Author: Michael Kwan

Reward yourself with a no-debt credit card

We are a nation of debt and we are not alone. It seems like the average person in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and so on all live with with a balance sheet in the red. In Vancouver, we’ve seen rising interest rates and housing prices, resulting in huge mortgages that people just can’t afford. It’s just as easy to point to 0% credit cards and blame them for our increasing debt. After all, how enticing is it to buy the latest electronic device, big screen TV, or that hot new spring dress when you don’t have to pay any interest for it… at least up front. Luckily, I never had to take out a student loan for my career at UBC. I always pay my credit card bill on time (and in full) so I never have to suffer those atrocious interest rates. That’s why things like 0% balance transfers don’t really appeal to me. At the same time, I love having my credit cards because they reward me for doing things I’m going to do anyways. I get Airmiles to spend on free flights, merchandise, and gift certificates. That’s why when you compare credit cards, you should not only look at the up-front gifts they may offer (a free t-shirt is nice and all, but basically worthless), but also what additional benefits they can provide you....

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It’s alive! (evil laughter) It’s alive!

So, do you like the new look? As promised, Beyond the Rhetoric underwent a bit of a facelift, migrating from the not-so-nice QuickBlog tool over at GoDaddy to the much more user friendly and customizable WordPress. Big sigh of relief on my part. Among the changes you’ll notice are that the sidebar can now display images and is quite a lot more customizable. I’ve included buttons for AGLOCO (aff), Text Link Ads (aff), and PayPerPost (aff). You should check them out when you have chance. Here’s a quick summary of those three affiliates if you’re interested: –AGLOCO puts a “Viewbar” at the bottom of your internet browser window and you get a portion of the advertising money. This figure grows exponentially as you expand your referral network. –Text Link Ads is designed to help sell ad space on your personal website or blog. This way, you don’t have to go hunting for sponsors on your own. –PayPerPost pays you to blog about the things you love. Simply review a sponsor’s website or product and get a good chunk of change in return. I’m totally open to suggestions, comments, and questions, so feel free to chime in with a comment below on how I can improve Beyond the Rhetoric....

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Apple and Cisco make nice over iPhone name

Well it’s official. The whole iPhone debacle between Cisco (parent company to Linksys) and Apple (makers of the iPod) has come to a conclusion and the agreement allows both companies to make use of the iPhone moniker for their products. Joe Public probably still associates the term “iPhone” with Steve Jobs and the rest of the team in Cupertino, but the more tech savvy among us will instantly recognize that Cisco — and not Apple — used the iPhone name first. The Linksys iPhone is a VoIP family of products designed to let you chat it up with people all around the world using a standard broadband internet connection. If you’ve got a WiFi network set up in your home, for example, you can use select items from the Linksys iPhone VoIP family and yak it up without wires. I don’t make very many (if any) long distance calls myself, but if you’re the type of person that makes a lot of international calls, VoIP can save you a heck of a lot of money as it is typically cheaper than a conventional landline. I don’t think anyone is going to confused the Apple iPhone with the Linksys iPhone, but search engines may be a different issue altogether. The preceding post was brought to you by...

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The ebb and flow of internet income

I’ve been self-employed for about a year now and I can’t imagine myself ever going back to a standard nine-to-five schedule. I enjoy being own boss and having the relative freedom to set my own schedule. All this comes at a price, naturally, and the price is that I can never know how much money I’ll be making. I’m not only talking about soliciting clients for my freelance writing business, but also in terms of how much advertising cash this blog brings in. Such is always the case when it comes to internet-based income. I guess the same could be said about running any business. When you first open a restaurant in Vancouver, for example, there’s a very good chance that you’ll generate some initial buzz and business could very well be booming for the first month or two. After a while, though, customers get antsy and fickle, looking for the next new dining establishment and you find your daily take start to dwindle. I’m pretty sure that’s the case with Simply Delicious on Main Street, which is a couple blocks away from my house. It’s hard to say where I stand on the issue, because on the one hand, I enjoy the flexibility and the possibility of essentially setting my own income wherever I’d like it to be. On the other hand, there is value to be had...

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Free Blackberry with web hosting and domain registration

When you’re looking to start out own small business — whether it’s freelance writing or otherwise — the last thing you want to worry about is getting your website up and running. Sure, you will want to spend quite a bit of time working out the design and content, but there’s no need to stress out about hosting plans and domain registration. When I first launched my site, I went with GoDaddy simply because they were one of the cheaper options out there. My, how blind was I! There are so many other hosting companies out there that offer pricing that is just as good (and customer service that is probably even better). One such firm is If you’re looking for a deal, Concentric may be up your alley because they offer a free domain name with every hosting account, even if you opt for shared hosting (most people do, in order to keep costs down) instead of a dedicated hosting solution. In addition to web hosting, their accounts — even the basic plan — come with free email addresses as well. For an added incentive, Concentric is giving away a free Blackberry (7290 or 7105T) if you sign up for a new hosting or email account (select plans, of course). Take a look. Well worth your time. The preceding post was sponsored by...

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GM to buy Chrysler, chaos to ensue

The automotive world is all topsy-turvy these days. Everyone owns everyone and no one owns themselves. It’s about to get a little more crowded (or a little less, depending on your perspective), because there’s a very good chance that General Motors, the world’s largest carmaker, is going to buy the Chrysler Group from DaimlerChrysler. This would mean that GM would be adding Dodge, Jeep, and of course Chrysler to their ever-expanding stable of brands. The next time you ask a Cobalt or Cadillac driver whether their car has a HEMI in it, the answer just might be yes. A Merrill Lynch analyst is saying that this is a “defensive maneuver” on the part of GM in that they are trying to protect their position as the automaker with the greatest worldwide volume. Toyota — when you include their subsidiaries like Hino, Scion and Lexus — is currently the number two carmaker, but their numbers are very quickly approaching number one status. GM is scared, I guess, that they’re on the cusp of being de-throned. Personally, I don’t like it. GM has enough brands already and adding three more to the bunch can only make things more confusing. Hummer and Jeep clearly overlap with one another. And then there’s the matter of the Dodge Viper vs. Chevy Corvette. In fact, there’s a lot of overlap, so GM may not be...

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Three Wii games I want in 2007

Okay, the post holiday slump is officially over in the industry of video games, so we should start to expect some fairly juicy numbers coming down the chute. While I have a Nintendo DS Lite and a Sony PSP, the system that I’m much more interested in — and the one that I sorely need to expand my library in — is the motion-sensitive and phallic symbol-sporting Nintendo Wii. In addition to Wii Sports which came bundled in with the home console, I have only purchased Rayman Raving Rabbids and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I finished the former already and am not all that interested in the latter, despite it being rated the best game on the system (as well as Game of the Year for 2006). I’ll leave Zelda to Susanne. Me, I need short spurts of enjoyment. I have a short attention span, so the games I play need to reflect that. Here are a list of three games I want to play in 2007. Sonic and the Secret Rings (February 20) This game was released today and I’m going to wait until I read a few reviews before I go ahead and splurge the 60 bucks plus tax required to purchase it. After all, the last few entries in the Sonic franchise have been less than impressive. By contrast, Sonic and the Secret Rings...

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Stonegrill cooking video

Remember last week how I told you about my dining experience Stonegrill? Remember how I told you that they’re more about selling the sizzle than they are about selling the steak? Well, this video pretty much says it all. That crackling sound you hear is not the result of a bad microphone. That’s my rack of lamb getting slowly seared on a 400-degree slab of rock. Oh, and in case you missed it the first time around, I gave Stonegrill a 7/10. Yeah, I won’t go back unless I have another 2-for-1 coupon. Related Posts: –Dine Out Vancouver: The William Tell Restaurant –A Rare Restaurant Dine Out Experience –Dining out: The Fish House in Stanley Park –LA Report: The Stinking...

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Stonegrill sells the sizzle, not the steak

If you’re looking for a fairly unique dining experience, Vancouver is a good city to visit. After all, we have sushi restaurants on just about every corner (I probably wouldn’t recommend Tomakazu though), as well as a huge range of ethnic cuisine capturing just about every corner of the globe. There are places for west coast cuisine, Italian, African, East Indian, Afghani… you name it, there’s probably a restaurant in Vancouver that serves it. For my latest dining out experience, we headed out to Stonegrill, located on the north side of False Creek, just underneath the Granville Street Bridge,...

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Tomokazu serves sushi with rat poop

Looks pretty appetizing, doesn’t it? What if I told you that your sushi and sashimi comes with a free side of rodent droppings when you order it at Tomokazu, located at 20-1128 West Broadway, Vancouver (Tel: 604-677-0426). The popular all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant has just been closed down by the health department. And the scary part is that rodent droppings are but a drop in the bucket, so to speak, in terms of what else the health inspector(s) noted during their inspection of this increasingly shady establishment. In case report page goes down for any reason, I’m going to provide...

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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.