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Los Angeles and Things of Randomness

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Fun time at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show

la car show 2

The LA Auto show is one of the biggest car shows in LA. Taking place in the Los Angeles Convention Center, this event showcases many of the newest models for cars that will be releasing the upcoming year. Like most car shows, brands will bring all their lines and put them on display in hopes consumers will keep their brand in mine whether they are buying a new car. Whether you are looking for a new car or are a car enthusiast, this is an inexpensive event that is fun for family and friends.

I have been going to the LA Auto show for a few years now and every year I have seen improvements with the design and layout of the show. I enjoy seeing the newest models of cars and every year, there are at least 30 new cars to see that are all loaded up with the latest technology and performance updates.

It seems to me that all the the brands need to find ways to keep people in their sections for as long as they can. So they have created many games and activities for everyone to participate. You will most likely blow through the sections that do not have any activities, especially if it is a car manufacturer you are not especially fond about.

The structure of the LA Auto Show is usually broken up into different sections — economy, luxury, exotic and aftermarket. The platforms for all the cars in the different categories are well organized and makes sure you will be able to see every brand and all their lines.

Interactions at the LA Auto show are increasing more and more each year. In 2014, the event held many customer interactions such as throw paper airplanes through a hoop to win a prize, or win swag from a machine by instagramming pictures. This year is no different with more manufacturers creating more innovative ways to keep you in their booth areas. Here are a list of some of the things I did at the car show.

la car show 3Subaru – VR and green screen – This virtual reality set straps you into a mechanical chair that moves as you view through the VR headset. The experience is to make you feel as if you are actually in the car. The content showcases the new sensors and safety controls that are loaded up in the newest Subaru cars. After the little demonstration, it kicks off to a action video where you are sitting next to a professional drifter riding through a race track.

Next to the virtual reality booth is a green screen where you can take pictures with your family or friends. After you take a picture, you can modify what background you want and let your creativity go wild by putting silly stickers on the photograph.

Scion – autograph signing – This year, Scion is having a lot of different celebrities come in for autograph signings from special guests, Robert Kirkman, Andrew Reynolds, Steve Aoki and Eddie huang.

Toyota – I did not stay at Toyota for a long time but they had announcers who were preparing giveaways to audience members if they answer short questions.

Kia – Hamster – Kia had a booth where you can take a picture with their hamster mascot.

Ford – Spinning Chairs – These spinning chairs at Ford were bolted to the ground and let you spin as fast as you can. It is a fun little break if you have been walking around for some time.

Random games – There are random little arcade style games around the the booths such as car parking simulators, auto racing cars, and reflex games.

Test driving cars – You can test drive as many of the latest model cars as you can where the course is driving around streets of the convention center. Some of the brands will give you a free gift for test driving such as battery power banks. Unfortunately, I do not think you can test drive any manual transmission cars.

Sitting in cars and photographs – This is a given but sitting in the cars and taking pictures of all the latest cars is one of the most entertaining things to do at the show. You can sit and feel the comfort of your dream car and take as many pictures as you want in the well lit show casings of all the cars. If you are looking for a new car, this also a quick and efficient way to get a good feel of as many cars as you can without having to drive from dealer to car show

Overall, the LA Auto Show is worth going to at least once in your life. It is only here once a year and for $15, you can see and test drive all the newest cars, and see all the latest technologies car companies have loaded up their vehicles with. You can also get a free voucher at participating local dealerships. Just ask for a voucher and you can get a buy one get one free deal for the convention center.


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Getting through your Daily Commute


Long, boring commutes. This is one of the ongoing problems for many of those who live in densely populated, urban areas such as Los Angeles. Many of us sit in the the car and accept that the ride is boring but those who are willing to maximize their time will take advantage of listening to podcasts during these long commutes. Podcasts are a great way to stay productive when all you can do is stare at the road until you get home.

You can listen to podcasts from your smartphone, iPod and any mobile device that you have. Even though I’m an Android user, I choose to use the Podcast app that comes with the iPod’s and set it to automatically download new episodes every morning. There are no advertisements and it works seamlessly. For Android podcast apps, the highest rated app is called Pocket Cast. I have not personally used it yet but it has all the mainstream podcasts that you can find. This app is not free but it is relatively inexpensive at $3.99 for a plethora of content. If you do not want to dish out any money for a podcast app, there is an Android alternative called Podcast Addict. It is free to use and has most of the popular podcasts. The only downside is this app has a lot of advertisements but you can remove these by paying the premium.

Once you have found your favorite Podcast App, you can now begin your productive journey in those long commutes to and from work or school.There are many different topics and categories of podcasts to choose from. You can listen to entertainment, education, business and pretty much anything you can imagine. I personally listen to a lot of finance and business podcasts during my hour long commutes but everyone has their own preferences. Here are my current favorites, in no particular order.

  • Planet Money is probably the most famous one in this list. Being one of the many shows on NPR, this podcast takes different topics and breaks it down from an economic point of view. Almost every episode is worth listening and lets you see different points of views on subjects that you may not have thought of.
  • The Start Up Chat with Steli and Hiten is a new podcast debuting in the middle of 2015 and features two Silicon Valley veterans who decided to make a podcast. Steli and Hiten are very knowledgeable in the processes of how startups work. The ups, the downs, they have been through it all as they are founders of their own start-ups. Many of their episodes will teach you an issue startups face and how to deal with them. At the end of the podcast, they will advise you one or two action items to do for your own companies.I personally think that a lot of the topics they discuss provide a lot of insight and can be applied to everyday life in how to improve productivity and efficiency in your life.
  • APM: Marketplace deals with a lot of recent events regarding business, stocks and finance. It sums up what happens in a nice 20 minute segment for those who want to know what is happening in the news but are short on time.
  • APM: Marketplace Tech is similar to APM: Marketplace but is much shorter and deals with recent events regarding tech companies. Many of the companies they talk about can range from up and coming start-up companies to large corporations like Apple and Samsung.
  • What’s Tech takes technology and explains them in clear, detailed fashion. Whether it be a product, concept, or recent theory in technology, What’s Tech keeps it fun to listen as well as informative.

My commutes range from 35 minutes to an hour each way so I usually keep in line enough podcasts everyday to power through the drive. I enjoy listening to music on my commutes as well, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. You can learn so much through podcasts and I feel it should be something more people should take advantage of. It is free and there is really nothing to lose from doing it.

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Dir En Grey – The Mayan 2015

I listen to a large variety of Music, ranging from KPOP and EDM to death metal. Why? I love music and appreciate all the different genres musicians create. In high school, I had discovered a Japanese band that went by the name of Dir En Grey. The first song and music video I heard from them was called “The Final.” This song contains a very mellow tone and combines both clean and screaming vocals. After hearing this song and a few of their other tracks, Dir En Grey instantly became one of my favorite bands.

Fast forward to the present, I recently got a chance to see my favorite band in action. On November 5, 2015 they were at the Mayan theatre located next to Belasco. The Mayan is a beautiful theatre with tribal themes to the architecture that spans throughout the walls and ceiling. It is small venue but it is enough allow the band to thrive and do what they do best– instill thrill and excitement.

The show began around 9:10pm where the band, one by one, walked onto the stage. The crowd lit up as the members brisked over to their respective instruments. The last member to come out was the lead vocalist, Kyo. Draped in white robes and black scarf, Kyo emitted a demonic and evil presence to all those around him.

Dir En Grey - The Mayan 2015

The crowd erupted into a ferocious cheer.

Many who have been to a Dir En Grey show say their performances are dynamic, full of energy and emotion. The high range of Kyo’s voice is legendary in the genre. His screams can become deafening sharp and his singing can become bone chilling. You can tell that Kyo gets deep into every song and portrays it through his emotional storytelling.

Dir En Grey starts off their performance with “and Zero,” a melodic instrumental that sets off an anticipation to the rest of their songs. “Behind a vacant image” continues the mellow mood but that all changes once Kyo begins his act. Kyo’s voice starts off slow but quickly explodes into shrieking wail. With the pounding of Shinya’s drums and the thunderous bass of Toshiya backing Kyo’s voice, the audience has been sent to a hypnotizing, headbanging trance.

The performance slows down at end of “Saku” where it is followed up with the beginning of one of the band’s most powerful songs, “TOUSEI.” Dir En Grey has strayed from writing mellow, ballad songs but “TOUSEI” brings to the act a mixture of emotions where the audience cannot help but feel the grief and despair in Kyo’s voice.

Dir En Grey continues the set with one of their single’s tracks “VINUSHKA,” which picks the pace back up to what it was before. A 10 minute storytelling filled with screeching, growling and low humming of Kyo’s vocals, the crowd is alive again and continues for the rest of the set.

As someone who has been listening to Dir En Grey since their Withering to Death album, I was very satisfied with what I saw and heard. They have come a long way since their Visual Kei days but their changes are unlike other bands where their changes feel more like a necessity in the story’s they try to tell. While they did not play as many of their old songs as I would have liked, they played enough of their bread and butter tracks that still built in to the nostalgia factor.


  1. and Zero
  2. Behind a vacant image
  3. Sustain the untruth
  6. Merciless Cult
  7. -Saku-
  10. Cause of fickleness
  11. Revelation of mankind
  12. UROKO


  2. C
  3. UN DEUX

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Paleo and P90X

Like many people in the beginning of 2015, I set a New Year’s Resolution of losing weight or more specifically, “get a six-pack.” We have all told ourselves every year to make this our goal but most people, including me, fail and do not follow through very well.

The Problem

I do not consider myself overweight but I did have a bit of stomach fat that I have been telling myself to get rid of every year. I worked out almost 4-5 days a week and gained very little results in the abdominal region. My arms, legs and chest were toned but I just could not lose the keg.

One of the biggest reasons I was not getting the results I wanted was that I was very reluctant to change my diet. At the time I enjoyed eating junk foods, fast foods and told myself that maybe I will get results if I simply cut down on the amount. Spoiler Alert: It did not work.

Almost all workout programs include a strict diet program and if you do not change what you put into your body, you should not expect the results that you want. A good example would be putting the cheapest gasoline into your Mercedes-Benz when it drinks premium– nothing good will come from it.

The Fix

In the beginning of 2015, I told myself that I am going to reach this goal of a six-pack or at least defined abs no matter what. So I started doing research and figured I am just going to have to force myself to change my diet– something that I was hesitant to do.

After some research, I realized that an easy diet that I could do with very minimal amount of calculating was the paleo diet. I complimented this diet with a P90X workout which allowed me to get the results I wanted very quickly.

Just as a starter, I did not opt for a full paleo lifestyle. The cuts I made were for the sole intention of getting my abs toned in the fastest amount of time without starving myself. I basically did Mondays to Fridays, strict no rice, no noodles to start with and slowly replaced certain foods that had too much saturated fat with healthier organic foods. I cut down my meals to strictly chicken, veggies, and fruit. To prevent myself from starving, I bought unsalted mixed nuts from Costco, greek yogurt mixed with chia, organic granola, and fruits. This, along with scrambled eggs became my daily breakfast and snacks.


The workout regimen I chose to compliment my diet was the P90X workout. I have done this workout in the past but never actually finished it. It was a workout I was familiar with, highly rated and is hosted by the very entertaining trainer, Tony Horton.

This workout is very beneficial and efficient because since I currently do not have a gym membership, I can do everything from home. You will still need dumb bells and a pull up bar but since I do not have a pull up bar, I opted to do modified versions that had similar muscle movements and worked out the same muscles.

After about a week into the workout, I chose to implement whey protein to supplement my sessions. Whey protein is not paleo but since I was already following a liberal paleo diet, I did it anyway in order to get the results I wanted. The whey protein actually felt quite amazing when I first started drinking. I felt like I had more energy and I could push myself to the limits.

Around beginning of April 2015, I had already pretty much achieved my goal. P90X was completed, my abs as well as arms are toned and I feel healthier than I have ever been in my life. One thing I regret is that I failed to take a before and after shot. I cannot see the progress I have made but I definitely see a difference, in how much more toned my body is.

Today, which is November of 2015, I am not as strict on my diet but I have been able to maintain my body the way I want it. I workout and follow a liberal paleo diet 3-5 times a week and allow myself to eat whatever I want on the weekends. This actually works great for me as food tastes absolutely amazing when I eat out at restaurants. It is a delicious treat for a week’s hard work!


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Knott’s Scary Farm

As someone who has avoided scary things like the plague, 2015 was a year of facing new challenges with scary stuff being one of them. I watched a few scary movies and they were indeed, quite frightening. After a few movies, I realized that I wanted to test myself. Let’s go to a haunted house!

So once it was decided to go to a haunted house. I needed to decide which haunted house I wanted to go to. I did not want to go to a crazy one that will give me a heart attack but I also did not want to go to one that was too tame. Eventually it was decided to go to Knott’s Scary Farm.

As I was about to get through the ticket booths, there was a lady dressed as a witch, scaring people. Being my first time, I was pretty creeped out by what I saw. Once I went in, there were many people in costumes sneaking up and scaring people. Some of costumes were themed after the Seven Sins and some of them actually looked pretty cool.

I, being a coward, spent the first 20-30 minutes on a lookout for anyone trying to sneak up on me. Every actor walked right passed me and did not bother trying to scare me. I felt kind of disappointed. I was there to be scared but I was simply too alert to have any fun in the open.

Once the gates opened to allow people into the haunted house’s, first thing I did was go grab the Special OPS: Infected tickets. These tickets gave me a scheduled time to show up to play a live action shooting game against zombies.

After I got my tickets, it was time to go to the haunted mazes. Since I did not write this post right after the event, my memory is a little bit foggy so I will just list the ones I found most entertaining.

The Dead of Winter – This maze is based on the movie Frozen and features a hall of mirrors you that you need to walk through. This was definitely one of my favorite mazes from Knott’s Scary Farm. While it was not that frightening, the mirrors open up a lot of possibilities for a very frightening experience. Some things I would try to improve would be to incorporate more ideas involving the mirrors and make the maze a lot longer.

My Bloody Clementine – Long lines, long lines, long lines. Unless you go early, there huge lines everywhere at Knott’s Scary Farm. Fortunately after all that standing around, you can finally relax your feet a little. My Bloody Clementine features a train ride through underground mines where demons and spirits lurk. As you expect, during the train ride, you will see a lot of ghouls and unsightly beings prowling around. Things will pop out from the walls as you go through and surprise you if you are not paying attention.

Special Ops-Infected-Patient Zero – This one was not really a maze but it was fun nonetheless. This is a video style game where your commander tells the audience to separate into different groups before embarking in a survival game with laser rifles. You run through the maze with the goal of reaching checkpoints and finding Patient Zero; in which you win the game. The game is not too difficult but gives you a nice thrill of re-enacting a video game style survival game. You can still get hurt and die if you allow the zombies to get too close to you but you can kill them through head shots. I am not quite sure if you can lose the game since a few of our members died in the run but we still won. There is a checkpoint where you are given an artifact that you need to bring to the end of the course. That may be what decides the outcome of the game. Overall it was a fun attraction and would recommend to anyone that wants to play an entertaining game of zombie survival.

Ghost Town Streets – This was not a maze but it might as well be. The entire street becomes engulfed in a fog of smoke and you will not be able to see much past a few feet. This part was actually really entertaining since it is so difficult to see what is going to sneak up on you.

Overall, I think Knott’s Scary Farm is a fun attraction to go to with both family and friends. It is PG enough where parents can take their kids and will not severely traumatized them for life. If you have never been to a haunted maze, I think that going here would be a very nice beginner’s experience. If you are used to horror attractions and watch a lot of scary movies, this would probably feel like child’s play.