Author: Michael Kwan

Bolloxed: I never knew testicular pain could be this fun(ny)

The Vancouver Fringe Festival is in full swing for the next week or so, and after my experience with Darren Barefoot’s “Bolloxed” last Thursday, I think I want to catch a few more shows. Getting back to Bolloxed. The basic plot goes as thus: Jack is a Canadian working for an American computer company in Ireland. He is anti-spam software engineer getting used to a new culture, fighting a battle against Nigerian spam sent from Bulgaria, and along the way, he meets a young lass named Aoife (pronounced Ee-fah). Unfortunately, it is around this time that he is faced with an inexplicable pain in his testicles. The story revolves around his issues with ball pain and getting to know someone in a foreign land/culture. The theatre is very intimate, with very little as far as costume changes and props. While the back story is about Jack getting to know Aoife (and vice versa), and their respective pop culture references (it’s all quite sweet), the focus of the play is on Jack’s testicles. If you have a weak stomach, you may not be so interested in Bolloxed, as it does get a little cringe-worthy at several...

Read More

Bolloxed: A Play about Balls

The Vancouver Fringe Festival kicked off tonight and I had the chance to see the Vancouver premiere of Bolloxed, a play by Darren Barefoot. As promised, here is a short review (expect a longer review in the days to come). The one-hour show is held at the Playwrights Theatre at Granville Island. In a nutshell (no pun intended), the play is about balls. More specifically, it’s about the trials and tribulations that revolve around Jack and his unexplained testicular pain. In the meantime, he comes across (and falls in love with) Aoife, an “Irish lass who fancies the Canadian foreigner.” Granted, the story may not be all there, and you get bombarded with toilet humour and sight gags… but it’s well-written toilet humour and well-acted sight gags. Who ever thought that a pair of talking gonads could be so funny? The venue is very intimate, seating maybe 100 people or so. Don’t expect any elaborate stage effects or creative wardrobes; it’s all in the writing and I have to applaud Darren Barefoot and Theatre Tart on this production. Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door, and you must purchase (or have) a $5 Vancouver Fringe Festival membership to attend. The play’s official website is Be sure to have a look at the official Vancouver Fringe Festival website for other creative plays. The Fringe is being held...

Read More

Bolloxed: A Preview

Tomorrow night is the Vancouver opening of Bolloxed, a play by Darren Barefoot. Yes, the same Darren Barefoot that I commented about in my Keep Marketing Away from the Manuals entry. Bolloxed is one of the many plays that is being including in the Vancouver (and Victoria) Fringe Festival(s), and based on the reviews thus far, it should be quite the show. It’s distinctly a comedy, it appears, as the brunt of many of the jokes surrounds the concept of testicular pain. Yes, testicles. Here’s the blurb from the official site:Set in Dublin, Ireland, at the height of the dot-com boom, Canadian computer programmer Jack is struck by love and a God-awful pain in his ‘bollocks’ at precisely the same moment. While he may have found the woman of his dreams, discovering the source of testicle pain is, well, more sensitive. Will a clash of cultures and the nagging feeling that things just aren’t right kill the romance for good? Look for a brief review late tomorrow night with some initial impressions and a full(er) review following maybe a day later. The show is being held at the Playwrights Theatre Centre in Granville Island. There are six performances in all, with the last showing on Sunday, September 17th. [[Digg...

Read More

Fun videos from Quincy’s wedding

Remember Quincy? He was the cousin in question when we hit up Panther Paintball and the Chilli House Thai Bistro. Well, his actual wedding was this past Sunday and I took a couple (okay, more than a couple) of videos of the festivities, which you can watch below. The afternoon started with the actual wedding ceremony itself at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. It was held in the Rose Garden area next to the pitch and putt golf course, just across the way from the tennis and basketball courts. It was a lovely ceremony, with the son of my other cousin (Edmond, Quincy’s younger brother) being the ringbearer. At 17 months, Nicholas is absolutely adorable; it’s a bit of a shame that he has such a short attention span though. He needed a little help to remind him that he needed to walk the entire length of the aisle. The ceremony was bilingual, with Christina (Quincy’s lovely bride) taking care of all the Chinese portions, whereas Quincy had the priviledge of sticking with English. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that he had an easy time with the vows. Heck, even repeating a phrase got a little difficult: Yes, your internal love, Quincy, your internal love. Christina wasn’t without her quirks either, especially when it came to the “you may now kiss the bride” part. Leave the butt grabbing (and so...

Read More

Keep Marketing Away From the Manuals

Darren Barefoot, a prominent Vancouver blogger and “technologist”, recently commented on the difference between a technical writer and one that works in the marketing department. His was a response to a post by another commentator (out there in the wide world of the interweb) who stated that she would like to see more marketing elements and funding put into the making of user manuals. Instruction booklets are too dry, she said. They’re not compelling enough, she went on. Darren shot her down, and I’m on his side on this one. I posted up a brief comment up on Darren’s blog and it reads as follows: I agree with you Darren. The most important aspect of a manual is ease of use. No one will read an instruction book from cover to cover; they might read the introduction and the getting started sections, but more likely than not, they won’t delve into any other part of the manual until they’re stumped. At this point, two things must happen: 1) The information must be easily found. This is where a good table of contents, a comprehensive index, and a well-designed categorization/section system comes up. If I’m having trouble figuring out how to download pictures off of my camera phone, I shouldn’t have too much trouble going to a specific page in the manual for that particular task. 2) The information must...

Read More

Chilli House Thai Bistro

Okay, so I lied. I didn’t come back right after the Panther Paintball entry to talk about the festivities for that evening. So sue me. (Actually, please don’t. I’m but a lowly freelance writer struggling to afford an extra value meal at the golden arches. I want to get a McChicken, please. Fries’d be nice too) Anyways, getting back to my cousin’s stag this past weekend, after we finished up with the Pain Game in South Surrey, everyone went back to their respective homes to shower, clean up, and get ourselves all pretty for the Chilli House Thai Bistro, located in Downtown Vancouver. More specifically, the Chilli House is right along the north shores of False Creek, tucked in along the pedestrian-only walkway just south of Yaletown. This is the same neighbourhood, approximately, as you would find StoneGrill, C Restaurant, and Marmalade Bar and Lounge. My brother (yes, the same brother as my now famous So a crow flies into my house story) and I were one of the first to arrive, so we thought we’d help ourselves to a couple of drinks. Heading upstairs to the private lounge upstairs where the bachelor party would be held, we found a personal bartender who would be helping us for the rest of the evening. While they had some more exotic drinks (with a distinct spicy Thai influence), my brother and...

Read More

Panther Paintball and “The Pain Game”

This past weekend went by faster than a teenager on methamphetamines for me. More often that not, I try to enjoy my days off by sleeping until noon, relaxing in front of the boob tube, and maybe heading out for a game of tennis or two. Of course, playing my Nintendo DS Lite is usually factored into the equation as well. This past weekend, however, was quite different. Want to find out about my (mis)adventures? Then keep reading… It was my cousin’s stag party on Saturday and it was an all-day event. I partook in two-third’s of the day’s festivities, skipping out on the ubiquitous strip bar / lap dance portion. I know, I know, I should have gone, but I was dead tired and… wait, I don’t need to explain myself to you, so I’ll just stop there. Anyways, the day started by meeting at my cousin’s place so that we could carpool to event number one: Panther Paintball in South Surrey. The drive from Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue to the location took us a full 40-45 minutes, much longer than I was expecting, considering we were only a hop and a skip away for the Trans Canada Highway as he embarked on our journey. Upon arrival, we signed our lives away with a waiver form, taking on full responsibility for the following four hours. If one...

Read More

FS: Gamecube games, DVDs, books, etc

Okay, here’s a shameless use of my webspace to pawn off some of the junk (good junk, I might add) kicking around the house. I live in the Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) area, so if you’re around here, that’d be the ideal situation for me to give you the stuff and for you to give me the money. Otherwise, you can just PayPal me the funds (adding in the shipping cost) and I’ll send it your way. Anyways, here’s what I have for sale. ‘Tis best that you send me an email at if you’re interesting. Prices are obo (or best offer), and I’m probably up for appropriate trades as well. Nintendo GameCube games – $10 each Both come with original instruction booklet, case, insert, etc. and are in immaculate condition – Madden NFL Football 2006 – Product Number 03 (sometimes listed as P.N.03) Movie DVDs – $7 each Legitimate (not copied) and complete with original case and insert, unless otherwise noted – Bourne Supremacy (Matt Damon) *disc only* – Out of Time (Denzel Washington) – One Hour Photo (Robin Williams) – Rain Man (Tom Cruise) – Moscow on the Hudson (Robin Williams) Books – open to offers – Mankind Have a Nice Day (WWF) – The Rock Says (WWF) – Drew Carey: Dirty Jokes and Beer – Airframe (Michael Crichton) – Student Entrepreneurs – Big Book of...

Read More

Must Have Nintendo DS Games

With the recent (oh, I guess not that recent anymore) release of the Nintendo DS Lite, Shigeru Miyamoto and crew have found themselves at the forefront of video gaming again, having sat under the shadow of Sony and their PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and — to a lesser extent — PlayStation Portable. The DS Lite brings iPod-like glossy appeal to the video game arena, and when coupled with Nintendo’s innovative dual display set up (one of which is a touchscreen) and incredible gameplay, the DS Lite is quite the winner. Speaking of great games, here are just a handful of titles available for the Nintendo DS that should be a part of every gamer’s library, regardless of genre preferences. Action junkies, RPG lovers, and simulation aficionados should all have a nice long gander at these titles. Mario Kart DS: This is the “killer app” for the Nintendo DS (Lite). It is an absolute must-have title, not only because it brings such a long tradition behind it, but the compilation is an absolute masterpiece. The gameplay mechanics are second to none, the graphics are vibrant and colourful, and who can resist the appeal of hucking a red shell at Donkey Kong as he drifts around the corner on a goofy-looking 150cc go-kart. Veterans of the series will find themselves right at home, as many of the tracks are direct translations of...

Read More

Week in Review: Automotive News

With the car show season just over the horizon (the Paris Motor Show kicks off next month), automotive news is slowly starting to trickle in with some new models, fresh takes on older cars, and some incredibly innovative concepts that may not even have working prototypes yet. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, so here is a short summary of the week for the world of cars, trucks, motorcycles, sport utility vehicles, and a variety of other people-movers. The University of Minnesota has joined forces with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and they’re working on a vehicle that can literally run on water. This technique will mostly be deployed in a fuel cell-powered car to generate hydrogen fuel. The goal is to have a working prototype by 2009. If high-powered, lightweight roadsters are more your foray, then take a look at the R1 from Javan Sports Cars. The British automaker has put together a 1,430 pound car with 220 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds, and a 12.2 second quarter mile. By 2015, Ford predicts that we will no longer be able to buy a car with a four speed automatic transmission, finding continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and 6-speed auto gearboxes instead. Ford is also working on a gas cap-less solution for the 2008 model year. We could be the cusp of seeing the official launch of the...

Read More


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.