Valerian

I’m a huge fan of Luc Besson. Big fan! “Léon” is one of my favorite movies of all time! “Fifth Element” is right up there too. “Metro” is a classic, Nikita, Taxi, Big Blue, Transporter, Taken, Jean D’Arc, so many damn great movies! But he’s also done a few that I wasn’t a big fan of but can’t blame him for that 🙂

So when I saw the first trailer for “Valerian” I got really stoked! I mean really stoked. Like so stoked that I can’t even talk myself out of it, which I usually do because I hate going out of the movies disappointed.

I was not disappointed. It was awesome! I would like to give it all 5 elements but there were two things that put me off. 1) The translation to Sweden was bad. Yeah I know, I can’t hold Luc Besson responsible for that but I do hold the movie company responsible! Not that I need Swedish subtitles – but if you’re going to do it do it right, because this was terrible. 2) Dane DeHaan that plays the lead character didn’t feel right for the role. The character was supposed to have been in the military and seen stuff, like Korben Dallas in Fifth Element. Instead he looks and even acts like he’s the one that makes the other guys say “was I that young when I joined”! But apart from that – awesome! And yeah, SF Filmstaden Scandinavia delivers in VIP again!

What I was mostly impressed with was the CG and the visuals! They were absolutely amazing! It even got to the point were I didn’t know if it’s computer generated or if it was makeup or what was going on, I love that! Music was awesome, although missing that kick ass diva song!

So here’s hoping for more and judging by the amount of source material that shouldn’t be too hard 🙂

Star Wars – Rogue One

I finally did it! I finally saw “Star Wars Rogue One”. Or “Star Wars Episode 3.9” as I’d call it! As a huge fan of the original triology I was definitely looking forward to seeing it but for one reason or another (one being my son’s refusal to see a movie he wasn’t allowed by the authorities to see!) it never happened when it was playing in the cinemas. And I certainly didn’t want to see a low quality “grabbed from the internet” version of the movie.

First off – spoiler warning! There are some spoilers below so don’t go there unless you’ve already seen the movie or don’t care about having it spoilt!

All in all – I was positively surprised at how good it was! I don’t know why but my expectations weren’t that great, probably because Episode VII was such a disappointment. But this one was really, really good.

And if you know me well enough you know one thing I love is continuity! Screwing up, or even ignoring continuity, can get me to dislike an otherwise good movie or TV show. Or in the case of Babylon 5 absolutely love a TV show that really isn’t that great once you remove the 5 story arc. And in this case most continuity I felt was acceptable, as expected there were tons of great references to Episode IV – one of the smaller ones being Bail Organa saying he’s going back to Alderaan and I spontaneously scream “don’t do it!!”. The other thing being the lengths they went to to have Tarkin and Leia in this movie when neither was actually in it! (there were ofcourse other characters that were “brought back” from the original triology, like Mon Mothma)

But another pitfall of trying to adhere to continuity is you can’t create characters or major plots without.. well, killing them before the end of the movie. And I’m sorry if this spoils it for the people that haven’t seen it but when they have a rebel meeting about wether to extract the Death Stars plan you can just go around the table and you know, based on who’s in Episode IV, who’s going to make it back alive! So in that way you kind of knew how the ending was going to be. And to my surprise they did the un-Hollywoodian (is that even a word!) thing and stuck with it!

And regarding Tarkin and Leia who were both computer generated faces superimposed on other actors.. I don’t know why the brain is so god damn good at it but you definitely saw that there some something “off” about their faces. Most notably Leia, even though it was just a few seconds and one line you saw that it wasn’t quite right. Great that they tried but it seems like an impossible task because the brain is just too good at face recognition for it to work.

Now – Darth Vader… well what can you say about Darth Vader… the problem with this movie is that the “original trilogy Darth Vader” was tall, imposing but not one for the front lines and certainly not a killing machine. That would have been more a Darth Vader from Episode 3.2 or something. But this movie ends a few days, maybe even hours, ahead of the first scene in Episode IV. But the original Darth Vader sent in his troops and never went in first himself, both the boarding in Episode IV and invasion of Hoth showed that. So ending it with a Darth Vader killing machine, even though it was cool as hell, didn’t really line up with the first scene of Episode IV. And it felt just .. misplaced somehow. But even though I’m a sucker for continuity I have to say that it was so damn cool that I’m gonna forgive that because sometimes rule of cool wins 🙂

Selling The Old Car or Beware of “vikoperdinbil.se”

So now that we have our new car we begin the task of selling off our old car. We’ve tried selling off old cars ourselves before and it’s never ended well. I expect too much professionalism for that when we’re talking about this much money and I’ve always ended up with the complete opposite so I didn’t want to go the private route. Even though it means getting less I wanted to sell it to a dealer who could do the work. After trying out different “what’s my car worth” sites I ended up trying out a company called “Vi Köper Din Bil” (“we buy your car”) with the website “vikoperdinbil.se”. I’m typing it there because my hopes are anyone googling it will see this and stay away!!

On their website you simply enter the model, make, year and mileage of your car and they will guestimate it’s worth. For our Seat Leon they guestimated about 112.000:- “plus any extra options” which we had plenty of on that car. That’s about half of what we paid for it three years later but sounded ok. I mean the “street value” of the car would be 130.000:- but they needed a cut of that so ofcourse I couldn’t get that. But based on that estimate I made an appointment to take my car in to get a proper go-through and evaluation. I took time off work, I cleaned the car, loaded her up with the summer tyres and coordinated with the wife to come pick me up afterwards. But at the station they went through it (and didn’t find anything wrong with it at all), sent everything off to their expert who came back with an offer. 90.000:-! That’s 22.000 less, or more accurately 22% less, than their gustimate which included the comment “plus any extra options”!

Their business strategy is pretty obvious – give customers an optimistic guestimations and then when they’ve take the time and make the effort of going into their station they can just slash 20% off that and some people will go for it. Or “lockpriser” as we say in swedish. Real estate agents are given warnings whenever they are caught using tactics like that but for cardealers this is totally acceptable?! Even going through their own “what our customers think of us” turns up a gem where a guy says that he was happy even though they slashed 20% off the initial guestimate! There are also plenty of reviews on Trustpilot against them for this tactic!

Naturually I said “get the fuck out of here!” and left on the spot. So beware of “vikoperdinbil.se” unless you’re ready to get an offer about 40.000:- less than the street value. How do I know that? Well my option B was to take it to the authorized Seat dealer in Täby. They gave us 110.000:- for it and put it up for sale for 130.000:- and in 3 days the ad was taken down!

Buying a new car – how hard can it be? Part III

[Previously on the blog – me and the wife wanted to buy a new car and ordered an Audi A5 for 492.000 SEK and it was delivered in late February but only after wondering if this was their first car delivery ever!]

Now that was 3 weeks ago. And in those three weeks unfortunately enough has happened to make me say “I won’t go back there again”.

Not only because of the reasons I’ve already listed (1) them telling us to go away from the business section in a rather rude manner, 2) the unprofessional way of handling the tyre situation 3) noone informed us of the deposit we had to make before we got there) but as it turns out they made even bigger mistakes – one huge mistake during the ordering process and two pretty big mistakes with the delivery.

When delivering an Audi, the representative is supposed to help you sign up to the myAudi account and tie your car to that account. Nope, didn’t happend! Fortunately I know my way around Internet and websites but it led me to the next big issue. They also failed to inform us that the little plastic badge on the set of keys we got was actually very, VERY valuable since it had a PIN to enable remote access of the car! Without this I couldn’t use the electronics I paid for and selling it would be pretty damn hard! Fortunately we hadn’t thrown that little plastic thing in the bin yet but at no point did we think it was something we needed to keep! But the major f*ck up was discovered when we were loading up the car with some kids and realised this model didn’t have 3 seatbelts in the back, only 2!!! I didn’t even know that was possible but apparently it’s an extra option for Audi that costs a mere 3.600 SEK! Had the original salesguy informed us about that we would absolutely have clicked it. But he didn’t so now we’re stuck with a car that only has 4 seatbelts! This was a dealbreaker when we started this (one of the reasons we didn’t go for a Mustang!) and we made sure to check that it did have it when we were in the showroom! I can only imagine the salesguy picked up on us only having one kid and in an attempt to keep the price below 500.000 didn’t click it but it leaves a very sour taste! Fortunately we have a cheap ass VW Polo that has 3 seatbelts in the back so if we ever need one extra seat we can use that. But still… And “we should have checked it ourselves”, yeah you could say that, but as I said in part I, it’s a freaking jungle!! Unless you work there knowing what’s included in the “2017 A5 Sportback Proline Sport Edition” from the go, it’s damn impossible! And when adding stuff BAM! you’re told that it’s not compatible with the current loadout! It’s rediculous! Sometimes I think those configurations should have a “these things are NOT included in your layout”-list, that would have spelt it out for us that it was an extra option.

So, expect a new one of these in 3 years when it’s time to buy a new car again. Maybe we’ll go for a Mustang that time around or maybe Tesla if they are affordable by then.

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

Buying a new car – how hard can it be? Part II

[Previously on the blog – me and the wife wanted to buy a new car and ordered an Audi A5 for 492.000:- and was told it would be delivered end of March]

And so we waited. And waited.

Eventually in mid February we got an e-mail from the insurance company telling us it was time to insure our Audi. ??.. so we called up the dealer in Järva, got put on hold and eventually told by the manager that “I’m gonna have to call you back”. And so he did. And yeah, the car had arrived and we were free to pick it up next week. At this point I’m wondering “how long has it been there and when were you going to tell us!?” but I was just too excited and grateful that it was already here to question that. After our dealing with Toyota I thought it’d be best if we gave them the week and come in on Friday afternoon. This gave them over 8 days to get the car ready. And then he assigned the delivery to another salesman which I thought was weird but as it turns out the salesman, Daniel, that I liked so much and ordered the car from was no longer working there for reasons noone wanted to get into. When I woke up on Tuesday, 3 days before the delivery, it was snowing. And I remembered we hadn’t ordered the winter tyres so it would be illegal for us to drive our new car home from the dealer without it! So I called them up and asked what they usually do in this situation when customers have ordered cars without winter tyres and it’s snowing. And he had no clue. His first response was just hoping it would get warmer and thaw so it wouldn’t be a problem. I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or serious but it was absolutely unprofessional! So I had to ask him if he could fix winter tyres for us which he ofcourse was willing to try to do but couldn’t make a promise he’d get them in time. Seriously, he had 3 days to find new wintertyres for a new car in Stockholm, how hard can that be, pick up the phone to Euromasters and have them send over a set with DHL!? Well, he couldn’t just call anyone to get any kind of tyres, he had to order Audi originals regardless if we wanted it or not! Then we didn’t hear anything from him and we were just left assuming it was sorted when we went in to pick up the car on Friday afternoon. And much to our delight and surprise he had sorted it. On the car was now brand new Audi original winter tyres! “Great, so can we get the car now” … “well not really because you still haven’t paid us the 130.000 that was due”. Huh? Well, as it turns out we were supposed to send in the money to them so they had it before we could pick up the car and noone had told us about this. He said it was the “other guy” that had missed informing us of that. Personally I think it should be on a check list when preparing to deliver a car to make sure the car is legal to drive on the day of delivery and that the payment was settled, but apparently this guy didn’t think that was on them, those were my problems to solve!

So I ended up using Swish, a Swedish “send money instantly to another phone number” system that is quite a common way to send money here – just not supposed to be used for transactions of this size!! Fortunately my bank allowed the transaction, otherwise I don’t know what they’d do but I was furious enough to leave there and then and have another look at the Cupra – just ask Toyota. So now that that was sorted we got a big, long debriefing on insurance options. After that he unveiled our new car. And it was glorious!! I knew the car was so hitech that we were in for long education of what everything did.. but nope, he wasn’t into that, “I could spend an hour talking about everything but you pretty much want to get on the road huh?”.. well that didn’t stop him from talking insurances for a very long time but ok so let’s get on the road.. nope, we had to take a detour to their servicecenter to pay for the tyres. Fortunately the guy there was an absolute professional and got that over with quickly in the kind of “getting it done!” method I love. After that we got an ok to go out on the road, finally!

To be continued tomorrow…

Read Part I here.

Read Part III here.

Buying a new car – how hard can it be? Part I

Me and the wife were in the market to buy a car. And my wife has expensive taste. And we had the cash to spend. Sounds like a dream for any car dealer, right? But you know after our dealings with Toyota last year that I didn’t think very highly of car dealers… and that was about to get even lower!

My wife have always wanted to buy a Mustang. But purchasing a new Mustang in Stockholm proved pretty impossible as the only dealer we were in contact with didn’t have any available for us to try as other customers had crashed them both and we didn’t want to order one blindly. Besides I got the feeling he wasn’t too eager to sell one to us anyway. So we checked out a secondhand dealer that had a great Mustang waiting to be bought. After sitting in it we both kinda realised this isn’t the kind of car you use driving back and forth to school or to Ikea. So that idea was put on hold.

The next idea was a Tesla. But in Sweden the start at about 750.000 SEK which is shitload of money but when you start adding on stuff it goes up to 7 digits quite fast. So no, not yet.

Then we went for a sport version of the car we have today, a Seat Leon Cupra. The only dealer we had even remotely close to us turned out to be amateurs! They only had one for customers to try out. And the owner was using it as his private car. And we had to book an appointment to testdrive it! Well we did but it turns out the boss’s wife or daughter had taken the car for high street shopping that afternoon and got stuck in traffic. Who knew there might be traffic jams when going from Stockholm city to Barkarby at 5pm!? And when we test drove it we found their candy stash, we found her wallet and some left over shopping. As I said, amateur hour. Unfortunately the car was an absolut beast and we were tempted to buy one had it not been for the dealer.

So then we raised the bar! As we’ve been happy with both our Volkswagens and our Seat we decided to test the upgrade in the family and go for an Audi! Now I wanted to use Möller Bil again since we were so pleased with how the Seat turned out and how professional they’ve been but no Möller retailer close to us sells Audi. So we went to the Audi retailer in Järva. First thing that happened was they didn’t respond to my e-mail requests. Usually not a big thing but car dealers are supposed to be more eager than this, but oh well. So we went to their showroom and were told that we weren’t welcomed because we were in the business section! Should have gone home right there and then to be honest because the only reason we were in the business area was poor signage from their end! But we didn’t go home, we went up a floor to the consumer section and met a really friendly and nice salesguy, Daniel. He tried to understand what we wanted and our criterias – the wife wanted a bit of luxury but I wanted to pay the least amount for it! We went there looking at an A4 but when the wife saw their latest A5 Sportback she was totally sold! And when I saw their virtual cockpit, so was I. We tested sitting in an A5 to get the feel for the interior, noting that there was indeed 3 seatbelts in the back (more why that was important later!) and then we testdrove an A4 with identical engine to get the feel for the cars power. We were both very, very pleased. So we sat down to go through the list of options for the car to try to come up with a good car that fit our needs and what that would cost us. He went through every option (or so we thought!) with us and based on what he knew of our needs made recommendations. Since every manufacturer has their own terms/language, options and editions it’s a real jungle to sort it out but he did a good job of explaining it. I really liked this guy! So he came up with a car for 492.000 SEK, almost half a million. Naturually we needed to have a talk about it but after two days we made the decision to go for it. We went back and talked with him again to place the order. No fuzz at all, we agreed we’d put down 130.000 which we’d get from selling our current car when we got the new car. It would take “about 5 months” to get the car. A bit long but it would be worth waiting for. Now, did we want winter tyres on this or not? That was an extra 20.000 SEK. I knew I could get tyres for about half that price, and 5 months from end of October would be and of March so no really need for it, so no thanks. And the order was placed and we were happy with it all.

And then we waited. And waited…

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.

The Trump Update

If you followed this blog during Bush Junior’s presidency you may remember I was quite hard with my Bush bashing back then. So when this whole Trump fiasco got started I thought about writing stuff. But I thought it’s being covered enough by mainstream media, even in Sweden, so I really don’t need to do it. But after the weekend I think I just have.

What I think is the most annoying thing that as an independant observer from over here everything he does and says is so predictable and easy to see through! For example his fued with the media is him starting campaigning for re-election by trying to make people question the media and the reporting of this presidency! So even if he fuck’s up and don’t manage to do anything he wants to do and sends to country backwards, the people that are supposed to report it aren’t credible if he get’s his way and he’ll be able to fool the voters again! If the people are so gullible than he’s already re-elected! I just don’t get how people can be so gullible to buy into the horseshit he’s selling in the first place!

I mean, there is a guy that grabs women by the pussy, a man with no insight or respect for international politics, who has billions to profit from a presidency, a guy who wants all the power but zero accountability and zero transparency, a guy who thinks everyone should have a gun or even two because that would make everyone safer, a guy who thinks global warming is a hoax because of one chilly day in NY, a guy with hundreds of failed projects in his past (steak anyone?), a clear racist and homophobe.. I mean, I just don’t know where to stop! Any one of these would have failed anyone else running but not him. And unfortunately it’s the exact same thing in Sweden with our “Sweden Democrats” who have one .. “incident” after another that would have been disasterous for any other party. But because they are “outsiders” and “not apart of the establishment” they get away with.

What tha f*ck is wrong with you people? I’m getting upset even thinking about the state of the world in 4 years…

Goodbye 2016 – welcome 2017!

As you may have guessed it’s been a lot happening in my little piece of Earth. But beyond that it’s been a pretty shitty year! That’s no excuse for not posting anything here for months though. But there hasn’t been that much great or interesting things to post about.

But now 2016 is coming to a close and it can’t come soon enough! With Brexit, Trump and the year that musical icons died it’s hard to look at 2016 and think “yeah, that was a great year”. Sure some good things happened, especially on these 1000 square meters of Earth that we own, but I’m not that ego that I think that just because we’ve had it good that makes for a good year! Because for the world as a whole 2016 was a stinker. And I’m hoping 2017 will be better but unfortunately I think it’ll be 4 years that will stink for the world thanks to Trump but maybe, just maybe, it won’t be that bad. One can hope, right 🙂

But tonight we’re celebrating New Years with friends and will try not to care too much about the bad things and just focus on the fact that we’re all still here, pretty healthy (although I’m just recovering from another man-flu) and have jobs, roof over our heads and food on the table 🙂

Happy new years! 🙂

Admitting When I’m Wrong

I’m one of those people who welcome being corrected when I’m wrong. Unfortunately I’m also offended when people try to correct me when I’m right, it’s not a good quality to have.

The most recent thing I’ve been wrong about is Pokemon Go. When it came here to Sweden in July I thought it was a fad, I didn’t take it seriously and I even made fun of people playing it, which I now regret. I still stick by that it’s dangerous though because if you get too much into it even when walking you can hurt yourself or even other people!

Because now my entire family is playing it! My son wanted a go at it and we couldn’t really stop him by saying it’s childish since… well, he’s 6! But after getting him started we realised we needed to learn it and so we started. And now, two weeks later we’re hooked and I like it. Not the game itself, it’s so rudimentary, it’s classic “get people hooked and then make them pay up for the next fix” and not even one little bit creative. But I like the effect it has on us as a family. We go out Pokemon hunting, sometimes just to the nearest city center, sometimes we go to some place that just has plenty of Pokestops. We spent four hours in “Rålambshovsparken” last Friday hunting Pokemons and Pokestops (and looked like complete idiots while doing it!). And we walk – alot! I shit you not if I say we must’ve walked 150 kilometers (that’s be about 94 miles) since we started two weeks ago. And as an added bonus when doing all that walking, except the calorie burn rate, is that we see places and stuff we never knew existed! As an example, we have a school that I pass twice every day to and from work but I’ve ever only seen the front of it. Now I know what the rest of the outside looks like since they placed a “pokemon gym” on the other side of it!

Star Citizen. Again.

So after a few rounds with customer service at Cloud Imperium Games I got the LA County “Department of Consumer and Business Affairs” involved and that’s when my refund request was finally accepted. So I got all my money for all digital purchases and pledges refunded and my accounts closed and within a week the money was safely in my bank account. End of story (until the game comes out, if ever) I thought.

Well it wasn’t. Because the response to my request from their legal counsel was… in lack of better words – horseshit!

The reasons I stated for requesting a refund was
– They changed their terms of service to free them of all accountability to actually deliver anything. That’s an indisputable fact. I was totally fine with my initial Kickstarter pledge going down the drain but that was a small portion of all the money I’ve pledged to the project so far. Chris, the man in charge, stated years ago that they were solid financially and would still be able to deliver a game if funding stopped. It didn’t yet they haven’t.
– The game is nowhere near being complete. The content that has been delivered so far is barely 10% of everything promised and it’s all buggy as hell as it’s still in alpha. That is also a fact. If you forecast based on that it’s gonna take them several years to deliver the rest and then do the polish to go from alpha to a launch-able game.
– They themselves set “estimated dates” for when features are launched and they are constantly missing them. That is also fact.
– They set November 2014 + a 18 months delay (that’d be May 2016) for launch or they would show their financials and explain “wtf happened!?”. It’s now August 2016 and they haven’t launched any part of the game nor taken any accountability for the failure. Those are also facts.

Those were my 4 main reasons. I never mentioned anything of all the other rumors (like their Austin office being shut down) or issues one may have with the project (like the fact that Chris the CEO is married to the marketing director/actor Sandi) that involves anything that isn’t fact or tangible.

So what did the legal counsel say? “Customer’s allegations […] are completely unfounded and based on internet gossip. Oh and he made the allegations to the wrong corporate entity!”. That is just so insulting! Everything I’ve said are facts that can easily be checked by anyone! If they didn’t think it was good enough reasons to give a refund that would have been one thing, but to say that I’m lying and quoting gossip, what the hell is that about!? That pisses me off so much that my initial thought was “crash and burn you assholes!”. But this is so much bigger than that, it’s a million people strong community, a game that is based on some of the most amazing games I’ve played, the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever, the biggest “up yours!” to major game publishers ever and so much of that good stuff that I can’t be so egotistic and want it to fail just because they insult me. But it really pissed me off and I wonder where the line for “slander” is! And also I hate whenever a company makes that stupid remark about “it’s the wrong company” – I ALWAYS go to the people that I actually paid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or whatever, I make the claim to the company that charged me!

“Star Citizen”… Never Ending Story

You know I’m a nostalgic, retro kind of person right? And I’m a gamer. So I fondly remember the days of “Wing Commander” I & II, the space fighting but most of all the story and the interaction with the crew. And I very fondly remember “Wing Commander III” with Mark Hamill and Tom Wilson and the rest of the cast. And I very very very fondly remember playing “Wing Commander IV” for days, weeks even months. I really wanted to see every possible way that could go, the “evil ending” and everything in between. I absolutely loved it – not for the space combat but for the story. The dialogue is cheesy and the plot quite simple by today’s standards but still, for a computer game it was awesome!!

So in 2012 when I heard that Chris Roberts is coming back with a “spiritual successor to Wing Commander” I got excited. It couldn’t be called “Wing Commander” since EA owned the rights to it so it was called “Star Citizen”. Or “Squadron 42”.. at first it was a mess what was what but that’s to be expected when a small group of people get together to try to do something great. But this time Chris didn’t want a big publisher telling him what to do. He didn’t want a publisher that demanded the game be released at this date, finished or not. He didn’t want a publisher to tell him to make the game so it can be ported to consoles. He wanted to do the game his way, released when it was ready and for PC only. So they started a crowdfunding campaign that got so much attention their initial web server couldn’t handle it and they had to take to Kickstarter for crowdfunding. I happy bought into it at “Colonel” level which then was $125. That’s quite a lot for a computer game I agree but I thought it was worth it considering how much joy his previous titles had given me. I’d gladly paid that for “Wing Commander IV” any day!
Back then they set the “estimated release” at November 2014 but I’m actually pretty sure that’s because Kickstarter forced them to set an “estimated delivery” date and the max they could set was “2 years from now”. So I actually never expected them to deliver that. As a matter of fact, their “Terms of Service” agreement was even altered in 2013 to give them a 12 (then 18) month delay window.

After the initial crowdfunding campaign they kept promising more and more stuff. Not only had the game gone from being the “spiritual successor of Wing Commander” (a single player game), it was blowing up to be a full MMORPG. And I was fine with that. At first. I was so fine that when they showed off the Retaliator bomber I loved it and dished out $225 for one. And the idea of being information smuggler sounded cool so I dished out money for that too. But then as they continued to get millions of dollars every month I kinda saw it getting out of hand. I fully realise I know very little of what it actually takes to deliver a game and I know it takes a lot of time to make a game. A delay can easily be a year. But when they were promising new features, new ships without actually releasing much I kinda saw the problems of this ever being released. If they take two-three months to get a ship to “flight ready” and they keep coming up with 7-8 new ships every year, how are they ever to get done? If they add new feature to the scope before releasing the basic ones promised during Kickstarter like trading, how are they ever gonna get done? This picture to the right pretty much sums up what I felt all throughout 2015. And during July of 2015 Derek Smart happened. He’s a game maker who has tried to pull off these grand space games for years and never really made it. Which means he knows some of the pitfalls of even trying. He started criticising the “Star Citizen” project – very vocally, bullyuishly, annoyingly, contrived, “deliberately wanting to turn everything into a bad thing” way. And he got very personal against Chris Roberts, his wife and his lawyer (that all co-founded the studio) in a way that was really uncool. But he always stopped right at the border of lying or making shit up. Yes, he twisted everything into a negative thing. And I was right there to point out the actual facts. But the problem of trying to argue with him was the fact that “CIG” (the studio making the game) never managed to prove him wrong. They never managed to shut him up by stepping up to the plate and deliver. Instead, they made his case stronger by coming up with more irrelevant features (plants anyone?), more subscriber flare, more ship-concept sales, more of everything except actual game content. An all this while constantly missing “estimated” release dates that they themselves estimated and set.

Then they went ahead and wrote a new Terms of Service that we have to accept. Which is fine, Blizzard does it all the time. But I actually read those things, it’s a result of working with lawyers for 8 years – I actually read before I sign. And in this Terms of Service they had removed any accountability what so ever, every chance of demanding a refund. It was basically a carté blanche for them to sail away with the $117+ million they had gotten from backers and as long as the company CIG was still “active” and stating the game was still being worked on (without ever actually delivering anything) then we had no rights at all as consumers. I really wasn’t OK with that. So I refused to accept the terms of service. That had the side effect of me not being able to login to the so called “game”.

And what they call “the game” (as it was the last time I checked) consist of
1) running around my hangar looking at the static non functioning ships that have gone from concept to “hangar ready”.
2) Fly around in a very gorgeous but limited space environment fighting against enemy ships without ever feeling like “I’m so into this battle”, it’s rather plain but a totally acceptable test bed for flight mechanics.
3) Run around one planetary landing zone. Think of Orgimmar in World of Warcraft. But about half the size if that. And never being able to go out the gates.
star_citizen_bug4) Run around a station, call the ships I “own” that are “flight ready”, getting on board, flying around trying to repair comm relays, exploring a small little station for clues about corporate evilness
.. and that’s it. And it’s all full of game breaking bugs as you can expect from alpha. But compared to what was promised even in Kickstarter, before they even had $20 million, this simply won’t do. There is no exploration, there is no trading, the space combat is mediocre at best, there are no systems to travel between (so no jump points with that mechanic), there is just this. And that’s at “estimated delivery + 18 months”. And there is nothing to indicate that is about to change, that there is a magic key that once implemented will unlock all the missing features and mechanics.

At the end of last year they came up with a trailer for the single player game “Squadron 42” that promised released in 2016. It was freaking amazing! The “admiral” speech was precisely the classic cliche dialogue I know from “Wing Commander IV” and the visuals, oh man… but there is nothing to make me believe that it will actually happen. The space combat right now is way to limited to be close to what has been promised. The cutscenes may be breathtaking but it all needs a space combat simulation to build on, or I might as well see “Wing Commander The Movie“.

I really do hope I’m wrong and that they do actually release “Squadron 42” this year, or maybe even next year. I really do wish that they actually release the game they’ve promised. But right now I don’t see anything that suggests they will.

So where does that leave me? Since I haven’t accepted the TOS I can’t login to the “game” that I’ve spent well over $600 on (not counting merchandise). I was fine waiting until 2020 to see the game develop into what was promised, I really was. But when I’m banned from the game for simply not accepting the most consumer-hostile terms of service I’ve ever been presented with, that becomes impossible. And since there is very little to support the idea that the game will be done anytime soon I find my only recourse is to demand a refund. Although I fully accept that backing a Kickstarter project can go either way and is a bit of a gamble, when they were successfully funded and kept bringing in millions it goes from a gamble to being a downright fraud. My first attempt was denied. But I’m not giving up. Even though I’m fortunate enough to be able to write these $600 off as a dream that didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean I have to accept it without a fight.

And this is not on Derek Smart – this is on CIG failing to deliver. Piling up the “to-do” list of ships and features to get into the game, wanting to release a perfect and fully featured product, delays and now not taking any responsibility for it in their TOS. And I’m not putting the project in jeopardy by requesting a refund. This is a $117+ million project, my ~$600 of that should be less than a fart in space. Think of this as a customer cancelling a preorder because the game changed too much since I made the preorder – which is exactly what I did with The Division & the new Deus Ex when those publishers changed things. Because no one can honestly say that what CIG are pushing today is what they tried to sell during Kickstarter!

To be continued – unfortunately.

Mallorca baby!!

2016-05-24 (14)So I work for the oldest (and biggest) tour operator in Sweden and I’ve never sat foot on Mallorca. Well I wasn’t having that anymore. After trying to find someone to travel with this year we eventually concluded that maybe it was a good idea to go at it alone. To avoid that daily problem of organizing lunch at work – if you’re 3-4 people it works but once yo get to 6-7 it won’t.

We’d done Turkey and Greece already so Mallorca was the one classic still to-do. We found a hotel that was recently built (Viva Zafiro), had good rooms and so we booked it. The wife really wanted the best room with a terrace and private spa and the bells and whistles so ofcourse she got that. After all, I get a discount. As usual we booked an early summer vacation for May because when june-july-august comes Sweden isn’t a bad place to be really.

We started off early with Helenas mother picking us up and driving us to the airport at 5:30am!! I managed to screw up the boarding cards so we didn’t have as much time in Arlanda as we wanted to. So get on the flight and there’s no need for introduction with my colleagues on the plane as I’ve flown with this crew before – twice! Get to Mallorca, manage to find our transfer buss to Alcudia and away we go. We get to the hotel and as usual when a bussload of people comes there’s a queue. But this place is so classy they served us drinks while we waited! 2016-05-25 (4)After that it was off to check the pools and check out the rest of Alcudia!

Our daily routine became pretty much sleep, breakfast, pools, lunch, go around Alcudia, dinner, 9 o’clock show at the hotel and then sleep. And everything was just great!! We didn’t try as many restaurants as we had hoped but that was because we had all inclusive at the hotel which included free alá carte, so there was really no need to go out for fancy food. We did try some local restaurants and the best one by far was Bodega des Port down in the Alcudia harbor! I’ve never seen such a family friendly restaurant and staff at local restaurants before! And the food was awesome too. We also paid a visit to the Sunwing hotel in Alcudia, pretty much because I’m curious of what it looks like.

2016-05-30 (30)The only real “touristy” thing we did was a bus ride out the Porto Cristo and to see the Hams caves where we got some awesome photos from. Also a short stop at Majorica who have been making pearls since 1890 and Helena had to do some shopping. Then when it was time to go home it was ofcourse the day when they had extra security meassures & checks at the airport so we spent most of the time waiting in line at the airport and just a few minutes to browse the tax free.

All in all it was a great week, Sam had an amazing time! And we’d definitely go there again but maybe to Palma next time!

Globalization & The Brexit

So that happened – UK voted for leaving the EU. I, as a swede, shouldn’t bother too much, right? Well I do. A helluvalot!!

It’s not only because half of my family and a few friends are Brits or are currently living & working in the UK, although that’s a very good reason to care. It’s not only because I’m working for a company owned by Brits. No, it’s not that small, narrow minded, shortsighted or personal.

It’s a freaking issue of mankinds survival! Bare with me here!

The fact that we are overspending the resources on this planet isn’t even in question (“Earth Overshoot Day“). That we are poisoning it and overpopulating it like bunnies, those are all facts. So we need to grow as civilized & evolved creatures and let go of the archaic notion of nations, of mankind’s made-up stuff like borders and currency. To realise that when an earthquake hits it doesn’t stop because it crosses a border. When the ocean’s rise it’s not going to stop because this country signed a treaty! When a flood hits it’s not going to care about your economic growth!

We need to grow beyond thinking of “my country” & “my people” (I cringe everytime I hear the words “my people” in The 100 which Clarke says ALOT!). Every leader in the world is protecting their country and their people which noone can blame them for – but is it productive in the long run? I know it sounds like a “Star Trek” sci-fi fantasy but I wish the entire Earth was just one big country, with one currency and one interest – to save the planet, stop hunger, cure diseases and most of all reach for the stars! Because if we stop hunger and cure diseases we will need another planet pretty soon. And none of that is going to happen if people are only interested in looking after their country, their little piece on this Earth. And after the second world war when EU was created it was a good step towards globalization. This was a huge step back and I can only hope it stops with UK because if the EU falls apart there’s no telling how it’ll end up for mankind!

Pictures from Mallorca

Just a quick update to say we’ve now sorted through and uploaded the pictures from our trip to Alcudia (Mallorca). Will post a full update about the trip later.

Enjoy! As usual, the password is the short Swedish name of my employeer with capital first letter.

The Eurovision

Now you know I’m not the nationalistic type, right? I’m one of those “we are all citizens of the Earth, why can’t we all just get along”. It’s one of the reasons I wonder why countries think they can negotiate environment treaties between eachother – I mean when the Earth goes to hell it’s not going to care where your borders are!

Anyway, I digress. So it may come as a surprise to you that I was happily watching and really enjoying the Eurovision this year – and feeling totally proud of being a Swede!!!

First, let me start off by saying that yes, I do watch the Eurovision although I do avoid the Swedish “Melodifestival” like the plague. I usually don’t make an event out of Eurovision saturday but for a few years now we’ve started a tradition with a friend of Helena and her husband who comes over on the saturday of the finale for BBQ, relaxing in the spa, enjoying the show and sleeping over. This year was not too different, but there was one thing that made it more of an event than usual.

esc2016-programledare-500x250-206672fe3dAs you know Sweden’s Måns won last year which means the Eurovision was to be held here in Sweden, and in the Globe Arena. And if you’re not Swede you might not know this but Måns has been the host of alot of things on swedish TV (most noteably “Allsång på Skansen” for 3 years) so ofcourse he stepped up to the plate – and man did he deliver! He together with Petra was the best hosts of the Eurovision I have ever seen! Never before have I seen the show make so much fun of itself, its host, its contestants, hell even its audience as they did this time around! Major props to the script- and song-writers behind such hits as “Love, Love, Peace, Peace” which is trending YouTube now! The entire “Eurovision taxi” thing also showed the hosts don’t take themselves too seriously! And never before have I heard them make such a dirty joke like “grab your towels, it’s time to come together”, poking fun of their slogan “Come Together”. I absolutely loved it! You know the show is good when you feel that Justin Timberlakes guest appearence is the best time for the break for toilet and beer refill!

If you hate Eurovision for whatever reason, that’s totally up to you, but this year it was absolutely your loss!

Next year it’s off to the Ukraine. Which means it’s going to go down a few notches but now that we’ve done this new tradition for the third time it’s safe to say we can definitely keep it going.

Minecraft Cake

Helena gjorde en Minecraft tårta till grabben

Helena gjorde en Minecraft tårta till grabben

So Sam is now 6 years old. Times really flies. And we’re starting to see a glimmer of hope of getting some “us” time back now. Although it’s mostly our fault, we’ve kept treating him like an incompetent baby for way too long so he hasn’t had a reason to handle things himself. But we’re getting better at it!

And this is the cake is what my wonderful wife and mother of my son made for his 6th birthday – a Minecraft inspired cake. And it wasn’t a lie! (yeah, you shouldn’t get that joke…) It’s amazing what she can and will cook up for every occasion! She had actually prepared it for the previous weekend but since I was in bed all weekend we realised we had to push the birthday party a week.

Our families came over to celebrate his birthday and give him some cool presents, like this Darth Vader mask that is breaking through his wall now! And then he spent the weekend watching “Star Wars” Episode V and VI and being scared of zombies (thanks SVT!)

But it was a weekend of really getting over the fact that he’s not a little boy anymore. He’s old enough to make his own choices and you just have to let him do it, change his mind 10 times only to fall flat on his face for getting it wrong. Well guess what, he doesn’t get hurt, he get’s up and goes at it again! I love my boy!

Earth, Outbreak, Dark Winter & Division

The people that have spent enough time with me might have heard me say “what we need is a good pandemic”. That sounds very, very cold but the truth is for the Earth’s survival we do need one because overpopulation and the side effects of it are going to destroy Earth. Just look at “Cowspiracy”, episode 4 of “Blindspot” (“Bone May Rot”), all the times AI have decided that to protect humanity they must take over and cause havoc (“I, Robot” or the evolving story in “The 100”) or read Dan Brown’s “Inferno”. So something that is contagious like the flu, incubation period like the smallpox (10-14 days) and mortality rate of HIV (100%). Ebola isn’t close, it wasn’t contagious enough and had too short incubation period to ever spread big time. But unfortunately, going by how nature goes it’s only a matter of time until nature is able to combine that itself and bam, halv the population wiped out. Or the most humanitarian way would be for it to cause sterility, that’d solve it long term but nature isn’t very humanitarian.

It’s either that or start colonizing space! What’s more likely? But I sure as hell hope for the latter!

Anyway, I don’t know why, but movies/TV shows & stories about virus outbreaks have always intrigued me. I loved “Outbreak” although it feels kinda dated now. There’s a new game called “The Division” coming out next week which is based on the premise of someone releasing a virus through dollar bills on black friday in the US and the chaos that follows. (I loved the trailer where you can’t really see what’s happening but you hear how a mother is sitting by her sick child’s bed praying and crying … until she’s not). And I was fascinated to read up on the scenario they played out in the US pre-9/11 called “Dark Winter” based on the premise of Saddam/Al Qaeda releasing smallpox in 3 malls in 3 US cities. And Ron Howard is working on filing Brown’s “Inferno” coming out later this year.

Redoing Image Gallery. Again!

Yeah, I know, this is an old story right, me and image galleries! I tried the new Imagevue but it just doesn’t work when you have thousands of images. And my NAS’ built-in system isn’t really that smooth so I’ve gone back to NextGEN image gallery for WordPress with the Justified Image Grid plugin. It just looks the best in my opinion.

So go here and go nuts.

Going To the Movies The Proper Way!

As you probably know I have a home cinema in a, almost, dedicated room for the purpose of showing movies on a big screen with good audio. But I still like going out to the movies. The contrasts between the two are ofcourse that going out is about going out, it’s an event, an occasion. And you’ll take the long queues in to the movie, the bad service, the cramped space, trying to carry popcorn & soda while getting the tickets ready, the people talking, the queuing to get out and all of those bad things. When watching a movie at home you don’t have to put up with that – but all of a sudden it’s not so special anymore.

But the new VIP theaters at Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm puts a completely new spin to it all!! Firstly you’ll get to a restaurant so you can eat actually good, cooked food! Not the food courts of Heron or Kista. You can then order in all the snacks and drinks you want for the movie and it’ll be delivered in a nice basket – even have a beer if you want. Then you go into the movie theater without the queues since it only fits about 40 people! And “why does it only fit 40 people” you ask? – because of the amazing personal space you get! Not only do you get to sit in a comfy recliner chair, you also have more leg space than you’ll need plus a good 30cm of space either side to put your snacks and drinks! Forget about people talking, you’re so far away from each other you can’t really talk when the movie is playing! Then after the movie is done you just calmly leave and go back to the restaurant for some beverage or whatever you like. Yeah, it was expensive but you’ll have to go there alot to make up for all the $$$ that goes into building and maintaining a home cinema.

It’s almost all of the pro’s of watching a movie at home but actually “going out to the movies”! The other con’s against going to the movies (1 – the time to get there 2 – the fact you actually have to drive so one person has to be sober and 3 – the lack of a pause button for bathroom breaks) well I guess there’s really nothing to do against them is it? I mean, scheduling a 5 minute break in the movie for people to do their things might work, but the chances of the building one close enough to me so we can walk are slim to none.

So basically I think this is as far to perfect as a movie experience can get!!

Busy Times

As some of you know there some really shitty stuff going on in my life. If you know you know, if you don’t .. well then you’re not following me on Facebook or Twitter or you would know.

And even though my spontaneous feeling is to share the information and my thoughts on this here website I’m actually going to just say “too personal to discuss here”. Not because it’s too personal for me but rather to other people. And other people in this case is children who are too young to know what it’s about but when growing up may stumble on this and ask wtf this is about. So I’m not going to do that.

Besides this shit there’s alot going on right now. We’re in the last 2 races of the F1 season which turned out way worse than I’d hoped, we’re celebrating my wife and my sisters 27th birthdays and father’s day this Saturday. And there’s ALOT of good computer games coming out now. So it’s full steam ahead all the way until Christmas!!!

But one funny thing we managed to do was go on another 24 hours cruise to just get away from it all and that’s where that funny picture came from – we played Bingo and I won a wopping €50!