Gone are the balmy days of summer. The fragrant scents of flowers and vibrant growing plants are no longer carried along a warm little breeze to greet you with their sweet summertime happiness. Country Time lemonade, skinny dipping in swimming holes, and running barefoot through music festival grounds are now just pale summer memories. The green summer grasses have withered and turned brown. With the exception of our friends in the south, most of us are struggling to keep warm through what has already been an extraordinarily cold winter season. And there’s still plenty more icy harshness to come! When there’s no choice but to step into the freezer, how’s a jam music loving freak supposed to stay warm over the long, dark, cold winter months? Here are five heat inducing suggestions that should help. #1. Dancing. That one was pretty obvious, right? What better way is there to keep warm than dancing? Well, I guess I can think of one better way (nudge, nudge, wink, wink…see #5)! But seriously, dancing is great exercise and it can thaw out even the most rock hard frozen dreadlock. And when there are hundreds or even thousands of us all gathered together at a show, there’s even more warmth to go around. So get out there and do your part to keep your music fan friends nice and warm this winter by spreading your dance heat. The harder you dance, the more heat you will generate (and the band will love the energy and be inspired to rock even harder). Don’t worry if you are low on funds and can’t get out to the actual show, either. Dancing hard to a soundboard copy of any live show in the privacy of your own home can generate plenty of warmth, too! #2. Drinking. This should go without saying, but drinking alcohol is only a warming option for those of us crusty enough to be over the legal drinking age of 21. You young punks can drink heated drinks like warm cider or hot chocolate and that should do the trick for you. If you are over 21, however, drinking alcohol has the distinct ability to warm both the body and the soul during the winter months. Whether it is a tasty Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a soothing Hot Toddy, or a tangy vodka and cranberry, booze can have that warming effect we crave when the mercury dips to dangerously low levels. Tossing back a few beers with friends while basking in the warm radiant glow of a toasty fireplace is a traditional and welcome winter warmer. A nice hand-heated cognac or brandy after a hearty dinner can always be counted on to warm the soul, as well. Which brings us to my next suggestion. #3. Eating Hot Food. Think of your body as an engine. For the engine to fire successfully as it chugs along providing ample heat, fuel is needed. While any food at all will serve to fuel your body, I find hot food adds that extra umph our engines need in arctic weather. Whether its vegan, vegetarian, or chock full of meaty goodness, the important factor here is that the food be nice and hot. Chicago area freaks may be most comfortable chowing down on a piping hot deep dish pizza, New England heads can be found munching on a fiery plate of buffalo wings, and our California friends warm up with some hot falafel pitas or big, spicy veggie burritos. A steaming batch of ganja cookies or brownies possess an extra special warming power, too. But it really doesn’t matter what the fare is just as long as it brings some heat. So before heading out into a dark, snowy, blustery winter’s night, load up on a big hot meal and keep your engine firing with warmth through any icy conditions mother nature dishes out. #4. Snowboarding/Skiing. Ironically, one of the best ways to stay warm is to confront the winter beast directly by hitting the slopes. The heat and body warmth generated from these intense winter sports is amazing. Throw on several layers of warm and windproof clothing, then toss the sticks or board in the car and head for the mountain. Even though the weather is technically colder up on the mountain, a few trips down a challenging run will warm the winter recreation enthusiast right up. And don’t forget to put on the headphones so you can jam to tunes as you fly down the hill. With some thumping reggae blasting through the headphones as you shred down a mogul field, the cold won’t even be a thought. Warm the soul by pulling off to the side of the run and sparking a phatty in the woods while enjoying the picturesque mountain view. #5. Sweet, Sweet Lovin’. Whether you know it as the nasty, bumpin’ uglies, doing the humpty dance, making love, or simply as fucking, sex is one of the world’s most ancient methods of staying warm. Grabbing your favorite partner and humping like crazy will surely kill any winter chill. Instead of going out with the gang to see live music, stay home and make a night of warm romance. Hot baths, scented candles, and warm oil massages can be incorporated into the sexual experience and are sure to get things nice and steamy. So when winter seems to be winning out over your usually sunny disposition, take a break with your lover, put on some soothing mood music, and love the one your with. Ahhh…I feel warmer already.