February 2013

Putting Up The ‘Away’ Message

by Bill Brenner February 23, 2013 Uncategorized

Due to a business trip this coming week, I’m taking a break from new posts. I’ll be writing up a storm in my Salted Hash security blog on CSOonline, so if you’re interested in the subject matter, drop on by. Have a fantastic week. –Bill

This Time, Anxiety Won

by Bill Brenner February 23, 2013 Fear and anxiety

A confession: This past week, I’ve done a miserable job using my many coping tools to manage OCD and anxiety. What makes this particularly sinister is that I’ve just finished a week of vacation with the kids. Mood music: [spotify:track:5sSXTZeLV25Byz0ryxoc4O] Everything I’ve told you in past posts about learning to enjoy the precious present and not let worry take over is true. Weeks like this simply drive home the reality that I can never be…  [Read More]

Packing For #RSAC and #BSidesSF 2013: An OCD Case Study

by Bill Brenner February 22, 2013 For travelers

I’m preparing to pack for five days in San Francisco, where I’ll be writing about goings on at RSA Conference 2013 and Security B-Sides. When you have OCD, packing a suitcase is as ritualistic as the compulsive hand washing you’ve heard about. Mood music: Before I had the OCD under control, packing was an all-day affair. I’d line up all my pants, shirts, socks, suit coats and accessories in order of the days I planned…  [Read More]

A New Addiction Takes Hold

by Bill Brenner February 21, 2013 Music therapy

During my vacation this week, I’ve been playing a lot of guitar. I picked the instrument back up over the summer after a 20-year break, and I haven’t looked back. My addictive personality has latched onto it like a starving lamprey. But it may be one of the best outlets I’ve ever had for calming the mind. Mood music: [spotify:track:56oTnXlr7xFw2lmoi3g0o3] I now own two electric guitars and an acoustic. I’ve acquired a Marshall amp and…  [Read More]

Mindy McCready and the ‘Celebrity Rehab’ Curse

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2013 Addiction

CNN doesn’t say so directly, but in its follow-up coverage of country singer Mindy McCready’s death, it suggests that those who appear on Celebrity Rehab are cursed. Mood music: [spotify:track:1mvEbRAlocvkJvqZIj3zHu] The report notes that McCready is the fifth Celebrity Rehab alum to die in the last two years. She follows former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, Real World cast member Joey Kovar, Grease actor Jeff Conaway and Rodney King, who had been beaten by police in 1991, to the grave. McCready’s…  [Read More]

How To Avoid Becoming #RSAC Roadkill

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2013 Coping tools

Last year was a first: I had a stay-at-home vacation a week before flying out to a big conference. We took the kids to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and did a lot of relaxing. It worked so well I’m doing it again. Mood music: The kids are on their February school vacation, which was my main reason for choosing this week. That it fell the week before RSA — one of the…  [Read More]

What’s Your Phobia?

by Bill Brenner February 18, 2013 Fear and anxiety

I’ve recently come across a couple of interesting phobia lists, and being the OCD head I am, I decided to carefully go through the lists to see which applied to me. Mood music: [spotify:track:2b9lp5A6CqSzwOrBfAFhof] The Phobia List is a straight-up dictionary of phobias, in alphabetical order. Here are some of the phobias that have applied to me at various points: Agateophobia: The fear of insanity. Who’s not afraid of insanity? Aviophobia or aviatophobia: The fear…  [Read More]

Why I Skipped #ShmooCon — Again

by Bill Brenner February 16, 2013 Family

Like last year, a lot of people have asked me why I’m not at the ShmooCon security conference in Washington D.C. After all, it is one of my favorite events. Mood music: [spotify:track:3xMZrNrfyKUUqQVtoR13ml] Simply put, it’s too close to the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco the week after next. Being away from home for multiple days for two weeks inside a month is simply more than my family can handle these days. Last year…  [Read More]

If You Saw It on Facebook, It’s Probably a Lie

by Bill Brenner February 14, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

People on Facebook love to get all self-righteous. That’s fine by me, as long as the emotion is based on truth. The problem these days is that people are increasingly gullible, accepting memes as gospel when they are in fact bullshit. Mood music: [spotify:track:1lnRSUq00nBW9fpNeICZQN] One example is a picture of a letter reported to be written by a U.S. service man claiming, essentially, that Starbucks hates soldiers and won’t let them have their coffee. The…  [Read More]

Truth in Advertising at the Heart Attack Grill?

by Bill Brenner February 13, 2013 Food

I admit to some laughter when I read the news that John Alleman, unofficial spokesman and mascot for Las Vegas’ infamous Heart Attack Grill, dropped dead of a heart attack outside the restaurant. “Talk about truth in advertising,” I thought to myself. Then I felt like an asshole. Mood music: [spotify:track:4dIv6OPKSfGNfWuhv1hEDV] Finding humor in someone’s death is bad enough, but I could have easily been this guy. Frankly, I still could be. The Heart Attack Grill…  [Read More]