Since Biloxi, I’ve been fighting viruses — a cold and a computer virus. The cold was also picked up by the Shrink and rggator. We don’t necessarily blame Idouru, who had one while we were all in Biloxi. (cough, cough). I can’t quite pinpoint the source of the computer virus, howver, although I suspect it was a fake Facebook email. And of course it hasn’t helped matters that the stock market chose the last couple of weeks to pitch a hissy fit. I wrote about the market’s teenage angst here.
I never thought last year’s rally was completely warranted. Some of it — yes. After all, at one point we were priced for collapse. But with 5.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter (as unsustainable as that may be), and some pretty decent earnings with solid top-line growth, I don’t particularly get the market’s newfound pessimism.
And I only joined Facebook to access material for my screenwriters group. I barely go there except to accept a friend or occasionally read a message. If you’re trying to contact me, Facebook isn’t your answer. Same with LinkedIn or the poker social network sites. So it kind of frosts me that Facebook was the likely source of my virus. I’m even less likely to check in on it now. It also frosts me that Symantec (Norton Antivirus) doesn’t particularly give a shit that their software doesn’t prevent or fix viruses. If you were drowning, Symantec would charge you an extra $100 just to keep you company until you went under.
I learned long ago that Norton wasn’t much help and armed myself with a number of solid virus fighters. And I’ve been pretty handy at tackling all that came my way. But this last virus stayed one step ahead of me the whole time. After a week of fighting, I realized it was about to win. Less than an hour after dumping all my files to remote hard drive, I got the blue screen of death.
Luckily, I salvaged this great picture of Brian Zembic I once found on the web. I only saw Zembic once in person at the Bellagio and didn’t have my camera with me at the time. If you don’t know about Brian, you should definitely pick up a copy of The Man With the $100,000 Breasts And Other Gambling Stories.
As it turned out, wiping my computer and reinstalling the operating system was much easier than fighting the virus. I should have done it sooner.
Even though I had six months left with Norton, I installed Vipre AntiVirus + AntiSpyware as my primary antivirus and firewall package. I know that one single program can’t protect you from everything. But Vipre is light — unlike Norton that can bog down your system. Also unlike Norton, they are known for their customer service.
I realized, after the fact, that I forgot to deactivate my Final Draft Version 8 software. But one phone call later, the good folks at Final Draft had me running again. There are other, cheaper, screenwriting programs. But I’ve been very happy with Final Draft and their attentive support.
So after the down time — from both the cold and the virus — I’ve been playing catch up. This weekend, I have 20+ pages of a script to get out, blogs to read, and poker news to catch up on. I also have a few market plays that have been on the back burner, waiting for a little downdraft.
I did get an email from the Shrink recently, telling me that Doug Carli made his 50th cash in WSOP Circuit events when he finished 2nd at Harrah’s in Atlantic City in December — boosting his total tournament take to just north of $1 million. I recently saw Doug and his wife in Biloxi — where Doug has already cashed three times this month. What a machine.