I think it should be obvious that I stole “The Scream”. It perfectly illustrates my life. This weekend was wrecked by insomnia on Saturday night, followed by “I can’t get to sleep no matter what I try” on Sunday (even a drive to Topeka didn’t help, and doing 85 on the Kansas Turnpike usually puts me out like a light), then, when I finally get to sleep on Sunday evening, I get a case of the raging shits, causing me to oversleep (when I finally got back to sleep) and be late for work on Monday morning. No problem there, because we weren’t doing a damn thing again. Got out of work nice and early, came back, ate, started this paragraph, then fell asleep (FINALLY), waking up just in time for Raw.
Hey, no one famous that I want to eulogize is dead, and I have to get a lead from somewhere. It’s either this or wax poetic over the fact that I have a DVD writer now (and am planning on getting a second in my program of rolling system upgrades…actually, it’s not rolling, since after the second DVD writer, everything else has to be replaced at once). That’s what I ended up going to Topeka for, actually; that and Harry Turtledove’s latest in his Alternate US series (couldn’t find either the Benoit DVD or Joe Schmo Season One when I was there…yes, Laflin, I’ll try Wichita next). So I figured that my sleeping habits were a better lead. And no drugs were involved unless you count Immodium.
On with the festivities…
THE PIMP SECTION
Speaking of Laflin, he demonstrates quite nicely why EA sucks.
Liquidcross gives a wonderful and comprehensive history of a game series that, personally, I don’t give two shits about. And after Sunday, I don’t have any shits left to give.
The Guy Konami Absolutely Loves, Lucard, chimes in with his Weekly Pulse.
Angeloni ignores the fact that the Yu-Gi-Oh card games for the PC are actually pretty decent. Although I, too, would love to see a Dirty Pair game, with the girls wearing as little as humanly possible.
Fernandez does his usual great job in catching you up on music news.
So does Urciuolo, but with sports rather than music. And he chimes in here as well with musings on NCAA football.
(By the way, Tigger was never in danger of losing his top ranking. Not at the NEC, buddies. He gets up for the WGC events even more for the majors. No surprise in how he finished this weekend at all.)
Hatton‘s interview with Lelan Estes continues, and it’s all shoot, baby!
THE ANTI-SPYWARE SECTION
Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a few months now.
(And as I understand it, there are some unscrupulous browser toolbar people trying to advertise here at the Pulse. Well, don’t click on that ad, whatever you do. We’ll still get the money from the impressions, and your system will stay safe.)
Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on this site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.
(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)
One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.
Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:
Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.
SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.
SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.
IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.
A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.
So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.
Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.
Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown at various websites.
With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything.
If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol, which I’m not going to try to link to anymore because someone at the other end keeps munging it.
The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here.
AND IS THERE ANYTHING OUT THERE?
Well, WWE had its investors’ conference call and released its quarterlies. Linda went over the usual stuff, putting a lot of emphasis on the tape libraries that WWE had purchased when everyone else went bankrupt. Nothing special or illuminating if you’ve been following wrestling in general, really. So, no story there. Financials look decent, though. As far as I can tell, anyway. We’ll have to get Fleabag to translate them into English, since he’s better at a quarterly report than I am.
According to Big Johnson over at 1bullshit Junior, the resurrected Tough Enough will feature only male contestants. There will be a grand total of eight of them (instead of the usual 13 as in previous TEs). As has been previously reported, the “million-dollar” contract is actually a four-year contract at two hundred fifty large a year and contains the usual provisions which will probably prevent the person from collecting anywhere near the full amount should he win. Frankly, I don’t care. Didn’t watch any of the first three, don’t like any of the winners they got from them (although Johnny Nitro came close to being likable). I’ll let the TV section handle the coverage, because Murtz and his crew have had their brains scrambled by reality TV enough to cope with it.
Foley’s interview with Air America…does anyone give a rat’s ass about Foley anymore? I don’t. It was nice that he pretty much stuck to the political end, and admitted he was voting for Kerry, but it’s still Mick Foley, who’s worn out his welcome in this column and on our screens. It’s okay, Foley Fanatics; I am not going to develop a true hatred for him like I have for Flex and Wife-Beater. It’s just that I’m sick of him, sick of his special appearances whenever he has a book or DVD to pimp, and sick of his not admitting that he has an addiction to wrestling and probably to pain as well (can you say “masochist”, children?). So it really has no relevance that he said anything, even if it was on Air America, the most honest radio network in the country.
And I refuse to discuss anything dealing with Brock Lesnar, as long as he’s playing for the ViQueens. So that’s a dead issue as well.
So it’s Short Form time!
THE SHORT FORM
Chris Jericho over Edge, Intercontinental Title Match (DQ, uh…I have no clue): A false finish and a confusing finish closed off a match that can only be described as dull. Both of the guys must have seen the booking and threw in the towel. There was no way to make any kind of ending like that compelling through in-ring action, so it was half-ass time. Good for them. I wouldn’t have put any effort into this anyway once I saw the finish. Of course, I hate angle enhancement matches anyway, and these guys are supposed to be pros and all that. But sometimes you just have to say “f*ck it”. This was one of those times.
Mr. Regal over Ric Flair (Pinfall, Power of the Punch
): Now this match was admittedly slower than the Jericho/Edge tilt. However, this was slow in a different way. Since we know the participants involved, we can say that this was purposely methodical, as fits the repertoire of the competitors. They weren’t half-assing it (the asses were kept on the outside of the ring). This wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a good example of true, legitimate old-school, something rarely seen these days. For that, I appreciate its existence.
This might answer the Proud Graduate Of Dartmouth’s question to me (and cheer him, for he has gainful employment):
Can you really hate the retard angle that much if it results in a Regal-Flair match? Seriously, a Regal push was much called for, and I’m happy to see it. It seems like the guy’s been around for ages, but it’s because he started so young. If he’s got his health, Regal could still be a big star for WWE if handled properly. And the thing with two sets of knucks was one of the more inventive finishes I’ve seen recently.
No, I still do hate the retard angle with all my heart and soul. But I did love the finish to the match. I expected Regal to pull out the knucks, but not Flair, and seeing Flair slip them on brought a smile to my face.
Fuck The Wedding, The Opening Was Bad Enough: First the diva bullshit, and then Flex showed up. Screw that. Gave me time to read over some stories to see what I wanted to cover. A LOT of time. Almost a full half-hour of that bullshit. I actually ran out of news to look at before it ended. Although, considering that there isn’t that much news out there, that isn’t saying much. You know I didn’t watch it, but the Ravin’ Cajun did, and he has an observation to express:
Is it just me, or have we seen a new variation of the character you’ve come to loathe over the years? I know this ain’t Rock we saw tonight, but it wasn’t Flex either. It was… the Dwayne. In this case, I mean we saw more joking, more comedy, more (and it bothers me to say this) politeness at moments, much more flirting and less of what we expect of Rock OR Flex. I think someone forgot to tell him that he has this thing called a character profile that he’s had for – oh, say SIX YEARS.
And that character profile is why I’m sick of him. But I left the room the moment he came out, so I wouldn’t know. And I’m not alone. Consider Raw Regular Derrek Croney:
Here’s what I thought of the Rock’s “predictable” appearance tonight:
“Click”– with about 3:40 left in the half, Kansas City leads the St. Louis Rams 14-0 in an exhibition game over on ABC, and the Chiefs are driving for another score.
Sounds better than this, actually. But I had the column to do, so turning to something else was out.
Ultimatum: And so we officially have Randy Orton, Dorkboy (tm Randle) and Face. Gee, thanks, Trip, thanks a whole helluva lot. He’s not ready for this. This is going to end up being a major disaster. Not on the level of, oh, Ronnie Garvin as champion, but definitely on the Jericho level, but for different reasons. If he pulls it off, I’ll be shocked and surprised in a pleasant way, but I’m not expecting it to happen. And it’s all because Trip wants the belt back sometime in the near future (Survivor Series, anyone?). He gets blamed for a lot that goes wrong in the biz, and much of the time, it’s not his fault. But this time, the blame falls squarely on his shoulders.
Nice Day For A White Slavery: Let’s see, we’ve got midgets, the groom’s theme played on cello and piano (great arrangement, by the way), the bride dressed in black with the wedding march played in minor keys, the maid of honor (dressed only in lingerie) assaulted by the bride, the bride’s boyfriend assaulted by the groom…somewhere, Fellini is smiling.
And somewhere you’re smiling, because you know I’ll be back with the Daily Pulse tomorrow, in which I DON’T discuss wrestling. So until then, f*ck you.