When I was a kid, a teenager, I watched a lot of movies. I grew up in the suburbs and there wasn’t much to do, so on the weekends after I’d finished mowing the lawns and cleaning the pool, I’d ride my bike to the movie theater downtown and watch two-dollar double features of decades-old movies. Often I’d end up down there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, taking in every film the theater would run. I loved sitting in the air-conditioned theater, in those big cushy seats, and being taken away to other worlds. It was transformative, it was magical; it was a complete escape from the mundane reality of the world around me.

I don’t get to the movies as much as I’d like to these days, but once or twice a year Trish and I will stow a bottle of wine into her purse and catch a flick. I still love it, and I still think it’s one of the best forms of escapism we’ve got.

Dolly Deadly

Speaking of movies, we’ve got a horror production shaping up right here in our fair burg. The creators of Dolly Deadly are in the process of assembling cast and crew, and with the help of a successfully funded crowdsourcing campaign, should begin filming any day now. The story centers on a young boy who is bullied and tormented by his peers and family members about his collection of dolls. A series of vivid dreams and revelations demonstrate to young Benji what he’s got to do, and so he sets out—with the help of his dolls—to reap vengeance. That vengeance promises to come in the form of, and I quote from the production’s Facebook page: “…head wounds, chainsaw deaths, jaw-cracking action, skinned faces, spurting blood, stab wounds, rotting corpses, fire stunts, and explosions!”

Co-creators Heidi Moore and Cassandra Sechler have assembled quite a cast of characters—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes—to turn their bloody vision into an alternate reality they describe as a cross between “Troma and John Waters.” My insides are tingling with anticipation.

The Bike Races

This may end up being my last column ever, as for the first time in my life I will be taking part in this year’s Bike Races. The weather promises to be balmy—reports I’ve heard peg it at 110 degrees and higher—and the costume I’ve chosen isn’t exactly summer-friendly. But what are you going to do? I heard an anecdote about the late great Ludwig Von Beethoven. He’d written a particularly challenging musical passage, and when the violinist tasked with performing it complained that it couldn’t be played, Beethoven bellowed: “When I wrote that piece I was inspired by God Almighty, I couldn’t be bothered by your puny fiddle!” I can’t find any evidence on Google to back that up, but you get the gist, hopefully. So if you don’t hear from me again, just know that I went out dehydrated, drunk and happy. Otherwise, we’ll catch up next week.

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.