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.



When can you afford to take an accusation lightly?

A man was accused of molesting little girls attending his daycare.

Can we afford to say that he is innocent until proven guilty? Why do most people jump to the conclusion he's guilty? Can they afford not to?

I don't have the answers.


Minor update

We watched a fireworks show last night with Scooter and Animal, which are the children of Cyl and her husband. As I mentioned, they took off to Louisiana and it might be another day or so until they can get back, thanks to torrential rains in the Houston/Lake Charles area.

Scooter and Animal are aptly named. When Animal gets keyed up (usually my fault, I play with her too much) she takes awhile to calm down. Scooter loves to argue logic with you. He goes into Platonic description of why now is not the time to clean up-- it's hilarious. I'm amazed a kid can be so young and so smart. He loves trains, too. We watched a PBS program on trains this morning and he was so excited, it was fantastic. I love watching these kids, and this is a great blessing for Mrs. Sixline and I to experience in some small measure what it's like to have kids. Children are a joy.

Tonight we'll be lighting off some fireworks (courtesy of the Battle Mountain Fireworks stand) to make a bit of a show of our own.

By the way... Baltimore played a FANTASTIC game kicking the snot out of the White Sox yesterday, winning 8-1. I thought at first that a split would be great, as .500 play seems to be elusive to the Orioles. After that showing, however, I don't think a series win is out of reach. Josh runs a blog called Since 1954 (the year the Orioles moved from St. Louis-- as the Browns-- to Baltimore to be the Orioles) and I highly reccommend it.

Happy 4th. This nation is the greatest.


The Muppet Show moves to the sea

Mrs. Sixline and I want children very much, but so far we have yet to have any. We've had plenty of practice baby-sitting, but obviously it's not at all the same.

Nevertheless, we get to try our hand with more kids. A good friend of mine had a death in the family, so as they fly down to Louisiana to be with family and mourn, we get to watch two of their kids. All day Monday and all day Tuesday. This should be cool.