Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Dear friends, I know that several words come to mind when you hear Walk-O-Rama and when you recall the many adventures chronicled on this site. Heroic, fearless, fun-loving. All true. Lazy is another. There, I said it. Adventures were often thwarted by heat, cold, humidity, precipitation, and the promise of delicious food. Even now, I sit here writing to you not of a walk in the physical sense, because that sounds exhausting, but of a mental stroll just taken down memory lane where I recalled my many great years with the wonderful staff at Stony Brook University Libraries.

I began after earning my Master’s degree in 2005 and was happy to have my first full-time job. My search committee assured me that I was not hired because I currently worked selling chocolate in a retail store and could potentially double as their supplier – or perhaps they indicated that that was the sole reason, I forget. To be on the safe side, I brought in a generous assortment when I started to try and win favor with my new friends.


Definitely hired for the chocolate.

My first weeks were a little rough. I recall catching a student employee error in the Stacks, which angered her and caused her to leave. I felt guilty and thought for sure the other workers in Circulation would all hate me. Fortunately, I was quickly adopted by The Library Club, a group started and led by the very talented and creative Victor Santiago. This club really helped me develop as a person and a professional in so many ways, and it is my hope that I helped others do the same as one of the advisors. We did our best to share our love of libraries and information literacy by creating tutorials, educational events, blogs, web reviews, etc. and began a fundraising effort to send books to Africa. We took library students on field trips, including two ventures to Salem, MA where we held some pretty exciting scavenger hunts. They were good times.


LC road trip to Salem


Human Resources nightmare: losing a student employee on a field trip to find seals. It’s ok, we left an arrow so they could find us


LC takes on NYPL


LC takes on SPL



Packing some books for Africa!

When I think of my time in Circulation, I remember the wonderful, wonderful people, and the terrific Halloween parties! I don’t mean to group these two together because they are equivalents – the people were definitely better –  but both are such vivid symbols in my mind of my days in the Main Stacks. It was great having a close-knit family environment to help me as I eased into my profession.  I don’t recall all of what I did those first few years, but all timesheets and paperwork seem to indicate that I was in fact present and actively doing something or other.


This Bigfoot quality photo is a rare shot of me doing something very important in my work environment


Arrrrrrren’t you feeling sentimental about these days? I know I am!


Long hours spent on our epic haunted maze! I can still hear the screams of horror. It was perfect.

Gradually I began to learn more and take on additional responsibilities. I became a volunteer member of the virtual chat team and a selector for the Cinema Studies Department. I made Reader’s Advisory signs to try and get people to read our dusty books. I worked closely with our students, checking their accuracy, creating assignments, and introducing them to some pretty high-brow American experiences during our free time. When I felt I could do no more, I moved to a new role in the Central Reading Room.


Teaching students how to do proper American things

During these next years, I worked more actively with the public and saw ways that I could create events to simultaneously entertain and educate our patrons. I created a few scavenger hunt with the help of some awesome colleagues, worked with the incredibly talented Arielle Hessler (and others) to create some library-themed board games that I think someone once played, and introduced other activities such as button making, Pi-Day, Banned Book Month contests, e-games, and more.



Rebel volunteers who made Spy Hunt happen!

It is also during this time that I became active in Walk-O-Rama, thanks to Richie Feinberg (who began the group) and Celeste Hessler, who asked me to continue the activity after his retirement. These walks, as you may or may not have read in past entries, helped us all regain a small sense of childlike wonder as we left the comforts of our desks and began to bravely explore the campus grounds each week, searching for humor and meaning in all we saw. We found the remnants of an ancient feline civilization, tried our best (unsuccessfully) to make sense of the hospital floor plan, learned Ken is secretly an all-star baseball player, photobombed the President, and even buried our own time capsule somewhere we’ve long forgotten. And we ate. Mostly we ate. But it’s all good, because walking, talking, and breaking bread together is what creates bonds and keeps people happy as a team! I will always have a special place in my heart for Team Walk-O-Rama!


It was only fitting that WOR founder, Richie, should walk the time capsule to it's burial spot, wherever the heck that is

It was only fitting that WOR founder, Richie, should transport the time capsule to its burial spot, wherever the heck that is

Ken assures me this card will be worth big bucks someday

Ken assures me this card will be worth big bucks someday

President Stanley out with Walk-O-Rama

President Stanley happy to be out with Walk-O-Rama one day

I did other things I never dreamed I would do as a professional, or in any other capacity for that matter. I helped make several boats out of carboard and duct tape for the annual Roth Regatta and helped row two. To our surprise, none of them sank, and we even earned a trophy for coming in second place in the Speedster division during our first attempt. Go us! Staff all came out and cheered us on, and for days following I received small gifts and cards like a real hero who had done something wonderful. As someone who does not usually do things, I can tell you that it meant a lot in my little world to feel this way.




Mentally preparing ourselves to sink upon contact with water

I have learned so much in my time here, both about myself and about my profession, and I have had the pleasure of meeting so many kind, creative, talented people who have made such a difference in my life, whether they realize it or not. Walk-O-Rama may be ended in some sense, but the energy that started it still remains. I hope you all will not forget to devote parts of your day, or even just your week to doing something that is brave –  even if only brave for you at your level, something silly, something adventurous, but mostly something fun. And take a friend – or several friends. Or drag someone you don’t particularly care for and force them to be your friend, because being adventurous together is awesome, and I have enjoyed my awesome adventure with you.




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As promised, Walk-O-Rama members donned their scariest, prettiest, and weirdest outfits today to venture out among the masses to force our unhealthy eating habits on others.  A jolly jack-o-lantern-shaped plastic bucket full of sugary sweets and packets of hot sauce was brought along so we could make some friends on campus.  Those who unknowingly chose the hot sauce may soon retract their Walk-O-Rama affections moments after consuming their generous “treat”, however. It was a risk we were willing to take in the name of humor.

We were angry to find that we had been snubbed by Ken on this very special walk, until we later learned that he had been with us the whole time, disguised as Superman, who himself was disguised as Clark Kent.  This multi-layer costume theme continued with Kristen, who (due to wardrobe difficulties) was disguised as Marie Antoinette, who herself was disguised as a bird.  We are a complex bunch this year.  Others were a little more recognizable – a theory I will test by seeing if you can recognize them in the pictures.

Name that employee!

Name that employee!

Besides goofing off, this walk had a special purpose.  Having learned of a couple new crime scenes set up on campus, we determined that we were the best investigators for the job, being that Ken is the master of television knowledge, and crime shows are pretty big right now.  Unfortunately, Mary was not with us as she had promised. She could have assessed the scene and determined the who, what, where, and why of the crime in less time than it took Kathy to curl herself into the exact shape of the body outline on the ground to prove that that position was even possible.  This was quite a challenge in a hot dog costume.

Another victim of drug abuse? Or a bad cup of joe, perhaps?

Another victim of drug abuse? Or a bad cup of joe, perhaps?

Cause of death: seeing the price to park in this lot

Cause of death: seeing the price to park in this lot

Crime scenes are a little more enjoyable to tour when you're not in them

Crime scenes are a little more enjoyable to tour when you’re not in them

Though it could be argued that the true villains in each violent crime were the drugs, cigarettes, and energy drink cans found at the scene, we are convinced, quite thoroughly, that the perpetrator was someone else.  Someone who cared about nature and was really ticked off that some guy discarded their energy drink can and cigs just shy of the designated disposal bins. This person, or thing, rather, is Wolfie.  Since we are never wrong, we made up our minds to seek him out and place him under citizen’s arrest.  I am sorry to report, however, that we were all so charmed by his happy-go-lucky, laid back demeanor and his cute little taco-shaped head, that we forgot our quarrels with him when we found him at last, and even posed to have a publicity shot taken together.  Oh, Wolfie.

Oh snap, Wolfie hates litterers.

Oh snap, Wolfie hates that.

But how can you hate this guy?

But how can you be angry at this guy?

We hope you will all join us next week, costumed or no (but please, some clothing is a must), as we embark on a new crazy adventure.  We have a lot of candy and hot sauce to burn off!

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If there were diplomas given for awesomeness, members of Walk-O-Rama would be the first in line for their distribution.  When that fateful day comes, know that you, too, can receive such an honor of superior excellence. That is, when you choose to be awesome enough to sign up for one of the new scavenger hunts written and designed for you by the author of this blog. Really?!! you say.  Really. For those of you who follow our adventures, you know that Walk-O-Rama loves scavenger hunts, so this project was inevitible. We love them so much that we have lost two (badly) and won one that involved a ton of eating, which we trained vigorously for.  Walk-O-Rama also mildly loves Halloween.  We love it so mildly, in fact, that we briefly considered donning costumes for last year’s Halloween outing at work, but did not. To be fair, this does have something to do with the fact that a hurricane temporarily shut our operation down.  Where am I going with this?  I don’t remember.  Ah yes. These scavenger hunts will be held this October, in the country’s Witch City, Salem, MA, during their Haunted Happenings celebration.  Hate Halloween? Hate historic Salem? That is weird, but for those of you who are weird like that, more hunts will be available in Boston and Long Island in the coming months.

Visit the new WordPress page, http://borntosleuth.wordpress.com/, and learn more about these super cool events.  And read more about Walk-O-Rama this Friday after we embark on our highly anticipated field trip to nearby Avalon Park. It should be a smashing good time.  Not smashing destruction-wise. Though Ken is our version of the Hulk, he hopefully will not get angry or overly excited about the excursion, despite its many hills and stairs and mosquitos and…darn it, I’m mad just thinking about it. See you there?  We hope so.

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