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, April 29, 2014

editor/ Denise Chong/ Paperny Entertainment

Mar. 23 Editor: How about being an editor?  I checked my blog and it turns out I did write something about it.

University of Alberta Press: I have read an article about this in the Edmonton Journal.  Here’s their website:

“The UAP publishes in the areas of biography, history, language, literature, natural history, regional interest, travel narratives and reference books. UAP contributes to the intellectual and cultural life of Alberta and Canada by publishing well-edited, research-based knowledge and creative thought that has undergone rigorous peer-review, is of real value to natural constituencies, adheres to quality publication standards and is supported by diligent marketing efforts.”

They also have a blog too:

Praxiom: I was looking for publishing companies in Edmonton and this came up.  It’s not a publishing company, it’s a business website.

Company’s Coming Publishing: It’s cookbooks.

Mar. 25: What’s the point in starting a publishing company?  There’s lots of self-publishing and e-publishing these days.

Writer jobs: I have been emailing all my Professional Writing friends from college to see if they know of any writing jobs.  One of them said he found a online magazine writer job on Craigslist, but it fell through because the magazine was never launched.

I went on Craigslist and looked a bit into it today.  I then went to Job Bank and looked for writer jobs and mostly got “service writer” jobs for car companies.  I looked into it on Kijiji.  That’s how I found The Golden Vanguard in 2012 and wrote movie reviews and they posted it on their website.  (I also posted the reviews on my blog.)
Mar. 26 Merge magazine: Does anyone remember this Edmonton magazine?  It had some stuff about small businesses.  I was going through my notes and I submitted an article to them before.  After a year, it closed down and re-launched in 2011.  I went on their Twitter account and the last tweets were back in 2011.
Creative writing: The only short stories and poems I have written are from college.  I see that I have submitted to a lot of literary magazines:

The Edmonton Poetry Festival: I submitted a couple of poems. That doesn’t exist anymore.

Bronwen Wallace Award: I submitted a short story to them.

Puritan magazine: 

Notebook magazine:

Metro: I see that in 2008 I submitted my “Charity” article to Metro.

24 news: I submitted the “Charity” to 24.

Seventeen: I submitted the “Charity” article to Seventeen magazine too.
Carte-Blanche: I submitted lots of poems and stories to them.

Opium magazine: I submitted a few things to them too. I see that I was here before.  It’s a French website.

This magazine: I submitted a query to them to read a book review of mine.  I look at writer guidelines and they look for non-fiction, current events stories.
Franklin-Christoph: I submitted a poem to them.

Geist:  A literary magazine.

Grain magazine: This is a literary magazine located in Saskatoon

Prairie Fire: This is a good website.

Mar. 30: I cut out this article’s “Globe and Mail’s non-fiction preview” on Sept. 13, 2013.  Here’s one that really stood out for me:

Denise Chong

I’d envisaged that I’d write of lone Chinese families who ran cafés in small-town Canada as a way of exploring the emotional terrain of immigrant life. I set the stories in the 1950s when the tumult of war and politics in China and the repeal of a Canadian law barring Chinese entry brought wives, sons and daughters, and “cash on delivery” brides among the newest immigrants to this country.

As I expected, lives could be upended by the unpredictable, both joyful and tragic: a boy whose grandmother sold his baby sister for a sack of rice finds out decades later, that like him, she is now living in Canada; a driverless, rolling car crosses a sidewalk and crushes the leg of a man, and soon, his widow is left to run the café.

What surprised were memories of longing that surfaced: for the caress of a father’s hand on a daughter’s head; for any chance to wear high-heeled shoes brought from Hong Kong – regretfully ill-suited to a young bride’s new rural life.

Denise Chong is the author of Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate and Circumstance, to be published in October.

Mar. 31 Paperny Entertainment: I wrote down some TV production companies I found and was to research.  I looked this up, and they produce reality TV shows.

Rainmaker Entertainment: This is an animation company in Vancouver.

It did lead me to Bring back Reboot, that old TV show from the 1990s.  I used to watch that show with my little brother.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Article: Elements of a Compelling Novel

Ginny Grimsley sent me this article:

What’s In It for the Reader? 5 Elements
for a  Compelling Novel
Former U.S. Marine Officer & Thriller Author Says,
‘Rule No.1 is Give the Reader Excitement

“We live in a golden age in which writers of any genre can be published,” says Marshall Chamberlain, an indie-publishing expert, self-described recluse and, by many standards, modern-day Renaissance man.

Readers want an experience that pleases and excites them to the degree that they don’t want to put the book down. This the author’s challenge, Chamberlain says.

In this digital age, around 30 percent of book purchases are ebooks. If an author can craft a good book, he or she can join the ranks of successful authors who publish independently and concentrate on ebooks. Just like the big boys, they can maintain control of rights and reap the rewards of 65 to 85 percent of sales.

“The catch is the book has to be good—only good,” says Chamberlain, the author of several books, including The Mountain Place of Knowledge, the first book in the Ancestor Series of adventure-thrillers, ( “Today, potential readers receive countless infotainment options. If you want them to invest hours of their life in your book, then you must offer what they are looking for—excitement and engagement that rivets their interest.”
If you’re thinking about writing a good book, Chamberlain uses examples from his works to illustrate five elements to include:
•  The characters should speak to you. For example in Chamberlain’s Ancestor Series, a former Marine officer turned geology professor and a doctor in microbiology and computer science – a man and a woman - have personality traits many readers will relate to. They are unique and interesting — two stalwart individuals forced to confront and contend with romance, deceit, greed, violence and politics. These are problems every reader contends with in life.

•  The setting should capture the imagination. Chamberlain’s latest adventure-thriller features vivid imagery inside secret chambers within a Belizean mountain where ancient technology is uncovered. This almost mythical setting is tempered by a style Chamberlain calls “plausible reality,” which empowers readers to suspend disbelief and connect with the excitement and mystery of discovery. It helps to have a stylistic flavor; in his case, a little Indiana Jones.

•  The plot should keep readers turning the pages. The discovery of ancient technology that’s poised to have global implications, along with tensions between characters, are tandem plot elements that charge and maintain reader interest. A well-paced story, while hitting the right emotional beats, helps ensure readers stay engaged.

•  Unique themes set a work apart from the competition. Themes should emerge for readers in a process of logical discovery. Chamberlain’s series utilizes a cocktail of genre twisting, including action, adventure, and thriller aspects, peppered with paranormal, metaphysical and sci-fi. This dynamic allows him to transcend the typical themes of individual genres and create compelling and unique books.

•  Consider significance. What’s it all mean? Many writers are split two ways: one camp wants the reader to come away with a well-stated message while other writers are scattered as to intent in presenting meaningful take-away. Regardless, a good principle in creative writing as applied to characters, setting, plot, themes or significance, is to not simply tell readers, but to show them meaningful and exciting content that has the potential to trigger insight for living more fulfilling lives.
About Marshall Chamberlain

Marshall Chamberlain, author of The Mountain Place of Knowledge, the first book in the Ancestor Series of adventure-thrillers, (, is a man focused on his passions, with no time for pets, lawns, plants, puttering around or companion compromises. He has a Master’s Degree in Resource Development from Michigan State University and a graduate degree in International Management from the Thunderbird School near Phoenix, Ariz. He was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and spent many years in investment banking, venture capital and even a stint as a professional waiter. He is obsessed with preparedness, survival and independence. This combination of traits and an unconditional openness to life lead him to all manner of adventure. Chamberlain’s primary worldview is simple but profound—“I’m in awe of the magnificence of this world.”

Alison Redford/ Linor Abargil/ Lawrence Hill

Apr. 19 Alison Redford: I’m sure all of you read this email:

I got an email from my friend Michelle saying that Alison Redford was a bad premier for using our tax money for travel expenses.  She told me that Rob Ford helped lower taxes and that Toronto has the lowest taxes in all of North American cities.  I didn’t know that.  Probably because his drug and alcohol addiction and antics overshadow his good work.  I don’t read anything about his good news, but his addiction news.

She CC’d everybody.  So my friends Leslie and Sherry also CC’d their opinion about it agreeing with Michelle.   So I’m going to say this right here:

Redford did say that she didn’t know that the funeral trip to Nelson Mandela’s funeral was going to be $45,000.  She said if she knew, she wouldn’t have gone to it.  I saw a news video clip where she apologized to everybody for spending the money on traveling.  She seemed genuinely remorseful, so I accept her apology. 

Apr. 21 Connor Stevenson: I was watching W-Five on Mar. 15, 2014.  I used to watch this Canadian news magazine show back in college, but stopped.  Some of the topics simply weren’t interesting.

This episode covered Connor Stevenson, a 13 yr old boy who got shot at the Eaton Centre in Toronto.  He was shot in the head and survived.  He lives a normal life.

It was a very intense episode where they talked to the mom Jo-Anne and his 15 yr old sister Taylor.  He got shot, and Taylor was talking to him and trying to keep him awake. 

The show talked to the paramedics who were there and picked Connor up into the stretcher and had to carry him up the escalator because the elevator was being used by the other paramedics and victim.

At the hospital, Taylor called the dad Brian and told him that Connor has been shot.

You can read more here.

Apr. 25 DNA tests: I was reading in the Metro on Apr. 15, 2014 “Police test DNA of all males at school.”  Here it is from NY Post:

“PARIS — French investigators began taking DNA samples Monday from 527 male students and staff at a high school — including boys as young as 14 — as they searched for the assailant who raped a teenage girl on the closed campus.

Testing began at Fenelon-Notre Dame high school in western France. All those who received summonses last week were warned that any refusal could land them in police custody, and no one rejected the sweeping request to test the high school’s male population.

The testing of students, faculty and staff at the school is expected to last through Wednesday, with 40 DNA swabs recovered inside two large study halls. Prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle said investigators had exhausted all other leads in the Sept. 30 rape of the girl in a dark bathroom at the school.

“The choice is simple for me,” she said. “Either I file it away and wait for a match in what could be several years, or I go looking for the match myself.”

My opinion: In Metro it says 527 male students and teachers will be tested.  I was like: “That’s a lot of work, time, and money to get all the DNA tests to find one rapist.  However, there could be hits on other rape kits so it’s good to get all these DNA tests.”

Suicide assignment: I was reading in Metro on Feb. 5, 2014 “Prof sorry for suicide assignment.”  A professor at St. John’s Newfoundland university called Memorial University had apologized to his computer science class and replaced a question on the assignment.

“The student union said the prof asked them to create a computer program that could help determine whether a rape victim would commit suicide.”

My opinion: I accept his apology.  It was an assignment question.  He didn’t seem like he was trying to offend anyone.

Linor Abargil: I was reading in the Edmonton Journal on Mar. 22, 2014 “Beauty queen an advocate for rape victims” by Aron Heller.  Here’s an excerpt of the article, and you can read all of it in the link.  I find it really inspiring:

“When 18-year-old Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil was crowned Miss World in 1998, the tears streaming down her cheeks appeared to be the overwhelming joy of a young woman fulfilling a childhood dream. Few knew the painful truth behind them - that just six weeks earlier she had been raped at knifepoint.

Unlike most victims of sexual assault, Abargil refused to keep quiet. She pressed charges, spoke out publicly and testified at a trial that sent her attacker to prison for 16 years. Her ordeal inspired other Israeli women to break their own silence and in the process, she became a national symbol who helped destigmatize rape in the country.

Today, the 34-year-old mother of three's crusade against sexual violence is going global, thanks to an international speaking tour and new documentary, Brave Miss World, in which she details her ordeal and speaks to dozens of other victims, many of whom shared their tales of terror for the first time.

"If you go through something very bad or very hard, the only pill you can take is to tell, to take it out of your system. Because if you don't, it is like a tumour - it becomes bigger and bigger until it kills you," she told The Associated Press this week, shortly after returning from a visit to India. "I feel that I have this privilege to really help other women to open up."

"She gives women legitimacy to come forward, to say 'I am not crazy, it's not my fault. If people believe her maybe someone will believe me,"' Schler said.

Abargil went on to work as a model and an actress before becoming a criminal lawyer. Newly religious, the bikinis and low-cut gowns of her past have been replaced by more modest outfits and a head covering befitting an Orthodox Jewish woman.

She said the "stupid crown" she won for Miss World would have meant nothing to her were it not for the platform it provided to speak out.

"I think I have a lot of very good things to say to women around the world," she said, as her four-monthold daughter cooed in the background. "I realized it (the rape) doesn't define me, it can't define me."

Lawrence Hill: I was reading in the Metro on Mar. 7, 2014 “From high-risk’ to hopeful’ by Lawrence Hill.  He is the author of The Book of Negroes where he writes about his experience of volunteering to help girls at high risk for sexual assault and HIV exposure in Swaziland. 

He was part of the Crossroads International and it’s local development partner, the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA).

Here is the short article:

Body rub parlours: I read in the Metro on Mar. 19, 2014 “City moves to have body rub parlours open longer.”  The parlours used to be open 24 hrs, but then closed at 11pm.  Now they changed it to midnight.  Scott Mackie, the city’s manager says: “We saw a surge in the number of escort licenses which are non-location specific and higher risk.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Occupy Wall Street/ Amy Chua

Mar. 15 Occupy Wall Street: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “Occupiers are blaming the wrong people” by Margaret Wente.  It’s a good article and I usually like reading her articles.  Here it is:

Published Saturday, Nov. 05 2011, 2:00 AM EDT

Laurel O’Gorman is one of the faces of Occupy Toronto. She believes the capitalist system has robbed her of her future. At 28, she’s studying for a master’s degree in sociology at Laurentian University in Sudbury. She’s also the single mother of two children. “I’m here because I don’t know what kind of job I could possibly find that would allow me to pay rent, take care of these two children and pay back $600 each month in loans,” she said.

Ms. O’Gorman is in a fix. But I can’t help wondering whether she, and not the greedy Wall Street bankers, is the author of her own misfortune. Just what kind of jobs did she imagine are on offer for freshly minted sociology graduates? Did she bother to ask? Did it occur to her that it might be a good idea to figure out how to support her children before she had them?

She’s typical in her bitter disappointment. Here’s Boston resident Sarvenaz Asasy, 33, who has a master’s degree in international human rights, along with $60,000 in student loans. She dreamed of doing work to help the poor get food and education. But now she can’t find a job in her field. She blames the government.
“They’re cutting all the grants, and they’re bailing out the banks. I don’t get it.”

Then there’s John, who’s pursuing a degree in environmental law. He wants to work at a non-profit. After he graduated from university, he struggled to find work. “I had to go a full year between college and law school without a job. I lived at home with my parents to make ends meet.” He thinks a law degree will help, but these days, I’m not so sure.

These people make up the Occupier generation. They aspire to join the virtueocracy – the class of people who expect to find self-fulfillment (and a comfortable living) in non-profit or government work, by saving the planet, rescuing the poor and regulating the rest of us. They are what the social critic Christopher Lasch called the “new class” of "therapeutic cops in the new bureaucracy."

The trouble is, this social model no longer works. As blogger Kenneth Anderson writes, “The machine by which universities train young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white-collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down. The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up.”

It’s not the greedy Wall Street bankers who destroyed these people’s hopes. It’s the virtueocracy itself. It’s the people who constructed a benefit-heavy entitlement system whose costs can no longer be sustained. It’s the politicians and union leaders who made reckless pension promises that are now bankrupting cities and states. It’s the socially progressive policy-makers in the U.S. who declared that everyone, even those with no visible means of support, should be able to own a home with no money down, courtesy of their government. In Canada, it’s the social progressives who assure us we can keep on consuming all the health care we want, even as the costs squeeze out other public goods.

The Occupiers are right when they say our system of wealth redistribution is broken. But they’re wrong about what broke it. The richest 1 per cent are not exactly starving out the working poor. (In the U.S., half all income sent to Washington is redistributed to the elderly, sick and disabled, or to those who serve them, and nearly half the country lives in a household that’s getting some sort of government benefit.) The problem is, our system redistributes the wealth from young to old, and from middle-class workers in the private sector to inefficient and expensive unions in the public sector.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of this redistribution is the higher-education industry. In Canada, we subsidize it directly. In the U.S., it’s subsidized by a vast system of student loans, which have allowed colleges to jack up tuition to sky-high levels. U.S. student debt has hit the trillion-dollar mark. Both systems crank out too many sociologists and too few mechanical engineers. These days, even law-school graduates are having trouble finding work. That’s because the supply has increased far faster than the demand.

The voices of Occupy Wall Street, argues Mr. Anderson and others, are the voices of the downwardly mobile who are acutely aware of their threatened social status and need someone to blame. These are people who weren’t interested in just any white-collar work. They wanted to do transformational, world-saving work – which would presumably be underwritten by taxing the rich. They now face the worst job market in a generation. But their predicament is at least in part of their own making. And none of the solutions they propose will address their problem.

Ms. O’Gorman, the graduate student in sociology, didn’t bring her kids to the Occupy demonstration in Toronto because she was worried about security. Still, she hoped they would absorb the message. “I’m trying to teach them equity and critical thinking from a young age,” she said. If she’d only applied a bit more critical thinking to herself, she might be able to pay the rent.

Mar. 28 My opinion: I have to agree with her on some points.  When I was in my early teens and 20s, I knew about what a practical major was like business.  When I was kid, I wanted to be an author, but I was unsure if I would ever be published.  When I was in jr. high school I wanted to get into acting and singing.  I was unsure if I was going to make it. 

I knew by graduating out of high school, there is more chances of success.  I remember talking to my sister in 2006 when I was in Professional Writing in the beginning of the school year.  She did say: “Doesn’t mean you go to more school, you are guaranteed to get a job.”  She’s right.

Amy Chua: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “Amy Chua’s dangerous ideas” by Margaret Wente on Feb. 8, 2014.  I only put some excerpts that stood out to me.  There is a much longer article and the link is at the bottom:    

You remember Amy Chua – she’s the dragon lady who wrote a book about her parenting style. It is probably not like yours. Her motto is: All work, no play, no coddling, and hold the praise. A lot of people thought her approach amounted to child abuse. Her new book, The Triple Package, is making people even madder. (Actually, she wrote it with her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, but she makes a better target.)

The authors believe their success is rooted in three traits: a group superiority complex (“We are the chosen people”), individual insecurity (“I can never be good enough”), and impulse control (“so I’ll have to work like hell if I don’t want to be a complete failure”).

The authors argue that it’s this constellation of traits – not socio-economic status, inherited privilege, or IQ – that matter most. For those who have them, upward mobility is alive and well.

The authors’ thesis trashes conventional explanations about why some people get ahead and some don’t. It suggests that the problem of inequality is far more intractable than we’d like to think. It plays into ethnic stereotypes. (All those stories you hear about Chinese mothers are absolutely true.) It raises awkward questions about immigration policy. And it leads to the gloomy conclusion that our culture today leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s what our culture is telling us: Everyone is equal, feel good about yourself, live in the moment. “Success today comes more often to groups who resist today’s dominant culture,” they write.
More than half of all East Asian students (Chinese, Hong Kong and Korean) come from families that make less than $50,000 a year. But they blow the other kids away. Between 85 per cent and 89 per cent of them score at levels 3 and 4 in Grade 6 math. The school board average is just 60 per cent. Most South Asian students do well too, even though 70 per cent of them come from homes with incomes of less than $50,000 a year.

These findings are mirrored across Canada. Many of the disadvantages that are widely assumed to hold kids back – low family income, attending an “educationally challenged” school, learning English as a second language, having less-educated parents, or a non-white skin colour – simply don’t apply to large groups of immigrant kids. They do well anyway. What they have, the authors would argue, is extremely strong cultural capital. Their families demand more of them. They study harder than other kids do, and their parents don’t care about their self-esteem.

It doesn’t last forever. With success and achievement comes complacency, and by the third generation, the drive, the hunger to prove yourself and the ability to defer gratification start dribbling away. The children and grandchildren of today’s super-duper achievers will probably disappoint them.

There’s also a downside to all this striving, as Ms. Chua points out. A lot of driven kids are miserable. Some will eventually realize that what their parents wanted for them isn’t what they want at all, and that top marks and material success aren’t everything.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

job fair/ influence/ no consequences

Apr. 3 Job fair: Yesterday I went to a job fair.  I was like 20 min. early and there was a huge line up.  I was #31.  There were a lot of people applying for several positions.  I waited for about an hour before I got to talk to someone for 5 min.  I learned more about the job.  There was a job fair like this a couple of months ago, but I missed it because I had to go to work. 

I learned that the training takes months.  It would also be good if you drive, because they made need you at different locations.
Apr. 14 Influence: I was reading a Job Boom article “How to Change Minds at Work without Manipulation.”

“In his new book How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence without Manipulation (published by Berrett-Koehler), Rob says influence without manipulation is a process that is “repeatable, predictable, and measurable.” It is also highly practical and can be adapted by anyone, at any time, to any situation.

The worst opener: “I need to talk with you.” (Think about how those six words make you feel. Not great, right?)

The best openers include softer words and phrases, such as ask you, listen to you, or need your help.

Establish trust.

Create urgency.

Overcome objections.

Gain commitment.

Most people don’t just show up ready to commit to change—to, say, simply end a destructive addiction or leave a detrimental relationship or work environment. There needs to be a moment of truth, a moment of commitment.

Ask the most important question never asked: “Are you committed to making a change?”

Finally, the line between influence and manipulation often comes down to intent. So ask yourself if you believe. That is, do you truly believe that the idea or solution you seek to push someone toward is in that person’s best interest?

If your answer is yes, you have the very foundation of influencing—not manipulating.”

My opinion: It was a good article.  As usual, TV influences my life and I thought: “Whatever happened to that TV show Mind Games?”  It was about manipulative problem solvers.  The below article talks about how it got cancelled and how Christian Slater has been on 4 TV shows in the past 6 yrs and how they got cancelled.

No consequences: If you want to get people to do what you want to do, you have to give some sort of reward or punishment to get results.

Remember this email about Lizzie on 16 and Pregnant?  Here it is:

“2. No consequences: My main problem with her is in the “Where are they now?” special where she did say (paraphrase): “A lot of people think teen moms can’t succeed, but I’m going to prove them all wrong.”  I definitely remember the “prove them all wrong” part.

I think she did get pregnant on purpose so she could have a family, and also it seemed like she knew that there were little to no consequences.  She knew she wasn’t going to get kicked out of her house, she was going to get married, she was still going to graduate out of high school, and still going to be able to go to college, and have her family financially and emotionally support her.  What she didn’t predict was that her boyfriend cheated on her.”

Real- life examples:

There are people out there who can eat a lot of fast food, and they don’t gain weight.  No consequence.  Unless, you count spending $6 on a meal expensive.

There are people who don’t work hard or study in school, and they get good grades.  No consequence, because they’re smart or good in this subject.

Those above examples have no effect on anyone else except that one person.

Job: I mentioned this before in the Soup place, there was Co-worker #1 who kept missing work on Mon. and Tues., and she never calls.  The managers have talked to her before, but she keeps doing it.  No consequence.  It has an effect on all of us because we all have to work a bit harder when she’s not around.

She never got fired, because when she was here, she’s a good worker and the bosses are nice. 

School: In school, if you talk back to the teacher, the consequence is you go to the office or get detention.

Apr. 17: I want to add to that.  Remember I wrote about my math teacher Mr. Stabile yelling at this girl for sleeping in class?  He was yelling at her to stay awake and pay attention in an angry and mean tone of voice.  This girl Lindsay then said this: “Yeah, well you’re a jerk.”

The entire class says “Ohhhhhh.”
Mr. S and Lindsay then talked a bit, where she is basically telling him that he was being a jerk.  She didn’t get sent to the office.  There wasn’t really a consequence for her.

Mr. S was being a jerk, and Lindsay told him he was so there was his consequence.

Apr. 20 Stonewall: I was thinking about this term and I looked it up:

a. To engage in delaying tactics; stall: "stonewalling for time in order to close the missile gap" (James Reston).
b. To refuse to answer or cooperate.

I was also thinking about how there are two people who want two different things and then it stops right in the middle.  There is no big win or lose.  Here are some examples:

Friends: Remember that email where I said I invited my friend Angela to Capital Ex in 2006?  She said I had to pick her up from work, but I didn’t know how to use Google Maps and the ETS to figure out a way to get to her work.  Now in hindsight, I could ask if we could meet in downtown and then take the LRT to go to Capital Ex. 

Or did I and she couldn’t?  I can’t quite remember.   So we didn’t go.  There’s no big win or loss for me, because I still went there on my own.  There’s no big or win or loss for her, because she didn’t go, but she did save money by not going.  It just is.

Same goes with asking my friends to go to movies with me.  If they’re not interested in seeing the movie, then I’ll go by myself.

Call Centre #3: The same goes with the time I worked at Call Centre #3 in 2009.  For the first two weeks I got full-time hours.  Then the project ended and I was working part-time hours.  Then I got my shifts cancelled due to lack of work.

I talked to my boss and said that if he didn’t give me more shifts by the end of Jan., I was going to start looking for another job and possibly quit.  He told me he expected and hoped work was going to come in Jan.  Jan. came and I didn’t get any shifts after.  I called every Mon. morning to get my schedule, but there wasn’t any work.

I never quit.  There was no major win or lose for me, I did start looking for another job and kept working at the Soup place.  There was no major win or lose for my boss, because there really isn’t any work.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grant MacEwan University

On September 24 2009, Grant MacEwan College officially changed its name to Grant MacEwan
University. It’s only natural that MacEwan students have some questions about the impact of the
name change on their programs and life at the university in general. Here are a few of the most
frequently-asked questions:

q. If I am not enrolled in a degree program, will my certificate/diploma/post-diploma certificate still say
“Grant MacEwan University”?

a. Yes. Our name change will be reflected on all parchments.

q. I graduated from a MacEwan program before the name change. If I request a replacement parchment, will it say “Grant MacEwan University”?

a. Yes. However, when an alumnus requests a replacement they must return their original parchment to the university.  Details for ordering replacement parchments are located at or you may inquire at the Office of the Registrar or at any Information Centre.

q. If I only take one course, will my results be on a transcript that says Grant MacEwan University?

a. Yes. Effective September 25, 2009, all MacEwan transcripts are issued under the institution’s new name.

q. Will diploma and certificate and other programs gradually be dropped?

a. No. Here’s why: under the Province of Alberta’s Post-secondary Learning Act, MacEwan is classified as a Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institution. The legislation specifies that Baccalaureate and Applied Studies institutions must provide a full range of learning opportunities – from diplomas and certificates to applied degrees and baccalaureate degrees.

But let’s set aside the legal stuff for the moment – it’s much more important to us, and our students, that this mix of programming, allows us to create opportunities for students to bridge and ladder between programs. It’s all about maximizing student success, so rest assured – MacEwan will continue to offer a wide range of programming.

q. Will my tuition cost more now that MacEwan is a university?

a. No, tuition fees will not increase as a direct result of this name change. That said, tuition fees are not carved in stone.

Tuition fees—fees for instruction—are established and reviewed on an annual basis through the university’s approval process, in accordance with the provincial tuition fee legislation. So, fees may fluctuate, but again, not because we are now known as Grant MacEwan University.

q. What about class sizes? Are they going to be larger?

a. Small class sizes have always been an essential component of our program offerings, and that’s not going to change.

q. Will MacEwan offer graduate and post-graduate programs?

a. MacEwan has offered post-diploma and now post-degree certificates for students who want to combine their degree with career-specific skills; these programs are within the context of an undergraduate university. Traditional graduate degrees are not part of the university’s approved mandate.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Urgent: 528 Egyptians condemned to die

After an unfair trail, 528 Egyptians have been sentenced to death.

Please support Amnesty's efforts fighting egregious human rights abuses like mass executions.

Donate now.
Donate Now!

Dear Tracy,

Egyptian authorities have just sentenced 528 people to death. 528 people!

This is the largest number of death sentences handed down in one case in recent years.

Are you as outraged as we are?

Please make a donation to support our efforts to overturn the sentences, ensure fair retrials and fight egregious human rights abuses like mass executions.

The defendants are supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and their trials were far from fair. Convicted in just two sessions, more than 400 of the defendants were tried in absentia. There were no witnesses called. There was no review of the evidence. On the second day of the trial, defense lawyers were even blocked from the court!

The announcement happened just as Amnesty released our annual review on the death penalty worldwide, which showed that the overall number of reported executions was up 15% last year.

There is still time to avoid a human rights catastrophe. The cases have been referred to Egypt's highest religious figure, Grand Mufti Allam, who can speak out against the decision. Following the mufti's advisory opinion, the trial judge will formally issue his final decision on April 28.

We're working with our teams on the ground to pressure Egyptian authorities to do the just thing. Overturn the convictions and order fair retrials. Donate to support our time-sensitive work.

Thanks for all you do to defend human rights for all.

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

business news/ job articles

Apr. 7 Business news: I read in the Edmonton Journal that Safeway is ending their Safeway Club card.  I was surprised.  Some people weren’t surprised because Sobeys is taking over.  Sobeys has a card too.  Safeway ended their card because lots of people carry a lot of cards in their wallets. 

It says here you can still get savings.  Now all shoppers can receive sale prices.  They had this club card since 1998.  I got one in 2010.  I hardly ever go grocery shopping, and when I buy something from Safeway, I put it on my mom’s card by giving my phone number.

One time I did buy something and brought my card, but they said that this item wasn’t on sale so it wasn’t necessary.  I’ll cut up this card, like I cut up my Rogers Video card.

Apr. 9 Job articles: Here’s something I haven’t done in awhile: read and write about job articles.  This is something from Job Seeker newsletter:

Phone interview help: The unexpected phone screen: 

Have a copy of your resume close at hand.

Know which companies you’ve applied to.

Have the job description easily accessible.

The scheduled phone interview: 

Dress up.

Control your environment.

Have your resume, job description and company information ready.

Be aware of your voice.

Know what your weaknesses are.

My opinion: I’ve done those interviews before.  That reminds me of the time I did a phone interview at a bank, and I was very prepared for it.  I had my resume, a cup of water, and anticipated the phone call.

Application problem: “The #1 Problem with your Job Application.”  It’s “You aren’t tailoring your application to match the job.”  One of the tips is this:

“Instead of a general work experience, use more specific examples that fit with the job description. For example, instead of “supervised several projects” write that you “supervised [research] and [data gathering] projects which were used by the company to [improve our services].” This will show success and achievement in a specific area.”

My opinion: I apply to receptionist positions and they could be for salon, dental, or medical so on the job objective I insert what place it is before the word “receptionist.”

Follow-ups: “Job application follow-ups: What NOT to do.”

1.      If the job description specifically states ‘do not contact us regarding your application’… don’t contact them.

2.      Do not say you “are the best candidate for the job”.

3.      Give it time.

4.      Do not mention why you need the job.

Research: “What to Look for When Researching a Company.”  They mentioned looking into social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and not just the official website.  Go on Linked In and email some of the company’s workers.

LinkedIn is a great source for researching as well – don’t ask to connect to people you don’t know, but use the contacts you have to gain information and ask questions. If a friend of a friend worked at the company in question, simply ask your friend to get some insight or advice. You are simply looking for information, but who knows, you may even get a referral this way.”

My opinion: I have not thought of looking at social media websites.  I always look at the company website and that’s it.

Resume don’ts: “5 (More) Things You Shouldn’t have on your Resume.”
  1. A photo.
  2. Your High School.
  3. Your (ok) GPA.
  4. A header or footer.
  5. Lies!
Here is our first list of 5 things you don’t need on your resume:
  1. An objective line
  2. A list of all your skills
  3. Details on every past role
  4. A list of references
  5. The reason you left your job
My opinion: Onto the first list.  I know not to put a photo, but not about high school.  It says the longer you have been out of high school; don’t put it on your resume.  It says don’t put your GPA on it because grades may not matter, depending on the industry.  I don’t put my GPA on it.

Emailing your resume:

Always include something in the content of the email.

Use your own (appropriate) email address.

Should I have a separate cover letter?

Should I apply online as well? 
Generally, you should either apply online or by email, not both. Apply by the method stated in the job posting first. If you have a contact at the company, you can email them your resume, but say you have also applied by the standard method as well.

My opinion: I know to use a professional email address like my name is in it and not something fun.  My sister works at company and they’re hiring.  She saw a resume that has the work email address of the current job they’re working at.  What if the other company keeps track of your emails and can access your work computer?  They know you’re looking for another job.

That also reminds me of Post Secret where a postcard says: “I spend a lot of time at work looking for another job.”

Apr. 13 Disney: On Mar. 6, 2014, I read in the news that Disney laid off 700 people in the games department.

Staples: I read that Staples will close down 225 stores by the end of 2015.  Staples is selling really well online, just not in the store.

CBC: I read that CBC plans to lay off 657 people in the next two years.

Post Media: This is a newspaper company that saw quarterly losses by 60%.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Degrassi “Unbelievable”/ Dark Water/ B- Girl

Mar. 12 Degrassi “Unbelievable”: There was a 1hr Degrassi episode called “Unbelievable.”  It was a really good and intense episode.  It dealt with how Zoe was drunk at a party and there was a video of her being groped.  She may have been sexually assaulted.  I used to watch Law and Order: SVU since 2002 to 2009.  I kind stopped and only watched one or two eps because I find the show unoriginal.  It’s like “ripped from the headlines”, as in all the story ideas are from the newspaper.

Zoe wakes up from Miles’s party and she’s naked.  She doesn’t remember what happened that night.  There are lots of pictures taken from all the people at the party. 

Becky is a Christian girl and she wants to be a news reporter.  She’s on Degrassi TV news and is covering a story about the dangers of teens and drinking.  There is a video where Zoe is drunk and there is a hand groping her as she’s in her bikini.  Becky gets her TV friend Imogen to help her.  She then shows the video to her friends Drew, Miles, and Dallas to see if they remember who was with Zoe and if they recognize the voice in the video.  There is a basketball players jacket in the video.

Becky then gets an anonymous video where Miles and Winston Chu takes Zoe’s unconscious body away from the pool party.  Becky shows it the principal Mr. Simpson and the police are involved and asking questions.  Winston then shows a time stamped video that proves that he and Miles didn’t rape Zoe. 

24 min in, there was a little funny part.

Miles writes “M+W” on the chalkboard.
Miles: Miles and Winston equals.
Miles writes “NP.”
Winston: Not pervs.
They do a little victory dance. 

Becky, Imogen, and Drew are still investigating who are the rapists.  They look into two guys who are together at the party. 

The punk girl Grace enters and intros herself as The Watcher who sent the videos.  Her plan is send an anonymous text to the guys and say in it: “Your friend already told on you about what you did to Zoe.”  That’s a good plan.  They keep an eye on the pairs of two guys and there was nothing.  Then Becky sees her brother Luke argue with a guy on the basketball team about it. 

Becky doesn’t think her brother Luke would do it.  She asks to use his phone and then sees the video with him in it.  Luke notices she’s watching it and Becky is crying.  Becky runs away.  Later Luke goes to Zoe and tells her he was in the video and to forget all about it.

Luke: You’re going to ruin my life.
Zoe: My life is already ruined.

Later Zoe confronts Luke and points out that he’s a rapist in front of everybody.  She starts hitting him and Becky pulls Zoe off Luke.

Luke: You don’t have proof.
Becky: Yes, I do.  I have his phone and it shows him in the video.

Luke and the other team member is arrested.  The next day, Drew, Dallas, Tristan, Miles, and Mia are there to support her.  Zoe hugs and thanks Becky.

I was on to read comments:

Randi H. Dela Rosa: The only thing in this episode I didn't like is the fact that like didn't delete the pics. To be more realistic he would of deleted the evidence especially when he found out the police were now involved. I mean if your sister was doing a story on it and the police talked to everyone on the basketball team I'm pretty sure he would of deleted the evidence. 

SuperDwarf Hamster I was on the edge of my seat. And it's funny you guys wanted to be realistic. Delete the pics. But Luke said he was a christian boy. Who would believe anyone's accusations on him. His father, mother, sister and brother are all known for being good with god. So that was realistic. And to believe his kind hearted sister would take his side is realistic. Blood runs thicker than water is the ultimate saying. Sadly for him, his sister is about justice. And she warned him in a playful way. But she said she wanted to be a hard hitting journalist and wouldnt stop until she aired her findings.

He got what he deserved. It doesnt have to go far. With the photos/videos, confessions and the paperwork from Zoe's doctor, he and his friend could have it hard.

MegaJ:-Speaking of Zoe, Ana did a great job for a "new" actress with the material. I think she wasn't raped per se but sexually assaulted which is just as traumatic. A lot of people would probably want this storyline to be dragged out and feel like it was wrapped up too nicely, but goddammit after Dean got away with it and we never saw Darcy's rapist, it's so nice to see a girl win one. I think that sends a good message about bravery and that a lot of times, the rapist doesn't get away with it.
Apr. 8 Screenwriting Goldmine: I was going through my Screenwriting Goldmine newsletter emails written by Phil Gladwin.  Here’ some inspiring stories of writers succeeding on Sept. 28, 2012:
Finally, if you really are still hesitating about whether this workshop thing is really for you, here's an extract Phil Shelley received recently from one of his clients:

'...just to keep you up to date with the M-K picture that I sent you an early draft of... thanks to your notes I was able to do a root and branch reworking of my proposals and sent them off to Hollywood. The reaction was ecstatic (Yes, I know it's Hollywood and all that.) I've been asked to produce a full script by the end of the summer. Contracts are being prepared. It's now moving in the right direction.'  (Screenwriter John Morrison, June 30th 2011)

And here's what just a couple of happy customers had to say about 
my Screenwriting Goldmine Book:

"Dear Phil--  I want you to know that I, a novelist, used your book on screenwriting to help me write a romantic comedy screenplay based on one of my published novels. It turned out so well that a successful movie producer (his comment upon reading it was,
"Wonderful! Delightful!") is now trying to raise the money for anindependent production. My next step is getting a Hollywood agent to negotiate a contract with the producer. So, thanks for your help!" Trina Mascott - Palm Desert, California (Personal communication, June 2011)

"I've written two screenplays since I read this book, and I've had two producer requests for one of them, one producer request for the other, and a producer request based on a seven-word logline for a scenario that's not yet even a script! Stuff like this has never
happened to me before. Plus one of the above screenplays was a finalist in this year's New York-based Bridge International Screenplay Competition. Let me say that again: Stuff like this has never happened to me before. Get it, read it, and do it." Ian Hamilton - Australia (courtesy of
Dark Water: I read about this in the Metro:

“Production of a movie called Deep Water has halted due to the flight in Malaysia that disappeared in the Indian Ocean.  According to the Associated Press, Managing Director Gary Hamilton said, "We're delaying it out of respect for what's going on."

The film has been put on hold due to the tragic accident regarding the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared from March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian officials have finally released information that they believe the jet crashed and that 239 people have lost their lives.”

My opinion: Oh yeah, that’s happened to me before.  I had written a story where a guy can just get on a plane quickly.  That’s not possible after 9/11. 

Apr. 13 B-Girl: I came home from work and checked what’s on TV.  I found this dance movie called B-Girl (2009.)  It’s written and directed by Emily Dell.  I saw the last 20 min. of it.  It stood out to me because it’s about dancing, the lead is a girl Angel (Jules Urich), and it’s written and directed by a woman.

I went on “A story about a female breakdancer overcoming a brutal attack to claim her place in the world of underground hip-hop.”

I looked into it some more and Dell had written a short film with the same title in 2004.  Then in 2009 she got it produced to a feature length movie.  That’s great.

I notice Wesley Jonathan was in it.  You may remember him as the black guy on the late 90s teen sitcoms City Guys and Amanda Byne’s sitcom What I Like About You.