Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Brooklyn Nine Nine/ The Flash/ Gotham

May 13 Brooklyn Nine Nine: I saw the pilot way back in Sept.  It stars Jake Peralta aka JP (Andy Sandberg from Saturday Night Live) who is a detective.  He and Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) are trying to find out who robbed this cameras store.  JP had put a camera/ nanny cam in a teddy bear.  That’s how they solved the case.

There is a new captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher.)  He is black and he’s very strict.  The Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) then shows what he was like at work.

There is a flashback of Terry at a department store at night.  It’s dark and he gets nervous.  He shoots multiple times and it’s really at mannequins.  Terry introduces Holt to all the workers.

There is Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) who is a tough woman.

Gina (Chelsea Peretti) tells about bet: If JP gets the most arrests, he wins by getting a date with Santiago.  If Santiago wins, she gets his car.

The case is a murder in an apartment.  Will Armisen (Saturday Night Live) plays an ethnic foreigner.  The Murderer killed someone named Morgan and stole ham that’s worth $6000.

It leads to JP investigating at a deli.  The suspect Rocco tries to run and JP is thrown around.  There’s some action here.  Rocco throws food at them.

There is a flashback of 1971.  It shows how Holt found the Disco Strangler.

Cut to a sewer.  Holt is in a fro and pointing a gun.
Holt: Put down the yo-yo, it’s over.
Cut to a man about to strangle a woman tied up to a chair with a yo-yo.


Holt is strict and wants all the officers to wear a tie.  JP resists and then later he wears a tie.  He then gets up from his desk and he’s wearing s speedo.

Later Holt says he’s gay.  He is openly gay and there was even a newspaper article framed on his office wall that says he is an openly gay police captain.  They show all these flashbacks in the episode where he and other characters says things that points out that he’s gay.

They go to the storage lockers and they look for Rocco.  They arrest Rocco and surround him.

Case solved.

My opinion: It was average.  After I saw the pilot, I didn’t watch this show anymore.  I’m not into sitcoms. 

May 18: Comparisons:

A TV show about a serious job is a comedy: Being a police officer is for a drama, but it’s a comedy.  Do you remember the TV show Scrubs?  It’s about doctors, but it’s a sitcom.

A TV show filmed in a mokumentary way: The Office, Parks and Recreation are filmed like these are real people when it’s fictional.

The show has been renewed for a second season.

The Flash: I was watching Arrow on and there is news about the spin-off The Flash.   On “A TV show centered around scientist Barry Allen, who suffers a freak accident that turns him into a superhero with the power of incredible speed.”

Here’s the 1 min. trailer:

Here is the extended 5 min. trailer: 

The promo looks interesting.  I don’t know if I will watch it after the pilot.  Grant Gustin will play Flash and Tom Cavanagh (from the TV show Ed) will play Harrison Wells.  Wells looks like he will be a scientist/ mentor.

Gotham: Last week I read in the newspaper about the TV show Gotham which is the prequel to Batman.  Ben Mckenzie (from The OC) will play Detective James Gordon.  They show all the characters like Bruce Wayne, the Riddler, Cat Woman, the Penguin before they all become villains.

Here’s the 2 min. trailer:

This looks really good.  I want to want watch it.

Birds of Prey: When I read about it in the newspaper, I was kind of eh with it.  As in, does anyone remember the TV show Birds of Prey?  It starred Ashley Scott, fresh after she played Asha on the TV show Dark Angel.  She was also in the movie Into the Blue with DA co-star Jessica Alba.

On “In the future, long after the Batman has driven himself into exile, his legacy lives on in the form of the Birds of Prey--Black Canary, Oracle, and the Huntress.”

I only saw a little bit of one ep.  It got cancelled after 1 season.

May 23 Retirement: Barbara Walters is retiring and on May 18, 20/20 did an episode about her.  I didn’t watch it.

David Letterman is retiring and Stephen Colbert is taking over his show.

The movie critic Jay Stone is retiring.  In the article I read about him, people say it’s so cool that he gets to watch movies as his job.  Stone then says how it’s good until you have to watch Saw 6. 

May 25 Meet Up: Last week I finally went to a screenwriter’s Meet Up.  I joined last year and read people’s scripts and made comments on it.  It was a warm evening, there was no TV to watch, and it’s not too hard to get there.  I then met 7 new people that evening.  I also met 4 of them who I have read scripts from.

There were 8 of us including me.  We all discussed the script, and we also talked about movies.  I was there for 1hr and a half.

Overall, I would say it was a good experience.

Who Made Who Productions: A man named Jeff L. Burke there told me about his production company.  He said he made Fitz.  He also went to the Emerged Producer Program at NAIT.  I looked up that program at NAIT’s website and it wasn’t there.  I’ve heard of it before.  It’s on

Rick Ravenello: He says he knows the actor Rick Ravenello.  I looked it up on imdb.  He was on a episode of Castle.  I remember seeing the episode, but I don’t remember him.  I guess he’s one of those actors who are in a lot of TV and movies, with small roles.

Hutch Parker: Another person at Meet Up says he is in touch with this producer.

Well it looks like the people at Meet Up are serious about screenwriting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

pursuing my dreams/ Education habit essay

Mar. 8 Pursuing my dreams: I was reading a Pickles cartoon on Mar. 4, 2014.  It listed things dying people say they most regret.  They are:

-not traveling more
-not pursuing their dreams
-not using sunscreen
-not spending more time with family
-not learning another language
-not flossing

You can click on the link to read the cartoon.

My opinion: All my life I have been pursuing my dreams.


When I wanted to graduate out of high school on time, I worked so hard, especially with passing math.  My sister tutored me a lot.  I have always wanted to graduate out of high school.  When I was a kid, it was always that you are supposed to grow up and graduate out of high school, go to college, and have a career.

When I wanted to get into college, there was a lot of struggle.  I had to upgrade for a year and then the college applications process was hard too.  I had to get my sister to read and edit my applications.
When I wanted to graduate out of college, I did a year at NAIT and studied graphic design.  It was because I got rejected from the NAIT’s TV program and there were spots available at these other programs.
I didn’t graduate out of NAIT.  However, I did take a few classes in the Arts and Cultural Management program at MacEwan.  It then lead me to Professional Writing.  I did 2 years there and graduated with a college diploma.


I have worked at the Soup place for 2 yrs and then got laid off when it closed down.  I have been working at my restaurant job for 3 yrs now. 

I have been constantly looking for an office job and I did get one in 2013.  I worked there for some months.

I’m always reading the business section of the newspaper to learn about careers.

Apr. 3 List of successes: At the beginning of 2013, I wrote down a list of successes.  A few days ago, I decided to organize my successes between education, career, job, and writing.

Apr. 4: This is a job email, but it’s also a self-analysis email.

The Simpsons: I was watching The Simpsons episode where the school bus driver Otto lives in the Simpson’s garage.  At the beginning of the episode, Bart gets a new guitar and starts playing it.  Then he quits by telling Homer: “I didn’t get really good at it, really fast, so I quit.”

My opinion: I always have to give things a good shot before I quit.  There are some things like lessons that you can’t get a full or partial refund because you already took 3 classes out of 8.  I’m like that with jobs.  That time I took a job to sell newspaper subscriptions door-to-door.  I signed a contract where I have to work 40 hrs to get paid 100% commission for all the subscriptions I sold. 

I worked a 4hr shift and gave it my best effort.  I sold 3 subscriptions.  I really thought about if I wanted to keep working and I didn’t really want to continue.

May 7 School websites: I was reading the Edmonton Journal found an “EDGE- Education week section.”  It listed some websites: You can sign up for free to create an account and take a career quiz.
Step 1: Take the Quiz
Answer easy questions designed to focus your career goals.
Step 2: Identify Your Career Options
Browse through possible careers found for you based on your answers.
Step 3: Research Careers & Schools
Read detailed career descriptions and learn what each career has to offer in wages, duties and rewards. Research the schools that will launch you into the career of your dreams! This is a good website.  I read it and I feel inspired.  There are sections for parents too.

Scholarships Canada: This is a good website where you can find all sorts of scholarships.

Education habit essay: I was reading in the Globe and Mail on Apr. 10, 2014 called “Breaking the education habit” by Dave Jorgensen.  I went to look it up on the internet so I can copy and paste the excerpts and make my comments.  Instead I found this blog “The View from High Heels” who agrees with the essay.”

I have to type up the excerpts.

“I was in university but had switched my major from psychology to sociology to history, which is to say from useless to pointless to aimless.”

My opinion: A psychology degree could be used to become a psychologist and that’s useful.  As for sociology and history I see that it’s not useful.

“Have you seen those trained seals that can balance on one flipper and push a ball through a hoop?  Imagine if you took one of those and said: ‘All right, Cinnamon, you’ve completed all the tricks we’ve taught you.  It’s time for you to leave the aquarium and live in the ocean.  It’s way colder, there are lots of sharks, and all the skills we’ve been rewarding you for are now completely useless.  Good luck!’  That seal might just be applying for a post graduate program.”

My opinion: Oh my God, that is like my “island comparison” of me trying to graduate out of high school.  Does anyone remember this 2013 post “island/ Bayshore Inn/ low classes”?

Jul. 22 Island: Going to high school is like swimming to the island called Graduation.  My parents wanted me to go this route and swim to the island.  I wanted to go another route like go to Victoria Performing Arts high school, and they won't let me.  If I go to the high school my parents wanted me to go to, the route would be murky water with a few sharks.  As in I wasn't a good and strong swimmer.  My sister went that route and she would be 100 metres away, so kind of close by.  They can keep a watch on me.

The route if I went to Vic would be dark water, with sharks, pirates and sirens.  lol.  There is so much danger over there.  My sister would be 200 metres away.

The analogy is that I'm not a good student.  I had to swim with my sister (she tutoring me in math everyday for hours) and I had to swim behind her.

Back to the essay:

"There is one good reason to go to school:  You want to do something that needs specific skills.  That's it.  Anything else is a hobby.  And going to university while you decide what you want to do is like skipping your skydiving lesson because you want to figure out the parachute during free fall."

My opinion: That’s a good point.  I’m going to put that ending in my inspirational quotes collection.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stand with her: Gang-rape survivor faces caning for adultery


Dear Tracy,

On May 1, a vigilante group of 7 men – plus a 13-year old boy – stormed into a young widow's house, accused her of having an affair with a married man, and gang-raped her as punishment.

They beat her male companion, doused them with sewage, and then marched them to the local police station.

Now she – yes, you read that right, SHE – faces up to 9 strokes of a cane for adultery.

This is too often the horrific reality for women and girls in Aceh, Indonesia.

Speak out for this woman's human rights. Tell Indonesian authorities that caning her constitutes torture.

According to recent news reports, women are targeted by public gangs for not straddling their motorbikes the right way, or wearing "tight clothing."

Speak out to stop the caning! Send your message to Indonesian authorities now.

Caning is used to punish adultery, consumption of alcohol, or being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a marriage partner or relative.

At least 139 people were caned in Aceh between 2010 and 2013.

Together our voices may be able to stop this outrageous punishment.

I'm incredibly grateful for all you do to support women's rights and human dignity.

In solidarity,

Cristina M Finch
Managing Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit
Amnesty International USA

Take Action! Donate Now!

Malala Yousafzai/ Mom dies so baby can live

May 17 Malala Yousafzai: I was reading this in the Metro on May 16.  She is a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban because she was campaigning for girls’ education.  There is a painting of her by British artist Jonathan Yeo and it was auctioned for $102, 500. 

It will go to the charity Malala Fund which will be given to Nigerian non-profits that focus on girl’s education.  Take a look at the painting.

My opinion: That’s great the painting raised money for charity.

Sexual assault: I read this in the Metro on May 16 about how Pakistani police arrested a teacher Qari Naseer (27) and his 2 friends who raped a college student.  “Marks a rare rape arrest in Pakistan, where prosecutions are few and victims are often stigmatized.”  The accused were pelted with ink and stones.

Naseer: “I am feeling shame for doing this act.”

My opinion: There is justice here.

Sudan: I read this in the Metro on May 16 "Muslim-born woman sentenced to death for marriage to Christian."  Her name is Meriam Ibrahim whose father is Muslim but her mother is Orthodox Christian.  She is convicted of “apostasy” and given 4 days to repent and escape death.  She’s 26 yrs old and is 8 months pregnant.

Her husband Daniel Wani is a Christian form southern Sudan and has US citizenship.  She would be sentenced to get 100 lashes.

Slut walk: I was reading in the Metro May 12 “City needs slut walk: Organizers” by Leah Germain.  The event is on May 31 at noon at Wilbert McIntyre Park.

Stephanie Chard says: “As we can tell about recent events, like 630 CHED’s poll last month, rape culture is still very, very prevalent in our culture and our society.”

There is a picture of her holding a sign: “My body was a crime scene.  My clothing didn’t make that happen.  My rapist did.”

Kailyn Lowry: She is a star of the reality TV show Teen Mom 2.  She released a memoir and she talks about an abortion and two rapes.  It was kind of harsh to read the article.

She has one baby named Isaac with her ex-boyfriend Jo.  She is now married to Javi and has a kid with him named Lincoln.

My opinion: I didn’t know that.  I have seen her 16 and Pregnant ep and I watched the first 3 seasons of Teen Mom 2.  She never mentioned she was raped on the show. 

I missed the season 4 and 5 because I don’t get MTV anymore.  However, I can go on to watch it.  Maybe I will for the summer.

Prostitution: I was reading in the Metro on May 13 “NYPD.  Police to stop use of condoms as evidence in prostitution cases.”

“Under the new policy announced Monday, officers may continue to seize condoms as evidence in sex-trafficking and promotion of prostitution cases, but they will not use them in support of prostitution cases.”  

The NYPD heard from community health advocates and took a serious look at making changes to our current polity as it relates to our broader public safety mission” Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

Prosthetic hand: I read in the Metro on May 13 that there is a limb called DEKA Arm System by New Hampshire serial inventor Dean Kamen and his team.

My opinion: That’s good news for people who lost limbs.

Conjoined twins: Here is a Yahoo news video from my “parking lot email draft.”  (You know where I see some interesting news and put it in a draft email and wait until later to write about.)  These are twin brothers who are joined at the hip. It’s an interesting video.

“CONJOINED twins Shivanath and Shivram Sahu have found a unusual way to get to school - dropping to the floor and running like a SPIDER. The 12-year-olds, who were born joined at the waist, bare two legs and four arms and work in tandem to get around. They have stunned doctors with their ability to wash, dress and feed themselves - and say they are determined never to be parted. The pair were born in a village near Raipur, central India. Their arrival caused quite a stir with some villagers even worshiping them, believing they were divine incarnations. They are believed to share the same stomach but have independent lungs, hearts and brains. At birth a local doctor said they could not be separated but now a leading pediatrician, who has reviewed photographs of the boys, has said an operation is potentially viable. However, the twins and their father are vehemently against the idea and say they will remain together all their lives.”

My opinion: It’s cool to see them running like a big bug. 

Mom dies so baby can live: I found this on Yahoo news:

Cancer survivor Elizabeth Joice was told the chemotherapy that helped her beat sarcoma in 2010 would also leave her infertile, so when she and husband Max got the news that she was in fact pregnant last year, "it very much felt like a miracle," he tells CNN.

Tumors were also found in Joice's heart and pelvis. She died six weeks later, on March 9. Still, her doctor remembers the first time she saw Joice hold her baby. "The joy on her face was just incredible," she says. "She said, 'This is worth it ... I would do it all again to have this child.'"

There are comments like:

Serge: OK, this really touched me... Brought tears to my eyes... This mom was a MOM to the full extent, she showed what is self sacrifice and the true meaning of LOVE for your family. Very happy that she had some time to get to spend some time to get to know and love her baby girl. Hope DAD will find solace that she is now pain free but gave him the ultimate gift of love.

My opinion: It’s a happy and sad story.  So bittersweet.  At least the mom Elizabeth did experience happiness.

May 18 Secret millionaires: I found this on Yahoo news way back in Nov. 2013.

“Kathleen Magowan may have passed away in 2011 at the age of 87, but her surprising charitable donations have given her a very unexpected legacy: she's being called a "secret millionaire."

She left nearly $480,000 to Simsbury public schools, $500,000 to the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, more than $400,000 to the McLean nursing home where she died, and nearly $375,000 to her local parish, St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, according to The Hartford Courant.”

Sochi bear: This was way back in Feb. 2014 at the end of the Winter Olympics.  There is giant Sochi bear and he cries a tear.  I thought it was cute.  The article begins with “So this is what it feels like when bears cry.”

Tobacco body: I found this on Yahoo news in Dec. 2013.  There’s an article about “Shocking image of what Smoking does to your body.”  Click on the picture and it mentions how smoking affects your face, stomach, pregnancy, stress, etc.  There are a lot of comments from readers saying how they quit smoking.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Andrew Foley/ Justin Cronin/ Charles Kaufman

May 14 Andrew Foley: I was going through my news articles and I cut out "Writer sees Cowboys and Aliens in reel life" by Andrea Sands on Aug. 2, 2011 in the Edmonton Journal.

It profiles Andrew Foley who is a 41 yr old freelance writer and he co-wrote the original graphic novel Cowboys and Aliens that has been turned into a movie.  He has a book called Done to Death. 

He says: “It’s not too often that someone from Edmonton produces something that gets this kind of level of worldwide recognition.”

I tried to look up the article and provide the link, but it wasn’t there.

Justin Cronin: I cut out this short article “Vamping around with Justin Cronin” by Mark Medley on Jun. 20, 2010.  He wrote a vampire trilogy starting in 2010.  It’s called The Passage.   Here are a few excerpts of the article:

The Passage: Cronin blends elements of horror, science fiction, magic realism and fantasy into the novel. The author says he was "trying to write a book that was outside categories by being in all categories simultaneously."

"I took all the vampire novels and stories of my youth and said, 'OK, let's go do my version of it,' " he says. "Let's suppose all the lore out there, everything from Dark Shadows to Bram Stoker -- there's kind of a vampire myth in almost every culture, in one way or another. It's ubiquitous -- let's suppose that the reason for all myths is that there's something that happened. There's a real thing in the world. ... What would that thing be?"

"There's a tendency in publishing to view you as a certain kind of writer. You write a certain book and basically everybody expects you to write that kind of book forever," explains Cronin, whose two previous books were more literary endeavours, included 2002's Mary and O'Neil, which won the Pen/Hemingway Award.

"We sent it out under a pseudonym because I basically wanted anybody who encountered the manuscript to have absolutely no preconceptions at all. None. ... I think it gave the book a truly uncorrupted reading."

"When I got the idea, I really felt like I'd been given this tremendous present, and that it seemed a total natural for me to write it. It gave itself up to me very quickly at the keyboard. The book instantly behaved, and pushed all kinds of happy buttons in my brain right when I started it.

"I felt like I really found what I was meant to do."

I then cut out this National Post article “When a serious novelist takes on the monsters” by Josh Visser on Oct. 2012.  The Twelve is the second book to the trilogy.  Here are the excerpts:

The Twelve: 

The Passage told the story of a secret government plot to use a jungle virus to create a breed of super soldiers, using death-row inmates as test subjects.

The Twelve, as the always-tricky middle chapter of a trilogy, commits itself fully to world-building, expanding on its predecessor, but at the same time tells its own story without simply rehashing the past.
As well, several seemingly minor characters from the first book — a pedophile employed the U.S. government to clean the virals’ cages, for instance — are given significant backstories we didn’t necessarily know we wanted.

Eventually, the narrative shifts to Peter Jaxon, the “Everyman” soldier who provides the series’ moral compass; Alicia, who has become Buffy the Vampire Slayer thanks to a dose of the super-soldier serum; and, of course, Amy, the 100-year-old girl who may hold the key to everlasting life.

Considering the movie rights to The Passage have been sold to Ridley Scott’s production company, it’s hard not to notice the great effort and visual flair Cronin has put into his set pieces.

There are also more than a coincidental number of coincidences.

But at its core, The Twelve remains a remarkably frightening and tense novel. Between the genuinely terrifying monsters — soulless predators that literally rip humans limb from limb; no pretty boy Twilight antics here — or his willingness to kill off beloved characters, there is little room left on the page to breath.

Novel article: I cut out this National Post article “They killed the novel, again” by Harry Mount in 2010.  I couldn’t find the link to the article so I will have to type a few excerpts up:

Columnist Lee Siegal says: “Non- fiction is now the place that attracts all the good writers.”

“…Everyone is encouraged to be a writer, and writing is considered a sacred art.”

“So the Web should be a wake-up call to novelists- to try to be funnier, sadder, or more interesting.”
Siegal says most modern novelists are: “more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers.”

“Beryl Bainbridge, who died this week, recently told a friend of min, suffering from writer’s block, ‘Oh, it’s easy.  You just listen to what people say, and then you write it down.  You think of a story, and then you write it down.’

She was being self-deprecating for comic effect; not many people could do the writing down stuff as well as her.  But, if someone does do it well enough, people will still want to go on reading novels.  Forever.”

Charles Kaufman: I cut out this National Post blurb “Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s idiosyncratic writing advice” on Oct. 8, 2011:

How do you tell a story?  Charlie Kaufman, the mind behind Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, recently gave a speech on that subject for the British Film Institute.  Some extracts:

“Storytelling is inherently dangerous.  Consider a traumatic event in your life.  Think about how you experienced it.  Now think about how you told it to someone a year later.  Now think about how you told it for the hundredth time.  It’s not the same thing…You find out which part of the story works, which part to embellish, which to jettison.

You fashion it.  Your goal is to be entertaining.  This is true for a story told at a dinner party, and it’s true for stories told through movies.  Don’t let anyone tell you what a story is, what it needs to include.  As an experiment, write a non-story.  It will have a chance of being different.”

May 15 Forced to Fight: I found this movie a long time ago. says:

“Blackmailed back into the arena by a ruthless crime boss, a former underground fighting legend must survive a gauntlet of savage matches where losing just one fight... means losing it all.”

I saw the trailer and it looks pretty good.

Amazon Storybuilder: I found this.  Maybe through Two Bits writer’s group.  It’s a screenwriting tool where it’s like a digital corkboard where you put cue cards on it about story beats and characters.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stop Torture: An inside look at our latest campaign

Whatever it takes to break you. To sign a confession, or hand over information. You're hidden away from the world's gaze. You think you are forgotten. You think you are alone. You are not.

Dear Tracy,

Torture is never justified. It is illegal, barbaric and inhumane.

Yet people all over the world are subjected to it by governments large and small, including the U.S.

Your support as an Amnesty activist is helping our team spearhead our latest ambitious campaign - a campaign to stop torture.

The use of torture is rampant. In our latest report, Amnesty has identified the use of torture and other ill-treatment in 141 countries from every world region. Explore more of these findings including results from a global poll about torture.

We're undertaking this campaign to build powerful barriers between the torturers and the tortured. These barriers are safeguards that are proven to protect people.

These safeguards include:
  • Lawyers present at all interrogations.
  • Doctors properly examine detainees.
  • Independent monitoring of detention centers.
  • Accountability for those responsible for torture.
We have identified several priority cases in countries including Mexico, Nigeria, the United States and the Philippines, where we - and our community of activists - will demand these safeguards.

We are launching the campaign this month and will be in touch about our progress.

Thank you for helping us defend human rights for all.


Margaret Huang
Deputy Executive Director of Campaigns and Programs
Amnesty International USA

For questions or comments about your membership, contact Member Services at (212) 633-4254, M-F 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Eastern or email us at

Scholar sentenced to 4 years in jail

Scholar Xu Zhiyong imprisoned for "gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place".

Three meaningful acts of solidarity for Xu Zhiyong and the struggle for human rights in China

1. Send a short email - A message of solidarity means so much to someone in prison. Please write a personal message of support and we'll make sure these get to Xu Zhiyong.

2. Post a "selfie" picture - on your own or at your gathering with friends, take a "selfie" and post it to #NEWCITIZENSMOVEMENT. Make this the way you mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square on June 4th.
3. Hold your own version of an "Eat-Drink Gathering" - Amnesty is introducing a new event AMNESTEA, and is encouraging supporters like you to raise money and raise awareness of the wrongful detention of people like Xu Zhiyong.. Learn more about AMNESTEA

Scholar Xu Zhiyong sentenced to four years in prison for calling for democracy 

Dear Tracy,
Imagine being thrown in prison -- for four years -- simply for writing an article about democracy!
This is the reality that Chinese legal scholar, Xu Zhiyong, is living today. 

Will you send a short, simple message to Xu Zhiyong to let him know he's not forgotten?


Xu Zhiyong is only one of many being targeted in China. 
The article written by Xu Zhiyong is credited with spurring a loose network of activists as part of the New Citizens’ Movement, who aim to promote transparency and expose corruption.

Dozens of these activists have been criminally detained or subjected to enforced disappearance over the past year for organizing “Same-city Eat-drink gatherings”.

Amnesty International considers Xu Zhiyong a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression - and is urging his immediate and unconditional release. 

On June 4th, the world will be reminded of China's deadly attack on its own citizens, as we mark the 25 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising.

As Xu Zhiyong's case reminds us, democracy and human rights remain a threat to the government in China. 


Alex Neve
Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada

P.S. Showing solidarity with others in need is one of the most powerful things we can do as an individual. Please consider taking these simple but meaningful acts of solidarity, starting with a thoughtful email mesage to Xu Zhiyong.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

holistic health practitioners/ Help Robbie Find a Job

Apr. 24 Holistic health practitioners: I was looking up MacEwan programs and this came out.  It seems to be new: 

Note: There are no admissions to the Holistic Health Practitioner program for the 2014/2015 academic year. The university plans to implement a revised program of study in a future academic year.
Holistic health practitioners understand that the body, mind and spirit are connected in complex ways. Grounded in a variety of theoretical perspectives, holistic health practitioners support clients toward optimum health and wellness by examining physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, bio-energetic and socio-cultural dimensions. Various modalities such as Reflexology, Reiki, Acupressure, Herbology and Nutrition focus on these dimensions of well-being.

From self-healing practices to entrepreneurship, the Holistic Health Practitioner program provides a comprehensive education in the art and science of complementary health. The learning environment facilitates critical thinking and analytical skills, self-directed learning and group process skills.”

Apr. 30: I looked it up on the internet.

Reflexology: “a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body.”

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.”


Acupressure is an ancient healing art using the fingers to gradually press key healing points, which stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. Acupressure was developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago. Using the power and sensitivity of the hand, Acupressure Therapy is effective in the relief of stress-related ailments, and is ideal for self-treatment and preventive health care for boosting the immune system. Acupressure releases tension, increases circulation, reduces pain, and develops spirituality and vibrant health.

Herbology: It says it’s about using plants to restore your health.

May 4: I’m not really interested after learning what those terms are.

Help Robbie Find a Job: I was reading in the Metro on Mar. 19, 2014.  I finally checked out his website today.  It says he did find a job.  He enlisted the whole city of Vancouver to help him find a job.  It’s mainly if someone finds a job for him, and he gives 10% of his salary to the person who gave him the job lead.  He also has his resume up.

About me:

“Hey everyone, my name is Robbie Cooke.  I just moved to Vancouver  with the hopes and dreams of finding a job with a company that suits my skills, personality, and goals.  This is my way of doing it.  I don’t know a lot of people here and I figured this can be a way for me to meet people, get in front of companies and all the while have some fun doing it.  

After getting a taste of the west coast while attending university, I always knew I would be back.  With a little push from my nieces and nephews, I decided the best time to move back out West was now.  Vancouver is where I want to be.  I love the city, the culture and the people. And don’t forget the weather!  The prairies are nice, but it gets exhausting every time you go outside having to deal with icicles constantly forming on your moustache and beard.”

I feel the best way to get noticed by an employer is to stand out from the crowd, by thinking outside of the box and working hard at being creative.  After a few months of submitting my resume online to countless companies, pounding the pavement and not finding one that fits what I’m looking for, I knew I had to take a different approach to find that perfect position.

I thought to myself, “what could I do to get noticed by a future employer?”  All sorts of ideas ran through my head, and it finally came to me: why not ask the people of Vancouver to be my personal headhunter?!  So this is what I have decided to do: build a website, share the word online, enrol the local community, ask for your help and build a network of amazing people!

May 5 Petcetera: I read in the Edmonton Journal that Petcetera is closing down some stores.  I read in the Metro today that the Petcetera in Millwoods is closing down.

Unemployment: I was reading in the Globe and Mail today that the longer you are unemployed, the harder it is to get a job.  It is especially harder if the person is older like over 50 years old.

May 6: Elephant and Castle: Today I was looking for a job and I decided to check out restaurants instead of offices.  I see that Elephant and Castle on Whyte Ave is hiring.  I then thought about the City Centre one and it closed down way back in 2009.

Grand and Toy: I read in the Metro that the office supply store Grand and Toy is closing down.  The store is going to have their business online.  It turns out most the money they made is on their website instead of the store.

It made me think about Staples closing down their store by City Centre.  When that location closed down, I was like: “Well you can still buy office supplies in Grand and Toy in City Centre mall.”

Now G&T is closing down.  You can still buy office supplies at Shoppers Drug Mart and Dollarama.

Barnes and Noble: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article by Shark Tank contestant Michael Levin. He’s a writer with his website  Here’s an excerpt:

"First, Amazon makes it so easy to buy books.

Second, publishers thrashed B&N by selling best-sellers at deep discounts in non-traditional outlets such as supermarkets, Wal-Mart and Costco, thus removing a key source of revenue for the chain.

Third, the woefully underfunded Nook is competing with Amazon’s Kindle, which is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Fourth, the antiquated model of printing books on spec, putting them on trucks, and crossing your fingers that they’ll sell doesn’t work in the internet print-on-demand era.

And fifth, book buyers want decent customer service. At B&N these days, the only way to find a sales clerk is to attempt to shoplift."

Monday, May 19, 2014

We want to hear from you! (Food Banks Canada)

Hi Tracy, 
We want to hear from you!
You’ll find below the link to a survey. We’re sending 
this to you because you have taken action with 
Food Banks Canada by signing a petition or 
participating in a community or outreach 
initiative, and what you think and feel really 
matters to us. 
It is vitally important to us that we listen to what 
you have 
to say about Food Banks Canada and the work we
 do together.
Your answers will help us meet your needs and—
 your expectations! The details you share will help
 us improve our 
programs and help us decide the best ways to 
connect with and 
embody the values that matter most to you, our 
cherished community 
of supporters!
You can also speak to me directly about this 
survey and what you 
think. Don’t hesitate to call me at the number below. 
Let me know if you would like to chat more.
Thank you for your continued support, and for 
your feedback.
Breanna Signature - Small 
Breanna Wells 
Manager, Development 
905-602-5234 (or toll free 1-877-535-0958) ext. 233

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