Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finnish and German sausage

Quite often I hear Finns say that German sausage is way better than Finnish sausage. They usually elaborate on this statement in a way (along the lines of "Finnish sausage is made of flour, but German sausage has a lot of meat in it") that makes it very clear that they are comparing the cheapest and the least meaty Finnish sausage with unidentified meaty German one. Often they even name the Finnish point of comparison with its colloquial name "HK Bleu" (HK Sininen lenkki, 43% meat).

The same phenomenon exists with other goods and services, but the sausage example is the most common, so I'll stick with that.

Now, when I buy a sausage in Germany it is usually worse than the ones I buy in Finland. It's hard for me to be sure that German sausages are objectively worse than Finnish ones, even as far as my own taste is concerned, because the familiarity creates a rather strong bias: in Finland I know which kinds of sausage I like the best, and I buy them; in Germany I have to select from a large number of sausages whose list of ingredients looks good, and this selection is rarely optimal.

Which makes me wonder: why doesn't this bias work for those other people? I mean, if they dislike HK Bleu, why haven't they moved on?

The ideas that come to mind are:

1. They are saying this in bad faith for some reason (why?), and are in fact well aware that they are comparing a near-lowest-quality Finnish sausage with average and above-average German sausage,

2. They are really comparing Finland's near-worst with Germany's near-worst and might actually be right.

3. They are for some reason (how?) unaware that there are lots of Finnish sausages with meat content of over 70%.

Any ideas?

P.S. I am being unfair to HK Bleu. It is the worst sausage I tasted and didn't seem to have any meat at all, but the same manufacturer (HK) also produced a light version with only 5% of meat. I didn't really need to know that, but I decided to share the info with my readers anyway. They also produce delicious stuff that's 80% meat.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Begging is getting more popular

For those who don't speak Finnish: after Romania joined the EU a lot of beggars came to Finland from Romania. They are very poor but somehow able to afford the trip. This guy says "Help a not-so-poor finance student who cannot afford a trip to Romania," and on the other side "get a good conscience, give money to me. Checks and account transfers are OK too".

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's not fair!

Food is not supposed to bite back, and neither is drink.

Yesterday I was at a picnic. At some point I raised my glass and tried to drink from it, and it bit me on a lip. Turned out to be a wasp. Ouch.

Now I am traumatized for life and keep staring at my teacup suspiciously.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evil scrollbar, KDE

Suddenly, for no good reason at all, my scrollbars started misbehaving. A new computer doesn't constitute a good reason, especially since both the new and the old one are running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx with KDE.

It was absolutely nuts. Usually, when I drag a vertical scrollbar up and down, the horizontal movement of the mouse doesn't make a difference. I can understand a system that would stop scrolling if the mouse gets too far away. There is absolutely no excuse for jumping back to the initial point when the mouse gets too far away, which is what it did.

Turns out it depends on the widget style, but is not mentioned in any widget style description, nor in the fine manual. Finding the appropriate widget style by trial and error was easy, but I am still annoyed.

That's the problem with the new KDE: lots of configurable stuff and no place to configure it. I mean, having themes is nice and all, but the user should be able to configure anything the theme creator can configure, without having to read a manual on how to create a theme. I much rather quickly choose a theme that seems nice and reconfigure the few things that I don't like than wade though hundreds of themes looking for one that fits my specs the best.

Some things (the color themes, for example) actually work that way, but most don't.


Decided to start using Facebook more, and am working on it. I find Facebook to be a rather inconvenient format, but on the other hand it is a useful tool for maintaining an intermittent connection with the people with whom I don't maintain a daily connection by IRC, blogs and email.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Life and summer

It's hot, hot, terribly hot. Except that in the Northeastern US it's even hotter, and when I told my parents that we are having a heat wave my dear mother told me to fuck myself together with the heat wave.

My brains have melted, and I joined Helsinki Seta (I did it as a show of support and then realized they have pretty nice membership discounts on sparkling wine in DTM, and on sex toys), and started considering buying some disk space in Google (for putting my pictures into online Picasa albums), and buying a net connection for my own cellphone (I use the net on the work phone). Now I've just had my fifth shower of the day and am sitting contemplating heat-induced thoughts, such as whether I can get into some pool after hours, and whether it would be nice to be a seal. Seals are not bothered by Liferay and Hibernate problems, and they just lie all day eating sashimi. On the other hand, they don't have internet access, so better not.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Gay Pride: morons found

Went to see the Pride parade yesterday. No, didn't see the attack on it, but heard that those morons have been found and caught too.

I like watching the Pride parades, and sometimes participating if I happen to wake up early enough, which I didn't. One thing that always makes me wonder, though: every time there is at least several people in it proudly displaying portraits of Che Guevara. I always wonder what kind of moron would bring a portrait of a celebrity homophobe to a Gay Pride parade.

Well, I guess the moron has been found now. I saw 4 people (not in the same group) carrying identical Che Guevara balloons, and when I came a bit closer to one of them, I noticed the text under Che: SKP. This SKP, I assume.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Comment spammers

Does anyone know how to get rid of the damn Chinese-language spammers in the comments? How do they get around the word verification anyway?


I am back from Edinburgh. General impressions:

- The city is lovely. Now I know where all those gothic buildings in the American horror movies come from.
- It actually is pretty nice, sorry for repeating myself. The contrast between the dark gray gothic buildings and the brightly painted stores on their first floors is in fact quite pleasant.
- The people speak some Germanic language, which can be recognized as English with a bit of effort.
- The people seem quite friendly, and somewhat strangely dressed. There are no cute guys at all (I saw only one, and he spoke Norwegian), but also fewer really ugly ones than in England.
- The tourist attractions are either really expensive or totally free.
- There are several bus companies and each has its own numbering, so 15 Lothian and 15 First are not the same bus route. Unless you live somewhere where you need to use one of the other companies, Lothian is the way to go.
- Traditional Scottish food, at least as sold by the pubs, is something that you eat when all the edible food has been eaten. There are many nice restaurants with normal food, though.
- Scotland is very much behind Finland as a beer country, in the sense that the bars in downtown Helsinki offer a much better selection of beer than the ones in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They do have great selections of whiskey, though, and quite a ot of cocktails.
- Leith was a disappointment.
- Glasgow is not nearly as beautiful as Edinburgh, but has a great cathedral, and the cutest tiniest subway ever.
- The ill-behaved gangs of young people were nowhere to be seen.
- People there really take their football seriously.

Funny moments:

- Breasts stuck in Sir Walter Scott monument.
- Seals riding by on a device that resembled a water bike, but apparently wasn't.
- A military parade and a Gay Pride parade at the same time in the same part of town, with the result that the military had a lot more colorfully dressed guys in skirts than the Gay Pride.