1. Cold chocolate: antidote for a hot summer
As summer sunshine takes its toll, I’m reaching all too often for Godiva’s frozen Chocolixers. The frosty drinks have been around for a few years, but never reached the cult status of their coffee-laced cousin, the Starbucks Frappuccino. Each year Godiva expands the flavors offered – the newest is dark chocolate banana – but I’m more of a chocolate purist and always order the dark chocolate Chocolixer sans whipped cream. I dare you to keep your mouth from watering as the salesperson drops several blocks of Godiva’s luxury chocolate into the blender to be pulverized into your $5 sip of heaven. Available at Godiva shops in Ala Moana, Waikele, Waikiki and Kahala. – Donica Kaneshiro
2. Olelo Hawaii – there’s an app for that
Learning Hawaiian just became easier with a "Hawaiian Word of the Day" iPhone app by Logic High Software. The 99-cent app delivers one word per day, a glossary and archive access, commonly used phrases and cultural notes about appropriate use. But most helpful are the audio pronunciations by a native speaker.
Ideal for those who are about to travel to the Islands and locals who want to expand their Hawaiian vocabulary. – Nina Wu
3. Catch that syncopated ragtime beat
Ever since "The Sting" reintroduced Scott Joplin’s music to a wide audience, America has loved ragtime. There’s something in that syncopated beat (aka "ragged time"), the rich harmonies, and those singing and dancing phrases that say "this is good old-fashioned fun." The problem is that the popular Newman-and-Redford film made Joplin’s tunes, in particular "The Entertainer," so ubiquitous that any other rag composer’s work got lost in the shuffle. Now, the University of Colorado at Boulder has made hundreds of rag tunes accessible through its archive at http://hsblinks.com/2hv. You can see the original cover art, some of which is quite elegant. Better yet, because it’s all in the public domain, you can print your own copy for free and try it out yourself – if you’re handy at the piano. – Steven Mark
4. The happy, if curmudgeonly, wanderer
If I become half the writer that London-via-Sydney’s Andrew Mueller is, I’d be mighty smug. He’s a triple threat: travel writer, foreign correspondent and rock music reporter, and all those genres are well-represented in his revised paperback version of "Rock & Hard Places: Travels to Backstages, Frontlines and Assorted Sideshows" (Soft Skull Press, $15.95). It’s a collection of his best pieces dating to the early ’90s. Sharply observed and wittily constructed, my favorite essays include his visits to war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina, the misery he found attending Woodstock II and accompanying U2 on the band’s PopMart world tour. – Gary Chun
5. Television on your terms
You don’t have to know me well to know that I don’t watch much television. Didn’t even own a TV for the first 13 months I lived in Hawaii, until my mother made me go buy one when she visited in 1982 … along with a coffeemaker for a beverage I don’t drink.
But, seriously, the best new thing to come into my life – outside of Victoria’s Secret opening at Ala Moana – is the DVR. Comes in handy for those 1 a.m. World Cup matches, and really comes in handy when there’s nothing on at 11 p.m. and you just need some mindless entertainment other than Bejeweled on Facebook after getting home from work.
No more missing episodes of "Top Chef," "Project Runway" and "The Young and The Restless." Bonus: Fast-forwarding through those annoying political commercials. The only problem is remembering … first, to record the shows, then that you can skip those commercials.
A digital video recorder is an extra $9.95 on your monthly cable bill; for a hook-up, call Oceanic Time Warner Cable at 643-2100. – Cindy Luis