rocket science

The other weekend we were at a Christmas play at an auditorium. We had some pretty crappy seats-- we'd gotten interested in going a little too late and most of the tickets were sold out. But, we thought it'd be nice to sit up on the balcony and all the way in the corner. We were on the front row of the upper balcony and the retaining wall in front of us was built a bit too high, so the seats were raised a good 4 inches from the normal height. 4 inches too high means your legs dangle, and your toes barely touch the floor. It's so painful to have the blood cut off on the weight of your legs at your knees, and you have constantly shift your weight so as to keep the blood going and the pain from setting in.

So the comfort far from us, and especially my poor pregnant wife, what else should happen but my nose start to run? It got worse and worse, and like an idiot I didn't bring any handkerchief or tissues to fix the problem. We had about 20 minutes before intermission, and the more I breathed the more I had to sniff it back up. The more I sniffed it back up, the more my nose run... I even had the bubble thing going at one point. It was getting bad. I had to do something. I didn't even care about my legs, I only wanted to relieve my breathing.

As the lights kept turning off so the audience could applaud, I could only focus on my respiratory problems. Then it hit me. It was dark, it was loud: no one could see or hear me. There was also not a single person to my immediate right- not even a seat. So I did it. I leaned over, crushed the cavity of one nostril, blew like the wind, and repeated for the other nostril. I felt the slag of my mucus bouncing off the nozzle of my nostril both sides, and it. was. SATISFYING. I blew so hard it didn't get on the outside of my nose, nor did it touch my arms, hand, or fingers.

I resumed clapping with everyone else and the lights came back on. Not even Mrs. Sixline realized what I had done. The entire ordeal lasted 3-4 seconds. But hey, when you have to blow your nose, and you have no hankeys, you have little options. Given my circumstances, it wasn't rocket science to blow snot rockets.


down for the count

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Sixline and I spent 45 minutes with my family at my house on the way back to ours. From that brief encounter, she picked up a bug that was blazing through everyone in my family. After short exposure time, one was subjected to convulsive stomach cramps, very unenjoyable bowel movements, and feverish body temperatures. Like the husband I try to be, I did the little things around the house but I think I complained too much. Hopefully not too much... Anyway. After about 2 days of this Mrs. Sixline expressed her disgust at how seldom I got sick - even when everyone in my family got it, I did not. I couldn't help but be proud of myself. I never get sick.

And then the fever kicked in. Wednesday of last week, before Thanksgiving, I had a fever of 102F. I felt extremely achey, inflammed, tired, irritable, and sore. My fever broke that night and I slept terribly. Thanksgiving Day I was quarantined at my parents' house while they visited my side of the family and Mrs. Sixline visited hers. It was just me, my little poodle, and AMC's reruns of The Godfathers I and II. I was still not up to my best, so I ended up sleeping through most of both movies. Thursday night I thought I was on my way out of it when a disgusting sinus infection took place of the fever and I have been hacking and coughing and generally miserable since. It's tough to sleep when you have a convulsive cough...

Anyway. I did manage to see Twilight with my wife and thought it better than reported. I even read it. It's a fun book about falling in love and thinking that you'd die if you were apart from the person you cared about. I find it to be fairly harmless in that respect. It is nice to use Bella and Edward to vicariously remember the way Mrs. Sixline and I first began to court. But hey -- I've been warned to keep the sappiness to a minimum.

So yeah... Crappy Thanksgiving.


gay marriage, prop 8, and eHarmony

One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures comes from Alma 30:

7 Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.

I've mused on it many times, as I'm quite fond of the story of Korirhor as detailed in the same chapter. It's not because I see a drama where an atheist gets punished and the righteous triumph. It's mainly because when I first read this, I found Korirhor's arguments compelling. But that's neither here nor there for what's been on my mind lately. The scripture as it pertains to the current events surround gay marriage, proposition 8 in California, and eHarmony paints the picture of how I feel on the matter.

Not a short time ago I posited aloud in Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) that this verse gave me grounds for not being against gay marriage. It was not that I was pro gay marriage, or that I condoned it, not the case at all. It was a matter of unequal grounds. I have a hard time telling gay people they can't be married. Specifically, I have a hard time telling gay people they don't deserve the rights and benefits of legally sanctioned union. As you can imagine, the class didn't agree with me. When several of the class members approached me later, quite civilly I might add, I maintained my position that I had great fear of setting a precedent of dipping into morality to support legislation. What happens when it's not my morality that's being supported for legislation? There are a great many Evangelical Christian churches who feel that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than Satan's gift to mankind to blind and deceive. How would I react if a law was passed outlawing the Book of Mormon? Not entirely analogous to gay marriage, but insofar as I can tell, you would have two majorities supporting something that isn't lawful based on their views of morality. Gay marriage isn't legal and isn't illegal because we're still trying to define it.

At any rate, whether or not I was right or wrong in my fears is debatable. I supported the Church's decision to be against it, trusting that (thanks Chance for putting this so well) I raised my arm to the square and sustained President Monson not only as a prophet and revelator, but a seer. Prior to my decision to trust the Church was my coming across their statement concerning the official stance. In short, the Church is not against the offering of all the rights and benefits of marriage, but definitely against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman. This relieved me quite a bit. Civil unions never sounded so horrible to me. The reasoning outlined in the official statement explained that if the word "marriage" was to be officially defined as anything other than a man and a woman, then there would be considerable risk to the Church's sovereignty concerning marriage rites and ceremony. Mormons consider marriage in the Temple (not just a church meetinghouse but a Temple to the Most High) a most sacred endowment and a sealing by the power of God that lasts through eternity. Only the worthy from our own ranks are permitted to participate. The Church's right to say "no" to unworthy couples, including gays, would most assuredly be challenged.

Enter eHarmony. According to the LA Times, a homosexual man was upset that eHarmony did not cater to homosexuals and successfully sued the company over it. A New Jersey court ruled that a private business that does not offer essential services must change the way they do business and now allow gay people to search for their matches. The Church's statement seems prescient. I believe this is among the first steps of a -- dare I say it -- scary trend.

Speaking with another friend of mine whose knowledge prowess usually tips in favor of technical knowledge had a not-so-rare moment of logical clarity that so often accompanies a burst of knowledge - when your mind lights up and you say "Yes. This is true. This makes sense. This tastes good to my soul." Defining marriage as between a man and a woman does not deny rights. It simply secures the definition and protects businesses and Churches from conducting their affairs the way they see fit. Allowing legal, probate, housing, insurance, hospital visitation, and other rights to be conferred through the vehicle of a civil union should quell any fears or concerns of same-sex couples.

But it won't.

To top it off, I saw Affirmation - a group of self-declared GLBT Mormons - go on a local news network and claim they would not rest until the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognized them and their lifestyle as in harmony with the Gospel and teachings of the Savior.

In light of all this, I am permanently against defining marriage as anything other than a man and a woman.


cat's in the cradle...

So he's almost here. February 22nd and he'll be here. I can't wait. I have all these daydreams of showing him how to field grounders, catch flyballs, throw a knuckler, how to putt and chip (I should learn those myself...) and of course, talking to him about my mission.

When I was growing up, I just always knew that serving a mission was something I wanted to do. It never felt like a duty, and it certainly never felt like something I had to do. My dad, despite having a generally positive experience when he was a missionary, never felt like pushing any of me or my brothers into it because he felt like that would be counterproductive. Sure enough, I know I served with a few guys who weren't out there for the right reasons.

I really felt like my mission was worth it. I don't mean that in the "it sucked but it built character and was good for me" kind of way. I'm being genuine. There is very little to the experience that I regret and none of those things were incidental to being a missionary but rather my own shortcomings. There was no one person I did not love. There was no one place I did not call home - truly home. This is all to say nothing of the way I developed my relationship and testimony of the Savior. I know it sounds corny, but often I would just sit back and reflect on the fact that everyone that was around me was a child of God. He knew them: their names, their families, their jobs, their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their concerns, their emotions, their desires... He knew them. It was a healthy dose of perspective to realize that the Lord knew and loved them as much as He knew and loved me.

Clearly, I wish for my son to have the same desires and the same experiences. In fact, I'm convinced that it's the desires and state of one's heart that allows one to have one experience over another. I just want my son to want to go. If I say he has to, then is he going to be one of those kids that wants to do the opposite? (And speaking of such, it's not like saying "I *don't* want you to eat your vegetables! I forbid it!!!" makes them want to eat those vegetables anymore... Why is that? The whole "I do the opposite of what you say" thing only applies to what they want.) I don't want to force him, and I don't want him to go out of obligation. And yet, the Savior recoiled at drinking the bitter cup but did it because He knew it was His spiritual duty.

Here's what I will do: Fondly speak of my mission and speak of it often. I want him to know that I desire him to go, but that he should only go if he feels he should.

And if he doesn't, he's out of the family.


For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.

Sometimes the great and spacious building (GSB for short...) is far away on a hill and you look on it longingly, with the looming and foreboding sense of being left behind. What you really want is to feel accepted, and to feel important. And the more you think about how unhappy you are, the more you drift away from that blessed hill which giveth the fruit of eternal life. The siren's song takes you... warning cries and voices fade with the static and buzz of background and you move almost imperceptibly at first, but move you do and soon you're far from what's most important. You leave to seek what you already had, happiness and joy, in means and methods that cannot and will not produce such.

Sometimes the GSB is in your face, mocking your happiness and insulting your peace. It tries to make you ashamed of your blessings by telling you that you deserve more. The tricky part here is that if you are convinced that you're above you're blessings, then you really do have cause for shame, but not the way you've been convinced to feel it, and definitely not for those reasons.

Both these approaches appeal to your selfish pride, and try to undermine your spirituality by telling you that you are not happy with what you have and that you deserve more. Such suggestions insult the Lord's providence and good will in blessing you with what you need -- sometimes very different from what you want.

But what do you do when you know the adversary's game plan, and you don't move from your spot, but you still feel the emptiness of your position and the desire to be loved and accepted in the way that only the evil one can provide? I don't have the command of my emotional faculties to move those feelings out of the way on a whim. Even Nephi lamented that he too often gave the enemy such power over him and his heart. I suppose you press on, and you ignore the galling calls of the denizens of the great and spacious building.


big red couch

The other day my folks came up to visit and we watched a bit of the news before going to grab a bite to eat. Right now, the only seating downstairs is a really dirty old brown couch whose pillows and cushions are sunken in. It also only seats 3 comfortably. You can fit 4 on there, but your knees start to slightly touch - you know, that "Why are you touching me?" kind of feeling that creeps in and makes you wildly out your element kind of knees touching.

So Mrs. Sixline and I wanted to purchase a sectional. Furniture store prices: $1200. Creepy salesman in converted garage warehouse discount furniture store price: $900. Craiglist/Classified Ads price: $350. We went with the final option. AND, to all you penny-pinchers out there, we took this directly out of savings and did not financially compromise ourselves in the slightest.

So now there's a humongous red sectional downstairs. It's fabric and not microfiber. If the sweet old lady who sold me the couch is to be believed, the couch was show furniture in a model home that sat in the same spot in front of the window for 3 years. Long time to have a model home, I know. So anyway, it's faded as all get out but I'm sure my intelligent and prodigious wife will find a way to re-dye the furniture. There's zero stains, wear and tear marks, and no sagging at all to the cushions. It's not completely comfortable because you really need an ottoman to go with it, so I'm sure we'll be scouring Overstock.com or the same classified ads to find it. Loading up the couch into my truck was a joy- because Mrs. Sixline is expecting, I did the whole thing myself.

So now we have to find out whether or not we want to keep the brown turd, how we'll re-arrange, and whether or not that TV will end up mounted to the wall. (More than likely yes. Anyone got any pointers on mounting those things? I don't want to buy a $120 mount only to find out it blocks where I connect cables.


oh no, i suck again!

I kept putting it off and I never registered to vote.

Oh well. :(


Alma 12

I've heard several times now from people that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lied to them. They were not told that Joseph Smith married - and propositioned to marry - women who were already married themselves. They were not told that there are certain similarities - some of them stark - between the rituals of Freemasonry and the rituals of the LDS Temple Endowment. They were not told that Brigham Young wrote racist things. They all - to the last person - found these things out and felt duped and have since decided the Church was deceitful.

To be fair, I understand the frustration of their position. No one wants to be duped. No one wants to believe in a system of beliefs that aren't logical or rational.

At times, though, I've wanted to have experiences that made me able to relate in a positive way to those who have left the Church because of anger over being lied to. Frankly, I'm not sure how to respond to the claim that they were lied to. Certainly they feel deceived, I'm not going to deny them the right to feel the way they feel. But I keep coming back to the hope that if I can relate to them, and say "I went through the same thing and this is how I kept my testimony" then hopefully they can follow my example and keep their testimony alive as well.

But it's not on my shoulders to save these people. As a personality trait of mine, I have a hard time hearing the criticisms that are leveled against the Church without feeling defensive (negative connotation implied) and trying to defend the Church - with varying degrees of success (mostly "un-.")

It pains me when they're right. Why can't I go and look at the papryii? Why do Egyptologists say that Joseph Smith got the Book of Abraham wrong? Why did Brigham Young write those awful things? Why did Joseph Smith marry women who were already married?

I'm aware of the answers that are there. Some satisfy the curiosity and some do not. I do not believe the Church has lied to me. I think the Church has done its best to teach me faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how to endow myself with power from on high to endure to the end. On the more embarrassing or 'sticky' parts of history and belief it has been silent-- never forbidding me to explore and to learn, nor encouraging me.

In short, I believe that as long as your heart is soft, the Lord will keep revealing more and more until you understand everything in full. Having the answers that will quell any concern for someone else is impossible; they must seek that light on their own.



Man, this show seems like it exploded without any real foresight. How many plot twists can there be? They just keep introducing new characters and changes in story - with sexy results! That South American chick who kills people when she gets stressed is the worst. Skimpy outfits and trysts with the Indian doctor dude.

Come on, folks. What happened to actually writing?!

Go Phillies. Go Rays.


Wake me up when September ends

I will have a son. No, I didn't do the "WHAT A BOY!" exclamation only to have the doctor tell me that what I was referencing was the boy's leg or arm or something. I'm just glad to have a kid. Knowing it's a boy didn't really make me that excited in the beginning. It was like knowing what you were going to get for Christmas, but not seeing the present wrapped under the tree. Now that Mrs. Sixline is showing, I'm actually excited. I like to come home, rub her small protruding belly and smile. I always ask "How's my son?" And she always responds "We're doing great!" So there's been a lot of schmoopieness at our home in the past few days. Like newlyweds and those who are just falling for each other, I think first-time parents are allowed to be bubbly and excited at this. Just not in public, right? That's right.

So October is here and baseball is full of un-surprises. We shouldn't have been surprised that a Torre managed team with Manny Ramirez caught fire for the post-season. No, Alfonso Soriano, you weren't a part of the Yanks' success. It was all Torre. Steinbrenner, you're a cotton-headed ninnymonggins for letting Torre go. Morons run the most powerful franchise in baseball, it's only redeeming factor... Anyway, the Angels once again were post-season pwnd by the Red Sox, but at least the Rays are not going to back down. They've got swagger and poise, two of the most overused adjectives for young teams that don't know how to lose and aren't afraid bleeding because they've never bled. Boston will have to be on top of it. Unlike most post-season victories which are decided by bullpens, I think the ALCS will be decided by starting pitching. If you can last 5+ innings giving up only 1 or no runs, your team will win. More than 2 runs or less than 5 innings means you're a goner. From the NL I like the Dodgers if the Sox beat the Rays, and the Phillies otherwise. I just would like to see Manny go back to Boston. Very good October thus far. (Moron Cubs. HA!)

Politics, schmolitics. They're liars. Every one of them. I like to check Factcheck.org as of late to see who is full of the most bull. (Thanks Kermit for the link.) It seems as though all the zip and pizazz that McCain had as a follow-your-heart senator are gone. He just seems to be grumpy, and thanks to the media which is full of its own problems, I hear from him very seldom. That wouldn't be a problem except that when I do hear from him, I only hear the point that he's a better leader for war-like tumultuous times. A strong case, yes, but I think that with Obama as the CIC, strong allies like NATO and the EU will be more willing to work with us against Iran, Russia, and possibly China. In fact, I don't think that China necessarily poses a war-time threat to us. We're very much economic bedfellows, and while that's no guarantee, it's better than the pwnage we get from OPEC - half of whom hate our guts.

So yeah, man... life's good.


Autumn 2008


How many times have I said I love Autumn? Too many. :)

Over at Picasa I posted a few pictures of myself and Mrs. Sixline in the gorgeous canyon just up the road from us.

Posted by Picasa


Can I be brutally honest?

I lost the ability to say what I think when I know what I think. I slowly became aware that there are other folks out there who don't like what I say, and I'm naturally very much inclined to making folks happy. I don't like confrontation, and I don't like it when people don't like me.

You can chalk that up to whatever reason you want to, I've gone through several myself and none seem to make a whole lot of sense. I know for a fact that when pushed far enough, I do stand up for myself and so I don't consider myself coward in the traditional sense. But far too often I find myself backing down from everyday fights - arguments, mostly - because I either don't feel it's worth it or because I'm afraid of losing.

The really aggravating thing is that I spend just as much time wondering if everyone else struggles with the same thing rather than just letting it go.


I'm liking Palin less now.

I'm tired of war. I don't want war with Iran for the sole offense of developing nuclear weapons. I need more than a "the bully bought a gun" reason. ESPECIALLY after it has become clear that the claim that Iraq had and would use weapons of mass destruction were inflated. I do recognize there are no easy answers when it comes to national security but I really like how Obama wants to try diplomacy first. It reminds me - and permit me this example - of Starfleet operations. Ask questions first, shoot later. The captains always attempted to talk things out and compromise before powering weapons. I initially was very impressed with Palin, but the ABC interview gave me pause. It wasn't her lack of originality, or inability to answer questions off script. Though that made me wonder if McCain picked her because Obama did not pick Hillary, I got the impression that she's really all right with war and feels that the war in Iraq is sanctioned from a higher power. She has that right: she sent her son to fight. And you will never hear me criticize the faithful who serve. But I'm not convinced they're protecting our freedoms. I don't believe there was a legitimate threat to our freedom by Saddam Hussein. I also don't believe you can walk up and down the international neighborhood trying to size up any threat to your well being and attempting to neutralize it if it meets certain criteria known only to a very very small group.

The wars are fight with my brothers and sisters. They could be fought with me. I have a right to know what the reason is.

This is why diplomacy will work. The longer you have a rogue nation talk, the more it will become clear what their intentions are. The world is a big place and though America does not need physical support to fight a war, having international moral support is extremely beneficial. Morale counts for so much.

Anyway. I've been feeling misled by many. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone. The European news agencies who take an overtly critical and cynical tone have an agenda. The bipartisan bickering and quasi-gossip news related channels in America have an agenda. Out of mainstream news outlets with their explosive accusations and shocking revelations have an agenda. My own government has agendas. Don't think for one moment that I believe that Georgia and its Ossetian counterpart were just chilling when big mean ole bad Russia came roaring in with tanks and guns blazing. I'm not so naive to think that President Bush wouldn't try to push up a man who was pro-Washington and anti-Kremlin and call it 'spreading democracy.'

These are the reasons we go to war. These are the reasons we send our American troops to go and fight. It's not black and white, and it's damn sure not simple to find out what the just cause is. International politics are so convoluted and twisted that I'm tired of it. I do not want war. I do not want peacekeeping missions. I'm so disgusted by everything that the slightest mention of war with Iran by a politician (re: Palin) makes me sick. I would so much rather let China be the world super power and let America withdraw from the world scene and let us clean our own inner vessel. I want to clean up the mortgage crisis and credit crunch, develop renewable energy that is clean and independent of foreign powers, develop education so that young Americans value learning. I want the young ones to stop choosing universities based on successful football programs. I want free health care. It's a right and not a privilege to keep your body in working order. We have so much to work on here at home. So much.



I wanted to say something important but I don't know what.

I miss my friends dearly. I miss their children and I really wish that life let us live closer.

I read on the intertubes today about DefCon, the unofficial hacker convention. Computer security has always been an interest to me; I used to download network scripts that ran attacks when I was younger. In my IRC days I used to think of myself as l33t, but I didn't know a thing. I still don't know a thing about hacking. I didn't take any computer architecture courses, but my embedded systems courses and digital systems courses make me familiar with the concepts. I've kicked around the idea of getting a book or two on hacking just to understand what it's all about. Seriously, just for understanding.


So yesterday, at the doctor's, I can't even begin to describe the wash of relief when I heard the baby's heart beat again. The doctor said she saw something between his legs, and she's laboring under the impression that it was the male organ. (I think if I write the 'p'-word my own internet filter will block my own blog... Can't have that.) So maybe it's a boy. Nice.


my faithful audience...

I guess my family's now reading this... I should be careful in the things that I say...

Work: It's ok.

Home life: My 'yard' is overgrown with weeds and the HOA finally added the fence in the back which faces the street. We're constrained by our benevolent and fearless neighborhood entity of uppity white people to put in a vinyl fence. To have those things professionally installed is going to be like $20/linear foot. I can't believe that. I have about 200 feet to put in! Looks like I'll be doing this on my own.

Thesis: Round 2 begins. My professor has it and is going through it. When he sends it back to me I'll do the second pass of edits and then hopefully the last one will just be some fine tuning and then the defense will happen. It needs to happen.

Wife: 14 weeks tomorrow. We see the doctor again on Tuesday to make sure our little baby is still healthy, so I'm looking forward to it.

Arabic: Been slow. I need to get on it.



I am learning Arabic!

I got in contact with a professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies out of BYU who was gracious enough to accord me with student access to his online resources. This includes listening exercises, quizzes, tests, notes, and vocabulary! I am very lucky to have been included in this group. I intend on buying his books for his class and following along at my own pace. Thank you professor!!!

Learning languages is something I really dig. I dare say I have the gift of tongues-- at least the ease in learning it variety. I've never spoken in an unknown dialect and I certainly don't have a cloven tongue of fire (Acts 2), but I feel a special gift has been bestowed on me. I never tire of learning new ways of saying something. I never get discouraged. It's the one area in my life where I can take the most critical abuse and not bat an eye and get down on myself. I wish I could say the same for other areas.

Here's the Uncle Sixline Marvelous Method of Language Learning:
1.) Learn the basic grammar rules
2.) Learn the basic vocabulary
3.) Listen to a basic conversation snippet (over and over) ^ n | n = the number of times you need to train your ear to pick up on all the words and recognize them
4.) Repeat, increasing intensity and complexity.

It worked for French, I don't see why it won't work for Arabic.

"But Uncle Sixline, why do you want to learn Arabic? Isn't that the language of the terrorists? I knew you had left leanings on the political scale, but are you a freedom hater?"

Good question, Timmy!

No, I'm not a freedom hater. There are many reasons why I want to learn Arabic. Some, if it makes sense, are personal and I'm not inclined to share them here. But for what it's worth, I feel that the only true way to understand someone is to understand the way the speak. Their speech is an outlet of their thoughts, and the patterns in one are intrinsically linked to the other. For cultures wrapped around Arabic, the influence of Islam and how that shapes an Arab's world and religious views are paramount. For Islam, the operative language for reading the Qu'ran in its purity (and hence its understanding) is Arabic. Thus, to understand Arabic is to begin to understand Islam. To understand Islam is to begin to understand the Arab's place in the world and his history. To begin to understand that is to understand the Arab today.

Understandably, as a faithful Mormon, I am very interested in the events surrounding the Middle East. What has become of Ishmael's progeny? Were they not sons of Abraham, and do they not have a stake in his blessings? What do I make of Muhammad, and of his teachings? What role will all this play in the second coming of Christ the Lord? Doesn't the Palestinian deserve a safe environment in the Holy Land just as much as the Israeli?

As I begin to understand Arabic, I hope it will help me understand the very complex issues that surround these sons and daughters of Ishmael, and ultimately of God.

That's why, Timmy.

PS - Mrs. Sixline is 11.9 weeks along! Yippee! I suppose I'm not longer 'Uncle' Sixline...



I'm going to be a father.

Last Tuesday, we went and saw Mrs. Sixline's doctor. After a few forms and a little bit of waiting in the brand new Mother's wing of the local hospital, we were admitted back. Before we knew it, some gel had been sprayed on Mrs. Sixline's tummy and a black and white real-time image of my child was on the screen. I'm the proud parent of a lima bean. Of course, in the past week I'm sure it's a little bigger now. But at 9 weeks, the baby's rapid heartbeat was audible and the outline was visible. Its little nubby arms and legs were flailing about. Of course, I use the words 'arms' and 'legs,' but they were really just small appendages without joints or digits.

Now, I suspect you're wondering about how I felt in all this. And I don't really know how. Just typing this up feels so mechanical. Any description of feeling feels contrived and shallow. I've started and stopped this post more than a few times. I even tried removing the expressions I'm prone to use in an effort to sound more genuine. To checklist the emotions, yes, I am excited. Yes, I am looking forward to being a father. I suppose it doesn't feel real-- though it did feel real enough after the ultrasound.

But part of me hasn't let go of the bitterness that comes with infertility. Several of my very good friends are still waiting to be expecting, and with one case, the odds are very much stacked against them. I don't want to feel excited. I don't want to bounce off the walls. I just want to be content and I am quietly eager to be a father.

And there's also this nagging feeling that people don't appreciate it when you glory in your successes, but I'm not writing this to seek permission to be happy, so don't say "Well gosh, of course you're allowed to be happy." That will earn you a punch in the nose.

February 22, or thereabouts, and barring any unforeseen difficulties, we should be welcoming a child into the world.


skepticism and belief

Some things I'm very skeptical of. Others I buy in hook line and sinker.

Example of gullibility:

~phone rings - it's Mrs. Sixline~
Me: Hey hon, what's up?
Her: You will not believe this! They're all sold out of Batman tickets!
Me: What?!
Her: Yeah! They're sold out until Monday!
Her: HEHEHEHEHE! I got youuuuu!

Example of skepticism:

I don't really have a concrete example. I know I don't buy into religious or political stuff very easy. When people make a claim, I always want a source-- not so much to piece together the facts for verification, but mainly to figure out motivation. I think everyone's just out to get me on their side when it comes to politics. When it comes to religious matters, I tend to be most skeptical of LDS 'faith promoting rumors.' I have a really hard time at Institute-- mainly because I just can't accept something so quickly and so easily. What's really hilarious is that I tend to give negative criticism more of a free pass than faith promoting stories.

I don't think a religious guy can be categorically placed in the 'skeptics' bin. I especially don't feel they're birds of my feather; when I thumb through the atheist section at Border's I can never even come to agree with the thrust of their argument let alone sit through the details supporting it. The main thing, though, is that I refuse to accept a cosmic existence where good and evil go unrewarded and unpunished. I refuse to believe the final mark on the Jew's life in Auschwitz was a corrupt scheme of evil men systematically murdering others on the sole basis of religious persuasion. I refuse to believe that there will be no justice served to those who perpetrate the most horrible of crimes. And, the empty imminence of an aheistic view-- the stark void of Divine help and Providence -- is just too unfair. Is there no help for the widow's son? Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no end to suffering? An end of existence certainly meets the criteria, but what good is it when one cannot enjoy the peace that comes from a fruitful existence? I just don't buy it.

But, I don't want to be fooled, either. No... I don't want to be fooled. I don't want heroes, I don't want stories, I don't want a faith promoting history. I want the truth. People are people and they're going to shock and surprise you. They're not going to live clear cut good or bad lives. They're going to look out for themselves; they're not perfect.

So why is it that the Church mainly shows the good parts of our stories in lessons, manuals, and Church sponsored events? Because it's their job to help you with your faith, repentance, baptismal covenants, and endeavours in seeking the Holy Ghost, that's why. It's not their job to make sure you know what Brigham Young said about black folks, or how many women Joseph Smith was married to. It's their job to make sure you have faith and exercise it unto repentance. "How come you never told me?" some say. I say "How come you never asked?" The answers don't matter until the questions are asked.



Gitmo, Guantanamo, whatever you want to call it.

It's wrong. We're holding people without due process of the law. We're holding people on some really shaky and highly circumstantial evidence. Torture is wrong. It's ineffective. It needs to stop.


hold to the rod

I ride in a van to work. It's easy on the wallet, as we share the gas. It's also easy on me, because the commute to work is about 45 minutes one way. I can nap, read, or talk. I've already been through 3 books in the past 5 months.

And this is where the post gets difficult. How to say it, and how to say it and have the meaning carry over. There are times when I desperately want someone to see something exactly how I do, so that I can comfort myself in being understood. It's tough not being a good writer. It's also tough being a heart-on-your-sleeve kinda guy... Makes me feel like a wuss.

Yesterday I had a long conversation with a French/Swiss guy who happens to be in my van. He's a nice guy, and we've talked before. Yesterday I got the full story on why he is no longer a believing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's hard enough hearing someone tell me why Joseph Smith's polyandry, blacks and the Priesthood, and other common concerns have driven them from partaking in the blessings of the Gospel, but two things particularly stung yesterday.

First, I hate it when French folks turn away from the Gospel. It hurts a million times more than any regular other Joe. It hurts, and it hurts bad.

Secondly, I'm starting to see myself in a lot of these exit stories. People become disaffected and quit because they can't find the answers they're looking for. They complain that the Church doesn't tell people about the more obscure details of the history of the Church or of the lives of early Church leaders. One side of me says "Well, why should they? Do you or don't you have faith that Joseph Smith saw God?" We have a tendency to dismiss the things we do know because of details that suggest that it's all a falsehood. I can't blame people for feeling the immense and deep frustration they feel. And sometimes... though I'm afraid to admit it... It feels as though I'm bound for the same fate. That is not a friendly feeling.

And so I hold to the rod, trodding slowly onward until that day when I get to the tree of life. Where else am I going to go? To atheism? Hardly. There are too many things have convinced me of God's existence. To Islam, Judaisim, Hinduism, or another non-Christian religion? No... not possible. Too many things have convinced me humanity needs a Savior. To Catholicism, Protestantism, or Evangelicalism? I would still have concerns and worries with them, though a different set. So where shall I go? The answer is: nowhere. I will stay where I am, confident that all will make sense at some point in time.


i'm not that important.

And I'm OK with it. Sometimes the jealousy bug bites and I wish I had more clout-- at work, through the fanhood of the blog (I think of extremely popular blogs and discussion forums), or even around the 'hood.

But why, do you ask, are you not that important, Mr. Sixline? You're so eloquent, interesting, zippy, intelligent, cogent, and regal. Well, the thing, dear friends, is this: there are a lot of voices out there. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I ventured into Borders today-- something I very much enjoy. I wanted to find a book, seeing as how I just finished Uncle Tom's Cabin. But shucks, folks, there's a ton of info out there! A thousand voices with a thousand tales, and how is one to sort who is important and who is not?

I'm not sure. But when I see the loud tumult, the clamoring for an audience, and the croaking desire to feel important, I find it easier to be at peace with the fact that I'm not that important.

PS - I am important, it would seem, to a computer somewhere in the Middle East. According to my little visitor's map, there are three sites somewhere near Riyadh or Medina in Saudi Arabia that are constantly visiting this blog. Are you search bots? Are you servers and hosts, or what's going on there? Say something. You guys account for like 90% of the hits here.



I never update.

We're still alive, and we're still kicking. Life is OK, though I feel like throttling my advisor, myself, and my thesis. Why didn't I just stick around and get it finished?


I'm also really tired of going down south to see family every weekend. Sometimes I just want to enjoy MY house-- is this too much to ask?

I suppose it is.


Before and after

Mrs. Sixline and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary! Hooray! She hasn't poisoned or left me yet. (Yet...)

So we were walking around DI and found this gorgeous and non particle board crafted piece of furniture. We spent our Saturday sanding, painting, and replacing hardware. I'll have to get some close ups of the hardware, but for now, let these pics suffice.



We really should have left the original hardware on the 'before' picture. I had already removed it when I remembered to snap the photo, and was too lazy to put it back on. The hardware was spendy... About $40 for everything. Plus $80 for the original piece... The local DI gets a little spendy sometimes. But hey-- like I said: No particle board. There's a thick cardboard cutout that serves as the back for it, but that seems to just keep the torsional movement limited. The drawers, panels, doors, and everything else are made of what appears to be pine. It's solid and heavy as sin. We loved the final product! Enjoy.


on importance and self-respect

In a pensive moment the other day I pondered the idea of self-respect and for the first time viewed my personality and regular modus operandi in an honest and critical manner. I've been self critical before. Most folks see themselves in the mirror and criticize themselves, for starters. The meandering paths that branch off the main road of self doubt, pity, and negativity are too many to be numbered. I am no different, and I have expended great energies in lambasting and debasing myself in hopes of... of... well, I never quite figured out what I get out of that.

This time, it was a bit different. Respect. It means different things to different people in different walks of life. What did it mean to me? I'm not sure I'm able to really articulate it, but it felt like-- for redundancy's sake-- pure and simple respect. The best I can come up with is as lack of shame when viewing myself. Do you ever read old journal entires, or think of times when you were younger and tried to be a self-respecting mature person? If you're like me, you cringe at those thoughts. I hate reading my old journal entires. They're pathetic. Just once I'd like to see myself in a positive light. Just once.

I'm not naive enough to think that just because I have that desire I will immediately see the results. The law of the harvest is harmonious with Mother Earth's.

But I did make a connection between self-respect and the feeling of being important. I was in a beautiful canyon near the Uintah mountains. I wish I had descriptive powers, I would relate to you a metaphorical scene, one in which the terrain was the human soul, the mountains were the pillars of morals and principles, and the snow coursing down the crags and collecting into violent churning rapids cleansed the soul and brought new life. There was so much water... Everything was melting and any ditch that dipped below the general surface of the ground was filled with it. It was transcendant-- enough to put anyone in an existential mood least of all me.

I was with Mrs. Sixline's side of the family. For all mine and their faults, we sometimes get caught up in the competitiveness of it all. Particularly in temporal matters and who is the furthest down the road of success. A new 5th wheel had been purchased, and Mrs. Sixline and I caught up with some of the camping family and had a little barbecue. I had time to sit and reflect on how I can very much be a different person around different people. I temper some character traits and accentuate others. It reeks of frailty and a lack of self-respect-- fear of being one's true self despite one's surrounding. The key there, of course, is not to be obtuse and difficult and let the world go to hell, but rather to choose one's character model such that one would not be ashamed of one's self irrespective of one's surroundings. As I have not yet reached such a pinnacle of self-acceptance and respect, I am left to be tossed about until such a time as I may put to port and begin the trek up that mountain.

But I digress. Sort of.

I linked, in my mind, the idea of importance, self-respect, and confidence. For the sake of explanation, this microcosm that is the in-laws largely represents how I feel around other folks. At work, in public, at social gatherings, etc... I am at a very alarming loss, at times, of how to conduct myself. Of how to be persuasive. Of formulate cogent thought. Of how to think. Put simply, I feel stupid. Embarrassingly stupid. Not quick enough, not bright enough, not smart enough, not thorough enough, not enough.

To fix this, it dawned on me, I have to begin to throw out the silly notion that others will give me that self-respect. Looking to what others think of you and relying on those positive reviews is short sighted and temporary. Respecting yourself as a child of God will instill a sense of purpose, which will give way to feelings of importance.


multiply and replenish

It's a commandment, and I am thus far unable to fulfill it.

Is it strength in the Gospel to have an understanding of all things? I don't think so. I think I just feel weak because I'm given to pose my questions aloud and seek answers. One of those heart on your sleeve kinda guys.

Anyway. Mother's Day sucks around here but I'm glad for those who are able to celebrate it.


Thanks for the ideas, HGTV.

We painted. I don't have before and after pictures. Enjoy!


Thanks, M.

I used to get crushes very easily. While I have two sisters with whom I share a healthy relationship, it was not always so. I didn't grow up with my sisters as my friends. I was just weird that way. I consider it entirely my fault. It's not my intent to explore that part of my life, just to give the background for the following.

In my youth, LDS Stake dances were, to use a technical term, the shiznit. Like most testosterone driven young men who attempt to define themselves through various personalities and characteristic traits during the formative teenage years, I wanted girls to like me. But they didn't. They liked TJ instead. Everyone liked TJ. He was nice, intelligent, outgoing, good looking, charming, and most importantly, understood women-- to the extent a young man can.

I, on the other hand, had good qualities, I'm sure, but I was completely unrefined. I had no concept of a healthy relationship with a woman; I only had my parents' strong and long marriage as my example. I didn't know what it was like to be friends with a girl and this led to me missing the proverbial boat on how to flirt. It didn't help that I was an engineer in disguise; flirting had no immediate goal. Its primary use, a proving ground to see if there's interest, was completely lost on me. Why flirt? Do you like me, yes or no? (Please check one and send back to me.) So when girls were friendly, I immediately mistook their attempts at friendship as a direct signal of their strong interest in me. There were a few exceptions, of course, but by and large this was the rule.

This is best illustrated through a brief recollection of my encounter with a young woman I shall call 'M.' She had long blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and all the other attributes that go along with making a young man attracted to a young woman. Her friend was a reckless flirt, and was quite liberal in flirting with me. For about 2 months her friend had a real interest in me-- calling me on the phone, making sure she talked to me at Church, writing my name in fancy cursive and frilly framed borders on her notebook, and so forth. Like I said, though, it only took 2 months for her to find her new flavor and move on. I wasn't completely smitten over her, so I wasn't too broken up about it. This 'relationship,' however, had an interesting side effect. I was able to make friends with M. During the times her friend would call me, it was not uncommon for for M to chat with her on the phone. I got to know M a little, find out what she was like, and I had no illusions of her interest in me because her friend was the one who liked me.

So I was rather surprised that M continued her friendship with me after her friend decided she liked someone else. (To my deepest content, however, her attention did not turn to TJ. Everyone liked TJ...) She would still talk to me on the phone, although less frequently. She would still dance with me. She would still laugh at my lame jokes and be very pleasant and bright and all the wonderful innate qualities women have that make grey and rainy life bright and vibrant. After a few months the cogs began turning in my head-- lamentably, though, they turned the wrong way. "Surely M likes me. Surely she's interested in me. She talks to me all the time, she dances with me, she calls me. She remembers my name!" That last one might have been reason enough, but it was the extra length of rope with which I quickly hung myself.

At the next Stake dance, I tried to poetically declare my affection for M, convinced she shared it. I picked a slow song, asked her to dance, and during the dance revealed to her my feelings for her. It's strange, in retrospect, to think that I didn't ask her if she liked me. Perhaps I wasn't so convinced she liked me, but rather her interest in me gave me confidence to take a bold step. I suppose it doesn't really matter. I was quite surprised by her response. She took a step back, snapping away from our dance. In the middle of the song she said, with a look of... yes... horror... on her face: "What?! I... I just don't believe you!" and with that she stormed off. I had very little contact with her after that.

I did not understand. At all. I hurt, but you know how teens are... I forgot about her fairly quickly. I hadn't given it much thought until a few days ago.

You see, I think that due to my lack of experience when relating with women outside of a romantic nature, I have been quite unable to imagine why a man and a woman would have any kind of relationship outside of their family-- spouse or sibling. Professional relationships made sense; they were superficial and trite. You got along with women at work because you respected them as a co-worker. There was little camaraderie. If there ever was, I felt guilty. If I found a woman particularly attractive, it was exponentially more difficult to talk to them for fear I'd find them attractive and develop some kind of extra-marital relationship with them. Not that I think the unthinkable would happen, but I'll be honest: that's what I was convinced of.

As I've matured (yes, it happens slowly. Even the largest of glaciers move-- even if it's a few inches every year) I've come to make friends with women I was not married to. Most, if not all, of these women are very beautiful-- looks, personality, and the other aforementioned pleasantries with which women are gifted.

This has been a little threatening to me. Please-- don't think that I have ludicrous presuppositions of infidelity. But in bitter and embarrassing honesty, I convinced myself through the years that infidelity was the fruit of friendship beyond spouse and sibling. This result was even more imminent in my mind if I found the woman attractive. (I'll bet some of you are laughing by now. I suppose it sounds absurd.)

M taught me a lesson, even though it's taken almost 11 years to finally sink in. I can be friends with women. My paradigm is shifting just slightly. I still find it unwise to be alone with a woman who is not your spouse or sibling. I'm still uncomfortable with women I don't know. I will always find it unwise to seek to cultivate friendships beyond your spouse. The point of marriage is to grow together; she is my primary interest and my primary source of joy, love, and fulfillment. I will not undermine the hard work she has put into me.

But I'm finally realizing that there are Daughters of God that have platonic interest in my friendship inasmuch as our lives cross paths, without any ulterior motives. And it took 26 years...


follow on

So the earlier post stems from an incident at a fish store today. As many of you know, I'm very much into salt water aquaria-- fish and coral. I recently came into a relatively cheap purchase of a 90 gallon tank, complete with an overflow. (That's beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that it helps for coral reef aquarium filtration.)

So I stop by the fish store, curious to know how much a stand and canopy will be. I don't have oodles of cash, so I naturally want to stretch my dollar. This guy had an ego the size of Alaska. His explanations of what he had were really wearing on me. I got the feeling from him that unless you spend an exorbitant amount of money on equipment (namely... HIS equipment...) you were doomed to failure. His tanks wouldn't eventually leak the others would. His stands wouldn't warp due to moisture the way others would. His was great, my ideas stunk.

This drug on for the better part of a half hour. I got tired of listening to it, but I didn't want to be rude. So I politely nodded while half listening to him and trying to interject where I saw fit. After one particular item of disagreement, he said to me "Yeah, well, I know what it's like. I used to be a really poor college kid who made tons of mistakes." Dropping the air of politeness I furrowed my face in a distaste manner and said "What? Is that how you see me?" He didn't even register my disgust and kept going. At this point I was very upset, and very desirous for a pissing contest.

Who is this guy, anyway? Some tiny fish store owner for a relatively obscure western 'bustling' metropolis? Come on... I'm a rocket scientist, beeyotch. I'm an engineer. And then after I triumphantly made him aware of that fact, I'd throw him a gang sign, and he'd cow in front of my obviously superior ability to pee. (Urinating contest, remember?)

But, I had my toy poodle in my arms and dudes aren't normally imposing with a poodle in their arms.

So I left.

the measure of a man

What curries respect from others?

The clothes? The attitude? The learning? The bragging? The money you make? The language you use?

I admit; I want people to think I'm start, strong and confident. I want them to seek my advice and my opinion. I want them to think my reasoning is sound and my logic unbreakable. Obviously life doesn't work this way. No matter how you try and present yourself, there are those who are going to think you're a complete imbecile. Yes, yes, don't worry what others think. Regardless of what some will say, I am not worried what others think. What I am worried about is whether or not they have a point. Is my reasoning sound? Am I sufficiently educated on a subject such that my opinion is valid?

I think my problem is giving others too much credit. A bit of brother in law medicine might be in order; maybe I should start thinking others are idiots. It's just not in my nature.


am i ashamed?

I've noticed a recent trend in the way I approach non-Mormons. I think it's called shame.

I feel reluctant to be so cavalier about sharing my faith. I feel... I feel like I've been bitten one too many times. It feels like... It feels like unless the sharing of the gospel message is solicited, it feels forced down someone's throat. So I don't do it. When I see other members talk to people who aren't members and it's uninvited, I feel sick. I feel embarrassed.

There, I said it. I feel embarrassed.

So there it is. Now what?



I've been reading a book by Daniel C. Peterson concerning ...

Man I have no idea how to talk about it. The name of the book, Abraham Divided, talks about the rift between the Jews and the Muslims. I know, I know, I'm being so overly simplistic and so is the book. But, I feel it's very even handed and... well... It's a good read. Seriously, check it out.


'till we meet...

Goodbye, Grandpa. I am proud to carry the family name, and prouder still to be among your progeny. You will be sorely missed.


lilith fair

The only poignant thing I have to say is too raw to really communicate.

Basically, a friend of mine and I were discussing via email the frustrations we feel as men and women are pitted one against each other. I mused that (like how I worked 'muse' in there? pretty sweet...) Satan started a long time ago convincing us that we weren't equal. Exploiting-- or planting the seed and cultivating-- the male's tendency to dominate, he got most of us cotton-headed ninny monggins to think women were substandard and inferior. That persisted for an extremely long time until women (rightfully) wouldn't hear any more of it and have made lengthy strides towards making sure they weren't brushed aside. Men were shirking the role of husband and instead being unrighteous stewards. That's not how the Lord intended us men to govern. So he had men shirking the idea of marriage...

Of course, now that women are leveling the playing field Satan's got a good lot of them thinking that marriage is absolutely not the way to do it. Sure, equality can be had, he says, but how? Not by investing in one another, not by being good mothers. Mothers are weak and vulnerable. Mean old rotten husbands have been treating those losers like trash since the dawn of time. And guess what? He was successful at making sure that ended up being true.

He's got a lot of people working toward equality between man and woman, but marriage is not the way he wants them to do it.



be my friend!

When I was 12 I decided that killing myself for someone's friendship when that person wasn't even inclined to like me in the first place was not only profanely asinine, it was also obscenely demeaning to myself. Who would I be kidding? They only liked me if I did things they liked. It was retarded. I wasn't going to play a part of that.

So for the most of middle school (some folks call it junior high; it was grades 6-8) I was a total reject. The trend started to buck in high school when you got 'cool points' (or something) for being original, but then we moved from the South to the West and I started over being on the outside again.

I didn't give a rat. Never have, never will.

But that was kids at school. That was a bunch of whining entitled brats who thought they'd feel better about themselves if surrounded by others who wanted their friendship. I'm sure, on a subconscious level of course, that when you are the object of another's desire (even if platonic) the message is sent that you have worth. It's not a bad gig, and I don't hold any particular malice (or do I?) towards those who denied me their friendship.

But I do have a struggle with my mission companions and those I served. I desperately want their friendship. I loved my mission. It meant so much to me; I poured my heart and soul into it. When I came back, I really expected a party of closely knit good friends waiting for me. I should have seen the writing on the wall, though... Most of the Elders I served with had already paired themselves up with BFF's to attend the other blue University in this state. I wasn't going there. (Huge can o' worms there...) As such, I was on the outside. As such, I didn't think anyone really wanted my friendship and ended up hurting a few of the ones who did because I didn't go to any great lengths to contact anyone immediately upon my return. (I apologized for to the ones I hurt, and meant it. I feel they've forgiven me. At least I hope they have.)

But where does that leave me now?

I have tried to contact a few of the people I served with. I was hoping for a more natural friendship, but I suppose the transition from the world of white shirts and ties to flip flops and goatees is a taller hurdle for some than it is for others. I've tried looking up and calling a few of the guys I thought I was close to. If we were to take the litmus test of enthusiasm, I was dead wrong about how close I was to them.

That kind of hurts. I mean, I can't push my expectations of friendship on someone else, and I'm definitely not going to be the gimpy nerdy kid who begs others for their friendship. I'm also not going to have any false pretenses about my likability. I'm somewhat comfortable with the fact that I annoy the poop out of scores of personality types and the people who fit them. It's not easy, because I like it when people like me (who wouldn't?!) and I am a fierce and loyal friend when the fraternity and love is reciprocated. I understand that naturally I'll get along with some better than others as interests and personalities align, but for the most part I make no man my enemy. (FMH, on the other hand...)

I realize this is long-winded, but it's been a long time coming. I have mixed feelings of anger and pain when I think of my mission, as well as the deluge of joy and love. It's hard to categorize; I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I miss the friendship and wish that I could have carried that with me back home. It's a real shame I missed that boat.

(As an end note, there is one Elder I never served with directly but went on exchanges with that has kept very good contact with me and I can't even begin to describe my gratitude for that. He is an upstanding man and priesthood holder; he has my utmost respect and loyalty. I thank him.)


Bad movies and bad TV

I'm not a film critic. I've been told that white folks such as myself prefer to refer to movies as films, and they take things like the Oscars very seriously. I'm not such a person.

I've talked about TV before. I've said how unless it involves my current favorite comedy, a ball and scoreboard, or Captain Picard (Kirk, Janeway, Sisko, and Archer are suitable substitutes), I just don't watch.

And I just can't.

I think reality TV is retarded. I think the producers' attempt to take normal people who are prone to two things-- exceedingly good looks and/or outrageous behavior-- and pit them together in scantily clad ambitious competitions subtly conducting contrived social experiments with sexy/explosive results is reprehensible. It's not entertainment to me. It's boring. It's high school behavior lauded, applauded, and backed by lucrative marketing deals in your living room.

I think epic and blockbuster movies are largely forgettable. Some movies are just so boring and predictable with rigid acting, toxic dialog (toxic because the unnatural conversation and communication makes me sick to the pit of my stomach) and lethargic plot lines. Take Fantastic Four. It was terrible. TERRIBLE. They tried to special effects/Jessica Alba their way into a profitable box office endeavor. It was shameful that the junk passed for a movie. (Don't get me started on movies that try to score cheap laughs off some catch phrase some stupid kid utters. "Radical, dude!" is not good comedy. It's just not. Stop doing this, Adam Sandler. Every one of your movies involves an old person or a young person saying something foul, uncouth, and laced with sexual reference. Stop it!!!)

As I type this, I feel so dang guilty. My poor family loves a lot of the type of movie and TV show I find to be of such low caliber. I don't want to personally insult anyone for their choice in TV or "film." So I'm going to pull a 180 and say you like what you like and that's all there's to it.


Whew! What an update!

Mrs. Sixline and I moved. We're about 10 miles up the road from where we were, bought a home that is way too big for us (waiting on kids and aren't moving for at least 15 years), and I have since started my job at ATK.

AND, to top it all off, we've been spending roughly $100 per day trying to get crap we need. In fact, we decided to finance a washer and dryer through Lowe's (got 10% off that way) I just got done hooking everything up. I was pretty proud of myself; normally I'm not very handy. But, with an intrepid indomitable spirit, I read the instructions of how to hook up my gas dryer, followed them, hooked it up, went to Lowe's to build a make-shift drain (I just wanted to bring a pipe up from the drain near the floor so that it would be easier for the washer hose to reach), and started a load. Well, Mrs. Sixline did. I suppose it's her right, she picked out a front loading washer and dryer from Whirlpool and I guess they're pretty. ~shrugs~ She's liking it.

I need to make sure I'm up for when I start the gas dryer. I hope that this isn't my last post ever... Don't want to blow us both to kingdom come. Anyway.

We're in our house, it's slowly being un-packed and finished (the builder's driving me a bit nuts, but I suppose most contractors are tough to deal with), and we're very much enjoying life. Once my thesis is completely defended and school is a done deal, we are going to enjoy life that much more.

On a side note, I think it's important to really enjoy life now. I mean, sure, work is going to suck sometimes (in fact, the Ares 1-X project is beating the brains out of a few guys at work) but I think most everyone has tough times at work. I really want to make sure I'm happy now. Can you imagine the crushing blow it would deal to my spirit if I wasn't happy? No, seriously. For the past 5 years I've been running a marathon-- go to school, study, take a test, get a good grade, get a degree, get a job, get money, buy a house, be happy. After all that grueling work if I'm not happy my head might explode. I will be happy. So there. Nyah.

On another side note, how come no one commented on the last entry? I thought it was pretty cool. Oh well.


Questions for Mary

Mary, you no doubt felt that Jesus could heal Lazarus when he was sick. You no doubt felt reassured that all would be well; all you had to do was send for Jesus and He would come and make things right.

How did you feel when He didn't make it on time? How did you feel when Lazarus not only died, but was placed in a tomb? Were you angry at Jesus? Were you sad? Did you feel betrayed? How-- and I mean this-- how did you gather your feelings, put aside your anger and frustration and not blame Jesus? As far as I can tell, you didn't think anything more could be done. You had begun to cope with the fact that Lazarus was no more; Jesus either could not or chose not to heal him while there was still time.

What I really want to know, Mary, is how did you feel as you watched Lazarus slip away? How deep into your stomach did that icy cold web of despair sink? Were you able to keep believing and did that belief help you not be angry? Were you just like me, did you scream and shout and swear and wonder what you did to deserve it-- or what Lazarus did to deserve being passed on for a miracle? Jesus was feeding people, changing water into wine, making the blind see and bringing the lepers back into the city clean as any of us. Was taking special attention for your brother so much to ask? Is that why you didn't go out to greet Jesus when He finally showed up? Were you the one who got Martha to ask Him "If you would have come earlier, Lazarus would still be with us?"

I'm like you, Mary. I would have sit in that house with you, not knowing how to express my guilt, remorse, sorrow, frustration, and anger.

What I really want to know, Mary, is did Jesus ask any special faith of you? Were you upset you had to be forgiven of such a natural response? Were you under any kind of condemnation because you didn't believe? Lazarus was dead. There must've been room for your doubt and anger, right? Did He cut you any slack? Did He go easy on you? Was He upset that you blamed Him? Was He mad? Or did He break your indignation with His own sorrows for Lazarus' passing? Or did He induce you to repentance with His heart piercing compassion and understanding? Didn't He forgive you and perform the miracle you had asked for, and then some?

Do you think He'll do the same for me?


toilet paper crystals

Once, I was 6. I know, it surprised me to write it as much as it surprised you to read it.

When I was at that tender age, I had a seriously nasty love affair with gemstones, rocks, and geology in general. If it was formed through pressure and mineral, I wanted to know about it. I took home National Geographic magazines from the library, Audobon Society field guides to rocks and gemstones, and I would actually go and gather rocks (gravel) and try to find out what was written about them given my limited thinking and resources.

My friend down the street kind of liked rocks too. He had hundreds of tiny crystals on his neato desk in his very own room. I had to share my room with two stinky brothers and I didn't have a desk. It goes without saying (even though I'm saying it now) that I was very envious of his only room, his desk, and of course, his collection of crystals. I asked him where he got them, because I had looked all over our neighborhood for beautiful rocks and I never saw anything. He told me he grew them. Growing crystals? Was that possible? I had no clue. So I asked how he grew them, eagerly anticipating my chance to try it out.

This is what he told me.

At night, before you go to bed, get a big wad of toilet paper, twist it up, dip it in water, and then let it dry out on the counter overnight. In the morning you'll have a beautiful crystal.

That night I went home and expended our roll of toilet paper. I twisted up over 30 clumps, setting them on the counter, the back of the toilet, and around the tub. Guess what happened to them when I got up?

I got into trouble for wasting toilet paper. Then I told why I did it, and my parents thought it was so funny they didn't punish me. I was, however, informed that I had to clean it up which was hard to bear-- not so much because of the mess I had made but because I had fully expected to collect 30 or so crystals that morning.

Upon questioning my friend as to why this experiment failed, he explained that it was the wrong brand of toilet paper. So I took some of his home and tried it. Bupkis. He got upset that I kept pestering him about how he did it and my parents put the kibosh on the toilet paper experiment and I soon got over it.

But man did I want those crystals.


Non, non, Monsieur le Président, c'était un bon discours

Last night I reassured French President Nicolas Sarkozy that his closed doors private meeting with me and a lot of people I know was a good solid speech. He shook his head and said that a lot of people were sleeping. It's ok, I continued, a lot of people in my circle of friends don't understand French and that's why they didn't appear to be paying much attention. You're a good president, don't worry. He smiled, and then my dream turned all Law and Order on me.


Super Mac it is.

76% John McCain
70% Bill Richardson
69% Mike Huckabee
66% Mitt Romney
64% Hillary Clinton
64% Barack Obama
62% John Edwards
61% Fred Thompson
57% Rudy Giuliani
56% Tom Tancredo
56% Chris Dodd
54% Joe Biden
43% Ron Paul
41% Mike Gravel
38% Dennis Kucinich

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz



Having been offered (and accepted!) a position at ATK Launch Systems, I'm now officially a rocket scientist.

Specifically I'm an instrumentation design engineer, but I'll be telling everyone else the former. I can hear the jokes now...

At home...
Me: I can't figure this out, honey. Do I add the baking soda in the mix before or after I add the eggs?
Mrs. Sixline: Oh come on, it's not rocket science. Figure it out.

At the movies...
Me: So, was that Mr. Sanders with the bad gang or was he an undercover cop?
Brother in Law: He was an undercover cop! Come on, it's not rocket science!

and so forth ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

Oh well. Two good things:

1.) We get to stay where we are. I like our little valley. Very beautiful sunsets in the summertime. Very tranquil, yet enough shopping for Mrs. Sixline.

2.) The money came in right where we needed it. We'll be buying a home a few miles up the road and we are EXCITED.

Of course this means I should be working on my research and thesis rather than blogging.


Mon rêve Français

When I listen to France Info for French radio news, I typically have a dream where I'm in France or speaking French. The French news radio is really a great way to keep up on it, and to learn new words. As a missionary, certain words just rarely make it into your lexicon. This is a great way to pick up on French geography, too, as news stories identify the setting of the story. It's also awesome to listen to them comment on our political process. No wonder they all know so much about what we're doing! I heard about Obama overtaking Hilary in Iowa before I saw it on our news. (In defense of our news, I don't typically watch or listen.)

Since it's news talk radio, the program resembles NPR a bit. The best part is when they get two guys to argue over a hot topic. Yesterday it was about a big car tax in Paris. Evidently the Mayor of Paris is green, and is trying to get rid of parking lots and car lanes in favor of bike lanes and buses. One guy was all for it, the other guy all against it. They were going at it, and I heard that SNOOTY tone of voice creep in with the jabs that still smart when I argued with people. They can be so condescending when they argue. Ecoutez-moi bien, je vais vous expliquer. Listen to me, I'll make it clear for you. Despite being so upset about how they argue, it is infinitely reassuring to know that that's just the way they do it. The guy who was against the car tax was being loud, talking over the moderator and the other guy, not listening, repeating himself with more and more intensity, and absolutely littering his comments with those snide remarks that set himself up as the authority and anyone who disagrees slaps logic in the face. In other words, he was your average Frenchman. I met so many of them and it was hard not to take it personally. Hearing them do it to each other just makes me roll my eyes.

Ah, the French. I love them anyway. :)


It's been a long time.

The posts are getting fewer and farther(further?) between because I approach my date with doom; the thesis defense. It happens the 29th. I'm worried and concerned-- not with the process of getting up in front of everyone, but the having things to say part. I feel like the advisor committee knows more than I do about the project. I'm also worried about the last leg of research that is currently synthesizing while I write this. I'm also concerned...

Well that list goes on for awhile. I'm just worried I won't get the fantastic wonderfullest job of instrumentations engineer with ATK. I had the long awaited on-site interview with them last Thursday where they actually had me go around the cube farm seeing what everyone on the team did as part of the interview. I was very happy to see that; it's so hard to figure out what you'll be doing full time from an interview. They look like a great place to work. If the pay comes through where Mrs. Sixline and I can afford housing in our current market, then we'd like to stay put. There's a home that's being built just a few minutes up the road that's very spacious and open and in a great neighborhood. We want it...


It depends on whether or not I finish and whether or not the offer comes in enough to cover the cost. If it comes in below, we get to explore other options. However, my heart is set on staying put and purchasing that home. We'll see.

I'm concerned...