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Archive for October, 2008

For all cat lovers out there, here’s a video of a ninja cat… really scary. Now if only it’s wearing a black suit with a toy katana on its back! =D

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Note: This video isn’t made by me. It’s copyrighted the guy at YouTube… except there are so many of these videos that I don’t know who recorded the cat. But, it’s still copyrighted, and I still didn’t make it!

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So pro. I tried doing that to my cat (and my brother’s) in hopes of turning them into ninja cats… but they just ignored me. T_T

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~Estrelita Farr, whose cats aren’t ninja cats.

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Oh, yeesh, I haven’t been writing on this topic for like seven months. Guess you do forget about certain topics when you’re too broad. o_o
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Before we start, let’s clarify those few things again:
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  • I will not agree to the statement that men (or women) are superior. Both have equal qualities, though may be better in different departments.
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  • I’ll be taking the stereotypical view of both genders, just so I don’t have to keep saying “but there are exceptions!” and making myself sound like a broken recorder. I know there are exceptions, just don’t make me repeat that so many times. =(
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  • The reason why I’m doing this is not to belittle the other gender, it’s for me (and hopefully, my boyfriend~) to understand the differences between the two, and maybe even appreciate them! I know I appreciate him knowing the roads better than I do. xP
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  • This has nothing to do with the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. I’ve read an excerpt of it, but this is not meant to steal things from there. This is to inform people (who’re interested enough to read this, anyway) in a way that I understand with my own experience!
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Okay, now let’s start~!

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Men and Venus? On Gender Differences

Chapter 2: Too Focused, Blur-case, or Deaf? Too Excited, Aggressive, or Just Can’t Stop Talking?

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Sometimes, I see complaints of one person on the other gender. Like, “ZOMG, he just doesn’t listen to me! I told him that so-and-so happened and to do this-and-that, but he doesn’t listen!!” or “ZOMG, she just talks too much! Why doesn’t she shut up?!”
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Sounds familiar?
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My boyfriend and I haven’t really encountered this problem badly yet. Or rather, he hadn’t complained to me yet. Though for me, sometimes I can see the truth in these complaints.
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Like, for example, sometimes when I talk and talk, he doesn’t respond. It’s like, “Hey, you know, next time we should go to so-and-so and do this-and-that!”
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Silence.
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Girls, like me, tend to wonder, “Hey, did he hear me or not?”
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Yep, it sounds familiar.
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However, there’s most likely a reason behind that.
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When I do ask my boyfriend if he heard (after a bit of talking and little response), he actually heard me. What’s more, he could repeat most of the information I gave him!
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Yeah, he did miss out some information, but who cares? He heard me!
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But hey, what about other couples? Why are there so many arguments on why he don’t listen and why she talks too much?
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After a lot of reading, I can finally come here and write a blog post about it. It helps me understand my boyfriend, too. =D

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Part 1: Back to the Prehistoric Days…
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Yep, we date back all the way to the prehistoric days where we all still live as cavemen. Back then, the roles of males and females were pretty clear cut; men go hunting all day and bring back hunted animals (for food, clothing, weapon materials, etc), while the women stay home, guard the home, and gather fruits, herbs and stuff.
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As quoted from Kat Caverly (link at the bottom of the post):
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“Men evolved from hunters who didn’t do much talking. (If you’ve ever seen your grandpa and uncles hunt and fish, you know this to be true. Hours and hours go by, and no one speaks.) While there is evidence to support that communication was needed among early hunters, most of it was done prior to setting out to hunt, leaving little for discussion during the hunting trip itself. This was practical. Too much noise (conversation) would alert the prey — at best scaring it away; at worst turning hunter into hunted.

On the other hand, women went out-and-about not to hunt, but to gather. As they did this activity in groups, they would keep up a stream of conversation in order to make sure no one had fallen behind or prey to animals. For a woman, conversation was literally life itself!”
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Further quoted from a commenter on the post by Kat Caverly:
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“Along with that, women were responsible for raising the children, and being sensitive to communication was/is key. Such as the need for details, tones, and the “closeness” or intimacy that is entwine in women’s conversations.”
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Makes sense, right?

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Part 2: Talking and Listening Today
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And so, that prehistoric trait difference brought along the complaints; men don’t listen and women talk too much. This difference even brought along quotes from famous people through the ages.
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But is it really true?
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Research showed that the female brain is more geared for language and emotion related stuff, due to that part of the brain being bigger (this is writing from memory gained from reading, so I forgot the name o_o). They’re also basically better equipped for multitasking, since the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain is bigger compared to that of the male brain.
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But, while this finding concludes that women do talk more than men (6,000 words compared to 4,000 words… wait, what?), other research show that this is nothing more than a myth. As said by an article from PBS: Language as Prejudice:
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“When women and men are together, it is the men who talk most. Two Canadian researchers, Deborah James and Janice Drakich, reviewed sixty-three studies which examined the amount of talk used by American women and men in different contexts. Women talked more than men in only two studies.”
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What?! That’s the complete opposite!!
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Forget the women talk too much part…

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Part 3: Difference Between a Talking Man and a Talking Woman
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What difference? Both men and women use words!
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Duh.
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Well, aside from that, people of both genders use speech for different purposes.
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For a start, men talk for informational purposes; they don’t like talking unless it’s information requesting or information sharing or something. That explains why guys talk more than girls, huh? After all, we’re in the information age!
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Guys also have a heavier tendency towards actions. Once you gain the necessary information, act on them. That’s what they did during the prehistoric times, right? Device hunting plan, then carry out hunting plan and don’t talk during action.
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Women, on the other hand, use communication mainly for relationship building. When feeling anxious or happy or anything, they feel the need to share the emotions with someone else, and from this communication, they form relationship with each other. Even during prehistoric times, they talk to ensure that their friends are still around (you hear her, then therefore she’s safe, right?) and to pass the time while they gather. So basically for them, talking = better relationship.
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See the big difference here?

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Part 4: Difference Between a Listening Man and a Listening Woman
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Remember what I said about the prehistoric times when guys don’t talk much and girls talk a lot?
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When the guys go hunting, they talk before the hunt, then they stay silent during. Their focus is always on the prey, so that it doesn’t get away.
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The consequences? Most of the time, guys have a single-track mind. When they focus, they focus hard and do one thing really well, but they don’t really hear anything else.
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Sure, guys can multitask, but not all of them can do things and listen at the same time. Which reminds me of Ammaro’s post (link at the bottom of this post):
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It happened again, today. My wife called me when I was coming home from work, and the conversation (well, the part I heard anyway) went something like this:

“Hi honey, can you ….. by the supermarket … get …. …… ……, some tomatoes….., …. ,….. ,…… ….. , ok dear? Thanks. Bye”

…so now i’m at the supermarket, buying what she wanted; I pick up the tomates and… Hmm… I can be pretty sure she mentioned FIVE items. Why do I only seem to remember one? Umm…

Ok, time to call her again. Uhh, honey, what did you say you wanted?

“Get ….. fat-free white cheese,….. ….. ….. tomatoes, and ….. …., with the …. …. next to the …. counter, ok? Bye…”

So I go to the cheese section, but realize there’s like 3 million different varieties of fat-free cheese. Dammit, another phone call. What was that cheese you wanted hon? And what else?

“Yeah, …. was the Kraft fat-free cheese, and by the way, ….. ….. ….., …. you find a pack of …., and a family pack diet coke”

I swear to god, I must have called her 6 times today while I was in the supermarket… to pick up 5 things!
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It cracked me up. xP
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Guys are easily distracted. He hears his favourite tune in the background, there goes his mind. You tell him things during a movie, he doesn’t remember much of it after that.
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I can relate to that, too. When I tell my boyfriend things while he’s driving (women’s favourite past-time o_o), he remembers less than if I lock him in a quiet room and run off with his book. So I learned my lesson and make sure I run off with his book before I tell him things!
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Well, that’s the guy.
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For girls, when they do things, they respond better when you call them in the middle of things. They multitask well (though they may not be perfect), so they pick up information better when they multitask. That’s because, as mentioned in the previous section, the two hemisphere of the female brain is better wired compared to the male brain.
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So… where’s the problem?

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Part 5: Problems in a Relationship

Now that we know the difference between a talking/listening man and a talking/listening woman, now we can see what’s up with the couples who complain about their partners.
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When a guy loves a girl, he doesn’t say “I love you”, because guys don’t like to look weak and vulnerable. He acts out on the feelings of love, and gestures and actions become important. Action speaks louder than words, in the guy’s case.
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When a girl loves a guy, she says “I love you” often. She talks a lot and always conveys the feelings in words, and she always wants to touch (hug, kiss, etc).
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So when the problem occurs?
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Due to the fact that there are differences in talking/listening needs between the two couples, both needs are not fulfilled. Women talk, thinking that the men don’t listen enough, but the men get swamped with all the words and responds with actions.
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Both feel that the other doesn’t understand them, and this turns into a fight.

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Part 6: So… what now?
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Compromising. That’s the only way the vastly different male and female can be happy together.
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Understanding that a guy acts out on feelings rather than say it, and understanding that a girl needs to talk and hear things to feel secure.
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Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s always the woman who does the talking and the guy who does the, well, non-listening. There are certain times when a guy talks more than a girl. Take my occasional situation, for example… nowadays, when I talk to my boyfriend, I try not to talk too much, and sometimes I drop the subject when he doesn’t respond all that much. I became not-so-sensitive to his near lack of response when he listens, because… well, I do that myself sometimes. When my boyfriend becomes enthusiastic on something, he, too, will tell me loads of information about it; how it goes, what happens, what he thinks about it, etc… similar like the way I do it. Sometimes, though, it becomes too much information for me, and I couldn’t do anything but nod dumbly. I do try to understand and ask questions, of course… but I do lack the pro grey matter he has (mentioned in Article #1: The Map Question: “Why’re you reading it upside-down?!”)! I may be on the programming side, but he stores more information in his head than I do. @_@
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Still, knowing and understanding is the first step to a good relationship. And writing this article has helped me to understand loads!

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~Estrelita Farr, not so insecure~!

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References:

  • Kat Caverly: Why DO women talk so much? (Link)
  • PBS: Language as Prejudice: Language Myth #6, Women Talk Too Much (Link)
  • Ammaro: Women Talk Too Much and Men Don’t Listen (Link)

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There have always been cases of people complaining about inconsiderate drivers. Those that go too fast, those that cut out suddenly, those that sit in a yellow box in a jam and refuse to let you past, those that sound the horn at you for absolutely no reason… and the list goes on and on.
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Of course, there’s an equally long list on inconsiderate pedestrians too (“WHAT?! YOUR GRANDFATHER’S ROAD ARH?!!”), but today, we’re talking about drivers.
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Thankfully, my boyfriend is one of those good drivers. He doesn’t go too fast nor too slow, uses the signal often, and stuff like that. Sitting beside him when he drives isn’t scary at all. xP
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Unfortunately, on some days you can’t help but to get one of those crazy drivers.
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He did, yesterday.
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It was the last day of my extra holiday class, and so, it being Friday, my boyfriend came to pick me up so we go return to my house. It was a fine late afternoon, about 3pm, so there were no rush hour jams.
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Then, it began.
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This random car (a low-cost car that was modified to have a spoiler on the back, a loud “VROOM!” and tinted windows to imitate a racing car. Egoistic, much?) came up behind us and tailgated us, while we were 10 minutes away from my house (it takes 15 minutes from my university to my house).
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At first, we didn’t mind; after all, who cares about people tailgating you?
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The road we were on had two lanes, but at the time, we met lots of people who were slow, pausing to turn (and took one a whole lane), stopping at a one-lane traffic light, and stuff. My boyfriend switched lanes a lot, as to continue at our normal pace along the road.
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Then we began noticing it.
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Each time my boyfriend switched lanes, the joker behind would follow suit, and continue to tailgate us.
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We switched left.
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He switched left.
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We switched right.
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We switched right.
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What the heck? It’s terribly fishy.
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But fine. We ignored it.
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We turned from the main road and into the housing area, on the one-lane main road of the housing area.
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The joker followed suit.
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At the time, we still didn’t think much of it (except that we felt the guy was showing off), because it was normal for us to drive and meet cars that happen to go the same way. I met at least one when I drive.
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But when we turned into a road next to a field that led to where I live and he followed, we knew that the guy behind us was stalking us.
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Never mind. When we are stalked, we never show them where we live.
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And so we made one big round around the housing area, just to throw the guy off.
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He still followed us.
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Then, on a road wide enough for two cars to go past (two-way road, mind you), suddenly…
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“ZOOOM!!”
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There he goes, overtaking us.
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Silence.
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Then I started laughing.
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It felt so funny seeing the guy trying to imitate the “EAT MY DUST!!” fashion. It’s like, the guy’s ego is so blown up that he thinks he’s so cool doing that, but in reality, seeing that low cost car (the exact same brand and type my boyfriend uses) imitating a racing car… so funny. xP
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This is the exact image in my head:

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So funny. That joker would’ve felt so angry if he knew, huh?
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We thought it was over, so we just went on our merry way.
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Then we came across this Y junction. One of the roads, the one that joker took, was a dead end. So we took the one that wasn’t a dead end.
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And… round 2!
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“ZOOOOOOM!”
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There he goes again.
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Like earlier, I ended up laughing. He just tries so hard, he deserves marks for effort! You know, like when you failed in a school paper, where the teacher gives some “markah kesihan” (marks out of pity)?
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Man, it’s so funny.
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At least, this time, the guy took the turning out back to the housing area’s main road, out of the area we were at.
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Well, at least it was over.
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After all, in this day and age when crime rates are running high, who knows maybe that joker had criminal intent and followed us for that? But from the two “EAT MY DUST!!” sessions, most likely it’s some nobleman’s son that’s too rich and had nothing better to do.
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Still, it can’t hurt to be more careful.
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Throughout the day, we checked on my boyfriend’s car parked outside my house, just to see if anything happened to it. Nothing did, no worries.
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But you never know, right?
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Next time, if we were being tailgated and stalked, we have a retaliation plan.
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What the plan is, you ask?
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Just go round and round the roundabout, and see who gives up first.
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Yep, not unlike Mr. Bean.

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~Estrelita Farr, still laughing from the memory. xP

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Eh, lately I keep getting spam emails from random emails like admin@viagra.com or something (always from the same @viagra.com!!). Lucky for me, I don’t even read them so they don’t really affect me much. o_o
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But today, the topic is on WAR!!
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No, this isn’t Sparta. Not 300, either. But like the movie (and no, I haven’t watched the movie), this is a ridiculous war. And guess what? I’m victorious!!
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And so, let me retell my battle stories to all who’re willing to listen. xP
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(Though actually I meant to write this like 2 months ago, and I got lazy until today. o_o)

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Part 1: And the Symptoms Began…

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Avast Alert

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Well, here’s the story.
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  • I’m using Windows XP SP2. Not Vista, thank goodness.
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  • I’ve C: and D: drives (Program Files are in D: drive).
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  • I use Avast! antivirus, as you can see here.
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  • In the C: and D: directories, there are autorun files that triggers Avast’s alert (as in the picture) if I double click the drives to access from My Computer. Wonderful.
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  • No matter what you do to the file (move to chest, delete, etc), it keeps coming back.
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Persistent, right?
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IT’S TIME FOR WAR!!11!1!

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Part 2: HIDDEN FILES! SHOW YOURSELVES!!

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First thing, what I normally do is enable Show Hidden Files and Show System Files under Folder Options in order to catch the autorun files in my C: and D: drives, so that I could fry them before I fry the actual virus.
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And so, Browser > Tools > Folder Options > View.
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Check Show Hidden Files and uncheck Hide Protected Operating System Files. OK.
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Done.
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But hey, I still don’t see the semitransparent files in either C: or D: drives?!
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Round 2. Browser > Tools > Folder Options > View.
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What the?! Hide Hidden Files and Hide Protected Operating System Files became checked again!!
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Repeat, repeat, and repeat.
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Still the same story.
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Is there some hidden force messing about with my comp?! Darn it.
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Deciding to leave the virus for a while longer, I poked Uncle Google in search of a way to enable my Show Hidden Files and stuff again. Usually, a lot of sites aren’t very useful when it comes to these, but then I found a particular website (link here) that has lots of scripts to help with Windows stuff.
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And one of them is the Show Hidden Files script, which forces the Folder Options to change Show Hidden Files to be checked.
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Whee.
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It worked for a while… and then went back to its previous settings so I can’t find the hidden autorun files.
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Bleh.
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Another place, a forum topic, suggested using Regedit to force the Show Hidden Files to be checked, which is just to change the CheckedValue from 0 to 1.
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Close Regedit.
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Open Regedit.
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Lo and behold!!
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Still can’t see hidden files.

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Note: Oh, darn, the picture’s too long. Click on this link to view the whole picture.
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Eh, forget that for a while. Lemme kill the virus first.

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Part 3: UNCLE GOOGLE! HELP!!!

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Yep, as with all the malware problems I’ve had in the past (problems as in, I couldn’t remove it on my own), first I consult dear old Uncle Google. After all, I don’t really like registering on tech forums to bug people for help before I do all the things I could, first.
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Search results: 6510. Whoa.
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The first few are, as usual, some “HELP I GOT WIN32 ROOTKIT-GEN [RTK]!!!!1!!1!!” topics from various forums. Consulting these many topics, I began outlining and implementing my war strategy.
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Hey, they did help me… well, for other malware problems in the past. o_o
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Oh, and you know what?
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klif.sys is a file generated by Kaspersky antivirus… BUT I’VE NEVER HAD KASPERSKY IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!
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It’s getting confusing. T_TT

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Part 4: VIRUSTOTAL! HELP!!!

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Virus Total is a website where you can upload a file and get it scanned (for free!) with some 30+ antivirus software and tell you the results. For example, if you find a funky looking file sitting happily in your system32 folder and your antivirus didn’t complain, you could get it scanned at this place without getting new software installed!
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Of course, it doesn’t help with removing the files, so… o_o
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This site was recommended in a few of the “HELP I GOT WIN32 ROOTKIT-GEN [RTK]!!!!1!!1!!” forum topics, and I found it’s a good place to start determining whether the file’s a false positive or really infected. And so, I uploaded the aforementioned file (and Avast! didn’t cease or desist and kept throwing me more of the “ZOMG ROOTKIT ALERT!!” message).
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Guess what? Virus Total said that 6 out of 32 antivirus programs say it’s a malware.
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Cool.
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Of course, once I found out it’s a malware, I tried removing it manually (i.e. by going to the folder and hitting delete). But Avast didn’t stop complaining, so…
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Skirmish lost.
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Part 5: SOPHOS ANTI-ROOTKIT! HELP!!!

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One of the help forum topics said to look for anti-rootkit tools to remove rootkits. Whee, something that sounds like it works.
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Consulting Uncle Google again (he never tires of me, does he?), I picked the first result from the list, which was Sophos Anti-Rootkit. Hey, the first on the list gotta be good, right?
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But this strategy failed, because Sophos Anti-Rootkit never did find any rootkit on the comp. And, upon searching the file using the Windows folder search, I couldn’t find the file again.
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What the heck?!
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Darn. Now I gotta find out exactly where it is again.
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Skirmishes lost: 2.

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Part 6: AVAST! HELP!!!

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Notice how I’ve only said the “ZOMG ROOTKIT ALERT!!” message pops up randomly? I never said anything about a scan, did I?
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Then, I began the time-consuming Avast scan while I poked Uncle Google a bit more.
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Hey, guess what?
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KLIF.SYS DIDN’T EVEN TURN UP ON THE AVAST SCAN!!11!1!!
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But I did find loads of other things, which included:
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  • Loads of Trojans on System Restore Files. Yikes! That gotta be the remains of the Trojan I fried from my sister’s friend’s pendrive some months ago, aren’t they?
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  • Loads of Rootkits on System Restore Files. Wut? Where’d that come from?!
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  • Some Rootkits on C: and D: folders. Were those the autorun files I tried to fry?
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It was a grand total of 16 infections!! That’s the most in years. o_o
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But since the scan didn’t catch the pesky little virus…
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Skirmishes lost: 3.
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Part 7: REBOOT, AVAST BOOT-TIME SCAN! HELP!!!

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When some of the guys on the forums asked for “I GOT WIN32 ROOTKIT-GEN [RTK]!!!!1!!1!!” help, I noticed that some of the files were (like some of my infections) System Restore files. The people who tried to help said to disable System restore, restart, and reenable System Restore.
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Yep, I disabled System Restore. And at the same time, I scheduled a boot-time Avast! scan.
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Then, I cleaned my temporary files. (1422 temp files ZOMG!)
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Muahaha, you gotta be fried now, virus!!
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And I hit restart.
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…3 hours later, the system rebooted, and, somehow, the rootkit is still there. Bleh.
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Skirmishes lost: 4.

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Part 8: TECH FORUMS! HELP!!!

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Yep, I do get desperate after 3 days. So I went on some forums and asked for help, telling them what I did so far.
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So I installed HijackThis (a program that scans your comp and saves a log file of running registries and process) and posted the log file to show the forum guys.
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Then take a look at the red line a guy helped me identify:
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O4 – HKLM..Run: [ZoneAlarm Client] “D:Program FilesZone LabsZoneAlarmzlclient.exe”
O4 – HKLM..Run: [avast!] D:PROGRA~1ALWILS~1Avast4ashDisp.exe
O4 – HKCU..Run: [MsnMsgr] “C:Program FilesWindows LiveMessengerMsnMsgr.Exe” /background
O4 – HKCU..Run: [kamsoft] C:WINDOWSsystem32ckvo.exe
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CKVO IS A MALWARE AS WELL!!!
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Holy macaroni. Is there no end to my woes in this war?
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Running numerous searches using Window’s folder search enabled me to locate ckvo.exe and ckv0.dll in the system32 folder. Upon deleting them manually (Avast doesn’t complain about them, somehow), the files disappear… and eventually come back.
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ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!11!!!!1!
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Skirmishes lost: 5.

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Part 9: MALWAREBYTES! HELP!!!

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Then there’s this other guy who came and offered help in the forums. He gave a list of 3 or 4 anti-rootkit software, but none of them found any rootkit.
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Weird?
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Then he suggested Super Anti-Spyware and MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware, in hopes of finding whatever it was that causes the barrage of problems in my comp.
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Super Anti-Spyware found nothing but tracking cookies (normal stuff).
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MalwareBytes, on the other hand…
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IT SHOWED THE ROAD TO VICTORY IN THIS LONG WAR!!
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Registry Data Items Infected:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersion
ExplorerAdvancedFolderHiddenSHOWALLCheckedValue
(Hijack.System.Hidden) -> Bad: (0) Good: (1) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.
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Oh yeah! It finally found the registry entry that blocked me from seeing hidden files!!
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Victory is near. xP
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Skirmishes won: 1.

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Part 10: And the Road to Victory!!

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Browser > Tools > Folder Options > View.
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Check Show Hidden Files and uncheck Hide Protected Operating System Files. OK.
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Repeat.
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Browser > Tools > Folder Options > View.
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LO AND BEHOLD!! SHOW HIDDEN FILES STAYED CHECKED AND HIDE SYSTEM FILES STAYED UNCHECKED!!
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Holy yeah. Clicking OK on Folder Options has never felt better.
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Since I’m finally able to see hidden and system files, I see loads and loads of familiar names in the C: and D: drives. THOSE ARE THE FILES THE ALERT KEEPS POPPING UP FOR BUT IN THE WRONG PLACE!!
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Darn. All this wild goose chase all because of a registry entry that doesn’t let me see hidden system files. T_T
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But hey, it’s finally over, right? After deleting all the autorun and stuff (and left the important system files alone), no more rootkit problems in my comp!!
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So, in conclusion?
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Use MalwareBytes’ Anti-Malware. It helps to kill infected registries. xP
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Note: After some time of deleting that one infected registry, I had some slight network problems on my computer and not my siblings’ computers. Upon reading some stuff from Google search, apparently messing with your registry messes up your Internet connection. However, there’s a solution; there’s one site (can’t remember which) that has something called a WinSock Fix script (just a script file). Upon using that, my network is fixed. So just a heads up. =D
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And all is well until now!

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~Estrelita Farr, enthusiastically writing!

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