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, May 30, 2013

long weekend/ Skyfall/ prom surprise

May 19 Long weekend: On Fri. I came home from work and watched the movie Skyfall on dvd.  My sister borrowed it from the library and I finally saw it.  It was good with the story and action.

On Sat. I worked at the restaurant in the morning.  It was busy with only 2 bussers including me.  I then spent time reading the newspapers outside in my backyard.

Shopping: Today is Sun. and I also worked in the morning until like 12:45pm. 

Chapters: I then did a little shopping like I went to Chapters at West Ed mall.  There are bookmarks that are like $3.99.  There are cheaper bookmarks like $1.99, but the thing is, it's just some decorative paper to place inside a book.  I also found some really nice leather, made-in-Italy journals that are $28-$45.  I don't like buying really nice notebooks and stationary, even when it's from the $1 store.

I think it's a waste of money to buy paper.  I have all this computer scrap paper from my sister, and I write on the back of it from scripts, script ideas, notes to put on the fridge, or notes when I watch a movie.

I also don't like buying really nice gel pens.  I would buy a pack of 10 Bic pens for $3 because it will last longer.  Also if you lose one, you're not going to be really mad about it because it's so cheap.

That store has a lot of home decor and kitchenware.

Date: I also met up with a guy there.  The date was okay.  He showed up on time.  We talked and walked around the mall for about an hour.  We got along and got to know what our interests are in TV shows, what we plan to do in the future, our goals.

Target: We did go to Target.  I finally entered the store.  It's a lot of red and white like Zellers.  There were even self-check out lines like those at Safeway.  My brother and sister said it was like Wal- Mart, nothing special.  I did read in the business section of the newspaper that Wal -Mart is losing money because of "the Target effect."

This store sells clothes, cards, and a small section for groceries.  There is a home decor part that really reminded me of Winners.  The Target carts are big and red plastic so that was kind of different.  Other than that, Target wasn't really different.  It was like a mix of all these other stores that I just mentioned.

Music video:
This reminds me of the music video "Up Out My Face" by Mariah Carey ft. Nicki Minaj.  This was back in 2010, and there were Youtube comments saying: "This looks like an ad for Target."  If you watch the video, it's all red and white.

This was before they did American Idol as judges.  I'm sure all of you heard the rumors that don't get along on the show.  It could be rumors or it could be true.  I don't know.

May 20 Bebe: I also want to add I saw the store Bebe at WEM has gone through renovations.  It used to be a big store, but now they made it smaller, like it's half the size it was.  It's good to make the store smaller so they can fill the store with clothes, because when it was twice the size it was, there was so much empty space.

Skyfall: Here is the movie review I wrote and submitted to The Golden Vanguard.


By Tracy Au

This is an action-packed movie with car chases through crowded streets, riding over rooftops and through the windows, running in train stations, shoot outs, and impressive fight scenes and stunts.  This isn’t just a movie filled with explosions and exotic locales like islands and Shanghai; there is actually a well- developed story weaved in it.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission where lives are at stake when a hard drive of all MI6 operatives on it is stolen.  M (Judi Dench) has hired a new agent Eve (Naomie Harris) and tech guy Q (Ben Wishaw) to help Bond fight the villain Silva (Javier Bardem). Silva is from M’s past and wants to commit revenge on her by killing her operatives. 

The director Sam Mendes brings his own style to this movie.  Bond uses a creative and original way of using a crane to make a hole in it get on a train.  It was outlandish, yet believable.

The story does get darker as Silva tries to turn Bond against M with how M treated Silva years ago.  He tempts Bond into working for him.  He is a very disturbing character.  They delve into Bond’s past and how he became a spy by going into his childhood roots. 

There is good suspense with scary, life-threatening situations through out it.  It’s unpredictable and you never now where the fight will take you.  If you like James Bond or action movies, this one’s for you.

Season of the Witch: I saw this movie last month on TV.  I'm also submitting this to the Golden Vanguard.

Season of the Witch

By Tracy Au

This is about two 14th century knights Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Pearlman) who arrive at a town that is suffering from the Black Plague.  The King asks them to go to the monastery to get a book to kill the Black Witch.  Initially they refuse and are thrown in prison.  They then meet the Girl (Claire Foy) who is accused of being a witch.

Behman agrees to the King’s order, in exchange the Girl gets a fair trial.  They, a young wannabe knight Kay (Robert Sheehan), Preist Debelzaq (Stephen Campbell Moore), a couple of other men join in on the journey.

This is an adventure movie with a little horror thrown in.  It’s a little scary with a few points that made me jump when people are supposed to be dead or asleep, and they wake up.  There is suspense and action as they encounter challenges on the journey.  They mystery builds up to ask: “Is she or isn’t she a witch?”

It has got style, but not a lot of substance.  The landscapes of mountains are forests are shot beautifully.  There is high production value and good special effects with the  battlefield scenes and sword fights.

This is an average movie, until the last 30 minutes, there is a thrilling plot twist when they arrive at their destination.

Prom surprise: I found this on Yahoo news.  It's where NFL player Dwyane Wade surprises a fan Nicole Muxo at her prom.  A few months prior to it, she made a Youtube video asking him to be her prom date.  Then at prom, he calls her on the phone and then he enters it.  There is a 3min video of it.  That is so cool and exciting to meet one of your favorite celebrities.

I'm not a fan of NFL, but I thought it was a really cool video.  He seems so nice to take time out to surprise a fan.

May 30 The Listener: The Listener season 4 premiere was on last night.  All of you need to watch it on CTV on Wed. nights.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Please help me save my brother's life

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

Please help Amnesty stop the imminent execution of my brother, Abdullah Al Qahtani.

This week my brother's life could be taken for a "confession" he was tortured into making. Abdullah was beaten, burned and asphyxiated by Iraqi security forces into "confessing" to being a member of terrorist organization al-Qaeda.

Now our fear is that the Iraqi authorities will execute Abdullah without even allowing him to have a fair trial first. It could happen at any time now.

Please do what you can to stop this execution.

About a month ago, Amnesty called on you to stop my brother's execution. Together, we have been successful in buying some time. For that, I would like to express my family's heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you, Amnesty supporters, for your precious help and support. It has brought much needed attention to Abdullah's plight.

However, Abdullah's time is once again running out. If the Iraqi court agrees with the prosecutor that Abdullah should not get a new trial, then a deadly chain of events would be put in motion. In less than 24 hours -- without fair trial or even a phone call to us, his family -- Abdullah's execution could be carried out.

Abdullah needs an opportunity to present his case fully and fairly. He deserves the chance to exercise his human rights.

Please take this action from Amnesty International asking authorities to stop the execution of my brother.

This risk of execution has placed our family under great stress. Abdullah is in poor health after enduring both torture and the effects of a hunger strike. Our parents are suffering. I don't know if our mother has the strength to survive if Abdullah were to be executed.

We plead with Amnesty and its supporters to do everything possible to stop Abdullah from being treated inhumanely and for his rights to be restored.

Please take this action now. Help me save my brother's life.

My deepest thanks,

Mesfer Azzam Al Qahtani
Brother of Abdullah Al Qahtani, Saudi man at risk of execution in Iraq

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

fairytales/ writing therapy/ Bryce Courtney

May 13 Fairy tales: I was thinking about the TV show Once Upon a Time and how it's about fairy tale characters who are transported into the real world, and don't have a memory who they really are.  That's a really good show, and I think all of you guys should watch it.

I wanted to add this to my "memory/ song/ dollhouse" blog post that's all about memory.

Hansel and Gretel: I wanted to check out this TV movie that was made in 2013.  It went straight to video when I checked it on  I wanted to watch it because I wanted to see the modern retelling of it.  It was also horror, and I do like getting scared.  I saw the first 20min, and I didn't think it was really good.  I turned it off because I was also tired.

I then went and scanned the comments.  There are lots of bad reviews.  This is the story:

"In this modern retelling of the classic horror tale, teen siblings are enslaved by a psychotic recluse within her gruesome house of horrors in the woods."

I'm sure all of you heard of the movie released in the theatres called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.  It got bad reviews.  My friend Sarah saw it and she liked it because it was bad and so over the top.  I think I'll watch it when it comes on TV.

May 14 Writing therapy: I have mentioned before about how I have to write about things so I can get over it and move on.  I do have to write about things so I can figure it out like why something gets me angry.

I have to figure this out.  For the past couple of months I've been thinking about this: "Why aren't I writing or pitching my scripts?"  I did have an excuse earlier this year, I was really busy with work.  Then later, I didn't have to work so much because my job didn't need me.  I decided to take a bit of break like don't take extra hours and just work 38 hrs a week instead of 44-48hrs. 

I worked one week for 38 hrs and I was kind of bored.  I went home and read the newspapers, watched TV, and write my weekly emails/ blog posts.  I didn't feel like writing my script Rain or pitching my The Vertex Fighter script. 

My dream: Fine, I'll just go back to increasing my hours at work.  I feel like something's missing.  I've been writing scripts since I was 14 yrs old.  When I was 22 yrs old, I graduated out of Professional Writing in college, and I was constantly pitching my The Vertex Fighter script for 2 yrs from 2008-2009.

I was going to pursue my dream of getting my TV script produced.  I was finally able to with a Professional Writing college diploma, a full-length script, and I was an adult.  I had my "Tracy's Blog" to showcase my writing.  I had my "The Vertex Fighter" blog in 2011.

I feel like I'm losing motivation for this dream.

Okay, let's get myself motivated.

Cut to Tracy at home.  The phone rings.

T: Hello?
Producer: Are you Tracy Au?
T: Yeah.
Producer: Hi, I'm ______, a TV producer from the TV production company _______.  I read your The Vertex Fighter script that you sent me.  I thought it was really good.  I want to produce it.
T: What?  Really?
Producer: Yes.  So where do you want it to be filmed in?

T: Edmonton.
Producer: Okay.  So who do you want to be in the TV movie?

The above is the most script writing I have written in awhile.  I do write, just mainly my emails/ blog posts.  The thing is I have become more of a blogger over the years.

Readership: I know my emails/ blog posts are being read by my friends, family, and people on the internet.  Lots of people read it.  Unlike my scripts, I have to pitch constantly to get a producer to read it.  I did get Writers in Residences at the Edmonton Public Library to read my scripts.

If I had to estimate how many people read both my scripts, either partially or 2 different drafts of the same script, I would probably say about 15 people read them.

May 15: So I figured it out.  I am going through a phase with writing.  In high school I wrote poetry for fun, in college I wrote short stories for my creative writing classes.  Throughout all that I was writing scripts.  Now that I graduated out of college, I pitch my scripts.  Now I'm into blogging and non-fiction.

May 16 Projects: The thing is my project/ hobby was always writing a script since I was 14 yrs old.  Now I'm 27 yrs old and I'm not doing that.  I'm always going to be a writer, but I'm more of a blogger now.  Maybe because I've been doing it too long and too much, that I lose motivation.  So maybe I need a break.

However, if a producer does call me and says he wants to produce it, I will be on it.  I will be out there producing it.

I guess I need a new hobby or project.  So how about starting my own business?  Learning something new.  Do you guys have anything I should get into?

May 20 Writer's block: Maybe I have writer's block.  The thing is I'm always reading movie and book reviews in the newspaper.  I'm always watching good TV shows and taking notes.  I'm always writing my blog.

Today was different.  I went and wrote movie reviews for Skyfall and Season of the Witch.  I also wrote an in-depth synopsis of the TV movie Storm War.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: I read about this new show the other day.  It's a spinoff of Once Upon a Time, but this time it's about Alice in Wonderland.  I just saw the 3 min. trailer and it looks really good.  They established the character Alice and how she has to go back to Wonderland to find her love Cyrus.  The special effects looks really good.

May 21: Bryce Courtney: I found this article "Aussie author's 'practice book' became global hit" by Rod McGuirk on Nov. 24, 2012.  He was born in 1933-2012.  He was born as an illegitimate son of a dress maker on Aug.14, 1933 in Barberton, South Africa.  When he was 17, he was working in the dangerous mines in Zimbabwe.  He used that money to go to Britain to study at the London School of Journalism.

He met an Australian Benita Solomon and married her in 1958.  He worked at in advertising with US agency McCann Erikson when he was 26 and then became a creative director.

At 50 yrs old, he pursued his dream to be novelist.  The Power of One was to be the first of three "practice books" in a period of three years before taking two years to write a fourth book.  The fourth book will be sent to a publisher.

Courtney: "I was absolutely staggered when somebody wanted to publish it in the first place.  Now it's worldwide success and the fact that it's available in 12 languages still amazes me."

It became a movie with Morgan Freeman in it.  Courtney dedicated the sequel Tandia to his 3rd son Damon who died of medically acquired AIDS at 24 on Apr. 1, 1991.  It was 2 months before the book was published.  His death then inspired his 3rd book April Fool's Day about the public fear of AIDS in 1993.

He had his 21st novel Jack of Diamonds with an epilogue to his readers: "It's been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives.  Now, as my story draw to an end, may I say only, 'Thank you.  You have been simply wonderful.'"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Article: Travelocity Founder on Innovation

 I got this from Ginny Grimsely:

4 Ways to Turn Your Company
Into an Innovation Machine

 Travelocity, Founder Offers
Tips for Culture Change

The world’s future leaders overwhelmingly believe that today’s businesses cangrowonly if they can innovate – and that today’s business leaders aren’t demonstrating they’re up to the task.
While that’s the thinking of nearly 5,000millennials – the 20- to 33-year-old generation – at least one baby boomer, the innovator who transformed the U.S. travel industry with his creation of Travelocity and, agrees.

“The future for any business today depends entirely on its ability to innovate, and the youngest adults, ‘the idea generation,’ know that,” says Terry Jones, author of “On Innovation,” (, a light-hearted but practical guide for fostering and innovation.
“The millennials are the group known for pioneering new ideas, rethinking processes, end-running hierarchies and solving problems by doing what simply makes sense to them. We need to listen to them; they’re the innovators!"

But the worldwide survey of adults born after 1982 found that only 26 percent believe their bosses are doing enough to encourage innovation. The study by Deloitte ToucheTohmatsu Limited, publishedin January, reported 78 percent believe innovation is crucial for growing businesses.

Jones says there are some definite steps business leaders can and should take to ensure their company is hearing employees’ ideas, recognizingopportunities, and ensuring a clear path to execution. 

1. Build a culture of experimentation. Not every project will succeed but you can’t learn from mistakes if you don’t allow them to happen. The corollary: Always analyze what went wrong. Why didn’t it work? To use a sports analogy, watch the “game films" to improve and learn as much from failure as you do from success. One fast and easy way to experiment is to test options out online. Whether it’s polling customers, measuring which approach gets the best response, or allowing a segment of your customer base to test drive a new tool, the results can be invaluable..

2. Kill projects not people. In many companies, people stop offering up ideas and volunteering for projects because the punishment for failure is greater than the reward for success. Lunch with the boss or a $100 bonus do not compensate for the risk of being demoted or fired, or suffering a tarnished reputation. When a project fails in a company with a culture of experimentation, the first thing you shoulddo is say, "Bob, what would you like to work on now?!" 

3. Break thru the “Bozone layer.” Some of the greatest ideas for innovation will come from the employees on the front lines – those in direct contact with customers or production. But their ideas will never float up to the executive suite if you’ve created a “Bozone layer” by making it too risky for middle managers to experiment. (See No. 2.) While you’re turning the culture around, find ways to reach down to the front lines to solicit  ideas. Implement them and reward the contributors with a big, public shout out – which will help you start changing for the culture.

4. Install “sensors” to pick up customers’ ideas.  Don’t just look to employees for innovation – learn from your customers. They have ideas for new products and new uses for existing products, and their customer service complaints are a fertile source of ideas for improvement. Listen! Social media or a forum on the company website is a good sensor for picking up ideas; Glad Wrap’s 1000 Uses site is loaded with them. For customer service complaints, Travelocityinstalled a lobby phone booth where anyone in the company could listen in on customer service calls. Once a month, everyone was expected to provide feedback on at least two of those calls, and suggest an improvement to eliminate similar future calls plus a work-around for the interim. 

About Terry Jones
Terry Jones founded in 1996 and led the company as president and CEO until May 2002. He is managing principal of On, Inc, a consultancy he cofounded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy, and serves as chairman of the board at, which he also helped found. Previously Jones had a 24-year career at American Airlines holding various executive positions, rising to Chief Information Officer at their SABRE Division. Jones is the holder of several patents, has served on the boards of directors of 10 companies and began his career as a travel agent in Chicago. He holds a degree in history from Denison University.

Article: Work Life Balance

I got this from Ginny Grimsley:

Mastering Life Balance: Achieving Greatness
at Home and at Work

5 Tips from Former Businessman of the Year

People are overwhelmed with the complexities of their own lives and are desperately seeking a way to maximize happiness in their home and work lives, says Gary Kunath, an entrepreneur, speaker and former CEO who works with some of the world’s top corporations and business schools. 

“I used to be caught up in the spin cycle of thinking that net worth automatically afforded me life worth,” says Kunath, a speaker at top business schools and author of “Life ... Don't Miss It. I Almost Did: How I Learned To Live Life To The Fullest,” ( 
“I sacrificed time with my family with the justification that I was providing necessary material things, but at a certain point you realize that money doesn’t make you rich, it just allows you to buy more stuff.”

Priorities for professionals have shifted; now, U.S. workers seek family wellbeing above all else, he says. Companies need to recognize that it’s imperative to positively affect their employees’ lives, both inside and outside working quarters, he says.
“We need to bring humanity back to business,” Kunath says. “Leading corporations are aware that most professionals today – 70 percent – would trade a pay raise for an increase in personal wellness.”

But employers are struggling with that, he says, citing a new American Psychological Association survey released in March in which 48 percent of employees say their employers don’t value a good work-life balance.
More professionals are trying to find a path to life worth, rather than centering their behavior on net worth, Kunath says. He offers five ways career-minded individuals can achieve both:
• Look for signs you’re falling into the net-worth trap: For Kunath, those signs were clear. One day, he says, “it was like someone had smacked me on the head,” when his son, then 12, walked away in dismay after Kunath said he couldn’t play baseball with him because he was too busy working on a business proposal. “The look of disappointment on my son’s face was something I will never forget,” he says. Kunath dropped everything and spent the day with his son. “I promised that would NEVER happen again”. The next occurrence included a mental and physical breakdown after Kunath pushed himself to make an unnecessary business trip while sick.  After a 19-hour ordeal in a delayed flight to Spain, “…I knew in my bones that if I did not draw the line right there … I would ruin every part of my life that mattered to me.”
• Don’t be an employee, be employable: Unless you are self-employed, you are always vulnerable to someone else controlling your professional destiny, and therefore, your life worth. But employees can empower themselves by diversifying their skills so that they can have more choices about where and for whom to work.
• Bad things happen to good people: Adversity finds us all. No one enjoys the worst, most painful moments of their lives. Nonetheless, life events like loss of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, addictions or illness tend to define us. We need adversity in our lives. Anyone can be a rock star when life is perfect. But when adversity strikes, then the “real” you is revealed. How you face adversity can either extinguish you or distinguish you. 
• Believe in something bigger than you: There will be times when you are utterly helpless, with no control over an outcome. All the money in the bank and all the authority at work will do no good when it comes to, for instance, the death of a loved one. Believing in something bigger than you is an important part of having life worth; it helps you maintain your emotional health when you face life’s biggest challenges.
• Don’t Major in the Minors: As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” For every evening spent late in the office there are moments professionals miss out on – and can never get back. Many of us spend time on things that ultimately don’t matter. “The three greatest gifts you can give to your family are: Time, Memories and Tradition,” he says. “These are things in life that matter.”   
About Gary Kunath
Gary Kunath is the founder of The Summit Group, which is ranked among the top sales-training companies in the world by Selling Power magazine. His value-creation approach received the “Innovative Practice of the Year Award” by 3M worldwide. He was named Businessman of the Year for the United States and was recognized a dinner hosted by the president of the United States. He has lectured extensively at several prominent business schools, and he is currently an adjunct professor at The Citadel’s Sports Marketing graduate program. Kunath is as an owner of several professional minor league baseball teams along with his partners, Bill Murray, Jimmy Buffet and Mike Veeck. The group is famous for managing its teams around the “Fun is Good” approach. 

Article: Planning for Retirement

I got this from Ginny Grimsley:

Transitioning from CEO to Retiree:
Why You Need a 5-Year Plan

3 Steps You Can Take Now to Realize Your Goals

Today’s 50-something CEOs tend to have vague dreams of  more fishing, traveling or sailing  when they retire, but they don’t know when that might be so they haven’t begun planning for it.
That’s a mistake, say a trio of specialists: wealth management advisor Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, CPA Jim Kohles, and estate planning attorney John Hartog.

“Whether you’re selling your company, passing it along to a successor or simply retiring, that’s a potentially irreversible life event – you’ve got just one chance to get it right,” says Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, ( 

A 2012 survey of CEOs by executive search firm Witt/Kieffer found 71 percent of those aged 55 to 59 have no retirement plan, although 73 percent look forward to more recreational and leisure activities when they let go of the reins.

“A lot of baby boomers have the idea that they’re just going to work till they stop working,” says Kohles, chairman of RINA accountancy corporation, ( “If they hope to do certain things in retirement and maintain a certain lifestyle, they’re likely to end up disappointed.”

Planning for the transition from CEO to retiree should incorporate everything – including what happens to your assets after you’re gone, adds John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law, (

“Many of my clients worry about what effects a large inheritance will have on their children – they want to continue parenting from the grave. You can, but should think hard about doing that,” he says.

The three say smart planning requires coordinating among all of your advisors; that’s the best way to avoid an irrevocable mistake. With that in mind, Ashoo, Kohles and Hartog offer these suggestions and considerations from their respective areas of expertise:

1. Ashoo: Identify your specific lifestyle goals for retirement, so you can plan for funding them. To determine how much money you’ll need, you have to have a clear picture of what you want, Ashoo says. Do you see yourself on your own yacht? Providing seed capital for your children to buy a business? Pursuing charitable endeavors? 

Each goal will have a dollar amount attached, and you (or your advisor) can then determine whether it’s feasible and, if so, put together a financial plan.

“But you can’t just create a plan and forget it. You need to monitor its progress regularly and make adjustments to make sure you’re staying on course, just like you would if you were sailing or flying,” Ashoo says. “We run our clients’ plans quarterly.“

It’s also imperative that you don’t take any undue risks – that is, risks beyond what’s necessary to meet your goals, he says. “You may hear about a great investment opportunity and want in on it, but if you lose that money, you may not have a chance to make it up.”

2. Kohles: Don’t sell yourself short when selling your business. “If you’re banking on money from the sale of your business, know that it’s unlikely you’ll have investors just waiting with the cash for the chance to buy it when you’re ready to sell,” Kohles says.
Buyers are more likely to offer to pay over time from the company’s future earnings -- which leaves the retired CEO with no control over the business and utterly reliant on the new owners to maintain its profitability.

A good alternative is to establish an S corporation combined with an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), Kohles says.

“You’re selling the company to the employees while retaining control until you phase yourself completely out,” he says. “The ESOP doesn’t pay income taxes – the employees do when they retire. And you don’t pay taxes on the money or the stock that you contribute.”

3. Hartog: What do you want your kids’ inheritance to say? If you have children, this decision can change their lives for the better – or the worse.

“How your assets are disposed of should reflect your values,” Hartog says. “A lot of people prefer to think in terms of taxes at the expense of values. I advise against that.”
For children, incentive trusts can encourage, or discourage, certain behaviors.
“If you’re concerned your adult child won’t be productive if he has a lot of money, set up a trust that will make distributions equal to what the child earns himself,” Hartog says.
“Or, if you want to be supportive of a child who’s doing something socially responsible, like teaching in an impoverished area, you can set it up to pay twice his salary.”
There are many creative ways to establish trusts, Hartog says. Plan about five years out and change the trust as life events dictate.

About Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo
Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo is the CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, in Walnut Creek, Calif. The firm specializes in client-centered wealth management for ultra affluent families.

About Jim Kohles
Jim Kohles is chairman of the board of RINA accountancy corporation, Walnut Creek, Calif. A certified public accountant for more than 35 years, he specializes in business consulting, succession and retirement planning, and insurance.

About John Hartog
John Hartog is a partner at Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law. A certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law, and taxation law, he has been selected to the Super Lawyers Top 100 list for nineconsecutive years.

planning ahead/ Rahmit Sethi/ good job sites

May 6 Planning Ahead: I mentioned I was reading the Albertan magazine called Legacy that I got back in 2007.  It was when I was in the Professional Writing program.  There was an article "Planning Ahead- this time" by Paula Simons.  She writes for the Edmonton Journal.

There was a bumper sticker slogan that was popular in Alberta in the early 1980s: "Please God, let there be another oil boom.  I promise not to piss it all away next time."

The article was basically about how booms never last.  You should live within your means and save your money.

"One evening, my family went for dinner at a restaurant at a brand-new hotel on Edmonton's south side.  Our server, an older gentleman with a German accent, seemed unusually friendly and attentive.  After he left our table, my mother quietly mentioned that the waiter had once owned the whole hotel.  But the bank had foreclosed, leaving him to wait tables in the restaurant that had once been his.

It was a sobering morality tale- a home-grown parable about wealth, fate, and reversal of fortunes."

At the end of the article: "When this boom goes bust- as it inevitably will- what will Alberta have to show for it?  How much are we saving?  Where are we investing?  What are we building as legacies for the future?" 

Rahmit Sethi: I've been reading his book I Will Teach You to be Rich.  It talked about how friends influence you to spend your money.  There was a part of the book about how a person is told by a friend to buy this new phone, regardless if he needs a new one or not.

I don't tell my friends to buy things.  I tell them to save their money.  Remember my weekly email/ blog post that said this:

"In the Drake music video 'Find Your Love', at the end in big, capital, bold letters it says: 'FIND.  YOUR.  LOVE.'  I would say: 'SAVE.  YOUR. MONEY.'"  lol.

The other things I tell you to do is: "Watch this TV show, listen to this song, check out this website" which isn't about spending money at all.  Just time.

Job advice: I like reading advice columns like then I would know what to do if I or one of my friends, family, or co-worker was in this situation.  I usually read life and dating advice columns like Ann Landers.  I do like reading job advice columns.

Bad boss: I have this article "My 'Teflon' boss blames me for his unpopular decisions."  It was in the Globe and Mail business section column called 'Nine to Five.'  This Worker #1 writes in saying his boss creates this decisions and changes, and the worker who wrote in, he has to implement them.  Then when workers complain, the boss blames it on the Worker #1 who wrote in.  This was on Jul. 30, 2012.

Doug Nathanson, senior VP and chief human resources officer, Canadian Tire, Toronto says:

"...Include meeting with your manager's boss, engaging your HR department or using a whistle-blower or code-of-conduct reporting mechanism.  Whichever option you choose, you should arm yourself with all the facts and as much supporting documentation as possible.  I suspect you will be surprised to learn how many others are aware of your manager's behaviour once it is more openly discussed.

There is a degree of risk associated with standing up to your boss, but if it's done tactfully it is your best option."

Billy Anderson, Founder, Made You Think Coaching, Toronto:

"You could ask your boss' boss if it's possible for everyone to get a review because you think the department would benefit.  In so doing you'll hopefully get the chance to air your frustrations."

Another tip was to diplomatically stand up to your boss in front of a group of people when he's being unfair.   "Sometimes such people are only tough until someone calls them out.  There is a risk he'll hold it against after that, but do you have anything to lose at this point?"

He also said the same thing above about a paper trail like keeping inappropriate or contradictory emails from the boss.

Also work on your resume: "Simply starting the search is empowering- you feel like you're driving your own bus instead of being thrown under his."

Good job sites: In the Globe and Mail business section there are these tips. 

Addictive Tips:
There is usually a tech tip from  These are all tech tips from computers like Mac, Windows, Android, etc.  Check it out: They have this website that gave a tip.  Ask this question in a job interview:

“What are you doing to get better at what you do?” –

I thought that was a good question that I put it in my inspirational quotes. 

Strategy+ business: It also mentioned this website.  There are some really good job articles.  It lead me to this "6 Secrets to Doing Less."

1. What isn't there can often trump what is.
2. The simplest rules create the most effective experience.
3. Limiting information engages the imagination.
4. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints.
5. Break is the important part of breakthrough.
6. Doing something isn't always better than doing nothing.
The Womack Report: This site is run by Jason Womack.  There are lots of blog posts, videos, seminars, executive coaching to improve your job.
May 11 Linked In: Did you know that Linked In is now 10 yrs old?  I got an email from them in my inbox.  I then read it in the Edmonton Journal about how Linked In was in an office by the other social networking site Friendster.  Of course, no one uses that anymore.

I remember last year I was at a wedding, and the MC was talking about how the married couple met.  They knew each other when they were kids and lost touch, then reconnected through Friendster back in 2005.  Now they're married....awww.

May 15 Newspapers: Last month my dad cancelled our National Post newspaper subscription which we had for years.  We're trying to save our money and we subscribe to 2 other newspapers already like the Edmonton Journal and the Globe and Mail.

I remember the days since 2010, the Year of Unemployment where I was unemployed and read all the business sections of the 3 newspapers to be up on the business news.  I didn't want to miss a thing about it because how the economy was going, was having some sort of an effect on my job search.

From 2010-2013 I was reading all 3 business sections of the newspapers.  Now I'm down to 2.  That's fine.

Widows and widowers: Ginny Grimsley sends me these articles and I decided to publish one of them.  I asked if I could and she said yes.   Here it is:

I know for most of my friends, it's a long ways away to be thinking about death, but I thought this was a really important article.  It mentions finances in it.  I always read business articles about retirement, and what happens when you or your spouse dies, inheritances, etc.  This article will apply to everybody at one time or another.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Did Obama really say that?

 I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

President Obama announced concrete steps to close Guantanamo yesterday, including transferring detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Tell Obama to turn his words into action and transfer Shaker Aamer today.

Shaker Aamer has spent over 11 years in Guantanamo. He has not been charged with any crime, and in fact has been cleared for transfer twice.

The British government has repeatedly asked that Shaker be released and returned to the UK, but those calls have gone unanswered.

There is no time like the present -- tell Obama to transfer Shaker Aamer today.

Shaker is not alone. There are 166 detainees in Guantanamo: dozens have been cleared for transfer. More than half are on a hunger strike. Dozens are being shackled and force fed through tubes to keep them alive as the strike continues into its 4th month.

All detainees in Guantanamo Bay have the right to be fairly tried or released.

Tracy, Guantanamo Bay is a place where human rights are denied day after day. And all of this has been done in the name of keeping us "safe."

President Obama can show he is serious about closing Guantanamo by moving forward with transfers today. He has the authority to do so under current law.

Amnesty activists like you have accomplished amazing feats -- and there is no reason to let up now. Your emails, phone calls, rallies, and tweets are working. You are generating critical public pressure, and we need to dial it up -- we are closer than ever to sending Shaker Aamer home and closing Guantanamo for good.


Zeke Johnson
Director, Security with Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Remind your MP of Canada's promise to Indigenous Peoples in Colombia

I got this from Amnesty International:

Canada hasn't yet fulfilled its promise to assess human rights impact of free trade agreement with Colombia

Does your MP know about this? 

Call on your MP to ensure Parliament speaks up for the protection of threatened Indigenous Peoples in Colombia 
  "We want to live in peace on our lands"
Dear ,

When a wealthy country like Canada enters into a trade agreement with a country in the midst of a violent decades long armed conflict, you would expect there to be some human rights safeguards in place.

There were.

But the Canadian government has ignored its commitments.

Last week's May 15 deadline for a human rights impact assessment of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has come and gone with no report, again.

Indigenous Peoples in Colombia continue to be subject to what has been called "extermination", and today as I write to you, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Colombia seeking to expand trade.

Please remind your MP of Canada's obligation before Parliament to submit a human rights impact assessment.
Send an email today.

(Include your postal code when signing the action form and your message will automatically be directed to your MP.)

In 2009, Colombia’s highest court ruled that one third of Indigenous peoples in the South American country were “threatened with physical or cultural exterminationamidst armed conflict and forced displacement, often from land coveted by others for its location or natural resources.

The court gave the government of Colombia six months to develop and implement measures to protect the rights and survival of these Indigenous nations. Four years later, little effective progress has been made.

In the past year, the crisis has only sharpened. More Indigenous leaders were killed amidst efforts to defend the land of their people and their right to determine how it is used. Vulnerable Indigenous communities were bombed by the army, while others suffered violent incursions by guerrilla forces and by paramilitaries.  Less than two weeks ago, the home of a Wiwa Indigenous leader was attacked with grenades.

Indigenous organizations reported that armed conflict and grave abuses took place precisely in territory that third parties want to exploit for its natural resources.

Now more than ever, it is vitally important that our government use its special relationship with Colombia to speak up for effective protection of the rights and survival of Indigenous peoples. When Canada entered into the free trade agreement with Colombia in 2011, the legislation passed by Parliament required this annual human rights impact assessment. To date such an assessment has yet to take place. Since then Canada increased its cooperation with Colombia’s military and changed export rules to allow for arms sales to the Colombian army.

Please send an email message informing - or reminding - your representative of our obligations to protect human rights.

Click here to take part in this important action.


Alex Neve
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
P.S. You can find this important and timely action on our new webpage "Make it Visible".  Please visit to learn more about how vital it is for Canadians to speak up about this issue.

Teen Pregnancy Trap/ Jamie Lynn Spears/ Teen Mom 2

Apr. 27 Teen Pregnancy Trap: This is also about the Dr. Phil ep I saw on Apr. 24.  The other half was about a teen mom named Lauren.  She was 17 yrs old when she had Kayla.  When Kayla turned 2, Lauren gave Kayla to her mom to raise. 

Kayla: My mom abandoned me. 
At 12 yrs old, Kayla moved back in with Lauren.

Lauren: I didn't abandon her.  I needed a break.  My mom offered to take care of her.
Dr. P: You came back 10 yrs later.
Lauren: I was on and off 10 yrs to see her.

Kayla is biracial, and Lauren is white.

Kayla: If I had a kid, I would never abandon her like my mom did.

Lauren: I found wine bottles in her room and my brother saw her buy a pregnancy test.
Kayla (to Dr.P): I drink sometimes, it's rare.  I have sex with my boyfriend.

They mentioned an incident back when Myspace was popular.  (Probably like 2006.)  They got into a fight at midnight.  Lauren needed help with her Myspace page and Kayla had school the next day.  Lauren pushed Kayla and there was blood on Kayla's foot.  A woman who lived downstairs heard it and called 911.

Kayla: I want to spend time with my mom. 
Lauren: I want a close relationship with my daughter.
Kayla: You only talk to me when you're drunk.
Lauren: You're always like "Yeah, what do you want?"
Kayla: So you're the same.

May 15: They showed where Kayla is talking to the camera.

Kayla: I love her.  I act out because I'm in pain.

Lauren: I'm not perfect.  I wish I could go back and things would be different.

They're both crying on the show.

Dr. Phil (to Lauren): Stop making excuses.

Dr. Phil (to Kayla): Don't be stupid.  Don't go drinking and get pregnant.  Don't waste your life.

Tips: Dr. Phil closes with some tips to prevent teen pregnancy.

1. Be clear about your sexual values.
2. Help your teen have more options than to get pregnant.
3. Be aware that a 14 yr old girl dating an 18 yr old boy is very different.  Their mind sets are like day and night.

Yearbook: I found this on Yahoo news.  This teen mom was holding her baby boy in her yearbook photo.  Most students held a pet or a musical instrument.  School officials are now saying this photo is promoting teen pregnancy.  The student Caitlin Tiller did graduate out of high school early, and is working 30hrs a week while taking college classes.

The comments are divided like: "The photo should be banned.  She should have gave the baby up for adoption."  The others are like: "Don't punish her for one mistake."

Jamie Lynn Spears: Today I was reading this Glamour magazine, and they talked to Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney Spears's litte sister.  She got pregnant when she was 16 yrs old back in 2008.  She went away and now she's 21 yrs old.  She got pregnant, had a baby girl and was engaged to the father Casey Alridge.  They later separated and in the article she says he sees her one weekend a month.

She is currently engaged to another guy who isn't the baby's father since Mar 2013.  She got pregnant because she was scared to go to the doctor and was embarrassed to ask to be put on birth control.  If you want more info, go here:

Teen Mom 2:
I saw the season 4 Check Up with Dr. Drew.  It didn't get me angry.

Jenelle: She was crying over the domestic violence between her and boyfriend Gary.  Gary has now been kicked out of the marines.  She discussed about the terrible side effects with heroin.  I think it scared and taught a lot of viewers about the dangers of the drug.  She tried it and she was throwing up every 5 min.  She went to the hospital 3 different times and only did the drug because of her boyfriend Kieffer.

Jenelle: I felt like I was going to die.  Keiffer is selling stories to the tabloids that I'm a horrible person.  I never injected the drugs/ heroin before.  Keiffer did it to me.  I don't know how to inject it into myself.

She calls her mom Barbara for help.

Barbara (crying): I thought she would be dead.

Kailyn: She talks to Dr. Drew about how much she disapproves her ex-boyfriend/ baby's daddy Jo's girlfriend Vee.

Kailyn: Vee smokes weed out of a gas mask and puts it on the internet.  I'm not going to allow someone to smoke or drink around my son.  I'm protecting my only family.  (She starts crying.)
Dr. Drew: You need to meet her.
Kailyn: I can't, I'm not ready for it.

Kailyn got married to Javi.

Jo: I haven't spent much time with Javi, I don't know him.

They discussed the whole custody issue when Kailyn may move to Javi's army base.

Kailyn and Vee meet on the show.

Vee: I have never done anything intentionally to make you not like me.  I know what not to do in front of kids.  I work at a daycare.  I'm studying to be a teacher.
Kailyn: You can smoke, drink, do drugs, but don't post pictures of it on the internet.
Dr. Drew: Do you feel it's safe to judge someone after one picture?

Dr. Drew got Kailyn angry by asking that question, and she gets up and walks away in a huff.

Vee actually cries about the stress of dating a teen dad.  Vee kind of becomes sympathetic here.
Vee: It's hard, but at the end of the day, it's worth it because Jo is a great guy.

Kailyn comes back with Javi.
Kailyn: I felt like I was being attacked.
Dr. Drew: I didn't mean to attack you, that was not my intention.

Chelsea:  Dr. Drew asks about how she almost got pregnant again with using the "pull out method."

Dr. Drew: Why didn't you take the morning after pill the next day?
Chelsea: I assumed I wasn't pregnant.

They talk about how she doesn't have a boyfriend.

Chelsea: I thought (ex-boyfriend) Adam was rubbing in my face that he's so happy with his girlfriend Taylor.  (My daughter) Aubree said "She (Taylor) took a shower with her."  Maybe Aubree meant she was given a bath.

Adam comes on and says he and Taylor gave Aubree a bath.  Adam is swearing.  Chelsea says she and Adam have been hooking up for the past month.Chelsea's dad Randy comes on and discuss of the cycle where they hook up, and then don't talk for a few weeks.  Then it goes again.

Chelsea: We all know what the cycle is, and it's not right.

They discuss Adam's court order to see Aubree.  Chelsea does let Adam see Aubree most of the time, unless it's last minute and she already made plans to do something with Aubree.  Randy is in contact with Adam's parents.  Adam talks to parents about co-parenting and how he and Chelsea are never going to date again. 

Leah: All the teen moms cried, except Leah.  She says she's pregnant and she did give birth after this aired.  Her husband Jeremy is gone 6 days a week for work, but Leah has a lot of family support so she can take care of her twin girls and a baby.

Leah: When the kids go to school, I will go to college.

Leah: I'm proud of the person I am now.

Her daughter Ali who's legs are not totally developed, she is now able to walk.  Leah's ex-boyfriend Corey now has a girlfriend and she moved in with him.  They talked about child support.

Corey: I was used to giving $400 a month, and now it's $800.  It was a shock.  I got lawyers so I wanted to make sure I won't be screwed over, but I did end up getting screwed over.
There were a few laughs.

Dr. Drew: 12% of teen moms have an arrangement of getting child support.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Will Teach You to Be Rich/ Junior Achievement

May 9 I Will Teach You to Be Rich: This is a book and website by Ramit Sethi.  My sister loves him and his financial advice.  It's very informative and entertaining to read.  Before I read this book, I knew some things about finance from reading the business section of the newspapers in the past 3yrs (2010-present), and the few times I talked to a financial advisor at my bank in 2012.

Saving: I was all about: "Save Your Money" ever since I was a little kid.  Now I have to add "Invest too."  Way back when I was 20 yrs old, I picked up a book from the library called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  What I remember is this:

"Poor dad: Save.
Rich dad: Invest."

I want to say: "Saving is very important.  You need enough money to save for your retirement.  If not retirement, at least enough for emergencies like if you got laid off.  I know because I got laid off three times."

I'm sure all of you remember those other business emails I wrote.  You know like how one of my friends was working at a job that she hates because though she wanted to quit, she didn't have enough money saved up to be unemployed for awhile.  Or in a happy news slant, I told about an article in the newspaper about this East Indian woman who was holding out for her dream job.  She was unemployed for 4 months, but since she saved a lot of money she could afford to hold out and then get hired at her dream job.

Investing: I find it hard to pay attention and read the investments articles in the newspaper.  What keeps me interested are business news like how a store is closing down, how this new business is affecting the industry, etc.

I have read here and there about investing like, I remember one article that said: "Don't invest on your own.  You trying to predict the stocks instead of hiring a financial advisor is like you playing tennis against a professional tennis player.  You're not going to win."

I am also really risk adverse about losing money in the stocks, and that I might as well just keep working and save my money.  Ramit Sethi changed my mind.

Don't hire a fund manager:

Myth: I should get a financial advisor to pick stocks and bonds for me, because they will know more about this than I do.  No matter how much I research, I won't know as much as a financial advisor.

Sethi says: In his book, chapter 6 "The Myth of Financial Expertise." 

On pg. 148: "Despite their astronomical compensation, fund managers fail to beat the market 75% of the time."

Pg. 149: "47% of the 50 (advisory) firms continued to advise investors to buy or hold shares in the companies up to the date the companies filed for bankruptcy."

Do automatic investing:

Pg. 163: "You invest in low-cost funds-which replace worthless, expensive portfolio managers- and you save tens of thousands of dollars in trading fees, taxes, and overall investment expenses, outperforming most investors."

Pg. 170: "Asset Allocation: Responsible for More than 90% of your Returns."  You must diversify your stocks.  I know that before I read this book.  It means to buy stocks and bonds.

Stocks and bonds: Chapter 7 "Investing isn't only for rich people" is the chapter to read and to be able to tell you what the difference between stocks and bonds are.  The higher the risk, the more reward there is.  I am risk averse, but what I learned from reading this book is that:

The younger you are like in your 20s and 30s, the more risk you can take by buying stocks.  The older you get like in your 50s, you need to be more conservative like have more bonds.  When you're young, the market will change and if you lose money, there is a chance it will than make up and gain money throughout the years.

If you're in your 50s, you don't have as much time to live so you need to be more conservative. 

Pg. 171: There's a good table to show the returns.  There are lots of tables throughout this book that gives your numbers to see how much your money will grow overtime.

Stocks                         Bonds                    Cash

Higher risk                   Lower risk               Ultra-low risk. Stored in an interest-generating
                                                                money-market account, not under your
10.5%                         5.2%                      3.8%

Pg. 174: There are these pie charts.

25 yrs old: 10% bonds, 90% stocks

35 yrs old: 10% bonds, 90% stocks

45 yrs old: 22% bonds, 78% stocks

55 yrs old: 37% bonds, 63% stocks

May 15 Weddings: I'm reading the part about weddings and how the average cost of one is $28,000.  This brought a flashback of 2006.  I was working at the Office Supply store after I got laid off from Call Centre #1.  The boss told me she worked at this printing company before and they had an order of wedding invitations for $25,000.  This was just for invitations and not like booking some reception at a hotel.

I was 20 yrs old back then, and didn't really think about how that is way too much for invitations.  Now I'm 27 and am more left- brain and thinking: "That printing company sure made a lot of money."

May 18: I finally finished reading the book.  It's really good, I recommend all of you to read it too.  It's very educational about investing.

Restaurant: Today was so busy at the restaurant, and we were short- staffed.  We usually have 5 bussers including me, but today we only had 2 including me.  One busser quit; she worked here for a few weeks and I thought she was good.  Another one had a day off.  Another one didn't show up.

Yeah, well we managed. The other busser and I made a lot of tips because we didn't have to share between 5 of us.

May 20 Junior Achievement: A couple of months ago I was at West Ed mall and there were these Junior Achievement booths.  This year, the products weren't that good.  Well they're not as good as last year's products.  There I said it.  These are teenagers who create products.

H2GO: These are like water bottles and they're decorated.  I do like the name.  Here's the Facebook page.

Tech Support: The product is a place to strap your iPod as it's recharging.  You don't have to put it down on the floor, it can be attached to the wall.

DEO: It's a deodorizer that is also biodegradable.

Indivigital: This is a cool name.  They sell these screen cleaners with cute designs.  The designs are cats and butterflies, and it's useful.  Lots of people have cell phones, iPads, iPhones, etc. and they need to clean the screen.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Inspirational quotes (Part 13)

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”-Pablo Picasso

“A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.”-Eugene Ionesco

“Art expresses who we are, where we are going, where we have been, and what we might be.  It compels us to engage our minds, think in new ways, and to use our most precious gift, our imagination.” –University of Alberta Extension brochure

“A home cannot be truly beautiful unless it functions in harmony with who we are.”-Clodagh

“So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it’s gratifying to have something you have done linger in people’s memories.”-John Williams, film composer

“The brain is not fragile; the brain is adaptive.  The question is whether or not those adaptations will allow you to cope with the world you are then going to live in.” –Dr. Clyde Hertzman

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”-Og Mandino

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”-Neale Donald Walsch

“Turn your wound into wisdom.” –Oprah Winfrey

“The deed is everything, the glory is naught.” –Goethe

“The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson  

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”-Winston Churchill, British politician and statesman (1874-1965)

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt, US president, (1858-1919)

“There is no a prior reason for supposing that the truth, when it is discovered, will necessarily prove interesting.”-Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher (1909-1997)

“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”- Peter De Vries, US novelist (1910-1993)

“The value of sentiment is the amount of sacrifice you are prepared to make for it.” –John Galsworthy, English novelist (1867-1933)

“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.” –Henry David Thoreau

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” –John Quincy Adams, US President (1767-1848)

“Our vision is more obstructed by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.”-Stendahl 

“Before someone will acknowledge your criticisms, you need to acknowledge their strengths.” –David Rabner

“Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”-Nathaniel Hawthorne, American writer (1804-64)

“To revel in the wonders of life, to think, to remember, to dream; this is to know happiness.” –Giancarlo Di Gratsi

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity…we shall harness the energies of love- then, for the second time in the history of the world, men will have discovered fire.”-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (19th century French philosopher)

“The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical.  It is the sower of all true science.  He or she to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.” –Albert Einstein 

“Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves that anger or annoy us.” –Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor (AD 121-180)

“The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.”- William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist (1811-63)

“Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.”-Rochefoucauld

“Virtue needs a director and guide.  Vice can be learned even without a teacher.”- Seneca the Younger, Roman philosopher (5 BC-65 AD)

“Self-respecting people do not care to peep at their reflections in unexpected mirrors, or to see themselves as others see them.”-Logan Pearsall Smith, American essayist (1865-1946)

“Life is like a B-movie.  You don’t want to have to leave in the middle of it, but you don’t want to see it again.”-Ted Turner, US media mogul (1938-)

“Knowledge is a vehicle…designed to take you from one place to another.”-Marc L. Dorcean

“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created.  They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”-Bill Gates

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” -Michelangelo

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”-Norman Kolpas

“Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.”-Craig Claiborne

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

“Let us read and let us dance- two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”-Voltaire

“When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” –Joyce Brothers

“Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will.”-Mahatma Gandhi

“One language sets you in a corridor for life.  Two languages open every door along the way.”-Frank Smith

“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”-Roger Bacon

“Language is the road map of a culture.  It tells you where it’s people come from and where they are going.”-Rita Mae Brown

“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.”-Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Change your language and you change your thoughts.”- Karl Albrecht

“Law is order, and good law is good order.”-Aristotle

“Many of life’s circumstances are created by three basic choices: the disciplines you choose to keep, the people you choose to be with, and the laws you choose to obey.”-Charles Milhuff

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”-Marcus Aurelius

“Your body is a beautiful manifestation powered by spirit.”-Mike Dolan

“You can’t put a limit on anything.  The more you dream, the farther you get.”-Michael Phelps

“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.”-Denis Diderot

“In the human heart new passions are forever being born; the overthrow of one almost always means the rise of another.”-Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to.”-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”-Eudora Welty

“To me, photography is an art of observation.  It’s about find something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” –Elliot Erwitt

“You are responsible for creating the life, the relationships, and the business you want.  Everything else is just drama.”-Marlene Chism

“The more success you have, the more people decide they want to hate you.  You spend your time looking for the next project and as each project ends, you think there’s not going to be any more.  When this opportunity came up, which I thought was terrible, my wife convinced me to do it.  The thing I didn’t want to do most garnered me the most success.” –Howie Mandel on his TV show Deal or No Deal

“I recognize that Hollywood is not about seniority.  Often it’s not even a meritocracy.  It’s about what you did yesterday.  You have a couple of misses, and suddenly it’s impossible to find a hit.  So the swings are gigantic.  But I’ve always understood it as such, and navigated it as such.” –Ben Affleck

“…The value of work, and of always learning something new, and what it takes to achieve excellence.  I really believe in those things that you have to dedicate yourself and spend time, that excellence is elusive.  It’s a little maddening, to try to have that level of discipline in your life, and I don’t succeed all the time.  But I do try.” –Ben Affleck on the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi

“You have to be kind to people.  Treat them decently.  There’s no excuse for not.” –Ben Affleck

“I was walking to Madison Square Garden when the second plane hit-you can prepare for everything, but you can’t expect everything.  Forty-eight hours later, we were back on the ice, because no matter where you are in the world, what you’re experiencing is a hockey rink- that’s where you’re at home.” -Dr. Kimberley Amirault-Ryan  (She is the lead of sport psychology for the Canadian Olympic Committee.  This is about working for the New York Rangers on Sept.11, 2001.

“But even everyday pressures- the self-doubt, setbacks and confusion- can be put in balance by a workout routine.  Forget the release of endorphin; even the hour of quiet reflecting coupled with a sense of accomplishment can create a sense of calm.”-Ben Kaplan (journalist for the National Post)

“When you’re not happy with how things are going and you’re trying to get back on track, that’s when it’s wise to fall back on healthy routine.”-Peter Jensen, sports psychologist.  He has worked with Canada’s gold medal-winning women’s hockey team.

“Finding more meaning in life and things that are more important than your problems pull you towards life rather than death and help to promote wellness.”-Dr. Ian Manion, the executive director of the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health

2010 Vancouver Olympics Joannie Rochette:

“You set goals for yourself every week and you achieve them, which is great for your self-esteem.”

“In skating there’s a whole team with you, but at the same time you’re by yourself.  You have to be willing to spend a lot of hours with yourself, it can get pretty lonely at times, but you become to be your own best friend and you get know yourself a way you wouldn’t if you didn’t go through that.”

What have you learned from the sport?  What are some of the life skills competitive skating has taught you?

“To set goals for yourself, and not to procrastinate.  You learn to push yourself to do things when you don’t want to-hell, some days you can’t even climb up the stairs because your legs hurt so badly from the previous day.  But you kick yourself in the butt and you keep going!  I think I learned that kind of discipline, that kind of will to achieve your goal, even if it means suffering one day.  It helps to keep that big goal and the big picture of it.”

“Just set goals for yourself, it keeps you from trouble and that intimidation at school.”