February 2014

An OCD Diaries Vacation

by Bill Brenner February 22, 2014 Uncategorized

Just a quick note that there will be no fresh posts here for the next week. Don’t worry, nothing’s wrong. I’ll simply be at a big security event and will be plenty busy there. Until then, peace be with you all. ūüôā

Cancer: Faces of Bravery, Faces of Fear

by Bill Brenner February 21, 2014 Courage

The photos tell the tale clearly.¬†Beth Whaanga, mother of four, has been through hell. She has the scars to prove it. And when she decided to show the world, people on Facebook unfriended her. Mood music: Whaanga has been in a long and brutal battle against cancer. Multiple surgeries have left her body mangled, though when fully clothed, the scars are hidden. She chose to reveal those scars in a photo series called “Under the…  [Read More]

The Courage of Brian Krebs

by Bill Brenner February 20, 2014 Courage

Brian Krebs has been kind enough to compliment me on this blog a few times, telling me I have courage for writing about the demons. Today I celebrate Krebs’ courage, which is far more formidable than anything I could ever hope to possess. Mood music: For years at The Washington Post (which foolishly cut him loose) and more recently through Krebs on Security, the man has relentlessly investigated online crime and written scores of groundbreaking…  [Read More]

Cancer Can’t Stop the Almighty Cashdollar

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2014 Inspiration

A friend and colleague announced via Facebook and Twitter that he has thyroid cancer. Larry Cashdollar — an Akamai security researcher I like to call “The Almighty Cashdollar” — was tested a few weeks ago, and I know he’s been worried. Now, at least, he knows what he’s up against. Mood music: He wrote: I have thyroid #cancer. I’ve been waiting for the last week for my biopsy results and the doctor called today. ‚ÄĒ…  [Read More]

Exploiting Tate-LaBianca Murders for Fun and Profit?

by Bill Brenner February 18, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

Y’all know I’ve long been obsessed about the Tate-LaBianca murders. But let’s be clear: All those stories about the spirits of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring haunting a house a few doors down from where the murders took place? I don’t buy any of it. Mood music: The claim has been made by David Oman, whose home has been the subject of a Ghost Hunters episode and several other news reports. Oman has been all…  [Read More]

A Birthday Message to Colin

by Bill Brenner February 13, 2014 Children's issues

A mom from¬†Kalamazoo, Mich., created a¬†Facebook page¬†for her son called “Happy Birthday Colin.” She did so after he told her he had no friends to invite to his upcoming birthday celebration. Colin has issues that are similar to autism, though his specific diagnoses are not yet public. Given my youngest son’s challenges on that front — not to mention my own — this squeezed my heart. What follows is an open letter to Colin. Mood…  [Read More]

The Danger of False Memories

by Bill Brenner February 12, 2014 The stormy past

Since this blog is part memoir, I worry about misremembering the past when I write about it. I’m obsessed with truth and recall things to the best of my recollection. But I know that for every memory I share, someone out there will remember things differently. A Daily Beast article reminds me that I’m right to be obsessive about honesty. Mood music: The article notes how terrifyingly easy it is for therapists and investigators to…  [Read More]

An Anxiety Attack

by Bill Brenner February 11, 2014 Fear and anxiety

Friday afternoon I didn’t feel right. It was as if an anvil had been strapped to my chest. Breathing was labored. My face had that pins-and-needles sensation. I had to use the bathroom a couple times in short sequence. I’m pretty sure it was an anxiety attack. Mood music: I used to get them all the time, and overcoming them has been a central theme of this blog. I’ve largely controlled the attacks with Prozac…  [Read More]

Angry with CVS for Dropping Cigarettes? Smoke Another One

by Bill Brenner February 10, 2014 Uncategorized

When CVS Pharmacy announced it would stop selling tobacco products last week, most people were either supportive or indifferent. Then there were a few suggesting the chain is a loyal foot soldier of the so-called nanny state; telling people what they can and can’t buy. Mood music: Most of the discontent is over at Fox News, where¬†The Real Story host Gretchen Carlson asked her guests, “Is it¬†OK¬†legally¬†…¬†to restrict tobacco availability in a private store like…  [Read More]

Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful” Ad and Misplaced Outrage

by Bill Brenner February 6, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

I finally got around to watching the Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful” ad that made so many people angry. So now I ask you: What’s the big deal? I usually avoid debates about immigration and whether people should learn to speak English in order to live here. There’s no winning debates like that. It’s a classic liberal vs. conservative argument. Those who feel strongly one way or the other are set in their views and will…  [Read More]