Vault hunting on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Hey all,

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There was a sale on Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! so my boyfriend and I got it! We had both played Borderlands 2 on solo campaigns so it was refreshing to play co-op!

Honestly, the game is new, but it didn’t feel new. It felt as if I was merely continuing my adventures from the previous games but just in space. They could’ve done a lot more with the space environments. They integrate the need for oxygen to be refilled, as well as the ability to prolong your jumps with oxygen. You’re driving moon buggies, the things you loot sometimes fly off due to low gravity, but otherwise, everything feels exactly the same.

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I played as Claptrap, and my boyfriend played Nisha. Claptrap’s special is volatile and completely random. It’s hilarious when you press “f” in hopes you’ll get one of the many random special attacks that Claptrap possesses, only to summon one that ends up killing your whole team. I enjoyed playing Claptrap because he was very funny, and humor is such a big part of Borderlands. One tip though: if you wanted to see Claptrap’s crazy antics, don’t play as him, but have your friend play him. I never get to see my silly outfits, or the comical things I do because it’s first person view.

That being said, the NPCs were lacklustre compared to the ones I encountered on Borderlands 2. Remember Tiny Tina? Ellie, Moxxie’s daughter? Sir Hammerlock? I do. The old characters are still very vivid to me. Who’s in the pre-sequel? No one’s particularly memorable. My favourite character probably was Felicity, who’s badass and smart. But (spoiler so just skip the rest of this paragraph to avoid it) in order to fulfill Jack’s request, you end up having to kill her.

I also didn’t appreciate the co-op aspect where loot is shared, so when we find a gun, we had to figure out who should get the snazzy super-strong pistol while the other has to hope for something else to come along. There also isn’t a greed/need/roll system, so you kind of just talk it out. This was most likely the same for Borderlands 2, but like I said, this was the first time I’ve used their co-op system.

I think $30 for this game was a fair price, but there were more bugs in it then I expected (e.g. when you get frozen by an enemy, you sometimes get stuck walking really slow. You can stop a quest midway at times, but it completely messes you over and you have to restart several times so that certain doors will open to proceed in the game). If this is the first time you’re starting the Borderlands franchise, please don’t start with the pre-sequel. Go do the first or second game, then treat this one as a supplement to it. It’s a decent game, but not worth $60. Honestly, looking back, $30 is probably the max I would pay for it.

– Karen

You win some, you lose some

Hey all,

So I had my toughest interview two weeks go. It all started at the beginning of March, when I got a preliminary email in response to my resume and cover letter submission. Microsoft wanted to interview me! They said they were intersted in getting to know me more. I was thrilled!

The one pic I took from my time there :P

The one pic I took from my time there :P

I did the interview and I thought it went pretty well. My interviewer held the role I was applying for and was very nice and friendly. I got to understand the role more and he got to understand why I was here. I think my interest in the IT industry really shone through, especially in the question where they asked where I wanted to be five years down the road. Without a doubt, in the gaming industry, in a community role.

I remember signing in at the front desk before the interview and spied a name of a classmate of mine– her achievements were amazing so my confidence fell. They also had interviewed numerous candidates for the week.

A week later I got another email! They wanted me to come back for a second round of interviews! Now the candidates were cut down to 4. The email also outlined how the interview process would go. I was to be interviewed by 5 managers I would be working with in the position. FIVE! I was pretty nervous, but in the end what caught me most off guard was how taxing the process was. Imagine being at the Microsoft office for 2 1/2 hours (there were breaks in between to match the manager’s schedules). You’re trying to make the best first impression. Five times. To five different people. You feel your energy start to drain, especially after the second interview.

The managers who interviewed me were all generally nice! One was extra encouraging, and I really liked her. One was a wild card one, who asked you the randomest questions that would catch you off guard. Then there was one who was technical, and in my opinion had the hardest questions. I’m glad I had the opportunity to go through the interview process. I didn’t get the job. I learned you can never be prepared enough, but try to be genuine and let that shine through.

Now comes the terrible part where I have to scramble to find a job for my next co-op work term before summer begins! I’ve got about one more month. Oh gosh. I need a job.

– Karen

A very productive reading break

I spent my reading break up at Whistler at my boyfriend’s family’s cabin. I had wild visions of me finishing all my homework up there as well as getting my studying done. I did semi-start one of my presentations and then read one of the 20 readings I was supposed to do but otherwise, homework was not touched.

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We did, however, eat a lot. We cooked our own meals up there and I don’t mean to brag but they were all delicious. We’re master chefs (I say this, but at the same time we burnt our grilled cheese sandwiches not too long ago. How do you screw up grilled cheese??). A sample of some of our creations:

- Creamy Avocado Pasta

– Steak with potatoes and stuffed tomatoes 

– Pancakes with candied bacon and eggs

– Strawberry daifuku

We always cooked too much, and that puts us in a great spot for food coma-ing after dinner and into our bed with a good movie or two. We watched The Imitation GamePulp Fiction (finally!), and started, but never finished Selma. We also progressed in Firefly, which we’ve since finished. So glad we finished Firefly before going to Emerald City Comic Con since two of the leading ladies will be there!

It was great to be by ourselves for the week. Very relaxing! Of course, we did visit the Whistler Village. We did some studying at a cafe, ate at the Warehouse (a one hour wait in line…), but that was pretty much it. Snow was bad this year anyway. I had my first bubble bath in probably two years. Man, I wish we could take a Whistler reading break every month. Such a great de-stressor!

– Karen

Contingent Contemplation: Philophobia

I haven’t done one of these contingent contemplation posts in a while.

Philophobia is a thing I have. I don’t understand why it’s not a part of everyone.

Philophobia is the fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in or falling in love.

It’s a scary thing isn’t it? When you fall in love, you’re committing your emotions to someone. Everything that that person does will come to emotionally affect you, whether it’s big or small.

My family are people who I love, though I didn’t choose it I guess. But you can very much say that I also have a fear of emotional attachment to them. The thought of losing loved ones is never fun, and I sometimes wonder why I’m given a family, only to have them taken away from me some day down the road. But at the same time, that fear of love gets dispelled when you manage to forget the mortality of things and realize that although other people come and go, luckily enough, my family is here to stay. They’re here for me and love me unconditionally. I cannot help but do the same.

A few years ago I decided to get a pet. It was against my dad’s wishes, and I didn’t have the guts to tell him about the hamster I had bought. Then as I carried the little thing in a paper bag with her new cage at my side, I realized there’s no way I can keep this a secret. Our Hong Kong apartment was only so big, and my hamster will not go noticed. I phoned my dad, telling him of my purchase, hoping that telling him via the phone would lessen the shouting. Funnily enough, he didn’t shout. He wasn’t the happiest, and he worried about the hamster ruining our hygiene (I’m so sure that a 17 gram little hamster will bring the plague to our family. On second though, plagues were started by rats. Hmm.). A few months later, the hamster’s picture would replace my baby picture that he kept as his phone’s lock screen.

My hamster is probably the first and last pet I will ever get. Allergies aside, her passing away impacted me a lot. It’s weird, because I had willingly given my heart to her. And she took that little bit to the grave when she passed away two years later. I realized that I could never be brave enough to get that dog I’ve always wanted. My issue wasn’t with taking care of pets, but with their ultimate departure after you’ve committed to loving them.

Philophobia has followed me into relationships. All my prior relationships consisted of me keeping the guy some distance away. I wasn’t willing to get too involved emotionally, fearing that I will get the worst out of it. I over-think everything, and try to base my decisions on what will hurt me the least in the long run. It just wasn’t worth it to take the risk and ultimately feel the pain. That’s probably why none of them worked out because I always choose to end it, fearing developing the relationship any further.

But here I am, having fallen in love with a guy, and it’s funny because I don’t think I willingly choose to either. I think it probably has something to do with the whole “you’ll know it’s right when it’s right” thing because you can’t help it. Philophobia makes itself more known to me every day because I’ve let myself fall in love. He’s doing his best, but I’m not the most confident of myself relationship-wise. At times, you wonder if they like you just as much as you like them only to realize you can’t gauge that. So you go on to look for signs that can tell you, only to falter at points of doubt. You think of all the ways and reasons you can lose him. Then you let the fear ruin you.

Philophobia sucks. You’re unsure of your next steps, but at the same time you want to take them. And it almost feels like every step further, you feel yourself wanting to pull back because you know it’ll hurt if it goes wrong. But for the first time, I think it’ll be worth it. I just need to get Philophobia out of the picture.

Reading break begins!

Hey all,

One week off. This is probably what every university student looks forward to once the Winter school term starts. Sadly, most of my profs decided to put a bunch of midterms and projects due for when we get back on the week of the 23rd. No worries. I guess I’ll just have to juggle studying and taking a break. In terms of reading, am I doing any actual reading? Not much academically, though I eventually will have to. But I have been consuming a lot of graphic novels– mainly due to me taking a graphic novel writing class at UBC. I had to take it for my creative writing minor, and I originally thought we’d only have to do the “written” parts of the graphic novel. Turns out we’re telling stories through pictures. That does not bode well for my D+ in visual art that I got back in high school. comics-lady-killer Anyway, I’m more than halfway through Watchmen and I’ve been reading it for maybe two days during my spare time. I also picked up this visually amazing graphic novel called Pretty Deadly. It revolves around the daughter of death. How is that not cool? I started reading Lady Killer, and am dying to get my hands on a physical copy of the first issue. Sadly, all the copies I see for sale online are super expensive (and everywhere else is sold out). It’s a very interesting comic. Self described as “Betty Draper meets Hannibal!”

I’m actually currently in Whistler right now and will do a separate blog post for that later on! Snow’s disappointing this year, but having some time away from Vancouver withe the boyfriend is not!

– Karen

Valentine’s is a scam

…So we decided to just stay home, make our own food, and watch movies for the day. I mean calling a day “Valentine’s Day” and then making it so that restaurants can charge a LOT for a meal, and everyone can capitalize on branding something as “Valentine’s” themed is a scam. But I still believe that setting a day aside for your loved ones, whether for a significant other, or even just for your friends or family, is still important. So I’m all about the idea of Valentine’s Day!

I remember last year, I spent $60ish on a Valentine’s meal and although I did get pretty good food (salmon, steak, scallops etc.) it’s so much cheaper to do it yourself. So instead of a couple spending $120 collectively on a meal, this year, me and the bf spent around $45 instead! wpid-received_10155327540990643.jpeg Our Valentine’s dinner was quite reminiscent of our first time we cooked together back when we first started dating. Steak and potatoes, except we also threw in lobster tails this time to be fancy. And then minus-ed the veggies. We also spent a good chunk of time trying to make macarons…which didn’t quite work out.

We tried.

We tried.

We stayed in bed till almost 5PM. We cooked till 11PM. He made me watch Groundhog Day, I made him watch Music and Lyrics. There was hot chocolate. It was the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had :)wpid-20150214_235118-1.jpg – Karen

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.

Little Tokyo and ramen. #orochon #ramen #egg #calpico #noodles #japan #japanese #asian #LA #california

A photo posted by Karen Lee (@kalyrical) on

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