The stormy past

Layne Staley, 14 Years Later

by Bill Brenner April 5, 2016 Addiction

“What’s my drug of choice? Well, what have you got?” —Layne Staley, Alice in Chains This week marks 14 years since Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley was found dead. Mood music: Like Kurt Cobain, Staley had a big impact on me in the early 1990s. But while I identified with Cobain’s depression, I identified with Staley for his inability to keep his addictive demons at bay. I can’t tell you how many times I listened…  [Read More]

It’s a Long Road Through Self-Hatred

by Bill Brenner March 4, 2016 The stormy past

Given the size of my ego and my normally upbeat persona, this might surprise you: Once upon a time, I hated myself. I hated a lot of people, but none more so than myself. The worst of that hatred came after I started facing my demons. Mood Music: I disliked myself before I started to tackle the demons with therapy. A couple years into that therapy, the self-loathing deepened. I had learned much about who I…  [Read More]

Dealing with 9/11: Then and Now

by Bill Brenner September 11, 2015 The stormy past

I wasn’t in New York City the day the Twin Towers fell. I know many people who were, and they have the scars and stories to show for it. My 9/11 experiences are not heroic or even all that dramatic. But they are case studies in personal growth. It was a terrible day, but I’d like to think we all learned something positive about how to live in the aftermath. This is simply my personal measuring…  [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]

The Manson Obsession: An Anthology

by Bill Brenner August 9, 2015 The stormy past

I’ve written a ridiculous number of posts about Charles Manson. What can I say? I’m a guy given to obsessions, and the Manson case is a big one. Today — the 46th anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders — seems like as good a time as any to share an anthology… Mood music: “Vincent Bugliosi Inspired My Work in Journalism, InfoSec“: Vincent Bugliosi, the man who prosecuted Charles Manson and his family and then detailed the case in…  [Read More]

A Basement in Revere

by Bill Brenner May 13, 2015 The stormy past

A photo from the old days in Revere is sparking some flashbacks. It’s November 1991, and Dan Waters, Sean Marley, and I are in the basement of the old house I grew up in. From left to right: Bill Brenner, Dan Waters, and Sean Marley We partied a lot in that basement. It was the scene of many impressive and entertaining mood swings. I could be mistaken, but I believe we were having a belated Halloween…  [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]

Heavy Metal Saved Me

by Bill Brenner February 2, 2015 Coping tools

I am your main man, if you’re looking for trouble. I’ll take no lip, no one’s tougher than me. I kicked your face you’d soon be seeing double. Hey little girl, keep your hands off of me…I’m a rocker. “The Rocker,” by Thin Lizzy A lot of people are amused to learn about my musical tastes. My work space at home and the office is cluttered with political and history-based trinkets, which would leave one…  [Read More]

The Great Chelsea Fire of 1973

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2015 The stormy past

Before the family business was in Saugus, MA, it was in Chelsea, MA. That is, until the Second Great Chelsea Fire in 1973. On October 14, 1973, 18 city blocks of Chelsea were destroyed by conflagration. At the center was Chelsea’s Rag District, a densely packed area of buildings that stored paper and textile scrap for the junk and recycling industry. The wood-framed buildings were old and rundown. With winds of up to 50 MPH…  [Read More]

Cool Documentaries of New England’s Blizzard of ’78

by Bill Brenner January 29, 2015 The stormy past

I’ve written before about how the Blizzard of 1978 started me down a long path of fear and anxiety. With the 37th anniversary next month, I’ve started watching documentaries on the event. Here’s are two good ones from my local news stations. Check out a young Gov. Mike Dukakis and weather forecaster Harvey Leonard.