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, September 30, 2014

friend advice/ Post Secret

Aug. 12 Friend advice: Does anyone remember my blog post “friend advice/ self-esteem study”?  It’s about a coffee group, and one person hogs the conversation:

My friend Sherry emailed me back and I thought what she wrote was so beautifully written, I asked to put it up on my blog and she said yes.  Here it is:  

Having had periods of low self esteem in my life, and having had friends that are dealing
with it, I find that often other people seem to be willing to ignore what gets you down, and inform you that you should change it because they say so. They cannot tell you exactly how to do it, so you are expected to just suddenly smile and have your whole world change. Sadly, it is not that easy. I have found that people who are able to look at the world through your eyes, and help you find steps you can understand from where you presently are can help you find for yourself a new 'space'. Yes it takes time, but low self esteem is very often based on long term experiences that have developed an entire way of thinking, reacting, and responding and if you ignore the foundations of what has created it you ignore building foundations that will help that person feel higher self esteem and build on.

I have seen a person expect someone who was abused their entire life and learn an entirely different 'culture' to overnight think positive thoughts and learn an entirely new 'culture' just by saying the world is a great place, even though because of the behavior and response patterns that person has learned people around them will still find it too easy to treat them negatively, because no-one has taught them the nuances they never
learned in the first place. If someone their entire life has been taught to have a certain tone of voice, they don't even know how to have another. 

If someone subconsciously learns to always walk without making noise, they can't just wake up one morning and understand how to be reasonably noisy. It's like they learned a different language, and without being able to observe objectively, from a distance, with input on exactly what it is they are observing they may never learn to see the world a different way because they have no comprehension of that 'way'.

If I seemed to be talking in circles it is because this can be hard to describe. An example that comes to my mind might help, though. We are taught from primary school on that when someone is giving you orders you re supposed to look at them, and if you look away you are being disrespectful. We were also taught that we have our own voices, and we are expected to ask for something if we want it or we are not communicating properly. 

When I was working on the reservation of a specific native group, I noticed the children would never look at me. They would also constantly be coming up to me and saying their friend wanted something, but would never speak up for themselves. At first I thought they were sullen and smartass, but I asked a co-worker who had been there for a few years. With this specific group, if you respect someone you avert your eyes to show you are not defying them when they speak to you.

If *you* ask for things you are being selfish, but if you let your friends know your needs and they ask for you, they and you both are being unselfish and looking after each other. Until I asked about it, my students and I had troubles communicating, but once I knew it made all the difference in the world, and I was even able to talk to them about how white men communicate in other ways, and make lessons out of it. If I had not asked, i would have assumed they were sullen and trying to make trouble by purposely not listening. Learning to understand where someone is coming from is always the first step in teaching them how to see the world a different way, because you can learn how to communicate with them in ways they understand.

Aug. 17 Post Secret: I found this on Post Secret today: 

Dear Frank,

This is my true secret.

Ever since my Step-Mother lost her job, financially my family has been rocky which is what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the screaming matches between my Father and my Step-Mother. All day and all night, it never stopped, my only sanctuary was school. But then my Father said the only words that I will remember him for

“I wish you were never born!”

These words were a definite blow to my psyche and just a couple months earlier my Step-Mother had said to me “The only reason your here is because no one else in your family wanted you.” But the worst part is I’ve tried to stay optimistic through it all and now the house is getting foreclosed upon and there’s nothing I can do about it. Now that you’ve heard part of the story, here’s the actual secret:

I’m planning on killing myself on my 16th birthday in a place where no one can find the body.

P.S. Thank you so much for creating PostSecret


Dear X-

Give your independent 21 year-old self a chance to change your mind.

At 25 you may have found the nurturing friendships that become the family you make for yourself.

At 30 you might be doing important work saving others who will feel the pain you feel right now.

At 40 you might meet and marry the person who would be destroyed if you took your life at 16.

Someday you may have a teenage daughter or son who will be so lucky to have a mother who earned a loving family.

Please don’t try to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.

Be well,


PS If you give me a mailing address, I’d like to send you a book.

Dear Frank,

I can’t trust a stranger who’s email address I found on the internet. Can you prove to me publicly who you are, I don’t care what you do. I want to accept your kindness, so please prove to me who you are.

Dear X-

I just edited our emails and posted them on the PostSecret facebook page. Over 1,500 have sent hopeful messages your way! I’m glad you’ll have a chance to see you are not alone.

PS I’m still happy to send you a book. I just need a mailing address.

Dear Frank,

Thank you to the marvelous, people of the PostSecret community who have given me hope for the future that I WILL live! Even if I am to have these thoughts ever again at some point when life is going terribly once more, I will read not only your emails but the comments of so many that want me to live and overcome.

With love and a firmly planted reason to live.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse

I got this email earlier this month: 

Good Morning, Tracy,

At the moment, I have a destination that may be up to your alley to write about for Tracy's Blog. It¹s an interesting angle for your writing blog: The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse is a bed and breakfast on a private island off the coast of Maine. It is a cool story because the lighthouse itself was built in the late 1800s, but in early 2000 was threatened with destruction because the Coast Guard had no use for it anymore. The Maine locals got together to save the lighthouse and, in 2006, succeeded. Since then, volunteer-led efforts have been the driving force to restore the historic light station. Local businesses have donated building materials, design expertise, and other resources to bring the project to fruition. The Inn at Cuckold's Lighthouse launched last June.

We¹re positioning the bed and breakfast as a perfect place for writers to have moments of solace in order to write, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic. Additionally, we are currently hosting a competition for bloggers who mention the inn on their blogs. Everyone who mentions the bed and breakfast is entered into a competition to win two free nights at The Inn at Cuckold¹s Lighthouse, plus airfare covered up to $400. You can also offer this prize to your readers to generate more participation on your blog.

If you are interested, I will send over the media kit and several hi-res images. Eager to hear your thoughts!

Thanks X,
Eva Fedderly

What happened to the Nigeria schoolgirls?

What happened to the Nigerian schoolgirls?    

 Last March, Amnesty International released a report on the escalation of violence in northeastern Nigeria, and the systematic pattern of human rights abuses by the Nigerian government and by a little-known group of fighters known as Boko Haram.

A month later Boko Haram kidnapped 270 school girls and a worldwide campaign was launched to protect them.

Then silence.

Read why the girls are still missing
 Amnesty International Canada

Match increased: Tracy, are you in?

Dear Tracy,

Great news! A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds.

Will you help us hit that increased goal?

In solidarity,

Steven Hawkins


Only 6 days left: Join 5,000 other human rights champions

Dear Tracy,

Amnesty's Annual September Membership Drive ends in just six days.

A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds increasing our goal to $350,000.

Donate now and your gift will be matched dollar for dollar through Tuesday at midnight.

Here are three reasons why your donation is needed now.
  • Amnesty is sending research teams into war zones in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic to investigate possible war crimes so that our members can demand that that those responsible be stopped and held accountable.
  • After unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead last month by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Amnesty sent a human rights delegation to Ferguson. Delegation members included observers who monitored police and protester activity and field organizers who conducted trainings in non-violent methods of protest and offered support to the community. Amnesty will continue to respond to events on the ground as they unfold.
  • Amnesty is speaking out for human rights defenders like Rebiya Kadeer. Her son Ablikim Abdiriyim is serving nine years in prison. Amnesty is concerned that the imprisonment is retaliation against Rebiya Kadeer for her work defending the rights of Uighurs, an ethnic minority group in China. There are reports that Ablikim has been tortured. Amnesty fears for his life and is demanding his urgent release.
Don't stand on the sidelines. Do one thing right now to make our movement more powerful, effective and nimble. Donate to Amnesty. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar through September 30.

This opportunity ends in just 6 days!

Thanks in advance for your partnership.

Steven HawkinsSincerely,
Steven Hawkins
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

P.S. We are so close to meeting our goal of 10,000 new and returning members. Donate before midnight on Tuesday and your contribution will go twice as far.

Canada: live up to your commitment sign the treaty to stop torture

Your signature can Stop Torture

Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was beaten to death in Iran's Evin prison in 2003. Why isn’t Canada making sure this never happens again?
If you ever found yourself in trouble while traveling or working abroad, wouldn’t you want your government to be there for you?

Of course you would.

Canada, unfortunately, has weakened its influence in defending you or any other Canadian who might have the misfortune of being arbitrarily detained because it hasn’t signed a key treaty to prevent torture.
It said it would. But it hasn’t.  And this is no small matter.

Please use your voice to ask Canada to do the right thing and sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture

It’s important to you and every human that Canada signs because there are two truths we can share after 50 years of defending human rights:

1. People get detained overseas for all sorts of unjust or invalid reasons
2. Many people who are detained overseas are tortured

As an Amnesty International supporter, you probably know that people get detained in some countries for what you and I consider our basic freedoms:
  • writing an article that criticizes the government
  • promoting the rights of women
  • poking fun at religion on facebook
  • belonging to the “wrong” religious faith
  • being gay or speaking out to protect the rights of the gay population
  • supporting a political party that opposes the ruling party, even 
  • mistaken identity

At Amnesty International, we’re working right now to defend people detained for every one of these unjust, arbitrary reasons. 
Zara Kazemi was arrested when simply taking photos of people who were inquiring after family members who had been detained.
On the more disturbing issue of torture, we know that in spite its near universal illegality, torture has happened in 141 countries in every region of the world in the last 5 years
Amnesty International believes with 100% conviction that torture is inhumane and can never be justified, and must be abolished in all circumstances. Yet governments everywhere are increasingly turning a blind eye to torture.

Torture happens behind closed doors. The Optional Protocol will open the doors to independent monitoring of detention centres. No one was watching when Kazemi was tortured to death in detention in 2003.
10 years after this tragic loss of Zahra Kazemi's life, it's time for Canada to strengthen its voice by being a part of this important global treaty.  

Urge Canada to put its signature on this key treaty to Stop Torture.


Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada 

P.S. 73 countries, including many of Canada’s closest allies, have signed on to the treaty. With the use of torture so prevalent around the world, Canada should be pushing other countries to become parties to the Optional Protocol as part of a wider effort to eradicate torture around the world. But how can that happen if Canada itself has not ratified? Urge Canada to Sign

It's Susan. And this is your last call.


Last call: Check this off your September to-do list

Dear Tracy,

All this month, artists and human rights activists have proudly raised our voices to defend human rights with Amnesty International.

Now, it's your turn.

Join me as a member of Amnesty International - donate now.

There are only two days left to have your donation matched dollar for dollar as part of Amnesty's Annual September Membership Drive.

Your gift is powerful - it frees Prisoners of Conscience, stops torture and helps civilians survive conflict.
"I don't regret a single moment. I celebrate the work that I do and the people I work with...We are in it together."
That's Jenni Williams, the inspiring co-founder of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise. She's been arrested over 50 times for defending human rights in her country. Jenni credits Amnesty International members with saving her life multiple times.

Jenni is right- we're in this together.

Amnesty is responding to unprecedented assaults on human rights around the world.

Your membership with Amnesty will help us rise to these urgent human rights challenges. Join us and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar until tomorrow at midnight.

Amnesty has my support. Will you give yours?
Susan SarandonSincerely,
Susan Sarandon
Actress & Human Rights Defender

P.S. A group of donors was so inspired by the outpouring of support in this year's September Membership Drive, they pledged another $50,000 in matching funds. Now your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $350,000. But only through tomorrow at midnight.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Paying for College/ College Funding

Sept. 3 Paying for College: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article.  It’s for parents who are saving for retirement, and at the same time paying for their child’s college education.  John McDonough wrote this article.  “He is the managing member at Studemont Group, which is primarily focused on helping retirees gain peace of mind with unique market rescue and recovery programs. He is also founder, president and CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions”:

“Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education:

• The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s life time, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million.

• Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college.

• Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges.

• Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application For Federal Student Aid; CSS profile – College Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust.

College Funding: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article. John McDonough wrote this article too:   

The net worth of today’s 30-somethings: Adults in their 30s have 21 percent less net worth than 30-somethings 30 years ago, according to a new Urban Institute report. Why? Much of it has to do with high-interest student loans and credit card debt. The return on investment of a college education is excellent – college grads earn 84 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. But paying off that investment without outside help is exceedingly burdensome for a graduate.

• Student loan debt is even greater than credit card debt: That’s right – topping all Americans who have made poor decisions with their credit cards are ambitious high school graduates, whose collective student load debt shoots past $1 trillion! More important than this being a crucial social epidemic, it’s potentially a very real problem for your child. President Obama scored some political points in identifying with most Americans when he said his student load debt was paid off only after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. Two-thirds of students leave college with some form of debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

• Fluctuating interest rates: Recent controversy over federal Stafford loans interest rates adds to the insecurity of borrowing as a college financing strategy. Given the unpredictability of Congress, which allowed the U.S, credit rating to drop while standing on political principles, one can’t reliably predict whether interest rates will rise or fall.

• Your children cannot refinance their loans: While a borrower who has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in gambling debt can refinance their payments, student loans remain at fixed rates. In collecting money on student loans, there is no statute of limitation, and today it’s very common – the norm, actually – for student loan holders to take nearly two decades to pay off their debt. With the annual average cost of public universities exceeding $22,000 per year, and the same often surpassing $50,000 at private universities, it’s no surprise.

My opinion: Both articles are good, but it’s really for parents paying for their college education.  It’s not really relevant to me or any of my friends at the moment.  It’s also more related to the US where college is more expensive.

Working while in College: Ginny Grimsley sent me this article.  It turns out it’s not about working part-time at a job while in college, it’s about starting your own business while in college.  It’s written by Matt Stewart: 

These days, it seems as though Americans are spending more for college while getting less value in return – a trend research validates, says entrepreneur Matt Stewart.

“The average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261, and a moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289 for the 2012–2013 academic year; for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school,” says Stewart, a spokesperson for College Works Painting,
(, which 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.

Making matters worse, adults in their 30s have 21 percent less net worth than 30-somethings 30 years ago, according to a new Urban Institute report.

“More students are being saddled with long-term debt while getting less value for their education,” Stewart says. “Because of the difficulty recent college grads are having finding jobs in today’s tough economy; today’s students may have even less worth in their 30s than 30-somethings today.”

To add value to their professional career, Stewart encourages students to seek outside-the-box avenues for increasing their career stock while in college. Running a business is a great way to do that; he explains why.

• Employers love ambition. A college degree is the minimum qualification employers are seeking. What hiring managers are looking for is that something extra when reviewing a stack of qualified resumes. At the heart of the economy is innovation; it’s the difference between simply existing in a market, and thriving in one. Employers know they need people with creativity and gumption for innovation.

• Real-world management of time and money. College is a time when young adults learn to live autonomously. It’s the rare student, however, who learns to manage his or her own affairs and  the most precious resources in the business world – time and money. Managing employees, driving sales, developing specific skills for a real market and building strong customer relationships are best learned with hands-on experience.

• Learn where they need help. What do you do well and where do you need help? The best way to know with any certainty is through experience. Running a business while attending college allows students to circle back to their education and focus on their trouble areas by adjusting their curriculum in future semester. 

• Develop meaningful bonds. One of the most meaningful aspects of the college experience is the relationships students develop with each other, which often have professional consequences after college. Enlisting the help of fellow students for a common business purpose tends to have a powerful bonding effect.
• Immediate ROI – finding phenomenal success. Most students who run a business during college will not prove to be the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg or David Geffen, which is precisely why students should not drop out of college like those pioneers did. However, a student doesn’t have to be the next Zuckerburg to experience amazing success as an entrepreneur. College Hunks Moving Junk is just one recent example that began in an entrepreneurial student mind.   

My opinion: It’s a good article to create your own business.  However, I don’t really have an idea to create my own business.  When I was in Professional Writing full-time, I was take 4 or 5 classes a semester and didn’t have a part-time job.  I did a lot of school work.  My free-time was TV and writing my weekly emails.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nora Ephron/ Hart Hanson

Sept. 13 Nora Ephron: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “She remembers everything (and writes it all down) by Olivia Stren on Nov. 13, 2010.  She interviews Nora Ephron about her books and movies.  Here are some excerpts:

It's Ephron's sixth book of non-fiction, but she remains most famous for her films (no, not the flops): When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail - romantic comedies, both witty and consoling, that follow the bourgeois and besotted.

"Rob Reiner said that romantic comedies are like that Olympic dive. That is, that plain and simple dive with a high degree of difficulty," she says. "There are no car chases and there is no sex; the sex is the talking."

Ephron's essays have that same seeming effortlessness (generally your first clue that the process was anything but easy). "Writing just gets harder. It should get easier, but I don't think it does," she says, "I have a room with a desk and a chair in it and I'm in that chair most of the day, but I'm avoiding writing for so much of it."
If her writing is welcoming and confiding, Ephron herself is more withholding, authoritative and assessing.
Her apartment, meanwhile, where she lives with her screenwriter husband of 23 years, Nicholas Pileggi (Goodfellas and Casino count among his credits), is as soigné as she is. We sit in the office, an expansive, luminous room washed in shades of cream and, well, egg white.

Still, Ephron determined from a very young age that she didn't want to live in Los Angeles. "Before the word sexist had been invented, you certainly knew that it was not a place for women or for smart women. … I just thought, I'm getting out of here."

So she did - and resolved to become a journalist. "I had a very romanticized version of it from watching Superman and it was that you had a notebook in your purse and you were ready to cover absolutely anything that happened." (She describes her journalistic aspirations differently in her new book: "I can't remember which came first - wanting to be a journalist or date a journalist.")

It was clear, though, that Ephron didn't want to be a screenwriter, because that's what her parents were. "You always think when you're a kid that you can avoid the magnetic field, but it always gets you in some way," she says. In her late 30s, Ephron turned to screenwriting, co-writing Silkwood, which got her nominated for an Oscar.

"Of course, in my pathological way, I then decided everyone should be sure to change careers when they're on the verge of turning 40, then again at 50. I celebrated my 50th birthday on the first movie I directed. I always make things into rules."

Her mother's most famous rules - Everything is copy, Everything is material –

"It all still clocked in as 'Save this - it's going to be something some day.' "

Despite the claim she makes in her new book's title essay ("I have not yet reached the nadir of old age, The Land of Anecdote") she shares one: "When [my sister] Delia got her head stuck in between the banister rails in our house, and the fire department had to come and get her out, it was in a movie my parents wrote that came out, with Natalie Wood and Jimmy Stewart, less than a year later. That's how fast things were recycled in our house," she says. "We knew we were the raw material."

About the downside to viewing your own life - and those of others - as potential material, she says pragmatically, "It makes you a cold, heartless person that's always a bit outside of things, but that's not all you are.

"Nobody ever said, 'Delia, is it okay if we use your head-stuck-between-the-banister episode?' Nothing belonged to anybody. But that's how it is with writers."

Then she divulges another Ephron rule: "Don't say anything funny that you plan to save for your book, because they may put it in their newspaper article."

My opinion: I have to agree anything in life can be used for writing material.

Hart Hanson: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “It’s a thrilling experience when a show works” by John Doyle on Jan. 15, 2011.  Hanson is the creator, executive producer and writer of the TV show Bones.  I never saw the show.  I still like to read his path to creating a good TV show.  Here are some excerpts:

A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, he fell into writing for TV in Canada and, for a decade, had a typical Canadian TV career. After The Beachcombers he wrote for Neon Rider, Road to Avonlea, Ready Or Not, North of 60.and Street Legal. He was a writer and supervising producer on Traders, Global’s series about Bay Street, in the late 1990s. Then he landed in L.A. and wrote for shows such as Judging Amy and Joan of Arcadia. Next he was in charge on Bones.

When we eventually sit down in a quiet corner, I ask him: “How did that happen? How did you go from a typical Canadian career to running a huge show on Fox?”

I’d been running Traders and in 1998, I think, we’d just won our third Gemini,” he says. “It was nice but kind of depressing. Traders had about one million viewers, but it aired against ER and ER was getting more than three times the number of viewers. I was just turning 40. I had this feeling that it was time to move on. I wanted to work on something with a bigger audience.

“The next day, actually, I got a call from an agent in L.A. At that time several American network shows were being made in Canada for tax reasons and a low dollar, and this agent asked if I was interested in being the showrunner in Canada for one of these productions. It was flattering, I suppose, but my reaction was to tell him I wanted to test myself, to see if I could cut it in L.A. I just wanted to see if I could do it. He told me my first test was to write a “spec” script for a U.S. show, which I did. I came here and I wrote episodes of Cupid, a show that only lasted a season, but it got a lot of praise. I learned things. I was lucky.”

After that, Hanson wrote episodes of Snoops, an offbeat detective show created by David E. Kelley, then the hottest thing in TV because his Ally McBeal was huge. “I left Snoops and was offered a contract to develop shows. Best thing that ever happened to me,” he says. “A clause in the contract obliged me to create a new show idea and that is what led to Bones. I was asked to meet this producer who had bought the rights to the books and life story of Kathy Reichs, the forensic anthropologist. I met the producer but I told him and my agent, “I’m not doing a forensics show. Not a CSI thing. Not a police procedural. It’s just not me.”

But after reading the books by the Montreal-based Reichs and watching a documentary about her work, Hanson knew there was a show in the material – what he calls “a sort of comedy-drama-romance-forensics series.” And that’s what Bones is – an immensely clever series that relies on both the chemistry between FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and tart-tongued forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel), while filling each episode with the science of forensic anthropology. “The network said, ‘Fine, okay, go with it,’ but I knew they were lying,” he says, and laughs. “They didn’t know what they were getting. We were the last pilot to be picked up by Fox that year.”

It was like working on a Canadian show, where you’re always up against these huge other shows.” Soon, Hanson adds, the show will introduce a character who will be the basis for a new show that Hanson is developing. Not a spinoff, he insists, but a new show that starts with an episode of Bones.

I ask Hanson what it means to be “showrunner” on Bones. “Everything,” he says. “Every decision goes through me. It sounds like an evil, maniacal job, but it isn’t. I’m the one in charge, that’s all.”

I have 30,000 followers and I did the math. That’s way less than one per cent of the viewers on Bones. I can’t hear myself think, listening to the noise from those really vocal people.”

My opinion: This article was inspirational.  He was truthful like how his show was the last show to be picked up by FOX and how working on a Canadian show, you’re up against all these other shows.  I did some research, and Canadian shows and networks do want these Canadian shows to succeed.  They put most of them in the summer or mid-season.

Shows like The Listener and Rookie Blue air during the summer.

Murdoch Mysteries: They came out in Jan. 2008.

Republic of Doyle: It came out in Jan. 2010.

Cracked: It came out Jan. 2013.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Digital School/ Pixel Blue College

Aug. 21 Digital School: Edmonton has a lot of post- secondary schools.  I decided to look into Digital School, a technical design college.  It’s in City Centre mall.  I read in the Metro there’s an open house today.  I checked out the website first:

“Autodesk® software helps lay a broad foundation on which countless design careers can be built. Designers develop and refine concepts and prepare technical drawings and plans. Production and construction teams use these documents to build everything from manufactured products like spacecraft, tools, and toasters to structures like office buildings, theatre sets, and sports stadiums. Architecture provides a lifetime of opportunities for creativity and aesthetic problem solving. Using Autodesk® software, professionals worldwide are exploring these qualities in designing, visualizing, and animating highly original structures. In any career, design plays a part.

Digital School has established itself as a leader in computer-aided design and drafting education. Our instructors share theoretical concepts and help students develop technical skills through interactive and experiential learning methodology.”

There are only 4 programs:

Architectural CAD Technician: This lists all the classes you would take and where you will be working at like architecture offices and engineering firms.  

“Architectural CAD Technicians work with Architects and Technologists to design and draft all of these and more. And it's not just the appearance of these structures that Architectural CAD Technicians are concerned with, it's also the functionality of the design, the safety, and - wherever possible - the economy.”

My opinion: I have no interest in this.

Engineering CAD Technician: 

“They work directly with engineers and technologists to design, plan, draw, and create products, machines, factories, buildings, highways, transit systems, and more! Engineering CAD Technicians use computer aided design software to produce and analyze designs and to simulate and test machines, structures or systems. Their drawings act as the foundation of communication between all parties including the engineers, builders, and clients - providing the link between science and commercial applications.”

My opinion: I have no interest in this either.

Computer Aided Drafter: 

“Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers to build everything from manufactured products to industrial machinery; from office buildings to gas pipelines to spacecraft. Their drawings provide visual guidelines, showing the technical details of the products and structures, specifying dimensions, materials to be used, procedures and processes.”

My opinion: I have no interest in this either.

Process Piping Specializations: 

“Engineering CAD Technicians with the Process Piping Specialization work alongside with petroleum engineers to search the world for reservoirs containing oil or natural gas.”

My opinion: I’m not interested in this.  It’s a good thing I went on the website to research this.  I guess I was expecting it to be like a graphic design school, and be more creative than an engineering kind of school.  It is a good website.

Pixel Blue College: Now here’s a graphic design school.  There are 6 college programs.

Aboriginal Graphic Design:

“The Design and Motion Graphics Program explores the limitless world of creativity through multimedia development, a combination of technical awareness with software applications, and the role of communication through commercial and visual art. By keeping a close eye on the industry and feedback from industry related companies and professionals, the DMG curriculum is constantly evolving to allow students to enter the workforce running.”

Graphic Design:

“Through the use of innovative teaching practices, custom designed labs, and the use of real-world projects, Graphic Design students will be guided through the intricacies of creating portfolio projects that will enable them to find a suitable career path in the new media industry. By keeping a close eye on the industry and feedback from industry related companies and professionals, the Graphic Design curriculum is constantly evolving to allow students to enter the workforce running.”

2D Animation & Illustration: 

“By immersing themselves into a completely practical learning environment, students will be able to integrate themselves into an animation studio upon graduation, or will have the means to start their own studio and bring their own stories and ideas to life.”

My opinion: I saw the video where it shows the students’ work and it was really fun to watch.  I was impressed.

3D Animation & Modelling: 

3D Animation studies the techniques and tools for producing the next generation of 3D Animation & Modeling. 3D Animation builds on the foundations of high-end modeling & animation through the exploration of content creation, manipulation, and special effects.

Pixel Blue College's 3D Animation program prepares students for various opportunities in the 3D industry. Students will be able to find work in broadcast, architectural, engineering, 3D Gaming, film, scientific research and many other industries that have a 3D application. This field is continuing to expand and now includes many other industries and therefore offers great growth opportunities for graduates with 3D Modeling and Animation skills.”

My opinion: I was impressed with the images.  There were pictures that looked like video game characters and pictures of homes.

3D Game Modeling:

“The 3D Game Modeling Program is designed to educate students in a dedicated gaming environment. It is an intense course and students will be taught in such a manner that they will be able to fit into any game production environment once they graduate. This course involves the technical aspect of gaming and there will be no game theory or game design taught.”

My opinion: I saw the images.  I’m not really interested in video games.  

Digital Audio Production:

“Pixel Blue College's Digital Audio Production Program is designed to educate students in modern audio production techniques. Students will learn the fundamentals of audio theory and then quickly proceed to hands-on interaction with the hardware and software tools commonly used in the industry.”

My opinion: The video was video game imagery with sound effects that sounded very real.  I’m not really interested in this.

Sept. 23: I don’t know about you guys if you’re interested in reading about college programs and my opinions on it.  There may be some of you saying: “Yeah, well at least she’s not writing about Dateline: To Catch a Predator.”  Some of you guys may be laughing at this part.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lounge Collection by Paulo Arruda (Part 2)

Lounge Collection 5 | Rio Chillout by Paulo Arruda

A picture of big mountains and a beach in front of it.   It says Rio Chillout on the picture.

Lounge Collection 6 by Paulo Arruda

A picture of a black office chair in front of a white background.

Lounge Collection 7 by Paulo Arruda

A picture of a pink couch with pink pillows.

Lounge Collection by Paulo Arruda

Lounge Collection by Paulo Arruda - March | 2011 - HQ

A picture of a futuristic green chair.

Lounge Collection 2 by Paulo Arruda

A picture of a brown haired woman listening to silver headphones.

There is no Lounge Collection 3.

Lounge Collection 4 by Paulo Arruda

A picture of Paulo Arruda in front of a blue background.

A short opening to reform Guatemala's mining act

Urge Guatemala to bring its mining practices into line with international human rights standards

Guatemala's mining laws are stoking conflict: we have an opening to change this

Guatemala has an opportunity right now to bring about desperately-needed changes to its mining laws. 

Please help us urge the President of Guatemala to bring mining practices into line with international standards and help ease the social conflict that has swept across the country with the expansion of mining and extraction activity

As we write to you from Guatemala, where today we are launching Amnesty's major report on mining in Guatemala, the congress is considering a bill that would reform the 1997 Mining Act. It is a step backward from Guatemala’s human rights commitments and could deepen existing tensions around mining.

In solidarity with all of the community leaders in Guatemala who have been shot at and harassed for speaking up for their most basic right to defend their land and livelihood, I invite you to view our message and add your voice.


alex_neve_mission.jpg   Tara_120.jpg

Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada 
Tara Scurr, Campaigner for Business and Human Rights

P.S. We had an opportunity while here in Guatemala City, to meet Yolanda Oqueli, one of the brave local activists who has been shot while defending the rights of her community. We just posted a message on our website about this inspiring encounter, along with a link to our new report. Thank you for your interest and activism! 

I think this is really scary

This horror isn't fiction

Dear Tracy,

You probably know me as the "horror" writer. While I may dispute that label, I think we can both agree that few things are as horrific as torture.

The hard pill to swallow is that torture is not fiction - it's happening right now as you read this. And we can't let it continue.

We must stop all torture by governments around the world - including our own. The United States must lead by example if we are to clear our tattered reputation in the court of world opinion.

That's why I'm joining Amnesty International. I want to help put pressure on the U.S. government and other governments like those of China and Iraq to investigate and stop acts of torture. Will you join me?

Be part of Amnesty's September Membership Drive.

Make your first donation to Amnesty today.

Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar through September 30 up to $300,000.

As a writer, I know the power of stories. I want to share one with you.

Chen Zhenping, a practitioner of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong, was detained by Chinese authorities without a warrant in 2008. Denied legal representation, she was sentenced to prison on trumped up charges of "subverting the law." She is now serving an eight-year sentence in the Henan Provincial Women's prison.

Amnesty has learned that she has been subjected to regular beatings, been forcibly injected with drugs and given electric shocks.

Her family's repeated requests to visit have been denied.

It's a terrifying chapter in this woman's life. But you and I - with the powerful backing of Amnesty International - can stop it.

Amnesty has the grassroots power, know-how and track record to help free people imprisoned for their beliefs. They are also global leaders in calling attention to acts of torture and holding governments accountable for horrific deeds.

You are getting this email because you have raised your hand to say, "I'm a human rights champion." Will you join me in supporting this important work? Together, we can make torture fiction.

Thank you in advance for your partnership.
Stephen KingSincerely,
Stephen King
Author & Human Rights Defender

P.S. Be part of Amnesty's Annual Membership Drive and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

Demand that Gambia's president reject homophobic law

Act today

If signed into law on Friday, a new law in Gambia would sentence those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" to life in prison.

Do not stand by and allow state-sponsored homophobia to persist.

Tell Gambia President Yahya Jammeh to reject this amendment today. Act quickly – President Jammeh has until Friday to respond.
Take Action!

Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter.

September 2014

In Gambia, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community lives in fear.

"We will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes - if not more aggressively."

These words were spoken by Gambia President Yahya Jammeh, who has a long, public record of attacking LGBTI rights.

Consensual sex between same-sex adults is already a crime in Gambia. On August 25, the Gambia National Assembly passed a bill that would allow those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" to be sentenced to life in prison.

This vaguely worded law could enable a wide range of abuses by authorities. Sections of the law are similar to the harsh homophobic legislation that was annulled in Uganda in August.

President Jammeh has 30 days to either sign this amendment into law or to reject it.

Tell President Jammeh that signing this amendment would be a blatant violation of international law and urge him to reject it. Please act quickly, as President Jammeh has until Friday to respond.

Gambia's LGBTI community faces severe discrimination and other abuses, with nowhere to turn.

President Jammeh has threatened any Gambians caught fleeing for their safety, stating: "If I catch them, I will kill them."

Do not stand by while Gambia's government attempts to spread hate against LGBTI people. Do not allow President Jammeh's leadership to endorse state-sponsored homophobia. Defend the human rights and dignity of LGBTI people in Gambia today.

Thank you for defending the rights of all people. Please act by September 19.

In solidarity,

Adotei Akwei
Managing Director, Government Relations
Amnesty International USA

Trapped in Iraq: A Desperate Plea for Help

Demand justice for those struggling in Iraq

Trapped in Iraq: A Desperate Plea for Help

Dear Tracy,

These words haunt me.
"We have nothing. We can't leave. ISIS will catch us and kill us if we do. For god's sake, please help us."

This was the desperate plea of a man trapped in northern Iraq.

I want to thank YOU for helping us respond to this plea. By responding to our action you have helped us press the Canadian government to provide safety and the most basic humanitarian needs for people who are fleeing for their lives.

Can I ask you to do one more thing? The Christian and Yezidi populations whose lives are in the balance need us - you and I - to be there, speaking for them.
Help us be their voice, telling their desperate story, saving their populations from this onslaught. Give now and support our ongoing missions into Iraq.

Amnesty lead investigator Donatella Rovera is leading multiple investigative missions to Iraq - often into conflict areas where journalists fear to go - to speak directly to the people suffering under ISIS (
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)
She is telling their stories to help secure aid for people like this man and his village.
She is shedding light on ethnic cleansing by ISIS, revenge attacks on civilians by other Iraqi militias, and indiscriminate shelling of residential communities by the Iraqi military.  
But Donatella and Amnesty's other crisis investigators need your help.
Donate now to help continue our field work in Iraq to report on human rights violations.

As the desperate words show, Amnesty's mission in Iraq is urgent. The growing unrest throughout Syria and Iraq has put Amnesty's global membership on high alert, and to the test.
Please help protect these vulnerable civilians.
Thank you for finding it in your heart .

Alex Neve
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

P.S. You can learn more about the human rights situation in Iraq by reading Amnesty's recent reports, news releases, and Donatella's postings on the Iraqi crisis page on our website. Thank you for taking action.