Dog days are upon us, Chico

I am Sirius.

I am Sirius.

Don’t blame the dogs.

When the ancients first observed Sirius emerging as it were from the sun so as to become visible to the naked eye, they usually sacrificed a brown dog to appease its rage considering that this star was the cause of the hot sultry weather usually experienced at its appearance, and they would seem to have believed its power of heat conjoined with that of the sun to have been so excessive that on the morning of its first rising the sea boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid, causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies. —John Henry Brady, Clavis Calendaria

Ryan Smith takes comfort in a street-food classic.

Sirius rising Even though the rumble and clang of the machines being used on the road work for the roundabout in front of CN&R HQ is at times overwhelming, it’s only a few hours of the day that we have to contend with the big noise. Once the workers shut down in mid-afternoon, it’s actually eerily quiet at this normally very-busy entry point into downtown Chico. During the late-afternoon/early evening—with the road blocked off, no students in sight, and the locals hunkered down indoors to escape the heat—it’s so still that it feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone, and everyone has just mysteriously disappeared.

It’s an appropriately dry, dead, abandoned-looking backdrop for the dog days of summer through which we are currently sweating. Even though there are typically less things going on in town at this time, and the heat makes doing anything less appealing, things aren’t nearly as bad as our friend Mr. Brady—the early 19th-century British clerk who wrote the “compendious analysis of the calendar” quoted above—makes the time of year out to be. (No need to go hunting the streets for dogs.)

In fact, it’s Chico’s slow, hot days that I think I like best. Without the (normally welcome) distractions of Chico’s constant calendar of fun, I love nothing more than to spend a long day joining my fellow overheated neighbors in enjoying the simple pleasures that Chico has to offer. And with Mrs. DEVO’s siblings reuniting in their hometown of Chico this week, I’m looking forward to filling a couple days alternating between hot and cool at a leisurely pace: coffee in the garden; hike Upper Bidwell Park; soak in Bear Hole; visit Erin Wade’s Invasive Nature(s) temporary-sculpture exhibit in Lower Park; walk downtown; look in on Chico Museum’s Chico in Black & White historical-photo exhibit; walk home; nap under a good book; fire up the barbecue; bottle of Sierra Nevada Old Chico under the glow of the dog star.

Bite of Chico Arts and Mrs. DEVO checked out the debut of the Fork in the Road food-truck rally on the grounds of Manzanita Place last Wednesday (July 17), and we had a great time. Even though it was hot, the scene was really fun, there was a large shaded seating area, the kids were going nuts on the playground, and there were lots of great food choices (Taco Smash and Key lime pie from The Hunter & The Farmer for him, pepperoni pizza from Pop’s Pizza for her). And there were tons of people, so many that we heard some far-less-glowing reports (long waits, trucks sold out) from those who came for the second half of the evening. With so many people willing to crowd together in the hot sun on a Wednesday night, it would appear that the food-truck scene has struck a local nerve—and the organizers are determined to iron out the wrinkles (with more food trucks and more food per truck, hopefully) for the next edition. Keep an eye on the Facebook pages for Fork in the Road and Street Food, Chico for updates.