job hunting (again)

Tuesday I interviewed with Moog Aircraft in Salt Lake City for 2 hours. It was a good interview. They asked me questions off my resume, but nothing too technical. After that I drove 3.5 hours with Mrs. Sixline to Pocatello for an all day interview with AMI Semiconductor. That was one nasty interview, my friends. There were 5 different interviews with 5 different engineers on very technical bases. I can't even remember them all. Some op amp questions, some derivations of transfer functions, tons of clock signals and violation problems (setup, hold, etc...), state machines describing behavior, using Laplace transforms to analyze circuits, transistor configurations, CMOS configurations, etc...

All this was getting us down. The interview in Pocatello took longer than anticipated, so they put us up in a hotel for an extra night. The following morning we drove around looking at housing with a realtor. It was all right; Pocatello isn't as ugly a town as I originally thought. But it didn't feel right... I know it might have been just a foreign feeling in a new town, but I wasn't excited by AMI's work, nor by the prospect of becoming a Pocatello resident. Nothing against the town, but it wasn't my taste.

Same with Salt Lake. Just not feeling it.

The worst part was, the house we want to buy in our home town needed some choices. It's being built, and not quite finished. We've chosen paint color, carpet style and color, and tile. We've been conservative with our choices, knowing that there's a good chance we won't get the house. The reason why this stinks is because we're emotionally (and partly monetarily) invested in the home and if ATK (local company) doesn't call me back for a second interview, then we don't get the home we've been customizing. So as we were at the house waiting for the builder to show up so that we could choose countertop options, we were in rather a melancholy mood. We were really sad that ATK exhibited so much initial interest that's been noticeably lacking since the first interview contact.

Happily, that night I got an email from the guy who has been interviewing me saying that they want to bring me out the first thing after the new year. Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. I really want to go build rockets. He asked if I've been interviewing elsewhere, likely aware of the mass amount of time that has elapsed since our last contact, to which I replied yes. Then he asked if I've entertained any offers, and I said that I would soon receive two. I fully expect them to come, but to be frank, I have no guarantee that they will. That information is on a 'need to know' basis... I told him that unless ATK's offer comes in well below what the other two would be, I'd take ATK's offer. That part is 100% honest. He reassured me that their offers are competitive. We'll see.

So, ray of sunshine. :)



Housing prices stink.

If I'm applying for your company, and I gave you my resume, and you used my resume as a basis to setup an in-depth on-site interview, do not ask me to fill out a ridiculous form where all the answers are on the resume that you already have. (In other words, bureaucracy stinks.)

Wussy winter weather stinks. This ain't Texas. Snow already!

Shoveling snow stinks.


stuck in a rut

I've been stuck in a rut. I don't think anything substantive will happen on the job scene until the new year. My wife and I put earnest on a home we adore, but I doubt the job will come before the earnest period is up. We've been kind of getting down on ourselves, and then yesterday, as we were whining to each other, we snapped out of it. We got ourselves motivated and got right back into the swing of things. This morning had SUCH a different feel to it than other mornings. It's been good.

In the meantime, I've taken to transcribing my mission journals from paper to computer and adding in afterthoughts. It's fun and embarrassing at the same time. I'll have to post a few of the choicer ones with commentary.

Hooray for new posts!


veteran's day

It's impossible to write something that two words so easily sum up. Despite their repetition, I doubt they lose their meaning.

So, to all those serving, both past and present:

Thank you.


The stupidest thing I ever did.

Once my friends and I mixed up some 'napalm' -- we dissolved styrofoam in gasoline. The resultant gooey mixture will burn for a long time. We then took it across a huge field behind his house where the local Catholic church had cleared out a ton of land. The result was a magnificently large pile of dead pine tree wood. For those of you aren't putting this together, I was playing with fire on top of a 50 foot pile of dead, dry, kindling wood.

It's a good thing we got bored with the napalm quickly enough.


Atheists probably shouldn't read this...

I'm brainwashing myself.

I've come to the realization that "the world" (That's 'the Man' for all you conspiracy theorists out there) is out to get me. Suggestive lyrics are the mode d'emploi for music these days. Then there's the emotional nature to the music; it doesn't remind you of your divine nature as a son or daughter of God. It doesn't uplift, promote, engender charity, or teach anything.

Music gets into your head, and the constant barrage of imagery and soupçon influences the way you think. I want to control what influences me and how it influences me. Alma 13 (the best chapter in the Book of Mormon and I dare you to contradict me.) teaches that priesthood holders are supposed to live their lives in such a way that those who seek Christ will recognize Him by the examples of His priesthood holders. Let your light so shine, eh?

Two days into it and I already can notice a difference in how easy it is to control my thoughts towards holier things, and how I have a higher interest in spiritual knowledge. Soon I will be a fully brainwashed card carrying Mormon.


More job hunting crud

ATK (Thiokol) interviewed me last week. They build rockets. I was invited to tour the facility, and the engineer who interviewed me took me and another grad student from a neighboring school on a separate tour to see the places where engineers actually work. We met hiring managers and talked with some of the guy's colleagues. Of the tour group of students, we were the only ones who were given that special treatment so I felt, well, special. They do rockets. I'll finally be able to say "Yes, Ma'am, I am a rocket scientist."

Then yesterday I had three interviews. Moog, pronounce 'mowg,' does airplane systems; integration, control, and embedded. Now this was an interview where I felt like I nailed it. I rarely come out of interviews feeling like I did well. Less often do I hear things like "Wow, this is a really impressive resume. I think you'd be an excellent fit with us. I'm will definitely recommend your resume be reviewed by the hiring managers. I hope you'll be able to come out for a second interview."

AMI Semiconductor was kinda the same way. They even gave me two technical questions. The first of which was to design a block diagram of an FIR filter (which I did correctly.) The second of which was to explain what happens in a lossless system, where two capacitors are hooked up in parallel and an open switch is between them. Capacitor A is 1 microfarad, 2 volts. Capacitor B is 2 microfarad, 6 volts. When the switch is thrown, what happens? Got that one too. They seemed pretty impressed, and said "The next step, now that you've demonstrated some basic knowledge, is to bring you out to AMI for the next set of interviews."

The last one was for NAVAIR, which is basically the Navy, and it was short and chock full of the same BS questions that never lead anywhere and don't allow a candidate or an interviewer to give or get the full scope of what someone can offer.

I feel really excited. It felt good to be wanted.



Job hunting updates: Interview with ATK. Good job prospect, way to early to tell. One of those "Tell me about a time when you did something that would impress HR." kinda ordeals. I did well; I felt like I represented myself with confidence and such... But those questions are so unbelievably cursory and plain retarded that I don't have much reassurance that I'm heads and shoulders above or below the rest simply because such interviews can't provide that kind of information. Anyway. I was encouraged by the fact that they don't have heavy technical interviews when they do the on-site rounds. Technical interviews scare the bejeebers outta me. And... France called again... Too soon to tell what's going so I'll keep everyone updated when something concrete comes along. I hate getting back on this roller coaster.

Jerks: Hey, if I'm talking about baseball and how much I like it, and you're not involved, and you walk up and say "How can you like such a boring sport?" odds are I'm going to kick you directly in the babymakers-- girl or boy. Ovaries for girls, and giblets for boys. Shut up. I'm not talking to you. ~KICK~ I like baseball. If you don't keep your big mouth shut. I don't care about your opinion. Nyah. :P



I had a big rant.

I deleted it.

No one likes a whiner.



Good interview for me. Lousy interview for the girl interviewing me. She was extremely nervous. I think she was more nervous than I was. She was an engineer, though, which made things nice.

True to form, I have to find a few reasons to shoot this down before it takes off. (Takes off. Boeing. Get it?) GPA might be a little low. The position is for a signal processing buff, and I did not pursue that portion of EE. She even said "We're looking for more EE background types." I guess she didn't see the big "Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering" at the top of my resumé. She does have a point, though. I'm more involved with embedded systems than anything else. Whatever.

I'm not too sure I want to work in Southern California anyway. The position's in El Segundo, which means extremely expensive life and disgustingly long commutes either via traffic or distance. Let's hope someone from somewhere else calls me.


look up in the sky

This time it is a plane.

Boeing wants to interview me here on campus Tuesday morning at 8 AM.

I might have to switch times given that I have class at that time, but I like being the first person there and I highly doubt I'd get much out of class squirming in my seat about an interview any way.

The career services website says that the job is for El Segundo, CA. I'd like to live there but not at the current price.


news and notes

It's hard to say goodbye to a dream. Dreams are so pervasive in your mind that they 'help' your perception of reality to interpret certain events as supportive of obtaining your dream. There's still room for hope as far as going to France, but Mrs. Sixline and I (me more than her) need to realize that in all likelihood it just won't happen for now.

So we got a dog. He's a miniature black poodle. He's a purebred, but he has a bum hip so we got him for free. We named him Turk. He's a good little puppy; barely 4 weeks old. We've started the potty training, and while he's only left two presents for us I think we're moving along with success. He sleeps in a kennel which helps him learn to hold it. I'm glad we got him.

So now where does the job search take me? I applied for a post yesterday-- not making this is up-- under the title of 'Explosives Engineer.' The position is for Albuquerque, New Mexico at Kirtland AFB. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that. Outside of that position, I'm not really looking. I don't know, it's just not a pressing matter on my mind. I'm more concerned with actually getting the degree that will be the primary requirement for the job. "So why are you blogging?" I know, I know...


Bad vibes

Well, this morning came and went without any news from France. When we spoke last, this past Friday, I was informed that I would know by the 'middle of the week,' referring to this week. I mentioned Wednesday, and the gentleman agreed that Wednesday was a good day to let me know. As I said in the last post, he's been extremely punctual with me on all other calling appointments and very quick to settle the matter.

His silence indicates to me that the response was not good. My attempts at securing a job in France have taught me that if no one replies to you, then they don't want you. Quite the opposite of the "no news is good news" sentiment we have here in America.

While the book isn't closed, it sure feels that way. I can't help but think that Mrs. Sixline and I need to begin looking for work locally. It's not what we were hoping for, but we can always save up and visit in the future.

I'm very saddened by this, a lot more than I thought I'd be. I keep half hoping that I'm just feeling this way to try and trick myself into 'expecting' a bad response so it won't hurt so bad, while secretly thinking everything will be fine. I admit I have no other reason to think it's over with other than the lack of news. However, I can't deny the feeling.

Thanks again to everyone who's pulled for us. I'll keep posting on the job hunt until Mrs. Sixline and I know what we're doing and where we're going. In the meantime, if you know of anyone who wants a reasonably talented engineer in the areas of controls and embedded system design/development, please let me know.




I do love October. I mentioned this last year, I believe. It's so pretty here in the Fall, and baseball is at its apex.

And no one's reached me yet from France. This latest guy is awesome and very punctual, so even though he said he'd contact me today, I don't think my chances are down the tubes.

However, if this final response is negative, then Mrs. Sixline and I close the door on going to France for a job for now. It's a bummer, but I think we'll be all right.

Thanks to everyone who's been pulling for us. This will all be over with soon, we hope.



I just got getting grilled by my adviser over my journal paper (thesis is embryo.) It was grueling, and I came back to my desk, and picked up my headphones plugged into my computer. I hadn't stopped the playback, so the music was just going. I picked up the headphones feeling a little down thinking "How am I gonna get all this crud finished?!" And wanna know what song began playing?

Kansas' classic, "Carry on my Wayward Son."

Cosmic moment.

i lied.

I'm not staying positive. I'm worried. I can't seem to find any real concrete leads when it comes to jobs, all I find are recruiting agencies. I was also not thinking I had to re-start the interviewing process anew with a second company; I thought that was the point of the recruiting agency.

I'm worried.

On to round 2.

The recruiting agency finished up their pre-screening interviews with the conclusion of the personality test. I'm happy to say that I don't come across as a nut, to the contrary and chagrin of many of my acquaintances I'm sure.

After a discussion concerning the results of the test, and what they implied, the engineer at the recruiting agency will be presenting my file as well as several others to the company that's looking for FPGA engineers. If they like me, they will decide to interview me. So I'm really not anywhere closer to getting the job, I thought there was no more 'decision' based on candidacy; I thought the recruiting agency would present our profiles (the candidates) and there would be interviews for all who were presented as a good match by the recruiting agency. The impression that I got was that they (the company actually doing the hiring) could decide that you're not a good fit based on profile and reject you as a candidate.

But I'm staying optimistic for these reasons:

1.) The headquarters of this company are in Santa Clara, California. This means that I would go there for my in-depth technical interview and it would be in English rather than in French.

2.) While it's still a French company, the Americans working at the California location will understand and perceive my degree in a better light than the French.

3.) I'll stand out in the Americans' eyes because I'll be bilingual.

4.) The other two job opportunities that fizzed out on me were consulting agencies, which translates into lower salaries. This will be a job directly with the company itself, which translates into a higher salary. We're not talking about tons of cash, here, but whatever I can garner is good.

So I'm staying positive. Next Wednesday is when the engineer in France will get back from his trip to Paris (he actually works in Grenoble) and contact me with the new company's decision, and then let's hope the next step after that is a flight to Santa Clara.


oh please oh please oh please

Yesterday morning's interview went well. It was a full on tech interview, and 100% in French. There were some shaky spots where I wasn't really sure I was being clear, but the interviewer really helped me along by asking questions and I think we had ourselves a decent interview. There's a couple of things I wanted to talk about.

On my French resumé, I wrote on there that I lived in France for two years. I feel this is a subtle way of saying that I don't just speak French from a book I learned, but rather I have a working knowledge of the way French people speak French. I feel that while it's not flawless, my French is more authentic than someone who just learned it from a book; I've picked up mannerisms, the way to stress syllables, and the way to put your tone into what you say that communicates feeling just as much as words. My interviewer asked me why I spent two years in France. I'm acutely aware of how the French treat 'new' religion, and very often the Church is viewed in a bad light. However, I'm not going to back down and so I told him straightforward it was for a religious mission. He responded favorably, even asking further questions about what I did all day, what Church I belong to, and it came out that he actually lived down the street from a Chapel in his hometown. I hope that he can see my mission for the good that it was and not a crusade to brainwash his compatriots to believe in an American cult. I think he's level headed enough to do it.

So now, at the end of the interview, he says it's time for me to take a test. I was braced for a technical set of questions, but I guess he garnered what he needed from the Q&A session about my projects and work experience. This test is the dreaded personality test. 100 questions of 3 and 4 statements such as:

1.) I make friends easily
2.) I'm relatively unstable emotionally
3.) I work hard regardless of the obstacles
4.) I prefer to stay away from large groups

I had to select the statement that represented me the most and the statement that represented me the least. After about 40 of these things, all in French mind you, and being up for 14 hours yesterday, my head began to swim. Normally I'm not prone to do well on these sorts of tests; I've failed 3 of them before that I know of. "Fail." I put answers that led the company I wanted to work for to believe that I was not a good fit, despite the preamble declaring there are no correct or incorrect answers. So I'm nervous. I sent it off last night at 11:00 PM so that he'd have it in his inbox first thing in the morning. I haven't heard back, but he did say he was going out of town.

Say a prayer for me. I really want this job.


they called back


Amidst the flurry of snooty French 'We don't want you to work for us' e-mails, this company is really making me get excited. They're another recruiting company that sends you out to work as hired help. So I'll basically be telling people I'm a mercenary. It sounds cooler.

Rewind for a moment: Wednesday morning around 9:15 a lady from this headhunting company called me, asked some of the pre-screening questions, and basically said she's got a post that matches my profile. Sign me up, I say. Sure enough, Friday I got the two phone calls that I slept through from the same company, this time with a bit more information on what kind of a job it would be. I know that this was the reason for the missed calls because they contacted me this morning at 8:30. This is very exciting, they want engineers with a background in C++ (which I have) for the development of place and route actions on FPGA development toolkits and suites. That, dear friends, is right up my alley. I am way excited for this. They've been punctual, the job matches my profile almost 100%, it's in Paris, and I think I'll be able to get a decent salary out of them because when they asked I kept it open ended. I've got another interview of sorts tomorrow morning, so I need to get cracking on my work now.




I decided to use my cell phone to set my alarm rather than mess around with my alarm clock. Like a genius I left the phone on vibrate so naturally I slept right through the alarm-- AND two phone calls from France!!! Crap! I have no idea who called me and no idea what they wanted. They called twice in 20 minutes and didn't leave a dang message even though I have my voice mail message in both French and English.

Oh well... Sleeping in sure felt nice.


Growing pains

When I was 11, I had my first run in with deodorant. I was living in Texas at the time, and people in Texas (outside the hick population of course) are pretty big on personal hygiene. I think it stems from the proper Southern upbringing that was so prevalent 100 years ago. Think about it; it used to be a class based society almost.

Anyway. I didn't want to be a stinky guy, so I stole my older brother's stick of crusty white off-brand scented deodorant. He had mentioned he was going to throw it away, so I took it. It was an afternoon, I had just gone swimming and showered, and I was just about to go outside to play with friends. Now in my 11 year old head, I reasoned that people stink because they sweat and deodorant stops the stink where you sweat therefore it must be applied in the places you sweat.

I popped the cap off and twisted what was left of the pasty white crud. It broke off into two large pieces. Carefully pinching the larger of the two between my thumb and forefinger, I began to apply it to my sweaty areas... First my armpits... then my forehead... then the temples of my head... then my chest... then a little bit on my back, and finally... *ahem* down south. I carefully put the broken piece-- now noticeably smaller-- back into the receptacle where it had broken out of, replaced the cap, and stowed away the new treasure in my sock drawer. I proceeded to get dressed, go outside, and play.

Naturally a few hours later after playing outside in a hot Texan summer afternoon, the sweat began to dry and I had white streaks of crusty deodorant everywhere. At first people thought my face was peeling from sunburn. Luckily I realized what it was and washed it all off before anyone really noticed. I then asked my dad where you put deodorant, and quite nonchalantly asked if it went anywhere other than your armpits. Puzzled, I'm sure, but absent-minded at the impact of the question my dad responded that no-- it goes nowhere else.

And that was a lesson learned.


toxic waste dump

I can't begin to express my frustration right now. I only hope that by pounding the virtual pillow I'll be able to move past it and focus on what I need to get done today.

I'm extremely frustrated because an HR director from a company in Paris who told me last I can recall that he wanted to give me a job. Trying to thin out my mail archives, I accidentally deleted a whole slew of emails that I had responded to which in turn eliminated the email thread they were a part of. So in one magnificent coup, I got rid of what the HR director actually said. For all I know, I'm remembering incorrectly.

Secondly, when I reminded this HR director that we haven't discussed anything via teleconferencing, a wish he had expressed before continuing with the hiring process, he said he was going to be in Holland until Monday (today.) And that on Monday (today) he'd email me. Today is here and there's no email. This is what I've come to expect from him, as he was the guy who told me after his interview with me that he liked me and wanted to move forward with me, then went on a three week vacation without telling me and then dropping me a line upon his return saying that we were going to do the next steps of the interviewing process. To his credit, we have indeed moved past that point, but to his detriment the man's a lousy communicator. For three weeks I thought that he changed his mind or filled the position somehow and neglected to inform me.

So I'm feeling frustrated because I don't know what's going on. He's not telling me. I have no idea what to expect from him when they do in fact offer me a position - if they do.

I dislike not knowing, I'm annoyed at how the French don't consider you as an engineer unless you come from a top school, I definitely don't like being left in the dark, and I don't want anyone to tell me "I know how you feel." I want everyone to say "That's the worst position a guy could be in. It must be so difficult."

And I forgot to charge my phone last night so I can't call Mrs. Sixline and cry on her shoulder.

This day is rotten from the get go.


No more waiting.

Last I spoke with company A, they wanted to have me do a teleconferencing call. When I reminded them that we have not had that yet, they said that they'd contact me Monday. In the meantime, company B has contacted me and while they've been punctual, scheduling the next interview while on the phone with me, they require 5 total interviews before one is hired. 5 interviews could take a few weeks... Visa requirements say that a waiting period of approximately 3 months is common. If Mrs. Sixline and I want to time this right, and be gone when I graduate (Dec 17) then September 17 is the deadline. So while we still maintain hope for these two companies, if they don't come through then working in France will have to be put on the backburners for a bit (a few years bit).

So where does this put us? I'm not exactly sure. I'm somewhat partial to working for Michelin in America, in the hopes that they'll move me over to France after a few years. The Michelin plant I applied for in the states is in South Carolina. They haven't said a word to me as to whether or not they want me so this is just one big waiting game... At least for two more weeks. Then we know whether or not I throw in the towel and just take a local job.


report cards

What is it about hearing flaws and faults that makes one so insecure? I don't accept for a moment that I'm the only one who has a hard time hearing someone parrot back to me the things I know I need to work on. I'm not talking about working on sewing skills, or some kind of external talent or hobby that you're attempting to develop, I'm talking about the things that make you you.

Begrudgingly, I admit that I am not always aware of how my words will be interpreted by a listening party. It's a murky subject and not very clear cut. There are some people who are so sensitive they can't listen to anything without finding fault, there are some people who don't let anything get to them, and then there's the by and large majority of folks out there who might take offense or feel sleight at what is said, but are usually good enough to chalk it up to the offending party's bad day, lack of awareness, or some other good natured excuse.

This happens, to me at least, quite often when I first meet people. I've been told by several people several times over that I don't make good first impressions. Even writing this to a pseudo audience of virtual readers I get a prickly feeling on the back of my neck. No one wants to feel like a lumbering fool with no savoir-faire. I, like most ego-inflated young men, want to feel suave and sophisticated. I've worked on my first impressions quite a bit since this was first brought to my attention.

And that's where I want to end this post-- with the statement that I'm very well aware of my shortcomings and that I work on them. It makes hearing my shortcomings all the harder to endure because I know I have them, I'm painfully aware of them, and I'm working on them. I need to not be so sensitive; I tend to run away with the criticism and apply it in places and in magnitudes that was never meant or conceived by those that point them out to me.

I suppose I ought to be thankful, though. If no one mentions them aloud, I can easily content myself to think I'm further ahead on the character perfection curve (which obviously isn't attainable) than I really am. Being thankful, though, is difficult in these circumstances because by and large the people who can point out your flaws are the people who know you best, and those who know you best tend to have a soft spot in your heart. I, like most ego-inflated young men, seek the approval of those I love and trust.

In the end, though, it's better to hear them from the people who love you than the people who don't.


American Export

It seems our cultural contribution to the world largely consists of pre-packaged processed foods.

I'd like to think we export idealism, entrepreneurship, optimism, and hard work, but from what it looks like it's mainly McDonald's, Coke, obesity, and arrogance.

That sucks.

Attention world: There are good and bad things to American lifestyle and culture, just as there are with what you bring to our table. Also, be reminded that our cradle was built by the hands of many different nationalities. We have so much more to offer than 32 oz. of dissolved sugar in a red aluminum can.

Attention America: Let's try to export more of our good stuff than our bad, eh? Read a book. Learn the world map. (Is it true that a strong percentage of us don't even know where Iraq is?) Learn some history. Pick up a few words in another language. Yes, by assimilating the good that the world exports to us it'll help reciprocate goodwill and hopefully, the world will see as as more than a billboard for fast food.

It seems so pink and flowery, but I don't think we change the world, I think we help people change themselves.


Mrs. Sixline's motivation

This is the last hurrah.

Final semester, and things are heating up.

I got a bit of a raise (yay!) and financially we'll be all right, so Mrs. Sixline doesn't have a job.

I've asked for her help in a lot of ways. You see, of all my quirks, one of the strongest ones is the inability to focus or relax when my abode is messy. I just can't do it. The trade off for my share of the housework is that I work crazy hours. I've been going into school later during the evenings and this week I'm doing about ten hour days. Mrs. Sixline has kept her end of the bargain beautifully; I've never seen the apartment in better shape. She's taken to watching "How Clean is Your House?" on BBC America (Thank you Kermit...) and now she's even scrubbing out little buildups of muck and grime that you don't normally do in your day to day rotations of cleaning.

I tip my hat to you, Mrs. Sixline. You're doing awesome.


a few things

How old were you when you began listening to the music of your time? I remember in 4th grade trying to get down with MC Hammer, but I'll admit, most of what I heard came from other students when I was with them. I don't recall trying to be on the cutting edge of music for a long time. In fact, when I was about 10, I remember turning on the radio for the first time just to hear music. I twiddled and dialed until I got a station free and clear. It must have been a mix music of the day kind of station, because I don't recall there being any real genre to it-- no country, rap, jazz, classical, or anything else. It just seemed to be a pop station. I marveled that the station was nice enough to let people call in and ask for their favorite song to be played. I excitedly informed my friend of this discovery only to find out it was commonplace and old news.

For a brief period I liked rap; again, mainly because most of the kids in my school liked rap and it appeared to be the cool thing. I had heard the dire warnings of my parents and other parental figures ominously prophesying the doom and gloom of those who were sucked into heavy metal, so I didn't listen to it. I didn't really like rap, though... It was reflective of a culture that didn't belong to me and I couldn't identify with it. So what did I listen to?

Well, besides WBAP emissions of Ranger baseball (this was in the Dallas area) I took to listening to WRR classical music and 98.7 KLUV oldies. It was awesome. I listened to music and things that no one else listened to, which pleased me. I felt a sense of refinement beyond my age with the classical music and I felt whisked away to an era marked by a different set of difficulties; less crime but more racism. In my mind at the time I wasn't aware of America's atrocities regarding civil rights so oldies offered the privilege of partaking in memories of a simpler time that otherwise didn't belong to me. The fantasy of cool classic cars, no guns or drugs at school, and more family oriented people was enough to get anyone hooked. I was more familiar with those songs than I was of the early 90s fads and trends.

Of course, when I got to high school, things were different. I'll get into it another time.

I've finally figured out why I'm so obsessed with talking about a job in France. I realized Sunday night that I have no control over whether I go there. Sure, I can send CVs (that's what they call resumés) and apply, but in the end it's not up to me. Talking about it, obsessing about it would be more accurate, gives me the illusion of control. That feels good.


The beginning of the end

Yesterday I was asked "How was your first last day?" and indeed it was just that. Barring unforeseen tragedy, I should be done in December making this my last semester. Right now I'm under the impression that I'll not return, as I'm pursuing a hire degree I think that should cover me for the rest of my life, but who knows what'll happen?

On Friday while at Costco with the lovely Mrs. Sixline, Kermit, and two of her children, I received a phone call from none other than the technical director of Amundis. I ran outside gibbering in French to be patient until I got to a quieter spot, turning quite a few hands as I passed. I found a park bench on a secluded blue spruce lined median in some distant corner of the Costco parking lot. The spruces kept the sound to a minimum, so while I wasn't in a quiet room, at least I had some measure of privacy. The technical director, Serge, asked me about my work experience, my school experience, how to avoid deadlock, and a plethora of other embedded systems related subjects. We spoke for the better part of an hour. At the end he seemed quite positive and keen to continue the hiring process, and I felt pretty good as well. He called me because the previous day the HR director shot me an e-mail saying "Well I've just got back from vacation, and we're still interested in you. Someone will call you shortly." This was an abrupt change from the no news I was receiving from them throughout August. I was quite worked up that after the first interview I had received no news and then out of the blue they tell me they're still interested. It's been pretty quick since then. Friday was the aforementioned interview, and yesterday I awoke to another email from the HR director revealing that the interview was indeed positive and indicating that an offer was in the works. One more interview, this time a teleconferencing interview. So this is looking pretty good.

Amundis (www.amundis.fr) is a consulting company, which means that while I work for them, they find me third party work to complete. Not the most glorious thing, but as I understand it, they give me a base salary regardless of whether or not I'm working. Good enough for me. This isn't a career move. This is a life experience move. Unless something better comes along while we're there, we won't stay for more than about two years I think. That estimate is down somewhat from the five years I originally anticipated, but we'll see. Provided Amundis gives me enough of a base salary to live decently enough and cover my student loan payments, we'll be in Paris in January.

I'm happy.


Something more light-hearted...

This should be fun.

These are 5 places I've been to in my life. Can you guess which is which? (They shouldn't be too hard.) I'll post the answers as a comment later on today.

I can't stop.

I jokingly refer to the scar over the vein on the inside of my left arm as evidence of my former heroin addiction. I used to sell plasma, and quite a bit of it, when I was first out to purchase a home theater system. I've joked about substance abuse before, and while I struggle with my own habit forming sins and difficulties that are found in so many of my human brothers and sisters on this spinning blue marble, I've never really fought an addiction that I immersed myself in daily.

Until now.

I can't stop checking my email. I check it every after block of time spent away from the computer. I keep thinking I'll get get news from across the pond. Because of the time difference, most of my job applications come in after work hours in France. Hence, I assume that in the morning on my side HR directors and tech directors all over the Hexagon will have had an entire day to look over my resume, decide I'm awesome, and send me word. There's nothing more frustrating than applying for 4 or 5 jobs and hear NOTHING.

And yet, I go back to my email every day, after lunch, in the evening, and even sometimes early early in the morning when I wake up having to pee.

I hate this.


Questions that demand answering.

Normally I don't respond to these, but at least Kermit asked interesting questions. I was tagged, and it'll be up to me to come up with 5 new questions at the end.

1) Define trailer trash.
Subjective term, and I'm open to suggestions.
Trailer trash is a racial demographic limited to white people who have extremely poor ways of hygiene, living quarter cleanliness, outlook on life, and cultural blending. Although the term originally stems from whiteys living in trailer parks with low income and low net worth, living with low income and low net worth in a trailer park and being white are not qualifying factors alone. It's not about money. It's about the way you carry yourself. Do you want to be clean, both morally and physically? Do you take an interest in the way the world works? Do you have aspirations to become better than what you are? Are you actively making and seeking those goals? If your answer to all of the above questions is 'no,' and you are white, then regardless of how much money you make or how non-existent a southern yokel accent is, you are trailer trash my pitiful friend.

2) What are your thoughts on WalMart?
WalMart is as guilty as any other company that seeks to systematically assimilate and crush the spirits of those working for them and is not guilty of being singled out. Shady business practices are a common thread under any economic system, especially one laden with corporate freedoms such as ours. Don't confuse the issue: Free enterprise isn't what's on trial. Unethical corporate behavior is. The rich are not guilty for being such; they are guilty for not distributing their wealth as per King Benjamin's command. After all, are we not all beggars?

WalMart is not evil, in and of itself. As for taking advantage of its workers, I'll say this: In America, between scholarships for minorities and government assistance for all, if you can't find a vocation, profession or niche in this land that pays you higher than WalMart's wages, you have to look in the mirror to find someone to blame.

3) If you could choose another era in which to be born and live, which one, and

On a warp capable starship as a bridge officer in Starfleet.


4) Tell me about a meal from your childhood, oft served in your home, that you just despised.
Not a meal, but a part of it.

My mother, bless her heart, over steams/cooks vegetables. They come out rubbery and tasteless. In the case of peas, I was especially averse to eating them but we were so unbelievably poor it was a common thread in our meals for years. I would use my allergy problem to parade an excess of napkins to my plate and while pretending to use them to wipe my nose, I'd put more and more peas in there so I only had to eat a few bites. I was especially adept to take a bite when being watched, only to add a few more peas into the napkin, then finish the meal, get up, and throw everything away.

I never got caught. Not by siblings, not by parents.

5) What’s your pipe dream, the one that’s way out there, that would take magic, miracle or untold wealth to bring to pass?
Own a small island in a chain of larger ones somewhere in the south Pacific. I wouldn't be too far from an island with a strong economic backbone and I would be far enough you'd have to make it a point to get to my island. I'd build an exceptionally environmentally friendly house that used a minimal amount of electricity (or none at all if it could be helped) and I'd stay there whenever I want.

My questions/items:
Sports: good or bad for a child's psyche?
How does one distinguish between revelation and thought?
To what extent does racism exist in America today?
How thick is your skin (figuratively speaking of course)?
What piece of music moves you the most?

My people: Bryan, Chance, Peter, Shaun, and Ben. (Those are the only 5 who read this stupid thing it seems... ;))


That's right, I'm jealous. And?

The reason I'm feeling jealous is two fold.

1.) French engineering firms (skip this if you're bored by my relentless barrage of French job hunting) seem to want their candidates to be extremely skilled. American companies ask for the degree and then decide you're bright enough to be brought on and learn your way forward given a good foundation and background. I feel under-qualified for many of these jobs. It makes me jealous of those who are qualified for these jobs.

2.) There's a couple of extremely funny kids out there. I say kids because I'm indeed younger than they and yet they are on TV and film raking in serious money while I slave away trying to implement a software Molecular Dynamics simulator that more adequately models time cycles in order to correctly monitor load balancing. It's not fair. I think I'm funny. Why aren't I getting paid big bucks?

A bit much

Lately I've been either gossiping about family or blabbing (read: whining) about France. I can't do that anymore. I think I'm boring my friends, though they have the grace not to say so. I'll find some other outlet or just plain ~gasp~ deal with it.

At any rate, I did have my HR interview with Alten. The lady was nice, but spoke extremely quick; a malady most French women suffer from. I had to ask her to repeat herself, but I guess that sounds better than answering a question she didn't ask. The questions were your normal HR questions, but it only took like 10 minutes. I'm wondering why she didn't just email them to me. I wonder if she wanted to hear my French. Oh well. You've got to chase your dreams otherwise you might end up getting your nightmares.


I love golf.

Normally when Mrs. Sixline and I visit the rest of the family down Salt Lake City way, I take a few hours and go golfing with my brother in law. As he is preparing to get married and move to Las Vegas, he and his soon-to-be better half journeyed there to look for houses and visit the UNLV campus. (He'll be doing his MBA. Smart kid.)

As per his absence, I went golfing alone. I went resolutely, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. I also have mismatched clubs I purchased from the local second hand thrift store at a whopping $1.50 per club. Normally when I go I go with said brother in law who is more experienced than me and understands the subtle nuances that makes one blend in with the golfing crowd. I was painfully aware of my own existence going alone without him.

But, I wanted to go. So I show up at a course I had not yet before visited and nonchalantly asked how much a 'bucket' was. In golfing terms, this is the cool way to request time and golf balls at the driving range. I paid for my services and was given a token-- a small dime sized metal disk with 4 teeth on it-- to use on a machine that dispenses golf balls at a rate of 10 per second. A bucket consists of about 50 balls.

I proceeded outside with my token, picked up my clubs that I had left outside, (See? I was aware of one rule: Don't take your clubs inside the store with you. Bad form.), and proceeded toward the driving range. While still wearing the clubs around the back, I approached the machine, put the coin in, and waited for a split second until I heard the signature loud rattle and hum of the machine that told you it was about to let 50 golf balls fly out. It was in this moment that I had an epiphany as clear as any revelation or supremely good idea I've ever received: I forgot to put the bucket in place to catch the balls.

And off they went... 50 golf balls being shot out of the machine like bullets. I shouted a very loud expletive starting with the letter 'S,' grabbed a bucket and tried to catch the rest of them. I only got about 10. There were golf balls strewn about in a radius of about 10 feet. The loud swear word in the middle of heavily Mormon populated Bountiful area caught more than just one pair of ears and several sets of eyes. Groaning, I moped about picking up all my balls and putting them in the bucket. At least by the time I got done collecting my effects everyone had lost interest and had gone back to their swing.

Worst golf moment ever.


A little explanation.

Earlier I wrote that people are wrong. Indeed they are, although I didn't really explain what exactly I meant by it.

You see, people are wrong not because they're imbeciles, (I'm looking at you, Connecticut), but because they do not take the time to listen to you or really get at what you have to say. This is especially true in public scenes. Although this phenomenon is blindingly true with politics, but most arguments on various subjects follow the same pattern.

Seriously. How many of you come away from argument and debate (Greek argument, not sibling argument about who called 'shotgun' first) feeling that the other party truly listened to you and came away with a little bit more respect for your opinion-- regardless of whether or not they agreed? On top of that, do you make sure you form your opinion only after being informed from reliable sources and steady thinking? I usually don't, but I try to.

When it comes to politics (easiest example) things just plain get too emotional and polemical, and that's why so many arguments take the shape they do. People aren't listening to what you say, they're feeling what you say. If they don't take the time to listen to what you say they'll likely get the wrong feeling and react in kind. Likewise for opinions formed based on everyday events. You hear what happened, you look at it through a lens that has been focused and shaped through your perspective and generally react from your gut. I guess my anthropology professor was right. Most of us are just plain egocentric. The worst part is that we persist in being so when evidence to the contrary is directed at us. "You're just a liberal-- you hate guns." Ah. So cut and dry, so compartmentalizable. So easy to dismiss, so easy... so easy. So sad.

Despite the raging infection rate of this epidemic, the cure is simple. Other than the ego, the pain index is quite low as well.

Just slow down, realize you don't have the facts, and get them from informed sources. Realize that other people will disagree with you and a fair majority of those won't think much of you despite not listening to a word you say.

At the end of the day, just remember this simple maxim: People are wrong.

Oh, and while you're at it, remember this one: Never argue with a fool. Onlookers can't tell the difference.

Barry, this post's for you.



People are wrong.

The politicking scene of attaching loony negative connotations to subjective terms is just not my cup of tea.

On a message board I find this maxim to be particularly true. Am I the only one who can see past someone's political leanings?

Probably. As you may well know, people are wrong.


random things

1.) The company in Paris still hasn't contacted me. Now it's August, the French month long holiday. I wonder how this'll go down.

2.) Yesterday I felt really good about this. Mrs. Sixline is getting more and more excited at the prospect of going there, so we're both really hoping and praying that it happens. I even dreamt last night we ended up in Paris.

3.) I really despise it when people use the adjective 'sexy' to describe anything other than the opposite sex. iPhones are do not have sex appeal. They just don't. Any fool can see this.

4.) Half the mountainside in my hometown burned in a blaze yesterday. Two separate fires. My guess is lightning. It was bad. Yet again, the rest of my state seems to forget that people live up here because I haven't seen anything on the local news websites.



Last Thursday I received an email from the company in France I'm working with that seemed rather promising. I was told by the HR director that he wanted me to figure out as much as I can about the legalities of obtaining a French work visa while he toiled away on his end toward the same goal. In the meantime, he said, the technical director would contact me for a technical interview.

I've heard nothing yet.

I know it's just a few days, but I'm still getting just as let down as I am exuberant. I hope something is figured out soon or I'll go nuts.


aucun objet

When I was little, my mother made it a point to put her immensely talented fingers to work for our benefit. Each of my siblings and I were the recipient of a quilt tailored to our personalities. Each quilt had squares that reflected the untapped talent of our child selves. Mine had navy blue squares checkered with big ABCs and 123s. My mother somehow acutely guessed I’d be some kind of nerd—as if the Construx robot army I whipped up for her to complete her household chores wasn’t a tip off in and of itself.

These blankets were our bread and butter as children. There were 5 of us, and on rainy days and Sunday afternoons our pastime was to build tents using all the chairs in the house, the extra comforters, and of course, our blankets. We must’ve looked like tribal chiefs summoned for a council as we waved our colors. When it was naptime in the afternoons during the summer, I liked to curl up with my blanket. If I couldn’t find it, I couldn’t sleep. Other blankets composed of entirely the same material were somehow too rough and uninviting. By all reports, I’ve grown out of it. However, after Mrs. Sixline and I launder our sheets and blankets, when I lay down to sleep I can still see and touch that old blanket of mine.

Even though I’m too old for security blankets, there are still some things that I can cling to and sleep soundly through the scariest of rainstorms. A child’s psyche is so illogical—as if thick layers of cotton, wool, and fleece can stop the fiercest creature.

And yet, their power is real. They’re something familiar, something tangible, something warm.

Tonight Mrs. Sixline and I had to fold up a security blanket and store it for another time. It’s gone, but not for good. It’s just put away for now.

We love you, Fozzie, Kermit, Scooter, Animal, and Gonzo. You brought us comfort and made us safe. We hope you know just how much warmth you are responsible for in our lives.


The French Connection

I had my interview this morning with the director of HR.

It went extremely well.

I will be contacted in the next few days by the technical director so I can be heavily quizzed on the subject of C, C++, Linux, and Embedded Systems.



fausta fortuna adiuvat

If I had a motto, it would be "Fortune favors the bold."

Teddy Roosevelt summed it up nicely:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

It's now Wednesday afternoon. Monday morning I received an email from a French company stating their intentions to interview me. It hasn't happened yet, despite my phone calls to the man who sent me the email in the first place. In the meantime, 4 companies have told me that they do not have any desire to interview me.

This is leaving me with some very mixed feelings. I wonder if my desire to go to France is indeed divinely inspired. I believe that if it is divinely inspired, then the Lord will help us (yes, I say us. Mrs. Sixline is on board with this 100%.) move over there. I also believe that if it is inspired, then I have no reason to be nervous and fear that nothing will materialize. If it's not, then I have every reason to fear. Of course, not being divinely inspired to move to France doesn't necessarily mean that I'm divinely forbidden from going.

At any rate, I'm feeling a bit sad that I haven't had my interview yet. It feels like I'm not that high of a priority to them, which means they're probably not too keen on having me. I just want a straight answer.

However, I'm proud of myself in a sense. I'm trying for something really great. I'm not normally one to take large risk-- especially financial ones. However, this is one of those things where I'm willing to risk a lot emotionally for the reward.


bullies and cowards

Percy. Kevin. Dennis. Erik. Smiddy. Justin.

I'm sure you've had your bullies. Some I stood up to. Some I didn't. Sometimes I was afraid, and sometimes I just didn't think it was worth my time.

This is a particularly sensitive topic with me. I'm a pretty prideful guy. I also don't take too well to being picked on. When was a kid at the playground in the sandbox, if you took my truck and didn't give it back I normally opted to push your face in the sand, take the truck back, and give you the evil eye the rest of the day. When life got bigger, faster, and a little more criminal, I didn't know if some of these bullies were involved in drugs or weapons or both.

Not that I think I was the target of gang activity. Well, Kevin I think was in a gang. Being scared is a hard thing to live with. Justin was a big redneck with an ego to match. He liked to intimidate the other kids in the classroom, and I didn't take to that too well. One day our teacher aske d me to bring a spray bottle of Windex up to her that was resting on the overhead next to me in the back of the room. I obeyed, and Justin said something smart to me as I walked by, so I turned around and sprayed him with the Windex. He took this as the most mortal of insults, and threatened to 'kick my ass.' (It's ok, I can swear on my blog when I'm quoting people.) He wouldn't stop saying it. He sat directly in front of me, and kept turning around and whispering it every twenty seconds. He was a good 6 inches taller than me and had about 50 lbs on me. I was so nervous and scared I didn't know what to do.

I went to a pretty rough high school in East Texas, and so I had no idea how far this fight could go. I knew the odds of it being him against me were fairly small; we had our fair share of gangbangers, drug dealers, petty thieves and other young criminals roaming the halls frequently. Rarely did two kids have a go at it and settle their differences. Quite often I got my friends and you got your friends and we all went for it. I didn't have any friends. Texan male bravado, the key ingredient to having a posse, was lost on me.

I suppose the Texan male bravado is present in more than just one form, as Justin walked right out the door and out of the hallways right as the bell rang. I doubt he wanted to do anything more than scare me. That didn't end my fears, though.

Because of a school schedule that alternated classes by day, I didn't see him again for two days. I remember crying to my parents that I just wanted them to find out where he lived so I could have them drive me over and we could settle our differences where I knew it would be at least him against me. I didn't want to wait in fear. I wanted to go and find him where he was then and there and finish it.

I hate living in fear. I hate being afraid. It is a great teacher, though. The lessons are complex, and thinking back to the experiences that teach them can be just as intense as living them through the first time.

I can't enumerate all the times I've been afraid or been bullied. Following suit, I can't say I can list all the things I've learned from each experience. One thing I am proud of, I can say that I am not a coward. It's so clear now that they were the cowards, not me.

So instead of hoping they're all drunk, dead, or in jail somewhere, I think I can learn to pity them. Not now, of course. That instinctual desire of vindictive vengeance is a little too strong. I don't wish them harm, but I do wish them to feel how I suffered-- not to pay for their crimes, but to understand them and feel compassion on me. At the end of it all, though, I'm glad I chose to handle it the way I did.


Les premières étapes

This morning my eyes about popped out of my head when Amundis (www.amundis.fr) contacted me via their head of HR. I was asked if we could select a time to conduct a preliminary interview. Of course, I said. Now I get to wait until either the phone rings or until I receive a new email stating a more planned out date and time when we can speak. It'll have to be late afternoon for them, early morning for me. Who knows-- maybe my phone will ring tomorrow morning at 2 AM. I'm really excited.

The best part is, I haven't even applied for this job. My Monster.fr account had an English resume for the longest time, and I had very little activity on it. Monster.fr lets you track how many people view your resume each day. The English version had 12 views in 2.5 weeks. The French version has had 20 in 1 week. I'd say that's progress. I suppose since my resume is available to be seen by recruiters that Amundis found me.

So now the fire's on high. I must finish my thesis work by December. There can be no delay. Late nights and hard work are going to be my two best friends.

All the same... I'm excited.


The Inevitable Harry Potter Post

Harry Potter 5 was bad. Real bad. Not disgusting, but bad. Why was it bad? I'll tell you.

1.) Dumbledore doesn't have the presence that a wizard of his caliber should have. I can't tell if that's his fault or the fault of the director. He just didn't have the smile behind his eyes that said he knew he'd be back in control of Hogwarts. He also didn't have the imposing presence on Voldemort at the end in the Ministry of Magic. The other Death Eaters were supposed to freak out when he got there and run away. Voldemort was supposed to lose his cool and yell things out in his anger-- very telling things concerning horcruxes.

2.) Harry is too much a teenager to understand that Voldemort can't love. That part was just lame.

3.) Kreacher had too small a role.

And that's the top 3. Most everything else is somewhat forgivable, but still, in the framework of these top 3, it makes the film really bad.


through other peoples' eyes

My little brother got married over the weekend. I have to admit, in the course of 18 months the kid moved out of mom's basement, got a job that didn't involve spatulas in some way, moved into his own apartment-- not with any loser friends, found a girl, got her a ring, and married her.

My little brother, the kid who has a difficult time separating himself from his environment, finally did the smart thing and changed his environment. I know that we are all, more or less, a product of our surroundings. I think that his choice to remove himself from a bad circle of friends was the most mature thing he's ever done. Well, until he got married of course.

I'm proud of him.


we regret to inform you...

... that we don't want to give you a job.

~depressed sigh~

About two weeks ago, I began applying for jobs in France. Most French companies have a policy of letting you know within two weeks whether or not they're interested. If they don't contact you within said 2 weeks (sometimes 3) then they ask that you please take that as a piss on your candidacy. Wait, did I say piss? I meant pass. Well, the two are interchangeable, I s'pose. Since it was two weeks ago that I began applying, every day that goes by without a response is practically a pass on me. It's bringing me down. I really want to go and live in France for awhile.

I'm too emotionally invested. Odds are, life will go on and I'll be very happy regardless of whether or not I live and work as an ex-pat. Trouble is, I'm not convinced of that. At least not deep down.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, eh?



I celebrated today by immensely enjoying the Indians/Tigers game.

Happy 231st, America.


huh. how 'bout that.

To be honest, I found myself not answering most questions because I felt they were too polemical. I guess I'm just a fence sitter. The advice tells me I should stop voting for both. Maybe I'll vote for Bloomberg or Nader if they run.

You Are 28% Democrat

You're a bit Democrat, and probably more liberal than you realize.
If you're still voting Republican, maybe it's time that you stop.

You Are 36% Republican

You're a bit Republican, and probably more conservative than you realize.
If you're still voting Democrat, maybe it's time that you stop.


Paris, anyone?

I've started applying for jobs in France. The majority of them are in the Ile-de-France area-- better known as Paris. Paris is a rather expensive city to live in, as I've heard. But hey-- this is only just dropping the line in the water to see what bites. To be completely honest, I doubt this has much more than a 25% chance of happening.

So what am I doing? I'm throwing a ticker-tape parade for all engineering companies on Monster France where the ticker-tape is my resumé. As all of you know, Monster is a great way to look for a job, regardless of background and experience. Since I have no real target place to move to, anything with key words that so much as sound like they match my description get a hot and ready resumé. Mrs. Sixline and I are very excited at the prospect of living there. I doubt it'd be permanent, but maybe a few years. What a wild ride, eh?


britney spears vs. ella fitzgerald

I had an argument with the class today in History of Jazz. (On a side note, why is it that these arguments always end up me vs. the class? Are my opinions that different from everyone else?)

We started out by talking about Pat Boone. He was a '50s star that would take more 'worldly' songs (like how Elvis was seen as so risqué) and then cover them in a slower, less glamorous tone. He made a lot of money doing this and the Jazz professor said that he was, in a word, 'crappy.'

I began to argue. You can't say that music is 'crappy.' You can't. You can hate it until you're blue in the face, but you can't say it's 'crappy.' I don't care that you have PhD in musicology. 10000 flies feasting on fecal matter is the perfect analogy. To you, it's crap. To them, it's dinner. I don't care if it is fecal matter. I don't care if it's literally 'crappy.' If you are going to try and set up qualitative standards for music, and set them arranged in order of priority, you will fail. People like what they like, and everyone knows that. To say that something is definitely crappy doesn't communicate nearly the same idea as 'For these reasons I prefer Ella Fitzgerald over Britney Spears.'

Alas, I was not able to communicate my idea. Why oh WHY is having a loud voice and the innate ability to interrupt people a necessity for public argument? I'm grinding my teeth I'm so incensed right now.

Get over it.


i don't want to hear it.

I can't stand getting advice. Even when I ask for it. How weird is that? I just want people to commiserate with me. No one does though. Strangely enough, no one likes to hear someone else complain. (Novel concept.) This leaves me feeling even more frustrated and upset than before.

So, what do I do about it? I don't know, but I definitely don't want you to tell me.


immigration reforms

I'm torn on this.

On one hand, I read comments such as this:

Nineth Castillo, a 26-year-old waitress from Guatemala who joined the Atlanta march, said she has lived in the United States for 11 years “without a scrap of paper.”

Asked whether she was afraid to parade her undocumented status in front of a massive police presence, she laughed and said: “Why? They kick us out, we’re coming back tomorrow.”


On the other hand, I remember this:

19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

(Mosiah 4:19)

My ancestors were immigrants. America should let people into the country-- I don't think anyone is going to dispute that. But here's why I'm confused: for every thought I have on either side of the issue I have several counter thoughts. Examples:

It should be easy for immigrants from poor countries to come here and obtain some kind of permit where they can live as citizens; pay taxes and earn money. But then what about terrorism? Shouldn't we protect our borders and make sure we don't get attacked? What about voting rights, do we let them do that?

I also won't pretend that seeing marches of protest to the enforcement of laws pertaining to illegal immigrants doesn't incense me. And why do so many of you protesters insist on waving the flag of your nation of origin? I don't get it.

This is a complex issue with many deep emotions and racial tensions. I hope it gets sorted out and soon.


random mess

-Don't feel like working. I mean, I do, but, I'm kind of afraid of it. What if I don't know how? I'm nearing the edge of the realm of things I know how to do and being pushed to think on the spot frightens me. Maybe instead of blogging I should get back to it. (Hey, the project's synthesizing. Back off.)

-Ratatouille, Harry Potter movie and book, Transformers, and a wide variety of other decent films should make this summer kinda fun. We've already barbecued like 6 times, we should be camping in south eastern Idaho, and if we hit a few minor league ball games this summer should be rad. Oh, wait. Good friends are leaving. Jerks. We don't need you anyway. (At least I don't have to help them load up the truck.)

-I'm thinking about moving my blog over to Wordpress. Most all of the readers I have are either friends I know out there in the real world, or they're just search engines that will end up finding my site anyway. I'm not sure why I want to move... I might even rename the blog. How d'ya like them apples?

-I like listening to French radio on the internet. The only downside is a wide variety of my dreams are now a little too Français. No, it's not that I'm dreaming in that language, it's just that my brain is firmly wired to associate France with mission. Last night I remember laughing at my companion because he was so new and I'm serving my second mission and I get to go home and see my wife. I was even street contacting. It's a bit of a throwback to former days. Thinking back on my mission... there's a whole can of worms I can open up on that, so suffice it to say the dreams make me very... very... *pauses* disquieted.


Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our anniversary. Mrs. Sixline and I have been married for 4 years now. (As she always says "It feels like longer!")

I'm lucky to have her.



In Paris we stayed at a hotel a few streets over from my friend. I served in her branch back during my mission, and her family was just awesome. Anyway, she was the one who took us on all the right metro lines and helped us just plain get around. I'm sure I could have managed, but I think it's better to have someone who knows the city with you. I was very thankful for her company and her help. It was fun having her around.

Anyway, we left her apartment after breakfast and made for the metro station. When we were buying our tickets for the day we heard the train pull into the station a flight of stairs below us. Metro trains don't stay in the station for very long, and accordingly we rushed through the ticket gate (you have to put your ticket into a machine before the gate unlocks) and raced down the stairs. When we got to the landing I heard the signature alarm that meant the doors would soon close and if you weren't on, then too bad. When those doors come down they come down HARD, too. You can't hold them open like you can the elevator. In fact, there's a warning on the window of the door: "Please be careful. The elevator doors will close and pinch hard if you try to block them." So I make for the nearest door quick as I can and my friend runs six feet over to a less crowded door. Mrs. Sixline wasn't sure who to follow and hesitated for moment before following my friend. I just kinda pushed my way onto the train not really worrying about who I stepped on. I turned around to make sure Mrs. Sixline got on behind me and didn't see her. I frantically turned to see the doors close right in front of her with my French friend on the train and Mrs. Sixline standing and watching as we rode away with a look of bewilderment on her face. Since she made for a door away from me, I pushed my way to my own door and saw her as I went by. I yelled "STAY HERE!!!" and motioned wildly for her not to move. My friend just cracked up.

It's no insult to Mrs. Sixline's abilities, I just was worried that someone would try to do something to her. Sometimes people aren't very nice to Americans (it's surprising I know!) and I was afraid some punk kid would try to hit on her or start screaming at her for being American. Obviously none of this happened, but I was afraid nonetheless.

Anyway, I got off at the next stop, went up the stairs and around to the other side, and took the next train over to the previous stop. When the train I got off of whisked away, I could see across to the other side and Mrs. Sixline was just giggling like a schoolgirl. When I went up and over to the other side it was clear that I was the one who freaked out the most.

We had a heck of a time in Paris. Paris rocks.


notre retour


I forgot how much I missed France. I have a zillion things I could discuss, but the fact that I'm here blogging means I'm not working-- a thing which is normally good to do when one is at the office. :)

Mrs. Sixline and I had a heckuva time. We're already hoping to go back, but the hole our credit card burned in our pocket is going to take some time to heal. (Oh well. Totally worth it.) As soon as I have time, probably around the weekend, I'll be uploading the 1000 some odd pictures to my picasaweb account.

And next time I'll post about how I accidentally left Mrs. Sixline at the metro station.



Hello from France!

Mrs. Sixline and I are having a wonderful time. We really miss home but it is really nice to see people and this beautiful country.

Hope to see everyone soon.



I'll be in Ireland and France for the next two weeks.

See ya.


wow i'm sensitive.

I hate the words 'get over it.'

It's not only because I'm a Sally, but also because it seems unfair. I hate being teased for the same mixture of reasoning. Not only do I get all Nancy boy and wanna cry because you're making fun of me, but deep down I feel like "Hey, man, I don't make fun of you. I don't tease you. I don't tell you to get over it. Back off."

It's true, though. I'm sure I tease people far more than I'm aware, but I definitely don't tell people to get over it. I feel like when people are having a hard time (mad, tired, upset, exasperated, frustrated, angry, exhausted, sleepy, hungry, impatient, livid or any combination thereof) they just need their space. You don't need to tell them to get in a good mood, or to get over it. Just give them their space and they'll come around. If they need a day to get over it, then let them get over it. The subtle difference is that you need to remember that there are times when YOU need to get over it. It doesn't feel good being told to get over it, so remember that when you want to tell someone else to do so.

Despite what you might be thinking, no this is not intended as a shot at you. I'm writing this because even though I feel that way, I should remember to be patient and understanding when someone does tell me to get over it. Granted, it doesn't seem very fair (from my perspective) but I am in complete control of the situation. I'm not just talking about the way I react, but if I exert some discipline I can keep situations that elicit a 'get over it' to a minimum.

I can't think of a way to finish this post. It seems jumbled; sorry. I guess in the end I just wanted to vent a little bit, but with the resolve to change the circumstances that create the desire to vent.



they said no.

I had a job interview the other week. It went extremely well. Normally I come away from evaluations of any sort feeling that I've done worse than I really have. This interview was certainly not the case. I came away feeling very certain, and very sure of myself.

In the end, they said no. I'm sure it was just timing. They even asked when I'd be available, and I said "December." They ominously said "We're looking for someone who can fulfill an immediate need." Respectfully I inquired as to the illogical nature of bringing me down for an interview when it's very plain (in big bold letters on my resume no less) that I will not be available until the fall. Quite naturally, they assumed I'd be interested in a co-op or internship. I respectfully declined any invitation to work over the summer due to the pressing (dire) need of my thesis.

I'm not sure how to come out with this one. I felt that I was led to this job opportunity, so I assumed I'd get it. Assumed. Well, the story isn't over yet. (For the record, for those of you who believe in God, am I the only one who wonders when the Almighty is inspiring me and when it's my own whims I'm following? Fine line to follow, and half the time I'm not even sure where it is...)


new niece

My niece was born! :D This is a late post, I know, but I never really knew if my sister and her husband were cool with me posting until now. This is the website they decided to host instead of sending attachments everywhere.

Joylyn Eve Meyer


I never do these.

I never do these, so it feels weird. At any rate, here it goes.

Three things I’m afraid of:

1. Losing Mrs. Sixline
2. Never having kids
3. Russel Crowe's facial hair

Three People Who Make Me Laugh:

1. Homer Simpson (Simpsons)
2. Jerry Seinfeld
3. Dr. John Dorian (Scrubs)

Three Things I Love:

1. Marine aquariums
2. Star Trek
3. Orioles Baseball

Three Things I Hate:

1. When the O's lose
2. Fighting with Mrs. Sixline
3. Making mistakes

Three Things I Don’t Understand:

1. People
2. People who tell you what to do
3. Why other people don't think the way I do

Three Things On My Desk:

1. Computer
2. Books
3. Note from Mrs. Sixline

Three Things I’m Doing Right Now:

1. Watching baseball
2. Sitting on couch
3. Keeping quiet

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

1. I won't die.
2. See point 1.
3. See point 1.

Three Things I Can Do:

1. Type extremely fast. I finished before you read, more than likely.
2. Make extremely hasty judgments that are more or less accurate.
3. Sometimes I can lift the seat.

Three Things I Can’t Do:

1. Lift the seat.
2. Be bossy.
3. Stop from snickering when someone says 'duty.'

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:

1. Opera
2. The Missionaries
3. Baseball on the radio

Three Things You Should Never Listen To:

1. Your parents (what do they know?)
2. Philosophies of men mixed with the Gospel
3. Emo

Three Things I’d Like To Learn:

1. Arabic
2. Economics
3. Chemistry (as applied to Marine aquariums)

Three Favorite Foods:

1. Mrs. Sixline's sandwiches
2. Hamburgers
3. Paint

Three Shows I Watched As A Kid:

1. Sesame Street
2. Star Trek The Next Generation
3. Baseball

Three Things I Regret:

1. Quitting little league
2. Never standing up to Eric
3. Somewhere I lost my confidence in the mistakes and roller coasters of being a teenager. I've always regretted that.

Three People I’m Tagging:

1. Peter
2. Chance
3. Bryan


a poet's hunger

I admire poets. Poets are artists, musicians, writers, and, well, poets. My engineer's brain rarely lets me be expressive. Things need to fit, they need to balance. Poetry isn't usually like that, though, right?

I can't draw something for the sake of drawing. I can't write for the sake of expression. I can only barely get myself to just take pictures for the fun of it. When I draw, I usually draw cubes or other polyhedrons instead of drawing how I feel. When I write, I want everything to flow properly and make logical sense rather than channel feelings. When I do photography, I usually spend more time trying to center the image and make sure settings are right rather than capture an object's essence.

I don't know. I'm not trying to say writers don't write correctly, or that artists don't ever draw geometric shapes, or that photographers aren't concerned with the settings of their cameras. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't been able to create art for me. Aren't the best artists just doing what they love? Everything I've done I've always compared with what should have been done. Can I verify correctness? Is the math right? Is everything square?

Art isn't like this. I wish I were more of an artist. I have the hunger of a poet, but not the soul. That's ok, though, because I like being an engineer.


news and notes

I was very proud of myself last week. It was a good post. It was well thought out and came from deep down. I wish more posts could be like that. Sadly, I can't bring myself to be that poignant every time.

I certainly need to make sure I care about what I post about, and that it flows. My thoughts by nature are very random, and they're often written down in the order that they crop up. This results in many drafts that never make it to the next step of being published. That's ok. I'd rather publish only the best of what I write, which in turn means I only publish what I care about.

In the world of news, I'm expecting a call from a company I interviewed with two weeks ago. The interview went well, and I have reason to be hopeful for a second visit with them. Mrs. Sixline and I are doing well, getting ready for our trip. In case I forgot to post, we're going to France the 14th through the 30th of May. We'll be visiting some very good friends and families of people I served with. I hope I remember names and faces well enough.

Now you're up to date.


on minorities and gender

All right, I'll admit it. I'm prejudiced.

It's not what you think. I don't think myself above women, black people, latinos, immigrants, arabs, homosexuals, or the Dutch. (The Dutch one was as close call, though.)

My problem is my perception. I've had a relatively easy life. I naturally assume that others have had an equally difficult/equally easy life as well. It's hard for me to think that people are denied any kind of amenity in life based on their social status. I think two things when faced with a story of someone being put down because of society's perspective on them: First, I think "Come on. When I'm denied a job/college entrance/promotion/whatever, I can usually think of a few good reasons why they're right as well as a few good reasons why they're wrong. I can give them the benefit of the doubt, why can't you?" Secondly, I think "I wouldn't treat them that way, and I can't think of instances where I've been treated that way. I think they're just saying it to rattle the cage and make some noise so that they can mentally overcome whatever legitimate shortcoming they do have."

My old perception was wrong. But, I don't think the issue can be so easily simplified-- in one direction or in any other. I have become convinced, primarily from getting older and partaking directly or indirectly in others' experiences, that there are those out there who are disparaged for reasons abhorrent to the majority of people out there. However, I think that it happens more than I'm prone to admit. The difference now with me is that I've let go of whatever guilty feelings I had that motivated me to identify with potential bigotry and deny its existence altogether. No white man wants to feel the weight of society's sins on his shoulders. And it's hard not to because whatatever European and American ancestors I have, I'm sure that many of them were directly or indirectly involved in the root causes of many of our social ills of today, be it slavery, anti-suffrage, anti-immigration, or anti whatever.

But not me. At least not knowingly. Whatever sins I have committed, I need to and will repent of them.

I think there is worthy fuel for the fire, so to speak. I think that minority and gender causes are true and noble. However, I cannot agree with many tactics nor the gamut of reasoning for the causes.

I think Satan will foment whatever environment he can to counteract the principles of the Gospel. Many women have become falsely convinced that all men are their enemies, that motherhood is cowardly, small and unfulfilling. Sadly, it's an easy fight for Satan. How many men demean their wives? How many men are threatened by a change in the status quo? How many marriages are devoid of the pursuit of perfection through knowledge, spirituality, and mutual respect? In the same vein goes the fight for many minorities. I can't imagine how easy it is for Satan to convince a young black man to hate white men because he was the victim of racial hate speech, racist jokes, or racial slurs. The natural reaction to be angry and frustrated is a breeding ground for a returned hatred, rebelliousness, and vengeance. These feelings don't let the Spirit in. They don't bring us closer to God. They create enemies both when they're present in the guilty party and in the victim.

It is a sad truth that there are a great many social injustices in the world, in America, today. I believe that there are far more than I imagined in my sheltered upbringing. I have since changed my views to be more-- dare I say it-- liberal. But I remain convinced that rancor is not the solution. Angry fighting will not get us as far as forgiveness, courage, prayer, and faith. Not only is Satan poisoning us with bitterness but he turns men against women. Women are men's greatest allies, and men are women's greatest allies. He perpetuates negative stereotypes on both sides of the race fence so long as we remain committed to our hurt and anger. If a black man was the recipient of harsh denigration at the hands of a white man, here is his greatest opportunity to be Christlike and forgive if for nothing other than the sake of forgiving a fellow child of God.

In the meantime, those guilty of disgusting sins of pride and hate deserve themselves and whatever apt punishment our society can mete out upon them. If our society could only embrace the Gospel, those responsible for spreading their ill fated ideas would be rooted out and no one would listen. Our families would share positive stories and we could sow love, friendship, and healing.

It is my opinion that forgiveness is the best way to fight these injustices. Forgiveness is a core concept of the teachings of Christ, and best implemented by faith in His redeeming power. Our social ills can be cured by His teachings, and it is my hope and prayer that they will be.


fuzzy logic

When I was younger, I never had a problem remembering little things about other people's schedules. It was very easy for me to know when all sorts of social gatherings were on the horizon. Now, I can't remember these small things to save my life. What happened? My poor wife has to tell me several times about something in the upcoming future before it sticks. I don't remember to plan visits to see my family. I don't remember to call anyone. I forget to email people to keep in touch. Is this normal? It's put a slight strain on the marriage, Mrs. Sixline wants (as would anyone) her husband to pay attention to her. The more important something is the more you pay attention to it.

I guess my problem is I'm too wrapped up in school, research, and Church callings. I just feel like so much is asked of me, and I can only stretch myself around two or three pegs at a time. It's not fair to Mrs. Sixline, she deserves far more of my attention and my desire to do things for her. I'm not talking about taking her to Anniversary Inn or dropping hundreds of dollars at her favorite department stores, I'm talking about forcing myself to think of her and her agendas more often. I bet it doesn't look so good for me when all I can think of Saturday night is watching a ball game and playing my computer. It's selfish of me to think my life is so difficult and demanding the only way I can unwind is through focusing entirely on things that please me. Quite the ruse, isn't it? The real way to unwind is through service and love. That'll refill your weary soul far easier and quicker than selfish actions.

Taking stock of oneself is always a difficult task. I think General Conference brought this line of thinking around. I've been feeling like my head has been in the clouds for awhile now. I hope that making sure I do pay attention to others (beginning obviously with Mrs. Sixline) maybe I can slowly become aware of the world around me. If I become aware of the world around me, I can have more opportunities to serve others. If I serve more, I'm confident I won't feel so tired and out of gas.

Here's to hitting several birds with one stone.


bien dans sa peau

'Good in one's skin.'

It's a French expression describing when things are good. (Incidentally, many people accurately used it to describe feelings of the Spirit, evidencing to me (at least) that God is alive and well and working among the children of men.)

I'm not bien dans ma peau when my house is a mess. Is that weird? If we pull the sheets off the bed to do laundry (which has been known to happen) and we don't immediately replace them with the backup set, very often this leads to going to bed at the end of the day too tired to put the sheet on. So we very lazily lay a blanket down to sleep on and go to sleep. I feel like white trash. I never get a good night's sleep that way.

Likewise with sleeping in. If I'm not up and doing something productive by 9, I feel like the day is wasted. I feel lazy and indolent. I feel like white trash.

Likewise with showering in the morning. This dry western air drys my body out, so if I shower in the morning, then my regular body oils (yeah I said body oil) don't return to normal when I go to school. I just feel dry and icky all day.

The biggest problem is when my house is messy. This might be borderline OCD, but... Whatever. I LOVE a borderline bare room, vacuum lines on the floor, clean bathroom and nothing blocking my path from the bed to the can for quick and easy access at 2AM. I feel good when there's no scum buildup on water surfaces. I love seing an empty sink. I am absolutely bien dans ma peau when the front room is sparkling and I can sit and stare at my tank.

I am a neat freak. What can I say?



I have a bunch of pictures online from Picasaweb.

Last Friday was the last day of Spring Break, and my neck of the woods has experienced unseasonable warmth. As such, I blew the day off and walked around the Quad on campus taking as many pictures as my nubby little fingers could handle. My camera's quite fun to play with, and since I had recently purchased a mini-tripod (that's right folks: the dollar store carries tripods) I decided to put my time to good use. It took me roughly two hours in celestial weather (between 70F-75F with a wonderfully gentle breeze) to produce 94 images. Some of these images were horrible, and some were fantastic. Sometimes when you try really hard you fail really hard. In my attempt to impress people, I was trying to get funny angles. I imagine I made more than a few people laugh as I laid on the concrete, or otherwise twisted myself into funny positions to get a decent snapshot. I was trying to be artsy. My brother in law kind of laughed at the pictures and said 'Yeah, I used to try to take really nice pictures too.' as if it were a phase I was going through, or as if I was fooling myself; fancying that I was some great photographer.

But you know something? I don't care. It felt really good. It felt fulfilling. I get walled up the drudgery of the grind. Normally, relaxing involves me on the couch watching Star Trek or sports. This kind of relaxing involved walking quite a bit in the open air and beautiful sun of an early Spring day. I wasn't trying to be Ben Crowder, Ansel Adams, or anyone else. I did it for me. I made art for me; to express what I was feeling that day.

It felt great.


News and Notes

Food news:
I was watching the Food Network a few days ago and saw this special on garlic. They had a restaurant from San Francisco highlighted which served garlic in everything they served. Well, I guess some of the drinks didn't have garlic. But the ice cream did. As they were showing some of the entrées and other dishes, they actually told you the recipes for the dish they were highlighting. One dish was a garlic and parsley bread dip. Chop parsley and garlic into fine bits and add olive oil, salt, and vinegar as desired. I got hungry for it yesterday as we were shopping and I bought some garlic and parsley. We had (obviously) the other stuff back at home.

So I started chopping garlic and parsley and added it to a bowl. I then poured in the olive oil, some vinegar (white) and some salt. I mixed it up and dipped some California sourdough bread into it. I was rather pleased with my concoction and proceeded to consume mass quantities of bread and dip, largely forgetting that dinner was on schedule to be consumed in the next half hour. Mrs. Sixline had prepared some shredded beef for the better part of two days to go into some fine burritos. She hates it (duh) when I munch and crunch not waiting for dinner because she puts so much effort into making wickedly awesome food. As such, I assured her I'd eat at least one burrito. (Did I mention I went through half a bag of Gardetto's rye bread chips before the garlic and bread dip?)

Then Mrs. Sixline does a number on me and prepares a warm fresh baked cookie smothered with chocolate ice cream. Who can resist that? So I chow down on that.

By this time, the garlic bread is starting to produce gas that results in garlic tasting burps. So I swallow chocolate chip + chocolate ice cream, and revel in the taste for a few moments when all of a sudden garlic comes rumbling up. I manage to get the dessert in my stomach before the burp surfaces and my mouth is filled with garlic again. It was a rather disorienting experience going back and forth between garlic and chocolate, but I didn't stop.

I can only conjecture that Garlic swooped in, planted roots and setup shop in Stomachland when Shredded Beef Burrito landed troops and began the assault. By the time they sat down for peace talks, Shredded Beef Burrito called in troop reinforcements (because both chocolate and burritos are brown) and Garlic began sending for help (the burps.)

I obliged them and went to bed, dreaming of very strange tales which shall be blogged about soon after.


Interent diet

What a week...

I've been doing too much internet browsing and such instead of doing work lately. It makes me feel useless and slothful. Since the outcome of my education is directly dependent on the output of research and literal work I accomplish, I felt it necessary to really begin chipping away at the large tasks before me. No internet (aside from chatting with friends-- I'm not inhuman, you know). This means no blogging, no message board participation, no ESPN.com scores/articles, no news.google.com, no random browsing of Wiki, no fish stuff, no nothing. Nada. Rien. Zip. Nil.

The results have been mixed.

On one hand, I'm getting tremendous amounts of work done (in comparison to previous quotas.) On the other hand, I'm kind of cranky. Work is more intense, I concentrate more, and I play less. I come away feeling like I'm not having any fun because I'm not doing exactly what I want when I want. (I am an adult, aren't I?) I also end up more tired and mentally exhausted because what used to take me a day or to complete takes me one day. You'd be amazed how much you can get done when you stick to the task rather than stopping every 10-15 minutes to see what your message board has to say.

So posts will probably be one a week from here on out. It feels weird, and I'm already suffering pangs of hunger from this internet diet.