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26th-Nov-2015 09:01 pm - Buyer beware

A word on terrible customer service and the kindness of strangers.

I ordered a Christmas present for my husband from Amazon. On Tuesday I received an email to say they'd be delivering at some point that day. Instead, I left work to find I'd gotten a private Facebook message from a total stranger, she'd received my Amazon parcel by accident when receiving her own Amazon delivery. When she called Amazon to report this, they told her to 'keep it.' To date, I've still not received any communication from Amazon about this parcel. As far as they're concerned, according to the tracking info for the parcel on their website, I received the parcel on Tuesday, no problem at all. Unbelievable.

Instead, a complete stranger tracked me down on Facebook, let me know about the problem and got her husband to drop the parcel into our address on his way to work. I'm incredibly grateful to her for this, I can't tell you, and completely furious with Amazon's terrible service. I wish they still used Royal Mail rather than their own dodgy delivery service. I wish they were more concerned with their customers' experiences. So the moral of this story is be warned about Amazon! A big disappointment for me considering how much I've loved using them in the past, until this new delivery system started this year. Also, be glad that there're still awesome people willing to go completely out of their way to help a stranger. Amazing/

Title: Want It Too Much
Fandom: Power Rangers Dino Charge
Characters: Riley Griffin/Chase Randall, Kendall Morgan, Keeper, Shelby Watkins, Tyler Navarro
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: There's a monster on the loose that's poisoning people, changing their behavior. Riley is the one that realizes Chase has been affected, because of how Chase acts towards him – hitting on him when the monster still needs to be caught. They're both affected afterward.
Author Note: Warning:: Features a character's behaviour changed without their consent, affecting the way they interact with another character, includes above-clothes touching from the start which is non-consensual. Title is a lyric from the song 'Poison' by Alice Cooper.

Read it here.
21st-Nov-2015 03:09 pm - R.I.P Jonah Lomu (1975 - 2015)

He was rugby union’s first global superstar. The image of him is indelible - Jonah Lomu running down a pitch at lightning speed, swatting away opposing players like flies as they tried to tackle him. It’s burned in my mind, the shock I felt, how I gaped as I watched a match on TV with my family. It didn’t seem possible for such a hefty human being to move like that while being so powerfully strong. Rugby union was never the same afterwards.

Sport saved Lomu. His upbringing was troubled and violent and he was going the same way, only he had a real talent for sport which his school teachers noticed. Enter rugby, enter his life changing forever. He was still a teenager when he made his mark, still growing into his extraordinary skills. He was once seen, never forgotten though, and crowds around the world loved to watch him go. Many went to matches just to see him play, he was a real attraction.

He never won a World Cup – twice he made the finals as part of the New Zealand team and twice they shockingly lost, the first time against the infamous racially-integrated South African team lauded by recently-freed President Nelson Mandela; the match portrayed in the book and film Invictus. He is still the joint top try scorer for the World Cup competition.

He was by all accounts a gentle giant, a lovely quiet man not at ease with the fame his skills brought him. Sadly, his amazing career was cut short by severe kidney problems that eventually meant a transplant and dialysis. He tried a comeback now and then but nothing stuck because of his health. What a shame for everyone that his career could not continue, that he couldn’t reach new sporting heights. It is not thought that these health problems were the cause of his death.

No one captured the rugby imagination like Jonah Lomu, no one graced the world stage with such striking impact. I remember well my brother endlessly playing a game titled Jonah Lomu Rugby on his Playstation, Anthony tells me used to play it too. I’ll never forget watching Lomu play, amazed at his skills, captivated by them. I know I’m not the only one. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons. Forty is no age to die. RIP.

Read his Guardian obituary here.

Beautiful moving cover of The Irish Examiner, paying tribute to Jonah Lomu.

Title: Aftershocks
Fandom: Ring of Honor
Characters: Adam Cole/Kyle O'Reilly/Bobby Fish
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Adam Cole is a fucking great clothes designer. It's not his fault that The Kingdom, the company he built from the ground up, decides to throw a coup and not invite him. They're not calling it that but he knows. It turns out his old business partner Kyle O'Reilly and Kyle's current colleague and boyfriend Bobby Fish are willing to be unexpected listening ears and a lot more than Adam bargained for. They've all got a lot of sketching to do.

Read it here.
17th-Nov-2015 10:39 pm - Too sweet

I definitely got the recipe wrong for this one. I had my first stab at making triple layer chocolate mousse, but I managed to buy milk chocolate rather than plain chocolate for one of the layers and I didn’t buy enough whipping cream either. But I managed to make a layer of biscuit crumbs, then milk chocolate mousse, then white chocolate mousse. Everything set really well in the fridge and the consistency seems right. It’s definitely a sweet eat so we’re eating small slices at a time. The recipe book recommends it as a good recipe for a party and I can see that. It’s definitely a treat. I wonder how different it’d be with the plain chocolate rather than milk. I’ll have to try it again sometime to find out.

I can’t remember if I blogged this or not. I recently decided that I need to get more exercise. I do a bit of walking each day, to and from the bus stop but it’s not very much and my physical stamina is pretty badly shot, which really bugs me. Over the past few years my sister has done a lot of running – she’s run marathons and done night walks, all for charity and I couldn’t be more proud of her. There’s also tons of podcasts out there now which can help you run as a novice and I thought, why not try it? Anthony did regular running for a while and found it a real benefit for clearing his head.

So I bought some workout gear – I haven’t owned any for ten years, back then I went to the gym twice a week – and got the first of the NHS’s ‘Couch to 5K’ podcasts loaded onto my phone and set out for my first ever run. It only took half an hour, bit of walking followed by a bit of running. Definitely hard work which strained my lungs (I have mild asthma) and my legs ached but it was a good ache. Exercise is good for the endorphins and I really felt that. You’re supposed to run to a ‘Couch to 5K’ podcast 3 times in one week before moving onto the next. I want to do that, the only time I’ll be able to run is in the evenings post-work and the world is dark then so I’ll have to find some main roads to use where I’ll feel safe. I’m hopeful I can keep this up. I’ve been feeling in a bit of a rut in what I’ve been doing personally, there’s time and I’d like to use it well, so learning some Dutch before our Amsterdam holiday next year, reading my Bible more and starting regular running seem like some good starting points.

Title: On The Other Side Of The Door
Fandom: Formula 1 RPF
Characters: Esteban Gutierrez/Nico Hulkenberg/Paul Di Resta, Toto Wolff
Rating: M
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Esteban has always been unnerved by or unconnected to any Alpha he’s met. Then he meets Nico and Paul, two Alphas mated to each other and who immediately know that Esteban is their Beta. They talk and Esteban listens. For the first time in his life, things start making sense.
Author Note: A prequel to Triple Crown, looking at the origin of the Esteban/Nico/Paul's relationship. If anyone's willing to beta, I'd love to hear from you. Warning for discussion of physical abuse suffered at the hands of family members. Part Five in the Calls Of The Wild series.

He could be part of this.Collapse )

Title: Something Happy
Fandom: The Hobbit
Characters: Bard, Dis, Sigrid, Tilda, Bain, features Fili/Sigrid & Kili/Tauriel
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Spoilers: Set post the third film.
Summary: Sigrid, Princess of Dale, and Crown Prince Fili of Erebor have decided to begin courting. Bard fears his daughter has made a dutiful decision of great responsibility with no thought for her own happiness. He still worries greatly, despite the duties that compel him now as a King. He meets with Dis to discuss the courtship of their children.

Read it here.
11th-Nov-2015 09:36 pm - Buy the ticket, take the ride

On Sunday, a huge and hugely important British wrestling event takes place, the biggest since Big Daddy faced Giant Haystacks at Wembley Arena in 1981 (now that’s an old-school reference for you, a real example of British wrestling’s previous heyday when it was regularly on national TV and everything). This year, Insane Championship Wrestling, a Scottish promotion, has sold out the SECC Arena in Glasgow - that's 4,000 tickets - for their show titled Fear and Loathing. This fact has gotten them mainstream attention in broadsheet newspapers, amazing. It’s a company I’ve written about before as Anthony and I caught a live show when they toured the UK recently. They’re an over-18s promotion, which definitely cuts down on their potential audience as in the UK overall wrestling is viewed as a good ‘ol family sport, but ICW have sold out an arena that WWE with their PG product regularly sell-out when doing shows over here. That’s astonishing.

ICW has ambitions to have a national TV deal, to not only continue offering an alternative product to WWE but to be a viable competitor. Thanks to the documentary Insane Fight Club, one aired in 2014, another in 2015, both all about ICW, the company has gained much more of an audience. They won’t be to everyone’s taste, their vision is uncompromising and almost everyone on the roster speaks in a thick Scottish dialect that probably doesn’t make much sense to everyone. But they are incredibly magnetic, electric to watch, the characters are vivid and the storylines long-running, complicated and on the whole gripping. If a comparison is needed to an American company, they’re most comparable to ECW though ICW’s owner Mark Dallas, whilst an on-air authority figure with a mad scientist vibe behind the scenes, seems to be a better businessman than Paul E Heyman ever was, thank goodness.

I can heartily recommend ICW; their online on-demand service is less than £5 a month which is a steal for the enormous amount of programming you get access to in return, the people who run the company and write the shows clearly care deeply about producing a distinct quality product which stays true to the company’s vision whilst also aiming to gain as many new fans as possible. The latter hasn’t compromised the former; I can honestly say I doubt it ever will.

Fear and Loathing is going to feature some amazing matches. The Bucky Boys, a long-time tag team of cousins now bitter enemies, will face each other in a serious grudge match for the Zero G Championship. The New Age Kliq, wrestling’s waking nightmare, a group who always do things their way, face Legion in a steel cage match, it’s a feud that’s been going for two years. It’s a match that’s going to be bloody and beautiful, especially as it involves three of the best storytellers in the business – Chris Renfrew, Mikey Whiplash and Tommy End. The first ever ICW Women’s Champion will be decided when long-time enemies the NAK’s Kay-Lee Ray faces Nikki Storm – ICW have a great women’s division that always showcases great wrestling. Hardcore icon Jack Jester, another terrific storyteller who of course I absolutely adore (he wears spooky contact lenses and gives everything, even though he’s currently an awful villain I can’t help but love him), faces Big Damo, a match that will no doubt paint the canvas bloody. And in the main event, the massively beloved perennial underdog Grado faces champion and international star the ruthless Drew Galloway, aided by his stablemates in the Black Label who have loved running roughshod over everyone else in the company for months, their stable consisting of three ICW world champions including the current General Manager the wretched Red Lightning. Grado is loved in Scotland though either loved or hated everywhere else as he’s a comedy character but he’s very good at what he does, he’s got a massive heart and truthful intensity and they’ve really built this match up brilliantly. There’s more matches of course and the stories that are going to be told...it’s the reason I love wrestling. Like Progress (a few wrestlers perform for both promotions actually), ICW tells great stories. And if you can see Fear and Loathing, you absolutely should.

Read here a great write-up from SnapmareNecks about why ICW’s sell-out show is a huge deal and why ICW is so very awesome.

Also a write-up here of why the NAK vs Legion is such a must-see match.

‘Here’s to the crazy ones’, an official tribute to ICW’s 2015.

Dream Walkers – Legion (Tommy End, Michael Dante & Mikey Whiplash) take the fight to Chris Renfew’s subconscious before their big match against the NAK in the SECC. More than a little unnerving, entirely awesome.

Title: Safe Haven
Fandom: NCIS: New Orleans
Character: Sebastian Lund/Cade LaSalle, Christopher LaSalle
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Chris’ brother Cade is still in New Orleans. Sebastian often finds Cade hiding out in his lab during Cade’s low days. Sebastian finds he enjoys the company, he’s happy to help.
Warning: For talk of mental health issues.

He kept his footsteps deliberate so that Cade had an idea of where he was at all times.Collapse )

8th-Nov-2015 10:50 pm - Sour delight
First baking of November. Tried out another new recipe from The Great British Bake-Off book, this time lemon shortbread. This consisted of slicing lemons and leaving them soaking in sugar over night so that a syrup formed and then creating a lemon filling with it which I then layered between a shortbread mixture I'd made. I think I did the split of the shortbread wrong as I needed to make more for the top layer and I didn't prepare the butter right for the filling but it actually turned out really well and left the baking tray really easily, yes. It's super-sour to eat - the lemon filling includes the lemon slices - but I really like the contrast between the crumbly shortbread and the sour lemon filling. I cut it all into lots of squares and took it to church where every piece was polished off so it seemed to appeal. Hurrah.

Also last week travel was just awful home from work - the mixture of lashing rain and the world getting dark early meant loads of cars were on the road so my bus was very late, full and trying. I ended up feeling very out of sorts and wound up but came home the first night it happened to find Anthony making dinner - even though it was my turn - and he had some wrestling playing on the TV featuring some of my favourites and he'd bought me lovely pink roses though he really doesn't like flowers but knows I do. The second night it happened, he suggested that we get takeaway in rather than me having to cook. I really do have the most wonderful husband.
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