Saturday, December 13, 2008


One can’t expect perfection. At best one can avoid victimhood. With this mindset I suffered through twice- or thrice-daily autoupdates for McAfee’s security suite. While these updates are supposed to happen in the background, they made other programs so jerky that I’d just wait, and suffer till the updates completed.

Despite this I got infected with a couple of Trojans, which pop-ups told me McAfee had removed or quarantined. Not so.

The nice lady in India told me that an infection that had progressed as far as I described required the help of McAfee’s “virus removal team.”

To get with McAfee’s “team,” the nice lady told me, I’d have to purchase a “peen” for either $70 or $90. The peen gets me one-time virus removal: for $70 I do the keystrokes at their direction, for $90 the team does the keystrokes themselves.

So, finally, I had to ask the nice lady to spell the word that sounded to me like “peen.”

“P-I-N,” she said. She wanted to sell me a fucking pin number!

It became clear, and she confirmed: I pay McAfee for protection, and when McAfee fails to protect me, I pay McAfee even more.

My XP machine had worked ok for four years, about two years longer than I expected, so rather than spend $90 for a one-time fix, I spent $400 for a new, and much faster, Vista machine.

The Trojan, I guess this is what they do, took over my internet connection and blasted out email spam. The Trojan rendered my internet connection unusable, but it isn’t doing additional damage to my old computer, such as replicating files until the hard drive bursts, so I can access the information on it.

Rather than buy a new monitor to go along with my new computer, I figured I could get a splitter/switch to allow both my old (infected) computer and the new one to access the one monitor I already had. I know it’s stupid, but even that much contact between old and new made me paranoid.

So I checked my cheapo flat panel TV and found a socket labeled “PC” and “VGA” and used a $24 cable from Radioshack to hook up my old computer to my TV. Amazingly it works!

During this, I had to get my car smog-checked, for what I was told might be $90. We’ve all heard stories about unscrupulous stations that fail cars on purpose to get the repair work.

I guess I’m just a worrier.

So I asked around and was told to go to a particular test-only station in my neighborhood. The young guy, a number-one-son type, who wrote my service order was all smiley. First thing he asked was who had referred me, and was happy to hear my answer. $54.95 out-the-door, tout compris.

Frying crullers.

On the way home I stopped at the office of my insurance agent to meet him face to face after a seven year relationship, and to meet his assistant who had recently done some admin shuffles to get lower rates for me and my brother. Of course he acted glad to see me.

I paid the latest installment, so I’m good to drive for another six months.

I’d like to sell my car and get back on Muni where I can get some reading done, except for grocery shopping. I really enjoy having a car to get groceries home from the supermarket, which is more than a mile away. If there were reliable cab service I’d gladly pay six or seven dollars, or ten, for a ride home with my groceries. I’m talking about a gallon of milk, two half gallons of juice, and four two-liter bottles of Diet Coke, per trip. This is not something one does on Muni. And that’s just the beverages.

[Click on pic for source.]

I guess a true San Franciscan dines out and/or eats hand to mouth from the corner mom and pop.

At the big Safeway by the Mint on Market Street one used to see older Negro gentlemen in their full-size sedans parked by the exits waiting to take neighboorhood housewives home with their groceries. I wonder if they still do that.

Obama, smog certificate, new computer, if I score some socks and pjs for Christmas I’ll be all set for 2009. Best of all, economic trends will be providing me with plenty of company in my poverty and unemployment.

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sfmike said...

Way to be a trend setter with poverty and unemployment. And do you really wear pj's? If so, I'll see what I can find.

Anonymous said...

This is the beat post you've produced yet. I feel your pain. I once met the nice lady from India.