January 4, 2006
Slowly Putting the House Back Into Order
by Kym Taborn
I am on the road this week. This morning I am at the Grand Canyon, finishing up a three-day stay. Tonight I drive the family to Flagstaff for our pilgrimage to Lowell Observatory and go into full PlutoGeek form (IT'S A PLANET - LIVE WITH IT). Therefore I am running a bit late in uploading issue 102, but I am getting there. I should get some new articles up in a week or two or earlier. Also, we are going to go totally geek over Veronica Mars in 2006, so don't blink. You might miss something fun.
I am slowly getting Whoosh back into order. We never quite recovered from the switch of providers way back in 2002. There are many articles that still do not have their graphics up etc. However, that should be solved soon enough. At some point in the new year, Whoosh will be moving to a larger server (Yay!). That means we can restore the site to the graphical glory it once was and also e-x-p-a-n-d. And expand we will. We are going to update and add to the Episode Guide area (did I just hear Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica scamper by?) and also I hear murmurings of expanding the film review areas. Also, we at Whoosh Laboratories will begin doing podcasts sometime in the first quarter of 2006. If you have any suggestions or comments about a Whoosh podcast (what YOU would like to hear in a Whoosh podcast ), please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love being molded and shaped by other hands. Really.
Speaking of podcasts, I have dived into the world of podcasts and love it. Once again the internet has taken our previous paradigms of media and turned it on its head and made it populist. I love the internet and how it has taken what once were areas that were placed on high precipices with only limited entry for the special few and now have made it possible for anyone (literally anyone) to participate and the find their audience. And the pool is so large, that almost anyone can find an audience if they are talented or persistent. I have seen this switch happen before in (to name a few) literature with fanfiction, journalism in blogging, and now radio with podcasting. It is amazing to have been able to witness one of these types of revolutions, let alone many.
Anyways, I am enjoying my foray into experiencing the world of podcasting. There are a few podcasts I would like to share with you. I find them required listening and even though some are rough around the edges, they represent the variety of content and style that exists in the current podcasting world.
It calls itself the "Ultimate Geek radio Show", and that it truly is. Two very charismic hosts, Irma Arkus and Jevon Ryan, broadcast weekly from Simon Fraser University near Vancouver, B.C., Canada. After my partner died in April of 2005, I was pretty miserable. Later the same month I was on a bit torrent site searching for anything with the words "sci-fi" in it and I found an mp3 file of something called "Hi-sci-fi". Being a Sci-Fi-aholic, I blindly downloaded it and was immediately taken by it. This show was one of the few things that actually made me laugh and smile again during that time. The presentation of the show is rather simple but it works. Music is played, usually independent, and sometimes with a genre theme (I was introduced by the wonderfully entertaining music of Jonathan Coulton (http://www.jonathancoulton.com/)) between discussions between the hosts. And what do they discuss? Anything and everything geeky and Canadian! Literature, film, conventions, awards, television, modern trends, and even science news (it is SCIENCE fiction, after all). Their reporte is infectious and it is 60 minutes of pure pleasure to share time with them. The show is professional (they must be studying radio at college because they are just too good - in fact I am in dread of when they graduate and stop the show). I cannot recommend this show enough. A week without Hi-Sci-Fi is a week without sunshine. I warn you, they sometimes take their time in getting the podcast out to the public but it is well worth the wait, even though it can be exasperating.
This show is netcast live on Fridays at 5 to 6pm PST at http://cjsf.ca/
You can usually listen to the most recent program on demand on the home page at http://www.hiscifi.com/
You can subscribe to the podcast (best value!) at the RSS Podcast-Feed link on the home page at http://www.hiscifi.com/
Also, it pops up on bit torrent sites now and then.
Its subtitle is "The Ethics of Sci-Fi". This is not done in a professional studio so it has its quirks but the content transcends any technological shortcomings. Kevin Pratt and Kade Hutchison host a rousing discussion on a different themed show each month. With topics like situations when soldiers are allowed and not allowed to disobey orders to the difference between manipulation and motivation, the hosts take examples from television, literature, and film to explore ethics through the science fiction genre. The podcast is supported by an on-line discussion area and allows commentary from listeners through a variety of means. To their credit, the hosts usually cover all aspects of the issue. If you like to think and love science fiction, this is a great way to spend some time.
You can subscribe to the podcast on the home page at http://www.alienethos.com/
Radio KAL (http://www.supermanhomepage.com/multimedia/multimedia.php?topic=radio-kal)
If you are a Superman geek like me, you got to listen to this podcast. It is only monthly so it will not add to your otherwise busy podcasting listening schedule. The "radio" show runs concurrent with a serialized Superman radio drama as well, so you can get your Superman news along with an actual dose of the Big Guy. Things are heating up with the release of the new Superman film in 2006.
You can subscribe to the podcast or download mpg3s at http://www.supermanhomepage.com/multimedia/multimedia.php?topic=radio-kal
Whoosh Cited in Afterellen.com
Whoosh had two articles cited in an article in Afterellen.com this week. Check them out. The Afterellen.com article is called "Fanfiction Comes Out of the Closet" (http://www.afterellen.com/Print/2006/1/fanfiction.html).
The Whoosh articles cited are:
Lunacy, "The History Of Xena Fan Fiction On The Net", Whoosh #25 (October 1998)
Bongo Bear, "Don't Mind the Ladies: Lesbian Fanfic as an Old-Fashioned Romance", Whoosh #48 (2000)
October 1, 2005
The Long Dark Summer
by Kym Taborn
The past six months have been the greatest challenge of my life. I lost my future and my present in what seemed a blink of an eye and now, six months later, I am still trying to make sense of things and every day is a new exercise in a desperate attempt to figure out how to merely cope. One moment I was on a path, had a sense of security, and was entrenched in the comforting illusion that we do have a modicum of control in this world. Then the next moment I had the chaotic and uncertain reality of life clearly and unambiguously demonstrated in front of me.
I had been a friend of Wes' way before we even starting dating. I had been attracted to him from the first day I met him. He was such an uplifting person. Almost anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him, is usually attracted to him because of his affability and how comfortable it felt just to be around him. He had a wonderful inclusive nature and an even more wonderful and inviting laugh. He had an uncanny knack in knowing what to say and when to say it so others would feel comfortable and safe. He could strike up a conversation with anyone and engage them immediately. I have never met anyone quite like him, and I suspect I never will again. Even before we dated, I considered Wes one of my best and dearest friends. When we decided to change the nature of our friendship, it felt good and it turned out to be a wonderful basis for our marriage. Of course, we had our ups and downs, as all committed couples do, but as time went on, we discovered new things about each other and it felt like all the previous wounds had healed and we had survived the tests. We married, Ira came along, we began our careers, and before I knew it, we had celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary and our son's 17th birthday.
At the beginning of this year, Wes and I found some time to hang out more than usual with each other and chat. We shared our thoughts on raising a child and how proud we were of how Ira was turning out. We shared our concerns that Ira would be able to develop his inherent skills and spiritual attributes and whether we were up to the challenge to assist our son as he entered adulthood. We also talked about how our lives had not quite turned out how we had anticipated or even desired, but we were both very happy that we had found each other and had had the opportunity to share so much. We both felt blessed and very grateful. And we also looked forward to Wes getting his CPA, taking an early retirement, and starting his own business. After those conversations I had felt that a new phase in my life had begun. My life wasn’t perfect, but I knew I was the most content I had ever been in my life. I could have never imagined this life I was leading when I was younger, but I was with someone who gave me unconditional love, support, and counsel, with whom I was able to reciprocate the same. In hindsight, I realize now that my memories of that time will probably be my most valuable possession. And, sadly, as the nature of all possessions, it was destined to go away.
Wes had had a hernia in the past and he suspected he had another one in mid-February 2005. Earlier, he had an operation to fix the hernia and then was fine. So, he went to the doctor and she scheduled surgery for him. He went to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound before the surgery. The surgeon suspected that it was not a hernia, but suggested that the operation go ahead so he could take a look. The operation was in early March. After the surgery, Wes developed an infection. The doctor said not to worry because it was a common thing after that type of surgery. About a week or so later, the biopsy came back with the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease. We were optimistic because Wes had beaten non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 15 years previous.
Meanwhile, the infection was not going away. Wes went to the doctor again and the doctor told him to wait a little bit longer. He was sure the infection would go away on its own. Another week goes by and Wes’ leg is still swollen. I take him to the hospital. They keep him to put him on I.V. antibiotics. That was Sunday. March 27th. I talked to a doctor who said that he expected Wes to be home by Wednesday. They wanted him then to start chemotherapy as an outpatient once the infection had gone down. By Wednesday, the infection was moving into his other leg. The doctors decided that Wes would stay in the hospital over the weekend and would start chemotherapy Friday morning.
All during March, I was Acting Manager at my office. I had to go into my office every weekday and spend the whole day there (I usually worked at home). While Wes was in the hospital I got into a habit of dropping Ira off at school, driving to work, calling Wes when I got into the office, calling him a few more times during the day, and then have Wes’ sister pick up Ira while I would go straight to the hospital and have dinner with Wes and spend a few hours with him in the evening. By Thursday we had decided to bring Ira to see Wes on Saturday to give Wes a day to rest after the initial chemo started. Ira had not seen his father since Sunday, March 27th.
On Thursday March 31st, I watched some TV with Wes, ate some of his macaroni and cheese, and we talked quite a bit. We had a lot of time to talk that whole week. I told him that that very day I had received an email at work saying I had been appointed to serve on a national committee. Wes was very enthusiastic and gave me lots of support in my job. He was very happy for my recent successes at work. I had a tendency to worry about whether I had made the right career choices and often had doubts about my skills but Wes would always build up my self-esteem and make the more scary stuff in life seem a lot less scary. We discussed some problems Ira was having at school and Wes told me not to worry and that things would work out. Turns out, Wes' only worry about Ira was whether Ira would be given enough love and support to become secure in his knowledge of all the great and wonderful things about him and how he’d be successful in anything he’d attempt if he only was not so hard on himself. It was my mother’s birthday so Wes called her and he laughed a lot and was in good spirits. Friday would be my last day of my acting manager assignment and I told him I would be able to spend more time with him, especially in the next couple of weeks. We said a prayer together and I kissed him goodbye and then I left the hospital.
When I got home, I did some chores and every night before going to bed, I would call Wes and say goodnight. That night I called and his phone was busy. I tried several more times and then gave up because I had to get up early and was already barely operating due to lack of sleep. I knew I would talk to him in the morning. I later found out who he was talking to. He was talking to one of his oldest and dearest friends and they spent about an hour catching up with each other. His friend told me later that he was laughing quite a bit, and he told her how proud he was of Ira, and although he was concerned about the infection and upcoming chemo, he was in good spirits. Wes was usually in good spirits. It was his nature to always see a positive side to almost everything. He has a very positive energy about him. I miss that energy in my life. I miss Wes.
The next morning I left home with Ira in tow. He usually did not go to school on Fridays but he was going on a field trip so I left him at school and drove to work. On the way, the seriousness of the situation hit me hard. I realized with clarity what it would mean if the chemo was not successful. Wes would need lots of support, and I might lose him. I started crying and couldn’t stop. But eventually I got to work and before I was able to phone Wes I noticed that I had a phone message waiting for me. I took the message and it was the hospital. I called and a nurse informed me that Wes had been found dead in his room at 6:30am. It had happened right after I had dropped off Ira and was heading to work. A kind person drove me to the hospital to see Wes. I said prayers over his body. The world stopped for me.
Wes had gotten up to go to the bathroom. By the time he got into the bathroom, he had died. He had a massive pulmonary embolism. He died not because of the cancer, not because of the infection, but most likely from the inactivity of being in a hospital bed for four days. The worst that I had thought of happening was that the chemo would not be effective and that we’d have a few months to a few years of fighting the cancer. It never occurred to me that he could be gone less than eight hours from seeing him last. I felt severe sadness in that I did not stay up and call him before going to bed. I constantly wonder if I had only called him before going to work, would he not have died? He was gone and I had no clue what was to happen. I had no premonition of it coming. I hadn’t even been able to ponder it even from a hypothetical position while I could still be with him or talk with him. He knew I loved him and I know he loved me. We had gotten that out of the way early on, but still, if you think there is even just one iota of a chance that you may not see someone again, there are things you would do, and say, that otherwise would remain undone and unsaid.
It was so fast. It was over before it had even started. Someone who was a bright positive force in my life, who literally daily fed my soul with love, attention, and companionship was gone. No more love, no more attention, and no more companionship. And even more painful, I now had no one to feed with love, give attention and companionship to. I had no one to share my little achievements at work with or even about the website. True, Ira was there and he has literally kept me going countless times over, but I had lost my mate. No one can replace a mate. I was adrift and found myself in an emotional void. I do not have the words to describe how I felt and even how I feel now, so I will not even try. Suffice it to say, I was devastated.
It has taken me 6 months just to be able to write this. I still have a very long way to go. I have discovered that I really need a creative outlet to get through this stage in my life. I am most thankful and grateful that I have this goofy website to occupy my time; hopefully, for the rest of my life. If you have made it through this discourse this far, I salute you and thank you for indulging me. I am daily trying to make sense of everything and trying to put whatever pieces of my life back together I can salvage. I am so bewildered and confused and broken and tired and scared, and yet, Wes gave me so much love that I am still living off the fumes. I lost my best friend, my lover, the father of my child, the person whom I went to for advice that I could trust and respect, the person who gave the best massages and hugs, and the person who always had time for me, and listened to me no matter how goofy or silly or paranoid I became. I miss him so much.
Wesley Taborn (1953-2005)
Taken March 21, 2005 in Filmore, CA