health

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 Great Butterball Turkey Shortage 2013

iStock_000018159844XSmallButterball announced that there will be a shortage of large fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving this year, implying that the national holiday was in jeopardy if the American family couldn’t buy a large fresh turkey the day before. Not quite. Most families buy a frozen turkey and thaw it out in the fridge for a week. The turkey shortage, which affects only Butterball and no other turkey producer, may have come from cutting back on a growth hormone that is banned in China, Europe and Russia.

Butterball exports 10% (~100 million pounds) of their turkeys to the world. (Since Butterball owns 20% of the market, the total market is five billion pounds of turkey each year.) If these countries are refusing to accept any product containing these growth hormones for their citizens, why is Butterball still selling turkeys with this growth hormone to American consumers?

As my late father like to explain every holiday season about cattle ranching in the old days, it took two years to raise and fatten a calf to go to the market. With modern antibiotics and growth hormones, it takes six months to get a calf to the market. I’m not sure how long it takes a turkey to get fattening up for Thanksgiving Day, but I’m sure the process is similar. Without the growth hormones, Butterball might have to allow nature to run its course and let the turkeys have more time to fatten up.

My observation at the grocery stores in Silicon Valley is that the frozen commercial turkeys are on the slim side, in smaller quantities and in fewer varieties than in recent years.

My roommate and I picked up a hormone- and antibiotic-free frozen turkey from Whole Foods, which is about three times more expensive than the hormone- and antibiotic-laden frozen turkeys found at the other stores. I normally wouldn’t pay $45 USD for a turkey under any circumstance, especially if I’m out of work for six weeks. My roommate insisted on having an organic turkey—and paid for the privilege. If an organic turkey is similar to the organic cheeses I have eaten, the turkey should taste better, have nicer texture and give me less gas than a Butterball turkey.

Outrunning The Busybody Obese Police

No Fat KidsIf you’re an obese child in America today, you have to outrun the busybody obese police (BOP) who sends letters home from school or trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Of course, it doesn’t help if your birth weight matches a bowling ball. Rather than judging you on your character, the BOP will assume things about your weight and make your life a living hell.

Doctors told my mother that she was going to have twins. After one hour of labor and 250 stitches later, she gave birth to a ten-pound bowling ball. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was a boy and not a girl. As a young child, being overweight wasn’t a problem. Although an undiagnosed hearing lost in one ear was enough to declare me mentally retarded in kindergarten, no one mentioned anything to me about my weight.

The BOP didn’t make an appearance until the sixth grade when teasing by the other retarded boys and girls drove me to tears. The principal and my teacher called my parents into the office to scold them for my bad eating habits. They discovered that my parents were skinny people, assuming that I came from a family of fat people who shoveled junk food into my mouth. Shocked and dismayed that they couldn’t scold my skinny parents, I got sent to the doctors for testing to find an underlying medical problem.

After poking and prodding, the doctors determined I was just a big boy. Genetics wasn’t a common word back then, so no one bothered to look up the family tree. Since my parents moved to California from Idaho in the 1960’s, I didn’t know about my extended family until I was an adult. We had some big men and strong women on both sides of the family. I have inherited the “bigness” gene that has skipped my parents.

By the time I graduated from the eighth grade and dropped out of high school in 1984, I haven’t grown to my full height yet, weighed 400 pounds, had the stomach ulcers and high blood pressure of a Type-A businessman, and hated going to school. I became a shut-in for the next four years as I educated myself from newspapers, magazines and books from the library. On my 18th birthday, I got a ten-speed bike that I rode everywhere and lost 70 pounds in a year.

After I became a Christian and joined the campus ministry at San Jose City College (which I graduated four years later with a general education associate degree), the BOP came roaring back into my life with a vengeance, citing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

With that scripture in hand, the brothers would give me “friendly” advice about losing weight. This became the source of many conflicts in the ministry because I wasn’t shy about pushing back, especially if I thought their ideas were impractical or unrighteous. I made many enemies as the leadership always ruled against them. After 13 years of pushing and shoving, I got tired of that crap and let them kick me out of the church.

Before I got kicked out eight years ago, I joined a gym and lifted weights. I’m now 5′-10″ tall with 350 pounds and wearing 2XL shirts. I can easily bulk up to 400 pounds in muscle, but finding 4XL shirts is problematic. I’m focused on trimming down to an XL shirt. Except for the occasional fitness nut at work, the BOP has left me alone because I can physically pound them into the ground without trying. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Bigger guys get better respect.”