The Greatest Ride at the Water Park [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

Aaaah!  Summer is finally here!  The piping hot days have most of us flocking to a water park at some point to keep cool.  While some head straight for the water slides or the wave pool, there’s one water ride I won’t miss that always cools my heart in the summer heat.   I stand in line, finally make it to the front, and pick up the big round inner tube.  I place it in the water and finally climb aboard… and float and float and float!  Round and round I go on the lazy river!   Sure, the lazy rivers can be just that – lazy.  But, thanks to technology this little trough of a river in the center of the park has grown up to be much more!   Most lazy rivers are a simple concept.  A large water pump slowly circulates a long ribbon shaped pool that snakes around and around a designated area of a water park.  Riders board at a certain point and lounge on an inner tube as the current gently sends them on a long, slow ride.  Some parks require floaters to get out once they’ve made a lap (quite annoying) while others will let you float until the park closes.   The water level is usually quite shallow, anywhere from 2’ to 4’ deep and the width is enough for several tubes to pass.   While a lazy river is found at most water parks, they can also be found at resorts, casinos, and even in the Mall of America!   Some of the more sophisticated rides include tunnels, soft water falls, or even interactive buttons that riders can push to release a flood of water or a rapid onto the course.   One of the...

Hot as an Oven [Fierce Foodie]

I’m living through a sweltering stretch of on hundred degree plus weather right now.  This is the time for ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Air conditioners are going on Craigslist for the price of a firstborn, and if you are like me and have to wear black to work and walk over a plain of burning asphalt, you get firsthand knowledge of an ant’s experience under a magnifying glass.  In light of this, I vowed to turn off my oven until October. But then I saw this recipe that combines ripe apricots and sweet mascarpone.  It sounded so delicious I had to try it.  Of course, I suggest you crank up the air conditioning and run out of the room the second you turn on the oven.  Also, I recommend eating these treats in front of a fan, in your undies if you can manage it. Roasted Apricots, Mascarpone, and Blackberry Drizzled with Honey Courtesy of Proud Italian Cook Wash, dry, and cut fresh apricots in half.  Fill each half with mascarpone cheese, which you have sweetened with powdered sugar and top with a blackberry.  Then drizzle with honey or agave syrup.  Heat broiler to high, with rack set 4-inches from heat. Place the apricots, cut side up, on a rimmed baking dish. Broil until apricots just begin to char, 2 to 5 minutes. Garnish with pistachios. Serve immediately. If you liked this post, please do us the further boon of Liking the Fierce and Nerdy page on FaceBook. Also, we’re giving great stream on Twitter, so do give us follow. featured image credit:...

Summer Time, and the Livin is Nerdy [Fierce Anticipation]

Forgive me, dear readers. It has been five months since my last blogumn. There has been much speculation as to where I have been, and I will simply say NONE OF IT is true (unless you assumed I am right where you left me, in which case, yes it’s all true). I was approached to write a Fierce Anticipation this week, and despite a sinus infection of biblical proportions (did they have matzo ball soup in biblical times?), I bring it to you. I rise from the NyQuil ashes like a mythical phoenix with a stuffy beak. So kick of your shoes, throw on some Foghat, and pour yourself a mojito/margarita/Arnold Palmer/water(?). This Fierce Anticipation is all about summer time, and the living is nerdy. Fiercely Anticipating  Previously, I spoke about how here in South Florida, our changing of the seasons is about as noticeable as a mouse fart (read: not very). The one season we do notice quite well is Summer. You can best notice summer ANY TIME YOU WALK OUTSIDE when you are hit with one of two things: 1) a crushingly severe heat and humidity like being wrapped in a blanket that is both on fire and damp at the same time, or 2) a thunderstorm that rivals The Tempest, which we affectionately call “3 pm.” Despite it being hotter than the devil’s taint, summer in South Florida is something I do, oddly, enjoy. Now, I say “oddly” because, genetically speaking, I am well insulated (hairy and chubby) which does not bode well for the tropical, near equatorial summers of South Florida. I’d be bet suited for a colder, more Northern climate. Like a viking, or a bear. My summers, however, are amazing for me for several reasons (if you’ll indulge me...

Easy Caprese [Fierce Foodie]

Summer is coming early in my neck of the woods in the form of 80-degree days and a swarm of carpenter bees outside my door.  When the temperatures rise, all my million or so sweat glands and I want to do is laze in front of the fan and dream of colder climes and less soggy days.  However, there is the matter of eating.  Ovens are out entirely and the stove is my enemy.  Heavy foods are an invitation to nap, and so this year I plan to make appetizer dinners and dinner salads my mainstays.  I’m sure these easy and delicious bites of mozzarella and grape tomatoes will be a recurring favorite as I mop my brow and dream of blustery winds. Mini Caprese Bites Courtesy of Southern Living May 2008 Makes 8 appetizer servings Prep Time: 20 Minutes Ingredients: 1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved 10 to 14 fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut into thirds* 32 (4-inch) wooden skewers or toothpicks 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 6 thinly sliced fresh basil leaves Kosher salt and pepper to taste Preparation: 1. Thread 1 tomato half, 1 piece of cheese, and another tomato half onto each skewer. Place skewers in a shallow serving dish. 2. Whisk together oil and next 3 ingredients. Drizzle oil mixture over skewers; sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper to taste. *1 (8-oz.) package fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, may be substituted. If you liked this post, please do us the further boon of Liking the Fierce and Nerdy page on FaceBook. Also, we’re giving great stream on Twitter, so do give us follow. featured image credit:...

Wherein I’m Reminded of My Place in the World [Hyperbolic Tendencies]...

Without a doubt, my strongest (and one of the fondest) childhood memory is the multi-sensory experience of walking through the autumn woods, trees blazing with color, leaves crunching underfoot and the sweet, earthy smell of humus filling me up. (My second strongest memory is being handed over by parents to clowns at the circus, but that’s another column.) This week, the thermometer on our back porch topped out at 101F on Thursday. Everyone I talked with was divided between the opposing positions that we were either simply experiencing the usual late blooming “summer in Los Angeles” or it was “the catastrophic effects of global warming.” Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn WHY it was so hot. Just that it was. In mid-October. Somewhere buried deep within my mongrelized DNA, a simple, clear message was created and distributed to my brain – Something is Wrong. Yes, I understand much of the world exists without four distinct seasons. And since the age of fifteen, I’ve lived in every time zone in the United States, much of it out of the country’s regions that boast all four seasons. I’ve been gone long enough that it would be reasonable to expect this seasonal response to have faded. And yet, it’s stronger than ever. Why? Even at only eight or nine years old, autumn made clear to younger me I was connected to the earth’s – and life’s – major cycle of birth/death/renewal. While I certainly couldn’t articulate it back then, during the fall I knew I was part of something much bigger and more profound. A ha. Methinks there’s a clue here. Yes, I miss the season’s crisp air, the smell of leaves, and apple cider. But what’s missing during this time of year is that...