Arnott’s Choc Hazelnut and Gooey Caramel Tim Tam Slam

March 26, 2019 at 14:27 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

tim tam slam packThere are new Tim Tams from Arnotts! How exciting. They are a new rage specifically designed for ‘slamming’.

What is the Tim Tam Slam, I hear you ask? Well, let me explain the correct way to do it. (And this is the correct way, by the way. If you read, see or hear differently then you should take it upon yourself to correct any misapprehensions).

First, you bite off the two ends of the biscuit, taking off as little biscuit as possible to expose the biscuit and filling at each end. (Not the corners, not just the chocolate. You need to take off 1-2mm of biscuit from each of the shorter sides).

Next, take a hot cup or tea or coffee (it doesn’t matter which; this is according to taste, although hot chocolate or Milo are frowned upon). Dip one end of the Tim Tam a few millimetres into the hot beverage, and place the other end between the lips, leaving the beverage on the table (so you are bending down over the cup). Quickly suck up the hot liquid, using the Tim Tam as the straw.

As soon as you feel the hot liquid reach the top of the biscuit (and you need to move fast here), grip the biscuit between your lips and / or teeth, and raise your head. Continue putting your head back, until the biscuit is pointing at the ceiling. You should not be holding it with your fingers at this point.

Now, using your tongue, allow the biscuit to slowly slide into your mouth. The effect for the viewer should be that it slowly disappears from view, sinking into your head like a sinking thing.

Close your mouth, put your head to a normal position and finish chewing the biscuit, enjoying the hot, softened confection. It is best to transfix your audience with a wild stare at this point, before breaking into a satisfied smile as you finish your Tim Tam. (The absolute master of this art, and the person I learned from, is my mate Ian. He elevates Tim Tam Slamming into an art form. Next time I’m up in QLD I’ll get him to demonstrate in a video).

tim tam slam biscuitAnyway, it seems that Arnott’s are celebrating this ritual by creating a range if Tim Tams optimised for slamming. There are three in the range, and the first one we will be looking at is the Choc Hazelnut and Gooey Caramel Flavour (which also wins a prize for the longest name for a biscuit ever).

Arnott’s seem to have attempted to engineer these biscuits with a softer strip of filing up the middle that works as a ‘straw’, with regular creme filling either side. Whilst they slammed quite satisfactorily, to be honest they were no more effective at this than a regular Tim Tam.

The flavour, though, is not quite there. It’s a bit sweet; the hazelnut is fighting with the caramel and it somehow doesn’t quite work all together. It’s not a bad Tim Tam, but not a classic. I’m going to give it a five out of ten. Perhaps the others in the range will be better?

Advertisements

Antifa : The Anti-Fascist Handbook – Mark Bray

March 20, 2019 at 13:29 | Posted in books | Leave a comment

antifaThis is an important book. It is an impressive and comprehensive history of the anti-fascist movement, from its roots in the resistance to Hitler and Mussolini through to current day activism against the alt-right.

It’s a long, sometimes dense and detailed book which is not always easy to read, but it is worth it. Rather than a retailed review, I will share two startling lessons which came from it for me.

The first is the importance of denying the far-right a platform. There is currently endless debate about the rights to free speech, and how ‘de-platforming’ should not be tolerated. This book offers a much-needed perspective on this issue. What is absolutely clear, throughout history, is that far-right movements have faded when they have not had easy access to the public. Debating fascists does not work, and never has worked. It merely gives them oxygen. It’s also important to realise that for the owner of a hall or institution to deny fascists the use of their facilities to hold a meeting or rally is not denying their free speech. For a noisy counter-protest to drown out far-right voices in the street is not denying their free speech. For an internet platform to ban fascist individuals from their services is not denying their free speech. They are free to speak, to organise, to set up their own institutions, buildings, platforms and publications. But history shows when they have to do this using only their own resources, rather than subverting more liberal institutions to promote their cause, they wither.

We have no problem telling our children that certain things should not be said or done; that it is wrong do things that are mean or to hurt people people or to say things which are untrue. We do not debate our children on these topics, we simply tell them that it is not acceptable, and prevent them from doing it. We should have no hesitation or qualms about doing the same for fascist and far-right voices, and refuse to get drawn into a manipulative argument about ‘free speech’.

The second is related to the first, and is the important of direct action. Organising, marching, campaigning, shouting and physically restricting have always been important tools in the fight against fascism. This does not need to mean violence (although this book reveals an uncomfortable truth, and that is that violent protest has protected our societies from fascism on many occasions), but does mean confrontation. As an example, an annual (and growing) far right rally in Germany was in recent years disrupted and destroyed simply by concerned citizens campaigning directly against it – blocking access to railways stations when trains of fascists arrived, holding counter-marches in the same streets, chanting loudly when fascists tried to speak, forcefully engaging individuals in the fascist groups and telling them they were not welcome, that their ideas were unacceptable and that they should leave immediately. Within two years, the largest far-right rally in Germany was abandoned by its neo-nazi organisers as support for it withered away.

We live in a world where fascism is on the rise. Far-right propaganda is now piped into our homes from mainstream media outlets and politicians. This scourge can be defeated. It has been before. But we will not do so with debate and liberal engagement. Fascist hate can only be shut down with concentrated and direct effort.

This book at the end has a section of ideas and practical tips for disrupting fascist networks. Some require a lot of courage and time. Others you can do by writing letters.

Read this book. Then join the fight.

It died. It lives! It died again…

March 15, 2019 at 10:15 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

fly6For quite some time I have had a Cycliq Fly6 camera on the back of my bike. Lots of fun, and capable of capturing what is sometimes quite dramatic footage. The camera is now about four years old, and the battery life had gradually been getting less and less as the internal rechargeable battery degraded.

Then one day I went for a longer ride than usual, and the battery depleted totally. Given that it was already degraded, it seems the function that switches off the camera when the battery is low did not work as expected, and the battery underwent a deep discharge. And from that moment, it would not hold a charge – at best it would work for perhaps ten minutes.

This is both to be expected and frustrating. Rechargeable batteries do have a limited life, especially one on the back of a bicycle that is exposed to extremes of temperature, being left out in the sun as well as frozen in winter. So it is to be expected that it would need replacing.

However, the battery in the Fly6 is not user replaceable. And Cycliq do not offer a battery replacement service. So it seemed my $250 camera was now useless. This is frustrating.

Or was it? One of my cycling contacts (aka BikeBot) has actually managed to successfully replace the battery in his Fly6 several times, and helpfully has written some very clear instructions. So I bought the bits I needed from Jaycar for about $20, and set to work.

It was quite fiddly. The hardest part is the ‘wire glue’. Here’s a thing about wire glue. It isn’t. When it dries it holds the wires, but before then it has absolutely no stickiness whatsoever. It’s like trying to glue things with graphite paste. I got it everywhere. All over the battery, the table, the ceiling and myself. If you attempt this yourself, think about some kind of jig to hold the contacts to the battery whilst you are gluing it. Or better, find a qualified solderist who can solder the terminals to the battery. (And here I reinforce the warning on BikeBot’s instructions – DO NOT solder directly to a Li-Ion battery unless you have the right equipment and know what you are doing.)

Once I had finally done it all, I left the glue to cure for a day. And then I tried to charge it up. It was alive! It charged up nicely, bleeped as expected and came on, happily recording video for an hour or so before I switched it off, to hear three bleeps indicating the battery was still quite full. I was very pleased with myself. I had resurrected it!

Now the hard part – I had to put it all back in the case; the above test was done with it still in pieces. So I set about packing it all back into the case. It was all going well until the last PCB screw; the board was a bit high so I pressed it down against the battery to get it into place.

And there was a kind of very quiet ‘phut’ sound, and the camera went off (it had come on from me pressing the buttons whilst re-assembling it). There was also a very faint smell of hot electronics. Oooops.

It seems what had happened is that I had not quite lined up the battery, and the small battery protection circuit on the contact strip was over to one side. This was then directly underneath the protruding metal of the switch on the PCB. Pushing it down had caused the metal of the switch to pierce the insulating tape I had put around the battery, and either shorted out or damaged a component on the battery protect circuit.

And so it was dead. Properly, finally dead.

Oh well. At least I tried. And hopefully someone else reading this who tries the same thing will now not make the mistake I made.

Arnott’s Vita-Weat Cracker Chips

March 12, 2019 at 09:45 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment

vita weat chips boxLook, I know. These really aren’t a biscuit. They are a chip. But they are a chip made out of a biscuit. You get Vita-Weats, and then you crush them up, form them into chips and cook them. Or something like that.

They come in individual packets, for snacking – ideal for lunchboxes I suppose. Seven packs per box. Ahh, Arnott’s do love their prime numbers. A numerologist would have a field day at Arnott’s HQ, I feel.

vita weat chips

So, how does this sort of cross over thing work? Well, not all that well, to be honest. They are rather dry, rather tasteless and rather hard in texture. They are better for dipping, but then that’s a bit odd as they come in little packets, and it seems weird to open a load of little packets to put them in a bowl and put them out with some dip.

So I’m going to give these rather unfortunate cross-over hybrids a three out of ten. If you want a savoury snack, there are much much much better options…

 

Arnott’s Vegemite and Cheese Shapes

March 9, 2019 at 09:25 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment

shapesboxThis, ladies and gentlemen, is what redemption looks like. This is genius. Superlatives fail me.

You may remember the shapes debacle. New flavours that were revolting, backlash, back pedaling, PR disaster and finally back to how it was before, but with a tarnished brand.

Well, those folks at Arnott’s have clearly done a lot of soul-searching and late night recipe development because Shapes are BACK. Oh yeah.

These are amazing. They are hands-down the best Shapes EVER. I would go as far as to say they are Arnott’s finest savoury biscuit (yes, I know it’s sort of actually a snack, but who cares). They are better than Cheds. And that is high praise.

shapesbiscuitCrunchy biscuit. That glorious umami of the Vegemite, the richness of the cheese. Like WIlly Wonka’s amazing chewing gum, it’s like you are actually eating Vegemite and Cheese on a cracker.

They are moreish. Very moreish. Eating a whole box of Shapes is not that hard. But with these, when you finish one box, you will reach for another. And another.

I’m going all out with a ten out of ten for these. Glorious. Oh, and did I mention that they are Australia-shaped?

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.