"Hot town, summer in the city, Back of my neck gettin' dirt-'n'-gritty."
OK, it's not that hot in Buffalo, and this summer has barely resembled the classic Lovin Spoonful song "Summer in the City." In any event, hooray for summer!
We hardy Buffalonians deserve it. It's time to get outdoors and enjoy the wonderful weather in the Miami of the North. But before you do, or on that rare rainy hour, take a few minutes to surf the Web so you can plan that next outing.
When's the last time you went on a picnic? The picnic is an icon of American summers. So give yourself a break, blow out of work early, and take your family on a picnic. Need ideas for packing that basket? No problem -- check out recipes and specials from a few of the local supermarkets and convenience stores on line: www.topsmarkets.com, www.wegmans.
com or www.wilsonfarms.com.
Another great idea is to plan a tailgating party (www.bpe.com/food/recipes/furfaro/
tailgate/). Usually, tailgate parties conjure up visions of sporting events in the fall or winter -- but they aren't just for Bills games. Serving from the tailgate of your car or four-wheel drive vehicle is lots of fun whether you are in the middle of your favorite park, alongside a quiet country road in the Southern Tier or watching a sunset along the river or lake.
Barbecuing is another summer culinary delight. The skilled grillmaster will have his favorite secret sauce to dazzle his hungered guests. The Web is a great place to find recipes for unique barbecue sauces or to buy them from around the world. We searched Yahoo (www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/
Sauce/) and found a category devoted to BBQ sauces.
Taking in a game at the ballpark on a sweet summer day is another American tradition. Check out the Buffalo Bisons' Web site (www.bisons.com) for the latest schedule of events going on at the downtown ballpark. Sitting in the stands, eating a hot dog and sipping a cold beverage are moments to be savored wherever you are. If you are willing to drive a few hours, you can catch a major-league game. A Blue Jays (www.bluejays.com) game at the SkyDome (www.skydome.com) is less than two hours away. For those willing to drive a bit farther, you can catch a game in Pittsburgh (www.pirateball.com) or Cleveland (www.indians.com). For schedules, statistics and features about our national pastime, click over to the Major League Baseball's Web site (www.majorleaguebaseball.com).
Any football fan knows that training camp is under way for local gridiron heroes. Check out the inaugural season of the Buffalo Bills Web site at www.buffalobills.com to get the latest information and directions to training camp at Fredonia State College.
Day trips like those to the Bills training camp are a great way to enjoy summer. You don't have to put the dog in the kennel and you don't have to spend a night with your family in the motel. Amusement parks are fun for the whole family. With a few hours' drive you can get to Darien Lake (www.darien
lake.com) or Canada's Wonderland (www.
canadas-wonderland.com). We found schedules, prices, directions and listings of special attractions for each of these theme parks on their respective Web sites.
Catching your favorite band or musician is another great diversion -- and this summer is packed with great musical performances no matter what your taste. You can get the latest concert information for any area of the country from Performance Concert Tours Database (www.performancemag.com) and buy tickets online from TicketMaster (www.ticket
master.com). For local music news, check out WNYMusic.Com (www.wnymusic.com), ArtVoice (www.artvoice.com) or specific venues such as ArtPark (www.artpark-ny.org). Some of the local radio stations also have links to artists and concerts: The Edge (www.wedg.
com), 97Rock (www.wgrf.com), KISS 98.5 (www.wkse.com), Oldies 104 (www.whtt.com).
While you're in a musical frame of mind, check out some other resources on the Net. We weren't sure of the exact lyrics of that Lovin Spoonful song, so we went online (www.lyrics.ch) to make sure. And just for fun, surf to the "Compendium of Misunderstood Lyrics" (www.flash.net/trevas/), where you'll find some amusing song lyrics that people didn't quite hear correctly.
You definitely don't want to waste time driving to the mall for that perfect outfit for your sister-in-law's wedding. Who knows, the sun might come out and you'll be stuck in the mall parking lot. Click on over to fashion
mall.com, one of the premier Internet sites for top-notch apparel. The mall has 18 manufacturers, six fashion magazines and 14 designers (Hugo Boss, Christian Dior, Donna Karen). Just because you live in Buffalo doesn't mean you have to look like you're from Buffalo.
Finally, maybe you don't want to go anywhere. Kicking back and enjoying the pool is cool -- if you didn't have all that green stuff floating around. Stop asking the guy at the pool store and ask an expert. The Help Line from Custom Care Pools (www.customcare
pools.com/help.html) will answer your questions via e-mail.
Jim Gerland and Mark Winer are partners in After Five Internet Applications Inc., an Internet consulting, training and Web marketing firm.