as we did in 2011. I write letters to save lives. I hope you will too.

Thank you,

Beth Ann Toupin

ear Tracy,

Is tweeting a crime in Bahrain?

Ask @NabeelRajab. After tweeting a sentence shorter than the one you're reading right now to Bahrain's Prime Minister demanding political change, Nabeel Rajab was arrested.

Is protesting a crime in Bahrain?

For taking that same message to the streets through organized protests, Nabeel was once again charged and this time, sentenced to 3 years in prison. In fact, since May of this year, Nabeel – a prominent leader of the human rights movement in Bahrain – has been kept in a small, dark cell.

Tell Bahraini authorities to free Nabeel Rajab now! Send a message by Tuesday and we'll amplify your voice during our upcoming demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, we know that Bahraini authorities aren't just after Nabeel Rajab. They want to tear down everything he stands for. They want to intimidate others so that no one will stand with him. They want Nabeel Rajab to sit in that small, dark cell and feel alone.

But that won't happen. Nabeel Rajab will never sit alone in darkness because Amnesty International will always be there to shine a light. It's what we do. It's who we are.

Nabeel's peaceful actions for freedom in Bahrain -- from tweets to marching in the streets -- exemplify why he is a signature case for Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights event. That is because whether you show solidarity by writing and mailing letters, updating your Facebook status, organizing rallies or taking any solidarity action in between, you can make a difference in the lives of this year's 10 Write for Rights cases.

Mark your calendars, because from December 5 - 16, we will build upon Amnesty's 51-year tradition and incredible history of writing letters to save lives. Thousands will gather in classrooms, coffee shops, community centers and more; united by the power of the letter and for the cause of writing for human rights.

But we start building momentum today. Your action for Nabeel Rajab right now will fuel our special demonstration in D.C. on Tuesday to draw attention to Bahrain's disgraceful treatment of Nabeel Rajab and its crackdown on human rights. For every 100 actions taken, we will hold a special place so that we can represent our full force -- that means you! -- when we hit the streets.

You'll just have to stay tuned to see how your actions will add power to our work to free Nabeel. Take action to free Nabeel Rajab now so that we can add your voice to Tuesday's special demonstration.

The spark for this year's Write for Rights begins with you, but the flame that burns for Nabeel Rajab and others who defend human rights will last forever.

In Solidarity,

Beth Ann Toupin
Country Specialist, Bahrain
Amnesty International USA

P.S. We will keep you posted in the upcoming weeks about how you can connect with the thousands of awe-inspiring letter-writing events being organized all across the country.

dateline/ reality TV/ being a popstar

Nov. 2 Dateline: I was thinking about this hypothetical situation.  What if that 35 yr old guy was dating that 12 yr old girl?  They are having sex in her room, and her mom or dad walked in on them.  I can imagine her mom would have thought a man broke in and was raping her.  She would then start beating him up and grab the nearest hard object like the alarm clock or desk lamp and start hitting him with it.

The 12 yr old girl would be yelling at her to stop and that he's her boyfriend.  The cops would come and arrest him.  The mom maybe arrested too and be charged with assault.  However, the defense attorney would have an easy case to defend the mom: "She thought her daughter was being attacked.  What would you have done?  I think her actions were justified."

You may think: "That's Tracy's writer's imagination again."

Real examples: This can totally happen.  Sometimes when you're angry or scared, you lash out. 

Oprah: I remember watching Oprah, about this teen guy who was molested by a family friend for years.  Then one day, he snapped and he grabbed the nearest thing closest to him- a pickle jar- and he hit his molester over the head with it.  He grabbed a knife and stabbed him multiple times.  The teen guy is now in jail.

Amy Winehouse: I remember reading an article about how Amy's dad Mitch Winehouse wrote a book about his daughter's life and death and struggle with alcohol and drugs.  He wrote that there were times he visited Amy at her house, and her drug dealers were there so he got into fist fights with them.  It's kind of astounding that a 50-something yr old man would go into fist fights.

He did say: "What do you expect me to do?  Invite them to have a cup of tea?"

TV shows: Here are some fictional examples, but still realistic.

Dark Angel: Max and her room mate Kendra live in this apartment and has to pay rent to this jerk Sector Cop every month.  One time, Max enters her apartment and hears some talking.  She pulls over the curtain and see Kendra with a handcuff on her wrist, and Sector Cop with his pants down, and boxers on.

Max grabs Sector Cop and pushes him up against the wall.
Max: Get away from her!
Kendra: Max, it's okay.

Kendra then explains that she has been seeing the Sector Cop.

Reality TV: I was thinking about this earlier this year.  When I was a teenager, and in my early 20s, I would go on a reality show. 

Dating shows: I would go on Blind Date.  I don't like those The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or Elimidate because it's a group of people competing to date one person.  Even if I'm the only person dating 20 guys, I still wouldn't go on it because I'm the only person.

The guys are only interested in you, because you are the only person.  If it's Blind Date, you're one on one and getting to know each other.  I have thought: "If I go on the show, then I know they're going to make snarky comments making fun of me on TV, and that's fine."

Now I'm in my late 20s and I would not go on a date on TV.  It's not about the show making fun of me, but my boss, co-workers, family, and friends watching me.  It's like future bosses, co-workers, companies watching me.  It's like the office job search and growing up has an effect on me.  I would go on a blind date, just not on TV.

Like seriously, if I saw one of my bosses on that show, I would never really look at the person the same way again.  I mean, even if that person didn't say or do anything stupid, it's kind of weird.

Big Brother: I thought it would also be fun to go on the show Big Brother, where it's not dating because it's fun to be on TV.  Now, I wouldn't.  It's more like I'm afraid I'm going to say or do something stupid on this show and viewers make comments dissing me on the internet.

Teens Dating: There was this Canadian show called Teens Dating.  It's like Blind Date, but with Canadian teens.  The people on the show are actually nice.  I saw a few eps when it ran from 2002-2004.  I even remember this one with two 15 yr olds.

Cut to show.
Girl: What's your ethnicity?

Cut to me.
Me: Italian.

Cut to show.
Guy: Guess.
Girl: Italian?
Guy: Is it that obvious?

He had light brown skin, dark hair.

Guy: My mom actually didn't want me to go on this show, because she was afraid I was going to make a fool of myself.
Subtitle: Consider yourself disowned.

I would go on this show.  Now I'm 27, if anyone makes fun of me, I can say: "I was a teenager when I said that.  I'm different now."

Here's the show:

Talent: If I am going to go on TV, it's to display talent.  I auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance Canada back in 2009.  Or do an interview and discuss news, my writing, my TV show.

Blogging: Writing everything that's on your mind, and putting it up on the internet for everybody to see is kind of like being on reality TV.  Except when I write, it's me.  Sometimes with reality TV, producers edit and kind of tell the people to say or do something to make the show more interesting.

It's just me, no producers. 

Nov. 3 Being a pop star: Also as a teen and in my early 20s, I always thought it would be cool to be a pop star.  Is there anyone here who hasn't fantasized about singing and dancing for a living?  Remember how I wrote about the TV show American Greed?  It was about Lou Pearlman "The Boy Band Bandit" that's what the ep was called.  He was taking all the money and not paying his artists well.  In the ep, they talked to 2 guys from the boy band Take 5 and how they weren't getting their money.

O-town: I found this video where Trevor from the boy band O-town discussed it.  I did learn a few things like how he and the guys signed a contract to be on the show.  The lawyers said it wasn't a good contract, but it's the best the guys could get since they aren't famous yet or have any cds out.  They signed it and kept working non-stop.  I didn't know that they only had 10 days off in a total out of 3 yrs.  They kept touring. 

They made like $50,000 a show, but it went to the crew, the managers, and the label.  So each guy was getting paid $1500-2000 a show. 

Trevor: We all thought we were going to follow the footsteps of Backstreet Boys and Nsync.

Nysnc: Don't you remember Nsync left the label and released an album called "No Strings Attached" as a way to say to the label: "You can't control us."

I even remember way back in 2006, Lance from Nysnc came out of the closet and was being interviewed on 20/20.  He did mention this: "I was performing every night, and getting paid like $35 a day."

I was 21 back then and thought: "I would still do that if I get paid $35 a day.  That's like working for $7/hr for 5hrs.  Kind of like when I was working at a clothing store in summer 2005.  It was $7.45/hr."

Nov. 5: Here's Trevor's comment on Pearlman being sent to jail: "It was bittersweet, but you reap what you sow."

I didn't get what he meant by "bittersweet."  Then I thought he meant it was sweet to see a guy who overworked you and underpaid you finally got to go to prison.  Bitter because there was a time, Pearlman was good because he did choose him and 4 other guys to live their dream by traveling the world, performing every night, making a good amount of money, and have a good experience.

You have to take the good with the bad.  Trevor did get to meet Britney Spears.  There was a clip on Youtube that I saw of Making the Band, and he was all star struck when he met Spears.  He was like: "It's an honor and a dream to meet you."  She was flattered and nice to him.

I had to look this up, but Ashley Angel from O-town did have a reality show of his own called There and Back in 2004-2006.  It's about him being a solo artist.  I saw a little bit of it, and I went on the internet to get some more info.  There were pics that he does stay friends with his other band mates.  All of the guys did show up in the first season, except Erik.  They don't all hang out together in one time, but they stay in touch so that's nice.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

job articles/ non-profits/ rent or buy

Oct. 23 Job articles:

Career mistakes: Hazel Taylor sent me this article "8 Career Mistakes New Grads Make and how to Avoid Them."  There are helpful tips like #1 "Holding out for the perfect job."  If you can get a career in your field with some transferable skills, it will get you close to the job you really want.

#2 "Choosing a job based on salary" like the best thing about is the money.  Can you imagine working at a job you really hate just for the money?

Also, don't blog or tweet about work, and acting entitled.  Do take some time to get to know your older employees.

The last few are about quitting.  #6 "Quitting after a few months."  If you can tolerate it, stick with it for a yr.  If you hate it, get a new job and stick with it for more than a yr.  #7 "Moving on before landing a new job."  Start looking for a job before you quit, and keep it private so your boss won't find out and treat you differently.  They might fire you because they know you're looking for another job.

It really depends.  I got a 2nd job at the Fruit Place and it was at night, so it didn't really have an effect on my restaurant job. 

#8 "Burning bridges" like quitting in a huff.  Give your two weeks notice or at least some notice.  Be polite.  One time I took a retail job in summer 2007.  I had to wake up at 6am and work from 7am-3pm.  I didn't like it at all.  After a lot of thinking, on the 3rd day I told the boss: "I made a mistake by taking this job.  I want to quit after today."

How about that time in 2010 when I worked at Call Centre #4 for a day and they dismissed me after I only got 9 completes?  I thought of throwing an egg at their window, but what if I got caught?  Then I would have really have burned my bridges.  I didn't throw eggs, and I never have.  In 2012, I did another interview there with the same boss, but I didn't get hired.  

#1 "Holding out for the perfect job."
#2 "Choosing a job based on salary"
#3 "Blogging or tweeting about work"
#4 "Acting entitled"
#5 "Not getting to know older colleagues"
#6 "Quitting after a few months"
#7 "Moving on before landing a new job"
#8 "Burning bridges" 

Inspiring Executives: Jay Smith sent this "7 Inspiring Corporate Executives." They have some good quotes that I will collect.  I know Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos because he was on 20/20.

Hsieh: “If someone is self-aware, then they can always continue to grow. If they’re not self-aware, I think it’s harder for them to evolve or adapt beyond who they already are."

Bram Cohen (found of BitTorrent) has Asperger's syndrome.

Industries: Shanna Houston sent me this article "10 Industries Attracting our Top Young Talent."  Entertainment and social media interest me.

The picture at the top is quirky with a business man standing in front of a stand: finance, accounting, tech, entertainment, social media, engineering, pharmaceuticals, intelligence and law enforcement, healthcare, and social work.

The article is a little funny like the pharmaceuticals part: "No, not the more popular brand of pharmaceuticals one finds on campus!"

Intelligence and law enforcement: "Oh, and the whole wanting to be a super cool agent or spy, which really isn’t nearly as fun as TV and movies make it seem, by the way."

Oct. 24 Office job: I was talking to a server at work today, and she plans on getting an office job because it pays more.  Is it the law of attraction working, but when I got on the bus to go home, I overhead a woman talking on her cell phone about looking for an office job.

Oct. 25 School: I was reading in the Edmonton Journal about bible schools and how the Concordia high school closed down.  It turns out the high school is not associated with the Concordia University College.  I'm sure the teachers and staff could still get jobs at other schools.

Intelligence analyst: I found this job.  It's about analyzing and researching.  I Google it and it lead me to Wikipedia.  It's about working for the CIA and MI6.

" the process of taking known information about situations and entities of strategic, operational, or tactical importance, characterizing the known, and, with appropriate statements of probability, the future actions in those situations and by those entities."

It lead me to the FBI job posting:

Wise Geek says you need at least a Bachelor's degree.  There's no specific training in intelligence, but have degrees in history, geography, and world politics.  Looks like this job isn't for me.

Non-profits: Florine Church sent me this article "The 10 Best Non-profits to work for."  There are these really good charities to help kids like Make- a- Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America.  I like the sound of Year Up where it helps people in urban neighborhoods by teaching them job skills and entry level jobs.

As I was reading it, I was like: "These are all American.  I guess I can Google non-profits in Edmonton."  These are good charities to donate to.

Florine Church also sent me this "25 Best Resources for Finding Non-profit Jobs."  They listed all these websites I've never heard of, except Craigslist was on it.

Boyle Street:
A lot of people think non-profit jobs don't pay well, but I think this does.  Here's one to be a winter drop-in worker and it pays $16-$18/hr.

Social entrepreneurs: Carol Brown sent me this article "10 Greatest Social Entrepreneurs All Time."  This means entrepreneurs that start a charity to help others.  It mentions Scott Harrison who was on 20/20.  I wrote about him before.  He helps get clean water to 3rd world countries.

Oct. 29 Rent or buy: Sarah Shirley sent me this infographic and it asks really good questions:

Have you saved enough money for a down payment?
Can you qualify for a mortgage?
Do you plan to stay in your home for the next 5 yrs?

If yes to any of these questions, then buy.  If no, then rent.

It then shows the US and how it can be cheaper to rent than buy.  The factors are "mortgage rates, taxes, insurance, maintenance and other costs."  I know you can't predict the future, but do think carefully if you can really see yourself living in this city for the next 5 yrs.