MY ADVENTURES IN XENA FANDOM
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
The Birth of Sal_Fan (01-02)
The Benefits of Fandom (03-05)
Appendix: Pittsburgh Xenafest Three (06-14)
Appendix: A Rather Wonderful OT Post (14-30)
Salmoneus needs convincing that Gabrielle is a capable substitute for Xena in THE GREATER GOOD.
The Birth of Sal_Fan
 I first became involved in XENA fandom in the spring of 1995, when I saw Lucy Lawless premier as Xena in "The Warrior Princess" (H09/109). I decided to try the series when it premiered in the fall of that year. At first, I thought the show was a bit silly, and did not expect it to be renewed beyond midseason. Please do not throw things at me, I have subsequently repented. However, the show grew on me, and I became involved in online fandom in the spring of 1996. I chose the nickname "SAL_FAN" because I liked the character Salmoneus.
 I guess most fellow fans who know me have met me at one of the many XENA Conventions or Fests I have attended, and there have been quite a few.
The Benefits of Fandom
 The best benefit of my XENA fandom participation, although an indirect one, was reacquainting myself with an old college friend. We decided to meet each other in New York City during the February 1999 NYC XENA Convention. Two weeks later we became engaged, and six and a half months later we were married. I have appended to the end of this article a post that I made in April 1999 that concerns this experience.
 I have contributed two articles to WHOOSH. The first was entitled, "Salmoneus' Role in Xena's Redemption". The second was "Dear Salmoneus: The World's First Guide to Love and Money-- A Nonbiased* Review".
 The amount of time I have spent online since my engagement and subsequent marriage has substantially diminished, but I still consider myself a Hardcore Nutball to the end and continue to contribute to fandom in my own unique way.
Appendix: Pittsburgh Xenafest Three
 Greetings, fellow Hardcore Nutballs. Here follows my brief take on the Third Annual Pittsburgh Xenafest. Please forgive any inaccuracies or omissions, and feel free to forward this report to other lists/folks. And could someone please forward this to the Sal list. I don't have the address handy.
 I arrived at the Greentree Marriott on Friday morning, April 16th. I met up with CarlD and Donna and her "goddaughter", Susannah, then eventually met up with the other committee members: Patti, Matt, Ed, Cheryl, and Christine. I hope I didn't leave out anybody
. The one and only Bret Rudnick was also there. We had a bite to eat, made some last-minute fest plans, and got a preview of the really neat logo for this year's t-shirts. Thanks again to Cheryl for the terrific design. Ann wasn't scheduled to arrive with the t-shirts until the next day, but when she arrived, the shirts were awesome!
 The next morning, we set the fest room up while watching "Funny Business" and listening to various Xena audios. The fest was larger this year, with approximately 30 or so people in attendance.
 Joan and Patti reprised the Chakram-throwing contest, followed by a terrific video trivia Contest. We then had another trivial contest: "Pin the Scar on the Warlord", where we had to locate the injuries that Xena had received, and in what episodes. I think we arrived at 57!
 Bret finished the morning session with a review of his trips to New Zealand. He did a TERRIFIC job.
 After lunch, the one and only Tom Atkins made his first Xenaversian appearance.
 I'm sure you remember that Mr. Atkins was the man who played Atrius/Xena's "father" in the episode "Ties That Bind". He provided us with a two-hour in-depth analysis of the episode, followed by pictures with the group and autograph signing. If you guys promise to keep it a secret, I'll let you know that we have a limited number of autographs available for future fests and auctions
 The fest was wrapped up with a charity auction and raffle, which netted $1397 for the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Aren't Xenites the most generous of people?!
 I would like to thank all of the Committee members-- Patti, Joan, Matt, Ed, Ann, Cheryl, Christine, and Donna-- from the bottom of my heart for an A-1 job, as well as everyone who attended the fest for their kindness, fellowship and generosity.
Appendix: A Rather Wonderful OT Post
 What follows now is off-topic, but some of you might find it interesting reading nevertheless. If not, I apologize for the use of bandwidth.
 In a nutshell, I'm getting married!
. Here are the details, for those of you inclined to read on.
 I met the love of my life, Tracey, a mere nineteen years ago, at Cornell University, where we attended college. I immediately liked her, and we became good friends. However, back then, I was too shy to ask her out. Rather, I had an enormous crush on her, and held her up on a pedestal.
 After college, we went our separate ways, each of us eventually marrying other people. Unfortunately, I married the wrong person, against my better judgment, and ended up leaving my ex-wife in the spring of 1985, two and a half years after we married. The divorce was quite bitter, and during a particularly low time in my life, in the fall of 1986, I needed someone to talk to. Of course, that person was Tracey. By then, Tracey was happily married and had recently become pregnant. Tracey and her then-husband invited me up to their condominium for a New Year's Eve party. We had a great time, and it was really good to renew my friendship with Tracey.
 Tracey and I kept in touch irregularly thereafter, usually just exchanging Christmas cards every year. In the early '90's, however, I stopped receiving Christmas cards from Tracey for a few years. Then, in the winter of '96-'97, Tracey wrote me, with the sad news that she had gone through a divorce and was just starting to get her life back in order. I was very saddened to read this and therefore called her, to express my empathy and to let her know I was there for her. The really sad part was that of all of Tracey's friends and family, I was one of only two people who actually called her about the break-up of her marriage.
 We maintained irregular correspondence afterwards. By the end of 1998, however, Tracey had decided to keep in better contact with friends and family. She knew that I had E-mail, so we began keeping in touch regularly (finally!
) via E-mail.
 As destiny would have it, we were able to finally meet again (after twelve years of not seeing each other) on February 27th, during the NYC XenaCon. Although Tracey is familiar with the shows, having watched Hercules and Xena irregularly, she is not a HardCore Nutball. She did respect this nutball's obsession with the shows, however
 But I'm getting ahead of myself here. After the events of Saturday's Con, I met up with Tracey at the New Yorker Hotel. Although we were both a bit nervous for the first minute or two, we almost immediately felt very comfortable together, almost as if we had just seen each other yesterday. We went out to dinner, and had a great time. Afterwards, we walked around midtown Manhattan. When we arrived at Rockefeller Center, we came across a couple of horse and buggies, so we decided to go for a ride. Mind you, this was all very platonic so far. After the horse and buggy ride, we walked back to the hotel. We just so happened to pass by a flower shop (Coincidence? I think not-- I had passed by the same flower shop that morning on my way to getting something to eat
), so I bought Tracey a red rose.
 When we got back to the hotel, we talked some more, then turned in for the night. I had rented a suite for the night, so Tracey slept in the bedroom and I slept in the living room, on a pullout sofa.
 I had a restless three or four hours' sleep, having been so happy to finally see Tracey again. After four o'clock or so, I stared at the ceiling until 7 AM, at which time I gently knocked on the bedroom door. Fortunately, Tracey was awake, and we talked some more. But first, I had the great pleasure of being able to use the restroom, which was adjacent to the bedroom
 We went outside to Rockefeller Plaza, where the Today Show was filming. We then proceeded to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Let me interject here with the following info. Tracey had, over the previous months, compiled in her journal a list of qualities she desired in a potential soulmate/spouse. She subsequently told me that it hit her in church, "like a ton of bricks," that the man she sought after was me! What made her realize this was a small incident during the church service. Tracey had taken her coat off and placed it on the pew. It started to slip. So, I picked up her coat, folded it, and gently placed it on my coat to prevent it from falling onto the floor.
 Anyway, after church, we walked back to the hotel, and I saw Tracey off. Although at this time, I wasn't sure how Tracey felt about me, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Tracey was the other half of my soul. We have since then remained in touch every day.
 Determined not to lose Tracey again, I told her how I felt. It took Tracey about a week to admit her true feelings to me. But when she did tell me she loved me too, it started the happiest chapter of my life. I have never felt so full of joy and peace and have never been so sure of the rightness of our future together. If someone had come up to me in mid-February and said that I would be engaged by March 14th, I would have laughed in his face, having resolved to living out the rest of my life as a bachelor. But rediscovering Tracey has filled a void in my life. Indeed, she is the other half of my soul.
Anyway, I've gone on far too long. For those of you still reading, the wedding is scheduled for October 10th  of this year, at Cornell University, where we first met, and where we will pledge to spend the rest of our lives together. I truly am the most fortunate, blessed man on this Earth.
 Battle on, Xenites!
 PS. Tracey, the flowers will continue forever. I love you.
Sal_Fan, "Dear Salmoneus: The World's First Guide To Love And Money: A Non-Biased Review" WHOOSH #44 (May 2000)
Sal_Fan, "Salmoneus' Role in Xena's Redemption" WHOOSH #16 (January 1998)
[with Robert "Salmoneous" Trebor]
Greetings, fellow Xenites. Sal_Fan lives in central CT, happily married and employed. In addition to watching Hercules and Xena, I also enjoy reading, playing with my cat, and SCUBA- diving.
Favorite episode:THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
Favorite line:Salmoneus: "Those boots...that leather...those legs...Xena!" THE BLACK WOLF (11/111)
First episode seen:THE WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)
I WAS A CLOSET XENA WATCHER BUT
I RAN OUT OF ROOM IN THE CLOSET
By Phyllis Schudde
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
I am a Closet XENA Watcher (01-04)
How Have Things Changed? (05-10)
It Is Good to be Boss!
I am a Merpup! (13-16)
Getting along 'sort of' in A DAY IN THE LIFE.
I Am A Closet XENA Watcher
 "Hi, my name is Phyllis and I am a closet Xena watcher." That is the way it was back in Issue 14 (November 97, http://whoosh.org/issue14). Now, I have been asked how things have changed in the three years since then.
 Let us see. I sit here at my desk in my computer room, which my friends and family all refer to as the Warrior's Lair, and contemplate that very notion. The first thought that comes to mind is the word obsessive. I hear it enough from my friends. Obsessive? Me? Nah.
 Leaning back in my chair, I absentmindedly pick up my micro- gabwhacker pencil which was lying on my Callisto mouse pad, and tap it on my chin. My "Best of Gabrielle" slideshow screensaver pops on as my mind begins to wander. My eyes roam the room. I take in the autographed Lucy Lawless/Renee O'Connor pictures on the wall. I stop to notice how the sunlight streams in the window and catches on the shell insets of my "honest to goodness, genuine, made by New Zealand (NZ) craftsmen/prop masters and licensed to Creation" replica chakram. It hangs above my "honest to goodness, genuine, fully licensed, in a real leather scabbard" replica sword. That, in turn, hangs next to my "honest to goodness, genuine, made by NZ craftsmen/prop masters, and licensed to Creation" replica Amazon staff display. Not to be confused with my "honest to goodness, these are real metal but they aren't made by NZ craftsmen/prop masters or officially licensed through Creation because I ran out of money" Sais display.
 Obsessed? Okay. I will concede obsession.
How Have Things Changed?
 Directly attributed to the posting of the article, I got 37 pieces of positive feedback, which contained 2 marriage proposals and 38 offers to help me find a qualified therapist (one person offered twice). I only got 1 negative response (gee thanks, Dad), which also included an offer to find me a qualified therapist.
 The goldfish has since gone to fishy Elysia and the dog started therapy but then quit to do the talk show circuit promoting the tell-all book she wrote, "Delusional Owners, and Dogs Who Love Them".
 I have since stopped closeting my fascination with the show. I had to get "out of the closet". I needed room for all my stuff! My Xenabilia collection is massive. Besides the weapons, all the action figures, magazines, books, games, pins, buttons, CDs, t-shirts and other stuff, I have a ton of autographed pictures. I believe I am personally responsible for financing an addition onto one autograph dealer's house.
I am fully "out" at work. I think the "WARRIOR" license plate on my car may have given them a clue. Or maybe it was the sword and quill tattoo. Oh sure, they made fun of me for a while, but after I put on an impromptu staff demonstration using a discarded broom handle, the laughing stopped.
 I still find myself quoting Xena but instead of blank stares, my co- workers just look at me, shake their heads and say "Xena, right?" Yes, I have perfected the "look" to the point where no one is asking, "hey, you got something wrong with your eye, or what?"
 It has even gotten to where they all know that when I close the store on Saturday nights, I am not to be disturbed between 8pm and 9pm (XENA-time). I can turn (okay, okay, I have turned) the channels on all 23 of the demo models of TVs in our Electronics Department at XENA-time to spread the message. Mass media, gotta love it.
It Is Good To Be Boss!
 Since the article, I have gotten more involved with the Xenaverse. It is nice to suddenly find out that many, many other people share the same passions. I love the Internet! I am thoroughly hooked on fan fiction. I have written/posted a few pieces of my own, under WarriorNutcase, but have discovered I enjoy reading fan fiction much more than writing it. I have met some terrific people associated with fan fiction and the Xenaverse. The Bards are generous in talent, time, and spirit. Any feedback or question emails I have sent have been answered. One bard has been kind enough to answer extensively, offering writing tips/suggestions, and anecdotes about her own experiences writing fan fiction (Thank you, WordWarior)
 There is one bard in particular I can blame, errr, credit with my obsession with fan fiction: Missy Good. I had the great fortune of finding her stories early on in my forays into the Xenaverse. I was thoroughly hooked from the first chapter. When she answered my email, I was a fan for life.
I Am A Merpup!
 Yes, I am one of the many who rabidly (no pun intended) follow the writing of Merwolf (aka Missy Good), bard/storyteller extraordinaire, and truly wonderful person. I finally went to my first convention last year and met other Pups (fans of Missy Good, short for "merpups"), Bards, and Xenites. I have never belonged to a group, associated with fandom or not, that is more giving and friendly than the Pups (which, I think, reflects from the positive personality of Missy Good, herself). Through the Pups, I have made some wonderful friendships that will last long beyond the run of the show. Believe me, more fun is had at the Pup generated events than actual convention events.
 I attended my second convention this year and got a little more involved with the Pup events. It just reinforced my belief in the Pupdom and Xenaverse as a whole. The Pups managed to raise a few thousand dollars for charity by holding a raffle/auction event at their dinner. Although everyone attending "didn't win", everybody "won". The charity got a terrific donation, the winners got some great stuff, and all who attended had a great time. I cannot wait until Pasadena!
 I still believe that the Xenaverse is a wonderful place. It does have its share of difficulties and good and bad times. It has to hold many different personalities and opinions. Although fights and factions may break out occasionally between inhabitants or groups, we can still manage to hold together based upon our love for the show. That to me is truly extraordinary. The Xenaverse has entertained me, enlightened me, empowered me, and enriched me and I will be forever grateful.
 Congratulations to everyone at WHOOSH for 50 incredibly informative and entertaining issues. I am glad I could be a small part of something so outstanding. Thank you.
Phyllis Schudde, "I Am a Closet Xena Watcher" WHOOSH #14 (November 1997)
Home? 3bdrm/2bth, wood frame house in Florida, shared with 2 dogs and a rabbit.
Born? Yep, sure was, in Amityville in 1961, however I am not 39. I am 21 with 18 years experience.
College? Graduated with a degree in Marketing from the University of West Florida whose teams are called the ARGOs. (Is that ironic or what?)
Employment? I still work in Florida, wasting my degree by still slaving away, working for a major retail chain as a Store Manager. It does provide the dinars to pay the bills and it does allow me to buy some cool toys and feed my obsession. However, if anyone out there needs a trained retail specialist/manager with delusions of computer geekdom, a good weapons collection and an extremely warped sense of humor, call me. Have staff, will travel.
When paroled from work, I spend my time making staffs, reading (and sometimes writing) fan fiction, and cruising eBay in search of the ultimate Xena collectible.
Favorite episode:Tough one. A DAY IN THE LIFE (for sure), ONE AGAINST AN ARMY, THE BITTER SUITE, and any Callisto episodes.
Least favorite episode:MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS (whoo boy, I don't think anything can be worse than this one) Most anticipated new episodes: The two penned by Missy Good. Go Alpha!
50TH ISSUE PROJECT
By John Clark Blankenbecklor
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
A Greek coin from Alexander the Great days.
 I want to send my congratulations to all the staff of WHOOSH, and especially to Kym Taborn, on reaching this milestone issue. May the gods not interfere! Also, I want to thank everyone involved in creating XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS for making all of this possible. Thank you!
 The staff at WHOOSH has been gracious enough to publish two articles I produced. The first, "Coinage of Amphipolis", WHOOSH #18 (March 1998), was my first attempt at writing for publication. When it came out, I realized what an amateurish attempt it was. I have some coins from those ancient times and I was delighted to combine my interest in them with my love of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (XWP).
 My latest article, "Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni", came out in WHOOSH #28 (January 1999). I was prompted to study this fiery Queen by the ancient coins depicting her and by the curious perturbations of the historic timeline caused by XWP, i.e., Xena could not have met both Boadicea and Julius Caesar and remained the same age herself. Caesar died on the Ides of March 44 BCE and Boadicea did not ascend to the throne and begin her brief reign of terror until the early 60s CE. For Xena to meet both Julius Caesar and Boadicea she would have had to age over 100 years during the interim between those meetings.
 In studying this fascinating Queen, I found that Boadicea had red hair. The Greek Dio Cassius, writing in the second century AD, described it as a mass of "the tawniest hair" hanging to her waist. She was very tall, "in appearance almost terrifying", and had a fierce expression. This woman's strength, endurance, and conviction has given me a unique admiration for this Queen. Since writing this article, and because of it, I have also developed a fondness for women adorned with a mane of any shade of red.
 Since I became a fan of XWP, part way through the second season, I have had a few changes in my life. I now have a life-size Xena cutout in my computer room along with autographed photos of Lucy Lawless, in character, and Renee O'Connor. Do not forget the XWP lunch box.
 When I heard that Ms. Lawless was playing in GREASE on Broadway, I had the passing thought of going to see the show. I jokingly mentioned it when my wife asked me what I wanted for our anniversary. Surprise! After a three-hour flight, a stretch limousine met us at Kennedy Airport and took us to our hotel on Times Square. The next night, we saw the show and I ended up with a poster of Lucy Lawless in character as Betty Rizzo. During one of the dance numbers Rizzo got into a little competition with one of the others (ChaCha, I think it was.) When they reached a stalemate Rizzo just blew her away with that dazzling and unforgettable war cry. It stopped the show! The cast had to wait out the standing ovation before finishing the number. After the show we waited at the stage door hoping to see Lucy Lawless up close, and maybe get her autograph but her daughter came to town and she and Ms. Lawless left the building by a different route. Other than this, and my affinity to redheads, nothing much has changed in my bio.
 The wide array of articles and authors is part of what makes WHOOSH such a good fanzine, or e-zine, or whatever. The fact that the issues are archived and available is even better. Ever try to get a back issue of "Life" or "Look"? Since it is all on the Internet, I do not have stacks of magazines to paw through while looking for a specific subject. I hope that when XWP goes into syndicated re-runs WHOOSH's membership will grow as people see the show for the first time. Kym, et al, keep it up!
John Clark Blankenbecklor, "Coinage of Amphipolis" WHOOSH #18 (March 1998)
John Clark Blankenbecklor, "Boadicea: Queen of the Iceni" WHOOSH #28 (January 1999)
BiographyJohn Clark Blankenbecklor
Born and raised in Central Florida, I moved to SC at age 17. I've worked as an ambulance driver, EMT, Paramedic, and registered nurse in the ER and the OR. I'm retired now with a medical disability. I've been married 22 years to the same lady. We have two children, a boy 10, and a girl two. We were fortunate enough to see Lucy Lawless in GREASE on Broadway.
Favorite episode: I can't say which episode is my favorite. I like them all. That applies also to my least favorite episode. I just like them all.
Favorite line:There have been so many great lines laid down by the cast that it's hard to say one of them is the best. Autolycus (Bruce Campbell) in THE QUEST (37/213) delivered one that has always stuck with me. Xena's spirit inhabits his body, and they are laying the ground-rules for cohabitation. He says to Xena, "No messing with my limbs or bodily functions unless I say so, got it? ... Nature's calling, how do you want to handle that?"
First episode seen:I think the first episode was RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) early in the second season. Since then, I've caught re-runs of most of the first season's shows. Though I've missed a few, since then I've seen almost all of the shows to date.
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