December 2013

Quoted in Forbes Again

by Bill Brenner December 19, 2013 Adventures in writing

For the second time this year, I’m quoted in a Forbes article. Cheryl Snapp Conner and Tom Lowery have been too kind. 🙂 The earlier story was about how mental illness can actually make people stronger in their jobs. The latest is an article called “Fifty Shades of Effort: The Writer’s Life, and Why We Choose It.” In it, I talk about why I started writing the OCD Diaries, and what, in general, continues to fuel my passion for writing.

Paying It Forward

by Bill Brenner December 19, 2013 Inspiration

Lately I’ve been doing profiles on people who inspire me. Last week, it was Trey Ford. This week, it’s Microsoft senior security strategist Katie Moussouris. I’m doing so because they deserve the honors. But it’s all part of a bigger strategy. Mood music: As I’ve noted before, my emotions this time of year tend to tilt toward the negative, and I’m definitely feeling depressed and prickly lately. Though I’ve overcome a lot, I still get a huge shot…  [Read More]

Katie Moussouris: Profile in Fortitude

by Bill Brenner December 18, 2013 Inspiration

Friends in the information security community continue to inspire me. Last week, it was Trey Ford. This week, it’s Microsoft senior security strategist Katie Moussouris. Mood music: Katie has had a huge year at Microsoft and in the wider security industry. After a seemingly eternal push, she succeeded in getting a bug bounty program off the ground, ensuring that the software giant will find and patch many more security holes than it has before. She traveled the globe nonstop,…  [Read More]

You Can’t Fight Depression with Unicorns and Rainbows

by Bill Brenner December 17, 2013 Adventures in writing

In recent days I’ve watched an interesting online discussion about depression and bipolar disorder. One one side is author and speaker Natasha Tracy, whose writing pulls no punches about the dark side of such maladies. On the other side is a blogger named Sarah Ryan. She believes the approach to addressing the subject should be uplifting and sunny. The truth is somewhere in between, in my opinion. But I must say that the sunshine part…  [Read More]

Depressed Web Servers and Other Amusing 404 Pages

by Bill Brenner December 16, 2013 Lighthearted

I write a lot about my own episodes of depression and that of others. But I’ve never written about a web server suffering from it. That is, until the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) gave me reason to do so. The students got creative with a 404 File Not Found page. Instead of the usual 404, you get a depressed web server going on and on…  [Read More]

Rock and Metal Christmas Songs

by Bill Brenner December 12, 2013 Music therapy

I dislike most rock ‘n roll Christmas songs. The Kinks asking Father Christmas for money? Not a fan. Billy Squier singing that Christmas is a time to say I love you? Hate it. I love those artists, just not those songs. Though I’m a heavy metal fan, I have to admit Christmas songs of that genre aren’t much better. But occasionally, rock and metal musicians manage to pull off something special — songs done so magically…  [Read More]

You’re a Good Man, Trey Ford

by Bill Brenner December 11, 2013 Gratitude

As most of my friends in the information security community know, one of our own — Trey Ford — got left out in the cold last week when Black Hat’s powers that be decided they no longer needed a general manager to handle their annual summer conference. He’s following the proven path of seeking new job leads on the social networks. But he’s doing something else that makes him worthy of mention here. Mood music:…  [Read More]

“A Christmas Story” Made It OK to Be Weird

by Bill Brenner December 10, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Sunday, I settled in with Erin and the kids for our annual viewing of A Christmas Story. Like everyone else, I have my 10-15 favorite lines: “It was… soap poisoning!” “Notafinga!” “You used up all the glue … on purpose!” But those lines, as much as I enjoy them, are not why I consider this movie so special. The main reason is that the movie made it OK to have strange thoughts. Mood video: When…  [Read More]

So Many Appointments, So Little Sanity

by Bill Brenner December 9, 2013 Depression

This year’s seasonal depression comes with a twist. It’s not necessarily something new, but it’s something I’m more aware of these days: The calendar is filled with too many appointments. Mood music: When you have kids and a busy job, a lot of running around is expected. Lately, though, it seems like running around is all I do. Last week was a pretty good example: A medical appointment for me, two for Duncan (his therapist…  [Read More]

The OCD Diaries, Four Years Later

by Bill Brenner December 5, 2013 Adventures in writing

This weekend marks four years since I woke up in a funk and started this blog on a whim, figuring I’d at least feel better if I spilled my guts. It did the trick. But in the years since that day, it has become something far bigger than I could have imagined at the time. Mood music: I didn’t expect so many people to connect with the writing. I figured it would be no big…  [Read More]