From the Editor-in-Chief:
To Helicon and Back
From the Graphics Editor:
The Night Of The Revisited Requiem
From the Editor-in-Chief:
TO HELICON AND BACK
The past few weeks have seen this website weather some bad news and part company with many old friends due to an externally forced reorganization of Whoosh. At the beginning of January, I went on a business trip and decided to take a break from checking my e-mail for a few days. A few days... what could possibly happen in a few days? As I found out rather to my surprise, quite a bit. I was not going to check my e-mail until I returned home late on January 8th but I decided to take a peek the evening of the 7th. I read an amazing notice from Yahoo Webservices dated January 6th. It stated that Yahoo was going to limit my site to 100 megs on January 9th and start charging me $5 per 50 megs of additional space. This was the first I had heard of any of this. Since Whoosh at that time was taking up a little over 700 megs, that added up to a 300% increase in what I had been paying to host the site. I completely understand their right to set whatever prices they want, but three days notice is petty and unreasonable. In contrast, I received notice this week from America On-Line of a 50% cost increase, but the cost increase takes affect in March! That is what I call more than fair enough notice. Yahoo on the other hand did something that caused undue stress and was not kind at all. Three days notice. As chance unfolded, I first read the notice less than 48 hours before the new rules were to take effect. I had to make some tough decisions and I was under the wire. It did not help that I was in the process of a job change and some other pressing personal matters. My attentions were more concerned with my day job and home life than a hobby.
I looked over my options and decided the best plan would be to produce Whoosh Lite. I would have to reduce the site to under 100 megs. I wrote to Yahoo and asked them for at least until the weekend for me to reduce my site (I heard back from them a week later and it turned out their own incompetency allowed me to go uncharged for 4 days of being over the limit). I had time over the weekend to only do one of two things: rework the site or look for a new home. From the 8th to 11th I did cursory searches for a new server and nothing jumped out that would meet my needs. I knew I needed more time to find a new home. So, with a heavy heart, I went with the plan to reduce the site over the weekend. Reduce I did. It felt like I was amputating my own appendages. It was tough. It was not pleasant. I could think of a billion other things I'd prefer to be doing that weekend. I had to decide what was to stay and what was to be removed. Luckily, by removing the graphics of about 25 issues and all the multimedia files, we were able to keep all of the back issues of the journal on-line. By removing the multimedia in the episode guide, we were able to keep that intact as well. However, sadly, we were not able to continue hosting Katrina's fan fiction site, the Meow Mix Xena Night site, and the Warrior Palace site. Whoosh features such as On the Road (convention reports) and Uber uber Alles (Fan fiction index) have been temporarily removed. They will return, but I am not sure when. I am exploring options such as having them reside off-site for a while until I can find a new home for Whoosh!.
I want to give out special thanks to Katrina Blau and Lydia Woods who went out of their way to assist me. I would not have been able to save as much of the website as I did without their aid and assistance. And speaking of thanks, while this scramble and controlled chaos was happening, I received many supportive e-mails from people who offered suggestions for new servers or support for keeping the site maintained. It was wonderful to hear from so many people during that stressful time. I was quite overwhelmed by the response and I intend to answer all e-mails sent to me in January, however it may take a while because of the sheer numbers. I am going to try some new ways of running the website over the next year. I will see what works and does not work. Although I literally gutted 85% of the site, we only had a 10% drop in visitors, and in the following weeks, our traffic actually grew. I was expecting at least a 50% drop and was shocked that even when our site is down to its bare bones essence, we still have a loyal audience. This has renewed my energy with Whoosh and has inspired me to try to keep it going as long as I can. As long as people submit articles to publish, we will continue the monthly journal. As long as people send their summaries and commentaries to the episode guide, we will continue on updating it.
While all this website peril was happening, an esteemed member of Whoosh's staff found herself saying good-bye. Betsy Book was an integral part of Whoosh since its beginning. She designed the site, help set up its procedures and practices, helped form the philosophy behind Whoosh, contributed many innovations, was an excellent sounding board and advisor for me, and was one of the best goodwill ambassadors Whoosh has ever had. But now Betsy feels she is ready to move on and I do not blame her. It has been a wild five plus years. Five years is a long time to devote to any voluntary endeavor. She will still run the Warrior Palace and graciously has moved the Palace website (allowing the journal to stay on-line intact) to another address: http://www.warriorpalace.com. I will miss working with Betsy on Whoosh but I also wish her well and great success on her other projects.
I also received lots of support from the volunteer staff members of the Whoosh journal. I have to take this moment to laud and praise these people who give a lot and get no financial reward from their hard work. It takes a lot to churn out over 65 monthly issues about something as wild and wacky as Xena. The fact that the object of our affections died eight months ago does not seem to matter either. Bret Rudnick and Cynthia Cooper, executive committee members, have been the Rock of Gibraltar for me. They deliver each month and complain very rarely, and when they do, I listen because I know that it is something that needs attending to. Their duties include actual grunt work (Bret for the most part does the editorial, graphics, and alt-tagging, while Cynthia for the most part does the coding; they have both filled in countless times on odd jobs usually at a moment's notice) and in helping me decide where to take the site, editorial policies, and the big question of "Why we are here". Bongo Bear has joined our policy pow-wows since Betsy Book's departure, along with continuing with her regular duties as Executive Editor by helping me with the final edits of the papers submitted for publication. The dedication of the regular staff of assistant editors consistently amazes me. Anita Firebaugh, Missy Ragona, Lydia Woods, Bonnie Tryonoviech, and Lyris work very hard to make sure that the papers submitted are readable and enjoyable. All these people donate their precious time so that others may enjoy the fruit of their fellow fans' creativity. Whenever I work on Whoosh, I am reminded of the basic kindness and charity that is found in fandom.
Kym, Betsy, and Cynthia during the good old days
(Bret was lifting large things off-camera)
Kym Masera Taborn
January 30, 2002
From the Graphics Editor:
THE NIGHT OF THE REVISITED REQUIEM
It's been the better part of a year now since Xena ended production. Many former PacRen [Pacific Renaissance] people are still looking for work (some are surviving off stuff sold on eBay). Others have moved on. Many of the public locations look the same as always, but the location ranch has had all but one of the major sets demolished. The old office buildings are virtually empty, save for some computer work still taking place on unrelated projects.
Some of the bigger names from Xena are still around and finding work. Lucy Lawless and Danielle Cormack began rehearsal last week for an Auckland production of The Vagina Monologues to be performed in February 2002. Kevin Smith has some acting roles, most notably in an upcoming big-time action/adventure film. Michael Hurst continues his reputation as New Zealand's premier theatrical personage. Joel Tobeck has continued his work for local commercials and other venues, and his band has a new CD coming out in April.
Production people haven't been as fortunate and many continue to still look for work. With the end of Xena and Lord Of The Rings, there is a dearth of such work in the country these days. Several have left the business altogether for more conventional employment. Some have left the country to seek opportunity abroad.
Perhaps one of the sadder consequences of 11 September 20001 has been the decline of tourism here. The American Express office that I've used to change my traveler's cheques since 1998 closed this month citing lack of business traffic. It's expected to pick up when America's Cup trials resume, but there is plenty of good hotel space still available.
Even as I myself feel a twinge of sadness, I can't find that in any of my friends and acquaintances here. Many waxed nostalgic when speaking of past Xena and Herc and Cleo and Jack experiences, but all were optimistic and looking to the future. Perhaps that's one reason that I like to still come to Auckland, that sense of cautious optimism in a beautiful land filled with wonderful people.
That, and it's always nice when people are happy to see you.
Whoosh! Executive Committee
Auckland, New Zealand
27 January 2002