July 2013

Heavy Metal Is Good For You

by Bill Brenner July 27, 2013 Coping tools

I’ve written at length about how Heavy Metal music is one of my most important coping tools. It has gotten me through just about all of life’s difficulties and is a daily source of strength. A friend sent me an article that really drives home the point. Mood music: I just got done reading “Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal” and co-author Jon Wiederhorn has expanded on his view that the music is…  [Read More]

An #InfoSec Burnout Survey

by Bill Brenner July 26, 2013 Depression

As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of The Information Technology Burnout Project, created by friends in the security community to addresses something most of us experience at one point or another: work-induced depression. A friend who is part of that effort, Dan Ward, is exploring the possibility of conducting a professionally-proctored Areas of Worklife Survey and Maslach Burnout Indicator survey. In his blog, Ward writes: In an effort to continue our understanding of burnout in the…  [Read More]

Annoyed by the Royal Baby Watch? Get Over It

by Bill Brenner July 25, 2013 Uncategorized

People have been glued to their TVs this week watching all the news coverage about the birth of a new British royal. I wasn’t one of them, because frankly I couldn’t care less. I have camping to do, and then a business trip to prepare for. At the same time, I can’t understand why so many people were complaining on the social networks about those who were hooked on the baby watch. Mood music: The…  [Read More]

The Problem With That ‘Crazy Wife’ Video

by Bill Brenner July 24, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

A man decided to record his wife freaking out. Now it’s a YouTube sensation and the subject of a post on Gawker, a site seemingly dedicated to shit like this. People are gleefully talking about how bat-shit crazy this woman is. I’m here to rain on their parade. http://youtu.be/1JZZWA_sjJw This video seems to be real, but it’s getting harder to trust what you see on the Internet these days. Under the premise that this video…  [Read More]

Dennis Wilson and the Manson Family

by Bill Brenner July 23, 2013 Depression

As someone long fascinated by the Manson Murders case, I’ve taken a special interest in the late Dennis Wilson, drummer of The Beach Boys and one-time friend of Charles Manson. His time with Manson scarred his mind and soul for the rest of his life, something that’s evident if you listen to the entirety of his solo album from the ’70s, Pacific Ocean Blue. The story of Dennis Wilson is an extreme case study in…  [Read More]

The Importance of Family in a Family Business

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2013 Family

For as long as I can remember, it hung on the wall outside the front offices of the family business, right next to the timecards: a memorial plaque for the company’s founder, the man I’m named for: William J. Brenner. I always found the plaque somewhat disconcerting to look at because there was my full name and the “In Memory of …” I’ve gotten creeped out in similar fashion whenever I’ve visited the grave. Mood music:…  [Read More]

“Rolling Stone” Outrage and the Bandwagon Mentality

by Bill Brenner July 18, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence; nor is the law less stable than the fact. —John Adams, Summation, Rex v Wemms (1770) I wasn’t planning a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the Rolling Stone cover story on Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Then I saw all the outrage and realized there was more to…  [Read More]

“Rolling Stone” Bomber Cover Sparks Outrage, But Why?

by Bill Brenner July 17, 2013 Crime and punishment

Before I deliver what will surely be an unpopular opinion, let me note the following: The Boston Marathon bombings happened on my home turf. That day, I was sickened by the video replays, scenes of people without limbs and word that one of the victims was an 8-year-old boy. I was as full of satisfaction as everyone else a few nights later, when one of the bombers was hunted down and captured. Mood music: Several friends were at the…  [Read More]

Let’s Talk About Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner July 16, 2013 Mental disorders

An old friend and former workmate, Steve Repsys, has started a new community on Facebook called Let’s Talk About Mental Illness. If you have ever suffered from a mental disorder, I urge you to join and participate in the discussion. Mood music: I first met Steve nearly 16 years ago when I started my run as editor of the weekly newspaper The Billerica Minuteman. He had just started as a reporter. Neither of us knew at…  [Read More]

Work-Life Balance in the 21st Century

by Bill Brenner July 15, 2013 Work-life balance

A friend noted the other day that he actually gets annoyed about holidays and mandatory paid time off because he simply loves his work and would rather keep at it each day. He’s not an all-work-no-play kind of guy, either. He’s a dedicated weight lifter, traveler, music lover and bee keeper, all things that require time away from the computer. I see some of myself in his outlook on life. I too love what I…  [Read More]