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, February 27, 2014

A human rights crisis is erupting

A human rights crisis is erupting in the Central African Republic:Please sign our urgent petition to stop the "ethnic cleansing" 


Call on the African Union to provide peacekeeping forces with the resources and support needed to stop ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic 

  Jovachi Mongonou had both legs amputated after he was injured by a shell in an attack by Seleka forces© Amnesty International Central Africa researcher, Godfrey Byaruhanga



Ethnic cleansing and sectarian killings in the Central African Republic 


Ethnic cleansing and sectarian killing in the Central African Republic


You can see these horrors documented in our up-to-date reporting:


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  Make a gift using our secure online form or call 1-800-AMNESTY (1-800-266-3789)
Dear Tracy,
Right now, militant groups are mass killing civilian men, women and children to “ethnically cleanse” the Central African Republic of its Muslim population. 

<< Please help Amnesty International's effort to save lives civilian lives now

Amnesty International sent researchers to the country beginning in October, as the situation began to escalate. Our research has confirmed mass human rights abuses, including ethnic cleansing. Peacekeepers are urgently needed to stop the unfolding horror in the Central African Republic as ethnic communities attack one another, with little regard for human life. 

We need your help to alert the world now and protect civilians who have nowhere to turn.

>> Please sign our online petition 

>> Make a contribution to help protect civilian lives

Your support will help us:
  • distribute our research findings widely
  • alert journalists to the urgency of the violations 
  • meet with officials at the UN and the African Union to recommend actions needed to protect civilians
  • continue to have a presence in the field to report on human rights violation
  • mobilize human rights supporters around the world to add their voice

You may know I was on a research mission last November to Chad, and saw first-hand the growing number of refugees fleeing the violence in neighbouring Central African Republic. Civilians and refugees in this part of the world so desperately need intervention from peacekeeping forces. 

Just last week, our researchers arrived in Bouguere, a remote region in the Central African Republic to investigate a massacre that had taken place three weeks earlier. Nothing prepared our researcher Joanne Mariner for what she found.

I'll let her share her story in her own words:
The Muslim area of Bouguere was eerily empty. Most of the houses and businesses had been ransacked and some burned down. Those who had not been killed had fled.
And then, we found her.
Crouching in the corner of an abandoned house, a girl about 11 years old had survived it all. She had been there, alone, without food or water, for four days. She was terrified, could hardly speak and was so weak she could not even stand.
She said her father was killed in the attack, and residents said her mother had been killed earlier assault. The girl was the only Muslim survivor and the Christian residents of the town begged us to take her. We took her to a place of safety.
What happened in Bouguere was shocking, extremely disturbing, infuriating.
International peacekeepers were nowhere to be seen, even though the area had already witnessed violent confrontations between anti-balaka militias and Seleka forces resulting in the massacre of civilians three weeks earlier.
It was one of those places where something tragic was expected to happen but somehow, the international forces, sent to protect civilians were nowhere to be seen ... Read more
Help Amnesty International strengthen the international call for peacekeepers with our ground research. 

Our research is showing that m
assacres are a disturbing, common feature of the crisis in the Central African Republic. Day after day, men, women and children are being killed with guns and machetes, some left to rot in the streets.
>> We need your help to end these horrors.
Please sign our petition now and consider making a financial contribution to help bring hope and human rights to the Central African Republic. 

Thank you for your concern.



Alex Neve
Secretary General
Amnesty International Canada

P.S. Behind such terrible terms as "ethnic cleansing" are the very real, human stories of people who are suffering in this crisis:

The anti-balaka came in, took my son Abdel to the market and shot him dead. I saw a group of anti-balaka coming towards my home and I crouched against the wall to show them that was not a threat. One of them shot me three times, twice in the abdomen and once in my right arm, and left me for dead.”
--Imam Mahajir, 76, who survived clashes between anti-balaka and armed Muslim civilians and remnants of Seleka forces in Bossemptele on 18 January. 
My father, Soba Tibati, could hardly walk and could not run away when the anti-balaka attacked our village. They decapitated him in front of my eyes as he sat on a straw mat under a tree outside our hut. Twelve other members of my family were also massacred in the same attack. The youngest was a baby girl who was just six months old.” 
--Dairu Soba, survivor of an attack by anti-balaka fighters in Boyali on 8 January. 
Please take action today or make a financial contribution to help Amnesty International continue to speak out in to protect civilian lives.

Two more Indigenous leaders killed, our friend Flaminio is at risk

Now Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez' life is at risk

Dear Tracy,

Our friend Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez is in danger.

Last month two armed gunman shot and killed two of his family members, while looking for him.

Flaminio is prominent Indigenous leader in Colombia, as a former leading member of the Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), where he was in charge of the organization’s human rights department.

Flaminio and the Indigenous community of La Esperanza (which means "Hope") have opposed the arrival of powerful coal, copper and gold mining interests in the area, as well as paramilitaries seeking to impose cultivation of illicit crops on Indigenous lands.
He is a dear friend to us here in Canada, where he came at the invitation of Amnesty International to speak to Canadian Members of Parliament and government officials about the threat of "extermination" facing Indigenous peoples in Colombia.

He's a friend to human rights.

Please don't let him come to harm. Sign our action now.


Alex Neve
Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada

P.S. More than one third of Indigenous peoples in Colombia are threatened with "extermination", according to the country's highest court, and face an "emergency as serious as it is invisible." This crisis is fueled by violent incursions into Indigenous territory, forced displacement and the imposition of megaprojects. Learn more about Amnesty's work to stop this injustice and please take action now to protect Flaminio from harm.

P.P.S. Last week, we were in intensive meetings with MPs, Senators and government officials in Ottawa who are now acutely aware of this crisis, as they must be in light of Canada's obligations to monitor human rights impacts under the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. We need the Canadian government to use its influence as an important commercial partner of Colombia to press for effective protection of Indigenous lives, lands and rights. Trade and investment must not trump human rights!  Please sign our petition to Minister John Baird.

Ethnic cleansing: What we learned in the Central African Republic

A Muslim family who sought refuge at the Central African Customs chartering centre in Bangui. Photo by: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images
Demand security for the people of the Central African Republic and other global crisis zones.

Make a donation to Amnesty International.
Donate Now!

Dear Tracy,

Last week, Amnesty met with the President of the Central African Republic – a country where clashes between the Christian majority and Muslim minority have resulted in war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Christian militias are carrying out violent attacks in an effort to drive Muslims from the country. In response, Amnesty is demanding that international peacekeeping forces stop the violence and station troops in towns where Muslims are threatened.

Make an emergency donation to support our efforts.

The president was receptive during our talks. Meanwhile, three Amnesty experts on the ground documented the atrocities to support our call for increased peacekeeping operations.

They have taken over 100 first-hand testimonies of large-scale attacks on Muslim civilians in towns where only a scattering of international troops have failed to protect communities.

Senior crisis response advisor Donatella Rovera says, "We saw bodies littering the streets. Several of them had been partially burned and others had been partly eaten by dogs and other animals. One was the body of a baby who could not have been more than seven or eight months old. In one of the houses, I found an 11-year-old girl – the only Muslim survivor of the village. She was terrified. There had not been any peacekeepers there."

This violence is unconscionable. Please make a donation that will help us document the brutality and insist that more peacekeepers be deployed to stop the killings.


Natalia Taylor Bowdoin
Central African Republic Country Specialist
Amnesty International USA

Stage 32 webinar/ LK Watts Confessions/ Kelli Deeth

Feb. 4 Stage 32 Webinar: I mentioned this before about live webinars that you have to pay to see.  You go to the Writer’s Store and they sell them.  Here’s one: 

Constructing Powerful Story in TV & Film

At a Glance

  • Webinar for beginner and experienced writers who are interested in writing for TV and features
  • Learn how to use act breaks and links effectively to create powerful and memorable stories
  • Discover the key tools and strategies that will make your TV pilots, specs and features scripts stand out

Creating a strong story is your calling card as a writer. In this live webinar, Jen Grisanti will share with you some of the key tools that will make your TV pilots, specs and features scripts stand out through the building of the act break and the links that you provide in your story. Jen Grisanti will share her strategy about how you can write act breaks that will make your story memorable and help you to tell it in the strongest way possible so that you increase your chances of a sale and getting staffed. It all comes down to your understanding of how to build your script. There is a strategy to this. Jen Grisanti will share her secrets on what makes a story strong from the point of view of a studio executive. Follow her tips and advice and it could lead you to getting hired!

  • The components of telling a strong and memorable story
  • How to build a strategy going into your script--starting with the construction of the act breaks
  • How to construct each act in a way that builds anticipation
  • How to end your opening with a question and answer the question through your story 
  • How to utilize the pivotal points in the A story and the B story to end your act with the maximum emotional impact
  • How to connect all the pivotal moments in your story so that they link back to your goal
  • The significance of your links and link backs to the construction of your story
  • Seasoned as well as new writers in TV and features
  • Writers who want to learn the components of telling a strong story
  • Writers who want to make their audience feel their story
  • Writers who want to use a story checklist to set the foundation of their script
  • Writers who want to learn the significance of structure
  • Writers who want to learn how to tell and sell their story
The Writers Store does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.

Product Details

Meet the Author: Jen Grisanti

International speaker Jen Grisanti is an acclaimed Story/Career Consultant at Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, former 12-year studio executive, including VP of Current Programming at CBS/Paramount, blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells and the upcoming book, Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Succ...

My opinion: After I read that, I feel inspired to write.  The Writer’s Store sells lots of TV writing books, Final Draft software, script covers, and notebooks.

Feb. 8 Meetup: Today I finished reading this script this guy wrote for Meetup.  I sent him this:
“I read it in 2 sittings.  It’s so good.  It’s like this big action/ sci-fi movie I can totally see in the theatres.  This is your first draft?  You must have put a lot of effort and work into it because it’s impressive.”

LK Watts Confessions: This is a blog I found a few months ago.  It talks about “Does fear hold you back from publishing?”

Here’s an excerpt of her post:

“Then I think to myself is it fear? Fear of the unknown and people writing reviews stating they can't write. Fear of being ridiculed for publishing a book that only sells one copy per year.

Thoughts like these go through every writers' mind, whether you're J.K. Rowling or a complete novice. But what separates these writers is that the J.K. Rowling's publish their books and try not to worry too much while they get on with writing their next novel. The other writers will dither and dither and make constant rewrites and corrections, consequently never getting their book published.

You don't want to rush your book and it's crucial to make it the best it possibly can be before you release it for the world to see. But what's important is realising when that time has arrived.

If you're a writer who find themselves worrying a lot about their book and you constantly change and rewrite it, I hope this post has helped you. I have a self help book about fear and anxiety and it's got one pivotal lesson:

Action brings satisfaction. No matter what the problem or fear is, doing something about it will always make you feel better.

So take action and have the courage to publish your book before you go completely insane.”

Kelli Deeth: I was reading the Globe and Mail books section and read a book review called The Other Side of Youth by Kelli Deeth.  It’s a collection of short stories about young women and it seems really good.
“Kelli Deeth’s first book since her acclaimed 2001 debut The Girl Without Anyone is a collection of stories about missed connections and unrequited desire, in which characters struggle internally and with each other over issues such as marriage, childlessness, adoption, adolescent longing, friendship, and death.”

Feb. 11 Republic of Doyle: I read in the Globe and Mail, that this Canadian show ended their 5th season.  Wow, this show has been on for a long time.  I watched the first season about this father and son PI company as they solve mysteries in Newfoundland.  It’s a fun comedy-drama.

Jay Leno: I’m sure all of you heard that he’s ending his late night show after 22 years.  I started watching his TV show around 2004 for the 10 min. monologue and then I go to bed.  I can watch it at 9:35pm.  I stopped watching his TV show at Jan. 2013 because I had to go to bed earlier.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

MacEwan residence/ Mental health first aid/ learn a trade

Feb. 11 MacEwan residence: I was at a job fair last month and I applied for a guest service assistant position here.  It’s a 4 month position and it’s kind of like working at a hotel.  I was reading the information and it says check guests in and out, handle cash, etc.

They called me yesterday.  He called me again this morning and he asked if I am a post-secondary student in the 2014 winter term.  I said no, and he asked if I am taking classes in the summer.  I said no.  

He then told me that I had to be a post-secondary student in the 2014 winter term to work there.  So I didn’t get an interview.  That’s fine.  I then looked at the back of the paper, and it says that one of the employment requirements was to be a student.  

Feb. 13 Market research: I went to this office job interview months ago.  I then applied to this market research position in there.  It’s where I call people to do surveys, but I can work at home.  Now they emailed me back.  I thought about it and I wasn’t really interested in it.

If I got a call from Call Centre #6 or Call Centre #4 to go to work there, I would.  I thought maybe because I’m not really feeling excited about this job interview.  

However, I was excited recently when I got an email back from this big company to fill out an application on their website.

Mental health first aid: Have you ever heard of this?  I was looking for a job and this was one of the requirements.  I found the website to pretty good.

There are lots of courses available all over Canada.  I see there are a lot of AB classes every month.  Check it out:

What is Mental Health First Aid Canada 

One in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. The earlier a problem is detected and treated, the better the outcome. Mental Health First Aid Canada gives people the skills to provide that early help that is so important in recovery.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved.

The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.

The program does not teach people how to be therapists. It does teach people how to:
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
  • Provide initial help.
  • Guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
MHFA shares the same overall purpose as traditional first aid – to save lives. It aims to:
  • Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state.
  • Promote the recovery of good mental health.
  • Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem.

Feb. 14 Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village: This was at the MacEwan job fair.  They were serving bread so I had some.  They’re hiring for May- Sept. where you can be in food services, retail, clerk, or admissions clerk.  I may have been there for some field trips.

It’s really far away, like East of Edmonton.

Learn a trade: I was reading a Globe and Mail life essay called “How to learn a trade the hard way” by Aaron Williams on Jan. 28, 2014.   He talks about how he was a forest fire fighter for the BC Ministry of Forests.  He was making as much money as his friends, but less work and more fun at the job.

His friends were in trades and buying their lunch at 7-11.  Eventually, they started making $100,000 a year.  He says: “I was looking for the same types of jobs my friends had found after high school.  They were reaping the rewards for their time in the mud, and I was 18 again.

He went to college for political science and journalism, but knowing about John A. Macdonald didn’t stand out from the pile of resumes. 

He says university wasn’t a waste, but the economy is always building and fixing things.

My opinion: I hope young people read the article and think about going into a trade, if they’re interested in it.  I’m not interested in it and am not good at it.  Maybe people will learn what to study in university that is practical.

Feb. 15 Work on math: I found this article in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 6, 2013.  It’s called “For career success, study those quadratics” by Kathleen Madigan.

“Mr. James also found math imparted career gains to students who did not go onto college. ‘The more math one takes, the more one earns on average, and the more likely one is to have a job,’ he writes.”

“The benefit even shows up among high-school drop outs. The median wage for full-time workers aged 20-30 years who dropped out of high school after completing only Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, or less was $12.70 per hour. Dropouts with Geometry or Algebra II earned a significantly higher hourly pay of $14.36.”

My opinion: Well if you are taking Pure Math 30 (grade level), then there is a high chance all the core classes you take are grade level.  Same goes with if you take one below grade level class, you are likely to take all the core classes below grade level.  People are different.  I am good in English and social studies and not good in math and science.

All I can say is, get a high school diploma.

Charity: I like charities where you buy something for yourself and the proceeds will go to the charity.  Go to the and click on a button, and food will be donated to a 3rd world country.  Also there are a lot of products being sold there and proceeds will go to charity. 

Job search: A month or so ago, my dad told me to look into a department store.  There may be an office position there.  I did and there wasn’t any in Edmonton.  I then looked at a couple of other department stores that have corporate positions, but there aren’t any when I went to the website. 

Quote: I put this in my inspirational quotes collection: 

“Having fun is good for business: It is so important to like what you do.  It’s something to consider as you are growing in your career.  Liking your work makes you motivated, it makes you work harder and it can carry you when other things aren’t going well.  Enjoying my career has been part of what has made me successful and I try to create a positive environment so that everybody who I work with can feel that same sense of positivity.” – John Betts, owner of McDonald’s Canada since 2008.  The Globe and Mail article on Jan. 20, 2014

Feb. 17 Sears: Today is Family Day and I got a day off.  I went to the Sears at Bonnie Doon.  If I remember correctly, I haven’t been to Bonnie Doon at all last year.  The Sears was having everything on sale.  There were lots of signs of 40% off and up.  

I looked at women’s clothes, bags, jewelry, and shoes.  There were a lot of people at the store and the mall.  The store was filled with products and nicely organized.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

winter/ West Ed mall/ health

Feb. 6 Winter: You can call it the winter blues, winter blahs, February blahs, etc.  Either way, it’s the 4th month into winter.  Is the winter getting to any of you guys?  My life does revolve around winter right now.

I don’t go out for fun because it’s too cold out.  I only go out to go to work, job interviews, and dr. appointments.  One time in Dec. I went to lunch with my friend Cham after I went to work.

One time in Jan. I went to the Christmas party.  There was a big buffet there, I had to go to it.  Lol.

Feb. 10 West Ed mall: I will tell you about my shopping trip on Oct. 12, 2013.

  1. Tiffany Company- the security guards wore suits.  Nice lighting.  There are washrooms in there.  There are flowers.  I tried the men’s perfume and it smells good.
  2. Anthropologie- they sell dishware, home décor, clothes, books, and stationary.  It’s expensive, except for the sale items.  I tried a lot of the perfume and didn’t really like it.
  3. Swarvoski- it sells jewelry, also perfume.  There are figurines and little charms like Hello Kitty.
  4. Zara- it sells very expensive clothes and jewelry for men, women, and children.  There was perfume fro $13-$20.  There were security guards.
  5. Mexx- it’s expensive, but there are things on sale.
  1. Oakley- it mainly sells men’s clothes and a little section for women.
  1. Brown’s- it sells men and women’s shoes and bags.  Expensive, but nice.  The sales people were dressed nicely.
  1. Pottery Barn- rustic wood furniture, a little stationary, candles, autumn and Halloween decorations.
  1. Geox- they sell men, women, kid’s shoes.  They sell some jackets.  Expensive.
  1. Apple- crowded, busy.  Interactive iPads.
  1. Williams Sonoma- they sell aprons, $20 jars of pasta sauce, kitchen appliances and dishware.
On Oct. 26, 2013, I was at West Ed.  The new Microsoft store had opened.  It’s like the Apple store with tables and there are computers on it where you can interact with it.  There was loud music blaring like “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai.  I like that song.

I did check out Bootlegger.  

I’m going through my notes and I see that I went to West Ed on Jun. 24, 2013.

  1. Build a Bear- to describe it is cute.
  2. Urban Behavior- they sell $1 perfume.
  3. Beach Hut- they only sell swimsuits.  They used to sell jewelry, but now they don’t. 
  4. Sirens- I checked out that store.
  5. Forever 21
Bed Bath and Beyond has now finished renovating.  It’s bigger and it took over where La Vien Rose was.  Rose store has now moved to another part of the mall.

Deluxe Burger Bar closed down on Bourbon street.  It’s replaced with the renovated Old Spaghetti Factory.

I read in Edmonton Journal on Feb. 6, 2014: Sport Check is now on Level 2, Phase 3 of WEM.  The old Sportcheck ad Atmosphere stores in Phase one have been closed.

Feelings: I feel good after I wrote about shopping.  It feels good to write about a happy activity.

Feb. 13 Aqua Massage: I wrote about this before when I had a $5 off coupon to use.  I took an Aqua Massage in Nov. 2013 and I felt really relaxed after 10 min.  Then I had another $5 off coupon and took one in Dec. 2013.  It was also for 10 min, and I didn’t really feel relaxed. 

Maybe the first time it was new and I felt relaxed.  The second time, the novelty wore off.  It was still fun though.

Feb. 14 Health: I got food poisoning again.  I had it back in Dec. 2013.  Last night I ate Chinese takeout leftovers from Feb. 12.  I had put the oily sauce on my rice.  I wake up at 3am and I felt sick and full.  I drank a cup of water and 30 min. later I threw it up.  I threw up a few more times.

In Dec. 2013, I ate oily mac and cheese that was in the fridge overnight.  Basically, avoid oily leftovers.  Or at least don’t eat too much of it.

I called in work sick today.  I feel physically weak.  I felt guilty for letting my co-workers down, but I know they can manage without me.  My shift is in the afternoon and for the past 2 days it hasn’t been busy.

At least I’m not working at night, where it’s really busy because it’s Valentine’s Day.

Feb. 15: My health has improved.
Feb. 17: I went to work yesterday.  I only worked 3 hrs because I felt sick.  I was out of breath.  Fortunately my boss let me go home early and there are enough workers there to help.

Feb. 19 Fun website: I was looking for a job and I found this website for a barber shop called Tommy Gun’s Original Barbershop.  If you move your cursor to the headings like “Contact”, a pair of red scissors will pop up.  I thought that was kind of fun.

Jessica Sutta: I have written about her before.  She was a Pussycat Doll.  Here is her video “I Wanna be Bad.”  This is her first video of her solo career that came out in 2011. 

The video is of her wearing tight and revealing Victorian dress with a Victorian theme.  It’s of other people wearing Victorian outfits partying and dancing.  Later, it shows her in a dark place partying with people.  It shows her dancing outside in modern clothes with backup dancers.

I thought the song was eh.  There is already a song called “I Wanna Be Bad” by Willa Ford.  In Ford’s song, it’s about how Willa wants to be bad to get with a guy.  Here’s the chorus:

I wanna be bad
You make bad look so good
I got things on my mind
I never thought I would
I, I wanna be bad (bad)
You make bad feel so good
I'm losing all my cool
I'm about to break the rules
I, I wanna be bad

In Sutta’s song, it’s about listing the things she wants like the chorus is this:

I wanna be this, I wanna be that
I wanna be good, I wanna be bad
I wanna get mine
And I wanna have yours
I wanna be the bitch, I wanna be rich
I wanna have this, I wanna have that
I wanna be good, I wanna be bad
I wanna be the bitch, I wanna be rich
You wanna tap this, boy you wish

I read people’s comments on Youtube, and it’s kind of like Pussycat Doll’s song “When I Grow Up” where they list things they want.  Sutta’s video was eh.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Article: Getting Hired After College

Ginny Grimsley sent me this article:

How to Get Hired Right Out of College

Entrepreneur Offers Tips on Finding Internships that Pave
the Way for Employment

With higher rates of un- or underemployment among college graduates in recent years, a national debate about the value of a college degree has gotten louder, especially as tuition continues to rise. 

The slow economic recovery has hit young adults hard; in 2012, 44 percent of recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree were underemployed or working jobs that do not require an advanced degree, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Other studies, including a recent one from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, have had similar findings.

“There’s no question that an advanced degree gives college graduates a tremendous leg up compared to those without one; those recent grads are working jobs non-college grads want – and graduates typically find good work soon enough. It’s just a matter of how much of an advantage students demand right out of college,” says Matt Stewart, an entrepreneur and spokesperson for College Works Painting, ( 

College Works Painting provides practical and life-changing business experience for college students who have shown potential for success. Interns operate their own house-painting business with hands-on guidance from mentors. 

“Unemployment for our alumni is less than 4 percent; this kind of challenging yet fun student experience helps ensure a good career for college graduates right out of the gate,” says Stewart, who offers tips for what students should look for in earning professional experience while still in school.
• Know what you will actually be doing. Interns tend to be eager to learn, wide-eyed and optimistic about gaining an internship somewhere. While simply being in a company’s culture has some value, many businesses simply want students to do their lowest-level work. Grunt work, to some extent, is a fact of life in most professions, however, students probably aren’t looking to gain experience in coffee-making or cleaning. Consider an internship that gives you real responsibility and provides experiences that will definitely come in handy in your future career.

• Consider the industry recognition of a company. While college is certainly worth the investment, it is costly and you want to get all you can out of the experience. Don’t accept working for free with just any organization; think about how the name will resonate on a resume. If you can, get information on how other former interns fared at a company who would have you.

• For entrepreneurial students, real experience is crucial. If you’re an artist, athlete, musician, theater major, English student or a STEM fields student, it’s much easier to get real experience by simply doing what one loves. But for business majors and future entrepreneurs, getting experience often comes with a heavy price, including the loss of personal or family finances. Look for opportunities that provide guidance while allowing you to apply skills to real-life challenges such as budgeting, marketing, and managing employees.
About Matt Stewart
Matt Stewart co-founded National Services Group, which operates College Works Painting, SMJJ Investments and Empire Community Construction. Under the executive team’s leadership, NSG has grown from a small Southern California business into a national leader in two industries and has been recognized as an entrepreneurial leader by Ernst & Young, the Orange County Business Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur and hundreds of other periodicals. Stewart has received a several awards, including the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Orange County Business Journal; was named “40 under 40;” and he has twice been a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award.

Article: I Love Yarn Day

Ginny Grimsley sent me this article: 

Join the Love Affair with Yarn

By: Betty Hectman

A lot of people are going to be celebrating I Love Yarn Day on October 11.  According to the Craft Yarn Council there are over 50 million people of all ages who knit, crochet or otherwise work with yarn.  And it’s no wonder.  It’s not just the destination of getting a scarf or sweater; the journey is full of benefits.  Knitting and crocheting are great anxiety busters, offer something productive to do while waiting and can be a social outlet when done with a group.  Want to Join in?

Getting Started

It’s great if you have a friend or family member to teach you, but if not, there are other options.  Check out your local yarn store.  According to Lisa Garcia of the Close Knit Circle yarn shop in Tarzana California, for a nominal fee they will teach someone to knit or crochet.  In addition with a yarn purchase comes the invitation to hang out at the group table in the store and get help on a project.  Some of the craft stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s offer group lessons.  Try your local community college.  Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California offers yarn craft classes as part of their extension program.  

If you’re more of a do it yourselfer, it is possible to learn on your own.  There are numerous  books on the market, but Betty Hechtman, author of two yarn related mysteries series  suggests doing what she did and trying a kids’ kit.  “I found that the instructions were broken down into easy to follow steps with lots of illustrations. And if the instructions would work for a ten-year-old, I figured they would work for me.  I learned how to crochet granny squares with a kit meant for kids and it changed my life.”

First Projects    

Don’t defeat yourself by choosing something too complicated for a first project.  Also, it is best to stick with easy to work with yarn like basic worsted weight.  A scarf is a great project to start with using either this free knitting pattern or this free crochet pattern. Both use only the most basic techniques.

The Beauty of Handmade

Every knit or crocheted item has its own story.  The experience of picking the yarn, making the project and what was going on in your life are all woven into the stitches.  Remember that what makes handmade items special is they look like real hands made them.  That means there might be a wiggly stitch here and there, but just look at it as part of the tale.  

About Betty Hechtman
Betty Hechtman is the author of “Yarn to Go,” the first book in the Berkley Prime Crime Yarn Retreat mystery series, as well as the author of the best-selling Berkley Prime Crime Crochet mystery series. The eighth book, “For Better or Worsted,” comes out in November.  She has also written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays as well as a children’s culinary mystery. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree and has been active in handicrafts since she was a small child. Hechtman divides her time between Los Angeles and Chicago.

Article: Overcome Excuses

Ginny Grimsley sent me this article:

How to Overcome Excuses in 2014

6 Tips to Gain the Edge & Meet Your Goals
Great people throughout history often fail, quite miserably, before finally reaching their goals, says international business strategist Dan Waldschmidt. 

“Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime; Winston Churchill lost every public election until becoming prime minister at age 62; Henry Ford went bankrupt five times; Albert Einstein was a terrible student and was expelled from school; Sigmund Freud was booed from a stage,” says Waldschmidt, author of “Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success,” ( 

“Ideas, brilliance, genius – they all mean nothing without the guts, passion and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals.”
Most of us have dreams, and many of us have big ones, but few of us actually see them through, he says.
He offers six tricks for jumping off the excuse train and forge the path to your goals.
• Avoid the need to blame others for anything. Mean, small-minded people know that they suck. That’s why they are so cranky and eager to point out others’ mistakes. They hope that by causing others to feel inadequate, everyone will forget about how woefully off the mark their own performance is. Don’t blame anyone, for any reason, ever. It’s a bad habit.

• Stop working on things that just don’t matter. Not everything needs to be done in place of sleep. If you work for a boss, then you owe them solid time. You can’t cut that out. You can, however, cut out television time, meetings and anything else that gets in the way of achieving your goals. Replace entertainment with activity toward your goal.
• Refuse to let yourself wallow in self-doubt. You’re alive to succeed. Stop comparing your current problems to your last 18 failures. They are not the same. You are not the same. Here’s something to remember: Your entire life has been a training ground for you to capture your destiny right now. Why would you doubt that? Stop whining. Go conquer.
• Ask yourself, “What can I do better next time?” And then do it next time. If you spend a decade or two earnestly trying to be better, that’s exactly what will happen. The next best thing to doing something amazing is not doing something stupid. So learn from your mistakes and use the lessons to dominate.
• Proactively take time to do things that fuel your passion. Exercise is a great example. Living in the moment requires you to live at peak performance. A huge part of mental fitness is physical fitness. A sparring or running partner is a great way to refresh physical competition. Physical activity accelerates mental motivation.
• Apologize to yourself and those around you for having a bad attitude. Do this once or twice and you’ll snap out of your funk pretty fast. When you start genuinely apologizing for being a bad influence on those around you, you learn to stop whining and start winning.
About Dan Waldschmidt
Dan Waldschmidt is the author of “Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success,” ( He is an international business strategist, speaker, author and extreme athlete. His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He’s been profiled in BBC, Fox News and The Today Show, and he is a sought-after media source.