Child Brides Are American As Apple Pie

My daily routine for Slashdot is to post one or two comments each day, watch my trolls spew forth 25+ comments for each of my comment, and laugh at the dumpster fires. Last week the dumpster fires got serious. My trolls accused me of wanting to marry a child bride from Mexico (a different thread has 50+ comments about child brides). Twisting my past comments about underage marriages — not child brides — out of context. The sad reality is that child brides are as American as apple pie in all 50 states.

Retirement Stories in Silicon Valley

I’ve heard stories of engineers saving enough money to retire to Mexico, build a mansion and marry a sweet young thing. The village elders allowed this with the understanding that the American would leave everything to the village when he dies. A win-win situation for getting the most “bang” out of retirement dollars.

The focus of these stories was always on the low-cost of housing in a foreign country. A million dollars in Mexico can buy a large plot of land for a mansion and a vineyard. I don’t believe that a McMansion — an old house torn down to build a large two-story house on a tiny lot — for $1M in Silicon Valley is possible anymore.

As for the “sweet young thing,” she is just an afterthought. A poor young woman marrying a rich old man is the stuff of telenovelas. None of the stories I’ve ever heard suggested that the retiring engineer was looking for a child bride. Mexican marriage law, like American marriage laws in some states, does allow a 14-year-old girl to marry with parental consent.

Since I started my current job in government IT three years ago, I’ve heard similar stories about ex-military coworkers retiring to the Philippines. Filipino marriage law requires 18- to 21-year-olds need parental consent and 21- to 25-year-olds need parental advice. Since young adults are held to a higher standard than in the U.S., it’s probably not a good idea to ask about child brides.

Child Brides in The U.S.

The general age for marriage in the United States is 18. Most states allow underage marriages with parental consent and/or court reviews for 16- to 18-year-olds. While 25 states have no minimum age at all, allowing children as young as 12 to marry an adult.

As reported by NPR:

Child marriage isn’t just a practice that victimizes girls in poor countries. As this blog has previously reported, it’s also long been an issue in the United States, involving girls from a wide range of backgrounds. Based on state marriage license data and other sources, advocacy groups and experts estimate that between 2000 and 2015 alone, well over 200,000 children — nearly all of them girls — were married. In nearly all cases the husband was an adult.

Lawmakers are reluctant to change state marriage laws. Some believe it would infringe on religious freedom. Others believe that marriage is a solution for teenage pregnancies. Neither statements are true. The problem with many lawmakers is that they are old white men who have nothing in common with today’s society. Only a few states are trying to strike child marriages from the books.

False Narratives on Slashdot

While I have no interest in Russian schoolboys, Bangcock ladyboys, or American/Mexican/Filipino child brides, these are the false narratives that my trolls have pushed so far this year. They believe that Slashdot is my “permanent record” on the Internet. Something that the Real World™ will forever hold against me, as if life was just a continuation of high school. The funny thing is that I never went to high school and I still got two associate degrees.

Special thanks go to the Anonymous Cowards (ACs) on Slashdot who protested this false narrative, posted news article links and tried to raise awareness about this serious issue.

A Week for Jury Duty, Fire Smoke and A Bomb Threat

A month ago I got a jury summons for the week of October 10th (Monday was Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day). This was the first time that I ever got a jury summons. If you have a driver license and/or vote (I have the former and do the latter), you eventually get selected for this public duty. As a writer I was eager to participate and learn about the process. As a worker I was anxious since my employer only pays for three days of jury duty and the court pays only $15 per day. The average length of a jury trial in Santa Clara County is five days, but a murder trial could go on for weeks. A short trial I could put up with, a long trial would be a financial burden. The week itself was a trial by fire from jury duty, fire smoke and a bomb threat.

The daily routine for a potential juror is to check the juror reporting website twice a day (11AM and 5PM for my group number). The Tuesday groups reported to the Palo Alto court location. The Wednesday groups reported to the Morgan Hill and downtown San Jose court locations. The Thursday groups reported to the Civic Center location (outside of downtown San Jose). The remaining groups weren’t called in for Friday.

There are three sets of group numbers: 100’s (San Jose), 500’s (Morgan Hill) and 600’s (Palo Alto). My group number was 162. Based on the previous week’s group callings, I expected to report in on Wednesday. A dozen groups reported in on Tuesday. Three dozen groups got called in on Wednesday, raising the counter for the 100’s group to 142.

Wednesday was a very long day.

Smoke from the Sonoma county fires circulated throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, making air pollution worse than a typical day in Beijing. I’ve watched wisps of smoke drift pass my office window in Palo Alto. The afternoon sun was a bright orange orb in the gray sky above. Coworkers at the bus stop claimed to have never seen air pollution this bad before. Like most government workers, they come from all over the United States and few are Californian natives. The 1985 Lexington Reservoir fire that burned 14,000 acres blotted out the Silicon Valley for three days, making the summer sun a blood-red orb in the sky and covered cars in ashes.

When the express bus to San Jose didn’t show up, I took the 89 to the California Avenue Caltrain station. That ended up being the scenic route through Palo Alto. Police and emergency crews closed Page Mill Road between the 280 and El Camino Road, diverting traffic across Page Mill Road to a different street that exited out on Stanford Avenue. With reports of grass fires starting in Berkeley, Oakland and Livermore, I thought there was a nearby grass fire in Palo Alto.

Conversations on the bus quickly turned real estate prices on Stanford Avenue, where the bungalows on tiny lots go for millions of dollars. A brand new house under construction won the “money to spend” award for having the second floor overhanging the first floor by two feet on one side. Like tourists on a tour bus in Hollywood, we gawked at the expensive home and shook our head in disgust.

The next morning I found out from a fellow passenger on the express bus that someone called in a bomb threat at HP. With most of the HP buildings on or just off of Page Mill Road, police shut down the whole street to check each building for bombs and snarling the afternoon commute for hours. It took me an extra two hours to get home.

I didn’t get called in on Thursday. The website that morning told me to check that afternoon, and then to check back on Friday morning. The next morning I checked the website at 11AM to discover that I’m released from jury duty and received a one year exemption from being summoned for jury duty. It’s one less thing to worry about for the next year.

Legally Stockpiling Weapons For A Shooting Spree

Whenever there was a mass shooting in the U.S., I’ve always pointed out to friends that the law doesn’t prevent a law-abiding citizen from stockpiling weapons and ammunition, spreading out their purchases over time to avoid detection by authorities, and then going on a killing spree. A point that Senator Diane Feinstein made on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” made about the Las Vegas shooter, who passed multiple background checks for purchasing weapons. It’s more difficult to buy two packs of Sudafed than to legally stockpile weapons and ammo.

While the number of households owning guns have declined between 1994 to 2013, the number of guns by gun-owning households have increased substantially to an average 8.1 guns. That number is somewhat misleading. So called “super gun owners” own eight to 140 guns, the average being 17 guns.

Who are these people who own multiple weapons?

  • Collectors — When Silicon Valley had more orchards than silicon chips, many neighbors owned hunting rifles and had mounted trophies in their family rooms When I spent a weekend at a middle school friend’s ranch in Morgan Hill, his step-father pulled out an elephant gun he used for a big game hunting in Africa (no mounted elephant or lion head from that trip, but elephant gun was impressive). The next day my friend and I shot off semiautomatics as the adults shot off replicas of ball-and-powder muskets.
  • Survivalists — Nut jobs in the mountains waiting for the government to take away their guns is as American as apple pie. That was the NRA mantra during the eight years of the Obama Administration. No gun owner I’ve talked to ever had President Obama show up on their doorstep to take their away guns. Their defense of the Second Amendment often boils down to being able to turn Bambi into hamburger as quickly as possible. If Republicans can pass the silencer legislation in Congress, silently as well.
  • Mass Shooters — Some weapons are meant to kill people as quickly as possible in a hail of bullets, as the Las Vegas shooter and pretty much every other mass shooter in the U.S. have proven in recent years. Not all mass shooters are criminals who got their weapons illegally off the street.

The politicians are not serious about gun control in any meaningful way after the Las Vegas shooting. Banning “bump stocks” doesn’t prevent someone from modifying an semiautomatic rifle to automatic fire. California has a law going into effect in 2018 to restrict ammo sales to purchasers who passed a background check and Internet sales must ship to a licensed dealer for pick up. That doesn’t prevent someone from quietly stockpiling ammo with routine purchases or going across state lines. The only way to end the mass shootings is to pass restrictive gun laws and buy back guns from the public.

Why I Had My Ten-Year-Old Slashdot Account Deleted

After falsely accusing me of threatening to shoot people, creating fake accounts to mock me, and posting dick pics of Russian schoolboys with my contact info (a situation so vile that I couldn’t write about it in the blog at the time), the trolls pulled a power play that I haven’t seen happen on Slashdot in 15+ years. During the long Labor Day weekend, the mods (moderators) systematically down voted every comment I had to -1 to drag my karma from excellent (50 comments per day) to terrible (two comments per day). So I pulled a power play of my own: I asked management to delete my ten-year-old account.

The DMCA

The deletion of my “creimer” account became inevitable when I used the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice to have management delete the “cdreimer” account, and subsequently four other fake accounts, that the trolls created to mock me since Anonymous Cowards (ACs) can only post ten comments per day per IP address. (Creating a new user account requires a unique email address, which is easier to do than finding a network with a different IP.) As a content creator who routinely asserted his rights under the DMCA (usually against idiots who reposted free copies of my ebooks on international websites), I made quite a few enemies by using the DMCA on Slashdot.

When the trolls started posting dick picks of Russian schoolboys with my contact info on Russian image websites, I had to issue, somewhat ironically, hundreds of DMCA takedown notices to have the images removed. Using Google Chrome to translate Russian into English on the web page (a feature that the trolls didn’t know about), I’ve noticed most image websites had a drop item on their contact form called “DMCA Notice” to expedite such requests.

The trolls howled bloody murder for six weeks because:

  • I was issuing DMCA takedown notices for dick pics that I didn’t own the copyrights.
  • The foreign image websites honored the takedown notices at face value even though I wasn’t the copyright owner and the DMCA was unenforceable in their jurisdiction.
  • The dick pics came down faster than the trolls could repost them.

At the end of the day, the Russians didn’t want those dick pics on their image websites.

The Author Account

I took possession of the “cdreimer” account by signing up the newly available username to claim as my own. (As for the other user accounts, I’ve signed them up with disposable email addresses from Guerrilla Mail and discarded the password reset emails to render unusable.) I’ve never wanted “cdreimer” (first and middle initials, last name) on Slashdot since I created the “creimer” (first initial, last name) account years before I started writing and publishing under my author name. While the trolls think that both names represent the same person, the personas for each one are quite different.

  • As the trolls found out the hard way, “creimer” was an Internet brawler willing to get down and dirty in a protracted fight. About 8,000 comments — probably more since the comment history before 2009 is no longer available — were written before 2017. As the trolls escalated the conflict, an additional 4,000 comments got written this year.
  • As for “cdreimer,” he’s too busy to post more than one or two comments per day, doesn’t care to argue, and has no use for the trolls.

During the last three months of “creimer,” I’ve carefully built up the karma for “cdreimer” by submitting news stories for consideration. It took ten approved submissions to move the karma from neutral to excellent. Of course, this was all for naught.

Getting Modded Down

Since “creimer” was consistently up voted more times than down voted by the mods, the modding system didn’t matter. Threats to mod my account into oblivion rang hollow for most of the year. After the DMCA episode, it wasn’t unusual for an AC to post a comment and a down vote at the same time. (Although ACs post comments anonymously, many have user accounts to gain mod points for the purpose of punishing logged in users.) When the day of reckoning came, I was ready to react.

Management deleted the “creimer” account without any questions the day after Labor Day.

Like the “cdreimer” account, I signed up the newly available username to prevent someone else from reusing it to mock me. Like the other user accounts, I used a disposable email address and discarded the password reset email. Unless I make a request to management to delete the current incarnation, “creimer” was gone for good.

Two weeks later I started posting comments as “cdreimer” and behaving like a noob (new user). The honeymoon didn’t last long. The trolls started shit posting and the mods started down voting every comment I wrote. In short order, my karma was terrible at -1 and I could only post two comments per day. That’s fine with me. The last six months of playing with the trolls on Slashdot has been an educational experience.

Meanwhile, the trolls are getting desperate. They keep posting the same copy-and-paste comments in response to the one or two comments I’m able to post each day. If anyone disagrees with them, they accuse that AC or user as being “creimer” and copy-and-paste the same comments in response. I don’t even bother to read these comments, being the same drivel posted for months. Most readers find this “following around” comment behavior more annoying than posting links to dick pics.

When Slashdot had a two-day outage from flaming power supplies at their data center last week, I made a comment over at SoylentNews (a Slashdot-clone that came into existence when the code behind Slashdot was open source for a while). Like a pack of Chihuahuas in heat, my trolls came running over to hump legs and tried to get the mods there to mod me into oblivion. It didn’t work. Unlike the mods at Slashdot, the mods at SoylentNews up voted my comment twice for its content and didn’t down vote because someone got their covfefe hurt.

Updating The File Server to FreeNAS 11

Over the weekend I took the time to upgrade my file server from FreeNAS 9 to FreeNAS 11 (version 10 was an unreleased clusterf*ck). The big challenge wasn’t upgrading FreeNAS in place for the first time (I’ve done past upgrades by installing FreeNAS on new 16GB SanDisk Cruzer Fit flash drives). That part went quite smoothly. The big challenge was changing something that could jeopardize my data. By replacing the six-drive RAIDZ3 vdev with three two-drive stripped mirror vdevs, I had to destroy my data, restore my data from backup, and hope that my data wasn’t corrupted in the process.

The advantage of having a six-drive RAIDZ3 vdev is being able to lose three hard drives while still accessing the data (albeit with degraded performance until replacing the drives). While I never had multiple hard drives fail at the same time, I’ve had multiple hard drives fail one at a time from the oldest to the youngest. No sooner did the new drive finished rebuilding, the next drive starts signaling its imminent failure. The disadvantages of this configuration are not being able to recognize additional space until all six drives get replace with higher capacity drives, not being able to add another six-drive vdev, not getting the best read performance from a single vdev, and rebuilding a replacement drive takes forever.

The advantages of having three two-drive stripped mirror vdevs is being able to recognize additional space after upgrading two hard drives in a vdev, adding additional two-drive vdevs to increase overall storage, increasing read performance from multiple vdevs, and rebuilding a replacement drive at a faster rate. Since I’m using six out of eight hard drive slots inside my case, I need a SATA-III controller card and two 1TB Western Digital Red NAS 3.5″ drives to add another stripped mirror vdev. The disadvantage of this configuration is losing all data if two drives in a single vdev fail at the same time, which is more risky than losing more than three drives at the same time.

For my purposes, expansion and performance outweighs the risk of failure.

Before I could break down the old vdev to build the new vdevs, I had to ensure that my ~700GB of data got backed up to the Red Hat Linux box and the gaming rig. Backing up to the Red Hat Linux box took only a few minutes via rsync as this was the primary backup for the file server. Backing up to the gaming rig took longer as everything got copied over for the first time, taking over two hours at a 98MB per second transfer rate.

After the upgrade of FreeNAS got finished, I used the GUI to break down the existing configuration. Unfortunately, the GUI didn’t allow me to create stripped mirror vdevs. I had to do this from the command line: the create command created a two-drive stripped mirror vdev from hard drives /dev/ada0 and /dev/ada1, the two add commands created and added two more two-drive stripped mirror vdev from hard drives /dev/ada2 to /dev/ada5, and the status command displays the new configuration.

[creimer@oberon ~]$ zpool create storage mirror /dev/ada0 /dev/ada1
[creimer@oberon ~]$ zpool add storage mirror /dev/ada2 /dev/ada3
[creimer@oberon ~]$ zpool add storage mirror /dev/ada4 /dev/ada5
[creimer@oberon ~]$ zpool status storage
  pool: storage
 state: ONLINE
  scan: none requested
config:

        NAME        STATE     READ WRITE CKSUM
        storage     ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-0  ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada0    ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada1    ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-1  ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada2    ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada3    ONLINE       0     0     0
          mirror-2  ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada4    ONLINE       0     0     0
            ada5    ONLINE       0     0     0

Restoring the data from the Red Hat Linux box took over seven hours at a 35MB per second transfer rate. The slow transfer speed comes from rsync calculating the checksums on a $25 AMD AM1 quad-core processor that is less powerful than the $50 AMD AM3 dual-core processor on the file server or the $100 AMD AM3 eight-core processor on the gaming rig. While it would have been faster to restore the data from the gaming rig, the secondary backup without the checksums may have been less reliable than the primary backup.

What changed with the new configuration? Not much. I still have 6TB of raw space and 3TB of usable space as before. The only noticeable change is copying large video files between the file server and gaming rig at a 108MB per second transfer rate (a 10% increase). I’m sure FreeNAS 11 has some significant features over FreeNAS 9, but I haven’t noticed those yet.

The Original Slashdot F.A.Q. (Circa 2006)

On my author website, I have a Slashdot page with an old joke: “There are 10 kinds of people on Slashdot. Those who see my picture, go back to Slashdot and leave a comment, ‘You’re a fat retard.’ And everyone else.” If you know binary, “10” is actually “2” in decimal. That page was actually a pale imitation of a longer Slashdot F.A.Q. that I had back in 2006. The purpose of these pages was to have a signature link for my website in my Slashdot comments. Twenty years ago, a signature link would have generated 3,000+ clicks from Slashdot (enough to crash a web server via the “Slashdot effect”). Ten years ago, 300+ clicks. Today, 30+ clicks. Slashdot is just a pale imitation of itself these days. While sorting out some old electronic files on my file server, I came across the files for the original Slashdot F.A.Q. from 11 years ago. Reproduced below with some minor editing.


C.D. Reimer in 2006
C.D. Reimer in 2006

I frequently read and comment on Slashdot, a techie news discussion website. Because of the quality of my posts and my article submissions, I’m a highly rated commentator and moderator. I occasionally catch the attention of trolls (Anonymous Cowards). This F.A.Q. answers some of the questions that I’ve gotten over the last several years.

Why are the fat-loving /. retards after you?

Since my homepage link is visible when I post comments on Slashdot, fat-loving /. retards visit my website, see my picture, and go back to Slashdot to leave a comment to insult my appearance. There are several different commentary and/or personality styles.

  • “wow u r fat” — Might be a 14-year-old wanker who never graduated from nursery school and doesn’t know how to use more than seven letters.
  • “I bet you run out of EVERY color trying to draw a self-portrait don’t you fatty?” — A slightly more intelligent 14-year-old wanker.
  • “Hey here’s a joke for you, you fat tub of monkey shit.” — This 14-year-old wanker needs some serious mental help.

The typical fat-loving /. retard thrives on putting people down at every opportunity. The best method to deal with them is to call them out on it. They are like peacock-strutting bullies until someone gets into their face and they run away like the anonymous cowards that they are.

Are the fat-loving /. retards correct that you are “morbidly obese”?

The technical definition of morbidly obesity is being twice or more than your ideal body weight, all forms of dieting has failed to work and suffering from negative health effects. I weighed 400 pounds as a teenager, which was twice my ideal body weight according to doctors at that time. After I got a bicycle for my sixteenth birthday in 1985, I rode all over the county and lost 70 pounds of weight that summer. My riding weight was 325 pounds for 20 years. I then gave away my bicycle and I went to the gym. After a year of weight training, I’ve bulked up to 375 pounds, found it difficult to buy 4XL t-shirts at the stores, and let me weight drop down to 350 pounds. Except for seasonal allergies, I suffer no negative health effects. So, no, I’m not morbidly obese. But there are still plenty of people who love to argue with me on that point.

Isn’t the fat-loving /. retards correct that you’re fat and ugly?

I’m fat and ugly. So what?

Don’t the insults from fat-loving /. retards get on your nerves?

Not really. After living with the nicknames like “Titanic” at school and “Tortuga” (“turtle” in Spanish) at a restaurant job before I started my technical career, and being called everything else under the sun by my mother, it’s very hard for anyone to come up with an original insult that would offend me. Since I’m improving my physical health by dieting and exercise, nobody can say anything that will discourage me or hurt my feelings. One of the things about working out is that you become more confident about who you are as a person. The fat-loving AC /. retards go after me because I have something that they don’t have: confidence, self-respect and a willingness to change.

I saw your Slashdot signature: “Only fat-loving /. retards drool over my website pictures. Perverts.” How come there’s no fat porn on your website?

Sorry, I’m not running that kind of website.  Go find your fat porn somewhere else. Pervert.

Napping After Work Like My Father

My father always had dinner and fell asleep in his recliner after he came home from his construction job. A few hours later he would wake up, watch TV and go to bed at ten. Sometimes he would just take NyQuil and go straight to bed after his nap. Every morning he would get up at 5:30AM to start his day. He did that for 50 years. When I worked with him in construction for a few years before going to college, I followed the same pattern. Construction work was hard work. After starting my technical career 20+ years ago, I’ve never took naps after coming home and having dinner. Cleaning out IT storage closets wasn’t hard work. With my 48th birthday this week, I found myself becoming more like my father.

My technology job that pays the bills isn’t a physically demanding job. I get up at 4:30AM to get ready for work, take the express bus into Palo Alto, and start work at 7:00AM to catch up with the East Coast. Most of the time I’m pulling down spreadsheets with the latest Nessus scans, consoling hurt workstations and fixing broken users. Whenever I have downtime between tasks, while running scripts, or attending virtual meetings, I play with the trolls on Slashdot. After work I take the express bus home, have dinner and work on my side business — writing, publishing and promoting — until I go to bed at nine. I’ve done that for three years straight.

Something changed a few months ago. I started coming home, having dinner and taking a 90 minute nap in bed. I’ve never acquired the ability to sleep semi-upright in a recliner. The last time I fell asleep in my recliner was when I had my wisdom teeth pulled and my cheeks swelled up like a puffer fish in 2008. My father often slept in my recliner when he was working in town or visiting for the holidays. When he passed away from throat cancer five years ago, he died at home while sleeping in his recliner in front of the TV.

Maybe it’s the summer heat. My office is so cold that I have to wear a sweater for the entire day. When I step outside to wait 15 minutes for the express bus, I’m wilting like a flower in the heat. The AC on the express bus runs at full tilt, making it colder than my office. Once I get off the express bus, I’m walking home — and warming up — in the heat. These sudden temperature swings aren’t good for me. Taking naps is a good way to recover from that.

Or maybe it’s losing a pound per week. When I first got my digital bathroom scale, I weighed 370 pounds. I now weigh 357 pounds after 13 weeks. I’ve always felt the need to take a nap after working out at the gym on the weekends. The last time I felt this good physically was in my twenties when I rode my bicycle 100+ miles per week and my riding weight was 325 pounds. While my typical weekday isn’t as physically demanding as my weekend workouts, perhaps my body during the week requires nap time to build muscle and burn fat.

Or maybe I’m just getting old. I’m no longer the young person who can bound up the stairs with four loads of laundry in two baskets. I’m content to do only two loads at a time, making the extra trips to get everything done. My beard has gone snowy white; my brown hair is graying out. Something that didn’t happen to my father until he turned 55 and started demanding his senior citizen discounts at restaurants. Taking naps is just an indicator that I need to slow down and not be in a hurry.

Becoming like my father always scared me as a young person, mostly because I didn’t want to grow old and face my own my mortality. Now I’m accepting it as a necessity of life, a road map of what to expect in my middle age. One nap at a time.

Losing Ten Pounds With A Digital Bathroom Scale

I’ve always told people I weighed 350 pounds for the last ten years despite working out at the gym and being on a low-carb diet. That wasn’t entirely true. The analog scales at the gym maxed out at 350 pounds and thunked past 350 whenever I got on. The thunking stopped three months ago. One scale said I was 345, another scale said I was 335. It didn’t help that different scales couldn’t agree on the same number. So I got a digital bathroom scale that maxed out at 400 pounds. My weight ten weeks ago was 370 pounds. Today, it’s 360 pounds.

Analog bathroom scales in the past maxed out at 200 pounds. Since I typically weighed less than twice the maximum weight, I have never bothered to get one for home. Every once in a while a digital scale that maxed out at 400 pounds appeared at the gym. Everyone, of course, wanted a more precise number than what was possible with the analog scales. It didn’t take long for the digital scale to become uncalibrated and then broken from the constant use. The gym wasn’t planning on getting another digital scale any time soon, so I needed to get my own to monitor my weight more closely.

I ordered the Greater Goods Basic Bathroom Scale for $20. This model doesn’t have Bluetooth. I’m not even sure why anyone would have a Bluetooth-enabled scale. Might be worthwhile if an app had weight-specific commentary, say, “Oh, God, not again!”, where John Hurt reprise the chest buster scene from Alien in Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs. The one thing that surprised me the most about this scale that it was thinner than the current generation of the Apple MacBook Air. I expected to find a “Design by Apple in California” sticker on back. With a firm foot press on the center of the scale, it turns on and calibrates to zero. The white numbers on a blue background is very bright in the early morning hours.

My weight ten weeks ago was 370 pounds. It took a month of daily weighing to convince myself that the initial number was accurate and my subsequent weight loss of four pounds that month was real. I lost another four pounds last month and two more pounds halfway into this month. I now weigh 360 pounds after ten weeks. I’ve been told by a coworker who is a martial arts expert that losing one pound per week is a sustainable goal (see update below). My lowest adult weight was 325 pounds when I rode a bicycle 100 miles per week for three years. If I continue losing weight at this rate, I’ll be 325 pounds in January 2018.

Updated Monday, 24 July 2017: Not surprisingly, my critics went from “your diet and exercise program doesn’t work” to “you’re not losing weight fast enough” in their perpetual whining. In their warped minds, I’m a butter ball who should lose 10+ pounds per week. I did that over 30 years ago when I got a ten-speed bicycle for my 16th birthday, rode all over the county, and lost 70 pounds in one summer. I’ve ridden a bicycle for 20 years and worked out in the gym for the last 10+ years. My adult weight varied from 325 pounds (bicycle) to 375 pounds (weight training). I’m happy to lose one pound per week and watch my stomach shrink.

One critic challenged my coworker’s statement that losing one pound per week was sustainable. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC):

It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.

Like everything else with my critics, they will continue to whine because they have nothing better to do with their lives.

The Confessions of Slashdot Asshats

Several weeks ago I wrote about using the DMCA takedown notices to remove my picture from image websites that Slashdot asshats kept posting for shakes and giggles. What I didn’t mention then was that three users accounts — “criemer,” “creinner” and “cremier,” variations of my Slashdot username — got deleted by management, and I subsequently created new accounts with disposable email addresses to prevent the usernames from being reused. End of story, right? Not quite. An extraordinary set of events shortly thereafter caused another user account to get deleted by management that immediately ended three months of unrelenting harassment towards me.

Confession

After I announced in a comment that I’ve successfully taken down all my pictures from various image websites, two users, an Anonymous Coward (or asshat) and “FakeFuck39” (seriously), commented that they “found” more of my pictures in a search result that I failed to notice and provided a new set of image links. What was curious was the very first link had a posted timestamp of 15 minutes earlier. All the links were recently posted. While I copy and pasted a new round of DMCA takedown notices to email, “FakeFuck39” posted a confession about the three deleted user accounts.

those were buddies of mine. one from France, one from Israel, and one of them was from across the table from me. I don’t know who cdreimer was. We had fun for a week or two creating accounts and laughing at you, but posting bullshit on slashdot all day is not what we do, so unlike you we had our fun and stopped creating new accounts. That’s like asking where the basketball players are after the game is over on the playground. They’re at home with their wives in their big house moron.

An asshat confessed to being “cdreimer,” the user account that started this series of events at the beginning of the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

cdreimer was me… I don’t know who struck first, cdreimer or criemer, but I know you guys were a lot funnier than me!

I sent an email to my contact at Slashdot the next morning, pointing out the links to newly uploaded pictures and nostalgic confessions.

Escalation

Later that evening I got a comment posted by an asshat written in the same style as “FakeFuck39”:

your image is all over the internet now, under the filename fatloser.jpg, and a lot of it appears to be coming up on russian hosting sites. have fun “protecting it” -most people would want to hide if they looked like that, from shame of how low they sank. as far as whether it’s legal or not to create accounts making fun of you or spread an image you made available – yes, it is – and no, your opinion is wrong, nor does it count.

have you noticed no one fights your takedown notices? the game we had you playing was issuing notices after you did the first one for cdreimer. you’re Still playing champ.. Once you get the links posted down, we’ll send you the new ones. I gotta warn you though, the next batch had a little photoshop work done. you’ll love it

I sent an email to my contact at Slashdot and went to bed.

“FakeFuck39” commented the next morning with newly uploaded picture links. This was where everything tied together. An asshat promised Photoshoped pictures and “FakeFuck39” delivered the links to the Photoshoped pictures. Could we say that the two were the same person?

Deletion

I sent off another email to my contact at Slashdot the next morning. After lunch I got an email from management that “FakeFuck39” would join the other deleted user accounts. I periodically checked throughout the day to see if the account got deleted. When the “FakeFuck39” username became available again, I created a new account to the prevent from the username from being reclaimed by its former user. Unlike the other fake user accounts that got deleted, “FakeFuck39” had two years of comment history and the last three months focused on replying to my comments. The harassment that got started when someone falsely accused me of threatening to shoot them finally came to an abrupt end.

The asshats, of course, never went away on Slashdot. A dedicated group of Beavis and Butthead types are still replying to my comments for the last two weeks. They’re easy to ignore.

The Slashdot Asshat(s) Who Stole My Pictures

Last week I took back a Slashdot user account under my pen name with a DMCA takedown notice. The quick response by management scared the asshats into silence for 48 hours. A different group of asshats started harassing me towards the weekend. One of them posted a link to my 350-pound picture from my author website. When I clicked on the link and noticed that the picture was from May 2016, I replaced the image with a picture taken last month by saving to the same filename.  That provoked an angry response for not using different filenames. The response puzzled me until I realized that my jowls were puffier in the 2016 picture, the “ten-pound tire” around my neck that the asshats love to moan about. I then implemented a 403 (forbidden) rule in the .htaccess file to prevent the external linking of my images and created a Slashdot page with the 2017 picture on my author website. Those actions provoked even more anger. The retaliation was my 2016 picture appearing on image websites. Out came the DMCA takedown notices to protect my pen name and copyrights.

The first image website was Hosting Pics, a French-based picture website that U.S. law like the DMCA doesn’t apply to. I initially tried the contact form that appears dodgy (i.e., “Unable to find MySQL database.”), tried again successfully, and found a contact email address to send the DMCA takedown notice (just in case the contact form was dodgy after all). The email I got the next morning indicated that the source was the contact form, informing me that my picture got removed. Less than 24 hours later, an asshat uploaded the picture and left me a note in French“I think that’s it. Good morning, Heavy Barbara.” Another request got the picture removed the following morning.

Other locations included 4chan and Imgur. Both had email addresses for sending DMCA takedown notices. I got an email from 4chan the next morning that my picture got removed. Imgur didn’t send out an email notification but they did remove my picture the following afternoon.

An asshat pointed out that Google has cached copies of my pictures that will live forever on the Internet and there was nothing I could do about it. That comment made me laugh.

Google has a help page for removing images from the search results, especially deleted images that are no longer accessible to the web crawlers. By placing a 403 rule to prevent external linking to all my images, the search engine regards those images as deleted. A removal request gets those links out of the search results sooner rather than later. After 4chan removed my picture from their site, I put in a request to remove those links. With a half-dozen open requests, I should have the search results cleaned up in a few days.

I’m once again enjoying the calmness that comes from scaring off the asshats with my awesome powers as a content creator. The few asshats who are still around are sharing a link to my picture, but this time it’s the Slashdot link to my author website. The more exposure that link gets, the more web traffic and ad revenues I get. Since the brouhaha with the asshats got started three months ago, I made $80 in ad revenues as curious readers left Slashdot to visit my websites. As Warren Buffett once said, “When it’s raining gold, reach for a bucket, not a thimble.”