Weird Internet Searches
Oh my. Where do I even start? Should we be worried about the scrutiny our Internet searches may or may not bring to us? I don’t know the official answers, but I do have a bit of personal experience to relate.
We all like to joke about our Internet searches, but is Big Brother truly watching? In real time? Or with our search words dropping us onto a security/watch list? Personally I’ve never really worried about potential agents monitoring my searches because I figured they’d be smart enough to work out for themselves whether or not I was an actual threat despite my Googling “how to take down a plane” (etc… I’ll list a few of my more *cough* interesting searches below).
The other concern—one that I hadn’t thought would ever, in a million years, be something I’d need to worry about—is the one that actually did come true for me.
By that, I mean…yep…the police confiscated my laptop for the purpose of looking through my search history.
Wait! WHAT!? But, but, Addison, we thought you were such a sweet and innocent
old bag nice woman.
Don’t worry. This story shouldn’t affect that totally correct *cough* image.
Long story, short (and sad), almost a decade ago, my husband was dying of cancer, and he’d came to the conclusion that his quality of life with the pain and surgery/medication side effects had passed the tipping point where he no longer felt it was worth maximizing the time he had left. One terrible evening I came home from taking my mother out to lunch and a movie, and discovered him dead. Since he’d created a setup involving a helium tank, tubing, and a plastic bag, it was obvious at a glance that he hadn’t died of natural causes.
Despite both motive and appearance being that he’d died by his own hand, the police would have been remiss if they hadn’t investigated the possibility of foul play. I understood that and had no concerns in that regard.
Needless to say, both of our laptops were taken in and held for about a week. I remember looking back on that time and boggling at how I didn’t spend even a second stressing about my search history (and large m/m ebook collection) potentially being scrutinized and judged by midwestern (likely conservative-leaning) detectives. I’m fairly chill and pragmatic in general, but it helps that my brain was numb that week.
Ultimately, they found his research on how to create the setup he’d used on his laptop. They told me about it. They never said if they also looked at my laptop, and I never asked. I still occasionally wonder.
Heh…wonder if they looked, and if so, wonder what they thought.
Here are a few of my more concerning searches:
- What are possible ways to take down an airplane?
- How long do dead bodies float in the ocean?
- Specifically, how long do they float in the South Pacific, because as it turns out the answer varies based on water temperature, etc.
- Historically, how long have people survived floating in the ocean?
…and some not-so-concerning-but-hopefully-still-interesting searches that would be less likely to send an agent’s eyebrows skyrocketing:
- A spreadsheet’s worth of information on seaweed, and by golly, even though I didn’t go into those tedious facts on page, you better believe the characters I had marooned on an itty bitty island only ate the varieties that would actually be in season for each scene’s setting. Likewise for the tropical fruits.
- Curvature of the Earth…how tall must a tree be to be seen from sea level (or slightly above sea level…say standing on the end of a wing of a downed plane) at various distances? I had to bust out some rusty math skills for that one. 😳 (And yeah…these nitpicky things are the kind of shit my perfectionist self insists be reasonably accurate even though the odds of most readers thinking twice about it is probably rather slim.)
- Typical work schedules for first-year physician interns.
- All kinds of stuff on pet mice.
- Info on broken bones.
- Info on drug addiction/dependency/etc.
- Info on blood banks, specifically how much doesn’t end up getting used, and what happens to blood that was rejected or aged out?
- Archaeology processes over time.
- How long does it take various materials to degrade/break down?
- All kinds of stuff about ancient societies.
- How did ancient primitive societies handle bodily waste? Dental hygiene? Etc.
- Forests in the Pacific Northwest. What grows/lives there?
- Fun stories that tabloids print, and popular Bigfoot lore.
- The chemical makeup of bodies, the percentages of different gasses in the air and what would that mass be in a particular volume/area, and the makeup of minerals found in the dust flying around in the air (because dammit, even though shifters are, of course, utter nonsense, the mass conversions in my story are gonna make some semblance of sense even if the biology/chemistry reactions must still be total BS).
- Farming stuff (though hubs was still alive when I was writing the book where this was pertinent, and having grown up in rural Nebraska, he was able to answer many of my questions).
- Dry, legal stuff regarding potential lawsuits.
- What does the inside of a XXX video booth look like?
- Charity fair/fund raiser activities.
…and that’s just the stuff I can remember off the top of my head, and not counting looking up the definitions for words I’ve been given for flash fiction and bonus scene prompts such as: horripilation, sciatica, politesse, prefestinate, and debacchate (I’m looking at YOU, Nell Iris! 🤣).
All kinds of brownie points to anyone who can match which of my various searches correlates to which books! 📚 Or feel free to ask if any of these searches piques your interest. 😂
Drop me a comment about some of your intriguing/worrisome/funny/etc Internet searches! 😁
WEBRING ~ Read Around the Rainbow!
Be sure to flip through the webring to check out more of your favorite authors’ weird Internet searches!
Weird Internet Searches ~ April Participants:
Ofelia Gränd – Read Around the Rainbow | Weird Internet Searches
Nell Iris – Read Around the Rainbow: Weird Internet Searches
A.L. Lester – #RAtR: Weird Internet Searches
Lillian Francis –
Fiona Glass – Read Around the Rainbow: Weird Research
Holly Day – Read Around the Rainbow | Weird Internet Searches
Amy Spector – Read Around the Rainbow: Weird Internet Research (or How Not to Go To Jail)
Addison Albright – WEBRING ~ Read Around the Rainbow ~ Weird Internet Searches ~ #RAtR
K.L. Noone – Read Around the Rainbow: Weird Internet Searches
Ellie Thomas – Read Around the Rainbow: Weird Internet Searches
We currently have ten authors participating in this webring. Look for:
Ofelia Gränd/Holly Day :: Nell Iris :: A.L. Lester :: Lillian Francis :: Fiona Glass :: Amy Spector :: Addison Albright :: K.L. Noone :: Ellie Thomas
19 thoughts on “WEBRING ~ Read Around the Rainbow ~ Weird Internet Searches ~ #RAtR”
Addison, I am so sorry that you and your husband went through that. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am very pleased that them checking the search history was as straightforward and lacking in trauma as it could be under the circumstances. Hugs.
Thank you. Yeah, the missing laptop part of it all wasn’t traumatic at all, thankfully. ❤️
I’m so sorry, Addison. Brave of you to share ❤️
Thank you. ❤️
That’s such a sad story and must have been hell for you at the time – I’m not surprised you were too numb to worry about your own search history. What the authorities will think is a definite problem, though – I know an Asian author who had to get his agent to research bomb-making techniques…
Oh goodness. That poor author. I hadn’t thought about how white privilege likely played a part in my overall lack of concern. How awful.
Yeah – he put a shout out to some of his writer friends which is why I know about it, but the agent stepped in before we had to do anything.
OMG Addison, what a terrible ordeal. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. ❤️
For brownie points, I can figure out which book is correlated to which search for all of them except “Dry, legal stuff regarding potential lawsuits.” I’m guessing King Kong, but I’m not sure??
Also. #SorryNotSorry 😀 I miss coming up with weird and wonderful words for you.
Thank you. ❤️
I had From This Day Forward in mind for the “Dry legal stuff regarding potential lawsuits.” It’s the one where some anti-LGBTQ bigot was making some noise about Henry having Aiden, so i was looking up whether or not he had any legal ground to stand on. How far could he actually go, and what could Sam and Henry do about him. I ended up not having much luck in the search and asked a writer friend who’s also a lawyer about it, but I did try Internet searches first. 😁
LOL… and I miss getting your fun words! I plan to get back into it soon. My life is on the verge of clearing up, so regular writing will soon become a thing again. ❤️
I’m so sorry, Addison. ❤️
Thank you. ❤️
Such a terrible thing to have had to go through, Addison. I’m so sorry xx
Thank you. Seems like a distant memory now.