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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

"Powerful antidote for consumerism"/ "Is generosity in our genes?"

Dec. 3 "Powerful antidote for consumerism": I cut out this article by Marc and Craig Kielburger in the Edmonton Journal on Dec. 1, 2015:

People in Halifax recently awoke to find coats and scarves mysteriously tied to lamp posts. The warm wear was a gift for anyone who needed it, left by local residents who decided to get an early jump on the giving season.

If this story inspires you to get your giving on, Dec. 1 is the day to get started: it’s Giving Tuesday.

Launched by the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday is largely a response to the consumer feeding frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday—a chance to ask “How can I give back?” instead of “How much can I buy?”

The first Giving Tuesday in Canada two years ago saw charitable donations across the country leap by an astounding 169 per cent in just one day. Last year, Canadian generosity was 75 per cent greater again.

There are lots of ways to give besides making a donation.

Buy someone a gift card from, which they can give to the cause of their choice. Or purchase your holiday trinkets with credit and debit cards like RBC’s Virtual Visa Debit that donate a percentage of every purchase to a charity.

If your bank balance is the colour of festive Starbuck’s coffee cups, here are six wallet-less ways to give.

1. Donate your voice for the voiceless. Many people, like famous physicist Stephen Hawking, can’t speak because of an illness or injury. Voice synthesizer apps can help them talk, but not everyone wants to sound like Hawking.

With your help, a U.S. company, Vocalid, can give these individuals their own voice. Connect a microphone to your computer, log in to, and it will record you speaking specific sounds and phrases. Vocalid then blends your dulcet tones with those of other donors, creating a unique voice for a person in need.

2. Give the gift of you. Maybe you’re a primo writer and editor. Ask if your local shelters or organizations that help the homeless offer employment services that could use a good wordsmith to assist people in creating job-winning CVs.

If you’re a math or science whiz, volunteer as a tutor for low-income children in your community. Pathways to Education offers volunteer opportunities for tutors across Canada, and community libraries often have tutoring programs. Your talent is a gift—share it.

3. Go on a Mission Paws-ible. If you have a dog or cat that’s well-behaved and loves people, see if a nearby seniors home, hospital, or youth group home is interested in having your four-footed friend as a guest to cheer up residents. You can volunteer through Therapeutic Paws of Canada. The non-profit will connect you with those in need.

4. Book ’em, Danno! Your bookshelf is cluttered with dusty novels and school textbooks you’ll never read again. Donate them to Better World Books. The international social enterprise sells your gently used books online, and donates some directly, to support literacy and education programs around the world.

5. Provide a change of clothes. People transitioning to a new gender face daunting challenges. For one of the thousands of homeless trans youth in Canada, there’s no money for a new wardrobe that matches their chosen gender identity. Google your local LGBT organizations and ask them if they accept clothing donations, or if there’s a clothing exchange program for trans youth in your area.

6. Be a social justice selfie warrior. Upload your best snapshots to Johnson & Johnson’s Donate a Photo campaign ( and the consumer goods giant will give a dollar per photo to the cause of your choice, from a list of charities.

If you’re not totally broke and want to get your holiday shopping done early, many organizations have gift catalogues and some, like ours, will match your donation during the holiday season.

Dec. 8 "At 86, Bill still is giving back": This article is by Paige Parsons in the Edmonton Journal on Dec. 4, 2015.  Bill Bock volunteers at Bissell Centre daily and connects employers with labourers there.  The labourers really need work and Bill arranges so someone can drive them to the company to work.

"Is generosity in our genes?": This article is by Wency Leung in the Globe and Mail on Dec. 7, 2015.  It's a psychology and science article.  It's in depth, but it's also heartwarming too.  Here are some excerpts:

Kalina Dunne Farrell wrote a note to the tooth fairy last month, asking for extra cash in exchange for a lost tooth so that she could help Syrian refugees.

Kalina, 10, had already amassed her savings from her weekly allowance, and offered to do extra chores, such as scrubbing floors and picking up litter, to earn more. With the $5 windfall she received from the tooth fairy, she gave it all – $157 – to the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization to support its efforts to settle Syrian refugees.
This came as little surprise to her mother. “She’s always been like this,” Shannan Dunne says, noting that as early as the age of 4, the Ottawa girl was offering to give away her possessions to those less fortunate. “It’s in her heart.”

Here's the science part:

In a study published this year in the journal Transfusion, Pedersen, a consultant at Naestved Hospital and an associate professor of clinical immunology at the University of Copenhagen, compared the past blood donations of more than 750 twins to test the heritability of giving blood.

He and his research team found that when one twin gave blood, the chances were greater that his or her sibling was also a donor if the two were monozygotic twins – that is, if they are genetically identical – than if they were dizygotic or fraternal.

Using mathematical modelling, the researchers analyzed how much of the subjects’ willingness to donate blood was inherited. The result: 50 per cent, Pedersen says, adding the researchers estimate that 30 per cent was explained by sharing a common environment and 20 per cent by random factors or chance.

While he acknowledges the idea of linking altruism to genetics is controversial, Pedersen emphasizes that his study and other altruism research shed light on how genes account for variations in people’s generosity, not the presence or absence of their capacity to help others.

“We’re not saying that people that don’t have the genes for altruism are not altruistic; we’re just saying they’re less altruistic,” he says.

Here's the heartwarming ending:

Back in Ottawa, Kalina’s mother says she believes that even if altruism is genetic, it needs to be nurtured to flourish. But she says it’s hard to say what she has done to encourage her own children’s big hearts. The family is not religious, nor have she and her husband ever sat their children down to teach them about giving.

Yet Kalina’s brother Callum, 9, shares her generosity. He often asks to buy coffee and muffins for the homeless, and once bought a homeless man some socks and mitts and a hat, and a tin of candy imprinted with “I love you” because, he explained, the man probably did not often get to hear those words.

“It’s just what we do,” Dunne says. “It’s the way we are.”

Dec. 13 "People react to being called beautiful": I found this video on Post Secret:

Published on May 27, 2015

I conducted an independent project, which evidently turned into a social experiment halfway through, regarding beauty at my performing arts high school in Chicago. I want to clarify that my intentions were not to get a reaction out of people. I was simply filming beauty and this is the result. Here it is.

School: Chicago HS for the Arts
Class: Integrated arts :) THE BEST CLASS.
Instructors: Catarina Araujo, Natalie Chami

Music; song on the beach by Arcade Fire.
camera; rebel t5i

My opinion: It was really uplifting and made me happy.  A lot of people cracked a smile, laughed, thanked her, and says "I'm flattered" or "You're making me blush."

YouTube comments:

KamiDooM Jikan 44 minutes ago
I'm crying, i wanted someone to say it to me, but i'm to shy to leave my home, i have cronical depression and anxiety disturb. I loved your work, and i can say o love you too, for being such a wonderful person.

+KamiDooM Jikan you ARE beautiful! the fact that you are able to feel the goodness in this video, and to really appreciate the beauty in things, makes you inherently beautiful yourself!

you made me cry!! you are proof that there still is some nice people in this world!!

Suz Mancini 1 hour ago
the girl who was saying "ill cut you in the face"; alot of people are commenting saying she's a bitch... no. because i know what she means. clearly number 1, you can tell she didn't actually mean it, i would probably respond the same way. it was more of a "no one ever calls me beautiful, stop bullshitting me" kinda thing, and even though she deep down, like everyone else was like "omg thank you so much" she took it out that way, which isn't bad. she's probably gone through enough times in her life where people have called her false things such as being ugly, or jokes around with her looks enough times, so when someone like this says this and actually means it, she doesn't take it seriously. i feel her. but this vid was amazing. such a great idea, and such a great way to actually spread some positivity and love around since lately it hasn't been the greatest.... amazing job shea! <3 div="">

Dec. 22 Christmas card:

Accompanying the post is an image of the pieced together card. The inscription reads:

“Have a happy Christmas PS. Stop drinking, get help from someone. Bad things happen to good people sometimes, but how you react to these things is what defines you. You always have a choice, there are better things ahead for you but its in your hands, its your responsibility.”

The card is not addressed to anyone, and it is unsigned.

Dec. 26 A woman bank robber to normal life: This is a redemptive story:

A young woman who was recruited as a teen by her father to rob banks is slowly rebuilding her life since being released from a Texas jail this September.

"I am doing wonderful this Christmas season. I have a better life, a whole new life. I've been very blessed," Abby Catt, 21, recently told ABC News' "20/20."

Abby Catt was just 18 years old when she went on her first bank heist with her father Scott Catt and her brother Hayden Catt, then 20, in August 2012.

Abby Catt used her time behind bars to study for her GED and worked sewing patches on uniforms and hemming pants. After two years and ten months, she was released on good behavior this past October, under the condition that she remain in Texas.

She now lives with Steve and Susie Gregory, who met Abby Catt while volunteering in the jail as a sewing teacher. With the help of the Gregory's, Abby Catt got a job at a fast food restaurant.


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