Thursday, July 24, 2008

She Be Cranky

Having been up until two in the morning after my work computer contracted the Trojan Vundo virus (I swear it wasn't my fault) I slept in. I was pensive though. Normally when I'm all alone, after the wife and the little lump called Emmett—otherwise known as our son and the thrasher—get up before me I stretch out and have my best dreams. Not on this day. My brain was all whirls, clanks and thunks, working on a game plan. How was I going to break it to my boss?

Best, I thought, to be a man. Just own up to it and get it over with.

So when she walked in to the bedroom, I blurted, "Honey, my computer has a virus."

She stopped and glared at me from the foot of the bed. Lips taut. "A virus." Not a question, an accusation.

"Yeah, a pretty bad one too."

"On your work computer. Because of that software you downloaded?!"

Across my field of vision scrolled a list of responses from which to choose, but none with the impact necessary to divert this conversation from the waterfall toward which it was heading.

I opted for blather.

And as I relayed the circumstances of my terrible tragedy she turned up her nose and went into our bathroom and shut the door behind her.


This called for something drastic, some token of my enduring love. That's when it hit me. The replacement outdoor light! It was sitting in a box, in the garage, where it had been for a month now. I popped out of bed and jumped into my shorts. I had a purpose as I descended, step by gigantic man-step, into the basement for my toolbox, then up again and into the garage and through the side door.

She watched with a wary eye from her flower garden—where she goes to be alone—as I handed her one of the wireless phones and said in my handyman, Johnny-On-The-Spot voice (think Gaston from Beauty and the Beast), "Tell me when the light goes out."

As I headed to the breaker box, I tried the phone, "Can you hear me?"

A brief pause, then, "Yup."

Audible. Monosyllabic, but a start.

When I clicked off the right breaker switch she said, "That's it."

Two syllables. Even better.

"Thanks," I said, but the line was already dead.

She had relocated by the time I got back outside. I prefer to be alone anyway. Less pressure that way, because I tend to blunder through these things, and I prefer to experience these journeys alone and let others see the polished final product.

Just as I was wrapping it up, I stumbled and stepped on her new Azalea bush. It snapped like a dead twig. I picked at the branches and it came completely off, broken at the nub. I saw my life flash before my eyes. She loves that bush, and was so proud when she put it in.

So I did what any good husband would do and carefully put the branches back into the dirt and propped it up like nothing ever happened. It was perfect. She didn't notice a thing as she admired the newly installed light. She was so happy.

And as with all little fights that we have, there came the moment of confession. She told me, "I was a little mad about that virus."

"I know."

"You did? But how?"

"I'm instinctive that way."

She smiled. "That computer is your livelihood, our livelihood. You can't be taking chances like that."

"I know. But you have to keep in mind that I am a gambler by nature, and a lot of what we have today was gained because of that willingness to take chances. I just made a mistake, one that won't be repeated."

And so the make-up dance went back and forth for a few more rounds, and we were a happy couple again.

But there was still the lingering issue of the Azalea. What to do, what to do? I could go buy a new one, but it would have to be a close facsimile or the jig was up. That was the terminus of the Big Brain Express, so I asked her to take the kids with her to check out the new paint job a friend had just had done in her kitchen.

"Are you high?"

Ok, nix that plan. If I brought the kids with me, the little parakeets would be singing my death tome when she got back. There was nothing more to do about it, as the odds were remote that I could pull it off anyway.

"Uh, honey, I have a bit of a confession to make."

She was intrigued. "And that is?" she said dubiously.

"I stepped on your Azalea. It's broken."

"It looked fine to me," she said.

"That's because I propped it up to make it look ok."

"You what?!"

Then she burst out laughing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Situation Normal

A special thanks to JC for hooking me up with the 411. I thought I was screwed immaculate, but Malwarebytes worked like magic. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Rinse and repeat. Thank you!

When the problem first arose, I did some research and actually saw that Malwarebytes was used by other folks having the same problem, but this virus seems to have evolved, or I didn't install Malwarebytes from the desktop, or both. I'm not sure what the magic combo was.

In order to get Malwarebytes, I downloaded from my wife's laptop and network tranferred the file, but the virus wouldn't let me run the installer. But I was able to run another application mentioned in the solutions of others called Avast. I ran a complete scan with Avast which found one dll infected by the Vundo Trojan virus. Once Avast had taken that out, I could get to the internet again--and I could run Malwarebytes.

A full system scan with Malwarebytes turned up 150 affected files and registry entries. I deleted them all.

And like magic, everything was back to normal.


I spent most of yesterday backing all my personal files to an external hard drive. I also went to Best Buy and bought another computer for personal use. I'm using it now to post here. I am going to try to stay off blogger (which was not responsible for this virus, by the way) while on that machine, and I won't play any games there either. Music will come from this machine as well. Strictly business, that's my motto from now on.

That was close. Too close.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


It hasn't been a great couple of days. Nothing I can't survive, but I've never strung together so many bad things all in a row.

The worst though is that my computer--my work computer--is infected with a virus. As viruses go, it is quite sophisticated, and has me backed completely into a corner. It has disabled the internet (I'm writing this on my old laptop), barred access to my System Restore utility, blocks any attempt to run a spy sweeper, and has basically taken over my entire system.

Ironically, it works by alerting me to the fact that I have spyware on my system. It takes a form that appears legitamate, posing as the Windows operating system itself, and directs me to a recommended a website that can help, which is of course the same web site that has perpetrated this virus.

Thankfully I still have access to internal and external hard drives. I am in the process of backing up all my files, work and otherwise. Then I'll get aggressive about removing the virus, but I don't have high hopes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Latest

Quickly, Jason has another of his famous contests going on, and I finally got off my duff and entered again. It's a bit sappy, and not my usual, but I kind of like it. You can check it out here. I've met a few new people like I do every time I participate, and it really is a lot of fun.

Man, I have been bizzzz-ee at work. So I have an excuse. Sorry I've sort of dropped off the map lately. Some things I've been working on for over a six months suddenly went south, so my manager and I came up with a plan to get around it. Everything was working fine until one customer had a particular setup that caused my stuff to not work, and an easy solution wasn't available. The plan involved me rewriting an entire section of code, and it had to be done instantly. I worked from sun-up till midnight most of last week getting it done, and of course there were other problems and subsequent fixes, problems and fixes, over and over until it was mostly resolved.

Yesterday, the day before official release, I took a day off and took my family to Canobe Lake (an amusement park). When I got home at 9PM through two traffic jams, my work inbox was crammed with still-yet more errors to fix, and the rantings of a panicked manager (the manager of my manager) who didn't know I'd taken the day off.

So I was up until midnight again fixing problems. But I wiped them all out. Now I'm waiting for the verdict, and hoping I don't lose this freaking incredible job that I have.

I'm not that worried about it, but you never know what can happen.

We took our dog with us to the park, which is allowed by rule, but we certainly got the hairy eyeball from passersby. Right out of the gate. The people in the car next to us stared at us as we deployed the family plus dog. Rudely. We were approached more than once on the subject, and I heard families discussing it with their children as we passed, "that's just ridiculous to bring a dog here!"

She's just a small thing, not like a Rotweiler (check that spelling because I'm too lazy to), a Dobie or a Pit Bull. I'm not sure what had everyone's panties in a collective bunch. I remember in the old days when there were no fences between yards and dogs ran free and kids were allowed to roam in their neighbor's back yards. I hate to say it, but America has gotten to be way too uptight.

Anyway, the car parked next to us had a cracked driver's side window, and it was still there as we were leaving, so my wife dropped a napkin onto its front seat that said in her distinctive feminine handwriting, "Fuck you" and a smily face where the period would go.

God bless her.

One other funny thing, before I forget. We had Brinks Home Security over at our house to replace a battery and transformer that went dead on our alarm system (it was way past due). Two young guys, professional and efficient. We always offer something to technicians that come by--for cable installations, dishwasher repair, furniture delivery, etc--such as water or snacks. My wife was making sandwiches for the kids, and said, "Can I offer the two of you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?" One of them, without missing a beat said, "No thanks, I have to drive."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Status Update


I had my wisdom teeth removed on Friday. Call me Bill Murray if you will, but I have really enjoyed the whole experience. I love that (cue the Eagles, Mr. DJ) peaceful easy feeling of nitrous, and Vicoden is to die for. But best of all, my wife has been pampering me. I haven't had to lift a finger.

Freaks and Geeks. Rent it. It only lasted for a season, but it touched me. I'll admit to getting misty eyed when it was over. The characters where like old friends in the short time that we were together, and they grew up in the same era I did. I played D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) for instance. The pop references were dead on.

I'm working on season two of Dexter. My wife and I are hooked. Great writing and acting.

Still haven't talked to Dad, and I can't get my brother on the phone. Thanks for the support, all! I was touched by the comments.

Work is crazy, but I love it.