Author: Michael Kwan

Why Do You Blog?

Vancouver blogger and self-proclaimed “technologist” Darren Barefoot has a lot of projects on his plate. His day job is with Capulet, but another big part of his life is with Northern Voice. For the latter, he’ll be giving a talk on blogging in February. More specifically, he’s doing a little get together to discuss “Why We Blog.” To prepare for this, he has put together a short 16 question survey for the ever expanding blogging community. If you’re a blogger, I highly encourage you to fill this quick (five minute) survey, not only for the greater good of the blogging community, but also because it gives you a chance to win an iPod shuffle. It’s no iPhone, but it only takes five minutes of your time. Personally, I started blogging largely because I enjoy writing and wanted to eventually parlay it into a career (which I have). It was also a good excuse to showcase my writing and to promote my freelance writing business. Since then, though, I’ve gone on to meet several other bloggers (local and beyond) who I may not have connected with otherwise. Most notably, there is Ed Lau, John Chow, Dylan Duarte, and Darren Barefoot. Having your own website is not just for big companies anymore: anyone can get their hands on a blog for either very cheap or even absolutely free (Blogger, Blogspot, WritingUp,...

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Peyton Manning overcome his NFL playoff curse?

It’s Sunday, and we all know what that means. FOOTBALL! Today, we will see the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears, the latter of which are up 16 to 7 at halftime (as I type this), but what this blog entry is going to be about is the AFC Championship Game that will follow in a couple of hours. Yet once again, the New England Patriots — led by Tom Brady — are storming into Indianapolis to take on the Colts. It’s a battle of two of the league’s most premiere quarterbacks, and if history is any indication, Peyton Manning is going to lose again. After all, Tom Brady has only lost one playoff game. Ever. Will history repeat itself? Or will the Manning curse be broken? (His brother, Eli Manning, and the New York Giants have already been knocked out of the post-season, in case you didn’t know already.) Poor Peyton. He’s always been an exceptional player during the regular season, but he’s never been all that great of a playoff performer. I wrote about this exact same subject one year ago, when the Colts went against the eventual NFL Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers (a team which, incidentally, aren’t in the race for this year’s prize. My brother says that Peyton is probably a closet prick. He says that he...

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What kind of Wii Sports bowler are you?

Walk into just about any video game or department store — Walmart, EB Games, whatever — and there’s a good chance that you can leave that day with a PlayStation 3, be it a 20GB or 60GB version. By contrast, it is still surprisingly difficult to get your hands on a Nintendo Wii. I guess I should feel lucky, since I grabbed one during launch week. I didn’t have a pre-order, I didn’t line up outside in the cold, I didn’t phone around like a madman. I just went to a Toys R Us, asked if they had any in stock, and sure enough, they had “a few.” Since that fateful day, I’ve enjoyed vanquishing darkness in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and beating up on screaming bunnies in Rayman Raving Rabbids, but probably where I’ve spent the most time is enjoying some virtual exercise in Wii Sports. It’s very much a pick-up-and-play kind of game, but it takes much more to master. The most enjoyable event is Bowling. I’ve experimented with a few different strategies in Wii Sports: Bowling. Now, let me preface this by saying that I’m a pretty mediocre bowler in real life, and I’m pretty happy when I manage to break into the triple figures. By contrast, my average score in the Wii Sports version is probably about 160, with an all-time best of...

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Becoming a dot com mogul… like John Chow

It’s days like this that I appreciate working at home the most. Not only is there snow on the ground (which, up until this winter, had been quite a rarity in Vancouver), but it’s also raining. The next result is a whole lot of puddles and more than our fair share of slush. It’s gross out there, but I’m nice, warm, dry, and toasty sitting in front my laptop, watching BET music videos on television while typing up this blog entry. I wouldn’t say that everything in my life is peachy-keen (far from), but it’s days like these that I can appreciate my lot in life. My apologies to any 9-to-5ers out there that I may have offended. Working from home isn’t for everyone, but at the same time, it’s a quickly expanding in popularity, given how much easier it is to run a small business out of your home. Countless retirees sell small trinkets online, either through their own modest websites or as eBay PowerSellers. You don’t even need to sell physical items: As local blogger John Chow put it in his Content over eCommerce article way back in May 2006, it’s a lot easier to run a content-based site than it is to actually buy and sell things. That’s why his primary venture — The Tech Zone — is so lucrative, and that’s how he gets himself...

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A Rare Restaurant Dine Out Experience

Vancouver is home to a lot of world class restaurants, offering all sorts of international (and fusion) cuisine. We’ve got some great sushi places, incredible steakhouses (Morton’s is my personal favourite), and let’s not forget about all that West Coast seafood (I recommend C and the Cannery). Problem is, some of these nicer restaurants can get pretty pricey, making it more difficult for the average person to get a tasty-taste. That’s why I’m so glad that we have Dine Out Vancouver. The promotion has been going on for a few years now, and I’ve had the chance to hit up Kettle of Fish, Gotham, Bacchus, and other great restaurants as part of this promotion. Last night, I went to Rare Restaurant, which started offering their Dine Out menu a few days early. It’s a much smaller establishment, having only about a dozen tables or so. It’s somewhere between casual and fine dining, as there are white tablecloths and a premiere wine list, but at the same time, the atmosphere is quite alive with energy: when we arrived, the diners were chatting loudly, everyone was smiling and laughing. But as far as the food itself… I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The glowing sign outside Custom menus! (Reservation was under Susanne Shum) Amuse Bouche Smoked arctic char, endive, crispy flatbread Tastes similar to smoked salmon, very smooth and flavourful...

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What’s wrong with my Wii?

Like, what the H? I’ve had just about every Nintendo console ever made and I’ve never run into any issues whatsoever with these video game systems, with the exception of the old school NES. Of course, that machine is almost as old as I am, and all the ancient games need is a little TLC (and for you to blow them in the bum… all the NES owners in the audience know about this apparent cure-all). I never thought that I would have any issues with my Nintendo Wii, given that it is essentially a GameCube (which I also own) on steroids. And then this happens… (Video after the jump) Uh, yeah, like I said. What’s going on here? I’ve emailed Nintendo of America, so I’ll see what they say. Worse comes to worst, I’m going to go pay their Richmond office a visit (when the weather gets a little better, since it seems like it’s going to start snowing again). From what I can gather, there is nothing wrong the sensor bar (the other Wii Remote works just fine), nothing wrong with the gyroscopic accelerometer doo-hickeys in the Wii Remote (I can still play Wii Sports — Bowling, Tennis, etc. — without a hitch, except I have trouble choosing the right Mii and so on), and nothing wrong with the infrared-ness of the controller (in the main Wii...

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Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Tha Dogg Pound: Hotboxing Pacific Colisseum

Yeah ye-yah! (Okay, so that doesn’t exactly translate to print very well) Over the weekend, I headed on over to Pacific Colisseum to catch a concert. Snoop Dogg rolled into town with his crew, but that wasn’t the only rolling that was happening Saturday night. With the crowd standing at about 15,000 strong (I’m guess-timating), they had no difficulty at all hotboxing the arena with that BC bud that makes Vancouver so famous. What’s interesting, though, is that security was real tight at the door, patting down each and every person coming into the arena and asking them if they had any drugs or alcohol. I guess they were a-okay with a little weed. Now, I’m no pot smoker myself. Never touched the stuff and I never intend to, but I’d have to say that I was in minority Saturday night. After the concert was over and the house lights were turned on, you couldn’t help but notice a smoky haze filling the entire building. According to a forum post that I came across, this feloow “took the bus home that day and the whole bus smelled like kronic [sic]. everyone on that bus was baked.” Combine BC bud with a pot-promoting California attitude and that’s what you’re gonna get. Although we arrived a good 15-20 minutes early, it still took us a solid 30-40 minutes to get inside....

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Hockey, horses, and handball in one place? You bet!

Gambling. Love it or hate it, it’s got to be one of the oldest ways to make (and lose) a quick buck. Heck, it might have been around even longer than prostitution (and really, it’s not all that different, though it may not quite as clear who is the john, the pimp, and the ho). I’ve been known to spend an hour or four at the casino, playing blackjack, pai gow poker, or craps, but something that I’ve never really gotten into is sports betting. It’s pretty easy to gamble on sports in BC, considering that you can walk into just about any shopping mall, approach the BCLC kiosk where you buy your 6/49 or Super 7 lottery ticket and ask for their Sports Action menu. To make things even easier, you can go to the BCLC website from the comfort of your home (or cubicle) and gamble that way with your credit card. Speaking of online gambling, internet poker and casinos aren’t the only ones out there giving you a digital gateway into placing a bet. There’s sites like Party Bets and so on that’ll apparently take your wagers based on the going Vegas line. If the BCLC menu is a little too limited for you and you don’t want to head out to River Rock Casino to waste away a lazy afternoon at their Sports Book, you...

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2014 Winter Olympics: This seems familiar

Wait. Haven’t we seen a couple of these guys before? Oh right, a few years ago when Vancouver won the bid for the 2010 Winter Games. The race is just as heated for the next one in 2014, and just as before, the options have been narrowed down to three locations. Two of these will sound pretty familiar to just about anyone in the Vancouver/Whistler area (or Canada, for that matter). According to, the three finalists are: Pyeongchang, South Korea Salzburg, Austria Sochi, Russia As you know, both Austria and South Korea were involved in the 2010 bid, so they already have quite a few of the pieces in place. In this way, they just had to change the date on a few documents, toss in a few extra selling points, and apply again. By contrast, Russia — despite having consistently impressive results at each and every Winter Olympic Games — has yet to ever actually host the games. Good times. Where do you think the 2014 Games are going? Voice your opinion using the comment form below. Oh, and FYI, the 2008 Summer Olympics are in Beijing, 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver/Whistler (of course), and the 2012 Summer Olympics are in London...

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What a week: Snow, Apple iPhone, Evo X…

It’s been a pretty eventful past couple of days, so I’ll just get down to business. In case you haven’t looked outside yet, it started snowing again. Like a ridiculous amount. And then it stopped as abruptly as it started fifteen minutes later. This was around 8pm tonight. We’ve been experiencing some very strange weather in Vancouver these past couple of months, with the two massive snowfalls we had and the ongoing wind storms that are destroying the trees in Stanley Park, ripping holes in BC Place Stadium, and causing all sorts of other headaches. Mother Nature is finally...

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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.