Thursday, March 22, 2007

Public Service Announcement

To all my dear readers:

This blog has moved over to Vox at Why? For a number of reasons.

  1. The interface is more user-friendly to post certain things such as video.
  2. It does look funkier (genkier a good friend would say).
  3. I am able to post straight from my N93. No small matter given that most of the ideas that come here I write down to my mobile device anyway, as I don't always carry my PC.
Please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds.

I'll leave all the previous posts in this blog, but it will no longer be updated. Thanks for the ride so far, I hope you come along to the next adventure!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Fountain

We saw this movie today. Rather interesting, but if you don't like abstract films with a big dosis of reincarnation, death and sci-fi you might not enjoy it.

Belgian Beer Review: Bon Secours

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Bon Secours, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Interesting foamy dark beer. Slightly bitter, very complex taste, including hints of salt licorice (salmiakki for the initiated). A very pleasant aroma of pine woods was also found.

Belgian Beer Review: Ciney Brune/Bruin

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Ciney Brune/Bruin, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Nice aroma. Great, slightly sweet taste. Not very bitter, a very comfortable beer if one is not at ease with darker brews.

Belgian Beer Review: Mort Subite Gueuze

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Mort Subite Gueuze, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Very sweete gueuze beer. Bitter end but rather unremarkable. As gueuzes go, my least favourite of them all.

Belgian Beer Review: St. Feuillien Brune

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: St. Feuillien Brune, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Surprisingly fruity abbe beer. Strong colour and cereals present in aftertaste.

Belgian Beer Review: Trappistes Rochefort

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Trappistes Rochefort, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

A beer with an interesting colour, dark but not transparent, and very clean aroma. High alcoholic content, but an excellent soft taste with hints of Gouda cheese, full grain bread and chocolate.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Suomessa on liian vähän ihmisiä"

Sanoi minun suomalaisen tulevan vaimon täti Brysselissä käydessään.

Kuka sitten maksaa sosiaaliturvaa kun kaikki ovat eläkeellä?

Devinettes au cours de français

Demande: Il faut lui faire la guerre
Réponse automatique de mes collègues de cours: à George Bush!

Ever wondered about the speed of human progress?

I've talked about the singularity before (here and here), but I guess this video explains it much better than I ever could. The most important thing I guess is learning to learn.

Via Alt1040.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Finnish Parliamentary Elections (Eduskuntavaalit)

It seems to be the case that what happens in Sweden usually ends up happening in Finland as well. Six months ago, Swedish voters opted for a switch to the right, and in Finland the same happened yesterday, with Keskusta (Centre Party) clinging to its lead, but with big gains by Kokoomus (National Coalition), and big losses for the Social Democrats. The Greens had marginal gains as well. Frankly, not much will change, which in Finland's case I guess is OK.

What hasn't so far been commented very much in the media is the proportionally huge gains made by the populist Perussuomalaiset (True Finns), who went from 3 to 5 seats, and their candidate Timo Soini was the third most voted nationwide for his district in Uusimaa (southern Finland). Why do I care about this development? Because these guys are the kind of people that wouldn't want me in Finland, as they tout a pretty strong anti-immigrant line (á la Jörg Haider, Jean-Marie Le Pen or the Vlaams Belang party here in Belgium). With phrases such as "we want Finland to select who, how and where from do people come to the country", they show both their complete ignorance of the fact that to get a residence permit you have to go through stringent procedures and their belief that foreigners in Finland are mostly refugees, which is so untrue to almost be comical.

So, to sum up, Matti Vanhanen will probably stay as prime minister, the government will shift a little bit to the right but not much, and we got three more Tony Halme clones in Parliament. Let's see how the situation develops.

11th Matchday: América 1-0 Chivas

Not the result I expected, Chivas lost the Superclásico against rivals América in Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. It is the first time in 2 years (7 matches) that the holy flock loses against our most bitter opponent. Américas goalie and NT material, Francisco Guillermo Ochoa, steered them to victory with 3 saves against Omar Bravo.

Damn! At least it's good that I don't do bets.

Concacaf Champion's Cup Semifinal: DC United 1-1 Chivas

Chivas didn't perform that well in the rain on Thursday, and they let a win slip at the last moments of the game. Let's hope that they wake up on the return leg, because we want to see them play in Japan.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Kotimainen lennot

Nykyään on helpompi ja saman hintainen matkustaa Helsingistä Brysseliin kuin Helsingistä Jyväskylään.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Suomirokki refers to rock produced in Finland, usually sung in Finnish but successful as of late in English as well.

As was the case in other countries, in the beginning in the 50's performers would sing covers or translations of international hits, but this later changed. In my experience, Finnish rock gravitates towards glam rock, blues, pop or variatos of heavy metal, which is the genre that might be most familiar to listeners abroad, with bands such as Apocalyptica, Nightwish, the 69 Eyes, Children of Bodom and others.

Currently however, the three most popular Finnish bands abroad are The Rasmus, HIM and Lordi.

I'll profile many of these bands in future posts.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Oletko huomannut että suomeksi Itämeri on väärällä puolella?

The last 10 metres

Tomorrow is my last school day at the master's degree. After that, we have two weeks of examinations and three months of internship (stage) including my thesis before graduation in July. Needless to be said, I have already resigned myself to not sleeping much (if at all), especially since besides exams we need to deliver quite a few projects.

God, this year's going fast!

Al menos aún no llego al grado Mafaldesco de "Párenle al mundo que me quiero bajar"... ;-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cross-cultural culinary cross-pollination

We have come to the conclusion, my fiancée (Finnish) and I (Mexican), that she cooks better mole poblano with chicken, whereas my specialty is salmon with dill.

Believe me, Mexican rice and salmon with ginger and dill makes a powerful combination.


Sunny!, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Since last weekend we have had only sunny days here in Brussels. I had almost forgotten how that looked.

Pity it is so close to our exam period, so there is not really so much time to go out and enjoy it.

Consumer insights of the Chinese middle class

A very interesting article about the consumer behaviour of the middle class of the middle kingdom. Worth a read.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Hoegaarden Grand Cru

Sorry for the delay. This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Hoegaarden Grand Cru, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

A beer with a nice golden colour, and somewhat complex taste: slightly bitter, with overtones of tropical fruits and cherries. Its taste somehow compelled me to drink it with a slice of good bread.

Los 10 secretos de Slim

El 3er hombre más rico del mundo, Carlos Slim, desvela sus más íntimos secretos... Nada que ver con los de Britney Spears, cuyas andanzas ya me tienen hasta el gorro.

1.- Tener estructuras simples y organizaciones con mínimos niveles jerárquicos, con desarrollo humano y formación interna de las funciones ejecutivas. Tener flexibilidad y rapidez en las decisiones. Operar con las ventajas de la empresa pequeña, que son las que hacen grandes a las grandes empresas.

2.- Mantener la austeridad en tiempos de vacas gordas. Esto fortalece, capitaliza y acelera el desarrollo de la empresa. Asimismo, evita los amargos ajustes dramáticos en las épocas de crisis.

3.- Estar siempre activos en la modernización, crecimiento, capacitación, calidad, simplificación y mejora incansable de los procesos productivos. Incrementar la productividad, competitividad, reducir gastos y costos guiados siempre por las más altas referencias mundiales.

4.- La empresa nunca debe limitarse a la medida del propietario o del administrador. No sentirnos grandes en nuestros pequeños corralitos. Mínima inversión en activos no productivos (por ejemplo, Grupo Carso siempre tuvo sus oficinas en las plantas de las empresas industriales; ahora que da un giro comercial, tendrá oficinas públicas).

5.- No hay reto que no podamos alcanzar trabajando unidos con claridad en los objetivos y con conocimiento de los instrumentos para lograrlos.

6.- El dinero que sale de la empresa se evapora. Por eso reinvertimos las utilidades.

7.- La creatividad empresarial no sólo es aplicable a los negocios. También es la solución de muchos de los problemas de nuestros países. Lo que hacemos a través de las fundaciones del grupo.

8.- El optimismo firme y paciente siempre rinde sus frutos. Esto es de mi padre.

9.- Todos los tiempos son buenos para quienes saben trabajar y tienen con qué hacerlo.

10.- Nuestra premisa es y siempre ha sido tener muy presente que nos vamos sin nada; que sólo podemos hacer las cosas en vida y que el empresario es un creador de riqueza que la administra temporalmente.

Publicado en CNNExpansión.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I believe in miracles

Yes I do. Oh I believe in miracles.

I believe in a better world for me and you...

I just love this Ramones cover by Pearl Jam. I guess my iPod's shuffle function is starting to recognise my mood.

Belgian Beer Review: Kasteel Bruin/Brune

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Kasteen Bruine/Brune, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Deceptively fruity brown beer. Nice colour, great aroma, very comfortable taste, but quite a punch at 11% alcoholic volume. A very unexpected new favourite, after Chimay brune.

9th Matchday: Pumas 0-0 Chivas

My favourite team couldn't give me a better birthday gift, and tied with Pumas (the team from the National University in Mexico City) 0-0 at their stadium in Ciudad Universitaria. The match according to reports was very intense, and the goalkeepers saved the day for both teams.

Pumas used to be my second favourite team, until a fatidic day in summer 2004 when they beat Chivas at the final for that year's Clausura. The relationship between both teams had bittered considerably since, and their meetings have now being hyped by the media as a new "Clásico".

This time, however, the boards didn't warm up the game, the fans mixed without consequences in the stands and after a very good game players from both teams left the field in good spirits.

Today was a good day

Thanks to all my friends that made this a birthday to remember.


Now, let's get all the projects and exams done. Yatta!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe Radieuse

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe Radieuse, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

This is the last of the Leffe abbey beers available at my local supermarket. A dark, creamy, bitter ale with a fruity aroma and one of my personal favourites. If you don't like strong tastes, avoid it.

Belgian Beer Review: Lindemans Pecheresse

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Lindemans Pecheresse, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

A fruity lambic beer with peach under and overtones. Interesting colour. Very sweet and not for those who don't like fruity beers. This one is a favourite of some girls I know.

Belgian Beer Review: Westmalle Tripel

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Westmalle Tripel, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

This Trappist beer has a strong honey colour and aroma. Its flavour is very strong, but initially deceptively light and with hints of nice caramel. At the end of the tasting provides a strong kick at 9%.

Belgian Beer Review: Brigand

As you might have gathered, the flu had seriously hampered my efforts in this project, but now we're back.

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series

Belgian Beer Review: Brigand, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

This beer has a very strong alcoholic taste (9%), too bitter for me, though. Nice colour, has been refermented in the bottle.

Sweet 16 (+10)!

Today's my 26th birthday. How am I going to celebrate? I frankly don't know.

Funnily enough, it seems it will be a sunny day, which might be a first since usually my birthday is cloudy.

What do you do to celebrate your birthday?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mexican home remedy against the common cold

I'll share with you my family's own home remedy against the common cold. Hope it is useful also for you. This recipe is for one person.

1 peeled raw garlic clove
2 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of lime/green lemon juice

Cut the garlic in small pieces (crushing might be better). Mix with honey and lime juice. Drink immediately. Turn face away from loved ones.

Some people I know also have a small shot of tequila added to the mix (or on its own) under the premise "Si no se te quita, se te olvida" (if it doesn't cure you, it'll make you forget it).

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mexican genome study results released

Mexican media report today that the results of a gene mapping study of the Mexican population have been released. As expected, we are a mix of different ethnic groups (around 35) and in average about 65% of our genes are not of European, Asian or African origin (i.e. they are Native American), but the results tend to vary, with the highest incidence of European genes in the northern state of Sonora (58%) and the highest of African genes in the southern state of Guerrero (22%).

So, is science helping us answer the question of who are we, or not yet? ;-)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

So where the bloody hell are you?

An advertising campaing that shows that cultural differences are certainly not restricted to speakers of different languages, or languages other than English, "So where the bloody hell are you?" was a very controversial Tourism Australia campaign. Even though I like the ad, I find it really funny.

The worst part is that it seems to not have impacted the amount of visitors to Australia very much where it was aired.

A mis lectores hispanoparlantes: Es como si hicieran un comercial turístico de Venezuela y la Miss Universo al final le preguntara a la audiencia "¿Y dónde coño estás?".

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What is the West?

That is somethingI have come accross with a couple of times during my time here, the definition of what comprises the Western world varies widely depending on who you ask: some people will say that it's only Anglo-Saxon North America and Western Europe, some people will include Eastern Europe, some will include Australasia, some Latin America and some all of the above.

Once, when having this discussion about East and West I asked a colleague at work regarding my belonging to said construct, and this person answered "Maybe you are, but I wouldn't say that everyone in your country is". Further expanding that thought, I started wondering what it is. If a country that follows Christendom to the extent of being the second largest Catholic country in the world, is also a heir to the Roman legal tradition and has the second largest amount of speakers of a Latin-based language in the world is not Western given that it also has a strong Native Amarican component, then I don't know what the West it is.

Frankly, I think there is a confusion between the concepts of western, northern and developed countries, but that's just me.

Song for the flu

"I wonder how, I wonder why, yesterday I told you about the blue, blue sky, and all that I can see is just another lemon tea."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Space Elevator

We know that the world financial markets are still reeling from the China effect, but let's think a little bit longer term.

The first time I read about the concept of space elevators was in Kim Stanley Robinson's excellent and highly recommended Mars trilogy. I found them again while playing Civilization IV. So the question is, what is a space elevator and why do I mention it in this blog along the rest of my musings and ruminations?

A space elevator, as this article from might make clearer, is exactly what its name denotes: a lift between the surface of our planet (or any planet) and outer space. The physics of it are rather simple, as they follow similar patters as such for geosynchronous satellites. Technologically speaking it doesn't require the development of completely unknown technologies, but rather of areas currently on the works. Why does it matter? Simply because it makes the transport of payloads to space much more cost-effective (and furthermore, enjoys economies of scale), which basically means that once the huge initial invesment is made, space exploration (and potentially exploitation, such as asteroid mining) becomes cheap enough to be performed on a larger scale than currently.

Given that it can be argued that exploration ages spur economic growth, as was the case with the discovery of the Americas by European explorers in the 16th century, this project could be the key for humanity to regain theinitiative in its own development.

Daydreaming? Maybe. But so were the internet, automobiles and many, many other things that we now take for granted.

Monday, March 05, 2007

TV series: Heroes

Yesterday I had to stay at home doing a project for my marketing class instead of going to my French lesson, and since I finished early I turned on the TV.

Luckily for me, they had the season's beginning of Heroes, a TV series with a super hero premise straight out of the comic book tradition. As corny as it may sound, the plot is quite engrossing and the quality of the series is really good.

Pity that it is on Mondays at the same time as my French class. I'll have to get the DVDs when they're out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sé que debería dejarlo pasar...

Y por eso lo escribo. El primer fin de semana de diciembre salí con un par de amigos a tomarnos un par de cervezas. En el bar escuché a un grupo de hispanoparlantes, uno de los cuales estaba absolutamente seguro de que era del sur de la Ciudad de México. Como se veían más o menos jóvenes (treintañeros), decidí acercármeles, y con ellos pasamos juntos la velada hablando de política y cosas peores de una manera amena.

Pueden imaginarse mi sorpresa cuando me voy encontrando el blog de uno de ellos, en el cual echaba pestes de mí y de mis acompañantes. Aunque la indignación fue momentánea (al fin y al cabo, qué importa), francamente no me esperaba ese tipo de actitudes infantiles de una persona adulta y supuestamente de amplios horizontes.

Uno no es monedita de oro para caerle bien a todo mundo, pero me voy dando cuenta que en todos lados se cuecen habas. Qué lástima.

8th Matchday: Chivas 2-0 Querétaro

The Guadalajara team finally won a Mexican league match at home, beating relegation candidates Querétaro 2-0. The White Roosters (Gallos Blancos) actually didn't play such a bad match, but Tepa Solís (on loan from Chivas) conceded a penalty by handballing in the box which Omar Bravo duly scored, and Ramoncito Morales sealed the scoresheet with a flawless free kick. Chivas now leads the table. The goals below.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Finland from A to Z

I found this list that reminded me very much of my student days, even if some of the references are only Tampere-specific and I studied in Espoo. If you are planning to visit or move to Finland, you should know at least some of these terms.

Lunar eclipse tonight

There will be a full lunar eclipse tonight, so let's hope for clear skies. More information from the Beeb.

Medios sin fines

Hablando con un amigo un poco mayor, me decía que el problema actualmente es que estamos enfocados en los medios de comunicación sin ponernos realmente a pensar para qué fines los queremos. Uno no tiene mas que ver toda la basura que hay en la televisión, en la radio, en las revistas para darse cuenta que no sólo es cierto, si no que además muchos de nosotros la consumimos por gusto.

La próxima vez que veas un programa o leas una noticia, ponte a pensar qué es lo que te quieren decir.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Mexican Hand Gestures, now with video

After this post, I had agreed with Rafa Peñaloza to shoot a video, explaining the point better.

Here it is. Hope it helps.

Shot with my N93.

Meet Darth Sinus

My first contribution to YouTube, and a bad joke as usual.

What happens when you mix the Imperial March with a terrible flu?

Shot with my N93.

25 things not to post in your blog

Hilarious. I guess it proves that the usage of tools doesn't always correspond with the usage of the brain...

Via Gwyn's blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tale of two Finlands

Finland is in general a very egalitarian society, where mobility is common and opportunities available, which is something I think other countries should learn from. However, I have noticed certain, if not polarization, at least divisions in society regarding how they see the outside world.

There are those that understand that Finland's economic success is dependent on globalization and those who only see the Chinese threat; those who have travelled and seen the world and those who haven't; the young who are used to having people with foreign backgrounds in their classroom and the old who first saw a black man in their street in the 90's; those that welcome foreign labour and those that feel threatened by it (especially if they are already unemployed); those that speak foreign languages with confidence and those who feel they threaten the status of the Finnish language; those that want a more generous welfare state and those who want to pay less taxes; those who think racism is stupid and those who are unabashedly racist; those who have taken advantage of EU farm subsidies, Erasmus exchange programmes and the like and those who strongly dislike the EU...

Difference of opinion is of course what democracy is made of. Finnish society, however, needs to be aware that these differences exist, and that not everything is smooth and perfect.

Päivän sanonta

"Suomen puhuminen on vaikeaa, kun olet nähnyt maailmaa."

Concacaf Champions Cup second leg: Chivas 3-0 West Connection

The team from Guadalajara did what it was supposed to do since the first match and beat the Trinitarians by three goals without reply, including a brace by bench boy Santana. Bofo Bautista failed to score from the penalty spot, but he still scored in an unrelated play. Below the second goal.

In other news, the Mexican national team (without the Europe-based players) beat Venezuela by 3-1, in the first victory of the Hugo Sánchez era. Below the first two goals.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I hate the flu...

And I can't get rid of it. And just at the time of the year when I just cannot rest.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

4 out of 16

In the end, Babel won 1 Oscar for original soundtrack, and Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labrynth) won 3 for cinematography, art direction and make-up. Children of Men left blank. Even though the harvest was very good for Mexican cinema (bordering on the historic), these films missed out on the big categories, such as best picture, best foreign language film, best director, and best (supporting) actor/actress.

Last King of Scotland
truly deserved the award given to Forest Witaker. I can't yet comment on the big winner of the night, The Departed, since I haven't seen it.

I hope Cuarón, del Toro and González Iñárritu have another shot at the big prizes. I'm very happy for the winners, but it feels a little bit like losing on penalties.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Immigration in Finland

I found this old article about Brett Young (whom I know personally and can vouch for his Finnish language fluency), and it got me thinking. I lived in pääkaupunkiseutu (Helsinki & Espoo) for six years, will marry a Finn this summer, have plenty of Finnish friends and speak Finnish fluently at home (with the odd partitive instead of accusative mistake, heh). I also studied engineering in Finland and pretty much became an adult there, having adapted to and adopted parts of the culture, for which I'm grateful.

However, compared with my current stay in Brussels, I noticed that the society in general hadn't truly accepted me. Whereas those closest to me treat me like "one of them", as soon as I was on my own people would be suspicious, or even downright hostile. Why? I guess because I look different. I have brown skin and dark eyes and hair, and my features are very non-descript (people usually can't guess that I was born in Mexico, at times I've been told I'm Spanish, Portuguese, Arab, Turkish and even half-Finnish half-Thai).

Even though I'm currently abroad, I plan to eventually come back to Finland to raise our children there, and in time I would like to apply for citizenship out of gratitude. However, I sometimes have my doubts about whether all the effort to integrate is worth it, since I'm afraid I'll always find somebody shouting at me "Vitun turkkilainen, mene kotiin!"

7th Matchday: Necaxa 2-4 Chivas

The holy flock visited Aguascalientes yesterday and won again away from home (which is rather relative, since being the most popular team in the country means that at most stadiums the crowd is mostly composed of their supporters). Bofo Bautista started again after mending his differences with the coach, and a hattrick from Omar Bravo and a nice goal by Ramoncito Morales sealed the scoresheet. Alberto Venado Medina also played an important part in the game.

Now I hope they play like this next Wednesday.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Men wearing suits

We attended a gala cocktail party at school last friday, so we had to look smart. My fiancée commented that many men don't know how to wear a suit properly and how to bear it (standing upright and so on), so instead of looking smart they look like lacking confidence.

So guys, my piece of advice today is to pay attention to how you walk and stand when wearing a suit. It might help you get the girl ;-).

5th Matchday: Chivas 1-1 Monterrey

This game was postponed due to the CONCACAF Champions Cup match. The game was not great, and Chivas still hasn't won at home.

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe Triple/Tripel

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Another in the Leffe abbey beer family, this light amber-coloured beer has a fresh aroma and a strong flavour with more than a hint of chocolate. At 8.5% alcoholic content, it's a beer for tasting.

Mexico developed in 20 years?

Agustín Carstens, Mexican finance minister and former IMF deputy managing director, said in an interview with the FT that Mexico could follow a similar path as Ireland and Spain and become a developed country in 20 years.

I would really like to believe him, but given the current political situation and our will not to change I somehow doubt it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Brugs

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

A Witbier with a nice aroma, but a rather unremarkable witbier taste. The artertaste was not particularly pleasant, with hints of cough medicine.

Living history

We never notice it, but one way or another we live thorugh history, we are making history ourselves. I started thinking about it when, in a class about Political Environment of Business, I sat next to a Polish exchange student. We talked a little bit about his childhood experiences "behind the iron curtain" and it all was a little eery. I've had that discussion before with friends from Latvia, Germany and Estonia.

Then we come to family history. My family has witnessed first hand such events in Mexican history such as the Revolution, the Cristero War, hyperinflation and devaluations and the 2000 and 2006 presidential elections.

We don't truly notice what is going on until it is past behind us.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Grimbergen Blond/Blonde

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

A very refreshing beer with a slightly citric, acidic taste and an unremarkable aroma.

Sobre las chachas

Una vez, estando en el club en México, estaba platicando con una chava que acababa de conocer. Cuando le comenté que entonces vivía en Finlandia, ella estaba encantadísima. Le dije que ahí hay poca corrupción y poca pobreza, y ella seguía super interesada. El problema fue cuando le expuse que como no hay desigualdad, tampoco hay personal doméstico de limpieza (y si lo hay, es extremadamente caro) a lo cual me contestó: "¡Ay no, es que yo sin chacha no vivo!".

Me ha pasado varias veces encontrarme mexicanos y mexicanas (síguele Ox) que fuera de México no saben vivir sin sus chachas. No saben cocinar, limpiar, vaya, ni hacer la cama o de perdida unas quesadillas. A mí francamente me parece escandaloso que haya tanta gente que dependa tanto de tener ayuda doméstica y lo que refleja sobre la sociedad mexicana.

Vaya, a mí también me gustaría tener alguien que me ayudara en la casa (cuando vivía con mis padres, también había temporadas en la que teníamos "muchacha"), pero me enseñaron a limpiar mi tiradero de igual forma, con o sin ayuda.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Note to self

Mole poblano doesn't always work with foreigners.

At least not the first time...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

6th Matchday: Atlante 0-3 Chivas

They played at Azteca Stadium as if they had actually read the complaints in the press about their previous match: they scored 2 goals in the first 8 minutes and a last one at the end of the first half. According to, the team played very intelligent team football.

I was waiting for the goals to be posted in YouTube (especially the first, which to my understanding was an overhead kick from a defender), but they haven't been yet.

Update: the second and the third goals linked, the first below.

Attached to people, not places

My fiancée commented once that I was probably more "international" than she was (if there is such a thing) even though she has lived in 3 other countries besides her own, and in my case it's one less. I wouldn't mind moving from country to country that much, as long as the job is interesting, the pay and the quality of life are good and we are together (which of course entails her filling her requirements list as well). However, she referred to a valid point: I'm not attached to the places themselves anymore, but to the people in them. A place is just nature, buildings and maybe a nice view or two, but the people I know (and the people I love) are really what is important.

One example are my feelings to the place where I was born. Even though I consider myself to be healthily nationalistic I don't have an urge to go back and settle there, but just to see my family and friends. The same is the case with Finland. I'm very grateful for my experiences there, but it's a place as good as any, what is important are the friends and family there. Belgium is the same story: if it fills the criteria detailed in the first paragraph I'd stay after my studies are finished, otherwise I'm willing to search for something somewhere else.

The problem with freedom, as a friend says is that "you don't know what to do with it". I hope that's not my case.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Belle-Vue Gueuze

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Another Belle-Vue beer, this is a Gueuze Lambic beer, with a very nice amber colour, and a sweet and sour taste. Even though Gueuze beers are originally from the Brussels region, the flavour reminded me of a Michelada (a Mexican beer prepared with lemon and salt).

Marketing viral de las galletas Gamesa

Los de Gamesa tomaron un video que se volvió famoso en internet y le dieron la vuelta a la historia. Una campaña francamente ingeniosa que está dando de qué hablar.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe 9°

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Another in the
Leffe abbey beer family, this beer has the same nice amber colour and a very similar taste to its siblings, but more of a punch at 9% alcoholic content. Not a beer to be drunk if you're going to be on a long drinking night, but more of a beer to sit down and taste.

Suomen eduskuntavaalit

Kokeilin Sanoman vaalikonetta niinkuin olisin Suomen kansalainen, ja asuisin vielä Helsingissä. Tulokset yllättivät minua vähän.

Ensimmäinen ehdokas jonka olisin valinnut oli Arto Bryggare (Sdp), toinen oli Ben Zyskowicz (Kok) ja kolmas oli Tuomas Nurmela (Kok). Suurin yllätys oli, että puolueiden ehdokkaiden keskimääräinen sopivuus -osassa löysin ehdokkaan nimeltä Marijan Basic, joka on itsenäinen ehdokas joka on syntynyt Kroatiassa mutta asunut Suomessa jo pitkään.

Katsotaan miten menee. Toivottavasti Perussuomalaiset eivät saa paljon äänestystä, en haluaa toista Tony Halmettä eduskuntaan. Joka tapauksessa, en voi äänestää koska en ole kansalainen.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reinventing myself

The first time I had to reinvent myself was when I entered high school. After a junior high of mostly pretty lousy experiences I had decided that it was time for something else. There I became much more social, and formed many friendships I still preserve to this day.

Later on, I moved to Finland to study engineering. That was reinvention number two: from a upper middle class hijo de papi to an immigrant student in a country far away, with different people and a new language. That went quite well, I'd say. During my studies I was fortunate enough to get a job.

While working, and especially after I graduated, I had to become a business person. That was my third reinvention, as at work I usually was working with people with whom probably initially I didn't share very much, as they were in a different stage in life than I was. However, that went very well and I still keep in contact with many of them, even after my latest reivention.

This last one was coming back to study again, again in a different country (Belgium this time). After 3 years, I came back to writing papers, student parties and being with people my age. So far, so good, I am learning a lot, get along with everybody and have found some new interests and things I didn't know.

After this, I don't know what will happen. I know I need to get a new job (there are some clues on that one) and I will get married. That will be the next reinvention.

As the song goes: every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

Belgian Beer Review: Hoegaarden

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

My favourite witbier/bière blanche/weissbier. Made from wheat, has a very clear colour and a very refreshing taste with a touch of lemon. Excellent for a summer day.

Hope you like the change in picture format.

Closing Time: High school memories

On a day like this when I'm meditating about life, the universe and everything, my iPod had the nerve to play Closing Time by Semisonic.

The lyrics are especially touching given what happened afterwards. Phrases such as "time for you to go out, go out into the world", "time for you to go back to the places you will be from" and "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" are as relevant to my life now as they were back then even though I have more experience now.

Every time I hear this song memories come back like a torrent. My high school friends, my feelings at the time, the Model United Nations we were involved in, the work that went into it and the closing ceremony of the last one I was part of, exams, classes, parties, crushes, relationships created, broken and repaired, trips, and the expectancy of entering university and the work that went into trying it in another country.

With this song and Time of your life by Green Day I can just sit down and replay all those moments in my mind.

I can't believe it's been 8 years since I graduated. A lot has happened since then. I reinvented myself and the experience gave me the wings I needed to try something else.

¡Un abrazo a todos ustedes, sin importar donde estén!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Kwak

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Kwak, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Interesting beer with a funny name and an unconventional taste. Very nice amber colour, the taste has some frutal notes but is also very strong in the back of the mouth, so I frankly lack the vocabulary to describe it. Was glad I tried it, but it is not one of my favourites, as I prefer a more orthodox palate.

CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals first leg: West Connection 2-1 Chivas

Disgusting game from Chivas last Tuesday. We lost 2-1 in Trinidad, the team thought that just by being present they'd win. Let's see how they play in the return leg at Jalisco stadium.

The winner of the CCC will qualify to the World Club Cup in Japan in December, so that's why it's important that they win the tournament.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe Blonde/Blond

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Leffe Blonde is another of the Leffe abbey beer family. With a clear colour and a full flavour, it is surprisingly easy on the palate. For clear Belgian beers, it is one of my favourites.

Machismo a la mexicana

Si hay algo que siempre me ha sorprendido y que no cuadra con mi visión del mundo es el machismo. Hablando al respecto sobre eso varias amigas mexicanas que viven por acá, me dí cuenta mucho mejor de cuál es el impacto de estas actitudes sobre la vida de las mujeres.

El haber vivido tantos años en una sociedad tan igualitaria como la finlandesa me dió una perspectiva muy diferente de las relaciones entre miembros de diferente sexo que la que tienen muchas personas en México, además de que tuve la fortuna de haber crecido en un hogar con mujeres fuertes, de esas que no se dejan. Hoy por hoy, en mi casa con mi mujer los dos lavamos, los dos cocinamos, los dos atendemos a las visitas y los dos tenemos una carrera (aunque curiosamente, los dos estamos estudiando).

Hablando con un amigo sobre las políticas sociales vigentes en Finlandia, donde además de ausencias de maternidad largas existe una ausencia de paternidad éste me respondió "¿Y tú para qué la querrías? ¡Si la que iría a parir es ella!". En eso obviamente estamos totalmente de acuerdo, pero si uno también ayuda a hacer al niño también tiene que ayudar a cuidarlo. Tuve la fortuna de crecer en un hogar en el que tanto mi madre como mi padre se ocupaban de mí (en horarios diferentes por cuestiones laborales), y me da pena ver muchas familias en las que el padre de familia se desentiende tanto de las labores de casa y de los hijos. ¿O qué (le diría yo) tú crees que tu esposa no se cansa después de trabajar?

Otra cuestión que ha captado mi atención es que esta actitud no sólo es preponderante entre los hombres, sino que muchas mujeres mexicanas crecen con la idea de que van a ser de una u otra manera menos, de que un buen hombre tiene que ser bastante macho, y de que los roles van a ser tan fijos como eternos. Los casos de mujeres maltratadas son los más extremos, pero esto se manifiesta de múltiples otras maneras, como el típico de que en una salida el hombre es el que tiene que pagar.

Lo bueno es que la sociedad está cambiando. Con más mujeres profesionistas integrándose al mercado laboral (y en algunos, todavía muy contados casos, ganando mejor que los hombres), las demandas del sexo femenino están cambiando, y así también tendrá que cambiar la oferta masculina. O al menos, eso espero.

Y que conste que las feministas extremas también me chocan. Igualdad de géneros sí, extremismo porque sí no.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Maes

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review: Maes, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

A clear pilsner beer, Maes has a light taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste. It is one of the most popular beers in Belgium after Jupiler. Another every day and everyman's beer, but actually I preferred Jupiler because it feels a little bit lighter.

There's too much violence on TV

That's why I seldom watch it these days.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Chimay Brune/Bruin

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

An interesting Trappist beer with a medium creamy dark chocolate flavour and a mild bouquet. Surprisingly mild given its 7% alcohol content. One of my instant favourites with a good meat.

14 de Febrero

El Día de San Valentín es una fecha que odié por muchísimos años. En el tiempo que viví en México, exceptuando un plazo de 6 meses, nunca fui demasiado afortunado con el sexo opuesto, dado que normalmente las que me gustaban a mí no me correspondían o viceversa. Además, durante la mayor parte de mi adolescencia la verdad es que fui bastante torpe en mis relaciones con el sexo opuesto (estaba muy verde) así que naturalmente cada vez que llegaba este día estaba yo con unos nervios o una depresión de absoluto espanto. No fue hasta que tuve mi primera novia, a eso de los 16 años, que pude medio superarlo, aunque después de terminada la relación, volví a la misma tónica.

No fue hasta tiempo después, ya en una relación más formal, que pude pasar página y entender que es un día como cualquiera. El amor no es cosa de un día, el de verdad es de toda la vida.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Belgian Beer Review: Jupiler

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

A clear pilsner beer with a simple flavour and an unremarkable bouquet. An easy "everyday & everyman's" beer. Nothing to truly write home about, even though, according to Wikipedia, it's the most popular beer in Belgium. Sponsor of the Belgian football league.

4th Matchday: Cruz Azul 1-2 Chivas

Chivas won at the Estadio Azul 2-1, in a game where all our goals came from free kick plays. According to, the game was not great, but was well played, and our new goalkeeper Luis Michel made some very important saves, stepping up to Oswaldo Sánchez's shoes.

The goals below.

"Bofo" Bautista ('29)

"Maza" Rodríguez ('73)

News from 3GSM: Nokia and YouTube sign deal

3GSM, the largest mobile industry gathering, is taking place in Barcelona this week. I just read in the news that beside the usual product launches from device manufacturers, Nokia and YouTube have announced a deal in which YouTube's videos will be available for Nokia Nseries users. Being a heavy user of both a Nokia N93 and YouTube, I am really waiting for this.

For more news on 3GSM, you can check out the coverage from the FT, the Guardian, or The Register.

3G and sign language

I couldn't help but notice in Babel the usage of 3G mobiles by deaf people: using video call to transmit sign language. I was very surprised to discover that this usage is not exclusive of Japan, as in Sweden the municipality of Örebrö gives customer service to its large population of deaf people using sign language (link in Swedish). That's the kind of uses of technology I like: simple and relevant.

Clases e interés

Como un ejemplo sobre el relativo peso e interés de las economías China y Latinoamericana en donde me encuentro, puedo compartir la observación que mientras en mi clase sobre Negocios en Latinoamérica solamente hay 5 estudiantes (3 de ellos latinoamericanos) en la clase sobre Negocios en China hay unos 20.

I'm confortable here

Basically because I blend in with the general population. Unlike in Finland, people don't usually stare at me in the street.

Only in Brussels...

The Arab soukh is next to the red light district is next to the local version of Manhattan.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hoy ví un borracho en el metro

Y me dió mucha tristeza encontrarme con un tipo tan solo. El hombre se veía descuidado, despeinado, en chanclas (lo cual estando a 8 grados y lloviendo como ha llovido me parece una locura), y se veía francamente mal. Lo triste es que se le veía que trataba de hablar con la gente, de tener un poco de contacto, pero su apariencia y su estado etílico no lo dejaban. Cuando salí del vagón, después de tratar de hablar con varias personas, lo ví conversando con unos mochileros.

No debería de importarme, pero me da mucha tristeza ver a gente perdida en/por el alcohol.

Today I remembered a high school quote

Heard from one of my English writing teachers:

"Yes, but, and this is a big, big but..." at which point, given that his hand movements resembled a homonimous word with an extra t, everybody laughed.

Belgian Beer Review: Belle-Vue Extra Kriek

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belle-Vue Extra Kriek is part of the Belgian tradition of fruity beers. The bouquet is a light version of that of a regular lager, but the taste is rather interesting, as it has more than just a touch of cherry and is rather sweet, with a slightly salty aftertaste. The colour is a little bit like that of rosé wine, but slightly redder. I had heard before that these kind of kriek (cherry in Dutch) beers are favourites amongs women, but I have to confess I like them too.

However, if you like your beer tasting just like beer avoid these.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

I just saw this very good movie, based on the events of the dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda. The performance in the main role by Forest Whitaker is just outstanding, and the script is very well written. Some scenes are quite strong, but all in all it is a very good story.

Belgian beer review: Chimay Blue

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Chimay Blue is a dark trappist beer (9%) with a very complex taste. At the beginning I didn't like it very much, but once my palate got used to it I started to appreciate the different subtle touches of smoke, chocolate and even a little bit of what I can only describe as dried figs. It packs quite a punch, though, so be careful and drink it responsibly.

I'm not an Arab or a Turk, but so what if I were?

I was talking with another person when he made a comment assuming that I was Spanish. When I mentioned I am Mexican, he apologised profusely. I defused it with a comment saying that usually people think in Europe that I'm either Arab or Turk, because it is the truth.

Although there is some people that try to take advantage of the social security system available in this country, I believe they are as hardworking as anybody. I am taking Dutch lessons with them and they're pretty OK, and I've noticed that they have many businesses that even open on Sunday (something almost impossible in these parts).

Of course not all of them are perfect and culture shock for their communities and the host society is not uncommon, but I believe it has to do with people sticking to the labels of "Turk", "Arab",
"Flemish" or "Walloon", instead of noticing that we're all "Human" with a capital H, regardless of how corny it may sound.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My current mood

"Always in motion is the future"

Belgian Beer Review: Duvel

This is a post in the Belgian beer review series.

Belgian Beer Review, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Duvel is a beer I had heard a lot from my Finnish friends. Good aroma, and very clear colour. Should be served freezing cold. However, I don't like it that much since, at 8.5% alcoholic content, it just tastes too much of alcohol, and I like my beer tasting like beer.

Friday, February 09, 2007

New kind of video games: PeaceMaker and FoodForce

I like video games, especially those related to strategy. I've played games in the series of Age of Empires, Total War, Command and Conquer and Civilization, among others. However, a new kind of socially-responsible video games have caught my attention.

is also a strategy game, but in this case you take control of one of the sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the goal is to achieve peace and the Nobel Prize. Their usage of real news footage in the game seems particularly interesting.

FoodForce is a game developed for the UN World Food Programme targeted at pre-teens, where they are given the task to co-ordinate the food assistance operations of the UN in a fictional country. It has now been downloaded millions of times.

I don't know about you, but I feel these kind of gaming is worth trying. We can teach people that doing the right thing can also be fun.

Belgian Beer Review: Leffe Brune/Bruin

I have had an idea for some time now, to review as many Belgian beers as I can during my stay here, so let's get started!

Belgian Beer Review, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Leffe Brune is a dark abbey beer under the Leffe brand. It seems to be quite popular here (at least, I have found it almost everywhere). With a deep brown colour and a rather full caramel flavour, it is one of my favourite beers so far. Its alcohol content is 6.5%, so it doesn't hit you very hard.

FIFA official date

  • USA 2-0 Mexico (Again... the team needs more than a winning mentality to win)
  • Scotland 2-2 Finland (Interesting usage of new players by both teams)
  • Belgium 0-2 Czech Republic (Belgium still seems to have forgotten how to play)
  • UK 0-1 Spain (Horrible game, great goal by Iniesta)
  • France 0-1 Argentina (Most entertaining match overall last night)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Globalisation is...

a Vietnamese student correcting the English language usage of a French marketing teacher in Brussels...

And a Mexican posting about it in his blog.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

3rd Matchday: Chivas 0-1 Pachuca.

Chivas lost on an injury time goal from Landín at home.

At least the team knows now that they aren't invincible, so they should keep alert.

The Machine is Us/ing Us

Best explanation I've ever seen of Web 2.0 below. Ties in quite well with what we've discussed on the singularity.

Via Noveno Colectivo and Ceronne.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Le Superbowl

Le Superbowl, originally uploaded by Chiva Congelado.

Few things I know are weirder than a Mexican watching the Superbowl in Brussels via a French
channel at 2 a.m. Shortly thereafter I went to sleep, and Chicago lost.

The photo is from the kickoff and ensuring touchdown run. What an amazing start! And to think I don't even like gridiron that much.

Merci France 2!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Rainbow

Heard from a friend, having a conversation with his little kid.

"Dad, what's that?"
"That's a rainbow."
"But what is it."
"It is something that God puts in the sky."
"God has to be a little girl then."
"Because only little girls would think about putting so many colours in the sky."

Racismo a la mexicana

Hablando con algunas personas, me he dado cuenta que nosotros también podemos ser racistas, aunque prefiramos quejarnos amargamente de cómo tratan a nuestros connacionales en Estados Unidos.

Nos llegamos a quejar de la mafia coreana, de los inmigrantes argentinos, centroamericanos, chinos o judíos, y aunque sabemos que somos la mezcla de la mezcla de la mezcla, he oído quejas contra los negros o los árabes.

Tod esto viene a colación porque una persona que me visitó hizo un comentario con una mezcla entre sorpresa y desdén sobre la cantidad de personas de religión musulmana que viven en Bruselas. Cuando le hice la observación que alguien podría quejarse sobre la cantidad de mexicanos viviendo en Estados Unidos, guardó silencio. Eso, francamente, es racismo.

Algunas veces me gustaría que no viéramos la paja en el ojo ajeno sino la viga en el propio. Si queremos que el mundo se abra a México, México también tiene que abrirse al mundo.