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...