Gexx in Knoxville

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Things That Make Me Happy

Posted by Gexx on December 9, 2008

1. Candy-striped sunsets and the moment watching them.
2. The intense blue of a winter sky.
3. Kittens who cuddle even when I’ve been annoyed at them.
4. Hot showers.
5. So many friends who offered me their place before I “fixed” my hot water heater.
6. A boyfriend who lives close enough that we can see each other without planning it a days ahead of time.
7. A boyfriend who lives close enough that if I want to do something but he’s tired, I can go out without feeling like a poor host.
8. Neighbors who come over to shoot the breeze and drink the wine.
9. Neighbors who are adventurous enough to help discover which bottles of wine went bad because of my poor wine rack location (final count: all 17).
10. Finishing a book.
11. Sunday morning snuggle sessions.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. – Thich Nhat Hanh

The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass. – Dogen

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Day 19… been having fun…

Posted by Gexx on May 24, 2008

27 – New Wine
Stonehaus Winery – Davenport Red (1/20)
Stonehaus Winery is based in Crossville, TN right next to I-40. It’s one of the many wineries in East/Central Tennessee. With our mountains, we have many many slopes with varied conditions – able to support myriad variety of grapes.
Davenport Red is a semi-sweet red wine made from concord grapes. I’ve taken to drinking my wine from a rocks glass, as I’m normally doing other things while drinking, and this time I was playing Wii. Anyway, this wine was served slightly chilled, as it was in my trunk and the day was somewhat cool. It was deliciously fruity – very GRAPEY, a trait I don’t normally find in wine and honestly never expected. Very very full mouthed, not acidic, few tannins, no leather, aprocot, or floral notes. It tasted like GRAPE… it blows my mind. It was sweeter than I would normally have put with food, but it was recommended for pairing with Italian dishes. Good thing the liquer store near my house sells this too… we can experiment.

36 – Ride my bike…
I’m not sure if this counts, as my initial goal for 36 seems to imply transportation over recreation. This weekend, however, Aaron and I decided to take our bikes out. Mine had been out only a few times since I got it in 2004 and his not much since he got it in the last month. So, we looked up some local greenways and found one near his house. We ended up going about 6 miles roundtrip uphill, downhill, uphill again, and then back again. The furthest point of our trip was on a promentory in a Wildlife Management Area looking over the river. Very very pretty.

48 – Fight Club
Chuck Pahlaniuk – Fun book review 4/30
In my freshman year in college, my college roommate watched Fight Club at least once each week. I haven’t seen it in a few years, though, so when I saw it on Aaron’s bookshelf during my raid, I snagged it. It wasn’t long, only about 200 pages, so it was a quick read. I finished it in less than a day.

It follows the general themes of the movie. Certain developments, however, were much better. The movie, I felt, was logical… well, logical enough. The book, however, was so much better.

Pahlaniuk, for example, explains the incidents leading up to Durdan’s employment to a much better level. The narrator’s office life, also, was much more detailed.

Books and movies have always been an odd compromise for me. To simply write a description… and to *show* a scene… and then to FILM… all very different arts. Very different expectations.

Clive Barker – Fun Book Review 5/30
Aaron has almost a whole bookshelf full of Clive Barker. So I asked “If I were to read Clive Barker, what would be a good one to start with?” He responded imediately “Imajica” Now, this isn’t an actual review as well… it’s really long. So long that when Imajica was published in paperback, clive Barker realized the type was too small and the book much much to large. So… it is two 500+ page paperbacks. I finished the first in a few days. I’ll read the second within the next bit and write its review.

Anansi Boys
Neil Gaiman – Fun Book Review 6/30

Neil Gaiman is a great story teller. He weaves componants together well. His descriptions and method of *showing* are masterful.

His plot, however, is almost always the same. A slightly unsure “everyperson” finds himself involved in a situation which seems above his ability. At the end, he rises to the situation, often with a Messianic near death/rebirth phase. This theme is seen in the Sandman comics, American Gods, Neverwhere, and now in Anansi Boys.

Anansi Boys plays off of the main theme of American Gods. In AG, old world gods tried to gain followers in America. Here, Anansi, the trickster/spider of west Africa, dies in a Karaeoke bar in Florida. It’s in the first few pages, I’m not telling you anything spoiling. So then his son Charles (Charles Nancy) deals with the death of his estranged father, which includes the discovery of a brother named Spider. Charles had no idea his father was Anansi, he never ever knew that magic occured.

King Solomon’s Mines
H. Rider Haggard – Fun Book Review 7/30

I have been “reading” KSM for a few months now. I acquired it through libravox (, a site which provides mp3 and ogg audio book files of public domain or creative commons literature. The readers are volunteers, so the quality sometimes leaves one desiring.

There is normally some amount of hype about these “Classics,” and I had wanted to read KSM for a while. The plot is basic: Alex Quartermain, gentleman adventurer/hunter/explorer, is included on a hunt for another gentleman’s brother, who had been searching for King Solomon’s Mines. He goes on the adventure, they almost die innumerable times, and eventually he succeeds. The reader knows that Quartermain will live, as he tells you at the beginning.

The fun, though, is the author’s narrative style. Quartermain is a rough, gruff, adventurer, but the narrative and dialogue are so… proper. The juxtaposition and the story told are interesting. Haggard’s depiction of the “noble savage” irks me also… but that’s just my whole anthopology background coming out.

William Kennedy – Fun Book Review 8/30

I read Kennedy first after having left Albany, ironic, I know. Roscoe is written like Kennedy’s other novels. Albany is a boys club of politics. No one is trusted, sex drives are high, and the good guy doesn’t win. In this novel, Kennedy follows Roscoe, boss of the Albany Democratic Party, through the suicide of Elisha, one of Roscoe’s friends, the Luitenant Governer of New York , and the father of the mayor of Albany. The plot of Roscoe protecting Elisha’s estate serves more as a matrix for other anecdotes of Roscoe’s past… and the past of the other characters who inhabit Kennedy’s Albany: Mac and O.B., cops who executed Jack “Legs” Diamond; Hattie and Mame, women who operate “real estate” and “boarding houses”; chicken fighters; and the elite Fitzgibbons. Colorful, tragic, hopeful, gritty… Kennedy writes well.

47- See a movie without hesitating.
Iron Man – Aaron suggested Iron Man, and while I may have technically hesitated as I wasn’t feeling well, we grabbed some food and I was feeling much better. So then we went. Yay!

70 – COMPLETION The other week the Post Office did a food collection. I took two bags, the one they provided and another, and filled them. One was filled with the stuff justin left behind: saurkraut, fruit salad, hamburger helper, and peas. The other was filled with stuff they might actually want: raisins, mac and cheese, green beans, corn, pasta, and sauce.

88 – Identify 100 things that make me happy
Senor Taco (3/100)

Senor Taco is a local Mexican joint. I would liken it to “Al’s” in “Happy Days” or “The Maxx” in “Saved by the Bell.” The servers know us, we know people there, the food is good, its cheap, and you can ‘t go without seeing atleast one other colleague / department member.
It won the Metropulse’s 2008 award for best Mexican food and best Cheap Meal. The Chili Rellenos are awesome, food specials are regularly quality, and Monday… Monday!! Monday are 2 for 1 margarita nights.
Senor Taco was there during a formative period in my life. This period includes Eric, who encouraged my attendance. When I told Justin to leave, and when he finally left, I moped. Eric, a friend of a friend who I had just met, told me I had to go to Sr. Taco with him one day. Then he called me up a few days later. And then again. I went to Sr. Taco with him atleast twice a week, drinking margaritas, talking to someone NOT in the department, and getting a realistic, non pandering look back at me.
After this, Sr. Taco became the spot where I would meet up with people: cheap food, good service, good drinks. It is where we start our nights out. It is where we get together after class, where we run to after a rough day. Everyone knows how to get there, and everyone can find something they like.
It is a place to meet with friends. It makes me smile.

Writing and Recieving Letters and Postcards(4/100)

I am notoriously horrible when it comes to writing letters. I’ll talk someone’s ear off, but to sit and write to that person I fail. So I’m normally on the recieving end of this, and I know how great it makes me feel. I often end up with postcards from friends who have moved or are traveling. They’re such a surprise to get in the mail. When I was a camp councilor, I would get letters from friends, Kazen sent me a few as did my Latin Teacher. I am going to make an effort to write some letters this year, even as extended greetings on Christmas Cards.
When I force myself to actually take the time to do it, I enjoy writing letters and post cards. I just continue to lack the motivation… something I keep working on.

94, 96: I changed goal 94. While Amphibian Ark is a good group: official, has a plan, all of that. I decided I would rather my money go to Safe Haven Sexual Assault Crisis Center, our local domestic/sexual abuse shelter organization. They provide a safe house for abuse victims, nurses and advocates for doctor appointments and legal cases, and therapists for residual meetings.
I feel that this local organization needs support more than my loved frogs.

This will also be the organization for number 96.

95: Kazen commented that 95 was rather … ambitious. While it might *seem* that way… keep in mind that I will re-evaluate what has not been done. After 500 days, if all goes smoothly I may be looking at heading out of Tennessee. It depends on the thesis and the job prospects. And if I do end up moving, I might need to restart some goals… like cleaning and those regarding houseplants. Some will also be defunct at that point.

Posted in changing a goal, completed, in progress, no. 27, no. 36, no. 47, no. 48, no. 70, no. 88, no. 94, no. 95, no. 96 | 1 Comment »

Day 13 – more done

Posted by Gexx on May 18, 2008

At Aaron’s place, dinking around on his computer. I’ve felt rather blah (bad blah, very bad blah funk) for the most of the week, so I’ve really done little except sit around and read. Cleaning came to a halt, so my bedroom looks good, but my house is still a wreck. I hope to be better this week. Borrowed more books from him, not that that’s what I need necessarily, but I’ll try to be more sparing in my reading. At least trying to get tasks done.

48: “Fun Book” Book Reviews
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter S. Thompson – Fun book review 3/30

I had been wanting to read this book for a while, so when I raided Aaron’s shelves and saw it, I snatched it up. It was interesting. It was hard to understand the author, hard to be emic, empathetic, as I don’t have experience in chemicals (I am a horrible square) and particularly not to the extant of him. The book was … most words that I would use to describe sections: interesting, funny, odd, annoying, energetic, poignent…. they don’t seem to work. I think… frenetic might be the best.
Other than that… I really don’t know what to say.

Fight Club
Chuck Pahlaniuk – Fun book review 4/30
… will be continued later …. tired of blogging

88: Identify 100 things that make me happy and why

Pollywog in a Bog
Aaron got the new Bare Naked Ladies CD this week, he preordered it. I liked BNL before, they were good, but I never really got to get into them. But this CD, while cheesy, most things that make me happy are cheesy, including cheese itself, is adoreable. Some songs are overly childinsh, but one I love. It may have something to do with me liking frogs, but the song is simple, it makes sense, the words pleasingly flow, and the different sections are …. well, just watch the clip after my spiel.

I was actually feeling low last night, headache and tired and just fatigued in general, concerned about things, overly reflective and critical, and Aaron, after sitting and listening to me for a while (see object 1 for this goal … I hope he realizes how much sitting and listening sometimes helps) suggested that we get some sleep. While I was crawling under the covers he turned on his stereo and flipped to this song, knowing it was my favorite. I was all snuggled up under the comforter (I’ve been oddly cold lately) and he sat there and we sang it. It’s just a happy song about how awesome metamorphosis is. It makes me happy.

In the puddle by the trail it flips its tiny tail
Just like a great big whale but smaller than a snail

It’s a pollywog in a bog, swims under soggy logs
One day he’ll be a frog, pollywog in a bog

Overhead a cedar tree gives the shade he needs
Munching while he feeds on lily pads and weeds

Knows not where he’s from, or how his life had begun
He’s not the only one, and soon he’ll breathe through lungs

It’s hard to believe
With the arms you’ll receive
You’ll life your head above the water and breathe
Gills shrink away and may there come a day
When you reach the shore with a whole world to explore

Ribbit ribbit a tadpole exhibit
It’s a transformation no one can inhibit
Amphibian change may seem strange
Take them gills and the tail and they all rearrange

Out come the legs for the jump! jump!
Hope to the top of the stump! stump!
Out come the legs for the jump! jump!
Hope to the top of the stump! stump!

Where the mud is deep frost will soon creep, and without a peep a frog is fast asleep

It was a pollywog in a bog, swam under soggy logs
In the morning fog, pollywog in a bog.

92a: I went through my sweaters, so now 4 more objects to goodwill (total of 76). I honestly didn’t think it would be this easy to finish this goal. I thought it would be motivation to go through a bunch of the stuff that has been piling up thanks to my mother’s decision that “you need these napkins” or “this candle holder” or many other things.

93: to the person involved, we still haven’t actually figured this out.

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Day 7 – Starting on some "easy" goals

Posted by Gexx on May 12, 2008

88: Identify 100 things that make me happy and why

Aaron (1/100)
It’s cheesy, you think, placing my boyfriend as my first to write about. I guess that’s because he’s the easiest. He was going to be on the list anyway, which is not cheesy or mushy, but common sense. I would not be in a relationship with the man if he made me unhappy and I would not stick around if he made me blase. So Aaron…

He makes me happy in multiple ways and always has. I started out intending for a rather superficial relationship, not putting too much faith in him continuing to want to be with me, but before we spent a total of 24 hours together I realized that we worked together well.

I was working on a museum exhibit of 5 major world religions, so I was exploring some concepts deeper than I ever had, particularly of Buddhism and Hinduism as they had the more impacting pieces in the exhibit that I had to discuss with visitors. He was working on incorporating Buddhist concepts into his life, such as methods for controlling anger, so he was also familiar with some topics. We could discuss it, and (what I liked) when we did, we could cite sources. Many of my sources were “classic mythology” and texts like the Bahgavad Gita as well as some academic scholars of the topics. His main source was current Buddhist practitioners and monks who were authors.
We have somewhat similar tastes, I’m not a fan of his favorite movies, and I honestly don’t know what my favorite are to see if he likes them. But we do both enjoy Cyberpunk, SciFi, Fantasy, and many other topics in the litany of geek genres of books and movies.

So on some levels we have similar interests. Our interests of more academic pursuits, however, are rather different. But we both enjoy learning (to a point) about what the hell the other is talking about.

When it comes to spending time together, neither of us are the most exciting. I really don’t care to be and neither does he. It’s just nice to have someone to hang out and talk with. We might walk into downtown or play video games. We can cook together, me making most anything I want and him helping where I ask and more than happy to help me eat my experiments. Neither of us have conservative palates, we went to a sushi bar once and the chef offered us some jellyfish salad… and we tried it!

We both appreciate our alcohol, the cheapest beer you’ll find (unless we’re providing some filler beer for a party) is Shiner, until Yuengling made its way down here. We try different wines and actually have learned all the different points in their bouquet. I’ve started to appreciate his Makers Mark and he’s learning to like my single malt.

When he stands next to me, I enjoy that he can put his arm/s over my shoulders (he’s tall – 6’2″). I like how I rest under his arm when I stand next to him. He leans down to kiss me just a bit, and when he kisses me on the cheek it feels so sweet. He can also kiss so violently, so passionately that it just blows my mind.

I am comfortable with him, more comfortable than I have felt in a long time with anyone. He doesn’t mock me, he doesn’t throw what I’ve said in the past in my face, he doesn’t throw my past in my face. I feel secure with him, he feels secure with me. He doesn’t get jealous when I go out with friends. He wants to be friends, foremost, everything else just happening as it does… and that’s what I want too.

In progress:

92a: I’ve added to the goal in an attempt to make it more of a stretch. I’m cleaning out the house still, so adding more to the number of objects.

71- Clean out house. This is a serious cleaning goal. This type of goal means that I have spent two days on one room and am still not done. I’m working on the bedroom: I went through all of my clothes, I picked up everything, I changed sheets and gone through my pillows. I vacuumed and will re-vacuum moving all furniture. I am reorganizing all my drawers (even the underwear drawer). I am going through every non-clothes item deciding if it’s for goodwill, trash, or staying. I am dusting. I will wash my bedside table. That kind of cleaning. For each room.

Posted in in progress, no. 71, no. 88, no. 92a | 2 Comments »