Beyond the Rhetoric


Grammar 101: Bouillon and Bullion

December 18th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

If you are working on a bowl of noodle soup and you need some chicken stock, do you ask for a bouillon cube? Or is it a bullion cube? What about when you’re talking about buying some gold bullion… or maybe it’s gold bouillon. When spoken, it can be difficult to discern the difference between these two words without adequate context. When written, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right one. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some golden soup or a very expensive cube of dehydrated stock.

Click to continue reading »

What’s Up Wednesdays: Wisdom of Experience

December 17th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Everest Base Camp - Gorak Shep - Nepal

For this week’s speedlink, we ponder some sage words of wisdom.

As much as I give my friend Bob Buskirk a hard time, we’ve both been able to make a living doing what we love, working for ourselves. In responding to people who “would love to do what you do,” he says the reason why they can’t is because they are lazy. Building your own business from the ground up is no easy task. It’s not just about hard either; you need to be determined and motivated enough to stick with it, even when you struggle to find any success in the early days.

Click to continue reading »

Cloud b Sleep Sheep Video Review

December 16th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Cloud b Sleep Sheep Video Review

Two of the most lucrative and most competitive segments of the market are weddings and baby products. As a new parent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer range of baby products that simultaneously seem exactly the same and utterly different. When I put up my video review of the Graco Travel Lite Crib, I had the intention of continuing with a series of videos to help other new parents get a handle on some of this stuff.

It may have taken me a few months to get to the next video review, but here we are today with my take on the Sleep Sheep Sound Machine Soother from Cloud b.

Click to continue reading »

Got Craft? Celebrating the Handmade, Local and Cute

December 15th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Got Craft? Holiday Edition 2014

…because MALL is a four letter word.

That’s one of the first things you’ll see on the homepage for Got Craft?, a semi-annual event in Vancouver that “aims to bring together a community of handmade and DIY culture.”

When I went to the Maritime Labour Centre over the weekend for the Holiday Edition of Got Craft?, my first reaction was that the craft fair was akin to a real-life Etsy. Dozens of local vendors showed off their little handicrafts and other creative creations, offering unique gift ideas just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Click to continue reading »

Sunday Snippet: Timothy Taylor on Foodie Culture

December 14th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Sunday Snippet: Timothy Taylor on Foodie Culture

“Food. Food. You have to step back and ask: How and why did we all get so hepped up about food? When I flash back to my childhood cuisine–and I mean flash, just grabbing the first image of food my memory will serve–I get a Safeway bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Diced carrots with peas and corn kernels that you boiled, and when you bit into them you got the flavor of poached cardboard. That was food to me and I was more or less unaware of any alternatives.”

I like to eat. It could be the quiet comfort food of a great greasy dinner or could it be something particularly unique at the hottest new place in town. It could be my latest #KwansCreativeCatering experiment or it could be an amazing piece of toro sashimi. I like to eat. I’ve been accused of being a foodie and, yes, I may have even used the term to describe myself too.

Click to continue reading »

Silly Easter Eggs in Google Hangouts

December 12th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Silly Easter Eggs in Google Hangouts

So, I was on the Internet the other day (imagine that!) and I was chatting with my friend on Google Hangouts. I don’t recall exactly what it is that I said, but it must have been funny, because he replied with a hearty “hahahaha.” Suddenly, a yellow figure emerged from the bottom of the chat window and it proceeded to laugh at us. We soon discovered there was much more to Google Hangouts than the emoticons that Google provides.

Click to continue reading »

On Life as a Constant Adventure and the Role of Companions

December 11th, 2014 by Michael Kwan


A friend of mine recently posted the following status update on Facebook:

Life should be a constant adventure, the person you choose to spend your time with should not want to stop that adventure, rather they should want to come along for the journey…

Ignoring the run-on sentence issue, this kind of life philosophy may sound empowering and uplifting, but it suffers from a very fundamental flaw. The first part of the statement is true enough. Indeed, life should be seen as a constant adventure and the destination isn’t nearly as important as the journey. The problem arises immediately afterward when he considers the people around him.

Click to continue reading »

What’s Up Wednesdays: Wanna Play a Game?

December 10th, 2014 by Michael Kwan


It’s time for another speedlink here on Beyond the Rhetoric and we’re getting started with fellow gaming dad Zach Rosenberg. Like me, he’s starting to feel a little old now that we’ve celebrated the 20th anniversary of PlayStation. I didn’t get into the Sony ecosystem until the PS3 (and even then, not really), since I grew up as a Nintendo fanboy. For me, I couldn’t wait to play Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 the following year in 1995. Of course, being reminded that Street Fighter II is 23, the original Game Boy is 25 and Tetris is 30 doesn’t make me feel much younger either.

Click to continue reading »