Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000

WHOOSH Contributors Ponder Fandom
Page 4

Break and Enter: How XENA Came to My Rescue by Dee Simmons
Memories of XENA (A Cartoon Essay) by Suzanne Morine


By Dee Simmons
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
2556 words

A True Tale (01-16)
Possessed by the Passion, the Power, the Danger (17-22)
And Life Got Better! (23-28)
Why I Like Xenites (29-32)


A True Tale

[01] I must say that I was quite pleasantly surprised to hear from TPTB (the powers that be) over at WHOOSH asking former contributors to submit for the Anniversary issue. I was very excited to be a part of the upcoming issue. The question of what XENA means to me, and how XENA is still a part of my life can best be answered by telling you a little about my life during the past year.

[02] Last summer, while I was Graduate Assistant at the university, I had an epiphany (not to be confused with an Ephiny). I was $35,000 in debt, with no income outside of the pittance that the university was paying me, and that barely covered textbooks and tuition. I needed a job.

[03] Most people are intelligent enough to have considered that to be common sense, but after 7 years of university, and 2.5 degrees, to me, this was an epiphany. So began the great Canadian Job Hunt. OK, so really there was no job hunt. A friend said, "Hey, if you are willing to work 200 miles north of nowhere, then I have a job for you!" (In fact, to tell you exactly how far north we are talking, it snowed there on July 15!)

Just can't wait to get on the road again...

Those who say it is a long way to Tipperary, have obviously never worked north of the 58th parallel.
Photo taken March 2000.

[04] In my excitement to have an income, if not a job, I enthusiastically said yes! As long as I have a paycheck and XENA, I can do anything. At this point, though, I was informed that being that far north, one could not get television reception without a $400 satellite dish. Thanks but no thanks, was my response. Debtors' prison is preferable to life without XENA!

[05] So, I purchased a satellite dish. Since I had no money of my own, my friend bought the dish knowing it was the only way to entice me north. I now could watch XENA in no less that 17 time slots a week!

[06] When I moved up north, I took two trunks full of clothing and necessities. The necessities included one trunk full of Xena paraphernalia, and 100 XENA and RenPics related videos.

[07] With this minor dilemma resolved, the next issue for my terms of employment appeared. Not only did I require a satellite system, but I was also unavailable for staff meetings that might arise on Wednesday nights at 7pm, the time slot during which new episodes appeared.

[08] Allow me to assure you, I became the laughing stock of the faculty room, whenever I asserted this stance. Frankly, I think that staff meetings were scheduled during this time slot, simply so that the rest of the staff could have a quick chuckle before I disappeared. But it is okay, I have broad shoulders, and besides, what is a little ridicule from the ignorant masses, where XENA is concerned?

[09] Over time, my roommate began to accept that, even if the same episode was aired during 14 of the 17 time slots, we were still going to see at least 12 of them. And then watch twice more as I copied episodes that my friends had missed. We live 140 miles from the nearest town, and yet, regularly we made the trek so that I might mail my copies off to fellow Xenites.

[10] When the first fan club magazines showed up at the school where I work, again heads shook, and again, I stood with my head held high!

[11] During Christmas break, this past year, I went visiting. So did the students at the school where I teach. While I was away visiting friends and family, my students were busy visiting my house. They broke in and lived in my house for two weeks. When I returned north, late night 27 Dec 99, I discovered the break in, as well as substantial water damage where a water pipe had broken and flooded out the house. The leak originated upstairs, and came through the floor/ceiling.

When fans go wrong.

No key? No problem!

[12] Fortunately, my house "guests" were very considerate of my belongings. They turned off the water, removed my possessions from the flood zone, and continued enjoying their vacation at my expense. My roommate was not so fortunate. My roommate had nothing stolen, but did lose a significant number of items to flood damage.

[13] The students had apparently lived in my room, looked through and taken my possessions, but they had also looked after my things, (in which they had no interest, such as books), during the flood, removing them from the water. My roommate later responded to my pleas for tolerance with our now popular phrase, "No matter how well intentioned the polar bear is, he still is chewing your leg off!" and its variant, "No matter how well-intentioned the students breaking into the house were by salvaging your possessions, they did still walk out of the house with nearly $6,000 worth of your possessions!"

[14] Arriving home in the middle of the night, I was at a lost as to what I should do. My house was uninhabitable. Finally, my school's Vice Principal came over, bringing with him the local police, as well as the landlord's maintenance supervisor. It took several hours to receive assistance when I tried calling local police to report the break in. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) took even longer, two weeks. As I was informed at the time, I was fortunate because the RCMP did not normally respond to break-ins where I work.

[15] The maintenance supervisor immediately brought workers into the house to pack up the house and begin the repairs. This occurred after midnight, thus I suppose I should have been suspicious right away. But I was simply too tired to care!

[16] I spent the night with someone else, and called my roommate at her parents' home to inform her of the day's events. She changed her travel plans and returned up north 24 hours later. When I returned to the house the next day, I discovered that another break in had occurred overnight.

Possessed by the Passion, the Power, the Danger

[17] Inspired by the Warrior Princess, I decided that no one would lay siege to my home again. I moved back into the house, making my command center the only inhabitable room in the house: my roommate's.

[18] I pushed my roommate's dresser against the far wall, her bed up against the dresser, and my futon between the opposite wall and her bed. Everything fit, barely, and thus we remained for nearly two weeks while repairs were begun. (At the end of two weeks, while repairs were not yet complete, I was at least able to move into my own room).

[19] My next move was to assess the damage to my citadel:

- my roommate's room was the only dry room in the house;
- the packers had removed the flooring downstairs;
- there was no water for the toilet;
- there was no water for the shower;
- the front and back yards were full of refuse that had once been our possessions;
- everything else that had stayed in the house at Christmas was packed into boxes by the midnight moving staff, the night I returned, and I had no idea where anything was;
Where'd I pack the cat??!!??

The pink asterisk is my TV.

- the TV was disconnected;
- my stereo was missing;
- my CDs were gone;
- the satellite dish remained, but the receiver was in a box, somewhere, and since the dish connection was downstairs, as long as we had to live upstairs, we could not use it; finally,
- the radio was missing.

[20] I had no transportation and the only store in town was a 40-minute walk away. I knew I could not replenish my groceries, since that would leave my fortress vulnerable again! I assessed my rations:

- no frozen juices: all the containers were throughout the house with spoons sticking out of them, as if they had been eaten as slushies;
- no chips or soda pop;
- no fast /microwavable food (hard to tell that teenagers had been living in the house, huh?); and
- hmmm, lots of real food (that had to be cooked), if only I could find the countertops, pots and pans!

[21] By the time my roommate had managed to get back up north I had safely established a fortress in which we could survive. This turned out to be very fortunate as it took a week before we had water for the shower or the toilet. Until then, we hauled cold water from downstairs to upstairs as required.

[22] When my roommate arrived, she brought with her a van for transportation, and a little bit of emotional stability, which I was sorely lacking by this point. I can honestly say that I understand the benefits of having a Gabrielle out there! Grief shared amongst two people, results in only half the heartache for each person.

And Life Got Better!

[23] My roommate and I went to the store. With the van in town, we only had to leave the house for a few minutes. The van also provided added security, in that no one knew when we would return, and therefore could not know how long the house would be empty. Thus, we were spared another break in.

[24] We bought an abundance of high calorie, low nutrition comfort food. Nut bread anyone? We rescued my TV, and found my XENA tapes. My TV remote was packed separately, and since I have a TV/VCR unit, my roommate was able to witness my true XENA viewing habits. Without the remote we were unable to rewind my tapes before watching; often we were obliged to watch the second episode first. Occasionally, we watched episodes from middle to end, then beginning to middle.

[25] In order to entertain ourselves, we watched 8-12 XENA episodes per day for 4 days. Thank the gods for XENA, because honestly, she and Gabby were the ONLY normal components of my life!

[26] At the end of the first week, we convinced the landlord to fix the plumbing or we would hire a plumber and bill him. In order to fix the plumbing leak, the bathroom wall was removed. I informed my roommate that without a shower, I was NOT returning to work. I would simply stay home and watch XENA all day. Since repairs to the wall were not likely to occur in the near future, we eventually had to tape plastic over the holes in the wall. I also replaced the fixtures so that we could get the shower up and running. The actual shower wall was replaced three weeks later, and four weeks after that, I removed the masking tape from the shower walls and applied caulking.

[27] My roommate and I continued to share a room for the first two weeks, while we awaited new flooring, in my room. To date, the new flooring has never arrived, but after two weeks at close quarters, I needed my space, and so I moved my futon back into my own room).

[28] I am pleased to report none of my XENA collection went missing during the break in. However, lesson learned, for my summer vacation, I moved all of my electronic equipment to my brother's house 700 miles away. My XENA collection was also moved there as I saw no sense in tempting the fates.

Why I LIke Xenites

[29] Shortly after the break in, my father was diagnosed with stage three cancer, had emergency surgery, and began chemotherapy. My mother was also admitted to hospital, and underwent surgery. I was beginning to feel suspiciously like any one of many third season characters, who found themselves, unexpectedly, burdened with unimaginable calamities! I equate this past year with such tragedies as Gabrielle's surprise pregnancy, the loss of Solan, and Xena's imprisonment.

[30] As strange as it may sound, my most ardent supporters during the past year have been several Xenites, all of whom I met directly or indirectly through WHOOSH. I met them all around the time I wrote my first letter, and subsequent article for WHOOSH. I have met two of these people IRL (in real life). One of them received the telephone call about my break in even before my roommate or my family knew! It is strange how things happen. Many of my best friends in life live in another country and are as completely obsessed with XENA as I am.

[31] If you have gotten this far in my sad pathetic tale, take heart! Life always gets better. I left the north 4 weeks ago and have traveled over two-thirds of my country. My mother's surgery was a success, my father's chemo has just ended, and I have been white water rafting, fulfilling a life long dream. I am starting to wind down my summer, I am seriously waiting for the new season, and I spend my spare time praying for a season seven!

[32] Cheers all!


Dee Simmons, "Mariner Versus the Warrior Princess, The" WHOOSH #20 (May 1998)


Dee Simmons Dee Simmons
I am a teacher, a student, a part-time Naval Reservist. I wasted my whole summer playing and having fun (it has been a long year). My world still stops when it is time to watch XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, and my appreciation for the Bard has grown over the past year.
Favorite episode:I can't narrow it down to one episode, although I have to admit, DEBT II (53/307) still has the only scene that had me standing on furniture yelling expletives at Gabrielle, (Gabrielle hitting Xena "say it..."); ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313) is the episode I now use in my attempts to win converts. (If you have ever heard of the idea "don't lose weight, fatten up the people around you, and you'll seem slimmer," you'll appreciate my belief that if everyone begins to obsess over XWP...); MATERNAL INSTINCTS is the best episode to sit down with a box of Kleenex when you need a good cry! And I really enjoyed the season enders for season 4 and season 5. (The longer the show is on, the longer the list gets!).
Favorite line:Gabrielle: "Slow learner, huh, Xena... I had the same problem with basket weaving..." ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313)
First episode seen:THE LOST MARINER (45/221), followed by ULYSSES (43/219).
Least favorite episode:LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100) and KING OF ASSASSINS (54/308); at the best of times I find Joxer only tolerable, but several Joxers on the screen, or a Ted Raimi focused episode, I find the worst. (No slight to Ted, but I really hate how his characters are written).


By Suzanne Morine
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
972 words, 11 drawings

Introduction (1-2)
How XENA Appealed to Me (3-4)
Xena Appeals to Many (5)
My Theory about XENA's Appeal (6-7)
More Memories (8)
Disappointments (9-10)
Conclusion (11-12)



Little house on the praire.

[1] To people who have not been victims of childhood abuse, the very start of the following essay may sound overstated. I am a naturally reserved person; however, I recognize that the biggest problems in my life have been due to people being dishonest or silent.

[2] 1996 A.D.
After decades of suicidal distraction, I had fought through a harrowing period of recovering memories of childhood abuse. I was angry and energized. I resolved that people would have to kill me to get rid of me. Now knowing the truth, I would not be a suicide.

How XENA Appealed to Me

[3] I ran across the XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS show one day. Xena's story appealed to me greatly because of the following:

  • Fight the good fight. Be brave and true. Recognize evil.

  • Xena was such a release! The pathos, the confusion, the struggle of life, was translated into visible forces and messes that you could plainly see, even converse with and battle!

    When Ares shaved.

  • The natural yet surprising alliance of strong, calm Xena and amusing, caring Gabrielle! This shone hope for the future: a balanced, warm, and sage future!

  • I walked taller and surer with Xena as my model!

    When do I get my own breast dagger???
    "Those boots.. that leather.. those legs.." (Salmoneous in THE BLACK WOLF (11/111)

    Plus a lot more! I loved the humor and exaggeration. And Xena and Gabrielle seemed like such nice lesbians -- such an unusual and refreshing thing to see on TV. I also loved the calm, brilliant way that XENA contradicted the rampant prejudices against women in their world.

[4] I used to stand up on my chair during fight scenes, cheering Xena/me/all of us! The introductory sequence was bliss! The music, the visions -- "the power, the passion!" I had never got that excited about a TV show before.

The origin of 'onomatopeia'.

XENA Appeals to Many

[5] I could see by the number of XENA web sites that I was not alone in this excitement. The news groups were very busy, as well. XENA equals something special.

My Theory about XENA's Appeal

Days later, a beanstalk grows.
Walk like an Egyptian
Future home of the Land of the Amazon Bored.

Future eBay fortune.
What happens when you don't clean the fridge.

[7] If this theory is correct, then Xena is attractive as a realization of all women's power! The show is all about women and life (at least that's how I've always seen it).

More Memories

[8] 1996 - 1998 A.D.
With a passion, I surfed XENA fan sites, participated in XENA news group discussions, transcribed some episodes, saw Lucy Lawless in GREASE, made a chakram VRML world, wrote a fan fiction story or two, and wrote a WHOOSH article. I bought some XENA stuff and, of course, I watched the show.

The Grassy Knoll


[9] Unfortunately, I also watched it go downhill. Or was it uphill? Joxer's digestive tract. I mean, all of the exaggeration went up. The humor became slapstick comedy. The pathos became gore. The confusion became an incomprehensibility and inconsistency that I could no longer dismiss or ignore. The beautiful lesbian air between Xena and Gabrielle became scripted and felt stilted to me.

[10] Then my own mind and aim seemed muddled, though more detailed. Maybe that's how it goes. The plan, the path laid out, is plain, but in the journey it is difficult to pick out that path. Something like that. I had wanted XENA to be with me always, endlessly offering inspiration and reminders. Gradually, it did not.


[11] I have been very tempted to blame XENA for my own difficulties. A nice side effect of blame is it keeps XENA very important. That counts for something, right?

Find the sad chakram

[12] Not really, since another attractive thing about XENA was the great reminder:

  • Take responsibility for yourself, and more, when you can.


Suzanne Morine, "Understanding Xena and Gabrielle through the Sirens Myth (a cartoon-article)" WHOOSH #38 (November 1999)


Suzanne Morine Suzanne Morine
Since my Whoosh! article, a year ago, I have learned a good deal about everyday self defense and have a started a small collection of good looking weapons.
Favorite episode: A hard question! The ones that spring to mind are: CALLISTO (22/122); ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (17/117); A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215).
Favorite line: Xena: "Don't apologize, just improve." CHARIOTS OF WAR (02/102)
First episode seen: First full episode was THE GREATER GOOD (21/121). I had previously seen parts of ALTARED STATES (19/119) and CHARIOTS OF WAR (02/102), presumably in rerun.
Least favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124), for starting (in my opinion, of course) bad trends toward sloppiness and over exaggeration.

Previous Section
Table of Contents
Next Section

Return to Top Return to Index