I realized about halfway through this week that I had missed posting a blog last week, and I would like to say that it is all the fault of Dragon City. Dragon City, the game introduced to me by one of my granddaughters who was going through a rough time, which I started playing because I could send her gifts through the game. It seemed like such a simple thing, and pretty soon some of my other grandchildren were playing it and we could check and see which dragons we had and what level we were on, how many jewels, and how powerful our dragons were getting. When I got the beautiful Crystal Dragon, I thought I had finally arrived.
Now, some of the Dragons were truly hideous and fierce (although they were good for defeating other dragons), but my heart was with my beautiful dragons, and when the game introduced a K-Pop dragon, I asked two of my Korean grandchildren to name him.
But I also noticed that I had become addicted to playing, and actually had two Dragon Cities, one for each of my email addresses, which meant I was spending twice as much time playing, and not always getting to things that were far more important. In addition, I seldom had much interaction with my grandchildren in Dragon City--they had moved on to other things, and I was getting increasingly obsessed with it.
Then, last week, just as I was closing down my computer before I left for a business conference in Palm Desert, I found an email that said someone had one of my passwords and that unless I paid a ransom in some form of cryptocurrency (not Bitcoin), they would release all over the internet all the bad things I'd been doing in front of my computer. Since all I do in front of my computer is work or play Dragon City I didn't feel impelled to pay any ransom (and I wouldn't have paid it anyway, even if I had heard of the cryptocurrency demanded), I shut down the computer and took it off the internet until I could deal with it when I returned. In the meantime, I emailed my daughters, sons-in-law and son to see what they had heard about this RAT (remote access trojan) virus. From what I read, the virus gets in when one clicks on something like an Adobe Flash update that is not from their website, and I realized I'd done this any number of times when I started playing Dragon City. I assumed that because I had originally downloaded it from their website, that it was all good, and I was very wrong.
It took me hours of work when I returned home to deal with the virus; hours on the phone with Cox, who supplies internet to me, and hours on the phone with Apple (10 AM till 6 PM one day) to dig into the inner workings of my iMac to track down every trace. We deleted reams of stuff that I didn't know I had, which helped speed up the computer, and it has given me the impetus to start deleting more things that I know I don't need.
I haven't been tempted to go on Dragon City since I learned about the virus. Today at Scripture study, when we were continuing to delve into the Gospel of Mark, we came to the passage where Jesus says if your hand or foot causes you to sin, to cut it off. As our Scripture scholar noted, the Catholic Church forbids self-mutilation, and what Jesus meant was to cut out of our lives anything that leads to sin. While I don't know that playing Dragon City was sinful, I do know that I have accomplished so much more just in the week since I stopped playing it. So today I deleted the game from both my Facebook accounts and my phone. And I am preparing for blast off into the productivity zone!