April 2015

The 15-Year-Old As An Artist

by Bill Brenner April 30, 2015 Art therapy

I found something interesting in a box of art in my father’s office — an oil painting I did when I was 13, and some drawings I did when I was around 15. I’m guessing 15, because all the drawings capture my love at the time for Motley Crue. Based on the costumes, I’d say these were done around the time of the band’s “Theater of Pain” album, which came out in 1985. I’ll just…  [Read More]

A Bedside Conversation with Dad

by Bill Brenner April 30, 2015 Family

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my father, who is in hospice care. One of the twisted blessings of him being near the end of his life is that he’s opening up more than he ever has. One such conversation goes to show that things you see as a kid don’t always match up with what’s really going on. Mood music: Like a lot of families, we’ve hit our financial walls over the years and a few…  [Read More]

My Introduction to Hospice Care

by Bill Brenner April 28, 2015 Family

I’ve heard much about the blessings of hospice care, but I hadn’t seen it firsthand until now. After four years of illness, my father has decided he’s fought long enough and has chosen hospice care for the endgame. Mood music: We visited him Saturday, and he looked and sounded better than he has in a long, long time. He was alert, his talking was clear, and he was smiling the whole time. He’s made his…  [Read More]

Post #RSAC 2015: Coming Down the Mountain Syndrome

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2015 Depression

It’s the Saturday after RSA Conference 2015. I spent most of Friday sleeping and have been off balance today. I know from past experience that depression is next. Not clinical depression, mind you. It’s more like what seasoned conference travelers call “ConFlu.” Mood music: I actually call this Coming Down the Mountain Syndrome, and it arrives every year like clockwork. In my industry RSA is one of the biggest conferences of the year. Months of planning…  [Read More]

Two Days, Three Shitty Anniversaries And One Bloody Month

by Bill Brenner April 19, 2015 Crime and punishment

Today — April 19, and tomorrow, April 20 — we have a trio of tragedies to remember. Full disclosure: I’m about to steal liberally from Wikipedia. April 19, 1993: Waco, Texas The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), accompanied by several members of the media, attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel,…  [Read More]

When Life and Death Dance on Eggshells

by Bill Brenner April 15, 2015 Life and Death

I mentioned yesterday that my father is bedridden and that things aren’t looking good. I’ve lost count of how many times in the last four years we’ve gathered as a family, thinking he was at the end. Each time he’s bounced back, like some unseen force keeps pulling him back for a few more rounds. Mood music: When I visited him last Sunday, he was too tired to talk much. He just wanted to sleep….  [Read More]

When the Worry Machine Takes You to Dark Places

by Bill Brenner April 14, 2015 Dealing with life

My father and aunt aren’t doing well. Dad is bedridden, a series of strokes and heart attacks having taken their toll. My aunt is in the hospital unable to do anything more than utter a stray word after having her own stroke. And so continues a sick game, where we try guessing how much longer they’ll be with us, who will go first, etc. That’s the game I’m playing anyway. When you’re like me and…  [Read More]

The Women at RSA Conference 2015

by Bill Brenner April 7, 2015 Infosec

Renowned writer Violet Blue recently noted that the speaking agenda at RSA Conference 2015 includes only five women and only one of which is a security practitioner: 25 RSA keynotes. Of the 5 women, 1 has “security” in her bio (she works @ RSA), 3 are there to talk about children. http://t.co/corEpuujh7 — Violet Blue ® (@violetblue) March 27, 2015 At least one person on Twitter felt it was an unfair observation; that there’s nothing wrong…  [Read More]

The Burden of Being Upright, Part 2

by Bill Brenner April 6, 2015 Mental health

I’ve written a lot about the frustrations that come with trying to be a good man when you carry so much baggage. The burden of being upright is something we all carry, but it’s really been weighing on me of late. Mood music: This isn’t a pity party. But I’ve learned over the years that listing my issues and what I’m doing about them can help put them into perspective for me and can encourage…  [Read More]

Crosses Suck. But It’s What We Do With ‘Em That Counts

by Bill Brenner April 5, 2015 Faith

Crosses aren’t nice things. We all have them. But they make us who we are. Mood music: Jesus carried his Cross to redeem the world. The way we carry our Crosses define us. We can complain that we are victims and that God is cruel. Or we can carry our Crosses like Jesus did, and turn adversity into strength. We can learn from our suffering and strive each day to be a blessing to others….  [Read More]