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 www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Bad state of play"/ "Kids in the Hall Gala"

Sept. 24, 2016 "Bad state of play": I found this article by Ana Swanson in the Edmonton Journal today:

Danny Izquierdo, a 22-year-old who lives with his parents in Silver Spring, Md., has found little satisfaction in a series of part-time, lowwage jobs he’s held since graduating from high school.

But the video games he plays, including FIFA 16 and Rocket League on PlayStation and Pokemon Go on his smartphone, are a different story.

“When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” he said.
“With a job, it’s always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.”

My opinion: It's not always true.  I know that when I go to work, I do my job and I get paid.  Money is the reward.  At least in the 2nd restaurant job.

At the 1st restaurant job, I get tips and that can vary a bit.

Izquierdo represents a group of video-game-loving Americans who, according to new research, may help explain one of the most alarming aspects of the nation’s economic recovery: Even as the unemployment rate has fallen to low levels, an unusually large percentage of able-bodied men, particularly the young and less-educated, are either not working or not working full-time.

Most of the blame for the struggle of male, less-educated workers has been attributed to lingering weakness in the economy, particularly in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing.

Yet in the new research, economists from Princeton, the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago say an additional reason many of these young men — who don’t have a college education — are rejecting work is that they have a better alternative: living at home and enjoying video games. The decision may not even be completely conscious, but surveys suggest young men are happier for it.

“Happiness has gone up for this group, despite employment percentages having fallen, and the percentage living with parents going up. And that’s different than for any other group,” says the University of Chicago’s Erik Hurst, an economist at the Booth School of Business who helped lead the research.

While young men might temporarily enjoy a life of leisure, the implications could be troubling for them as well as the economy.

The young men aren’t gaining job experience that will better equip them to work in their 30s and 40s.

That, in turn, could lead to a lifetime of decreased wages, limited opportunities and challenges such as depression and drug use — problems the U.S. is already seeing in areas hit with heavy job losses.

At the same time, if a historically vibrant portion of the population doesn’t feel as much desire to work, this could harm the economy’s future and the ability of government to use policy to create jobs.

Young men without college degrees have replaced 75 per cent of the time they used to spend working with time on the computer, mostly playing video games, according to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, which is based on the Census Bureau’s time-use surveys.

Before the recession, from 2004 to 2007, young, unemployed men without college degrees were spending 3.4 hours per week playing video games.
By 2011 to 2014, that time had shot up to 8.6 hours per week on average.

More-educated young men have ratcheted up their gaming time, too, but they have an easier time finding good jobs, so their work hours haven’t fallen as much.
The trends are different for women, who are much more likely to go back to school after leaving the labour force.

The paper attributes one-third to one-fifth of the decline in work hours by less-educated young men to the rising use of technology for entertainment — mainly video games. The new study has not yet been published, and the researchers say they are continuing to refine the precise figures.

But other prominent economists who reviewed it for this article said it raises important questions about why so many young men have abandoned the workforce. A few decades ago, an unemployed person might be stuck on the couch watching TV, isolated and depressed.

Today, cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games in particular provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.

Young men are also helped out economically by living at home.

In the U.S., nearly two-thirds of nonworking, less-educated young men live with parents or other family members, up from about one third before the recession. For the first time since the 1930s, more U.S. men aged 18-34 are living with their parents than with romantic partners, according to the Pew Research Center.

Data from the General Social Survey, a U.S. survey of several thousand people, shows young non-college men report being happier than in the early 2000s, with the percentage of men saying they are very or pretty happy rising from 81 per cent to 88 per cent. In the same period, the reported happiness of other groups remained constant or fell.

For Izquierdo, video games provide a respite from job-market pressures. “As a young, first-generation male, there’s a lot of expectations. So it’s kind of cool to pop on a game ... and you will be rewarded for doing small tasks,” he says.
“They just make me happy.”



Oct. 24, 2016: This is kind of a sad job article.  It reminds me of The Simpsons where Homer broke his leg and opens his own daycare.

Homer: What do you expect me to do?  Sit on my ass and watch TV all day?  That ain't my style!

It totally reminded me of this email about the bad time in 2006.  I got laid off from Call Centre #1 and then got a job at Call Centre #2.  I worked like 20 hrs a week and was bored.



Kids in the Hall Gala: Today I found this article called "Two different charities, one culture of giving" by Nick Lees in the Edmonton Journal:

James Milliken, 21, from the small Saskatchewan reserve of Ahtahkakoop, drew a standing ovation Friday night after his speech at the 20th anniversary gala of the Kids in the Hall Bistro.

Milliken was one of three youngsters who told their stories and helped raise $145,000 for the non-profit charity which helps youth face barriers, including homelessness, poverty and addiction.

“I couldn’t go to school on the reserve as I always got beat up because I didn’t wear brand-name clothes and always looked poor,” Milliken told the 160 guests who dined in the City Hall lobby.

“All the money my grandmother got was spent on drugs and alcohol and my little brother. I ended up going to a white school outside the reserve and found they were kind of racist.”

He had gone to live with his grandma, along with a younger brother and sister, because his mother “wasn’t around much.”

“I eventually got into drugs and alcohol, nothing serious, just marijuana at a young age,” said Milliken. “Alcohol was always involved when things went wrong. My mom was getting sick of me getting into trouble, started talking to family in Edmonton and found me a place to stay.”

He moved here three months ago, missed his family and was very lonely. But he was sick of the reserve and knew he had to be here.
“An aunt eventually brought me to Kids in the Hall and I got my very first job,” said Milliken. “I am training to be a chef, my dream job. I love coming to work every day. And Kids in the Hall has helped me change to be a better person.

“I don’t drink as much as I used to and I have a good group of friends.”
Kids in the Hall helped him register with the Alberta Apprenticeship Program and he is now taking courses and earning hours toward his chef’s journeyman certificate.

“I sometimes get lonely for my family and want to go home to them,” said Milliken. “But I am doing this so they can be proud of me. I am proud of me.”

The two other speakers were Megan Strawberry, 23, and her sister Marianne Strawberry, 25.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Megan said she was 16 when her family broke up on the passing of her mother and she had no direction.

Four years later, she decided to leave addictions behind and get her life on track by getting a job and going back to school.

“The staff at Kids in the Hall really opened my mind to believing there are people who do care about people like me, which is exactly what most youth need,” said Megan.
“Today I am finally finishing my high school and working towards a career in both health care and social work.”

Marianne said she was 14 when she lost her mother and at 16 she was dealing with addiction, depression, panic and homelessness.

“I had no guidance and no direction until I found Kids in the Hall,” she said. “Staff gave me a chance to get high school credits and gain life skills and job experience.

“I am now in my second year of social work at school and will graduate next year.”
Meanwhile, the best-selling item that went under the hammer of auctioneer and event sponsor Sine Chadi was a 14-karat yellow-and-white-gold diamond ring. It sold for $4,800.



My opinion: That was inspirational.  I hope that people stop being lazy in the "Bad state of play" article and start looking for a job, and/ or at least people are more grateful that they didn't experience poverty and addictions.  

My week:

Oct. 24, 2016 The Walking Dead: I saw the season 7 premiere.  It was intense.  I felt really tense.  In the season 6 finale, a character got killed and the audience doesn't know who.  Here is a mild spoiler alert:  They killed 2 people. 

The Cleveland Show: Here is a light and fun joke from the show.  They had an episode where they did various versions of the show.  What if the show was Italian?  At the end of an episode it is either Rallo or Cleveland Jr. who gets shot and we don't know who.

Cleveland: Now I don't know who got shot!  I am so emotionally invested in these fictional characters.  Now I have to go on the internet forums and complain.

I have to remind myself that this is fictional, but it's still pretty intense.

However, I would rather watch fictional shows so I can say it's not real.

Unlike watching Dr. Phil and Maury, I know it's real and I get too angry and depressed.

Matt Damon on Arthur: I was going to record a TV show, and then I see the cartoon show Arthur.  I read the description that the kids were making a video for Matt Damon's TV show.  I then watched the last min. of it.  Damon plays himself and is an aardvark on the show.  I thought that was funny.  The episode was in 2007.

Oct. 26, 2016 River Cree Casino buffet: Last night and 9 of my co-workers (from the 1st restaurant job) went to the Surf n' Turf buffet there.  It's mainly seafood.  The service and food was good.  I filled out the comment card.

I've been there with my Soup place co-workers for a party on Jun. 2008 and Jun. 2009.  It's like $35.95 for an adult.

I also learned a bit of the Shuttle Service.  There's a bus that goes from the River Cree to West Edmonton mall.  It usually runs every 30min.  You should ask Front desk for a schedule.


After announcing their happy news on Facebook, the couple has been flooded with one question: How did she not know she was pregnant? Michael explained that Stephanie showed almost no signs of pregnancy due to other health problems and factors. The mom of four was diagnosed with pre-menopause, which explained the hormonal imbalance that can also be associated with pregnancy. Also, the baby was breech throughout the entire pregnancy causing Stephanie to never "show" or be able to feel the baby moving.

"The most bizarre part is she continued to have a menstrual cycle, which the hospital tells us is rare, but can happen," Michael wrote. "Lastly, Steph broke her ankle a couple of weeks ago and was laid up for the last couple of weeks limiting her movements. All of this together ruled out in our minds even the remote possibility of a pregnancy



My opinion: I saw this kind of thing on 20/20.  Also:



"Michael Kors, Kate Hudson tackle hunger": Yesterday I found this article by Aleesha Harris in the Edmonton Journal.  They are selling a Watch HungerStop activity tracker ($175) or special edition watch ($355) at Michael Kors store or online.  For each watch or tracker sold, Kors will donate 100 meals to the United Nations World Food Programme.

Oct. 27, 2016 Bethecure.ca: I saw this big ad last night.  I then see an ad again on the internet:

"Talk to your family and your doctor about participating in a clinical trial, or join a panel to help decide what we should be researching. Sign up below and you'll get email updates about new opportunities to help shape Alberta's medical future."




Job search: I know you can't exactly tell, but I did take a break from my job search.  I have read the business section of the Edmonton Journal and the Globe and Mail 6 days a week even when I wasn't looking for a job.  Now  I'm on it.

Oct. 29, 2016 Sears closing: My sister told my family about this yesterday:

The Sears outlet store at Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre will close its doors Dec. 24 because the retailer doesn’t have as many items to sell there as it did in the past, company spokesman Vincent Power says.

“It was mainly selling off-price goods that were surpluses from our catalogue channel and other retail stores,” he wrote in an email.

“However, more modern inventory management systems and capabilities have greatly reduced the amount of surplus inventory we have to sell in our outlet stores, so we do not have the (same) space requirement.”




Oct. 30, 2016: Happy Halloween!

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