Johanna Faust, a mixed race Jew, prefers to publish pseudonymously. She is committed: first, to preventing war, ecological disaster, and nuclear apocalypse; last to not only fighting for personal privacy & the freedom of information, but, by representing herself as a soldier in that fight, to exhorting others to do the same. She is a poet, always. All these efforts find representation here: "ah, Mephistophelis" is so named after the last line of Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus, whose heretical success flouted the censor for a time.

That Creepy Thing Alexa Said? Here's The Source.

So a couple of people have pegged the quote from the movie "Sunshine" (2007).  I have, however, not seen an exact quote and until I do I can only mention the resemblance.  The movie is not coming up in searches.  If anyone knows the quote, do tell.

How did I find this?  I googled it. And I have to use that verb, because as far as I know, only Google takes actual fancy-pants parameters. You know, like the minus sign. Without which finding this would have been possibly difficult.  Instead of so ridiculously easy as to leave me wondering if something is up.

For the rest of this post, I will try to leave my opinions in italics.

Apparently, 30 year old Shawn Kinnear had a weird thing happen to him Monday.  (I can't help wondering who he told it to first.) And it just so happens, his weird thing is so topical right now that it got the world's attention. Soon he was retelling it in an interview with the Metro UK. (How did it get to the Metro's ears?)

Here is the synopsis with some of the details I find especially interesting:

At his home in San Francisco Monday, apropos of nothing, Shawn said that his Amazon Echo Dot said "Every time I close my eyes all I see is people dying." He said he felt "disturbed" and added that the incident was "followed by the most uncomfortable silence I have ever felt." Not only would Alexa not repeat herself, she would not even acknowledge that she said anything. Extra creepy, like the machine was being creepy on purpose.

All of which makes it slightly more interesting when all you have to do, (if you are me that is), is enter the creepy quote (in quotation marks) into your search bar, add "-alexa," and press return. The minus is important.  To filter out the very story you are checking up on, of course.

Lo and behold, there is only one result on the page. (Here is a demonstration brought to you by LMGTFY (Let Me Google That For You. It opens in a new tab.  You have to click on the little search button, they no longer do that for you.)

And here, without further ado, is the excerpt containing the quote.

Elevator to Heaven Chapter 9 - A Grey's Anatomy Fanfic

 Lexie Grey clung to Mark Sloan as they laid on his couch. She cried. "Mark, I can't stop seeing it. Every time I close my eyes all I see is people dying and him, oh god holding a freaking gun! I can't sleep because every time I fall asleep my dreams are filled with gunshots. It won't stop."
 Read more here, or, if that fails, check the links at the end.

Shawn Kinnear, according to the Metro.
According to the Metro, this Amazon Echo sometime end-user's Facebook page provided a photograph of him relaxing at his home in San Francisco.  According to the Metro.  I couldn't find that same pic, but then again, I've never been 'on' Facebook.

Note what he's wearing. In case you can't make it out, its a long-sleeved possibly hooded sweatshirt, with an "Amazing Spider-Man" graphic.

Which fits in, you see.  As does this picture, which I found by searching with the string 'facebook "shawn kinnear" francisco' (no single quotes around the outside of course), and looking through the resultant images hoping to find anything Spider-man, anything comic book, anything Star Trek -- anything, well, fannish.

There were quite a few. 

I wanted something definitive, but I left much of this search to the Enterprising and Curious, who will come after me.  I saw a Facebook post from a comic book store; following that thread required disabling CSS styles to get around Facebook's crap, (here's a great Wired how-to) but look who I found:
Whatever Store posted this on Facebook.

At least I would assume that's him in the Spider-man suit. Let's have a closer look at Captain America:

 Shawn Kinnear graced Whatever Store's 12th anniversary as Cap't America
Shawn apparently hasn't used his Dot much since he got it for the holidays in 2016.  He told the Metro he has "a lot of other tech stuff. Computers, gaming, so on. But my house is about 80 years old so a lot of the integration doesn’t work." By which he means the wifi is iffy, so its usually bye bye Alexa.

Don't those things have logs?  Application Support?  Tmp folders?  Cache?  You know they do, or rather,  I bet.... Ah, no I wouldn't. (That's some Faustian humor -- never mind).

Anyways, as I see it, Alexa saying this more than likely is the result of :
•  pure coincidence
•  a good old fashioned PR stunt, or, and most likely,
•  random firing Alexa weirdness that can look like the above.

So I am sure we will hear back from Amazon, and, even though its a safe bet they have logs, I have a hunch they will color themselves politely stymied. On the one hand, they have no reason to doubt him; and on the other, they are in no position, lately, are they.

And for the thatonegirldee, the author of  "Elevator To Heaven"? Does she know our Captain America? Using the press to get a little free advertising is as American as apple pie.....

This is a close-up of the profile picture of the actual author of that creepy Alexa quote. Click for even closer close-up.


I noticed that Shawn's links on the Facebook pages are not populated -- that is, they are highlighted as if they are links, but go nowhere.  I wonder why, or if that is even true if one were signed in.  But just in case, I PDFed them, and they are available upon request.

As for this chapter of "Elevator to Heaven,"  there is no archive and no cache. So the last two of the following links are (what else) base64 dataURIs, since they don't spoil (unless Blogger effs them up).  Right-click and save-as, or just click. The PDF has a better layout.

And here is a link to Google's cache of the Metro UK write up. So you won't have to have your CPU eaten by the Metro UK (but go there if you want).

Be seeing you.

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