LA for Christmas! Pt. 2

Hello y’all,

So finally posting part 2 of my LA trip. And it’s actually not that overdue if you look at some of my other posts.

After Anaheim, we went back to the city of Los Angeles. We were exhaused on the first day and decided to skip some of the stuff we had planned so we can go straight to Little Tokyo. Some things I learned about LA:

1. Little Tokyo is the best place ever

We ended up skipping another few things on our list just to re-visit Little Tokyo on the third day. They have a million ramen places to choose from and we ended up going to Orochon Ramen and Hakata Ramen. We had to wait at both of them but Hakata’s wait was almost 2 hours! They both served great ramen, but the bf and I both agree that Orochon’s soup was better. We like spicy and Orochon gave you the option to make it super spicy.

Another thing Little Tokyo was amazing at was mochi. I think the mochi lato at Mikawaya Mochi has forever changed me. No mochi will ever taste as good 😦 They had regular mochi too, but the lato ones were creamier and the skin wasn’t as hard. It was so perfect!

2. K-town isn’t trashy

From what I’ve seen of the webseries K-town, I had expected Koreatown in LA to be trashier and greasier. It really wasn’t. Instead we found super cheap restaurants! They were quite famous for their Korean BBQ all-you-can-eats and we ended up settling for one that was $11.99 at Sanya Korean BBQ Buffet. So much meat. So worth it.

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Tell me this isn’t cheap. The $11.99 menu was more than enough for dinner.

We had lots of beef brisket, thinly sliced. We let it grill just a little longer than necessary, giving the outside a slightly crispier exterior. It was amazing. We also had some pork belly and there were a lot of other things on the menu. But we were quite full from the side dishes they provide you as well.

Koreatown also had lots of shops that sold Korean products. I hopped into one or two cosmetic shops just to see what they have and their collections are quite complete. If you’re looking for asian snacks, this also was a good place to go!

3. The Getty is far

I was annoyed by LA’s transit system to begin with, but getting to the Getty really was something. We had to take two busses, and the schedules were horrible. It took forever to get to the Getty via transit (about an hour and 20 minutes?), whereas driving would’ve taken 19 minutes.

$100 million. Right there.

$100 million. Right there.

One thing I did enjoy was seeing the paintings. I’m no art expert, but at the Getty I got to admire the works of some big artists. It was the first time I had seen a Van Gogh, Monet, and a Picasso in real life. Or any famous paintings in real life I guess. Irises by Van Gogh was the featured exhibit for the period that we were there. A hundred million dollar painting. I didn’t even want to breathe near it.

4. Hollywood is only glam for about 4 blocks

Exiting the metro station for Hollywood, I took a few seconds just to marvel at how alive and amazing Hollywood looked. Bright lights, crowds of people, music everywhere. We hit up a few souvenir shops, went to Madame Tussauds and at night, spent new year’s eve at Hardrock Cafe counting down with other patrons in the restaurant.

Madame Tussauds shenanigans. They had a Marvel exhibit!

Madame Tussauds shenanigans. They had a Marvel exhibit!

But then we went to explore and walked down Hollywood only to realized that the glam only lasted a few blocks. Beyond the main strip of Hollywood that we always see on TV, the street was lined with mediocre restaurants or shabby looking pubs. The Walk of Fame also deteriorates drastically, the names of actors/actresses being none that we recognize. But I guess to be a tourist attraction, you don’t need to show everyone the full picture before their arrival.

5. The TCL Theatre is beautiful

My boyfriend and I saved The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies for the TCL Theatre! We saw that they were showing it and decided we’d hold off until we got to Hollywood. Plus, we’d get to check out the TCL Theatre!

I could not believe how nice the theatre was and that it is accessible to the public. I’m so used to seeing award shows and events happening there on TV I never thought it would be open for regular movies. They also played movies in IMAX and the quality was so good it was almost disorienting at first watching the characters so clearly.

I thought the price was amazing. It was $19 a ticket for IMAX in a gorgeous theatre. In Vancouver, we pay $15 for a shabby theatre seat for IMAX. It was so worth it watching a movie there. If you do go, visit the washrooms. It’s ridiculously big.

So that’s it for my LA trip! I’m proud of myself for having written pt 2 so quickly 🙂

– Karen

Alice: Madness Returns— Dementedly awesome

Hey all,

Caught in between classes and the many papers, projects and presentations that has lined my agenda. However, that makes this game I recently got perfect in terms of how I’m slowly going insane.

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice. The premise of the story revolves around Alice having witnessed her family being killed in a  tragic fire. Having to face what she saw, and being the sole survivor, she is filled with the horrors that haunt her every day. In response, she escapes to a place she calls Wonderland, leading others in the real world to believe her mad. This game begins in 1875 and Alice is now 19. She has been released from the mental asylum, and is placed in an orphanage in Victorian London where Doctor Bumby watches over her. She’s getting better, but at the beginning of the game, she is sent to run an errand that accidentally leads her into Wonderland again, causing her to spiral down into her madness once again.

Now if you’re used to Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, you’ll be pleasantly (maybe) surprised. The beginning of the game is absolutely stunning.

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The first screen cap I took in game. Couldn’t help myself— it was ridiculously beautiful.

This is not at all to say that the rest of the game is not stunning. I have to say that one of the main things that sold this game for me was how nice the graphics were. You’re moved from the natural beauty that is Wonderland before it starts to crumble in Alice’s mind, to a Steampunk-esque version of the Mad Hatter’s place. There is more (I’m only through the first chapter of the game…actually I’m stuck there, but I’ll explain why a little later on) as the game progresses, and people have hinted to me that it gets more disturbing.

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Oh look. It’s a statue of me crying.

Screencap borrowed from (x) since I have not yet gotten here yet.

What stood out to me was that at the very beginning of the game you already feel a sense of unease. There are no jump scares in this game (at least not yet for me), but as you wander through the orphanage, you can’t help but be a bit nervous for what to expect at every turn that you make. Psychological horror is awesome.

Now on to what I did not like about this game: it’s buggy. I am currently stuck in the last part of the first chapter because I cannot get my freaking umbrella open to act as a shield. It turns out that I will have to go through my configuration files in my computer to fix this. I also had issues with getting the mouse that pops up when you open the options screen to go away. I ended up with three cursors on my screen as I played the game. I had to restart the whole thing in order to make it disappear. Since this game is about three years old, I’m sure there won’t be any updates to deal with these issues, so if you do get this game, know that this is what you’re getting yourself into. It’s not horribly hard to fix, but it does mess with your game experience since you will have to exit the game in order to fix what is wrong.

Additionally, if you’re very into fighting (I guess I like it, but I understand that not every single game has to be focused on solely that), Alice is quite limited in those terms. The Vorpal blade that she uses is her main attack, and her swinging it is quite straightforward. You press your left moue button. There are a few more side weapons, such a pepper grinder that can be used as a ranged gun, and bombs, but they’re not as prominent.

Overall, I’m pretty excited to squeeze some more time out of studying and invest it into Alice: Madness Returns!

-Karen