Author: Michael Kwan

Mortal Kombat Armageddon: Character selection screen

Mortal Kombat Armageddon is meant to draw to a close this chapter of the Mortal Kombat story, wrapping up all the loose ends brought on my all past incarnations of the popular (and bloody) fighting game. In this way, all of the characters you know and love are back, from classic Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Kano to newer characters like Bo’ Rai Cho, Li Mei, and Mavado. Second perhaps only to the legendary Street Fighter series, Mortal Kombat is probably one of the most popular video game series out there when it comes to the standard one-on-one beat ’em up....

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CityTV’s Taste of the City

Yesterday was CityTV’s Taste of the City, held at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver. To recap, there were 20 some odd local restaurants showcasing their dishes to the eager (and hungry) public, from butter chicken to hamburgers, Filipino desserts to mildly-flavoured water. In exchange for a certain number of tickets (which were being sold at $10 for a sheet of 20, effectively making them 50 cents a piece), the stands would offer a small sample of their food. No dish would cost more than six tickets, so nothing cost you more than three bucks. To some, this may sound an awful lot like the Eat! Vancouver food and kitchen festival held a few months back at BC Place Stadium (ironically, just across the street from the Plaza of Nations), and, well, that’s not all the far away from the truth. The main difference is that Eat! Vancouver had an admission charge (Taste of the City let people in for free). That said, Eat! Vancouver had a number of free samples, whereas anything you decided to stuff into your face at Taste of the City would cost you a pretty penny There were a good variety of bistros and restaurants in attendance, including some finer dining options like Feenie’s, at this, the fourth annual Taste of the City… but there was something that really detracted from the event and...

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Creative way to mow the lawn

Came across this during my daily journeys through the forums and blogosphere. A user on known only as kspec let his lawn go unmowed for a solid four months. The result was an absolute jungle… in his own words, it “turned into a basic jungle…[a] jungle for creative ideas to flow through.” After five hours in the sun, a little imagination and planning, and the help of a digital camera for documentation purposes, he came up with something a little different from the rest of the pack. Without further ado, here is his internet-worthy salute to the world...

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I review the rugged Motorola i580

Writing for Mobile Magazine has got its perks. I already had the chance to review the Archos 104 music player, but for the past week or so, I’ve been toying around with the Motorola i580 iDEN phone from Nextel (also offered as the i570 in Canada, through Telus Mobility). It’s one ultra rugged number with a surprising level of multimedia functionality. Check out my full review here Put briefly, it’s bulky, heavy, and slow, but it’ll withstand the worst of environments and that’s exactly where it belongs. With military-grade resistances to dust, water, and shock (drops, bumps, and bruises), the Motorola i580 mobile phone is one tough cookie. But let’s not fool anybody… it ain’t exactly the prettiest cell phone out there, and for $220 USD with a 2-year contract, I’m quite sure you can find a more attractive handset with an equivalent (or better) feature...

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Best Lesser-Known TV Shows

There’s a lot of garbage on television these days, but there are also a lot of programs out there that don’t get as much media attention as the latest edition of American Idol, for example. In future entries in this blog, I might venture into the more mainstream programs that show up in primetime on some major networks, but for today, I’m showcasing a small handful of shows that I enjoy watching for a variety of reasons. I’ve left reality TV and sitcoms on the backburner for now, as much as I enjoy the latter, but I hope that you’ll like some of these shows. I know I do. And you may not have even heard of some of these. Technical Knockout: Syndicated on CH and Global, Technical Knockout is hosted by Su-Ling Goh and Carey Roberts. Despite what the title may lead you to believe, this is not a show about boxing (although they did mention Mike Tyson in one particular episode). Instead, the focus is on the “technical” part of its title, featuring new technology, vehicles, inventions, and that sort of thing. They seek to demystify the electronics section of your local department store, opening up some new computers and explaining them in layman’s terms. Video game enthusiasts get treated to the odd review or preview, music lovers get introduced to new MP3 players, and trivia aficionados...

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Things are really heating up

We’re in for a heatwave. At least here in Vancouver, and I’ve heard that it’s not exactly getting any cooler in the BC Interior either. In fact, towns like Lytton are hitting the high 30s (that’s in Celsius, of course, so about 95 degrees Fahrenheit for any American readers out there. Tamara Taggart, voted favorite broadcaster, went out on a beach during tonight’s news and attempted to fry an egg on a frying pan, without the aid of a regular heating element of any kind… just the power of the sun and this blistering oven that we’re all experiencing right now. I didn’t manage to catch the end of the show, so I’m not sure how successful she was. Sorry. From what I hear, it’s only going to get hotter over the course of the next few days, so I think it best to just hide away inside my house with all the windows open and fans going on their maximum setting. Of course, I’d still be in an oven. For the record, Vancouver is nowhere close to being the hottest in the world. Arizona, I believe, hit 40 degrees today, and the all-time record (in recorded history, anyways) belongs to the country of Libya where it nearly hit 60 degrees Celsius back in the early 1900s. Now that’s pretty freaking...

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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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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.

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Beyond the Margins, by Michael Kwan