Beyond the Rhetoric


Sunday Snippet: Scott Kurtz (PvP Comic)

November 23rd, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Scott Kurtz

“If I’ve learned one thing in the 14 years I’ve been a full-time cartoonist, it’s that you can not let anyone else define your professionalism. It has to be a personal ethos to which you adhere despite third party influence or acceptance. The old measuring sticks for professionalism are going away and now more than ever it’s time for independent creatives to set the bar. Set it high.”

As a professional freelance writer who thinks he has a creative side to him, I’ve learned many a profound life lesson from cartoonists and comic strip creators, whether I’m shaking a snow globe with Gary Larson (The Far Side), getting influenced with Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), or creating problems with Scott Adams (Dilbert). Even before I embarked on this career as an independent small business owner, I felt like I wanted to take a more unconventional path.

Looking back, I can see how the career of a traditional cartoonist would not be all that different from that of a freelance writer. You create your content and then you hope to sell that content for a profit. The key difference is that the three individuals I named above came from more a traditional print perspective. Their comics got syndicated in newspapers across the country and around the world.

Today’s industry is different. Web comics dominate the space.

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Why I Bought a Year-Old Smartphone

November 21st, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Google Nexus 5 Smartphone

Considering that a good part of what I do as a freelance writer is cover the world of technology and consumer electronics, the natural assumption is that I will always buy the newest and shiniest toy on the block. My cell phone contract just expired, so I became eligible for a hardware upgrade and was on the hunt for a new smartphone. Did I get a Galaxy Note 4? A OnePlus One? A 2014 Moto X? No. My new smartphone is actually something that came out last year: a Nexus 5.

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5 Things That Change When You Have a Baby

November 20th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Baby Blues

Having a child is, quite literally, a life changing event. In many ways, it is even more profound and far-reaching of a change than moving out for the first time, getting married or starting your first career. Being responsible for a rather helpless little baby is all-encompassing and it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. That’s a big part of the reason why we over-think everything and stress ourselves out over the matter. Everything changes.

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What’s Up Wednesdays: Now That’s Entertainment

November 19th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Flashbacks arcade, Seaside Heights, NJ, 7/25/09 - 8 of 20

Did you know that the predecessor to Beyond the Rhetoric was a humble Geocities site called Now That’s Entertainment? Following that fun little tidbit, this week’s speedlink has a dash of nostalgia mixed in with all sorts of ways to keep entertained.

In the case of Zach Rosenberg, he’s sad that his son will never get to enjoy playing video games at the arcade the same way that he did in his youth. I also grew up as an arcade brat and while those stained carpets and sticky controls left a lot to be desired, there is something incredibly satisfying about placing your quarter on the ledge of a Street Fighter II cabinet to indicate you’ve got next.

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Recent Entries in #KwansCreativeCatering

November 18th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Jerk Chicken

Here on Beyond the Rhetoric, I’ve developed the habit of reviewing a lot of restaurants. In addition to all the eateries in and around the Vancouver area, I’ve also highlighted several from more exotic locations around the world. However, we haven’t been eating out nearly as much as we usually do these last couple of months, since we’re busy taking care of our newborn daughter. Instead, we’ve been cooking most of our meals at home.

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Grammar 101: Leech and Leach

November 17th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101: Leech and Leach

If you have a good-for-nothing acquaintance who is constantly mooching off of the people around him, if this person is always trying to extract resources from others, you might call this person a leech. Or is he a leach? Both leech and leach are pronounced exactly the same way, but just like site and cite, they have entirely different meanings and usages.

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Sunday Snippet: Dr. Frank Crane (1861-1928)

November 16th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Sunday Snippet with Dr. Crane

“Nobody has things just as he would like them. The thing to do is to make a success with what material I have. It is a sheer waste of time and soul power to imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different.”

I would like to start up my own blog, but I just don’t have the time or energy to do that right now. My company would be able to make more international sales, but the current exchange rate just isn’t that favorable. My restaurant would be more popular if it were not for this odd location and if I had more advertising money.

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The Real Stress of Being a New Dad

November 14th, 2014 by Michael Kwan


She needs a diaper change with every feeding, sometimes before and after. Is that normal? She’s spitting up quite a bit every time that I try to burp her. Is that normal? She’s sleeping so much better during the day than she is at night. Is that normal?

Being first-time parents, our minds are filled with all sorts of daily concerns and worries. Some of these I expected to encounter as a new dad, like figuring out how to bathe my baby or how to establish a new working arrangement. While those are certainly stressful in their own right, we vastly underestimated all the little things that would cause so much concern.

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