Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

People are SO Suspicious

squinting jack-elam

I’VE BEEN WORKING on a sequel of a novel I wrote a couple years ago and I’m trying to gather some technical information about cell phones to use as a plot device. You’d think I was asking for info on how to construct my own H-bomb.

Scouring the internet has given me some interesting data, but I can’t get all of my questions satisfactorily answered online. Granted, I am looking for info on how to make mobile phones give misleading information to anyone trying to track the whereabouts of the person with the phone.

Can it give false GPS data?

What would happen if I had multiple clones of one phone?

Can cloned phones all have their own GPS locations? 

See? Simple everyday questions, right?

Apparently, asking these questions makes some people very nervous. They begin to squint while looking at me. When I explain that I am writing a novel they become even more skeptical. It’s not like I told them that I can read and write cursive. You would think that if I was some sort of criminal or terrorist I would be a bit more hush-hush about it all rather than standing in front of them wearing a hat that says, “Thinking Cap.”

I have a nephew who is a high-tech whiz kid. I asked him some questions. I haven’t heard from him since Christmas. This is getting to be tougher than I thought. I haven’t been able to get any good answers and I’ve probably got myself on any number of suspicious character lists in Washington.

(Hi, guys over at the NSA, CIA, BVD, or whatever. I’m just a poor writer, OK? I’m not a bad guy. I’m just trying to write something a little more intellectually challenging than “Where’s Waldo.”)

I guess my purchasing habits might also draw attention. Our nearest supermarket is a newly remodeled Kroger. (They remodeled it to be more competitive with a new superstore that is opening nearby. And, because they remodeled, they moved everything around so that what used to take me ten minutes in-and-out now takes me twenty minutes or more.)

Whenever I shop there I use my little Kroger affinity card to get discounts and coupons mailed direct to our mailbox. They track everything. This morning I bought a copy of the “2015 Handgun Buyers Guide.” I have a doubt that there will any coupons coming from that purchase.

I don’t own any guns. I used to, but not for a few years. I can just imagine that buying that magazine, added to my inquiries into telephone funny business is going to hoist a red flag or two with some overpaid and undereducated bureaucrat sitting at an out of style desk in a cubicle somewhere.  And the thing is I was getting the magazine to help answer some questions from my wife.

My wife, the lovely and wonderful Dawn, is a full-time minister. She is also a tremendously good writer. She has been working, on and off for a while, on a novel – a spy thriller and she asked me for my opinion on what is a good, yet high power, easily concealable handgun for one of her characters. I knew both nothing and next to nothing about that stuff. I suggested that she do some online searching and that I would get a magazine. I knew that Kroger carried several gun related magazines – on the shelf next to “Needlepoint Monthly” and “Scrapbooking Today!”

I bring up all of this in today’s blog posting because there are a lot of people who would put two plus two together about my research and come up with anything but four. I’m sure that there are people walking around out there who could use what I have learned and do some very unpleasant things. I don’t do unpleasant things intentionally and when I do anything unintentionally unpleasant I know that I’ll hear about it from a reader who doesn’t like my work. I can live with that, but I don’t need to learn certain other things from inside an interrogation cell or from some guy with scar tissue and tattoos, named “Lucky.”

So – a final word to anybody who might be peeking over my electronic fence – I’m just a cute, if somewhat pudgy, old dude who tries to tell entertaining and exciting stories. It isn’t my fault if your reality bumps into my fiction.

Just turn the page.

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