Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

I’m not dead

Posted by Gexx on September 29, 2009

… only twittering.

Seriously, the blog has been slow, but the tweets have been many.  I’ve been rather busy w M’s store ( and with school.

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Posted by Gexx on September 5, 2009

I’ve been bringing out some inexperienced undergrads to my site and teaching them the finer points of shovelbumming.  It’s been going well, and I appreciate the company as there are bears around (I only bring ones that run slower than me…joking).  But I have a new friend who lets me know that there are no bears.  It’s an 8 point (currently) velvet buck.  He’s shown up a few times lately, and when he doesn’t some generic does poke around.  Today he was one of the days he didn’t come over.  But I found him later on the return trip hanging out with a four pointer.

I kinda (kinda) feel bad because while he’s not even 10m from me, I’m thinking “I would buy a deep freeze for him.”

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You’re why we don’t get to have any nice things

Posted by Gexx on August 29, 2009

This morning I went to the farmer’s market to pick up some last minute stuff for tomorrow.  As an aside, if I knew I wasn’t going to go into the field today, I would have just done all my shopping this morning.

I picked up what I needed and some extras.  I brought home some lovely fresh Chanterelle mushrooms and some gorgeous sunflowers that weren’t on my list.   As soon as I got home I went to get the vase for the sunflowers.  I left the flowers sticking out of my bag.

It was too much temptation for one kitten.  I returned not 3 minutes later to find them with fewer than half their petals and one head ripped right off.

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Dinner Party

Posted by Gexx on August 24, 2009

About once a month or so, the Historical Archaeologists in my department like to have our own little dinner party.  It allows us to connect in a more homey environment than our MondayNightMargaritas did.  And, as few of us own an actual dining room table, we have much more freedom for mixing and gathering within the party.  I like to do mine when the weather is still warm.  Some people are allergic to cats, and this way I can leave my doors open in the front and back (cats are stuck in the bedroom), have the fan and AC bring in fresh air, and we can go outside if we want.

So I’m hosting the one for August.  I’m having it on Sunday, as the grad student picnic (aka: party for people to bring their kids – therefor, I’m not going) is Saturday.  My theme, I think, will be Brunch for Dinner.  I was originally thinking of going for the Breakfast for Dinner thing but….

I’ll be in the field all day Sunday.

That’s right.  I am going to come home at 6PM covered in dirt and have guests over at 7PM.  So I need lots of “make ahead” foods.  I was doing some research today and I think I will make:

– Bruschetta, goat cheese, and avacado spread to top toasted rounds

Savory Egg Pudding

Roasted Sausages with Grape/Mint dressing (fresh grapes are hitting the farmer’s market)

– Roasted Potatoes

Zucchini Carpaccio

Peach Pudding

And then the guests bring the fixings for Bellinis, Mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s.

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Hair removal review: threading

Posted by Gexx on August 16, 2009

I’m getting ready for back to school stuff.  I dyed my hair red.. I’ve stopped going to a salon because I’m going to the field.  I’d rather not pay the ~$200 for cut/color/style/tip that I normally do and then squish it under a bandanna all the time.  Plus I’m growing it out to do something fun with before my October trip to Boston.  But today M and I went to the mall because we’re looking for some good “stand on cement floor for 8 hours” shoes and he doesn’t like Chaco, Teva, Keens, or anything else that we tried that has good structural support.  So I found a store that sells Birkenstocks and we went.  He ended up not liking the Birks, but he did find a pair of Keens that he likes.

On the way, we passed by a kiosk where two women were threading eyebrows!  Threading is a hair removal method that involves wrapping a string around a hair and using that tension to remove the hair.  It doesn’t require the heat and trauma of waxing and unlike tweezing, it can’t grab or pinch the skin.  So I stopped and had my eyebrows done!  It wasn’t entirely painless… you are pulling out hair.  It did take some time, also, but I did *really* need to get them done and she *really* made them thinner than I normally wear them.  It was well done and it cost me (including tip and ATM fees bc they only take cash) $17.

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Posted by Gexx on August 15, 2009

Wow!  So there are A PILE of bears out where I’m working!!  There are two Mama Bears, and the cubs are still small.  Then there are the juviniles from last year’s litters!  So this morning, M and I hike to the site, cross the stream, and then put on our boots.  If we had had sat 5 meters away, we would have been trampled to death by a faun and two does speeding by!  After we put on the boots, I spot a HUGE pile of bear scat.  It was eating cherries.  Lots and lots of cherries.  We hike the rest of the way to the site and go to the last unit we worked on, where I left my shovel, shaker-screen, and a black 5 gallon unused paintbucket.  The shovel was point-side-up, so it had been moved.  The bucket, though, had two punctures about 4 inches away from each other as well as some scratchy sections.  Nearby, we find another pile of bear scat, also full of cherries.  This one looks like the bear had the runs, though, maybe because s/he was eating only cherries.  Anyway, I guess we’ll figure out soon how bears handle ammunition cases, my preferred field case.

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The wild world of the forest

Posted by Gexx on August 12, 2009

Well, M and I, in our last excursion, discovered that the area is supporting a healthy bear population.  In one area we saw a Mama Bear with two cubs, and in another we saw a Mama with three cubs.  The second family, we saw while Mama was grubbing around a tree.  The three cubs were frolicking.  That is, they were jumping on each other and tumbling around.  Then they all tried climbing up a dead stump – at the same time.

Other animals of note include a big black beetle, a katydid, an 8 inch earthworm, an 8 point buck, and scores of turkeys.

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silly art class

Posted by Gexx on August 10, 2009

Randy Millhollend of Something Positive, a comic I read, is working with a Wacom Tablet for the first time.  His result reminded me of a story….


I was hanging out with my boyfriend at the time in his brother’s living room.  His brother had kept some of the boyfriend’s artwork from art class and hung it on the wall.  One was an interesting abstract piece done in crayon of a dog jumping through a man’s body.  In the bottom corner was his name and “4”.  The boyfriend commented “yeah, that one sucks.”  I respond, “but it’s pretty good for fourth grade!  I don’t know many who can think of using space like that.  That’s definately a middle school concept!”  Boyfriend turns bright red and stomps off.  His brother informs me:

“That’s  not 4th grade, that’s High School Art, 4th Period.”

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I work hard for no money!

Posted by Gexx on August 9, 2009

So hard for it, honey!!

I’ve been in the field a few days this past week.  I’m dragging M out on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (yays! MINIONS!)

Today I helped M move his apartment.  He’s moving to the next town over, and he has WAY TOO MUCH FURNITURE!  He bought a full bedroom, living room, and kitchen set when he moved to Knoxville a year ago because he didn’t think he’d be moving.  Well, guess what… he’s moving.  ::sigh::

Perhaps it’s just because I’ve moved thirteen times, but it seems that so many people make moving more difficult than they need to.  I’ve moved each of my boyfriends and I get so frustrated with them.  With J, I packed the entire house in 4 hours (one evening).  It took him more than 2 days (w a Uhaul) to move it across town (the only big furniture was a bed, couch, and diningroom table/chairs).  With A, I cleaned all 2.5 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, living room, and steps in the time it took him to clean his kitchen (which he never used).  Now with M I keep trying to get him to pack stuff up in advance, but instead he ends up waiting to the last minute.  And then when I try to help pack and clean, he instead thinks he’ll let me relax but instead I’m waiting and worrying that he won’t be in good condition for the days he’s helping me in the field.  ::sigh::

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Field Work: deer, bugs, and more!!

Posted by Gexx on August 7, 2009

I’m really enjoying the field work.  Although I hope/plan to do more with curation and lab work in my career, there’s something empowering about going out and doing the initial discoveries.  This summer has been gorgeous! Not *too* hot for a mountain summer and not too humid.  Getting the site mapped was horribly monotonous, and it required hauling about 70 lbs (and $12,000) of equipment to and from the 1/2 mile-ish-away-off-trail site.  But now that I’m digging, I can leave my gear at the site and just carry my backpack with me.

The other day I was out digging by myself.  In the area are lots of “hogwallers” (places where the wild boars wallow in the mud, indicitive because of the high amount of torn up ground).  I heard a snap in the woods and looked up, ready to run.  About 10m away from me was a gorgeous doe.  She looked at me, I started talking to her.  She just ignored me!  How rude!  She did, however, hang around for about an hour.  This made me feel safe, as a doe would be the first thing to run off if a bear or boar entered.  When she did go away, she didn’t run, she just wandered up the ridge near where I worked.

That same day, I heard a Katydid chirping really loudly.  I found it at the tree next to me, just Katy-did-ing away.  A big gran’daddy-long-legger was sizing it up, but he decided to leave the singer alone.

Also in the area of my site are lots of trees that bears grub around.  It’s really startling, sometimes, to see the neat motes that they dig to get the ugly larvae.  Today I dragged M to the site to help me.  To get there we need to cross a stream near the trailhead, so we wear sandals in the car and across the stream.  On the opposite side, we change into our serious (dry!) hiking boots.  Today was no different.  As we’re changing into our boots, people start to gather on the opposite side and point up the tree we’re under.  I finally ask “What’s going on.”  Some kid responds “There’s two BEARS UP THERE!!”  I finish tying my shoe and we HAUL ARSE!  The trees there aren’t the strongest, so the only size bear that they could support two of are cubs.  And cubs aren’t much unless there’s a MommaBear, and the local MommaBear had 2 cubs this year.  And I do NOT want to meet up with a momma bear!

So what sort of signs will the coyotes leave behind and when will they hang out with me?

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