In Memoriam: Debra Hill, not necessarily a pioneer in women producing films, but a definite high water mark for the gender in that department.
That’s it. I’m sick and tired of my goddamn back hurting due to all this stress that I’m under. I’ve got an appointment with the shrink today, and she’d better give me some f*cking Flexaril or I’ll tear her throat open. My shoulders are killing me so much that I can barely type this sucker. And it ain’t gonna help only getting six hours of sleep last night due to the fact that I had to watch Raw for this column. Day shift f*cking blows. However, it sometimes is easier than to have to wake up at 8AM on Tuesday mornings to watch Raw and do this thing. Makes me wish I was unemployed again. And if my boss has his wish, I will be soon. Fuck that, though. He’s too much of a pussy to fire me right now, and I’ve got enough cash saved to last some shit out if I can get unemployment.
That being said, I’ve finally done my taxes, which clears that out of the way. It’s as I suspected: cash back from federal and Kansas, fork a check to Nebraska. However, that finally clears Nebraska out of my system once and for all, barring a very depressing promotion. Right now, I’m down to one state and one source of income. Hopefully this will change later this year after the promotion. Hopefully I’ll be filling out Illinois taxes and get a promotion to the Chicago area. That way I can WM22 at home. It’s got to have a better main than the last time they were there (UT/Sid…who thought of that one?). I’ve been contemplating that possibility, ironically, while listening to the dulcet tones of Sid Vicious doing “My Way”…
And wasn’t that a neat segue into wrestling, a field like punk shot through with dead junkies? Well, first we have to take care of the usual business…
THE PIMP SECTION
Moodspins is up and running, and a certain someone wants me to write for them. I’ve given them a definite maybe depending on scheduling.
Lucard does the mailbag thing. Well, I haven’t done it in a while, so he’s clear on Gimmick Infringment.
Aulbrook doesn’t seem to like salary caps for some reason.
Porter‘s message is simple: if you’re a soccer star, don’t drink and drive.
Urciuolo has an answer for me: I’d cut open parts of a dead cow for a Klondike bar. And in case you’re wondering, the Klondike bar is more valuable than my net paycheck.
I’m 40, and I’d like more pairs of large tits in video games, Warner. Especially if they’re attached to blondes.
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 that 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.)
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.
Surprisingly, many people have asked me about the Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta. I downloaded it and tried it, and it shockingly did a great job. Since it’s free, I’ll recommend it here.
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. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs.
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.
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.
Get Firefox as an alternative to IE. Even if you already have it, get it again, because they just released 1.01 with some big bugfixes.
OH, JESUS, NOT NOTHING AGAIN!
Osterlund and Fingers stole all the good stuff and posted it already (I could spoil what happens in the last episode of Enterprise if you’d like; hey, Jolene Blalock told the Toronto Sun that it was “appalling”, and from the spoilers, it is). There’s nothing that floats my boat for any further comment, especially Milord’s “I heard from a friend that Linda and Shane were at NBC” stuff, which is nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor. If it did happen, then it might be part of the bargaining game they’re playing with Viacom. Just remember this: the head honcho at Spike was replaced a few weeks ago, and all programming on Spike is up for grabs. Ditto UPN without the management changes.
And as for Gail Kim posing nude, there must be someone out there who’s interested in seeing this. God knows that I’m not one of them. I’m just not into Oriental chicks. A matter of taste, nothing more.
And if it were only a matter of taste, I wouldn’t be watching Raw. However, I suffer for your sakes, as always, yet none of you have called the Pope to start my process for sainthood yet. Death is not an obstacle in my case.
THE SHORT FORM
Trip over Rosey (Pinfall, Pedigree): Oh, I am so not going to comment about this match. A dis to everyone involved in it, including the fat f*ck.
Kane over Christian (Pinfall, chokeslam): Well, there was a minimum of Tomko-ference in this, and a great reaction to Kane’s appearance by Christian (whose facial expressions are rarely commented on, but are great). The match was nothing, of course, but the thought was good.
Edge over Chris Jericho (Pinfall, impaler DDT): A very, very good mat-based match with a soupcon of everything else: psychology, aerial, mayhem…it’s just what we’d expect from them (they’re one of those “you know the match is going to be good when these two are involved” matches that I mentioned about a month ago). The only negative was the stupid ref bump. Who the hell books those ref bumps? Of course, it was done to get the ladder in the ring for weapon use, so the flow of the match actually depended on the ref bump. Since the flow was maintained quite well (the match had quite a steady pace to it, something unusual for WWE these days), I can forgive it. But my generosity only goes so far; I am a wrathful and only occasionally merciful god.
Our Lord and Savior over Shelton Benjamin, Non-Title Match (Submission, Crossface): Almost like a faster-paced puro match, really. If they’d been given the time that Edge and Jericho were given, it really would have been something to watch. It was pure wrestling pricktease, really. I’d like to see a main between the two, or at least a good PPV-length match of some sort. Benoit’s win was actually predictable: how do you defeat Our Lord and Savior when your finisher is a suplex?
Dave Batista over Ric Flair (Pinfall, DAVEBomb): Welcome to Flair Country. Anywhere else and this would have been a complete squash.
Hey, I Noticed It…: Well, they finally did it. FLEX IS OUT OF THE OPENING CREDITS OF RAW! This is a red-letter day for all of us Flex-haters. Five and a half years of campaigning against that cocksucker, and now WWE has bowed to the inevitable. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s moments like these that make everything worth it.
The Keys To The Kingdom: The opening duet between Michaels and Angle was an example of how great the art of the promo can be. Both of them were able to show a low-level yet intense anger toward each other. Angle gave a rationale for the match and made it simple (“I’m jealous of you and the attention you get” is always a brilliant reason for a feud). And they got their points across without being too verbose. They showed the reason why both have been so successful over an extended period of time: they’re able to combine the highest level of in-ring talent with the highest level of mic work. We should be grateful to have both
of them around to see how it should be done, on all levels.
Snakes and Ladders: Okay, I’m a little more enthused about this ladder match at WM than I was last week. Even Kane works in the context. All six guys are known for working balls-out in the ring (yes, even Kane, despite his booking). Right now, it’s totally up in the air on who’s going to win it. You’ve got virtually the rest of the upper card and upper-mid-card (sans Trip, Batista, and Orton) involved, they’re all legit contenders or former champions…who’s going to get the biggest push between now and then is the question. The person who can benefit the most from a win is Edge, especially if he decides to hold off on the contract and wait until WM22 to cash in (and hence get pushed firmly into the upper card between now and then). On the other hand, a lot of guys in the match, especially Benoit, don’t need that kind of push. I’ll have to clear my mind between now and then and see what they do to make sense of any type of booking.
The Challenge Is A Logical One: I am really confused about where Randy Orton stands vis-a-vis face/heel. The audience reacted to him as a face when he came out. The moment he put his challenge out to UT, the audience turned on him immediately. Bisch tried to act the heel when he came out by talking about additional stock options and rewards for his “genius”, but there was no real heel reaction to his statements. Then Orton RKOed Bisch, not normally the actions of a face (except for Wife-Beater). Orton’s not substantive enough to be a tweener, and he’s going to be forced to play the heel in the WM match. One thing’s for certain, though: UT is not going to sell shit for him.
Dirty Scary: Memo to Mark Callaway: don’t try to imitate Clint Eastwood. Ever again.
The Obligatory Chick Match: Well, we all knew it was coming, so I won’t comment on Trish/Christy at WM. I do, though, need to comment about Lita showing up. All those rumors popping up about Matt Hardy coming back to Raw this week turned out to be untrue. Gee, I wonder if the presence of his ex-squeeze might have something to do with that? Do I sense a bitter break-up here or what?
Jesus, I’m going to have to do a column tomorrow just to make up for the lack of substantive news in this one. Let’s see if I can pull it off. Until later on, selah.