Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Laying off

Best friend of mine, actually resident here in Finland for some time now, just had a rough day at the job.

Or maybe it was more a rough moment at the job, the rough comes, when finally realizing what really took place at work earlier today. Or if realizing it is taking longer, maybe, what yesterday took place at work...

She was a about 6 months ago promoted to head of office and got the appropriate pay rise to go with the amount of working hours required. At beginning of December she was told she would keep her salary but was demoted and got a new boss. Today an hour after having arrived on the local she was fired without notice.

She was told to just pack her things and leave as they wanted to become more cost efficient.

Having called her after her e-mail where she told me about her notice I told her it was better today, as she still has until end of January to get a new job and being a single she is easily relocated to any city in Europe. Her being a homesick girl I told not say the world but I meant it with all of my heart, and she now has two more weeks to play with compared to having had her notice before Xmas. So, something good with hearing the news. More time. So now she is leaving the city in order to get some forest cleared out of small bushes growing, one hell of a good way to let go of any aggressions, I must say with a thorough sauna to relax with afterwards.

So this is really the reality of the Finnish people, and according to recently done Gallups, most people are afraid of becoming unemployed or getting laid off for some time.

At the same time the prime minister is asking people to consume as much Finnish produce and products as possible.
And here finally comes my question, with what Euros are we to consume anything?

Friday, 26 December 2008

Surreal awakening

I woke up this morning dreaming of an acquaintance of mine that had been murdered and was being sawed and severed into bits and pieces for better disposal of the carcass. No hold on; do not analyze this dream as yet as there is a perfectly sane explanation to it I’m just about getting to it.

The thing is that I really woke up to the sounds of sawing, serious sawing went on in some neighbour’s apartment early in the morning and now thinking about it, it must’ve been someone getting rid of their Xmas tree, sawing it to bits in order to get it out in more reasonably easy. As for the part about my murdered acquaintance, it is also simple, as such one exists, a woman I knew years ago, though not very closely, was actually murdered and dismembered. The case in question was quite sensational and made the papers, at least in northern Europe. The offspring knew her better as she used to occasionally babysit, though probably they have no what so ever recollection of it today.

Anyway, having had this dream with real sawing sound effects looking out the window really got me hair standing. Since we moved here the view out of the bedroom window has always looked the same but today I wondered what UFO, or in the next moment of drunken sleepiness what a car had its’ headlights straight on the huge old fir trees outside. Only realize that this was the first time in over a month with an overcast sky I have seen the blue sky and the sun is shining.

Xmas always brings back memories of our childhood in a nice, comforting way as well as in a not so nice way, as in bad memories. For me Xmas always has been a lot about food, and having periodically had tendencies for compulsory overeating, not as in bulimia and throwing it up, but eating more than enough and getting over stuffed, I have after years of work got my eating in order. I eat when I’m hungry, and don’t over do it anymore, only Xmas seems to bring me back a compulsory urge to over eat. But as the delicacies I prepare for the season only gets served in this household once a year, I guess you have to make best use of them, and this morning’s surreal moment when waking up seems to be an effect of eating more than supposed to in addition to the offspring keeping me awake until the early hours of morning, resulting in way too few hours of sleep. And according to the Norse tradition, you were supposed to stuff yourself at midwinter time in order to preserve the good fortune for the year to follow suite.

Still the fir trees are a funny shade I am not used to, as in their normal colour, but I guess I can live with a little sunshine for a change. And yes, this Christmas was a white Christmas!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Marrying for money

The weather forecast now promises subzero temperatures for Xmas, but whether there will be snow here in the south, that still remains a puzzle.

This year the first snow arrived later than the two previous years. This year there was no snow until end of November, whereas the previous years we had a snow blizzard that hit the country hard in change of October and November, still we had two black Xmas’.

So in the meantime, enjoy the picture of last Xmas’s snow!

Anyway, seeing a Finnish woman walking in the street with an outlandish looking man always makes people talk.

Comments such as: “what a shame she did not go for a decent Finnish man instead” or “she’s so ugly she had to buy her a man” are spoken out loudly in the street.
And this is in no way my own opinion; this is only what I have heard people say in the street.

Still, the general opinion about these mixed marriages seems to be, that they come here and live on Finnish welfare after their divorce. This may be true or may not, they might be as hard working as any Finn, or even more, but fact is, that these marriages have become a most lucrative business as you might obtain a permanent permit of residency here in Finland.

This gives an entirely new dimension to the expression: “marrying for money”.

The media say that these marriages of convenience are arranged for between thousands of Euros up to tens of thousands of Euros, and most frequently the other part comes from across the eastern border or from Africa or Thailand.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Safety glitch

The offspring has lately been amused by using neighbours’ wireless Internet connections. I have been very doubtful about the sanity of doing so as I want to try keeping my PC as clean as possible and up and working at all times, instead of catching virulent malware, viruses and what ever they all are called these days. It is hard to keep up with all the terminology of the high-tech world if you are not in the business.

Anyway, getting into your neighbours wireless Internet connection is not that hard, I have noticed myself. I have on several occasions just checked up the availability of WLANs and you would not believe the number that usually turns up on the list on my screen. Surprisingly many leave their access totally, and completely, unprotected and left originally named default.

I have avoided trying them out of safety reasons, and today I got an even better reason for it. Microsoft just announced that their 7 version of their net browser Internet Explorer has serious safety glitches in it and that phishers are able to phish secret info like banking data and passwords etc. from your PC.

Just one more of Mr Gates’ products that has not been up to promised standards.

This gives us one more reason on top of all the previous ones for not being too dependent on the biggest software manufacturer of the world. Not only that their software is more often targeted by malicious hackers hence being more vulnerable, but the default reason for avoiding Mr Gates’ products is, that they apparently keep on promising more than they can deliver.

A thing that sadly has become a routine over the last few decades.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Missing addresses

Today is the last day to send off the Xmas cards with the postage of 60 cents per card, if you want to have them delivered in time before the holidays.

The cards will still be delivered in time before Xmas if you send them later, but then you have to spend 90 cents on each card instead.

As many people want to send their Xmas cards off today, it has been the busiest day of the year of the phone companies with numerous phonecalls about missing addresses as stating the wrong address on the card will definitively delay it, if not even make it go entirely missing.

And Finns do move houses quite a lot according to recently published statistics, Finns move 13 times in their life time.

Having just recently moved house myself it got me thinking as I have been through my fair share of moving houses. 18 times already to this day, most of them when still in school and living at home, and only 8 of them after having left the nest.

Anyway, the most tiresome thing about moving, and now especially just before the holliday season, is the seemingly never ending cleaning and washing that all gathers up and has to be done, getting things in order for Xmas to take them down in just a few weeks.

Still, there is no Xmas without all the decorations and trinkets, so I have worked hard to get things ready for all the decorations to go up and better get in gear for some serious cooking that needs to be done.

One thing is still not yet to be determined, whether this will be the third black Xmas in a row or not. But that you never know until Xmas itself.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Absolutely knackered

I, the absolute opposite to computer nerd have solved the problem with the broad band connections that were supposed to be in every room of the new apartment we have relocated to, got them working as supposed to.

The moving apartments came quite all of a sudden as a surprise and I am not sure how I am to get things in order to celebrate Xmas this year. There are cardboard boxes stacked all over the place with all our belongings, and as usual, no one is interested in getting things into habitable order, we just try to avoid seeing the boxes without treading on them.

And of course on top of all that the washing machine gave up and has to get repaired, now with all the washing that has to be done. So I better get off to the look up the laundry room in order to survive with all the dirty linen, towels, clothes and curtains to wash. Fortunately I had the good sense of sending the rugs and mats off the to dry-cleaners in order to have them out of my hair, or rather feet in this case, right this moment.

Actually, I'd rather just put my feet high and have a nice cup of tea, but duty seems to be calling more than the tea cup.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ready at hand

The weekend has been filled with snow relentlessly falling off the sky in all directions, and fortunately we have not had any power cuts that have occurred around the country.

Winter cold and snow storm has not out any restrain on exiting for the offspring, and very surprising news reached me by accident when having dinner yesterday.

I am aware of the drinking habits of the youth, and I do know the offspring also drinks alcohol. I do not like teenagers getting drunk but I see no way of prohibiting it either, I do not buy it, nor do I allow them to store it at home and they’ll do it anyway with or without our consent, just like we used to in our time. All we can do as a parent is to be there when needed and sometimes it takes nerves to listen to what you are told.

I know I am not told everything but it seems I get to know a far bit more than other parents and lately the stories have not all been very nice. This weekend a friend of the offspring, a first time drinker I am told, had had too much alcohol and passed out.

Fortunately the rest of the company was alert enough to call an ambulance, and with it saving the life of the adolescent.

With a blood alcohol content of 0, 40 % it was touch and go, just and barely, saving his life. And knowing that a blood alcohol content rating of 0, 20% means serious intoxication, and that 0, 35-0, 40% means potentially fatal alcohol poisoning; it scares the hell out of me thinking this was a first time out, drinking alcohol.

This incident seems a bit sad, maybe it is the exception of the rule that every rule needs to have to be confirmed, as a recently done research done by the University of Kuopio suggests that Finnish alcohol consumption appears is levelling off.

The research is based on 40 years of statistics and the consumption is compared to other countries, and as alcohol consumption in Finland has doubled in a decade, with the average consumption over ten litres per year and person, the Finns tendency for over consumption has been lowered by the more moderate use of alcohol use among adolescents. Adolescents are considered to either totally abstain from alcohol or to be more be moderate drinkers, much like their European peers in comparison to elder people who more tend to turn to drink as comfort when dealing with the turns of life.

So, there is nothing we can do about our offspring drinking alcohol but to talk about it at home, instead of trying to ignore the whole thing as I have discovered most parents tend to do. Adolescents do drink, and most of the times they are okay, but in case of an emergency, even if you hate thinking about it, we have to give them the confidence and make them feel secure enough, to take the needed action, call for help.

At least one thing is good about mobile phones and teenagers using them all the time, which I always earlier used to find most annoying.

They are always ready at hand in case of an emergency!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Unwanted houseguests

After last week’s food poisoning by the Cryptosporidium infection in Helsinki, I came to think about other pests that occur more often than they used to earlier.

Head lice, cockroaches and other insects are more common now in Finland, than they were earlier. Their decline has been said to have been because of better personal hygiene as well as to the more frequent house cleaning chemicals and better routines, until a couple of decades ago. Since then, with the busier lifestyle people tend to clean their homes less often and the more frequent travelling to far away countries has most certainly had a negative effect on the occurrence of head lice and cockroaches. Or should I here be saying "a positive" effect?

Here I am finally trying to get to my point of today, why then is it most often people who lead an alternative way of life, such as more "back to nature" with saving the environment, leading a "greener" life and alternative views opposed to the consumption society more often get the pests?

Like for instance, an acquaintance of ours called me to happily and told me she had head lice. Well, I guess that would not have been my reason to call anybody, only the ones that could have been infected if I had had any, but she just told me her news like it was something everybody was yearning to have!

To the story I must add that she then worked in a Steiner school, a philosophy that is more in tune with Mother Nature, and maybe they either are less prone keeping up a good hygiene or their soaps, shampoos and washing detergents are too environmentally friendly to kill such house guests.

Houseguests I would hate to get, and even when just thinking about it, it makes my scalp itch! Even now, years later.

And to tell you the truth, it was no joyride, as about at the same time this acquaintance of ours rang me, we had had a friend of the offspring’s on a sleep-over with her own accompanying guests in hair. She was decent enough to ring me about it when she afterwards discovered she had lice. So off to the pharmacists I went. No fun there, just serious business with the lady pharmacist sneering at me when I asked for and bought waste amounts of lice shampoo, enough for two rounds, as a prophylactic. Just in case, for the whole family to kill even the tiniest hint of chance of getting an infection.

All bed linen, covers and pillows hats, scarves and winter coats had to be washed and detoxified as a precaution and I was absolutely knackered after all the cleaning and washing. And thought never again!

And here we go again, it really bugs about this incident, the same girl with lice infection in her hair visited us a couple of weeks later, and as it was winter time and all use hats, scarves and winter coats, well I had to go over all our winter clothes that had been hanging in the hallway, once again. Very nice she rang me again and told, but why could she not have told us beforehand, as she apparently knew before, so I could have made the proper precautions?

At least my detergents and shampoos were up to the job, no head lice turned up in any inspections combing any hair in this household, so far.

So, keeping fingers crossed.

And pepper, pepper touch wood.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Food poisoning in cafeteria

65 people have caught micro-organism called Cryptosporidium that causes gastro-intestinal illness and 4 have been admitted to hospital because of dehydration.

The infection was as traced to the public works cafeteria in Helsinki that closed on Friday after the health officials learned about it, but the source of the outbreak is still to be determined to avoid it from spreading further in the country, as imported food is suspected to be the culprit.

This is the first of its’ kind in Finland so far, even though they are relatively common around the world. The symptoms of the infection begin to appear one week after you’ve become infected. The symptoms of the infection are diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea and fever and can last from two weeks but can remain for up to five weeks. The treatment is symptomatic with fluid rehydration, electrolyte correction and relieving pain. Cryptosporidiosis is an acute short-term infection and in healthy adults the illness usually passes on its own but can become severe in children and persons with immune deficits.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Educational bus trip

When visiting my physiotherapist I always go by local bus, which sometimes just is boring as the scenery always is the same but at other times hilariously amusing, like yesterday when two apparently quite recently retired men were talking about things in the seats behind. They were commenting on things the bus passed by, actually in very loud voices as on of them had had some refreshments on the way and the most amusing part was, when they got to one of their favourite pastimes, fishing.

Well, I seem to be going on about fishing quite a lot, even though I am not a keen fisher. I enjoy my odd fishing trips on and off occasionally, but these men were really enthusiastic about it, telling each other how what fish was best cooked and as it happens I got a few valuable tips and hints on how to prepare fish. So, if not as an environmentally good gesture, going by bus I mean, it can sometimes be very entertaining, if not even educational listen to what people are talking about.

Anyway, I was quite disappointed at this year’s two varieties of the Beaujolais Nouveau when tasting them yesterday. They were quite similar to the ones last year, not very easy to differ from each other and not quite up to my taste.

More flat in the spritz and less fruity as they used to be. This sure is one thing that used to be better before, I used to enjoy the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau very much, and it used to be a thing to look forward to in joyful expectation that has turned into an anti-climax. As the Finnish Alcohol monopoly Alko only imports two varieties of the wine, I can not determine whether this is an overall trend in the Beaujolais Nouveau, or if it only is the person in charge of the acquisition of these wines in question that prefers this kind of Beaujolais.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Best European minister of finances

According to the Financial Times, Finland is a rarity among the European economies with its’ stable economy among the global finance crisis.

In a comparison of European Finance ministers done for the third time made by the newspaper, the Finnish minister of finances was considered the best regarding the expected outcome of the expected Finnish national economical growth for next year, considering the stability of the Finnish market and his personal political abilites.

This is good news for Finland, regarding the series of measures the government has agreed upon to revive the Finnish economy despite that the unemployment rising and with a lower expected tax-income for the state budget.
Guess that must be one of the reasons the alcohol tax will rise with 10% by beginning of next year, together with the aspect its’ impact on the national health.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Tax increase delayed

Earlier this week the Finnish Prime minister met the Russian Prime minister in Moscow in person for mutual talks.

Among other things discussed the increasing of the export tax of Russian timber came up. The taxation of exported timber from Russia was to rise many times from the already present increased tax from Finnish point of view was expected to rise again by the end of the year and now the tax increase was promised to be delayed by 9 months or possibly up to one year.

Sadly enough, this seems to come too late for salvation of the declining Finnish forest industry, as it lately has been troubled with many lay-offs and shutting down mills and factories, as a result of the general decline of demand of paper on the world market.

Anyway, just being back from a visit to my physiotherapist yesterday, I realized that these visits are the closest one can get to another person without having sex with the person in question. And being a heterosexual and the physiotherapist being a male, made it even more obvious to me. Not that he was coming on to me, or ever has, or that I have either but just the thought, was oddly funny.

As going somewhere and paying for them to cause you pain, well, it sounds very much like a session of S/M to me, than improving your well-being as it in reality is.

Still, after the two-three days you actually feel worse and have more pain than before the visit, you feel like a person re-born, without the pain and stiffness you had previously.
And this, the result in the end, makes is worth the pain you have to endure in the hands of your physiotherapist.

Friday, 14 November 2008

End of compulsory Swedish?

The studying of Swedish as a compulsory subject in school has long been a highly discussed issue here in Finland.

Some people are pro Swedish being compulsory to study for all children in school but the greater part fo the population seem to be totally against , and now for the first time I have heard of one solution to the dilemma that makes sense, at least to me.

Someone proposed that school children would have to choose between studying Russian or Swedish in school as a second language, as English comes as a compulsory subject as third language in schools later on anyway. This would make sense to me, as Sweden and Russia are the closest neighbours to Finland, and the two countries the Finns have most business with.

The reason for this new proposition, and what makes sense to me is, that you freely choose a language, you are more likely to make more of an effort in learning it, instead of just having to learn it no matter what.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Finnish President gets Nobel Prize

Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari has been awarded the Peace Nobel prize for his diplomatic peace work.

On the same day he is receiving his Nobel Prize in Oslo, on December the 10th, a stamp with his image will be released here in Finland to the value of 0, 80 Euros, which is the same as 80 European cents.

The stamp can be used to post any 1st class letter or postcard to the maximum weight of 50 grams nationally and up to 20 grams internationally for the rest of the world.

This is the second stamp former president Ahtisaari will have his face on a Finnish stamp, as he was earlier pictured for the first time for his 60th birthday in 1997.
No offense, but there are other motives too, for stamps I mean.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Fair roses

More and more so called Fair Trade products have appeared on the market here in Finland with the latest being roses from South America.

In case you don’t know, “Fair trade” is mark you get when the cultivators are paid well, instead of been exploited by the middle men and the distributors making the profit.

As the Finnish rose farmers are concerned about these Fair trade roses, I can only assume that the South American roses are much more affordable than the Finnish ones grown in green houses.

Here we now come to my question, is it better to grow roses in greenhouses here in Finland, or having the flown in from abroad?

I can still get the idea of wanting to eat oranges, bananas and pineapple, or to drink coffee, but roses, that, that goes way over my comprehension. Don’t get me wrong, I like roses, very much as a matter of fact, but I like to enjoy them I season, preferably outdoors growing in the garden.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Cyber stalking

Gossiping has since the beginning of time been a common pastime amongst us humans.

In ancient times you had to be face to face to gossip but lately this has now got grown into waste dimensions which are harder to emphasize.
How can you defend yourself against malicious rumours and slandering, when it is done anonymously and posted on various places on the internet? What can you do about it, what can the school do when kids are living it? Being bullied in school is one thing, but being cyber stalked and bullied is completely different. You can not escape from it as it is present everywhere, on your phone, your PC, on the Internet.

In the future when applying for jobs, or to study at a good university, you are most certainly googled by them, and if your cyber CV is not up to their requirements and taste, they have plenty of more applicants CV's in the pile to choose from. Now we have to learn how to keep our cyber reputation clean.

We all are entitled to our own, differing opinions, and thank God for that. I'd hate to be exactly the same as the next guy, but if you can not stand for what you say in person, face to face to the person you are talking about, shut the f*ck up! Writings posted "anonymously" are more likely to be untrue, as people do not write the same things when their name is stated below.

Just keep in mind that your IP adresses do show, eventually.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Updating benefits

A committee, called the 100-committee, was founded by the Government to scrutinize the updating the social benefits in Finland.

The social benefits, like unemployment benefits and old-age pensions, are suggested to be guaranteed to a fixed minimum level of income which would automatically be paid to you. This would facilitate the lives of people depending on social benefits quite a lot, as you currently have to first to find out about what benefit you eventually might be entitled to, how to and where apply for it. Then apply for it and maybe get it. Some social benefits that today are handled in the municipalities, would according to the suggestions be handled by KELA, The Finnish Social Insurance Institution as they are already in charge of so many of the existing ones.

Now, this is just a suggestion so far, these changes in benefits, some of them expected to take place by the beginning of next year, but still, the parties of the cabinet are still to agree upon it, as some parties at present are said to be very much opposed to any changes at all in social benefits, just out of their political doctrines, not out of reason, it seems to me.

Still, one of my old question remains, where to take the money from?

The Government has promised to ease the taxation by next year, in order to make the money go around, as the more we consume, the more money it generates and boosts up the economy, well, the state getting less tax money, and paying more in social benefits, also from next year on, that adds up to less than zero, at least in my maths.

Anyway, I am happy to not be into politics and having to worry about it.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

First frost night

Today is the Swedish Day and it is celebrated among the Swedish-Finns in this country.

Swedish Day is actually older than the national day itself, as it was first celebrated in the year 1908.

Anyway, with the ongoing decline of world economy, stock exchanges globally plunging on and off, I find it most annoying to watch the large amount of TV-programs about selling and buying property. Redecorate and make it up slightly, then you will get a better price for it. Fat chance!

Fact is that there is a decline in real estate here in Finland as seems to be globally, at least in the so called western part of the world, and people are less prone to take longterm loans with current mortgages.

Ah, time for a brisk walk. The sun is shining from a clear blue sky, and the air is crisp from the first night frost of the winter.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Globe-trotting Trojan virus

The headlines in media here in Finland this morning, has all been a bout the outcome of the US presidential elections. Everybody politician and celebrity want to have a go at predicting how the newly elected president Obama will be running the country.

Anyway, more interesting is a new globe-trotting Trojan-virus that has so far stolen the info for about 500.000 credit and debit cards. The virus has silently been collecting information for two and a half years and is constantly being updated with new variants. The most serious aspect of this virus is that any computer connecting to the Internet can become infected as it uses a method known as “drive-by downloads” and users can be infected without knowing about it, if visiting a website that has been booby-trapped with the code.

So once again, keep your virus programs and firewalls up and running at all times and have them regularly updated.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Taxs list public

Yesterday last year’s tax results were made public and lists with people the biggest earners in each municipality were published on the Net.

I really wonder what use that is, more than make people envious and want more, or maybe it comes handy when blondes are looking for eligible bachelors. Must be every girl’s dream, having the official tax lists available, when hunting for a new husband.

This year the average tax return is about 600 Euros, and will be paid back on December 4th directly into your bank account, depending on whether you have provided the authorities with your bank account number, or by a postal order by December the 10th. Which will come good in handy for the Xmas shopping.

For those with back taxes, this year the average came to of 1600 Euros, and the sum will have to paid in two payments, one in December and the second on in February next year.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Refunded in full

Only a year ago many Icelandic companies were flying high buying property abroad and investing in many businesses.

I always wondered where the money came from, as Iceland to my knowledge has not many natural sources except their inexpensive way making electricity and heating up houses due to the heat produced by the seismic activity beneath the island. Everything else has to be imported from abroad.

Today the picture is completely the opposite. Iceland is in big trouble with their national finances, and they are now trying to borrow money in order to save their economy from total collapse amidst the global economical decline.

Also here in Finland the aftermaths of the touch and go collapse of the Icelandic economy can be seen, and one financial bank owned by Icelanders was taken over by their Finnish employees and sought for financial subsidies from the Finnish government in order to be able to refund all the money deposited by their clients.

Currently only up to 50.000 Euros of deposited money in bank accounts are guaranteed to be paid back to the customers in case of the bank is not able to do.

Fortunately for the 10.000 clients of the bank in question now three Finnish banks in are now lending the money needed to refund their clients in full.

Monday, 27 October 2008

More interest in politics

Voter turnout in the municipal elections has from the year 2004 improved to 61 percent voting in yesterday’s municipal elections.

24 % had voted in advance and could stay home instead of having to make the trip to the polling stations in the prevailing bad weather with hard winds and heavy rain.

The True Finns Party gained most votes, as their share of voters rose most in percentage still being a small party, but The National Coalition Party were the winners as the got the biggest part of the votes.

These numbers from the elections are just absolutely useless, as they give no hint of what happens in your own city council or municipality. It just gives a clue of the party’s popularity in general all over Finland, with the numbers are added up party-wise.

The interesting part is what happens where you live.

For me remains only one question to ponder about after the municipal elections.

How are people, who already are members of the parliament, and now were elected into city councils and municipalities, going to be able to be at two places at the same time? If they are not able to be in two places at the same time, then they must get double pay for half the job?!?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Gold medal in cooking

The Culinary Olympics founded in 1896, is one of the oldest and most prestigious international cooking competitions in the world. And this year the gold medal was won by the Finnish team in Erfurt, Germany, with participating teams from 40 other countries.

So, what does this mean for Finnish cuisine after years of bad mouthed comments from leaders of other European countries, have they been wrong or has the Finns improved their cooking skills?

I am quite sure there were teams present from the countries with leaders who think they have the best culinary skills in their country and I doubt any drastic change has been taken place in the Finnish cuisine, so i guess these famous politicians must have been wrong. And maybe not for the first time as I has been all across the European tabloids.

Anyway, to my own disappointment, the menu served, did not consist of any Finnish specialities, but I guess the ingredients were chosen before hand, as in most renowned cooking competitions.The Finnish winning menu consisted a three-course meal consisting of salmon and lobster with spinach for starters, veal with sweetbread sausages for main, followed by an orange-yoghurt cake and strawberry-chocolate mousse.

Sounds yummy!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Good economy TV

Having been down with a bad flu and not having any strength do to much but doze off to the TV, I have really had time to discover is going on in TV land here in Finland.

And my conclusion is that at least there is one place that uses recycling well, that is, so many programs are re-run so many times within i very short period of time, that they turn washed out as some series are broadcasted three or four times within the next year or two.

Guess this is good economy and makes the TV shows less expensive to purchase if yo0u show them as many times as you possibly can in the given contract time, but it kills the interest of the viewers even though the program itself was good the first time around.

The second thing that is recycled but the program or show itself, is the idea for reality TV shows, and this goes for the whole world and not just for Finland. One reality TV show format is sold around the world and all the programs are made in the same mold, with a little difference for some cultural variations. And is this reality TV, are there really no written scripts?

Guess there has to be some water tight legal work behind, so no one can reveal the truth of reality shows and reveal any scripts. But they seem cheap enough to produce and there also apparently must be a market for them as they are produced en masse.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Pre-voting begins today

Today the pre-voting begins for the Finnish municipal elections at special polling stations.

A campaign has also been launched to try to make most people to vote in advance, as the number of polling stations on the election day itself, has been cut.

Even foreign residents are allowed to vote in the municipal elections, provided they are registered for voting and have a valid piece of identification, which is required of all voters. This gives you a good opportunity to influence the politics in your home town, and the interest in municipal politics is said to have increased, especially among the younger voters.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Revising gunpermits

The most controversial thing that has happened lately here in Finland, has been the sacking of the editor in chief for a newspaper.

The owners of the newspaper deny the editor in question for having been sacked for living in a lesbian relationship and claims instead that the reason instead is her dishonesty, as the editors' partner is involved in local politics and this never came up in their talks previous to hiring her.
And with a journalist being involved in a relationship with a politician, no matter being lesbian, gay or heterosexual, there is always the possibility of being biased towards your spouse. Which is all natural,

Anyway, the Finnish gun laws are now being revised and it seems that Finland is to get the most restrictive laws concerning the possession and licensing of firearms in the whole of EU. All permits granted during the past two years are to be revised and in the future two police officers will have to be present when applicants are interviewed for their permits and also a medical check will be required.

Strangely enough both of the recent school shooting incidents here in Finland, were committed with licensed firearms, and as there always are ways to obtain illegal guns, I really wonder how much impact, if at all, this new gun permit law will have on sad incidents like these as they seem to become more and more common.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Mutated perch

Four beautifully orange perches have in a short period of time been caught in one lake here in Finland.

The outlook of the fish differs from the usual perch by being yellow and orange instead of their normal darker colours and black stripes. Fisherman first suspected the outlook of the perch being a result of industrial chemicals getting into the lake, but the scientists lean mote towards it being a form of genetic mutation of the perches, even more so as one of the caught fish weighed over one kilogramme.

And as these extras ordinary fish have survived and lived to be this big, there is a possibility of more of these mutated fish swimming around in the depths of this lake. This makes me think of the so called golden perch for sale occasionally in some supermarkets, as I have always felt they must be some form of a mutation.

So here comes the trick question, are these mutated, intentionally or non-intentionally genetically mutated fish, safe to digest?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Another shooting

My apologies to my dear readers.
So many sad things have been happening here in Finland lately, as well as in my personal life, that I my normal urge to blog has almost completely gone missing. I have missed the routine of blogging but have had lack of ideas, as the main reason for blogging is not to write about my personal life, but to give my own view of the contemporary life in this country instead.

Sad was the latest incident of shootings where over ten young adults were killed, shot with a handgun in their school. This was the second in a year, and for me with offspring in the same age it has been hard to conceive how much it has affected me as well, even though our family has not been involved in the incidents.

A god thing has been the activity these sad happenings have created in other schools for the students to cope giving them ways to work through their feelings of anger, sadness and fear. Sessions have been held to talk through the incidents with the students and time was made available for them who wished to talk about it.

So maybe something good will come out of these two sad incidents, eventually, even though it may not feel like it at this moment.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Just not in time

We have now had digital television in Finland for more than a year with the broadcasting having begun in August last year.
There has been complaints about the subtitling that still at times has difficulties in loading in time and sometimes it is completely missing, and this seems to have no coherence what so ever with the channel you are currently looking at. As many as 10.000 households have given up their TV licences since then, a great deal more than was expected.

One thing I still keep wondering about, is the announced beginning time of programs in the TV guides of the digital-box. The channel announces the program to begin at say 9 PM, well, first there are the usual advertisements then, when the program due is announced with either my just a voice or by an actual person on the screen, followed by some more ads and the program itself doesn't begin until 3-4 minutes after the time it was supposed or rather announced to.
Does this mean they lie on TV? One thing it for sure tells people is, that it does not matter if you are not in time.

Anyway, the actual or real beginning time is in no way to be seen anywhere, not in the TV guide of the digi-box, text TV or elsewhere. Even the beginning times varie a bit from channel to channel, and here I mean the duration of the advertisements.

Another problem is when some program drags overtime resulting in either the following program to be either postponed or beginning later than it should, whihc alters all the following programs of that day.

How hard can it in these times of high-tech culture with computers as aids, to synchronize the guide in the TV, both on the text TV pages and on the digi-box, so you can actually seen when the program begins and the interludes done by the ads, or if the program gets postponed because of a so called "force majeure" . Then you would not have to waste time programming your digi-box to save the program on its' harddrive, making you disappointed as the program never was sent anyway and instead you see something else utterly boring.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Waste of resources

I prefer to write my blogs in my own time on my own PC instead of having to do it on-line, as I have to right now.

There still is something wrong and I can not find any faulty options on my browser for this to work, neither text can be imported nor any pictures turn out without error messages turning up on my screen. So in the mean time I apologize for my current lack of my usual witty posts.

Anyway, The Finns are quite lazy about recycling, it hardly exists at all and most of the garbage is just disposed of in big heaps to be buried outside the cities. If I recall it correctly only about 10% of the disposed household garbage is recycled.
Now there is this new ad on the TV, "Operatio maa", which in English would be "Operation Earth", which is a fund raising to save earth, globally.

And nothing seems to be done locally in cities or every man's home. This to me seems like a try to avoid the responsibility to do something about the problem we all will be suffering of, or rather already at present are beginning to feel the aftermath of, global warming.

Wasting 90% of sources that could be made use of, well isn't that the utter waste of time, no to mention resources. In a world that still measures everything important in money this seems quite a peculiar.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Problems, problems

I am sorry to tell you that I still haven't worked out the problem. It's either on Blogspot or I have wrong options on my upgraded browser....

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Upgraded into trouble

Just recently my Mozilla was upgraded into a new version, and since then I have had but trouble! For example this Blog of mine, well I have been trying to get this right but it still does not work as it should, and having checked Blogpspot’s FAQ pages there seems to be a glitch they currently are working on, so it should not be me this time. Still it is annoying as my written word turns out completely differently formatted than it was when writing it, and before posting it.

Not to mention when I add my pixs, then it goes bonkers.

Well, I am hoping that they will have fixed the problem and today’s posting will work as it used to, or at least, the way it should with the new version of Mozilla as this is most frustrating, having problem getting things right, as I am finally getting back into routine of blogging again.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Expensive blueberries

I have heard that the global warming bring more rain to Finland. Well, the words “global warming” I understand as “it will be warmer globally”.

And it sure has brought us a more than fair share of rain this year.
The swallows left for south extremely early, already in beginning of august, and the weather has been intermittent heavy rain and colder than normal for this time of year.

Only two years ago we had the worst heat wave on this very same time, in august!
The wild berry crop will be the smaller than normal. So opposed to the “warming”, this year there was might frost when the blueberries, or bilberries as some call them, were blooming. Too cold for the blossoms, with hardly no bees around to pollinate them there are hardly any berries to pick.

There were also much less insects around this summer. I had high hopes that our youngest, the now soon-to be 11 months old kitten, would had at least flies flying in through the open windows to catch. With her being an indoor cat, this will be her only way to follow her basic instincts of hunting. There were only little tiny flies that live in the dirt of flower pots, which she was happy enough to chase around oblivious to her surroundings.

This year they say blueberries will be as expensive as cloudberries, and they are quite expensive mind you!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Homes for the homeless

Finally some good news for the homeless in Finland.

It has been appalling if not outrageous, the amount of homeless, in this northern country with winter so cold, with currently estimated 2500 persons, living human beings, without a place to stay. But now, finally, the government has decided to do something about it.

The state and the concerned municipalities, and here it means the cities, where there are most homeless wandering about in the streets, are to split the costs in equal halves acquiring either apartments or housing in so called group homes for 1300 of the homeless.

Well ain’t this grand, then there only is the other estimated half to provide for who will still be “chronically homeless” as they are called that still will be without shelter when the winter comes.

But still if I may say, it seems quite controversial for a government in any country aimed more at conservative values than socialistic ones, to reform such a thing as housing for the poor and homeless.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Punk rocks

Some prejudices seem to become mellower by time.

Finally, the cult punk band the Sex Pistols got to hold their concert in Helsinki last Saturday. Last time they were scheduled in Helsinki for a concert in 1978, but it got postponed by three decades as the band was forbidden entry to the country. This as a result of protests from child protection and youth agencies as the Sex Pistols back then was considered as bad influence to the Finnish youth together with the band splitting up for a period of time.

This was the Sex Pistol’s third appearance in the country, and maybe there are not as many fans dressed up in the proper punk manner as in the good old days, as most of them must be at least my age, and many things change in time, and three decades is a loong time.

Ah, sweet youth of mine, brings back memories.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Cheaper air fares

The budget airlines are beginning to discover Finland for real!

Earlier there have been only the ordinary airlines to fly with but since Ryan air began their flights from Tampere a couple of years back with a brief additional visit by Sterling air in Helsinki for some months, now more low cost airlines are hungry for a piece of the action, which of course is good news for travellers. Berlin air has been flying from Helsinki and soon to come will be the low-cost airline Easy jet. Mind you, be well advised, what you get with budget airlines is not the same as with the “ordinary” airlines, that we have been well informed so well about with a couple of TV series, what can go wrong, can go wrong.

But you might just as well be lucky enough to get what you want, just a cheap seat to far away countries away from the normal routine. Just what I would need sometimes, just a one way ticket, never to return...

I guess I will have to suffice with just a good book in the meantime.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Specialized in a generality

How strange does it not sound when somebody has specialized in general medicine?

I know that the word is used in many other languages, but it just occurred to me the other day how stupid it really sounds.

Anyway, I was admitted into hospital for some major surgery, just routine stuff but minding the rumour the hospital in question I was an outpatient, I was quite a bit worried about having it done there. And it turned out excellent.

The surgeon that was performing the operation took his time to see me before the procedure, to talk things through and chat about common trivialities such as the weather, which I normally find boring stuff but this time joined in out of sheer pleasure, it really took the edge of my by then almost panic stricken fear. Nest came along the anaesthetist, to interview me about possible allergies, when I had eaten and if I’d taken any medication in the morning. Same questions, which was asked in the pre-interview the precedent week by a nurse. The longest time it took was the waiting for getting in to the theatre and estimated time had been mentioned as 6-7 hours before I could leave for home loaded with a stock of heavy painkillers. I was quite amazed that just after having had major anaesthesia when I was sedated and the drugs totally knocked me out and 3 and a half hours later I was ready to leave for home in perfect condition!

Oh, and about the huge misunderstanding that Finland should have health care free of charge, well that is a huge lie as they do bill you for it afterwards.

Monday, 11 August 2008

No blueberry-pie

Finally the summer vacations are over and done with, off-spring is back to school and I am able to get down to normal business!

This summer was more hectic than ever and all plans got turned up-side down countless times and therefore the lack posts in my blog these past three months. The summer has been quite unusual in many aspects as the weather has changed between heat wave in early summer and cold periods so there has been no blueberry pie this year as previous years. The blueberry blossomed at the time of unusual night frosts so hardly any blueberries at all are to be found in the neighbouring woods. Also the chanterelles are later than usual and today for the first time dear spouse of mine has gone to see if there is any to pick, so if we’re lucky we will have some for dinner tonight.

At least there is some hope for mushrooms as lately the rain has been pouring down intermittently.