Author: Michael Kwan

Check, raise, all-in. The world of online poker

I’m sure you’ve noticed. Poker is no longer “just a game.” It’s no longer restricted to smoke-filled casinos. It’s about as mainstream as it comes, and a big part of this phenomenon is the internet. Sure, the World Series of Poker has been around for a long time, but with the World Poker Tour catered for television, more and more people have jumped on the checking, raising, and betting fiasco known as Texas Hold ’em. I admit. I’ve been bit by the poker bug too. There are plenty of online poker sites out there — Poker Room, Party Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and so on — and there have even been some millionaires made as a result, the best known of which is Chris Moneymaker (his name is a little too appropriate). One site that I’ve come across during my journeys is Blogger Poker Tour. It’s not new; this is their “second season”, whatever that means, but who would have thought combining the somewhat geeky practice of blogging with the “cool” game of cards. Check it out if you want, stick to the home game tourneys (like me), or dare to be different and play Euchre instead. No matter what you do, it seems like poker is here to stay and it’s only going to get bigger. After all, who could have guessed that Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, and...

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Make money blogging

A growing number of people — myself included — are starting to make their primary income online. Some have tried selling random trinkets, others may sign up for those sketchy pyramid schemes. I haven’t tried either of those, but since I enjoy writing so much, being a blogger for a living has been a natural fit. But can you make money blogging? Yes and no. Prominent bloggers, like Darren Barefoot and Ross the Intern, don’t have too much trouble getting enough exposure these days, but what around the rest of us? With the proliferation of sites like MySpace, Blogger, and so on, more and more folks are having a significant online presence, even if a relative small number of people visit their blogs. Here at Beyond the Rhetoric, traffic has been modest, but this is far from being my primary source of income. The Google ads provide a touch, but I want to dabble in a couple of other streams. One such stream is Blogsvertise. How legitimate they are… well, I don’t know that yet. No harm in trying, though, I guess. It’s no get rich quick scheme — those never work out — but it’s worth a shot. Are there any services you have tried? Did they work? Were they scams? Leave a comment and let us all in on the...

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Vancouver’s booming housing market about to burst?

It’s no secret that it’s been a seller’s market in Vancouver when it comes to real estate. These past couple of years, we’ve seen prices skyrocket on even the most modest of developments, spurring on more and more condos. The building boom has been huge, shifting entry-level suites from the mid 100ks to the low 300ks. In fact, even when you look into the surrounding areas like Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, New Westminster, Surrey, and so on, prices there for a simple 600ish square foot condo start in the $250,000 range. That’s no small sum. But it seems that things are finally starting to shift. As we gear up for the 2010 Winter Olympics, I fully expect the condos to keep going up (along with the prices), but a recent report has indicated that, compared to last year, we have started seeing a change. Last year, there were far more potential buyers than there were available units, but the reverse appears to be true, if only by a small margin. It won’t become a buyer’s market any time soon, but this latest report predicts a more “even” playing field wherein neither buyers nor sellers have an outright advantage. Outside investors are still happily picking up apartments and condominiums with the plan to flip them for a profit, as interest rates appear to be staying steady (or possibly even dropping),...

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Open Season: Just another cartoon

There are far too many of these movies these days. Open Season is the latest in a long string of computer animated films that feature talking animals. While the animation is cute and the voice actors somewhat entertaining, the plot is far too formulaic and predictable. That said, if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and your discerning critical eye (or perhaps if you’re just accompanying some young children to a cheap Sunday matinee), you can still find some enjoyment in Open Season. Featuring the voice talents of Martin Lawrence (as Boog the Bear), Ashton Kutcher (of Punk’d and That 70s Show) Debra Messing (of Will and Grace fame), Patrick Warburton (perhaps best known as “Putty” from Seinfeld), Gary Sinise (CSI: NY), Jon Favreau (multi-millionaire and Monica’s boyfriend Pete Becker from Friends) and so on, Open Season — like so many talking-animal animated films before it — brings out the big well-known “real” actors to do the voices of bears, deer, beavers, and a porcupine who won’t stop creeping me out with “buuuuuuddddyyyy”. The premise of the movie is simple: we have a bear (Boog) that was rescued as a young cub by a park ranger (the town reminds me a little of Ketchikan, Alaska for some reason). He grows up to perform for tourists in an outdoor theatre (which looks a lot like some of the stages atop...

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Little Miss Sunshine and The Illusionist: Reviewed

I caught a couple of movies this past week or thereabouts, so I thought I’d quickly share my impressions of these silver screen wonders with you, my flick-catching public. Up to bat for this pick-up game are Little Miss Sunshine (starring Steve Carell of 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Office fame) and The Illusionist (starring Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, and Paul Giamatti). Little Miss Sunshine is a strange indie flick that follows a young girl as she embarks on a journey to win a national beauty pageant, appropriately named Little Miss Sunshine. While that may not sound very appealing to the vast majority of people out there, the dark humour and quirky events along the way make this well worth the price of admission. Steve Carell is great as Frank Hoover, a renowned Proust scholar and a recent suicide survivor. Abigail Breslin is unforgettable as little Olive Hoover, Frank’s niece and Little Miss Sunshine contestant. While primarily a comedy, there are a few darker moments and lines where some may be disturbed. Grade: A- The Illusionist takes place in turn of the century Vienna where Eisenheim the Illusionist (played by Edward Norton) earns himself quite the name as an extraordinary magician (some even call him a wizard with supernatural powers). He can “speed up time” and grow an orange tree in mere seconds, turn his gloves into crows, and make...

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MediaREADY Aero MP3 players with “eye-popping style”

There’s this feeling I get in my gut when the primary marketing point of a new product is that it sports “eye-popping style and color selection”, and then the press release isn’t even accompanied by any photos. That’s exactly the case with the unveiling of the Aero line of MP3 players from MediaREADY. They say that this new set of players follows on the success of the Glider line before it, but I’ve never heard of that either. Maybe I’m just out of the loop. In any case, the flash-based Aero players come bundled with Tunebite 3.0 trial software,...

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Mini Review: Cooking at the Cookery

Last week, I went to see Cooking at the Cookery with Joseph Planta of The Commentary. Brought to you by the Arts Club Theatre Company, Cooking at the Cookery, despite its name, has nothing to do with fixing up dinner in the kitchen. Instead, it is a “sizzling musical revue” of the life of “legendary African-American songstress Alberta Hunter.” The story of her life — from her humble beginnings in Memphis to her peak, playing a number of top-rated venues in New York, Chicago, and London — is described in this musical play, but the most entertaining part of the show was the singing. The show is essentially a two woman show, starring Jackie Richardson and Janice Lorraine. Janice takes on the role of Alberta Hunter as a young child and Jackie takes over as we get into her later years. Both actresses take on several other personas over the course of the two-and-a-half hour play, like Alberta’s mother, club owners, and head nurses, but of course, the character of Alberta Hunter features most prominently. Personally, I found the storytelling to be a little lacking. Granted, I’m not all too familiar with the 1920s jazz scene (nor am I all that interested in that era), but a well told biopic is always welcome in my books. Sure, it was fun watching little Alberta grow up, aspiring to be a...

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Technorati

Bear with me and this post, because it’s sole purpose is to get me listed in Technorati. Apparently I have to provide some kind of special link so that I can get indexed properly or something like that. So, uh, yeah. Have a nice weekend! Technorati...

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Cell Phone Signal Booster: Arc Wireless Freedom Antenna

The UPS guy just came by my house a couple of hours ago and dropped off a package. I’m expecting several items (a couple from eBay, a couple for Mobile Magazine), so I wasn’t completely positive what I was unpacking. I signed the handheld device, closed the door, and proceed to tear the box apart. Getting beyond some bubble wrap, I found the Arc Wireless Freedom Antenna, an external cell phone signal booster which is said to give you the best of reception no matter where you are. Whether you’re in a moving vehicle, stuck in a concrete jungle,...

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Free iTunes, iPod-loving stereos, and a Bluetooth MP3 player

As some of you may already know, I also maintain a blog over at the WritingUp website (which you can check out here). It hasn’t gotten that many updates since Beyond the Rhetoric hit the scene, but it still gets the odd post from time to time to keep that side of my audience satisfied if not satiated. I just put up three new entries there in the past couple of days that you might want to check out, including a link for some free iTunes music. The three posts are thus: Samsung YP-T9B DAP plays vids, sports BluetoothApple’s iPod may dominate the mobile music market, but it is far from being the only option. If you’re in love with the slim glossy look of Samsung’s cell phones, then you’ll feel right at home with their new YP-T9B digital audio and video player…. Four new Cambridge stereos love iPodsCambridge may be Creative’s lesser known cousin and their designs seem more retro than the more contemporary-looking Zen, but these new stereos are ushering in a new era of collaboration (sort of) between Apple and Creative. Cambridge SoundWorks is unveiling four new stereos that boast lots of love for the Apple iPod…. Get 50 iTunes songs for freeNow, of course you know that Apple isn’t going to just give stuff away. They know better than that, considering that they own 75%...

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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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