October 2014

The Fat Guy on the Plane

by Bill Brenner October 30, 2014 Dealing with life

An online posting about a guy who supposedly had to suffer through a flight sitting next to an obese man has gone viral. Like many things that go viral online, it’s bullshit. Mood music: Rich Wisken blogged that he paid an extra £13.50 for an exit-row seat, expecting to travel from Perth to Sydney with plenty of room. But he found himself seated beside an obese man. Wisken said “Jabba the Hutt” smelled like old cheese…  [Read More]

In InfoSec, Fear Shouldn’t Be a Barrier

by Bill Brenner October 29, 2014 Fear and anxiety

As some of you know, I’ve been deliberately signing up for uncomfortable, even scary tasks at work. Not scary in the grand scheme of normal life, but they are things a guy with a journalistic background doesn’t come to easily. This time I’m managing an incident management schedule. Managing schedules in any form is something I suck at, so it’s appropriate that this responsibility has crashed into my wheelhouse. Mood music: Truth be told, I…  [Read More]

Dissecting EddieTheYeti

by Bill Brenner October 28, 2014 Coping tools

A few months ago I told you about an artist from the security community named Eddie Mize, a.k.a. EddieTheYeti. I identified with his use of artistic expression as a way to cope with inner demons. Since then, we’ve gotten to know each other better. Mood music: I’ve used his art to illustrate several posts in this blog. At DEF CON in August, his art exhibit was one of the more popular attractions, and he kindly…  [Read More]

The Good and Evil in Every Religion

by Bill Brenner October 27, 2014 Faith

Recent beheadings at the hands of ISIS have caused a spike in news-show rhetoric about the need to profile those who look like Muslims as a way to stop terrorists. My Facebook feed is frequently overrun with talk about how Islam is a savage and evil religion. We’re doing what we do best when scared: painting entire groups and faiths with the same bigoted brush. Mood music: I understand the anger. I absolutely loathe ISIS. Every…  [Read More]

A Terrible Chapter Closes in Blackstone

by Bill Brenner October 23, 2014 Children's issues

A few weeks ago I posted about the terrible story in Blackstone, Mass., where children where found to be living in a house of absolute squalor. Police found four children, two of which were covered in feces and hidden from the world. A police search turned up the remains of three dead infants and dead animals. Those who went in the house said they will never forget the smell. Tuesday, the town demolished the house….  [Read More]

Ebola and the Disease of Hyperbole

by Bill Brenner October 22, 2014 Fear and anxiety

For weeks, the main cable news stations have been obsessed with Ebola. While the appearance of Ebola in the U.S. is certainly new, I think the bigger problem is a disease that has dogged us since the dawn of TV news. Hyperbole. Mood music: There’s no disputing that Ebola is a fearsome disease. The symptoms are brutal and the death rate is high. It’s been a problem mainly for Africa until recently, when a couple of…  [Read More]

On Being the Office Jerk

by Bill Brenner October 21, 2014 Dealing with life

Every office environment has its challenges. There are always colleagues who see the world differently from you. There are always situations that require extra work hours to address. Nothing is ever perfect. Knowing that, in recent years I’ve worked hard to be the cheerful guy in whatever office I work in, the one who always smiles, never talks badly about others and always keeps a can-do attitude. But when my OCD runs hot, I become…  [Read More]

Just Showing Up Is a Victory

by Bill Brenner October 16, 2014 Dealing with life

My friends, I’m not going to lie to you: Life seems mighty hard lately. It’s not an illusion: life is hard for all of us. But these last few weeks have been the most difficult I’ve experienced in ages, with one work crisis or health debacle after the next. Mood music: These moments used to give me cravings for dark, quiet rooms with a bed or couch, where I could binge eat, smoke, drink and…  [Read More]

A Vulnerable Soul, a Big Mountain and a Bigger Lesson

by Bill Brenner October 15, 2014 Dealing with life

After weeks of feeling exhausted, depressed and out of control, I escaped to New Hampshire’s White Mountains with Erin for some rest, relaxation, romance, and hiking. We found all those things, but I also found myself humbled and shamed when hiking up the mountains. Mood music: After a back injury, job stresses and the breakdown of my food plan, I knew I was out of shape when we started up Mt. Willard in Crawford Notch….  [Read More]

The Day the Devil Beat Me

by Bill Brenner October 14, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I haven’t posted in a while for two reasons: One, I’ve been burned out. Two, I needed time to describe what it’s like to slide back into old habits. Mood music: It seems I’ve spent so much time writing about my recovery from binge eating and other addictive behaviors that I forgot what it was like to be back on the other side — where recovery gives way to failure and the fallen is left feeling…  [Read More]