Annotated Biblography

It’s weird to think that this is my last blog post for Eminent 2014. It really was quite the experience. So here is my biblography of all the sources I used for my study.

First we have my main source which was “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” Michael J Fox’s book. I got a lot of information for my speech in this book, as I wanted to target his optimism.

Here’s a link to his book.

My next source of information, along with a few of the pictures I used in my blog posts, is the Michael J Fox Foundation website. The site was super helpful and informational, and was about as reliable as it gets.

The Michael J Fox Foundation 

Next is the Wikipedia article on Michael where I gathered a lot of the information about his early life and past.

Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page. 

I also used a Wikipedia page on for information on  Parkinson’s there’s a link to the page below.

Parkinson’s Wikipedia.

I got most of my pictures from Google Images. I’ve listed a few of the links.

Michael J Fox Foundation Logo.

Michael Speaking at a press conference in 2013.

Michael and his wife Tracy Pollan. 

One of Michael’s acting head-shots.

That’s pretty much it. I didn’t actually use that many sources as I really wanted to focus my study on what was written in his book, but the other sources I used were very helpful and credible.

Night of Notables Reflection

It’s the night before The Night of the Notables, and I’m putting the finishing touches on the learning center I was planning to have done at the beginning of the week, when it hits me. Within a couple of minutes the headache is so bad that any noise prompts a pounding in my head, and my throat feels like as though I’ve swallowed razor blades.  I’m deliriously gluing on that last things onto my learning center before dragging myself upstairs and passing out in bed fully clothed. All I’m thinking is ‘Really, of all the days to get sick, it has to be today.’

After a terrible sleep  wake up with the same splitting headache and an even worse throat. Today’s the big day, what am I supposed to do when I can barely get out of bed. My mom and I decide it’s best that I rest, so I end up missing the first half of the day. After a long shower, a small meal, and a bunch of Advil I’m ready to tackle the day. When I arrive at school I feel better. My pills have kicked in, and the madness in the TALONS room seems to energize me.


After setup, dinner, speeches, learning centers, cleanup and finishing circle I’m exhausted and glad that I can head home and get some rest.  However, I can’t believe that Eminent is over, well there is still a NoTN reflection, biblography, and self-eval to do. It’s kind of weird though, I don’t really want it to end.

As for my learning center itself I chose to recreate Michael J Fox’s big break, ‘Family Ties’  the sitcom that put Michael on the map. I chose to recreate the living room set, where most o the scenes were filmed. IMG_6305
I then added a timeline of Michael’s life and accomplishments that was spread in order around the set. Also I added an info board that gave some information on Parkinson’s and Michael J Fox.



Here are some more pictures of my learning center:


photo 4photo 2


Lastly I’d like to thank the teachers, my family, classmates, and friends for all the help. Also a big thanks to Norm Kerfoot, my interviewee, who was able to get my in contact with Michael J Fox. Without all these people my eminent experience this year wouldn’t have been the same.

Document of Learning

So, for my document of learning I’ve chosen to share the first hand answers I received from my eminent person Michael J Fox. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I was able to send and email with some questions to Michael’s assistant. She then forwarded the questions to Michael and he answered them. So yeah, a super big thank you  to Norm Kerfoot (my interviewee) who set this all up for me.  So here are the answers Michael gave me.

  1. Throughout the challenges you’ve faced, what did you do to stay positive?

I meet every day knowing that I have a choice to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and meet the challenges of that day, not replay the struggles of yesterday or anticipate the problems of tomorrow but just get up and kick butt.

  1. What was the biggest factor that affected your decision to leave “Spin City?”

I had taken on the new challenge of the Foundation and I wanted to give everything I could to that while at the same time spending as much time as I could with my growing family.  Also, the hours that it takes to make a television show were at that time especially grueling so it just made sense to step away for a while.

  1. What is your biggest fear?

I don’t think about fear much. If I’m afraid of something, I face it, look at it from every angle, figure out how much space it really takes up in my psyche, by then it’s usually de-fanged and I can deal with it.

  1. What do you think you would have done if you didn’t become an actor?

Probably would have finished high school, gone to a community college and joined the work force.  Yikes.

  1. What do you think are some best ways to keep a positive outlook on everyday life?

I’ll refer you to answer 1.  Choose to be happy.

  1. If you had to choose one word to describe living with Parkinson’s, what do you think it would be?


  1. What piece of advice would you give to a young person trying to follow their dreams?

Every day envision what you are trying to achieve or accomplish.  Affirm to yourself that that’s a reachable goal and be prepared to do the hard work that it takes to be lucky.

I feel that  I met almost all of my goals for the project, which brings a real feeling of accomplishment. Also I feel a lot more confident than I did pre-eminent.  It’s partly because of the speech. However, I think it was the experience of eminent, and making it out in one piece, that really boosted my confidence. I also feel that I improved my public speaking, and my overall people skills. Eminent really got me to interact with my peers through committee work, discussions, and helping others and getting others help.

So now the whole eminent craze is starting to come to an end with only Night of The Notables left, and I think it’s safe to say that I it has been quite the learning experience.


Eminent Interview 2014

This year I was fortunate enough to interview Norm Kerfoot, a high school friend of my moms, and a long time friend of my eminent person Michael j Fox,   The interview went great, and I got a ton of awesome information from Norm, which is listed below. Also Norm actually got in contact with Michael j Fox and told him about my study.  Michael was happy to answer a few questions via email, so Norm forwarded a message from me to Michael (so cool!). Hopefully Michael, who is busy with his foundation, can find the time to answer my questions, which would probably be the best thing that could happen!

How did you and Michael first meet?

How did we first meet, we first met in junior high school I guess I was in grade 9, putting Mike in grade 8, and we met through that we had kind of rival bands, I was in one band, he was in another so we met that way and became kind of competitive and then after a while out bands split up and we started hanging out together so we sort of started playing with each other for a while.

What was your first impression of Michael?

My first impression of Mike, hmm well that’s interesting. That he didn’t belong in junior high school he looked about 12. Mike was a good guy he was you know really nice he was energetic outgoing you know I never ever had any issues with him. Just we hung out in different groups when we first met. But you know, he was always a really good guy.

How did your relationship with Michael develop over the years?

Just by hanging out I guess and spending time together playing in the band hanging out with friends we had a lot of stuff in common, yeah you know some stuff I’m sure we can’t talk about.

How would you describe your relationship with Michael now? (How often do you speak?)

We speak a couple times throughout the year. I see him every year always at his Michael J Fox golf tournament which is to raise money basically for Burnaby South and the Michael J Fox theatre and the acting programs and stuff like that so it’s a big fundraiser for that so I see him every year at that for sure. I’ll see him other times throughout the year if he, you know, if he’s available. When he’s here he’s pretty busy. But we do talk on the phone and you know emailing, text messaging. So we’re in good contact with each other

What is your favourite memory with Michael?

My favourite memory with Mike, wow, that’s an interesting question, I probably have to say some of the times that I spent down there, probably a few good memories of being down in California when he was in his back to the future and Family Ties days and he sort of owned the town back then so it was a lot of fun to hang other, and you know, everything was at your disposal, which was a totally different lifestyle from what we we’re used to. So it was pretty crazy for us to go down there and just be thrown into that lifestyle, with all the actors and stuff like that, we had lots of fun doing that for sure.

Did Michael change at all when he became famous?

I think at first he did, um when he first started getting big, I guess anyone would. When you go from the bottom to the top over night basically is what happened to him, and I’m sure there was a bit of an ego there, so he did change for a while but he certainly came back down to earth pretty quick to who you see today. And the guy you see on TV, that’s Mike there’s no acting there and he’s not putting on a show for anybody. That’s really him.

Was Michael always such an optimistic guy?

Well I guess he had to be, if he thought he was going to make a career in acting, he got chopped down a lot of times, he went through hell and back trying to get into the whole career down there, but he stuck with it and figured he was gunna make it. There were definitely times when he should have thrown in the towel and headed home, and I think he was pretty close to doing that when he finally signed up for “Family Ties.”

Would you say that Michael is a risk taker?

A risk taker, yeah absolutely and I think for the same reasons, to at, what were we 17 when he took off and headed down to California and left everything behind and took a chance. Luckily it all panned out for him, and I think that he’s been a risk taker with his whole Parkinson’s. Coming forward and bringing that to the forefront. I mean that’s a pretty powerful thing being able to do that.

When did you first find out Michael had Parkinson’s?

I found out the same way everybody else did. Yeah I mean the word was out within his really tight circle, but everybody had to be super tight lipped about it until he came out and told everybody. So when it went public that’s when I heard about it as well.

What are some of the biggest challenges Michael has faced?

The biggest challenges hmm, well I guess getting into the whole acting scene, giving up alcohol that was huge because it’s one thing to, witness that lifestyle let alone live it. It’s a difficult lifestyle to give up because everything is available for you and he just gave that up at one point realizing that that was taking over and that there were more important things in life. So that was a big challenge for him to overcome. Then obviously letting the world know that he had Parkinson’s was a big challenge, and then dealing with that. He’s gone through a lot of cycles with that that are definitely hard to deal with. I guess as happy and as optimistic as the guy is everyday must be a challenge, I mean because it’s tough. I see him and I see how it wears him out, it’s tiring, but he puts his head down and just goes, so he’s pretty inspiring in that way for sure.

Anything else you want to add about Michael?

 Well is guess just the fact that living the life that he’s lived and being as famous as he is, he’s certainly been able to keep himself grounded. He may have gone through a few ups and downs when he was younger but who wouldn’t. But I think he’s a great family man, and a great friend, and just basically the guy that you see is Mike. There’s no fake about Michael j Fox.

Like I said, the interview was awesome, leaving me with awesome information. I would like to thank Norm very much for allowing me to interview him.

SFU Library Research Trip

On Thursday, October 30th, the TALONS  class took a trip to SFU for a library resSFU Signearch trip. The day was great, filled with a lot of learning and some awesome experiences. Though the trip was primarily about finding research material for our eminent people, I left with much more than some info on Michael J.Fox.

The day started with a visit to the museum of archaeology and ethnology at SFU, which was very interesting. It included a lot of interesting stone work and art, and even included a Harry Potter section. While we waited for the morning class to finish in the museum, we took some time to find our own place and sit quietly just watching everything around us. I found this very meaningful and I really enjoyed watching the university students go through their daily routines.


After exploring different parts of the campus we headed to the Indian bIMG_6128uffet, where we had a fabulous all you can eat lunch, only after we answered a trivia question. The meal was great including butter chicken, curry, rice, naan bread, and a very sweet dessert.



Once lunch was over, we received a private tour from Jamie’s older sisters. We explored a bunch or the different parts of the campus and learned a lot about the design of SFU (the person who designed it liked concrete). As we walked I thought a lot about my future and just life in general (it was actually really deep).



Lastly we headed to the library, which was huge, seven floors to be exact (that’ a lot of books). Even though I couldn’t find any books on my eminent person, I still enjoyed looking at all the different types of books. Also for the amount of people that were working in there, it was eerily quiet in the library.

Even though I’ve been to SFU a few times for various sporting events and camps, I never really learned the meaning of some of the things up there.  Such as how the designer wanted to use concrete, or that there where a whIMG_6124ole bunch of protests up there back in the day. I also observed the way of life of a university student, there is a very business-like atmosphere about it. It is also very independent and self-directed, which i think is really cool, but doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of fun. It was a great experience, and I left with many new insights and lessons. As for what to do next, well I need to find some research information on my eminent person, as I didn’t find anything at SFU. Also I’m super excited to pursue a post secondary education.


Eminent Introductory Post

He’s a father of four, an advocate for disease research, and was named “Hollywood’s Nicest Guy”. You might have heard him as Stuart Little, or seen him in “Back to the Future”, he’s one of Canada’s best actors of all time. Who is he, Michael J. Fox.mjf

Michael J. Fox was born as Michael Andrew Fox on June 9th 1961 in Edmonton the capitol of Alberta. He lived with his parents, his brother, and three sisters. Michael’s father was in the Canadian forces, so his family had to move various times to different parts of Canada. His family finally settled down in Burnaby, British Columbia when he was ten. Like other kids Michael loved hockey and dreamed of being a pro, he also played guitar in several different high school rock and roll bands. He joined the drama club, to meet girls at first, and found his love for acting. Michael started as a professional actor at age 15 playing a 10 year old on the sitcom “Leo and Me”. Over the next three years he played in several theatre acts and did TV work, he also got a few small roles in American TV movies being shot in Canada. When Michael was just 18 he moved to Los Angeles California to pursue his acting career. He had a few small parts, until he landed the role of Alex P. Keaton on the hit series “Family ties”  that lasted from 1982- 1989. In the 7 years of “Family ties” it earned 3 Emmys, and 1 Golden globe.

While he was busy filming his TV series during the days, he would shoot movies at night showcasing his great ability to shift between comedy and drama. In this time he appeared in over a dozen movies, such as the “Back to the Future trilogy”, “Teen Wolf”, and “Mars Attacks!”

In 1988 Michael married his “Family Ties” co-star, actress Tracy Pollan who happened to play his girlfriend. At age 29 Michael was diagnosed with a disease called Parkinson’s, but he did not tell anyone. Parkinson’s disease is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system, some of the symptoms are tremors, and twitches, also slurring of words, and other speech problems.

In 1996, Michael returned to TV in “Spin City” where he played the role of New York’s deputy mayor. He won 3 golden globes, 1 Emmy, and GQ man of the year award in the comedy category. All the time trying to hide that he had Parkinson’s. Then in 1998 during the filming of “Spin City” Michael told the public that he had Parkinson’s, from then on he committed himself to supporting Parkinson’s research. In 2000, he retired from “Spin City” after 4 seasons and 100 episodes. Later that year he established the Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research.


mjf found logo

To this day, the foundation has raised over 304 million for research, and is on its way to find a cure. He has received several humanitarian awards for his work and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010. Despite his battles with Parkinson’s, Michael keeps an optimistic look on life.  So far as I know, Fox, who was not born Jewish, has not converted to Judaism (although that is possible). He belongs to a Reform synagogue in Manhattan, which he attends with his Jewish wife, actress Tracy Pollan, 47, and their four children (They have an 18-year-old son, twin 12-year-old daughters, and another 6-year-old daughter).

At age 51 Michael still continues to act, is the author of three books and is still searching and hoping to find a cure for Parkinson’s within our lifetime.

As for similarities between Michael and I, well we both grew up in the Vancouver area, my mom actually went to school with Michael. I enjoy sports and play instruments, like Michael did.  Obviously I don’t suffer from Parkinson’s, but I do still try to keep and optimistic look on life all the time. Which is also one of my goals for this project is to find ways to stay optimistic in my everyday life. Also I’d really like to improve on my public speaking skills, as well as improve my confidence. As well I want to learn about helping better the world. I’ve always been interested in making a difference, big or small, in the world, Michael did this with his foundation.