Bragging Rights: 6 Months of Lifting Weights

In February of this year, I hired a personal trainer and got back to working out on a regular basis. I’ve lost weight, gained muscle and flexibility – and still look like a middle aged suburbanite. Ah well, I didn’t pay extra for the movie-star makeover (yes, I’m just kidding). Shallow vanity aside, this is a photo taken of me today. It may not look like much to you but I know how much I’ve improved. I’m pretty darned proud!

So, yeah, I’m bragging! 🙂

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Bragging Rights: NITTF Insider Threat Training

The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF), has provided access to several Insider Threat training resources. I completed the Insider Threat Training Module.

The module just covers the basics, but it’s well made and clearly explains key topics. It’s a good introduction to understanding insider threats and it provides this nifty certificate upon completion:

Destruction vs Creation

In my dream, I was there when they took it. They burned houses and fields. They caught women and children and tied them up like cattle; they cut men down where they stood. They took apart the careful work of more than a hundred years in so little time.

Destruction is easy. Creation is so much harder.

Nowhere wasn’t much, but it was the first place I felt free. It was imperfect, but it was as if there was a piece of me waiting there, ready to join the whole, that I hadn’t even known about. I suppose that is why I dream it still.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Acknowledge the Past

We must acknowledge the past in order to regain trust and to seize the future.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

Snow is Magic

Jenna and Beetle caught Septimus’s good mood. The gurgling of the stream broke the oppressive silence of the forest, and the yellow glow of the lantern illuminated the frosty snow before them. The combination of snow and lanterns made all three feel happy. For Jenna and Septimus, it reminded them of the time they had spent the Big Freeze together at Aunt Zelda’s—a time they both looked back on with happiness. For Beetle, it recalled Snow Days when he didn’t have to go to school—days full of possibilities when he would wake up to find that snow had completely covered the windows and his mother had lit the lantern and was cooking bacon and eggs over the fire.

Septimus Heap, Book Four: Quest by Angie Sage

Desperate Freedom

He yearned for escape with a desire that was near to insanity; awake and asleep it was his obsession; and he thought his heart had stopped when Squad-Leader Aras Dilley muttered to him, as Doremus was scrubbing a lavatory floor, “Say! Listen, Mr. Jessup! Mis’ Pike is fixin’ it up and I’m going to help you escape jus’ soon as things is right!”
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  • Biography from Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

Don’t Doubt Yourself

“Are we human?”

“Of course we are.” To comfort both of them, he covered her hand with his. “Don’t let the fear and suspicion of the brutal and ignorant make you doubt yourself . We’ll get out of Manhattan, and then we’ll head north, north and west, until we find a clear way over the river . The farther away from urban areas , the better the chances.”

Year One (Chronicles of The One) by Nora Roberts

Being Irish in America

Steve held close to his heart his family’s connection to Ireland. It is an interesting aspect of the Irish in America that Steve, like others of his generation who were several generations removed from Ireland, felt that being Irish defined who they were. Possibly, it had to do with the identity it gave them. Saying that you were Irish was comparable to claiming membership in a distinct fraternity with a common tradition, secret rituals, and assured friendships wherever you found a fellow member of the Irish diaspora. The Irish gloried in their family, their neighborhood, and their love of the language. For Steve, it granted him entrée into the big leagues, where many young men of Irish descent were entering the American mainstream.

Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley

 

Peaceful Teacher

The teacher stepped toward the round doorway. With brown hair and eyes, she wasn’t pretty, ugly, young, or old; she was right in the middle of nearly any adjective Zert could think of. He thought of one adjective that fit, but he had never applied it to a person before; his new teacher looked peaceful. She had on a blue skirt and furry shoes and wore her hair in pigtails that touched her shoulders.

Surviving Minimized by Andrea White

By the Book and According to Protocol

She nods but looks dissatisfied. Her expression betrays that she already knows the root of my problem and wants me to provide her with supporting evidence. I don’t think she’s going to change what she’s decided , even if our conversations don’t support her theory. I sigh . She’s one of those people who goes by the books . The medical rule books, that is . The books are the rules that shrinks and therapists follow, full of guidance and expert opinions, the Bibles quoted by professionals when their judgment is questioned. Deviating from the books is too risky , both emotionally and legally , too intimate , and too involved . No one has the time or the energy to deviate from the books , and no one wants to get sued . It’s tough to get sued if you follow the rule books exactly .

The problem is , I don’t feel like my mind fits an exact diagnosis . My mind , like everyone’s mind , is a mysterious , vast world that’s barely been explored . How could it fit under one confining category? Whenever I see a shrink or a therapist, it seems as if they purposefully tweak and manipulate my mind till it does fit, or until I believe the label I’m given. The goal is a nice clean classification, and since I despise labels, I despise the books.

Again , Jessica interrupts my internal monologue and asks me a few more questions . I stay pleasant and answer as best I can . She hands me a few forms to fill out , mostly surveys , and excuses herself . She is back in a few minutes and hands me a script along with a sample of pills .

“I want you to try these,” she says , handing them to me . A psychiatrist , who oversees the Eating Disorder clinic, has prescribed them . I haven’t met him and probably never will . The drugs are given to me almost like protocol.

Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair