Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mustering the energy for Muster

Right now, I'm finishing up a portfolio for work, one I've been avoiding for 2 months yet really would only take about 40 minutes to do if I'd just focus. But like the girls in last night's band, I just won't.

Later, I'm plan-less. Maybe sit and watch a movie at home. Maybe take Smelly Ellie for a walk if it gets brighter out. Maybe go get some fried chicken from Hot Sauce Williams and get fatter. Maybe check out this Georgian (as in Tbilisi, not Atlanta) film at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Or maybe I'll be an adult and show up at the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Former Students of Texas A&M University and attend the Muster ceremony.

A&M, where I went to grad school, is a really interesting place. I mean that euphemistically and objectively. It started as a military school, a really good one, but eventually turned in to a full-fledged major research university. Now it is one of the largest in the country, as well as one of the most energetic in terms of ground-breaking scientific research. I was lucky to go there, even if it was a semi-formal requirement to say "Howdy" to everyone you passed on the sidewalk. (Swear to god this is true.)

Anyway, every year A&M holds a ceremony called "Muster." I'm guessing this is a holdover military tradition, and while its solemnity always made me decide not to attend when I lived there, it is a good thing for a school to due. Basically, they use it as a formal opportunity to acknowledge all of the current and former students that passed away in the past calendar year.

Given the sheer size of A&M's alumni group, its national distribution, its relative rabidity in terms of lingering school spirit, and the fact that many former students are shockingly successful, there are musters held the same day throughout the country (and in most major cities across the world). And this includes Cleveland.

When I was down in Aggieland, I was never a big booster. I mean, I cheered for the teams, but mostly from a bar stool. I railed against the bigotry one could find really easily on campus if you looked with half an eye open, but I never celebrated the good stuff. Moving up here, I miss the big campus environment, the energy you find in large student populations and dynamic research faculty. But mostly I miss knowing tons of people. Maybe meeting these folks would be a good thing. After all, within a half-hour or so of getting on their list-serv, I received personal emails from about 5 people welcoming me to Clevo and offering any help with anything I might need. Couldn't hurt to have more people like that in your life, right?

So here I sit, trying to decide if I want to jump in the shower, but on a jacket, and head over to network. Ugh.

Tune in tomorrow, I guess, to see which option I go with.

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