Saturday, 30 July 2011

30th of July

So, yeah. I'm mostly doing this one so that I get to have one last post this month, before August arrives with its red and orange leaves and also the majority of my summer vacation. I have already had one week, but I still have four weeks left to enjoy. So that's going to be awesome. Right now though, I'm super-busy learning SQL. Which for the most part doesn't seem all that difficult. I'm also making a Stomp Box, which I will blog about once it's done.

Other than that, no I really don't feel like I have anything to say. Not anything important enough to blog about.

I baked cookies.. awesome crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I'll give you the recipe some day.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Dear Internet

Yes, two posts in one day. How will it all end?!

Anyway. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the perverts of the internet. You see, because I'm sucker for statistics I tend to check my Google Analytics every now and then. Usually it's pretty tame, nothing really worth mentioning although I do love the spikes in my number of visitors per day, say thanks for that too. So if it's not worth mentioning it, why mention it now? Because.. well.. how do I say this nicely?

I have reached porn-status-ish!

Whoever you are, thank you. With utmost sincerity from the bottom of my heart and a slight worry for your mental health, I lift my hat. You, who I can only hope one day reads this and knows.. that you Sir or Madam, made my fucking day.

You, who was searching for "free slutcocking movies" and for some reason still decided to click the link that lead you here and to my humble blog. Because apparently in descending order of relevance according to Google, it goes like this;
  1. "Slutcock drunk ass"
  2. "Anal Porn Tube"
  3. "Fiinix Design"
  4. "All Babes - Cum On Candi Dirty Cum Slut..."

I would tell Candi to stick it where the sun don't shine, but I'm too afraid to click her link only to find out she doesn't mind sticking it there anyway. So in conclusion. Dear Internet, thank you and I hope I can live up to your high expectations of me.

So Long and Goodbye, Oaky

Hurray and happy day! I finally managed to recover all the important files from the oh so dead laptop. Which also means that as of now, Oaky is officially dead. To be fair he's (she's?) been dead for over three months.. but I haven't had the heart to declare her (yupp.. her) officially dead until now. Why? I pretend you ask like you care even though we both know you don't. Well I'll tell you why anyway. Because that's just how I write...


I'm sorry about that last part. I just read it too and yeah, it makes no sense. So I haven't had the heart to declare her dead until now, because I had a lot of important files on her hard drive. Turns out it was even more than I remembered.. like 2.04 GB of Island of Eternity that I have nowhere else, because you know.. instead of backing up important things, I like to live on the edge. Yeah baby.. single copy only! And my Music folder.. as in, not downloaded music, but songs I have written, recordings I have done. Turns out I had 5.43 GB worth of it. That I again of course.. had nowhere else.

My new website was also there.. which as sort of why it has gotten severely delayed. But maybe.. just maybe, I might get a bit back on track with my creativeness now.

I feel so much better now, knowing that my files are safe and sound on slightly more stable computer. Slightly.. because I have at least one damaged SATA drive in the main computer too, that should be replaced as soon as possible. So sometime next year or so, probably. But hey, no I have no more excuses for not doing stuff. Which mean that "oh crap".. I'm actually going to have to start doing stuff again.

Damn you Oaky.. damn you straight to eHell!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

SuperMeaty Meat Boy!

For once I actually get to have a title that's relevant to the post.. yet still make no sense. Today.. to cheer myself up from this weekends Twizzler fiasco I surfed around for no reason at all other than to find inspiration. Yeah.. I kind of do that a lot.

In some strange way I found myself at Edmund McMillen's blog.. the co-creator (as Team Meat) to the very very awesome game Super Meat Boy! (SMB).. yeah.. the exclamation mark is actually part of the title. You can get it on Steam right now if that's your kind of thing.. if not.. it kind of should be. Anyway.. So yeah.. Surfing around no other reason than the usual one. From there I "stumbled" upon the soundtrack to SMB...

- By now you are probably wondering why Carlos is rambling on about this story. But rest assured that he has point and he's about to get to it.

My first and spontaneous though, after having listened to two songs and concluded that I must have this soundtrack, was "I wonder if there's a torrent for it?".. No no, don't go! Stay with me.. Happy ending I promise. So I of course went to one of the myriad of selections that are out there for our pirating needs. But as I typed into the search field.. something called me back to the -tab where I had found the soundtrack in the first place.. That something was called Forest Funk..

It was at that point I noticed a semi-discrete link, boldly proclaiming that I could "Buy Now".. after which it said "$3.99 USD or more". At that point I had completely forgotten about the torrent.. only $3.99 for 34 songs? Whereupon I clicked the link figuring that at the very least I could see how this thing worked.

Now I'm a soundtrack richer.. all of it in glorious FLAC. I decided to pay $7 for it since it clearly said "...or more" and I wanted to support this as much as I could. From one starving artist to another I suppose. I wish I could have paid a little more.

So.. now Edmund or probably Danny have to buy a T-shirt from me.. and then we're even. Nah, I'm just kidding.. I doubt either of them would ever stumble upon this little post.

Thanks for an awesome game.. and an awesome soundtrack though!

Edit: For those who might not understand this themselves. I have nothing to do with the good people of or Team Meat. This story is actually about how I cheered myself up with music and how I didn't commit a crime whilst doing it.

Twizzle My Americanizzle

Some days ago I had the impulse of buying Twizzlers.. I saw them in the store and the impulse shopper inside me got curios.. He gets curios every now and then, and sometimes I let him.. I of course got to regret this later on.. Twizzlers are seriously disgusting.. It tasted like plastic with a certain scent of "You won't believe it's not strawberry.. because it totally isn't.. it's E129!" After having consumed the whole thing I felt.. well.. like an American I guess.. fat and a bit sad on the inside.. like some part of me had just given up and gone to die in it's lonesomeness..

The moral of the story, I hear you ask? Don't buy Twizzlers.. they are really.. really gross.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Coffees of the World, part Three

And thuseth concludeth our journey.. eth. Or to be more accurate, I will decrease the amount of blogging about coffee. It's been a hell of a ride these past two months and I have learned so much. Far from being done in any way I just feel like I have been pestering all of you (five people at least) with my coffee explorations. Not only have I been excessively blogging about it.. but at any possible moment I have also discussed it with friends. One friend particularly helped me a lot on what I should write for this "final" entry. Ironically he will probably never actually read it.

Now, do try to keep in mind that there are many things I don't know yet.. I haven't even begun to explore the world of espresso-making, so some things here will be.. opinions! Yeah, that's right.. my very subjective opinions.. other things.. well.. I do try to be as objective as possible and in some cases I will be stating simple facts that are already established in the world of coffee connoisseurs and baristas. I'm simply retelling them.

But anyway.. here goes.. Coffees of the World, part Three.. subtitled..

"So you want to make better coffee too?"

All illustrations courtesy of your truly.

Believe it or not but which sort of coffee brewer you decide to use affects your coffee greatly. And despite what you might think.. some are better at brewing coffee than others. Now, let's establish one thing right away. If you like your coffee the way grandma used to make it, using and then reusing pre-ground store-bought "cheapest she could find" coffee brewed in a coffee pot.. then by all means, that is what you like. But don't fool yourself thinking that it's the best way to extract coffee because it isn't. Still.. if you like it like that, then by all means.

From left to right we have: Moka Pot, Vacuum Pot, Percolator, French Press, Electric Drip Brewer and Espresso Machine.

Moka Pot, a.k.a Macchinetta [1933]
Poor man's espresso. Technically not an espresso maker because the pressure at best is 1.5 bar when it would have to be exactly 9 bar to make it a true espresso. Can still make crema which I like and usually has a stronger brew with a more defined flavour than Drip Brew. Can't afford a real espresso machine and still want something espresso-y? This is for you.

Vacuum Pot [1840, earliest]
Looks more complicated than it is. I have thought about buying one. Well respected for it's clean cup and well-controlled brew. If you like a clean cup but still have the time to engage in your coffee making, this one is for you.

Percolator [late 18th century.. 1865 in USA]
Do you like your coffee bitter with plenty of acidity no matter what you do? Do you think that over-extracting by actually boiling your coffee is a good idea? Then you should continue to use your shitty percolator. Destroys a lot of flavour and oils. What can I say, I don't like them or the coffee they make. If you like percolated coffee then I pity you.. secretly.. but by all means, do continue.

French Press [late 19th century]
Well-controlled brew. Will give you some amount of sludge, no matter what you do.. that's just how they work. Recommendations? Buy a double walled French Press so the temperature doesn't drop too quickly when you brew. Water and coffee is fully mixed when brewing with this, giving you flavours and essential oils that a Drip Brewer never could. Do you want a cup of coffee where you can actually notice the hints of berry or something and you don't a bit of sludge? Then this is the machine for you.

Electric Drip Brewer [early 20th century]
Are you convenient (lazy) and like a clean cup? Then Drip is the way to go. The paper filter removes any kind of sludge but also flavours and oils. I actually brewed coffee in my French Press, then filtered it through a paper filter. It was.. disgusting to say the least. Some drip brewers brew coffee at too low temperatures (85°C instead of 93°C) making your cup into an under-extracted one. Too slow? Well then you just get a lot of bitterness. Personally, if you want a clean cup get yourself a Vacuum Pot instead, it's better. Having said that, Technivorm Moccamasters is the way to go if you insist on an Electric Drip Brewer. They are approved by the SCAA.

Espresso Machine
A bit more tricky to learn properly. Makes a true espresso. Can you afford the time and money to make good espresso? Want to impress your friends? Then this is probably the machine for you, but I'm warning you.. if you want it good, it's going to cost you.

Final note
Basically.. it's like this. If you must have a good clean cup of coffee, Vacuum Pot is what you want, circa 50€ at Clas Ohlson. Don't mind a bit of sludge in your good cup of coffee, French Press is your poison, circa 22€ at Clas Ohlson. If you think real espresso is the only kind of coffee there is then an Espresso Machine is what you should get, 200€ and more for the good stuff. Some machines will ruin whatever you put in them, some more than others.

Next we have water. Does it really matter? To put it simply.. it does, get used to it, ~98% of your coffee IS water. If you think your tap water tastes like ass.. your coffee will be brewed using ass. But if you're anything like me, proven in Nine Days Later and can't tell the difference between Spring water and tap water, then by all mean, keep using tap water. I still do.. at least for now. I have no doubts that better water will make better coffee, but if you can't tell the difference it's really difficult to argue for the use of Spring water.

Next.. pre-ground coffee or not? If you want better coffee, do yourself a huge favour and get yourself a grinder. Even if it's a shitty blade grinder for.. you know what? Never mind, don't get a shitty blade grinder, get a burr grinder because it's better. In every possible way. Why should you grind your own coffee no matter what? Assuming optimal storing, which is air, light and moist free in a cool environment, but not the fridge. Ground coffee is significantly stale and shitty after 3 days.. if your taste buds are awesome, you could notice it after as little as 20 minutes. Roasted whole beans can last for 10-14 days. Green (unroasted) beans can be stored a year easily, although they prefer that air can move around, like in a burlap sack. Pre-ground is never and will never be as good as grinding it right before you need it. If you only want to change one thing about your coffee.. then never buy pre-ground again. Is the effort more? Yes, but it's worth it.

You get what you pay for. Never has it been so true as when it comes to coffee. Not to throw dirt at anyone here in particular, but when one cup of coffee will cost you ~8 cents to make and the other will cost you ~1.40€ to make. Which one do you think is better? Don't delude yourself and think that with the right amount of skills and proper equipment you can make Juhla Mokka into "OMG! This is teh best coffee I have ever had!!?11". You can't, and neither can anyone else. Having said that, of course you can make a decent cup of coffee with it but a better coffee will still be a better coffee.. made using the exact same ratios/temperatures and everything else. Ironically enough, you can destroy Jamaican Blue Mountain (one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world), if you don't know what you are doing. My advice? Do yourself a favour and buy better coffee, it doesn't have to be the most expensive coffee in the world.. just remember that you do get what you pay for.

Cold brewed coffee and why you need to consider it. Think of it this way, coffee is extracted from the ground into the water, which you then drink. Pretty simple eh? The temperature of the water simply tells you how long you extract your coffee to get all the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. What's why an espresso is extracted in 25-30 seconds.. oh yeah right.. pressure also affects extraction time. Anyway.

You can actually try this one at home, without any extra equipment other than what you probably already own. Still with me? Good.. here's what you do. Take a glass jar or something similar that can hold at least 500 ml of fluid. Take any random shit coffee you have at home. Measure and pour 10 tablespoons of coffee (15 ml) or in case you have a more modern coffee spoon that holds 20 ml in which case 8 coffee spoons of coffee will do fine. Now pour in 250 ml of cold water and stir with a wooden spoon or something similar. Stir a little again after 2 minutes. Put some plastic wrap over the whole thing and leave it in room temperature for 12 hours. After the 12 hours have passed, pour it through your shitty drip brewers paper filter until you're only left with a black delicious liquid you will come to love forever. This is coffee concentrate (CC) with a ratio of 1:4.5 which I doubt you would be able to drink as is. But you can mix this with cold water and ice. As of lately the temperature around here has been wandering between 25-35°C.. drinking hot coffee is not very appealing.. but OMG Iced coffee is awesome! Of course you totally can mix it with hot water too if you for some reason feel like torturing yourself in this heat. Any questions? If not.. then what are you waiting for, start cold brewing right now.. you can thank me later.

I mixed 1 part CC with 2 parts cold water, added 1 part ice cubes, ½ part milk and a dab of DaVinci Gourmet Caramel Flavoured Syrup for my morning pick me up.

How to calculate your own ratios using inverse factors

I think this is beginning to be it. This last part of my "Coffees of the World" got even longer than I at first anticipated. But hopefully you feel a little smarter. I at least feel a lot more tired. But since I had promised math as well, here's the math stuff you need to know to be able to do your own calculations. I do all my measuring using mass instead of volume nowadays but I have made a handy conversion chart for you as well, even including a variety of standards for cup sizes in different parts of the world.. which means that even you funny people who use a less precise method of measurement can get started in making your own morning cup of glory taste a little better.

Why have I made this you might be asking yourself.. well mostly because I actually get a lot of enjoyment from making charts and math-y stuff.. but also because when I first started exploring the world of coffee I found it very difficult to find good information to get me started. Good basic information like "Do this, use this much.." etc.. Yeah, sure it's been fun exploring things on my own. I'm sure you might want that too, but since I would have liked a point of reference I figured you might too. Obviously with that in mind.. you are free to ignore all my advices and such, to find your own way.. But maybe.. just maybe.. it won't feel so daunting to get started now. And again.. if you have any questions related to coffee don't hesitate to ask and I will in return do my best to answer.

And kids.. remember.. it's totally okay to like coffee made using a Percolator.. just don't try to give that shit to me..

A small preview of the handy conversion chart

Monday, 4 July 2011

Quarterly Sales

Got my quarterly sales report a few minutes ago.. I've had a sale of 14 T-shirts more in the last quarter.. which brings my current total to 27.. Hurray for me!

In case you haven't already purchased your very own T-shirt, designed by yours truly.. here the links to all the designs I have made:

Freddy Krueger
Jason Vorhees
Bruce (Shark(s) from JAWS films...)
Billy (Puppet from the SAW films)
Michael Myers

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Go Shave Yourself!

OBSERVE: The following text should be read quickly whilst imagining an excited salesman rambling in your face.. okay? then.. Go!

Tired of suffering from razor burn after each shave?

Annoyed at the ridiculous prices of "Gillette Super Motherfusion Turbo Drive Lazor Mach Dodecablade"? (that would be 12 blades for those of you that don't speak Ancient Greek)

Confused by all the marketing bullshit that manufacturers spit in every direction, including separation of blades/handles by gender.. blue for men and pink for the ladies.. like it really matters that much?!

Introducing the not even slightly new Euro Shopper Single blade disposable razor! Yes, you heard correctly, SINGLE blade. No more confusing blade counting, no more razor burns or at the very least.. significantly less razor burn. Did you know that more blades actually don't contribute to a better shave? But do you want to know the best part.. don't take my word for it, go out and buy yourself a pack, it's only like 1 € or something.. I'm too excited to remember right now! Available in selected retail stores such as Citymarket at least.. probably other stores too I just haven't looked for them anywhere else.

It's okay to start reading at normal speed now..

You get ten blades for a fraction of what you would pay for 4 blades by a certain leading competitor. These blades can be used several times also.. even though they're supposed to be disposable. A trick is to rinse them in alcohol to remove the build-up from sediments in the water.. don't believe me? Try it yourself. So you can squeeze maybe 30-40 shaves out of this ten-pack.

The blade actually work well too, sure you have to rinse it between but then again you are kind of supposed to be doing that with other blades too. I had significantly less razor burn after shaving using a single blade and the missus thought that the result was noticeable smoother too. So a win-win situation for both us.

Euro Shopper Single blade disposable razor blades get the famous (?) "Thumbs up" seal of approval, by Carlos.

Now.. go shave yourself!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Coffees of the World, part Two

And so.. the much awaited "Coffees of the World" -series continues. Or maybe I'm deluding myself.. maybe it's not awaited at all. Either way I'm still going to write it. The beans pictured above are by the way from dear old Gigantti.. Unfortunately this would be the first time (for me) that Gigantti has disappointed me. Those beans are from "KAFFE NOIR, Italian Roast" that I mentioned earlier. ICS (shame on them!) never answered my email so I have no idea what kind of blend it is. But I did try it for a week or so, brewed in the same way I brew everything else. It was not good.. not good at all. And as you might be able to see in the picture, I personally think it's over-roasted and has too much charcoal taste. Maybe it would work better as an espresso, but alas I can only brew it with my French press.. at least for now. So, yeah. It was really not good. However as I discovered later on, it did actually work as Iced coffee. Which I will go more into later in this post.. and in part Three..

- "He likes to pretend that people care, but they don't. The riddles he gives are too easy for us, so we never bother with them. Obviously the answer is the number 9. Like we didn't know that. Sssssh, he's coming back now.."

Yeah, because the math part that was going to be in this post grew exponentially I decided to give it its own post instead. Hence no math-y stuff in this one. You'll understand why later.

So.. back to coffees then I suppose. Just like last time, I will include the brackety-thingys for the adventurous ones of you
[RV] = Ryytivakka, Saluhallen
[LK] = Liisa Koski

My first taste of India was a very, very interesting one. Monsoon Malabar [RV] is heavy bodied. It has very little acidity and a lot of origin specific taste. But the thing that struck me the most was how salty it was. Yeah, you heard me.. salty. Malabar has a very strong salt-water smell and taste. I closed my eyes and imagined that I was out on the ocean. So for those of you that might like that sort of stuff, you definitely need to try this one. In the end, I felt like "No, I don't particularly like my coffee salty". But it still gets 3+ because it got everything else right in terms what I look for in my coffee. I think this would make an excellent "kesämökkikahvi" (summer cottage coffee) where things smell of the sea anyway.

The first time I went to Liisa Koski was quite an experience. The shop owner (Mr. Kulju himself) was very keen to share his acquired knowledge of coffee and I has happy to oblige because it was very interesting and unlike the other place it was noticable that he had a real passion for coffee which I can relate to/liked a lot. Which brings us all the way from India to México, where I got blah blah [LK]. Named so because I haven't gotten a more specific name for it yet. Single origin though just like most of the other ones. This was a peculiar one, because although I was nice generally. It had an odd origin taste/smell that I could never quite identify and that I didn't like all that much. The closest I can think of is wet bark/dirt or something like that. I will go back there and ask him what it is.

Just south from México we go to Colombia where we find Bucaramanga [RV] a deep coffee with awesome body and very nice after-taste. With hints of chocolate and a hazelnut/almond undertones this one quickly climbed to my personal favourites list and has stuck there ever since. Bucaramanga gets a 4 because now as I write this and remember that I haven't had it for a couple of weeks my inner voices are telling me to go buy some more. This is one of my favourite afternoon coffees.

And so we've reached the finalists. My (so far) two personal favourites when it comes to coffees. As you might remember from part One, Indonesia had already brought me a 2+ coffee in its Sulawesi but this Sumatran Mandheling [RV] was a very different story. Having a heavy body with low acidity, because let's face it.. that's what I want from my coffee, Mandheling has a a nice brightness to it, with hints of fruitiness.. subtle tones of something like mango. This one is a definite keeper and one that I will try to roast myself. I warmly recommend this coffee for those of you that want their coffee fruity rather than berry-like.

In Kenya, Africa we find the other favourite of my coffees. This Kenyan pearl bean [LK].. (again.. he's good with coffee, bad with proper names) has a heavy body with low acidity. But where the Mandheling had a perky wakey-uppy brightness to it, this one a more somber and laid back feeling to it. If this coffee was a jazz song, it would be the bass riff. Very deep with hints of black- and redcurrant and with a wonderful red wine feeling to it this is the other keeper that I will try to roast myself. If you enjoy a glass of red wine every now and then, this might just be the coffee for you. If nothing else, this is one of the coffees for me.

I want to give a special mention to KAFFE NOIR, Italian Roast though. Like I said earlier, I didn't like it. And neither did those of my friends that tried it, by the way. But I figured since I still have the coffee I could just as well experiment with in my cold-brewed coffee trials. That or throw it away and I'm just too cheap to do that. Imagine my surprise when it actually worked better as Iced coffee than e.g. Indonesian Sulawesi or Méxican Blah Blah. I'm assuming that is has to do with cold-brewing not actually extracting everything from the coffee. Some of the oils allegedly are only extracted at certain temperatures, which cold-brewing never reaches. I'm imagining that e.g. Mandheling would lose the very things I like about it and since I didn't like anything about KAFFE NOIR.. cold-brew ftw! But that is about as far as I will explain my on-going Manhattan Trials. I will get back to it in part Three more.. you know.. the math-y part with charts and shit.. oh it's going to be ever so awesome! Well.. if you like charts it will.. otherwise.. well.. you probably won't like it that much.

This is it for part of two. Stay tuned for part Three, the part which I suspect might be the last one so focused on coffee. I feel like I have forced all of you (all four of you) to read coffee-related things a lot. So I think we both need a bit of a break. At least I do. Besides.. there are plenty of other things to write about and if anyone actually has any questions (sometime I think this dialogue of mine is a bit one-sided) feel free to ask.

- "Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa FREUDMAN! He's watching you watching yourself but who is he?.. only time will tell.."