Author: Michael Kwan

Search engine optimization: hits #2

It’s been a tough battle with the almighty search engine for me, but it seems like I’m finally starting to make some progress. I got an unsolicited email the other day that I was just going to delete thinking it was spam, but it turned out to be a potential client who (I’m assuming) stumbled across my website advertising my freelancing writing services. So, I went on over to Google and, well, I saw something darn near miraculous. Let’s preface this story a bit. has been around since March 2006, so it’s understandable that the first few months...

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Blogging with my Wii

I am posting this entry from my Wii and it is wicked awesome, though the on-screen keyboard is a little cumbersome to use. It does have an option for predictive text, which is quite nice. I think I’m doing about 10 to 15...

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Video: Top ten ways to die in a video game

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m very big on video games. Heck, I’ve grown up squishing goombas and shooting hadoukens out of my hands. Luckily for me, I’ve also parlayed it into a career of sorts, writing for LoveToKnow Video Games, SpinTop Games, and — most recently — That’s why it’s with a little nostalgic tear in my eye that I present to you, the top ten worst ways to die (in a video game). You would think that such a compilation would include Doom. Nope. There are some rather strange choices in the list that I wouldn’t have considered (being killed by a weiner?), and a few that are included for reasons that wouldn’t dawn on most people (check out Halo bit in the clip). Anyways, here’s the vid. Agreements? Disagreements? What about Kitana’s kiss of death from Mortal Kombat II? RELATED POSTS: – Top Ten Video Game Weapons (Video) – Wii Review Roundup: Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Zelda Twilight Princess – Top ten signs you’re a Nintendo fanboy – Wii would like to...

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The cost of interior decor, or “I ain’t ever movin’ out”

I’ve written on something similar in the past, but it is a fairly prominent issue in my life (and in the lives of many 20-somethings in the Greater Vancouver area). Real estate prices are just too high for the average Joe (or Michael, as the case may be) to make their first foray. After all, a decent one-bedroom condo is going to run well over $200,000 if you want to stay in Vancouver / Richmond / Burnaby area. Of course, that’s not where the expenses end. Above and beyond mortgage payments, home insurance, and all that other jazz, you’ve still got to furnish the bloody place. Sure, they may provide you with appliances, but you need a bed, don’t you? And I wonder how much customization is available. Can you opt to not take their default drapes and get the blinds on your own? What about carpeting? Hardwood floors? Interior design can get pretty pricey. I really don’t want to wait until after the 2010 Olympics to get into the real estate market, but I want to stay in the Vancouver area. Maple Ridge and Mission aren’t exactly the most appealing options (to me). Then, where is my window of opportunity? If I wait too long — to take a poker analogy — I may be blinded out, so to speak. Sigh, the housing market is fierce. Maybe I...

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iPhonic puts the iPod on a stick

It’s the answer to a question that no one ever asked: What if you could put Apple’s music player on a stick? What would you call it? Luckily for Saitek, the name iPhonic is not taken by Cisco, unlike that other term that we thought was going to be something else. The iPhonic, other than its fairly unique form factor, isn’t all that different than other iPod-centric speaker docks we’ve already seen on the market, but you’ve got to love that hub-like styling. And let’s not forget about the iPod being impaled on the side. It gets its power from a quad of AAA batteries or, alternatively, you can plug into the wall with the optional DC adapter. By the way, the Saitek iPhonic is “also great for mobile phones” boasting an “active stereo speaker with extended bass.” No word on pricing, but you can keep on top of things by checking the official product page. Source:...

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Wii Review Roundup: Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Zelda Twilight Princess

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’ve been the proud owner of a shiny white Nintendo Wii for almost a month now, and while the graphics aren’t all that much better than what the GameCube is capable of, the gameplay is an absolute blast. And isn’t that what video games are about in the first place? Having fun? Well, I’ve gathered up a few reviews for your reading pleasure, and I’ve posted links to them below. Check out Wii Sports, Rayman Raving Rabbids, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Before we get to that though, it seems that Wii has brought the stupid out of everyone. You’ve surely heard the horror stories of “Wii Have a Problem”… you know, people flinging their Wii Remotes through their television sets when they unwittingly let go and the strap breaks. Nintendo is offering a voluntary replacement, but it is not a recall. And then someone goes ahead and sets the bloody thing on fire with candles: video here. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… Wii Sports Review: While you won’t be amazed by groundbreaking graphics and earth-shattering sound in Wii Sports, Nintendo has done a good job of jazzing it up with vibrantly-colored backgrounds, fluid animations, and quirky-looking characters. Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of the game is that you can make use of the “Mii” characters you create in the...

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Hot Pot at Sun Tung Kee. Happy birthday Joanie!

Over the weekend, we headed out to celebrate my good friend Joanie’s birthday at Sun Tung Kee Hot Pot Restaurant in Richmond. It’s an all-you-can-eat joint that’ll run about twenty bucks a person for a wide range of seafood, meat, vegetables and other goodies that you cook yourself in a boiling pot of broth in the center of table. This is quite popular in Hong Kong and is a slightly different take on the typical Chinese fare. No fried rice or chow mein here. The best hot pot I’ve ever had would be at Landmark on Cambie (Vancouver). The...

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Making easy money on the net?

Maybe it’s because they’re still in beta. Maybe my blog isn’t getting enough traffic. But for whatever reason, I seem to be having a particularly hard time getting people to sign up under my referral number for AGLOCO. Developed by the same people as AllAdvantage, AGLOCO is basically a toolbar that sits at the bottom of your internet browser, and at the end of the month, you get a check (cheque) from them for the hours you surfed (and the hours your referrals surfed). It’s not spyware, and it’s not a pyramid scheme… in the strictest sense. This is because it costs you absolutely nothing to join, and you have everything to gain. You can check out their Help/FAQ page for more details; I’m not going to bore you with that stuff. Anyways, I’m going to give this one more try. If you do decide to sign up with AGLOCO, please use my referral ID: BBBB6961. Cheers and have a wonderful holiday season. On a side note, I have but one referral and apparently I rank “in the top 10.32% of all members”. That’s pretty fascinating in and of itself. Here’s a screenshot of the AGLOCO...

Read More gets an extreme makeover

This was certainly a long time coming. has been up and running since March 2006 (as has Beyond the Rhetoric), but I’ve never been particularly happy with how I designed the main site (where I promote my freelance writing and editing services… feel free to shoot some business my way by sending me an email). Luckily for me, an acquaintance from a local forum is a professional website designer and she volunteered her services. She was looking to expand her portfolio, so I was more than happy to be her guinea pig. After all, if things didn’t pan out, I could always go back to the way it was. Well, that redesign took longer than I expected, but it has finally happened. re-launched yesterday with a whole new layout, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Of course, it will also be a work in progress, and I will add, remove, and edit the content as time goes on, expanding my portfolio, as well as the services and references pages. I’m looking to change the top banner to something else, but I have yet to reach an epiphany on that front. Other than that, I’d like to jazz it up with a picture or two, but as Edwin Lau from the [ED]ition tells me, minimalism is “in” right now, so I should avoid any kind...

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Where’s the sun? I need a vacation….

It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s miserable outside. No wonder so many people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s around this time of year that I’m just itching for a trip to sunnier climes. Maybe Florida (if only their NFL football teams were doing better these days. I want a vacation. I’ve been the States, sure, but never that far south. I had a brief stopover in Dallas one time, but I never left the airport. Other than that, I’ve been to California, Washington (state), and New York. It would be nice to go to Florida… I guess I’d have to figure out where to find the younger folks and not the ones seriously concered about life insurance. I’d imagine that most of the people down there are reasonably well off, having accumulated a fairly significant nest egg over the years to provide for a super comfortable retirement. The business of selling life insurance in Tampa could be pretty lucrative. You know, just like selling time shares. MetLife (813-887-3522) probably does pretty well for themselves down there. They’d probably sell well in Victoria...

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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.


Beyond the Margins, by Michael Kwan