By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Even in a fieldwork heavy career like private investigation, a disproportionate amount of the legal support industry staff days are spent in drably designed office spaces. Denver's co-working spaces are bountiful but the need for confidentiality frequently precludes a firm that isn't in a position to rent a co-working suite. Meanwhile office spaces can remain as austere and impersonal as the file folder piles they contain.
Enter the 2019 holiday season with it's new opportunities for helping your fellow private investigator friends, colleagues or spouses personalize their workspace in a way that is convivial, contemporary and on-brand. The right office gift not only makes a private detective's practice more appealing to coworkers and colleagues who spend an inordinate number of hours working in this space. A well decorated space appeals to prospective clients as the firms transition to 2020.
See also: gift ideas for private investigators
A hard-boiled private eye may not want to admit it but their office space can make or break a client or collegial relationship. While a single poster or coaster referencing a gumshoe's early fictional or historic inspiration may not make or break a client, it is a great conversation piece. Gifting the PI in your life something to capture the imagination of a prospective client or legal partner who is unfamiliar with the field helps their business. It is also a fun way to re energize a slow afternoon by reminding private detectives of the field's rich literary and cinematic history.
These are our office gift suggestions for the 2019 holiday season:
1.) Pinkerton Logo on Wood Panel by Vass Design: obtain this and you wont have to visit the newly renovated International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. to admire a framed version of the Pinkerton logo. Vass Design has created a 12 x 16 inch wood reproduction, perfect for an office wall or lobby waiting area. If rustic is your thing even better, since it brings out the crackle texture of the wood surface giving the sense this firm has been around for a long, long, long, long time. Perhaps it even goes as far back as Chicago, 1850.
See also: a Visit to the International Spy Museum in the Denver Private Investigator Blog and in PursuitMag
Vass design is also an environmentally conscious Canadian based maker who uses water based and eco friendly stains, paint and glue. The framed wall hanging costs $55.04 and is a great asset to any private investigator firm wanting to emphasize the fact that their services and expertise are available round the clock.
If, as a Colorado private investigator you'd prefer not to plug anything Pinkerton because of their infamous involvement with Colorado's Ludlow Massacre ---also, technically speaking, they're a competitor-- we have alternative wall art to enthusiastically recommend, starting with some pics inspired by timeless songs by The Clash and Bob Dylan.
2.) Detective themed London Calling and Thin Man posters by Todd Alcott Graphics: Former New York playwright turned LA screenwriter, Todd Alcott's day job may be writing for much larger audiences but the Etsy shop he now he now runs is solo operated and makes his cinematic mashups available for spaces ranging from 11 inches in height to 36 inches tall.
The etsy shop has been earning international recognition and it's detective themed posters featuring classic album mashups fuse poetry, nihilism, pulp fan fiction and noir with phrases from the most pyrotechnically brilliant lyricists of the 20th century are about as iconically nuanced as it gets for people someone looking for just the right personalized gift for the Clash or Bob Dylan fan.
"I had just been listening to the Clash and came across this detective magazine, and the tension between the apocalypse of "London Calling" and the kind of tawdry sexuality of the detective magazine cover made me laugh," explains the screenwriter turned graphic designer. "The other thing I loved about the image was that it was really mangled and water stained, which I love to work with. I like my finished images to look as "authentic" as possible, and details like the water stains really added to it. Detective magazines like this always have a lot of headlines, usually each one trying to top the last in terms of sensationalism, and I love taking those headlines and making them song lyrics, again, setting the doomy lyrics of the song against the luridness of the magazine cover." Posters start at $25 and go up to $150 so you can adjust for budget and wall space.
Bonus points for giving Ballad of a Thin Man to anyone who also happens to be a fan of the Denver's popular East 17th avenue hangout (2015 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80206) with the same name.
3.)Vintage mystery fiction writer tea - Tea totalers and tea enthusiasts alike can sip the snowy afternoon atmosphere with these private eye themed tea bag gift sets. "I'm a big mystery fan and true crime podcast listener so these collections were particularly fun to design and they include some of my favorite authors," says the set's creator, Robin Stelling.
Chose one --or both-- distinct tea sets. They are organic and elegantly packaged with each set running $34 on the FavorFavour.com website. Writers referenced include Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Ngaio Marsh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L Sayers so it can also get gifted along side a Tattered Cover gift certificate if you want to include something locally and literary.
4.) New books by local Colorado authors - If your office library wants to include some of Colorado's hottest contemporary mystery, thriller and crime authors you can also gift detective themed sets sets with books by Peter Heller, David Heska Wanbli, Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Erika Wurth. "Sabrina and Corina" by Fajardo-Anstine is a National Book Award Finalist
5.) Handmade Nancy Drew Coasters - What would holiday gift recommendations be without some Nancy Drew. Especially relevant for anyone following the new CW television series. But back to coasters: they are sealed for hot and cold drinks and will be a year-round asset to any office space. Available along with a vintage book selection via the KarlandArrow shop on Etsy and are available for $5.00 each.
6.) Handmade Nancy Drew cash envelope system wallet: if you're paying cash to cover your tracks it may not be the wisest move to do something as conspicuous as paying with cash extracted from a Nancy Drew cash system wallet. If, on the other hand, you're doing the cash envelope system (which Dave Ramsey takes credit for although the system pre dates Ramsey's monetization of it--and making it relevant to budgeting in today's digital world) this is a dope way to motivate yourself to switch to a cash system to save money. And what could be sweeter than doing so with Nancy Drew as your copilot!
"I grew up with her books in my home. My oldest sister had almost all the books. As the third and middle child I read them when she was finished with them," explains Vintage Fabric Finds maker Tammy Andrews-Tucker, who messaged me that she has a limited amount of fabric left so if you're going to order one of these custom finds, do it soon. Prices range from $35.50 to $85.50 depending on the number of envelopes you plan to get.
"I admired Nancy’s curiosity and her intellect. Her ability to process situations and events and look at them from a different angle. That things often were not as they presented themselves. I also admired her ability to maneuver freely in the world without restrictions, to be listened to, respected and I admired her tremendous resourcefulness" Andrews-Tucker, concluded.
A "cash wallet system" for a busy private investigation firm could simply be a good way to organize a kitty multiple team members draw upon. It is unlikely you would want to leave it lying around. That said, it's a righteous accessory to use yourself or give to a colleague for budgeting in the New Year so we're including it in our 2020 holiday gift recommendations, anyway.
By Susanna Speier,
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
If you're looking for an excuse to invest in a Series 2 Apple Watch (which run as high as $399) and do surveillance work, Emmy Award winner investigator, Brian Bates of Bates Investigates has just scripted your justification -I mean- tax write-off for you.
“The primary reason I justified the price is the fact it works very well as a covert audio recorder. You can easily pay $200+ for a quality audio-only watch audio recorder. I'd rather spend the money on an Apple Watch that does much more and is superior in quality. Sure, cell phones record audio - but they are widely recognized as audio recorders and people are on alert for them. To me, in my work, a covert audio record is indispensable.”
Bates had also purchased the version 1 iteration when that came out however he returned it after two weeks. Generation 2, by contrast is something he wears everyday and finds useful in his work.
See also: What real detectives think about the Dick Tracy inspired Apple Watch.
"The watch is also great when I'm in the courtroom." He adds. "Most in our area do not allow cell phones to even be visible to the bailiff. This makes checking emails and text messages impossible - unless you're wearing a smart watch. So far, no judges have banned these watches."
Colorado Apple Store retail locations include Boulder (29th street) Broomfield (Flatiron), Denver (Cherry Creek), Littleton (Aspen Grove) and Lone Tree (Park Meadows).
Apps for Private investigators - Dark Sky weather prediction software's unique "time machine" feature
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Working on a slip and fall case that requires data specifying what the weather in Englewood was on a specific day a year and a half ago? What about that ten month old personal injury investigation that requires evidence of a Colorado Springs hailstorm at a specific time on a specific date? Was it truly a dark and story night in Westminster on leap day five years back or is a witness' testimony questionable?
The Dark Sky website, funded through ongoing Kickstarter donations, provides fast and free access to weather data. It's unique selling point is it's accurate hyperlocal weather prediction abilities so while you may find it useful for figuring out whether or not rain will prevent you from flying a drone in your Highlands Ranch yard in the next five minutes, what provides the most value to private investigators is the option to punch in the date and location of your choosing using the "time machine" feature.
You can access the "time machine feature" by scrolling down to the bottom of the forecast page and punching in a date.
How does it do this? According to one of the site's creators, Adam Grossman, the developers use radar data obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and break it into code. They then clean up the data, do a bunch of esoteric tech thingie things, lift the velvet cloth and da-dumm, your accurate weather pastcast or forecast.
Granted, it will be accurate as long as you don't try and project too far into the future. The software is only designed for short term predictions and has the added archive bonus that gives you access to past data.
Apps are for Android and iOS versions and for the Apple watch are available for $4.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
What do you get the person who has access to everything? Holiday gifts for private investigators aren't easy because --if nothing else-- you'll want to avoid the obvious. That said, we've come up with the following options for prices that range from $10.00 to $99.00.
The International Spy Museum's, "Agent You Don't Gnome Me" ($18) Gnomes are kinda weird, kinda useless, and kinda fun. Plus, if you or someone you gnome is into the trench and sunglasses cliche but doesn't actually want to wear them, you can place the gnome as a fashion forward stand in or buy the spy gnome tree ornament --which is also available through the Spy Museum website shop. What we like about it for Coloradoans in particular is the fact you can plant it anywhere along the front range landscape and send us the photos to share with our Twitter and Facebook followers. You can even use it in your prairie garden!
Cyberspies: The Secret History of Surveillance, Hacking, and Digital Espionage by Gordon Corera is available at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in hardcover ($29.95) MP3 CD ($44.95) paperback ($16.95) and CD $118.00. Rich with historical detail and characters as well as contemporary international insights, the book will put the reader on solid ground with the present and future of cyber espionage.
Women with jobs that require them to carry a concealed firearm for self protection can express their enthusiasm for the Colorado outdoors and simultaneously misdiret a potential attacker by carrying a faux leather Gwyneth Realtree Concealed Carry Tote ($54.99). The faux leather also makes it perfect for vegetarians. Handbag contains a hidden gun holster on the inside outside, a pattern of what one may see on a typical hike through Estes Park. Available on Gun Goddess.
A spy specializing in surveillance who wants to teach his or her kids what mommy or daddy does for a living would be well served to invest in a few Santa Cam ornaments ($10+) And if they're not Etsy savvy, perhaps a friend is willing to track one down on their behalf or --if the kid insists on viewing the footage-- dress in costume to place gifts. This Etsy shop happens to be based in Denver, Colorado and offers personaliztion and multiple color as well as glitter options.
A Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) apprentice membership is the perfect gift for the fledgeling PI in your life who is looking for ways to grow their career. The annual cost is only $99 and it will connect the to a savvy and supportive regional community through training, networking events and mentorship.
This particular membership is designed for the PI with less than 2,000 hours of experience. For PIs with more experienc, Associate, Senior and Premiere Senior memberships are also available for $125.
Have a happy and safe holiday season. Fa la la la la la la la la.
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