August 2015

The Most Important Skill to Deal with Life

by Bill Brenner August 31, 2015 Coping tools

I’m trying to teach my kids to be flexible. Like me, both are obsessive planners. Just yesterday, my older son was telling me he’d been planning out his entire school year right to the last day. My advice to him? Don’t get too locked into those plans. Mood music: I’m not trying to discourage careful planning. It’s good to plan; it keeps us organized. I find daily list making to be enormously helpful. I’m also…  [Read More]

Surviving the Persistence of Time

by Bill Brenner August 26, 2015 Dealing with life

Here I am at another birthday. I’ve been telling people I couldn’t care less this year. It’s been a rough summer with too much upheaval, too much grief. There’s not much to celebrate. But the truth is, I’m grateful to be here. Mood music: That I’m now in my mid 40s is surprising — in my mind, at least. When I was sick with Crohn’s Disease as a kid, I lost a lot of blood…  [Read More]

The Boy Inside the Man: An Inspirational Story

by Bill Brenner August 25, 2015 Adventures in writing

This blog is my personal tale. That it helps some people because they can relate to it was an unexpected bonus that I try to live up to. As part of that I will share personal tales from other people that have taught me a lot. The latest example is “Being ‘Whole’ Isn’t My Goal” by Paul Nobles. I don’t know Nobles personally, but the man captures things I relate to. He writes of things…  [Read More]

Why I’m Not Enjoying the Ashley Madison Hack

by Bill Brenner August 24, 2015 News

Because I have a happy marriage and am not the cheating type, I thought I’d enjoy the fallout over the Ashley Madison hack, in which millions of people using the adultery site were outed. One of the outed individuals was reality TV star Josh Duggar, a self-proclaimed devout Christian who preaches the virtues of family values. Everyone likes to see hypocrites fall, right? Mood music: I spent a lot of time pondering what I could write…  [Read More]

Skinny Like A Fool

by Bill Brenner August 22, 2015 Addiction

At dinner with friends one night, a conversation about weight control got started. It reminded me of how hard I used to work to stay thin, and how dangerous some of my methods were. Examples: –In my late teens, I got the bright idea that I could party and drink all I wanted on the weekends with no danger of weight gain if I starved myself during the week, often living on one cheese sandwich a…  [Read More]

This #BSidesLV 2015 Panel Captures How I Feel

by Bill Brenner August 14, 2015 Infosec

While I was away on vacation last week, some of my good friends in the InfoSec community did this panel at BSidesLV 2015. They discussed the importance of doing over talking, and captured the problem of trash talking in the community more eloquently than I have up to this point. The problems they touched upon are some of the things I found in myself when I wrote this post about the “InfoSec Rock Star” complex. Please…  [Read More]

Cut Mary Ann Davidson Some Slack

by Bill Brenner August 12, 2015 Infosec

These last two days the infosec community has been consumed by a blog post Oracle CSO Mary Ann Davidson wrote. In that post she railed against security researchers who reverse-engineer Oracle’s code and nudge the database giant with their vulnerability findings. (Oracle removed the post, but The Wayback Machine captured it and it’s been distributed far and wide anyway.) Mood music: Davidson argued that Oracle does just fine finding and fixing its vulnerabilities and that…  [Read More]

Emily Dickinson: Proof You Can Be a Happy Recluse?

by Bill Brenner August 12, 2015 Adventures in writing

Much has been written about the reclusive later years of poet Emily Dickinson. Eventually she rarely left her room, where she sat and wrote thousands of poems that didn’t see publication until years after her death. Mood music: During a tour of her house last week, people in the group speculated on why she wouldn’t leave the house in those years. Did she suffer a mental affliction or phobia? Probably. But whenever I look at…  [Read More]

The Sea Will Save You

by Bill Brenner August 11, 2015 Coping tools

During vacation last week, Erin and I visited Arrowhead, the home of author Herman Melville. I bought an illustrated copy of his most famous work, Moby-Dick and got a whole new appreciation for the opening paragraphs, which I hadn’t read since college. It’s where the character Ishmael says: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin…  [Read More]

I Was Like the Car at the End of “The Blues Brothers”

by Bill Brenner August 10, 2015 Lighthearted

On a recent Saturday, I slept a ton. It was all I could do to get up and use the bathroom or wash some dishes. It’s happened before, and the circumstances are always the same: For a couple months, I run hard with work projects and personal tasks. Then I arrive at the start of a vacation, and my body completely craps out. The other day it dawned on me that I’m a lot like Jake…  [Read More]