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Writer's Block: The name game

What's the origin of your username? If you could change it to anything else, would you, and what would it be?

I've told this story before, but when I first went on the internet I let my youngest daughter pick my e-mail username. I was reading her L. Frank Baum's Oz books at the time, so she picked Ozma -- the female ruler of the Land of Oz starting at the end of the second book.  That's Ozma in my icon, greeting some of her odder subjects.   The 914 is for my fire number -- firefighter 14 at Albion, which by the county numbering system is Base 90.

It's become almost my fingerprint on the web, used just about anywhere that I need a username. (Although it's just Ozma14 on Yahoo.) Even though it confuses some people who know I'm male and recognize Ozma as female, I wouldn't change it for the world.

What I would change is the weather forecast -- 2-4 inches of snow tonight, another 12-15 starting in the afternoon, accompanied by high winds and followed by sub-zero weather. And we're not even the worst of it: There are blizzard warnings out to the west of us, and the possibility of a major ice storm just to the south.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2011 07:41 am (UTC)
I'm back! Sort of... Anyway, I just found out that there's a Baums Bridge Road and Baums Bridge Inn (a restaurant, not a hotel) in Kouts, IN. Any idea if it's really named by/for Frank?

And apparently there's a ghost story (probably fictional) recorded by the Kankakee Valley Historical Society!: http://www.kankakeevalleyhistoricalsociety.org/Baum%27s%20Bridge%20Road%20Ghost%20Story.htm
Feb. 1st, 2011 10:15 am (UTC)
Great ghost story!

It's very possible that those places were named after Frank. I've been by a summer cottage he once owned along Koontz Lake (I don't recall which name, now), where he was supposed to have written some of "Wizard". (It's not far from a tiny Indiana town called Toto.) That's not at all far from Kouts, so I believe they're probably related.

I don't recall if I've mentioned it, but there's a Baum Street in a town about 10 miles from here, where a few other streets are named for writers.
Feb. 2nd, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
My family and I used to visit Toto when we were vacationing in Bass Lake/Knox, basically just to check out the shoe store, bathing suits if anyone forgot/lost theirs, and sometimes veggies and flowers. All the places we went to in Toto are abandoned now, and I think the town itself is pretty much a ghost town. I know he owned a house on Bass Lake, but I've never been inside it. Not sure if it's a museum/historical site atm or if someone's living there.
Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:36 am (UTC)
At the time I went through, it was just another cottage and somebody was living in it; I've heard the owner isn't thrilled by the occasional tourist. That was several years ago, though. The store at Toto was still open, at the time.
Feb. 1st, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
cute re: the name
not cut re: big snow

We totally know what you're in for and are not envious.
Stay warm and play some games!
Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
I've been playing games with 911 callers:

"What does a Level 1 snow emergency means? Well, it means that if we catch you out trying to drive in this weather, we *will* haul you out of your car and shoot you, then stuff you in a snow drift until spring. Also, we'll give you a ticket."

People in my business have a warped sense of humor.
Feb. 2nd, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
Isn't it Chesterton that has the Oz festival? Have you ever been to it? (And what town has Baum Street?)
Feb. 2nd, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
I went to the festival back in 2000 (100th Anniversary of Wizard's first printing run, btw). It's not a bad festival, but it's definitely for fans of the movie, not the books. Wicked wasn't popular yet, at least not at the level it is today, so they may have added Wicked nostalgia in recent years.

The only real Baum connection is his great-grandson having a booth there and selling/signing his Oz books. Yes, his great-grandson is trying to cash in on Frank's popularity and using his universe rather than making up his own, even though his characters are more suited to their own non-Oz universe. OK, so I'm cynical, and of course there are hundreds or thousands of fans with their own Oz books, but I just don't like how he plays up "I'm L. Frank Baum's great-grandson! Buy my stuff!" everywhere.

The festival is mostly dealers and artists selling their wares in booths, but there's also a big parade at some point (afternoon for sure, on Sundat probably). The surviving Munchkin actors and their families are the grand finale of the parade and technically the "Grand Marshals" as well. When I went, there were some drag queens dressed as Dorothy and Co., but it took me a while to realize that they were drag queens, not women in odd costumes. LOL It was my first time seeing drag queens in person, so pipe down, peanut gallery. :P

And it's also nice just to visit the town itself and help out the locally-owned stores and restaurants by being their customer. Instead of, say, heading out to a McDonald's on the way home.
Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
I haven't heard much about Wicked at Chesterton -- they still seem to be all about the 1939 movie, although you can find an occasional mention of the books. I've been to the Oz Museum/shop a few times and always enjoyed the experience, but the place has since closed down. (I hear they still sell on the internet, but the fun was the little museum and the Oz decorated property.)

I haven't been to the festival, but in addition to the parade they used to show the Judy Garland movie on the drive-in big screen every year. It would be interesting to see it that way!

I've heard Roger Baum's Oz books aren't all that great, but I've never read one. L. Frank Baum used to vacation in that general area, but I have no idea if he ever spent any time in Chesteron itself.
Feb. 3rd, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
I've heard Roger Baum's Oz books aren't all that great, but I've never read one.

I only own one (bought from him directly and signed), but it's really not all that special. I didn't like it so much because it didn't feel Ozzy enough to me. Like, non-meat people with solar-powered batteries...in a story taking place (years?) before Dorothy came to Oz. The only thing I can remember from the book that I thought was an interesting idea was the Seamstress, a witch who turned her victims into sewing pins on her apron. I think you can guess how she was defeated. :)
Feb. 5th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the information. Maybe we'll head over there some year. (Since it's movie thing rather than a book thing, I'm not in any great hurry. Not that I dislike the movie!)
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:08 am (UTC)
I understand; I love the movie, but it's the books that hold a special place in my heart.
Feb. 2nd, 2011 08:40 am (UTC)
Avilla has a Baum Street -- my daughter's doctor's office used to be on it, but it's mostly a residential neighborhood. As far as I know Chesterton's Oz festival is still on every September, but I've never been to it -- it does seem to be all about the movie rather than the books.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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