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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

anger management/ The Year of/ lessons

Jan. 19 Anger management: Lynda Albertson sent me the article "30 Blogs with the Best Self Help Advice."  One section was "Controlling your Temper."

Arguments: Here's the blog article "Anger management self- help- what are 'arguments' really about?"  The 1st part of it was "Repression creates obsession."  This line stood out for me: "Arguing becomes like a drug addiction, and like all addictions, its self-destructive in the end."

The 2nd part is "How not to get sucked into an argument."  It compares arguments like a sneeze.  Let it out and it feels good.  It also has a pic "Anger is one letter short of Danger."  I have heard of that from 20/20.

The 3rd part is "Release your anger in private, then approach the other."  It says scream in a pillow and then tell the person sincerely of your feelings.  Most of the time, they don't know how you feel.

The conclusion is: "Anger management self help is simply coming to see what really is behind anger, NOT how to control anger. Thinking we can control life is how we got into this need for anger management self help in the first place! "

It gives tips like if something you don't like occurs, say it respectfully and promptly.  Release your repressed feelings and then tell the person about it.

8 tips: I read "8 Simple Anger Management Tips."

#1: "Will the object of my anger matter ten years from now?"
#2: "What is the worst consequence of the object of my anger?"  If a driver cuts in front of you, you made your trip a little bit longer.

#3: "Imagine yourself doing the same thing."  You may have cut in front a driver too.
#4: "Did that person do this to me on purpose?"

#5: Try counting to ten before saying anything.
#6: Counting to ten, but with deep breaths from the diaphragm.

#7: Pace your numbers as you count like: " 'One-chocolate-ice-cream-two-chocolate-ice-cream', or use something else that you find either pleasant or humorous."
#8: Imagine a calm experience.

Jan. 24 I read this article "Anger management: How to control anger?"  It has these 10 questions, and if you click on it, there are the answers.

The answers are kind of New Age.  It's good, like the answer to the first question:

Questioner : Would it not be considered cowardly to remain silent when someone insults you?
Dadashri : Not at all, to bear an insult is a sign of great strength. If someone were to swear at me right now, I would not have a single negative thought towards him. That is strength.

Here's the answer to #6:

"Some people ask how they can get rid of their anger. When they tell me that they try to suppress it, I ask them whether they are trying to suppress it before or after they understand it. I tell them that they must understand anger first, because anger and peace coexist. If one fails to understand anger and tries to suppress it, he may be suppressing peace instead, so peace will die."

  1. Is anger a weakness or strength ?
  2. What is Anger ? Why is anger dangerous ?
  3. Why do people get angry?
  4. What is sulking ?
  5. How can we improve our anger issues ?
  6. I am tired being angry.How to get rid of anger ?
  7. How to remove anger from your life ?
  8. How to manage anger in relationship?
  9. How can I control my anger ?
  10. Do you want freedom from anger ?- Acquire Self Realization!

10 tips: I read "Anger management: 10 Tips to Tame your Anger."

1. Take a timeout.
2. Once you're calm, express your anger.
3. Get some exercise.
4. Think before you speak.
5. Identify possible solutions.

6. Stick with 'I' statements.
7. Don't hold a grudge.
8. Use humor to release tension.
9. Practice relaxation skills.
10. Know when to seek help.

Most of these tips are like "in the moment you're angry."  I like #5 because it's about what happens afterwards and not a lot of people focus on the solutions.

#7 did say: "It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times."

#10 did go into more details about anger management counseling:
  • Learn what anger is
  • Identify what triggers your anger
  • Recognize signs that you're becoming angry
  • Learn to respond to frustration and anger in a controlled, healthy way
  • Explore underlying feelings, such as sadness or depression

Anger management tips:
I read the article "Self-help and anger management counseling."  This is a longer article. 

"On one end of the scale 'anger' gets you out of bed.  Somewhere in the middle it helps you achieve the seemingly impossible.  On the other end of the scale it kills."

There is a section called "Why are you so angry?"  It then asks some good probing questions that makes you really think.

The Year of: Let's do a flashback of 2006: The Year of Anger Management.  I was 20 yrs old.  Prior to it, I did kind of like to get my hate on by watching Maury's paternity tests.  I like watching the women say that this guy is the father and the guy denying it.  Then the results come and he is the father.  I like to see the women say: "In your face!  You are the father!"

In 2005, I was starting to get sick of the show and how it's a waste of time.  So I finally quit that show, and some other trashy TV shows I watched casually like Blind Date and Cops.

Then in 2006, I got laid off from my Call Centre #1 job.  It was the 4th job I ever had, and it was my favorite job ever where I get to call people to do surveys.  The company closed down and laid all of us off.  I was very angry about it.

I tried to focus on the positive like how I was going to go take Professional Writing in the fall.  I was living with my parents and wasn't struggling for money.  I got a job within a week of being unemployed and worked at the Office Supply store. 

I kept watching Dr. Phil though so I can direct my anger at the show, but it actually made it worse.  I had to quit after the season was over.  I was really addicted to that show.

I was mainly working at the Office Supply store to bide my time until I got hired at Call Centre #2.  I worked at the store for a month, and then quit to work at Call Centre #2.

I thought my anger would subside if I got another Call Centre job with a lot of people from Call Centre #1 working there too.  It was the same hours, and higher pay with $1 more an hr. 

However, I still couldn't get over being laid off.  I was writing my anger out.  I then went to the doctor to discuss it. 

Lessons: I did learn a lot from this Call Centre #1 lay off experience.  I learned a lot about job security, anger management, avoiding my triggers with these bad TV shows, and I don't like to get my hate on.  (As in I don't personally try to get myself angry.)

The lesson has stuck.  In 2010, "The Year of Unemployment", I was unemployed for months.  I was able to deal with it.

A couple of months back, I did a Google search "Staffing agencies suck" to see if there are other people who thought that.  I found a blog post about it.  There were 64 comments dissing them.  I read the first 6 comments, and then stopped.  I'm not going to get myself angry and waste time getting angry.  Do something productive.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

writer interview/ contract lesson/ Bobbi Lou Gray

Jan. 14 Writer interview: Here is an imaginary interview where a host is interviewing me at a TV studio.

Host: How long have you been writing the Rain script?

Me: Since 2009.

Host: It has taken 4 yrs to write this script?  Is it done?

Me: No.  It's 43 pages long, and I would say that is the pilot.  That Episode, Part 1 is done.  But Part 2 isn't.

Host: Why is it taking so long for you to write this?

Me: I was living my life.  2009 was the Year of The Vertex Fighter.  I was working full-time and pitching my script The Vertex Fighter.  In 2010, it was the Year of Unemployment.  It's about priorities.  I was unemployed for months, and was constantly looking for a job, you got to understand that.

Host: Yes.

Me: In 2011, the Year of the Office Job Search.  I was working, and looking for an office career and going to job interviews all around town.  The priority is to make even more money.  In 2012, the Year of New Directions, I was working, looking for an office career, and working at part-time temporary jobs.

Host: So working is more important?

Me: I am results-oriented.  I want to and need to make money.  I have been writing a lot.  Don't you read my blog?  I write non-fiction and my life.

Host: What about your script/ fiction?

Me: I did some here and there.

Host: Explain.

Me: Well let's talk about the evolution of the Rain script.  In 2009, there were false starts like the script Garret which is like The Vertex Fighter with the character names are different.  Then there was Daniel, which is like Garret without the MMA.  In Rain, there was someone looking for her.  It changed to someone looking for someone else.

In 2010, there was a sister character, but got deleted because she didn't add to the story.  There was a 3rd bad guy in the crew, but he got deleted.  If you read my drafts, you can see the changes.

Jan. 15 Other script: In 2011, I did complete a 43 page script in a month.  It was for a TV producer and his show.  He needed me to write an episode so I pushed myself and I did.

The Vertex Fighter: I pitched my script to a TV production company, and they said they're interested in reading it.  I haven't did a major work on it since 2011 when I met with Edmonton Public Library Writer in Residence Marty Chan.  I talked to him for an hr and then I went home and wrote and thought about the script for 2 hrs.

Right now I'm working on the script.  I think I will have to delete 2 pages or at least rewrite these 2 pages with Shawn's parents in it.  This is exactly what happened with earlier drafts with Shawn's ex-girlfriend makes an appearance.  They don't really add to the story.

Jan. 16 3.5 floppy disk: Looks like another one of those disks stopped working.  I got this one from like 1994 or 1995.  I'll give Polaroid disk points for lasting this long.  Yeah, well at least it didn't have my script on it.  It has those short stories I have posted on my blog.

Jan. 17: I transferred one document to another disk, so I can write on it.  Now this Maxell disk stopped working.  This one is from 2005.

Computer books: I also recycled two computer books.  I had to ask my sister first if I could get rid of them because she did buy them.  One is Windows 95 for Dummies and Using Dos.  Both is from the 90s.  Then I thought about donating books to Africa, because I have read charities about it. 

Does Africa have computers?  Or they're second hand computers.  Look, I'll just recycle them.

I remember this Buffy episode where Cordelia is talking to Giles in the library.

Cordelia: I'm supposed to get books on computers.  Isn't the whole point of computers is so that we don't have to use books?

Me: Yeah.  It reminds me of college where you sometimes have to get books on computers for your computer classes.

Stage 32:
I'm learning more about this social media network for filmmakers.  I got an email from them for the "Tip of the Week."  If you're trying to find work, update your location to find work in your area.

Kimberly Faye Greenberg: Stage 32 also sent me this piece about her.  She's a Broadway actress, and she is the creator of the website Broadway Blogspot.  It's a theatrical website for onstage and behind- the- scenes workers.

Contract lesson: Here's a blog post called "A Christmas Actor's Story" by Richard Wilson who is an actor/ director/ screenwriter from New Jersey.

It's this story about a actress who signs a contract to go to Denmark to make a film for a month.  She would be getting paid "per diem."  The contract is complicated and lots of questions and uneasy feelings are appearing:

"Does that mean every day that she's there or everyday that they shoot or everyday that she's required to be ready to shoot? What happens if something goes wrong and the shoot does not finish? Does she still get paid? What if the Director were to become ill and is unavailable or something like that? Who is actually writing the check?"

These are good questions.  She hasn't gotten paid in 2 months, and the story doesn't really have an ending until she gets paid.  She is struggling to pay her bills.  The lesson is: "If something is too good to be true, then it probably is."  Also listen to your intuition.

Jan. 19 Canadian Screen Awards: There used to be a Gemini and Genie award shows for Canadian TV shows and movies.  Now, they will be merged to one award show called the Canadian Screen Awards.  Maybe it will bring more attention to our Canadian projects.

Bobbi Lou Gray: Today I was at Chapters at West Ed mall and I see a sign to meet an author.  I have met a couple there before.  I met Bobbi Lou Gray who was promoting a couple of her books.  One of them is Lunenburg Letters.  It's historical fiction.

The story is of Peter Hess and Katarina Mattern and their families who move to Nova Scotia in 1750.  They start to fall in love, but then are separated.  Here's a more detailed description here:

Here's her official website:
Me: So how long did it take for you to write this book?
BLG: About 5 months.
Me: Wow, that's fast.
BLG: But it took about 40 yrs of research.
Me: Because you were busy living your life?
BLG: Yes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

personality traits/ productivity/ job lessons

Jan. 15 Personality traits: Lynda Albertson sent me this article "30 Blogs with the Best Self-Help Advice."

I'm reading the Professional Success section and the article "The 10 Most Important Personality traits for Career Success."  It''s by career counselor Tom Denham.

1. Attitude
2. Enthusiastic
3. Ethical
4. Goal- focused
5. Listener
6. Networked
7. Persistent
8. Self-aware
9. Self-confident
10. Self- discipline

It goes into detail of why.  There's even more traits after this.

Mental health first aid: I was reading 24 and see that Norquest College has this class.  I then went to their website and they totally changed the site.  It used to be blue and green, now it's red, orange, and yellow.

It's a 2 day class.  It's: "help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved."

The requirement is you have to have First Aid in the past 3 yrs.

Jan. 17 Recommendations: Also from the Professional Success section, there was a blog article called "Recommendations from the Recently Employed."  It's a short and easy article to read, and it made me feel more positive.

1. Take good care of you.
2. Network like you mean it.
3. Roll your sleeves up.
4. Get on the leading edge.
5.  Be flexible.
6. Stay positive.
7.  Be prepared.
8. Be courageous.

In #5, it says: "Don’t rule out any options -relocation, change of field, change in pay structure, and lower pay. It is important to take a hard look at what you really need salary-wise, not necessarily what you were previously making. Look at the intangibles – less travel, less demands outside of work time, more family time, shorter commute."  It makes you think about taking a job or not.

#8 says: "This may sound strange, but don’t be afraid to turn down something that isn’t quite what you want. I was offered a job that I didn’t really want working for someone I disliked in a place far from home and not where I wanted to be, and I turned it down. Yeah, it scared me, but I had confidence I’d find something better, and I had a backup plan just in case I didn’t."

That seems like an easy decision because she listed all these cons.  There may be other factors like she was unemployed for months so she might as well take this job.

Productivity: Here's another Professional Success article.  I read an article called "33 Rules to Boost your Productivity."  It starts off with this:

"Heuristics are rules intended to help you solve problems.  When a problem is large or complex, and the optimal solution is unclear, applying a heuristic allows you to begin making progress towards a solution even though you can’t visualize the entire path from your starting point."

That kinds reminds me of looking at careers when you're in high school.  You don't know where you want to major in, so you take a few classes or research a college programs.

There are these tips, most of them I already know about.

3. "Worst first" like do the most unpleasant task first so you can get it out of the way.
20. "Gap reading" like when you're waiting for the bus, or riding on a bus, you do some reading.

I didn't really know about this.  It did inspire me:

"31. Cross-pollination.  Sign up for martial arts, start a blog, or join an improv group.  You’ll often encounter ideas in one field that can boost your performance in another."

Business news: The Zellers at Kingsway Garden mall is still open.  I checked the internet for that one. 

I read that HMV in the UK, isn't doing so well, so it's going to close down some stores.  HMV Canada is owned by another company, so the stores in Canada are fine.

I read in the Edmonton Journal that two Giant Tiger stores have closed down in Edmonton, but there are still 3 stores open.

I read in 24 that Capilano mall is closing down some independent stores like All Star that sells collector's cards.  The store will be moved on Bonnie Doon mall.

Career advice: I found this through Linked In.  It was about a career coaching session and analyzing your strengths and interests.  It also discussed your fears.

This stood out for me in the article: "Based on my key strengths of editing, content development and packaging, Nemko repositioned me as a "storyteller" who takes dead facts and data, and brings them to life."

Jan. 19: I was reading in the Edmonton Journal today, that Capilano mall is going to keep Winners and Safeway.  Bill Mah wrote the article, and most of the stores will close down or be renovated.

Jan. 22 Job lessons: I have changed a lot in what I think and know about jobs and careers.  In gr. 9, it was one year before I go to high school and I was thinking about careers.  I wanted to write and produce TV shows.  In the summer, before gr. 10, I was in CALM 20.  It was a two week summer school class and I learned all about my careers, jobs, job interviews, job search stuff in that class.

In high school, I didn't really think about working because I didn't have a part-time job.  I really couldn't because I really need to focus on school since I wasn't good at it.  After I graduated out of high school, I passed out my resumes and got two job interviews.  One at Carlton Cards at Capilano mall and one at a movie theatre. 

This was in 2003.  Later Carlton Cards closed down.  I didn't get the one at the movie theatre anyway, because they needed someone to stay and work night shifts that ended at midnight.  That's too late for me. 

I knew the bare minimum of job interviews.  Show up on time, dress nicely, give a firm handshake.  I was 18.  I did a year of upgrading and got accepted into college.  When I was 18, and the summer before college I got a job at the dollar store.  It was the first real job I had gotten on my own.  When I was upgrading,  my mom gave me a job and I worked there once a week, all year long.  This was in 2004.

In 2005, at NAIT, there was an assignment towards the end of the year where we learned about job search and interviews.  We had a mock interview where a group of 4 classmates are the Interviewers.  They had to interview 4 other classmates who are the Interviewees.  Interviewers had to choose who was the best candidate for the job.

I learned a little bit more about job interviews here.  Then after that I did 2 yrs of Professional Writing in college.  By that time I was 22 yrs old, and I just knew a bit more.

In 2010, 2011, 2012, those were the years where I learned everything about jobs, careers, job search and interviews.  I'm 27 now, and to look back that I only knew the basics of job interviews.

To compare my job knowledge to schooling: It's like at 22 yrs old, I knew elementary up to gr. 6.  At 27 yrs old, it's like I knew everything up to gr. 12.  It's very substantial knowledge.  I'm not saying I know everything about jobs; I still have a lot to learn.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Inspirational quotes Part 12 (Confidence)

Astrologer Georgia Nicols mantras for 2011:

“Out with the old and in with the new.” –Aries mantra

“I appreciate who I am and what I have.” –Taurus mantra

“I’m thinking big because anything is possible.”- Gemini mantra

“I welcome every chance to promote my good name.” –Cancer mantra

“I’m enjoying my success and am happy to keep working.” Leo mantra

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” –Virgo mantra

“I’m happiest using my power to benefit others.”-Capricorn mantra

“I am grateful for the joy in my personal life.” –Aquarius mantra

“The key to my success if my belief in myself.” –Pisces mantra

“Self-discovery is making friends with myself.”-Libra mantra

“I’m not giving up things.  I’m lightening up.”-Scorpio mantra

“The secret of my success is making all my encounters a win-win situation.” –Sagittarius

Astrologer Georgia Nicols mantras for 2012:

“I welcome every chance to promote my good name.”

“Self- discovery is making friends with myself.”

“I am happiest using my power to benefit others.”

“I’m not giving up things, I’m lightening up!”

“I am grateful for the joy in my personal life.”

“I am enjoying my success and happy to keep working!”

“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”

“I appreciate who I am and what I have.”

“The key to my success is my belief in myself.”

“The secret of my success is making all my encounters a win-win situation.”

“I’m thinking big because anything is possible!”

Astrologer Georgia Nicols mantras for 2013:

“I’m getting stronger and my home life is improving!” –Aries mantra

“My belief in what I can do is the biggest thing shaping my future.” –Taurus mantra

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” –Gemini mantra

“Every day I appreciate my good fortune!” –Cancer mantra

“If I support my home, my home will support me.”-Leo mantra

“Yes, my life is changing; but change can arrive bearing gifts.”-Virgo mantra

“I will never again be as young as I am today.” –Capricorn mantra

“I deserve the success in my life because I earned them.”- Aquarius mantra

“I survived; I’m stronger and looking forward to my future!” –Pisces mantra

“I want to enrich my life by discovering things that I don’t know I don’t know.” –Libra mantra

“I’m putting my needs first to stay strong enough to take care of others.” –Scorpio mantra

“Letting go is not loss- it’s freedom!” –Sagittarius mantra

“You focus on the limitations, that’s what you will get.  Among the clouds there are openings and opportunities.  Use your intuition like a compass.” -24 horoscope (on Nov. 14, 2011)

Aug. 11, 2011 Today’s birthday by Nancy Black: “This year may bring career changes.  Wait to take action until Mercury goes direct (after Aug. 26).  Choose a profession close to your heart.  It’s okay to support your passion with something less fulfilling.  Keep your day job until the night job pays.”

“Nothing can stop you as long as you stay focused and resolute in your belief that solutions are out there.” –horoscope by Jacqueline Bigar on Jan. 8, 2013

“Grab every chance to travel, study and explore more of the world.  You want adventure, thrills and inspirational, new knowledge.  Sign up for courses.  Be a tourist in your own city.  Do something out of the ordinary.” –Mar. 19, 2012 horoscope, National Post

“You know where you want to be.  What will it take to make that so?  Once you cross the line, you could be way overdue.”- horoscope by Jacqueline Bigar on Jun. 10, 2012

“The planets urge you to be a little less independent.  Your path to success is through reaching out to other people.  Work harder to bring down barriers that have been standing in the way of good relations.” –horoscope by Sally Brompton on May, 28, 2012

 “Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” -Helen Keller

“Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.” -Brian Tracy

“Confidence is courage at ease.” -Daniel Maher

“Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.” - Thomas A. Bennett

“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”-Thomas Carlyle

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”-Dale Carnegie

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear.”-William Jennings Bryan

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

One of my favourite snippets of movie-dialogue is this one from the 1999 film Three Kings.

In this scene Major Archie Gates (George Clooney) wants the small team to save a fellow soldier and steal Saddam’s gold just after the first Gulf War has ended.
he young soldier Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) has his doubts about the plan:
Archie Gates: You’re scared, right?
Conrad Vig: Maybe.
Archie Gates: The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared sh--less of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before you do it.
Conrad Vig: That’s a dumbass way to work. It should be the other way around.
Archie Gates: I know. That’s the way it works.

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self- confidence is preparation.”
Arthur Ashe

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”-Peter T. Mcintyre

“I quit being afraid when my first venture failed and the sky didn’t fall down.”-Allen H. Neuharth

“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” -Napoleon Hill

“Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”
-Douglas Bader

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” –Henry David Thoreau 

“Your chances of succeeding increases. Every time you fail you can learn and increase your inner strength. So every failure can make you more and more likely to succeed.” - Henrik Edberg

“When you know more about who you are and what you want out of life – not other people say you want – you will have more confidence in yourself and what you can do.” Henrik Edberg

“Confidence gives a fool the advantage over a wise man.”- William Hazlitt (English essayist.  1778-1830).

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. – E.E. Cummings”

“If you don't think it's worth it to invest in yourself, nobody else will either.”  –Nat Mundel of Voyage media

“Working without a strategy has its consequences.  Working smarter has its rewards.” –Nat Mundel of Voyage media

“Character is that which can do without success.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A single journey can change the course of a life.” –Louis Vuitton's ad with Angelina Jolie

I got this from leadership coach Jon Gordon:

I pledge to be a positive person and positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers and community.

I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.

I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.

When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.

When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow.

When faced with adversity I will find strength.

When I experience a setback, I will be resilient.

When I meet failure I will fail forward toward future success.

With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always move forward towards my destiny.

I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.

I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.

I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes everyone around me better.

Today and every day I will be positive and strive to make positive impact on the world.

The children left out of Obama's inaugural speech

I got this from Amnesty International: 

Dear Tracy,

The United States is not the only country where children are facing an epidemic of gun violence. While in the U.S., we continue to grapple with the tragic reality of children who routinely face gun violence in their communities and children who increasingly are the targets of mass shootings, in other places around the world, we see the heartbreaking consequences of children who also face the daily horrors of armed conflict, many forced to become soldiers.

During Monday's inaugural address, President Obama said:
"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm."
However, the President could have -- and should have -- broadened his statement to include children from the war-torn neighborhoods of Aleppo, Syria to valleys of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because if protecting all children is our shared destination, then we can’t afford to let our concern be confined by U.S. borders.

We must call on the President to lead efforts to establish a strong Arms Trade Treaty, one that will help stop irresponsible and illegal arms transfers around the world that directly contribute to the recruitment of child soldiers.

You have probably heard about Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda -- the group responsible for widespread murder, rape, maiming and amassing throngs of child soldiers. Fewer people know about the recruitment of child soldiers by Bosco Ntaganda, a commander of the FPLC armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fewer still realize that the armed groups who have taken control of the northern part of Mali, as well as the Malian army, are also using child soldiers.

Why do children in Uganda, the DRC and Mali continue to have a target on their back?

Because a global free-for-all lets weapons flow into the hands of armed groups and governments who, in turn, recruit children and commit other grave abuses. By failing to make the establishment of a global Arms Trade Treaty a priority, President Obama is letting them get away with it.
Protect all children from violence -- please call for a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

It's simple; no child should be forced to stand on either side of a weapon.

But the gun lobby in the U.S. is still trying to make you believe that this is about taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. It's not.

The Arms Trade Treaty would put in place common-sense measures, like background checks on international arms sales, to stop or at least slow the sale of weapons between countries that fuel conflict, atrocities and instability as well as lead to the displacement and deaths of millions of civilians and the continued use of child soldiers.

More than 43,000 of you have helped set the record straight for the NRA's leadership. Thanks for supporting children everywhere who are trapped by armed conflict. Your voice is so important as we prepare for the UN to hold its conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in March.

Every child deserves that same right no matter where they live. With your help, we can make this Arms Trade Treaty "bullet-proof".

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

You can stop NRA propaganda about the Arms Trade Treaty

I got this from Amnesty International:

Dear Tracy,

In just two months world leaders will negotiate and -- we hope -- adopt an Arms Trade Treaty, which would stem the flow of weapons to war criminals, dictators and other human rights abusers.

In an attempt to undermine the treaty, NRA officials are spreading lies and misinformation. They claim that the treaty would infringe on Second Amendment rights in the U.S. when in fact, it will have no bearing on domestic gun ownership.

Help Amnesty stand up to this propaganda. Donate today to support our efforts to protect human rights and ensure the UN adopts a strong arms trade treaty.

While our nation grapples with the consequences of gun violence, Amnesty is reaffirming our commitment to lead the charge for a global solution to human rights abuses facilitated by the unregulated international arms trade.

Children everywhere are affected by gun violence. Right now, there are tens of thousands of child soldiers who are often armed with weapons irresponsibly traded by governments and private corporations. Children are also among the 26 million people who have been displaced by armed conflict fueled by guns.

Amnesty has spent the last decade campaigning to stop irresponsible transfers of guns and ammunition across borders that result in hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Will you help us keep up the pressure? Donate now.

Despite being the largest exporter of small arms and conventional weapons, the U.S. has not been a leader in the effort to establish this treaty, in large part due to pressure from NRA lobbyists.

For the next two months, we are launching a large-scale campaign to stand up to the NRA leadership's efforts to derail the Arms Trade Treaty, educate the public about the deadly effects of irresponsible arms transfers and urge policymakers to adopt this historic treaty. Please stand with us at this crucial time.

I'm so grateful for all you do to support human rights.

Michelle Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

Thursday, January 24, 2013

newspapers/ India gang rape/ Alfonso Cuadra

Jan. 1 Newspapers: This feng shui has an effect on me.  I hardly ever buy things, but I have collected a lot of newspaper clippings since 2010.  I have cut out articles prior to that year, but only here and there.  In 2010, I was laid off and unemployed for months.  I spent a lot of time looking for a job, and a lot of time reading the newspaper.

I have collected all these clippings and I've been going through them.  I wanted to keep a lot.  I also realized a lot of them I just want to write about in my emails/ blog posts, and then recycle it.

Funny news: The Edmonton Journal used to have this Insight section where it had these funny news, and the I write about it.  Afterwards, I send it to Jay Leno and his "Headlines" segment.  The the Journal stopped printing the funny news.

Quotes: The Globe and Mail has a Life section, and there's a "Thought du Jour" which is an inspirational quote.  I cut out all these little bits of paper and now I'm typing it all up for my "Inspirational quotes" blog posts.

Jan. 3 The Year of: I found this in the business section of the Globe an Mail.  The article is "12 Questions to get a jump on the year ahead" by Eileen Chadnick.  She is a work-life and career coach.  One of her questions is: "If there were a theme for me in 2012, what was it?"  She delves on to say: If you were to name this year, it would be "This was the year of _____."

Another question is: "What will by my theme for the coming year?"  "This will be the year of ______."

Oh, that's cool that she thinks like me.  I got that from Futurama, with the Chinese New Year Parade: "Hey, what is this?  The Year of the Jerk?"

I have asked my friend Angela that question, but she says: "I don't title my year, because then it focuses on only 1 thing and not all the other things that happened that year."

She's got a point.  I guess it's about a balance.  You can title your year, but you can also add: "In brackets, I want to throw in some other subtitles to it."

Jan. 10 Consumer culture: This is "The price of always wanting" by Katrina Onstad in the Globe and Mail, Nov. 30, 2012.  It was about how there was that fire in Bangladesh garment factory that killed more 700 workers there.  They made clothes for Wal- Mart and Walt Disney.

"The average American buys 64 items of clothing a year."

"Consumption consists of people spending money they don't have to buy goods they don't need to impress people they don't like." -Clive Hamilton, Australian economist.

This reminds me of something I have heard on either Oprah or Dr. Phil.  Something about: "You drive this car around to impress people you don't even know."

Here is something I haven't written in awhile, writing about current events.

Sandy Hook: When I heard that mostly 6 yr old kids were murdered in the school shooting, that was so sad.  There are school shootings in colleges and high schools, and it's scary.  However, with teens and young adults, they have all experienced some of life.  They were also able to run away and call to get help. 

As for 6 yr olds, there wasn't really much of a chance for them to survive.  I got an email from Amnesty International to sign this Arm Trade Treaty petition.  I put it up on my blog and Facebook status.

India gang rape:
I read about this in the National Post first, and then 24, and a piece in the Globe and Mail.  It was about this 23 yr old woman in New Delhi who was gang raped on a moving bus.  The bus had curtains so no one could see what was happening.  She later died of her injuries.

She was going to be a doctor, and she was engaged.  There have been protests and this news has reached internationally.  Prior to these articles, I have read about how women in India are often sexually harassed and assaulted.

Alfonso Cuadra: I read in the Edmonton Journal on Jan. 5, 2013 about this triumphant story.  It was by Peter O'Neil.  Teacher Lisa Allen read a magazine in 2009 about Alfonso Cuadra.  He was a refugee and moved to Canada with his mom Vida, when he was five.  Vida was a journalist, human rights activist, and former political prisoner in El Salvador.

Cuadra had dyslexia, and was frustrated with school and authority.  He was using and selling drugs and panhandling.  When he was 17, he met his newborn daughter Thalia and vowed to change.  His dad ran off to Mexico when his mom was imprisoned.

Cuadra: I'm not going to run away.  I wanted my daughter to say "My dad owns the building," not, "My dad cleans the building.

He quit using and selling drugs, went back to school and got his diploma, worked as a dishwasher for a bit, and then raised $2,700 from friends to start his own business.  He rented a ground floor apartment and opened Ottawa's first urban wear store called Rugged Culture.  It was baggy jeans and hoodies.

He and his partner Alfredo Lovera drove to NY, spent $5 a night to pitch a tent in a Long Island campsite.  In the day they drove to Manhattan to buy hip hop clothing and put in the trunk  They barely had enough gas money to get back to Ottawa.  They sold all their stock in 2 days.  They worked 18 hr days and slept at the store and they did it for 6 months. 

They moved their store to Rideau Street closer to downtown and more foot traffic.  He knew competition was going to come, so he sold his franchises to people with his similar socioeconomic background.

He is now a branding and market specialist for his company High Impact Media.  He also has SolveProProperties Inc. that helps homeowners in Ontario and Quebec sell their properties without incurring high commissions.  He is now a professional motivational speaker and talks to youth groups.

He published a autobiography/self-help manual called From the Ground Up.  This brings back to the teacher Lisa Allen who photocopies and uses the magazine article to her gr. 8 students at Queen Elizabeth public school in Ottawa.  It's a low-income class.  3 other teachers at the school used Cuadra's story in their gr. 7 and 8 classes.

Most of the kids are recent immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.  They discuss challenges in social studies about Canadian history.  "What would Alfonso do?"

One student was so inspired, he quit his gang.  Another student who was a victim of domestic abuse for years, contacted authorities and was able to leave her home.  Cuadra then went to the school and did a 90 min motivational talk to them.

Another student Andrew Campbell was struggling in school: "But when I heard him talk about his life I thought to myself that I should change.  Now I try my best to do my homework instead of just playing video games."  His teacher says he has improved his grades.

Jan. 11 Brooke Greenberg: I found this on Yahoo.  It's an interesting story of how a 20 yr old is trapped inside an infant's body.  Seriously.  Brooke has the body and mind of an 11 month old.  She gets older, but she doesn't really grow. 

Her family says there's nothing wrong with her.  Scientists are studying her because it could help humans live longer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inspirational quotes (Part 11)

 It's been a few weeks into January.  Does anyone here make New Year's resolutions and keep them?  Here's some motivation:

“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” -Walter Lippman

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…” C.S Lewis

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” –Louis Pasteur

“It’s so strange and beautiful to have actors say my words that it sort of blows my mind.” –Hannah Moscovitch, playwright of This is War

“We own up to minor failings, but only so as to convince others that we have no major ones.” –Francois duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-80), French author

“We tell lies when we are afraid…afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” –Tad Williams

“Our opinion of others is not so variable as our opinion of ourselves.” –Marquis de Vauvenargues (French writer.  1717-47)

“Have a positive mental attitude and to keep on keeping on.” –Michael Budman

“My father was a house painter who, with great pride would photograph the walls he painted.  The lesson I took from that was: Find the art in what you do.” –Bob Martin (On TV show Michael)

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”-Peter Mansbridge

“Dancing is the poetry of the foot.” –John Dryden

“Expressing ourselves allows the creation of unlimited wealth and abundance.  Doing what we enjoy and being the people we are born to be are the triggers for a meaningful life.” – from book Instructions for Happiness and Success by Susie Pearl 

“Wealth, in general, cannot prevent bad things from happening.  However, wealth used wisely and proactively can increase the odds of good things happening.” –Jason Heath (financial planner and writer for the National Post)

“The real is always way ahead of what we can imagine.”- Paul Auster, American author

“An original idea.  That can’t be too hard.  The library must be full of them.” –Stephen Fry

“I won’t say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner.  We used to write essays like: What I’m going to be if I grow up.”-Lenny Bruce

“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people.  Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.” –Gen. George S. Patton

“70% of success is just showing up.” –Woody Allen

“A fellow oughtn’t to let his family property go to pieces.” –Anthony Trollope

“I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” –Mike Myers

“I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.” –Marshall McLuhan

“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” –Casey Stengel

“Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”-Ben Franklin

“We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil… preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and the love we give our fragile craft.”-Adlai Stevenson

“Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.” –Albert Einstein

“Forget about style.  Worry about the results.”- Bobby Orr

“So sad and there are many like her. Searching but not finding and while money helps today it sure doesn't bring peace of mind, heart or fill the emptiness inside.” -Joyce, a comment on Amy Winehouse's death Yahoo article

“He (psych professor) said, ‘Allison you already know where you’re going.  So if you get a C on a psych test, it’s not going to be the end of the world.  The choice is yours.’  It was one of the most empowering, thoughtful things I’ve ever heard from someone.  The fact that our actions can tells us what we want.  You realize, ‘Oh, I must care about this, and not about that.’  I think about that daily.  I really, really do.
This is the time when you realize and recognize some things about yourself.  And then the question is, are you woman enough to deal with them?  To live the rest of your life being aware of your flaws, and dealing with them on a daily basis- correcting the ones that affect other people, and working around or learning to love the ones that don’t.” 

-Allison Williams (actress on the TV show Girls.)

“A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.” –Mark Twain

“Hypothetical questions allow you to imagine multiple worlds of possibility without any material consequences unlike “Would you like more whip cream on that?”  Nobody gets hurt.  Nobody gets fat.  And they’re not divisive like, say, “Who are you voting for?”  Or, “What did you think of Django Unchained?”  According to Freud, imaginative thinking comes first in the mental development of a child, while realistic thinking emerges only later.

What is love if not the willingness to, against all reason, indulge someone?  I mean, if someone you cared about asked you to answer a question that made no sense at all, wouldn’t you?”  -Jonathan Goldstein

“No, no, I do have a favorite (entry).  It’s based purely on the quote, because to me it sums up not only the book, but an attitude we all need to have toward life.  It’s a man named Mathieu Pitkevicht from Paris, and he said, ‘The winds of fortune tend to favor the sails of those who politely yell out to it, ‘Nice to meet you!’  I think it’s a motto for life, really.”  -Nabil Sabio Azadi, author of For You the Traveller

I got the following quotes from this site:

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can´t have it.” – Robert Anthony

“Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.” -Stuart Wilde

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” - J.M. Power

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.” – Les Brown

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” – George Burns

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ – George Bernard Shaw

“We are what and where we are because we have first imagined it.” Donald Curtis

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” – Douglas Everett

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

“Aim not for what you are, but for what you could be.” – Lucas Hellmer

“When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life. – Greg Anderson

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford

“You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.” – Brian Tracy

“It’s not where you’re from; it’s where you’re going. It’s not what you drive; it’s what drives you. It’s not what’s on you; it’s what’s in you. It’s not what you think; it’s what you know.” – Gatorade commercial

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

“Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
“It is in the moment of your decisions that your destiny is shaped.” – Anthony Robbins

“Great acts are made up of small deeds.” – Lao Tzu

“Whatever you find hardest to do, do with all your heart. – Dalai Lama

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.” – Thomas A. Edison

“Never confuse motion with action. “ – Benjamin Franklin

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucious.

“You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes.” – John Wooden

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandle

“Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” – Aldous Huxley

“The only difference between a Good Day And a Bad Day Is your ATTITUDE.” Dennis S Brown

“We are what we think. All that we are arises. With our thoughts, we make our world.” – Buddha

“Success is a journey, not a destination.” – Ben Sweetland

“Don´t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman

“Life can seem either very long or very short, according to how you live it.” – Paulo Coelho

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” – Paulo Coelho

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“Live with passion!” – Tony Robbins

 "I have a theory: anything that we do on the outside has to have happened first on the inside. Before I could go to graduate school, I had to become the sort of person who could go to graduate school. I’ve always found that the internal change precedes the external one. When I tried to go to graduate school before I was ready, it didn’t work.

I think the same thing happens with a novel: in order to write a particular novel, you have to become the sort of person who can write that novel. And of course the process of writing the novel changes you as well. But you have to become the writer. The novel comes out of the writer that you are, and if you’re not ready, the novel won’t work." -Theodora Goss

“The limits of your world are the limits of your language, and it’s long past time to make your world as large as it actually is.”

“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it home.” –Rumi (1207-73), Persian poet