Posts Tagged ‘time capsule’

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.




A picture has no caption.



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Though you may be thinking perhaps this is just another one of Kristen’s hollow threats trying to improve Walk-O-Rama membership, I assure you it is not.  It is actually one of Kristen’s hollow threats trying to improve registration for the Library’s most recent scavenger hunt, Spy Hunt. Hey, it worked! Students, faculty, and local community members alike all flocked to the library to avoid the certain doom that awaited them if they did not do whatever it was we were forcing them to do.

Based loosely on the spy activities associated with Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring, the hunt had participants scrambling to decode clues using many of the same techniques believed to have been used by General George Washington and his intelligence operatives during the Revolutionary War.  These included invisible ink, cipher wheels, the pigpen code, and more.  When asked where on earth we came up with this idea, Kristen’s eyes glazed over and her expression went blank. We are not quite sure where it all began, but the picture used to describe the crude stage in which all of her ideas originate in our Walk-O-Rama time capsule post can be applied here as well.

The crude form in which all of Kristen's ideas originate

The crude form in which all of Kristen’s ideas originate

In truth, a hunt requiring participants to utilize research skills was just too complex for the rhyming clue scheme used in our annual scavenger hunt. A narrative was required to be the glue that held it all together.  And what better narrative than one that combines our Library’s unique holdings (a letter written by George Washington himself!) and our rich local history.  We also had a curious supply of glow in the dark paint, clothesline, and historical garb that really needed to be put to some use.

Thanks to super generous staff members, this hunt suddenly became the most prize-rich one to date.  This is perhaps why it was so shocking to see that our first eager person to register was a faculty member who expressed that she did not want prizes.  She was in it for love of country, or Library, or perhaps just curiosity. Whatever her motivation, she gave us some helpful hints for improving our clues and making it a little easier to figure out (yes, hunters, this was the easier version).

A spy hunt - it's what to make when you have too much glowing ink in your house

A spy hunt – it’s what to make when you have too much glowing ink in your house

Think of how exhausted you'd feel if this was the hard version?

Come on, guys! Think of how exhausted you’d feel if this was the hard version!

Come game day, students and staff alike were eager to take part in the action.  As it turns out, colonial attire is on its way back in the fashion world, as was evident by the number of staff who own pieces that they believe will once again be all the rave this spring.  Our student workers confessed that they were not aware of this trend, so we kindly lent them some of our hottest accessories.


Look! It's...George Washington? Looking fabulous with the Super Sly Spies

Hey! It’s…George Washington? Looking fabulous with the Super Sly Spies

Spy Hunt! Where students unintentionally learned a lot about the French and Indian War

Spy Hunt! Where students unintentionally learned a lot about the French and Indian War

Striking a treaty that would put an end to Library fines

Attempting to strike a treaty that would put an end to Library fines

Proving that Benjamin Franklin’s Join Or Die! political cartoon is still as effective today, we were surprised to receive a call from workers at Ward Melville Heritage Organization who wished to also take part in the event so they could remain happily living.  They were at a slight disadvantage since they did not register for the more introductory scavenger hunt held in the fall, so they had not yet been introduced to some of the key locations in the Library building.  Nevertheless, they breezed through the clues at a speed that would bring a tear to George Washington’s eye. And it even looked like they had fun along the way! Thanks for spending your lunch break learning more about the Library and our helpful services!

If you liked this event, you'd love what these guys have to offer! http://wmho.org/

If you liked this event, you’d love what these guys have to offer! http://wmho.org/

In the end, not many points separated the winners from the rest of the pack.  It all came down to the bonus points, with the team with the best name (Mare Lupus – Latin code name for Sea Wolf) and most patriotic picture gaining those crucial points needed to move ahead – but only by one point! We hope all teams will be happy with the prizes they found at clue checkpoints. It was the least we could do to show our appreciation for you taking part in our latest Library event.  Be sure to like us on facebook to hear about upcoming activities, contests, and important information regarding our collection and services!

Patriotism at the S.S. Melville. We love it!

Patriotism at the S.S. Melville. We love it!

These very clever agents have no trouble solving our puzzles

These very clever agents had no trouble solving our puzzles

Bonus points! +1 for finding a sea wolf, and a few more points for a great picture!

Bonus points! +1 for finding a seawolf, and a few more points for a great picture!

Prizes! Compliments of the SBU Libraries staff!

Prizes! Compliments of the SBU Libraries staff!

Down a few members, but still ready for the challenge!

Down a few members, but still ready for the challenge!

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

Just a fraction of the staff that made this event possible. Thanks to you all!

Just a fraction of the staff that made this event possible. Thanks to you all!















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As promised, the Walk-O-Rama team successfully stashed our first ever time capsule, in what was a truly monumental, dare I say religious event.  In doing so, we were able to preserve our SBU identities for all eternity, that is until  next week when we could possibly dig it up and transplant it to a slightly better location that we discovered mere moments after laboring over its current resting place.  What inspired this ingenious idea, you must surely be asking yourself.  It all began with a hunger induced hallucination that Kristen recently experienced while trying to forgo the deliciousness that is the MoGo Chef’s grilled cheese and bacon sandwich…

The crude form in which all of Kristen’s ideas originate

And so it was that we set off on this day, June 26th, 2012, to ensure that we would remain a permanent part of the Stony Brook campus, despite the fact that we aspire to do the exact opposite each and every morning before we head to work.  Though I would like to provide you all with the glorious date on which the capsule will be retrieved in the future, and to invite you to the grand, ceremonious event, that is sadly not a detail we discussed, being that we were all vowing to no longer be here on whatever day it happens to be.  But who are we kidding…

As with all matters, Richie took his job of capsule transport very seriously. A bullet proof vest was worn and he surrounded himself by human shields, just in case

After so much walking, this was considered as a possible location for the capsule

Option #2 had its downsides

At long last we knew we were getting close to the destination that we had all pictured in our dreams.  Several strategically placed boulders resembling Stonehenge were spotted on the far side of a secret path.  Somehow Richie is familiar with an abundance of such paths.  We all agreed that beneath the largest boulder would be the ideal spot for our lunch box of glorious treasures.  Being that the two strongest (by default, I should say only) men in our group could not make it budge, we were forced to move on.

Some rock pushers worked harder than others

Finally we had found it, the destined location where our time capsule would spend the next however many years, or until next week.  It was perfect, in so much as it was pretty close to where we were and provided adequate cover to minimize our chances of being spotted and arrested for desecrating state property. We popped open the tin lid to have a final view of the sentimental contents, which ranged from educational library promotional items to free vendor giveaways, to random office supplies.  Clearly, a great deal of thought was put into the packaging of the container that would teach future generations about the importance of our daily lives.

Approximately 57 stolen office supplies are now buried in a top secret campus location, should the budget situation get any worse

We got to digging at once, unsure of what might lie beneath the soil of these virgin grounds that had thus far somehow been passed over by Stony Brook excavation crews looking for more land on which to build their Lego-esque style contemporary structures.  No ancient gold coins or primitive, highly valuable artifacts from some past civilization were found.  Seriously…don’t even bother looking in Kristen’s 2nd right-hand desk drawer – you will find no such items hastily hidden in there beneath a notepad. Richie, it was found, was a very dedicated digger, and shockingly (even suspiciously) efficient at digging holes in secret locations.  We concluded that this and thinking of lies to tell us all are the only two things that must occupy his time now that he’s retired.  We did not think he would relinquish the spade after his turn was up.  Min, too, was very dedicated to this mission, clearing away rocks that all others in the group would have instantly bypassed.

What our burying attempt might have looked like if Min had not successfully cleared away the rocks

Clearly on some sort of mission

The rest of the group began to abandon hope of ever getting a turn once Richie started

Finally, the tin was buried and we were able to check “time capsule” off the list of stupid things that Kristen forces everyone to do.  When sirens were heard in the distance we knew that we had been observed and reported, and therefor hurried off to escape. The Walk-O-Rama team does not yet have a lawyer, though it is becoming increasingly obvious that we should keep one on a retainer.  After making several stops for food at numerous locations to re-energize, it was back to the office for us.  Though I would like to say that we concluded with a cool looking treasure map that looks like this one:

Way cooler than our mental maps

or to report that we had buried it under a group of trees that formed a big W for Walk-O-Rama, as Diane had suggested after we had left, we did have a set of unique landmarks to lead us back to the spot down the road.

1) Through the secret path surrounded by raspberries and poison ivy

2) Left by the rock that Richie and John could not move

3) In between the sewage drain and makeshift toilet

4) Marked with a rock that reads “Share”, as we have shared our valuable treasures with future archeologists (or more likely ourselves in 20 years, when we’re all still on campus spending our lunch breaks walking around)

Just kidding. Don’t touch our stuff!

Don’t forget, you could still partake in virtually this same exact event when we move the capsule next week, and perhaps even the week after, should another even better location be spotted.  It’s the fun that never ends!

Till next time…

The Walk-O-Rama time capsule is proudly sponsored by Stop and Shop

Min won the prize for best hole digging effort

Kathy took advantage of this time to perfect her Tebow pose

John’s photo-op for possible future political use

Farewell, time capsule! We have forgotten you already






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Today’s outing was so gruesome and horrific that we had to redo the pictures in cartoon format to ensure that this blog post would still live up to its General Audience family rating.  It started out just like any other, with some members scurrying off at a rapid pace to make all the others feel like the slow, feeble member of a party that is sure to be the first one picked off by predators.  This may seem like an exaggerated, inappropriate comparison, but you may find it a little more spot on when I explain that we were indeed targeted by the most vicious predators known on the planet today – brain eating zombies.

Oh how we laughed as Celeste told us of her Night of the Living Dead scary movie memory, and didn’t we giggle at her genuine terror.  Yes, yes we did.  That is until Kathy and Richie went missing.  And as we rounded the bend, they were still gone from our site.  All grew quiet as we wondered where on earth our dear friends could be.  Spontaneous combustion crossed our minds, but there was no smoke or charred ground where they had recently tread.  The rapture was also briefly considered and just as quickly ruled out.  Then, before we had time to imagine any other possibilities, they appeared.

Kathy and Richie chose the wrong bunch to scavenge for brains

For Celeste, it was 1968 all over again and she hid behind the nearest tree for protection, which was unfortunate since it was very tiny and the nearby concrete building would have been a much wiser option.  Zombies are not known for their wits, however, so this nonsensical plan seemed to be more than adequately effective. The rest of us all stood and stared in a state of overwhelming paralysis, as no one had encountered such foes before and were unsure what the best defense might be.  Looking brainless seemed as good an option as any.

Celeste’s scariest nightmare is realized

Relief was widespread when we figured out shortly after that Kathy and Richie had not in fact been contaminated by the zombie virus and that all our brains were safe for the time being. They had just been hiding behind a wall, knee-deep in what we hope was poison ivy, waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and scare us. Relief was not felt by Celeste, unfortunately, who may take many weeks to recover from the shock.

This put our lives into a new perspective.  We realized that at any point we could be mauled by the undead, leaving our legacy to the wind.  So, we decided to create the first ever Walk-O-Rama time capsule, so that years from now, even if the apocalypse does come about, survivors will unearth our underground treasures and be reminded of this group of heroic adventurers.  Perhaps they will start their own Walk-O-Rama group, if anyone still walks in the future, that is.

Explorers of the future in their high tech people movers

Bring in your submission to the Walk-O-Rama time capsule ASAP to ensure the immortality of your SBU identity.

Until next time…


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