1. Straight shooter
If you like to go out to the Koko Head Shooting Range and take shots at paper targets, there’s a neat little device that can help you zero in without burning up a lot of ammo. While not exactly new, laser bore sights are inexpensive, effective and easy to use, and these come in pretty much every caliber.
They are intended to replace the traditional bore-sighting method of looking at the target through the barrel with the bolt removed from the rifle.
The cool thing about these laser bore sights is that they are in the exact shape of the cartridge your gun uses. After purchasing one online for $23.95 from a company called Firefield, I placed the device into my rifle chamber and secured the firearm into a rifle stand to keep it steady as I lined up the laser dot on the center of a target 50 yards away. After adjusting the rifle sights to match up with the red laser dot on the target, I fired a few shots and was hitting the bull’s-eye dead center. — David Swann
2. Mission to Mars
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is beavering away at constructing the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, due to be launched in November. Five times bigger than the hardy little Spirit and Opportunity rovers still scooting about on the Martian surface, the MSLR is jam-packed with instrumentation and experiments.
Also aboard, however, will be a microchip filled with names, and one of them could be yours.
At mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/index.cfm, you can fill in a form that asks for a name, ZIP code and country. That’s it. Click "enter" and the name is on the list. Enter your name or someone you’d like to honor — it’s an ideal (and cheap) birthday present for the rocket scientist in the family.
The site also allows you to print out a certificate of participation with a catalog number. You can also see maps that break down how much each state or country is participating. California is at the top; Hawaii is near the bottom, but not nearly so near as Australia’s Antarctic station on MacDonald Island, where only three names have been registered. — Burl Burlingame
3. Hawaii loves Bob
Despite playing here only once at the Waikiki Shell, in 1979, you’d be hard pressed to find an audience more in love with Bob Marley’s music than here in the islands. So it should be no surprise the latest family-friendly collection from Putumayo World Music, "Tribute to a Reggae Legend," includes two songs from Hawaii artists.
Three Plus and Robi Kahakalau kick off the 12-track album with previously released covers of "Is This Love" and the little-known "Do It Twice." Three Plus’ Tanoa Kapana captures the joyful spirit of the Marley song in an engaging recording from 2002, and Kahakalau works more in a predominant reggae groove, but to great success.
The tribute also features new and exclusive recordings, the best of which is the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars hearty rendition of "No Woman No Cry," with a sound that harks back to the folk music of their former African home country. — Gary Chun
4. Return to sender
Everyone knows amazon.com is the place to go for discounted DVDs shipped free to Hawaii via the company’s signature "Free Supersaver Shipping." But the process also works in reverse! Amazon accepts used DVDs, Blu-Ray discs and video games in good condition and credits your account. Just browse the trade-in store to check the value of your old movies, print out a free shipping label and packing slip, and send your movies to the online marketplace, which will issue the credit upon arrival. Then start shopping for the latest blockbusters to replace them. Go to amazon.com and search "trade-in store." — Donica Kaneshiro
5. Feeling jaded about jewelry?
Paradisus Jewelry has the antidote: lustrous silver creations made with island style. The piece I wear, which never fails to make eyes light up, is a pendant in the shape of a monstera leaf. Jewelry designer Akemi Ueda sold it to me at a Rock Shop event in Honolulu after showing how it would look great on its original silver band or hanging from a leather cord.
Paradisus makes jewelry inspired by nature, with a base of silver but also sometimes incorporating gemstones and leather. Other offerings include stunning cuffs in ulu and kalo designs and necklaces and earrings in the shape of strung pikake. The company partners with kumu hula Sonny Ching to design jewelry with Hawaiian soul, including braided leather bracelets strung with silver tubes in kapa designs. Pieces range from $50 to $400.
See them with your own eyes when Paradisus puts on a trunk show with Riches Kahala from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Kahala Mall, or visit www.paradisusjewelry.com. — Elizabeth Kieszkowski