Reading Maguire: Wicked, Art Break The First: Meet The Time Dragon

One of the reasons I kept making sure to get the larger format of Maguire’s books once I’d gotten my hands on Wicked in that size wasn’t just that I like it when a book series looks roughly the same on a shelf.

It was the art. The art, which is all done in a woodcut style that would not at all seem out of place in an exhibit of newspaper woodcuts from just before photography took off, and which just would not fit in a small-format paperback.

And with the beginning of “I: Munchkinlanders”, the art of Wicked begins. It’s time to meet the Time Dragon and his Clock.

The Clock of the Time Dragon will come up repeatedly, and so will the Time Dragon’s role in the religious life of Oz. More about that soon, as we’re about to meet the missionaries (not his, although an argument could be made about the keepers of the Clock being clergy of a very odd sort).

The cover of “Munchkinlanders” is of the Clock with the Time Dragon perched on top of it and a crowd gathered beneath.

The Dragon is glaring – the effect made even better by the style – and pointing one claw at the reader.

The crowd isn’t much happier. All of the eyes are overshadowed. There’s a lot of judgmental frowning going on. One of the two smiles present is downright predatory.

In short, whoever the viewpoint character of the image is, that person is not going to be having a good night.

And it’s just before midnight according to the Clock.


Live Writer Usage Note re Publicize in WordPress

There is no way I have found in Windows Live Writer to tweak the Publicize message prior to posting.

If you don’t want to have the default “[Title]:[Shortlink]” message, schedule a post time far enough in the future to give you a chance to edit (and remember, you can change it back to Immediately while editing), hit Publish, then either tell Writer to open your new post after publishing or go to your WordPress dashboard yourself, and finally edit the message.

I wish there was a way – after all, the shortlink length is constant enough that having it as a variable to be filled in during the publishing process wouldn’t affect the character count if the shortlink length were included when the variable was placed. For all I know, there may have been a way at one time, but Microsoft took down Live Gallery except for the sidebar gadgets, and that was where the Live Writer plugins were kept.

Reading Maguire: Wicked, Prologue

Wicked starts very in media res, and I’m assuming Maguire presumes his readers have at least some exposure to The Wizard of Oz.

At the very least to the characters, which admittedly it’s rather hard to avoid knowing something about in the USA these days – or at least in the parts of it I grew up in. The image of Dorothy and her companions skipping along is iconic. The Hallmark stores in the malls and anywhere else that sell their ornaments proudly display characters from the movie come the Christmas shopping season. And then there were the commercials for the anniversary DVD a few years back…

I never saw the movie all the way through until I was a senior in college – thank you ‘films as historical documents’ class, for being the reason I still have the DVD – despite nearly managing to do so between middle and high school, and I may or may not have read the book in middle school. I remember reading some of Baum’s other books, most or all of which are available as free e-books now on Amazon or elsewhere online legally, while riding home on the school bus.

But I was still very, very sure of what the Wicked Witch, Dorothy, and Dorothy’s companions looked like.

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Reading Maguire: Introduction

A bit over a year ago, I discovered Wicked as a forlorn paperback languishing in a library booksale bin in Atlanta, Georgia. December 11, to be precise – I had stopped at the library on the way to the High Museum, and the ticket sticker from the museum somehow ended up in the inside front cover of the book. (This being one minor argument for why the High needs to bring back the old ‘get rid of the stickers here’ wall that went away when the entry changed places after the remodeling project a few years ago.)

Within the space of a few weeks, I had gotten my hands on Son Of A Witch and A Lion Among Men. This summer, I found copies of Lost and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, neither of which I have found time to read yet.

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So, Microsoft, about your tech support structure…

There are a few problems with your tech support structure, Microsoft. Big ones.

1) OEM users technically are supposed to get support from the computer manufacturer. This means I as an OEM Vista user technically cannot tell you that your Genuine Advantage plugin does not attempt to validate anything in Internet Explorer 9, and in fact redirects me straight to a page telling me how much I’ll love Internet Explorer 9 every time I try to run the validation tool.

2) When I ignore the fact that I am an OEM user and try to make my way through the technical support online tree I am not meant to use, the fact that this is a Genuine Advantage issue routes me onto a page intended to deal with issues with valid Windows systems being not-validated or with people needing to make stolen software legal. There is nothing to click on for complete failure of the tool to run. There is nothing to click on for me to tell you that the tool is redirecting to a page telling me how much I should download the very browser the tool will not run on.
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My National Day Of Prayer Post, or why I don’t pray out loud anymore

(I promise I’m not going to change this into a blog about religion, I just needed to get this out of my system badly. This blog post was prompted by Jadelyn’s NDoP post at Shakesville.)

Short Version:

Matthew 6:

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

(KJV, courtesy BibleGateway)

Long version:

That pair of verses I cited above? It means that expectations of public prayer, whether in groups or as an individual, are a problem, sometimes a very big problem, for some Christians. Including me.

And it’s not an issue of ‘well, if we got the kids in the churches to lead or just participate in prayer more often, participating in an event like the National Day Of Prayer wouldn’t be an issue for them.’ In fact, that’s my problem with it.
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Something LinkedIn Forgot

I recently joined numerous former classmates who have gone before me in creating accounts on the networking service LinkedIn.

The ‘Add A Contact’ page has a significant gap in its range of potential contact types, one that won’t effect established professionals as much as it will the yearly influx of newly minted college graduates joining the site.

There’s no category besides ‘Other’ that college professors can truthfully fit into. And, unlike other categories offered, ‘Other’ requires a valid e-mail address for that contact.

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