Search Me

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately, and my go-to is always Google. I mean, it’s not like I can walk into a public library and take out a stack of books, although if you know anything about me and my OCD hygiene issues, you’ll know I never touch library books anyway, especially after one of my friends told me about how bedbugs can live in library books and she puts them in the freezer for 48 hours before reading them. Google is the best for finding out stuff: Firefox is obsolete, Edge is boring AF, and Bing is Satan’s search engine, which, in retrospect, might have been appropriate. Also, there are no annoying ads on Google, although you DO get ads everywhere else related to every site you visit. It amazes me that there are people who believe that bizarre conspiracy theory about Bill Gates tracking you through microchips in vaccines when Google already knows everything about you simply based on your clicks. Once, I looked at an ad for wigs, and every site I go to now has ads for wigs. Last week I posted about kittens and now Kate Spade wants to sell me earrings shaped like kittens. And two days ago, I filled in an online request for a quote from a kitchen painting company and now my gmail keeps filling up with ads for Benjamin Moore and kitchen renos. If those conspiracy theorists were really smart, they’d stop using computers all together and share their dumbassery through Morse code instead of becoming anti-vaxxers.

Anyway, I recently completed writing my first non-Young Adult novel, called The Seventh Devil, and I had to do a lot of research at different points in the plot. And then I heard that the government monitors certain topics and I got really worried that maybe I’d raised some red flags. Here is a list of things I searched for recently—tell me if you think I should be concerned:

1) What happens when you mix salt and vinegar together?
2) How corrosive is hydrochloric acid?
3) Is it illegal to make hydrochloric acid?
4) What acid is stronger than hydrochloric acid?
5) Is it illegal to buy sulphuric acid?
6) Where in Canada can I buy sulphuric acid?
7) What type of container is best for transporting sulphuric acid?
8) What acids are more deadly than sulphuric acid?
9) What does carbon tetrachloride do?
10) How does phosphine gas kill you?
11) How do you exorcise a demon?
12) What Latin phrases are best for exorcisms?
13) How do I know if my house is possessed by a demon?
14) Why does my puppy lick the carpet?
15) Is my puppy possessed by a demon?
16) What is the largest swamp in Ontario?
17) How long does it take a body to decompose in a swamp?
18) Does the government track my Google searches?
19) What kind of vehicles do government agents drive?
20)If you see a wifi called Surveillance Van 3, is it real or a joke?
21) Does stress cause hiccups?


Demon Dog

Then last week, I e-transferred Kate some money for her tuition, and just for fun, I put “Thanks for the launch codes” in the message line. Yeah, I agree—I think I should be worried.

But research is important though–I learned this the hard way many years ago in university when I was doing an English Lit/Film degree. I was tasked with presenting the filmmaker Stan Brakhage to the class, so I read everything I could about him. Remember, this was in the days before Netflix, Youtube or even the internet, so I DID in fact have to go to a library. From everything I studied, the man was a genius, but there was no way I could actually see any of his films. Then, on the day of my presentation, my film professor, a wonderfully enthusiastic and eccentric man, came up to me and breathlessly announced that he’d secured a 16mm copy of Brakhage’s masterpiece, “Dog Star Man Part III” which he would play on the screen behind me while I spoke. I was thrilled too—the lights went down, the film began, and I started telling the class all about the film and how Brakhage was “obsessed with vision, and tried to capture the three dimensions of the senses…he wanted the viewer to see in a fresh way, to disregard social conventions of seeing—” and then I realized that some people in the class were laughing and some people seemed shocked, so I looked over my shoulder at the film playing behind me and there was a gigantic nipple in the middle of the screen, and then a close-up of what looked like someone peeing, and I’ve never been so mortified and so happy to be in a dark room in my life. I literally stopped my presentation and just said, “Well. That’s so interesting,” and then we all watched as it got even more porn-y and my professor launched into a treatise on Brakhage’s ‘instinctive qualities’ and his ‘incredible technique’, and he was so ecstatic about the whole thing that he didn’t even notice that I hadn’t said another word and I got an A anyway (note that his comment below was “a brief but pithy statement not only of Brakhage but also his context”). And if you want to see “Dog Star Man” for yourself, you can just google it.




67 thoughts on “Search Me

  1. Wow! I Don’t think I want to see that film. I remember in graduate school, I was supposed to give a presentation to the class about an article, and I had to critique it. The last time I had critiqued an article, the professor said that I wasn’t finding enough fault with that article, so this time, I would not let that happen again. I wrote a scathing review of the article–and, right before I was supposed to present, the professor said, “Ooh! We have a treat today! Cecilia will give us a review of an article by ____. He was my favorite professor!” My heart sank. So, I instantaneously “rewrote” the article as I was presenting it–changing all of the negatives into positives–and trying elaborate and improvise–and it went over well. Whew!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh no! Would you believe I had the same thing happen once when I was taking an Additional Qualifications teaching course? The instructor asked us to critique an article defending crossing a picket line during a teacher’s strike and we all went after it pretty harshly, being teachers of course, and union solidarity etc. etc, and it turned out he wrote it! What a crap thing to do! Glad you were able to turn it around:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are probably enough people doing similar searches that you’re not on any lists and probably didn’t raise any red flags. Having said that though one of the most implausible things about the movie Se7en is that they find the killer with his library records. For one thing you can do all your research in the library without ever checking out a single book. For another even the most bizarre books get checked out enough that investigators couldn’t sort out the criminals from the merely curious or the researchers.
    Anyway I’m sure you found aqua regia, also known as nitric acid.
    And Atlas is all you need to know. He’s holding the whole world after all. While chewing on it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, I never even considered that, but you’re right–unless he was checking out books because he wanted to get caught. I hear that’s common with serial killers–maybe I should research that! Thanks for the info about aqua regia–I didn’t know that and it might come in handy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. we’ve had fbi surveillance van as our wifi along with gofuckyourself and thegatesofhell, so I’m pretty sure its just a bored neighbor. As far as google goes, I have to agree that they are the best for searches, however the fact that they keep”helping” me by kicking any of my European website searches back to the US is frustrating as hell. (my implant was released in europe earlier this year, and although most of my searches were, the kept sending me back to the U.S.)..smh…. Demon dog is growing so fast…what a beautiful boy!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Future reference, swamps are usually oxygen deprived and therefore preserve corpses. What you want is Calcium Oxide — quicklime (severely caustic), used in a lime pit which oxidizes nearly all types of organic matter.

    The word you want avoid is assassination (whoops).

    Tell my the Internet cum Google isn’t Pandora’s Box and each of us, in our own pathetic way, do not represent Pandora.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I have to say I am now traumatised and will never ever get another library book again, in fact I will probably dream about bedbugs 😫 question to ask your friend, has she ever found any bodies in her frozen library book.

    I also would like to be your pen pal when you are placed inside for googling very weird stuff, question, what does happen if you mix salt and vinegar together 😬

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I think I’ll start placing bets on who, between you and Trina, will get a visit from authorities first! Mouaahahahahahahahahaha Thank you so much for the weekly entertainment!

    Your university presentation reminded me of a college project I did with two friends… I could tell you about it here, but it would probably break your comment box, because of the length. So I’ll just make a post of my own this afternoon, and link you in! 😉

    Have a lovely week!! xx

    Liked by 4 people

  7. So funny!! My son dan and I have heard that our phones can hear us talking and have done some experiments. I spoke very loudly to my phone (it was across the room so I wanted to make sure it could hear me) that I needed to clean the litter box. Low and behold within three hours both Facebook and Instagram had cat litter ads for me! See how helpful technology is???🤣🤣🤣Also: if the gov comes and gets you on account of suspicious searches I hope they let you keep writing during your time in lockdown! Imagine the stories!!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi! I laughed so much that tears squirted out of my eyes. Speaking of research…geekazoid knowledge: before when I mentioned my genetic engineering thesis. I first looked at gov spying programs. At that time there was Carnivore, aptly named… which scraped everything – all library books etcetera. communications. Now we know from Snowden the new programs that take absolutely everything. Right to privacy here is over ridden by the recently renewed “patriot act”. (Now that name is an ironic post modern epithet or an oxymoron.)
    Libraries. Nothing is out of reach. There are ways to block this tracking. Ask a techie. Suggest FYI only
    startpage-alternative to google. Check it out.
    Great story. Curious about your next book!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. No paranoia, absolute truth. It’s the old big brother revamped as soon as you click. Tracking all, even if you have it disabled. My granddaughter was talking about being sad and crying- it was a joke- and all of a sudden her phone started talking to all of us sitting around. It was weird. Everyone but me has an iPhone. I think they are programmed. . .yikes!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yep you’re definitely on a list somewhere, ha! You can join my husband, he’s on a list too. Last week we were trying to track down a toy for our daughter from a cartoon she watches on Netflix. He googled the name of the show hoping to find some merch. The name of the show? Little Baby Bum.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. That is not a demon dog, just look at his cute inside out ear!
    I sometimes get adverts for what my hubby has just bought, although he’s pretty convinced he’s untrackable. If you want unweighted advice try duck duck go. The results compared to google are quite interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I was finding that people weren’t reading it sometimes because they thought it was just a weekly diary, like “On Monday, I did this, on Tuesday,,,etc.” so I dropped the weeks. Harder for me to keep track of posts though, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. great post as always. this one is the cringe-funny variety because indeed, I could never sleep if I had one of those Alexa things in my house… & libraries to me are sanctuaries in so many ways. even librarians work tirelessly to maintain our privacy…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. No trouble, just tell ’em you’re a writer and they’ll back off. 🙂 I once emailed a paramedic friend of mine if he knew how much morphine is required to kill someone and for some crazy reason, he never answered. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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