Those curious about the topic should hop over to http://www.arrl.org/ , the web site of the American Radio Relay League. It's the master organization for ham operators, and the starting point for any investigation.
(Several friends are long-time hams with impressive rigs.)
But the ARRL can point you at local ham groups, and make it easier to find them.
I was at a party two weekends ago at the home of a ham enthusiast. It was fun to watch people who knew each other by call sign and posts on ham related message boards meet in person for the first time. "Oh! You're w1xyz! I've DXed with you and see your posts on the boards!" In a couple of cases, I believe the people had already met socially, but were just now finding out they were both hams and knew each other through another channel.
(The party was not ham related, but the host was a ham and hams he knew were part of his invitation list. The party was mostly an excuse for him to fire up the grill and the smoker and make meat for the multitudes.)
You are right Caleb, I've met many an enthusaistic ham who was willing to help me get started, but I've still not done it! If you're looking for more on hams, the amazing Doug Grant writes a column called Ham's Eye View, his last one was about Wayne Green, a famous ham who died this year at the age of 91.