Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pretty Geeky Gift Guide

As a people, geeks are not easy to shop for.
We are individuals, sure, but one of the defining qualities of geekhood is a factor of obsession.
In this facet, it doesn't matter if the individual is actively working in technology, accounting, or professionally teaching martial arts - His or her obsession unites the individual into geekdom. We embrace the obsessed individual, and we silently weep for those who have to buy them gifts.
I want to help, because another identifying factor in being a geek is a fundamental inability to express ourselves.
For years, I've watched my family labor over this obstacle. There are tons of geeky options out there to confuse the gift-giver. You will have to, at some point, identify your strain of geek. This is key to selecting a proper gift. You wouldn't want to give a replica TARDIS USB hub to someone who isn't a Dr. Who fan. Unfortunately, this will mean you'll need to let down your carefully constructed audio filters for a couple of minutes until you hear a common thread. Once you've identified them, I've got you covered:

Star Wars Geek:
The "Impossible Shot" t-shirt is made of a blend of cotton and win. It features a classic image, an almost inside joke, and absolutely no reference to the newer trilogy.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with a Boba Fett Hoodie. You'll know if your geek has one already, because you will never have seen him not wearing it.
Tauntaun sleeping bag. No description can do that justice.
Fanboys is a movie which can probably only fully be enjoyed by Star Wars nerds, though there is some bleed-over enjoyment for Trek people.

Speaking of Trekkers:
A classic replica phaser is always going to be appreciated. Easy to wrap, difficult to identify, endlessly amusing due to the lights and sounds it produces.
If you are more concerned with pleasant sounds, I must recommend Brent Spiner's CD. It's unfortunately a collectible now, but your geek will be amazed to hear Commander Data's Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart, I promise.

Firefly Fans/Joss Whedon acolytes:
Your browncoat set would absolutely love a custom-built replica Serenity. They've had their favorite show jerked out from under them after 13 episodes. They deserve this.
Or you can give them a few extra episodes with a graphic novel.
Just be careful with your geek. They've been hurt before and are likely to be a touch emotionally fragile.

Architecture Nerds:
Wow. Anyone buying for these people has been screwed for a while, huh?
Luckily, Lego has you covered this year. Lego Guggenheim? I think so, yes.

Battlestar Gallactica:
How about a vintage-style propaganda poster? Or, if you'd rather a more containable, less displayable gift, consider Marion Call's Firefly/BSG tribute CD.

Dungeons and Dragons Geeks:
You can't go far wrong with a dark t-shirt, honestly. A nice set of chrome dice would also rock, loudly, and late into the night. An Order of the Stick graphic novel is another solid choice. The one in the link contains strips never seen online.

Zombie Geeks:
Monster Island is a great read, as is World War Z. If you are willing to participate, the Zombies game is fun, for serious.

If you are stumped for identification, or your geek is particularly afflicted with a wide variety of obsessions, consider an elephant-squid messenger bag, a t-shirt crossing genres spectacularly, or one that detects WiFi signals.
The choices are out there. Don't stress.
Another defining characteristic we share is that geeks are going to appreciate your effort in this. The big thrill will definitely be that you took the time to listen, even for a few seconds, while we blathered about something completely meaningless to most.

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