Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thank you for taking action to help free Leyla and Arif Yunus



Thank You!   

Dear Tracy,
Thank you for deciding to use your voice todayto call for freedom for Leyla and Arif Yunus. 
For more than 50 years Amnesty International has changed the world thanks to people like you. Because when we raise our voices together, we do amazing things.

We prevent torture and wrongful imprisonment. We give strength to brave individuals fighting for human rights against all odds. With the help of your voice, we stop governments and global corporations from abusing their power.

And every action you take, however simple, helps us do it. We'll send you one high priority case per month, and updates on your impact.
When we campaign for, we take practical, effective action. We get results because our actions are backed up by impartial human rights research. Most of all, our voices make a difference because we are 7 million people who take injustice personally.
Help us be louder today! Share our campaign on your Social Media
Share via TwitterShare on Facebook




To learn more and get involved right away with Amnesty International, visit amnesty.ca or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. We're here for you. If you have any questions, you can call us at 1-800-AMNESTY (1-800-266-3789) or email us at members@amnesty.ca.
Thank you once again,
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Alex Neve, Secretary General
Amnesty International Canada


p.s. To ensure your actions and updates don’t end up in your junk folder, please add us to your address book. 

World Humanitarian Day: Honouring our heroes

Today marks World Humanitarian Day, when we honour the humanitarian workers around the world who put their lives at risk in order to help the most vulnerable.


Today marks World Humanitarian Day, when we honour the humanitarian workers around the world who put their lives at risk in order to help the most vulnerable.

This is a bittersweet day. On one hand, it is a celebration of our brave, dedicated colleagues who leave everything behind to face uncertainty and danger, all to help children. But this is also a day when we pause to honour those friends and co-workers we have lost – most recently, for us at UNICEF, when four UNICEF colleagues were murdered in Somalia just four months ago.

Our field workers live “no child too far” every single day. For that, I am eternally grateful and I know you share this gratitude, too

Sincerely,

David Morley
President & CEO, UNICEF Canada

Sunday, August 23, 2015

LinkedIn/ find a mentor

Jul. 6 LinkedIn: I cut out this article "Look like a pro with a professional LinkedIn headshot" by Celine Tarrant in the Metro on Feb. 25, 2015.

Think of your LinkedIn photo as the headline of a news article – it’s the first thing people will see, and it might be the only thing that they remember later.

Like all first impressions in business, you want to put your best foot (or in this case, your best face!) forward. Your profile picture should convey professionalism, trustworthiness, competence and likeability. Here’s how you can make sure your LinkedIn is picture perfect.
 

1. Solo shot

You are the star of your LinkedIn profile, and you should be the only one in your profile picture. Group shots and family portraits are not acceptable as having multiple people in your picture is confusing for viewers. It also makes you look unprofessional, and gives viewers the impression that you don’t understand LinkedIn etiquette.

Choose a picture that includes everything from the shoulders up, with 50-60% of the picture being occupied by your face. Full body shots, extreme close-ups, and cropped group shots are a no-no. It goes without saying that a selfie is never okay.
 

2. Crop it

 
When it comes to pictures on various social networks, you can’t take a one-size-fits all approach. Make sure your image is optimized for LinkedIn specifically by cropping it to a square for best use across the website. Do a quick internet search to find a reference tool for the correct image types and sizes for all social networks (including LinkedIn), so you can optimize your images to look great at any size. (Sproutsocial.com is a great place to start!)
 

3. Quality is key

 
Your LinkedIn picture is the face of your online professional brand, so a high-quality image is essential. Ideally, you should invest in a professional headshot. Professional photography will show you in your best light, and most photographers will be able to coach you into better posture and a good facial expression. If professional pictures are not an option, recruit a friend with a good camera to help you out. Make sure to take lots of photos so you have options. A high resolution picture, even if it’s not professional, beats a low-res webcam picture any day!
 

4. Dress for success

 
It’s important to dress appropriately for the job or the industry you want. What would you wear to an interview at your desired company or to an industry event?

Keeping in mind that the picture will only show your upper body, pay special attention to your neckline, collar (and if applicable, hair and makeup). Accessorize carefully – for example, a statement necklace might look great in person, it might not translate well on camera. It’s also best to avoid busy patterns and overly sparkly jewelry. Choose a background that will let you stand out, preferably something that slightly contrasts your outfit. A neutral background (black, white or grey) is always a safe bet, but locations like an office, historical building, or outdoors work well too.
 

5. Choose a picture that looks like you

 
This seems obvious, but there are a shocking number of profiles with decade-old pictures, or individuals who got a little too heavy-handed with Photoshop. Make sure you pick a photo that actually looks like you, so recruiters or potential employers can recognize you when you are meeting for the first time. When it comes to Photoshop, some retouching is acceptable, but save the magazine-worthy makeover for your other social networks. Update your picture frequently (2-3 years is sufficient), or if you make a major change to your appearance.
 

6. Get a second opinion

 
When in doubt, ask a friend what they think of your picture. Ask what message it conveys about you, what they think of your facial expression, outfit, and if the quality is sufficient. If you want more objective feedback, try a tool like Photofeeler.com, that lets users rate your photo based on metrics like competence, likeability, influence, and trustworthiness.


Find a mentor: I cut out this article "Want a better job? Find a mentor" by Chelsea Emery in 24 News on Dec. 24, 2012. 

This reminds me of my mentor John Kerr.  He's a TV producer and he was the first one to believe in me and my The Vertex Fighter script.  There were lots of writer-in- residences who read my script and gave me feedback.

However, as for school and work, my mentor is my sister because of her helping me in math, college applications, and resumes.  Here's the whole article:

Denise Morrison says early-career guidance from the right mentor made her who she is today: the chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co.

In the 1980s, Morrison was a director of sales planning for the U.S. arm of food company Nestle SA. Her work ethic and performance in the White Plains, New York, office caught the eye of President C. Alan MacDonald.

MacDonald would check in with Morrison, make himself available for questions and even ask her about customer feedback. Before long, he had recommended her for a promotion to business director.

"That was a defining moment," says Morrison, who is now so dedicated to mentoring that she spends as much as 20 percent of her time advising and supporting others.

Although few people have the company president as a personal advocate, Morrison's experience demonstrates how valuable mentors can be.

Mentors can help you navigate sticky office politics, teach new skills or even put your name forward when new positions arise.

In a modern twist, mentors are also relying on their protégées. Older employees often depend on younger staff for technology guidance. As employment security wanes, laid-off bosses may need to turn to former subordinates for job leads. So the relationship may be more symbiotic and less paternalistic than in the past.

Also new is the role of social media, which encourages workers of all seniority levels to advise each other, at all hours.

"The role of the mentor has continued to evolve," says Julie Nugent, senior director at Catalyst Inc, a nonprofit research and advisory group focused on advancing women in business.

One-on-one mentoring was named the second-most-effective career development program for employees below director level, after "traditional training," according to a 2012 survey of 320 human resources professionals by talent development consulting firm Insala.

But only one in five companies offer formal mentoring programs, according to a 2012 Society for Human Resources Management poll of about 550 human resources professionals.

That means you are probably on your own when it comes to getting the right mentor.

IT TAKES A TEAM

Forget the idea that one adviser can do all things.

Identify different mentors for different needs. Do you need help using your company's technology? How about someone to coach you through a challenging relationship with your boss? What about a mentor who can find opportunities for you at other companies?

To build what Morrison calls a "personal advisory board," check your university alumni groups for possible mentors. Ask someone you respect - inside or outside your company - to meet for coffee. Use social technology to post work-related questions and find the most knowledgeable people.

Next, identify a "sponsor." This is usually a more senior executive who can use his or her influence to advance you for promotions.

How do you get a sponsor? Some companies offer programs. Citi, for one, matched 62 women managing directors with advocates in 2009. Within 18 months, 22 percent had expanded roles, and 15 percent were promoted.

If your company does not help, reach out to senior executives yourself. Send them an email, or ask them to meet with you for 10 minutes.

Feeling awkward? Get over it.

"People need to be in charge of their development plan," says Morrison. "They need to seek out their sponsors and their mentors and be very strategic."

Morrison, like many in top positions, is no stranger to requests for guidance. She gets at least an email a day from people seeking a professional alliance.

"Networking is working," she says.

NEVER TOO OLD

You are never too old or too important to be mentored, and a good mentoring relationship can pay off for both parties.
 
Liz Davidson, 42, took a chance on recent college graduate Danielle Perry in 2009, hiring her to help with marketing and press for her start-up company, Financial Finesse, a provider of financial education programs for the workplace.

At first, Davidson trained and guided Perry. These days, she relies on the 28-year-old to keep her abreast of the latest trends in marketing.

"She got promoted two or three times, and now I consider her an adviser to me as well as the rest of the team when it comes to marketing and positioning," says Davidson. "She really manages everything. She manages me."

TECH SUPPORT

Mentors and mentees alike must set objectives and determine how much time to commit.

For a new parent, goals could include discussions on how to balance work demands with family stresses. A mid-level executive might need help identifying her next step within the company.

Assistance can come not only from people but also from technology, as Dennis Agusi discovered.

In January, the internal communications officer of Royal Philips Electronics faced the nerve-wracking job of giving a talk before 100 communications professionals in the Netherlands. So he used a company application called ConnectUs to request public-speaking advice.

Some 25 volunteer mentors responded, and Agusi found one who agreed to coach him. The talk was so successful that he was ranked the top speaker out of the almost dozen who presented, he said.

The next time around, he may find himself paying it forward and being the mentor himself.



"Change your attitude, change your office"

Jul. 1 "Change your attitude, change your office": I cut out this article by Gabrielle Bernstein in Metro on Jun. 9, 2014:

Working with others can be a lot of fun, but it can also be your chief source of stress. The fact is, most of us were never taught the art of healthy collaboration, so navigating working relationships can be tricky. In any collaboration, you’re dealing with different personalities and energy. When your energy doesn’t flow with someone else’s, getting even simple things done can be a massive struggle.

Throughout my career as an entrepreneur, I’ve worked with many different vendors, agents, assistants and clients. Sometimes the relationships seem to flow naturally, but in other instances it’s been tedious and trying. It’s important to me to have a more efficient and peaceful work life, so over time I’ve developed and committed to some key best practices.
If you struggle to get along with your co-workers, clients or other colleagues, follow these three guidelines. They’re guaranteed to change the energy, increase your productivity and keep the peace.
 

1. It’s not about you

 
Everyone comes to work with his or her own baggage. People show up to the office with neuroses dating back to childhood; fighting their own fear-based stories and limiting beliefs. No matter how much personal growth work someone has done, they’re still clearing old beliefs and behaviors. Therefore, it’s essential to not take other people’s personalities to heart. Their issues truly are not about you. When you can accept that everyone is fighting their own tough battles, you can show up to the office with more compassion.
 

2. Focus on what you can give rather than what you can get

 
When you enter into any kind of work relationship (whether with a boss, a client, a co-worker or someone you’re negotiating with), showing up with a service mentality has a powerful influence on your behavior and the outcome of a situation. This simple change in mindset has a huge effect. Most of us are used to walking into a business situation with a “What can I get?” attitude. Instead, ask yourself, “What can I give?” Bringing forth an energy of service helps other people want to serve you back. Focus on how you can create a space where everyone wins.

3. Your attitude is everything

 
By now you know the difference between what happens when you show up to work with a “baditude” and when you show up in good spirits. The moment you arrive in the office, you set the tone for the rest of the day. Your positive attitude is everything when it comes to healthy work relationships. To start your day off right, commit to approaching things with a positive intention. Before you walk through the door to your office, silently bless everyone you work with. Envision them smiling and happy. Send each one a positive thought. Your energy and intentions speak much louder than your words. Bring your good vibes to the office and expect miracles!


"Gain speed in the modern rat race": I cut out this article by Riana Topan in the Metro on Nov. 12, 2014.  On Talent Egg, it's called "Staying competitive in the Job Market."  Here's the whole article:

One mistake that many young professionals make is thinking that once you’ve entered the job market, that’s it – you’re employable for life.

In reality, you have to work at staying marketable so that you will always be valuable to current and potential employers.
Here are six ways that you can stay competitive in the “real (read: working) world.”

In addition to making you more desirable as an employee, these steps should also give you the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing everything you can to set yourself up for success in your career.
 

1. Professional development

 
This term might have sounded vague and slightly ominous when you were in school, but there’s a reason it gets tossed around so much. It’s incredibly important to continuously learn about your profession and what makes someone good at it.

There are always new technologies, strategies and work methods emerging in any given field. Professional development – in the form of workshops, courses, training programs or online webinars, for examples – will help you to stay on top of best practices and give you a chance to learn from the pros.
 

2. Networking

 
Building up a professional network is great, whether you’re thinking about future job prospects, wanting to learn from those who have gone before you or if you just enjoy meeting new people.

If there aren’t any networking events in your area that you can attend, try reaching out to people who have worked at your company for a while to see if you can buy them lunch or a coffee and ask them about their careers. Or, contact people who are around your age or who are working in similar positions at other companies to see if they’re interested in getting together to chat about any work-related challenges you’re all facing.

Together, you could brainstorm some great potential solutions.
 

3. Volunteering

 
Volunteering is beneficial at any stage of your life or career. Signing up to volunteer at an organization you’re interested in is an excellent way to give back to your community, learn new skills and meet some amazing people.

You may discover an interest you didn’t know you had or learn that you don’t actually like a particular line of work as much as you thought you might.

And of course, volunteer positions look great on a CV.
 

4. Take initiative

Practice saying “yes”.
 
The more you are open to trying new things and taking on roles or responsibilities that are outside of your usual duties, the more opportunities you are giving yourself to learn, grow and shine.

If your boss wants someone to take over a new project or portfolio, don’t wait until it’s assigned to you.
Instead, offer to take the lead on it (as long as it won’t make your workload unmanageable). This will show your employer that you’re a go-getter and it could end up being a really positive experience.
 

5. Research

 
Unless your job actually involves research, this is probably something you thought you could avoid upon leaving school. This isn’t like the painstaking research you did before writing an essay – it’s about staying up-to-date with what’s going on in your industry.

In today’s market, there is fierce competition for every job and industries change much more rapidly than they did in the past. Try subscribing to a blog that relates to your field, reading relevant journals or magazines or signing up to get email alerts every time something newsworthy happens in your industry.

Whatever you need to do, make an effort to be aware of current trends and new developments that could impact your work.
 

6. Find a mentor

 
Finding a mentor doesn’t have to require a huge commitment or be a formal and demanding relationship.

It’s mainly about having someone you can talk to – whether it’s a boss, colleague or friend – who has more experience than you and who is willing to share their tricks of the trade.

Everyone needs a bit of guidance sometimes and thankfully there are many people out there who are willing to pass on what they’ve learned to those who are just starting out.

Use these strategies to show the world that you’re serious about your career and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to rise above and beyond.

You’ll open up all kinds of doors for yourself and your resume will look great to boot!


My opinion: In a way, I hope I am being a mentor to the people who read my weekly emails/ blog posts about these job articles.

The Simpsons/ Eric Johnson in The Knick

Dec. 22, 2014 “The Simpsons: 21 surprising facts to celebrate 25 years”: This is an article I cut out from the Edmonton Journal.  It’s a fun read:

As the cartoon sitcom celebrates its quarter century this week, Michael Hogan offers some surprising facts about the show.

1. God and his son Jesus are the only characters on The Simpsons to have a full set of five digits. They also have five toes on each foot. Everyone else has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, and four toes on each foot.

2. Simpsons creator Matt Groening made the characters yellow to grab the attention of channel surfers. "When you're flicking with your remote control and a flash of yellow goes by, you'll know you're watching The Simpsons," he said.

3. Groening also designed the Simpson family to be immediately identifiable in silhouette - hence their distinctive hairstyles and head-shapes.

4. Homer Simpson is the most downloaded satnav voice in the world. He's more popular than Darth Vader, Ali G and Brian Blessed.
5. Groening got many of the characters' surnames from streets in his hometown. Lovejoy, Quimby, Flanders, Kearney, Terwilliger and Burnside are all street names in Portland, Oregon.

6. Homer is the only character to have dialogue in every episode.

7. "D'oh!" is written in scripts as "annoyed grunt".

8. Over the course of multiple seasons, the brief clips of actor Rainier Wolfcastle's action hero McBain form a coherent four-minute mini-movie, spoofing Eighties action films.

My opinion: I didn’t know that.

9. In 1990, First Lady Barbara Bush criticised The Simpsons as "the dumbest thing I've ever seen". Marge wrote a personalised letter to her, in character, politely telling her not to be so judgmental. Mrs Bush later apologised for her "loose tongue".

My opinion: I thought a lot of comedy is supposed to be dumb so we can laugh at it.

10. Groening himself is the "voice" of the Simpsons' baby Maggie but Elizabeth Taylor delivered Maggie's actual first word: "Daddy!" in 1992.

11. Mr Burns's assistant-cum-carer Waylon Smithers was originally black. Groening had always intended for him to be white but a colour blunder occurred at the animation stage.

My opinion: I know.  If you saw the really old episodes, Smithers has dark skin.

12. Bart's hair has nine points. Lisa and Maggie's has eight.

13. When Bart makes prank calls to Moe's Tavern, he dials 764-84377. On a phone keypad, the number spells out Smithers.

My opinion: I remember the episode where Homer was Mr. Burns assistant.  Mr. Burns dials the number and looks for Waylon Smithers. 
Moe gets angry and thought it was Bart the prank caller so he yells at Mr. Burns.

14. Bart's bespectacled best friend Milhouse Van Houten's middle name is Mussolini.

15. The name Bart was chosen because it's an anagram of "brat".

My opinion: I remember reading that.

16. Michael Jackson co-wrote and co-produced Bart Simpson's 1991 pop-rap single Do the Bartman, uncredited.

17. The 'Who Shot Mr Burns?' episode ran a competition for fans to guess the culprit. However, no one gave the correct answer: Maggie Simpson.

18. Homer's email address is ChunkyLover53@aol.com. It's genuinely registered and messages from fans get a response.

My opinion: That’s interesting.

19. The actors who dub the voices of Homer and Marge in the French version of The Simpsons, Phillipe Peythieu and Vronique Augereau, married in real life. They met during auditions and wed a decade later.

20. Krusty the Clown was originally intended to be revealed as Homer, hence their similar appearance.

21. Fox owns the rights to The Simpsons until 2082.


Apr. 6 Eric Johnson in The Knick: I cut out this article “Actor gets carried away in doctor drama” by Laura Kane in the Edmonton Journal on Aug. 7, 2014.  It’s about my favorite Edmonton actor Eric Johnson, so I had to cut it out.  I’m sure some of you guys are laughing at this part. 
 
When I was in the Office Assistant program in Fall 2014, there was an assignment to write a report and a presentation on any topic that we want.  The teacher has to approve it so I wrote a report on Johnson.  I got a B on it.  Here’s the whole article: 

Edmonton-born actor Eric Johnson prepared so intensely for his role in Cinemax’s “The Knick,” as a surgeon at New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital in 1900, that he became “strangely confident” in his abilities as a doctor.

Johnson joked that he enjoyed playing doctor so much that his fellow cast members — including Clive Owen, who stars in the new series — poked fun at him.

“They made fun of me, because I got a little too into it,” said Johnson in a phone interview. “I was like, ‘If this was 1900, I’m pretty sure I could pull this off.’ I had no right to be that confident at all, but it was pretty funny. I think I liked playing doctor a little too much.”

Directed by Academy Award-winner Steven Soderbergh and starring Owen as cocaine-addicted surgeon Dr. John Thackery, “The Knick” premieres Friday on HBO Canada. Johnson, who has acted in hit shows including “Orphan Black” and “Rookie Blue,” plays Thackery’s ambitious protege Dr. Everett Gallinger.

The historical drama portrays surgery in gruesome detail as it was performed at the time — without gloves, masks or antibiotics. Doctors had only learned five to 10 years earlier that they should wash their hands, Johnson said.

“That was medical science really in its infancy. So many things we still use today come out of this era. It was like mad scientists at work all trying to invent and discover new ways so that people didn’t die,” he said.

“Infectious diseases at that time killed off half the population… and now that number is about five per cent. You’ve got to think the innovations that happened in this time have affected our lives more directly than the invention of the airplane. We live longer because of the doctors at this time.”

Even for the actors who knew there were prosthetics and fake blood involved, the stakes felt sky-high during the medical scenes, Johnson said. He recalled that after they shot their first surgery, the background actors watching in the operating theatre all stood up to applaud.

“When the scalpel goes across the skin and blood comes out and you open it up and there’s organs inside it, you have the physiological reaction,” he said. “No matter how much you rationalize it, there’s blood pouring out of a human being in front of you so you can’t prevent that reaction from happening.”

Johnson said the actors worked closely with a medical adviser named Dr. Stanley Burns, who taught them how to hold a scalpel and tie sutures. The result is a “very accurate” depiction of 1900-era medical procedures, he said.

“People keep saying, ‘It’s really gory.’ I don’t like the word gory. I think they’re very accurate and I think that’s the most unnerving part of it. It’s not sensational so you can’t write it off. They all come across as very real. I think that’s probably why they’re so hard to watch.”

In the series premiere, Dr. Thackery ascends to the role of chief surgeon after the sudden and unexpected departure of his mentor. Thackery chooses Gallinger to take over the assistant chief position, but the arrival of a talented black surgeon named Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) defeats those plans.

Edwards faces resentment and discrimination from his fellow doctors, especially from Gallinger.

“He and Dr. Algernon clearly do not get along and that continues to rear its head and come to a crescendo in this season,” said Johnson. “It’s a difficult year for Dr. Gallinger, I will say that. But nobody on this show comes out unscathed.”

As Thackery’s protege, Johnson shares many scenes with Owen. He said working with the British actor known for “Children of Men” and “Closer” has been an “amazing” experience.

“He really is the anchor of the show. He really drives it. He was so prepared, so good and so masterful in what he was doing — not only is he doing an accent, but then he’s playing an addict, then there’s medical jargon and doing surgery. There were a lot of demands on him to execute and he just nailed it every single day,” he said.

“Then everybody else brings up their game, because you don’t want to be the guy to screw it up. You don’t want to be the guy that’s a liability. The thing with all the performers is that everyone was so prepared and so good. It was really special to be a part of.”

The buzzed-about series has already been renewed for a second season, even before its first episode is set to air. Johnson said he first saw the news break on Twitter during the Television Critics Association’ Press Tour in mid-July.

“It’s exciting. It gives you an idea of how enthusiastic the network is about the show, how enthusiastic Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen are to come back and do another season,” he said.

“It speaks to the execution and the compelling nature of the show. So I think it’s a feather in everybody’s cap, but it’s a huge testament to Steven and what he pulled off last year, and how his passion for the project has really come through.


May 15 John Mulaney: He is an actor and SNL writer.  He had his own sitcom called Mulaney that came out Fall 2014.  I turned on the TV to watch The Simpsons and this show was on.  I watched a couple of min. and quit.  Then in Apr. 2015, I had a day off.  I then was going through the PVR and see I did record this show when I thought I was recording The Simpsons

I watched the whole pilot.  I didn't really find it funny.  I'm not really into sitcoms.  It's not really offensive. 

The only thing that stood out to me was that they were playing "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys in their montage of two room mates getting revenge at each other.