January 2011

A Conversation With Dad

by Bill Brenner January 31, 2011 Family

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my father, who is in hospice care. One of the twisted blessings of him being near the end of his life is that he’s opening up more freely than he ever has. One such conversation goes to show that things you see as a kid don’t always match up with what’s really going on. Mood music: Like a lot of families, we’ve hit our financial walls over the years and a…  [Read More]

Coming Down The Mountain

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2011 Depression

So here I am, back in my favorite living room chair, the kids playing with Legos in front of me. I missed these guys and I missed Erin. It’s good to be home. Too bad I’m feeling down. Mood music: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm2Z9Mr9Ilw&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] It’s not my family’s fault. I get this way after traveling sometimes. The ShmooCon conference was terrific and it was good to see a lot of security friends. But I also pushed myself to…  [Read More]

Hackers Are People Too

by Bill Brenner January 29, 2011 Communication skills for the crazy

Written after ShmooCon 2011… I have a bit of an anti-social streak in me tonight. Since I’m at a hacker conference in D.C., some might say I fit right in. But then those people have a narrow, bullshit view of the hacker community. For those not educated in the ways of the hacker crowd, you have the good guys, who break stuff so it can be fixed and made more ironclad so the bad-guy hackers…  [Read More]

Depressed But OK With It

by Bill Brenner January 28, 2011 Coping tools

Actually, I’m not going through a wave of depression right now. But it does come and go and I’ve had to learn how to be OK with it. A new friend who found this blog told me she’s struggling with the concept. This post is directed toward her. It’s my attempt to answer some questions she asked me about it. Mood music: [spotify:track:3p7XSsT6AFs9lCkv6FtLbj] You mentioned that you have frequent bouts of depression medication and therapy…  [Read More]

Mental Illness and Cybersecurity

by Bill Brenner January 28, 2011 Communication skills for the crazy

I want to flag you all to a post I just wrote in my security blog, Salted Hash, on CSOonline.com. It’s based on the opening talk at the ShmooCon security conference in Washington D.C. The speaker, Marsh Ray, uses the fragile mental condition as the basis of a talk called “A paranoid schizophrenia-based model of data security.” The post I wrote could easily work as a post in this blog. But the most appropriate audience…  [Read More]

Never Trust a Sushi Place Built into a CVS

by Bill Brenner January 28, 2011 For travelers

Last night was one of those dinner experiences that tests someone in my type of addiction recovery program. The scene: I’ve just checked into my hotel room in Washington D.C., where I’m attending the ShmooCon security conference. I venture downstairs in search of dinner. I run into a group of friends from the security industry and they invite me out with them for dinner. I’m glad to see them and I’m hungry, so I accept….  [Read More]

Somewhere in New Jersey

by Bill Brenner January 27, 2011 For travelers

Last time I made the drive from Boston to D.C., we got lost in New Jersey (See: A New Jersey State of Rage). Mood music: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6_bp97glBw&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] This time I’m not driving, so we’ll probably be fine this time. We’re 8-plus hours into the journey. It was a slow start with the snowstorm, but we seem to be going at a good clip now. Google Maps says we have about 5 hours to go until we…  [Read More]

We Have Lift-off

by Bill Brenner January 27, 2011 For travelers

Aboard the ShmooBus en route to Washington D.C. for the ShmooCon security conference. In a snowstorm. What could possibly go wrong? So far, so good, though. I got shoveled out and my friend Jack Daniel got the RV to me. Let this character-building exercise begin! And to think a few years ago this type of adventure would have reduced me to a pile of water. If you live with fear, anxiety and depression, let this…  [Read More]

A Family Both Sick AND Inspiring

by Bill Brenner January 26, 2011 Uncategorized

A friend from work was telling me the other day about one of his relatives, who is always ready to tell him about all her daily medical problems. I was ready to laugh. Then I realized I used to do the same thing. This post is about me and family members who always had trouble keeping our illnesses to ourselves. It’s also a post about my cousin Melanie, who has every reason to do the…  [Read More]

Even in Sobriety, Life Must Go On

by Bill Brenner January 26, 2011 Addiction

I’ve been posting lately about some of the dysfunction I encounter among people in AA and OA. I name no names, because our anonymity is vital. But some things are worth a rant or two. Mood music: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpzIlWIF24k&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] I’ve ranted about folks who shove passages from the AA big book down my throat even when it’s obvious that they’re still messed up (See: Readings from the Book of Crap). I’ve also ranted about folks who…  [Read More]