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.