Harvest and Renewal

The first rains of the year are coinciding neatly with my first really vicious sinus
infection. My head feels like an anvil. Driving into work I was taking down Dayquil like
I’d do tequila shooters in a Tijuana nightclub. My senses are greatly diminished, smell
and taste anyway. I can judge texture alone – a banana is unpleasant mush in my mouth.
Coffee is strong enough to break through; unfortunately it has taken on the flavor of burnt

But never mind health – this is still one of my favorite seasons. Trish tells me that this
is the time of year when the land of the living and the land of the dead are in close
proximity to one another. This is the time of harvest, Halloween, all Saints’ Eve, and
Samhain. The spirits percolate just out of view. This is a time of year when we celebrate
the end of the growing season, and time when we buckle down for whatever cold and
cruel weather the deathly season of winter has in store for us. It isn’t a happy season, and
it can be tinged with sadness, and despair. On that note…

R.I.P Brad Moniz

Chico has lost another legend. Long-time resident and actor extraordinaire Brad Moniz
was taken up in this year’s harvest. Moniz was frustratingly talented. You could see it
in the way he spoke, and in the way he moved. He made a few appearances on the big
screen before returning to Chico for the duration. Moniz had the natural countenance of
the proverbial “bad guy,” his face lined and craggy, broken and wise. He was a man who
was not afraid to speak his mind, and someone I always enjoyed running into at parties,
or when taking a drink at Duffy’s. Rest in peace Mr. Moniz, you are loved and missed.

The Stream

I’ve been taking part in a couple of different songwriting competitions – one put on by
the Chico Songwriters’ Guild, and the other by GEM Event Management. The Chico
Songwriters’ Guild showcases have been held weekly at Woodstock’s Pizza and the final
performance, when the winners from each week’s showcase perform, will be coming up
this Thursday, November 1st. The GEM showcase will be a one-time event, featuring
fifteen local songwriters, held at the Studio Inn Lounge, Saturday, November 17th and starting at 4:00 pm.

I’ve really had a blast participating in these contests. For one thing it’s always fun to get
up and play a few songs in front of a receptive audience. Aside from the pure narcissistic
pleasure though, I am truly impressed with the amount of songwriting and performing
talent that is flowing through our community presently. Most of the performers I’ve seen
have been college age, and I want to exhort these young songwriters to play out, form
bands, and share their abilities with the city at large. Chico is ripe for another musical
renaissance, and I am really looking forward to seeing what this latest generation of
artists creates.

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Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.