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Joey Ramone Fought The OCD Stigma And More

by Bill Brenner April 15, 2016 Uncategorized

Joey Ramone, legendary vocalist for one of my favorite punk bands, died on this day in 2001, but he has remained an inspiration to me for many reasons. Mood music: For one thing, he suffered from OCD and was hospitalized for it on at least one occasion. Given the subject of this blog, that would seem reason enough to celebrate the man. But there was more to the man that I identified with. Besides, if…  [Read More]

22 Years Ago: The Day Kurt Cobain Died

by Bill Brenner April 4, 2016 Addiction

I remember exactly where I was 22 years ago this week, when I saw the news flash about Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I was lying in bed, depressed and reclusive because of frequent fear. Mood music:  I was living in Lynnfield, Mass., at the time. I had a room in the basement, just like I had in Revere. But this space was much smaller — a jail cell with a nice blue carpet. But I did have…  [Read More]

When We Err, We Learn. When They Err, They’re Idiots

by Bill Brenner May 27, 2014 Uncategorized

A good friend from the security industry, Eric Cowperthwaite, recently caused some debate with a blog post about security breach victims getting demonized for failing to prevent break-ins. Other industry friends disagreed. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. Mood music: Let’s start with Cowperthawaite’s key point: In the information security community there is a tendency to blame the victim first, rather than the criminal. And as soon as that starts to work, much of…  [Read More]

We Need Our Critics

by Bill Brenner May 15, 2014 Uncategorized

A friend sent me a graphic that hits home, given that one of the realities of being a writer is that people will regularly disagree with you. Mood music: The Disagreement Pyramid, a play on the Food Pyramid, puts the most constructive criticism at the top of the pyramid, illustrating its rarity. The most common type of comments fall to the the bottom of the pyramid — the destructive, useless comments. Created by Loudacris, the pyramid…  [Read More]

Binge Eating, Heroin Overdoses and Suicide

by Bill Brenner May 14, 2014 Uncategorized

My first full-time reporting gig was for The Stoneham Sun newspaper, part of what was then Community Newspaper Company. (It’s now Gatehouse Media.) It was a fun job, giving me a priceless education in local politics, public safety and criminal court proceedings. But in some ways, it was the darkest year of my 20s. Mood music: It was a year of vicious binge eating, 80-hour workweeks for little money, depression, anxiety and the suicide of my best…  [Read More]

When Work Becomes Everything, This Happens

by Bill Brenner May 8, 2014 Uncategorized

As someone who takes work very seriously, an article on LinkedIn by Jeff Haden really hit home. The man in his story had a life in which the personal and professional were so tightly wound that he lost all hope when the business ran into trouble. For me, family and friends come first, and I know I’d have all the support in the world if I ever ran into trouble on the business side. But there…  [Read More]

Knowing You’re a Punk is the First Step in the Cure

by Bill Brenner April 3, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

I was an absolute punk this morning. I was incensed over tech problems, dropping F-bombs and punching the desk with my fist. Mood music: It’s a typical problem for someone with clinical OCD. You want to control everything, though you know it’s impossible. In mid-rage, I learned a friend had just lost a sibling. Rage turned to guilt. I’m no special case. We all lose our patience from time to time and act like spoiled brats. More…  [Read More]

How Barnaby Jack Lived Is More Important Than How He Died

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2014 Uncategorized

Last summer, my industry was wounded by the death of famed hacker Barnaby Jack. In January, we learned that he died of an overdose, including a mix of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs. People made a lot of stupid comments back then, especially those responding to The Register‘s article. One jackass called him a loser who wouldn’t be missed. Mood music: I didn’t know Barnaby as well as some of my infosec friends did, but I…  [Read More]

32 Years Ago Today…

by Bill Brenner March 19, 2014 Uncategorized

On March 19, 1982, the world lost one of its greatest musicians in a plane crash: Randy Rhoads. Mood music: The songwriting and guitar playing he did on Ozzy Osbourne’s first two solo albums — “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a Madman” — is required listening for anyone who is serious about playing the instrument. He was also something rare in Rock ‘n Roll: a humble man who was ready to give up his success…  [Read More]

So Sorry, I Forgot You Know Everything

by Bill Brenner March 19, 2014 Uncategorized

In the course of writing this blog, I get a lot of flack from some people. That’s fine, because I know I’m not always right. But there’s a certain class of people who get under my skin: those who claim to have all the answers. Mood music: There’s the reader who bristles whenever I write about medication for depression, OCD and other disorders of the brain. She knows the answer to just about any mental…  [Read More]