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About bborg

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  • Birthday 02/14/1979

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Riverdale, MD
  1. Drawings

    I surprised my parents with this drawing of them for Christmas/their 40th Anniversary. It was a big hit!
  2. Drawings

    Practice makes perfect! I think in a way, learning to draw is about practiced observation. The more I study faces, the more I see all the lines that make them attractive and unique.
  3. Drawings

    I have a couple new drawings to share. The second is with pastels. It's actually the second pastel I drew, I didn't think the first one came out very well. This one I'm very happy with though! I originally thought that colored pencils made sense as a gateway into color, but as it turns out pastel pencils are much easier to use.
  4. Drawings

    Here are three more drawings, if people are still interested. This started as a drawing of Zooey Deschanel, but took on a life and likeness of its own. My granddad, who died a number of years ago. My aunt asked me if I could draw him from her favorite photo. I adopted a cat in February, named her Haruko. Getting her was one of the best decisions I ever made, I love the companionship.
  5. Shyness isn’t personality, it’s a fear and insecurity. Introverts can become shy, but so can extroverts. And you can overcome shyness and be more outgoing and comfortable with others, with work. But introversion and extroversion are basic temperaments, I don’t think they’re even primarily about social interaction but about sensitivity to stimulation. That’s why introverts need to recharge after being in a crowd of people, they get overwhelmed by the experience. I’ve been reading a fascinating book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking that, only from my own introspection, seems to hit the nail on the head in that respect. I agree with what Piz said earlier about introversion not being a malady, and the book argues that for example the introvert’s high tolerance for solitude is what makes him naturally better suited for creative work. It isn’t something that you need to change, and maybe it can’t be changed. But I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with extroverts, and because they are naturally attracted to external stimulation they develop different kinds of skills more easily. An interesting and disturbing observation from the book is the focus of our culture on forcing everyone to become extroverts. Not only does this not work, but it isn’t even desirable, since the world is better off having both kinds of people.
  6. Ok, well thank you but I didn’t intend for this to be about dating in particular. Right now I’m focused on just finding people – male or female – I can enjoy myself with.
  7. Thanks for the suggestions. More intimate events are tougher to find, but I have been on the lookout. The other difficulty is finding an activity that gives me regular interactions with the same people, so I can actually get to know them instead of basing everything on first impressions and feeling like I have one chance to take down phone numbers. I found a pretty neat boardgaming group, for example, but they very rarely have a meeting where I can get to it. Same with the local Objectivist group (though most of the members really aren’t in my age range). Not that it’s not nice to go out and meet new people while doing something fun, but I need to find a group where I can get beyond introductions.
  8. It's not that people aren't sharing values, but conversation keeps getting interrupted. I get the sense that people aren't even there to make friends, in which case maybe to save myself the frustration I should stop going. It was suggested I could start a group of my own. It's something to try, at least, though I don't have any idea yet what to organize.
  9. So as background, over the past year and a half I’ve gone to a number of social events as a personal project to overcome social anxiety. Many of these have been happy hours that are organized by a very large meetup group in the DC area. In fact I’ve been to maybe a dozen or more happy hours over that period, as well as scavenger hunts at museums, movie get togethers and so on, each time pushing myself a little more to learn how to approach people in a crowd of strangers, and how to be more assertive about my own interests and values in conversation so I can enjoy myself. Yet what I’ve observed with other people – mainly at happy hours, but to some extent at other events - is they’ll constantly move through the room meeting new people, and topics are quickly shifting to include others, so conversation remains pretty shallow. I would prefer to find someone I liked and just get to know them better, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. I’m very introverted, I prefer intimate settings, and after meeting a lot of people I feel exhausted and need to recharge with quiet and solitude. So it’s really difficult for me to understand extroversion; I read recently that introversion and extroversion are as different as masculinity and femininity, and there might be truth to that. A happy hour feels very hollow to me, I always walk away wondering whether I got anything out of it, and I don't understand how people manage to make real connections that way. If you consider yourself to have an extroverted personality, is this the kind of environment you like and why? What goal do you have going into it? I’m trying to figure out if it’s even possible for me to make friends this way, if our goals would be compatible enough for that. Or if I should focus on discovering some other path.
  10. Felicia Day

    I actually got to see her in person at PAX last weekend, she was at the Xbox booth. Unfortunately they didn’t turn her mic up enough, so I couldn’t hear a word. I first saw her in Dr. Horrible, but especially liked her in The Guild. She just comes off as very genuine, and of course she’s damn cute and funny.
  11. Happy Birthday to bborg

    Thank you! I had a great one.
  12. What is terrorism, really?

    I don’t believe that terrorism’s goal is any specific demands in themselves, except as a means to gaining control. You mention a great example, because one way violent Muslim groups could achieve American troop withdrawal is by not staging anymore attacks against Americans. As if that’s going to happen. The demands a terrorist group makes are incidental, that’s not what they really want. They use those demands to advance a false cause, to provoke sympathy as leverage over more powerful victims. So they make every effort to appear to be crusaders against the “occupiers”, which disarms their enemies. That's what will allow them to gradually further their actual cause, to spread Shariah. ELF works in a similar way, but they’ve recognized that for their group to get sympathy they need to stop at property damage. They’ll bomb buildings, but to prove that they are just underdogs fighting for a good cause and not really bad guys, they’ll be sure it’s empty first. Only monetary damages, so we’re good. Again, public opinion is very important if you’re trying to gain the upper hand over a foe that could crush you like an insect. They’re fighting to push us back into the caves, but they’ll do it by appearing to be conscientious defenders of the planet.
  13. What is terrorism, really?

    Ruveyn - fear yes, but I think more to the point, submission. It begins with the women, gays, and nonbelievers in their own society. But that’s not enough, because the lust for control and dominance is total, extending across the globe.  As for not wanting to eliminate their enemies, I think that depends. Remember that under Islam there are 3 paths to peace – conversion, submission, or death. They will destroy an enemy that refuses to submit.
  14. What is terrorism, really?

    I made the following post on my blog last year. I think it was one of my more interesting analyses, so I decided to repost here. While I usually focus on exploring domestic crime, a connection occurred to me that was worth writing about. -- What is terrorism, really? The word “terrorism” refers to acts of destruction used against groups to compel them to make changes in behavior or policies. Examples of terrorist groups range from the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) to Al Qaeda. The climate of terror during the aftermath of an attack, due in part to the trauma of victimization and also to the threat of future attacks, is intended to cow communities and leaders into submission. However, the use of fear to control others is not a tactic particular to “terrorism”, making the term a somewhat inappropriate identifier. Fear and intimidation are also used in acts such as kidnapping, ransoming, and rape. This fear might be used to extort money, favors, or silence and passivity from the victim. The common denominator is not any particular form of demand - which will vary by the offender - but the desire for the power to make those demands. When concerning rape this point is generally understood. The ultimate goal of the rapist is not sex, but the submission of the victim. According to the FBI's Crime Classification Manual, "for some rapists the need to humiliate and injure through aggression is the most salient feature of the offense, whereas for others the need to achieve sexual dominance is…" Stanton Samenow writes that, The victim's humiliation not only excites him, but serves as his protection. A humiliated and demoralized victim is less likely to report the crime or resist future attacks. As the goal of a rapist is the subjugation of an individual to his wishes, terrorists seek to subjugate a community, business or government to theirs. This is accomplished, as it is with rape, through a combination of physical attacks and intimidation. Understanding terrorist statements to the public One obstacle to understanding the motives of terrorists is that even when their violent actions are almost universally condemned, the grievances and demands they present usually resonate with the mission of some peaceable activists. This clash of values creates debate and mixed sympathies. And this is not accidental, but by design. Demands are used by terrorist groups to cast themselves as victims of their target's unjust policies. It is important to view any public statement made by terrorists not as the ultimate reason for their actions, but as an attempt in itself to assert moral superiority and diminish the confidence and moral certainty of their target. Essentially they attempt, as rapists do, to "reduce [their victim] to a quivering, pleading speck of humanity". This is pursued through public statements and even flyers containing moral denouncements of the target group. However for a moral denunciation to be effective, it must be rooted in a belief held by the victim. A rapist uses a woman’s insecurities against her. Denouncing her in the language of his own misogynistic world-view would be ineffective. Similarly, many times the grievances of terrorists are presented in a way to exploit moral controversy. For example, in The Al Qaeda Reader, Raymond Ibrahim analyzes and compares communications by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to audiences in Muslim countries and to audiences in the West. The narratives differ completely. Al Qaeda urges Muslim audiences to kill Americans as part of their duty to religious jihad. Religious scripture is quoted extensively to justify violence in the name of compelling infidels to submit to the word of Allah. The West, and America especially, are villainized because they dare to write their own laws, defying religious commandment. The government of Saudi Arabia is denounced as corrupt for its alliance with the secular US, and for allowing American presence on its holy soil. However if this reasoning had been directly communicated to the US and to American Muslims, it would have emboldened Americans to fight against a tyrannical ideology not unlike that of the Christian Church during the Dark Ages. Instead, bin Laden chose to confine his public rebuke to America’s military presence, its strikes against targets in the Middle East, and support for Israel - policies that have been the subject of serious controversy and public uncertainty in America for decades. While Al Qaeda certainly wishes the US to break its alliance with Israel, it was not expedient to also explain the underlying and much broader goal of spreading state Islam and subjugating or killing non-believers. Interestingly, the picture bin Laden painted of America is one of a despotic world bully, which seems hypocritical in light of his own support for the truly barbaric and brutal rule of the Taliban. It seems hypocritical, that is, unless you consider that public statements and propaganda issued by Al Qaeda are intended to advance its goals as much as any planned attack. A victim who feels guilty, who believes he is responsible for the attacks against him, will lack the strength to resist. Terrorists are not freedom fighters It is sometimes said that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", suggesting that the actions of a terrorist could be viewed as monstrous or heroic depending on the side one is on. Following 9/11 the question ringing in the air was, "why do they hate us?" Perhaps projecting their own experience and morality onto our attackers, some (such as Ron Paul) believed that the attacks were retaliation for American policies violating freedoms in the Muslim world. However, terrorists do not act to advance their own freedoms, but to deny the freedoms of others. They are not fighting for the betterment of their lives, but for power over the lives of others. Certainly they represent a "side", but theirs is the side of rapists and dictators who thrill in breaking the spirit of their victims.
  15. Since this is something I’ve had a lot of trouble with myself, I have a couple thoughts about not letting the uncertainty get to you. I don’t think it’s really important that you know what she’s thinking moment to moment, and if you start taking cues from her behavior every action will be riddled with questions about whether you’re interpreting her correctly. That’s an easy way to lose confidence. And I don’t think it helps to wonder whether you’re being tested or whether she is just mixed up. It probably isn’t possible to know until later, which means that question doesn’t give you any information to use now. The knowledge you do have access to is whether you’re observing values in her you find attractive, whether you’re enjoying your time with her, and whether you want more from the relationship. I think being self-aware is really the key to confident action. I’ve made two kinds of errors that were based on not having that focus: either second-guessing my behavior because I was reacting rather than acting, and pursuing potential that wasn’t there because I was acting from fantasy instead of the situation in front of me. From what I’ve observed of other people, those are common problems…