Nana’s Desk

by Bill Brenner September 9, 2015 Family

It’s been more than two years since Nana Ruth passed away. The other day, family went through her house, looking for possessions to be preserved. Like this desk: Nana Ruth did a ton of writing at this desk. She was a prolific diarist and churned out a lot of letters. I’m going to keep the tradition alive my doing a lot more writing here. I’d like to think she’d be pleased about that.

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]

Dad Was a Survivor

by Bill Brenner June 29, 2015 Family

Note: This is not Dad’s official obituary — just my tribute to him. Thursday we gathered by Dad’s bedside to say goodbye. He lived for three more days. That was Dad. He was a survivor, tougher than leather and stubborn to the last. Around 3 this afternoon, his journey finally ended. Mood music: The last two months with him were a gift. By the end, nothing was left unsaid. He knew how I felt about him and I knew…  [Read More]

Thanks for Everything, Aunt Marlene

by Bill Brenner June 23, 2015 Family

Marlene Brenner died yesterday at the age of 68. She was my aunt — my father’s younger sister — and I owe her a lot. Mood music: Aunt Marlene was a constant presence in my childhood. With my siblings and grandmother, we’d go on trips to the White Mountains and lakes of New Hampshire. Many a family meal was had at her house in the Point of Pines, Revere, which was a quick walk from…  [Read More]

From Stress and Fear to Passion

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2014 Gratitude

A friend shared one of those inspirational memes with me yesterday, and it got me thinking about my approach to work — and how far I’ve come in general. Mood music: The meme says, simply: Man, is that ever true. I know, because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes the job was intolerable. Mostly, my own demons were intolerable. During my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, all I knew was…  [Read More]

The Friends Joe “Zippo” Kelley Left Behind

by Bill Brenner January 18, 2014 Gratitude

The fourth annual Joe “Zippo” Kelley Memorial show is tonight. Sadly, I can’t be there this year because of business travel. But I hope many of you will make it out to pay homage to a golden soul. Mood music: Joe died in August 2010. At the time, it had been years since I had last seen him, and I didn’t know people like Anne Genovese, Audrey Clark, James Melanson, Harry Zarkades and Gretchen Shae….  [Read More]

My Brother Lives on in the Nephew He Never Met

by Bill Brenner January 9, 2014 Grief management

Thirty-one years ago this week, my older brother Michael died at age 17. I felt the need to write something to mark the anniversary. But to be honest, I didn’t know what to say. Mood music: Part of that is because I wrote the whole “how his death affected me” post three years ago in “Death of a Sibling.” I also delved into the lighter memories — the outrageous and hilarious shit he used to…  [Read More]

Paying It Forward

by Bill Brenner December 19, 2013 Inspiration

Lately I’ve been doing profiles on people who inspire me. Last week, it was Trey Ford. This week, it’s Microsoft senior security strategist Katie Moussouris. I’m doing so because they deserve the honors. But it’s all part of a bigger strategy. Mood music: As I’ve noted before, my emotions this time of year tend to tilt toward the negative, and I’m definitely feeling depressed and prickly lately. Though I’ve overcome a lot, I still get a huge shot…  [Read More]

You’re a Good Man, Trey Ford

by Bill Brenner December 11, 2013 Gratitude

As most of my friends in the information security community know, one of our own — Trey Ford — got left out in the cold last week when Black Hat’s powers that be decided they no longer needed a general manager to handle their annual summer conference. He’s following the proven path of seeking new job leads on the social networks. But he’s doing something else that makes him worthy of mention here. Mood music:…  [Read More]

“A Christmas Story” Made It OK to Be Weird

by Bill Brenner December 10, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Sunday, I settled in with Erin and the kids for our annual viewing of A Christmas Story. Like everyone else, I have my 10-15 favorite lines: “It was… soap poisoning!” “Notafinga!” “You used up all the glue … on purpose!” But those lines, as much as I enjoy them, are not why I consider this movie so special. The main reason is that the movie made it OK to have strange thoughts. Mood video: When…  [Read More]