Thursday, December 31, 2015


Well, Dear Reader, it is almost the end of yet another year.

I'll have to say that this has been one of the worst I've endured but there is some faint glimmering of hope for the future.

Wow, I'm almost sounding like an optimist.

So here is how 2015 shaped up (warning: I may get a bit personal):

Sunday, December 20, 2015

No Good Deed

So, Dear Reader, you know me... always getting into one form of strife or another.

You'd think I might have learned by now.

Particularly when it comes to damsels in distress.

Especially when it comes to damsels in distress, right?

Yeah. But no.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Entirely Not Unexpected Exposition of Mr Harker, Whinypants

So, Dear Reader, you should already be aware of my previous dealings with the aforementioned Mr Harker. If not, you can read about them here and here.

Well, when we last left out hero (that would be me), Mr Harker had decided that perhaps cooperating with his insurer and their appointed investigator might, in fact, be a good idea.

Hooray, we said. But in our hearts we knew this wouldn't be the last word on the matter from Mr Harker.


And it wasn't.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Vacillation of Mr Harker

Well, well, well. It seems that our friend, Mr Harker (still not his real name) has had a change of heart, Dear Reader, and now wants to meet me after all.

I wonder if it has anything to do with correspondence he may have received from the insurer?

Be that as it may, I look forward to him telling me a whole bunch of lies if he actually does follow through but I suspect he will back out once again before the appointed hour.

Will keep you posted.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Why do I always get the crazy ones?

Genuine question. I really want to know.

Latest case in point, a routine insurance claim investigation regarding a single vehicle accident.

The claimant, the hapless Mr Harker (not his real name), had only just insured his vehicle the previous day - which is suspicious enough, right?

But that isn't where I came in, no. My role started about seven weeks later.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Quick Review: Surveillance Operator's Aide Memoire

Greetings Dear Reader. After a slight hiatus for personal reasons, I'm back with a review of the recent purchase (thanks to Pursuit Magazine for the heads-up) of the Surveillance Operator's Aide Memoire by Bill Spikes.

If you don't know what an aide memoire is, you can look it up.

Also, you can follow the author on Twitter.

So what did I think?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

PI Toolbox: Screencasting Tools

Hello again, Dear Reader. This isn't something I've really needed in the past but a screencasting tool might be useful in the future when needing to preserve online social media evidence or the like.

I've just had a preliminary play with Atomi's ActivePresenter Free Edition (for personal and non-commercial use) and it looks like a fairly simple to use, yet feature-packed, program. 

The Standard Edition is priced at US$199 and the Professional Edition at $299. Both come with further features and export format options.

Whether or not the price point justifies the purchase is open to debate, given the frequency of use you might likely employ screencasting in investigations. Personally, I can't see a great and pressing need for this myself - I'm happy enough with just taking screen grabs - but it might be something you might find useful.

If you have any other recommendations (or gripes), feel free to chime in below.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Upcoming Reads: Covert Imagery and Photography

I recently became aware, Dear Reader, that Peter Jenkins (the author of the surveillance bible) had just published a tome detailing the finer points of carrying out covert surveillance imagery.

His new book, "Covert Imagery & Photography: The Investigators and Enforcement Officers Guide to Covert Digital Photography" is now available through Amazon. 

I shall be ordering a copy forthwith and will post a review at some future date. 

Or not. I'm kind of fickle that way. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

Forewarned is Forearmed 2: Threatened Mass-Shooting

Hello Dear Reader, sorry for the long gap in posting but I have had to deal with some personal matters that are still ongoing.

Be that as it may, the other day I was asked to help out a PI friend who was out of town on holiday, and serve a Trespass Notice on behalf of one of his clients: a major bank.

No worries, I told him. What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cheaty Cheating Cheaters

Well, Dear Reader, it has been pretty difficult to not hear about the hacking of the renowned 'dating' site for married persons seeking a little something on the side.

Some of the fallout has made for hilarious reading as well, particularly with the revelation of that 'family values activist' (and full-time hypocrite) Josh Duggar had been a paid-up member. Love the sinner but hate the sin, eh, Josh?

And then the slew of allegations of government employees, police officers, and other officialdom using their work email addresses to sign up to an Ashley Madison account.

Anyway, here's the thing I don't understand. If signing up for something a little dodgy, something you don't really want other people finding out about - like your boss or your husband/wife - why would you use your regular email address? Why would you pay from your normal credit card?


Poor form, cheaters. Poor form.

As we know, there are a number of anonymous email services out there - or you could just set up a fake gmail account. From what I understand, however, there is no email verification at the Ashley Madison site so you could make anything up.

And as for making virtually untraceable - as far as your partner is concerned - credit card payments, you can purchase Visa pre-paid gift cards readily enough.

One thing I am quite curious on is the number of male versus female members on Ashley Madison. From my 'research', I am led to believe there have been a number of allegations over the years regarding fake profiles of females in order to bolster the numbers.

So I've gone ahead and found the torrent to the data dump. I haven't downloaded it yet as I'm not that interested in wasting some 10 gigabytes of bandwidth, but if I get bored some time in the future, I may very well do.

Could make for some interesting observations.      

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Forewarned is forearmed. Sometimes.

Sometimes, Dear Reader, things turn out in an entirely unexpected way - and that's a good thing.

Case in point, a little while ago I received a Protection Order to be served on an individual in regards to a domestic violence matter where a number of threats had been made. 

So, looking at the file, I have to admit I really wasn't liking what I saw.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jazz, Adventure, Cats, Coppers, Dead People...

Enter jazzman-turned-PI, Rock Banyon, played by Michael Kenneth Williams (otherwise known as Omar Little in one of the best television series ever) in a comedic mini-series The Spoils Before Dying.

Hardboiled plus.

I've only caught the first couple of episodes and, clearly, this pokes fun at the entire genre yet it still manages to tell a gritty story. Move over True Detective, there's a new brooding and troubled anti-hero in town, spouting darkly introspective insights into the human condition. In voiceover, even!

While it might not be everyone's cup of tea, I liked what I've seen so far.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Knock Knock. Or how I ended up on the wrong end of a search warrant.

As I tweeted the other week Dear Reader, I had the amusing (if not bemusing) experience of being awoken early in the morning to the sound of the police executing a Search Warrant on the premises.

Actually, I thought it might have been a friend of mine playing a bit of an early morning joke but the vests and the handguns (to be fair, they remained holstered throughout) soon disabused me of that notion.

So what was it all about I hear you ask?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Quick Review: 5.11 Covrt ZAP 6 gear slinger

Well, Dear Reader, I've had a chance to trial my recent purchase of 5.11's Covrt ZAP 6 and I'm of mixed opinion on it.

I'm not entirely sure who 5.11 have marketed this product for but the online blurb at their website states: 

Originally designed to provide support for covert fire teams, the COVRT™ Z.A.P. (Zone Assault Pack) has become a popular off duty concealed carry pack for law enforcement officers across the country.

And the features include:

  • Rugged and versatile concealed carry pack
  • Storage compartment holds tablet or netbook
  • Internal organizer pockets for small accessories
  • Hydration compartment
  • Coms pocket with mic cord pass-through
 Well, here's my rundown.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shiny New Things

For a while now, Dear Reader, I have been stewing over whether I really needed to purchase yet another bag. I mean I have my BlackHawk CIA Garment Bag for when travelling, a BlackHawk Tactical Briefcase (which admittedly, I hardly bother with), and my 5.11 Tactical Wingman Patrol Bag as my standard day-bag and organiser. 

I also had a couple of others but they have been unfortunately lost.

Now, if anything, I need a bag to contain my surveillance essentials. I was getting sick of cameras and the like cluttering up my day-bag, and really want something I could throw it all into and keep it separate from my other gear.

So I have just ordered the 5.11 Covrt (that's not a misspelling) ZAP 6 gearslinger.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Musical Interlude

Mid-Year Madness

Oh no, Dear Reader! Over a month has passed without any posts from me. Is this The End?

Well, worry not. It's not (quite) the end of me just yet.

Over the past few weeks, I have been:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tailing Mister G to the Races

It was Daddy-Daughter day. Apparantly.
The thing about surveillance cases, Dear Reader, is that it can often take you to unexpected places.

Quite literally.

As with this particular case in point. The subject, let's call him Mister G - I don't think I was actually told his name - is a mid-level manager within a national business chain.

It transpired that Company Management had a number of concerns regarding Mister G's work-ethic and wanted some Third-Party confirmation and documentation of his activities.

That is where I came in.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quick Review: Sony cyber-shot WX350

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Dear Reader, I recently purchased a new point-and-shoot camera to replace my ageing (if not somewhat battered) Canon IXUS that has served me faithfully.

The purchase was made in haste and without any planning on my part, and I hadn't done my due diligence beforehand checking out the stats as I am usually wont to do.

Oh well.

So how does it stack up?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Significant upgrade to Timeline Maker Pro

This isn't a review, Dear Reader, as I'd already covered that a while back. Just a heads-up, in case you weren't aware, that TLM Pro have released version 3 which contains new features.

Sadly, I haven't had a lot of use for this tool the last few months but purchased the upgrade anyway since I remain eternally optimistic.

You can check out the new features here.

Upgrade cost, if you had the previous version: US$79.00

Full purchase cost: US$195.00.

Tool to add date/time (and more) to photographs

You might recall a similar post I made almost a year ago, Dear Reader, in regards to tools to add date and time to video footage.

Well, I just purchased a new point-and-shoot camera - a Sony Cyber-shot DX-WX350 - to replace my battered Canon IXUS (will review this later). It was an unplanned, impromptu, buy and I hadn't really checked out the stats prior to purchase so was a little disappointed when I got it home to find that you couldn't display the date and time of the photograph, just the date.

And you know how much that really annoys me.

Luckily, there are some tools out there to insert EXIF data onto photographs post-shooting and I pretty much was happy enough with the first one I trialled that I made the purchase.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life of (this) PI

I've been remarkably remiss lately, Dear Reader, and for that I sincerely apologise. Things have been surprisingly hectic around Bad City and I have been otherwise engaged in a number of varied, if not time consuming, investigations.

Which is a good thing. But while there have been a few moments of good fortune, there also have been some setbacks.

Seems that you can't have one without the other. 

Anyway, some short updates...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where are they now? Matt 'of the House of' Thompson

Artist's Depiction
Well, Dear Reader, I bet that you thought you'd have heard the last regarding FOTLer Matt 'of the House of' Thompson - as did I - but it appears we were both wrong.

He has recently made the pages of our Daily Rag - the Court section no less.

Oh dear.

Could we really have expected anything less from Matt, though?

So what back-country shennanigans has he been up to now?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Regrets, I've had a few...

Nothing good ever happens after 1AM, or so I have been told, Dear Reader.

In this case, the possibly rash decision to submit an application for a governmental investigative position, one that I have applied for on a number of previous occasions - all unsuccessfully - around the country.

Only this time, I've amended my standard cover letter. Obviously, the old one wasn't getting their attention.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Lurid Tales

'The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess' as pulp novel cover
If I were to make a confession, Dear Reader, it would be that I have a kind of thing for the covers of pulp fiction novels. Sexy, disheveled, women with buttons strategically undone - that kind of thing.

Anyway, I recently came across some work done by Ástor Alexander who has turned the premise of several modern video games into lurid covers, taking his inspiration from the actual covers from a bygone age. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Coffee and stakeouts. And more coffee.

(The above is the first of four adverts from an Australian campaign for Riva Instant Coffee).

Coffee. It is the stuff investigations are fuelled by. And what is better during a surveillance op at 2am than a steaming cup o' joe?

That's a rhetorical question, by the way.

But why settle for crappy instant 'coffee' when there are a number of other options out there serving actual coffee, freshly made in your car...? Like the Handpresso Auto, for example.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Never break a Golden Rule

In case you were ruefully unaware, Dear Reader, there are a series of novels by Irish author Ken Bruen featuring ex-Garda "finder", Jack Taylor.

Well, it came as a bit of a surprise to me too, when I first learned of this!

Several of the novels have also been turned into feature-length films for television, which is how  Taylor first came to my attention. Taylor is played by Iain Glen, perhaps better known for his role as Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones

I have only recently started reading the novels and while they contain familiar, if not cliched, private investigator tropes - at least the setting is somewhat unusual, with the novels based in the author's home town of Galway.

So far, I am enjoying the first novel in the series: The Guards - which is in turn darkly funny and deadly serious. 

For your reading pleasure, an excerpt... 

Monday, January 05, 2015

This is the beginning

We are now a few days into this new year, Dear Reader, and I hope we all made it through relatively unscathed.

I, for one, have several case files open (received one while out of town on what one might euphemistically call 'a holiday') so this year is already off to a flying start.

Which is something.

Anyway, on a semi-unrelated note, I was recently thinking of this Zen Buddhist parable. Make of it what you will.

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"

"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.

"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.

"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin.