Author: Michael Kwan

A story about money and greed

Just let me preface this by saying that it is an absolutely true story — to the best of my knowledge — and I just thought I’d share it with you, my loving audience, for your educational and amusement-al pleasure. My brother works at a car dealership, and one of the mechanics that works at the same place had an interesting story to tell him one day. The mechanic’s wife is a teacher at a private school where they lack their own gymnasium. As such, any time the students want (or are told to) do any kind of physical activity that requires a gym, they need to head out to the local community centre, rent out some space, or otherwise find somewhere else to play basketball, dodgeball, indoor soccer, or what have you Well, the school got tired of all the extra hassle and expense required for renting out a gymnasium any time they wanted to do some indoor physical activity, so they started hunting around for some land for purchase. The kindly old lady that lived next door to the school, well, she recently passed on (not in the home, as far as I know). In her will, she left her house to her two children, now all grown up and with families of their own. As such, the son and daughter did not require an additional home...

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Chimpanzee learns to play Ms. Pac-Man

Remember years ago when we were wowed by a chimpanzee that learned how to do sign language, essentially giving the furry primate the ability to communicate with us, the less hairy primate? It was quite the feat not only for the trainers involved, but for the animal itself. Human beings aren’t as special as we think we are, really, even when it comes to amusing ourselves. Get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about video games. Check out the video below, and you’ll see that we aren’t the only ones that can get a kick out of gobbling up little white orbs. Now this video is far from being confirmed as being for real — it could very well be an elaborate hoax/ploy; after all, the vid is being touted around the internet by random people like myself — but it sure seems interesting to watch a chimpanzee play Ms. Pac-Man. It’s not exactly Metal Gear Solid, Halo, or Sid Meier’s Civilization, but it is a definite step up from the days of Pong. In this video, the chimp manages to collect a bunch of white orbs, even making a bee-line for the bigger white dots that turn the ghosts into fleeing blue wimps. He (she?) avoids Pinky and the rest of the ghosts while they’re in attack mode, but is (relatively) quick to chase after them...

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Vancouver Aquarium: beluga videos

It’s been a long time since I ventured to the Vancouver Aquarium, found inside Stanley Park here in Vancouver, BC, Canada, so the invitation by a friend of mine — Angela — to head over to see the aquatic wildlife was more than welcome. Angela, Susanne (my girlfriend), and I headed over last week to poke around the Aquarium and we had a great time. We went to watch the dolphins, inspected the jellyfish, ventured into the Amazon rainforest exhibit (with exotic birds and butterflies flying all around us, in addition to a pair of slow-moving sloths among the trees), ran our hands over some starfish and sea anemone (the latter is quite sticky). But one of the highlights of our several hour long visit was the beluga show. The trainers taught the white whales to do some rather interesting things, but of course we all know that they are simply extensions of natural behaviour. In any case, here are a couple of videos that we took while we were there of the beluga whales during the show. It was a pretty hot summer day, so the belugas decided to help a couple of young boys cool down in a way that only belugas...

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Videos of Roy the bunny

Having a pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both for children who want to learn how to take proper care of an animal and older folk who seek a companion. Myself, I have Roy, a 3-year-old Netherland dwarf rabbit that I’ve had since he was just a little guy of about 8 weeks. He’s quite the frisky fellow, quick to dart around the room, but he can be quite mellow at times as well, hopping on over to you to get pet on the head (he loves getting his forehead rubbed for some reason or another). I recently uploaded a couple of videos of Roy the bunny, and would like to share them with you now. In an “aww, that’s so cute” kind of moment, we managed to capture Roy during one of his regular grooming sessions. It seems a little surreal sometimes to watch this little grey bunny clean up his face and preen his ears, so to speak, but hey, he’s got to keep himself clean one way or another. Personally, I find this behaviour more endearing than the equivalent found with cats when they clean themselves, but maybe that’s just me. Before we picked up Roy, I heard that they enjoy tossing things. It didn’t take long for this habit to emerge in Roy, as just about any small object you tossed his way, he’d...

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Ten Video Game Weapons (Video)

While countless soccer moms are out there to censor our love for violent video games, we as a video game playing community will never back down. It’s not up to the industry to take away our rocket launchers, shotguns, and proximity bombs. With so much creativity in the “interactive entertainment” industry, there have been so many cool video game weapons. The good people at GameTrailers.com have put together a video compiling what they consider to be the top ten BEST video game weapons ever, taking into consideration level of destruction, “coolness” factor, and level of innovation. It comes as little surprise that the lion’s share of the picks come from first person shooters. Titles that immediately come to mind are Halo, Goldeneye 007, Half Life, Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake, and the like, but the list also includes entries from old school shoot-em-ups and other popular games from so long ago It is a little interesting that they have gone as far back as the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) of the 1980s, and as current as contemporary PC-based online shooters and the Microsoft Xbox… but little to nothing in between. The generations consisting of the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Neo Geo, and the like have been omitted from the list. A few of the weapons found in the video below throw me back...

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New Saab 9-5 2.3t to burn cleaner with BioPower engine

While it may seem a little self-serving to find a more fuel efficient vehicle in an effort to reduce annual gas costs (it ain’t getting any cheaper at the pump, folks), in the grander scheme of things, it seems more important to protect our withering environment. All those horrible exhaust fumes can’t be good for Mother Nature, but the good people at Saab are trying to clean up emissions thanks to the new 2.3t BioPower engine destined for the automaker’s 9-5 range. They took a fairly standard looking 2.3-litre engine, threw a turbocharger in there, and made it capable of developing 210 horsepower. To be unveiled at the British Motor Show next month, this new engine can either run on the conventional petrol you find at your local Chevron, a more eco-friendly E85 bioethanol (also used in special versions of the Chevy Tahoe, for example), or a mix of the two. They’re saying that it can reduce emission by up to 70%, and at the same time, produce 14% more power. No word on pricing, but look for the 9-5 2.3t BioPower Saab to hit showrooms later this year. Source:Top...

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Nintendo Wii: October 30

Okay, so nothing has been confirmed yet, but this latest report sounds well within the realm of reason. The Wii, Nintendo’s next generation home video game system, is reportedly gearing up for an October 30th “announcement”. While I was hoping to get my hands on one sooner, the realist in me realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy the motion-sensing goodness of this Xbox 360 and PS3 competitor until the time when Santa Claus makes his rounds. This report goes on to sock me one, however, saying that the actual “launch” wouldn’t happen until the end of November in Japan, with European and North American launches coming “a few days later”. But I want my Wii now. I want Super Smash Brothers Brawl with Solid Snake. I want to jump into the Yakuza-infested world of Red Steel. I want to run around a tennis court mindlessly with Wii Sports. C’mon Shiggy, gimme my Wii! Here’s where I got the above information: Gizmodo And in the meantime, you can enjoy a fan made music video featuring our favourite heroes from Nintendo: Shigeru Miyamoto (aka Shiggy), Reggie Fils-Aime (aka the Regginator), and Satoru Iwata (aka I’m too cool to have a nickname)...

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REVIEW: Archos 104 MP3 player

Thanks to my affiliation with Mobile Magazine, I got shipped an Archos 104 MP3 player direct from the manufacturer for my review. To go on sale the first of next month, this thing looks and feels a lot like an Apple iPod nano. Well, the review has been posted: Archos doesn’t have the same level of market penetration as Apple (well, no one does these days), Creative, or Toshiba. In fact, their products are pretty hard to come by here in Vancouver, with only the odd outdated PMP popping up at the local Future Shop or Best Buy from time to time. Myself, I have never had the opportunity to fiddle with an Archos product, so I jumped at the opportunity to test out one of the company’s latest DAPs – the Archos 104 – and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with the hard-drive based player…. Click here to keep reading the rest of the review at...

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Millenium Falcon Transformer??

Okay, this might be a little random, but it almost seems like the perfect marriage between two otherwise disparate groups of geeks. What do you get when you combine Optimus Prime, Megatron, Grimlock, and the rest of the Autobot vs. Decepticon universe with the likes of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca? I’ll tell you what you get. You get the Millenium Falcon Transformer. Yes, a transformer version of everyone’s favorite intergallactic fighter. Arguably, this is the best toy of all time and it ain’t for the kiddies in the crowd. Check out this link over at Gizmodo if you don’t believe me. This toy…er, action figure (?)…collectible (?) is the real deal and apparently, for the time being at least, it’s a Canada-only release (apparently through Toys R Us). Take that, Yankees! We’re geekier than you… wait a...

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Screech is broke! Saved by the Bell star begs for donations

Whether you are willing to admit it or not, if you grew up during the 80s and 90s, there’s a good chance that you’d rush home after school each day to catch “Saved by the Bell”, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris and Tiffani Amber Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski. That said, the geek with the strange voice that always stole the show was Samuel “Screech” Powers as portrayed by Dustin Diamond. Well, it turns out that real-life Dustin is broke and is getting kicked out of his home in Wisconsin. Unless you buy a t-shirt. Diamond has set up a website — at GetDshirts.com — where he further expounds his story. He’s already expressed his woes on the Howard Stern Show. In a nutshell, he got served with a notice to foreclose, demanding $250,000 or the bank will take the house back. He got screwed by a lawyer-type, and is now desperate for funds. So, he’s asking you to buy a t-shirt. For $15 (plus shipping), you can a snazzy white tee featuring the Saved by the Bell star turned broke stand-up comic. For an extra five bucks, he’ll even sign the thing, giving you a priceless (well, $20) piece of autographed memorabilia. As this for real? I can’t say for sure. Contrary to popular belief, he can’t ask Michael Diamond (Mike D) of the Beastie Boys for a...

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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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