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Archive for April, 2014

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The Class of ’94 gift to the University stands just outside the Association building, so clearly this is fate. Of course technically I fought this gift idea when I was on Class of ’94 Council 🙂 What, we needed more statues? I wanted us to make a large donation to A&M’s libraries. But you already knew I was a nerd.

Big change in my life — after 19 years of being a designer, reporter and editor at the Statesman, later this month I will jump geekstatically into my new job: communications specialist for the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University.

This is really, truly dream job time.

The Association, one of the largest alumni groups in the world, works to help not just “Old Ags” like me but also current students and to help strengthen the university. I’ll be writing articles for the Texas Aggie magazine, helping with social media, publications, emails and other communications with Aggies, plus some fundraising and events that we hold or help with, like the Ring Day ceremony happening today or our football tailgates — did you know every former student has a standing invitation to the Association tailgate parties? Just c’mon by the building and get you some barbecue.

Call me — all 370,000 of you

In December 2013, Texas A&M had 370,579 living former students around the world, and thousands more have graduated since then. All of you guys: You need anything, you call me. I’m not kidding. I’m your girl. The phone number at my new desk is 979-458-2566, or email me at sue94@aggienetwork.com. Non-Aggies, if you want to visit A&M or learn about it, take a campus tour, just ask a question, I’m your girl, too.

Helping start A&M journalism board

My Statesman family… I’ll miss them and I’ll miss newspapering incredibly. But I’ll get to keep my hand in: Texas A&M’s director of Journalism Studies, Dale Rice, has asked me to help develop and launch a board of former journalism students and current working journalists to support the new journalism major in Liberal Arts. Can’t even express how honored I am by this.

Twitter: I’m keeping @aggiejournalist

Because of my volunteer work with A&M’s journalism program, my personal Twitter handle since 2007 has been @aggiejournalist, and I’ll be keeping that, but it’s amnesty time for anybody who wants to jump off my follower list: I won’t be tweeting my political reporting any more and I will be sharpening my focus on A&M news, specifically geared to the kind of stuff I personally want to know about at A&M — campus changes, some sports, a lot of good bull, major university news and gratuitous glamour photos of Reveille. I’ll keep tweeting journalism industry news and social media/new media developments and best practices. And music and Muppet noises.

Holy wow.

In a whole range of ways, I can’t believe this is happening. I started at the Statesman something like six days after I graduated from A&M, and I am as thrilled to be going to Aggieland now as I was when I was a little fishie. Wish me luck!

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Painted buntings are so colorful that when people spot them, they think somebody’s parrot has escaped. But these birds range across most of Texas. They just like to hide in brush, so they’re rarely seen. To make them pop out like magic, here’s all you need: white millet seed.

ImageI made this poster a few years ago from a photo I took at my folks’ place. We spread what I called “the river of millet” across the back porch and watched every day right before sunset; it only took the buntings a few days to start turning up en masse. Right about now is a good time to try this. From March 5 to May 22, says Texas A&M’s Texas Breeding Bird Atlas, painted buntings return to Texas from Central America and Mexico to start building nests and laying little blue-grey-white eggs with red markings. They’ll start heading back south at the end of June.

Painted buntings are found in other states, but Texas has the largest breeding population, with Oklahoma second. I won’t lie, it’ll be pretty hard to pull out as many males as you see in this photo. But they are total suckers for millet, so give it a try. There are probably buntings hanging out in your shrubbery right now. 🙂

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I usually favor Guy’s album cuts because they seem to catch his meaning best and he tended to have people like Emmylou hanging around harmonizing, or Waylon sawing away at the top end there in the back of “Anyhow I Love You.”

An exception is the solo acoustic version of “Texas Cookin’ ” that was filmed for “Heartworn Highways,” in which Guy’s bluesy playing makes much more sense to me than what I decided at about the age of 10 was a kinda goofily over-produced album version, its musical style coming out of nowhere with a big banging synthesized sound, practically a comedy or novelty track. (I was, as I have noted elsewhere, a slightly weird 10-year-old.)

Stripped down with some quite lovely playing,  the song’s blues roots stand out clearly. That gives Guy’s little foray into funk here some context that makes sense with the rest of his music.

Guy’s goofiness of course is one of the most wonderful things about him. Watch him bend his body into the music in another clip from “Heartworn Highways” –he’s 33 or 34 years old here:

… and then watch that same goofiness pop up in an interview 27 years later or so. Guy gets playful and nostalgic and then suddenly there’s his young self, weaving around and almost laying his head on Susanna’s shoulder.

Lagniappe: From John Spong in January 2014, here’s what has to be one of the best features ever written about Guy.

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