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Posts Tagged ‘screams’

October and other hot topics.

December 10th, 2009

Dear me. Four months without a post? Scandalous. Lots of catching up to do, so I’ll start with a few smaller items and we’ll see where it goes.

Wow. What a ride October was. Screams is the world’s largest Halloween theme park, and General Manager Coy Sevier contacted me about a building they had made into a mostly enclosed restaurant, which he proposed could have a stage and heating so a Snake Encounters show would be possible on October nights. I had been invited before, but the temps were just too cold to do outdoor shows that time of year. I would be an experimental new idea for the park, so I could either charge a separate admission, or I’d be busking. I chose the latter for several reasons, and I have to say that it was a learning experience all around.

With four propane heaters provided by the park, and one by me, I barely managed to keep everyone up to temp on a couple of those nights. Part of the problem was the building’s roof was designed to let heat OUT during the summer, and closing off all of the upper level vents will be critical to doing this next year. Crowds were generally packed and responses were favorable, but passing the hat in a time of economic downturn is harder than it looks. My son Daryl and his girlfriend Dani helped with that most shows, and now they’ll have a real conversation starter listed on their resumes.

Of course, being booked for every Friday and Saturday evening in October meant I had to turn down a lot of Halloween parties so it literally cost me to do the gig in some ways. The only break in the action was the Grayson County Fair in Denison, which had been booked before Screams approached me. That was another set of complicated variables. Cold rain and swampy parking areas made doing that one a big challenge, but overall our efforts were successful and they want me back next year for a third visit.

Throw in a Scout show or two and you’ve got a reasonably busy month.

Snake Removal continued to struggle with more and more people with a snake problem in a time of economic stress deciding that perhaps the problem wasn’t so high priority after all. In ways other than financial, in some cases at least, that is a good thing.

I did get a SR call to go on in November – all because the client had hired a “competitor” instead. This guy had charged by the hour for wading the pond on the site of a large housing development. It was choked with Hydrilla so wading it would have been highly problematic, and any snake would have had a huge advantage over anyone trying to do it. No one saw him wade the pond, but he reported shooting SEVEN Water Moccasins, who were literally attacking him according to his verbal-only report. No carcasses, no photographs, no evidence whatsoever. He told several homeowners there that his diagnosis was that the entire property was infested with deadly Water Moccasins. He then quoted the client $22K to “treat” every house there with Snake Away.

Snake Away is a combination of mothballs and sulfur, neither of which is effective in repelling snakes unless applied so heavily that it would repel all of the humans. No “snake repellent” has ever been proven effective in actually altering snake traffic. And they chose this guy because his price for the inspection was cheaper.

I saw a picture of the only snake that had been seen (and of course subsequently killed) by ANY of the homeowners, and it was, without the slightest question, a harmless yearling Texas Rat snake.

I grieve to think how many other clients in the Metroplex might have actually paid this guy, an independent pest control operator who, “also does snakes,” which almost always means either doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or does but lies and plays on people’s fears to ramp up the price.