Whoosh! Issue 36 - September 1999
Editor's Page

From the Editor-in-Chief: TOO MANY ANNIVERSARIES!

From the Editor-in-Chief: TOO MANY ANNIVERSARIES!

I feel as old as dirt. WHOOSH is coming up to its 3rd anniversary on September 17, 1999. Me and many other people have been through this monthly cycle over 35 times. Its an always changing temporal loop; things are different but still the same. Many people, including I, on this three year sojourn, have gone from orgiastic enthusiasm to burn out induced ennui deeper than a fossilized tree trunk in Arizona. Yet, we seem to bounce back enough to churn out that next issue.

WHOOSH would be no where without the support and enthusiasm of XENA fandom. The soul of WHOOSH is the monthly journal. Fans of all ilks generously devote tremendous hours of hard work so that the readers of WHOOSH get that non-fiction XENA fix that they crave and desire. They write their hearts out for no recompense, no reward, and little notoriety. All they get is a by-line and a thank you from me. That's really it. Yet they continue to contribute. XENA fandom is a smart and articulate fandom. Not only have we bred thinkers who share their thoughts, but we have arisen as a fandom which sponsors, supports, and ravenously devours fan non-fiction. No other fandom does this as rabidly as XENA fandom. We are the trailblazers. We are a fandom as post-modern as the show itself we adore and admire.

But having people donate their time and energy to contribute articles is one thing. It's another to take a the precious item of hard work of a XENA fan and then slap it onto a website. WHOOSH may not be that difficult to get published in, and we are not as strict editorially as some other journals, but we do try to work which each and every author to help them polish their work. That is where our volunteer editors come in. We have had some excellent editors on staff. Currently our stable of regular editing staff consists of Darise Error, Cynthia Ward Cooper, and Bongo Bear. Darise Error (all hail Darise!) has poured over the articles with a care and attention that amazes me. She oftens spends more time on an article than I am able. WHOOSH would be lost without Darise. She lends her talents and excellent abilities to WHOOSH each month with nary a complaint. Her loyalty and dedication is inspirational and her dependability has saved my hinder countless times. Cynthia Ward Cooper, not only running the FAQ area of WHOOSH, also pinch hits as an editor. Her skills are legend. She can take a rough draft and turn it into a masterpiece. She is a consummate editor. I tend to send her the more problematic articles because she's so good at focusing on the best the paper could offer. She's not afraid to cut, rewrite, or suggest. Bongo Bear, who is our only bear on staff, demonstrates that opposable thumbs are not necessary for editing purposes. Bongo has not only a keen intellect but also possesses a sixth sense about the written word and how those written words can best be used for the successful transfer of what the author wishes to convey. Her intuitive grasp of logic and rhetoric has enhanced all of the papers she has worked on. Her ability to always keep the big picture in focus while separating the wheat from the chafe consistently impresses me. I wish I personally had the skills that those three editors bring to WHOOSH. With these three helping with the editing process, I am confident that WHOOSH presents our volunteer papers in the best light we can offer.

After the editing process has produced a usable draft, I then usually send it back to good ol' dependable Darise, who then formats the text for eventual HTML coding. From there, Darise sends it to Beth Gaynor, another person whom has been with WHOOSH for so long and has never complained, that I sometimes suspect she might be mildly brain damaged. Beth does the dirty work of coding. It's an ugly job, and we can send her the most ugly jobs. But she does them in a very professional manner. Technically, she's Betsy assistant. Betsy Book, is the webmaster and a co-founder of WHOOSH. Back in May 1996 Betsy and I met on line and when I came up with the WHOOSH idea, Betsy said "I got the webspace, I can code it". I knew a good deal when I saw it, so Betsy took over the technical aspects and I took over the content and a match was made in heaven. Betsy designed both of the "looks" of WHOOSH. She still threatens a new make-over, but I am begging her not to. Just thinking about it gives me a headache. After Betsy commenced her new career in cyberspace startups, she sweet talked Beth Gaynor into joining our staff and doing the dirtiest most tedious job we have here...the coding. Beth has done a great job and has innovated many of the ways we do our coding. She also writes reviews for the episode guide and helps with graphics and alt tagging. She's a true Rennaisance chick here at WHOOSH.

Once coded, then the article goes to Bret Ryan Rudnick, WHOOSH's international jet-setting playboy interviewer. He is the primary graphics editor (Beth and I pinch hit when we need too). He chooses the graphic, writes the caption, and then usually does the alt tags (Marian Samuels, Beth Gaynor, and I take up the slack). The alt tags are my personal favorite part of WHOOSH. In HTML coding, there is an alt command which allows the coder to add text to a graphic which appears in some browsers when the mouse travels across the graphic area. Instead of identifying the graphic, as it is traditionally used, we have used it offer an alternative caption which we try to make either sarcastic, humorous, or observational. We have been adding alt tags to all graphics in the articles for years now (we were doing it before VH-1's Pop-UP Videos, BTW!).

Once the article has been processed it is then posted and waits eagerly for the next issue. But again, whereas the journal is WHOOSH's soul, the rest of the website is its body and heart. The most impressive part of the website is the episode guide which is only possible because of the support of over 50 volunteers and correspondents who make sure that synopses, commentaries, reviews, news, transcripts, and observations about the show are made available for free to any and all who visit the site. We also have the FAQ which is a concise encyclopedia on all things XENA ran by Cynthia Ward Cooper and Debbie Cassetta. We have a convention reports section which captures the living history being made at the convention, fests, and gatherings across the world. We have a chat area which is hosted by Betsy Book which has kept us on the forefront of building cyber communities. We have the best darn gossip columnist in the world with Laura Sue Dean's News Gossip Rumors. She's not quite having the same problems as Robert Downey Jr., but we do try to get her dispatches when she can smuggle them out of the Betty Ford Center.

I still cannot believe we have been churning out WHOOSH for three years. One a side note, I am ending my temporary work assignment in Dallas, Texas. Strangely enough, all three of my editing staff all live in or near Dallas. For the past six months I have been given the opportunity to get to know them, and other Xenites in the Dallas area, personally as friends. My involvement in XENA fandom and WHOOSH has allowed me oportunities to meet so many wonderful people, and have been the means for me to befriend these specific people. I feel personally enriched and grateful to the makers of XWP who were the direct cause of me discovering these wonderful people. Of course, I appreciate my employers for tossing me into Texas, but had it not been for XWP, then my stay in Texas would have been a very lonely one indeed.

Kym Masera Taborn
Executive Committee
Dallas, Texas
August 29, 1999


At one time or another, we all have made decisions or have been influenced by commentary from professional critics in regard to their assessment of a new film or television show. Even if all we discover in the musings of those critics is a little factoid such as who stars, writes, directs, or otherwise has doings in the venture, that alone can influence us to be more or less likely to see a new or pending production.

Once we are beyond facts (e.g., So-and-so stars in Such-and-such) and into the realm of speculation or opinion (e.g., So-and-so's performance in Such-and-such reeked) we can wade quickly into judgemental waters and find ourselves up to our metaphorical necks in no time.

Sure, we all have expectations. We sometimes like to speculate, anticipate, or otherwise muse over something soon to be coming our way. Some of us use this as an opportunity to learn. Some vent.

How will the new season of XENA stack up? How will HERC end? What about the new shows CLEOPATRA 2525 and JACK OF ALL TRADES? Will a pregnancy worked into a season be a help or a hindrance? Will the last few eps of HERC be like the "old days"? Can Gina Torres, Vicky Pratt, and Jennifer Sky consistently handle lead roles in a TV series? Can a lighthearted JACK be sustained in a period setting?

We'll just have to wait to see.

But in the end, the final arbiter is... you!

No matter what someone says about a show, no matter who likes or dislikes a character, storyline, comedy, or drama, regardless of what a synopsis or TV GUIDE description claims an episode is about, it's you who decides what it means and whether or not you like it.

And in the month of September, when new shows appear, recurring shows broadcast first-run episodes, old shows die for good, some old faves are replayed, and new things on the horizon tease us, remember that there is one show more important than any other. You star in it. You direct it. You produce, write, edit, costume, and design it. When you think about it, it's *those* ratings that count more than any other.

Bret Rudnick
Graphics Editor
Executive Committee
Boston, Massachusetts
24 August 1999

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