2016. It’s inconceivable that we should lose so many people that meant so much to us this year.
I know, Anthony keeps reminding me, people die every day, people who mean something to those that love them. But this year so many heroes have been taken from us, so many people in the public eye who have really touched and affected so many of our lives. It seems worse this year somehow and it only continues.
Actor Anton Yelchin, aged only twenty-seven, has died in a tragic car accident – I won’t list the details here. Yelchin had such a promising career ahead of him, so much left to do, but he was snatched so bizarrely so painfully away. What an awful situation for those that loved him.
Yelchin is best known as Pavel Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek
films – Star Trek
and Star Trek Into Darkness
. A third film in the series will be released later this year, once again starring Anton among the talented ensemble cast. My goodness, that’s going to be a hard watch. Yelchin was so sweet and smart as the young, precociously smart and energetic Russian navigator, using a comically thick accent as was present in the original series. In real life, Yelchin had Russian parents and was born in Russia but was brought up in America so naturally spoke with a Stateside accent. As with all those in the new film series reinterpreting such iconic original series roles, I really enjoyed Yelchin’s portrayal, his spin on the character. There was something wonderful about him that made me smile. Goodness, I want to bury myself in Star Trek
While Star Trek
made his name worldwide, Yelchin starred in a number of other, mostly independent films, all to very good notices. All the critics seemed to note that he was very talented and had a bright future ahead of him. He never seemed to choose obvious roles. He seemed to choose what appealed to and challenged him, rather than what might be the biggest box office. He mentioned in interviews how fake he found Hollywood and how he only completely trusted a small circle of people. He sounded like an astute perceptive young man.
So many friends have spilled their grief across Twitter – people who worked with him on Star Trek
for example – and what’s clear is how loved he was, what a hole he left behind. All I know is that we have been robbed of a fantastic career of performances, all that was to come. I grieve for his family and friends, for what they have lost too, the clearly loved, hugely talented and appreciated young man that he was. As one article about him stated baldly at the end, what a waste.
A collation of Twitter tributes from friends such as Star Trek
cast members can be found here
obituary can be found here
Last week, Anthony and I had another wrestling date day. This time it was a touring WWE show for their NXT brand, which is their developmental brand and is actually massively well regarded, particularly by those who love really good wrestling. I’ve seen WWE live once before but Anthony never had so we were both excited. The venue was in Bournemouth, where we’d seen a TNA wrestling show live several years ago, so we took a little time off at the end of the working day – it was torrential rain and I was soaked by the time I got home. Anthony had made my dinner, bought me some treats and had a towel ready – he really is a wonderful man. Soon we were ready to hit Bournemouth and do the long but scenic walk from the train station down to the arena by the sea.
There was a range of ages attending, lots of families with young kids, lots of people our age and there were so many wrestling shirts on display. I was wearing my Finn Balor ‘Balor Club’ shirt while Anthony wore a New Japan shirt he’d recently bought so was very much the hipster lol. We got to catch up with a friend of Anthony’s who was attending too which was lovely. The atmosphere was very lively and fun and so full of excitement, everyone was so excited to see NXT live – this is only the second time NXT have done a UK tour. The only downside to the crowd was the pockets of very drunk blokes who swore loudly – WWE is a PG product and there were very young kids there. So that wasn’t great. Also there were a few loud people in the crowd who kept telling people off for some of their chants and using the wrong terminology when telling them off – a lesson; if someone is cheering for the bad guy, they’re a smart mark, not a mark. Don’t use the words if you don’t know the meanings.
The show itself was really good fun and generally, very enjoyable. Of particular amazing joy for us was seeing Japanese star Shinske Nakamura wrestle live. He’s so hugely charismatic, so wonderful in the ring, a massive star in Japan and now he’s working for the WWE. It was such a massive privilege to see him wrestle live; I know it completely blew Anthony’s mind. It was Nakamura vs Bobby Roode so was a very good match of course. Roode was a big star in TNA for ten years before deciding to leave and join NXT as NXT has become such a phenomenon with a focus on in-ring skill, meaning people who wouldn’t have wanted to work for WWE before now do as WWE’s main roster is really more about entertainment than good, even decent, wrestling. Roode’s power and solid heel work worked so well with Nakamura’s flamboyance. I still can’t believe we got to see Nakamura live.
I was extremely excited to see some of the ladies, particular Bayley who is such a wonderful character, a joyful genuine fangirl who wrestles brilliantly and is loved by men and women alike. She’s a rare WWE female character in that she isn’t sexualised at all and is such a great role model for little girls. The noise when her music hit was amazing, she deserved it all. And she was teaming with Carmella, who has improved so much which crowds recognise and is so awesome in her Statten Island attitude. I still kinda wish she’d gotten to graduate to the main roster with Enzo and Cass though, she’s such a great part of their act, but she is improving genuinely in the ring and that’s awesome. After the match she was particularly sweet in hugging fans at ringside who had brought homemade signs to show their support for her. The two of them had a great match against Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Alexa has improved so much, she’s a great nasty bitchy villain and Nia is still so inexperienced but she is improving. It’s great to see a big girl out there being a badass.
Also we got to see Asuka, the NXT Women’s Champion who is beyond spooky beautiful with amazing kicking and striking power. Again, a huge star in Japan and it was such a trip to see her live. She was against Peyton Royce, an Aussie girl still learning, she’s got a lot of development to go but I love her submission in the ropes and reckon that like many of the girls who’ve been through NXT, she’ll develop massively.
We got to see American Alpha vs the Revival which was a great tag team match. The Revival have really developed as a ‘no flips, just fists’ old school team that has gotten them a lot of fans. They’ve been allowed to develop and really work on the gimmick and their team work, time they wouldn’t necessarily be granted on the main roster. It’s really worked; they were brilliant at shouting derogatorily at the crowd and really relishing their bad guy spoiler role. And American Alpha are an amazing amateur wrestling style team, so smooth, so amazing to watch, and their chemistry together is off the charts. It was such a giggly delight to watch them live, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them weekly and they did not disappoint. The two teams worked so well together. It may well have been my match of the night in terms of wrestling.
I have to say one of my favourite moments of the evening was Tye Dillinger making his entrance. His ‘perfect 10’ gimmick was never intended to be as popular as it is but crowds here and in America just adore him and how he’s thrown himself into. I hope he was overwhelmed by how many people had ‘10’ signs in the crowd and how everyone was cheering for him. He’s great in the ring too and deserves a lot better than he’s getting in terms of where he is on the roster in NXT. He’d be such a star on the independent wrestling scene right now. Getting to enjoy his entrance was such an awesome moment. He faced a British wrestler called Hugo Knox who has been part of NXT for a while though hasn’t made it onto TV much yet. He’d surprisingly agile for a big muscled man and definitely made a few fans in the crowd who were surprised by how good he was – he used to be a professional goal keeper so he’s familiar to a lot of blokes. I’m interested to see what WWE do with him. I just hope they don’t plaster him in Union Jacks or give him a Cockney or posh Brit gimmick – they’re the only two British characters you ever get in WWE : (
The main event was a treat – Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe. Joe we’d seen live at the TNA show and Anthony has seen Finn live before but this was my first time seeing Finn live and I wasn’t disappointed. To be part of his entrance – when certain beats of the music hit Finn spreads his arms wide and the audience does too – was so amazing, to see everyone joining in, the lights flashing. Of course Joe and Finn have faced each other many times now and their match was as good as expected, a very good main event to round off the show, with Finn getting on the mic afterwards to thank the crowd for all the support. He earned it; he always does.
It was a bit scary on the train home as thanks to the England football game, there were quite a few drunk lads. There was a group in our carriage who were flinging each other about and being loud and annoying so it was grating but we’ve dealt with that before on trains. Someone else in the carriage wasn’t happy though – a very tough-looking older man, the sort you wouldn’t want to annoy, got up and told them in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up. As you can imagine, that didn’t go down well, just started more arguments and the drunk lads squaring up to him. Then another bloke got up and asked them to sit down too. Eventually they did and a fight didn’t kick off but it really felt like it might, that sort of tense electricity in the air. I didn’t fear for my safety, more that things could get very bad for the lads involved.
Today, I had my first ever fillings done. I’ve somehow avoided fillings so far – had a brace in my teen years but that’s as bad it got. I was dreading the appointment this morning as while I’m not phobic of the dentist like my poor husband; I remember well the absolute pain of having four teeth extracted for my brace. I screamed and shrieked so much the entire dental surgery heard me. They only normally extract two teeth in one session anyway so they had to tranquilise me for the second one.
So the thought of having to go through fillings, even though it’s not comparable at all to extractions, did trigger me and freak me out. Mostly it was the thought of having to deal with mouth injections. I’d had a few for the extractions and boy were they hugely painful. So I was hoping I wouldn’t need any this time. My cavities are very small, which is why I decided to have the fillings done now, before they became painful and much bigger, requiring much more work done. I was more than a bit trembly and weepy sitting in the dentist chair but the dentist and nurse were extremely patient and kind, helping calm me down. We decided to try without anaesthetic – ie without injections – because the cavities were small and near the surface. Thankfully the work didn’t actually hurt; it felt uncomfortable and extremely weird at points but I didn’t need an anaesthetic for what I was experiencing so we carried on and I got through it without the dentist needing to pause at any point. The dentist and nurse congratulated me on how still I stayed once I’d stopped crying and let the treatment begin. Once I get the emotion out, I’m okay nowadays. So being able to cry and tremble for a bit, that helped.
I’m so glad I got through it. It was a real unpleasantness on the horizon all week and I was so scared and a bundle of nerves, which made me feel so stupid. But my friends sent me lovely encouraging words, prayers and good vibes and I’m sure that helped. The whole experience really did take me back to being that sobbing terrified young teenager and how tortuous I found the extractions – FYI, different dentist, one who had taken care of my teeth since I was a child and really good at her job, I was just a very bad patient. It honestly surprised me that I cried a bit in the dentist chair today and got so emotional and shaky about the whole thing, also embarasssed me, I've over thirty, I feel like I shouldn't be getting so emotional over something so small, like I'd outgrown it. But some experiences, they don’t just scar, they stick around, as fresh as the day they happened. Talk about a trigger.
Also it was an expensive treatment – I went with the pricier private one rather than the NHS version as the private treatment was said to involve less drilling. Anthony sent me a sweet message after, saying he wished he could be as brave as me. I always cite a Jon Pertwee-era Doctor Who quote about bravery, I’m paraphrasing FYI – ‘Being brave isn’t not being scared, it’s being scared and doing it anyway.’ Yep, that was me today. Poor Anthony really was traumatised by his childhood dentist so just cannot bring himself to go for even a dental check up. A couple of years back he had to have wisdom teeth removed and insisted he be put under for it, as he couldn’t face injections etc while he was awake. So he was knocked out by IV at the local hospital and they removed the teeth while he was unconscious. Honestly, if I have to have teeth removed in the future, that’s exactly the option I’ll be going with! Today I am taking as a little victory. There’s the possibility I might need a couple more fillings in future for similar-sized cavities. At least now, I know what’s involved.
- Music:Ten - CFO$
Bit of an odd bake this week. Sticky chocolate mousse cake. They weren’t kidding about the sticky bit. I managed to make two mistakes as I baked – first I used ground coffee rather than instant coffee. Whoops. Start again. Then I completed overwhipped the double cream so had to go out and buy more to start that part again. Very vexing, very annoying. It’s also the first time I’ve baked by filling a roasting tin with lukewarm water before putting the cake tin, sides wrapped with tin foil, into it and then in the oven. After baking, the cake is topped with crème fraiche which is perfect for cutting through the richness of the cake.
It’s an extremely rich cake, way richer than I usually like and quite crumbly too. I stuck it in the fridge; to keep the crème fraiche fresh. I was supposed to take the cake to church last night but forgot as it wasn’t out on view to remind me. Very annoyed with myself. Also found that trying to get a slice off the plate was super difficult as thanks to the fridge, it was sticking pretty fast to the china. *sigh* Not a cake I’d make for my family – as my Dad’s not a huge dessert fan so something that rich wouldn’t appeal to him at all – but it was definitely a bold experiment for me in terms of how to bake something, very different to what I normally do. And Anthony tells me his work buddies have enjoyed the cake - he took it into work today so that's good.
: Twisting the KnifeFandom
: The HobbitCharacters
: Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield, Oin, Bofur, Bifur, Balin, DisDisclaimer
: I own nothing.Summary
: Since Thorin and his nephews nearly died on the battlefield, Bilbo Baggins hasn’t left their healing rooms. They need him, he won’t leave, he won’t speak, he won’t lose them, not even to Dis.
Read it here
It’s the most exhausting and fun weekend of the year, well it has been this year and last year anyway lol. Progress Wrestling’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament, taking place over two days, was another brilliant event, even if not everything went to plan. On Sunday, Night One, the van transporting the ring to the venue broke down. This meant that they ended up opening the venue doors almost an hour and a half later than scheduled. Then on Night Two, Mark Haskins was forced to drop out of the tournament after collapsing the previous evening due to exhaustion and dehydration. Scary to hear about but apparently he’s doing better, he’s just gotta take better care of himself.
Anthony and I stayed in Leatherhead for the weekend – a short train journey from London. We stayed in a hotel as his dad and stepmum were planning on being away that weekend, only for his stepmum to need an operation for kidney stones. Either way, it was a good thing we had a hotel. We went up on Saturday, had a delicious Italian dinner out with his dad and tried to take things easy in the evening. It’d been a long day already – Anthony’s driving lesson followed by seeing his sister and her fiance’s family.
The matches all weekend were outstanding; I can’t possibly talk about them all. So I will talk about the ones that really stood out. Match of the weekend was definitely Mark Andrews vs Chris Hero. Mark is one of my very favourites, as we all know lol, a spritely smiling high-flyer with so much skill, while Chris Hero is an American indie scene standout who is a brilliant striker and kicker and is seriously powerful. Anthony and I have seen Chris Hero elsewhere and he’s amazing, this was his first time at Progress and he fitted in perfectly, as everyone has always known he would. Andrews vs Hero looks like a mismatch in terms of styles and size and it was but my goodness what a match they had. Mark was made to look like a serious threat to Chris and it absolutely gripped all of us in the crowd. I don’t know how else to describe it but it was so very good.
I was seriously looking forward to the Origin vs the London Riots for the Progress Tag Team Championships. I was quite convinced the Riots wouldn’t win the titles – the Origin lost the titles at the same event last year – but I was wrong. I got to see the London Riots finally win the Progress tag team titles, after 28 chapters and 4 years. They’ve won pretty much every other tag team title in the UK and finally they won the titles in the promotion where they actually first became the London Riots. It was a really good match – featuring interference from the Origin’s teammates, Damon Moser finally getting revenge on the Origin for chucking him out the group a year ago, two referees getting knocked out and third referee Joel Allen punching El Ligero, which got a huge reaction. There was a weird moment at the end where the Riots pinned the Origin, seemingly for the win, and the Riots music played only for Joel to claim it had only been a two count not three – I think the wrong member of the Origin had been pinned ie not the one legally tagged in so they had to grab the right one and do it again. Whoops. Also Rob Lynch of the Riots seriously hurt his arm during the match meaning he couldn’t feel it while he was wrestling, which must have been terrifying. Apparently it wasn’t as bad as it looked :S Satisfying conclusion to the Origins vs Riots arc and brilliant to witness Rob and JD winning those titles and seeing how much it means to them and to all of us. Go on, boys.
There were several matches that featured people who’ve worked together a lot outside of Progress. Chris Hero vs Tommy End – in Evolve in America, they’re the tag team Heroes Eventually Die, and their match here was so hard-hitting and so very amazing. Also Hero vs Big Daddy Walter, they worked together a lot in wXw so it was a treat to see them going at it too. Special mention must go to the amazing ten man redemption scramble match that started off Night Two, a match held to decide on a replacement for Haskins. It’s the best multi-man match I’ve ever seen live; everyone involved had a brilliant moment or two and was made to look so good. It’s a match that I really can’t wait to watch back once the show is up On Demand.
The MVP of the weekend was Mark Andrews, who won the scramble match and ended up having five matches in total over the weekend, four on Night Two!! He must have been utterly exhausted. He did amazingly well and looked so good in every match. Some people undervalue him because he’s small and a high-flyer, which means in some people’s eyes all he does is gymnastics. But he’s a great energetic wrestler and faced technical specialists and high-power hitters this weekend and could match them. I am so very proud of him, for reminding everyone how good he is. I really hope that despite his base still being in America now, we still get to see him wrestle more in Progress.
The other MVP was Chris Hero who had three very different but outstanding matches. He loved being in Progress, so his social media tells us, and he told co-owner Jim Smallman that Progress is special. I’m so glad that his busy schedule at last was free enough to allow him over here. He’s also doing the Manchester show in a couple of weeks so that’s good news for Progress fans up there. I’m really hoping he teams up with Tommy, Heroes Eventually Die needs to happen in Progress.
Seeing Tommy End win the tournament was special. Unlike last year, there wasn’t a huge narrative driving the event – last year was Will Ospreay winning in his unending quest to win the title from unstoppable monster Jimmy Havoc and everyone knew, just knew, before that weekend that Ospreay would win the tournament. This year there was nothing like that and it showed that the tournament can work as just a really excellent tournament. The final was a shorter match than many over the weekend, because Tommy and Mark were exhausted no doubt. After winning, Tommy grabbed a mic and dedicated his victory to the late Kris Travis. Completely unexpected and I got tears in my eyes, I know I wasn’t the only one. Tommy is such a deserving winner and while he doesn’t need to win the title – like Rampage Brown he’ll always be loved and seen as a strong terrifying opponent – Tommy as champion would be completely awesome, especially if he took the title from current champ Marty Scurll, they’ve already had great matches together.
The non wrestling side of the weekend lol. I got to meet all the imports featured. I was so excited to see and talk to Sami Callihan who is a short strong gravel-voiced ball of awesome. Also Anthony and I spent some time talking to Matt Cross, telling him how much I love his work on Lucha Underground which was so nice to be able to do. He and his teammates are our favourite on that show. Chris Hero had the most merch of anyone, unsurprising as he’s over here in the UK for a while, though he was also charging for photos with him so I didn’t get one. It was great to shake his hand and say how much I loved his match the previous day though. Maybe next time I see him at a show I’ll get a pic. He is awesome.
Me and Sami Callihan :)
I got to catch up with loads of my pals which is always so much fun. Being part of that wrestling community is such a blessing and Progress brings us all together in the best way possible. I managed to grab a quick convo with Vicky Haskins – Mark’s wife – and had a long talk with Courtney, a Scottish wrestler I’m a fan of who I didn’t expect to see there at all. I’ve talked to her plenty on Twitter so seeing her in person at last was really lovely. This may have been the last show that Jim’s wife will do for a bit as her baby is due within a couple of months and the decibels aren’t great for the little one. It was lovely to say hi to her and see how she was. She seemed in good spirits despite what the bump was doing to her lol. We had crisps for Jon and Jim, Jon was especially grateful to receive them on Night One as it’d been such a trying day lol.
Hilariously, Anthony and I went to the recording of the ‘Progcast’ – the Progress podcast – that was done after Night One’s show and there was a free raffle for a gorgeous haunting oil painting of Tommy End. We won. Yep. You know sometimes you get a feeling that something’s gonna happen? I just knew we were gonna win and we did. It was in fact my ticket and I could not get up on stage so Anthony did for me, bless him. The paint was still a little wet but we got the painting back to the hotel safely. When we eventually left for home a couple of days later, it was pouring with rain so we went into a card shop and asked for the biggest plastic bag they had – that chain always has them for the special balloons they sell so we knew they’d have something. The painting did get back home with us safe and sound, the bag a little stained with red oil paint, but the painting isn’t damaged at all, some of the globby ‘blood’ came off but that was to be expected as they were the wet patches. It’s now hung up in our living room and it’s awesome. The fact that we won it that the year Tommy won the tournament was awesome. If only we could have gotten him to sign it.
I got my usual hug off Mark Andrews who was his usual chirpy self and pleased to see me wearing one of his shirts – thank you ProWrestlingTees for doing ladies fit, you are such an amazing thing in this world where I drown in unisex bad fits! I was sad I didn’t get a chance to say hi to the Riots, they weren’t doing merch (likely to make room for the imports and their merch) though were around in the crowd but Rob was chatting almost exclusively with a friend and I didn’t like to interrupt and I couldn’t find JD, muchly vexing. I shall have to hope they’re back behind the merch table at the next London show. Anthony always warns me ‘don’t be the weird fangirl’ and I never want to freak the wrestlers out, worry about this definitely cripples me sometimes. I feel like I strike the balance, like not jumping into Rob’s convos for example. Chatting to the guys, reaffirming those links, I don’t know, it’s always so important to me and I’m not completely sure why.
: Old GamesFandom
: The Chronicles of NarniaCharacters
: Susan, Lucy, Edmund, Peter, Aslan, Caspian, the Lady of the Green KirtleRating
: I own nothing.Summary
: Susan is dreaming of Narnia but that was just a game they played as children. And she dreams of her parents, but they died and she can't remember their faces. Her siblings all agree. So why does Susan's head hurt and why do her dreams seem to have bled over into her waking?( It was the strangest thing but Susan was almost sure she’d heard a lion’s roarCollapse )
Back from an epic Progress Wrestling weekender - report from that coming soon - but for now I shall talk about my latest baking. Mint chocolate cheesecake brownie muffins. Yep, they're a thing. Saw them on a food page on Facebook, one of those pages that features quick videos showing you how to cook recipes, and all you see is a pair of hands doing all the work? Actually really helpful to see what things should look like. Anyway, I tried this recipe and it turned out rich and tasty and very
The recipe should have produced twice as many muffins but I think my muffin tray is bigger than the one people doing the recipe used; theirs looked more like a cupcake tray. We took a couple of muffins with us to Progress, cut up and wrapped in tinfoil. They were very appreciated by my friends which is always lovely. Definitely a recipe to do again for sure.