Author: Michael Kwan

Grammar 101: Second Hand, Second-Hand or Secondhand?

English can be a very tricky language. Even when you look at words that are spelled using the exact same letters, a hyphen can completely change the meaning. “Recreation” refers to leisure activity, whereas “re-creation” refers to creating something again. And the deal with “second hand” and “second-hand” works in much the same way. “Second hand” (with a space) refers to the hand on a clock indicating the number of seconds in the current minute. It’s a noun. The ticking sound of a clock comes from the second hand. Its corresponding partners on an analog clock are the hour...

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Seeking Balance in Travel Planning

Somehow, I suspect that my approach to travel planning mirrors how I approach life in general. I get myself stuck in an endless opportunity cost loop, because I want to have my cake and eat it too. I seek balance while unwilling to endure the necessary trade-offs. And while you’ll find that vacationers tend to fall into one of two camps, I want to be a part of both. Option 1: See All the Things! “We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.” It’s an anonymous quote that gets thrown around often on social...

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Vlog #77: JAG Boutique Hotel (St. John’s Nfld)

This may surprise some of you. Up until a couple of years ago when we went to Montreal, I hadn’t traveled further east in Canada than the the Alberta Badlands. Well, I had a layover in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, but that doesn’t really count. Now I can say that I’ve been to the easternmost point in Canada. For our 36-hour whirlwind tour of the area, Ford Canada set us up at the JAG Boutique Hotel in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland. From what I can gather, the JAG Boutique Hotel in St. John’s is a relatively new property. I...

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Sunday Snippet: Meghan Markle (Duchess of Sussex)

It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision. May we empower each other to carry out such vision — because it isn’t enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now. I’m not normally one to get caught up in celebrity gossip. And I did not wake up extra early yesterday morning to watch the royal wedding. Even so, my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to learn a little...

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6 Weird Things I Enjoy Doing

It’s one of those standard “ice breaker” type questions you might get in a job interview, a kitchen party, or some sort of networking event. What do you do for fun? And while it’s easy enough to dish out a generic answer like saying you like to travel (I do) or try new foods (I also do), it got me thinking about the weird things that I enjoy doing. And it’s not so much that the things are themselves weird; it’s more like it’s weird that I enjoy doing them. Finding Music for the Vlog As you likely already...

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What Does a Good Night’s Sleep Even Look Like?

I’m tired. Exhausted even. Like all the time. Some people will say this is par for the course when you’re a working parent with a young child. Especially when the newborn is around, you can kiss your sleep goodbye. Most moms and dads can attest to that. But what if you’re clocking in a good seven or eight hours and you’re still not rested? Are you really getting a good night’s sleep? Polling the Sleep-Deprived Parent To get some sense of where I fit into the pack, I turned to my dad bloggers friends on Facebook for insight into...

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Vlog #76: Travel Camera Gear (and an Ocarina)

As you might recall in last week’s vlog, I said I wished I had learned how to play a musical instrument when I was younger. I also said that it’s not too late for me to learn now. In rekindling some of that melodious spirit, I decided to play a little music in this week’s vlog. And then there’s a bunch of camera gear and travel stuff too. Even though I’ve never been much of an RPG kind of guy, The Legend of Zelda is, well, kind of legendary. That’s why I couldn’t help but to pick up an...

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Sunday Snippet: Simone Giertz

Since then, I’ve carved out this little niche for myself on the internet as an inventor of useless machines, because as we all know, the easiest way to be at the top of your field is to choose a very small field. I thought I was unconventional for starting my own freelance writing business. As it turns out, the world is filled with all sorts of freelancers. Competition can be fierce and it can oftentimes feel like a race to the bottom. But you know what you won’t encounter very often? A self-taught inventor making machines she fully expects...

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Grammar 101: Let’s and Lets

Punctuation matters. It’s the difference between “let’s eat, grandma!” (inviting granny to dinner) and “let’s eat grandma!” (granny is dinner). And so just as we need to be mindful about whether to use its or it’s, we should also be mindful about the little apostrophe that separates lets from let’s. Lets (no apostrophe) is a conjugated form of the verb “to let.” This means to allow or permit, the opposite of to prevent or forbid. John lets his dog wander the yard freely. I wonder if the teacher will let the kids out early. The airline only lets you...

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I’m Sick and Tired of the Self Sabotage

Me: I wish I had more time to get stuff done. Life: Okay fine. Here are a couple of hours. Me: I really just want to take a nap. Life: Okay fine. Go nap. Me: But Animal Crossing though. Life: I give up. Me: Yeah, me too. This was a conversation I had with Life a few months ago. I mean, I obviously didn’t really speak to the personification of life itself, but this was what was rattling around in my subconscious at the time. I complain often about how I don’t have enough time to do all the...

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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.