Online advice for improving your season in the sun

ON BLOGS

June 25, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH | TROY MCCULLOUGH,SUN COLUMNIST

Consider this your summer survival guide, courtesy of the blogosphere.

Before you plan that cookout, take that vacation or pick your beach reading, you'd be wise to check this list. Bloggers are overflowing these days with practical advice on how to better enjoy the season.

How to make an air conditioner. Lifehacker.com points us to a great do-it-yourself method for keeping cool on the countless sweltering days ahead. You'll need to acquire a large fan, some copper tubing and a few bags of ice, among other things, but the end result is a surprisingly effective cooling system for about $30. Hard to argue with that. (www.eng.uwaterloo.ca/%7 Egmilburn/ac/geoff_ac.html)

How to clean your grill. Lifehacker also points to a site to help you keep your summer barbecuing apparatus in tip-top shape. For good measure, there is also an enticing list of barbecue recipes for your newly sparkling grill. (komar.org/bbq/mm/cleaning-bbq- grill)

How to open a bottle of beer. For those stuck without a bottle opener at a summer get-together, Boing Boing recently linked to a handy YouTube video that shows how to open a bottle of beer "the Scandinavian way" -- an ingenious method of wedging a second beer bottle against the first bottle to leverage the cap off. But outraged Germans flooded Boing Boing with e-mails claiming that the Scandinavians had co-opted a technique invented in Germany. As proof, they offered up a German site "dedicated to the art of opening a bottle of beer." The bottom line: There are hundreds of ways to get that stubborn bottle cap off this summer. (youtube.com/watch?v=zG4ztix R2KM) and (stuff.twoday.net)

How to find a summer book. Plenty of suggested-reading lists are floating around online and off, but the Central Mississippi Regional Library blog's June 16 post is worth an extra look. It offers everything from picture books for children to serious summer selections for adults. "And," the post concludes, "if you still can't find a `good book', ask your librarian!" What a quaint suggestion. (cmrlslibrarynews.blog spot.com)

How to not be the ugly American. The blog 43 Folders wants you to be a good ambassador for your country if you plan on heading abroad this summer. The blog points to a giant list of cultural conflicts and sensitivities compiled by the authors of Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. Traveling Americans would be wise to study up. A few of the useful tips offered: If you know what's good for you, you'll avoid flashing an "OK" sign in Paraguay and keep that "thumbs up" to yourself in Nigeria. (www.get customs.com/2004GTC/articles. html)

How to wear capri pants. For proof that you can find anything online, see Girls Fashion Blog, which wants to make sure that women make the most of those oddly popular not-quite-full-length trousers. "For the more sophisticated look for pool parties, summer barbecues, nights on the town and evening parties wear strappy sandals, ballet slippers or backless sandals with the capri pants," the site suggests in its lengthy post. Maybe a better suggestion would be to avoid the capris altogether. But that's just me. (21girls fashion.blogspot.com/2006/06/how- to-wear-capri-pants-summer-2006. html)

troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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