Tracy's blog

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

memory/ song/ Dollhouse

Mar. 24 Memory: I would say I have a really good memory.  If you look at my blog, I mention a lot of flashbacks.  This blog is proof of my good memory.  There are times where I write things over again and have something to add to it, like: "You remember that job interview I did some months ago?  Here's the link to it.... well I have something to add to it."

School flashbacks: This was like a few months ago, but my sister was talking about how kids these days don't know how to register for their college classes online.

Me: Hey, didn't you struggle?
S: What?  What do you mean did I struggle?
Me: I remember in the summer time I was watching a movie with Leslie in the basement.  You were on the computer and you kept calling the school to help you register for your classes.
S: Yeah, well that was on the school not getting my schedule. 

That was like back in summer 2002.

I was in college one time when my sister was talking about somebody else.

S: She's been in Grant MacEwan for 5 yrs.
Me: Wait, just a minute.  I read in the Edmonton Journal that lots of students go to school part-time and work part-time so they can go to school.  They can only afford to take 2 or 3 classes at a time, so that's why it's taking so long.

Song: I found this solo male artist named Conor Maynard.  He's British and 20 yrs old.  I heard his song "Can't Say No" and I really liked it because you can dance to it.  I really like his song "Pictures."  He sings in the bridge:

How am I supposed to remember?
I got the memories,
But the memories fade baby,
What am I gonna show to my kids girl?
When I'm older and my mind is telling me to forget you,
What's gonna make me remember?


That's why I was always taking pictures, pictures
Cause' I didn't wanna miss our thing, miss our thing
Tell me how could you take the pictures, pictures
When you knew they were all that I had left, nothing left
They were part of our history, this story
I was always taking pictures,
Cause' I didn't wanna miss you so bad
Miss you this bad, miss you so bad, miss you so

Here's the song:

I like this song because he takes pictures to remember.  As for me, I write to remember.  That's why I have this blog.  It's like a journal.  If I want to remember something, I can look into this blog.

Memory disease: I have thought about getting amnesia, dementia, or Alzheimer.  What if you don't remember who you are?  I have this blog.

Imagination: Don't you ever imagine having amnesia?  I have due to all those TV shows and movies with those story lines like The Bourne Identity.  I can imagine have amnesia, and then someone tells me: "If you want to know who you are, go read your blog and check your Facebook."

Then I would be going through my blog and be like: "Did I really write so much stuff about Dateline: To Catch a Predator and teen pregnancy?  Looks like I'm really into Amnesty International because I'm always putting up their email newsletters here."  lol.  

Mar. 25 Dollhouse: A few weeks ago I was checking out what's on TV on Sat.  I see that the old sci-fi TV show Dollhouse was on Game TV.  That show came out in 2008 and lasted 2 seasons.  It was from Buffy creator Joss Whedon and it starred Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy.)

On, the show is described: "A futuristic laboratory assigns different tasks to its various residents, who then have their memories erased upon the completion of their assignments."

I remember watching the pilot.  It shows Echo who is racing her motorcycle against a guy through Chinatown.  It then stops at a restaurant and the guy wins.  They then dance and party.  It was really fun.  Then Echo has to back to Dollhouse and then she receives her treatment. 

Echo: Did I fall asleep?
Topher: Only for a little bit.

When I saw that, I was like: "That is so sad.  She had this great experience and she has no memory of it."

Mar. 25 Post Secret:

"I started watching Bob Ross to deal with my anxiety.  It works better than any medication I have ever been on and I am learning to paint too!"

"I had money, careers, degrees, vacations, every material thing I ever really wanted.  None of it made me as deeply happy as 'coming out.'"

"I killed my cat of many years...with my bare hands.  I think because my girlfriend chose abortion.  I love that nobody."

Having read so many secrets throughout the years, I think I am the most disturbed by this one. I don't know if I should be proud for feeling compassion towards this defenseless animal or shame for not showing that same compassion to the struggling secret sender.

It saddens me that more people will will feel sorry for the cat than for the unborn child.

I feel most concern for his girlfriend.
"I've wasted 1/3 of my life (but not anymore!)"

"I am having an affair with my soul mate.  She is a marriage counselor."

"Thinking of the future makes me panic."

"I won't give up."  (Picture of a typewriter.)

Mar. 28: Here's some more memory episodes I saw on TV.

The Mentalist: There was an episode called "Fugue in Red."  It was written by Bruno Heller (the show's creator) and Daniel Cerone.  The show is about Patrick Jane and he's a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation.  Jane is quirky and years ago he was like a fake psychic/ con artist.  Then he insulted the serial killer Red John on TV, and RJ killed Jane's wife and daughter as revenge.

Jane then joins the CBI.  In this episode, Jane is attacked from behind and he is drowned into a lake.  Agent Theresa Lisbon comes and saves him.  However, Jane has no memory of what happened in the past 5 yrs, and he goes back to his con-man persona.  He pick pockets Agent Rigsby's wallet and does a psychic show at a club.

Agent Cho: Don't take this the wrong way, but after his family was killed, Jane became a better person.

I have to agree.  At the end of the ep, Lisbon takes Jane back to his old house where he used to live with his family.  Jane then remembers.

When he's in the CBI, Jane still kind of has a con artist personality, but he uses his traps and tricks to figure out who the murderer is.

Life- changing events: The life- changing events that affected how I grew was:

2002: In gr. 11.  I was struggling in school because it was so hard.  I worked very hard for 3 months with my sister tutoring in math everyday, that I was able to pass math and science.  I learned that hard work does pay off.  I rather work hard and fail, then not try at all. 

2006: When I got laid off from Call Centre #1.  I learned a lot about job security and anger management.

2010-2012: Change was slower around here because there wasn't really big events.  After I got laid off from the Soup place, I went to office job search mode.  I became very business-minded and thought about money and work.  I became more left-brain here.

Castle: In the episode called "The Fifth Bullet" where Marc Blucas guest- stars (Riley from Buffy), he is a man with amnesia.  The show is about a acclaimed writer named Richard Castle who follows Detective Kate Beckett around as he writes his mystery novels that's based on her.

Castle talks about how he would love to not remember, and then read his books over again for the first time.

Me: Yeah, then I can look at The Vertex Fighter script with fresh eyes.  Mainly, I write a script.  Take a break from it from a few days, a week, few weeks, months, and whatever.  Then I go back to it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

You make good things happen

I got this from Amnesty International:

A Family Re-united!
Human rights defender Mao Hengfeng released from labour camp

Your financial support makes good things happen!
Your contribution helps Amnesty International to:

Mobilize our worldwide membership to speak out for individuals like Mao Hengfeng

Publish global reports on human rights and alert the press to the risks faced by human rights defenders

Inform senior government officials of our human rights research
Campaign to end torture, the death penalty, unfair trials and other human rights abuses
Bring hope and freedom to people like Mao Hengfeng!
 Donate online now or call us at 1-800-AMNESTY (1-800-266-3789) to give today.
Dear Amnesty International supporter,
A courageous woman is free because of Amnesty International supporters like you.

An outspoken human rights defender in China, Mao Hengfeng, was just released from her "Re-education Through Labour" prison term to serve the rest of her time at home, with her family. This fantastic news is what makes all our determined human rights work worthwhile! 

The torture stops. Her forced labour has ended. And today Mao, who suffered ill-health during her lengthy detention, has been re-united with her children, thanks to people like you who were a part of Amnesty International's massive, worldwide effort to win her freedom.

Mao Hengfeng has asked us to thank everyone who has written letters for her and campaigned on her behalf. Her husband Wu Xuewei believes she is now home as a result of the international and domestic calls for her release.
You can help us win more tremendous victories like this by making a contribution today.

Mao Hengfeng's ordeal is over, but her work continues. She was arrested for speaking out against the detention of Nobel Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, and has been an outspoken defender of women's reproductive rights and of the rights of the millions of Chinese who have faced forced evictions. These are very unpopular opinions to voice in China. Your financial support can help us ensure that she is is not detained again and that we can carry out the human rights work that she started. Amnesty is calling for Mao Hengfeng to be given access to independent medical assessment.

Mao paid dearly for her courage in speaking out for human rights. But you and I can exercise our freedom without risk of being detained, separated from our families, or being forced into manual labour.

Be a part of our next human rights victory by making a gift to Amnesty International today.

We can't do it without you.

Alex Neve
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

P.S. Mao Hengfeng had been sentenced to 18 months "Re-education Through Labour" punishment on March 4, 2010 for "disturbing public order."  Her release is a great relief to all who have been following her case and worrying about her health in detention - it could not come soon enough. Help us win more heartwarming victories for human rights by making a small or large donation today to Amnesty International's life-changing human rights work.

We need your help to defend prominent, respected human rights defenders who remain wrongfully detained in China for their efforts to improve human rights. 
liu_xiaobo_wife_thumb.jpg Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. It was in speaking up against Liu Xiaobo's detainment that Mao Hengfeng was imprisoned.
gao_zhisheng_son_thumb.jpg Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, illegal house arrest and detention. Our global letter-writing day helped win a visit by his family, but he remains detained in Shaya county prison in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwest China.
shitao_thumb.jpg Poet and journalist Shi Tao is serving a 10-year prison sentence for sending an e-mail summarizing the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. His conviction for "leaking state secrets" was partly based on information provided to the Chinese authorities by the Internet company Yahoo!
hu_jia_thumb.jpg Activist Hu Jia was detained on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power". There is ongoing harassment of his family, including his spouse Zeng Jinyan.

Help free these prominent human rights defenders by making a gift to Amnesty International today.


Thank you for giving now to provide us with the resources needed to bring freedom for others like Liu Xiaobo and Gao Zhisheng. As they suffer in detention, they're counting on us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Musa Okwonga/ Let Me In/ The Hunger Games

Mar. 13 Musa Okwonga: Shawn Bell sent me this video.  It's about Musa Okwonga, who is a British black man.  He is reciting his poetry on the British streets.  He then is on the couch talking about how he loves writing and poetry.  He thought he should become something stable career wise, so he became a lawyer.  Impressive.

Then he finds himself spending 5-10min. a day reciting poetry to himself to stay connected to writing.  Then he gave his final notice and quit his job and become a full-time poet.

Mar. 14 Script: I emailed a producer who I haven't contacted in some months.  Now that my work schedule lightened up, I asked him if he's filming yet and if he's producing the script I wrote for his show.  (I wrote it back in 2011). 

He said he's not filming yet, and the ep I wrote is not being used for now.  I will focus on the key words "for now."  I was a little disappointed, but don't take it personal.  He isn't filming my ep or anyone's ep. 

Mar. 21 Veronica Mars: I was on Yahoo news a few days ago, and it turns out the old TV show I like Veronica Mars is going to be a movie.  The creator Rob Thomas and the star of the show Kristen Bell set up this Kickstarter account to raise money for this movie.  Fans all pitched in and donated some money for it.  After the show ended in 2007, RT did write a movie script for it.  Good for them.

90210: In other news, the TV show 90210 will be cancelled after 5 seasons.  It's a remake of the same show from the 1990s, but the original lasted for 10yrs.  I stopped watching the new 90210 after the first season.  I only tuned in here and there to see one of my favorite Canadian singers Kyle Riabko guest-star in it.  Rob Thomas was the executive producer of that show, and now it's over, he's doing the Veronica Mars movie.

Heartland: I also read in the Edmonton Journal that the Alberta-shot show Heartland is in their 6th season, and has over 100 episodes now.  So congratulations to this Canadian show for lasting this long.  I will say the quality is average to good.  In the article, it said the show was originally supposed to be a 2hr TV movie.

Dead Man Down: This movie came out a couple of weeks ago.  It stars Colin Farrel as a criminal who works for a mob boss.  He is then blackmailed into helping a woman (Noomi Rapace) to kill someone else.  When I was reading the reviews, it reminded me of my script Rain.

The similarities are that there is a mobster, the heroes are a guy and girl who end up teaming up together.  I read that this movie is more of a thriller/ drama and not a lot of action until the last half.

Let Me In movie review

By Tracy Au

Let Me In is a horror movie, but I felt it was more of a drama and love story.  It stars Owen (Kodi Smit- McPhee) who is a 12 year old boy and bullied at school.  He lives with his mom in New Mexico, 1983.  His life changes when a girl named Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her guardian moves into his apartment complex.

It’s revealed that Abby is a vampire and her guardian (Richard Jenkins) kills people to feed Abby.  Owen and Abby slowly develop a friendship and she advises him to hit back the bullies.   The tension and conflict builds as the Policeman (Elias Koteas) investigates into the murders committed by Abby’s guardian.

The scares and conflicts are unpredictable which makes it scarier.  There are questions of: “Will Owen find out that Abby is a vampire?  Even if he does find out, what will happen to their relationship?”

This is well-filmed and edited movie.  It’s more dark, sad, and intense with a few horror moments that will make you jump.  There are touching moments to make it into a beautiful love story.  It’s very good acting by the two leads.  Smit- McPhee and Moretz are only pre-teens, but I was impressed with their acting.  I highly recommend you watch it.

The Hunger Games movie review

By Tracy Au

This movie is based on a book by Suzanne Collins.  It’s set in a futuristic post- apocalyptic world.  One district has all the wealth in the city, while other districts live in shacks in a forest. 

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her mom and little sister in the poor district.  Every year, there is the Hunger Games, a televised event where one boy and one girl (12- 18 years old) are chosen from each district to battle to the death.  There can only be one winner.  Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place in the games.  Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is chosen.

It is like Lord of the Flies and Survivor creatively mixed together.  It’s similar to sending your kids to war with a chance they won’t survive.  Like any reality show, the Tributes get makeovers and do interviews.  They try to get the audience to like them so they can get supplies from sponsors.  During the games, they make alliances with the other Tributes.

It’s disturbing to see teens and kids kill each other.  It’s harsh and violent.  I questioned: “Will Katniss still by a sympathetic character if she becomes a murderer?”  Yes, because she is killing in self- defense and not because she enjoys it like some of the other players are.  She is a physically and emotionally strong character that you want to root for.

This is a smart and creative movie that many people will enjoy because of the story and characters.

Mar. 23 Xlibris: I was doing some more cleaning and I finally recycled this self-publishing info package.  I got this back in 2008.  I still haven't written a book, but I have been writing my blog for the past 5 yrs.  If you're interested in self-publishing, check it out:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is U.S. Trying To Gut Arms Treaty?

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

Late on Friday, the latest draft of the Arms Trade Treaty was shared publicly. It's not looking good.

Place an urgent call to the White House to ensure that key human rights protections are kept in the Arms Trade Treaty: 202-456-1111

Here's what it boils down to: Will world leaders take the necessary steps now to prevent sending weapons to countries where they will likely be used for torture, summary executions, and other human rights abuses? Or will they allow business as usual and wait until even more staggering numbers of civilians are killed before they finally decide to stop arms shipments to those who are targeting civilians?

The second option is called the "body bag" approach. The US government is among those who actually think this is a good idea. It wants to allow critical human rights protections to be kept out of the treaty. These would require countries to exercise some due diligence in making sure they aren't transferring weapons to places where they know they'll be used in extrajudicial executions, disappearances, or torture -- think of it as a global "background check" for arms transfers.

We need you to pick up the phone now -- and we mean right now. We've only got until Wednesday before the treaty will be finalized. Your phone call to the White House is the best way to express the urgency and importance of this message:

President Obama: we need a strong -- and preventative -- Arms Trade Treaty!

Here's the number again: 202-456-1111

REMEMBER: To call, you don't have to be an Arms Trade Treaty expert. You just have to care about protecting people worldwide against gun violence. And be sure to tell us how your call went, so that we can follow up.

You may recall that last year, the US backed out of Arms Trade Treaty negotiations at the last minute. In the time that has passed since, nearly half a million men, women and children have lost their lives to gun violence. We can't let the US or any other country stand in the way of a strong Arms Trade Treaty again. Too many lives are at risk.

We need the US to fight for a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty. Please, every action counts -- pick up the phone, send a message online or add your name to our petition on Twitter.

Thank You,

Nate Smith
Military, Security and Police Transfers Coordination Group, Chairperson
Amnesty International USA

Sunday, March 24, 2013

political jokes/ school joke/ farm jokes

Mar. 23 Here are some jokes from Daily Silly:

Political jokes:

Bill and Hillary Clinton and Vice President Gore were on their way back to Washington on Air Force One, when Bill said "I'd like to drop a $100 bill out of the plane and make one person very happy". Hillary thought for a moment then replied "I'd rather drop ten, $10 bills out and make ten people very happy." To which Vice President Gore said, "I would drop a hundred $1 bills out and make a hundred people very happy." The pilot then spoke up and said "Why don't all three of you jump out and make 250 million people very happy?"

Me: Somehow I can imagine the 3 politicians yelling: "Hey!" at the pilot.  lol.

Here's another one: 

A visitor from Holland was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Netherlands flag. "Our flag symbolizes our taxes, the man said. We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them." "That's the same with us, the American said, "only we see stars, too."

Three friends - a surgeon, an engineer, and a politician were discussing which of their professions was the oldest. The surgeon said "Eve was created from Adan's rib - a surgical procedure." The engineer replied, "Before Adam and Eve, order was created out of chaos, and that was an engineering job." The politician said, "Yes, but who do you suppose created the chaos?"Here's one more:

An aide to the prime minister of Canada called President Bush a moron. Well that's not fair. Here's a guy who never worked a day in his life, got rich off his Dad's money, lost the popular vote and ended up president. That's not a moron, that's genius!

School joke:

Early one morning, a mother went in to wake up her son. "Wake up, son. It's time to go to school!" "But why, Mom? I don't want to go." "Give me two reasons why you don't want to go." "Well, the kids hate me for one, and the teachers hate me, too!" "Oh, that's no reason not to go to school. Come on now and get ready." "Give me two reasons why I should go to school." "Well, for one, you're 52 years old. And for another, you're the Principal!"

Me: I like this one, because the entire time you think the son is a kid, but he's really an adult.

Funny names: From Daily Silly:

A pregnant woman gets into a car accident and falls into a deep coma. Asleep for nearly six months, she wakes up and sees that she is no longer pregnant. Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby. The doctor replies, "Ma'am, you had twins! A boy and a girl. The babies are fine. Your brother came in and named them." The woman thinks to herself, "Oh no, not my brother - he's an idiot!" Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?" "Denise," the doctor says. The new mother thinks, "Wow, that's not a bad name! Guess I was wrong about my brother. I like Denise!" Then she asks the doctor, "What's the boy's name?" The doctor replies, "DeNephew."

Me: At first I was like: "That's a bad name.  Oh wait, I get it now.  He named Denise meaning his niece."  lol.

Farm jokes:

A farmer and his wife had just waken up one morning to the crowing of their rooster. While still in bed, the farmer's wife says, "Pa, you know our neighbor Mr. Jones?" "Yes Ma, I reckon I do," replied the sleepy farmer. "Well, every morning before he leaves the house for work, he gives his wife a big ol' kiss. Why don't you ever do that?" The farmer sighed and said, "Well, I reckon I can, but I just don't know her very well."

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!

Me: You don't hear too many jokes about lazy horses.

This farmer had a wife who nagged him all the time. One day while he was outside plowing the field, she came out and started nagging him. While she was doing this, the mule kicked her and she died. At the funeral, the ladies came up and talked to the farmer. The farmer nodded his head "yes". The men came up and talked to him and the farmer nodded his head "no". Well this other man wondered why he nodded his head "yes" to the ladies and "no" to the men. Then, he went up to the farmer and asked him why. The farmer replied, "Well, when the ladies came up, they told me how pretty my wife's dress was and how pretty she looked. When the men came up, they asked, "That mule for sale?" 

Tree planting: There were two guys working for the city. One would dig a hole - he would dig, dig, dig. The other would come behind him and fill the hole - fill, fill, fill. These two men worked furiously; one digging a hole, the other filling it up again. A man was watching from the sidewalk and couldn't believe how hard these men were working, but couldn't understand what they were doing. Finally he had to ask them. He said to the hole digger, "I appreciate how hard you work, but what are you doing? You dig a hole and your partner comes behind you and fills it up again!" The hole digger replied, "Oh yeah, must look funny, but the guy who plants the trees is sick today."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Angola 3 Update: The time for justice is now

I got this from Amnesty International: 

Dear Tracy,

My name is Robert H. King. I was released on February 8, 2001 after spending 31 years in prison - 29 of them in solitary confinement at the infamous Louisiana State Prison also known as 'Angola'.

Confined there with me were Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, the other two friends who make up 'the Angola 3'. Herman and Albert have now spent 41 years in prison. And though they are no longer housed at Angola, both remain in solitary confinement at another prison - a punishment Amnesty has described as 'cruel, inhuman and degrading'.

Call on the State of Louisiana to end Albert Woodfox's ordeal

Prior to and since my release from prison, I have continued to campaign to free Herman and Albert. Last week, that campaign took a huge step forward with the ruling by a federal district court that there was racial discrimination in the selection of the jury foreperson prior to Albert's re-trial in 1998.

Louisiana's Attorney General has already filed his intention to appeal this against this ruling. But he can still do the right thing and end four decades of injustice by letting the ruling stand, clearing the way for Albert to be re-tried or simply walk free at last.

Call on Louisiana to allow Albert Woodfox to be retried or walk free

I know what being locked up in that cramped, dark cell does to a man, and I fear for my friend Albert whose physical and mental health is failing. The sense of how cruelly and unjustly Albert and the rest of us were treated still burns as strong as ever - as does my will to end their ordeal.

This isn't the first or even the second time Albert's conviction has been overturned. Previously judges have cited racial discrimination, misconduct by the prosecution and inadequate defense in their rulings. There is also troubling evidence that a key eyewitness against Albert had been bribed, and no physical evidence linking him to the murder has ever been found.

Call on Louisiana to allow Albert Woodfox to be retried or walk free

However, I also know how many of you share my sense of injustice and that we can count on your ongoing support. When I spoke to Albert last week he asked me to pass on his gratitude to his 'legions of supporters' across the world.

Wednesday, April 17 will mark the 41st anniversary of our incarceration in Angola. Please help ensure that this year it is a day of hope - or even freedom - for my friend, Albert Woodfox.

End Albert Woodfox's ordeal: email the Attorney General now
Power to the people!

As ever,
Robert H. King
The only freed member of the Angola 3

Breaking: Horror and heartbreak in Syria

I got this from Amnesty International: 

Dear Tracy,

For millions of women, children and families in Syria, home has become hell.

Last week Amnesty investigators briefed me on the latest developments in that violence-wracked nation.

To say things are dire is an understatement.

Please make an urgent donation to Amnesty so we can continue to shine a light on human rights violations in Syria and around the world.

Our research team reports that:
  • Government forces have bombed entire neighborhoods, indiscriminately blowing up civilians. Recent attacks with long-range surface-to-surface missiles have targeted residential areas, killing entire families. Investigators in one case found only the severed arm of a child in the rubble -- all that remained of one family.
  • In Aleppo, a seemingly endless procession of murdered men and boys -- bound and shot in the head -- is pulled from the river nearly every day.
  • While government forces continue to be overwhelmingly responsible for the death and suffering of civilians, armed opposition groups have escalated their abuses. Researchers in Damascus have identified a mass grave, filled with the bodies of children and others accused of helping the government. Local residents call it "the hole of death."
  • More than 2 million Syrians have been displaced inside their own country. They face the threat of a second round of bombing in the new places where they have taken shelter.
Amnesty's team is working on the ground, at enormous personal risk, to document and report these abuses. We cannot allow the world to avert its eyes from this human catastrophe.

At the global level, we are pressing countries in the European Union to make good on promises to provide emergency refugee assistance, and reminding Syria's neighbors of their obligations to help refugees under international law. We continue to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for slaughtering civilians accountable.

With every passing hour of indecision by the international community, the death toll in Syria rises. You have to ask, how many more civilians must die before the world takes action?

Please help today.


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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

anger management/ real- life Bart Simpson

Mar. 12 Anger management: I haven't seen my counselor in a few months, but I can help myself by writing it out.  I was thinking about what triggers my anger.  Sometimes, it's very obvious like watching Maury and Dr. Phil.  I avoid those shows.  I have seen one episode of Dr. Phil a couple of months ago because it's about a teenage girl who got pregnant on purpose to get on a TV show and also keep her boyfriend.  It's about teen pregnancy so I had to watch it.

I get angry watching the show because I can't do anything about it.  All I can do afterwards is write about it my email/ blog.  I then go on and post what I wrote on the Dr. Phil thread and then put it on the "TV moments that Angry up the Blood" thread.  That's it, just write about it on the internet.

Charity: At least when I read some tragedy in the newspaper like what's happening in Syria and Afghanistan, Amnesty International emails me a newsletter.  I then sign a petition and I post the link onto my Facebook status so others can sign it too.  I put the newsletter on my blog so others can sign it too.

Gap year: There are some less obvious triggers like I read an article about "The Gap Year" like after you graduate out of high school and before you go to college.  It kind of got me angry because I didn't exactly have that.  I had to upgrade my 4 core courses and apply to college.  I didn't have the luxury to go and work for 1 yr and experience life without school.

I have to get over it and move on.  I've always known you can't get what you want all the time, especially with school.  You know like not getting to to go Victoria Performing Arts high school, not getting into NAIT's TV and Radio program, and not graduating out of NAIT.

College tip: I was also getting frustrated watching Teen Mom 2 Kailyn talking about how she has to withdraw a lot of her classes because she's struggling with school, working, and taking care of a baby.  I saw that with Maci on Teen Mom.  Maci was taking a full load of classes with all that.

Maci's college counselor says she should take 2 or 3 classes, and not a full load of classes every semester.  If she does, she will either fail or withdraw.  It's a waste of time and money.  I agree.  Kailyn says she was already in college for 3 yrs to her college counselor.  I think the college counselor said something about how there's no timeline to finish school.

Teen Mom 2:
Last week I was watching Teen Mom 2, and there was a scene where Chelsea's ex-boyfriend/ father of their baby Aubree called to meet up later that night.  Chelsea texts him later that night and he says he's tired and won't be coming.  Chelsea goes on Facebook and sees that he's going to a movie with his friends.

Chelsea texts back about: "You ditched us so you can see a movie with your friends.  I told Aubree about you coming and now she's going to be sad."  Adam then texts: "I'm not ditching Aubree, I'm ditching you."  Chelsea just rants to her mom about it.

I was angry about it, but I have to learn to not take it personal.  Adam isn't disrespecting me, he's disrespecting Chelsea.  Well I always had low expectations of Adam ever since I saw him on 16 and Pregnant

I just put the above on's "TV Moments that Angry up the Blood" thread.  Usually when I watch this show, I don't get angry.  I root for the girls to do well in school.

Check up: I was watching the Teen Mom 2: Check up with Dr. Drew where they talk about what happened last season.  It's pretty obvious it could get me angry because there's a TV show dr. with an audience which is very similar to Dr. Phil.

Mar. 18 Rant: Here's a mild rant.  My dad switched us from satellite TV to PVR.  If you go to satellite, there aren't any channels I can get to watch.  I go to PVR, and I have to learn what the channels are.  I write it down.

The main thing is, I can't get MTV Canada.  Now how am I supposed to watch Teen Mom?  I can't go to  I just stopped writing and went to, and it turns out you can watch the episodes on that site.  You can't watch it on the American site.

Writing: That's the thing with writing.  It helps make you think clearer and I am able to find the solution on my own.

Cabin fever: I don't know about you, but I think I'm getting cabin fever.  It's cold outside, so I don't go out because then I have to wait for the bus.  I don't go shopping because I find it unproductive.  So I stay at home and read the newspaper.  If it was summer time, I would go outside and sit on the picnic table, and read the newspaper.  lol.

Well I would also go to those farmer's markets and the festivals at Churchill square.  I can keep myself occupied with TV and internet.

Yeah, well at least there's still sunlight at 6pm.  That's a sign of spring.

Mar. 19 Paper: I'm trying to clean my room and desk bit by bit.  I don't buy things, but the main thing I have too much of is paper.  It's mainly scrap paper like my sister prints her notes, and then I use the back to write on it.

In 2008-2009, I mainly used the paper to write my scripts.  In 2010-2011, I used the paper to write down directions of where and when my job interviews are.

Question: The question to help you do spring cleaning and clear out clutter, is one I thought of: "If you were moving to a new place, would you bring this with you?"

This makes you evaluate it.  A lot of people move, and they hold garage sales with things that are not coming to their new home.

Cleaning tips: I was cleaning my closet back in Nov.  I think I had to ease myself into throwing things out that are easy to throw out.  The things I listed here are mainly garbage and not possessions that I own and bought.

1. A empty plastic bag that used to hold non-latex rubber gloves.
2. Old plastic headphones package and receipt.  I kept it because the receipt was headphone insurance if it broke.  I was to get 2 free ones.  (I got one free one, but now the insurance expired.)

3. A magazine ad for CK jeans.
4. $1 store plastic bag that held socks, and I put the socks in the drawer.
5. An old uniform tag.
6. A Ziploc bag.
7. I found a clothes pin and put in the laundry room.

Another cleaning tip that I read in the newspapers are: "To avoid being overwhelmed cleaning, work on one room at a time.  Or even one drawer." 

Also in Nov., I cleaned out my one drawer of my computer desk that had 2 old computer books that I recycled.

Calgary Expo:
This event is where big actors from sci-fi shows and movies attend, and fans go to meet them.  This year there is Nathan Fillion (Edmonton actor.  He's Castle on the TV show Castle), Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and now Eliza Dushku (Faith from Buffy) is going to be there on Apr. 26-28.

It's in Calgary, so I would have to pay $140 to take the Red Arrow bus there.  Then there's like $25 a ticket for one day.  There are 3 day passes for $55.  There is no one I'm very interested in seeing.  I'm a fan of Nathan Fillion and Eliza Dushku because I watch their TV shows, but not this big of a fan to spend money, time, and effort to see them.

I would probably say David Anders (Alias) has to be there for me to go there.

Fan experiences: I have put time and effort to see celebrities I like before.

1. The O-town concert in 2001.  I paid $80 for two tickets.  My sister waited in line to buy the tickets.

2. The British boy band Blue at West Ed mall in 2002.  I took a 1hr bus ride to there with my friend Leslie.  I watched them do an interview, perform, and wait 2 hrs in line to get their autographs and a hug from my fave member Lee Ryan.  

3. I met Kyle Riabko at Capital Ex in 2006.  I paid money to get tickets and bought a t-shirt there.  I got his autograph on my cd sleeve and a picture.

4. I met the Canadian singer George at West Ed mall in 2006.

5. I met Kyle Riabko again in 2007 at Winston Churchill Square.  It was easier to get to and I didn't have to pay to see him.

Mar. 20 Real- life Bart Simpson: I found this on Yahoo news.  "Real-life Bart Simpson appears in Court before Mr. Burns."  There was a Bart Simpson- like prank where a newscaster wishes someone a happy 10th birthday to "Hugh Janus" sounds like "huge anus."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Live from Arms Trade Treaty negotiations

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

You don't have a choice when you're 8 years old and an AK-47 is forced into your hands at gun point.

Not a day goes by where I do not think of the horrors I witnessed as a child soldier in South Sudan.

The irresponsible and unregulated flow of weapons made the killing and rape of millions of my people not only possible, but all too easy. In Sudan, everyone had been touched by gun violence. We all knew a loved one whose life was cut short by a bullet from a gun.

Beginning today, world leaders have a second chance to make this right.

My name is Emmanuel Jal and I'm joining with Amnesty International in calling for President Obama to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty.


Emmanuel's story is a special one, but he is not alone. Every year, at least half a million men, women and children are killed by armed violence. That comes out to roughly 1 person being killed every minute of this year.

My name is Nate Smith and my story is different. It takes place in those final critical moments of last year's Arms Trade Treaty negotiations when the U.S. had a chance to stop weapons from getting into the hands of human rights abusers.

I was there representing Amnesty International and could not believe my eyes.

In the very final minutes -- breaking under pressure from special interest groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) -- U.S. delegates walked away from the table claiming they needed more time.

We can't change what happened last year, but we can fight for right now. Email a message to President Obama telling him you care about protecting families worldwide from gun violence or message the White House via Twitter to add your signature to our digital petition.

That's why I'm back in New York right now attending the Arms Trade Treaty talks, along with a renewed sense of confidence that this year can be different.

Here's why: Over the past few months, we've built a powerful network of lawyers and legal scholars to help us set the record straight for the NRA and anyone else tempted to fall for its lies about the ATT -- the Arms Trade Treaty will not affect the rights of gun owners in the United States.

Amnesty has joined the strength of the legal community with the voices of millions of human rights supporters worldwide -- including those who've added their Twignatures to our Twitter petition -- to make the strongest case possible for a bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty.

So President Obama, we hope you're ready and listening: Support a strong Arms Trade Treaty and keeps arms out of the hands of human rights abusers.

Thank You,
Emmanuel Jal
Musician and Activist

Nate Smith
Military, Security and Police Transfers Coordination Group, Chairperson
Amnesty International USA

funny bad job interviews/ job jokes

Mar. 16 Funny bad job interviews: I was going through my papers and I found this handout when I was in NAIT back in 2005.  There was a unit at the end of the year to help us get a career.  There was this Power Point handout with all these terrible things that happened at the interviews.

"A job applicant challenged the interviewer to an arm wrestle."

Me: What are you being interviewed for?  Some construction or labor job where you need to show your strength?

"Interviewee wore a Walkman, explaining that she could listen to the interviewer and the music at the same time."

Me: That's terrible and so unprofessional.  This must be really dated with using a Walkman.

"Candidate fell and broke arm during interview."

Me: That's not unprofessional, but this person was just clumsy.

"Candidate announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office."

Me: That reminds me of an article I read in 2010.  It was in the business section of the newspaper about a guy who started eating his lunch in the middle of the interview because it was the time he usually had his lunch.  This also reminded me of the TV show Lie to Me where Dr. Lightman was interviewing an inmate, and he was eating a fast food as he was talking to him.  Dr. Lightman was trying to test the inmate in a way.

"Candidate explained that her long-term goals was to replace the interviewer."

Me: That kind of reminds me of Family Guy where Peter does a job interview and he is thinking in his mind: "Don't say 'doing your wife.'"  Instead he says: "Doing your son."

"Candidate said he never finished high school because he was kidnapped and kept in a closet in Mexico."

Me: What?  This sounds like some joke I would see on a TV show.  If it was real, then you did tell the police?

"Balding candidate excused himself and returned to the office a few min. later wearing a head piece."

Me: That is so obvious he's fake.

"Applicant said if he was hired he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm."

Me: I would tell him "That wouldn't be necessary.  I just need you to work here for a year so I know you're loyal."

"Applicant interrupted interview to phone her therapist for advice on how to answer specific interview questions."

Me: What?  She should have prepared herself way more for this interview like go to her therapist and say: "I'm really nervous about this interview.  Let's rehearse some questions."  You can't have somebody holding your hand all the time. 

"Candidate brought large dog to interview."

Me: I assume it's not a seeing or hearing eye dog for some disability. 

"Applicant refused to sit down and insisted on being interviewed standing up."

Me: What?  I think the person may have ruined his pants or something, and that's why he can't sit down.  If he gets up off the chair, there would be a stain or something.  I don't know.

"Candidate dozed off during interview."

Me: Now that's bad.

Weird questions (by job candidates): Here's a Power Point page where employers said they got these questions asked by candidates: 

"What is it that you people do at this company?"

"What is the company motto?"

Me: Do your research before you go into an interview.

"Why aren't you in a more interesting business?"

Me: The candidate sounds like he's not interested in working here.  This sounds like something you would say when you meet a new person at a party and they tell you their job.

"What are the zodiac signs of all the board members?"

Me: Looks like somebody is into astrology.  Possibly New Age.

"Why do you want references?"

"Do I have to dress for the next interview?"

Me: These are some really dumb questions.

"I know this is off the subject, but will you marry me?"

Me: What?  Didn't you just meet?

"Will the company move my rock collection from California to Maryland?

Me: Why did you ask that?  If you're moving to another place for a job, then you can bring your stuff with you.

"Will the company pay to relocate my horse?"

Me: That's not too weird of a question if that is your pet.  But that sounds pretty expensive.

"Does your health insurance cover pets?"

Me: Probably not.  I don't know of any companies who have pet insurance.  You should buy pet insurance.

"Would it be a problem if I'm angry most of the time?"

"Does your company have a policy regarding concealed weapons?"

Me: Red flags here.

"Do you think the company would be willing to lower my pay?"

"Why am I here?"

Weird statements (by job candidates):

"At times I have the strong urge to do something harmful or shocking."

Me: Red flag.  I would ask: "Do you have a therapist?"  I don't have a problem with shocking, but it depends on what it is.  Like when I was in the talent show in jr. high school, a lot of people were shocked to see me dancing.

"I feel uneasy indoors."

Me: Are you claustrophobic?

"Sometimes I feel like smashing things."

Me: Red flag.  Well I'm sure we all do one time or another if we're angry or something.

"Women should not be allowed to drink in cocktail bars."

Me: Why?

"I think Lincoln was greater than Washington."

Me: Why are you talking about politics?  Unless the interviewer asked: "Who is your favorite President?"

"I am fascinated by fire."

Me: That sounds like a red flag.  Though fire can be hypnotic to look at with the flames moving.

"I like tall women."

Me: This guy could be hitting on the interviewer.

"People are always watching me."

Me: Do you mean you like performing, being in front of people?  Being noticed?

"If I get too much change in a store, I always give it back."

Me: This person wants to show that he's honest.

"I must admit that I'm a pretty fair talker."

Me: This person wants to show he's a good talker.

"I never get hungry."

Me: Are you auditioning for the TV show Survivor?  If you aren't, there's really no point in bringing this in an interview.

"I know who is responsible for most of my troubles."

Me: Your mother?  This sounds like you would say that to a therapist.

"If the pay was right, I'd travel with a carnival."

Me: Is this a joke?  Well I guess I would too, because it sounds fun to travel and it's a fun job to work at.

"I would have been more successful if nobody would have snitched on me."

Me: Red flag.

"My legs are really hairy."

"I think I'm going to throw up."

Mar. 17 Job joke: I got this from Daily Silly:

A man called his law firm and asked the receptionist if he could speak to his lawyer, Mr. Smith.

She replied that she was sorry, but his lawyer was dead.

The next day the man called again wanting to speak with Mr. Smith.

The receptionist again said that she was sorry, but he was dead.

The next day, the man rang again and and asked if he could talk to his lawyer Mr. Smith.

The receptionist said that she was sorry but she had already told him a hundred times that he was dead.

The man replied, I know that, I just like hearing it!

Me: This could also be a "laughing about death" joke.

Mar. 18: I got this from Daily Silly:

Sign on company bulletin board: "This firm requires no physical-fitness program. Everyone gets enough exercise jumping to conclusions, flying of the handle, running down the boss, flogging dead horses, knifing friend in the back, dodging responsibility, and pushing their luck."

Here's another one from the site:

For a couple years I 've been blaming it on lack of sleep and too much pressure from my job, but now I found out the real reason: I'm tired because I'm over worked. The population of this country is 237 million. 104 million are retired. That leaves 133 million to do the work.

There are 85 million in school, which leaves 48 million to do the work. Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government, leaving 19 million to do the work. 2.8 million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 16.2 million to do the work. Take from the total the 14,800,000 people who work for State and City Governments and that leaves 1.4 million to do the work. At any given time there are 188,000 people in hospitals, leaving 1,212,000 to do the work. Now, there are 1,211,998 people in prisons. That leaves just two people to do the work. You and me. And you're sitting at your computer reading jokes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Breaking: Maryland abolishes the death penalty!

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

The vote is in. We did it!

As a resident of Maryland myself, I'm proud to say it -- there will be no more death sentences in Maryland, ever again.

Death penalty repeal passed the Maryland House today, its final real hurdle. The bill moves on to Governor Martin O'Malley to be signed into law. The Governor's leadership in ending Maryland's deeply flawed death penalty -- together with tireless work by activists like you and our allies in the abolition movement -- made today's sweet victory possible.

Please take a moment to thank Governor O'Malley for his work to make Maryland the 18th state to repeal the death penalty.

Today's news is bigger than Maryland. It's a sign that the United States' embrace of the death penalty has passed its peak. Death sentences are down, public skepticism is up.

We couldn't do this alone. Moving the needle for justice takes time, planning, passion, and a strong coalition of allies. Amnesty activists have worked for death penalty repeal in Maryland for a generation -- since the 1980s -- and it has never been easy. In the words of Amnesty's current State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinators in Maryland, Andrea Hall and Kevin Scruggs:
"Through it all we armed ourselves with the facts, we debated, disagreed -- and sometimes, we changed minds… [We] spent decades being told "not this year" but never accepting defeat."
Even as we taste victory in Maryland, our work continues. Maryland's death penalty bill was stripped of a key provision to provide funding support for victims' families -- and we are calling on Gov. O'Malley to make sure that funding is covered in his budget. There are also 5 remaining death sentences in Maryland that the governor must commute -- there can be no more executions in Maryland!

And from Maryland, our fight moves on to Colorado and Delaware, two states that will be seriously considering death penalty repeal bills in the coming weeks. Will Colorado and Delaware follow Maryland's lead in ending the expensive distraction and cruel human rights abuse that is the death penalty? We sure hope so -- and as in Maryland, we'll keep fighting as long as it takes to make justice heard.

Thank you for joining me in celebrating this Maryland victory for death penalty abolition in the United States. Here's to many more human rights victories to come!


Brian Evans
Acting Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA