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Ten Essentials For a Bling Bling Summer 

Gadgets and gear to get you going

Here's a quick list of the gear and accessories that could keep your summer from being a drag.

1. The Sea Scooter
Cost: $530.90

Where to Get One: www.eurocosm.com/Application/Products/Seadoo/Seadoo1GB.asp

This 007 Bond-worthy gadget is described by its manufacturers as "Not a life saving device, just a life enhancing one." At just 60 cm long and 7 kilos, the Sea Scooter can be taken anywhere (except the bathtub). Perfect for anybody too cool or just too lazy to swim like a normal schmuck. Top speed is 2mph. Max diving depth is 20 meters. (For the metrically challenged, the scooter is 23.5" long, weighs 15 lbs., and can dive to a 70' depth.)

2. The Roku SoundBridge
Cost: $224.99-449.99

Where to Get One: www.rokulabs.com

You can't have a cool summer without plenty of cool tunes. The cutting edge Roku SoundBridge is digital, stylish, and lets you wirelessly connect your home stereo or powered speakers to your computer's digital music library. Plays music straight from your Mac or PC via Ethernet or WiFi network. Supports most major music formats and can be mounted almost anywhere in your home.

3. Schwinn Sting-Ray
Cost: $177.63

Where to Get One: Wal-Mart or Schwinn.com

This is one bad-ass bike. The people at Schwinn have rebuilt an old classic and it looks hotter than ever. The new Sting-Ray is endorsed by Orange County Choppers and has even appeared in a Wycleff video. Features V-Back Drag Bars, a knees-to-the-breeze low saddle ride, a wishbone kick stand, signature Big Boa tires, and lots of chrome.

4. Bonnaroo Ticket
Cost: $139.50-164.50

Where to Get One: www.bonnaroo.com

This Tennessee music festival is our generation's Woodstock. This festival has far too many great bands to list here. Grab a tent, some good friends, and don't forget the psychedelics. If you've never been to this event you probably know someone who has. Hurry -- tickets sell out fast.

5. Timex Digital Heart Rate Fitness System
Cost: $140

Where to Get One: www.timex.com

Get in shape this summer with this 100-lap Iron Man Triathalon watch. Comes with chronometer, timer, alarm, five-button interface with Indiglo backlight and a stretch Velcro wrist strap. Oh, it's also virtually indestructible. About the only thing this watch can't do is yell, "Hey, get your fat ass off the couch now and do some laps!"

6. The Booze Tube Beer Tower
Cost: $120

Where to Get One: www.drinkstuff.com

Sick and tired of getting off your duff and swaggering toward the fridge each time you finish a beer? Invest in the Beer Tower and live easy this summer. Capable of holding nearly six pints of your favorite ale, this solidly built, pub-quality masterpiece is equipped with a dispense tap fitted at just the right height for a perfect pour time after time.

7. Merrell Orbit Moc
Cost: $70

Where to Get a Pair: www.merrell.com

These shoes do it all. An all-weather design that incorporates a breathable mesh/Lycra/Neoprene four-way stretch ankle gasket and an interior lined with sweat- absorbing PolarTec to keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Simply put: this is great technology and comfort at a great price.

8. Scotty Solar Powered Phone Charger
Cost: $47.68

Where to Get One: www.infomaticsonline.co.uk/Products/Hardware/1107231

Now you can charge your cell phone while getting a tan. This ultra-compact charger stores energy from daylight and can even charge your Gameboy, Palm Pilot, Walkman, or Discman. Seven hours of sunlight give you one hour of talk time and 60 hours standby. Overcast at the beach? Don't worry. It also works off two AA batteries.

9. The Auto Vent
Cost: $29.95

Where to Get One: www.youcansave.com/autov.asp

Aren't you tired of showering then getting into a steam box of a car and sweating all the way to the office like Wacko Jacko in a room full of underage boys? Now you can do something about it. This ingenious gadget uses safe, efficient solar power to keep the interior of your ride cool and fresh all summer.

10. The Floating Cooler
Cost: $24.99

Where to Get One: www.brookstone.com

This one explains itself.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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