The first day of CIWIC is always a challenge. I am normally asleep at 7:30 in the morning, the time when the Welcome Breakfast begins. It is a frightening hour to be searching campus for the Alumni Room. Frequently there are bikers with rat-tails who hover about as you trek across the campus, dodging squirrels and boll weevils.
I'm late, of course. I'm always late. Really for me, being on time isn't possible, so I guess I'm not really
late, given that being on time would be early for me and late is normal. So really, everyone else was early, which we all know is in very poor taste. Alex was still having all of the machines in the lab ghosted. The CIWIC breakfast always coincides with the crash/ghosting/rebuilding of computers in the lab.
Even though the breakfast occurs at a completely unacceptable hour in the morning, it is vitally important to attend. It is at this breakfast that you learn the important details that will shape your entire CIWIC experience. The process is to grab loads of food and table up. Unfortunately, the food available is normally of the bacon and eggs and danish variety. There are none of the real breakfast foods like pizza, leftover spaghetti, or ice cream. Still, people are polite and they eatthough their eyes betray their longing for spumoni and onion rings. Oh, and cheese curds.
Once it is certain that everyone has a full mouth, the introductions begin. The breakfast room is designed so that it is impossible for a speaker to see everyone. Large support beams cut through the space. Michigan Tech is an engineering school, and that means that it's important to show engineering feats everywhere. Who would realize that a building has a support structure? Thank goodness for these designs that show the great work that went into their building. But I digress. Cindy, our hostess extraordinaire, begins the introductions, asking various people in the room to say a little about who they are, what they do, and, most importantly, their specialities.
This is the time when we learn the real and important information about CIWIC. These important observations were all shared during this first meeting. As you can see, they are all drastically important to the success of anyone in the field:
- Michigan's motto is "Something something, look around you."
- Beware of morning trips to the dumpster, for there are bears inside. Big bears. Fortunately, they are scared of trash. This might lead one to ask, "why are bears who are scared of trash in a dumpster, which is typically filled with trash?" If one thinks this, one needs more coffee. One is clearly not of the Yooper mindmeld yet.
- If you rob a bank in Houghton, the best escape route is not to head north across the bridge into Hancock.
- Nascar is a French scientist who is well-known for pottery-based car forms.
- In the morning, there is rarely enough ketchup.
- People who come to CIWIC buy lots of things: warm fuzzy jackets, walking shoes, bug spray, sunscreen, more bug spray, new bikes, and houses.
- Dickie announces that it would be great for someone to buy a house this year.
- Cindy frequently sentences participants to "death by additional readings."
- The only way to avoid "death by additional readings" is to keep Cindy far away from any and all texts. If she reads it during the two weeks that you're at CIWIC, it will show up on your reading list the next day.
- Alex passes out copies of a vodka label, three billboards, and a newspaper article on the best time to plant coconut trees. Cindy has been reading for hours already.
- Italy is in a different time zone from Houghton.
- Everyone likes semi odd ticks. The semi odd ticks of the great UP are not so bad this year however. In a truly symbolic gesture, the semi odd ticks have been assigned to another portion of the northwoods.
After these important life lessons, everyone goes to Walker Hall for the start of the sessions. Wisely, I go back to my room and take a nap. After all, I am tengrrl. And more importantly, I am a helper this year, and I don't need to be in the lab till 3 pm, a far more reasonable time.
Tags: tengrrl's travelblog