Trolling Yahoo Answers

I felt a compelling need to add an explanation or disclaimer: “trolling” is putting forward a fictional veneer for the purposes of pissing off the intended audience. The entire goal is to get random strangers blood pressure up on the internet. Remember – it’s just words and all of the following is false.

For the last month or so I’ve been on yahoo answers. Most of the time I’m helpful. Some days the users get the best of me and I take it out on them.

Then I realized something – the context of the question depends on the forum.

Suddenly, the lightbulb went on.

Frankly, I was getting bored with it. The forum is filled with people who didn’t like what their mechanic said so they went to INTERNET EXPERTS to get a second opinion. In private e-mail exchanges (done through yahoo’s own proxy form) I likened this to a cancer patent not liking the giant mass on the MRI and then complaining about it on the internet. You’re fucked – you got cancer.

Still, they persisted and I eventually stopped answering questions unless I felt like the person was genuinely interested and capable of the work if given a detailed explanation on what’s wrong and how to fix it. Things like a drum brake spring kit. Most people get as far as getting the cover off, they inspect the pads (shoes) and never realize the springs are what really makes it work. Failure to inspect the springs = no read brakes. Some people also really were getting ripped off by their mechanic. Things like “my car shimmies at high speeds, so far my mechanic has replace the wheel hubs, done an alignment, done the ball joint and control arms, replaced the ECU”… You get the idea. The mechanic knows it’s the tires.

But what fun was waiting. The dodge forum is filled with kids with dodge neons trying to make them fast. How many ways can I post “set your car on fire?” Another kid wanted to know how street races are started. “Usually you hold your pink slip out the window”. I would like to think there’s some kid cruising around in boston with their car title hanging out the window. Or maybe blowing along the highway after he lost it.

One guy said he was painting his IROC Z and wanted to know what yahoo thought about the color. Apparently he had painted it metal flake green and was putting cream racing stripes on it. I told him if he put a rainbow air freshener in the window there would be no room for doubt.

This kicked off the bite of all bites. I WISH I had been CC’d copies of my mail. I’ll paraphrase my responses.

From: Jon
Subject: rainbow air fresner.
Message: just cuz tahts what you have in your prius doesnt mean it will match my chevy small block 400 bored 30 over, double pumper, corvette heads, vette cam pushing an estimated 400 horses.

The only thing getting double pumped is your ass in the back seat between your brother and your uncle. Try to get one of those stick on rainbow air fresheners, they tend to fall off less when receiving sodomy in the back of the daegomobile.

From: Jon
Subject: Re: rainbow air fresner.
Message: wow, if your mind is that gay you must be a flamer driving a prius. you just confirmed it you flamer. now go have ur mister shave his 2 fist up your *

“Estimated 400 horses” is like saying you sucked “an estimated 400 guys” at the fag bar last week. Or your car could hold an “estimated 400 rainbows”. You’re the queer asking the board for color advice. The only thing you’re going to smoke is cocks in a race to the rainbow finish line.

From: Jon
Subject: Re: rainbow air fresner.
Message: nah man. it went more like me walkin down the street n ur queer * drove up next to me and said if u let me give u a ride i will give you my rainbow air freshner. then your ** ** went home and cried to your daddy as he pounded your * all night.

When I clicked on the reply link I got a generic message about the user putting me on ignore. To a user, this might be insulting. To a troll, this is the sweet mark of victory. “Could not deliver the message due to recipients privacy settings” might as well say “You’ve won THE GAME”.

Emboldened, I found a post asking what bike club the user should join. Now, at this point I changed my contact information to be false, claimed I was a 60 year old asian american from philadelphia, and when I saw this post I set my avatar to “chattering skull” which looks an awful lot like the totenkopf.

My reply was, “Aryan Brotherhood”. (I was watching gandland reruns, what can I say?)

From: Choppy C
Subject: aryan nation
Message: you guys arent a bike club! And I beat down A. B. every time I see them. Hells Angels here in Az have been killing A.B. on site for years. I would like to see you fools go to Compton and try that dumb ** around the Bloods or Crips!

I didn’t say I was a member of those pussy gangs like Aryan Nation, I’m a member of Aryan Brotherhood. We kick queers like you around for breakfast. When I drop a fairy, I’m just getting started!

From: Choppy C
Subject: Re: aryan nation
Message: aryan nation,aryan brotherhood whats the differance? You all just a bunch of *** punk * haters. go up to Newark or patterson,or jersey City talking that Aryan bullshit. You know you will get beat down or shot. Only color that matters is GREEN! money mofo! I do bidness with anybody Im a ** ol school gamgsta. Im from ***** Brooklyn!

Sorry, I don’t hang out with trash such as yourself. Color does matter, and we can kick your ass any day of the week. I might be white trash, but at least I’m white. Now you’re just making shit up – you moved from AZ to NJ?

From: Choppy C
Subject: Re: aryan nation
Message: dude I said GO TO COMPTON,I didnt say I was from there! I am from Flatbush in Brooklyn. I been all over though.I live in Phoenix Az now. You sound like one stupid * cracka! Do you even know what an aryan is? Its a HINDU thing from India.Its NOT a white thing. Stupid * nazis just stole it. Ya know I can respect pride in your race but when you go around wearing a swastica or lightning bolts you are just ignorant. I smash motherfuckers who wear that

You mean you got your ass kicked out of all those states. I understand. And Aryan means Noble, something you mudbloods wouldn’t know anything about.

From: Choppy C
Subject: Re: aryan nation
Message: first of all cracka * no dick havin white boy pice of ** mofo. Im from CROOKLYN! The Marcy projects and will ** smash your ** face in if I ever see you. 9609 N 2nd St. Phoenix Az. Just show up here and see what happens. And just so you know exactly what your dealing with I bench press 560 pounds. Im bigger than you,Im tougher than you and stop talking ** over the net,you have my address so bring it! And Im not black fool Im a white boy from da hood!

Oh you live next to sunnyside elementary school. Tell me something, you touch yourself while sitting on your balcony? I saw your queer uncle come out and get the paper. Did you tell him to go get it because you were too busy hiding in your room watching kids play through your telescope with your pants around your ankles – or could you have been too chicken shit to go outside? Does your queer uncle let you sit on his lap as he’s driving around the block to drop you off at school?

From: Choppy C
Subject: Re: aryan nation
Message: so you used google earth to view my crib,big deal asshole,if ya were here ya woulda knocked on the door and got your face broken. Any time anywhere * wipe. I bench 560,squat 500 and deadlift 800.Im a big steroid injecting bad motherfucker from the hood. I was the only white boy in the projects I grew up in. One more thing this Az where we can carry guns out in the open. I got lots of firepower cracka. But be a man and show your face.dont talk ** over the web. I fight at rage in the cage on a regular basis,can ya hang? can ya last it? Got what it takes? I respect a mofo that will fight me. can you dig that? OL SCHOOL!

You and me both know you can’t read the sign for the school from google maps*.

You wanna go? Gimme a time to meet.

There was no reply.

I logged in and tried to send him a message and got the generic “Could not deliver the message due to recipients privacy settings”.

Ah, the joys of the internet.

*The elementary school is listed as a place of interest, but you need to actually put the address into google and “search near” for it to come up. Somewhere, in Arizona, there’s a kid with his dresser pushed up against his door tonight.

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Line Trimmer from Hell

We call them weed whackers here in the northeast. One of my pet peeves is two stroke engines. Whoever invented the two stroke engine should be drug out into the street and shot with an axe.

Somewhere along the way I bought a weed eater from Craigslist. The guy sold it to me for $20, and the stipulation was “It’s hard to get running”. But he proved to me it ran by firing it up. There was hope. I got it home, started it up again, and it would stall whenever it hit the weeds. A weedeater which only idles doesn’t eat much weeds. Since I had plenty of other homeowners projects to do I hung it up in the garage with a note on it what was wrong and what my thoughts were and completely forgot about it for the last month.

Now, my flower beds became overgrown and my sidewalks desperately needed edging. My buddy had gotten it started (but again, only to idle) at the house party messing around. I figured it was a good time to try again. I got it started, and the same thing, it wouldn’t hold an idle. Or a stickynote, I have no idea where that went. Just on a lark I decided to try it without the air filter and using WD40 as starter fluid. Unlike ether, the WD40 lubricates and has a higher flashpoint, making it safe(r) to use in two strokes. Ether would just work it’s way into the crank case and blow us all to hell since the crank is lubricated by the gas on two stroke engines.

Barring getting blown to hell, I decided to muck around with it for a bit. Things we know: It will start with some WD40. It will start with the air filter off. It’s not really making power. I decided the thing to do was to add some fresh gasoline to it (not oil mixed), give it a squirt of WD40 in the gas tank just to pretend it’s close to the correct ratio, and change the spark plug and air filter. The spark plug is a pretty standard Home Depot affair. Since this thing is old, it was cheap at $1.50. The air filter? Impossible to get. It’s a strip of foam and they apparently don’t even make this model, so I decided the best way to handle this was to completely ignore the air filter. If we ignore the problem it goes away, right?

In my case, yes. The spark plug and fuel combination proved to be The Right Thing to get it working. In fact it worked so well that if I took the air filter off completely I had to run the engine at half choke or it got wildly hot from leaning out. Note to self: Air filter = 1 choke setting. They basically designed it to starve for air through the filter.

No rest for the wicked, my next project is picking up this freezer I found on AIDSLIST for a third of list.

Painting, Dehumidifying and Adding a Fan

This is one of those posts I wish I had taken photographs to show the absolute wretched mess.

Dehumidifying – I managed grab a goldstar dehumidifier for $100 from Overstock.com. Now, why not link to the version for $100? Because overstock.com’s shipping and customer service sucks. Their “super saver shipping” of $2.99 per item seems like a steal, especially given a heavy and bulky item like a dehumidifier. Here’s what they omit – they ship it UPS, you can’t get a hold of anyone in customer service who can make a decision, they ship it using the slowest method (over a week, for me) and it’s signature required with a witness. Which means someone has to be home. Since we live in a professional neighborhood where everyone (we trust) works, there was no-one to delegate the package to, overstock refused to drop the signature request, UPS didn’t honor the little yellow slip with my signature on it, and despite repeated requests to add alternative shipping methods, “It can’t be done!” Great. I had to send my wife down to West Chester to pick it up and when she got there thankfully her mother went along too because no-one wanted to help her lift it into the jeep. Thanks guys. Between overstock and UPS it’s hard to justify using either of them in the future.

The good news is that it got here in one piece and it works flawlessly for the basement. In fact, on the days it was raining I preferred to work in the basement because the dehumidifier kept it nice. While it’s been running nonstop trying to hit 60% humidity, it’s also been raining this entire weekend so I think it was an excellent test. I also just used a piece of tubing I normally use as a siphon for beer brewing on the nipple which kept the water out of the bucket and draining into the sump. All around – impressed.

Painting, however, didn’t go so smoothly. With 100% humidity (as in – raining) on Saturday and Sunday, the normal 15 minutes it took for the primer to dry was more like 45 minutes. Coupled with the fact that this idiot who owned the house before us had painted some walls with oil based paint and some walls with latex paint and things got to be a pain. To add insult to injury, some of the ceilings are painted with gloss white, some are matte. The oil based paint was really interesting to try to primer. A single roll-on of KILZ2 would leave mostly covered walls. But a second swipe or trying to overlap that first coat would pick the primer back up. I had to consciously make the effort to not overlap that first coat. All the practise of putting down primer in an eccentric path had to be put aside as I laid down primer in orderly stripes. 45 minutes later (between the humidity and the oil under it – it didn’t want to dry) the primer was dried to the touch and I put on a second layer in haphazard fashion which yielded good coverage without coming up.

My wife is good at choosing colors. The baby’s room was watersprout, which is a cute green.
The foyer (with it’s oil paint) is sandstone. We quickly realized, however, that it takes two or three coats for the lighter colors to actually come up. In the baby’s room, it took two coats. In the bedroom, which is a much darker shade, it only took one coat. The foyer currently has one coat and really needs a second one. The problem was it took forever for the paint to dry and our help was fading fast. I will probably end up doing it sometime this week.

Installing a ceiling fan is fun. First you have to take the light down, and in our case the tool who owned the house before us opted for fluorescent lights. Yup, not CFL fixtures. Not pretty wall sconces. Standard T8 fluorescent light tubes. To his credit, it had a diffuser on every fixture. However once we got the lights down we realized he painted around the bar. The ceiling previously covered by the light was bare. Great. We still had to cut a hole in the ceiling and actually install the fan bracket to install a fan in this room. The hole part was easy. Since the lights were never actually installed properly (drywall screws into the ceiling without regard to the studs) and only a pinhole cut where wire was run, we didn’t have to contend with a huge hole to patch. I simply held up the box and traced around it, then we used a hacksaw to open the hole to the right size for the box. The attic was a different story. Not only is it tight to the point of being laughable, but some idiot deployed extra popcorn insulation up there in a six inch layer over the existing popcorn fiberglass insulation. The new stuff isn’t quite as itchy but it’s pretty bad, the old stuff is itchy beyond belief. Thankfully the SEA respirator I had bought also does particles, so I didn’t have to worry too much about breathing it.

After emptying my pockets (nothing like digging around for your wallet in fiberglass) and putting enough screws in my pocket to redo the roof, I crawled up there with my drill, a flashlight and the “easy mount” bracket I bought. Rather than cutting up a 2×4 to make a brace, the brackets claim to fame is that you open it up, and then screw it in. The westinghouse one I linked to isn’t the one we bought – there’s one with boxes on the end with pre-drilled holes I felt would work better. The problem we ran into after I shimmied myself along the studs was that the bracket was the “correct” size for houses built with much smaller studs. Apparently, 16″ is the standard. Which is great because these things start out at 18″ and let you “size them up”.

I crawled back out of the ceiling and brought down tons of happy-fun insulation which the cats, confused by what monsters lurk above, were absolutely delighted to pick up and start batting around. Why do they put attic access holes in closets anyway?

After a bit of measuring and “Why doesn’t this work?” we figured out it had about two extra inches on it. Keep in mind this device is a fairly standard sleeve-and-post design, there’s nothing really special going on here except that bending the boxes on the end would hurt their ability to hold onto the rail assembly. We figured out you could take it apart if you whack the plastic. Now, my father in law has every tool conceivable for the house. I’ve got every tool conceivable for the car. Between the two of us we plan on rebuilding the earth in our own horrible image after we get done the painting. You’ve got time, don’t worry, we suck at painting. We started to cut on this thing using the hacksaw and we decided it wasn’t coming along enough. Out comes the saws-all. The new problem is that the saws-all can out-torque both our grips. I get out my grip-master clamp set, and we clamp it to the ladder. It still kicks around, so I clamp it with another clamp from the other side. Now the ladder kicks around, so I stand on the back of the ladder. Finally we manage to take enough play out of it the first one cuts like butter. We took out three inches. But, if you’re doing this at home with your 16″ studs, you will have to to this twice. Reason being there’s a post and a sleeve and cutting down one side without the other means it still has that minimum width of 18″.

While we were trying to cut the second one, my mother in law and wife come tearing up the stairs. “Oh god we heard cutting and we thought one of you fell through the ceiling and had to be cut out!” No, but now that the blade on the saws-all is dull and bent you get to hold the three inches of post still while I anchor the ladder. We ended up cutting it nicely but we’re not going to win any awards for aesthetics.

Back into itchytown, dragging the drill once again behind me along with the flashlight and the clamp, I worked my way along the beams to the hole. This time we also shoved an extension for the shop vac in the hole as the tube was almost the perfect width to keep the insulation in the attic and give me a flagpole to find. Plus it projects a light onto the ceiling. This is miserable work, as the roof line is low enough that it’s hands-and-knees. The new, shortened brace goes right in as advertised and we got the box right where it belonged, snug in the hole. The screws that came with it are the self tapping type. Although I drilled pilot holes, they really didn’t require any effort to install. Mission accomplished, I tossed the flashlight down the ladder and put the drill in my pants, ghetto style. After unplugging it, because I’m not an idiot. Unfortunately I had to toss all the insulation back into place, plus the panel for the ceiling in the closet. Which of course, doesn’t fit.

Home Depot has ceiling fans on sale now, the prices on the website don’t reflect the prices in the store. We picked up a hampton bay fan from them for $50 which included the quick install kit (not the support for the fan which goes in the ceiling) and the lights, which are CFL which is classy for a fan. The fan itself has excellent construction and I have no major gripes about them. They also include clearly labeled wires so you can wire up the fan or the lights individually and generic pulls for adjusting everything. Since we’re replacing the lights, we just wired the hole thing to the light switch and the job was done.

Oh no wait it wasn’t. The ceiling, which now had bare drywall around the old lights, needed to be painted. Fortunately ceiling paint is “matte sheen” (what is with paint gloss-codes? How can something be matte, and have a sheen?) which doesn’t match the full sheen white ceiling paint this guy used. God, why would you put glossy paint on the ceiling? It just makes it look dirty as it reflects the wall and floor. Thankfully the fan trim wasn’t up yet, so it was easy to roll paint on the ceiling. Plus I’m tall. With no primer, the paint covered surprisingly well with no drip. It did have a small amount of spray, but my facemask took care of it. With one coat, it looked great and more importantly dried consistently. Good stuff all around.

Ask me anything about fans and paint. I am the expert now.