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Nick Burgard
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The Berlin Wall has now been down longer then it was up. It was up for 28 years. 10,315 days. For a period of time many just assumed it would be there for their entire lives and then some. Now younger people have a hard time imagining a world in which it existed, because for them it has always been down. And despite some "pffffs, well I remember" and "kid's these days", this is a good thing.

It shows us that no matter what the evil of the time has done, there can always be a future in which it is no more. No matter how bad any point in time has been or will be, there will always be a tomorrow in which children will grow up in a better world. This doesn't mean that the hurt and pain caused don't matter, it doesn't mean that the evil of the time shouldn't be fought tooth and nail every step of the way, and it doesn't mean that 10,315 days is ok.

It does means that no matter how big a wall the evil of the time builds, we will always tear it down.

(Photo by Justin Leighton, http://www.justinleighton.com)
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Sharing this on here from Facebook.

(Warning, long and very personal text dump. Please please read if you can, but it might take some time.)

This is something I’ve been wanting to say for a while, but it’s quite a topic to get into so I’ve had a hard time getting it written down. This seemed like the month to do it though.

I am bi-sexual. I always have been, but I have tried to hide it, even from myself. I couldn’t be gay, because I liked girls (and being gay was “bad”), and if I wasn’t gay then I had to be straight, the concept of being bi-sexual non-existent for me (which is a whole nothing thing for another post). That doesn’t change who I was though. I didn’t become bi when I finally accepted this, I had always been bi, and it shaped who I was. No matter when you’ve known me, the me you knew was bi-sexual.

(A few things to get out of the way, no it doesn’t mean I’m just confused, I am attracted to men and woman. No it doesn’t mean I’m going to sleep around, any more then I would be sleeping around if I was straight. No it doesn’t mean I had a crush on you, just like straight people can have friends of the opposite gender, bi people can have friends of the same gender. The majority of people I’ve known in my life I have felt 0 romantic feelings for. No just because I’m married to a woman doesn’t mean I am now straight, and if I had married a guy I wouldn’t be gay. There, that covers most of the basics that people mention.)

There are a few reasons I want to bring this up. The first of which is, I should be worried about who I am, nor should I need to hide it, so I won’t. This isn’t about “hey look at me”, it’s about me not having to watch what I say every single day lest I accidentally reveal something that I shouldn’t have to worry about hiding.

There is another reason though, and it is by far the more important one. I might be able to help someone else by sharing my story. I managed to make out pretty nicely in my life, but that doesn’t mean what I went through was ok. Some people are going through similar things and are not going to get as lucky as I did. Every day there are LGBTQIA people who go through hell, and many times other people close to them never realize it (or outright cause it). Maybe someone will read this and it will help them see something they were missing, who knows. Or maybe an LGBTQIA person will read this and realize that it’s ok to be who you are, that there are people who will support you, even if the ones who support you right now won’t. Maybe nothing will change for anyone when they read this, but even then it’s good for me to say it.

When I finally accepted that I was bi-sexual a lot of my past and childhood made a lot more sense to me. Why at times I felt outcast from other kids, why I felt like I just didn’t quite belong. As I got older I would try to act how boys were “supposed” to act, but I didn’t really know what that was, so mostly I try to avoid notice lest I stand out. Lest I be different. Not masculine enough to fit the standards set for me. This generally worked. I had relatively few friends but I did have friends, and more importantly I wasn’t a target to everyone else. I was just a shadow, something they didn’t think about in passing, leaving me to be at least somewhat myself, if quietly.

I had always clearly known who I was with some part of me, but I had also repressed it as much as was possible. I was at an understanding that liking people of the same gender was wrong, and only a morally corrupt person would choose to do that. Since I wasn’t a bad person, clearly I wouldn’t do that, so the feelings I had were buried. I couldn’t get rid of them though, they weren’t a choice, they were part of who I was. So I still had them, but instead of understanding what I was feeling I was just left confused and hurt, unclear on why I seemed different. On why I couldn’t be normal like the good Christian boy I tried to be. I went to Sunday school, church, youth group. In college I went to various college ministry groups, I read my bible, I did devotions. I was kind, I cared for people, I helped my parents. And I hid who I was, refusing to acknowledge it, for fear that I would lose everything and everyone I loved. For fear that my friends would stop talking to me, for fear that my church would disown me, for fear that the military would discharge me. For fear that my family would try to fix me.

There was a person I met at a point during this, and we became fast friends. He was someone I really could be myself around. Someone I could confide in, someone who would definitely accept me for who I was (this is not to say no one else I knew would, I’m sure I had friends I could trust, but I was paranoid about wrecking longtime friendships). Everyone time I was around this person I felt more relaxed and at ease. I felt . . . better. It was only later that I realized what I felt for him wasn’t just friendship, it was love. I had come to love this man, but I didn’t even realize it.

This is where my story could be great. I could realize my feelings and come out to him. He doesn’t even have to be bi or gay for this to be a good ending, just telling him how I feel and having him accept me for who I was would be enough, even if he didn’t feel the same. This is how my movie might end, but it was not to be. While I was still trying to hide who I was, out of fear, out of the disgust that was ingrained in my head, he took his own life. He died, and only after did I realize my feelings. Only after, once I could no longer tell him, did I realize that all I wanted in life was to look him in the eye and say “I love you.” To say “wait, don’t go, there are people who care about you. I care about you.” Would that have saved his life? I don’t know. I can’t know. I do not blame myself anymore, I understand that, even if letting him know would have changed anything, it is not my fault. But the pain is always there. The words, left unsaid and now forever stuck, unusable by me and unhearable by him.

As I said at the start, I came out of all this much better than I could have. Happily married, close friends, a loving family. But I didn’t come out unscarred, and it doesn’t make what happened ok. There are other people who are in the same place now as I was, unwilling or unable to be who they really are. Out of hate, out of disgust. Out of fear. This can be changed. We, all of us, no matter who you are, can fix this. As is so often the case, love can provide a safe haven. For friends, for family, or even for a stranger who has nowhere else to go, who can’t find love from their own family.

So maybe I can’t tell him those words anymore. Maybe I was too late. But I still have them, and it’d be a shame for them to go to waist. I love you. Whoever you are, whoever you need to be, I am here for you. You are loved, and if your family pushes you out, if your friends push you away, then our community will take you in. We love you. We will build a world where you don’t need to hide, because no one should have to hide. Take Pride in who you are, I know I will be with myself.


(The details of my story are intentionally vague to protect his identity. Some who read this may know who it is, though less than think they do probably. But please, do not say any names in the comments, whether you know who I’m talking about, or are just guessing.)
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FYI, if anyone has been thinking about getting into Star Citizen they are doing a large anniversary sale (linked below) over the next week. For new people the main thing to look at would be the starter package (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/Packages/Star-Citizen-Starter), but there will be lots of other stuff on sale. If anyone is looking for a specific type of ship I can help.

Just to reiterate, all ships will be available without spending money once the game comes out, so you don't have to buy anything to get access to any specific ships. But if you want to help fund the game have it it!

Also there are referral codes, so if you do sign up get one from your favorite current Star Citizen (I know it's not me, don't worry :P )
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Ok, so I normally don't talk about things like this but sometimes I just get a little pissed off at people that say effort is worthless just so they have an excuse to not do anything (if you're lazy, then fine. But just admit it, don't make up excuses).

Anyway, The Surveillance State Repeal Act is a bill being introduced to gut the Patriot Act. It's short and to the point (nine pages, linked at the bottom of this post). It might not be perfect, but its a damn good start. But yes, it is mostly considered a non-starter. It probably won't go anywhere. It definitely won't go anywhere if no one does anything.

So call your representatives (or email them, I've heard calling carries more weight but both work) and let them know you support this bill and any candidate that backs it. Worst case scenario, nothing changes except that you took 10 minutes to try and improve the current state of affairs. Not wasted 10 minutes, but used them to try and better the world, even if there was no result. But enough people do this and things can change. People lament about how the government just does what it wants, and while this is definitely partly true, most members of congress do listen when they get enough feedback, it has happened before and it can happen again.

If you're not going to do anything, don't say it's because what you do won't matter. It might not change the outcome this time, that is true. So you keep fighting. We have to start somewhere, if everyone waits to fight until someone else has already guaranteed the victory, then nobody starts anything. Not doing anything is just giving up, and there is nothing that I hate more then giving up.


Here is the direct link to the bill.

http://pocan.house.gov/sites/pocan.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Surveillance%20State%20Repeal%20Act%20114th.pdf
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Holy mother of god . . .

Pull this off, and every doubt I've had is gone. I'll fully forgive the EU no longer being canon.

But you mess this up? You ruin Rogue Squadron with a bad movie? The only question left at that point is who gets to you first.
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Just saw The Imitation Game with Aspen. It's definitely not a perfect movie, but we both really enjoyed it and I'd recommend it to anyone who is into Turing or the breaking of the Enigma code.

Be aware though, you'll probably get a little upset at the ending (. . . stupid god damn bigoted laws, I would give anything to see what else he could have done with 30 more years).

ANYWAY, sidetracked. Good movie, I recommend it.
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I applied to Lockheed Martin a little over a week ago and this came out today, so it's not why I applied directly, but it is why working for them could be great, and reaffirms why I chose to apply to them. I would die for the chance to work on anything with this much potential impact.

(And yes, I know there is still a lot to be seen to know if this will ever work or not, but it's still pretty nifty).
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Found these while at one of the antique stores downtown, had to share.
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Spent a few hours this weekend while at PAX watching a game of DnD in the Seattle Symphony Hall, packed down to the last chair. The crowd went wild every time a 20 was rolled (they had a dice cam).

I love that this is the world we live in.
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Python is the only language that when I sarcastically say "What could possibly go wrong?" after throwing something I'm not really sure about into the code with very little research answers with "Nothing".

And then I have to go back to C and figure out why three different variables are set up as three different types of strings.
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