Author: Michael Kwan

What’s Up Wednesdays: October Edition

Given that today is Halloween, I had considered gathering a collection of spooky blog posts to share with you. Instead, it’s mostly business as usual with the monthly speedlink. Hopefully, there’s a little something for everyone here. Not long after my daughter was born, I blogged about the double standard of gender-appropriate toys. While it might be “empowering” for a girl to play with traditional “boy” toys, the reverse is not so widely accepted. This narrative came back around when a 5-year-old boy decided to paint his nails. He was ridiculed at school and came home crying, confused and...

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Vlog #100: Ending the Vlog With a Dance Party

It sometimes feels like so many of my major career decisions are things that happen “accidentally on purpose.” That’s how I got started with freelance writing, to some degree, and that’s how I got started with the weekly vlog. All good things must come to an end eventually, however, so I’ve decided I’m ending the vlog. But I’m not going out without a dance party first. Life is a balancing act. You’re always going to be juggling all sorts of responsibilities and priorities. Some of these are more clearly defined as others, and trying to “make it” on YouTube...

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Sunday Snippet: Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. The mind that responds to the intellectual and spiritual values that lie hidden in a poem, a painting, or a piece of music, discovers a spiritual vitality that lifts it above itself, takes it out of itself, and makes it present to itself on a level of being that it did not know it could ever achieve. Following up on Friday’s blog post, I’ve always felt compelled to express myself in some sort of creative way. I don’t consider myself talented as a visual artist —...

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3 Toys I Wanted as a Kid (But Never Got)

Today is my birthday. I’m officially in my late 30s, though I could probably cling on to my mid-30s for another year. When you get to this chapter in your life, gifts are great, but you could probably buy for yourself anything that you could reasonably expect to receive. I want the new Smash Bros for Switch when it comes out, so I’ll probably just buy it myself. As a kid, though, you don’t have that kind of luxury. If you wanted toys, you had to ask for them. A grown-up had to get them for you. Now, I...

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Grammar 101: Common Mass Nouns

Count nouns (or countable nouns, if you prefer) refer to things that can be counted, like chairs and hamburgers. I have one chair and he has three chairs. Jane ate one hamburger, but Stephen ate five hamburgers. Mass nouns are also known as uncountable nouns or non-count nouns, because they refer to things that either can’t be counted or aren’t generally counted. While you could technically count the grains of rice in your bowl, that’s not really reasonable. That’s why you say you’re having a bowl of rice and not a bowl of rices. By contrast, you would say...

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Vlog #99: Slimmer Wallets and Safer Children

Considering that I spend a good deal of my professional life dabbling in technology, I understand the appeal. Smartphones are getting thinner, laptops are getting lighter, and our collective wallets are getting slimmer as a result. Figuratively, I mean. But why shouldn’t our wallets get slimmer in a literal sense too? And what’s up with this new high-viz backpack from Lil Worker Safety Gear? It feels pretty obvious to say that I prefer a slimmer wallet. After all, saying that I prefer extra thick and bulky wallets just doesn’t make much sense, does it? Even so, for years, I...

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Sunday Snippet: The Haunting of Hill House (Steven Crain)

Don’t believe that word… I’m talking about the word itself. “Supernatural.” There’s the natural phenomena that we understand and there’s natural phenomena that we don’t. Primitive humans used to die of fright during an eclipse. They had no idea what it was. The eye of an angry god. An evil spirit. Nothing supernatural about it, though. Once we understood what it was, well, it was just natural. I prefer “preternatural.” Natural phenomena that we don’t quite understand yet. On nights when I don’t feel like succumbing to the third shift, I’ve found myself succumbing to the temptations of Netflix...

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Five Song Friday: Shady Venom

Growing up, my musical interests went through a series of phases. I was into the hair metal of bands like Def Leppard. Then, I got into the 90s gangsta rap of Tupac Shakur. And thanks to games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I came back to ’90s alternative. These days, my music of choice is far more eclectic… but I can’t help but to be drawn to some straight venom. Here are a few tracks getting regular play in the Kwan household. “Risk” by Metric I’m actually quite surprised that I didn’t notice when Metric released Art of...

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Stanley Park Ghost Train 2018 (Video)

It feels like summer is barely in our rearview window, and yet Halloween is right around the corner. This is no trick. You’re being treated to two videos in one week! The Stanley Park Ghost Train has opened up for another season of frightening (and delighting) young children (and the young at heart). This year, they’re taking an Irish folklore approach with the origin story of Jack O’Lantern and his journey through the dark forest. This video was shot entirely on the Google Pixel 3 XL, as were all of the photos below. Compared to last year’s Stanley Park...

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Vlog #98: Unboxing the Google Pixel 3 XL

As best as I can recall, the most money I’ve ever spent on a cellphone would be somewhere around the $400 mark. That’s how much I paid, I think, for an unlocked Samsung D900. This was a cool slider phone, well before the dawn of smartphones. From what I remember, I also paid about the same for Nokia E71. But you see this new Google Pixel 3 XL? It’s over $1,100 outright. That’s a lot of Bison Bucks! In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t actually buy the Google Pixel 3 XL. It was a “gift” from Google...

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About

Michael Kwan
Hi, I'm Michael. By day, I'm a freelance writer. By night, I'm still a freelance writer. I'm also a proud father, a voracious foodie, an avid traveler, a gadget geek, and a thinker who thinks he might be thinking too much. Beyond the Rhetoric is a reflection of my eclectic entrepreneurial life.

Read more about me and what I can do for you.

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