I'm going on meme!

I'm picturing Bilbo here, running wildly down the hill...

Haven't done anything like this for serious yonks, so here goes:

Age: Edwardian

Biggest Fear: Losing my daughter, without any competition whatsoever from all those other niggly fears I’ve had over the years.

Current Time: 11.21am AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Dogs or cats: Both. Why can’t I have both? They each appeal to me for different reasons, and they each have serious drawbacks.

Easiest Person To Talk to: my sister and my dear friend Cazza.

Favourite Song: Argh. Impossible. Dan Sultan’s ‘Old Fitzroy’. Or Holy Holy’s ‘History’.

Ghosts, are they real?: I think something occurs or exists that we label ‘ghosts’, without actually understanding what they are. I have had several bizarre, spooky experiences, but I do not think they are the remnants of dead folk.

Hometown: Born in Melbourne, Australia, now live a few hours away.

In love with: I think I’ll always adore Jensen. Also Tom Hardy’s strange and freaky little self.

Jealous Of: Hmmm. I’m not a particularly jealous person.

Killed Someone?: Possibly. Strong chance of it, but don’t know for sure.

Last time you cried: Watching Mad Max Fury Road, as Furiosa sinks to the sand. But for myself? Probably not for a couple of years. Not much of a crier.

Middle Name: Haemony. Well, it would be, if I were a cooler person.

Number of Siblings: An older brother, a younger sister, and I adore them both.

One wish: That the governments of all nations around the world would wake up to the reality of anthropogenic climate change and bloody do something about it.

Person who you last called: My niece.

Question you're always asked: What are you so happy about? (This is true! I am a hummer and singer and whistler and generally upbeat person, so of course I am unutterably obnoxious. There is a special place in hell reserved for such people on Monday morning, and I have no beef with that).

Reason to smile: I’m alive, I’m healthy, I live in Australia with my beautiful daughter. If you can’t find something there to smile about, you’re hard to please.

Song you last sang: Holy Holy’s 'Wander'. I love their album! Go! Listen! Buy!

Time you woke up: 3.00am. Insomnia, how I loathe thee.

Underwear Color: Apricot.

Vacation Destination: Is this where I want to go or where I’ve been? Want: Spain. Been: India.

Worst Habit: Procrastination

X-Rays you've had: Foot, head.

Your favorite food: Seafood pizza, from Strahan in Tassie. Unbelievable. Fair dinkum fresh, caught that day, prawns, scallops, salmon...

Zodiac sign: Taurus

There. That didn't hurt a bit.

Oh joy, oh rapture!

I have a new computer. After about 18 months of keeping up on an i-pad when I could, I can now type away whatever old dross I like once again. You have been warned. I just have to get used to the position of the shift key - I keep hitting the slash key instead (oooh... is the universe telling me something?)

I've long since submitted my minor thesis and received first class Honours, so yay for that. I'm currently doodling about looking at my doctorate. Doctorates in Australia seem to be quite different from some of those in the US? You need to submit a 80,000 - 100,000 word original thesis here for a PhD, whereas I was just reading about a PhD program at Yale, I think it was, that had a series of subjects - basically, a doctorate by coursework. Anyway, good clean fun. I have a supervisor, but six weeks ago my thesis idea was gazumped by a colleague - unintentionally, but as she's further down the path than I am, it's back to square one for me.

In more important news, fandom. I am at the moment quite unreasonably obsessed with Tom Hardy. And it's funny, his looks really aren't my cup of tea, and he frequently does everything he can to make himself look even less attractive to me, but... ah, the eternal 'But...' There's something about his talent, his intensity, or charisma, or something. His voice. I first noticed him in Inception, then was staggered to see Lawless, The Drop, The Take, Bronson, Locke, Rock n Rolla; so different in each. Mad Max? Hoo, mama, there I did find him wildly appealing (and I adored the film overall. A bunch of old women taking charge in an action film? Brilliant. The old woman saying "Here we go, girls,"as she hefts a rifle to her shoulder needs to be my new ringtone.) We'll gloss over the tasteless horror that was This Means War (did the men who wrote and directed it think it would be sexy for a woman to be high-tech stalked? Really??? Although the alternative ending on the DVD, where Pine and Tom Hardy end up together was almost worth it, and my boy did look very appealing throughout, she said shallowly and with no shame whatsoever). But Inception remains a fave. Arthur/Eames fanfic holds many joys for the TH fan (DieHardys? Hardy Har Hars? Hardy Har Whores?)

I've also enjoyed James Norton in Grantchester - studly vicar porn - and my Jeremy Renner in MI: Rogue Nation.

I still haven't finished watching season 10 of Supe, but shall do so as soon as I can. I was actually enjoying season 10 overall. I need to catch up before the next series. I'm completely unspoilt, so will watch with interest as to where it goes. Jensen continues to be a most excellent human being, from all accounts.

And that's me. Small One is now 12 and getting rather gorgeous. She still lacks a lot of social skills, but she's learning, and I am content and proud that she's a good person at heart. She has very little malice in her, and I speak as someone who freely admits I've got my share of the bitch gene. My girl is genuinely confused by hostility, and tends to miss when her more manipulative friends are doing a number on her (I don't, and give them the stinkeye|). Love her to bits. She adores old Doctor Who (I mean the stuff from the sixties and seventies), My Little Pony and Robot Chicken. What can I say, that's 12 for you. One minute it's Equestria Girls, the next it's Paul.

So - back into it. I am so looking forward to chatting with you all again. I have missed you all and it dreadfully.

The Mad Monk is outta here!

Abbott has gone! Worst Prime Minister of my life time, and he's been ousted.

At least the new bloke, Malcolm Turnbull, knows a principle when it bites him on the bum.

So happy! Sure, it makes it harder for Labor to win, because Turnbull's got a brain ( not something you'd expect to hear from a Due South fan), but Abbott was a vicious, misogynistic, climate change denying nutcase. I might not agree with M T but at least I don't utterly despise him.
tim gutterson

A quick question for Supe fans...

Something occurred to me the other day regarding Dean and Sam's relationship, and I was just wondering, because I honestly can't remember; has Dean ever asked Sam for help?

I know Sam has tried to help him, and been more or less rejected (S3, S4). And I remember the shock of Dean succumbing and asking Castiel for help through prayer in S4.

But has Dean ever said to Sam, "I need help. I need you to help me?"

Maybe his current problems with the Mark of Cain will demand that of him? Maybe it's what Sam needs to get past his current recalcitrant attitude? Maybe that's what needs to happen to shift their relationship, in particular Dean's perception of how he fits into Sam's world (that same perception Sam has very brutally rejected).

Or maybe it's already happened in the past and I just can't remember it. Very possible.
tim gutterson

Cooeee! Still here, still Suping, still pining for Tim.

Helloo!! I keep hearing Charlie Bradbury in my ears - I'm back, bitches! But as I don't actually ever say that in the wider world, I'll just content myself with saying- at last, a new computer. I've been without one since January. I have used my i-pad to keep up with things, but posting anything beyond a tiny piece of fic feedback or the occasional comment on that feeble little keypad was just too frustrating.

I've been reading everyone's posts, save those with spoilers for SPN.

Supernatural: Ah, Supe; just when I thought I was out, they dragged me back in. I didn't much enjoy S8; as always, there were individual highlights, but the whole murky first half just annoyed me, particularly when Sam's abandonment of Kevin never got much of an explanation except that he was in the mood to do so. I think we've been spoiled by some very, very clever writers in the past; I kept expecting some devilish twist in the whole Amelia thing, and to find it was all actually just as turgid and vapid and soap opera-ish as it initially seemed was a real disappointment. Whatever liking I had for Sam pretty much evaporated over all that, and the self-justification that followed. For the record, I don't blame him for not pursuing Dean - as far as he knew, Dean was gone. I get that. But leaving Kevin in the wind was appalling.

So watching a show with one of two main characters well-set in the I'm Really Starting to Dislike You Zone was always going to be tough, and after about four episodes I bailed on this season. Dean and guilt is such an old song. I kept recording, but there was always something else to watch: the sheer insane fun of Vikings, new Justified, new Sherlock.

But this week I sat down and caught up with the Season So Far and - I actually enjoyed it. Some interesting stories, I'm enjoying the angels stuff, and I think the break allowed me to deal with the fact that so many aspects of the show that I used to love are gone, and I just have to accept that and take it as it is. They're no longer underdogs. I don't get that delicious sense of threat any more, and challenges never seem insurmountable; we know that these are the Winchesters, goddamit, and whatever is thrown at them they'll find something or someone or some way to win. There have been a few too many "Hey, look what I just found!" moments. Too many resurrections, too many Get Out of Jail Free cards. So the investment in terms of mystery or adventure or suspense is significantly watered down from the heyday of S3.

But I still care about Dean. Ridiculously. I wasn't surprised by Sam's speech in The Purge - lord knows, that boy's worst traits have been sanctimony and selfishness since the start, so no big shocks there. I have no real hope he'll grow past these flaws any time soon. But Castiel's support of Dean gives me some comfort. And who knows - maybe Sam will be reminded of all the many, many times that Dean has not only forgiven him far worse trespasses, but actually shouldered the blame for them. Maybe Sam will acknowledge to himself that it was his choices that resulted in Hell's non-closure - he chose to take the trials because he wanted to live where Dean was ready to accept his own death, and then, at the end, when Dean pleaded the case, Sam made the choice to accept Dean's arguments. (I was surprised at the pure depth of Sam's lack of self-awareness when he laid the fall of angels at Dean's feet - although it was a bit of a 'kitchen sink' moment for Sam, when he flung everything he could think of at Dean to justify his deep anger). Maybe Dean's battle with addiction to power will wake some kind of empathy and compassion in Sam - always his best traits - as he recalls his own troubled past in that regard. If we get just one scene with Sam becoming aware of all Dean has done and suffered for him, one moment of reconciliation, well, I'll call it a draw.

And for all my denial, I still do have some sympathy for Sam. I do get that Sam's big need is for independence, so Dean's actions cut right into him at his most vulnerable point. I'm sure that's why Sam is being so reductionist about it all. But what he has not learnt is that isolation as a form of defining one's self is the weakest and least authentic. A truly independent person, a fully realised personality, understands and accepts that part of themselves that takes strength and pleasure from interdependence.

Perhaps at heart that's the tragedy of the Winchesters. Dean is someone who needs others beyond a healthy level, due to the deep trauma of losing his mother at such a young age and so violently, and simultaneously losing his loving father, his home. Terrible stuff for a little boy to cope with, and Dean has clung hard to those ever-shifting sureties in his life ever since. I am sure that the classic questions of guilt and punishment a child of that age might have asked - Why did Mummy go? What did I do? Was it my fault? - went unanswered. I don't blame John, but it's pretty clear that his mind was spiralling into obsession just when Dean needed him most. So Dean fixated upon the two people left to him, made them his world - and then found that they weren't much interested in being that for him. It's never a great idea of course to put your happiness into the hands of someone else, but there was no one to explain that to Dean. The peripatetic life that followed would have exacerbated this dependence upon John and Sam; nothing else was constant. Against that, Sam has grown up under the stifling guardianship of a father who was aware of his possible destiny and therefore no doubt scrutinised everything he did, and an elder brother for whom he formed the major part of his life. Nobody needs that kind of burden as they grow. And it's completely understandable that Sam's instinct is to push at these bonds, just to get some air. But to reduce Dean's love to a simple selfish need is to belittle them both. Yes, Dean's needs are deep-seated, but his self-sacrifice for Sam's sake is real, too. And more; he was able to give Sam up in Swan Song. The strength that took is extraordinary, and frankly I'm glad the writers gave him back Lisa just about then; the alternative is too bleak to contemplate.

Justified: I still haven't seen the last three episodes, as I'm depending on a friend to get them to me and she's swamped by too many things. On one hand, it continues to be very good, although I haven't been as enthralled as I was by, say, S2. On the other - dammit to hell, Graham Yost! Where's Tim???? You say he and Rachel are going to get some good screen time next season - I hope you're right. The one decent scene Tim's had all season was a gem. I have to admit, I'm surprised they didn't do more with Tim. I see so many critics who highlight the character (or did, in S4), and the only kind of fannish buzz I see based on the show pretty much centres on him. Great fanfic by Freshouttaideas and carolinablu85, amongst others, continues to be written. Jacob Pitts continues to delight; any time an actor has the insight to explicitly deplore his white privilege I am on my feet and applauding. He is officially adorable, and I duly adore.

Vikings: I am enjoying the hell out of this show. Avoided the first season due to an appalling trailer that made me think it was something like the execrable 'Tudors'. I love history too much to handle the usual Hollywood ham-fistedness. But when I watched an episode or two of the second season, I saw much to like. Mad Ragnar (and he's an Echuca boy!! That's a country town about two hours away from me - I had no idea.), mad Aethelstan, shield maidens. (I could slash Ragnar/Aethelstan, too easy). It's not historically perfect, of course, but it gets so much right, and I love the exploration of that whole period that is rather skipped over in the history books - 'The Vikings came and raided, pillaged, raped, murdered, and then decided to stay and everyone got over it.' How the hell did that actually happen? I don't actually fan for anyone, I'm just enjoying the story (and the look of it- the scenery is stunning).

So - that's me, and all is well in my offline life, and I hope to hear from anyone still out there!
tim gutterson

The Ashes Part Three - Glory, glory

We won! Wonderful last day, with a young bloke from England showing so much class and fight that I honestly thought they might just pull it off. (The main character in 'Fever Pitch'? The one who is absolutely pessimistic about, and completely caught up with, his soccer team? That's me.) But in the end we got there, and it's just the best Christmas present - if something as ephemeral as sport can be categorised thus. Oh, look, I know in the grander scheme of things this is a trifle, but right now I am ecstatic to a height comparable to the depths of the previous three losses, so...

Nice to see the Aussies clapping young Stokes, and Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin acknowledging him even in their triumph.

tim gutterson

Jacob Pitts singing

Every now and then a beloved cugly does something that astonishes. Sometimes for the worse; thankfully, sometimes for the better.

Please; go and listen to this. Jacob Pitts - yeah, the dorky guy from Euro Trip, the smokin' (In every sense) Hoosier from The Pacific, and the inscrutable Tim Gutterson from Justified - singing like his heart is breaking, and it officially slayed me.

Starts off like Nick Cave, ends up like - gah, like the best hurt/comfort story you never read.
tim gutterson

The Ashes Part 2

Well. Wow. Wonderful stuff! Australia wins the second test, goes 2-0 up in the series. Even Mad Jack McMad would not have predicted this. The Aussies played beautifully again, and fully deserved the result.

I think it's fascinating to consider what snooker players call 'the rub of the green', meaning that ineffable quality of luck that comes to visit one team or another. It was certainly against us in England in winter, where rain and poor umpiring decisions worked to accentuate the failings the team may or may not have had. (By the way, I do not consider the Broad incident poor sportsmanship - he had every right to stand his ground - but it was another case of poor umpiring). It's those just missed opportunities, the incredible, unlooked-for catches, the dismissals where everything has to go unusually wrong for the batsman for it to come off. I think it's fair to say that now, in this series, we've got the rub of the green with us, even to the fact of winning the toss twice. But it also speaks to the luck you make when you train hard and commit fully - the catching by the Aussies has been exemplary.

England has made much of their own bad luck. Cook has been awful - that second innings dismissal was appalling. Joe Root did very well, and that was an example of bad luck, I guess, when he was dismissed on 87. But most feel to poor shots, and England have fielded poorly - bad catching cost them 238 runs in Australia's first innings.

So, on to Perth, where the pitch is hard and bouncy and fast and Mitch Johnson will be hitting 155kph. Happy, happy days. But I think those writing England off are quite foolish; there was some middle order ticker on display, and for all we know, Mitch will lose his radar and Anderson will have a field day and write us off. Cricket is ever unpredictable.
tim gutterson

Dean and Season 9

I’ve finally managed to just about catch up with SPN S9, although I forgot to record episode 2. Overall, I’m enjoying it. Loved the Wizard of Oz episode. Liked Sonny, and the young bloke who played Dean was outstanding. It’s reasonably strong so far.

But I got thinking about where I am with Supernatural these days, and it struck me that probably the major difference between my level of involvement and that of the earlier seasons is that Dean has become so familiar to me that he is predictable. In this way it’s very like a marriage; after nine years there’s a nice familiarity and appreciation, but there are no more surprises. The blazing passion has gone. Or, to put it another way; if the character of Dean *did* surprise me these days, he would have to be so out of character as to render the whole marriage over, like finding my warm and supportive spouse was secretly an adulterous dope fiend. To surprise me, they would have to destroy Dean.

It means that though I like him – indeed, have great affection for him – I am no longer fascinated by him. There’s nothing that I can think of that could be revealed that would challenge my apprehension of the character. What is the most extreme thing he could do whilst still being true to who he is? Sacrifice Sam for a greater cause? He’s done it. Torture to gain information? Ditto. Prove to be capable of manipulative, lying behaviour? Yep, done that. I can accommodate a wealth of failings and actually resist others that some folk have saddled him with because I understand him holistically to be a courageous, self-sacrificing, flawed but noble human being.

Yes, they’d surprise me if Dean was revealed as, say, a child molester, but then that would radically alter my understanding of so many other fundamental aspects of his character that it would destroy the relationship (that is, the way I engage with this fictional creation).

I think this level of familiarity and predictability means that I no longer rush to watch the show, waiting for revelations. At heart, I am fascinated by characters. The plot will do whatever it does but its main purpose for me is to reveal character. I find ‘The Walking Dead’ to be rather mesmerising for this reason. I am not thrilled by zombies or apocalyptic visions per se, but I am intrigued by how characters gradually unravel or become tempered to strength by the challenge. And I don’t think Dean has much left to show me in this regard – it is all variations upon a well-known theme now. Of course, I may well be completely wrong.

I can’t help but compare my current level of interest in Dean with my current level of interest in Tim Gutterson of ‘Justified’. Tim remains largely unknown to me, and so I am drawn to him. What I *think* I have garnered about his character is extremely likeable, but there is so much that remains open to interpretation or speculation that I find myself working over the scant evidence again and again. I had a great discussion about this with freshouttaink, who took a scene in S4 (when Art bellows at Tim) one way, and I a completely different one. She saw (if I am not misrepresenting her) Tim as being a little dismayed or upset that he’d earned Art’s disappointment; I saw his look as one of borderline contempt, a ‘Seriously? I’ve been yelled at by experts.’ In cricketing parlance, Art delivered a bouncer and Tim just gave it a flat-bat swat straight back over his head. And the gorgeous thing is that one of us or neither of us could be right. Jacob Pitts himself gave a wonderful quote the other day that he thinks he has misjudged Tim – that he, JP, was not decent enough to appreciate Tim’s courage. It’s a typically self-deprecating JP quote, but it’s interesting in that the actor is still trying to find the character too, so it’s no wonder that I’m engaged in that screen/self dyad of creation.

When I look back at those characters for whom I’ve felt a kind of love, some have become exes whom I’d cross the street to avoid; some remain old lovers who can still re-ignite a burst of passion when we meet again before gently returning to near-oblivion; and some have settled into a kind of easy companionship. I think Dean is there at that last stage for me now, and I hope that the PTB do nothing to change that. I may no longer have all those butterflies and heart pounds that come with the first blush of romance, but I do have fondness and appreciation and respect. That’ll do.
tim gutterson

The Ashes part 1

Well, so much to enjoy so far. The latest is watching Stuart Broad saying the Poms are 'proud' that they don't comment about other teams. Joins Andy Flower's 'We set our standards, the Australians set theirs.' Enormous hilarity all round. Suuuuure. Presumably there's been some sort of MIB mind wipe of much of 2013 for the Brits... Basically, bravo Pup, and let's turn down the hypocrisy a little England, shall we?

But the cricket has been great. Of course I'd say that, we won, right? But I meant to post last Thursday, when I was happy but precariously so after Haddin and Johnson began our fight back. I thought that very first day was terrific, even though England would rightly think they won the day. I loved watching Alastair Cook bat so resolutely to save the match (in fairness I must confess I loved it even more when we got him out, but well played, Cookie). I loved Mad Mickey making a ton - he is always a joy to watch. Loved Lyon getting some wickets. Loved Swann getting bugger all (as he and Anderson are the only Poms I can't stand).

I remain unconvinced we'll regain the Ashes this time round. Rogers, Watson, Bailey, Smith - unconvincing line-up. I think the Brits will bounce back in Adelaide; they still have a much better batting team than we do. The way they collapsed twice in this Test is surely an aberration. We might get another in Perth if Mitch keeps his radar in some kind of working order. But we need to win three... Still, can't do better than we've done so far, can we? C'arn the Aussies!

And best wishes, Jonathan Trott. Hope you get better soon, and good on you for being open about the reason you went home. I have not heard a single Aussie express anything but concern and admiration for you, and I am sure that your courage in letting people know how you're struggling will help many people face their own mental health issues.