Koozie Donations Needed!

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Support the arts in Jonesville, South Carolina. Pineapple Hill needs your new or used beer koozies (coozies) from island and beach bars, restaurants, or resorts all over the world.

Be part of this quirky “Christo-style” happening.

Will be glad to mention you (or your brand) as a Koozie Donor on our little website and on Twitter.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of The Great Koozie Round Up Of The Century.

For the mailing info, contact me here or via Twitter.

Donating a koozie could quite possibly bring happiness way into your golden, drooling oatmeal years.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

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Trivia: Tahiti, pouques, kava and more

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News and information for enjoying the island lifestyle (beaches, sailing, surfing and such) …wherever the hell you are.

…About one-third of North America is bordered by barrier islands.///

…In ancient Tahiti, archery was a sacred sport, practiced only by people of high rank. And while they were expert marksmen, bows and arrows were never used as weapons of war.///

This knot is called a monkey’s fist. Try making one sometime. Then take up drinking.

…The people from the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, just off the coast of  France, think they are descendants of fairies, known on the islands as “pouques” (pronounced “pooks”)! The last reported sighting of a fairy was in the early 1900’s.///

…The roots of the South Pacific kava plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. When Captain Cook and his crew first witnessed the preparation of kava by mastication, they were thoroughly disgusted.///

…About 70 percent of the planet is ocean, with an average depth of more than 12,400 feet. Given that photons (light) can’t penetrate more than 330 feet below the water’s surface, most of our planet is in a perpetual state of darkness.///

…A monkey’s fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as an improvised weapon, called a slingshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack, but this is obsolete and dangerous.///

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Bolger Stitch and Glue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Notes & Doodles
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT.

After sailboats 30′ and up, I never thought I’d enjoy having a small skiff but then I found this small wooden “stitch and glue” oar/sail Gunther rigged skiff at used car lot in Charlotte.

I thought it to be an Otter 16 but the guys at the Wooden Boat forum have convinced me it’s a Phil Bolger Gypsy design. TheWooden Boat forum is definitely a big help.

Of course, sailing it is different than bigger boats. No room to stretch and move around. No place to get out of bad weather. No space to stash several months provisions. But it’s fun to sit closer to the water and closer-to-nature. And there’s virtually no maintenance hassles. It’s very easy to row and I’ve set it up for a small trolling motor though have never put one aboard. What really makes it special right now is that I can sail the reservoir behind my house when the urge to sail hits and I’m unable to make the three hour trek to the sea.

There’s something about wooden boats versus fiberglass (plastic) that’s magical—as if you’re part of a living thing and it, the boat, is part of all living things around you: water, sky, fishes, birds, animals, etc. It’s a “close to nature” vibe.

I beefed up the mast step, added additional bench and deck boards (with finger holes to lift them up for storage underneath) and then gave it a paint job.

It’s now Pineapple Hill’s official Tongan War Skiff.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worse than a shoestring budget

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I’ve met some interesting people on Linked In this week. My “Surf Director” title at Pineapple Hill has led to some really fun exchanges, many of which had nothing to do with surfing, banana trees, or cows.

I met a guy for coffee to discuss his interest in revitalizing a blues club he owned and eventually having a chain of them via the franchise model. Although it didn’t fit with my personal “Time:ROI” formula, it rekindled memories of my early marketing work in arts and entertainment. Back in Florida, as PR Director for a county arts council supporting 26 adjoining municipalities, I was involved in a number of concerts and festivals. I was a member of the International Festival Association and even had a Certificate in Festival Marketing from Purdue (the university, not the chicken brand).

One event, a music festival held on the grounds of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art, drew 40,000 people when fewer than 10,000 were expected. Let’s just say we were short on a lot of things including port-o-lets. In those days I spent time at BB Joe’s, a jazz club in downtown St. Pete, and got to know a lot of musicians and singers.

But all that was before I drifted into and “around in” various aspects of ad agency work, starting in PR and going from there into copy writing, planning, account supervision and strategic brand planning. Drifting further and further from the arts into categories such as financial services,  manufacturing and technology.

Anyway, getting back to my LinkedIn coffee session that day, it felt good to talk blues and jazz and marketing all at once. I liked the idea of revisiting my roots in the arts. Just halfway into my Vanilla Nut Mocha, I was already hooked enough to at least scratch out some ideas for getting started on a shoestring budget.

Now, to be clear, shoestring budgets aren’t given much more than what I call a “napkin draft”.

Despite being very “first blush”, my notes pointed out a few things many start ups overlook –especially in the area of promotional merchandising and grassroots marketing.

These would apply not only to marketing a nightclub or restaurant, but to other areas of business too where experential marketing and strategic branding can make a big difference without necessarily needing a lot of cost.

The bottom line is that branding, done right, is always better than no branding. And branding done wrong, can be worse than a shoestring budget.

In the meantime, have you checked today’s surf report?

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t pick up baby deer

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Transitioning to country life —whether from jungle, sea or city—  requires learning local customs to avoid calling attention to yourself.

For instance, don’t pick up baby deer.

Just because there’s so many all around and they’re so damned cute (big brown eyes and spindly legs just like Bambi), you cannot gather a bouquet of them as a gift for someone you love.

Not even on Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries.

Nope. Don’t do it says the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Leave ‘em alone. Don’t try to pet them or pick them up. They say the mother is probably somewhere near. Hiding. Like I am. Unless you already found her with your AR-50. In that case, hide the AR-50 and call the DNR at (803) 734-3898  to come get Bambi.

PS fyi, if I see a baby deer I’m gonna wanna try to pet it. And then I’m gonna wanna let it hang out all the time, use the TV remote when it wants.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool

Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

 

 

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Book Review: Time Bandit

Posted on Posted in Books & Writing, Notes & Doodles

I just got out of the hammock having finished Time Bandit, the memoir of brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand whose fishing vessel of the same name has taken them out into the Bering Sea and back—where they brave ice floes and heaving 60-foot waves, gusting winds of 80 miles per hour, unwieldy and unpredictable half-ton steel crab traps, and an injury rate of almost 100-percent in search of “the deadliest catch”: Alaskan king crabs and opilio crabs.

Add this one to your books for the beach and books for the boat shopping list.

What makes Time Bandit especially fun is that these two guys were waaaaaaaay crazy long before they came to own that famous boat of theirs. As young boys they went camping—sleeping by the shore eating crows (which, for all I know, may be the tastiest thing in the world, I’ve never tried it)—while at their feet were a type of mussel deemed tastiest in the world (but they didn’t know, having never tried it).

There were sword fights using garbage can lids for shields. Attempts to jump motorcycles over way to much –resulting in so many trips to the hospital for stitches that the doctor told their mother she’d save a lot of money learning how to do stitches herself.

I think my favorite story was from their childhood was the time a friend decided to become an astronaut by climbing into a metal garbage can while the two brothers lit the odd collection of combustible fluids and explosives underneath.

And not much changed as they got older. When not taking on near death experiences at sea, they faced them on land as well: lots of great bar brawls in this book including the time one of Jonathan’s uber hot girlfriends got her faced slammed into the bar by a biker, resulting in the biker being given a three-day coma by Jonathan.

Next time I’m fishing at the Jonesville Reservoir I’ll take along my copy of Time Bandit.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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Food for thought (fun with Jethro Bodine)

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I’ve made a major discovery this morning –and it’s occurred so early in the day my coffee’s still warm.

Here it is: All people of the world can be said to fit in just one of two categories related to the two Jethro Bodines:

a) Those preferring the Jethro Bodine as played by Max Baer in the Beverly Hillbillies television series

b) Those that prefer Diedrich Bader as Jethro in the movie with Jim Varney.

In other words, all the people of the world can be said to understand there are basically just two forms of idiocy and all people of the world instinctively relate more to one than the other.

That’s my Big Observation. I swear it hit me today with the same intense clarity as the apple that konked Newton on the head.

Admittedly, it’s a theory still in its infancy. It may be years before the math is worked out. Right now, the formula I’ve put on the chalkboard is still “chicken scratch”. But someday, if Mankind continues his evolutionary trajectory, we’ll nail this baby. I’m almost sure of it.

I’ve lived long enough in enough different places to believe the Max Baer Jethro has a sinister side versus the “just plain dumb” vibe Diedrich Bader’s Jethro radiates.

Max Baer’s Jethro isn’t far from banjo toting and pig squealing. There’s a primal danger lurking stage left. When I imagine what might be going on in the skull of Max Baer’s Jethro what I see resembles the prehistoric shadow tip toeing across a yellowed movie screen with the image part on the screen and part on the wall. A raptor, up on its hind legs, waving the blades of Edward Scissorhands, creeping up from behind. Had the Beverly Hillbillies television show gone on forever, eventually Max Baer’s Jethro would’ve wound up locked away forever for a series of awful crimes involving neighborhood children and animals.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro is the flip side of that worthless

Diedrich Bader's Jethro (see the butterflies?)
Diedrich Bader’s Jethro (see the butterflies?)
Diedrich Bader’s Jethro (see the butterflies?)

currency. When I imagine what might be going on in his skull I see the quirky image of a broken television set with a bad antennae and poor airwave signal: Static. Then, a field of bright flowers alive with happy butterflies shown in Wizard of Oz-style Technicolor. Then a screen saver image that goes from aquarium full of fish …to logs burning in a fireplace …to a basket full of kittens. Then static again. The whole deal repeating itself on continuous loop. Had the Beverly Hillbillies movie gone into sequels, Diedrich Bader’s Jethro would’ve led a small but fervent (cult-like) flock of followers, a ministry of Skittles & Rainbows.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro radiates “warm and fuzzy” while Max Baer’s paints your survival instincts in a color called Neanderthal.

Diedrich Bader’s Jethro suggests comfort food: a pile of mashed potatoes with lots of real butter running down the sides.

Max Baer’s Jethro suggests a late night crime scene surrounded by yellow police tape with spotlights pointed to a mass of still quivering raw meat.

Are they equally dangerous in terms of their potential end results?

Think about it. Seriously. Because both Jethros are alive and well, living among us in plain sight, like Freemasons …but really really really stupid.

O they may seem funny and harmless in a series of thirty minute doses or just one sitting of barely two hours but, on the long haul, nothing good comes from either kind of Jethro.

I can promise you that.

Your thoughts on the two Jethro Bodines?

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

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Chicago Guy needed a marketing plan

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 [Excerpted from Exaggerations And Lies Of A Sailor’s Life In Advertising…book I’m writing about my day job]

 

A guy calls from Chicago. I answer my landline “Hello?” “I needa marketing plan,” the guy says. Then he says: “holdonna minute.”

I hear a meaty hand slide over the mouthpiece then hear some meaty sounds slip by into the phone: One guy mumbling to another guy. The other guy mumbling back.  Horns honking and brakes squeaking in heavy downtown traffic. I remember Chicago fondly, but am glad to be far from the cold windy shadows and sticky wet snow.

Still on hold (as in “holdinonnaminute”), it occurs to me to listen for the familiar rumbling-creaking-rattle of The Loop but, alas, the meaty hand is seriously goal-tending now and all I get now is the meaty sounds of the meaty hand itself.

Suddenly, a meaty voice that perfectly matches the meaty hand says: “Okay Bub, I’m back. Sorryboutdat, You still dere?”

“No problem,” I answered, still reading emails at my desk, glad to not be in Chicago; glad to be under slow-moving ceiling fans looking at banana trees through an open window.  “You mentioned needing a marketing plan?” I said to The Meat.

A big bright-green insect landed so heavily on my Rolodex that the D’s spun over and flipped open the A’s.

 “Well da bawz wansta know what dat would coss,” The Meat said.

Hmmmmm, I thought. One of thoooooooooose. I took a big breath, filling up my lungs completely, then slooooowwly let it out, Yoga style, counting to ten. “How much do you want to spend?” I queried, a little restrained.

Winston, an enormous yellow parrot, perched barely five feet away, tightened his grip on his little wooden balance beam.

“Zaaaaactly!!!” The Meat barked excitedly, “Da bawz wantsta know how much do we wants ta spend! Kinya hep us wit dat, Bub?” The Meat seemed really happy. I could tell our call was going better than his early expectations.

I was happy that he was happy and so started to speak-

“Holdonnaminute,” he said, cutting me off. The meaty hand slid over the phone again; as the muffled meaty voice spoke to the Other Guy again.

Oh well…

I could tell they were still in the city. I remembered a fabulous place for deep dish pizza:  a basement-level walk-down. People wrote all over the walls and the ceiling with chalk. I wondered if The Meat knew of the place. Of course he does, I thought.

I watched the bright green insect balance on a single Rolodex card. I noticed it was the number of a diesel mechanic that worked on my boat last year. I decided to ring him up about the stuck fuel gauge. I looked at my watch, took note of the time and decided it was unprofessional to be thinking about deep dish pizza and diesel mechanics while On Hold with a meaty hand calling from Chicago.

I straightened up and opened another email, happening to look just in time to watch Winston shift forward and drop parrot doo on an expensive plant from the South Pacific I keep in a big clay pot.

Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. At least not now, still on hold.

Okay. I get a surfing tee, cargo shorts and flip-flops.

But then there’s a meaty hand calling from cold windy shadows in city traffic wanting to know (even though he doesn’t realize that he wants to know) “which comes first, the chicken or egg?” 

Or, in this case,  “the budget or the marketing plan?”

On a good day, the caller will be savvy enough, patient enough, interested enough and open-minded enough to not hang up when I ask “What do you hope to achieve and in what amount of time?”

But on a bad day, like this one, the caller is clueless and there’s no point hanginonnaminute because the caller isn’t really interested and, regardless, isn’t going to be able to help me help him.

I decide to hangonnaminute just long enough to finish reading the last email while passively listening for familiar sounds from The Loop.

When the cat jumps onto my desk I look up just in time to see the bright green insect fly out the window and in the exact same split second there’s a commotion on the streets of  Chicago: a horn, brakes, collision, CRASH, “fer-cryin-out-loud” …then the humming droning static of a disconnected line.

I shrug, set the handset down and pad barefoot on thick tiles out into the warm sunny skies of Pineapple Hill.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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And then he stuck a fork in it…

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[Found this is the box from the liquor store where I’ve kept my writing doodles during 30 years. I used to write an hour or so every morning before going into work. It was a habit I found fun ..and it woke me up before facing the boss or clients. This was originally dated June 28, 2013]

 

Driving home late last night in an old two seater with the top down, the convertible top tossed back miles back at the last stoplight at the edge of town. Heading due south into farmland and woods, the land and the sky had long since folded over me with their cool dark tunnel of nothingness.

Nothing ahead of me but the narrow path headlamps painted on a deserted four-lane.

Nothing beside me but wind.

Nothing behind me but memories -catching up and connecting the dots left across my mind by wandering thoughts…

I remembered driving Florida’s A1A in a badly used MGB once, hugging the coast. Sometimes there were long stretches of pine, palms, and scrubby darkness.There, A1A was claimed only by the armadillos.

Last night, driving from Spartanburg on Highway 176 into Union County, for some unknown reason I remembered also my time on the other side of Florida. It was early in my career—in arts administration first, then ad agency work: PR and strategic brand planning.

What came to mind was the time I attended the annual fund raiser at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. My date and I won the “Purple and Silver Award” that night. I was silver, achieved by purchasing a three-piece suit from Goodwill and painting it with chain link fence paint. It stank, was stiff as a board, and gave me a rash behind my knees and under my arms.

My date was a purple Cinderella.

Alone on the highway last night, I laughed aloud to myself remembering the “third leg” to our date that night. A guy named Don who had come to the party with us. We’d invited him “last minute”. I can’t remember why.

He was twenty years older than us and a LOT wealthier. He owned the upscale men’s store on St. Pete’s main drag –a business popular with the town’s lawyers, dentists and and high end real estate brokers.

All Don had done to prepare for the party was to still have on his jacket and tie from work—freshened with a dry martini and cigarette.

As always, he had taken a long time answering the doorbell and, as always, he’d looked a little surprised when he opened the door.

No matter how many times we swung by to take Don somewhere, the martinis got in the way. He always made a big production. Always made the same face of “What? A surprise party for moi?!!!!” I saw that expression later on Bill Murray getting off the plane in Stripes.

Anyway, that night we picked up Don, it had taken a few more drinks and some relentless nagging to get him to wear a costume like we were going to do for the party at the Dali Museum.

So he pulled a 50′ roll of aluminum foil from a kitchen drawer then wrapped foil around his head until it resembled a gigantic Hershey’s kiss hat.

And then he stuck a fork in it.

Off we went to St. Petersburg, Florida’s “shrine to melting clocks”.

It turned out I wasn’t as boned up on Dali as Don was. It wasn’t until we got to the party that I made the connection between Don’s bent fork and the famous artist.

I recall it had been kind of a long right from Don’s house to the museum not knowing how things would go with Don, not knowing how guests would react to Don, a little tipsy, carrying a martini still, walking in with a foil and fork.

It turned out, however, that the arts donor/museum sponsor crowd in St. Petersburg were very used to Don. We had a great time. The next day I was in the society section of the St. Petersburg Times with Don and Purple Cinderella.

Anyway, last night I must’ve cruised for twenty miles on auto pilot thinking about that Stick A Fork In It night in St. Pete.

I bet there’s a bunch of people out in the world, perhaps driving lonely stretches of road at night like me, that would have never “got” that fork…

…never “got” Don.

In my case it took Highway 176 headed out to the boonies in another state nearly twenty-five years later.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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The blackberry trellis (Voila!)

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We have lots of blackberries growing wild on Pineapple Hill along the bottom pasture prunbl1fence line and in a thicket concealing the ravine out by the road in front of our house. The ones along the pasture don’t get very big but are easy to pick. The ones in the thicket get plump as thumbs and so juicy they’ll burst when you pick them –but you risk your life going after them. The thorn’s will tear you to shreds like the wood chipper in Fargo. That is if the snakes don’t get you first.

And, of course, you don’t want to be snacking on berries (five for Management, two for Labor) right after the power company has stopped by for a neighborly spraying of highly poisonous defoilant. (We’ve agreed they should warn me next time.)

Your trellis design could look something like this. (You can also make one using bamboo.)
Your trellis design could look something like this.

Making the switch from boat to land and from city to boonies has not been without hiccups (as described in my book Blue Rubber Pool, coming out in 2018) and although I seem to be learning the hard way I am, at least, picking up a few tricks. For instance: the blackberry trellis.

Training blackberry canes to grow on a trellis is ingenious. And a good addition to another thing I’ve learned –not to plant grapevine too close to oak trees (because the tree drink up the water intended for grapes. So now my vineyard includes a few blackberry bushes too.

Set out some mesh fence (of the type used for a goat pasture). Plant the bush. Start but cutting off any old canes. Then periodically weave the new growth through the mesh. Voila!

Pick up your game yet another notch by using thornless blackberry plants. That’s right, thorn-less.

The blackberry trellis “set up” might also be a good solution for city/suburb dwellers wanting to grow berries in limited garden space.

Be sure to have a good recipe for blackberry daiquiri

Stay tuned for another episode of Green Acres.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

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On Wine.

Posted on Posted in Notes & Doodles

Smuckers-Concord-Grape-Jelly-e1380113357359-1I’m not a wine connoisseur but I think its fun to stand at the tasting counter at wineries near Spartanburg listening my fellow tasters describe wines as “nutty”, or “vanilla-y” or “crisp with hints of chocolate or walnut.” When it’s my turn, I’ll say something like “Oreo cookie dunked in apple juice followed by a shot of peach schnapps” and to my surprise the stranger fine of six people down will agree. “Exact-o-lackity! That’s what I was going to say!” I like the movie Sideways.

I’m more interested in how wine is made than actually drinking it. I want to know what is needed to arrive at different color and flavor characteristics. Plus I really like the concept of leveraging time as an ingredient. Having finally gotten to the other side of my mid-life crisis, I can say with authority that aging is a good thing.

I like it that my buddy Palmer, a wine sipping fiend from West Coast wine country, still enjoys exploring the under $10 bottles with their “relax kick your shoes off” names: Barefoot, Red Truck, Oops, and Mad Housewife, to name a few. But still he won’t buy the ones that come in a box instead of bottle.

I like it that wine making reflects humanity’s thousands-of-years-old patience: A legacy passed down through the ages not unlike passing poodles down from wolves.

I like looking at the neatly manicured vineyards versus my snaggle-toothed rows here at Pineapple Hill and daydreaming that my experimental vineyard might look nice someday, then motioning to the sommelier to bring the next sample.

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director, Pineapple Hill

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Bats in the Attic

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Today “yours truly” put a halogen lamp and a boom box in the attic to drive out some bats.

I’m not proud of it.

# # #

We first discovered our unwelcome guests this time two years ago. They were

The Bat Light now shines in the night over Pineapple Hill.

getting in through a very small space where a dormer met up with the roof.

We were told not to plug up the hole while the bats were inside or they would die.

“They’ll leave when the cool Fall weather comes,” we were told. “You can block them out then.”

So we waited. And, sure enough, the bats left.

I went up into the attic and wriggled into a tight corner my body was never meant to be. I plugged the hole a dozen different way. Blocking out bats for sure.

We enjoyed Winter knowing we were good. No bats in the attic. But our relief was temporary.

A March storm came through and loosened the fascia on the front dormer, opening a new “door” for the bats. Three stories up, it was too high for my ladder. So I had to call The Man.

# # #

The Man is the guy that comes to Pineapple Hill when Crystal reminds me of the time, years ago, way before The Hill, I tried fixing the kitchen faucet with a 30-cent washer late one Sunday night and ended up paying some shady characters $300 (“we don’t checks, Mister, just cash”).

# # #

It does no good reminding her of my cost saving triumphs against that backdrop of times we got gouged.

# # #

Unfortunately, it took a while for The Man (Bat Man) to show up …and so the bats came back that Spring for another stay at Hotel Pineapple Hill.

Rather than risk having The Man trap the bats in our attic when he fixed the dormer window fascia, I decided to drive them out before he arrived. Having seen all those movie seen where a cloud of bats emerge –fleeing hysterically– when humans venture into their caves, I figured it would be easy.

But, no, they didn’t rush out when I very cautiously, ever-so-slowly poked my head up into the attic.

Hmmmmmmm…

# # #

In the military they call it a psy-op (psychological operation) and it often involves breaking the enemy down, emotionally and even physiologically, with unrelenting bright light all night combined with obnoxious music blaring loud.

Sounds great “in theory”. Ten-four. Roger that.

# # #

The bright lights were easy. All I had to do was rummage through Crystal’s tubs of Christmas stuff and find the ones she used to illuminate the wreaths on our columns and on the front of the house.

I set them up in the attic, very close to my escape route. Then I plugged them in.

WOW!

LOTS OF BATS UP THERE! Way more than I had thought (decided right away not to mention that to Crystal, having not even finished unpacking our last move).

# # #

The problem was choosing the music (there’s was nothing online about the listening preferences of bats).

It was critical to play music they hated, not something they liked. I didn’t want to make them even more inclined to stay. I didn’t want to them to put the word out to the other bats outside that there was a party getting going; that the owner of the place was coolest bat deejay ever.

First, I tried a radio station that was playing screetching blatant heavy metal but when I came back fifteen minutes to see if it had worked the station, for some reason,  was playing Barry Manilow. Neither worked. No hysterical fleeing of bats. And Barry Manilow as getting on my nerves.

Clearly I couldn’t leave the music warfare component in the hands of hands of am/fm.

# # #

I grabbed a box of CDs and went through them.

Ray Charles? Nope. Too mellow. Too rockn cool.

Mozart?  Too soothing.

Santana? Too early for that. And I’m out of Corona.

Dire Straits? Now way am I going to exploit the greatest band in the world. Same goes for U2, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Led Zeppelin III on vinyl. No way am I going to risk creating a Bat Woodstock in Pineapple Hill’s attic.

Hmmmmmmm….

And then I found it. A New Age recording of whales. Back when I bought it, the first couple of minutes had been interesting (in a “let’s commune with nature” way) but after a few hours I’d gone (forgive my French) “bat sh$t” crazy. It had taken a week of Dire Straits, U2, and Zeppelin  (plus Robert Plant’s Manic Nirvana) to eradicate the whales from my head.

I assumed it would make actual bats insane too…

# # #

The Man arrived when the whales were at peak crescendo. It didn’t say anything but I saw him sneak a look to his helper.

I started to explain but thought it better not to go there.

He got up on his latter and looked at the dormer and, while he was there, looked around the eaves and at places on the roof.

I stood on the lawn and tried to watch. But I was starting straight into the sun and all I could see was his silhouette as I shielded my eyes with my hand.

He came back down the ladder. Midway, he stopped, looked over his shoulder and spat. He was a tobacco chewer. When both feet were on the ground he spat again.

For the longest time he stood next to me at the base of the ladder looking up at the dormer, shielding his eyes from the sun. We said nothing. Just listened to the whales. No bats were flying out.

Finally he turned and spat again, a big one, and said “Well I’ll get up there and fix that now. It’ll just take a sec.”

“Great. What about the bats?”

“They won’t be going in and out at the fascia anymore. That’s for sure,” he said, rolling a big hunk of chew from one side of his mouth to the other. “But don’t worry. They won’t be trapped in there. Too many other places to go in and out.”

# # #

The next winter, after the bats had left Pineapple Hill to spend the season someplace warmer, I wiggled back up into the attic again and closed up every obvious entry point.

But a few months later, another March storm came through –loosening the fascia on the back dormer…

…just in time for the arrival of the bats (with their Panama hats, Hawaiian shirts, sandals and wild yarns about living large “spending the season” in the Tropics).

# # #

— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

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