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.