Love Letters to the Surveillance State #2

Hi Bob,

I’ve decided you need a name so I am going to call you Bob. How was your day?

I have to say I am a bit disappointed that you’ve not responded to my first post considering the fact that I am, in fact, offering you free, personalized content. But perhaps it was because I neglected to tag my post. I’ve done that now so I certainly hope that you will send me some feedback. And of course I am looking for the big trade-off wherein I provide all the details you could ever want about what I’m doing every single day and you only have to help me find my glasses from time to time.

At any rate, I shall carry on.

I was indeed up until 2AM and wound up feeling sleep-deprived and a bit off my game today. The carrot cake after my healthy Amy’s did not help any. I really must be more careful with my gluten intake. A question for you, Bob – why do they always put nuts in carrot cake? It’s just wrong. They serve no purpose, Bob, and it ruins the texture of the cake which I feel should be uniformly moist and smooth. On a side note, I appear to now be constipated. You are probably too young to understand what us old folks have to go through to simply have a healthy bowel movement every day. My dad, may he rest in peace, swore by Grape Nuts. Have you ever tasted that shit, Bob? You might as well chew on a log. My dad, bless him, tried to make an end run around this conundrum by baking his own bran muffins. The only problem was is that they were dry – like the Mojave Desert – so dry that if you’d thrown one of them in the Gulf of Mexico, you’d have been able to drain the motherfucker overnight.

But once again, I digress. My day consisted of work and eating as it usually does. My evening consists of Pet Rescue Saga and YouTube. I did come across a video you might find interesting, Bob. It was a panel discussion led by Neil de Grasse Tyson and the topic was “Are we Living in a Simulation?” (as in a computer simulation). The panel consisted of several physicists and a philosopher. Of course they were some of the most brilliant minds in their fields and I am sure they know a bit about computers. Perhaps they even dabble in code. But the premise was that we may be able to prove or disprove that we were in a simulation by taking a look at anomalous data. Not the kind pumped out by humans, of course, but the kind pumped out by the laws of physics and mathematics. The thought was that maybe these were bugs in the code running our simulation and we could use them to “reverse engineer” the universe.

Now I don’t know about you, Bob, but I found it mildly offensive that they had no IT professionals on that panel. They are, after all, discussing computer programming. Where were the programmers? Where were the hackers? Why didn’t they invite you, Bob? I am sure you have some expertise in the area of reverse engineering. I actually was so upset that I left a message on Tyson’s website telling him that while the topic was compelling, they did not have all the right players at the table.

I am embarrassed to say, Bob, that the worst of the bunch Tyson invited to the panel was a woman. I want to see more women in science and technology and this woman – forgive me, but did not catch her name – made us look bad. She was 100% certain of all her answers which, of course, means she has absolutely no clue at all. Knowledge without wisdom. Ignorant and proud of it. Simply sad, Bob. Plus she had absolutely the worst case of Resting Bitch Face I believe I’ve ever seen.

I leave you with this. Tyson asked all the panelists to give him a percentage, a number describing how much of a possibility there was that we were, in fact, living in a simulation. Most panelists gave low percentages. But not Ms. Resting Bitch Face. She said, with no hesitation whatsoever, 0%. Now where is the logic in that? Where is the math? If we accept – as all the panelists did – that there is much about the universe we don’t know, how can we say 0%? We can’t say 100%, so we can’t say 0%. If we don’t know everything, even if the possibility is .01%, the possibility cannot be zero. And no one called her out on her bullshit, which quite frankly, was disappointing.

It is intriguing to think of ourselves as avatars, Bob. Just contemplate that. When you become predictable and boring, maybe the master programmers just knock you off. We must endeavor not to be boring just in case we are mere avatars. I think we need to do something surprising and amusing every day just to keep the programmers interested – you know – in case they are real and shit.

So there you have it. My day in a nutshell. And a few Deep Thoughts as well. Perhaps the tech exists to read my mind, but I am trying very hard to make your job just a tiny bit easier and hopefully a little more entertaining as well.

I hope you have had an absolutely brilliant day.

Your friend,



Love Letters to the Surveillance State

Dear Sir(s) or Madam(s),

You probably already know who I am so an introduction is unnecessary. And you can’t tell me who you are because if you told me you’d have to kill me (that’s a joke and I hope you will take it in the lighthearted spirit with which it was written).

I’ve recently come to understand that you have the ability to know everything about me, but of course you waste a lot of time analyzing all that data – not to mention the bazillion cat pictures I post – so I thought it might spare some time and effort if I just sent you the details of my day. You can corroborate them if you like. But that’s cool. I’m excruciatingly dull.

For example, I like to work. I mean really like to work. So I do it when I have to and I do it when I don’t have to. I think it may be an unhealthy obsession. Your thoughts? I used to get excited about going places on the weekend. Now I get excited about whatever project I’m working on and before I know it, I’m on line trying to figure out how to make my code work or I’ll think of something I forgot to do and next thing you know, the whole day is gone! Do you ever get like that? You know you always hear that government jobs are 9-5, but then the T.V. series and movies show you spy types working around the clock, no sleep, darkened rooms where there is no night or day. There is only the work. I wonder which is more real? If you do work around the clock, you may have the same problem I do. Do we need therapy do you think?

But I digress. By now you will know that I probably worked today. Well you could look that up, but it is unnecessary because I will tell you. I did. And I want to know who the sadistic fuckwit (hope you don’t mind a bit of cursing – I do have the tendency to use it like punctuation) was who created our software because I tell you, if you want to do something very complicated like a web service, it is easy to work with. But try to re-arrange fields on a screen? Hooo-boy! If you happen to know the answer to that question, just leave me a comment and provide some contact info so I can write the author of our software a strongly worded letter.

Let’s talk food. Today I had a piece of banana bread for breakfast, an Amy’s heat and eat for lunch (don’t ask me what kind – they all taste the same), a piece of cheesecake, a fruit and nut snack pack, three cups of coffee, and if you’ve turned on my web cam (God, I hope not – I look like hell today) you’ll have noticed I threw in a Hostess snack cake tonight. No sense hiding it from you 🙂 Now that I see my eating habits written down, I realize I must get better about eating healthy. See? You’ve helped me already.

In between eating and working I surfed a bit on my iPad. Did you all catch the Big Alligator video? I’ve watched it about 6 times and shown it to everyone I know. You know they spotted him in Lakeland at a preserve I am quite fond of. Such an awesome, prehistoric looking beast. Let’s see – I perused Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone – not too much there to write home about. Mostly stuff on Trump. Personally I am sick to death of politics and I skipped all that stuff. I also browsed the President’s pardon list but the only Big Name on the list was Chelsea Manning. Rather sad that she’s become suicidal. Now that they are letting her out, the big questions will – and remember, I predicted this first – is whether she’ll be gay or straight, who she will start dating, and when she will get her operation. She’ll be on Oprah. I am sure you are all worried about the data she leaked, but no one will remember that (except you guys, because you remember everything). The general public will just start salivating over her love life. Trust me.

Now the most interesting thing I found on the “interwebs” was the Top Ten Weird Sports. And of those Top Ten, my very, very favorite was the one about Extreme Ironing. It is where people take ironing boards, an iron, and a shirt and climb a mountain or skydive with it. Then they iron. They iron while skydiving. They iron on the top of sheer cliffs. They iron while white water rafting. There are photos. You should check it out.

Right now I am listening to Alex Winter talk about the Deep Web. It’s kind of interesting but not so much that I am going to keep listening to it. Usually when you get a good speaker and listen to a killer talk on YouTube, you go looking for more talks by that same person. Sadly, what I’ve found is that when there are more videos, the guy I loved so much the first time around, gives the same talk over and over. Perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve discovered via Mr. Winter is that he’s talking serious tech, but he was the guy that played in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Now what I am going to do after I finish this letter is go look up Mr. Winter to find out how the heck he went from being in “Bill and Ted…” to being a Deep Web expert. I’m very curious about that. How did that happen? You all probably know, but don’t tell me the punch line. I like to find things out for myself. The joy of discovery and all…

After I look that up, I will play Pet Rescue Saga until I find I’ve stayed up too late. I will get up in the morning and realize that I have yet again made a horrible judgment call regarding how much sleep a woman my age requires to function. Hence the three cups of coffee.

I do hope you have enjoyed this post. But be aware – this comes at a cost. The next time I lose my glasses (I do this about once ever few weeks) I’m counting on one of you to use your most excellent spy stuff to help me find them. Just leave a comment, send an email, knock on my door and say “They are right there dummy!” If you agree to these terms, I will continue to let you know about my day. Every day. Everything I can remember (oh, and I might ask you to look through your records and remind me of some of the stuff I forget – I’m old. Short term memory is not what it used to be.)

I hope you have a wonderful evening (or day or whenever you are reading this).

Your friend,