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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

writer interview (part 2)/ Screenwriting Goldmine

Dec. 27 Writer interview (part 2): I have written an interview where I imagine a host is interviewing me about my writing.  It’s mainly professional.

I remember watching Tyra Banks talk show and sometimes she does kind of sound like a psychologist talking to a guest you know like the teen pregnancy episodes.  Here’s the episode:

Well here’s part 2 of my writer interview.  It’s going to get personal.


Host: Why do you blog?

Tracy: Because I want to produce my script The Vertex Fighter and get it produced to be a TV movie.

Host: How long have you had these blogs?

Tracy: Tracy’s Blog has been here since Jan. 2008, so 6 yrs.  My The Vertex Fighter has been here since Jun. 2011, so 2 and a half yrs.

Host: Do you have any followers?

Tracy: No, but I do keep track of my page views.  In Tracy’s Blog, I get 100-200 page views a day.  In The Vertex Fighter blog, I get 0-20 page views a day.  My Fighter blog is about writing, TV, and movies.  That post is usually on Tracy’s blog too.  On Tracy’s blog there are lots of topics like jobs and news.

Host: Do you intend to get a book published?

Tracy: I would like to get from blog to book, but I haven’t figured it out.  I have thought of turning my script into a fictional book and then self-publish it on Amazon.  But I don’t want to write a fictional book.

I’m brainstorming, because The Book of Awesome writer Neil Pasricha made a book that is compiled of his blog posts.  I could, but how would I make it?

Tracy’s Blog: Business edition: All the job, career articles and tips, job interviews, job experiences that I went through.

Tracy’s Blog: Writer’s edition: All the TV and movie reviews, synopsis’s, writer/ author interviews, articles, and tips.

Tracy’s Blog: Jokes edition: Daily Silly jokes, comedy comparisons.

Host: What if you never become famous?  Your blog never becomes a book?  You don’t win any awards?  Then what?

Tracy: Then I’m going to keep blogging.


Host: So are you getting any closer to getting your script produced?

Tracy: I was so busy working, especially in the first half of the year Jan.-Jun. 2013, that I haven’t been pitching my script much.  I only had one producer read it and he rejected it.

Host: So what now?

Tracy: I don’t feel motivated to pitch my script.  I’ve been writing scripts since I was 14 yrs old.  So from 14-22 yrs old, I’ve been writing scripts for 8 yrs.  I had to graduate out of high school and Professional Writing in college, and then I started pitching my script.  I was 22 yrs old when I started pitching it.  In 2008-2009, I was constantly looking for production companies and pitching to them.

In 2010, I was laid off so I only pitched for 4 months of that year.  In 2011, I was working and looking for an office job all the time.  In 2012, I did the same, but I worked more temporary jobs that year.

In 2012, I applied to get jobs at TV production companies, but that only lasted a month.  There are some in Edmonton.  I did apply to them back in 2008 and got one interview.  

I was just going through my notes of all the places I pitched to and when.  There isn’t a lot that I did this year.  I did join the Edmonton Film Makers Group in Meetup and read some member’s scripts when I joined the Edmonton Screenwriter’s Group.

Host: This sounds like you lost steam.

Tracy: Yeah.

Host: So have you thought of finding ways to motivate yourself to getting your script produced?

Tracy: Yeah.  There is the route of typing up inspirational quotes.  Or maybe I should go into the direction of blog-to-book, if I can find a way with that.

Maybe I need to make myself more creative like watch something to inspire me.  I did watch the movie In Time and it did make me think on how to write my script.

Or I need to put up some articles about Canadian TV shows being produced in Canada.  It’s gotten too hard getting this script produced.  I gave 100% effort in 2008-2010 in pitching.  I’ve tried to get an agent, but couldn’t.   

Dec. 29 Screenwriting Goldmine: I unsubscribed to them yesterday.  It turns out I’ve been subscribing to them since 2007.  They asked why I unsubscribed and I said that it’s in the UK and I’m in Canada.  Here are some interesting excerpts from them:


News that only around 7% of British films make a box-office profit
is dispiriting. (That said, some might be astonished that that many
actually do...)

Of the 613 British films produced or co-produced in the UK from
2003-2010, only 3.1% of those with budgets under £500,000 made a

The bigger the budget, the more likely the profit, suggests
ScreenDaily's Michael Rosser who was reporting on statistics
released by the British Film Institute at the Screen Film Summit


While statistics can be used to say anything, let's not overlook
some more BFI data for the period 2010-12. It says that "a high
percentage of the most successful and profitable independent
British films had a female screenwriter and/or director attached."

The news points out that women are underrepresented in writing and directing
roles in the film industry. 

"For all UK independent films released between 2010 and 2012, just
11.4% of the directors and 16.1% of the writers were women.
However, for the top 20 UK independent films over the same period,
18.2% of the directors and 37% of the writers were female. And for
profitable UK independent films, 30% of the writers were female."

Commenting on the data, BFIO CEO said: "Women are creating stories
and characters that resonate with audiences in the UK and around
the world, and it's encouraging, and absolutely no surprise, to see
films from women writers in particular really making an impact. 

"Frustratingly, overall the numbers of women in writing and
directing roles remains low and there is still much work to do to
ensure female voices can come through."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pursue your passion/ high pay, low stress

Dec. 27: I worked all this week like Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day.  

Pursue your passion: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article “’Find Time to Pursue Your Passion!’ Says Moonlighting Toyota Attorney”.  Pamela Samuels Young is an attorney and she writes novels on the side and has been published.  Here are her tips and the article is on my blog:

• Schedule time to devote to your passion. “On my calendar, you’ll find a few hours or full days blocked out as ‘Writing Time’ every week,” Young says. “You have to schedule time for your passion. If you don’t, the day-to-day demands of life will get in the way.”

• Put “passion” time ahead of “pleasure” time.  If you’re working full-time and pursuing another “job,” you won’t have a lot of free time. “You’ll have to cut back on watching television, socializing with friends and even family time,” Young says. “Explain your goals to friends and family. People who have your best interests at heart will support you. “But do take an occasional break to relax.  Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out by working around the clock.”

• Learn from others. Surround yourself with people who share your passion. Sign up for newsletters, read books and join communities of other like-minded people, Young says. “There are tons of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and business goals.” Young is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes the advancement of women mystery writers. “Not only will you get energy and inspiration from networking with others, you’ll grow.”

• Don’t put your day job on the backburner. Young says it’s important to give your day job 100 percent. “I never want my co-workers to think I’m phoning it in because I also have a writing career.” That attitude has paid off. “I have a strong support system at work. My co-workers read my books, critique my manuscripts and come to book signings.” Many of the people Young thanks in the Acknowledgements in each of her books are co-workers. Her fourth novel is even dedicated to another Toyota attorney.

Job seeker newsletter: Here are some articles from the December edition.  It’s from the website Hire Ground:

Paid vacation days off: This is a little infographic:

“Ever wished you had more vacation days? Or that the office was closed an extra day or two in the summer? It’s interesting how much of a difference in paid holidays there are around the globe. Austrian and Portuguese workers can get over a month of paid time off each year, while the USA has a grand total of zero paid holidays! This makes Canada look like a great place to work, with a modest 18 days each year.”

Be positive: This is a little article called “Be Positive!  Attitude does matter” by Briana.

George Egbuonu, author of the book – How To Get A Job In 30 Days Or Less! writes, “A bad attitude is by the far the worst handicap one can have.”

I’m going to put that quote in my inspirational quotes.

“Do you hate your current work situation? Whether it’s your evil boss, your gossiping co-workers, your busy commute or your long hours, don’t let bad feelings toward your current job filter into your personality. So many of our waking hours are spent at work, it can be difficult to separate your work life from the rest of your life, but that is what you need to do (for your own peace of mind, if nothing else). If you hate your current job, don’t let it define you as you talk to your job contacts and potential employers. Go into networking meetings and interviews focused on a positive aspect of your life, or on the positive outcome that may come from the meeting.

Are you stuck in a long job search? If you have been fruitlessly looking for a job for several weeks or months, this will naturally affect your self-confidence. Look at each job opportunity and employer with fresh eyes and don’t stop putting in 100% effort. You are hireable.”

My opinion: I like this article.  I need to stay positive.

Not on resume: Briana writes “5 Things You Don’t Need on your Resume.”

An objective line.
A list of all your skills.
Details on every past role.
A list of references.
The reason you left your job.

My opinion: I agree with the last one.  It’s not until you’re at the job interview do they ask how and why you left your last job.

High pay, low stress: I found this Yahoo article in Nov. 2013.  I put it in my email so I could write about it later.  The article is “15 high paying jobs for people who don’t like stress.”

It’s a fast and easy read.  I read all of it, and I was kind of eh with it.  There are high paying jobs like engineers, dental hygienists, orthodontists, optometrists, audiologists, and law teachers.  It’s high pay, but there is so much schooling to go to.  You get a degree, but then you look at the education requirements, and then you need more schooling for the specific medicine, and some residency training.

Also most of the jobs I’m not interested in.  I see technical writer and art director.

I then read some of the comments below and lots of disses where people say those jobs do have lots of stress.  

Jorge: “Bogus article. Many of the jobs on the list do have stress. Try being responsible for implementing a multi-million dollar computer system and see what it does to you. You think the software company responsible for implementing the ACA website mess didn't feel the pain? And engineers who are responsible for the safety of the public and meeting business financial and time demands have it easy? Get real!”

Mike: “Low stress? Really? Any job with deadlines has stress. Any job with an effiiciency component combined with customer support has stress (dental hygenist). The astronomer maybe is low-stress, except around how to stay employed...

How much do librarians make?”

Christmas consumerism: I asked my friend Cham if I can put her in my blog and she said yes.  She says she doesn’t buy Christmas gifts either.  I talked to one of my co-workers and he doesn’t buy gifts either. 
I got some good news.  You know how I mentioned a few weeks ago that I saved all these links into an email, and then later the email went blank?  I then decided to send the draft email to you guys.  I mentioned about the MADtv sketch parody of American Idol in the email.  

One of the email addresses can’t be sent, so it went back to me.  I then see all the links I had put into the draft email.  It looks like my blank email could be retrieved.  One of the links was this, but then I couldn’t click on it.  I put it on Google and the website doesn’t exist.  

This belongs in my job email because it’s about saving money.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Elham's Story: Right now, her fridge is empty and you can help

I got this from Food Banks Canada: 

Elham dreams of becoming a nurse one day.
But today, she’s a single mother of 2 kids, ages 9 and 15, and she’s working to make a life here in Canada after moving from Iran. Like most days, almost every dollar she gets goes to rent. So this winter she is going without a warm jacket or boots.
And right now, she knows she doesn’t have enough food in the fridge for supper.Double your impact today!.jpg
So she will go out of her way on her way home,
to visit her local food bank. Your support helps
make sure she goes home with quality food for
her growing kids.
Tonight, Elham will feed herself and her children with food that caring Canadians - like you - share through your support of Food Banks Canada.
Will you please take a moment right now and make your special gift to Food Banks Canada? Your gift goes to work immediately, in your neighbourhood and across Canada.
Remember that your gift will be matched by Target up to a maximum of $25,000 but only until December 31! You can double the impact of your donation when you give today! Please act now and give as generously as you can.
Together -  we’re working for a nation where no one goes hungry,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thank you for saving my life

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

I believe that I’m alive this holiday season because of you and the thousands of Amnesty supporters who worked tirelessly to rescue me from death row in Iran.

Please make a donation today this holiday season and help bring more people home.
Through your support, you’ve given me the chance to be reunited with my wife, Antonella, and renew my life in Canada. 

In 2008, while visiting my family in Iran, I was arrested when I tried to find out what happened to my older brother, Alborz, who had been detained. I was psychologically and physically tortured, and held in isolation. In 2009, I was given a death sentence on trumped up espionage charges. My brother died in prison.
I nearly gave up hope.

But Amnesty International supporters like you in Canada and around the world refused to give up and campaigned to bring me home.
After nearly half a decade in prison, I was released. It was the second happiest day of my life.
The happiest was arriving at the airport in Toronto to be reunited with Antonella. Watch this special video to see my joyous return home

Tracy, please donate this holiday season so that Amnesty International Canada can continue reuniting families like mine.

I am personally concerned about Omid Kokabee, an Iranian student who was studying for his PhD in the USA. He was arrested when he came home to visit his family, unjustly charged, and jailed in the very same prison where I was held. His family is very concerned for his well-being and hope that, with Amnesty International's help, he will be freed from his nightmare soon.

No one deserves to be left alone to die in a prison for a crime they didn’t commit. And there are so many more who need our help.
I am proof that your efforts work. 

But let’s make sure that Amnesty International Canada can keep reuniting families. 

With your gift today, you can help other people like me who are imprisoned without cause around the world. We can’t do this on our own. In the spirit of the holiday season, please donate to Amnesty International Canada today.
hamid_sig.gifAll the best,

Hamid Ghassemi-Shall

P.S. My hope for this holiday season is that Amnesty International will reunite more families, like Omid Kokabee's, in the new year. I know you’ll make a real difference this holiday season. Please donate today.


Children flogged in Syrian secret prisons

I got this from Amnesty International:

Amnesty International logo

Children flogged in Syrian secret prisons

Dear Tracy,

Amnesty just uncovered shocking abuses in northern Syria. Children as young as eight years old have been detained in secret prisons -- held together with adults in cruel and inhuman conditions.

Today Amnesty is releasing a report that identifies seven secret prisons and details the human rights abuses being committed there -- including the flogging of children.

Your help is urgently needed to sustain and expand Amnesty's efforts calling global attention to the escalating crises in Syria and other human rights hot spots. Please make a year-end donation right now. As part of Amnesty's Be the Light campaign, your donation will be matched until December 31.

These secret prisons are being run by ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), an armed group that controls large areas of northern Syria. ISIS, which claims to apply Shari'a (Islamic law), has ruthlessly flouted the rights of local people. Some held by ISIS are accused of "crimes" against Islam like smoking cigarettes. Others are seized for challenging ISIS's rule. Many local Syrian Muslims utterly reject the abuses of ISIS, but feel trapped.

Help us demand that the international community block the flow of arms and other support to ISIS and other armed groups implicated in committing war crimes in Syria. Donate now.

Families across Syria are in a desperate struggle to survive daily violence, unjust imprisonment, and other abuses. We won't stop until the global community takes action to end violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the use of torture in detention centers.

Please support this work. Until December 31, a group of Amnesty donors will match every dollar of your donation.

Donate now

Sunjeev Bery
Sunjeev Bery

P.S. Please make your donation go twice as far. Donate now.

Looking for a New You in the New Year? (article)

Ginny Grimsley sent me this article:

Looking for a New You in the New Year? 
‘Find Time to Pursue Your Passion!’
Says Moonlighting Toyota Attorney

In January, the job search websites go crazy as people start the new year resolved to find work that’s more satisfying.

“While thousands of people are dealing with the tragedy of unemployment, many others are looking for jobs that are more fulfilling than the ones they have,” says attorney and author Pamela Samuels Young,

In January 2013, job search website had a record 17.3 million unique visitors—a 24-percent jump, and January 2014 will likely see a similar increase. Many of those job seekers won’t be looking for just a job, but one they’re passionate about.

“It’s great if your day job is your passion,” Young says. “But if it’s not, you don’t have to give up a position that pays the bills in order to pursue your dream. You can do both.”

Since 2006, Young has pursued her passion—writing legal thrillers—as well as her day job as Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for Toyota Motors Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
“I enjoy practicing law and I didn’t want to leave Toyota, nor could I afford to. But I also had a burning desire to write mystery novels,” says Young. She recently released her sixth novel, “Anybody’s Daughter.” Described by Kirkus Reviews as a "fast-paced, well-written thriller that's grounded in social issues," the book takes readers inside the shocking world of child sex trafficking in the United States.

“I’ve always believed that if you have a dream, you should formulate a plan and make it happen. So that’s what I did.”

Young’s plan included rising at 4 a.m. to squeeze in some writing time before heading off to work, and turning weekends and vacation time into creation time. 

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’ve published six novels, while still practicing law,” she says. “The hard work and commitment have definitely paid off.”

Young offers these tips for busy professionals itching to pursue their own passions.
• Schedule time to devote to your passion. “On my calendar, you’ll find a few hours or full days blocked out as ‘Writing Time’ every week,” Young says. “You have to schedule time for your passion. If you don’t, the day-to-day demands of life will get in the way.”
• Put “passion” time ahead of “pleasure” time.  If you’re working full-time and pursuing another “job,” you won’t have a lot of free time. “You’ll have to cut back on watching television, socializing with friends and even family time,” Young says. “Explain your goals to friends and family. People who have your best interests at heart will support you. “But do take an occasional break to relax.  Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out by working around the clock.”
• Learn from others. Surround yourself with people who share your passion. Sign up for newsletters, read books and join communities of other like-minded people, Young says. “There are tons of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and business goals.” Young is a diehard member of Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes the advancement of women mystery writers. “Not only will you get energy and inspiration from networking with others, you’ll grow.”
• Don’t put your day job on the backburner. Young says it’s important to give your day job 100 percent. “I never want my co-workers to think I’m phoning it in because I also have a writing career.” That attitude has paid off. “I have a strong support system at work. My co-workers read my books, critique my manuscripts and come to book signings.” Many of the people Young thanks in the Acknowledgements in each of her books are co-workers. Her fourth novel is even dedicated to another Toyota attorney.
“Don’t just dream about pursuing your passion,” Young says, “make it happen!”

About Samuels Young
Pamela Samuels Young is a novelist, motivational speaker and Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the sales and distribution arm for Toyota and Lexus vehicles in North America. She published the first of her six legal thrillers in 2006.  “Anybody’s Daughter” is her latest. Young worked as a news writer and associate producer for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles before leaving that career to attend UC Berkeley School of Law, where, in her thirties, she pursued her dream of becoming a lawyer. To contact Young or read an excerpt of her novels, visit

Philosophy dressed up in capes and Spandex

Dec. 24: Here is the counter argument to Jay Stone’s article “Hollywood hooked on a teenage fantasy” about all these superhero movies.  On the same Edmonton Journal page, Katherine Monk has an article about the importance of superhero movies.

Philosophy dressed up in capes and Spandex

Comic-book adventures dissect life on an extra-large scale

Katherine Monk, Postmedia News

Published: Friday, May 04 2012

Snooki. Paris. Kim. We live in a culture that currently celebrates ordinary, untalented mortals who flex their muscles and have emotional meltdowns - for no good reason other than empty entertainment.

No wonder I crave super-heroes. At least they "live large" in a way that attempts genuine meaning.
Superheroes ponder the heavy questions, from the dimensions of responsibility that go along with great powers, to the mental exhaustion of saving the planet.

While Paris Hilton and the Kardashians are contemplating the dollar value of amateur porn, Spider-Man, Batman and Wonder Woman are hard at work trying to ennoble the impoverished soul of man.
Forever trapped in the time-less battle between good and evil, superheroes allow mere moviegoing mortals a chance to dissect the human condition on an extra-large scale.

Just as every new comic-book villain gives us an exaggerated look at our own flaws, every superhero offers a chance at redemption.

So what if a short man with a waddle and a goofy laugh wants to freeze the oceans, or erase every metropolis with a laser beam? So what if he blackmails the leaders of the western world to hand over the contents of Fort Knox to impress his fluffy white kitty, or his impossibly long-legged girlfriend?
When we see Penguin or any other masked marauder attempting to undo the past two millennia of civilization, we can see our own petty in-securities through a funhouse mirror. The same is true for all the good things about us: Superheroes animate the human ability to love, and to sacrifice ourselves for the common good.

Before the age of secularism ushered in the modern Super-man with the pen and ink of Jerry Siegel and Canadian artist Joe Shuster with the publication of Action Comics #1 in 1938, we had scripture to guide us through the moral labyrinth of actions.

The fun part of superheroes is that they're like gods, only with human sensibilities.
Whether it's Hulk's bad temper or Spider-Man's latent selfloathing, the superhero isn't one-dimensional and goodygoody dull. They are like us - only gifted with talents we could only dream of.

The Spandex set is essentially the modern version of pagan deities: larger-than-life immortals who fight with each other, struggle with the same ego needs as us, but eventually transcend all things petty to become shining examples of the human potential.

One hundred years before the comic-book Superman redefined our relationship with the cosmos, there was another embodiment of the Superman who accomplished very much the same thing. Friedrich Nietzsche's Superman, or "Übermensch," sought to release man from the chains of blind belief in a higher power. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche killed the old god because he felt it was limiting the human capacity for creation. Nietzsche believed humans were too beautiful and too gifted to be eclipsed by an inanimate monolith of omnipotence, so he destroyed the old belief system to let us live in the bright light of human truth, where we could take charge of our own destiny.

These ideas were not lost on Siegel or Shuster, who took certain Nietzschean ideas and translated them into what appeared to be non-threatening, two-dimensional kids' stuff.
Yet, nearly a century later, these heathen concepts have sunk into the sedimentary layers of our society - where they are now played out on the big screen every summer.

Whether it's watching Thor argue about the worth of humanity with his brother Loki, or Superman's big decision to abandon superheroism for human love, the superhero movie allows us to explore the most profound questions in metaphysics through a candy-coloured lens of fun.

Every time you walk out of a superhero movie, chances are good you appreciate being human a little bit more.

It's not superpowers that make the superhero. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Unlimited power defines the villain, while the human capacity to love, to show compassion, and to embrace our own flaws, are what truly make a hero.

Dec. 27 My opinion: It’s a good article.  I will have to moderate how much superhero movies I watch.  On Showcase, for the past couple of weeks I saw that Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Green Lantern were playing.  I thought about it and I wasn’t really interested in watching it.

Blog to book: I was reading the Globe and Mail on Dec. 7, 2013.  It mentioned Maddie on Things by Theron Humprey.  It’s a website at first where Theron takes pictures of his dog standing on things like a skateboard.

Here’s the website:

Meetup: There is an Edmonton Film Makers Group.  There is also an Edmonton Film Makers Group #2.  I then get an email saying #2 is closing down unless someone wants to become the new Organizer.  Well no one did and it closed down.

Sex comedy: You know it’s interesting.  I like the TV show The Sausage Factory about 4 teenage guys and they have these sex jokes.  However, I don’t like sex comedy movies like:

American Pie (saw on TV.)

American Wedding (saw for free, got a movie pass.)

Van Wilder (went to a friend’s house and saw it.)

Road Trip (saw it on a band trip on the bus).

Sorority Boys (saw it on TV.)

Intentionally bad writing: I was thinking about those Syfy TV movies and how they are often intentionally bad like Dinoshark.  Just watching the trailer you can tell it’s terrible.  The TV show MADtv does bad writing to make the sketch fun to watch.  I wrote about this before, about the 1970s sex ed tape with Avril Lavigne guest- starring in it.  There is all this misinformation about sex, but you do laugh at this line.  

I’m forewarning you right now that you will be offended by it.  The dad says: “Don’t you know birth control is the woman’s responsibility?”

Film Festivals: There is the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF.  There is the Edmonton International Film Festival.  I didn’t go to the Edmonton one.

Syd Field: On Nov. 23, 2013, I cut out this Edmonton Journal article about the “Author literally wrote the book on screenplays.”  He lived from 1935-2013.  His book is called: “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting has been required reading in Hollywood since it was published in 1979.  It has been translated into 23 languages and used in universities around the world.”

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Breaking news – Pussy Riot Members Freed!

I got this from Amnesty International: 


Families of the two imprisoned Pussy Riot members finally have something to celebrate: their loved ones are coming home!

You helped make this happen. Since the arrest of Masha, Nadya and Katya for their February 2012 performance of a protest song in a Moscow cathedral, your advocacy, public demonstrations, protest art, and messages of solidarity kept up a steady stream of international public pressure leading to this moment.

While Katya was released on probation after an appeal hearing in October 2012, Nadya and Masha were sent to notorious Russian penal colonies. Today, they were granted amnesty.

Nadya and Masha are now freed, but they still have a criminal record. We all know that their release should be unconditional -- and we’re determined to keep advocating for free speech in
Russia. We’ll keep you posted on how you can get involved in this effort leading up to the Olympic Winter Games in Russia next year.

In solidarity,

Jasmine Heiss
Individuals and Communities at Risk Campaigner
Amnesty International

PS – We’re collecting messages to send directly to Pussy Riot. Send a message to welcome Masha and Katya home!

book/ Hollywood hooked on a teenage fantasy

Dec. 11 Book: I have thought of writing the Rain script or The Vertex Fighter script into a book form, and then self-publish.  It will then gain more attention and it could then be produced into a TV movie.  However, I don’t want to write a fictional book.

Dec. 16: I sent “Self-publishing rewrites rules/ Allie Brosh.”  Then my friend Sherry told me I should write the Rain script into a book and then self-publish.  That’s uncanny.  I was thinking the same thing and then I emailed her back the above paragraph.

Rain script: Today is my day off.  I did do productive things like look for a job, read the newspaper, and pick up a prescription.  I decided to look at my notes again because I did take a break from it.  I read some of it and then I got frustrated with it because I’m stuck.

I decided I might as well print some of what I typed up.  I always write my script on scrap computer paper to save paper.  I decided to print it on my scrap paper for the same reason.  My notes are scattered so when it’s typed up and printed, I can read it clearly.


A character steps on a bomb and can’t move or it will detonate: I found this in my notes.  It was done on Flashpoint ep “Coming to You Live.”   A character Young does step on the bomb and he was stuck there.  Then he decides to step off it and then it kills him.  It was a powerful ending.  

It was done on Rookie Blue where Dov Epstein enters a drug lair and steps on a bomb.  Bomb squad comes, and she puts the weight of Dov to replace his weight so he can step off it.

It was done on Castle’s ep “Still.”  Beckett steps on a bomb and the others have to solve the case.

A drug that makes you really smart: It was done on the TV show Invisible Man where Agent Hobbs was injected with this drug that makes him really smart, but then later proves to be fatal.

It was done in the movie Limitless where a man takes this drug, becomes really smart and really rich by using his smarts.

Reading scripts: A producer I have in contact with has sent me some scripts to read before, and I write my review of it.  I joined a couple of Meetup groups and I read the other members scripts.  I have read one full-length script and a 30 page outline.  I thought both are really good from un-produced writers.  One script was drama and the other was action.

I then sent my notes to them about my take on it.  I say things like I like the dialogue, or the plot twist.  This script reminds me of these other movies and they appreciated my feedback. 
Left/ right brain: Throwing out old notes is good for my left and right brain.  My left brain likes that I’m cleaning my room and recycling.  My right brain is being more creative.

Hollywood hooked on a teenage fantasy

Superhero fetish stretching out into a future of endless sequels

Jay Stone, Postmedia News

Published: Friday, May 04 2012

The versatile British actor Tom Wilkinson was talking recently about his new movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It's a film about a group of seniors: a rare film that's actually aimed at the over-50 crowd.
"There are a lot of people over the age of 50 who really like going to the cinema and don't want to watch X-Men or Clash of the Titans," Wilkinson said. "And why should they? God. There is a big market for films that are slightly old-fashioned, in the way they used to make films in the '70s."

Later, though, he amended his view: "A good X-Men movie. - A good movie is a good movie is a good movie," he said.
Amen to that. As Duke Ellington once said about music, there are two kinds: good and bad. But even given all that, the Hollywood love affair with the X-Men and their ilk - with the genre of the superhero film - is getting out of hand.

The latest one, The Avengers, opens this week, and it should be one of the good ones, with a fine cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner, and an innovative director in Joss Wedon. It's been getting strong reviews. It is probably a lot of fun, and if it were being offered up as a surprising change to the summer movie schedule, it would be refreshing. But it's only the latest in a perennial parade of super-hero films, with other high-profile entries like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises still to come. They are both remountings of franchises that have been reinvented more often than the iPad. Like many super-heroes, Spider-Man - still a Johnny-come-lately to those of us who grew up with Super-man as the king of the super-hero universe, with Batman as a sort of weak-kneed second cousin - is hailed as a metaphor for confused adolescence, or maybe the ambiguities of power. Batman, meanwhile, is another depressed saviour who represents the futility of nobility in a world gone mad.

There have been some wonderful Batman and Spider-Man films, but there have been some lousy ones, too.
It doesn't seem to matter: If you want to talk about the great responsibilities of great power, you have to do it through the eyes of a teenager who can climb up the side of buildings. Hollywood has been taken over by fantasy, and it's almost a novelty to find a story about an everyday adult trying to solve realistic problems without benefit of Spandex or a supercar.

Like the X-Men, with their cast of heroes tormented by their extraordinary powers - the pain of being inflammable becoming a symbol for lonely adolescence in a way that, say, Holden Caulfield never imagined - The Avengers brings together a wide selection of offbeat creatures. Downey Jr.'s Iron Man gets by on the star's charisma, but the character himself is a juvenile trope for the misuse of military power. And do we really need more of The Hulk - even as portrayed by Ruffalo - as an illustration of the destructive effects of anger? It was kind of campy fun back in the 1970s, when Bill Bixby turned into Lou Ferrigno when he lost his temper, but it's a constricted kind of fun. It's the same thing every time, the temper tantrum as character development.

And that's the problem with Hollywood's superhero fetish. There's simply too much of it: indestructible warriors extending back in time (Thor is another of the Avengers) and forward into an endless future of relaunches and remountings and even more obscure comic-book characters. I know I'm mostly alone in this: Millions of fans of these superheroes can't wait to see them on screen, a nostalgic trip back to the time when (I suppose) they all dreamt of being invisible or flying or turning unconquerable. It's a teenage fantasy that has taken over an industry that is more and more turning to familiar, pre-sold ideas - old TV shows, bestselling youth fiction - to fill the seats. A good movie is a good movie is a good movie, but can we please have a few more with ordinary human beings?

Dec. 24 My opinion: Yeah, I have to agree with the above article.  There are all these superhero movies.  The latest ones I saw are The Dark Knight and Iron Man and those were about 5 yrs ago and only when I rented it on dvd.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

job scams/ EI/ temp books

Dec. 9: Today is my day off.  Yesterday my manager told me he needed me to come to work.  I said yes, and then I remembered I had a doctor’s appointment, so I told him I couldn’t come.

I went to the doctor at 7:30am.  After that, I then took the bus to City Centre mall and went to Shoppers Drug Mart.  That store finished renovating and it looks good.

Dec. 11 Job scams: How to avoid job scams:  If it’s from the internet, there is a higher chance it’s a scam.  However, I have experienced a job scam through an ad in the Edmonton Journal

Business writing: I am a business writer because I write a weekly email about business, jobs, and careers.  Most of it is from newspapers and the internet.  I do write a lot about my job interviews and job experience.

Dec. 20: I don’t know if you noticed this, but I haven’t sent a weekly email about business in the last 2 weeks.  I kind took a break from writing about it.

Job interview: I went to a job interview a couple of weeks ago.  It was at a dental office.  It was a short interview.  I had to take 2 buses.  The interviewer said it would take 3-6 months to get the basics down. 
She did take the time to call back and tell me I wasn’t getting hired.  It was probably because she was making calls to tell the people who were going to get into the second interview.

Holiday job search: I have read a business article a few yrs ago about people stop looking for a job during the holidays because they’re busy, and think that companies aren’t hiring during this time.  Companies are always hiring so that doesn’t mean you can take a break. 

However, the closer it gets to Christmas, the less job postings there are.

Temp: On Nov. 6, 2013 in Metro, according to Statistics Canada, temp works earn on average $19.58, $5.44 less than permanent workers.

On Nov. 6, 2013, in Metro it says: “76% of CVs are ignored if your email address is unprofessional.”

“68% of employers will find candidates on Facebook.”

Networking: On Nov. 7, 2014, it talks about “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.”  HR expert Laurie Ruettimann told, that though you may not get a full-time job, you get to connect with a lot of people.

A consultant at Supertemp says: “You meet a lot of clients and companies you wouldn’t have a foot in the door with otherwise.  25% of Supertemp’s clients transition to full-tiem work.”

EI: On Nov. 18, 2013, in Metro it says about Sylvie Therrien who revealed: “There are quotas $35,00-$40,000 in clawed-back benefits each month- imposed on every public servant investigating employment-insurance fraud.”

She raised the issue internally, but they won’t change it.  Then she went to the media.  She was a whistle blower and Harper’s government created the whistleblower law back in 2007.  That law didn’t help because she was dismissed.

This is important.  I’ve been on EI before and thousands of Canadians have been on EI.

Resume: On Nov. 12, 2013, Metro says it takes 6 seconds for hiring managers to look at resume.  They look at “name, current/previous company, title, position start/end dates, and/ or education.” 

Ashley Madison: You know this website where married people go to find other married people to cheat on their spouses?  On Nov. 12, 2013, Metro says that Doriana Silva is suing the company because she used to work there.  She alleges she permanently damaged her wrists typing up fake profiles of women for the site.  It was in the business section of the newspaper.

Temp books: On Nov. 25, 2013, Vawn Himmelsbach wrote an article called “6 must-reads for temp workers.”  I read the descriptions of the books, and it’s more like freelance.  If you want to be an entrepreneur, these books are something to read.

I have thought of self-employment.  You get to set your own hours, but there are no benefits.
I’m going to copy and paste what the Amazon description is:
Make Sure It's Deductible, Fourth Editionby Evelyn Jacks  

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs by Joseph D'Agnese, Denise Kiernan 

“We make our own hours, keep our own profits, chart our own way. We have things like gigs, contracts, clients, and assignments.  All of us are working toward our dreams: doing our own work, on our own time, on our own terms. We have no real boss, no corporate nameplate, no cubicle of our very own. Unfortunately, we also have no 401(k)s and no one matching them, no benefits package, and no one collecting our taxes until April 15th.

It’s time to take stock of where you are and where you want to be. Ask yourself: Who is planning for your retirement? Who covers your expenses when clients flake out and checks are late? Who is setting money aside for your taxes? Who is responsible for your health insurance?

Take a good look in the mirror: You are.”

The Temp Factor for Job Seekers: The Job Seeker's Guide to Temporary Employment by Cathy Reilly

My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire 

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In 

Roger Fisher , William Ury , Bruce Patton

The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams - On Your Terms by Horowitz, Sara, Sciarra Poynter,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas consumerism/ UPS story/ TV movies

Dec. 15 Christmas consumerism: I want to add to this.  I say don't buy Christmas gifts.  Rahmit Sethi from I Will Teach You to be Rich says that.  My neighbor Marek, a 50-something yr old man says Christmas is all “spend, spend, spend.”  I have another person who has the same opinion as me and it’s David Eddie who writes an advice column in the Globe and Mail.  On Dec. 13, 2013 there was a “The delicate art of Christmas gift giving.”

The question

For 10 years, my parents, brother and I, along with our spouses have participated in a Christmas gift exchange whereby you provide a list of items you’d be delighted to receive to the person who has your name and you get them gift-wrapped under the tree. Last year I was royally burned by my sister-in-law and received various unwanted items, something she has certainly done before. I am over this tradition and really feel that this idea is one whose time has come and gone. My brother is not taking the idea of cancelling the tradition well and my parents are caught in the middle. How do I extricate myself gracefully?

The answer

Have you really thought this through? Why on earth would you want to extricate yourself from such an excellent system?

My wife Pam’s family has a similar system. They draw names from a hat or bowl, and whoever’s name you get you have to buy that person a present and whoever gets your name has to buy you one. And they only get “table presents,” i.e. nothing too extravagant (to be opened at the table).

It’s a good system, promoting such time-honoured virtues as frugality and thrift, and is an excellent antidote to the prodigality and wastefulness that seems to be a hallmark of the season.

Since you only have to give to one person, you can really take your time, think about that person and try to get the perfect, thoughtful gift. As opposed to my family, where (no offence, family) everyone gets something for everyone, and the result is chaos, anarchy – and horribly expensive, to boot.

In my family, everyone goes into a frantic pre-Xmas shopping frenzy (except my Dad, who does his shopping in May). It’s exhausting. Compromises are made. Or should I say approximations? Hope springs eternal, especially when you’re standing, shopped-out, in some crowded department store, listening to the same jingle-jangle, dashing-through-the-snow-type music, staring at (say) a green cashmere sweater on a pile of picked-over cashmere sweaters: “Would this suit Pam? She might like this. Anyway I can’t take it any more, I’m rolling the dice and getting it.”

Then you have to brave the post-Xmas hordes to try to return everything, which is a nightmare.
A while back, I tried to impose a system on my family: “consumables only” – e.g. red-pepper jellies, gourmet olives, Scotch. It worked so beautifully for a while – but then someone cheated, then a couple of other people cheated and it went back to chaos again.

Now it’s to the point where my sister and her family of three kids will mail stuff to us from Virginia. Are we supposed to mail stuff to them? Their dog gives a present to our dog. So do we need to get a present from our dog to theirs, then mail it? Who has time for that?

It’s a nightmare! And now you want to be the one who breaks a perfectly good system. Fine. You want to do it gracefully? E-mail everyone, tell them you’re opting out, and this year you’re getting everyone a present. It’s up to them whether they want to reciprocate.

That’s “graceful.” It will be chaos but at least you’ll have made your point.
Are you detecting a little sarcasm/resistance to the idea of you deep-sixing this system? Basically, I think it’s better if you let the current system reign. And if you want to be “graceful,” learn to graciously accept your sister-in-law’s not exactly-what-you-were-hoping-for presents.

Try this in front of a mirror: “Thank you! I love it!” With a big smile.
Look at it this way: It’s only one person giving you crummy presents, as opposed to multiple people. Less stuff to return.

And do I really need to say that Xmas is not about what you get, that it’s about spending time with your family, having fun, taking a break from the rat race?

Anyway, ’tis better to give than receive, right? And also, as you could gently remind her, if she keeps going off the grid of the system, ’tis easier to return items if she includes a gift receipt.

Dec. 17 Christmas UPS stories: I found this on Yahoo news today.  Tracey Sole saved for months to buy an Android phone for her daughter.  She bought it on UPS, and then it was delivered.  It was placed in black trash can.  It was empty so the driver put it there thinking it wasn’t trash day.  Tracey was really upset about it and told the UPS about it.

“UPS investigated what happened and it was found that the driver did indeed leave the package in Sole’s trash can. The company told the station that,”…drivers are trained to leave packages out of sight and protected from inclement weather,” a practice the company calls, “driver release.” UPS apologized for the mistake and eventually agreed to buy a new tablet for Ms. Sole’s daughter before Christmas.

After the story was broadcast, people offered to purchase a replacement tablet for Tracey’s daughter, or money for a new one. She refused all of those offers but suggested that those donations instead be made to Toys for Tots. Tracey also wrote in her post that she does not want the employee to be fired because, “I can guarantee he will never make that mistake again.”

My opinion: What a nice story with a happy ending.  The company made a mistake and actually solved it.

Here’s a comment on the article:


My son and I had a situation with UPS. He and I had both bought some items on line one day, not knowing that the other had ordered anything, we both put a three day rush on our items, and we both had the tracking and e-mail updates. On the same day, we each received a notification that our packages had been delivered. When I got home, our packages were NO where to be found. Both my son and husband were home at the time the packages were said to be delivered. I called UPS and was told to contact each vendor and open an investigation. We did. Four days later, a gentleman from two streets away came to our house and gave my son our packages. This gentleman didn't even live on our same street. I am so thankful he was honest and brought our stuff back to us. My package was merely a cd that I had purchased, my son's package was computer parts, and cost a quite a bit. This is not the first time we have had issues with UPS. They are constantly delivering our packages to the wrong address, and delivering other peoples packages to our house. I just wish the driver would pay more attention to what he is doing. I am very lucky to have honest neighbors! Others in this world can't say the same.

Christmas TV movies: Last Thurs. I watched the Christmas TV movie Call Me Mrs. Miracle.  It was a week or so ago and on the TV’s description it starred Doris Roberts and Jewel Staite (Firefly).  It was how Mrs. Miracle will help a struggling department store during the holiday season.  A week later I was checking what’s on TV in the newspaper it says that TV movie with Doris Roberts and Eric Johnson.  I had to check if it was my favorite Edmonton actor Johnson.  I was right.  So I watched it.  It was a light, happy, and fun movie.  On it went by the title Miracle in Manhattan.

Showcase then played that movie twice on Sun.  Last night I watched the mystery TV movie Deck the Halls.  It’s based on the book by Carol Higgins Clark and Mary Higgins Clark.  It’s about two women, Detective Regan and PI Alvirah have to investigate the kidnapping of Regan’s dad Luke and his driver Rosie.  Eric Johnson is in it as a cop.

If I really had to choose which one I liked more, it would be Deck the Halls because it’s a mystery.