Author: Michael Kwan

NHL Playoffs – Round 1

It pains me just a bit to be writing about hockey and not being able to dedicate a substantial amount of the space to my hometown Vancouver Canucks, but I am surprised how into the NHL playoffs I am getting. I’m spreading my wings (not red ones. A Detroit fan I am not), so to speak, cheering on all of the Canadian teams in their respective series, because, well, they don’t have to face each other just yet. The way things are going though, the four Canadian teams that did make the post-season (with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the aforementioned Vancouver Canucks looking in from the outside) are leading in their first round matchups (at least at time of press), and things look very promising for Canada to be represented in half of the teams for the second round. Of course, things are still quite early with most series playing their “Game Fours” today or tomorrow. The Flames are doing very well, thanks largely to the fantastic netminding by Kipper, and the Senators are still holding their own despite the lack of the Dominator between the pipes. Despite being the eighth seed, the Edmonton Oilers are doing better than expected, surpassing the status of just “staying afloat”, and the Montreal Canadiens are well on their way to ousting the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately, if things go as planned, we’re...

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Turning over a new leaf launched last month to limited fanfare, but with the introduction of Beyond the Rhetoric and a featured interview on The Commentary, traffic has been steadily picking up steam, despite the fact that the website is still under major construction. I make no qualms about saying that the website is far from being complete in its current state, but it seems that things are starting to take a little twist of fate. As luck would have it, I bumped into a graphic artist / web designer who has volunteered her time to help work with me and give the site a stronger, more professional feel to it. There’s no saying when (and if, even) the site will receive a major facelift, but based on early conversations, the new look is starting to grow on me. Here is an early mockup of a possible new logo, but of course, the final version could be something radically different (or maybe...

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Nintendo Revolution

Each time the video game industry is set to release a new generation of home consoles, there is an incredible buzz around the whole thing. Will the Genesis take out the SNES? Can the Dreamcast steal the market? This time around it’s the (already released) Xbox 360, the Sony PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Revolution. While the XB360 takes the old generation and just makes it better with HDTV and all that, and the PS3 probably doing the same, Nintendo is taking a different route altogether with the Revolution (as its name implies, although there are rumblings on the internet that the new system may be re-christened the Nintendo “Go” — meaning five in Japanese, as this is the fifth Nintendo home system, following the NES, SNES, N64, and GameCube). If you look at the technical specifications, Nintendo’s offering is far from being an impressive machine, putting up numbers that are only on par with the current generation Xbox. That said, they are revolutionizing the industry, so to speak, by trying to target casual players who may have been alienated by the trend toward overly complex and deep games (read: Splinter Cell, Metal Gear, etc.). Nintendo has always wanted to make games that are fun, easy to get into, but difficult to master and they hope to accomplish this with the “RevMote” controller. The controller will feature gyroscopic technology,...

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Slam City Jam Skateboard Championships

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I am no skateboarder. I don’t have the sense of balance or style to just keep myself on the deck (at least I know the terminology), let alone pull off any kind of tricks. That said, I do enjoy watching the competitions on television, and I attended the Slam City Jam North American Skateboard Championships for the last two years. That’s why it pained me to find out that they are abandoning the Vancouver venue and heading over to our neighbours to the East in Calgary, the same city with which Canuck fans typically have not so favorable a relationship… but that’s a different issue altogether. You see, for the 2006 championships, the SCJ organizers are moving the show to Stampede Park in Calgary. I’m going to miss watching Bucky Lasek, Sandro Diaz, Jereme Rogers, and other giants in the industry “do their thing.” I haven’t been over to Alberta in over a decade, so I can’t speak as to how Calgary, Edmonton and the other cities are looking these days, but what I can comment on is the proliferation of skateboard interest here in Vancouver. Heck, during last year’s competition, then-Mayor Larry Campbell declared that the week of the competition would be “Skateboarding Week.” With the skate park set up on the PNE fairgrounds at Hastings Park and another...

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Ten Worst Video Game Quotes

I came across this during my daily journeys through the tech blogs and thought I’d share with the rest of you. All you old school gamers out there should recognize at least a handful of these. If you don’t, you’re not geek enough. 1. “All your base are belong to us.” – Zero Wing 2. “I am Error.” – Zelda II: The Adventures of Link 3. “Jill, why don’t you, the master of unlocking, take this lock pick.” – Resident Evil 4. “You were doomed as soon as you lost the ability to love.” – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 5. “Yo gangsta! Get ready to gang bang!” – Bust-a-Groove 6. “I feel asleep.” – Metal Gear 7. “You can’t give it up! Triumph or die!” – Street Fighter Alpha 3 8. The DK Rap – Donkey Kong 64, Super Smash Bros Melee 9. “A Winner is You!” – Pro Wrestling 10. “Shine Get!” – Super Mario Sunshine Source:...

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Tazo Green Tea Latte

As I sat there in the Starbucks on the UBC campus, bashing at the keyboard to write my slate of Mobile Magazine articles, sipping at my vanilla latte, the nice young lady wearing the standard green apron came around with a tray of shooter glasses. Well, not exactly, but they were these little cups filled with non-descript bubbly green fluid. I’m not much of a morning person, so it didn’t dawn on me (no pun intended) right away that these were samples of Starbucks’ new “Tazo Green Tea Latte.” She offered me a cup, and how could I resist, despite the fact that my (purchased) grande cup was still half full. I put my huge latte aside and took a sip from the tiny white paper cup. Obviously, it didn’t taste quite as heavy as your standard espresso-based latte, so it was quite the refreshing change, despite the fact that I don’t believe this green tea latte is exactly anything “new”. Instead, it’s something that’s a little newly packaged with some extra marketing thrown in (they had their run-of-the-mill promotional posters and whatnot kicking around). The price is the same as the rest of their menu, so yes, a cuppa joe (or green tea, rather) will put you back almost the same as a full meal deal at McDonald’s. As I write this, yet another young lady came by...

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Still Recovering

This is a little disheartening, but it’s nearly four months since Christmas and I’ll still recovering from the holiday blahs. It’s not really the lack of the festive season or the onslaught of gift giving (and receiving), so it’s not that aspect that I’m talking about. It’s the fact that I haven’t been particularly active as of late, because, well, it’s Vancouver and the weather doesn’t exactly co-operate. I have been going to badminton (for 3 hours) on a weekly basis, which isn’t too shabby, but I need something else. I did have a chance to head out and play some tennis outside today, and that was certainly refreshing, but I still feel so sluggish a lot of the time. And no, it’s not for a lack of caffeine. It could very well be because I spend so much time staring at a computer monitor these days, and not nearly as much looking (or being) outside in the “great outdoors.” It doesn’t help that we haven’t been getting a heck of a lot of sun lately either. My upcoming trip to Los Angeles should do it for me. It’ll be warm, bright… and expensive. Send me those writing projects...

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Channel surfing

You know you’re getting old when you start saying things like, “I remember when I was younger…” or “Things aren’t like they used to be”, or — perish the thought — something as extreme as “Those were the days, weren’t they?” I find myself doing that when it comes to television programming “these days.” Growing up, not to toot my own horn, but I was always pretty good when it came to school, and as a result, didn’t spend nearly as much time doing homework and studying as the average chap. More of my waking hours were spent watching the boob tube — either actual TV programs or playing one of my many Nintendo gaming consoles — than shoving my head in the books. I grew up watching TV sitcoms and cartoons, and the combination of the two known as professional wrestling (who can forget the Hulkster and the Macho Man). Classic, cheesy after school shows catered to the younger set, like Full House (ABC), Saved by the Bell (NBC), and the like, were what filled up my weekday afternoons. Gone are the days of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and (I’m not ashamed to say) the Golden Girls. In their stead, we find the umpteenth reality show, be it some poor amateur thinking they can belt it out like Celine Dion, some fools running across the country...

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On The Line

I was On The Line with Joseph Planta earlier today, where I was on the receiving end of an interview. We discussed the meaning of life, whether a tree that fell in the forest would actually make a sound, and about potatoes. On a more serious note, we talked about, the phenomenon of trade shows (like the recent Vancouver International Auto Show, once known as the BC Auto Show and as as the Pacific International Auto Show), the Canucks chances (or lack thereof), and few other things as they came up. Check it out at:...

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Canucks, Why Must You Torment Me So?

Every year it’s same for the Vancouver Canucks, not only the squad that plays at General Motors Place, but even harkening back to the days of the old Pacific Colisseum on the PNE Fairgrounds where the WHL Giants play today. This year is a little different, however, not only because of the whole Todd Bertuzzi fiasco (from what seems like eons ago now, but still exerts its powerful effects today) that is leading Big Bert to play more like a wimped-out Ernie, but the possibility that the (arguably) best hockey team we’ve had in some time might not be making the playoffs. Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (which guaranteed the latter a playoff spot) was depressing enough, but to lose again tonight (5-4 overtime) to the San Jose Sharks (which guaranteed the latter a playoff spot… seeing a pattern here?) all but eliminates the ‘Nucks from post-season play. Come next season (I’ve already thrown in the towel for this year’s Stanley Cup. After all, if by the remotest of chances the Canucks actually hit the ice and make the playoffs this year, they’ll likely be the 8th seed and thus face off against the nearly unbeatable Detroit Red Wings. As much as the Canucklehead in me wants to cheer on the home team and see them through to glory, I don’t foresee that happening), we’re going...

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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.