I’m a geek. This is neither exciting nor particularly news. It’s just a statement of fact and almost all of you who read this site are completely unphased by this revelation.
Here’s my story: I’m one of those socially retarded (oh, I’m sorry if that’s offensive, it was clearly an attack on some woman’s child in Alaska, but if you’re going to be overly sensitive, we can call it “intellectually deficient” – there, there, all better now) individual whose only saving grace is they don’t snort when they laugh. As such, I had a major episode last night. For some of you, in order to continue, you need to pretend that you are both somewhat socially awkward and that you’re really invested in online games, particularly World of Warcraft or at least EverQuest. You weren’t the “pretty” girl (or “handsome” guy) in school, you were the “smart” one that wore the jeans and the black t-shirt – your go-to look whether you’re working in the yard (which you wouldn’t do, because you shun activities outside and you want to proudly earn that vitamin D deficiency) or were heading to a nice restaurant.
I’ve been to conventions. I can speak in a primitive system of random numbers and letters. I have friends I’ve never personally met. I am the complete opposite of either being cool or interesting.
I had a bad week this week, brought on by a rotten attitude about something I did not want to do that was causing me a great deal of heartburn. In fact, towards the middle of the week you couldn’t get me to shut-up about how put-upon I felt or how much I loathed a particular task. I truly embodied Christmas cheer. By mid-week, I had declared to my good friend Angie, while I was whipping up some individual servings of spiced pumpkin cheesecake, “I am NOT making these with love! I’m spitting in each and every one. Ok, I’m not really spitting. You know I’m not spitting, right?” (Seriously, there was no spit in any of the cheesecake batter. That’s kind of gross. But I was mad.) I came home last night, fell into my computer chair, yawning the whole time, because I was wiped and lazily flipped on the computer. My goal was to pop onto World of Warcraft, poke around a bit, say hi to some folks and then go have a nice salad care of Jay.
When I logon, nothing looks particularly strange. I was tired. The main character I run around on looked the same and I was so fixed on “let’s look at this new thing” that I wasn’t on alert to anything being off. That’s when I decide to move my character from one area to another via a special ability she has and the game said “you can’t do that, you don’t have the right stuff.” Weird. I’m still really not paying attention, because there have been so many changes lately that I decide “oh, Blizzard changed how that worked.” Not so. I open my inventory and it’s completely empty. I pause. Empty? That’s weird. I really look at my character closely – no cloak, no weapon, no belt – I remember having those the other night. And then, as I saw I had none of my bags (bags hold more inventory), it hits me – all my stuff is gone. Years of all kinds of stupid things that I personally love have disappeared. I go to the main screen and start scrolling through each character and each time I bring one up, she’s completely naked or an occasional tabard is draped over spindly naked bodies. I’m horrified. And really, none of it is a huge deal because it basically imaginary stuff – pixels – pixels that mean something to me and clearly the gigantic asshat that wrote the keylogger that is on machine stealing my keystrokes. Keystrokes that get me into things that aren’t pixels. Keystrokes that take me to bank accounts, bills and other services. My world just started spinning like the moment in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels where the main character loses everything and it’s shot in such a way that you want to throw-up with him.
I tell my online buddy whose helpful advice is, “don’t click on links.” No shit. Not helpful. I’m so freaky about what I click on that I don’t click on things from family or friends if it looks the slightest bit hinky. I don’t have add-ons to the game, because I don’t trust the third-party sites. And seriously, I work in IT and I was THE IT department in a past life. I am not in the great habit of compromising my machine EVER. And that’s when I got a little more pissed, because I have no idea how they got into my machine – not that it’s all that hard or even impossible, but I don’t log into anything with my account info unless it’s an official site – like when I log into the game or I login to manage my account. Which spins me up into, what the hell did Blizzard do to compromise my account? They added something recently that basically enabled every player’s emails to enter the public domain and they recently released a new expansion – the last time I was forced to login anywhere outside of the game screen. Something happened between that day and Friday after 7am, where I could see in a log that my character was stealing from the guild bank. Thankfully, I’m the leader of that guild (look, read the geek disclaimer above – I warned you) and I don’t have to write an apology.
Anyway, anything that could be sold for money off my characters was sold and then that money passed around the system. Someone desperately wanted my pixels which was probably because they wanted to make some real money. I don’t quite get how that works, but so be it. Of course, Jay busted out laughing when I loudly protested, “those bastards took Mr. Pinchy!!!!!” Like I could somehow be ok with everything else being gone, but thieving Mr. Pinchy had just gone too far.
All of this added up to me having to reformat my hard drive, something I needed to do anyway, but wasn’t planning on doing last night and deciding it was time to change the OS AND replace Norton Antivirus (nice catch there, Symantec – way to do a deep scan and come back with “ooo, I found you a cookie” – how about you find the keylogger, you ginormous piece of crap. So, for the past 15 hours, files have been moved around, applications have been restored (although I feel a strong urge to slap every employee at Microsoft because I’ve lost my key to MS Office 2007 and while they say, “sure, feel free to call us to reactivate if you lost the key, you have to do it through the Account Activation Window”, which it turns out is not a particularly easy thing to do. You can’t get to the phone information without the bloody key. Beautiful Catch 22, there. Yay. I’m so very glad I did the digital download so I could get a backup disk that didn’t have the original key written on it and a big FU Microsoft, I paid for this software, have a frakking database where it will verify the information or don’t have a frakking activation system at all and suck it up that some people will probably be stupid enough to steal your software. MS rant over now. Let’s sum it all up by saying that each and every application is giving me a new and interesting rash.
Tonight is “Funny Ladies Night” with April, where she’s invited all of her “funny” (and geeky) friends out. Jay is dropping me off, because thanks to this week I declared “I’m getting stupid drunk, and when you come get me, we’re going to get nachos from Taco Cabana and I’m going to pass out on the livingroom floor smeared in cheese sauce and bile!” It’s my plan.
(Pictures soonish after I discover the password to the magic server that holds them, because really I know you’re addicted to my captivating images. No really. Oh, and I’ll proof this later. I’m still in the middle of “my mad”.)