Libraries – Age of Extinction

libraries age of extinction

Much has happened to me since my last blog post; professionally speaking. Back in May, I was able to do our first Free Comic Book Day at the Library event. Over the course of the day, I think I gave out about 30 comics which does not sound like a lot but for a fist time event and on the beach; this was consider a success. On June 28, I had our first Comic Con at the Library event. We had about 80 people for this event which again, first time event and on the beach,  this was consider an even bigger success. The following week, July 3-6, the library had a table at the Florida Supercon. me at the conI was able do this out reach with 5 other librarians over the 4 days reached about 5% of total attendance for this event or to put it more concrete terms we spoke to over 1700 people. I even did a cheapy cosplay which if you are a Doctor Who fan, I did something on the Silence or if you are a Batman fan, I was the villian Victor Azsasz. Two-fer cosplay!!!! And still to come, I will be doing a short presentation at this year’s SEFLIN conference on how to create comics in the library in a couple of weeks. Yet, for all these great professional achievements, the library is on the eve of a total devastation.

Tomorrow, the County Commissioners of Miami Dade County will vote of the millage rate for the library. If the millage rate remains flat, no change from last year, we will only be able to generate about $30 million dollars. While this may sound like a great deal of money it’s not. The reality is the $30 million dollars alone is just enough to take care of the staff salary and nothing else. We escaped this doomsday scenario last year buy raiding the last of the reserves which was about $20 million. This year, there are no reserves to speak of and yet even if the millage was raised to $54 million dollars, we are still looking at layoffs. Take a look at the last blog entry and you can see that the news will not be pretty. This begs the question, did we do enough to raise awareness and library advocacy? I want to remain optimistic but we could very well see our libraries in an age of extinction.

What me worry???

Once more, what does the fates have stored for me and my colleagues? If you look below, there are three different budget scenarios which highlights what can be accomplished and the consequences.


The worst case scenario: If things remain the same as in no increases in the millage rate (which we get our funding from) we are beyond shit creek. We are already in the hole by $20 million from raiding last year’s reserves. Today, there are no reserves to tap into. Aside from the reduction in hours, staff will be severely impacted. The budget alone for staffing this year is already around $30 million. We can not operate a library system this way.

Still Bad

The not as worse but as not great scenario: The increase in millage is helpful in many areas. Yet, staff will be reduced almost 25%.

I'm still screwed

The you have got to be shitting me scenario: Even with the increase in the millage, which some commissioners are advocating, there are still going to be layoffs of 91 full time employees. As in the past, I will count myself as I still and will never have enough seniority in my position to keep it.

So, regardless of the any of these scenarios, I’m fucked.

Thank you very much.



Solar Dancing Chick – Today’s Reference Question.

solar dancing chick


Every once in while, working at the information desk, you get a reference question makes you wonder, “Am I being punk’d?” Unfortunately, as a librarian, there are no stupid questions but… geez, this one really takes the cake and makes me want to re-evaluate humanity.

This one particular woman called our branch many times in the past to learn about certain medical conditions, treatments and other health related questions. Today’s call kinda took me by surprise as this same patron asked me about a solar-powered toy. She starts off by trying to phrase what she wanted to know but the more she talk the weirder the question became. “How can a solar-powered toy work?” This was the condensed version or the heart of what she wanted to know. Of course, I had to drill down further to find out more information.

I kept asking her what type of product was it and she replied, “A solar dancing chick. I got it from CVS. How does it work?” She kept insisting there was no solar panel and how could a toy be labeled as a solar toy if there was no panel. I turned to the internet gods and did a quick search for it. When I saw the image, I asked her if the chick was standing on something, “Yes,” she said. “Like white stone or maybe an egg?” She replied, “Yes.” “Do you see a rectangular box down below the feet?” Once again, “Yes.” Well, that’s the solar panel,” I said finally. You would think that I solved the problem but wait, there was more. “But how does it move?” I did a mental facepalm. I knew if I had to go into technical details on how the solar panel converts the sun’s energy she would get lost.

I gave her a very simple answer to the conversion the solar panel made but then she wanted to know what was inside that made it move. So about 10 minutes later, I find out that she wanted to know not about the panel but what was in the chick. Facepalm. I told her there had to be some type of rod frame that moved back and forth like a metronome. If you were to break this toy open, I’m sure you would see the rod frame. And folks, that was it. The line of questioning was over as I solved her issue. But honestly, was this worth the time and the effort?


Before and After Life

before and after life


I don’t know where this is going but it started with something that happened today while at the library. I was working at the circulation desk when patron informed me that something happened to a homeless man in a wheelchair in the park across the street. He tried to wake up the man but there was no response. He believed this man had died and since he had no cell phone, he wanted me to call the police on this matter. I didn’t call immediately but I sought out my supervisor first and tell him of the situation. He went out to check and then made the call to the police.

When I got off the desk on the first floor, I went upstairs to my next shift on the desk. I decided to look at the view and saw the crime scene unit was there and had covered the homeless man. As more official came, things moved ever more quicker. With in a short amount of time, the police and all those involved moved along to the next case they had to work on. I decided to take a second picture of the exact scene and as you can see, it was as if nothing happened at all. My original version of this blog entry talk more about our own existence with scifi metaphors and unfortunately, it got erased.

I’ll talk about these scifi references with today’s events but I’m a bit worn from the day. Also, I wanted record this. I had too. I wanted to remember that a man died in this park and unless I remember it, it will be as if nothing happened. I wanted this image will live on in the internet.

Be excellent to each other. Life is too short.

The First Marathon is Under My Belt.

me with medal

In a nutshell, it’s done. Clean and simple. No fuss no muss. And now, for the rest of the story. (Thanks, Paul Harvey.)

jen and i 2Like anyone preparing for a big exam, the night before is pretty nerve-racking. I did not go to bed until after 11pm. I made sure I had everything packed away from sunscreen to my GU gels. My wife and I did get up around 3 am and I started to eat some breakfast. All I could keep down was some Black Cherry greek yogurt and some Gatorade. The night before, I has some pizza from Pizza the Hutt including the pasta dish with Tuscani Meaty Marinara. I ate the entire pasta dish and several slices of pizza so, I was full but still I needed to some more fuel for the run.

We headed out around 4:15 which I thought was late for us since the lineup began at 5am. We breeze through the roads and made it to the downtown area, including parking, within 20 minutes. We were way early but my bladder had other ideas. I did not drink any caffeine drinks the night before or on the day of the race for this reason; it makes me pee like a race horse. Not that I’ve seen a race horse pee nor do I have any desire too but my bladder was one big pee machine. Hell, I went at least three or four times before I left the house and that many with I got to the race. In between all the peeing, I was able to get a quick shot of my wife and I. And of course, here’s a pic of me in front of the multiple TARDIS port-a-potties.

me before the raceMoving right along, race time was getting near and my nerves were at an all time high. Everyone around me was either doing stretches or quick jogs in place. I did stretch before I went into my pen. My wife was just to the left of the pen and kept me company and helped to relax me nerves. Looking around, it was obvious that the pack around me was far more in shape that I was. I had to keep reminding myself, I am not here to compete against them, this race is about me completing the race. That is the goal that anyone attempting this race must remember. This race is not about speed; it’s about endurance.

in the crowdsin the crowds 2 (2)

Now, the race begins. Right from the onset, I am being passed left and right in droves. Once again, I reminded myself not to follow their paces as they were alot more fit than I was and to do so would be unwise. By mile 2, I had to stop  as my bladder told me to pull over to give my liquid treasure to the TARDIS god once more. Back to the race, I kept a steady pace and stopping about every 45 minutes to consume one of the 7 GU energy gels. I had calculated the night before how many of these gels to buy and to use for the race. The magic number was 7 as I would use one before the race and then every 45 minutes. This would be about 5.5 hours worth of energy plus I made sure to drink along every mile marker for drinks.

Last year, I started to feel pains in my legs after mile 6 and by mile 9, I had started to walk due to the strain. This time around, I felt much better, not exactly running at Flash’s speed but I was better. I did take short breaks but only to take a quick sip from my running bottle filled with Gatorade. I planned on carrying two small towels to use because even at that early morning, the heat and humidity was there. By mile 8, I used the soak sweat towel to cover the back of my neck and used my at to hold it in place. This was a smart move as the sun was at my back and the towel, covered with sweat, yes gross, kept me cool.

mile 11Around mile 10, I’m already seeing people not handle this run. I saw people on stretchers and one female runner lying down by the curb suddenly sit up and started to throw up. I felt very fortunate that I trained many times on the beach during the late mornings and afternoons. The heat during those runs would drain me after only a few miles. This might have been a godsend to continue after others struggled at this point. By mile 12, the groups were being separated into two groups 1/2 marathons and the full marathons. When the two groups went in the opposite direction, the full marathoner group was dramatically thin. Still I kept pressing on as the longest run I did to date was 15.5 miles. By mile 14, I got my first of many ‘stop running’ cramps. I got worried that I would not be able to continue running because the pain was sharp and intense. So, I walked. There was some weird mantra I heard that if you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. Never give up. I didn’t. As a reward, those who know Miami weather can change in a heartbeat, there were dark clouds and then some rain. No worries on my part as I continued to run and walk.

By mile 18, I was bad shape in my legs. I could only muster a few quick moments before the pain came back. Oddly enough, I saw some guy dressed as a banana and another one as a giraffe with a baby. I had to chuck at the sight as I needed to laugh and get distracted. But the banana was an omen for me as about 1/4 mile later, there was refreshment stand that had bananas. Of course, I need this more than the Gatorade, water and other items. I scarfed the banana as I needed this shit to work quickly yo! Mile 19 – 22, I carried on but the next two miles was daunting.

heatThe Rickenbacker Causeway connects Miami to Key Biscayne which started mile 23. By this time, I had to shade from the sun and the time was about 11:30am. If the morning was hot, the late morning was scorching hot. There was very little shade and relief. The next refreshment stand was under the bridge span to the Key which was very cool compared to walking and shuffling. I made the turn to run back the mile on the other side of the causeway. Still the heat was beating down on me that I had to use a new towel given to me during the race on my head. I draped over on one side to block out the sun. As you can see from the pic above, I look very sheik.

mile 25Mile 25 and now on the road for more than 6 hours. This was not how I planned to finish as I wanted to be done at least over 5 hours but not this much. Again, telling myself, this race is about finishing at this point and that’s all that matters. The last major hurdle was a bridge which I had to walk. One word think that down hill would have been easier. This decline started to hurt my legs even more than I had to grab the temporary barrier from kneeling over.

near 26near 26 2near 26 3By this point, I saw the marker for mile 26 and started to hobble quickly towards it. I knew that my pain would soon be over but every step took great effort to channel the pain to drive me.

One of the things I practiced over and over was to end my run on a strong finish – one last push. The piece of music I was going end my run on is the last track on the Man of Steel soundtrack. Whether you care for the movie or not, the score by Hans Zimmer was my inspiration to get myself out there and to not give up no matter the obstacle. I made it to mile 26 and then made the turn to the finish line.

final push 1final push 7

The first half of .26 of a mile, I ran but got a pain behind my right leg – another cramp. This stopped me again but then I saw the few people they’re cheering the runners on. I heard someone yell something in Spanish, which sucks for me because I don’t speak it, but I took it as get up or run or don’t quit. And there is was… my moment to run like the wind bullseye. Just like the moment in Man of Steel, Superman  discovers his ability to fly but can’t control it. He takes a moment and take his right fist into the ground. The ground starts to tremble and rumble and then Superman flies into the air. I too gathered the same control and ran as fast as I could and channeled all that pain as fuel. In the end, I did the impossible for myself. I did it. I ran my first marathon.


So where do I go from here? The answer may surprise you. I am not planning on running the 1/2 or the full Miami Marathon next year. I’ve decided to focus on getting my wife to do a 5k next year. This would be very achievable for anyone to do and I mean anyone. I started using the Couch25k app on my iPhone and could barely run 30 seconds. This was not easy but I had to do something different in my life because I had been unemployed going on 6 months. I had no control over my life and this gave me control and the confidence to endure. I still plan on running more marathons like Boston, NYC and yes, Disney but I don’t want to leave my family behind. The amount of training for the marathon was long and lonely despite it giving me some quiet time from the family and the library. I’m proud to have accomplished a boyhood dream and I love my medal but I’m gaga over my 26.2 sticker on my car most of all.




Coming down to just a few days, I will be running my first marathon. Like with all new things, there is always uncertainty about how well things will turn out. This time last year, I was working on the 1/2 marathon which had a combination of running and walking to help me across the finish line in 2 hours 48 minutes. I was beaming from all the hard work to reach that point that within a few days later, I decided to register for the full marathon.

After I completed my 1/2 marathon, I continued to run each month but with no great extend or effort until September.

February 43.4 11:01, March 34.7 13:34, April 43.9 12:19, May 48.5 12:07, June 26.9 12:17, July 21.8 11:45 August 36.9 12:11, September 50.7 13:10, October 60.4 11:53, November 51.4 11:25, 52.2 11:49 and now 84.8 11:43 with this a few more days to go to break 100 miles in January.

As you just read are the total miles for each month and the average time for the runs. What changed in September was a change in my diet or my daily intake. I started to drink a shit load of chocolate milk after my runs which is usually a quart each time. I also ate greek yogurt for the high protein content and tried different ones from Chobani, Dannon Oikos, and Publix. Dannon was the most creamyand not so thick compared to Chobani. Publix brand was good except for the splitting of the fruit in a separate compartment which at times my spoon did not fit to scoop it out. Overall, the greek yogurt was a big plus. I also had more oatmeal, bananas, pasta and various caffeine drinks for the extra boost before runs. The last couple of months I tried to limit the soda intake which gave me migraines from the withdrawal. I was able to ween myself and started to drink more water, juice, and Gatorade. Having this new type of fuel, I pushed myself to run more, faster, and farther.

On average runs last year, I would run for 15 minutes, rest for 1 minute and repeat the cycle. Having had these training wheels for such a long time, I pushed myself to run straight for 3 miles, then 4, 5, and 6 miles in the later part of the year. Early in January, I ran my fastest 10k at 1:05:57. Next, I ran farthest to date at 15.5 miles which lasted almost 3.5 hours which was my longest run time. A couple of weeks ago, I did the same 13.1 distance but at a much quicker rate. I bet my time 1/2 marathon time by 18 minutes. I ran 13.1 at 2.5 hours. As a rule of thumb, to calculate the time to run a full marathon, you take your 1/2 run time multiple it by two and some time after for any delay. So, I am looking at a 5+ hour marathon run and that’s what I’m shooting for.

The other issue I had to consider was the battery life to my iPhone. After the 1/2 marathon, my phone was about to die and I had not found my wife after the race but course I did a short time later. Nonetheless, I nearly ran for 3 hours and doing a full marathon is going to be much, longer. I started to look into battery chargers that I would be able to carry and charge along the way. There were various “lipstick” iPhone chargers which were light enough but I would have to use a USB cord. The solution was something I saw online which was a iPhone battery case. The case itself was the battery which would extend the life the battery without a tether. Prices would range from $50 – $80 which I had to save up for. Lucky for me, Groupon was selling an Unu iPhone Battery Cases for $30. This was a no brainer and I’ve tried running with it several times. While there is a bit more weight to the device, the solution is well worth the extra weight consider what I will be doing and to stay in contact in case of emergency.

Next, I had to upgrade my footwear. After my 1/2 marathon, I went to Footworks on Miami Beach to buy my 13.1 sticker for my car. I had talked briefly with the sales clerk about what I did and planned to do for the future. Several weeks ago, I went back to Footworks to do my feet justice. I was given great customer service, tried on several pairs and even had my running pace analyzed. I settled on a pair of running shoes from Brooks; which I never heard of before. What stood out from them apart from Nike and New Balance was the front end of the shoe. The front end had a bit if a lift and not just being flat on my feet. I tried running with them with one shoe from Brooks and the other from New Balance. The feel was amazing with Brooks as they had the extra kick them when I pushed off with the front of the shoe. I have worked hard to break them in and ran almost 80 miles to date. I have felt a great difference overall.

The last bit of information are my earbuds. One of the problems with the apple earbuds with all the running I have done, the sweat has destroyed them to the point where they are inaudible. As such, I kept running with them until I had a Best Buy gift card to buy new ones. Having done some research, I decided on getting Yurbuds Inspire. The earbuds are the same as others but they have a silicone case that fits in the ear better for runners. I have run for several months and I’ve no problems with the audio quality or having them pop out during running. However, as I’ve taken off the silicone case to clean them, I noticed they are not holding on to the earbud itself as much as before. As a result, I lost one of the cases and had to order a replacement. I did order them several weeks ago and I’m getting beyond nervous as I will have to use another pair of earbuds from apple. Luckily, the I found a new pair of earbuds that came out with the iPhone 5. Worst case, I will use them but I would rather use my Yurbuds.

Well, there you have it. I have done a great deal of work in the past year. I’ve updated my gear to help me along this journey that I never thought I would be on. So, fingers crossed and wish me well. I’ll update my blog after the race.

It’s All About the TARDIS!

Today is THE day not for the Doctor but for the TARDIS. At long last, the day has come to fruition to construct the TARDIS door. Why did it take so long? I needed the right paper and the right colored paper.

The blue construction paper at work did not work because of the stiffness and the size. The size was decent 11″x18″ which can take up a lot of spa but I would have to do a great deal of cutting. As for the stiffness of the paper, there are edges that I needed to make creases and the amount of tape to use to secure it would have made it look horrendous and the weight would pull away from the tape. To boot, the color was a light blue which was not the proper TARDIS blue. After some store shopping and then online, I found the perfect craft and color from Pacon. Many online stores had the product but because of the added shipping cost it was added almost a 50% cost. I went through Amazon and got free shipping through my Prime membership. As you can see from the pic above, I think I made a wise investment even though it delayed me.

For the picture above, my colleague, using her small scale TARDIS toy, created the roof and was able to create a paper ledge. Her input on this project has been amazing. Once she was done, I placed the already created sign for the Police Call Box. These were the easy parts compared to the rest of the TARDIS.

The next part was to cover the outside molding of the door. In addition, the door frame was not flush. There was a smaller frame attached to the inner part of the frame. We had to make sure that the inner frame and the outer frame was covered by the same piece of craft paper. The side with the door hinges had its own problems with the hinges and the inner door frame but was a bit easier as we did not have to cover the side of the outer frame since you can’t see it.

After lunch, my colleague worked on creating the light on top of the Police Box. With an exacto knife, she was able to cut a very delicate frame. Since the wall was white, there was no need to add white paper. My contribution to make the square box which sits on top of the roof for the light to sit on. Again, consulting the toy TARDIS helped us to create this effect.

The next part was to add 1″ strips of paper to create the window pane. There was an idea to use white paper in the window and the place the paper window panes. For the sake of time, the white paper was left out.
Next, we could not hang a straight sheet of rolled paper, tape it to the door and be done with it. The top window had to be cut out and well as the two panels below. I opted to make decision to have the outer part of the door covered. Once those were done, I would cover the horizontal bars as a coverup since the hinges were more of a problem as well as the door knob. For the last two windows, my colleague mentioned to place the paper in the back; it was a cheat but it got use through. Finishing the last bit of the horizontal bars, I was coming down to the end of the day at work. So, the next picture is the final results – sort of.

I am truly pleased with the results considering how much time was spent in creating this library TARDIS door. This display will be part of my Scifi winter wonderland young adults display for December. As with all things, I will come back on Monday to work to add a picture of the Doctor looking out from inside the TARDIS. This was my daughter’s idea which I truly love.
Well, what do you think?

International Game Day

wii gamesWhere to begin with my day on International Game Day. First, I broke out my X-Box 360 with Kinect with all my games including Rock Band, DJ Hero 2 and Tony Hawk. I’ve had done International Game Day once before and had a huge turn out. Being new to the Miami Beach Regional Library, over 1 year, and less with the YA (Young Adult) position. I’ve started with an Anime and Gaming Teen Club for the past couple of months but very little turnout. Except for my teens who run their own D&D meetings once a week, I would have zero teens in my branch. So, today was the day for me to make some kind of difference – anything.

While the program was scheduled today from 3:30 – 5:30, I started early for any lookie lous. Around 10am, I started to play bowling on the Wii in one part of the teen section and a short time later, a young preteen boy and his dad/grandpa? just happen to see me play. So the kid joined me some Wii Tennis and while I felt confident that I could take him, I lost 2 out of 3 games. Damnit!!!! Still, it was a great game to play and lots of fun.

As he was leaving, he noticed the other room where I had my X-Box setup. Like a moth to ketchup, he couldn’t pass it up. I got him hooked on the X-Box and we played with the Kinect for awhile. I decided to take a breather and the parent and I started having a conversation. This is what library advocacy is all about having a conversation. I talked about the ideas I had for having more programs like making your own videogames, comic books, podcasting and so forth. In that conversation, I mentioned that while we have videogames in the library system, they are limited due to the collection being stolen and damaged. Whatever we have left over, there is always a waitlist. He asked if we take donations of videogames and of course, I said that I would. From that point, I had told them that I had leave for a shift at the reference desk but never got a chance to thank them for coming. I blew it.

After the reference shift, I had lunch but I opened up the room with my X-Box. I had played some Peggle and soon then change to playing Tony Hawk and just then I had two more teens show up. Thanks to my library co-worker, she directed this wayward teens to my room. I am so grateful for this and I got these teen to play for the past hour and still going strong. We talked about the Anime and Gaming events that I have scheduled and felt that now I didn’t blow it. Just then, the two from this morning came back to see me.

The kid that beat me on tennis was kind enough to donate three Wii games for the library. As you can see from the picture above, I am very, very moved by this gesture. So, as any good YA librarian should have set, I had created a goodie bag mangas samplers, a water bottle and a nice backpack. I thanked them both tremendously for their generosity. I also gave my other teens the same goodie bag with the promise of telling their friends and to come back with them. I feel totally awesome and vindicated as a YA Librarian. My ego needed some attention and got it in a great way.

Today was a good day to be a librarian. ‘Nuff said.

It’s All About the Doctor.

dr who cubeecraft

This library blog has been quiet for some time. I’ve been quite the busy bee but I am happy to see teens coming back to the library day after day. On Fridays, I have a teen Dungeons and Dragons club that meet after school. They are a great bunch of kids and love their energy and ideas. One of those ideas was to do something for Doctor Who next month which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As you can see in the picture above is a cubeecraft of Matt Smith in the clothes of David Tennant. There are tons of Doctor Who cubeecraft that I gave a bunch to my teens to work on for my display. In addition, I have ordered anything and everything that the library had for my Doctor display; but that’s not all folks.

Having the freedom of creating displays is something I relish. Relying on my Borders Book Shop days, making book displays was in my blood and making something really cool and eye-catching and with no budget; I love these types of challenges. I have decided to make two Doctor Who icons which are extremely visual and immediately recognizable to any Whovian.

doorphotoThis was the second idea I had but I am going to be talking about it first. If you thought that I was going to make this door into a TARDIS you would correct. However, this door is just one door. There is no ways I can split this door or connect it to the door just off camera right. I am just going to make this a single door panel. Work with what you have and not complain about what you wish you had. Next, I did a small plan of what I want to do to transform the door into the TARDIS.

Let’s start with the top of the door jamb. I will need to create a two tier top with a light on top. Below this, I will have a black strip with white lettering Police Public Call Box. Of course, the Public Call with be stack on each other and in the middle of the signage.

signageTo create this sign, I used MS Publisher. There were three separate documents and then I joined each one with tape on the back. I am trying to avoid using glue or tape in the front. We’ll see how well the sign will hold up with the unreliable A/C.

The next thing I worked on was the 8.5″ x 11″ sign on the door. I only knew a few words when the camera was close enough to read it. This was fairly easy to make as I just made a word document and typed according to the picture. Aside from pasting this sign up, a suggestion was made to age the sign. One of the tricks of aging something was to use used coffee ground. With a paint brush and a bit of water in the grounds, you make stain the picture in a sepia tone. This should be fairly easy and I will make before and after comparison picture as I get to that part of this project.

dr windowThe last thing I worked on was the window treatment. I started out with using just 8.5″ x 11″ white paper. I covered the entire window and there is overlap. There is part of the window where you could see the overlap. Meh.  I next created the window panel with blue-ish construction paper. As you can see, I have to make overlapping strips. I think they are okay but I may have to scrap this plan for another. Option two, instead of using plain white paper, I may opt for white construction paper. I can use the paper outline to map out how to make the white construction paper look cleaner and less overlapping. Option 3, this came to me last night as a suggestion from my wife, painter’s tape can be used to make the window pane and leave the window bare. When the room is being used, the light from inside will create a similar effect and with less effort.

So, I am happy with the results so far. The picture below is just a rough mockup but you can get a sense of where I am going with this project. I will have to work on the first idea which I will do another post in the very near future.

mockup door

It’s not an ‘S.’ On my world it means ‘HOPE’.


There comes a time where things start to happen for a reason. Oddly enough, I was not planning on paraphrasing the late Glen Ford as Pa Kent from Richard Donner‘s Superman but it does seem apt for this entry but things do happen for a reason.  We each believe that if we are good that only good things happen. The same can be said for those who do bad. Not to go all metaphysical but I started to believe in something; hope.

Take for example the library budget cuts that I had talked about in September. I had always stated that the reversing the county commissioners decision on the proposed library reduction in staff and service hours was never going to happen. There are several certainties in this world like death and taxes that you will never overcome but saving the library system for certain doom… that’s the stuff of songs and legends.

Flash forward, today, I was running very early in the morning. I had a bit of a struggle during the first mile as I really need to take care of business due to my caffeine in take. Needless to say, nothing was open and I was far from home. About 1.6 miles in to my run, I noticed a dog following a biker crossing a major intersection. The dog was not on a leash which pissed me off to begin with but more importantly, it was about to be run over. I got the dog out of the street but then I had a new problem. What to do with the dog?

This dog was a german shepherd and later found out that she was about less than a year old. She looked healthy except for the panting she was doing. I was hoping that by walking back to the same road in the opposite direction something would happen like the owner showing up or the dog gets back into its yard; neither happened. Having to walk back home with the dog for almost two miles my nerves on edge as I had no leash to control her. Every once in a while, she would get spooked by the other dogs and then I would have to go chase her down praying along the way the she would stay off the streets. Eventually, I made it home and put her in the backyard to give her food and water. And yet, there’s more.

One of many outside cats my family and I take care of, decided to raise her three kittens in the same backyard. I had to be the buffer the between the cats and the new found dog. About an hour later, I took the dog to the vet to see if they could scan her for a microchip and no such luck. My only other option was to go and take her to the animal shelter. I had no other options.

I got to the shelter before 10am and waited to get the dog to be admitted. The attendant briefly talked to me about the dog. He asked if the dog was mine. I told him that I found her during my run in the morning. The reason why he asked was due to my answer, I had to fill out a certain piece of paperwork. If I went ahead about turned over the shepherd as being found, the window of adoption would be only five days; in other words being put down after that. If I said I owned the dog even for a couple of days, I would give up the owner’s rights but the this dog and others would be transferred to a shelter in the Carolina (not sure North or South) where they would not be put down. This was what I was going to do but as I was filling out the paperwork, there was a woman who was playing with the dog I found. She was there to release the remains for her dog. Her dog has passed away and she was telling my how much she always wanted to have a German Shepherd. She basically wanted to adopt her right on the spot. You have no idea how much this was meant to be. So what does this have to do with the Superman logo?

Both times, I wore my favorite Superman tshirt. During the Commissioner’s meeting I wore it under my dress shirt. I did it for  geeky-ness, self confidence and for the hope I never had. As for today, I wore the same the Superman tshirt and it brought me… hope. Yes, it’s very cheesy to say it but it’s not cheesy in believing it. When I saw Man of Steel over the summer, when that line that was said in the movie rang so true to me about the character and I took it as my symbol and my mantra.

I am very close in getting a permanent tattoo of the Superman symbol. I know it may sound out of character but there is always a reason for things to happen. Many moons ago, I thought of a pen name for the one day I would become a famous writer: Michael Hope Fysher. Hell, even the first Star Wars movie was given a subtitle A New Hope. Hope is a pretty powerful thing but the trick is believing in it.