Tag Archives: humor

It’s December 31st. Again.

31 Dec

It’s the last day of the year. An arbitrary marker in the passing of days, but there are forms that must be observed.

This post is all about me. All blogs are all about “Me me me me me me,” that’s the point. Maybe you will see something that will help a little with the “You you you you,” or maybe you’ll get a chuckle and a hint of schadenfreude. Never know.

My aim for today is to do as little as possible. I’m already hearing rumblings of an upcoming case that I can guarantee will be a nightmare and given that I’m being copied on the emails it looks like they intend to put me in charge. But that hasn’t… happened… yet.

Right next to spending time with family from whom I am absent most of the year the thing I love most about the holidays is a respite from care. Gonna grab me some of that today before the to-do list encroaches on my peace of mind.

Well, after I make the year-end charitable donations.

… and after I write this.

Then I’m gonna relax LIKE A BOSS.

My year that was:

2015 was the year White Castle finally came to Las Vegas. Glory hallelujah.

Cadbury Dairy Milk bars became contraband in the USA thanks to Hershey. Screw you Hershey. Screw you unto even the 7th generation.

Jeff Gordon ran his last season in NASCAR. My wife is not amused.

Our house is now 10 years old. So everything broke. Ok not everything, just the air conditioner fan, the water heater, the disposal, and the capacitor in the ac condenser. (In related news, your big-ass flat HD smart tv is a computer. Plug it in to a surge protector. Trust me on this one.)

We began the Great Flooring Project of 2015 in February. We are now forced to rename it the Great Flooring Project of 2015/2016.

10 blog posts this year! (11 if you count this one)

We lost our cat Sir Andrew and it was just devastating. First Christmas without either of our boys in the house for 16 years was a little tough at first.

SpaceX started the year with a spectacular rocket crash into a barge on storm-tossed seas and ended with a perfect touchdown at Canaveral. I am a big proponent of space exploration. We’ve gotta go.

The Colbert Report ended and Jon Stewart left The Daily Show. Both much to my dismay.

We went to Disneyland 5 times. This is what keeps me from murdering my coworkers.

Took a second trip to Death Valley. Made it to Racetrack Playa and back. In the snow.

The world lost the philosopher Terry Pratchett. He took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night. Just what the hell am I supposed to do now?

I’ve tried to cultivate a more zen attitude in my day to day life. This rarely works. I still spend much of my time angry, but I don’t use the car horn as much.

I learned that having the ventilation fan in the Mystery Machine Mark III break down during a surveillance when it is 110° outside instantly turns me into a passable electrician.

I got to go get a tetanus shot because I didn’t listen to my wife.

In 2014 I learned I can run flat out in my Justin cowboy boots. In 2015 I learned I can run flat out in the pouring rain in my Justin cowboy boots. I recommend you go buy some Justin cowboy boots.

Marriage Equality is now the law of the land. About damn time.

I was introduced to the hard cider ice cream float. Where has this been all my life?

We learned it’s ok to shoot down drones that are bugging you. How could this possibly come back and bite us in the ass?

I discovered the “Angry Scotsman” video and can now laugh myself stupid whenever I choose.

Star Wars came back, which is epic.

Bloom County came back, which is epic to the 10th power.

And there was joy, and sadness, and anger, and resignation. Politics makes me crazy. Hatred and stupidity and bigotry continue and there seems to be nothing I can do about it but I try anyway. We met people, we found old friends again, and we lost people.

And we go on.

I doubt I managed to really learn anything this year. I usually don’t. I still make the same mistakes but I keep trying, because what else is there to do?

Be kind to one another. That’s the best I have to offer.

Happy New Year.

Take good care.

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© 2015 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

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Yup. Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Surprise! Reports of the Naked Investigator’s demise in a crack den were wildly exaggerated! I have been absent for some time but have every intention of writing more often. We’ll see how that goes.

Today is Saint Valentine’s Day. As a younger man I tended to rail against this “Invented Holiday,” but let’s face it… they’re all invented so just pick the ones you like and move on. (Ok, Sweetest Day is invented. I am totally calling “Bullshit!” on Sweetest Day.) Today I’m going to write about love.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that I am not an expert on relationships. I’m not an expert on anything. I have no background in psychology. While we’re at it, I have no formal training as an investigator but that hasn’t stopped me earning a living at it for a really disconcertingly long time now.  So. I have a laptop. I have a blog. I have some free time. I’m gonna write about love.

My wife and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in what I suppose to be middle of the road fashion. We tend not to make plans (A little gun-shy from Wedding Anniversary disasters of years past and worried that the bad luck that for a long time attended our efforts at celebration may migrate to another Relationship Holiday, but that’s another matter). In fact we almost never go out on the 14th. I make perhaps a little more of an effort than usual with dinner. We buy each other gifts but don’t go overboard. We get each other cards and I usually get to spend about five minutes complaining about Hallmark’s appallingly thin selection of cards in the “Wife” section.  There are chocolates. There is champagne. There is an evening spent comfortably in each other’s company.

There are people who work at making Valentine’s Day a sort of sporting event dedicated to extreme passion. Everything perfect, everything larger than life. Good for them. I will never medal in that particular event. There are people who ignore it. I advise against that. Lots of folks say “Why should I need a special day to tell my wife I love her?” You shouldn’t, but do it anyway.

I have led what I consider to be an almost charmed life, but I understand all too well that the people we love can be snatched away on the instant. I’ve seen it. I think it is important to let the people you love hear about it, to put in the effort to make them understand that you cherish them and that you want them in your life. Otherwise they might not know. And then they might not stick around for you to explain. I’ve seen that too.

I don’t really believe in Capital S Soul Mates. I happen to think that love takes some effort. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are people who make a spark when you put them together. I think that spark can occur for any of a number of reasons, and no amount of effort will ever blossom into love without that initial attraction. I also happen to think that spark can happen with a number of different people for anyone. What makes love, in my opinion, is what happens after that spark.  If we’re going to follow the spark analogy to the fire analogy, (And why not? Lets.) you need to build a fire from that spark. Tend it or it goes out. Tending a fire is work.

There. I said it. Love is work. (We’re all on board with the analogy still, right? The fire is love. Tending a fire is work…. love takes work… we’re good, right? Ok.) It isn’t always effortless. You get out what you put in, and all those clichés.  If you think that once you’ve found the love of your life your job is over you are going to be very disappointed somewhere down the line.  Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it’s not. The longer you’re at it, the easier it gets. You get to know each other, but if you’re paying attention you still learn new stuff. Even after 20 years.

The “Work” I’m referring to in a relationship is communication. I’m not talking about the easy, obvious stuff. I’m talking about the hard stuff. Really communicating with your partner means having the guts to tell them what you want, what you need from them. It’s saying “Honey, here’s what you’re doing that is pissing me off.” Or, “I’m lonely.” Your partner isn’t psychic. Maybe some things should be obvious. Likely they are not. Your wife isn’t going to know that thing about the dishwasher makes you nuts unless you tell her. Your boyfriend won’t do that thing you’ve been craving in bed unless you ask him to.  I’ve been married almost 21 years. Some days I’m a genius. Some days I can do no wrong. But some days I don’t know what to do. There are so many outside forces vying for our attention, so many things that can have an effect on our moods that we then carry into our relationships, so many things we can do wrong that sometimes your only really safe bet is to take hold of the person you love and tell them so.  And guess what…. Valentine’s Day is a freebie.

Seriously.  Here you have a custom-made holiday for saying “I love you.” Here is a day where you are encouraged to make your feelings plain. I advise you to take full advantage of it. You don’t need 2 dozen roses or a diamond necklace. You don’t need a steak dinner, or even that card I suppose. You DO need to take the time. Tell the person you love… that you love them.

Take good care.

© 2014 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

A Brief Note from your Friendly Neighborhood Naked Investigator

24 Dec

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I have worked my last bit of professional sneaky for the year that was 2012. So…

If 37 housekeepers in your hotel have all filed worker’s comp claims on the same day…

If your husband claims that the Indiana Middle-Managers Association has called an emergency conference in Vegas this weekend and he is bringing his secretary along as an expert in flow charts…

If you fell in love with Chrystalle at Little Darlings while you were in town for the convention and you need to get her a letter (“She should be easy to find. She’s blonde, about 5’6″, with big boobs, a butterfly tattoo on her back and a sternum piercing.”)…

If you need your ex located “Just to see how he turned out”…

If you got rolled by a hooker and you need to try to find that watch grandpa brought back from the war but you can’t call the cops cause then you-know-who will find out…

And above all…

If you need a subpoena served…

Well you’re gonna have to call somebody else because I do not care… and I will not be answering my phone again until January 2nd.

Merry Christmas.

Happy New Year.

Good luck.

© 2012 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

YOU ARE HERE →

13 Aug

.

… and why is that, exactly?

No posts for a while, as work suddenly got very busy (Overtime! Huzzah!).  Speaking of work (Segues, still not my forte), a friend on Facebook asked me recently to recount how I became an investigator, given my background. I’m sure this isn’t exactly what he had in mind…

How far back can you trace the decisions that brought you to where you are today? Can you clearly identify the tipping point after which your life began to build momentum that, while perhaps not making the outcome certain, without which your current situation would be far less likely?

The life I’m living now I can attribute to a single decision in the 5th grade that I made solely on the basis that it would get me out of class for an hour three afternoons a week.  I think of myself in all the time before that as a marble rolling around on a plateau. On that day in the 5th grade the marble rolled to a particular crack in the flat tabletop and began to roll down a particular canyon.

I had all the standard little kid aspirations; Astronaut, Soldier, Garbage Man… and up until the age of 10 I had worked toward all these goals equally and in pretty much the same fashion. That is to say, I ran around a lot, climbed on stuff and got dirty with little thought for the next two hours much less the next day or year. Up until that point I was just as likely to become an insurance salesman or fix air conditioners for a living as become an astronaut. That is until Mrs. King handed out a mimeographed notice one day not long after the beginning of my 5th grade year at Dwight D. Eisenhower elementary school.

We were being given the option to be in the 5th Grade Band. The notice was a list of instruments we could choose from. The band practiced three afternoons a week for about an hour and played in two concerts a year. There in my hand was a golden ticket (Well, actually a white and purple ticket) that would get me out of the classroom for three hours a week. I leapt at the chance! I went directly home and told my mother I wanted to join the band and that I would be playing the drums and mom said “No.”

Mom didn’t say “No you can’t be in the band,” she said “You’re not playing the drums.” Now I don’t want to get the drummers out there all het up and thinking bad things about my mom because she’s a really nice lady and makes a mean chicken casserole, but I can tell you her two very clearly defined objections and you’re not going to like one of them.

1) Noise level. Mom was under the (Mistaken) impression that me learning to play the drums was going to be loud. Perhaps if I’d eventually shown enough talent to continue past learning the snare drum in 5th grade band she’d have had reason to be concerned. A full-on drum set isn’t subtle. But they don’t send ten-year olds home with a drum set, or even a snare drum… they send them home with a pair of drum sticks and possibly a rubber practice pad. I am positive that learning the drums would have been much quieter than the instrument I did settle on, at least for the first year or so.

2) Talent. Mom was under the (Also mistaken) impression that playing the drums didn’t take as much talent as playing a “Real” instrument. (Seriously, if I find out about any of you giving my mom grief I’m gonna be REALLY hacked off. Let it go).  Not that I’d displayed tons of innate musical ability up until this point, despite the fact that I did already own an instrument at the time (My father gave me a guitar when I was five for no apparent reason. Somehow over the next 36 years I never found the time to ask him why), but Mom was convinced that drumming was beneath my abilities.

So I settled on the saxophone and for the life of me I can’t remember why.  I can’t recall looking at the form and saying “Wow! The saxophone looks cool!” or anything like that. I’ve always thought the trumpet was pretty cool actually, and can’t think why I didn’t pick that, but there you have it. At one time I was a professional actor. I am married to a wonderful woman I love more than my own life. I am an investigator for a private detective agency out in the Wild Wild West. All of these things are because in the 5th grade I decided to play the saxophone in the band so I could get out of class three days a week.

Perhaps further explanation is necessary.

I joined the band.  To support my bourgeoning music career my grandparents gave me my own saxophone for Christmas on the condition that I learn to play “Moon River” for them at some point in the future.

I got pretty good at playing the saxophone.

I got really good at playing the saxophone.

I played in the band for the next few years and at the urging of my middle school band director entered competitions where I always came away with top rankings. Then it came time to go to high school.  My parents were concerned about the education I would get at our local high school and were particularly anxious about the level of attention paid to the arts given the emphasis locally on sports. A public performing arts high school had opened downtown only a few years before and I auditioned. I was accepted. After a summer at a camp at the local university for talented musicians I would be attending a performing arts high school majoring in instrumental music! I went there to see a performance of South Pacific. The program director wanted me to see the band performing and this was the end of the school’s season.

I was completely enraptured. Not with the band, they were in the orchestra pit and out of view, who cared about them? The actors! The actors on stage! I wanted to do THAT!

I had attended a couple of live theatre performances. There had been a school trip to see a production of Comedy of Errors and our 6th grade music teacher had taught us the libretto of the opera Tales of Hoffman before taking us to see it. But this, this was a performance by high school kids! These were people my age! This was something I could do!

I started school that fall in the concert band and took private lessons from a professor at a nearby university. I played alto saxophone but they didn’t need an alto saxophone so I was handed a baritone saxophone. I also signed myself up for an elective class in the American Musical Theatre which had a touring performance group. Shortly I was going with the group to other schools to perform for other students. It was all over. Within another year I had changed my major to theatre. My mother had always been concerned that I would starve being a musician and urged me to have another career to fall back on. Acting wasn’t on the short list of things she had in mind.

Of course there are multiple factors at play in everyone’s life. We get a nudge here, a shove there… that marble barreling down the canyon takes a funny bounce…

I finished up high school as one of a handful of very well regarded actors in the program and was all set to go to a very prestigious arts program when things took a very funny bounce indeed. I had been accepted into the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. I had a full free ride. My girlfriend had been accepted there as well. Things were ticking along quite nicely in fact. Then it all went somewhat pear-shaped.

SMU’s football program got the “Death Penalty” for paying players. As a result of this the school’s admissions program came under intense scrutiny and independent auditors were called in to vet prospective students receiving scholarships. I had achieved a nearly perfect SAT score in math by filling in half of the test at random. When placed next to the D’s in physics and math and the F’s in chemistry on my transcript the test scores painted a picture (In the auditor’s view) of a wildly intelligent but lazy kid not working up to his potential. I was told to take two math and science classes at a local community college, pass them both, and then re-submit my application to be considered for the fall. I would be cruising into August not knowing where I would be going to college.

I started opening the mail I’d been getting from another university. Turned out they were offering less in the way of scholarships, but they had a very well-respected program and they didn’t care that I couldn’t add. I would have to take on  a good deal of student loan debt and work lots and lots an lots of workstudy hours, but I’d be off to school in the fall. I took it. Ended up meeting my wife there.

So while the immediate cause of the change in schools was a football scandal that had nothing to do with me, my path into the performing arts still goes back to that afternoon in Mrs. King’s class.

Moving on…

Through high school and college and after I worked at various children’s theatres, outdoor dramas (Large scale outdoor history plays popular in the South and Midwest), and theme parks. I did voice-overs, local commercials, and industrial films. My wife and I lived in the Midwest near our families and I was a working actor, but I wasn’t making a living at it.  We decided that we’d make a run at New York, feeling we’d regret it later if we didn’t give it a shot.

Before moving I wrote a postcard to a friend I’d worked with a few years before. He called to offer some advice on the move. I asked what he was up to and he said “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Turns out he worked for a detective agency as a “Spotter” looking for counterfeit fashion items in Chinatown.  They hired actors exclusively for this position, as most actors are literate, can memorize quickly, are able to change their appearance, and now and again go away for a few months at a time when they get a job.

The minute I got to New York I started pestering these people for a job. After about a year of day gigs as a lighting technician and actually acting from time to time I went to work as a spotter. Two years later I was made a full-time investigator. It paid more than I was making as an actor and was steady work.

Later the company imploded. I went back to acting for a while and then we decided that seven years was long enough and that I needed to leave New York before I killed someone (Likely a cabbie) or had a stroke (While beating a cabbie to death). I pursued a number of possibilities, but it was my experience as an investigator that won the day and we moved to the Wild Wild West.

And here we are. Along the way I’ve tried to be other things. I fought hard for several years to be a New York City firefighter. In the long, quiet watches of the night I sometimes fear I will lie on my deathbed regretting not becoming a blacksmith. But at the end of the day, here I am. I’m 43 years old. I’ve been married for 19 years. I’ve worked in the PI business for the last fifteen years because I needed a day job when I was trying to make it as an actor in NYC. I was a professional actor because I’d spent years training throughout high school and college where, by the by, I met the incredible woman who would become my wife. I’d studied acting after seeing a show at a performing arts school where I’d been accepted as a musician. I’d made it as a musician because of the support I’d received from my family and the excellent training from my teachers and band directors along the way, starting with Mr. Sloan in the Eisenhower Elementary School 5th grade band… that I joined so I could get out of class when I was 10 years old.

Take good care.

© 2012 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

So, you were complaining about your office?

28 Jun

I’ve been on a fixed surveillance in an abandoned crack apartment for the last few days. The subject lives just across the courtyard. Management was aware of the investigation and offered to let us use a vacant apartment that they kicked a tweaker out of just recently.  When I called the manager to ask for the key and they said “The aparment hasn’t been cleaned yet” I blew it off. “I’ve done surveillance from unfinished buildings before. It can’t be worse than places I’ve been in the past.”

Yes it can.

Seriously, I don’t think I could trash a place this thoroughly if I had a cheat sheet. The kitchen was littered with empty Jack Daniels bottles and broken plates. Even the light fixture was lying shattered on the floor. There was a lone potato bonsai in the middle of the counter. Piles of clothing and broken furniture were everywhere . In the rear left bedroom it looked as though someone had upended an aquarium in the center of the room. All but one of the doors were off their hinges.

“Laundry day… nothing clean.”

There was a pile of gravel in the living room. I don’t mean decorative rock. I mean a pile of gravel. Gravel is heavy. I am in awe of the level of dedication required to get a pile of gravel into a second floor apartment.

Couple of rules when you’re doing surveillance from a crackhouse;

1.DON”T TOUCH ANYTHING

2. Bring lots of plastic bags to facilitate Rule #1

That’s mostly it. All of the normal surveillance rules apply. Keep quiet. Pack a lunch. Bring something to pee into. Yes, the plumbing worked but I didn’t go into the bathroom for two reasons. A) It’s too far from the window and B) Eeeewww.

I did NOT take a certain someone’s suggestion and use the sink as a toilet, even though I think it might have actually improved the smell.

Oh, and thick-soled boots in case I step on a needle. The night before I went my wife asked “When was your last tetanus shot?” (Tetanus being the LEAST of my worries) Good point honey. Boots it is.

The electricity was off, so in addition to not being able to recharge any of my equipment there was no air conditioning and no way to run a fan for 8 hours. Friday it was 108°. I’ll leave the smell to your imagination. Here’s hoping you don’t have a very good imagination.

The back windows were busted out, so there was some ventilation. The down side was that the broken windows would allow anyone who was interested to simply climb inside.

The first day I opened the door and put a plastic bag on the floor. I set my equipment bag down and picked up a bucket full of ice I’d brought. I carried the bucket inside, set it down, closed and locked the front door behind me… and heard the bedroom door slam. Yeah.

Even though I know for a fact that my mother doesn’t read my blog (She doesn’t own a computer), I want to make it perfectly clear that I do NOT carry a Government Model 1911 Army Colt .45. If I did wander around with an absurdly powerful hand-cannon like that I would have held it out in front of me trying desperately to remember everything I’d ever heard my cop friends tell me about moving through an enclosed space while I went through and cleared each room. The adrenaline my panicked monkey hind-brain had dumped into my system had me close to hyperventilating by the time I reached the closed bedroom door.

Ok. Ok. Ok. Here we go…. Boot against the door just below the door knob… herewego… ok. Ok. Ok. Herewego….. ok…. SHOVE!

The door frame bowed away from the latch and the door swung open, bounced off the wall, and almost hit me in the face as it swung back. I crouched and shouldered my way past the door and into the room, nearly falling as I slipped on a DVD case (Hotel Rowanda. Funny what you notice). I tried to look everywhere at once. Closet, CLOSET! Clear. Dresser pulled a foot or so away from the wall, LOOK BEHIND IT NOW!

Nothing. Empty room. Opening the front door had allowed a cross-breeze that blew the door shut. I was alone in the apartment.

I pulled a dresser along the wall and propped the door open, then went into the front room and sat down and had a good long episode of the shakes.

My forward observation post

After a long, hot, and uneventful day of surveillance I packed out all my stuff without being seen and went home to lay down on my nice cool tile floor. It was a couple of days before I got back. I went through and checked the whole apartment. Nobody there. I was about to turn back to the front room when the detail-oriented part of my consciousness raised its hand and asked “Excuse me, but was that McDonald’s bag under the window last time.” No, no it wasn’t. “And the Big Gulp cup?” Nope. “And the condom wrapper?”

Like I said, eeeeeeeewwwww.

 

Next time; Back to the travel posts, I promise.

 

 

Take good care.

 

 

 

© 2012 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator

Searching in Vain

12 Jun

I’m new to the whole blogging thing. I was poking around my WordPress “Dashboard” and found the “Serach Term” stats for The Naked Investigator.  This handy-dandy little tool tells me what search terms people entered to find my blog on any given day.

My sincere apologies to the folks who searched for “Naked girls on momeral day,” (I assume they meant “Memorial day”) “Star Wars girls naked,” “Star Wars naked,” and “Hunger Games nudity” who found my blog instead of what they were looking for.

A mean-spirited person might even consider turning those search terms into tags on a blog post just for spite.

 

 

 

Take good care.

 

 

© 2012 Roy Guill, The Naked Investigator