This is Hong Kong

Hello all,


Seeing the happenings in Hong Kong is giving me such mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m disgusted by how China is invading Hong Kong’s democratic rights. On the other hand, it moves me to see everyone joining hands in protest.

This isn’t what we were promised when Britain handed us over to China in 1997. “One Country, Two Systems” was the belief that we had stood by, understanding that while we were a part of China, our rules of capitalism were to remain untouched while they practiced socialism. The head of Hong Kong (the Chief Executive) is selected by the people, and we choose who we would like to represent us.

It’s amazing how years of Hong Kong social studies and history schooling rushes back as I watch the events in my other home unfold. It’s unfair, and I’m glad we’re taking a stand, like we have done before throughout history. I desperately wish I was in Hong Kong so I can join the protests, and stand alongside fellow citizens who want our freedoms. I feel as if I’m helpless to fight for my own cause, and others are doing the battle for me. But in the end, I’m thankful for everyone who has been rallying to protest.

The student uprising is commendable. These people are young, yet they’re organizing in order to fight for their future. Everyone’s using what skills they have to help the cause. I’m moved to see the adults join in as well as the protests started to include other demographics. People are taking days off work to support the crowds, choosing to volunteer and give out water or medical supplies.

While there are people who fear the instability brought about by these protests to Hong Kong’s economic front, I really do hope they see that in the long run, it’s worth it. This is our freedom on the line. This is our fight. This is Hong Kong.

- Karen

ArcheAge: A review

Hello everyone,

Screenshot my friend took from that one time I managed to log in. My face is about as ecstatic as my female character's face in game as I wait in the queue.

Screenshot my friend took from that one time I managed to log in. My face is about as ecstatic as my female character’s face in-game as I wait in the queue.

Here’s where I’d put my ArcheAge review. If I had one.

But I can tell you that being in queue is pretty sweet. There’s just something about being 3,782 in queue and knowing you’ve got “>1 hour” wait time left!

- Karen

San Fran Fam Jam!

Hello all,

This is definitely a late post, but three weeks ago I went to San Francisco with my family! Although San Fran is quite close to Vancouver (well. comparatively.), it was my first time there.

The sun was out during our whole trip, which was nice when we got to San Fran, but not so nice as we road tripped by California. I had forgotten how hot it can get out there.

We did a bunch of touristy things such as visit Fisherman’s Wharf, including having a bread bowl of chowder. Apparently it’s considered a tourist trap, but I still went for it and it was good. The seagulls there must be pretty happy with all the people who throw unwanted pieces of bread to them after they’re down with their chowder!

I had wanted to go to Alcatraz too, but the tour was all sold out for the weekend that we were going. Instead we decided it was only right if we visited a museum or something to properly play the part of a tourist so we went to Ripley’s! Ripley’s Believe it or Not books were such a big part of my childhood it was cool to see their displays in person.

I must say that one of my favourite parts of San Fan was Chinatown. We came back three times over the course of three days for food. Something I found special was their dim sum. They sold them in stores and unlike everywhere else I’ve been in most parts of the world, you didn’t sit down in a restaurant to enjoy them. They’re packed up in a takeaway box and you eat it wherever you please. The dim sum places didn’t even have tables or chairs for you to sit, so that option was non existent.


Chinatown was so authentic in San Francisco. If I don’t think about it too hard, it almost made me feel like I was back in Hong Kong. The mannerisms of people there, the language, the things they sold. Of course, there’s a lot of western influence intertwined but it didn’t make it any less authentic.


My sister got me really hyped up for Ghirardelli’s factory, but when we ordered an ice-cream sundae there, it tasted like poop. Well, that’s a little harsh, but it definitely wasn’t worth the $11. I’ve had better chocolate (literally anywhere else).


Our trip to Union Square was not eventful. It looked like a typical downtown region of any city, but the weather was really nice while we were there.


ALSO, I never knew Japan towns existed. Chinatowns? Sure, everywhere. But San Francisco’s Japan Town was quite cool. They had so many geek wares there that I was trying not to freak out.


10613079_10152440934504748_5513272189264340628_nWe lived a little ways outside of San Francisco, since we wanted a nice hotel that wasn’t overly expensive. I’d highly recommend everyone do the same since all the nice hotels cost a pretty penny inside the city. In the end we chose a hotel in San Mateo, which was close enough. We’d drive for about 20 minutes to get back to the city each morning, but that was no hassle with a car.

I wonder when I’ll have another family trip. This trip reminded so much of what it was like to be on holiday with my family, especially since it was a road trip. The past few family vacations always lacked a member or two — my parents and sister went to Vegas without me; my mom, sister and I went to Hong Kong/Japan sans my dad. You get the story. But family time really is the best :)

- Karen

Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE

Hello all,

Yesterday I visited the Game of Thrones Exhibit at the PNE! It comes free with your park admission, and it’s right by the Renfew and Hastings entrance. 

My friends and I arrived at 10AM and waited for the gates to open at 10:30AM. We were 2nd in line outside the exhibit, since although the park opens at 10:30AM for its soft opening, everything else actually opens at 11AM. Once they let us in, I made my friends rush to the Oculus Rift bit of the exhibit. I tried the Oculus out at the Evolution of Gaming exhibit a few weeks ago, but this was a different experience altogether. They incorporated 4D aspects such as the floor rumbling below you, as well as wind blowing at your face. 


The Ascend the Wall “ride” lets you take the creaky elevator up the wall. It’s windy up there, and you get a sense of unease as the elevator isn’t the sturdiest of things. Not going the spoil the ending for you, but they do warn you to maybe sit out the ride if you have a fear of heights. 

Seeing the costumes in real life was so surreal. They’re even more beautiful up close. For example, I never noticed that Margery’s wedding dress had small barbs amongst her roses, or that her train was completely covered in roses. 

Of course, everyone lined up for the throne. 


Since it was the first day, Sibel Kekilli was there for a Q&A. For those of you who watch the show, you may know her better as Shae. My friends and I also managed to catch her before she left for a selfie :) She’s really nice and bypassed her security guards in order to sign stuff for fans and such. 


No trip to the PNE is complete for me without checking out the BBQ section. I usually refuse to fill myself up on other fair food until I’ve had a pulled pork sandwich there. This year I got a ribs + meat combo. 


Followed by a visit to the Safeway Farm Country. That probably wasn’t the best idea when you’ve stuffed your face with meat. 

If any of you guys are going, I highly recommend you also check out the Get Animated! exhibit! You can play some old school arcade games, look at the production process of several cartoons, and there are lots of interactive bits for you to explore. They also had some neat photo areas! 


Leaving PNE at the end of the day reminded me as to why I am hesitant to visit every year. The transit home truly is the worst :( 

- Karen

“Guardians of the Galaxy”: A Movie Review

Hello all,


Went to an advanced screening of Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday! Everyone was really excited, and I was told it was one of the most sought after movie screenings of the year! Luckily, my friends and I still managed to snag great seats!

Guardians revolves around a kid called Peter Quill, who had been separated from his family on Earth when he was young. He got abducted to another planet. He becomes a ravager (think space pirate), but amongst one of his missions to steal a mysterious metal sphere, he decides to sell it off to make a profit instead. Turns out there’s a lot more to the sphere than we all though. In order to save the universe from destruction, a group of unlikely heroes work together and form the Guardians of the Galaxy.

I had hopes for not crying in this film. Judging from the trailer and what I’ve heard about it, I expected it to be all laughs, but there were quite a few moments where it was (very) touching. In regards to this movie as opposed to the other recent ones set in the Marvel universe, be prepared to not have our own planet earth to ground yourself to the story. Very little of this movie happens on Terra, but instead we get introduced to different planets and zoom around space for a good part of it.

I thought this movie was quite good– looked really expensive to make! (Just googled out of curiosity. The budget was $170M.) Currently it has a 91% on Rottentomatoes and a 9/10 on IMDB. It opens tomorrow! A kid friendly movie, but also enjoyable for older audiences too :)

- Karen

Goodbye DayZ—Hello 7 Days!

Hey all,

During the Steam summer sales I finally got 7 Days to Die. I also made a bunch of my friends get it too so we’ve been playing every now and then. And I must say… it’s loads better than DayZ.


Before getting DayZ, I was super excited and curious about it. A survival game that forces you to interact in a way that may come close to how you would in an actual apocalypse? Sounds fun! You must make sure you have food and water, and that you’re healthy and dry—all while fending of zombies.

Now both 7 Days and DayZ are in their alpha stages but here’s why I like 7 Days a million times better: for a game that’s charging people for their alpha, 7 Days is actually playable. Don’t get me wrong, they both have their bugs, but your experience with 7 Days is going to be a lot smoother.

In terms of the actual game, 7 Days also requires you to ensure your character is well fed, healthy, and there’s also a sprint bar. But food is a lot easier to consume (no need for the can opener in DayZ), and water is more common. Starting a fire to boil the water, crafting weapons to defend against zombies, creating locked doors—all these components work well in its alpha stages. When you die, you lose everything on your “belt”, but not in your backpack. 

DayZ frustrated me to no end because when you die, that’s it. You lose everything and start completely from scratch. While I first thought that was cool, I soon realized how overpowered the zombies in DayZ were, and alongside players who are all looking out for themselves, as well as the million other ways to die, you can see how starting from scratch is a real turn off. 

In 7 Days, if you die, you will be respawned in a random area of the map—much like DayZ. However, the map is smaller, making it less tedious to meet up with your friends. I remember when my friends and I would basically spend half (if not more) of our time trying to meet up in DayZ. Doesn’t really make for exciting gameplay. It felt like I bought Hiking Simulator for $30 instead. 

I really do enjoy 7 Days’ land claim block system, as well as the ability for your progress to be saved on a server so your locked chests and houses can be returned to. I also like the crafting system in the game. DayZ had pre-generated structures that you could not add or subtract from (also the zombies phased through the walls and floors…but I mean, it is still in alpha, so not going to judge them too harshly on this).

Our shelter for the night :)

Our shelter for the night :)

Maybe the “hardcore” zombie survival game that is DayZ just isn’t for me, but I honestly found 7 Days to Die a lot more enjoyable and fun to play with friends. At one point we had taken shelter in an abandoned house and started to set up base there. Suddenly some dude’s head popped into view through the window. It took us about 5 seconds to realize this was not one of us (you can’t actually see the names above people’s heads until you’re sufficiently close, and characters currently look a lot like each other), but by then the guy had opened fire on everyone in the room. Since we had about six people to his one, we took him out but were quick to fortify our temporary base with land mines.

Trying to break into some dude's locked house with a staircase made of furniture. Professional burglars here.

Trying to break into some dude’s locked house with a staircase made of furniture. Professional burglars here.

If I had to recommend one or the other, I would definitely suggest you get 7 Days to Die. It’s slightly cheaper too! :) 

- Karen

Friday at The Narrow Lounge

Hey Vancouverites,

If you don’t live in Vancouver, this post may not be very useful to you. But I mean, if you’re going to come by for a visit, keep reading!

Yesterday my friend and I met for dinner at this wonderful little place.

 Photo 5-30-2014, 5 20 46 PM

There are no signs hinting at the fact that this isn’t an abandoned, sketchy alley of some sort. As you can see, I was quite hesitant to go down the stairs since I still couldn’t actually see the restaurant itself at this point.

Photo 5-30-2014, 5 20 54 PM

Adjusting to the darkness inside from the gorgeous sunny day I had just ditched in favour of this this place, I was blind. I heard someone say “Hello there!” to me inside, and I responded with “Hi… I have a friend at the patio?” She told me to go straight then turn left. I did that, following the light from the back of the dark bar area I was in. Turning left, I realized I had entered an abandoned parking lot. Very confused.

Photo 5-30-2014, 6 17 41 PM

But then I saw that to my right there was a little closed off area! And then I finally found my friend.

The Narrow Lounge is a neat little secret. Their decor is very unique, and their indoors and outdoors space gives off very different vibes. You can order beer by the buckets, or have they whip up a nice cocktail for you! Their food was also very good. I was starving by the time I got here and I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with potato wedges. My friend had the chicken taco (“Everything about these tacos tastes so right.”). If you’re looking for a new, neat place to eat, I’d definitely recommend at least going to The Narrow Lounge at least once!

Later on, maybe due to my complaints of being very full, my friend suggested we walked to the cinemas instead. Since the lounge was located near Main and Terminal, it meant we could have a lovely walk around False Creek to get downtown. I think it was that walk that suddenly made me think about how gorgeous Vancouver is. Walking by Science World also brought back memories to when my parents got a family pass for us when I was about 7 years old. I want to go back so bad. I don’t care that most of the things in there are designed for younger kids. I want to play with all the neat sciencey contraptions!

Photo 5-30-2014, 6 35 08 PM

- Karen