Author: Michael Kwan

A Chink in the Armour

What you’re about to view below is a documentary done in a Michael Moore-like style about what it’s like being a Chinese-Canadian. This 25-minute film (it’s worth it), by university student Baun Mah, is not about immigrants who come to our maple syrup-fueled nation and try to adapt to Western ways. It’s about people like me: children of immigrants who feel more Canadian than they do Chinese. As a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), I identify more with Jim Carrey than I do Jackie Chan. Do we all know kung fu? Are we all bad drivers? Are we good at math? Watch and find out. Thanks to Susanne for sending me the...

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Dining on Top of the World

Although the Dine Out Vancouver promotion has been officially over for some time now, there seems to be a very small handful of restaurants out there that are still milking that marketing juice (that’s got to be one of the strangest combinations of metaphors I’ve ever used) for all its worth. For my mom’s birthday, she wanted to go take a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city and one of the three ways to do that in this town is at Cloud Nine Revolving Restaurant, located on the top floor of the Empire Landmark Hotel. (There are two other revolving restaurants that I know of.) Cloud Nine extended their Dine Out menu until the end of March: $25 for Sunday to Thursday, $35 on Friday and Saturday. That’s for a three-course meal. I’ve been to Cloud Nine once before, but that was probably ten years ago. Not much has changed. I still know that you don’t go to Cloud Nine for exceptional food — you’re better off trying Rare Restaurant, Gotham Steakhouse, William Tell, to name a few — you go to Cloud Nine for the view. It takes about 90 minutes for the revolving restaurant to make it one time all the way around. Anyways, on with the food. For the starter, we had a choice of Tomato Gin Soup topped with chives or a Wild Green...

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Threaded comments are now live

Beyond the Rhetoric is growing again. I don’t know if you noticed I installed threaded comments last night and while it was a little funky shortly after I activated the plug-in (I got some rather strange error messages), it seems to have corrected itself and everything is fine and dandy again. Let me know if you guys discover anything strange. In the meantime, happy commenting! On a side note, I’ve noticed one key difference. When I’m logged into WordPress, I used to just be able to comment without having to fill in my name, email, and URL. Now that I’ve installed threaded comments, that feature is gone and I’m just like any other visitor. I’d also like to make it easier for visitors to comment by having their information saved somehow. Can someone point me in the right...

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Why does PayPerPost hate me?

Google has already shown some affection for me. ReviewMe has accepted me with open arms and I’ve already gone on to do my first review for a tech news blog. Then why, pray tell, has PayPerPost gone and given me the cold shoulder after giving such a warm reception? Now, it’s true that I’ve been accused of being a Google whore and one that goes about trying to make a quick buck however I can. I do admit to trying to monetize this blog and one of the avenues that I have taken is PayPerPost (aff). I used to be able to go into their “opportunities” section and browse through the different advertisers, selecting a topic (and/or site) that I thought would be interesting. I’d make myself a few bucks writing about something I might have done anyways. It was also a great cure for writer’s block, bringing subjects to my attention that I may have otherwise neglected. I like mixed martial arts, for example, but I might not have done the MMAPlayground post if it wasn’t for PayPerPost. My, how things have changed. And it hasn’t even been that long. One of the biggest advantages that PayPerPost has over ReviewMe is that they’ll accept just about any blogger, so long as you’ve been around for at least 90 days. ReviewMe has more stringent requirements so it was more...

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Is this good news or bad news?

The internet is a very fickle place. One day, you’re on top of the world and everyone loves your blog and just can’t get enough of it. The next day, all these people with short attention spans have jumped onto a new bandwagon, exclaiming that it is the greatest discovery of all time. Now, I can’t say that my blog has been particularly popular over the course of its existence (which is coming up on one year), but I’ve seen some pretty steady growth, especially since I started dedicating myself to blogging at least once a day. The growth...

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More additions to the site

As this blog continues to grow and evolve (and as I get more familiar with what WordPress is capable of, particularly all those free plug-ins that are floating around the internet), I will work to provide you, my valued readers, with the best experience possible, while at the same time, I’ll be working to monetize and actually make an extra few bucks from Beyond the Rhetoric. I’m probably quite a ways off before I’ll make $7k a month like John Chow, but the goal is there and I strive to reach it. He always did say, though, that you should write for your readers first and not for SEO or monetization. Write good content and the money will follow. I’m working to make this blog better, so here are a small handful of features I have implemented over the last little while: Bookmarks: One of the best things you do for your blog traffic is to get a particularly interesting post hit the Digg front page. You want to encourage your readers to Digg you, Delicious you, and so on. You’ll notice that at the end of each post, I now have a series of clickable buttons that will let you submit any given article to those popular social networking sites. This WordPress plug-in was probably one of the easiest to install. Feel free to try it out. Top...

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This week’s NHL hockey picks

I’m in a hockey pool with a bunch of friends and while we don’t have anything on the line, per se, bragging rights go a long way. We decided to take the Sportsnet route because it lets you choose a new squad every week. They don’t really award defensive players in any way and there’s no incentive to pick up an enforcer or two, unfortunately, which is quite different the pool system they have set up at Smallworld. In this way, the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool is a little unrealistic, but at the same time, it’s much more reflective of where the offensively-geared NHL is going. They want scoring and Sportsnet rewards goal scorers. As we get closer to the end of the season, the picks become increasingly more important. Precious points are absolutely vital and you must not only seek out the marquee players that are almost guaranteed to perform — Sidney Crosby comes to mind — but you’ve also got to seek out those hidden gems that other people may not know about. You see, each player is assigned a point value and you have a budget of 50 points to spend each week on a team of 10 players. You choose 2 centers, 4 wingers, 3 defencemen, and 1 goalie. Finding the players who only cost 1, 2, or 3 points yet actually put points on...

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Paranoia, graphomania, and The Number 23

  Paranoia: a disorder characterized by a continuing and unwarranted suspiciousness Graphomania: a compulsion to write, particularly books The Number 23: a movie that starts out with an interesting premise but never manages to connect events together in a particularly meaningful way. Last month, I promised that I was going to review every movie I watch in 2007 so here is The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen. The basic premise is thus: Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, an everyday kind of guy that happens to be an animal control officer. One day on the job, just as...

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Fun additions to the site

Now that I’ve made the official migration over from GoDaddy’s nasty QuickBlog system and into the much more customizable WordPress environment, I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can now display full text on the front page, instead of forcing readers to go through an ugly “read more” link. I can start to customize the sidebar however I like. I can have fun with page templates and style sheets, fiddling with them however I like. All in all, I think I’ve had an excellent experience with WordPress thus far. After doing the move, I’ve installed quite a few improvements to the blog, and I thought I’d take some time to highlight a few today. I was stuck with a partial RSS feed before and I couldn’t publicly display how many subscribers I had. Now I can. At the time that I’m writing this, it tells me that 14 people are subscribed to my feed. Good progress from the 6 or 7 I had just last week. . MyBlogLog may seem like just another social networking service not unlike MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Hi5, but it’s so much more, especially for bloggers! You can build communities, bookmark each other’s weblogs, and even display your recent readers, as this useful widget does. . While John Chow’s pinging scheme has a lot to do with the...

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ReviewMe: MEGATechNews by Stephen Fung

  Well, that didn’t take long at all. I just got accepted by ReviewMe Tuesday night, letting the world know about my acceptance on February 28th, which coincidentallly was the last day that ReviewMe was offering 50% off of all reviews. Swooping in at the last possible moment to cash in on this deal was Stephen Fung, a happily unemployed dot com mogul (he hates being called that) and the owner of MEGATechNews. I assume this is a part of his FutureLooks network. Dem Fighting Words I write for Mobile Magazine on a daily basis and by the looks...

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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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