Monday, July 27, 2020


2004 was the worst year I think I had ever gone through up to that point. So many things went horribly wrong all year that it's amazing I jumped back into a fandom at all, any fandom. I had barely begun my first blog after the world fell apart with a very horrible death in the family, more like a time filler grasping at any distraction I could through the empty hours at the start of tourist season working a hotel desk. I had no idea what to even write, so I latched on to the only thing that had left me hanging on TV. I had no idea everything I was doing was logged on the work computer and that my bosses could see everything I wrote, which made work a little tense because I was a pretty salty snark about a few things, trying to find some humor somewhere in the wretchedness I felt every day. After my first two or three Lexx posts I finally found some direction, but by then it was too late.

I'd been drugged by coworkers at other jobs before, some for laughs, some for worse, and I have absolutely no proof to even make this claim, but I'm fairly certain I was poisoned, although whether accidentally or on purpose wouldn't have taken a very thorough investigation with all the pesticides on property, which I never personally touched. But the penchant for retaliation without remorse exists in the rugged area I live in, and I wasn't one bit surprised.

Nearing the end of summer, I had cashed in my meager 401K from a previous job to take a week off to be with my mom at hospital after a nasty fall, sleeping on floors in whatever waiting rooms I didn't get chased out of, rotating with family to hold her hands so she wouldn't rip out IVs. I was in rough shape going back to work and not at all equipped to be civil, so I just bit my tongue a lot while I blogged how I felt without realizing anyone I worked with could see my history trail blazing like neon across the internet. It wasn't long until a day came that I felt very ill very quickly. I could feel my body starting to shut down. I left my key on the desk with a short note saying I wouldn't be back, somehow made it to a gas station to fill up my empty tank, and drove the twenty some-odd miles home. By that time I could feel fail happening all over my body and in my brain. I started stumbling, severe nausea, couldn't think very well, and pretty much collapsed into a weird state of confused misery that felt like my entire nervous system was a giant nauseated migraine. It all came on very quickly and didn't go away for a very long time. Years.

I never told anyone that outside of my family, never mentioned it on the fan forums. Never brought it up on my blog. I spent the next three months feeling like bore worms were eating their way throughout my nervous system, barely able to drive, and the only thing a doctor could tell me was it sounds like Bell's Palsy, although I had no droop show up for another six weeks. Whenever I could drag myself into an upright position and handle the computer screen, I worked very slowly on manually coding my Lexx fan blog, a project so huge that I couldn't pull in how it actually looked on the dialup I was stuck on. Over the rest of the year I lost being able to read books, which is a big deal for a prolific reader, and I became severely dyslexic and couldn't remember short phrases or even two numbers in a row. I developed such severe light sensitivity that I had to wear very dark wraparound sunglasses inside my house with all the shades drawn. My audio sensitivity grew so bad that I completely stopped listening to music and muted my computer noises. I had to leave the room during anyone else watching TV because the flickering scenes got me so nauseated I could barely stand. I had to close my eyes and be led by the hand in sunlight, even with the sunglasses on. I couldn't drive at all for around four months, and over the next year I drove only very short distances and couldn't stay away from home more than an hour at a time. I stumbled everywhere I walked, lost all my strength and coordination to hold and carry things, and there was not a single test or doctor that could explain any of it.

I hung on and kept working on Lexx.

During this time, I became even more obnoxious on the forums. Part of it was my short term memory had become so poor that I couldn't remember who I had said what to, where, or when, and I just flung whatever I was thinking in the moment out to fall where it may. No one had any clue everything was hard, and I had no inclination to talk about it. The only way I could escape it was to focus out of it into anything Lexx.

I remember being so impressed with some of the fansites that I felt inspired to try creating one myself. I forced myself through learning html and graphics, started sourcing. All through 2005 I forced my eyes and my brain to crawl through, over, around, in and out of neverending coding sludge. Scott bought the groceries, kept track of schedules, helped the kids with high school and college, and took care of the house while I cringed at a desk grinding my way through learning how to create a dark page with bright colors, moving text and graphics, mouseovers, manually snipped and coded buttons, and a growing compilation of information.

During that time, Brian Downey was selling memorabilia from the set on his dotbiz forum, and I found ways to nab a few items before others could. It was amazing stuff to collect, and I would have been all over it if I'd never had to quit work. I am not a typical collector, not a materialistic sort, but I had acquired a few things in previous years that made life a little more fun, including a life sized Captain Jack Sparrow cutout that we moved all over the house. I won bids on some of our Star Wars retail signage in a store I'd work in for five years, so for a long time had three foot double sided cardboard prints of Darth Maul, Queen Amidala, and Anikin. I don't collect what anyone can get. I collect stuff that is hard to find. I'm not made of money, but I'm also extremely frugal, so I got what I wanted when I could because I was able to scrape up the money.

The things I got from Brian included an autographed t-shirt worn on The Beach episode, a Security Guard Class 4 hat, some of the printouts used for setting up placement on the Xevivor set, a number of VHS behind the scenes and pre-canned footage, and I'm sure there was more. I've since then given or sold most of that to other fans. I found other things online, as well. Over time I had a fairly decent fan collection.

My biggest complaint about the show being over in general was that it hadn't been merchandised like so many other shows. In fact, once Salter Street sold down its warehouse, Lexx pretty much went out of print for a few years, so I was thrilled I'd already purchased two complete series sets from the warehouse and three CDs from a music distributor. I watched the prices go up on Lexx, people asking for hundreds of dollars on ebay, some paying that. I felt like the fandom was dealt a brutal death and had developed such a cynically grim attitude that no one would ever want to touch the property to breathe life into it again. That became my goal, my purpose, my joi de vivre, ironically. As long as I felt like I hovered at death's door, I felt no hope to make it through, so if I got nothing else done in the scant rest of my life, I would pour myself into Lexx as a parting wave. And that seemed to apropos to me. Lexx seemed so aptly suited to my own cynical ironies that I couldn't see another way to go out.

No one ever knew that.