Fun Sticks – Vanilla

May 14, 2013 at 11:01 | Posted in biscuits | 2 Comments
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Vanilla Fun Sticks PackYou may remember that some time ago I looked at the Choc Fun Stick. At the time I noted that there was also a vanilla variant – which I have finally got around to looking at.

You may also remember that, when looking at the Choc version, how struck I was by all the parallels to cigarettes – everything from the look to the packaging. Well, the vanilla version steps this up several notches. The thing just looks exactly like a roll-up. Indeed, it’s very reminiscent of a rather different kind of fun stick I remember from my college days. It’s quite uncanny. Frankly it rather puts me off them, but once I had taken the few obligatory imaginary puffs, I sampled it.

Vanilla Fun Stick ArnottsAs you’d expect, it’s very similar to it’s choc brethren. Quite sweet, but with a satisfyingly vanillary taste, free from the artificial tang that bedevils some cheap vanilla products. They are quite moreish, with a good crunch to them, and small enough to chomp away with abandon.

I’m going to give these a seven out of ten.

Toddler gets a Toddlebike!

May 10, 2013 at 11:33 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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toddlebikeEver since Little Chillikebab got her first bike, Toddler Chillikebab II has wanted to be able to ride it. And so we have to put her on and wheel her round (her feet don’t touch the ground), whilst her older sister looks on somewhat resentful that her bike has been commandeered.

Then Mrs Chillikebab came across the ‘Toddlebike’, in a review posted on the ever-reliable Cycle Sprog. Perhaps this was just the thing! So she ordered one from the UK, and the helpful people at Toddlebike shipped on over to us from the UK. It duly arrived, and Toddler Chillikebab II was off. It was love at first sight – she just jumped on an whizzed off. Within half a day she had learned that by lifting up her feet she can scoot even faster across the floor.

Big sister also had a go, and was able to ride it too, albeit to a series of indignant shrieks from her sibling –  ‘MY BIKE! MY BIKE!’.

It is super light, seems sturdy and well made, and is fun fun fun. Just like all bikes should be! Definitely a hit, and something I’d unhesitatingly recommend.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

May 8, 2013 at 19:32 | Posted in books | Leave a comment
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Hunger GamesThe other evening I was looking for something to read – something not too challenging, to pass the time. I was going through my Kindle archive (which includes all the e-books Mrs Chillikebab has bought. I have to say I am such a convert to the whole Kindle thing – it’s just awesome) and noticed she had bought ‘The Hunger Games’. It’s a book that has been talked about a lot, and I know quite a few people who have read it; however it had limited appeal for me. I was a little curious, however, so I idly started reading, not expecting to get very far before changing to something else.

Of course, I ended up reading the whole book. It rattles along, like the adventure yarn it is. My first impression was of a good story, but one that lacked depth and characterisation. Not that this is really a valid criticism, after all it’s aimed at teenagers. And the mawkish teenage love interest is rather tedious and one-dimentional. However, it was certainly an enjoyable read – just the kind of diversion I was looking for.

Curiously, though, the book stayed with me over the coming days. I found myself thinking about it often, and some of the deeper themes emerged upon reflection. This surprised me, and gave me pause to re-evaluate it somewhat. I can’t help feeling there’s a really good adult fiction book buried in here trying to get out. Or perhaps that’s the whole point as to why it’s such a great teen book – it’s so accessible.

Either which way, it’s a recommended read.

More cops, more tickets..

May 4, 2013 at 19:06 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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police carWell, it happened again. And again, actually – I’ve really had a spectacularly successful run of collecting tickets over the last three weeks, totalling six tickets. That’s about $400 in fines (assuming the ones I contested for various reasons are upheld). But the one that I was going to write about didn’t happen on Pyrmont Bridge, and is notable as it’s the first ticket I have ever received from non-cycling cops. Indeed, it’s the first time in my life I have been pulled over by a police car, complete with flashing lights (no wailing sirens, unfortunately, although I like to think they just forgot to turn it on).

As is usually the case on these occasions, they were very nice, and listened politely as I explained my reasons. The female officer told me she would have to look up my record and decide whether to give me a ticket or a caution. I did ask for a caution, but did have to wryly admit that she was going to find a lot of helmet offences on my file. Whilst she was taking down my details, I had a nice chat with the other (male) officer about fixed gear bikes; he asked me how it rode and why I liked it. He was a cyclist, as it turned out, and we have a very nice chat.

Unfortunately, it was yet another nice chat that cost me $66. And whilst my dealings with the NSW police have (with one exception) been very cordial, friendly affairs, I am starting to wonder whether $66 for each chat is really good value. And so I have been forced into something I really didn’t want to do. No, I haven’t started wearing a helmet.  I have obtained a medical certificate from a doctor that says I cannot wear one for medical reasons. There are plenty of valid medical reasons why wearing a helmet is a bad idea, and plenty of doctors familiar with them who are happy to write out a certificate. The only flaw in this plan is that, unlike in Queensland and Victoria, there is no specific provision in NSW law for such an exemption. That said, last time I was in court the police prosecutor said that if I had such a certificate then the police would not issue a ticket, and the magistrate did say it would be a reason to dismiss the case. So we shall see. So far, though, it seems to be working as since I have had it tucked into my saddle bad, I haven’t seen a single policeman…

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