Stellaris.

You might or might not have noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of activity on this site lately. The reason for that is Stellaris1.

Over the last couple of years, Paradox has become a highly respected brand in strategy gaming circles. The Swedish publisher/developer, operating as Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio respectively, has published and developed some of the most popular strategy games and strategy franchises on the PC platform in recent years. Titles like Crusader Kings, Hearts of Iron, Europa Universalis, and Cities: Skylines will make most strategy gamers giggle of joy.

Paradox’ grand strategy games, in particular, have amassed a considerable amount of dedicated fans. Despite their steep learning curve, complicated mechanics, and non-intuitive user interface, Paradox’ grand strategy titles are among the finest in the genre. It was not a huge surprise then, that the strategy gaming community got very excited when Paradox announced their first science fiction title back in 2015: Stellaris.

There were some skeptics. Of course. There always are. Until Stellaris was announced, Paradox had dabbled exclusive in historically based strategy games. Would they be able to conquer space as well? One year after release, it’s time to see if Paradox’ first science fiction title has turned into everything it set out to become.

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John Wick: Chapter 2.

What is this? A review of a movie that’s actually somewhat topical, and not just one that was released a long time ago1? Scandalous! Earlier this week, me and Hans Olav had some Indian food, and went to see John Wick: Chapter 2.

As the “Chapter 2” part of the movie title implies, this is a sequel. The first John Wick movie premiered in 2014, and it saw generally favorable reviews across the board. If you haven’t watched the first movie, fear not. That’s not important to be able to understand the plot in Chapter 2. There is no deep meta-story anywhere that you need to be aware of to enjoy this second chapter. Here’s all you need to know: John Wick is a hitman with a reputation for getting his mark. He wanted to retire, but a bad man forced him back into the game. Now that bad man has to die.

Aaand, action! Lots and lots of it. If you need to watch something that won’t challenge you intellectually on any level, John Wick: Chapter 2 is absolutely perfect. You’ll get 122 minutes of pretty much non-stop action, and very, very little chit-chat. This makes the movie perfect for Keanu Reeves, who has the acting skills of a log. But he is absolutely superb as John Wick. Screenwriter Derek Kolstad has written a part that fits Reeves like a glove, and his lines are rarely longer than five words.

Interestingly, though, the scene where Reeves manages to sound reasonable believable, is during the longest verbal exchange of the movie. So maybe Reeves is actually an acting genius that my feeble mind doesn’t understand? Not unlikely.

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“Animal Farm” by George Orwell.

The animals of Manor Farm are tired of living under the tyranny of the farm’s owner, Mr. Jones. One evening, the boar Old Major summons the animals of the farm to a meeting. He tells them the story of a wonderful world where farms are run by the animals themselves. Old Major also teaches them a revolutionary song called “Beasts of England“. With hope for a better life for all the animals, they revolt, and drive Mr. Jones away from the farm. From that day onward, the farm is known as “Animal Farm”. It will be run by the animals, which will all be considered equal.

George Orwell wrote Animal Farm during World War II. Being a not-so-subtle satire about the Russian revolution, the Soviet Union, and Stalin’s expulsion of Trotsky, Orwell had a hard time getting it published. Since the Soviet Union sided with the Allied powers during the war, the manuscript was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers. It was not until 1945, only weeks before the war was officially over, that the book was published. It then became a commercial success, partly to changing international relations, and the Cold War.

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I Love You, Revo SuperConnect!

Over the years I’ve reviewed a lot of stuff. It’s been mostly movies, books, and computer games, but also the occasional piece of hardware. My lowest ever score of exactly 0 was awarded to a pair of Scullcandy Uprock headphones. They are the worst piece of shit headphones ever made. Now the time has come to have a look at what might be the best piece of hardware ever made: The Revo SuperConnect.

I’m in charge of making dinner for the family, and thus spend some time in the kitchen. The radio is usually on, but the selection of radio stations in Norway isn’t exactly massive. The internet, however, has an almost endless collection of radio stations covering every imaginary genre. To take advantage of this massive smörgåsbord of beautiful audio waves, I started looking for an internet radio a while ago. The Logitech Squeezebox seemed like a good option, but the product was discontinued in 2012.

Then I came across the Revo SuperConnect. Designed and developed by the Scottish company Revo, the SuperConnect is a radio that combines an impressive range of features and connectivity options into a stunning looking hardware package.

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Guardians of the Galaxy.

I’m sorry. I’ll probably never be a good source for relevant reviews. My movie reviews are usually of old releases, and this rushed piece on Guardians of the Galaxy is no exception. I lag far, far behind on what should be considered elementary movies to watch for a science-fiction fan, but this weekend I finally got the chance to see what all the fuzz about the Guardians was about.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy set in 2014. You might try to argue that 2014 doesn’t sound very science fiction. But among the movie’s many characters, you’ll find a green woman (Gamora), a walking tree (Groot), and a talking racoon (Rocket). There are also a lot of space ships and laser guns, so it all falls well inside the boundaries of the genre we all love.

Peter Quill, who was abducted from Earth back in 1988, now keeps himself busy as a Ravager. During one of his raids, he steals a mysterious orb. Not surprisingly, the orb contains one of the most powerful forces in the universe, capable of destroying entire planets in a matter of seconds. Naturally, this makes the orb interesting for some of the more shady characters in the galaxy.

When the orb falls into the hands of one of the shadiest of them all, Ronan the Accuser, the Guardians have to set aside their differences to safe the orb, themselves, and the entire galaxy.

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