Friday, June 25, 2010

Dear men of the world

Dear men of the world,

Go see a doctor. Stop putting it off. It's a few hours of your life. It's ridiculous to put off going because you know if you go they'll just find something. If there's something to find and you don't find it now, it will be that much worse later. You are not a beater car that can be driven into the ground. There is no new you to buy when this you gets too beat-up. Do the recommended maintenance.

Also, stop making your girlfriend/wife/significant other/whatever nag you about going. She doesn't want to be put in a position to nag any more than you want to hear it. She just cares about you and wants you to be healthy.

Thank you.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The dream I had

Rick, from work, is an older gentleman. Nice guy, pretty funny. We work in an environment where some technical troubleshooting comes into play from time to time, and on the geekiness scale from Pac Man to Marlboro Man, he's way on the cowboy end of the spectrum.

That's why it surprised me, even in my dream, when Rick told me that he played World of Warcraft and had epic characters with much sought-after gear. He dropped terms that only a WoW gamer would know. I don't think the detail of the dream actually specified which ones, but the understanding was achieved in the dream. He said he was having a big LAN party at his house, and I should go.

Cut to the party. I get there and Rick logs in and shows me his character. It's all decked out in epic gear and he's got lots of money. I'm still stunned that this is Rick. I shrug off my amazement, and log into my own account.

Suddenly it's not a party, it's an intervention. It's a big room with a folding chair in the middle and other chairs arrayed in a semi-circle in front of it. Friends and family are there, and they're telling me that I have to give up World of Warcraft because it's destroying my life. Rick is there, leading the charge, spouting questionable statistics and "facts" that sound like they're straight out of a pamphlet for an organization with an anti-gaming agenda. I'm stunned and I really have nothing to say. I am sitting there with the words falling around me and trying to figure out why Rick had a character that was so powerful if he hated gaming so much.

Then realization dawns. An image solidifies in my memory of the screen where he showed me his stats. The "camera" of my dream perspective zooms in, and the level of the character is a zero. I race from the chair over to my computer and log back into my account, and my character has been cleaned out. All of my loot and gold have been stolen. I turn angrily on Rick and accuse him of staging the intervention to steal my stuff. He denies involvement.

I ask Rick where he learned enough about gaming to lure me in, and he shows me the website for the association that trained him to stage these interventions for the betterment of mankind. I do a bunch of research and show Rick that he had been duped as well. The leader is a scam artist.

The scam involves a member of the group coming out to the dupe's house to set up the network for a LAN party trap. This is necessary for most of the people who are hosting these interventions because they are, by and large, either technophobes or at least not very tech savvy. The way they set up the network, they can grab any information sent through it, including passwords. Their dupe is instructed to keep up the charade until the target has logged into their account(s), and then to spring the intervention on them. The dupe thinks the intervention is the goal... but the reality is that while he's keeping the target busy, the scammer is busy breaking into their account and stealing stuff so that it can be sold on eBay.

Some things to note in the aftermath - I haven't played WoW in years, I never had an account worth enough to justify this amount of work, there is no level 0 in WoW, and why the hell would you go to all the trouble of faking having a bunch of gold and loot and NOT fake a high level?

It's still a really detailed story that had a twist ending, and I was pretty impressed with myself for creating it in my sleep.