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, January 30, 2014

Women @ Work/ job resolutions

Jan. 18 Women @ Work: I was reading Leah Eichler’s column “Women @ Work” on Jan. 18, 2014 in the Globe and Mail.  The article was called “When two rights collide, who’s wrong?”  I like her column.  In it, she mentions about a York University student who asked to not be in a group project because his religious beliefs says he can’t interact with women.

The professor tells him he has to interact with the women, and the dean overruled.  Of course, I had to write about this because it’s with my other topic about the girl who’s in a religion that doesn’t allow her to talk to boys.

Job interview: I did a job interview last week.  I applied there a few times before.  I did my research by going to their website and taking down notes.  There is a little traveling like going to Calgary for 1 or 2 days at a time.  

It was interesting, because the interviewer told me that the boss may say things not politically correct and if I can deal with that.  I said yes, because I do watch MADtv.  There is a little computers involved in this office job.  

There is going to be a second interview with the boss, if I get through the first one.

Jan. 20: Today at work was busy.  One busser wasn’t here, so we were a little short-handed.  Also the other busser I was with said she didn’t want to stay and work lunch because she wasn’t feeling well.  I stayed.

Then someone from another department said she can’t come to work tomorrow because she has to be with her grandma.  I don’t have a job interview or a doctor’s appointment, so I will take her shift.

Publishing companies: I’m going to look for positions at publishing companies.  There aren’t a lot in Edmonton:

Venture Publishing: They only hire an account executive and that is selling.

“This position requires a results-oriented and professional sales performer who will service existing accounts, prospect for new clients and develop new business to grow advertising and sponsorship revenues. - See more at:

Jan. 22 Job fair: I went to a job fair today at my old college.  It was really big with lots of companies.  I passed my resume to some places.  A lot of the booths were ones I have seen when I visited the University of Alberta job fairs I attended back in 2011 and 2012.

Friends: I did bump into my friend Maygen and we chatted a bit.

Jan. 23 Resilience: Nancy Parker sent me this article Expert Insights: Talking About Resilience with Lorraine Hirst of  It’s a good interview with Hirst.  They discuss about how to raise children to be resilient.  However, I can see it can still apply to you in adult life.

It’s informative.

Job resolutions: Martina Keyhall sent me this link on New Year’s Resolutions like losing weight, exercising, getting organized, quit smoking, get out of debt, new job/ work goal.  

I decided to look at the job blogs:

New job?: This is a good article:

1. Start by determining exactly what you need that your current situation lacks.

2. Make sure your issues can’t be resolved in-house.

3. When you’re ready to move, get off on the right foot.

4. Structure your job search from the beginning.

Taking charge of your career: This article has helpful tips.

Renewed Focus

Identifying opportunities

Prioritise Networking

Managing your Schedule

New Year’s resolutions for job seekers: 

Know What You Want to Do.

Keep Up the Networking.

Create Your Elevator Pitch.

Get Visual.

Establish a Social Media Plan.

Get Smart(er).

Stay—or Get—Physical.

Get a new job: 

Only apply to jobs that you feel are right for you

Sign up for job alerts

Stay active and keep positive

Be social

Follow up

Ask for feedback

Jan. 28 Business news: I read in the business section of the newspaper on Jan. 16, 2014 about Sears.  After the holiday season, Sears laid off 1,600 people.

The same with Best Buy, after the holiday season it wasn’t very good either.

Job call: One time I got a call from a medical office to set up a job interview.  The interesting thing is that she called me at 10pm on a weekday.  I thought that was kind of late, but I picked it up anyway and went to the interview.

Wages: The AB min. wage is $9.95/hr.  I was reading the Globe and Mail yesterday, and it listed all the min. wages and AB is the lowest.  All the other provinces are at least $10/hr.

Jan. 30: I want to add that I read in the newspaper today that Sears laid off 624 people.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

George Clooney and Hillary Clinton's comparison

This is an essay I wrote for Writing for the Ear class when I was in Professional Writing.  It's a speech class:

I chose to compare George Clooney’s and Hillary Clinton’s speeches because they are both good persuasive arguments about helping people who are defenceless.  They are also directed to the UN, an international organization that deals with human rights issues.  Clooney and Clinton are two powerful philanthropists who are trying to change the world. 

George Clooney is a famous actor and a human rights activist.  On Sept. 14, 2006, he delivered a speech about Darfur to the United Nations Security Council.  Clooney is trying to persuade them to stop the genocide in Darfur and provide aid to this war- torn country.  The key message is that the United Nations needs to step in now, provide aid and stop the war in Darfur.  If the UN doesn’t, then more women and children will be raped and murdered.  Then aid for the refugees wouldn’t be necessary; instead only people to dig graves for the corpses would be needed.  He provides a logical reason that if the UN doesn’t protect the aide workers; they will leave and not be able to help the millions of refugees.  Jan Egeland estimates that the refugees will die at a rate of 100,000 a month.

He has a sense of seriousness as he’s speaking with a matter- of- fact tone.  He makes eye contact and moves his left hand a bit to emphasize what he’s saying.  He says, “Now my job” quickly right before he provides us with powerful imagery: “Of course it's complex, but when you see entire villages raped and killed, wells poisoned and then filled with the bodies of its villagers, then all complexities disappear and it comes down to simply right and wrong.”

Clooney starts and end his speech by thanking the UN.  He uses the rhetoric scheme anaphora in his speech.  “You know the numbers. You know the urgency. And you know how bad this is likely to get”; “You have to decide what's most urgent. You have responsibility to protect”; and “How you deal with it will be your legacy, your Rwanda, your Cambodia, your Auschwitz.”  He also uses repetition by repeating the word “task” in paragraph three and the phrase “will die” in paragraph five.

Clooney uses the rhetoric scheme polysyndeton: “In the time that we're here today, more women and children will die violently in the Darfur region than in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, or Lebanon” and the antithesis: “But make no mistake: It is the first genocide of the 21st century. And if it continues unchecked it will not be the last.”

As for Hillary Clinton, she also starts and ends her speech by thanking the UN.  Hillary Clinton delivered a speech “to the U.N. 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session” on Sept. 5, 1995.  Back then, Clinton was the First Lady to President Bill Clinton.  Among the audience were “Mrs. Mongella, Under Secretary Kittani, distinguished delegates and guests” Clinton addressed. 

Clinton’s objective was to shed a light on the serious international issues of how women and girls are struggling to survive and are being raped, and murdered.  She provides shocking statistics: “Women comprise more than half the word’s population. Women are 70% of the world’s poor, and two-thirds of those are not taught to read and write.”

Clinton uses a variety of rhetoric schemes like anaphora, polysyndeton, epistrophe, and parallelism.  Clinton used the rhetoric anaphora with repetition at the beginning by saying “It is a violation of human rights” and then mentioning the abuse of women because she wants to tell people that women are human and not property.  She also used “I have met” as she lists people who are helping others and whom she met when she traveled around the world.

Clinton also uses the rhetoric scheme anaphora: “Women also are dying from diseases that should have been prevented or treated. They are watching their children succumb to malnutrition caused by poverty and economic deprivation. They are being denied the right to go to school by their own fathers and brothers. They are being forced into prostitution, and they are being barred from the band lending office and banned from the ballot box.”  The message is to stop abuse of women and have them being treated as equals to men.

George Clooney’s speech was very effective due to his star power as a celebrity.  People will listen to him.  It was informative in telling us facts about what’s going on in Darfur. He provides a short three and half min. speech and gets right to point.  Hillary Clinton’s speech was very effective because at that time, she was the First Lady to the President Bill Clinton and because she is a woman.  If a man were making the speech, it would not be nearly as effective because of his gender.  Though I find her speech was long, it didn’t hurt the power behind the message.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

John Hamburg/ Meetup/ Metro writers

Jan. 2 John Hamburg: Here’s a good article from the Globe and Mail.  It was from Nov. 15, 2010.  It’s where they interview John Hamburg who discusses his comedy movies.

"The best comedic actors don't play it like they're in a comedy," New York screenwriter and director John Hamburg says. "They play it as if they're in a drama. And the more seriously they take it, the funnier they are."

In that esteemed company, the 40-year-old Hamburg puts Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Ben Stiller, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Robert De Niro - all of whom he has worked with in a string of successful comedies, including Zoolander, I Love You, Man and the Focker films ( Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers, in theatres next month).

In Toronto on Monday night to take part in a master class that is part of the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab (a collaboration of the Canadian Film Centre and Just for Laughs), Hamburg says the secret to great comedy is simple: hard work. And the best talent - like those above - are pros who always show up with their game face.

Taxi Driver , Raging Bull, The Godfather. Those are the types of roles that come to mind when you hear Robert De Niro. Why was he cast in Meet the Parents as the sour, comedic foil to Stiller's Gaylord Focker?
Because he plays comedy dead straight. You're not going to see Robert perform a Saturday-night comedy club, but he understands precisely where the comedy lies in the scenes.

And why Streisand as the ideal pair to Hoffman's Bernie Focker?
Dustin just has this impulsive, childlike enthusiasm [in real life]that was perfect for the role. And he's just an energetic now as he was back when he did The Graduate. He's like a big kid. Barbra is a brilliant woman, who didn't get to be Barbra Streisand just because she has a beautiful voice. I remember getting a call from her after I'd put a word back into the script. She phoned and said, "Why did you put that back in?" You can't get anything past her. That directness works with Dustin's puppy-dog-like character.

How much improvisation from the actors ends up on the screen that wasn't in your script?
Rudd, Segel and Stiller are brilliant improvisers and I always encourage them to do improv. In I Love You, Man, Paul came up with the line "I slap the bass big time," using a Jamaican accent. It's the line that defines the film's entire sensibility.

Film critics tend to pooh-pooh sequels for falling short of the original. How did you keep Focker 2 and 3 fresh?
Had I not been involved in the making of these movies, I'd probably be cynical too. But you can't approach it like you're cashing in on something. You have to view it as a rare opportunity to follow these characters over 10 years. It's like a family you're watching develop and grow up. And the dynamics have to change. This time around, Jack Byrnes (De Niro) is considering his mortality and Greg (Gaylord) Foster (Stiller) is grappling with obligations to a young family. Those are the things we're exploring. And we push ourselves, go back to the previous movies, ditch devices we now think are boring.

How much of your life is reflected in your comedies?
I use a lot. In Meet the Parents, I tapped into that uncomfortable feeling we all have the first time you meet your girlfriend's folks - although I'm fortunate my father-in-law is much nicer than Jack. Even the contrast between the Jewish and non-Jewish culture. My wife is not Jewish.

Why are you in Toronto mentoring comedy writers and directors?
It's fun to meet people who are interested in the same things I'm interested in. Talking to new groups of people inspires me to think about my own work and future movies. So it might seem like networking, but it's selfish at the same time. It's all about the exchange of ideas. Having all this stuff in the air makes us all better filmmakers.

Jan. 8 Meetup: I joined the Edmonton Screenwriter’s Group.  Today I got a script to read from one of the members.  I read one really good script, and a good outline from two of the members.  The one I read today seemed more like a rough draft.

I emailed my notes to him and mentioned about the dialogue was too expository, and there were lots of punctuation marks missing.  The story was too unbelievable for me.  I did send comments on how to make it believable.  I hoped my notes helped him.

Jan. 10 Metro writers: I have some comments on these Metro writers.  I’ve been reading Metro starting Aug. 2013 because 24 news closed down in Edmonton.  I’ve been reading a lot of John Mazerolle columns and I will say: They’re not that good. I feel like he’s trying too hard to be funny.

Paul Sullivan "Just Sayin'" articles are news.  They’re average.

Jessica Napier "She says" columns are opinions, not really news.  They’re not really good.

Jan. 12 Superheroes and surveillance: “Who are the Masked Men?” by Sarah Boesveld in the National Post on Jun. 6, 2011.  I can’t copy and paste the article, but it’s short with these cool and fun pictures of comic book heroes.

It mentions Batman, Watchmen, X-Men, Iron Man, and Scott Pilgrim.

“All superhero movies, although engaging with the ethical dilemmas of vigilantism and by extension surveillance, in the end…actively promote the need for more surveillance.” (–Evangelos Tziallas, a “University of Concordia doctoral candidate who presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. Last week)

“Batman comes to represent the needs of stability, capitalism and hierarchy.   Batman simply affirms the upper-class’s ordained right to rule and snuff out those who oppose them or want to rattle the system for change.”

Kieron Gillen, writer of Uncanny X-Men: “In terms of the films specifically, I’d say the axis is between those who believe the system can be reformed (Xavier) and those who don’t (Magneto), which makes it a debate about the correct mode of progressive politics rather than a meek capitulation to the powers that be.  It’s also about dudes who can fire zap-rays out of their eyes.”

Tziallas on Iron Man: “The first film promoted weapons manufacturing, so long as the weapons stay in the hands of smart, rich, white, straight American men who have license to destroy when they feel it is necessary for the ‘greater good.’”

Intelligence pilot: I didn’t watch this new show, but I was reminded of it when I read the above about Iron Man and who weapons should belong to.  On, here’s the pilot summary:

“The head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Lillian Strand, hires Secret Service agent Riley Neal to protect their greatest asset - agent Gabriel Vaughn who has has a cyber chip implanted in his brain which connects him to the Internet and various data banks. They are quickly on the job when the creator of Gabriel's implant, Dr. Shenandoah Cassidy, is kidnapped by Chinese agents. Cassidy was recently let go by Cyber Command and it seems he had a new and improved version the chip which the Chinese have him implant into one of their own agents.”

That’s a pretty common storyline, about how one character shouldn’t have this power or powerful item because it will be used for good or evil.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Widespread torture in Syria

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

Beaten, burned, bruised, strangled bodies lying on a dirty floor. Some show signs of starvation, others are missing their eyes. A number of them appear to have been electrocuted.

The horror is nearly impossible to describe.

Thousands of photographs leaked to the media this week provide evidence of the torture and killing of around 11,000 individuals detained in Syria between the start of the uprising in 2011 and August last year.

We must act now to prevent others from being subjected to such abuses. During the international peace conference on Syria – which is convening now in Geneva – Amnesty is drawing a line in the sand. Make a donation to support this work.

Leaders at the conference must demand that Syrian authorities release peaceful activists in detention and grant access to human rights groups to investigate reported violations and monitor the treatment of detainees.

They must also keep the pressure on armed opposition groups to ensure they release civilians and treat captured soldiers and all others in detention humanely.

While we cannot authenticate the images, the allegations are consistent with Amnesty International's own research into the widespread use of torture and enforced disappearances by the Syrian authorities, as well as deaths in custody.

The horrific photos are heartbreaking testimony to the need for human rights and justice to be put at the top of the Geneva agenda.

The evidence of crimes against humanity is staring world leaders in the face. Help make sure they don't look away. Donate now.


Geoffrey Mock
Country Specialist, Syria
Amnesty International USA

URGENT: Iraq kills 38 prisoners in 2 days. Al-Qahtani may be next.

Save this life.

They tortured him to confess to murder. He was convicted of terrorism in a grossly unfair trial.

Today Abdullah al-Qahtani could face execution by hanging during a terrifying wave of executions by Iraqi authorities.

Please come together with Amnesty right now to stop Abdullah's execution.
Take Action!

Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter.

Dear Tracy,

There has been a horrendous, sudden spike in executions in Iraq.

Sources indicate that Abdullah al-Qahtani is once again under imminent threat of execution.

Your immediate action could spare his life.

Abdullah is one of six men who were reportedly tortured into confessing to murder and terrorism. He was initially detained for immigration violations.

Abdullah's attorneys say they have compelling evidence of his innocence. He deserves to have his evidence heard by a court in a fair trial.

Last year, after four of his co-defendants were executed, Abdullah could have been executed at any time – but his life was spared.

The 60,000 letters sent by Amnesty activists like you likely kept him alive then. We need you to rise to Abdullah's defense once more.

Tracy, please act fast.

38 prisoners have been put to death since Sunday. Many of their sentences were based on coerced confessions and grossly unfair trials. 12 of the executions were in secret.

The hangings come less than a week after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Iraqi authorities to put a moratorium on executions.

This week, Iraq's presidency's office ratified 200 cases of people sentenced to death, paving the way for their immediate execution – and we expect executions will continue.

Raise your voice with us now to prevent the execution of Abdullah al-Qahtani.

Please don't set this email aside. Take action with us today.

In solidarity,

Samir Goswami
Managing Director, Individuals and Communities at Risk
Amnesty International USA

Thursday, January 23, 2014

good news/ social entrepreneurship

Jan. 15 Good news: There are good news in the newspaper if you look for it.  Sometimes you become so focused on your own life and problems, that you need to think outside of yourself sometimes.

“Lost suitcase with gifts returned”: I read this in Metro on Dec. 6, 2013.  A Regina woman lost her suitcase.  Trina Owens went on Kijiji and said her suitcase fell off a truck.

Christmas Bureau: I read in the Metro on Dec. 12, 2013 that his charity has been providing people with monetary donations since 1940.  It’s to provide 62,000 meals to Edmontonians. 

Philippines: I read in the Metro on Dec. 13, 2013 that Edmonton doctor Rashad Chin went to the Philippines for 3 weeks.  He went to treat victims of the Typhoon Haiyan that left 6000 dead.  He’s part of the Canadian Medical Assistance team.

Virtual bike: I read in the Metro on Dec. 13, 2013 that this was created by NAIT students.  Eva Elder is 12 and she’s using the Nintendo video game Mario cart and a stationary bike to strengthen her left leg because she has cerebral palsy.

It’s like riding a bike and playing a video game and it’s fun.

Charity: I read this in the Metro on Jan. 2, 2014.  The Polar Plunge is where the Law Enforcement Torch Run puts the event to raise funds for the Special Olympics.  It’s where you dive into a pool of cold water.

Social entrepreneurship: I was reading in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 6, 2013 called “Commerce beyond the profit motive” by Virginia Galt. McGill University MBA student Ba Sein went to Japan.  They volunteered at the Second Harvest food bank in Tokyo. 

“The experience made a profound impression on Mr. Sein.  He was ‘somewhat shocked’ to learn that one in six people in Japan lives in poverty, he says, but was inspired by the business model developed by the national food bank to reduce food waste, collect surplus supplies and deliver them to those in need.”

“Recently a team of McGill students worked with a meal program in Montreal to develop a sideline business- selling frozen meals to students- and using the profits to support the core objective of providing fresh food to clients who could not provide for themselves.” I was reading in Metro on Jan. 14, 2014 about Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother).  She is with the medicine brand Smiling It Forward. 

“Parents can upload a photo of their little one, and for each photo uploaded Tylenol will donate $1 to the Children’s Health Fun, a national nonprofit that gives free health care to kids who need it.”

Fun news:

Irony: I read this in the Metro on Jan. 3, 2014.   It says “Breaking Bad contest winner charged for drug op.”  Ryan Lee Carroll won a contest to watch the series finale of the TV show with the cast.  It turns out he “sold synthetic marijuana and shipped it across the US from his home with two other men.”

Costumes: I read in the Metro on Nov. 27, 2013 “Police dress as turkeys to squawk at bad drivers.”  It happened in Las Vegas where police wait at the crosswalks and fined people who didn’t stop.

Celeb news:

Farrah Fawcett: I read in the Metro on Nov. 27, 2013 that her nephew Gregory Walls inherited a lot of her things.  He is going to sell 67 of her items like the People’s Choice Awards and a portion will go to the Farrah Fawcett Foundation.

Surviving Survivor: I read this in the Edmonton Journal on Dec. 14, 2013.  Survivor: China winner Todd Herzog won the $1 million prive in 2007.  He then became an alcoholic and Dr. Phil goes to help him saying that he was “closer to death” than any guest he ever had.

My opinion: I don’t watch Survivor, but this proves that though you win lots of money, you still have problems.  I hope Dr. Phil can help him.  The rest of the article talks about some other contestants and they’re doing fine.

Michael J. Fox: I was reading the Metro on Jan. 14, 2014 about how E! was coving the Golden Globes.  It mentioned a “fun fact” that Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991.  Twitter had lots of complaints that is not a fun fact.  E! then apologized.

My opinion: That sounds like a sincere mistake and apology.

Eminem: I was reading the Metro on Nov. 6, 2013 about how the rapper Eminem uses homophobic terms.  He says: “That word, those kinds of words, when I came up battle-rapping or whatever, I never really equated those words (to being gay).  It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk.”

“But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender at all.  I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.  And I don’t know how to else to say this; I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke.”

My opinion: Well if you think calling someone a fag means calling him a punk, then you should say the word punk.  

I can kind of relate about how he sees himself the same way he did way back when he was younger.  The older I get, I do see changes in myself like how I am more left-brain than how I was right-brain when I was a kid and teenager.

Beyonce: On Jan. 2, 2014, in Metro her new single “XO” has audio of the 1986 Challenger disaster.  The NASA spokesman Steve Nesbitt is heard saying “Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation.  Obviously a major malfunction.”  The Challenger exploded and killed all 7 astronauts.

Beyonce says: “My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster.  The song XO was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you.”

James Avery: He plays the dad on the old sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  He died at 68 yrs old due to complications following open heart surgery.

The show is on Much Music now, and I see a little bit here and there.  The show is still funny.

Inspirational story: I was reading the Metro on Nov. 8, 2013 and it’s called “You’ve got Seoul: Vet’s spirit buoyed by pen pal” by Joe Lofaro.  It profiled Frank Bayne who fought in the Korean War.  He experienced terrible nightmares and he dealt with it by writing to seven school girls in South Korea through a organization called the Korean Veterans Association of Canada.

Choi Jeong- Won kept writing to him and she told him how she failed the bar exam after the first time.  Bayne writes back: “So I wrote her back and said ‘You know, I failed many times and please keep trying.’” 

They did meet each other for the first time back in Apr.  “When we met at the hotel she said that (letter) inspired her to keep on going.”

Fake interpreter: I read this in Dec. 13, 2013 in the Metro.  I’m sure all of you heard about the man who pretended to be a sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral is a fake.  His name is Thamsanqa Jantjie and he said he has mental illness and was hallucinating.

My opinion: When I heard that he was fake, I thought:

Are you stupid or delusional? 

Did you really think that no one will figure out that your sign language is fake? 

Are you here so you can get on international TV and say you met the President?

Then it turns out he was delusional so that got my questions answered.

Post Secret: Here are a couple of them:

Nov. 30:

"Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok." 

Dec. 8: “I heard a woman being raped.  I called the police.  She declined to press charges.  I wish I could have done more.

My opinion: What do you mean that you could have done more?  I will give you points that you called the police.  You are an witness to this and if she decides to press charges later on, you can testify.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Support Closing Guantanamo

 I got this from Amnesty International:

"The detention facilities at Guantanamo…shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order." – Barack Obama, Jan. 22, 2009


President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo 5 years ago. It's still open, and even the 77 people cleared for transfer continue to languish there.

But there may be an opening. Late last year, Congress gave President Obama greater flexibility to transfer cleared detainees, thanks to pressure from Amnesty activists like you.

What is he waiting for? Tell the President to transfer the 77 cleared detainees and close Guantanamo already!

Since Obama signed the executive order five years ago:
  • 4 men have died waiting for justice – including Adnan Latif, who died in Guantanamo in 8 years after he was cleared to leave.
  • 155 people remain in legal limbo or subject to unfair trials. Each should either get a fair trial in federal court or be released.
  • Over 100 men have gone on hunger strike to protest their unlawful, indefinite detention. One of them, Shaker Aamer, has been cleared to leave since 2007. The number of hunger strikers has reportedly risen dramatically since December.
Tell the President: Do what you promised. Close Guantanamo.

If any other country were responsible for the human rights vacuum of Guantanamo, the US government would surely condemn it.

The force feeding of hunger strikers is barbaric:
"You are…strapped into a specially made chair and having restraints put on your arms, your legs, your body and your head so you cannot move. [You have] a tube inserted into your throat that extends into your stomach, and you’re trying to resist that with the only muscles that are free – in your throat." – Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment
At least two detainees were force-fed in a chair twice a day for close to four years. It is intensely painful.

Obama administration authorities have stopped releasing hunger strike counts to hide the extent of the protest. Shame on them.

Flood President Obama with messages: End the hypocrisy. Transfer the cleared detainees and close Guantanamo.

Let's do this,

Zeke Johnson
Director, Security & Human Rights Program
Amnesty International USA

Food Banks Canada

Dear Tracy,

Through your support of Food Banks Canada, you’ve given a voice to the more than 830,000 Canadians who go hungry each and every month across our country. I would like to take a moment to say thank you. 
Your support helped make a difference in the lives of Canadians from British Columbia to Newfoundland and everywhere in between. Just look at what you helped achieve in 2013:
  • We shared 19,259,846 pounds of safe quality food with over 500 food banks; 
  • We conducted critical national research including HungerCount;
  • We had a number of successful policy/legislative wins over the last year at the Federal level (such as the 2013 federal budget commitment to implement our HungerCount policy recommendation to invest $2 billion over the next 5 years on affordable housing) as well as at the provincial level (where the BC government has committed to implementing our Fresh Food Tax Credit);
  • We conducted a successful member conference with over 105 participants from across Canada;
  • We launched the Retail Food Program with three major retailers helping to guarantee more food and support directed to individuals and families in need by connecting retail businesses with local food banks;
We have big plans for 2014 and will be excited to share them with you in the coming months. 
On behalf of the entire Food Banks Canada team, I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy new year. 
Katharine Schmidt
Executive Director

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Jan. 10 Hostages: I saw the pilot of this TV show on Sept. 24, 2013 on  The show is about a surgeon named Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette from TV show United States of Tara) and she has to perform surgery on the President of the USA.  She and her family are being held hostage by Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott).  Duncan wants her to kill the President on the surgery table or he will kill her and her family.

I then see that there is the season finale in Jan. after 15 episodes.  I was like: “What?  Why now?”  It turns out it was supposed to be a mini-series.

Here’s some more info:

Here’s the pilot:

Cut to night time.  The Sanders family of Ellen, her husband Brian (Tate Donovan from The OC), teen daughter Morgan (Quinn Shephard), and teen son Jake (Mateus Ward) are sitting and watching TV.  4 masked gunmen surround them. 

Cut to 12 hrs earlier.

Ellen is the surgeon and she is talking at a press conference.  She is operating on the President.

In Washington:  There is a hostage negotiation of a bank robbery.

FBI Duncan Carlisle is saying: Release a dozen hostages and we’ll get the safe transport.

A Masked Man and a Business man comes out.
Duncan shoots the Business man.

The Masked Man has mouth taped.
Duncan: I can tell the business guy wasn’t really a business guy because of his shoes.

A maintenance guy walks past Ellen.
Ellen enters her office and sees a picture frame is missing.  There is a camera watching her.  Ellen calls her husband Brian.

There are two people watching the Sanders house.

Duncan visits his wife in a coma.

The two people are setting cameras in the house.

Brian is coaching lacrosse and confronts the team.
Brian: I found money.
His son Jake is there.
Jake: It’s for beer and fake IDs.

Duncan has a 10 yr old daughter.  The Grandpa comes to take care of her.

Brian and Jake tell Ellen about buying beer.

Teen daughter Morgan is crying.  I thought about The Simpsons where Bart and Lisa are watching the Smashing Pumpkins perform.
Bart: Making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Morgan Skypes with her friend Amelia and Amelia says: “You have to tell him.”  She leaves the house.

Jake has a secret cell phone and calls his friend: “Nico is going to be so mad that $1200 is missing.”

Sandrine Renault (Sandrine Holt) is one of the hostage takers.  She is following Morgan who goes to meet her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend wants to meet her parents and Morgan says no and leaves.

Kramer (Rhys Coiro) grabs Jake who’s outside.

Morgan is holding a pregnancy test that explains why she was crying.

The hostage takers bring all the family members in the living room like in the beginning of the episode.  They take off their masks.

Morgan: They showed their face.  They’re going to kill us.

Duncan takes Ellen upstairs.
Duncan: You are going to operate on the President tomorrow, and he will during surgery.  If you don’t kill him, we will kill your family.

The family eats dinner as Duncan, Kramer, Archer (Billy Brown), and Sandrine watch them.  They drill the windows and learn that someone tripped the silent alarm.  The phone rings and Ellen picks up.

Security system woman: A security guy is coming, it’s protocol.
Security guy comes and delivers Ellen an envelope.
Ellen recognizes him as Maintenance guy who was in her office.

Duncan hits Brian.
Duncan: You are not the husband you pretend to be.
He shows tablet of Brian with another woman.

Duncan talks to Ellen:
Duncan: Inject this into the President, within 5 min. he’ll die.
He puts vial in lipstick.
Duncan: Don’t think of killing the President, think of saving your family.

Kramer is with Jake.
Kramer knows about the secret phone and drug dealer so he texts about “family emergency.”
Jake: Why did you kill my dog?
Kramer takes him downstairs and the dog is alive.

Duncan: You have to get them to fear us, to control them.

Duncan calls his dad, the Grandpa who is taking care of Duncan’s daughter.  Duncan then talks to the President’s assistant.

The next day.  Morgan is in the washroom and she’s throwing up.
 Duncan is outside and he kicks the door open when she doesn’t answer. 
Ellen is worried and runs up the stairs.
Duncan sees the pregnancy test.
Morgan: Don’t tell.
Duncan: I won’t.

Ellen asks if Morgan is okay, and Morgan says she is sick.

Brian tells Ellen to kill the President because the hostage takers threatened to expose his infidelity.
Ellen: I’m the one who has to live with it.

The TV news is on: “The surgery has been postponed for 2 weeks because the President has been given a blood federer.”  I’m not quite sure what she said, but the surgery is postponed.

My opinion: I thought the pilot was good, but I didn’t connect with it.  I didn’t watch it after the pilot.  Good story and acting.  I didn’t know it was a mini-series.  It was never advertised on CTV that way.


The good guy in mask with the mouth taped: It has been done on the TV show CSI: NY.

A politician is going into surgery, and a medical professional in the surgery room has to kill the politician: It was done on ep of The Listener called “Fatal Vision.”

The streets are empty

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

The streets of the capital city are eerily empty.

In the Central African Republic, the United Nations reports that two-thirds of Bangui has picked up and moved. More than 100,000 people have relocated to a makeshift tent town that has materialized by the airport, where a paltry number of peacekeepers are stationed.

Teachers, doctors, housewives and civil servants are seeking protection from the mass rapes and killings – many committed by child soldiers armed with machetes – plaguing their city.

Amnesty experts are risking their lives on the ground right now to document and demand an end to the atrocities. Please make a donation to support our efforts raising global attention to human rights crises like this.

More than a month after Amnesty documented war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic, there are still fewer than 7,000 troops deployed to protect hundreds of thousands of people from revenge attacks.

Last year, clashes between armed vigilante groups from the Christian majority, known as Anti-Balaka, and armed groups connected with the Muslim armed coalition that seized power in March 2013, known as Séléka, plunged the nation into violence and chaos. With tensions high in the wake of the interim President's resignation last week and the transition to a new interim President, the safety and protection of civilians must be priority number one.

Please make a donation that will help us document the violence and insist that more peacekeepers be deployed to protect lives immediately.

Amnesty will be making our work in the Central African Republic a priority in the urgent weeks and months ahead and we'll report back on our efforts.


Steven W Hawkins
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Josh Brookes/ Colin O'Donaghue/ fun picture

Jan. 8 Josh Brookes: He is in the British X-Factor and he sings Usher’s “U Got it Bad.”  I was looking up Usher’s song, but I decided to click on this to hear him sing.  He is good looking in the hot and cute way.

Music videos: Today was my day off.  I was reading the newspaper and then took a break to see what’s on TV. 

Drake: I saw the music video “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake.  The song is like a ballad.  The video was where Drake finds out his girlfriend has been kidnapped by these bad guys.  Drake and his friends go get guns and then shoot up the place to rescue her. 

Cut to shootout and the girl is running away from one of the bad guys.  

My opinion: I was kind of eh with it.  The video doesn’t really match the song.  The video looks like an action movie.  The song is a ballad, so I expected something softer.  I don’t know, love scenes between Drake and the girl? 

Then again he already did in his music video “Find Your Love.”

Beyonce: I also saw this video “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce ft. Jay-Z.  It’s a black and white video with Beyonce on the beach.  Mainly it’s her in a black bikini and a see-through dress as she is walking, singing, and dancing on the beach.

It’s not a very interesting video.  The song’s okay.

Colin O' Donaghue: This is also from that deleted email that I retrieved.  The TV show Once Upon a Time isn’t coming back until March.  So I’ll watch some of these videos.  I love Captain Hook (Colin O’ Donaghue) on that show.

"Sexyback": Here is a little music video of Captain Hook’s scenes to the song “Sexyback” by Justin Timberlake.

Deleted scene: Here is a funny deleted scene from the show.  It shows how Hook was handcuffed to a hospital bed and breaks out of it.  He sees blue Jello for the first time and doesn’t know what it is.  Lol. 

Music: Here is Colin O'Donaghue singing and playing guitar.  He’s good.

Animals: This is old, but it’s also from the deleted email.  Here is the slide show of ugly animals.

Fun picture: Here’s something I found on Yahoo.  It’s about a dad who doesn’t approve of his daughter wearing short shorts, so he wears cut offs too.  He’s wearing a t-shirt that says “Best Dad Ever.”  Lol.

I was thinking about Arrested Development where Tobias wears cut offs all the time because he’s a “never nude.”

Shopping: A couple of months ago, I did a job interview around Century Park station.  I went to a couple of places.

Bogani café: It was nice and cozy.  There were sandwiches and desert.  There is a bookshelf full of books so you can read with your coffee.

Dollar N’Plus store: This store was right by it.  It was small.  It seemed isolated and probably doesn’t get a lot of business.

Jan. 10 Fun exam answer: I found this on Yahoo.  A science exam has a question about nitrogen.  The kid’s answer mentions how he doesn’t like science and wasn’t paying attention.  He then asks his teacher Mr. J on how to approach this girl he likes.

Mr. J’s response was to tell her: “Impress her by talking about how atmospheric nitrogen can be used to age artifacts.  Works for me every time.”


Comedy comparisons: This is a link from the deleted email.  I will give points to the person who caught The Simpsons and Family Guy similar joke.

Wind pronunciation joke: It’s a The Simpsons Halloween episode (original airing 2003.)  Homer is confronted by the Grim Reaper.

Reaper: I have come for Bart Simpson.
Marge: Bart, run like the wind!  (She pronounces wind like wine- d).
Lisa: Mom, it’s wind.
Marge: Yeah, well I only read it in books.

Here’s the Family Guy joke (original airing 2010).  Carter is in bed with his wife.

Carter: It’s probably the wind. (He pronounces it like wine-d).
Mrs. Petersmith: The wind dear.
Carter: Is that how you say that?  I’ve only seen it written.

Here are some comments:

HipsterShiningArmor: Considering both shows have been running for over a decade, there's bound to be some overlap. 

My opinion: The Simpsons have been on for years.  I have seen the TV show 90210 (2008 remake) and there were some similar jokes too.

Characters going to a lesbian bar, and not knowing it’s a lesbian bar: On 90210, Kelly and Donna go to a bar and notice there are a lot of women there.  They then see two women kissing and learn that it’s a lesbian bar.

My little brother was on the computer and listening to the show.  He then quotes from The Simpsons.  It’s where Homer goes to a lesbian bar and is looking around.

Homer: There’s something not right about this place, but I don’t know what it is.  Oh yeah, there’s no fire escape, enjoy your death trap ladies!

Using pigs as a school prank: On 90210, some teen guys were going to release 3 pigs on the school property.  They will say there are 4 pigs so the school will be looking for the 4th pig when there isn’t one.

That’s kind of been done on The Simpsons when Homer goes to college.  He, the 3 nerds, and Bart go to get the school’s mascot that is a pig.  Homer is pulling on the pig’s tail.

Homer: Curly, straight, curly, straight.
Nerd: Mr. Simpson, I don’t think the pig likes that.
The pig then back kicks Homer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jonathan Goldstein/ Veronica Mars movie/ Alex Rider

Jan. 2: Here's an article by Jonathan Goldstein in the National Post:

My own worst critic isn’t me — it's this woman who came to my reading

6:00 p.m.

I’m giving a reading at the public library this evening, but before it begins, I meet up with a group of teens. They publish a literary journal out of the library and are an inquisitive bunch.
“How much money do you make?” a teenage girl asks.
When I was a kid, I was afraid to even talk to adults. I once jumped from a moving tram car because I was too shy to ask the driver to stop. And these kids won’t be satisfied until they see my tax returns.

“Not enough to get rich,” I say, “but enough to eat regular meals.”
 “What was your big break?”
“I guess I’m still waiting for that. But I’ve gotten by on a few smaller breaks.”
“How’d you know you wanted to be a writer?”
“It was a process of elimination,” I say. “I wasn’t good at much else. And for years I didn’t even get any positive feedback. It was just that I couldn’t stop. Charles Bukowski compared his process to a spider with no choice but to spin webs. That’s how I felt, like I needed to do it whether I got paid or not.”

“How do you deal with someone not liking you?” a young man in a pork pie hat asks.
“I guess I try to enjoy it,” I say. “Enjoy that my existence upsets them. There can be great strength in that.”

7:45 p.m.

After the reading, there are more questions. This time from adults.
“Is it hard to share dark truths about yourself,” someone asks.
“I don’t think my truths are so dark,” I say. “Sure, I uncrate poisonous memories from the basement of my mind, but what the reader fails to grasp is that the elevator goes down to a sub-basement — a ‘B2,’ if you will. And that’s where I keep the Special Goldstein Reserves, those darker vintages only to be uncorked during death-bed confessionals.”

8:10 p.m.

Walking off the stage, a woman approaches wanting to know who the person on my poster is.
“That was me,” I say apologetically. “When I had hair. I guess I should update my publicity photo.”
“Yes,” she says. “You used to look good.”

It is at this point that a smarter man would just walk away. But when I am handed a shovel, not only do I willingly dig my own grave, but I really put my back into it. And so:

“Don’t I look good now?” I ask.

“You look wise,” the woman says. That she says it with a degree of gentleness makes it all the more hurtful.
We often think of ourselves as our own worst critics. But then one day we meet someone who makes us realize this is not at all the case. No, there are people out there who see us from unflattering vantage points we can only dream of.

Thank you, casually cruel lady, for unburdening me of the weight of my own perceived masochism. Thank you, too, for forcing me to live out my own advice. And so, with gritted teeth, I try to imagine how much I might upset this woman and I try, too, to enjoy it.

—Jonathan Goldstein is the host of WireTap on CBC Radio One, airing Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Thursday at 11:30 p.m.  Follow him on Twitter @J_Goldstein.

Jan. 3: I unintentionally seemed to ignite my passion for writing a little bit, with old TV shows and movies.

Veronica Mars movie: I was on Facebook and I see Ashley put up the trailer to this movie.  I love this show and have all 3 seasons on DVD.  I see the trailer, and it looks really good.  It seems that Veronica is now a NYC lawyer and she finds out her ex-boyfriend Logan may have murdered his girlfriend.  Veronica comes and helps him.

It looks like all the characters are back.  I was kind of excited and happy to see the trailer.  When I heard they were going to make a movie, I was like: “Okay.  We’ll see if it actually gets produced.”

Even if you’re not a fan of the show and never seen it, I do recommend you watch the show.  It does have a mass appeal because it’s good writing and mysteries.

I clicked on Percy Daggs III, who played Veronica’s friend Wallace on the show.  He seemed really happy and grateful that the movie is coming out.  That’s nice.

Alex Rider: Does anyone remember the 2006 movie called Alex Rider: Stormbreaker?  The books are by Anthony Horowitz and I have read the first six of them back in 2005-2006.  It stars Alex Pettyfer, and he was in I am Number Four and In Time.

The books are really good about a 14 yr old boy named Alex who is recruited into being a spy for MI6.  However, the movie wasn’t really good.  I was 21 when I saw the movie and I was really excited about it.  When I did some checking about it on the internet, I see that Horowitz also wrote the movie.

I also see there were some changes in it like how Alex’s love interest Sabina is in it.  She wasn’t in it until the later books.  I read that Alex’s housekeeper Jack is going to get into a fight scene with Nadia.  That wasn’t in the book either.  

It was on TV last night, so I decided to have it on in the background as I’m on the computer.  I will only watch it for the action scenes.

I went to Wikipedia, and it says:

“Hopes and expectations for a box office-busting franchise were so high that Horowitz was commissioned to start writing the screenplay for the adaption of the second novel, Point Blanc, even before Stormbreaker was released. Pettyfer was signed to play Alex Rider in all the sequels and Horowitz gave several interviews where he confidently stated that Alex Rider would become the next iconic movie character. However the film's poor box office performance meant that plans for a franchise were dropped.

The film was a rather embarrassing failure for Horowitz, who later admitted the film was a "mistake". In an interview in 2009, Horowitz disclosed that there are no plans for any more Alex Rider films as the books "do not translate well to the big screen" and had scrapped the idea to make Point Blanc.”

I feel like kids and people who are up to 15 yrs old would like this movie.