For travelers

Wherein I Run Afoul Of The U.S. Secret Service

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

My resolve against the inner demons is tested regularly. Some are little tests, like being put in a room with all the food and alcohol I once binged on daily to see if I can resist the temptation. Some are bigger tests, like getting lost en route to Washington D.C a few years ago with my wife and kids in the car. Getting lost in a car used to be the stuff my anxiety attacks were made…  [Read More]

Packing For #RSAC and #BSidesSF 2013: An OCD Case Study

by Bill Brenner February 22, 2013 For travelers

I’m preparing to pack for five days in San Francisco, where I’ll be writing about goings on at RSA Conference 2013 and Security B-Sides. When you have OCD, packing a suitcase is as ritualistic as the compulsive hand washing you’ve heard about. Mood music: Before I had the OCD under control, packing was an all-day affair. I’d line up all my pants, shirts, socks, suit coats and accessories in order of the days I planned…  [Read More]

How To Avoid Becoming #RSAC Roadkill

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2013 Coping tools

Last year was a first: I had a stay-at-home vacation a week before flying out to a big conference. We took the kids to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and did a lot of relaxing. It worked so well I’m doing it again. Mood music: The kids are on their February school vacation, which was my main reason for choosing this week. That it fell the week before RSA — one of the…  [Read More]

Airport Observations

by Bill Brenner March 1, 2012 For travelers

When traveling, I enjoy people watching — especially in airports. Some observations from the Virgin America terminal in San Francisco… Mood music: –The TSA lady who frisked the young woman with two kids in tow seemed to be enjoying herself a bit much. The mom stared stoically into space while her kids got a first-class education on freedom and privacy in America. –The line at the Peet’s Coffee stand is about a quarter mile, and…  [Read More]

THE OCD DIARIES, Two Years Later

by Bill Brenner December 7, 2011 Addiction

Two years ago today, in a moment of Christmas-induced depression, I started this blog. I meant for it to be a place where I could go and spill out the insanity in my head so I could carry on with life. In short order, it snowballed into much more than that. Mood music: About a year into my recovery from serious mental illness and addiction — the most uncool, unglamorous addiction at that — I started…  [Read More]

Slaying Old Fears In The Hollywood Hills

by Bill Brenner November 30, 2011 Addiction

This week I’ve been in Los Angeles on business. But I’ve been slaying some old demons while here. Mood music: Let’s go back 20 years — July 1991 — when I came out here with Sean Marley on my first trip to the west coast. I didn’t really want to go because I was afraid of everything and everyone. But Sean was red hot about the idea, and back then I was always out to impress the man. So off we went, on…  [Read More]

Learn From My Mistakes

by Bill Brenner November 4, 2011 Addiction

In all my efforts to get sane a few years ago, I did a lot of stupid things. I’m sharing it with you here so you don’t make the same mistakes: Mood music: –Don’t try to control your compulsive binge eating problem by fasting. You won’t make it through the morning, and then you’ll binge like you’ve never binged before. –Don’t mix alcohol with pills that have the strength of four Advil tablets in…  [Read More]

The Way Of The Broken Soul

by Bill Brenner October 11, 2011 Courage

I went to see “The Way” with Erin and saw a lot of myself in the characters. You’d see a lot of yourself, too. Mood music: The summary of the film is this (stolen from IMDb): Tom is an American doctor who goes to France following the death of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees during a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James. Tom’s purpose is…  [Read More]

Call It An Allergy And Walk Away

by Bill Brenner September 22, 2011 Addiction

If someone offers me a drink and I tell them I’m sober, they accept it and that’s that. If I’m offered food that doesn’t fit my recovery program for compulsive binge eating, I can’t say it that way without getting odd stares. This is something all compulsive binge eaters deal with in society — a big, ugly lack of understanding that destructive addictive behavior takes on many forms, and that food can be as destructive…  [Read More]

A Zombie’s 10-Step Guide To Productivity And Effectiveness When Traveling

by Bill Brenner September 20, 2011 For travelers

It happens whenever I go on business trips: I stay up far later than I normally would (it was past midnight before I crashed last night) but I’m still back on my feet by 5 a.m. Fortunately, I’ve developed a system for getting through the morning. Step 1: Take the weak-ass hotel coffee that room service just delivered and mix in a packet of Starbucks Via. The resulting concoction will get you half way to…  [Read More]