The Christmas Cop Corkboard Conundrum
December 4, 2012 12:47 PM   Subscribe

For my friend's Christmas present, I'm making him a massive corkboard, cop show style, with all of our friends and acquaintance linked with bits of red string and pushpins. I need tips to make this as awesome as possible.

I'm thinking about the pinboards they use on The Wire, the game Sleeping Dogs, and basically every police show ever, to map investigations into criminal gangs/murder plots etc. Obviously everyone has to have a nickname, and as many people as possible need to have little surveillance-style photos. The ones we don't have photos of will have a bit of paper with a '?' on it. I have already ordered an absolutely gigantic board. It will be going on a wall in our house. What else do I need to do to make this proper good?
posted by Acheman to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Add obscure side characters that reference in jokes eg That Guy From the Cafe
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

press clippings, hand-scrawled notes that mean something to the guy who wrote them but no one else (a few numbers, maybe), FBI-style Most Wanted pictures, a couple of post-its, small baggie of something that could be evidence, and at least 1 absolute MacGuffin: picture of a random animal or some other vital clue thing.
posted by jquinby at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2012

small baggie of something that could be evidence

If you're Breaking Bad fans, maybe use a little baggie of blue "meth"?
posted by inigo2 at 12:55 PM on December 4, 2012

You could get some of your friends to pose as corpses. Or Gangsta-style. Or looking like mug-shots (perhaps this could be done with photo-shop.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2012

Oh and maybe incorporate picture of some super random B list celeb or a picture cut out from an Abercrombie bag
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shots of people's houses, or maybe cars, that might be part of the investigation. Surveillance photos.

Also, shots of pieces of "evidence" or bits of paper themselves -- ledger entries, gas station receipts, cryptic notes.
posted by acm at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could also do a riff on whatever "crime" your friend tends to commit eg being late or spilling or leaving dirty dishes or telling bad jokes or whatever
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 1:02 PM on December 4, 2012

make sure kevin bacon is linked to somehow
posted by machinecraig at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2012 [13 favorites]

Buy a heavily used/dingy copy of Catcher in the Rye, seal it in a gallon ziplock, and hang that on the board.
posted by phunniemee at 1:15 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Evidence" in labeled bags tacked up in strategic points among the photos.

Newspaper clippings or printouts from the web is also a good one.

(I used to have to make these boards for my job -- feel free to MeMail me with specific questions.)
posted by Sara C. at 1:17 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and a map of the area, with a radius circle and pushpins of different colors stuck to specific addresses. Maybe places you guys hang out, or neighborhood places he's been "spotted"?
posted by Sara C. at 1:18 PM on December 4, 2012 [6 favorites]

This is morbid, so only appropriate if you both have a fairly pitch-black sense of humor, but if you have any friends/acquaintances who have died, you include them with a big "X" through their picture.

Definitely grainy surveillence pictures of houses, restaurants, bars, etc. that could be gang hangouts, a la Satriale's Pork Store on The Sopranos.
posted by scody at 1:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Include one, or at most two, small notes alluding to some made-up Noodle Incident.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on December 4, 2012

See also this former AskMe on "crazywallls" - there are some images linked.
posted by Miko at 2:01 PM on December 4, 2012

Pictures of their license plates.

Shoe and tire prints.


A name and phone number or address scrawled on a napkin. Put on some red lipstick and leave a kiss on it, too.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the actual "crazywall" question link would help.

I think of this as 'analog hypertext.'
posted by Miko at 2:08 PM on December 4, 2012

I think some DNA evidence might help your case. Also consider phone records, copies of emails, or transcripts of conversations.
posted by Dr. Regardless at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2012

THING IN A JAR. An organic-shaped object/sculpture in a large jar that's filled with a mixture of water and cola (darken the liquid enough to obscure the contents) results in a jar the sight of which causes vague foreboding and general discomfort. Snap photos. Add to board. Later, place the jar somewhere visible without ceremony.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The DNA evidence suggestion reminds me: what about some X-rays showing bullet fragments, etc.?
posted by scody at 2:44 PM on December 4, 2012

Also, badly xerox'd copies of Search Warrants with relevant address, and perhaps punny judge names. Ballistics test notes. Fingerprint cards (as suggested above). A letter from the recipient's Parole Officer, suggesting that the recipient is recidivist and a hard case. A juvenile arrest record, in which the recipient is accused of making indecent balloon animals, or driving a canine across state lines for immoral purposes. (You presumably know this person's anecdotes and embarrassing stories by now.)

OH! X-rays! Scody, good one! You can actually go to a dental radiologist (at a clinic, usually surrounded by dentists/orthodontists-- or even call your own dentist) and tell them what you're making, and ask if they have any anonymous radiographs (so I learned they are called) that couldn't be used that you could add to your board. Add your own labels like "[Name of a Victim] Dental Records." I've done this before, for unrelated (educational) reasons, and the X-ray Tech gave me about a dozen radiographs.

For DNA results as mentioned above, search for "DNA Electrophoresis" which is the process that results in those diagrams you see.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:51 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

For inspiration, you may wish to consult this previously: Help me find examples of obsessive wall collages in film.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:57 PM on December 4, 2012

For x-rays, there are also TONS of stock x-ray looking images out there on the web you can print on acetate. This is what we did on the crime and medical shows I've worked for. I don't know if it would look right pinned to a board (actual x-rays are not 8.5x11), but when building doctor's offices and morgues with x-ray light boards, it looks perfectly realistic.
posted by Sara C. at 3:01 PM on December 4, 2012

Use numbered pushpins and map flags.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:06 PM on December 4, 2012

Psy. You must include a pic of Psy because that man is EVERYWHERE.
posted by cyndigo at 3:46 PM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

watch then end of the usual suspects, and watch chazz palmenteri put it together at then when he's looking at the pinboard. that's pretty cool.
posted by koroshiya at 4:15 PM on December 4, 2012

heh. wow. i posted that and then got called away. that? was impressively bad.

watch the end of the usual suspects, and watch chazz palmenteri put it together when he's looking at the pinboard.

posted by koroshiya at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2012

Use different colors of string to indicate the relationships between people- best friends, coworkers, spouses, polyamorous mates, occasional fuckbuddies, one-night stands, parents of same child, blood relatives, etc.
posted by mareli at 5:26 PM on December 4, 2012

Set up the quieter/meeker ones as the kingpins of the organization.
posted by Gorgik at 6:00 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can get your hands on one, take some Polaroids of the real pictures and use those instead. Bonus if you can "weather" them carefully with flame or an electric stovetop burner (disclaimer - this probably releases toxic fumes, so emphasis on the *carefully*).
posted by StickyC at 9:10 PM on December 4, 2012

« Older If I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it...   |   Grammatical gender consistency across languages Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.