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, February 28, 2017

"Companies looking to update substance-use policies"/ "Millenials become CEO for a day"

Feb. 8, 2017 "Companies looking to update substance-use policies face tricky task": Today I found this article by Brenda Bouw in the Globe and Mail:

Companies are being urged to create or update their drug and alcohol policies in light of the growing use of pot for medical purposes and the pending legalization of marijuana in Canada.

The recent incident of an allegedly impaired Sunwing Airlines pilot, who was removed from the cockpit of a plane as it was getting ready to fly out of Calgary, also served as a reminder to organizations why it’s important to have a policy on how to deal with employees who are drunk or high on the job.

“My recommendation is to have one policy which deals with the use of drugs and alcohol; the thrust of it is usually that you’re not supposed to be using or under the influence at work, and then a sub-aspect that deals with prescription medication,” says Stuart Rudner, an employment lawyer with Toronto-based Rudner MacDonald LLP.

While it’s common for companies to have drug-and-alcohol policies for employees operating heavy equipment or machinery, organizations across industries are also establishing policy to help maintain workplace productivity. Substance abuse cost the Canadian economy about $40-billion in lost productivity as far back as 2002 (the latest statistics available), according to a 2006 report published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
Since being founded more than three years ago, Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest cannabis producer, has laid out some ground rules around how employees with medical marijuana prescriptions can use the drug on the job.

Employees can’t medicate at their desks (the company has private areas for that) and they must let a supervisor know if they’re feeling unwell after medicating. Managers must also ensure the employee doesn’t operate any heavy equipment or machinery while impaired, which could put them in danger.

“For a company like ours, it goes both ways; we need to respect and encourage that the right policies are in place to allow people to medicate at work,” says Mark Zekulin, president of Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Canopy. “But we also can’t fall into the stereotypical cannabis company. There can’t be people smoking joints at the front door. As leaders, we wanted to have [the policy].”

It’s tricky for employers to balance employees’ rights and well-being, including possible addiction issues, with the company’s need to operate a safe and productive workplace.

“Employees can’t automatically be fired for showing up drunk or high at work,” Mr. Rudner says. Companies can take disciplinary action, he says, especially if employees pose a risk to themselves or others.

“Just because you don’t have a policy doesn’t mean you can’t take action, but you’re going to be in a stronger position if you have a very clear policy that has been communicated to employees,” says Mr. Rudner, who also wrote the book, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada.

Employers dealing with an employee who is drunk or high on the job need to document a conversation on the problem and outline steps that include how the employee plans to handle the issue, Mr. Rudner says. If the employee suffers from an addiction, they will need to be accommodated.

“You can’t discriminate against people who have a disability, and having a substance abuse problem is a disability,” says Jennifer Newman, a Vancouver-based workplace psychologist with Newman Psychological and Consulting Services.

Having a policy is important, but Ms. Newman says it needs to be properly communicated to employees. Managers should also receive some training on how to use it.

Niki Lundquist, a lawyer with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, says employers need to be strict with their policies, but also compassionate when dealing with employees, which includes accommodating any medical issues or addictions.

“If someone is coming to work drunk, it’s usually indicative of a pretty serious problem,” Ms. Lundquist says. “Employers should deal with these issues as we would any other kind of issue that requires us to respond in a humane way to a problem that may well be related to a disability.”

Policies should also vary depending on the workplace, Ms. Lundquist says. For instance, a company that uses heavy equipment would likely have a different, stricter policy than a technology startup.

“There isn’t one type of workplace and the result of someone being impaired is different from workplace to workplace,” Ms. Lundquist says

Feb. 24, 2017 "Millennials become CEO for a day": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail

As Nabaa Alam neared the end of his chemical engineering program at the University of Alberta, he was still unsure what path he would take following graduation.

“In previous generations, people stayed with the same company, or they kind of had a career mind-map of what they wanted to do,” said the 23-year old, who graduated last April. “When I came out of engineering, I worked a lot in the oil and gas industry, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”

Everything changed for Mr. Alam in February, 2016, when he earned the chance to shadow one of Canada’s most powerful chief executives, Dave Mowat, who leads Alberta-based financial institution and Crown corporation ATB Financial.

“Dave told me not to really focus on that career mind-map, and instead follow my passions,” Mr. Alam said, adding that Mr. Mowat advised him that, “as long as you love what you do, you’re going to succeed in the end.”

With that advice, Mr. Alam decided to organize a small campus team to answer a request from the Alberta Government calling on students to help develop sustainable energy resources in the province.

“We came up with the idea of taking canola oil and making marketable fuels such as diesel, jet fuel and gasoline,” said Mr. Alam, adding that Alberta’s government liked the idea enough to dedicate $10-million collected from the carbon levy to design a renewable-energy biofuels pilot plant. If successful, the province plans to build a larger facility in 2018 that can process 200 million litres of canola oil annually, which could save 112,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions by the year 2020.

“Dave really inspired me to take on that project, because I saw it as an opportunity to really help Alberta and Canada and the world through renewable-energy development,” Mr. Alam said.

The job-shadowing experience that paired the two was part of an annual program by executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. Now in its fourth year in Canada, the CEO-for-a-day program matches students with executives to help bridge the gap between millennials and business leaders.

“Every generation has an almost built-in resentment or criticism of the generation that follows,” said Eric Beaudan, the global head of Odgers Berndtson’s leadership practice, adding that this reflex can be counterproductive and even damaging to employer-employee relationships. “One of the statistics we better get used to is that by 2020 the global work force will be 50 per cent made up by millennials.”

As the millennial generation continues to expand within the Canadian work force, it is bound to cause major disruptions to the way workplaces have historically operated, according to Mr. Mowat.

“I think we will be less hierarchical in our organizations, and much more horizontal,” said the ATB Financial CEO. “Information is kind of king, so making information more broadly available compresses the hierarchy, lets people connect and learn and lead and be inspired and do their best work.”

Mr. Mowat adds that millennials also demand more recognition based on merit, moving away from traditional methods of advancement such as seniority and company loyalty. Another CEO participant, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge, adds that the CEO-for-a-day program is a prime example of how millennials are gaining access to information that may not have been available to previous generations.


Wendy Taylor3
2 days ago

Finally. Somebody gets that this is the best and only fit between the millennial and the company. And the best place for any millennial to start their brand new career! Signed: the Millennial's Parents.

"Signs it's time to move your office"/ Japan needs foreign workers

Jan. 6, 2017 "Signs it's time to move your office": Today I found this article by David Ciccarelli in the Globe and Mail:

There comes a time in every start-up’s life when you’ve outgrown your space. It could be because you’re hiring to explore new markets, ramp up sales or conquer technical challenges. Whatever the reason, you need to hire people. And, people need space to work from.

But when is the right time to move? Having moved our company four times over the last decade, I speak from experience.

Like getting married or having kids, there is no perfect time. There are, however, telltale signs that reveal an office move is in the best interests of the long-term sustainability of your company.

As much as it’s been said that timing is everything, I’ve discovered that you can bend time to your will. Sometimes, you simply have to find ways to make it work.

We still had four years left on our lease at our old office, but found ourselves in a tough situation when the demand for high-quality, easy-to-source voice-over talent through our business grew substantially. Over the course of one year, the company jumped 31 spots on the annual PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies (we cracked the top 100). Given our five year growth rate of 798 per cent, keeping up meant expansion into new space.

Through planning and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself, you too can capitalize on making an office move that will propel your company forward.

Let’s explore the signs that a move may be in the future.

Your company culture needs a reboot

Culture consists of shared values, a common language, stated expectations and tangible artifacts.

As team members have come and gone, perhaps new values have emerged. Certainly the language has matured and you’ve become clear about your market, your product and the real-world problems you solve.

It’s possible, too, that other behaviours have emerged; many positive, such as increased collaborative time and idea generation, recognizing that unwanted behaviours such as overbooked meeting rooms, unkempt kitchens and visible signs of degradation may have crept in.

We found it helpful to include all employees in a number of workshops, surveys and company-wide meetings to dream big about what our new office could be.

We took care to identify the best attributes of our culture and how we could amplify those characteristics through space planning, office design and supporting tools and technologies. Likewise, we named the elephants in the room, all those unwanted patterns of behaviour.

For instance, there was only a single meeting room with a TV where presentations could be given – for an office of 100 employees. Sure, there were other meeting rooms, but they lacked the required technology to enable effective meetings. This caused unnecessary rescheduling of meetings and lost productivity.

A fresh start shouldn’t be wasted. Be purposeful about beginning anew by articulating expectations for booking meeting rooms, eating lunches, inviting guests into the office, handling on-premise security and more.

Examine your organization to see if it’s time to reboot the culture and use an office move as the catalyst for living out the best of what your company has to offer.

There is no greater reset than an office move. With such change, new habits can be formed and with a little guidance from management, the team will be working harmoniously once again.

Your lease is about to expire

Many entrepreneurs use the expiry and possible renewal of a lease as a prompt to consider other options. Do you know when your lease expires? Check now, as it may be sooner than you think.

If your lease expires in the next 18 months, that’s great. Finding the right spot, space planning, renovating, and moving is a huge undertaking that will require no less than a year.

You’ve been made an offer you can’t refuse

If, on the other hand, you have more than a year or so, don’t let that deter you. It’s possible to successfully negotiate your way out of an old lease and into a generous new situation.
A favourable deal, and items you should add to your wish list include:
  • Limited Term: Avoid getting locked in for longer than necessary. Negotiate for a short term, recognizing you’re unlikely to find landlords offering commercial leases for less than five years in most metropolitan areas. Ten years is reasonable and if possible, include an early termination clause.

  • Leasehold improvements: Inevitably, you’ll want to renovate the space. It could be refreshing the bathrooms, modernizing meeting rooms or knocking down a few walls to open up the space. Whatever your vision, these types of renovations are costly. Insist that your lease includes an allowance for improvements.

  • Parking: For rural or suburban offices, parking is less of an issue. However, downtown office space comes with high costs for parking. While many companies pass these costs onto employees, some firms subsidize monthly parking or even cover the costs entirely. If there’s parking in the building, ask for 3-4 spots per 1,000 square feet. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • Signage: There’s a proverb that states that a good name is better than great riches. How true. And, how much more if the residents of your city can see your company’s name on signage at street level or in the city’s skyline. Building signage is an opportunity for the landlord to earn passive income, so anticipate paying for naming rights. At a minimum, ensure that you get some exterior signage that’s easily visible from the street. Should your finances permit, invest in an illuminated sign so it can be seen day or night, advertising your business for you.
With your wish list in hand, you may just find a progressive landlord who is willing and able to meet all your needs – and then some.

You’ve used up every nook and cranny

I recently met with an entrepreneur who gave up his private office to house a team of web developers. That’s not uncommon. In the past, we’ve seen boardrooms and meeting rooms taken over by desks, but there’s a limit.

When you’ve doubled up private offices so each 10-by-10 space is home to two employees, when there are no more meetings rooms left for meetings, and when all the desk space is occupied, it’s time.

For some, this level of proximity is stimulating and can improve communication among team members. There will, however, be a tipping point, a point where people are crammed in too tightly and personal space is non-existent.

What does this look like? Pushing back your chair and bumping into the employee behind you could reveal that workstations are too close. Walkways should be 4-feet wide. As you’ve grown, I bet some creative space planner pitched the idea of moving all the rows closer together by a few inches. Next thing you know, you’re walking down aisles or sitting at a desk that is uncomfortably tight.

Not sure if it’s too tight? Ask around, or conduct a formal poll using Google Surveys or Survey Monkey. Get the right insight needed to make an important decision straight from your employees.

You’re spread across multiple floors, or multiple buildings

Years ago, you found what the ideal situation. Perhaps a few thousand square feet to start and, over time, your company began to grow.

“We can meet the product launch deadline, but we will need more developers,” said your head of engineering. You complied. Your vice-president of sales said “we can hit those sales targets with the support of a business development team,” and new roles were created.

Soon, you had sales and marketing on one floor, and the development team elsewhere in the same building. Now, you’re considering relocating the finance and operations personnel to a third floor.

Doesn’t seem so bad, does it? The Harvard Business Review recently published an article highlighting research by Gina Venolia , a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, which validated a common belief that employees located on different floors felt as if they were in different cities. Employees who were more than 1,000 feet away, might as well be 1,000 miles away.

It’s reasonable to see how this could happen. You take the elevator up to your floor, get off and don’t interact with people on other floors. Days turn into weeks and then you realize at your quarterly town hall that it’s been three months since you’ve connected with staff from other departments.

Aim to consolidate your square footage into a single floorplate. We recently moved from 20,000 square feet across two floors (inconveniently with a floor between the two) to a new office where the entire company is housed on a single 45,000-square-foot floor plate. Now that everyone is on the same floor, face-to-face communication, informal chats and impromptu greetings have increased by 400 per cent.

When done right, moving out can be your way to move up

As an entreprepreneur, you exhibit persistence and should use this quality. You may be pleasantly surprised that doors of opportunity open right in front of you.

David Ciccarelli is CEO and founder of

Feb. 27, 2017 "Immigrant -averse Japan finds itself in need of foreign workers": Today I found this article by Isabel Reynolds:

Japan’s aging population is leading to projections of a dire shortage of labour in the world’s third-largest economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made clear opening the country to permanent immigration by unskilled labour isn’t an option, reflecting a historic fear among the Japanese people foreigners would cause social unrest and erode national identity. But opportunities are growing for overseas workers in a country where more than a quarter of the population is 65 or older.

1. How bad is the labour shortage?

Japan’s population peaked in 2008 and the number of workers is expected to decline to 56 million in 2030 from 64 million in 2014, according to a governmentbacked think tank. A Manpower survey found 86 per cent of Japanese employers reported having difficulty filling vacancies in 2016, more than any other country surveyed. Japan has one of the lowest unemployment rates among developed countries at 3.1 per cent, and that’s forecast to drop.

2. How has Japan tackled the issue so far?

Mr. Abe has called for women and seniors to pitch in. Workforce participation is rising among both groups, but not enough to cover the shortage. Women often struggle to find child care or elderly care. Japan is also increasingly turning to a labour source seen as a threat in many industrialized countries: robots. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is among those who have called for more skilled foreign labour.

3. Why the reluctance to accept more foreign workers?

While public opinion polls show varying attitudes to immigration, analysts cite a concern foreigners would drive up Japan’s very low crime rates. A so-called internship program, which employs about 210,000 people mostly from China, has repeatedly been criticized by the U.S. State Department as a form of forced labour.

"It's a stressful world; don't let it burn you out"

Apr. 5, 2015 "It's a stressful world; don't let it burn you out": I cut out this article by Rhonda Rabow in the Edmonton Journal on May 2, 2011.  There are some helpful tips to lower stress.  Here's the whole article:

Time-related stress has been rising dramatically since the 1990s. As far back as 1998, the last time Statistics Canada did a survey on the topic, 38 per cent of working mothers said they were "severely time stressed," putting in 74 hours a week of paid and unpaid work.

We can only imagine how much the percentage has increased since then.

Adverse health effects have been linked to long working hours, too, including markedly increased rates of depression, smoking, weight gain and alcohol consumption, and decreased levels of physical activity. This comes from a StatsCan study done in 1999 (again, the most recent information it has). That study showed long work hours carry increased risks of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Those numbers, also, have only increased over time.

With unemployment rising, and an unstable employment market, few of us have the freedom to say "no" to longer hours and increased work duties. But we also must consider the cost or consequences of accepting the demands made on us. What is the tipping point that will send us into burnout?

The average working mother is stressed and overwhelmed at work, and then feels guilty she isn’t doing enough for her family, leaving her feeling discouraged and sometimes depressed. Some of the most frequent problems I encounter in my practice — after couples’ issues — are burnout and depression. It is most often the hard-working women who pride themselves on doing a good job, who have difficulty delegating and saying no, who want to please and do everything perfectly, who end up on this list.

Burnout occurs when a person feels overwhelmed by work and/or social circumstances and is unable to cope due to high levels of stress and emotional and physical exhaustion.

Who is at risk of burnout?

- People who are dealing with a stressful environment on a daily basis, expected to fulfil certain objectives and under pressure because of time limits, financial or employer constraints.

- People whose jobs have become too demanding and who are feeling that they are not being recognized and appreciated for their efforts.

- People who have very high standards. Their belief system holds that anything less than perfection is not acceptable, so you can imagine the pressure and stress it puts upon them to manage life and its challenges.

Know anyone like this?

What are the symptoms of burnout?

- State of mind: Forgetful-ness, lack of concentration, moody, feeling sad, fatigue, poor short-term memory, impatience, feeling rushed, easily frustrated, becoming more aggressive, isolating yourself, negative outlook on life, feeling empty, lack of energy, making more mistakes at work, difficulty getting to work on time.

- Physical symptoms: headaches, pain in back and shoulders, inability to sleep, lowered immunity to colds.

StatsCan reports 43 per cent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Seventy-five to 95 per cent of all doctor visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

What are effective ways of dealing with stress?

- Know your stress triggers: Keep a feeling and behaviour diary where you can jot down the times you are feeling exhausted, powerless or out of control. This can help you pinpoint patterns of feelings, and then you can find tools to help deal with them before they overwhelm you.

- Monitor your self-talk. The average person thinks 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. How often do you have negative self-talk? Catch yourself and then find outlets and tools to distract yourself from these thoughts, focus on your present and write a list of the things you appreciate in your life today.

- Have a buddy system. Call each other when stress rears its head. You’ll feel less alone, more accepted and it will help you relax if you know you are being supported.

- Work on changing your expectations. Move from perfectionism to "it’s good enough."

- Learn to delegate. Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of good time management. There are people who are able and willing to help, but sometimes you have to just ask.

- Take a deep breath and count to 10, s-l-o-w-l-y.

- Focus on the solutions, not the problems. We all have stuff to do and there will always be more, and that’s OK. Put your energy into finding the solutions.

- Ask yourself: "How important will this be in five years?"

- Take regular breaks.

- Get counselling. Speak to a solution-focused professional who can teach you the tools you need to manage your specific stress effectively.

- Meditate or listen to guided visualizations.

- Speak to your boss and ask for a clear understanding of your work duties and task priorities.

- Other stress-management techniques include exercise, good diet, sleeping well and social interaction with positive-minded friends.

Does it take time and effort to follow through on these stress management strategies?

Absolutely! See it as an investment in yourself and in your future. You see the dentist and the doctor for prevention, don’t you? Surely, your teeth and body are not more valuable than your mental health? It’s a small cost to pay to avoid burnout, but the choice is always yours.

Rhonda Rabow is a Montreal psychotherapist. For more information, visit her website:

"Take care of yourself first": I cut out this article by Ted Hagen R.N.Judi Light HopsonEmma H. Hopson Ph.D. on Dec. 28, 2010.  Here's the whole article:
Do you have a major problem to fix in the coming year?

Maybe one of your New Year’s Resolutions it to find a job. Or, have you vowed to get over a painful divorce and start dating?

Large goals such as these might seem daunting, especially if you’ve tried to chisel them down to size with no luck.

Most of us get angry with ourselves when we can’t lick a formidable problem. We beat ourselves up because we pride ourselves on getting things done.

“One of the biggest reasons my clients are depressed during the holidays,” says a psychologist we’ll call Paula, “is that they didn’t clear up their most irksome problems over the year.”

Paula goes on to say that relationship issues worry her patients a lot. Some feel very unhappy because they aren’t married yet. Others, on the other hand, feel trapped in a bad relationship.

“I tell my patients to start taking steps to focus healthier attention on themselves,” says Paula. “When we do something great for ourselves, everything around us will start to change.”

Paula believes discouraged people who take steps to feel their best will get control of their lives. They will make better choices.

“When you feel good about yourself, you will attract good people and better opportunities into your life,” she insists.

Here are some of her tips:

Work on your personal appearance. Making small changes every week will add up. Take time to put together nice clothes or go to the gym.

Keep a balanced schedule to lower stress. Plan appropriate work, exercise and fun. Write out a daily schedule and stick to it.

Find-tune your finances. Figure out how to spend more wisely and save money to pay down debt. When you control money issues, you will definitely have more control over your life.

A man we’ll call Michael lost his job and house in recent months. He agrees with Paula that self-care is a great starting point to recovery.

“My financial world came crashing down,” says Michael. “This past year was a nightmare year for me. I lost my job in January, and my house was in foreclosure by November.”

Michael’s problems began when he helped his grown son in numerous ways financially.

“I bailed my son out of a shaky business venture,” Michael told us. “He saved his business, but it wiped out my life savings.”

One of Michael’s goals is to get his emotional health back. At 54, he has no retirement savings and a host of other problems.

We sat down with Michael to advise him to practice good self-care over the coming months. He is slowly putting together a financial recovery plan, and he’s found a good job.

One of his first goals is to visit the gym every day. Michael says a gym membership is a significant expense, but it’s important for his emotional wellness.

“I want to get in shape physically, so I’ll feel like giving 100 percent every day,” he says.

Michael doesn’t want to waste time feeling sorry for himself. His goal is to move forward with a brand new life plan.

“I think any setback should make us think about good changes,” says Michael. “I was not that happy with the large mortgage and big house I lost. I want to live in a more nonmaterialistic way and look after my overall well-being.”

Michael sums up his philosophy for the coming months this way: “If I stop beating myself up for my losses, I’ll have all that energy to use more productively. If I take care of me, I’ll feel strong enough to meet any challenge head on.”

My week:

This week has been crazy busy at my restaurant.  It was the Family Day long weekend and the Garth Brooks concerts have been bringing in tourists.

Sat. Feb. 18: Busy.
Sun. Feb. 19: Busy.  At least I didn't have to work the afternoon.
Mon. Feb. 20: Busy.  We were only open in the morning.  I knew there was a high chance my manager G was going to call me to work on Tues. and she did.

Tues. Feb. 21: Busy.
Wed. Feb. 22: Busy. I didn't look for a job for the last 4 days so I put an hr into my job search.
Thurs. Feb. 23: Not as busy as yesterday. I only worked in the morning.

Fri. Feb. 24: My day off. 

I have worked so much, that it cut down my internet time.  I also haven't read the business section of the newspaper from Mon.-Thurs.

Lindsay Lohan racially profiled: I never thought I would say this, but Lohan has something important to say about religion:

Lindsay Lohan has claimed she was “racially profiled” at London Heathrow airport while wearing a headscarf.

The actor said security ordered her to remove her scarf while queuing up for a flight to New York, having recently returned from Turkey.

The 30-year-old said the airport worker apologised as soon as she saw the name “Lindsay Lohan” in her passport.

“I was wearing a headscarf and I got stopped at the airport and racially profiled for the first time in my life,” she said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday.

“She opened my passport and saw ‘Lindsay Lohan’ and started immediately apologising but then said, ‘Please take off your head scarf.’”

“And I did. I mean, it's okay,” she continued. “But what scared me was, is that moment, how would another woman who doesn't feel comfortable taking off her headscarf feel? That was really interesting to me. I mean, I was kind of in shock.”

Feb. 25, 2017 Jimmy Fallon donates money to old school:

NEW YORK -- Jimmy Fallon has donated $100,000 to help fund the art program at the high school he attended, with some of the money going toward the school's TV studio.

The host of NBC's "Tonight Show" is a 1992 graduate of Saugerties High School in upstate New York. Fallon tells The Associated Press in a statement that he's glad to be able to give something back. He adds: "And if anyone there wants to return the favour with a statue of me or something, I'm totally cool with that, too."

While there's no word on a statue, district Superintendent Seth Turner thanked Fallon for the gift and joked that he's willing to completely eliminate Fallon's disciplinary record in return.

TV shows: The highlights of my week, besides work.  I don't know if you guys notice this, but I hardly ever write about TV shows for the last couple of months.

Timeless: I saw the season finale.  It was really good.  There are 16 episodes.  I heard it got 13 episodes and got a 3 episode extension.  The finale solved all the problems and storylines, but there was still an opening for next season. 

If there is a season 2, I would watch it.  It's like "edu- tainment."  It's educational and entertaining.  I learned about history and it's entertaining with the action, drama, and comedy.

When the show first came out, I thought I was only going to watch the pilot and never watch it again.  However, I decided to watch the 2nd episode to see if I should watch the rest of the season.  It was good.  I decided to then record all the episodes.  You should watch the pilot to see if you would like it or not.

"An unlikely trio travel through time in order to battle unknown criminals and protect history as we know it."

Cardinal: This is a Canadian TV show on CTV.  It's only 6 episodes and I have been watching it every week.  This is a crime drama.

"Cardinal struggles to right past wrongs that could derail his investigation and end his career, as the case grows more violent and twisted, and the clock ticks down on the killer's next victim."

Mary Kills People: This is a Canadian TV show on Global.  There are 6 episodes and I only watched the pilot. I recorded the other episodes and will watch it all in one week.

"A single mother Mary Harris, an ER doctor by day, but by night, she and her partner, a former plastic surgeon, moonlight as underground angels of death and help terminally ill patients slip away on their own terms."

Pure: This is a Canadian TV show on CBC.  There are 6 episodes and I only watched the pilot. I recorded the other episodes and will watch it all in one week.

"PURE tells the story of Noah Funk, a newly-elected Mennonite pastor, who is determined to rid his community of drug traffickers by betraying a fellow Mennonite to the police."

Bellevue: I saw the pilot.  It was good and all, but I don't want to watch it again:

Thrilling and eerie, Bellevue is a mystery set in a small blue-collar town with a lot of 'good people' who 'live right' and take it upon themselves to make sure the neighbours do too. Driving the series is Detective Annie Ryder (Anna Paquin), a cop whose intense and brazen personality has always been at odds with her hometown. When a transgender teen goes missing, Annie dives in to unravel the disappearance that suggests foul play, despite finding herself in a difficult position as she must cast suspicion on people she has known all her life. As the case pulls her further away from her family, she is also confronted by a mysterious person from her past with disturbing answers and a terrifying need to get inside her head. -

Written by Muse Entertainment &; Back Alley Film Productions

This is how you make Canadian TV shows succeed:

1. Put them in mid- season (Jan. or Feb)

Or spring (Mar. or Apr.)

Or summer (May or June).

2. Only make a small number of episodes like 6.

Some shows make like 10-13 episodes.

The Blacklist: Redemption: I watched the pilot today.  It was good, but I won't watch it again.

I have watched The Blacklist pilot before and wrote a review about it on my blog.  I never watched the show again.

The Blacklist TV show review

"Covert operative Tom Keen joins forces with Susan "Scottie" Hargrave, the brilliant and cunning chief of a covert mercenary organization that solves problems that are too dangerous for the government."

Feb. 26, 2017 Bill Paxton's death: I saw him on the show Big Love (1st season) and then I did watch the Training Day pilot.  I liked the pilot, but not enough to watch another episode.

I was shocked when I learned he died at 61 due to complications from surgery:

Paxton’s son was recently tapped to join the actor in his new CBS drama.

“I was thrilled to have my son guest-star on the eighth episode of Training Day,” Paxton told PEOPLE earlier this month. “He plays the son in a father-son robbery team, and my character, whose dad was also a criminal, tells him, ‘We’re both our father’s sons, but that doesn’t have to define us.’ It was surreal saying that to him.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

medical lab assistant/ medical transcriptionists

Feb. 17, 2017: I am still looking for a deep and meaningful job.  How about a job in the medical field that is not too hard:

Medical lab assistant: This is at NAIT, and it seems pretty hard to get in:

Entrance Requirements

Academic Requirements

60% in each of:
  • Grade 12 English
  • Pure Math 10 or Math 10C or Applied Math 20 or Math 20-2
  • Chemistry 20
  • Biology 20
NAIT's MTH20T Academic Upgrading course is recognized in lieu of Math 20-2.
View the English Language Proficiency Requirements for the Program: NAIT | English Language Proficiency

Non-Academic Requirements

  • Interview - Selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.

  • Online Career Assessment - An assessment of the applicant's knowledge of the program/profession which must be written prior to the interview process. To maximize the Career Assessment score, it is highly recommended that all applicants tour one or two medical laboratories or talk to a Medical Laboratory Assistant.

  • Immunization Requirements - Students are required to be immunized against vaccine preventable diseases, as determined by Alberta Health. After acceptance into the program, students will be given further information on immunization requirements. Failure to meet the Police Information Check, immunization and tuberculosis testing requirements may result in denial of access to clinical training.

  • Police Information Check - Students are required to provide a current Police Information Check (also referred to as a Security Clearance or Criminal Record Check) which must include a Vulnerable Sector Search. Please do not proceed with the Police Information Check until an offer of acceptance and follow-up instructions have been issued by the program. The Police Information Check is only considered valid when reviewed by a NAIT official within 90 days of completion.

  • Biosafety Course Requirement - Biosafety is mandatory for all students in the MLA program to ensure compliance with the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. A biosafety course will be delivered online using Moodle. Students will be directed on deadlines and completion requirements during program specific orientation. If course requirements are not met, access to designated labs may be denied.

  • Computer Skills - Applicants must complete a keyboarding assessment at a net minimum of 30 words per minute with 90% accuracy. It is the student's responsibility to ensure they possess basic computer skills for success in the program. Effective October 1, 2016, all new keyboarding test assessments will have an expiry date of 1 year from the date of assessment. We are honoring assessments submitted for previous academic years. Please click here for instructions.
Student Selection Process and Criteria

Student selection is competitive and based on criteria that may include academic achievement beyond the stated minimum prerequisites. Applicants with prior NAIT Health Sciences credentials may be given special consideration for the interview shortlist. The selection process is based on:
  • Phase 1 - Academic entrance requirements are reviewed by the Office of the Registrar and applicants are shortlisted for interviews. Last year, applicants successful in receiving an interview had a minimum average of 79.5%.

  • Phase 2 - Shortlisted applicants are interviewed and ranked. Final student selection ranking is based on:
Academics - 40%
Interview - 40%
Career Assessment - 20%

Feb. 22, 2017 X-ray technician:

Entrance Requirements

Academic Requirements

60% in each of
  • English 30-1
  • Pure Math 30 or Math 30-1 or 30-2
  • Chemistry 30
  • Biology 30
5 or more credits of post-secondary Human Anatomy and Physiology completed within 5 years of the application deadline with a final grade of 60% or greater. The NAIT course that meets this prerequisite requirement is ANPH100 Anatomy and Physiology.

Medical Laboratory Technologist:

As part of the health-care team, the Medical Laboratory Technologist performs a large variety of laboratory tests and procedures to assist physicians in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

Medical Laboratory Technology focuses on the analysis of human blood and body fluids for microorganisms, cellular and chemical components. Preparation of tissue samples for microscopic examination is also covered.

My opinion: That's pretty hard.

Medical transcriptionists: are healthcare documentation specialists who primarily edit dictated medical reports. The use of electronic medical record and voice-recognition technology has increased the importance of ensuring the accuracy of a patient’s medical documentation as more medical professionals access and rely on this record.

Transcriptionists play a vital role as part of the medical team.

My opinion: This maybe the only program that seems deep and meaningful, and that I actually have the aptitude for.

I should go in for a "Student for a day" to see what the program's like.

"Let's put an end to door-to-door selling"/ business trends

Nov. 14, 2016 "Let's put an end to door-to-door selling": Today I found this article by Rob Carrick in the Globe and Mail:

They say in the sales world that the pitch doesn’t really begin until the customer says no.

For door-to-door sales, that’s wrong. Tell the person at your door that you’re saying “no thanks” to his or her sales pitch and the whole concept of door-to-door sales. There’s no coming back from that.

It’s time we all agreed that serious business cannot possibly be conducted on a door-to-door basis. When you open your front door to a salesperson, end the conversation quickly and politely by saying you don’t make serious financial decisions while standing on your doorstep.

There’s a high correlation between door-to-door selling and scamming. That’s why the province of Ontario recently proposed new rules that would make it possible to ban unsolicited door-to-door sales of certain household appliances, including water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters.

Veteran CTV consumer-issues reporter Pat Foran says door-to-door marketers are well paid to secure long-term rental contracts, and that leads to a lot of “deception” at the door. “It’s a huge complaint I deal with on almost a daily basis,” he said in an e-mail.

A door-to-door scam seen this year in Ottawa, where I live, hinges on false claims being made about the city’s drinking water in order to sell water-filtration equipment. In Calgary, door-to-door sales people have run a scam in which they claim to be building inspectors who need to look at a home’s furnace. The “inspectors” then find problems with the furnace and aggressively try to sell a replacement.

Not all D2D commerce means a scam risk. The guys who want to seal your driveway or the university students offering to aerate your lawn are just selling a service, and it might be one you want and need. But purchases of any size, let’s say $100-plus, are best made when you take time to consider your options.

In today’s world of widely available online consumer information, the idea of making a major purchase such as a furnace or air conditioner at the front door is a joke. If you need a furnace, invite a few heating and cooling companies to give you a quote and then research the brands they sell to see how reliable and effective they are.

Some might say that cutting off door-to-door salespeople is a sign of how we’re evolving into a society of hermits. We prefer to engage with people via social media and have no interest in opening our front door for a chat with a friendly salesperson. In fact, door-to-door sales have a much worse impact on our sociability than Facebook, Twitter and such.

We now have a generation of homeowners who never answer the door for fear of getting trapped in a conversation with someone selling weed control, water purifiers and even financial advice. Not too long ago, a young man knocked on our front door in search of prospective clients for an investment adviser working for one of the big banks in Ottawa (gross, I know). Get rid of these sellers and we’re all free to answer our door again.

Door-to-door sales began more than 100 years ago with the likes of the Fuller Brush Co., which did a brisk business in selling brushes and other household products. The reason this sales method has survived into the Amazon age of e-commerce is that it works.

Effective salespeople can still get people to buy things in a face-to-face setting. They use sales techniques such as being enthusiastic, making eye contact and asking questions to draw customers out. If you answer the door to a sales person, don’t engage. If they ask why your answer is no, don’t elaborate.

Charities are the grey area in door-to-door sales. The Canadian Cancer Society says canvassing of homes is one of its oldest and largest fundraising efforts, and other legitimate charities also use this method of raising money. Yet our front door has been knocked on by people raising money for sketchy-seeming charities that can’t even produce a brochure explaining what they do.

Follow your gut and your heart when considering a door-to-door appeal for charitable giving. Door-to-door selling of products and services is dead, though. Reputable companies don’t make pests of themselves trying to sell you their products.

Feb. 15, 2017 "The top tech trends that will influence businesses in 2017": Today I found this article by Jeff Cates in the Globe and Mail:

With the start of the New Year, most savvy leaders make sure to carve out time for reflection and taking stock of their business. During this time, it’s equally important to look ahead and identify the upcoming trends likely to impact how you position your company for success.

Customers expect organizations to be at the forefront of innovation, regardless of the products or service they provide. If you’re not looking towards emerging technologies in the pipeline, you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity to drive your business forward, even if you don’t consider yourself a tech company. These days, all companies will be significantly impacted.

It can be daunting to sift through the buzzwords and identify what tech innovations show the greatest potential to transform the business landscape and empower leaders to operate more effectively.

Here are the top three emerging tech trends I think are mostly likely to impact businesses in 2017 and how leaders can harness them to get ahead in the coming year.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) which focuses on the creation of computer programs that can teach themselves to evolve and grow when exposed to new data. Machine learning processes use large-scale data sets to predict customer behavior and provide personalized promotions or recommendations to consumers based on this information. Coupled with the global explosion of social networks in recent years, there has never been more data available right at your fingertips.

While leveraging machine learning for AI assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa is an obvious application, you don’t need to be a consumer tech or robotics company to apply it to strategic business decisions. Over the holidays, my family and I spent some quailty time with Alexa and Hey Google and were amazed at how quickly having an always-on AI became our go-to for questions and simple tasks like playing music.

This bleeding-edge process is an example of “working smarter, not harder” at its finest and is the trend I’m personally most excited about. With machine learning software-as-a-service companies can build a connected platform of data to provide a tailored intelligent service, giving their customers more of what they want and spending less time doing it.

As more users join our QuickBooks Online ecosystem, our platform of connected data continues to expand, driving our ability to leverage machine learning. This growing community will make our ecosystem work harder and enable our customers to operate more efficiently and strategically. Ultimately, our vision is to harness this data to create an artificially intelligent strategic advisor for your business.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality has been a trend to watch for a while now, but with the recent launch of consumer VR headsets like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR, coupled with entry-level mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear, VR is more accessible to users than ever before. In fact, according to a recent study by IDC, spending on AR and VR in Canada is expected to hit $500-million (U.S. in 2017.

So how can businesses start integrating VR into their operations? If you think immersive experiences just impact gaming, think again. From advertising to tourism to healthcare and beyond, the usage cases for VR are nearly limitless. It’s changing the way businesses interact with consumers, empowering brands to draw in audiences like never before. One of my favourite examples of VR done well is TOM’S “Virtual Giving Trip” this year.

For companies with remote workers, virtual reality will also be a powerful tool to keep colleagues connected. In fact, Oculus is already pushing for a more social environment on VR with its Oculus Avatar feature, allowing users to create a digital version of themselves and interact with their connections from anywhere in the world.

Blockchain technology

Best known as the technology underpinning the bitcoin digital currency, blockchain has implications for business way beyond crypto-currencies. Blockchain is an extensive globally-distributed database running on millions of computing devices and open to anyone, where not just information but anything of value can be exchanged and stored securely.

The financial services industry has been the first to take advantage of this new technology. Where trades are typically confirmed by a central clearinghouse that maintains its own central ledger, blockchain architecture removes this middleman from transactions, eliminating added fees and wasted time.

In the last year, more than 40 financial institutions reported working with blockchain technology, and it’s starting to gain momentum across a variety of industries. For example, Mycelia, a new “collective of creatives, professionals and lovers of music,” has developed songs with smart contracts built in, allowing artists to sell directly to consumers without going through an intermediary like a record label or music streaming company.

Today’s blistering pace of technological change provides business leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to build new efficiencies into their business models and reach their audiences in creative, compelling new ways. We’re sure to see some incredible innovations come of age in 2017. Getting ahead of these trends now can position your company to lead the market for years to come.