Author: Michael Kwan

Does the Greatest Art Come From a Place of Pain?

As Robin William’s character John Keating famously said in Dead Poets Society, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.” Some people may dismiss poetry for its lack of practical application, unlike the “noble pursuits [that are] necessary to sustain life,” but poetry and similar artistic pursuits are “what we stay alive for.” While I don’t really think of myself as an artist — I am far too undeserving of the title — I have spent a...

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Vlog #59: On My Reading List

Shortly after the movie adaptation came out in 1993, I rushed to the local public library to pick up a copy of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton… and I proceeded to rifle through the 464-page novel in less than a week. That’s quite the feat for a tween! I’ve never really reclaimed that kind of pace, but as I mentioned in last week’s vlog, I really want to read more again. For this week’s vlog, I’m highlighting some of the books from my reading list. Before we get there, though, let’s start with an overly ecstatic preschooler and her...

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Sunday Snippet: Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)

The shoe was going to make the greatest difference in the boy’s attitude. Even a child with normal feet was in love with the world after he had got a new pair of shoes. When Norton got a new pair, he walked around for days with his eyes on his feet. In the Shakespearean play Hamlet, Polonius says at one point that “the apparel doth oft proclaim the man.” Put in more modern terms, we sometimes say that the clothes make the man (or woman). To some extent, this is true. That’s why whenever you see a television commercial...

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Grammar 101: Graft and Graph

By now, you’ve probably recognized that similar-sounding words with totally different meanings are sometimes mistaken for one another. You see this especially often when one of the words is used more commonly than the other. That’s why someone might confuse gait and gate or grisly and grizzly, for example. Today, we’re taking a closer look at a couple more “G” words in “graft” and “graph.” Graph, when used as a noun, refers to a visual representation that displays the relationship between two (or more) variables. This can take on several forms, like line graphs and bar graphs. Depending on...

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Foodie Bucket List: 10 Foods to Try Before You Die

A couple of weeks ago, fellow dad blogger Tony Conrad from Faith, Family and Technology shared his list of 20 foods he wants to try. He hasn’t had a crawfish boil or liver and onions, for example. This initiated a lengthy Facebook discussion with Stacey Robinsmith from A Dad in the Burbs about all the foods we’ve already eaten. And this got me thinking about my own foodie bucket list. What on Earth do I want to try? You might recall that I shared my bucket list a few years ago, but that list was a little more general...

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Vlog #58: Amazon Kindle Oasis Comparison

Remember when ebook readers were first becoming a thing? Some people opted for Sony e-readers. Barnes & Noble had its Nook series and Chapters offered the Kobo family. But just as practically all other MP3 players gave way to the iPod, the Amazon Kindle is pretty much the de facto standard for e-ink based e-book readers. But how much are you really willing to spend on one of these things? And what’s changed in the newer 2017 version of the Kindle Oasis? A little of this, a little of that… You might remember when I unboxed the original Oasis...

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Sunday Snippet: Peter Harnetty (UBC Professor Emeritus)

Most students now, just the same as half a century ago, have a practical object in view: to get an Arts degree as a means to an end. There is nothing wrong with that. But the professor has the challenge to provide the extra dimension in an Arts degree: to ensure that students in the Faculty of Arts not only learn the elements of their subjects but also develop the critical attitude and love of knowledge for its own sake that is the true value of an Arts education. One of my job placements as part of the co-op...

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Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

An online friend of mine recently ran into a bit of a parenting conundrum. He’s used to working his day job outside of the home, so it’s an utter rarity for him to have an entire day where he is alone with his daughter. While he’s got a handle on the “taking care of her” part of the situation, he very quickly ran into the challenge of keeping her entertained. What exactly can they do together for this precious daddy-daughter time? How can he keep her engaged for hours on end? During warm summer months, when the weather is...

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Introducing Hump Day Haikus

One of my greatest successes (and failures) of 2017 was keeping up with the weekly vlog. It served as an excellent creative challenge, as it enabled me to explore a different discipline and exercise a different set of creative muscles. I haven’t yet decided how to proceed with the vlog this year, but that’s another discussion for another day. Probably on a Monday. As discussed in a vlog. But I digress. As you may already know, I endeavored to post at least one thing on Instagram every day for all of 2017, using the #kwan365 hashtag to document the...

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Vlog #57: Guiding Words for a Happy New Year

And just like that, we’re in 2018. Chances are that millions of people around the globe have come with any number of possible new year’s resolutions. They’re going to quit smoking or they’re going to start going to the gym or they’ll achieve the fastest speed run in Super Mario Bros. or some other noble pursuit. And chances are a good majority of these people will give up in a couple weeks. That’s why I don’t make new year’s resolutions anymore. I choose guiding words. As you might recall, the three guiding words that I chose for 2017 were...

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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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