Metal Dad Scenarios

by Bill Brenner November 12, 2014 Parenting

As a metalhead and father of two children, I found this video amusing and, occasionally, a little bit too real.

Father’s Day Is for Kids

by Bill Brenner June 3, 2014 Parenting

A new LEGOLAND has opened in my neck of the woods, and I’m hell-bent on taking my kids there for Father’s Day. It’ll make it harder to see all the dads in my life that day, but I have good reason for wanting to do it. Simply put, I think Father’s Day should be more about the kids than me. I don’t want a day where I’m off the hook from my parental responsibilities. I want to celebrate…  [Read More]

To Duncan on His 14th Birthday

by Bill Brenner September 14, 2013 Children's issues

Note: I’ve often written notes to my kids on their birthday. This was originally written when Duncan turned 1o. An open letter to my second child on his 10th birthday… Mood Music: At 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2003, I was jolted awake by your mom shoving me in the shoulder. I had just gone to bed 45 minutes earlier, and I had had a lot of wine the night before. You weren’t expected for…  [Read More]

We’re All Lousy Parents. The Trick Is To Not Suck Too Much

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2013 Parenting

I’ve had conversations with other parents recently that highlight a fear we all share: Despite our best efforts, we’ll scar our children anyway. Most of us can point to examples of things our parents did to scar us for life, and we’re horrified to find ourselves doing the same things. My father could be a brutal teaser and taskmaster when it came to things like yard work and working in the family warehouse. It always…  [Read More]

Why I Skipped #ShmooCon — Again

by Bill Brenner February 16, 2013 Family

Like last year, a lot of people have asked me why I’m not at the ShmooCon security conference in Washington D.C. After all, it is one of my favorite events. Mood music: [spotify:track:3xMZrNrfyKUUqQVtoR13ml] Simply put, it’s too close to the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco the week after next. Being away from home for multiple days for two weeks inside a month is simply more than my family can handle these days. Last year…  [Read More]

It’s All Fun and Games Till Someone Breaks an Elbow

by Bill Brenner June 25, 2012 Parenting

Duncan is sporting a pink cast on his right arm again, the result of a tumble off my bed last week. He was horsing around with Sean and took a spill over the side, landing on his elbow and fracturing it. Mood music: [spotify:track:4A065x9kJt955eGVqf813g] Duncan went flying when Sean put up his hands to keep his brother from landing on top of him. Now every time someone asks what happened, Duncan points an accusing finger…  [Read More]

Your Hollow “Personal Responsibility” Argument

by Bill Brenner June 18, 2012 Parenting

I agree we shouldn’t count on government institutions to take care of us, that we need to take personal responsibility for our lives. But sometimes people use that as an excuse not to right wrongs. Take the case of the Methuen, Mass., student with a nut allergy. Mood music: [spotify:track:0AHrBqr8zzwJgvyMlZC3fw] My local paper and former employer, The Eagle-Tribune, ran a story about the student in yesterday’s paper, and some of the comments were typical: So when some…  [Read More]

Fatherhood Saved Ozzy, Eddie & Me

by Bill Brenner May 4, 2012 Addiction

Yesterday I watched the “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” documentary, which focused heavily on how his addictions maimed him and his family over four decades. Though my addictive behavior pales by comparison, it still struck a chord. Mood music: [spotify:track:6xb9RiyqpDXWF4wUYPDwI2] What hit me deepest is how Ozzy finally decided to get real sobriety after his son Jack had kicked drugs and alcohol. It took his son to show him the light. There’s a similar plot in…  [Read More]

For A Girl Recently Diagnosed With Crohn’s Disease

by Bill Brenner May 3, 2012 Children's issues

The daughter of close friends just found out she has Crohn’s Disease. She’s suffering a lot right now, and I know exactly what she’s going through. This post is for her. Mood music: [spotify:track:3l4L10OL1gbfypzTwjvINb] Hello, my young friend. I’m sorry that you’re hurting so much right now. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was around your age, and spent many weeks in the hospital between ages 8-16. It stinks. But if there’s one…  [Read More]

Strong Too Long, Or Weak Too Often?

by Bill Brenner April 23, 2012 Addiction

There’s a saying on Facebook that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply the result of being strong for too long. Somewhat true — though weakness does feed the beast. Mood music: I’m feeling it this morning. I’ve always taken a certain level of satisfaction from my ability to stay standing in the face of death, illness, family dysfunction, depression and addiction. Sometimes, I get an over-inflated sense of survivor’s pride. People love to…  [Read More]