8.30.2007

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.

8.29.2007

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 resum├ęs) 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.

8.28.2007

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.

8.17.2007

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.

8.15.2007

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
why?

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

Duh.

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... ;))

8.14.2007

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.

8.13.2007

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.

8.08.2007

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.

756*

8.07.2007

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.

8.02.2007

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.

8.01.2007

oscillation

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.