Virus and Certain Death Delayed Me – Row80 – 3/11

Better late than never. That’s what my Dad used to say. I had promised to check in with my Row80 update last Sunday, but things don’t always work out as planned. A week ago Friday, a series of pop-ups began dancing into place on my screen. All the webpages I had open at the time closed and became little red boxes with evil x’s. It wasn’t even lunchtime yet.  

I knew this was bad. The final pop-up was prompting me to purchase a virus protection program. Well… I already had one. I’d been down this road before and knew better than to fall for this trick. I swiftly closed all the pop-ups by hitting the x in the corner. Now here’s where I made my fatal mistake, as I would later learn. Rather than shutting my computer down that very minute, I ran a scan with my own virus protection program. It immediately found 8 viruses. It took care of 4 and asked me about 4 more, 2 of them being serious issues on the C drive. Oh no. I shut it down and called my computer guru.

My computer went to laptop intensive care and it wasn’t pretty. I wouldn’t see it again for 4 days. It got infected with 15 or more viruses and needed everything reconstructed. My operating system looked like Swiss cheese. When my husband came home and finally booted his computer up, surprise! Virus popping in at one of his first web stops. Did my computer send it to him via a file share program? Or was it a coincidence? Odd, if it was. But knowing what it was and what it did to mine we shut his down immediately. He only got 2 viruses. The time I spent scanning allowed significantly more damage to take place. Sigh.

Lesson learned: Shut it down IMMEDIATELY! Barbara McDowell can tell you about this. She had a similar experience and shared what she learned as a result. It’s worth a check. What can I say in addition to her shared insights? I highly recommend an on-line back-up. It’s well worth your piece of mind. If you don’t have one, here’s a great place to start looking. I’ve also upgraded my virus protection program. Ours was pretty great, but it dropped from #1 when we got it a few years back to somewhere around #4 now. We decided to go for something better. You should also consider a Malware protection program that self-runs scans. A pro version verses one that works dependent on you. It can make a huge difference.

When this all went down I had been negligent, as of late, at backing up my MS in my multiple locations. I have a thumb drive and an external HDD I use for this purpose. I can’t tell you how I worried about all the edits I might have lost. Online backup – That’s your answer. I’ve been saying it for a while. My somebody is finally hearing me.

I am still in the reconstruction phase. All the blogs I follow (100+), I did so via RSS, which doesn’t appear to be working right now so my list doesn’t show. I can’t find you! Little by little I am trying to add everyone to Google Reader. It’s a serious time suck of a project, and to find your blog initially I need a link to follow.  Please forgive me if it takes me a while to find that link.


It hasn’t been all sickeningly stressful, although, that did a real number on me. This weekend I hit the monkey gymnasium. Haven’t you ever heard of them? They are totally crazy! They have these giant indoor complex cage setups, where all the parents can bring their monkeys and let them co-mingle. Mine always climbs straight to the top! She wouldn’t be my monkey if she didn’t. Growing up, I always climbed straight to the top of the giant rocket ship they had at my local park as well. It’s like a McDonald’s play place, only much, much BIGGER. You can find places similar in your area by searching kids indoor playgrounds or kids indoor play place on-line.

Monkey didn’t want to leave when it was time and mommy had to eventually use some tricks to coax her down. There was a daddy on the top level of the complex. I applaud him for climbing up those tiny spaces to get there. I haven’t done it in that place, but have had to do it at a Mc Donald’s. It isn’t fun. I know it’s pointless to attempt such a feat to go after Monkey. She’s too fast for me and, by the time I got to where she was, she would be somewhere completely different.  I had to use that method on my son once or twice when he was younger.

♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪

After that awesome quality time with my girl, my boy and I head out the movies. Guess what he wanted to see? Not Journey 2. Nope. John Carter!I feared he was a little bored in the beginning as his leg started bouncing against my chair. Unlike our last movie that was non-stop action with little story, this sets up the story in the beginning. We watch as everything builds and events begin to line up. Once we were in the thick of it, the serious fight scenes, he was all jabber jabber. That’s when I knew he was having a good time. He gives the movie two big thumbs-up.  

Here’s a question that came up. Not to give anything away about the movie, but something the Thren said… he called himself immortal. Thinking about that and their “religion”, years of life, etc. should the Thren be a topic for Immortal Monday? Are they of interest? Inquiring minds want to know.

On the movie front, I also caught Contagion the previous week as a stay-in with the hubby. Not an extremely uplifting movie, but then, I wasn’t expecting one. I enjoyed it. It makes you think. The ads alone scared my kid.

The night before that, I stepped out with my gal pal and hit the budget theater for a showing of Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows. The line out front was crazy! I guess the economic times have driven more people in my area to the budget pastime.  The movie was alright. I love watching the fights scenes in a Sherlock Holmes movie. The way they slow things down and show you how it will happen. But there where parts that lost me and that almost never happens. I’m usually very sharp on those points. So either I was off my game, distracted by the texting and lighted phone near me, and/or the heavy breathing (someone fell asleep!) going on somewhere behind me, or the editing wasn’t as good as it could have been. I’m just saying.


Let’s talk Row80! For those of you not interested in my writer’s check-in, feel free to check-out at any time. I won’t get my panties in a bunch. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Write forward everyday: NoBUT: left without a computer and my MS for four days, I made a few adjustments. I admit to curling up and giving into my tendencies towards depression the first day. Come day two I kicked that straight out the door, picked up a new journal and started writing another story that has been waiting in the wings. One that wouldn’t interfere with my mental process where my ongoing YA project stands. I wrote the first chapter of my MG book, Capture the Flag. I talked to my son to see if he preferred magic be kept out or not. We came up with some good ideas together.  

Edit book one of my WIP: I’ve been moving forward on this slowly. Guess I’m a slow editor. I’ve only gotten through 39,043 of the 113,472 words that make up my first book. Sigh.  

Complete & fully participate in Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward Workshop: I believe this class is pretty much finished. They were going to have questions this last week when my computer crashed so I missed everything that went on. I’ve been so busy on my end I haven’t been to the loop to check it out since I got my computer up and running again. Slap my hand.

Blog 3x a week, plus one Row80 update: Missed my Sunday Row update last week because of the computer crash and pulled my Wednesday post since I had no computer and wasn’t responding to comments. There were only 2 posts this week.

Comment on/visit/retweet at least 12 blogs a week.: Ah yeah, just barely squeaking by this time. Only got the computer running by Thursday, with issues still. It’s been slow going.

Discover at least 1 new blog a week: I did! But because of my computer situation it was from following links off my site and then links from there, and not from twitter links. That’s alright. Still great connections.

Read 2 new books and finish the one I am on by the end of the 80 days. Done! And moving on:  I didn’t mention it last time so I’ll fill you in this time. I read the paranormal romance Demon Soul by Christine Ashworth. This book is currently up against four other books for best romance novel in the 2011 Literary Awards. If you like romance with mystery and mystic of the paranormal, I recommend this pick for you. I just adore this author. The second book I read is the beautiful work by M.G. Miller,Bayou Jesus. What a wonderful read. You can only better yourself by reading this literary work. I’m currently motoring my way through The Hunger Games. I’ll finish it before the weekend it through, with plenty of time to spare before the movie comes out. Yay! I recommend all these reads. Now to decide who’s book will be next. Hmmm.

Exercise 3x a week: Totally failed in this area this last week. I need a new butt kicking.

Make more time for the familyI’ve made a huge shift in this area recently. As a result my family is getting more quality time.  I apologize that I’m making less visits to blogs. It had to be done. Doesn’t mean I love you all any less.


Please know that I always appreciate your time and love it when you stop by plus take the time to comment. Huge thanks! If you enjoyed this post or any of my previous posts, I’d be delighted to have you follow by email or RSS for any future posts!


22 thoughts on “Virus and Certain Death Delayed Me – Row80 – 3/11”

  1. Paige KellermanPaige Kellerman

    Oh no! Husband seriously has me on watch due to how many times I’ve told viruses, “Yeah, sure. Come in.” I’ve been lectured not a few times on not clicking on every link just because it says I’ll way fifty pounds less afterward. I think I’ll take your advice and backup my work online. Great tip.
    Btw, I’m sooooo thrilled you were able to comment without my system throwing you out like a bouncer at a club. I took off the comment verification, so I was hoping that would do something! LOL

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I’m always to blame here as well Paige. You are not alone. My computer has been to the ER way more times than his. Here’s the scary part I left out… we spent two days thinking we had just lost EVERY picture of the kids – EVER. On every back-up location. Our external HDD was blank. The virus snuck on there and hid everything. So I think on-line back-up is the way to go. You can’t be too careful. I’m super happy about your blog as well! Yay! I just need to get back into the swing of things. I’ve been a bad little blog follower. Now I’m trying to figure out how I changed the setting on my blog’s home page. Hmm. What did I do?

  2. Melinda VanLoneMelinda VanLone

    Oh, I HATE computer viruses! Makes me so mad that no matter what you do there’s some loser out there enjoying the thought of shutting you down. Grrrrrr. And that is why we’re an all Mac family 😉

    I back-up my work all over the place. My redundancies have redundancy lol. I have an external drive that I put everything on, then that gets back up to a different external drive. And my stories themselves have two different locations on my regular harddrive, which gets backed up to an online location as well as the external hard drive (running Time Machine). And then every now and then I email the whole story to myself so it’s stored in my email as well. Yes, I’m that paranoid 😀

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I wanted to go mac when we bought a new computer for me, but my husband wanted to keep everything compatible with his work and the gaming industry has not gone mac yet.

      I have to say, I love the features on my droid over those on his iPhone. Not that I’m talking apples to apples.

      Wow, Melinda! All that backing up is awesome. I used to be much better at backup follow up before I got so busy doing so many things. I just need to make the time. That’s all there is to it. It’s not worth it. I also need to take the time to organize what I have. I’ve let my files get a bit sloppy lately. I see a day of cleanup in the near future.

  3. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    i do have an external drive but am reminded i haven’t used it lately because I’ve got an online back up system that works automatically. but i do need to keep everything somewhere else as well – just in case. sheesh. get a life folks. glad you’re back up and running. you were missed.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Yes, it’s best to have a backup in three places (at least). Thank you so much Louise. 🙂

  4. EmmaEmma

    Dealing with computer issues is so stressful but it sounds like you’re getting back on track.
    Jack Carter is on my to watch list. I saw Contagion a few months ago and didn’t think it was great; couldn’t warm to any of the characters so gave up on it. I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes for the action and pure entertainment value. Sometimes it’s nice to leave your brain at the cinema door.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      For me, Contagion wasn’t about the characters so much as it was about following the infection process and spread rate. I think my mathematical brain took over in that film. That’s what might have bothered me with Sherlock. I love the characters, but felt they didn’t connect the dots well in the beginning, so the story wasn’t clear on what evil plot they were trying to foil. It took a while for that to become clear. But like I said, I could have missed something vital from all the distractions.

  5. Jennifer JensenJennifer Jensen

    Thanks for the “immediate shut-down” advice – that’s not something I would have thought of. Although I haven’t had virus issues since I switched to a Mac, I know it’s still possible. I have an external HDD, but don’t always plug it in because I have to eject it properly when I just want to grab the laptop and head somewhere else. I need to get better about that. But like Melinda above, I love emailing manuscripts to myself! They stay archived in gmail, so even if my computer crashes completely, they’re still there in cyberspace.

    I”m browsing a bunch of ROW80 blog updates – I may join you all for the next round. I’m just getting the hang of regular posting, tho, not sure how to add additional posts for ROW80, but I”m gathering ideas. Thanks!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Oh, Jenny, you should join us! The check-ins aren’t so bad. I add things to mine because I was told by non-readers how boring the post are. 🙂 I can totally understand that. And I don’t blog for writers alone and I’m sure you don’t either.

      As a mac user you may not see as many issues but the idea you are above viruses is a myth as you seem to know. I used to keep my external HDD plugged in all the time. We have are itunes on it because we had moved it too many times after computer issues. After the virus followed the link to the drive I doubt I’ll be doing that anymore.

      Of course you can only protect yourself so much. You don’t want to live in a glass box. That’s not living. Take as many precautions as you can and go about business as usual. the story wasn’t clear on what evil plot they were trying to foil. It took a while for that to become clear. But like I said, I could have missed something vital from all the distractions.

  6. Natalie HartfordNatalie Hartford

    Eeeeekee…virus! UGH! Well I am glad you got it all straightened out but makes for a long week, eh?! I just started backing up my blog and novel stuff on Dropbox. I love it because now I can access my stuff from any computer and it’s always updated etc. No more carrying USBs around. Luv it!
    Here’s to a GREAT week ahead Debra!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      A VERY long week! So very much UGH! Thanks Natalie. You are always so supportive. 🙂

  7. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    You have had one frustrating time of it Debra. I would have pulled my hair out. But kudos to you for hanging in there and family is the most important thing. So glad you’re taking the time for that. And you came to see me? Whaaa? Thank you sweetie! Really you are so kind. On the computer front, hubby and I have a service called MY Computer Works and they are on call 24/7 for 25.00 per month. You don’t have to send in your computer. They work on it online. It’s amazing and easy. As a result, I do have Malware. Thankfully. And I back up my WIP on a memory stick, but still need on off site back-up. Got to get my hubby working on that. These computers. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them. Sounds like someone else I know. LOL! So glad you’re alright and your world is righting itself. Take care Debra. Let me know if there’s anything I can do. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Of course I came to visit you! I think we are all in the same boat as far as computers go – living with or without them, I mean. Thank you, Karen.

  8. Sheila SeabrookSheila Seabrook

    The moment you realize you’re computer is infected, you get this deep sickening sensation in your gut because you don’t know if it’ll attack all your important documents, or if this time, you’ll get away lucky. Thank goodness you have a computer guru to go to, Debra. May your computer stay safe from malicious viruses. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, Sheila. I have had my fair share of virus attacks. My husband wonders what I do. I tell you, it’s all the research and blogging sites. One time I picked up a real bag bug that went right to my operating system. It could make my computer do anything it wanted. Write its own program. It had my laptop singing Michael Jackson songs when it was shut down. That was a scary one! LOL That was the time I met my computer guru. He’d never seen anything like it! That was a few years ago. I’ve been working with him ever since.

  9. Angela Orlowski-PeartAngela Orlowski-Peart

    Viruses, malware and any other nasty computer problems are what I always fear. I am diligent with my backups, but still…

    Last year I downloaded an ugly malware from a link that a friend of mine posted on my Facebook Wall. Actually, he didn’t even post it, but his account got hacked. Fortunately my husband was able to wrestle the beast out of my computer, but the fight wasn’t pretty.

    The movies – ahhhh, I love all three of them! They are going on my to-watch list. Definitely.

    Good luck with the goals this week. Don’t worry about missing some of them last week – after all you not only lost the access to your computer, but you also were under a tremendous amount of stress (I assume), since the digital viruses can do a whole lot of damage. So glad your computer is back to normal.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      So glad your hubby was able to fix everything up for you. That’s awesome! Computers, we love them, but they can be such a stressor – right? LOL

      There are so many movies coming out in the next few months my son wants to go see. I think I’ll be going to see The Lorax this next week while they are out of school. Fun.

      Thank you for your well wishes and kind comments. Yes, there was a tad bit of stress this last week. LOL

  10. asraidevinasraidevin

    I use dropbox to sync files between the main computer and my laptop. It’s free.

    I got a virus from clicking on a Pinterest link once. Comodo my free virus scanner caught it immediately, but didn’t get rid of it. Ad-aware did get rid of it (or maybe there were 2).

    glad you got back to normal quickly.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That sounds like a pretty good system Asrai. We only use laptops anymore. We have something similar between our computers, but I think the virus followed it from mine to my husband’s. I think I want something completely independent going forward. I had a really good virus protection program prior to this that would catch most everything. This virus was beyond nasty. It would appear what I had wasn’t good enough. .

      • asraidevinasraidevin

        Ugh they are getting worse. And you can never tell where you’re going to get one.

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