As much as I love what I do, it’s turned me into a cynical bastard. And no, I don’t mean skeptical, which we’ve talked about before (the application of critical thinking to determine truth), but truly cynical (everyone is a right bastard who will fleece you for everything you’re worth if given the opportunity).
While I think both skepticism and cynicism are important traits for a security professional, they do have their downside… especially cynicism. Marketing, for example, really pisses cynics off – even the regular ole’ marketing that finds its way onto every available surface capable of supporting a sticker, poster, or other form of advertising. Even enjoying movies and such is a bit harder (Star Trek nearly lost me completely with that Nokia bit). Don’t even get me started on blatant manipulation of emotions come Emmy/Oscar time.
But credulity is a core aspect of the human experience. You can’t maintain social relationships without a degree of trust, and you can’t enjoy any form of entertainment without the ability to suspend disbelief. That’s why I’m a complete nut-job of a Parrothead. Although I know that behind all Margaritaville blenders there’s some guy making absolutely silly money, I don’t care. I’ve put my stake in the ground and decided that here and now I will suspend my cynicism and completely buy into some fantasy world propagated by a corporate entity.
And I love every minute of it.
I’ve been a Parrothead since high school, and it’s frightening how influential Jimmy Buffett ended up being on my life. His music got me through paramedic school, and has always helped me escape when life veered to the stressful. Six years ago I met my wife at a Jimmy Buffett concert, our first date was at a show, and we got engaged on a trip to Hawaii for a show. Yes, I’ve blown massive amounts of cash on CDs, DVDs, decorative glassware, and various home decor items featuring palm trees and salt shakers, but I figure Mr. Buffett has earned every cent of it with the enjoyment he’s brought into my life.
That’s why, although I’ve met plenty of celebrities over the years (mostly work related), I nearly peed myself when I was grabbed from the backstage pre-show last weekend and told it was time to meet Jimmy. A few years ago a friend of mine was the network admin for the South Pole, and he sent a video to margaritaville.com of some of the Antarctic parrotheads while Jimmy was on his Party at the End of the World tour. They played it all over the country, and when Erik decided to go to the show with us he casually emailed his contact there. Next thing you know we have 10th row seats, backstage passes, and Jimmy wants to meet Erik. Since I took him to his first Buffett show, he grabbed me when they told him he could bring a friend.
We spent a few minutes in Jimmy’s dressing room, and I mostly listened as they talked Antarctica. It was an amazing experience, and reminded me why sometimes it’s okay to suspend the cynicism and just enjoy the ride.
I won’t ruin the moment by trying to tie this to some sort of analogy or life lesson. The truth is I met Jimmy Buffett, it was totally freaking awesome, and nothing else matters.
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And now for the week in review:
Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences
- Adrian wrote Truth, lies and fiction about encryption for Information Security Magazine (he did the hard work, I only helped with some of the edits).
- Rich was quoted on Mac security in the New York Times Gadgetwise Blog.
- Rich and Martin on The Network Security Podcast.
Favorite Securosis Posts
- Rich: My start on Data Security in the Cloud. I think I’ve finally figured out a framework for this, and will be blogging the heck out of it over the coming weeks.
- Adrian: Part 6 of Understanding and Choosing a Database Assessment Solution.
Other Securosis Posts
- Sentrigo and MS SQL Server Vulnerability
- Musings on Data Security in the Cloud
- OWASP and SunSec Announcement
Project Quant Posts
Favorite Outside Posts
- Adrian: Robert Graham as an interesting article on using DMCA counter-claims.
- Rich: Jack Daniel on the evisceration of the Massachusetts security/privacy law
Top News and Posts
- Microsoft IIS FTP flaw
- Smart grid hacking
- Major Twitter flaw
- Security fundamentals apply to virtualization
- Faster WiFi cracking (only affects WPA, not WPA2)
- Panaera gift card (in)security
Blog Comment of the Week
This week’s best comment comes from ds in response to Musings on Data Security in the Cloud:
Good post, I couldn’t agree more. I think a lot of the fear of cloud security is that, for many security pros, this paradigm shift changes the way that they work, makes existing skill sets less relevant and demands they learn new ones. They raise issues of trust and quality much as other IT pros have when faced with other types of sourcing options, but miss the facts that it is our job to determine the trustworthiness of any solution, internal or external and that an internal solution isn’t inherently trusted just because we go to lunch with the people who implement and manage it.