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Worms – Friends or Foes?

picture of worms

What comes to your mind when you hear the word worms? In the past several days I've had some experiences with good worms and with bad worms. I'll start off with good worms – the kind that work for us in our yards and gardens. For years my wife and I have been composting as a means of adding organic material to fertilize our garden. I have a row of hedges in the back corner of our yard that is perfect for hiding my compost heap. This past Saturday I moved blocks around to make the compost area longer and more narrow. In the process, I saw hundreds of earthworms that were happily munching away at the goodies put in the heap every couple of days. Here's a picture of a corner of our compost bin. You can see the rich dark dirt in it.

picture of compost heap

The project I mentioned above was one I've been planning to do for a while, but on Saturda it was a diversion to go outside and away from our laptop. At the end of last week it became evident that, in spite of our firewall and anti-virus program, our computer had a worm. To tell the truth, I don't really know which one we had. I kept rescanning the computer, each time turning up a worm or Trojan horse with a different name. The virus program and also the anti-spyware programs both declared each one either "healed" or removed, but if I scanned again, they would turn up more worms or Trojans as a threat. They finally incapacitated my updating my virus projection or going to the company website.

By Friday evening I began to suspect that my wife's blog had been hacked. I e-mailed my web host who wrote back to confirm my suspicions – her blog was saying its source was in China, which is where the various worms were from also. Related? I'll spare you the details, but I basically had to blow away her blog, reinstall WordPress and upload the most recent, safe backup of her database. She lost a few comments, but that's all. Shortly after I finished that, I received an e-mail saying that visiting my blog had set off this person's antivirus alarm. So I had to do the same with my blog. I lost the database that stores the polls, and so all that info is gone.

This whole time I was fighting that so that I wasn't causing problems for my visitors, I still hadn't fixed our laptop. The solution was to do a "destructive restore" which formatted the C: drive and then restored the laptop to the way it was when we bought it two years ago. So since then, I've been trying to "rebuild my kingdom" by reinstalling our various programs and trying to get things back the way we like them. What a nightmare! I told my wife Becka that a Mac is looking better and better when it comes time to replace this computer, which I was ready to burn at one point this weekend!

Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post on our laptop, the virus program popped up an alert saying there were two threats on our laptop. But HOW?! 😯 It moved the one file to the virus vault, but it said it could not heal or remove the other one. Big help! So I fear that all the hours that I've spent the last few days are for naught. Apparently the worm has crawled into the D: drive where the restore program is?

Added Tuesday evening, April 7: I've ordered restore disks from HP and will redo my computer sometime.... First, though, I had to rebuild my blog for the second time in several days.

As happy as I am to have hundreds of worms in our compost heap, the word worm currently causes great disgust in me! I had decided that it would be appropriately inappropriate to post some puns about worms, just to try to laugh a little about an otherwise dreary situation, and I'm going to go ahead with this post. (Never fear – I'm posting this from my school computer.) 🙂

On to the levity....

What do you call it when worms take over the world?
Global Worming

How can you tell which end of a worm is which?
Tickle it in the middle and see which end laughs!

Why was the glow worm unhappy?
Because her children weren't all that bright.

What kind of worm do you use for math?
An inch worm

What was the worm doing in the cornfield?
He was going in one ear and out the other.

What do worms leave round their bathtubs?
The scum of the earth

What is worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?
Biting into an apple and finding a half of a worm!

What do you get if you cross a worm and an elephant?
Very big worm holes in your garden!

Why did the worm cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.

What did the woodworm say to the chair?
It's been nice gnawing you!

What is life like for a wood worm ?
Boring !

Why are glow worms good to carry in your bag?
They can lighten your load!

What do you get if you cross a glow worm with a python?
A 15 foot strip light that can strangle you to death!

What did the worm say to the other worm when he was late coming home?
Where in the earth have you been!

What is the best advice to give a worm?
Sleep late!


"I just swallowed an earthworm," said Tom with bated breath.

=^..^= =^..^=

The early bird still has to eat worms.

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8 Comments on “Worms – Friends or Foes?”

  1. #1 Rob
    on Apr 7th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Here are the comments I received on this post before I had to rebuild the blog.

    #1 Rachael Woodard on Apr 6th, 2009 at 11:50 pm [edit]

    I just had to comment about the worms.

    My twin sister and I drove up for Bible Conference at BJU because we collectively now have three college students there between the two of us. As well, it was our 25th reunion on Friday night.

    However, the entire time we were there (we came in on Tuesday night), we were greeted with rain. By Friday afternoon, I was water logged and sick of having wet feet. I was cold and, being from Florida, ready for WARM wind and WARM rain. I was even ready for some humidity that wasn’t attached to drops of rain.

    But, as we walked along on the now soaking wet covered sidewalks, we had to find humor in all the worms who had committed worm-i-cide by crawling out of the safety of the dark, rich flower beds beside the walkways and had entangled themselves under the feet of the seemingly millions of visitors who traipsed past multiple times per day going towards the Amphitorium, back to the Student Center, and then back to the Amphitorium again, with a detour every now and then to admire the exterior of the new Rodeheaver.

    We, the college kids and I, that is, began a discussion about the vast quantities of worms found there in G’ville on the sidewalks. Of course, they were all smashed.

    Worm guts were everywhere. We started to try to avoid the worms, which proved to be highly unproductive.

    We decided that we’d all have shoes that needed washing and that we’d better NOT remove our shoes inside our houses or dorm rooms or wipe our feet on carpets INSIDE a house, but rather, OUTSIDE the house. I thought maybe I should just toss out my shoes. (Come to think of it, when I got back to the house I was staying in that night, I dumped baby powder in the shoes, wrapped them in a plastic bag and I’ve not seen them again!)

    Ok, so, I had guys with me. They found the whole thing rather amusing. I had never really had a discussion about worms before, so I found it interesting that less than 10 days later, I’m reading about worms on ivman!

    –Rachael Woodard

    #2 Rob on Apr 7th, 2009 at 6:49 am [edit]

    @Rachael – That’s a riot! I have thought the same thing for years – why do the worms here get on the sidewalk and street when it rains?!

    #3 JVC on Apr 7th, 2009 at 7:41 am [edit]

    Get a Mac! Always go with your gut! You’ll be much happier. That’s what most of us at the “IT Service Desk” will tell you. ;~)

    #4 Terry E. on Apr 7th, 2009 at 7:52 am [edit]


    I’m not an expert in recovering laptops, but I have had to do a complete reimaging of two laptops in the last month. I have developed a very low opinion of System Restore partitions on the same hard drive. For the very reason you mentioned, you should do a complete reformat of your hard drive, remove any System Restore partitions, and rebuild your system from the system restore disks that came with your computer. Only this approach will eliminate any pesky virii or worms that can hide out on your hard drive.

    This will give you the added benefit of more accessible storage space on your hard drive as well. The System Restore partition is mainly for easily repairing your operating system short of a complete reformat. But it is rarely necessary to do this, while the need to recover an infected system is far more likely.

    Another advantage of doing a complete reimaging is that you can omit all of those annoying applications that are bundled with a new laptop when you reinstall the drivers.

    I feel your pain.

    #5 Laura on Apr 7th, 2009 at 8:53 am [edit]

    Sorry to hear about your continuing computer woes. We’ve been looking into Linux . . . we can use our existing equipment (will need to buy a new driver for the modem, but that’s minimal) and just put the new OS in–free for the downloading. Linux doesn’t allow anything to write to a hard drive without explicit user permission, so every time you shut down the computer, it wipes out stuff that floated into it from the ‘net.

    Unfortunately, not every Windows program will run under Linux, so we’ll probably set it up as a dual-boot system (easy with 2 hard drives . . . you have to partition otherwise) and only run Windows when we’re offline. We figured that way, we could keep our XP system from being threatened online when MS stops supporting it with updates, just as we took our Win 98 computer offline when its support stopped.

  2. #2 Melissa
    on Apr 7th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about all your worm woes. I am quite fond of my Mac and would recommend them to most people!

  3. #3 Sherry
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 5:44 am

    How sad about your computer! And in answer to your “Why do worms crawl out on the sidewalk?” question, I was told by a sage old teacher once that when it rains abundantly, the poor little worms have little choice but to come up for air, as it were–the ground becomes a mushy swimming pool where they nearly drown! Sadly, they often don’t make it back to the safety of their dirt home. 🙁 I try to put them back in the dirt if I see them inching along, **miles** from safety on the sidewalk. Hopefully, your unwanted worms will meet a worse fate than the little squirmy ones we see on the sidewalks these days!

  4. #4 David McGuire
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    You do remember the sad little boy who was out of sorts with the world:

    “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
    I’m sitting in the garden eating worms.”

  5. #5 Greg
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your computer problems. I know it must be very frustrating to think the problem is fixed, only to have it rear it’s ugly head again. Computers are a great tool, when they aren’t hacked or infected. =) Mac’s are wonderful, but be prepared to pay the price. Funny, I don’t ever recall typewriters being attacked by a virus unless the user had a cold and coughed on the keys. ;-0

  6. #6 Rob
    on Apr 8th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    @JVC, Terry, Laura, Melissa, and Greg – Thanks for the words of advice. We’re choosing the least expensive option for now – ordering restore CD’s from HP, wiping out the hard drive, and restoring the computer from the CD’s rather than the D: drive. I’m intrigued by a Mac, but with economic times as they are, I’m not going there at this point. Linux is also intriguing, but I know that the learning curve may be an issue too, as well as not all our favorite programs working with it.

    @Sherry – Thanks for the explanation about our seemingly suicidal worms who are just trying to save their lives the best way their little brains can figure out. 🙂

    @David – Did that little boy’s name happen to be Robin? The robins were going WILD eating worms in my garden when I turned my compost the other day! 😀

  7. #7 Daniel
    on Apr 9th, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I would make sure to clear off the MBR and completely zero out the hard drive, starting completely fresh. Let me know if you need tech details.

    Let me know if you need any help. I’m sure other fellow ITers extend the same offer. 🙂

  8. #8 b.j.
    on Apr 10th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    reminds me of my grandma singing to me…”the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on my snout!”