Humph! Day #17 Pikachu I See You!

In the past, I found a glitch that made a bunch of my posts difficult to find and my reaction was HUMPH!  I was not pleased.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I should explain that I rerun old posts on Wednesdays.  That way the ones that were buried where no one saw them will be revived.  What better day to have Humph! Day than Wednesday.  I hope you have a great hump day, as well…

Pikachu I See You!

The summer before last I started to play Pokémon Go.  For those of you who aren’t gamers, Pokèmon is one of the most beloved video games of all times and the characters are called Pokèmon which is Japanse for pocket monster.  Ok, I know it was the “game of the moment” and I was one of those lemmings falling off the cliff. I really shouldn’t malign lemmings here.  After all, I was once reminded by husband Bill that I might want to move. aside.  I was standing in a parking lot and just then realized that there was a very patient driver waiting for me to get out of the way.  Lemmings rejoice!  I have joined your ranks!  In my defense, there was a really rare Pokémon there and I wasn’t the only one in that parking lot trying to get it.  I was just the only one holding up traffic.

When I met up with my cousins that summer I found out that Maggie was also playing.  We had a very fun competition to see who leveled up fastest and who got the more interesting Pokèmon. Our other cousins were quite amused by our rather childish pursuits, but then we were probably each in our second or third childhood.  We had reached a rather high level in that department, too.  I was rather amused when I was in that parking lot holding up traffic that a guy who might have been 20 was very impressed that someone my age was playing.  I think his exact words were, “and I thought I was too old to play this game!”

After Maggie left to head south for the winter we still kept up on each other’s progress. She was ahead of me by a level or two and I knew I had some catching up to do, but I lived in the sticks and she lived in the city.  Her chances of finding Pokèmon were much higher than mine.  I was doomed to be second-place…or was I?

One lovely fall day Bill and I couldn’t find a parking place near one of our favorite stores.  We had to park around the corner and there he was…the ultimate Pokémon coup!  Pikachu, one of the coolest Pokèmon of all, in the flesh!  I had to have a pic taken with him just to prove to Maggie that it didn’t matter what level I was on in the game.  I caught the coolest Pokèman of all in real life!

 

“Busy Time”

I’m in a pickle…no not the green kind where I sit in a jar covered in vinegar.  I’m in the middle of a rather busy time.  Because of this busy time I’m not keeping up with reading posts and commenting and doing all of the things I really love to do.  For that I truly apologize. I don’t want you all think I’m ignoring you because I don’t like you or something equally preposterous.  Nope, I’ve just got it going on.  Wait, I mean I just have a lot going on.

“Busy time,” doesn’t that sound like something a kindergartener would engage in?  The teacher could  shout out “Molly, it’s time for your Busy Time!”  Molly, of course, would try to look very busy.  This is excellent training for later life when the boss (hereafter referred to as “he/she”) comes around expecting piles of productivity and it is imperative that Molly look busy…even if she’s not.  The boss doesn’t have to know that she’s shopping for capes on Amazon while her very busy-looking spreadsheet is right there at the ready to be popped up when the boss walks by.

You might have some questions about why Molly is buying a cape on Amazon.  C’mon, you know that you can find the very best capes there unless you have the money for a custom-made cape.  That boss doesn’t pay Molly enough for a custom-made cape so she’s  left shopping for one on Amazon and looking very busy while doing so. She needs him/her to think she cares about the work much more than she actually does because he/she doesn’t pay enough for her to really want to BE busy.  He/she only pays her enough to LOOK busy.

Wait?  That wasn’t the question you had about Molly buying a cape on Amazon?  You want to know why Molly was buying a cape at all?   That’s simple, silly!  She’s just read one of the Harry Potter books.  You know the one where he hangs out with his friends and goes up against demons all the while dealing with difficult teachers and meeting other wizards.  That sort of stuff.  You know the one I mean!  In short, as if I could ever make this short, Molly was shopping for a GREEN cape.

Keep in mind that green is the color of a group called Slytherin in Harry Potter’s world.  What Molly didn’t realize was that Slytherin folks are supposed to mad for power and ridiculously ambitious.  It might occur to you that Molly, the woman who likes to LOOK busy and doesn’t like to BE busy might not fit that Slytherin category.  She might not  fit into that category, but she liked green.  She wasn’t keen on others thinking she was Slytherin but the green cape made her red hair pop!

It just occurred to me that I’ve taken quite some time to go off on this weird tangent to tell you how busy I am.  Perhaps this is part of my problem.  Other parts of my problem include tearing apart my living room so a tech can reach my phone plug so I can get some very substandard internet service.  Still, I rejoice!

Then there’s Walter.  He keeps me busy from morning to night.  I have a whole post started on the most recent of Walter’s shenanigans, but today he hit one of his many, truly unbelievable feats:

He found crayons.

He ate crayons.

He is now pooping rainbows.

 

Almost Evil

Many years ago I discovered IRC which is short for Internet Relay Chat.   Now, it is considered an ancient form of communication but it was the precursor to instant messaging and chat rooms.  My involvement started when I became interested in rubber stamping.   Ok, I’ll just pause here while you try to figure out why I would be interested in rubber stamps.  Got it?  No?   Are you really going to make me admit that I want to be an artist but I can’t draw for the life of me and rubber stamped images kind of give me a head start?  Do you feel better now?  Do you!?

Now that I’ve been totally humiliated, I’ll get back to my story.  I found out there was a place online where I could join a chat room and talk to other people who like rubber stamping, too. Yes, there are others!  It was fun till this guy came in and threatened to take over the little server we were on.

That was the beginning.  The guy’s nickname was Froolap.  This geeky guy kept telling us that he was exposing our security flaws and tried to tell us how to fix them.  Most of the middle-aged ladies there had no computer savvy whatsoever and I was in the same boat. Froolap obviously had skills, and who knew what he was capable of?  They were afraid, but I was intrigued.  I wanted to learn more.

Sure that he was just an internet troll, the ladies banned him.  Now it is true that he played a lot of pranks on them so he sort of deserved it.  He put a bot in the channel that would spy on them and when he reentered the channel he could repeat the things they said in his absence.  That freaked them out, they thought he was some sort of hacker who could divine their very thoughts.

I think it was his CC Grabber scam that put the ladies over the top.  When they wouldn’t believe him about the very real security flaws the server had, he figured he’d scare some sense into them.  He told them that he had a way to get their credit card numbers.  I imagined their eyes growing large with fear on their faces.  Their fears were soon realized when he told them to hold their credit cards up to the screen and he would recite the number.  They must have thought he put his swami hat on because he started saying “I see a 3 oh and I see a 5.”  By that time they were totally going crazy and completely convinced that he had read their cards through their computer screens.  Hey, Kellyanne Conway had nothing on them.  It was about that time that they banned him.

Before that happened, I had asked Froolap how I could learn some of these techy things and he took me to a channel (that’s what they call chat rooms on IRC) on the Efnet server.  It was chock-a-block full of real geeks.  These guys knew their stuff.  I had no idea what their stuff was because I didn’t understand the jargon, but they sure did know it!  I was on a real server now.

I had a blast there.  I created my own little channel called #papermoon.  I learned the jargon and the commands. I learned 1337speak where numbers take the place of some letters. I learned how to run a bot!  All of this happened more than a decade ago and I’ve forgotten half of it.  However, the channel is still there, though it’s just greatly diminished.  IRC is dying in favor of newer technology.

While on IRC I also saw the underbelly of the internet.  A lot of the people I hung out with were hackers.  Real hackers, not just pranksters like Froolap.  Some were the good-guy white hats, some black hats, but mostly they were gray.  I was really glad they were my friends and not my foes.  I experienced real internet trolls who tried to take over my channel.  I learned first hand that some of the people on the internet are truly evil.  In jest, I mentioned to a friend that I wanted to be evil.  He joked that I was “almost evil.”  That made me laugh.  How fitting for a geek-wannabe.

Then it struck me.  So many years before, Froolap came to a little channel and tried to help, but was looked upon as evil.  I guess he was “almost evil” long before I was.

Without him, I never would have had those wonderful experiences or made the friends I still hold dear to this day.  We lost Froo a year ago to suicide but he and I got to tell that story to a lot of friends that drifted through the channel over the years.  I owe Froolap a great deal and I’m grateful that he knew that before he died.