I didn't feel it this year.

Normally I'm a sucker for the Christmas spirit. I enjoy Christmas songs, Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas shopping, and all the sappy Christmas movies that have happy endings. (My favorite is It's a Wonderful Life)

This year, though, I just didn't feel it. I feel sad that I didn't feel it, like something is wrong with me. I'm looking forward to January so that we can all move past the post-Christmas atmosphere and so there's no more reminder that I just had a pretty bad holiday.

Not that I didn't get anything good. Mrs. Sixline was kind enough to let me purchase some fish equipment from someone who was getting out of the hobby. Incidentally, that's the best way to spend your salt water aquarium money. I got a pump for $50 that sells for $220 brand new. Mrs. Sixline had a kitchen-aid miracle this year. She got a mixer from her parents, a blender from me, and a set of pots and pans from Santa.

I guess this is what happens when you treat it like a hype. Life's bound to have ups and downs, you just don't expect them to come on Christmas. Christmas is a given up. Maybe I should tone it down next year, and focus a little more on what it's really about rather than the ambiance and atmosphere.


A sweater vest?!

My first Christmas with Mrs. Sixline.

We bunked with family. Her sister, husband, and niece were living in Logan at the time and so we elected to stay with them Christmas Eve night, then drive down to Salt Lake for Christmas Day to see family down there. All that season I had my eye on this fancy remote for the TV. It lit up blue when you touched it and had a light-up screen on the remote that illuminated buttons that were relevant to the operation mode of the remote. You couldn't change TV channels, for instance, in TV mode. The remot was about $50, and we didn't have much money. I really liked it and really wanted it.

So that night, Mrs. Sixline spun me this huge tale about she got me an argyle style sweater vest so that we could get our pictures taken together on Christmas day. I don't know why I bought it, but bought it I did. I was so angry with her, and went to bed that night pretty upset. She handed me the box the 'sweater' was wrapped in, and it was a garment style box, and in a somber mood said "Here's your sweater, hon..."

I opened it, and she had the remote in there. I was so excited, it was great. She had me going, hook line and sinker.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Take some time to remember what the first Christmas gift was, and that'll be a reminder to you everytime you give and receive gifts among loved ones.


actually, no... i don't got milk.

All right, I'll admit it. I'm lactose intolerant.

I haven't always been this way. I used to be able to dine on breakfast morning, noon and night. Recently my stomach's kinda rumbled when I'd get done with a glass of chocolate milk, or I'd feel a bit nauseated after a particularly cheesy quesadilla.

The clincher came when I ordered my "Breakfast of Champions." It's where I get a personal sized milk jug from 7-11, and gorge on Hostess Chocolate Frosted Donettes. This is a mighty tasty breakfast, with enough sugar to power a small city. Yet I always feel rather queasy after eating it. Today I tried the doughnuts solo, without any milk. I finished the entire box of doughnuts minus 3-4, and washed it down with water and Powerade. I feel perfectly fine.

Looks like I'll be taking dietary supplement medicine from here on out.


I'm dying.

'Tis the season to get sick.

This year Mrs. Sixline and I haven't felt the holiday joy that normally accompanies the Christmas season. We've been sick, and as such we just don't feel like we're in the holiday mood. Couple that with a particularly stressfull finals week and Mrs. Sixline retail job, and it just drains you.

We're not bah-humbug, or anything, but not exactly filled with cheer. I hope we get better before Christmas day. At least then we can enjoy ourselves. Oh-- and I'm a pretty good husband. I got my wife something she really wanted, (I paid attention this year! Whee!), and I got her the new LG Chocolate mp3 player cell phone. Now I need to get her a little bit of memory so she can start listening to music.

Hooray for good husbands.


Hey dude.

You'll never read this, dude, but please... Remember a few things.

1.) When you call someone, never ask, especially brusquely in these exact words: "Who's this?" You'll guarantee to upset someone.

2.) If you've gotten the wrong number, take a second to find out whether or not you dialed incorrectly, or whether or not you actually have the incorrect number.

3.) Lastly, don't persist in #1 if the direct answer to your question doesn't result in the answer you're looking for. When someone calls me, and repeatedly asks "Who's this?" I'm going to continue answering by telling you my name. When you finally respond with "I didn't call you," you've broken the stupid barrier and you will get hung up on.



Like butter scraped across too much bread...

Get flowers for wife.
Take wife out on dates.
Get home teaching feedback from other guys in the quorum.
Prepare primary lesson.
Fix the hole in the wall. (Long story.)
Prepare abstract for Dasu.
Begin testing MD.
Document finished MD project for future use.
Read journal papers.
Read MD journal paper.
Read Scriptures.
Pay Tithing.
Say prayers.
Pay lodge fees and dues.
Do Christmas shopping.
Study Finite Domain Constraints.
Finish concurrent programming project.
Get good grades.
Find a good job.
Save money.
Pay off debt.
Use credit wisely to get into a house.

Most of that (except the dates with Mrs. Sixline, obviously) is stuff I have to do and I don't particularly feel like it. I can't do all this. I have too many people I answer to. Lately I've been so apathetic. Even with all I have to do, I'm not doing half of it. So I feel lazy. So I feel like I need to do more. So I look at the list and think 'I have to do all this?' So it intimidates me, I put it off, I don't do any of it, I feel lazy, so I feel like working, so I look at this list, so it intimidates me, so I put it off, so I don't do any of it, so I feel lazy...

Oh yeah, and if you try to piss and moan about it, everyone else pisses and moans that their list is bigger.

What a crock.


owned by concurrent programming

I place a lot of self-esteem on being able to understand and do things. I've had some serious issues with a certain class this semester. It's been pretty difficult to grasp things, and I haven't been as engaged by the professor to pay attention and put a lot into it. That shouldn't matter, I know, and don't think I'm trying to throw blame around. I know that I should have done better throughout the year. Now I find myself in the midst of this class's final project. I'm sinking. I thought I had a decent grasp on the first part that was due this past Friday. I open my mail this morning to a plethora of messages along the lines of 'This had quite a few problems. Come see me.' 'Here is an example of what you should have done.' 'Please come see me.' (Evidently the bulk of these messages were sent over the weekend, I think he assumes I have access to email at home. I don't.

So now I'm burying my head in the sand. I don't really want to look at it. It's not like me to dodge issues. I normally face my fear. No, seriously, I do. I might not face it like a man, but I do own up to the things I have to do. I just don't want to in this class. I don't want to try to fix part A because I have to do part B, but part A is a springboard into part B.

I know that nothing in life that's worth having comes easy, but I sure do wish things were easier anyway.


all your base are belong to us

This is classic too. It comes from an old Sega game, Zero Wing. The translation is just horrible.


Coat of Arms

My family's coat of arms, according to wikipedia. Cool.


lost in translation

This was an email from a professor to students. It's supposed to clarify the homework. I should say something in the way of clarification myself. Matlab is a computer program. Anyway... See if you can follow his english.

Dear All,

For Programming #2, by "pencil-and-paper" we mean using Matlab.

In Matlab, when you have got a string of expression, how to put an array input and get the array output?
Here is the trick by following example

syms x

Note: x and impulse_response are all symbolic strings; t is the numerical array,
"hh" is also an numerical array.

So, the magic is the "subs". To know more on "subs", type "help subs"

HTH. YangQuan Chen


random updates

This is a good read: Nephi and his Asherah. At least I thought it was. Daniel Peterson really is good at writing journals/papers. Most-a-the-time when I read journals and papers (even within, nay; especially within my own field of study) I nod off and can't go two paragraphs without a strong dose of Mountain Dew.

Eeyore's givin' me a big hand on MD. Whee! Babysitting time for them.

I have discovered Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. And it is beautiful. Which segways into...

Why are Jews so flipping talented? That sounds bad. I have a hard time expressing deep feelings without the use of euphemisms or four letter words. It's not my intent to insult. I'm astounded by how many Jews are household names. Rodgers and Hammerstein were Jewish. (One I believe was raised Catholic, but he still had the blood in him.) The world's pioneers in quantum mechanics and physics were either Jewish, or had one Jewish parent -- Einstein and Bohr. Jerry Seinfeld, the world's funniest guy (in my opinion) is Jewish. George Gershwin, the guy who wrote Rhapsody in Blue was Jewish.

I can't say it enough. I'm astonished by their success and prowess in almost any field known to man. I guess there's your evidence for the existence of God. Jews, God's chosen people, are 12 million strong nowadays. Out 6 billion people in the planet, they happen to dominate the rest of us in Nobel Prize winners. They are excellent statesmen, scientists, entertainers, writers, film makers, businessmen, and literary artists. How can you look at that and say they're not blessed, or supported by a Heavenly Hand?

Hats off to them. They get such a terrible rap. They have been, and sadly, probably always will be, the object of derision, hate, and vitriol at the hands of petty men with jealous hearts. It's really a sad thing to hate a rose for being beautiful. The only thing the Jews are guilty of is success.

After thought...

Common gripe: "The Jews control the world!"

What it should be: "The Jews excel to positions that allow them to be of influence in areas and their success can be written off as mob-mentality fear of a collective of people ruling the world-- a fear I have subscribed to!"


Dirk Magnumforce

If I ever was to be a super hero, my name would be Dirk Magnumforce.

I just thought you should know that I actively think about different ways I could wear a cape, as well as my underwear on the outside of my tights in a socially acceptable way.


80th post

Four score and twenty posts ago, I didn't have a blog.

Despite my little mission statement to the top right, the part where I welcome opposing points of view (I still do), I realize I really have a hard time with criticism.

I'm not sure I want to discuss it. I don't like it, I wish I could take it better. At least I have the comfort of knowing that relatively few people take criticism well.

I will say this... In my head, it feels like I try not to be critical. I'm accountable for the things I don't realize come out of my mouth, I know, but when I'm watching what I'm saying (roughly a third of the time, I imagine) I try not to be critical. So I'm always surprised when someone criticizes me. "Hey, Pal, I coulda blasted you the other day about that one thing, but I didn't. So why dontcha lay off?" This point of view doesn't make any sense from an outsider's view because, of course, the thing that happened the other day has no bearing on the thing I'm currently being criticized for.

I need thicker skin.


Victory is Life

Kneeling in the dark of night,
He clenched his hands and prayed

Bowed his head, opened his heart,
He dutifully obeyed.

The triumph over sin was His
For He chose a different path

When temptation rears its ugly head,
Think of the sorrows He had

Anguish and pain He remembers no more,
so long as I repent,

As long as my soul is His;
as long as my heart is rent.

Lift up your head,
be no more sad,

For you the fight is won.
Victory belongs to those who follow, believe, in God's only Son.

I wanna be rich.

All right, I'll admit it... I wanna be rich.

This is entirely motivated by a drive to be taken care of. My father was a blue-collar working stiff his entire life, and no one recognized his talents because he didn't have money. He couldn't get money because he was a blue-collar working stiff. He was in quite the catch-22, and were it not for obedience to the sacred law of tithing, I feel compelled to admit that life would have been much harder for us growing up. He took care of us, but I know he wanted to do better as far as temporal things go.

It's not like we ran around barefoot collecting cans for money. I wasn't hungry or cold, but I could tell we didn't have much. We didn't have a lot of presents under the tree. We also didn't have the nicest things. I know that my parents wanted to give us these things, but just could not. I don't blame them, not one bit. I'm glad they underlined the lesson that if you don't have the money for something, DON'T BUY IT.

Now the list of things I learned from struggling, and the list of blessings that came from it are a topic for a post of another day. I don't want to buy my children the latest and greatest of everything, but I want to have enough money that taking a child to the dentist doesn't worry me and keep me up all night. I want to be able to laugh that my stupid 16 year old got his first speeding ticket-- not worry that I can't pay for it. I don't want to have my wife sew clothing for them instead of getting new school clothes. I don't want to worry that my car might not get me to work in the morning.

I want to make sure we're safe. (And I want a freaking HUGE fish tank, but first things first, right?)


Fish Christmas List

Now this isn't my real fish tank wish list. I don't think that Google has enough bandwidth to cover a list that long. But this is what I wish to do in the immediate future. I'm trying to meet a budget because I have no cash... Like I said, this is the realistic goal for the future that I think I can do.

1.) Purchase new lights - Need two of the 18W 50/50 kind.
2.) Purchase pump - Need the 2300.
3.) New heater - The 150W dude.
4.) Two bulkheads - The 3/4" black ones.
5.) GE Silicone Type II - Courtesy of Lowe's.
6.) Assorted PVC. I'll just scout Lowe's for what I need.

I guess the hardest part about all this is drilling, cutting, and shaping that I'm going to need to do. I don't have anything but a buzz saw and a drill. My Grandpa still thinks I'm 7, and reminds me to be careful about touching things in his carpentry-tool filed garage, but maybe I can change his mind... *Shakes fist threateningly*

Man I love reef aquaria. Just to get a feel for what I'm talking about, go visit Marc's website. Very nice. Be careful, addiction level is high.

More Digital Photography

There it is. My wife and I saw this as we were taking a walk last Sunday near my parents' house in West Bountiful. Neat, eh?


Voice mail

I can never understand what people say on voice mail. I try to listen to it several times over, hoping that the repetition will help it sink in. Doesn't work. It's always hard to hear the important things, too.

"Hey man, it's R-schzzzzzfffffenderson. I'm from the ward. Call me at 75 'Hon, take care of the kids, will you?' Anyway. Call me back."

Voice mail has made people lazy. You used to hound them until you got a hold of them, or someone else actually wrote down what you had to say in order to pass the message along. So please, next time, repeat yourself and make sure you're clear on voice mail or I won't call you back, and definitely won't even try.

Oh, and don't assume I know you immediately. I don't always remember who someone is right off the bat, even when it's my own family. Leaving me a message that basically says "It's me" guarantees a quick delete.

In fact, don't leave any voice mail at all. Just don't talk to me.

Glad we could clear that up.


I love you, schmoopie.

My wife and I get pretty lovey dovey, even after 3.5 years of marriage. We say lots of really sappy things to each other, myself more than her. We sometimes get teased, and other times we actually get some criticism for it. I'm not that bothered by it. She's my schmoopie, and I'm crazy about her. :) I'm actually grinning as I type this.

Maybe you don't know me that well, maybe you just happened upon this blog and you're here reading. (I'm looking at you, mister 10+ visits from somewhere in Saudi Arabia.) My family, my mother especially, likes to tease me by asking my wife 'How do you put up with him?' Frankly, I echo the question entirely. To say I'm a handful is an understatement. There are only a few women (well, people) that don't get fed up with me after awhile. I know I've got that threshold, and I try to throttle the 'me-ness' if I can tell I'm playing on someone's nerves, but I don't believe that this kind of holding back should be necessary in marriage. You should be you-- the best you. The you that knows you've got problems and you're trying to work on them but you're still gonna be you with all your faults and shortcomings, as well as all your strengths and endearing qualities. Anyway.

I don't balance out. :) To say I have a few quirks is an understatement. To have someone like Mrs. Sixline put up with me the way she does and love me despite is very surprising, given the words of a Latter-day prophet (1):
While marriage is difficult, and discordant and frustrated marriages are common, yet real, lasting happiness is possible, and marriage can be, more an exultant ecstasy than the human mind can conceive. This is within the reach of every couple, every person. “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.

If there's no such thing as soulmates, then I guess I really do have one in a million. No one else could love me and put with me the way she does. So if you know me, or you spend time around me, and I get lovey-dovey on you with her, it's only because I'm utterly ecstatic that anyone can stand my presence for more than ten minutes, let alone eternity, and I just want to shower her with love, affection, and attention.

I love you, schmoopie. :)

(1) Spencer W. Kimball, “Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3


thicker than water

We always do the worst to those we love. I don't think this is intentional. I think it's a by-product of that closeness. A nobody on the street can stab me in my weakest spots and I'd be fine because I can always tell myself 'What does he know?' But the close ones know you. They're very aware of your weakness.

I've been really unfair to my little brother. I think about this a lot. I feel like I failed him. He's a few years younger than me, both of us in our early 20s, and I thought that I could help him out one summer by taking him to do a door-to-door sales bit. I thought I could teach him some of my tricks, help him establish confidence, work experience, and the character building that comes from working hard. But it was harder than I thought... He didn't get along with the guys in the office. They thought he was weird, in a looking down your nose sort of way. No one wanted to work with him.

I'll admit, my brother's got his weirdness (I think our whole family does...) but he's a good kid. He just hasn't ever been in a non-sheltered environment away from family. No roommates, no college, no mission, nothing. Always been at home. He tries to be funny and sometimes misses (remind you of anyone you know?) so he put himself out there and it just didn't fly. And I didn't stick up for him. I was especially bad about bashing him with another guy because I wanted the other guy to like me. I didn't want to work with my little brother-- I wanted to work with the successful guys. I was stupid. I was wrong. I feel horrible about it, but I don't want to hurt my little brother by telling him what happened. I just wished I would have stood up for him, something I'm resolved to do now. I wish I didn't see him as an embarrassment.

Not only did I fail him in that respect, but since summer sales was a Failure for me(note the capital 'F'), it was doubly so for him. I had no confidence in him, so I couldn't teach him that. He didn't make any money, so that was a failure. He went home early, which is a major no-no in summer sales... Man. If I would have just carried him like I meant to, I think he'd have done better. I'm ashamed of what I did, and I hate that.


Ansel Adams wannabe

These are a few of my first shots at digital photography. (No Ben, not trying to copy you. :) )

Positive comments only, please.


The Talk

I had the beginnings of 'The Talk' with the in-laws. My mother and father in law really are good people. Our familial cultures clash at times, but, to be fair, they are loving people who want to have a healthy relationship with me. I think all the bad PR I give my in-laws really stems from only two or three individuals. Not really fair to judge the rest of them based on that.

I basically told them that it feels like I'm always the bad guy. I have a tendency to say 'rude' things (The 'R' word... now that's a post for another day...) and they have a tendency to be upset at rude things. Put two and two together and wham-o. Of course, a lot of this happens after the fact. I say something, or react a certain way, and I find out much later, often a day or so later, that I upset someone. Usually the informant is my wife, so some of the feelings are lost in translation to begin with. This is no fault of Mrs. Sixline, this just plain happens. Plus she normally catches the upset individual two seconds after the fact, and after a little perspective is added, the upset indivdual isn't nearly as upset as they once were.


It was conceded that I will be me. Granted, I won't try to upset anyone, but if I do, then we just all need to get over it. I'm curious to see how this rolls out. I'm not going to spend any more time bashing them, something I shouldn't do regardless, and I'm just not gonna be upset if I piss someone off. This is going to take a lot of patience on my part, because contrary to their belief, it will happen, and I'm going to need to have the attitude of 'Well... I'm me. Get over it.' (Unless of course I actually merit blame for the offense, in which case I'll own up and apologize.)

Don't like it? Get over it.

Oh, and Happy Veteran's Day. Kings among men.


melancholy and the infinite sadness

I haven't felt like this since I was in high school.

More appropriately, I haven't felt like this since I was an awkward teenager who was trying to figure out who he was, which happened to correspond to the time I was in high school.

But you know, this kind of self pitying dross is exactly the kind of toxic self-loathing I wanted to avoid in blogging. I guess I was due for one of these posts. There's no real point to it, it's just the outward expression of frustration I feel for not being able to communicate what's going on. I guess it's no mystery why little children scream and cry; it's the only way they can communicate how they're feeling.

But screaming and crying isn't the mature, adult thing to do. We blog.


but I don't wanna...

Here I am again.

Still got tons of stuff to do, and yet I feel un-motivated. I've been coasting... I just want it to be over. I can close my eyes and see the day when the Spectrum is filled with screaming fans of mine as they hand me my sheepskin... I raise my arms in triumph to the deafening roar from the stands... The President-- no, President Hinckley-- emerges from the row of honored guests to tell me that I'm the best most wonderfullest person in the world... Employers are pushing each other over and fencing with fountain pens to see which engineering firm I'll work for... My wife tells me she's pregnant... And then I slip on the toilet seat, hit my head on the sink and come up with the idea for the flux capacitor, invent a time machine, go into the future and come back with the cure for cancer and invest the profits and retire to a beautiful house, boat, jetski, and reef tank up in Bear Lake...

Yep... Not gonna happen without motivation. But I got none. So instead I close my eyes and imagine us living in a card board box at the corner of 4th and Main. That's why I prefer the other daydream.




Same story, different day. At least that's the clean version of the expression.

Not much is going on here. Mrs. Sixline has been sick. Although I've been a bit off myself (think I'm adjusting to the weather) I feel pretty good. Lucky me, I don't get sick. At least not that often. I seem to get one cold/fever a year, and usually when I do feel nasty I just sleep it off. In a day or so I'm always doing much better.

On a serious note, and this probably won't make sense-- don't worry if it doesn't. I'm giving as much detail as I'm comfortable with. I hate knowing I'm going to do something, something I don't want to do, and doing it anyway. It causes so much frustration the second the act is over. 'What was I thinking?! How could I be so stupid?' The outsider says 'So just stop.' I wish it were that simple. Sometimes it's like I've programmed myself through previous choices and when I'm triggered I can't really help it-- not that I'm disavowing all accountability in the matter, the choices I made in the past set up the pattern that happens now and I'm accountable for them. I think this is why I believe we're only free to choose the right. Choosing wrong limits your ability to stop doing that wrong. Addiction sucks.


Career Fairs bite.

I went to a job fair last night in place of a friend who was under the knife for back surgery. I suppose he didn't want to make a bad impression being under pain medication, so he sent me... I guess he's not as smart as we all thought. *grin*

I never have enjoyed these venues. Maybe I've got my negative glasses on, but it feels like I can never make a good impression, my GPA's always too low, I don't have enough work experience, people aren't hiring, or... and this is the worst, you're going up against 50 other kids with the same credentials, grades, and work experience. How in the world do you stand out from all them? How hard must've the Depression been?

I hate looking for a job.


Traveling East

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.

- Karen Blixen

Great line. I especially like the sea part. It made me think of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Prince Caspain sails to the edge of the earth with Lucy, Eustace, Edmund, and of course, Reepicheep. They sail east in search of Aslan's country. Along the voyage, each character is touched in ways

I don't know how to put this in words without making it a farce; I normally treat serious subjects with humor in an effor to compartmentalize them-- box them up so I can deal with them. Emotions run deep; we all have our defense mechanisms.

Part of the light of Christ given to all men, I believe, is the desire to want something more. Looking for Aslan, looking to make ourself better, looking for that eternal rock upon which our anchor can harbor our souls and make us great is what's in a sea voyage.

Bah. I have such trouble with words. Just go read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Then you'll understand.


What's the capital of North Dakota?

When I was a kid, (or more of one than I am now, depending on how you look at it), I watched this LDS commercial where two students were taking a test. One is busy at work while the other leans over to him and asks "What's the capital of North Dakota?" The other little boy seems to want to help, but knows he can't cheat. He doesn't help the kid and then there was some cheesey feel good ending and the message was sent that Mormons help your family by teaching right and wrong.

When done properly, this is very successfull.

Case in point: Me. Today I took a Concurrent Programming test. It was open book, open note, open homework, open Google, but not open neighbor. Pretty much everything was allowed as open source material. For the programming part of the exam, we were given a skeleton version of some code and asked to fill in the blanks. He provided us with the working version of the blanks filled in code so that we could check our output with the correct output.

As I was doing the program, it dawned on me... I've seen this code before. Where have I seen it before? I shrugged it off and got about 80% finished. I was hung up on one little area that was causing infinite loops and just couldn't get past it. Then it hit me where I remembered seeing this code: in a homework description he emailed us. Everything he gave us is open season, right? So I opened up the email and sure enough, there it was. The entire working version of the exam-- blanks filled in and everything. I saw my error, which was absolutely minor, and fixed it. Then I had a moral dilemma: Is this cheating? Surely he didn't mean for us to have the code when he meant we could look at anything he wanted. The battle lasted a few seconds, and then I breathed a huge sigh of frustration, and called over the Professor.

Me: Dr. Stiles?

Him: Yes?

Me: Do you realize you gave us this code and that I found it?

Him: I did?!

Me: Yep.

Him: Did it help you?

Me: Well, it got me past this one little part, but everything else was mine.

Him: Oh. Oh, well then... We'll have to give you partial credit. Don't worry, you'll still get 90% or thereabouts.

Bah! I could have had 100% credit and been able to rationalize it away. But I didn't. I knew I shouldn't because it was in violation of the principle of cheating. Humans in society today are hung up on application and not principle. If we argued, established, and promoted principles then we'd have a lot more wise people. Today I was wise. Although my test score will suffer, I maintained my integrity. The test score will have little bearing on my life. The way I acted today will have a lot.


Agency and Free Will

Something I noticed while reading this wikipedia article:

The theological doctrine of divine foreknowledge is often alleged to be in conflict with free will. After all, if God knows exactly what will happen, right down to every choice one makes, the status of choices as free is called into question.

I've wondered about that once or twice. I remember feeling very annoyed in Seminary once about this. (Mormon seminary is a daily thing when you're in high school. It's basically like Bible Study.) I kept pressing with the exact question stated above, and no answer seemed to satisfy. What doubled my displeasure was that other students echoed the Seminary teacher-- I felt certain that they had no idea what they were talking about and that I was the only one who really saw a conflict. I was arrogant.

I've come to learn that all things are before God. Is it possible that God sees time in a non-linear fashion, that He sees the changing future as we choose it? I think so.

It's hard to explain. Many have done so before me, and many will do so after me.

In the frame of milk before meat, it's easy to be consumed with discussion of such things. I suppose the bottom line is that issues like this are gristle; indigestible substitutes for meat. You either believe you have agency, or you don't. There's really no way to prove it, is there?

But there's the rub. I submit that because you cannot prove it, that is a proof that agency exists, and that it was God's idea. Imagine the fallout of being able to prove such a fundamental conundrum. How many people must change in the face of irrefutable proof that they have agency? Worse yet, what kind of fallout ensues from infallible proof that we don't have free will? I thank heaven that we can't prove it. I thank God that we must approach Him to find the truth; only then will we be unafraid to embrace it.

Dance, monkey!!!

Last night I got home from watching Peter Shaffer's flavor of Amadeus, which had enough things to blog about, and my wife had a few friends over.

One of the friends is a family friend, the Kermit lady who blogs somewhere else. Whenever Mrs. Sixline and I spend time with the Muppets I take to entertaining the group with doing voices, foreign accents, and impressions. I've gotten quite effective at making my wife and Kermit laugh with a Tim Gunn impression. (Tim Gunn is a co-host of the show 'Project Runway,' a fashion show my wife and her friend are pretty big fans of.) It's a habitual thing, I just like to make people laugh. It gets me attention while letting others feel good too. Pretty good trade off, I'd say.

So I get home, and Kermit has brought along a friend of hers. During their evening together, I guess Kermit and Mrs. Sixline (more Kermit than shy Mrs. Sixline, I believe) said that Mr. Sixline does great impressions, and funny voices, and he's really goofy, and you'll just have to meet him. The crew stayed up and waited for me to get home so I could do the impressions. It's a different thing when you do it on call, and for people you've never met. I was instructed that I needed to do it so everyone could see how funny I was. I don't mind that, it's always good to feel like you're a funny guy. I was minorly annoyed (really, REALLY minorly annoyed... I think it had more to do with the fact that I was tired and wanted to see the results of the NLCS Cards/Mets game) but I did it, and sure enough, it cracked everyone up.

But it got me thinking. Holy cats, this is what I'm known for. For being a goofy guy. Not 'Here comes Mr. Sixline. I want you to meet him because he's brilliant, wonderful, spiritual, humble man. Meeting him is like meeting the Prophet!' (Tongue in cheek.)

I need to grow up.



Happy Deepavali. Although it's not supposed to be celebrated for a few more days, the Indian Student Association here on campus decided to throw the celebration this past weekend. It was my understanding that since it's a rather religious holiday, it's difficult to openly share it. So they opted instead to have a song and dance night where traditional culture and folklore from India was shared. It was pretty cool. I had some friends who danced in various performances. I enjoyed it.

The food, although prepared à la Américaine, was tasty. Perhaps this was a good thing, as Indian food can be rather spicy. You know what they say: spicy on the way in, spicy on the way out. At least I'm that way. I can barely handle Mexican food, let alone Oriental hotstuff. That'd probably send me to the hospital.

Understanding of a people's religion, as Deepavali is a religious celebration, really gives insight to the way a society functions. It's the sacred ground in their heart. I felt priveleged to be a part of it.


The Mozart Effect

Man this is good music. I've heard many times over that the Baroque period of music (Handel, Bach, Mozart) is quite peppered with variations and counterpoint. This stimulates our brains into forming organizational skills and basically formatting your entire mind. Evidently we remember EVERYTHING we see, hear, learn or otherwise take in, but getting it back out is a problem. Listening to this kind of music helps your brain organize itself, thus aiding in retrieving information that you've previously stored. Participating in this music stimulates even further. I guess I'm such a diddly dang genius because of all the Mozart I sang in the choir in high school. I mean, all the nerdy kids in school were either already adept at math and science, or did some sort of extra curricular music endeavour.

I think I want to make sure my kids, among other things, pick up some sort of music talent. I don't expect them to make Broadway, and it definitely won't be forced. But I hope I can encourage and steer them into singing, violin, guitar, or heck... even playing the spoons. I enjoyed singing up through my junior year of high school, and I wonder if that's helped me get the grades I get.

On a related note, Freemasonry teaches that the highest and holiest science is music. Above all else, God can communicate divine feelings and inspiration through music's channel. Neat, eh?



I love October. October colors are indescribably beautiful. (That photo is from a local canyon, by the way) October baseball -- need I say more? Perhaps the most endearing quality of this time of year is the anticpation of the coming holiday season. I know it gets commercialized, and for many that cheapens the celebration of the Saviour, but I love listening to Christmas music in malls, spending time with my wife shopping, getting excited about gift giving, and all the other joy that comes from Christmas. The only thing better than all that is the feeling that it's right around the corner. October is when it starts to get cold, it starts to snow in the tops of the mountains, when the wind snaps at you at night time, when you start having fires in the fireplace, when it's cold enough to cuddle on the couch during a Saturday night movie, when it's... when it's great.

I love October.


theme song

If ever a theme song existed for me, I suppose this it... By the way, that's Donny Osmond dancing in the background with the EM equation.


blog blurbs

I'll probably be seriously busy this week, so I doubt I'll post much. But I'm here.


it must needs be that i teach you

From Jacob's mouth:
48 Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin.

I went to the Priesthood session of General Conference (for you non-LDS dudes and gals, twice a year all the Church leaders gather together in a HUGE hall in Salt Lake and speak to all Mormons (via satellite if you're not immediately there) about various issues and things. It's a time for us to hear the prophet speak. Very nice.) where they talked to us men.

As usual, we were chided (rightfully so) about duty. We all need to get more done, and not slack off... So that was ok.

Then they addressed the young men. You guessed it -- missions. That was cool. We need good missionaries out there, and we need young men willing to work. I had a wham-dinger of a time in France and would wholly recommend it to the next chap.

Then they got onto pornography and the proper way to treat your wife. Pornography is an evil sin and we can't be warned enough, but I couldn't help but think of that scripture I quoted up there. It made me wonder what kinds of things we would be able to learn about, what kinds of things the Lord would see fit to reveal if we didn't need to be warned and reminded of what sin is.

I suppose I'll just be patient.

I guess I've been tagged.

What do you like most about where you live?
It's the first place that's felt like home since I moved from Texas to Utah 8 years ago.

Is there anything strange about where you live?

Just me.

What's one of your all time favorite music albums and why?
I don't really have a favorite Album, but I suppose Weird Al's 'Bad Hair Day' would qualify. When I was in Texas, I had a pretty easy teenage timeperiod. Church was good, friends were good, and I felt like I was a mack daddy among the ladies at Church dances. This album was one that everyone listened to and sung along to at pool parties, on the way to and from Church dances, and in general what made us laugh.

Did you have a passion for something as a kid that you still have now?

I had a heavy rubber baseball that I'd throw against the small brick fireplace and then field the ball as a grounder as it bounced back. I did this while watching many-a World Series from the age of about 11 on up. 'Course, the strike really made me lose my lunch over everything. I'll have to blog about that later, but I was 13 or so when the strike hit in '94 and it never occurred to me that anyone could play baseball for any other reason than loving the game. Anyway, after my mission I watched the Angels-Giants World Series and got back into it.

I love baseball. :)

What do you like most about having a blog?
I feel like people are paying attention to me.

Who am I tagging?
Bryan, Emilie, Chance, Peter, and Eeyore.


almost joined peta

This past weekend, Bryan and Emilie decided that they wanted a cat on Saturday. So off they whisk myself and my better half to the humane society in Salt Lake City.

Man... I felt awful there. It was really depressing to see all the animals caged up like that. The worst was the section that housed the dogs. They had a little bulletin on each cage explaining about the dog. Breed, age, sex, what commands it knew, what animals/people it was good with, as well as the last one... why it was dropped off at the shelter.

Man it was horrible to read some of those. "Don't have enough time for him." "Misbehaves too much." "Gets into garbage too much." "Too much energy."

I felt like I wanted to join PETA and just volunteer all my time to finding homes and good people to take the animals. I left feeling really bad.

I hope I never visit an orphange. I'd probably just break down and cry.


kill bill

I watched Kill Bill (on TNT, of course) over the course of this week. I watched both volumes, so that I could make sure I got the full range of Killiness Billiness.

Sorry, Quentin, I thought it was kinda dumb. It was shaping up to be really good in the first 20 minutes of the first movie. I thought the different cinematography would go over well-- it's refreshing to see things different. I didn't even mind the out of order sequence of 'chapters.' (I guess other Quentin Tarantino movies have this same kind of weird sequence. Meh.) However much it was building to be a decent movie, I had radically changed my mind by the end.

Three things kill a movie for me:

  • Cheesy dialogue
  • Cheesy acting
  • Diversions from the established reality

Kill Bill basically had all three. Cheesy dialogue and acting require little explanation, although our individual tastes probably range significantly. However, the reality point needs a bit more elaboration. Since TNT filtered out the swearing, violence, and sex, there's very little to rant/report on there.

Movie reality is established by the element of the story. Obviously we can't have space travel à la Star Trek, but inside the Trek world we've created these established facts. I wouldn't expect people to sword fight on the warp nacelle going through a wormhole during a Star Trek episode. It's just not believable. With Kill Bill, there were a few instances where there was some pretty cool swordfighting shaping up, only to have superhero comic book type moves employed. This wouldn't have been bad, except I got the impression that this was a realistic story. When superhero leaps and jumps came into play, it just didn't mesh. It wasn't believable.

Again, sorry Quentin, and others who enjoyed the film, I didn't like it. But who cares.


Night Falls on Narnia

I finished the Chronicles of Narnia this morning. I would have had it done sooner, but as I TA this lab, these kids need my help every two seconds! Sheesh! What was that about reading while on the job? Nevermind.

I really enjoyed the books. I don't really want to offer any commentary at this point; I'm not really anyone who's particularly bright with literature, so I doubt my feedback is worth the bandwidth this blog takes up. I did enjoy it. Just wanted to say I had finished it.

A short note about reading, though... People just don't do it anymore. At least we don't read anything of note. At least I don't think so. So after I read the next book on the list, Mere Christianity, I want to go and get one Penguin Classic at a time, and read it. You know, good books. Things we ought to all have read. Little Women, the Grapes of Wrath, and other books that I'm not familiar with because I don't read. I've even got a Koran I'm gonna read.

Yeah, we should read more.


personality tests

You Are Gonzo the Great

"Is something burning in here? Oh, it's just me."
You're a total nutball who will do anything for attention.
The first to take a dare, you'll pull almost any stunt.
You're one weird looking creature, but your chickens don't mind!

And also...

You Are Batman

Billionaire playboy by day. Saving the world by night.
And you're not even a true superhero. Just someone with a lot of expensive toys!

Batman rocks.

St. John's Espiscopal Church

I attended Episcopal services for the first time on Sunday Morning. It was very different. I was a bit shocked at the level of freedom in theology they allow you to have and remain a member of the parish/diocese/Church. I realize the desire to not control thought, but if there's no harmony in doctrine, I personally have a hard time testing it to see if it's truth. One lady, giving a talk/discourse during the service, actually left a disclaimer open to the effect that the Bible is either a set of good rules or the word of God. I was really surprised at that.

But that doesn't matter. I didn't go to try to prove points of doctrine, and I didn't even get into any discussions. I'm sure they knew I was Mormon, but I didn't go there to evangelize. I really, honest to goodness, wanted to see other people worship. Seeing other people worship, especially when you don't hold to the tenets of their faith, is a very emotional experience. They trust me not to mock (which I hope I didn't sound mocking in the preceeding paragraph) and they trust me to respect their feelings. It was very touching to see heads bowed in prayer, and to see people kneeling and crossing themselves. Just because they don't believe the same way I do, or have the entire revealed word of God, this does not mean they love God any less than I do. We truly are all children of our Heavenly Father, and He loves us regardless of the way we worship Him. I appreciated the service very much.


St. Murphy

Today I taught for the first time. I had a real nice set of slides all prepared. I had a pretty good lesson plan. I had a very well planned idea of how I was going to teach and approximately how much time it would take. So what happened?

I lost my jumpdrive that had my lecture saved to it. Murphy's law...

I always lose jumpdrives. I've lost this one 10 or so times over, only to find it in some remote region of the closet after it fell out of a pocket. I think this particular one has also been through the washer at least once. They're sturdy little things, but dang... I really could have used it today. So instead I shot from the hip, opened the book, and filled in as much as I could remember. Ugh. I felt like it was awful, but the students didn't seem to mind...


bloggers block yet again

I don't know why I feel so busy. I really shouldn't be. I'm taking fewer classes, but it still seems like I just have so much to do.

So, yeah. I don't feel a big post coming on right now. I'm a bit anxious, I get to teach for an absent professor twice this upcoming week and following week, and I don't really want to. It's a digital design course, something I haven't taken for a good 2 years. Eeyore is getting an MRI. My wife is going for a job today at 4:30. I also have to prepare for labs I TA in addition to teaching the class.

My feelings are best summed up between a conversation between myself and a good friend of mine.

Me: Man this bites. I don't want to be here.
Friend: Where would you rather be?
Me: On a yacht halfway between Tahiti and Hawaii.
Friend: Wouldn't we all...


news tidbits

Back from Yellowstone. That was awesome. The cabin bed mattresses were HORRIBLE. Poor Gonzo had some difficulty sleeping. That was about the only real trouble those children gave us. They were excellent to have along. As I've said so often before, I wish I had better command of language. What I say just isn't justice to what Yellowstone offers. I only wish I could have stayed there longer. Lousy classes...

In the meantime, life is going pretty well. That's a big statement from a guy like me. Lots of stuff is coming up that I'm pretty excited about. Mrs. Sixline and I are exploring investment opportunities, hoping to keep financial goals alive. People today just don't worry about stuff like that, although we should. I also found out that some really good friends of mine were hurt pretty bad when I didn't invite them to my wedding. It was totally inconsiderate on my part, and I admitted to them that I was wrong and apologized profusely.

Good friends are rare. Really, with the twists and turns of life it's hard to keep in contact. It's hard to find people you can really trust with your children, with your past, and with all your weaknesses. It's really a bad thing if a good friendship ends because of selfishness. I'll explain why I didn't invite them later, but that really doesn't help. ~sighs~ Mistakes aren't any fun. Not for the guy making them, and definitely not for the guy who has them happen to him.

Under that light, it's a bit ironic that I've been feeling good the past few weeks. It's always hard for me to feel good; my shortcomings are always in focus and I'm the kind of guy who doesn't like to relax until the work is done. There's always work to be done, though, and there's nothing wrong with feeling like you're moving along the way you like.

Here's to progress.


Off to yellowstone...

Leaving this afternoon with the Muppets. I'm pretty excited.

By the way, my discrete math professor is a hoot. I think he missed his true calling in life, either court jester or stand up comic. I like that class quite a bit so far.


c'est l'heure de partir

I used to think that when it will be time to leave Logan, I would cry and cry. I have really enjoyed it here. I didn't take to high school that much, so I think I'm using up my school spirit on the university here. I really have enjoyed my time. For the past 4 years I've moved through the program with roughly the same set of kids, roughly the same set of professors, and roughly the same story day in day out. I like routine.

I had become so acquainted with life as an Aggie that I was not worried about starting school for the first time ever this year. I even have a relatively easy school load. Only one engineering class, one math class, a creative arts class, and a family finance class. I also snooze through a seminar class, but there's so little required of me except attendance I'm hesitant to call it a class.

Here I am, three days into the semester. Most of the group that moved along with me is gone. I don't have the same set of professors because I'm not taking as many engineering classes. I've switched jobs, so that's new. To add to this feeling of emptiness, the only engineering class I am in only has 5 kids in it. Only five.

So I feel like I'm at a party where I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but everyone else has gone home, the band is starting to put away their instruments, and now I have to leave too. Except I'm not leaving. I still have (see previous post) three more semesters including this one to complete my MS.

This has made me re-emphasize in my own mind just how I feel on a few topics. Number one, above all and foremost, I am glad I am married. The person who means the most to me will never 'move on' and leave. I'm not talking about tragic loss of a spouse, I'm talking about how our lives are intertwined eternally. That's reassuring for someone who doesn't like change. Secondly, the things that bring me joy and security need to be centered on me what I have stewardship over. Lastly, this has made me a bit wiser. I don't know why, but I feel a bit older. I feel a step or two closer to a mortgage, kids, baseball practice, a dog, and a mini-van. It's sobering, and it re-awakens in me the desire to prepare myself to be a good father.

Interesting experience, all in all.


back to school

Three more semesters... just three more semesters... just three more semesters...


hackneyed and trite

I hate saying things that have been said a million times by people a million times more eloquent than I.

For example, I'm one of the ones who ALWAYS gets up on fast and testimony Sunday. I know, I know, I should share the pulpit, and I do try to skip once or twice a year, but I really enjoy bearing testimony. I just hate saying the most important parts that need to be said because I sound like a parrot. I'm not parroting what I hear, I just don't know how else to say what's been said so many times before. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. He saw God. He didn't have a vision, he didn't dream it, it wasn't a trance, it wasn't symbolic, it wasn't a spiritual sight. God and Jesus Christ physically came down and stood in the air above him and he saw them. It's hard to say that with the kind of force that it deserves.

Far above that is a testimony of the Savior. How do you say what's been said so many times? I'm afraid to bear testimony of the Savior sometimes because I don't want it to come out weak. This is a horrible excuse, and believe me, I have never shirked an opportunity to testify of the Lord. I just don't want the other guy to go 'Yeah whatever you religious nut.' That's insulting to me and to the One I testify of.

I've a sinking suspicion that I should just let it go; i.e. let go and let God. It's hard, though. Bearing testimony of the Savior is an important thing. If the Spirit is there, it can change someone's life. If it's not, especially because of something *I* did, then... man I just don't want to face that.

I guess part of it is my pride, too. I read about Paul, Alma, Amulek, and Peter, and all these other great men who bear testimony and people go "Holy smokes, mate. We'd better repent and get baptized." I wish I could do that-- not because I want look in the mirror and go "Wow I'm awesome." but rather because there are people out there who need the Gospel. Bringing that joy to them brings me joy as well, and that's the only selfish part about it. I'd really just like to see everyone accept the truth. Alas, it is not to be.


my competitive side

As a rule, I don't get competitive.

I just don't see the point in a lot of things that your average person competes in. Board games? I'd rather keep Mrs. Sixline happy during the game. Pick up sports games? Really, in the span of the cosmos, the outcome of a lousy basketball game and whether or not that was a foul don't matter one iota.

It's not like nothing matters to me... I just don't know how to define my sorting algorithm. Some things I just end up not caring about. The things I do care about have nothing to do with whether or not the next guy is good at it too. Logic, wisdom, learning, and personal improvement don't really involve who's in line before you and behind you, although where you stand relative to the rest of the world always plays at least a small part, I suppose.

I wish I were more competitive. I was thinking earlier today about how discipline and flair for living are sometimes a mutually exclusive pair. I know tons of very disciplined students that I think are incapable of relaxing and having fun. They probably think I'm very indolent and lazy. Many of my more diligent acquaintances seem to be competitive as well as disciplined. It happens often enough to make me opine that the two are part and partial.

Most of this stuff is just my thoughts on the subject, not a treatise spelling out a thoroughly reviewed human sociological condition. I guess what I'm getting at, is that I very often feel like a lazy slob and I wish I had the get-up-and-go to be able to get things done.



When women tell me they’re a feminist, my response is always the same: “Oh, totally. I hate men too. Those mongrels.”

My sarcasm is usually very apparent, but it always adequately sends the message that I think that feminists hate men-- all men, to be exact. Obviously this is my own prejudice against feminists, but for right now, it's the way I feel. In fact, to take it a step further, I always think they hate me. Pretty big ego of mine, eh? What could I have done to possibly elicit such strong feelings from women I’ve only just met? I try to treat women with kindness, and regardless of my penchant for teasing my wife about being horrible because she won’t satisfy my laziness and get me a sandwich (she usually makes me get it myself, can you believe that?!) I think very highly of women, and I definitely don't hate them.

The woman I know best is Mrs. Sixline. She’s fantastic. We have our differences and I don’t want to say our marriage is looked at with starry eyes or through rose colored glasses. Despite our imperfections, we get along more often than not. When we are getting along we’re laughing and playing and talking and having fun. I see her as an equal, and I never ‘lay down the law,’ as it were. I don’t tell her how it is, and I don’t boss her around. When decisions come for whether or not I continue education, or whether or not we move, or where we go, she’s involved and I need her input so we can do what's best. My desires to do what I want in the quotidian are governed by simple selfish impulses to do things my way, not an overbearing pressure to be the man and show the helpless little wifey how to get things done. It's a part of learning to be one.

I respect her. I respect what she does. She has worked very hard throughout the whole of our marriage, taking on the role of primary breadwinner and housewife because I’m so often at school. When we have children, she will have the God-given task of being primary care-giver. She will be there in a way I can't. She will be Mom. There are few honors that are as esteemed as that of mother. She is so nurturing; I have relied on her time and time again to hold me in her loving arms and encourage me when I’ve been down because of depression. She’s held me up during times of stress when I need to make sure I do well on finals. She has been patient with me far more than I have had to be patient with her. She’s beautiful, she’s wonderful, she’s pleasing, and without her I wouldn’t be whole.

Why make an enemy of my greatest ally?

I think this is what unnerves me most upset about feminists. I recognize that men make mistakes, and some men have committed acts of unthinkable malice and selfishness towards women. But regardless of all my mistakes, I haven’t committed gross acts against women. If I’m grouped up in that category, then that means that I am guilty of wronging my wife and I don’t like that one bit. Just the thought of being guilty of wrongdoing against wracks me with horror. I ask her, very often, if she feels oppressed in anyway because of my attitudes, or if she feels slighted because she isn’t getting an education, or if she feels trapped by being a housewife. I want to make sure she’s happy and feels fulfilled in our marriage. I take full responsibility for my role in her well being. What more can I do for her?

I have no goals other than that. I have no career aspirations. I have no desire to flash my degree around in social circles and feel good about myself. My one and only goal in life is to do whatever I can to be a good husband and father. I expect the same from my wife; that she be a good wife and mother. This is not to say that we can’t take hobbies, or that she can’t go off with the girls while I baby-sit. Of course we need and want friends and family. I love my wife. I’m no poet, and everything I say sounds so trite and hackneyed. I wish that men would walk up to their responsibilities. I wish that men would treat women the way they deserve to be treated. Lots of us guys feel that way. So if you’re a feminist, try to remember that the next time the door is held for you. It’s not an insult; it’s an honor.


blogger's block

I bet I'm not the first to have this problem.

I have no idea what to blog about. Lots of stuff is going on in life, but I don't really know how to feel important about it. I also hate it when I think something is REALLY important, but when it comes out in writing, it sounds so ridiculous and trivial.

Oh well.

I'll figure out what to post on later.


Story time

I recently finished Cal Ripken Jr's autobiography, The Only Way I Know. At first, the literary style (if I'm even qualified to make an accurate analysis of such) kinda bugged me. It was written the way he spoke, almost as if all I was reading was a monologue. I had never read an autobiogrpahy before, so I didn't know if that was the style of autobiographies or not. Since it's my first, I still don't know. By the end, though, I had realized that it felt like Cal Ripken Jr was sitting next to me telling me the details of his life. After it was over, I felt sad. It was weird, but I had almost pictured him sitting with me just telling me his story. I can only read it once and have it feel that way.

Heroes are funny things. Somehow, we always think they'll be taller. Somehow we're always too disappointed to find out they're only human. Many of us have been disillusioned in one way or another when it came to heroes. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Barry Bonds took steroids. (Or did he?!) George Washington took candy from babies. One particularly pleasing part of Cal's story was the fact that I agreed with him on so many points. I believe him when he says that although athelete's are role models. I believe him when he says that the craft of the game of baseball is suffering because of (my words here) selfish players who don't want to learn the fine art of the game. I believe him when he says there's nothing more to your job than going in and doing it everyday. I like Cal that much more now. I wasn't disappointed with getting to know him in the book. Heroes are funny things. Good heroes are lucky things.


money money money

I got a new grant! Hooray! Evidently juniors and seniors majoring in a math/science/engineering program get extra money this year. I love free money.

I just don't feel a big post yet, so to all my faithful avid readers, I humbly and abjectly apologize.

I just kinda want school to start, just so I can have something to do other than work. We have another lidar campaign coming up in September, and so I'll have to take time off from school to go out to California and shoot our laser. This one will be a bit more glamorous. Normally my work is, in a nutshell, an analyzation of how much 'gas' is released into air by a swine farm. Yes, pig farts from a barn. Now I'll go to an almond farm and scan the pollution that comes from almond harvesting. Neat-o.


Inspiration, not explanation.

My brother had a most excellent point the other day. He, my brother-in-law and I were discussing how much we should pay attention to Church books. It is my personal feeling that I'd rather just read the Standard Works themselves, and touch lightly on the writings of modern day prophets and the like. Then here comes my brother, who says "Well, I guess it depends on whether or not the book was written for inspiration, or for explanation. Most general authorities try to inspire you, not explain every little scripture to you."

I liked that. I'd rather try to figure things out as I go along, and when I need to be reminded of why I stand up, I'll pick up a general authority book.



And while I was gone...

The apartment we were looking at was rented. (They were going to give us a free washer and dryer.)

My father-in-law backed into my car, which is now in the shop.

And I stubbed my toe.


Ensign, set course for New Mexico, warp 8.

Off to New Mexico until Wednesday. Au revoir.


The Four S's, part trois


I like sports. Namely, Baseball. I played soccer growing up, but my interest in that has tailed off a bit. As far as what to watch on TV, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, beats baseball in October. I don't get much done during October. I like the wild card race, the Division series, the Championship series, and then, most of all, the beloved World Series of Baseball. Although limited to America only, I think the name is grandfathered in seeing as how it's been going on for more than a hundred years. I think America was the only country at the time that played ball, so we're ok there. (I remember this guy in France who thought that since we called it the World Series, we were being unilateral. He felt this was another symbol of American selfishness. He didn't even like baseball. Go figure.)

The best baseball team (not necessarily because of winning records, or pitching, or hitting, or anything else that qualifies a team as being the best) are the Baltimore Orioles. I've never set foot on the east cost, so how, you ask, did I come to enjoy such a fine baseball team as the Birds? I'll tell you, if you'll shut up.

I moved around somewhat as a kid, but I lived for 6 years in Dallas, Texas, from ages 8 to 14. When I was about 12, my friend had his birthday party at a Texas Rangers game. This was at Ranger Stadium, well before construction of the Ball Park in Arlington. Anyway, they were hosting Cal Ripken Jr's Orioles, and I wanted to be the odd man out. All my friends were going for the Rangers, so went for the Orioles. I picked the Oriole cup to hold my ice cream, I cheered when they got a hit, and rubbed it in their faces when Baltimore took the game, 11-4. That's all it took. I began looking in the sports section of the paper every morning to see if Baltimore won, without being able to name a single player on their roster. That soon changed, and I began collecting baseball cards. I lost interest after the strike, and regrettably, didn't even watch Cal beat Gehrig's streak. Since my return from France, I've gotten right back into it and I have a nice little line of compressed hair where my Orioles hat pushes itself into my skull.

Sports rock.

P.S. When basketball season starts, I'll ramble about the Jazz, my favorite basketball team.

brimming with negativity

I have 6 Matlab scripts that I need to run this morning, so I have some time to blog about this. This is going to feel good, I feel like getting this off my chest.

There are lots of things I don't like about myself. Sometimes they come clearly into focus, oftentimes surprising me and forcing me to wonder if I haven't just ignored my own faults. While that evaluation begins, I start to feel bad for all the times I've been judgmental, especially to those who don't deserve it. This illustrates how threads and processes are spawned in my head. I start one thread and immediately delve into another, often using the previous thread as a background to it. The scheduler in my brain sometimes has a hard time keeping up with all the threads and some are naturally starved and others receive too much attention, thus skewing my perception of myself and the world around me. This is the first (but not necessarily the highest priority) thing I just don't like about myself. I'm not focused. It always is evident in my writing. I write things that don't make a lick of sense because I was thinking of what I meant but got sidetracked and didn't write it, so a lot of it comes out fragmented and difficult to understand.

I also talk way too much. Not that when Mrs. Sixline and I have conversation I feel I talk to much, but I just blab about nothing in particular. To elaborate on this would only incriminate me further. Let's just say I feel like a fool when I go on so much. Problem is, I feel like if you're not talking you're not enjoying yourself. And if you're not enjoying yourself, the reason is usually me. Lots of people have a negative exponential drop-off in being able to handle me as their stress levels go up. I suppose I'm good in small doses.

I'm too thin skinned. Really, I let other people get to me. What a ridiculous notion, handing over your attitude and cool head to someone else.

I'm too easily intimidated. We're not in highschool anymore, but I still feel like people will act like it and try to bully me around for whatever reason. It makes me go on the defensive far too often.

I'm too negative. Nyah. :P

This wasn't as liberating as I thought.


Six years...

Six years ago I was watching 'Called to Serve' in the MTC with an orange dot on my lapel.

I lost the One Ring.

Dangit, I can't find my wedding ring! I took it off the other night before I went to bed and got side tracked, making a midnight run to the grocery store to pick up some foodstuffs and other supplies. Now the hordes of gorgeous babes who're just waiting for me to show a sign of availability will... As a good friend once said to me:
Hot blondes don't come after guys like us.

He was right.

On a side note, I found no less than 2 sets of tweezers, one nail file, one set of nailclippers, and one debit card that's been MIA for at least 6 months in the couch cushions today whilst searching for said rings. (The other one I lost is my Masonic ring. Now no one will know I belong to a really cool club.)


better that a millstone were hanged around his neck

I don't really know how to cover what's going on right now. How I'm feeling right now is one of the reasons why I hesitated at first to start up a blog. I have difficulty enough being clear on paper without having numerous thoughts and feelings to stir up the mud further.

Not that it does any good, but my heart and prayers do go out to Destiny Norton's family. Allegedly she was abducted from her own backyard while cooling after a bath. Her own backyard... She was found dead, and allegedly her own neighbor took her while she was out and about in the backyard. (story)

What happens in the stage of a man's life to make him desire to siphon life and innocence from children? When does that urge develop? They say sex offenders don't get a reprieve from their temptations, and that they cannot rehabilitate. I have a hard time believing otherwise. It's also increasingly evident that more and more men are acting out on these impulses. It seems like that's all I hear on the news nowadays... Sexual predators.

When my friend's 3 year old daughter crawls in my lap with her dolls to sit and plays with them, I can't think of anything other than tender caring and love. I don't want her to feel threatened. I don't want to take anything from her. All those axioms and sayings about children's love and laughter ring true. There's just no other way to say how important and lovely an innocent child is, and there's no way someone so inarticulate and jumbled as I could ever come up with anything to match what's already been said. I can pick her up and throw her up and down in the air until she's about to puke all over me, and when I set her down, she giggles and screams in delight for me to do it again. Why would I want to ever want to bring harm into her life?



Minor updates:

Eeyore beat me in baseball on PS2.

I had first ever Texan visitor to the blog.

My wife loves me! Awww...


Bible Bashing Chronicles

I served a two year full time mission for my Church in Switzerland and France.

One thing missionaries do quite often is knock on your door, interrupt your dinner, and tell you that you need God. I understand just how rude and ineffective this is as a method of introducing my beliefs in God, but when you believe it so strongly, you tend to hope that your intrusion will be forgiven if the person who hears the message has their heart changed, and finds God.

One night, I was knocking on doors in Cournon d'Auvergne, which is just outside of Clermont Ferrand. Anyway, my companion and I had found a small apartment building with about 12 apartments inside and begun to knock. Not long after we had prayed for the Lord's guidance we ran into a family of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Now I'll be the first to concede that my faith can look weird from the outside, so I'm not afraid to say so about others as well. I admit it's their faith, and I mean no disrespect, but what looks normal to you looks weird to me, and vice versa. Any Jehovah's Witness readers can correct me, but they believe that God's name is Jehovah. For most Christians out there, whatever their particular brand of faith may be, the Old Testament's written by prophets who spoke in the name of the LORD, which is a way of giving respect to the name of the Almighty since it's not too cool to constantly write 'Jehovah.' So in their Bible, all instances of the LORD are replaced with Jehovah. Us Mormons believe that Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, and that God (Jesus's Father) is someone else. Most Christians tend toward this, because of Zechariah 12:10, which I'll quote here from the King James Bible:

10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

(Emphasis is mine.) ME, Jehovah, whom they have pierced. I believe this to be a reference to Christ's crucifixion. From this (and other reasons) I believe that Jesus is Jehovah.

From the New World Translation of the Bible from the Watchtower society (linked above):

“And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only [son]; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn [son].

(Again, emphasis is mine.) the One whom they pierced. Starting out with I, as in Jehovah, and changing the one that was pierced from me to the One.

Now I'm no expert in Jehovah's Witness theology, nor do I wish to belittle them. They have the right to believe as they wish, as do I. I just wanted to tell the family whose house I had tracted into that I felt that they had changed the Bible. Again, that's up to them and what they want to do. But as we argued at the doorway over who Jehovah was, Jesus Christ (Us Mormons) or God, (the Jehovah's Witnesses,) I decided to Bible bash and whip out the Bible and compare the two verses. It just so happens that the same discrepancy between who was pierced exists in the Louis Segond translation of the Bible in French.

So I very arrogantly produced my Bible, the very nice lady procured hers, and I tried to take her to this very scripture. I was going to prove to her she was wrong. I think the Lord had something else in mind, most likely to teach me a lesson.

I couldn't remember the reference.

I flipped madly through the pages in Zechariah, searching everywhere. After a few awkward moments, I admitted that I couldn't remember the exact chapter and verse. All credit is due to the Jehovah's Witness lady, she didn't gloat or anything. She just smiled and said "That's ok, that sometimes happens to me too."

So I got shown up. Kudos to the Jehovah's Witnesses for that.

The best part is, when I got home that night, I looked up the verse and found it almost immediately. I was overcome with the feeling that the Lord didn't approve of my attempt to shove my beliefs on someone. I know that was the Spirit of God telling me that.

So I repented, vowed never to fight with Scripture, and I never have.


The Four S's, part deux


Oh so funny. Oh so classic. Oh so exquisite. I can watch Seinfeld all day, and I have a wife who's fed up with it who can attest to that. We were married in June (June 6th, for those who didn't read the Happy Anniversary entry) and that summer we couldn't afford TV, so the only thing we had to watch were my Seinfeld episodes. Tom (college buddy) had every single Seinfeld episode recorded to his PC and backed up on DVD. These were obviously recorded from TV, but high quality nonetheless. Our media library was dominated by Seinfeld; we had no movies to speak of either.

So that summer was spent eating otter-pops until all hours of the night (trying to keep cool, we couldn't afford AC either) while watching Seinfeld.

Classic humor. Just, just absolutely classic.


Still bothers me...

After a 6 month hiatus from LDS Dialogue and Discussion style message boards, I went back just now.

And I came back upset. I always get upset. I still haven't been able to figure out entirely why. Most of it, although difficult to articulate, can be summed up in the fact that I just don't like it when people try to point out discrepancies in the Church in an attempt to show it's gone astray. The conclusion seems to be that since a hole in the reasoning/logic exists, it cannot hold water.

But that doesn't hold water. I don't need to prove my faith to you. I don't answer to you. I don't even want to.

A previous post had me talking about I like to have things checked off, and how I like to have things approved by other people. It just goes to show how you strong I feel about my faith. Contrast that with how shaky I can be about nearly everything else.

My interest in apologetics is waning. I really don't think anyone's going to be convinced when they give me the problem and say "You solve this or I'll be forced to draw the conclusion that you're a dolt."

I'm not weak. I'm not spoon-fed. I'm not closed minded. I'm definitely not brainwashed, and I don't give a rip if you think otherwise.

The Church is true, the Book is blue.

P.S. -- If you are one of those people that tries to 'free my mind,' the common and popular tactics of forcing me to 'see through' my faith are misguided, inappropriate, and ineffective. If you really want me to leave the Church, you are doing a lousy job.

The Four S's, Part 1

Note: The four S's refer to what kinds of things I watch on TV.

Star Trek.

Star Trek is just plain cool. It fits my geeky nature, what with the fictitious science and all. When I was in 6th grade, I wrote a report for my science class about how warp drive works. I don't think I included the idea of a warp field, but it just goes to show how much I like Star Trek.

Lately I've been big on Enterprise, although I'm also a big fan of The Next Generation and Deep Space 9. I'm not too big a fan of Voyager, and I've seen far too little of The Original Series to make any judgements there. I just like the social ideas they introduce, the time travel, the engineering, the science, the space dogfights, and most importantly, Captain Picard.

Picard rocks. And... I say this with a staunch record of heterosexuality: He's fabulous. He's a leader, and a darn good one. He's a statesmen, philosopher, historian, scientist, explorer, and leader. The leader part I don't really pay attention to, because I think the best example of leadership is the Lord. I'm not speaking of morals here, but men like Picard, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln represent the kind of man I want to be. You'll notice I have no problem putting Picard among the ranks of honorable men, but I don't see a difference between a fictitious character and my perspective of what men may have been like according to history. Rumor has it, for example, that Franklin was quite taken by women. It's not his purported promiscuity that I wish to emulate, obviously. It's the representation of what men can be when they apply themselves.

Spiritually it's a different story. I can't say I want to be like Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley or any other religious figure in the same way I want to be like Picard because some of my goals are only religious in the fact that the Lord wishes us to better ourselves however we can. I see a distinction between approaching perfection and obtaining knowledge, though I acknowledge the consanguinity. (Reader's Digest word, very cool.) The spiritual men who influence my life have a far greater pull on me. This is a subject for another post.

Anyway, back to TV. Most shows are just plain terrible. The teleplays are too corny. The plot lines are FAR too dramatic. Many shows are too comparable to soap operas for my comfort. They are way, way, WAY too sexual for my taste. Regrettably, I've become a bit callous to regular old immodesty and pre-marital relations, but I just won't deal with adulterous situations and teenage sexuality. I just won't do it. And don't even get me started on reality TV.

Wasn't this supposed to be about Star Trek?


Jeremy's Story

Gross factor 7 (out of 10)

funny story...

So I figure I want to go take a dip in the pool today because it's 97 degrees outside with no clouds. So I look for my swimming trunks that should be draped over one of the towel racks and it's not there. "Hmm," I ponder. "Maybe it's in my room." So I look but it's not in any of my drawers nor in my closet. "Hmm," I postulate. "Maybe it ended up in Ala's or Andrew's room," since there's the possibility that mine and Andrew's trunks got bundled together when he did laundry or Ala accidently took it for some far out reason. Nope, neither of them have seen my trunks. "One last person," I retort. So I ask Ben, "have you seen my trunks?" He hasn't seen them either. So I search the apartment furiously again and think, "maybe the technician stole them when he came to fix the toilet and the leaky fridge." But of all things to steal, why a pair of used swimming trunks? So I sit in my thinking chair and think, think, think. And then I get a knock on my door. So I open it and there's Ben at the doorway. "Sorry, I've been wearing them this past week. They look a lot like mine. I'm sorry, here," as he hands me my own trunks back. HE'S BEEN WEARING MY SWIM TRUNKS THE WHOLE WEEK AND DIDN'T THINK ONCE THAT THEY FELT OR LOOKED A LITTLE DIFFERENT??? Ahem. If it were anybody else I would be ok with it. I'd put them on and go to the pool. But my trunks had Carl's Jr. sauce and grease spots on them. And here's the best part. I look inside, and lo and behold...SKID MARKS/CHOCOLATE TRAIN TRACKS/FUDGE MONSTER FOOTPRINTS/POOP/WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT. I politely asked him if he could wash them in his laundry, but I think I'm going to go to Walmart and get a new pair. YUCK.



I see you.

I added a little link tracker to see who visits me.

Leave comments. You know who you are.

Mental republics

(Thanks to Elder Delange for this idea, one of the funniest and most humble missionaries I had the privilege of serving with.)

Inside everyone's head is a republic. The republic is body of representatives, a quorum, so to speak, of each and every feeling and thought process a person has. Each representative is dressed appropriate to the feelings they represent, and all of them meet in your head and vote on what you want to say and do.

There's a wisdom faction that makes sure you stay on the course. There's a safety faction to make sure that when you're lighting off bottle rockets for the 4th you don't burn your face off. There's a whiny faction that makes you go home and blame your bad day on everyone else but you. There's a hungry faction, a tired faction, a comedic faction, and so on ad infinitum. The human brain is a fabulous specimen of the Almighty's handiwork.

They all meet in a great hall, lavishly decorated, filled with plush seats. The room is acoustically sound; the smallest faction has the same voice as the largest. When you have an idea, it is presented as a bill. Each bill is voted upon, and when ratified, you say/do/eat/watch/think/shout/procrastinate something. When the bill is vetoed, you either forget about it or the faction that presented it waits for a later time, politicks around to gain support, and puts the bill up for ratification at a later time. (This is why diets rarely stick.)

Most republics conduct themselves in an orderly fashion. Mine on the other hand...

I have a large contingent of impulsive monkeys each equipped with a green stamp. I always regret what I say. *sigh*


Toxic addiction

This one's going to be jumbled; bear with me.

I'm obsessed with criticism. I need to know what other people think about me, my life, my work, and most of all, my religion. There are message boards where people 'recover' from being a Mormon. There are message boards where people 'discuss' the most sacred tenets of my beliefs. Worst of all, there are blogs where people raise the banner of free thought and open-mindedness and then bitterly and virulently criticize every facet of Church doctrine. (It bugs the snot out of me that if you do some 'critical thinking' as it's called and then draw a conclusion other than what the rest of the free thinking world draws, then you obviously haven't thought it through very critically. But that's another blog.)

My addiction lies in how much mental energy I devote to thinking about what is said. I don't waste hours on the internet reading what people say negatively about my Church. On the contrary, I've recently gotten pretty good at realizing that you can't shut a critic up. But the conversation lives on in my head and it's hard to get it out. Now it's a regular voice inside me that forces me to look at things from a cynical viewpoint, just so I make sure I'm ready for whatever 'discussion' a person would like to have with me.

It's like I need to know that I have an answer for any criticism, but I know that's impossible. I don't know why I do it. Like I said, I don't think it's possible for a person to answer every single question another could have about any subject in particular, more importantly the choices that make you who you are. I believe we choose who we are (see As a Man Thinketh by James Allen) either directly or indirectly. However, lots of the reasons why we act the way we do are beyond us. There are so many repercussions to our actions that I deem it the mark of a wise man to explore as many of them as he can before making a choice. (Or woman, if you're reading this Cyl. Lord knows I don't want to be guilty of feminine persecution. *grin*)

So a long time ago, I don't know when, I began to make choices that resulted in my desiring other people to mark a stamp on approval of what I was doing. Even now, when I do my part at work or I finish a lab, a little red flag goes up that says "Take this and have it checked to make sure you're right." When there is no one to make sure that I'm right, or the right answers are debated or not agreed upon (like in religion) I can't help but listen to the opposite side to see if they're right. It's no more different than "Hey, did you do #15 on the probablity assignment? How'd you do it?" as far as my subconcious works.

But I don't like it. When I do seek approval, there always seems to be a group committee inside my head (I'll explain that in a later blog) that stands up and says "Six, stand up for yourself, man! Sprout some and stand by your work!"

I'm trying, guys, I'm trying.


Why I'm a terrible writer.

It's an old story, and I'm ashamed to tell it.

When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a writer. Everyday in the upstairs hallway I'd pass the most beautiful blank page and everyday that page called me to write on it. Every day I ached to please the white expanse and fill it with wonderful words and drawings, for you see, writing is art and art is writing. You might wonder how a 4 year old has deep emotions, but hey, I'm a deep guy.

So one evening I came across a pen on the floor. I knew my opportunity had come and that destiny and fate had granted me a chance to fill the wall in the hall with such wonderful a thing as the outward expression of a child's imagination. I eagerly began to run the pen against the smooth white of paint. I was ecstatic, and the wall felt like an extension of the pen. I couldn't believe how well the pen worked; it never skipped, never blotted, and never slipped. It was wonderful.

Amid the melée, I realized something... I made an 'L.' It was the most beautiful 'L' I had ever seen. It was a perfect ratio of height to length drawn at the most perfect right angle. It was straight and true, much like the heart that beat within its author. I eagerly shouted to my parents downstairs "Mother, Father, come upstairs quickly! You must see my first ever procurement of art!" Father and Mother obeyed, and were on the spot in moments.

I pointed to my handiwork and proudly exclaimed "LOOK! An 'L!' I grinned in the face of my proudest moment. My first attempt at writing was a sheer success.

But something was wrong. My enthusiasm did not bubble over to my parents' faces. My Father looked down at me, over at the wall, and then over at me.

"Bend over," he commanded.

I thought: "What? Where is the lauding? Where is the appreciation for decorating the once bare wall with my gifts and talents? Why isn't Mother interceding? Don't they see the 'L?' Don't they understand?"

"Grab your ankles." Father interjected.

"I don't understand. How could they not like it? Why aren't they getting papers prepared for Oxford, the Sorbonne, or for Harvard? Why is that--"

But my thoughts were interrupted at the last question. My Father's iron hand had made stiff contact with my exposed posterior. It all came crashing down. They were mad that I had sullied the wall with my grotesque art.

"Go to your room, now." Mother pointed down the hall. I had no choice but to obey. I was smarting-- not only my buttocks, but my pride as well. If this is how the world is going to accept my ventures into the world if inspiring imagination, then I'll withold my talents for myself.

And I have until now.