Sunday, May 6, 2012

Frustration, A Poker Story and.....a Movie Review?

This is going to be a different kind of post for me, for this blog.  I’ll explain why and also explain what’s different about it—if you can’t tell—later. 

Yesterday I heard a cute poker story from a friend, someone who doesn’t play poker.  She says she read it as a true story, but I don’t know the source, so I can’t vouch for it.  If it is a true story, it might be well known; so sorry if you’ve already heard it. Perhaps someone can source it.

Seems there was a female poker player at a tournament having a tough time of it.  Every time she had a good hand, no one (all male players) would call her bet or raise.  She couldn’t win any decent sized pot.  At the break, a male observer told her what the problem was.  It seems that every time she got a good hand, her nipples got noticeably hard, thus every time her nipples got hard, everyone knew to fold.  So at the break she put a sweatshirt on and then won the tournament.

Whether this is a true story or just a joke, it seems fitting for this blog, right?  I mean, poker and breasts, together in one story.  How could I not post it?

Speaking of fitting for this blog, here’s something that really doesn’t.  I want to talk briefly about the movie Avengers, which just came out yesterday.  It was an awesome film, folks, just awesome.  It was the most fun I’ve had at a movie in many years.  It was exciting and it was very funny, and the humor complimented, rather than subtracted from, the story and the action.  It was definitely in the style of the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee Marvel Avengers comics from the 60’s.  Yes, I read them and collected them back in the day.
I’ve seen most of the super-hero movies that have been released in the past decade or so, some of them have been good (X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man) and some not so good (Thor, the Hulk movies, sequels to Spider-Man, Iron-Man, that X-Men origins piece of crap—but the “reset” last year was another good one). The Avengers blows them all away.  It is better than The Dark Knight, which I guess was the best until now.  It is far superior to all the movies made starring the individual characters.  I seriously doubt I will see a better movie this year or for the next few years; that’s how damn good it is.  Except for the times I was laughed (and I laughed more often than at 98% of the so-called comedies I’ve seen), there was a smile on my face throughout the entire movie. 

They really, really got it right; they just did a fabulous job on the movie.  If you like super-hero flicks, you have to see it of course.  If you’ve ever liked any super-hero movie, then I suggest you give it a try.  If your favorite all-time movie is Steel Magnolias—you probably can skip it.  But if your favorite all-time movie is Steel Magnolias, are you reading the right blog?

I have one teeny, tiny quibble with the film, and I can’t really discuss it without spoiling the movie just a bit (not majorly tho).  So I am giving a SPOILER WARNING.  Skip over the text in smaller type and in green if you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan to.  If you don’t abide my warning, don’t blame me.

My one complaint is regarding The Hulk.  The first time Bruce Banner becomes The Hulk, he is totally out of control and attacks The Black Widow, one of the good guys, nearly killing her.  Yet later, during the climactic battle, he turns into a “good” Hulk and only attacks the bad guys.  My theory is that the second time he became The Hulk he did it intentionally, unlike the first time, and that somehow made a difference, but I would have liked it spelled out just a bit.

That quibble aside, it is basically a perfect popcorn movie.  There are so many great scenes and bits I can’t even remember them all; it was just joy to watch.

Ok, so that was the first—and likely last—movie review I’ve ever had on this blog.  Now here’s something else I’ve never discussed here, search terms used to find my blog.  I may do a whole post about the interesting terms people have entered to come across this blog, but for now, I just noticed one that totally tickled me.  Someone found my blog by searching in Google for “How to find a hooker in Vegas.”  And they found this post by doing so. 

Yes, I’m amused.  Now I just wonder if the searcher was grrouchie  since he has stated several times that he is unable to identify them.  It certainly wasn’t Carmel, who recently posted about how she learned to spot hookers hereI wonder if my post helped him out?  Somehow, I don’t think he got exactly what he was looking for.

So by now you’ve probably figured out what is so different from this post than my usual ones (and don’t say, “because it’s entertaining”).  First of all, the name of this blog is “Rob’s Vegas & Poker Blog” and the intention has been that I will post about poker, or Vegas, or both, but pretty much nothing else.  I did briefly mention poker above, but everything else I’ve discussed thus far—and the final topic, to come—has nothing to do with either subject of this blog.

Also, this is the kind of post that many of my other fellow bloggers routinely do, but I never have.  It is a “potpourri” post, covering different, unrelated topics.  I love the blogs who do this, and you can see many of them in my blogroll.  But it isn’t really my thing.  My posts are generally about one topic, one poker session, one hooker story, one type of poker hand.  One story per post, if you will.  When I tell multiple stories, there’s usually a connection; this time there isn’t one.

Also, unlike most of posts, this one will become dated.  Although I give a time frame for my stories, they really aren’t dependent on the time they get posted. But in a few months, no one will give a damn about my opinion of The Avengers—assuming anyone does now—and hopefully, my final topic will be nothing but a bitter, distant memory.

So why is this post different from my usual posts (I just told you how it is different).  Because this past week I’ve spent an exorbitant amount to time dealing with the god-damned computer virus my PC caught, and I just don’t have the time to do one of my “normal” posts. 

Shit, I hate computer viruses.  I would have to get an “adults only” warning on the blog if I were to tell you what I’d like to do with the assholes responsible for this virus.  Anyway, Monday all of a sudden all my programs closed up, on a warning came on my screen that I was infected and that a scan had started to look for infected files.  Half my icons and most of my programs had disappeared.

It took me less than 10 seconds to figure out that the scan was actually part of the virus!  It was called S.M.A.R.T. Recovery and I shut it down as fast as I could but the damage was done.  This was on my desktop so I got the laptop up and running and did some research.  I got the worst of the virus off, even figured out to “recover” all my lost icons and programs (which were really just hidden) and was kinda back in business.  But a lot of my settings were corrupted and the computer just didn’t look the same as before.  I tried System Restore but it couldn’t complete, I think the virus got to that too.

I use two browsers. Internet Explorer was the one I used for blogging.  My other browser was fine but Internet Explorer kept taking me to the wrong links, it kept logging me off my google id, and it kept telling me I had to reset my cookies to get me back in.  Something was still wrong.

I figured well, this is why I routinely back up my computer daily.  I figured I would just restore the last good back up I had—before the virus set.  I loaded up Acronis True Image 11 which I have used for years, starting before I had upgraded to Windows 7.  I started the restore (in Windows) and everything seemed fine.  Until I got to 61% complete.  Then it made no further progress.  For like 3, 4 hours.  I actually was able to have a chat with a tech support guy at Acronis, even though they don’t really support my version any more, and he told me to stop it and try to restore from a True Image recovery disk—which I dutifully made when I first got this computer.  He also suggested I validate the backup first.

I did that.  The backup validated fine.  But when I tried to do the restore from the recovery CD, I got all sorts of error messages….couldn’t read the file, or couldn’t find it, etc.  I got back to chat with the same tech support guy and oops, he hadn’t noticed that I’m running Windows 7.  My old version isn’t supported in Windows 7.  In so many words, he told me I was shit out of luck!

Are you freaking kidding me?  I’ve been using this product (which I used to restore from a failed hard drive with no issues many years ago) for three or whatever years and it is totally worthless in Windows 7?  I have three external hard drives filled with backups that aren’t worth the space they take up?  Seriously?  Seriously?

Lucky for the tech guy he was not on the phone.  It’s easier to shout nasty words than type them in a chat box.  His only suggestion was to download a trial version of their latest product, which is supported in Windows 7, and it might—might he said—be able to use my back up files to restore.

Grrrr…..I tried that, I downloaded the new product.  Meantime, my mouse started acting flaky.  I assumed it was part of the virus, what were the odds of that going bad just at the same time as my virus hit?  But no, I finally realized that my mouse was dying too.  I tried a different mouse and it works fine.

Anyway, my biggest problem was that I couldn’t figure out if the remaining computer issues I was having had to do with the remnants of the virus or the fact that I tried to recover the C-drive and the recovery died in the middle of recovery.  The tech guy informed me that he didn’t think my PC would be bootable but it was.  And I had some issues where it was freezing up but I think that was due to one of the anti-spyware programs I downloaded to try to fix it—which after it scanned, told me I had to pay them $40 to fix.  I swear I thought it said the program was free.  

Once I got rid of that, my computer is more or less acting fine, except for Internet Explorer.  So I downloaded Foxfire as a substitute, and so far, knock on wood, it appears to be ok.  I had to find my old wallpaper and change my icons a bit, but I seem to be operational, finally.  I’m going to run a few more scans to see if I can get the spyware/malware/virus/whatever the hell it is completely off my system.

I know that the only real solution is to wipe the hard drive, reinstall everything from scratch, but I really, really don’t want to do that and I don’t think I could find all my installation disks.  My data is pretty safe, but getting a wiped system back up to speed would be a total, total bitch.

So for now, I’m gonna see how it goes.  I tried as a test to use the new Acronis product to restore a non-important folder to my PC.  It worked—sort of.  It couldn’t find the file until I tried to validate it—which I had already done in a previous session. And it refused to recover the folder over the old one, which is really what I wanted to test. 

So I think I better not try to restore my entire c-drive from the back ups made on the old product which apparently is just a piece of shit.  And I guess I need a new back up program, pronto.

Can anyone recommend a really good back up program?  I do use Carbonite for off-site backup (that’s why I’m not so worried about my data) but I’d like to have something local for a complete system recovery.  Like I thought I already had.

Anyway, that’s all for this change of pace post.  I’ll be interested to see what kind of reaction (if any) I get to this unusual—for me—entry.


  1. You totally had me until you said it was better than "The Dark Knight" and then I stopped reading.

    1. Sorry, Jeff, I stand by my comment. Totally different in tone, of course, sorta like comparing Schlinder's List to Some Like it Hot, but Avengers is just a wonderful film. Much rather watch it five more times than Dark Knight.

    2. I have almost no sense of humor but I love violence, worth my time?

    3. First of off, Carmel, having read your blog and your comments on our blogs, I would hardly say you have no sense of humor! I think you have a wicked sense of humor.

      But there's plenty of action and violence in the movie, great fight/action sequences all through. It's just that the comedy relief is so outstanding, it is really LOL funny.

      But since grrouchie has already seen the movie and he knows you a lot better than I do, why not ask him if he thinks you'll like it?

    4. I have been told I have no sense of humor :-p They just don't understand me!

      Grrouchie's smells like strippers and shame. Kinda hard to take his opinion anywhere let alone serious :)

    5. Going to watch Avengers this week bases on your recommendation. If I don't like it I'll send you anthrax in an email.

    6. No thanks, I've gotten rid of one computer virus already this week.

  2. Everyone I know of who has seen Avengers has liked it...

    1. There's a good reason for that, Coach.

  3. I have watched the Avengers and I can vouch for what Rob said - this movie was probably the best Comic Book movie I have ever seen.
    I absolutely loved the Dark Knight (minus the stupid Batman voice) for the dark side of things and for the other side of things I will love the Avengers just as much, if not more.
    The comedy was spot on, the action was great, there were only minor (and I mean very minor) annoyances that I had.
    I cannot wait to see it again.

  4. Hmmm ... surprised the techie guys haven't commented here yet. I enjoy reading their posts. If only I could understand what the heck they are usually talking about in their abbreviated language ...

    1. Yeah, I was hoping some IT folks would comment on my virus issues. I'm led to believe that there are IT folks who read this blog.

      I guess this post wasn't interesting enough for them to last to the end. I should put the virus stuff at the beginning of the post, maybe?