Whoo, just finished a local 20K and have time to sneak in a nap and some LJ before work. It was a fairly brutal run, given the recent unpleasantness with my knee, which means this is the longest I've run at a stretch for six weeks or so. But I took it ridiculously slowly--as in, 10:35/mile--which was boring but didn't result in pain. And then I ate curry!

A meme that keeps circulating and is always fun:

1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

[livejournal.com profile] lassiterfics asked me the following:

Sex, Drugs, and organic unsweetened gluten-free cereal )

last call

Mar. 18th, 2010 03:52 pm
I've been fiddling around with a few fics lately, gen stuff, some set in season two, some in season five, and an AU of Lucifer Rising tentatively titled "Sam Listens to Dean For Once in his Goddamn Life; Also Dean Doesn't Act Like an Ass, and There's This Angel Dude."

However, I keep getting distracted. I keep getting distracted, because the story I want to tell and can't figure out how, the story that is really getting to me this season (and last, actually), is Dean's drinking.

In the spirit of full [tmi] disclosure, I have quite a bit of experience with drinkers. I work at a bar. My last boyfriend was a bartender; the one before that was a (now-recovering) alcoholic. My best friend is a recovering alcoholic. For about four months following one really, really bad breakup, I was mostly either drunk or hungover, until I realized that I could go one of two directions: down, or up.

Bearing that in mind, watching Dean's drinking intensify over the last couple of seasons has been an uncomfortable experience. I desperately want Bobby or Sam to notice openly, to say something, but aside from a few offhand comments here and there, they don't seem to think it's that big a deal.

It's a big fucking deal. Here's what it's like to be a high-functioning alcoholic: you wake up because your blood sugar drops dramatically, disoriented and slightly nauseous. You get out of bed resolving that this is the morning you're going to drink just water and maybe a little juice. Then, you think it can't be that bad to pour a shot of whiskey into your coffee, because it'll make you feel better. It does make you feel better. It takes the edge off your headache, and gives you a slight buzz, because you're so dehydrated that anything would get you buzzed right now. You fight to clear your head, and after a while you have a sort of gentle awareness of the world around you. It's like reining your brain in so it goes from functioning like a modern computer to functioning like an abacus, capable of doing only things that make solid, tangible sense in the solid, tangible present. You eat some cereal for breakfast, take a shower, and are careful to brush your teeth, despite the fact that the taste of toothpaste makes your stomach heave.

You go through the day on autopilot, and by the time you're done with your obligations (you've probably had a beer or two with lunch) you decide it's time to kick back with a movie and a glass of whiskey. And another. And a third. By ten, you're drunk and tired and just want to pass out, or you're out with friends just getting started on the real drinking of the night. Either way, you pass out--you don't sleep, not really, not with all that alcohol clogging up your body--and you wake up the next day, suddenly, and your mouth tastes like you licked a bar rag and you think, Man, I could use a screwdriver about now.

It's not romantic. It's not fun. It's painful, and disgusting, and alienating. You drink to get away from what's bothering you (in my case, grief and anger and loneliness; in Dean's, well, grief and anger and loneliness), but because the alcohol dulls your mind's ability to multitask, you end up unable to focus on anything else. So you drink more, because if you drink enough, eventually you'll pass out and you won't have to think about anything.

This is a liability at the best of times. When you're drinking consistently (even if it's not much--it doesn't have to be much), you lose the ability to create mental hierarchies. You're chronically sleep-deprived. Your reaction time and decision-making skills are moot points. It takes ages to process new information, and even important things like names and faces and remembering to call your mom on her birthday just sort of slide away.

Dean's not in the best of times. He's in the middle of the capital-A Apocalypse. He can't think straight; his body is breaking down and betraying him. His reflexes aren't what he's used to, and his fine motor skills, especially new ones, ones he doesn't know like the back of his hand, are suffering. Mostly, though, his friends and his family, people who need to sit him down and say something, treat it like a minor issue. The show's writers seem unsure of whether to play it as a joke or just ignore it altogether, but they've written themselves into his mess and need to acknowledge it's there.

I don't want there to be some sort of Intervention! episode. I understand that hunters, like most men and women who work grueling, unappreciated jobs, often end the day with a glass of the closest hard stuff. I think it's unrealistic for Dean to quit drinking, but I also think it's unrealistic for him to continue at his current pace without serious, potentially deadly, side effects.

So yeah. I want to address that. In a way that doesn't send people running for the hills, since it's not exactly a lighthearted topic, and I'm not sure I'm capable of treating it in any way except extremely seriously. I want the show to take responsibility for the characters it's created, and their choices. If you choose to set a series in Modern America+Monsters, you are obligated to address the problems inherent in the setting. Dean's drinking, like that of lonely, desperate people around the world, is not cute and not funny. It deserves far more nuanced, careful, and responsible writing than I've seen so far, if only in deference to those of us who see him unscrew the cap on his flask and take a swig to steady his nerves and feel a sympathetic burn right below the sternum where we've tried the same medicine.

the rush

Feb. 18th, 2010 01:00 pm
So it turns out that re-entering fandom after a long vacation is sort of like being the friend who shows up to the party forty-five minutes past fashionably late and has to be shuffled around and introduced to everyone and has no place to put their plate of cookies on the crowded potluck table, but after another two hours is just there and everyone forgets about the whole awkward entrance.

Perhaps, also, it is about run-on sentences. And the thrill of the hunt. I've been chasing down authors and stories and meta like nobody's business for the past few days. I almost forgot I was supposed to meet my usual friends at our usual pub last night, I was so caught up in it (oops.) Now that I've got a bit of time off, I can't wait to start writing again. As Miss Frizzle might say, "Seatbelts, everyone!"

Also, in the spirit of the Good Things that seem to be happening lately, I stopped into my favorite little craft/bookbinding/diy shop yesterday and found a notebook made from the cover of Bad Company's Straight Shooter. I mean, how badass is that?

But anyway, it's time to haul myself out for a run and a trip to the co-op and some experimental bread baking and the rest of the outline of this weird fic idea I've had going for a week or two.

Cause, you know, I'm a wild fire woman.
Two weeks ago, I was bitten by something while asleep. The bite swelled into a hard red welt, itchy and painful, and I was sure we had bed bugs. I literally stood beside the bed, unable to get in, for hours that night.

As it turned out, the kittens had attracted a small flea population, probably from the squirrels that live on the trees surrounding and overhanging our back porch. We got the requisite flea treatment paraphernalia and eradicated them. I, however, had done too much reading online and was petrified that the insecticide would kill the kittens. Even though I bought the most benign formula I could find, I insisted that we lock the kittens into a well-ventilated room as far away from the living room (where the fleas were) as possible. The Boy looked at me a little funny, but complied, even when I stuffed towels under the doors so they couldn't possibly inhale any of the aerosol. I placed a fan blowing out the window behind the couch, and attacked said couch clothed from head to toe, wearing gloves that reached to the elbow and a scarf over my hair. The Boy came into the room in a t-shirt and socks, told me I looked absurd, and wandered off in search of soda.

I read the directions on the can of insecticide four or five times. I aimed it down. I judged two to three feet. To be sure, I crouched until I could see the distance from the side instead of the top. I made uniform sweeping motions until all surfaces were just slightly damp.

With the windows open, it was probably thirty degrees in that room. I was sweating by the time I finished.

The kittens are still locked in their room. After scrubbing myself in hot water and soap, I allowed myself to go play with them. I might let them back into the living room tomorrow, but the thought of it makes my heart pound.

Throughout this phobia--not of insects, evil bloodsucking insects that lurk in couch cushions, but of the insect killer--some part of my brain realizes the ridiculousness of it all. I took all the proper precautions. No prolonged skin contact, minimal inhalation, no eye contact or contact with food surfaces.

But some part of me is still scared, just a little. Some part of me is in that first babysitting job mindset, when you're sure you're going to kill the neighbor's kid. Some part of me is ten and has to run to take the trash out after dark or the flying wolves will catch her. Some part of me is already in the heart-stopping adrenaline rush of coming up from the basement with the laundry, up an unlit, creaking external stairwell with paint cans and all manner of night creatures lurking in the adjacent crawlspace. And some part of me thinks all those other parts of me are pretty stupid and contagious.

Tell me that when I can't pick up a dropped sock because the giant red-eyed rats might eat me alive if I stop.
When I was a kid, five or six years old, I asked Mom why rain splashes when it hits a puddle instead of just slipping in. She told me it was the water sprites that lived inside the raindrops coming out to dance.

Today, The Boy and I were driving back from his parents' house through one of the midwestern storms that make me feel incredibly small. I looked out the window of the car, watching the rain splash down into the running water in the gutter, and realized that I still believe her.



May 2010



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