Author: Michael Kwan

Got the wintertime blues? Are you suffering from SAD?

I know I am. This time of year is supposed to be a cheerful, happy time. The children are joyously outside playing in the snow. The city is strewn in festive colors. Happy lights twinkle on your neighbours’ houses and the the malls are alive with energy with people shopping for gifts for loved ones. Then, why is it that so many of us feel so lacklustre, so lethargic, so down in the dumps whenever November or December rolls around? After all, the post-holiday credit card bills haven’t showed up in your mailbox yet. The answer, my friends, is SAD. Standing for Seasonal Affective Disorder (thank you Psychology major), it is a very common condition wherein the “sufferer”, so to speak, falls into a sort of depressive state around the same time of year, every year. Typically starting in late fall to early winter and subsiding when the birds re-emerge to sing their spring songs, Seasonal Affective Disorder can strip you of any sort of motivation. Instead of the festive lights and happy times that Christmastime is supposed to bring, you see the world in a dull shade of grey. Why does SAD come about? There are several theories on the matter, but the most prominent is that the days are shorter. What this means is that when you first wake up in the morning, it is dark outside....

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What do Kramer, Nas, and Dhalsim have in common?

I *heart* YouTube very muchie. Before it came along, you had sit around while you downloadeded a video you probably didn’t want to watch anyways, but with such a huge community of “contributors”, YouTube has grown into one of the best entertainment solutions for people with short attention spans (e.g., yours truly). Here are three videos that I came across on my daily journeys, each of which speaks to quite a different issue. Now, I’m sure you’ve already heard about the racist outburst that Michael Richards (better known as Kramer from Seinfeld fame) at the Laugh Factory and how he has gone on the record on several occasions to apologize for using the N-word so freely and so negatively. Well, National Lampoon had their way with several clips and very cleverly pieced them together to form a long lost Seinfeld episode. Very well done and definitely recommended viewing. Next up, we have a hot live performance by Jay-Z and Nas, the latter of which is on the cusp of releasing his highly anticipated new album, Hip Hop is Dead. I’ve always been a big fan of Nas as he is an incredible lyricist, busting out rhymes like none other. He doesn’t need to rap about bitches and ho’s, bling and “popping a cap” to make his sentiments known. In this way, I appreciate him in sort of the same...

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AGLOCO has no spyware

Okay worry warts. Those of you who were concerned that AGLOCO was going to fill your computer with oodles of viruses, trojans, and nasty spyware can now rest easy. Prominent and well-respected Vancouver blogger John Chow had a chat with the people behind AllAdvantage 2.0 AGLOCO and they have confirmed that the toolbar, while displaying ads, will not contain any spyware whatsoever. To quote from his blog: Mavani has assured me that the AGLOCO Viewbar has absolutely no spyware. The Viewbar tracks your Internet surfing and serves advertising based on the web page you’re visiting. Everything the Viewbar tracks will be spelled out in the privacy statement. This is really nothing new. Many other toolbars, like Google’s, already track surfing habits. In addition, the Viewbar will offer privacy and phishing protection and an uninstaller should you wish to remove it for any reasons. It’s been slow for me to get people to sign up for AGLOCO and I started to think that many people think it fishy. Well, there you have it. Unlike AllAdvantage, AGLOCO will not come with any spyware, only providing pretty flowers and happy thoughts. In the beginning, they will be offering stock in the company to ensure that they will have enough funds to go around (and not abruptly go bankrupt like how AllAdvantage did). You’ll receive one share for every hour you surf (to...

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Theory of a Deadman: Rock on, brother, rock on

As a followup to my post the other day about the Three Days Grace concert, here are a smattering of pictures and a video taken from the concert, this time featuring Theory of a Deadman. They had a stunning performance, showcasing such hits as “Santa Monica” and “Make Up Your Mind.” Don’t worry, the photo and movie quality this time around is significantly improved. I mentioned this in the other post, and someone on echoed the sentiment that The Centre was a strange choice of venue for a rock concert. RS user “litebrite” said: “there’s bound to be...

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Cameron Diaz & Kate Winslet Under a Table?

YouTube is a wonderful, glorious website. Not only do we get to enjoy random idiots performing random feats. Not only does it give me an avenue to (host and) share videos with the internet community. But it is literally a treasure trove of “real” clips as well. Legal or not, you can access a wide range of music videos and the like, in addition to someone named lonelygirl15. What I particularly enjoy, however, are short clips from popular television shows that you may not have otherwise had a chance to catch. Perfect moments like this, featuring Kate Winslet. On the Late Show with David Letterman, the esteemed actress talks about working with Cameron Diaz on The Holiday, and then something very interesting comes out. Check the video below to see how Diaz, Winslet, and “under a table” all fit...

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Brent Butt and Corner Gas are heading south for the winter

Corner Gas has been very well received in Canada, quickly becoming one of the best known (if not the best known) Canadian sitcom on television today. Fans of the show appreciate the subtle prairie humour and the distinct Canadian feel to many aspects of the program, which is why you’ve got to wonder how it would ever fare south of the 49th parallel. Well, it seems we’re about to find out, because Corner Gas has just been inked for an 80 some-odd episode run on Superstation WGN. The Chicago-based cable and satellite network is owned by Tribune Broadcasting Company, the same people that own such popular channels as KTLA Los Angeles, WPIX New York City, KCPQ (Fox) Seattle, and KHCW Houston. The first Corner Gas episode is scheduled to air sometime in early 2007. As a refresher, Corner Gas has been airing on CTV and The Comedy Network since 2004. Based in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan, we follow the everyday antics of Brent Leroy (played by the show’s creator and head writer Brent Butt), owner of the only gas station in town. Other key characters include Brent’s parents Emma and Oscar (played by Janet Wright and Eric Peterson), Brent’s sole employee Wanda Dollar (played by Butt’s real life wife Nancy Robertson), Ruby Cafe owner Lacey Burrows (Gabrielle Miller), and town nitwit Hank Yarbo (Fred Ewanuick). On...

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Three Days Grace rocks the Centre

The rest of the town may still be abuzz over some other band coming to town (The Rolling Stones… I don’t know, I’ve never heard of them either), but last night, I was over at The Centre in Vancouver checking out another concert. Rolling through town were a quad of Canadian rock bands, each more hard hitting than the last. Three Days Grace was the headline act, but backing them up were the likes of Idle Sons, Mobile, and Theory of a Deadman. I’ve been to concerts before (most recently, Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey), but this is the...

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A girl’s best friend

I know. It’s a scary thought to walk into a shopping mall and already see the Santa picture area set up, colorful lights lining the pillars, and countless “just in time for the holidays” gift kiosks. Yes, my friends, it’s time to start shopping for Christmas presents. I’ve already written a few pieces on the Nintendo Wii, and how just about anyone can be captivated by its intuitive interface and fun, easy-to-pick-up games, but what about that special someone in your life that won’t exactly be impressed when you wave a Wii in front of her. Yes, I said her and not him or him/her. Far be it for me to further a stereotype, but you can’t really deny the old adage that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Yup, it’s gonna be one of the more expensive gifts you’re going to ever give your significant other, but imagine the look on her face when you reveal that huge rock of a ring, glorious necklace, or huge honkin’ earrings. Nothing quite says I love you like some bling blang. They say that diamonds are forever. Let’s just hope that your credit card debt isn’t. Special shout out to Geoff Wong who recently got engaged. I’m sure when you presented that special ring, she was grinning from ear to ear. Best of luck to...

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Wii would like to play

For some strange reason, this post was deleted. Actual posting date was November 22. I have since purchased a Wii of my own. Say what you will about Nintendo and how its video game machines are “just for kids”, but it is the only company who is taking this whole next-generation business in a next-generation kind of way. In the past five to ten years, many one-time enthusiasts have become disenchanted from (Or intimidated by, depending on your point of view) video games because of their increasing difficulty. Thought to be gone are the days of pick-up-and-play titles like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, games that anyone could play regardless of inherent “skill” or “talent.” In their place are complicated RPGs and a whole bevy of complex first person shooters. After a while, every Counterstrike, Halo, and Ghost Recon starts to look kind of the same. The days where anyone can play are back with the absolutely ingenious Nintendo Wii. Not only is the big N marketing this latest system at the stereotypical gamer (which, by the way, is a 35-year-old male with plenty of disposable income), but they are selling this innovative video game machine to people you would never think they’d try marketing to. Middle-aged housewives, the girl gamer, and yes, even senior citizens. And that’s not to say the hardcore gamer will be disappointed either. They’ve got...

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AllAdvantage lives again with AGLOCO

Back in high school, I remember I came across something called AllAdvantage (some of you may recognize it too). Essentially, it was a a toolbar that stuck at the bottom of your internet browser window and it logged how many hours you spent surfing around the web. It would display relevant ads and the like, and you’d receive a cheque in the mail every month based on how many hours your logged and how many hours the people you referred logged. In fact, you could extend your referral network several layers deep. Well, that service ultimately folded and failed, and the main reason was that they were paying out more to users than they were making from the advertisers. Well, someone has come around to revitalize the idea with a much more sustainable business model. Welcome AGLOCO (short for A Global Community). Instead of paying a flat rate for each hour you surf (to a current maximum of five hours a month, and c’mon, who doesn’t spend at least five hours poking around Google, YouTube, checking email, and so on), they provide you with a portion of what they earn from advertisers. This comes both in the form of cold hard cash and in stocks in the company when AGLOCO goes IPO. Here’s a picture of what the toolbar would look like: For reference, guys that got in on...

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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.


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