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

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Toys have the power to evoke compassion"/ "Volunteering becomes a lifesaver"

Jan.17, 2017 "Toys have the power to evoke compassion": Today I found this article by Craig and Marc Kielburger in the Edmonton Journal.  I guess making toys can be deep and meaningful:

There could be more at stake in the toy aisle than we realize.

The 2016 holiday rush capped off a record year of approximately $26 billion in toy sales in the United States alone. (That’s a lot of Rogue One action figures.)

Meanwhile, toymakers have stepped up to meet demands for more diversity. Take Mattel’s Barbie line, featuring seven skin tones and more realistic body types, or Lego’s set featuring a Minifigure in a wheelchair, both released last year.

We know that research links children’s toys and media choices to their self-esteem. Characters who look more like they do, rather than imagined ideals, help kids build confidence, the foundation for leadership skills.

But here’s the kicker: Seeing toys that look like others (a different race, for instance) nurtures compassion.

If playtime is linked to self esteem, leadership and compassion, could diverse toys help create the next generation of activists?

“(Diverse) dolls give kids a more robust and healthy sense of the world and of themselves,” says Samantha Knowles, director of the award-winning documentary Why Do You Have Black Dolls?

Homogeny can have the opposite effect.

Watching TV has been proven to boost self-esteem in white boys, who identify with an assembly line of white male protagonists, but lowers self-esteem for girls and children of colour, who usually see themselves in supporting or negative roles. Kids connect with characters who look like them, even if those characters are sidelined.

But during playtime, your kid is the casting director. A toy they can identify with makes them the hero of their own story, and could overcome what we call activist’s block, the selfdiminishing excuse we hear often: “I’m just one person. What can I do?”

When you’re seven years old, an action figure modelled after you is empowering. You are less alone.

“It sends a subtle message that you matter and that what you look like matters,” Knowles says. “Someone took the time to make something in your likeness.”

Better yet, give kids a toy that looks like someone who might be unfairly represented otherwise.

Studies show that diverse dolls help kids become more empathetic and comfortable discussing not just race, but the way stigmatized groups are treated differently. This is a conversation that North America could use some help with.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘This is what race is.’ It’s a more subtle, more powerful thing to give them toys and let them learn,” Knowles says.

A kid’s toy box is his or her tool box for crafting new narratives, so it matters what you fill it with.

Any kid should be able to rehearse their first UN speech with a Barbie who shares their skin tone or imagine their Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough with a Lego scientist who shares their gender.

Toys can also help children recognize the stories they share with others who are different, and provide an imaginative space to see themselves as heroes.

Not just death-defying action heroes, but the kind of hero who has compassion — one who stands up for others.

Jan. 9, 2017 "Volunteering becomes a lifesaver": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail.  This is among a few other articles about transformation and moving beyond New Year's resolutions: 

Carl Wiese, 64, began volunteering as a meal-delivery driver for Humber Community Seniors’ Services in Toronto nearly 10 years ago. He says it saved his life.

After 17 years, my marriage fell apart. That’s when I started getting real health problems. I was so unhappy and depression took over.

I was also getting terrible irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea every day, and aches and pains all over my body. I used to go hiking in the woods, for instance, and I’d walk for 20 miles.
Now, I was at the stage where if I went a quarter of a mile, I was so sore and out of breath and tired and aching. Eventually, doctors decided that was fibromyalgia.

I had been doing a little bit of volunteering at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, but it was becoming difficult for me to get there. From my home, it was two buses and a long walk. And I just couldn’t walk any more.

I remembered my mom used to get Meals on Wheels whenever I went out of town on business. As a driving instructor, I would travel right across Canada for companies like DuPont, Kodak, Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard. One day, coming home from the wildlife centre, I saw a sign on the window at Humber Community Seniors’ Services: Meals on Wheels drivers needed. And I thought, “Gee, my mom used to love that so much, I should go and try it.”

Before I started volunteering at Humber, I had reached a point where I didn’t want to take my own life or anything, but I just wished I could just die. I was so unable to do all the things I so loved doing.

The day I went in, everything started to change. I do believe it saved my life. Two amazing things happened. The first was the emotional support. The staff there were so supportive. And going to each house delivering the meals, I started to realize, “Wow, I’m not in as bad shape as I thought I was.”

These people were inspiring me because they’re fighting their battles and doing so much to keep themselves alive. So I started thinking, “I’ve got to look after myself better.”

One of the most important things was seeing the meals I was delivering and going, “Gee, that’s not how I eat.” McDonald’s, Harvey’s, Wendy’s was a typical dinner, especially once I became single again.

So I started eating the same foods Humber serves, and boy, oh boy, each year, I got a little better and a little better. I ate more fruits, more vegetables. Now I never buy processed food, I buy fresh only. And now I’m in pretty good shape. I still have a bit of trouble walking distances or carrying anything, but it’s much better than I used to be.

In the beginning, I was only able to volunteer one or two days a week. Now I go nearly every single day. I love doing the meals and if I can’t make it, I miss it.

Mostly, it’s just the people. Meeting people, talking to people. You know, when they open their door and say, “Hi Carl, how have you been? I’ve missed you.” That makes you feel good. It makes you forget about your tummy ache and your headache.

As told to Wency Leung

My week:

Feb. 14, 2017 Work: 2 days ago my boss G at my 1st restaurant job asked if I can come on Feb. 14.  I was able to.  Today was so busy this morning and afternoon.  Then it was busy to set up for tonight because there are so many reservations.

‘Hot Mugshot Guy’ Is Actually Working — as a Runway Model: I found this on Yahoo news.

Jeremy Meeks has slowly been making his way into the fashion world since being released from prison in March 2016 after serving over a year, and Roitfeld isn’t the only fashion icon he’s met with. Meeks, who has signed with White Cross Management, spent some time with Anwar Hadid — Gigi and Bella’s younger brother — over the summer.

The comments:

Typical American pop culture ... take a thug and glorify them.

  • Goes to show you, that in the U.S.A.....crime does pay!

  • Sean C
    Sean C
    Good for him and good work to the fashion industry willing to give him a chance. I hope he is very successful in his new career. We all have skeletons, some worse than others, but if your skeletons got out wouldn't you want to be forgiven and be allowed a chance to correct your mistakes? And who would expect that the fashion industry would be the ones to embrace him? Makes you think they are not as snobbish as they appear.

    My opinion: I thought this was it kind of inspirational that he went from jail to runway.  I would say he is good looking in the face, but he has too many tattoos.

    Feb. 15, 2017 Job search complaints: I am really diving into my job search.  I need to write about it to deal with it.

    Work- at home scams: There are so many work- at- home scams, it's hard to find one that isn't.  There are Pizza 73 telemarketer jobs that you can work from home.  It's been awhile I read about a job ad like that.

    I would really avoid looking into work- at- home job ads because it's hard to find a legit one.

    Job scams: I can look for a regular admin assistant job, and I get emails to apply for some.  However, it seems kind of like scams, but not as many as work-at-home.

    I'm sure there are some of you guys who are sick of my weekly emails/ blog posts asking: "Is this a scam?"

    I'm sure you guys are saying: "Look it up on the internet first and then if you still can't tell, then ask your friends.  Don't ask your friends first."

    Job security: I have mentioned this before.

    Call Centres: They pay a couple bucks higher than min. wage, but the job security is not that good.  I got laid off from Call Centre #1 and #3.  Call Centre #6 gave me work for a few months and then I didn't get work.

    I worked at Call Centre #4 in 2010.  They dismissed me after 1 day because I didn't get enough surveys completed.  One of my friends works there last year, and she told me she didn't have any shifts for a month.

    Restaurants: It is competitive.  I was working at my 2nd restaurant job.  The manager owned 3 restaurants and she had to close one of them down last year because there weren't enough customers at that location.

    Retail: These days there isn't really a lot of job security in this, especially clothing stores.  There are so many clothing stores closing down in the last few years.

    HMV Canada closing down: I have applied there before.  I did a job interview there in 2008.  I was a very good fit for the job in my teens and early 20s.  I love music, TV, and movies.  I was really interested in entertainment.

    Now that the store is closing down, I will never be able to work there.

    However, I can't be too sad.  I like working in restaurants more.

    Bookstores: Hollie Shaw in the National Post wrote about how Indigo is going very well and HMV is closing.  Indigo is selling more than books.  They sell lots of home décor and toys.  That's why they're still here.

    2007 flashbacks: This reminds me of the summer time when I was hanging out with my friend Heather.  She said she still likes having a cd instead of listening to an iPod.

    This also reminds of Professional Writing in college.  My teacher Doug complained about how he didn't like going to a bookstore and they're selling yoga mats and potpourri.

    I'm sure some of you guys are laughing at this part.

    Jordan Axani on The Social: I wrote about him before, but I got his name wrong like Axon. 

    "Jordan Axani planned a trip with his girlfriend, but they split. He's offering his ex's tickets to any woman with his ex's name and a Canadian passport."

    I wrote about him as a look alike:

    Host: So who do you want to play you in a movie?
    A woman in the audience yells out: Matt Damon!
    The audience laughs.

    My opinion: I was going to say that.

    Axani: I was going to say Sean Connery.

    Taylor Swift look-alike: Here's another one:

    The benefits of reading: Today I'm putting up articles I cut out this from the Edmonton Journal on Jan. 27, 2017.  It was an advertisement.  However, I found a similar article on this site with the same kind things listed:

    Reading gives muscle to your memory.

    Reading improves empathy.

    Reading can encourage life goals.

    Reading about someone who overcame obstacles may motivate you to meet your own goals, Ohio State University researchers found. If you’d like a raise, following a character into the boss’s office may give you the courage to make the same request. The more you identify with a character and experience the events as if they were happening to you, the more likely you’ll be to take action.

    My opinion: I can say that about reading news articles about real people.  I do feel empathy.  Do you feel it when I send/ post those "deep and meaningful" job articles?

    Feb. 16, 2017 Restaurant job interview: This was last weekend.  It was an East Indian food restaurant.  I looked it up on the internet and saw the nice photos of the food and the restaurant.  I thought it was a place to sit and eat, and not fast food.

    A job interview is like an information interview.  I went to work in the morning and took a cab to get the location.  They were going to open a new location next month, so I had to go to this location for an interview.

    I got there and filled out an application.  It turns out it was a fast food place that was opening at a mall, but you can't tell from the website.  The restaurant I was interviewed at, was not fast food- looking.  It was very nice and not like McDonald's at all.

    They give the schedule out every 2 weeks, so I can plan my life.  I get cash tips and tips into my paycheck.

    It has been about a week, and I called the guy who interviewed me.  He told me HR was going to call me.  Looks like I didn't get hired.  That's fine.

    Feb. 17, 2017 Fit for the job: I remember this TV show Daria.  They had a TV movie called "Is it College yet?"  I found the video (4min in).  I have the DVD.  Quinn is out to dinner with her friends.

    Stacey: I know Quinn, why don't you get a job here?  There are lots of cute guys and hostesses get to dress up and wear hoopy earrings.

    I was a teenager when I saw this.  I thought that was a really good fit for Quinn.


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