We’re well into December, and that means we’re down to about 2 weeks left until the big day. But don’t worry, plenty of time left, and you can always count on the intrepid writers of the GeekDad blog to give you the 411 on this season’s coolest gifts. Want to see what we featured in previous guides? Click on the gift guide graphic on the right rail.
The Ricochet’s killer feature is a awesome lift suspension so you drive your car down low or up high in monster truck mode! The car is double sided with one design and color on the top and one on the bottom. Super tough and able to stand up to the tender mercies of any kid… or any dad (ahem). This thing sucks power like no one’s business, but a removable battery pack leaves open the possibility of getting a second to keep the play going — though only one comes with the car. Buy it from Amazon.
Q Workshop Dice
That’s right, the coolest dice ever, crafted in the secret subterranean forges of crazed genius Poles. Q Workshop have tons of different styles of dice ranging from Deadlands (undead Old West!) to giant d20s used for keeping track of life in Magic: The Gathering, as well as Arkham Horror, large 6-siders with Polish flags for the pips, and Cthulhu. One of their newest products are textured dice (pictured) whose entire surface has been engraved with sweet, baroque carvings. Buy them from Amazon.
Circuit benders and other music experimenters will love the Thingamagoop, the quirky synthesizer by Bleep Labs packed with tons of creative features including a square wave amplitude modulator, triangle wave pulse width modulator, it runs on Arduino code so you can code your own effects, and the coolest feature in my opinion is the photocell so you can control your music with light. Buy it at from ThinkGeek.
Grace Digital Audio Pandora Radio
Elegant, wifi-enabled Internet radio with great sound. In addition to all the usual stations, you can grab content from Sirius and Pandora, or wirelessly stream tunes from your PC or Mac. There’s even an iOS remote app to control your rig. Buy it from Amazon.
Kanex iAdapt V2 HDMI Adapter
Some PCs have HDMI ports built in so you can use your HD TV as a monitor, or play movies directly from your computer. If you’re flexing a Mac, like I am, you don’t have that option. But yes you do, thanks to Kanex. Their iAdapt adapter connects to your Mac’s mini-display port (make sure it has one) to your TV via a regular HDMI cable. Nothing could be slicker. Buy it from Amazon.
Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets
What do you get for the geek who has everything? Aside from a Bag of Holding, that is. Here’s an idea: how about a new experience? Miracle Berry Fruit Tablets (made from this bizarre West African fruit) temporarily confuses your taste buds, making sour foods taste sweet. Lemons taste like lemonade; strawberries are incredibly sweet; baby carrots could be dessert. It’s a fascinating way to play with your taste buds, and is sure to be a memorable gift. $14.99 buys you a 20-serving pack, which is certainly more affordable (and more easily wrapped) than a trip to West Africa. Read the review or buy them from ThinkGeek.
Charlie’s Playhouse Giant Timeline and Creature Cards
Done by GeekMom‘s own Kate Miller, these evolution-based toys and learning materials will teach your kids while they play. Kids spend hours matching the cards to the timeline, playing the suggested games, or making up games on their own. My kids prefer to create their own fun and learning by just pretending, reading the cards and timeline, and just absorbing the material in their own way. Buy the Giant Timeline and Creature Cards from Amazon.
Captain America: Reborn
It looked like Steve Rogers had finally been killed by the Red Skull. Instead, he was bouncing around in the time stream, trying to find a way home. In this collection of the Reborn miniseries, we visit Steve Rogers’ past, including his origin, his battles in World War II, the lost of his partner, Bucky Barnes, all finally leading to a confrontation literally inside the mind of the Red Skull.
If you want to introduce yourself or your geeklings to Captain America before the upcoming movie, this story not only provides great background on the character but the conclusion also shows why Rogers is such a great hero. Buy it from Amazon.
LaCie XtremKey All-Terrain Flash Drive
Dude, the full metal jacket of flash drives. It has incredible heat, cold, water, pressure and drop resistance. Its aluminum alloy construction can survive being 200 degree temperatures or being run over by a 10-ton truck, yet still features a rather sexy design that won’t disappoint the style conscious nerds amongst us. Buy it from Amazon.
A Whole Nother Story and Another Whole Nother Story
A Whole Nother Story is the tale of Arthur Cheeseman and “his three smart, polite, and relatively odor-free children.” This incredibly fun and silly book is full of jokes and madcap adventures, and is perfect for any kid (or parent) who doesn’t always take life seriously. The brand new sequel, Another Whole Nother Story, carries the tale further, taking the Cheeseman family on new adventures together using their [REDACTED] to search for their [REDACTED].
Edge Robotic Arm Kit
Build your own robotic arm with this slick-looking kit. Five motors, five axes of movement, and over a foot’s reach. No soldering required, but it’s a fairly sophisticated kit taking 2 hours to assemble the arm. Buy it from ThinkGeek.
Tegu Magnetic Blocks
Tegu is a toy company with two missions: create jobs in Honduras in a way that brings value to the country instead of taking it away; and create a really fantastic toy. Tegu blocks look just like smooth wooden blocks at first, until you get two of them together. Then you discover the magnets embedded inside (cleverly, so you can’t see them) and you find that you can build all sorts of gravity-defying structures. Whether you get them for your kids or your spouse (these make an awesome cubicle toy), Tegu blocks are a gift to your loved ones and to Honduras. Read the review or Buy them from Amazon.
Shadowrun Sixth World Almanac
What’s the world gonna be like in ’72, after the elves come back? This gazetteer from the Sixth World of Shadowrun will tell you. It doesn’t hit every country, or every city, but it does a creditable job of describing the big ones on every continent. Most countries get a 2-page spread devoted to it, with the big ones getting more coverage. Beautiful full color throughout, and a necessity for any Shadorun campaign. Buy it from Amazon.
Combining the competitive edge of laser tag with the fun of radio controlled cars, Jada Toys’ Battle Machines do their part to mold the road warriors of tomorrow today. Each vehicle comes equipped with an infrared shooter in front and an IR sensor on the rear, which easily turns normal RC car racing into a much more intense affair. Shooting an opponent’s vehicle once or twice merely lowers their shield level (displayed on the back windshield) and briefly jams controller functionality, but tag them a third time and their car careens wildly out of control! Double-packs come with a pair of racers and the requisite transmitter controllers for easy two-player fun, but vehicles also boast a handy autopilot function for solo play and target practice. A three-way channel selector means that up to six cars can play without interference, but it only takes one to terrify your house cat.*
Oakley HDO-3D Glasses
With so many 3D movies out there, who not invest in your own glasses? These Oakleys not only give you the ability to see RealD, the 3D system featured in the majority of theaters, but thanks to Oakley’s High Definition Optics, such distractions as side glare and ghosting are minimized. If that weren’t enough, the slick GasCan stylings will keep you cool. Buy them from Oakley.com. (They also come in TRON edition!
Adidas Star Wars Collection
When Run-D.M.C. penned hip-hop classic “My Adidas” in 1986 it was doubtful that they truly comprehended the lasting impact that shelltoes and striped track suits would have on not only urban fashion but pop culture in general. It’s also unlikely that even the great sage Reverend Run foresaw a day when this purveyor of fine sportswear would create a line inspired by that cornerstone of contemporary sci-fi, Star Wars. And yet here we are. With kicks styled like characters from Jabba the Hutt to R2-D2 and C-3PO, Stormtrooper-themed tees and even (synthetic) Wookiee fur overcoats, the Adidas Star Wars Collection is the perfect blend of geek and chic.
Scotch Duct Tape
Need a great stocking stuffer? In all seriousness, put duct tape on your list! I love the variety of tapes Scotch offers, ranging from easily removable, no-residue painter’s duct tape to extra sticky tarp-hanging tape. My personal favorites are the super macho heavy duty, all-weather tape and the transparent duct tape.
Sink or Swim We’ll Go Together
Seattle chiptune musician Stenobot is likely better known as one-third of chip-hop trailblazers SuperCommuter, but 2010 saw a release of a totally different kind from Mr. Andy Myers. Inspired by the heart-wrenching journey that resulted after Andy’s four-year-old Julian was diagnosed with leukemia, Sink or Swim We’ll Go Together is an album very much about a family’s struggle to fight the disease while keeping its own collective spirit intact. Moving, deeply personal, somber and yet ultimately triumphant, it’s a project that truly leverages emotional turmoil to create genuine art. Though available as a free download from local indie label Crunchyco, Sink or Swim We’ll Go Together was also released as a short-run physical printing bundled with a handmade, hard-bound photo book for a mere $15. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all proceeds from the sale of the album go to support the Child’s Play charity.
One of this year’s Mensa Select games, this seemingly simple card game will make you laugh and drive you crazy. You’ll also find yourself saying, “Uh.. Um..” a lot. It’s a fast paced game of pattern matching and finding words that fit into categories before your opponent does. It is great fun for many ages and group sizes. Play it full speed for teens and adults, or slow it down to include the kids. The simplicity of game play is appealing, yet it’s unlike anything else out there. Buy it from Amazon.
Little Pim Foreign Language DVDs
Want to teach your baby or preschooler Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, or one of several other languages? The Little Pim language videos are fun, and they teach basic language vocabulary. The speaking on the videos are only in the chosen language, so your children are immersed in the sounds of that language for the entire video. Put out by Julia Pimsleur Levine, daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, these videos will engage your children and teach them language basics. Buy them from Amazon.
The Blinky Bugs Book
You may already know about Blinky Bugs from places like The Maker Shed. For those of you who have never seen these interesting creatures a
Blinky Bug combines LED’s pipecleaners and very simple sensors to make electronic insects. Ken Murphy, the man behind the bugs, teamed up with
illustrator Alexander Tarrant to create the Blinky Bugs book. The book is written up in comicbook format which makes it easy for kids to follow along. The book covers the theory behind the Blinky Bug in easy to understand language, then goes through detailed instruction steps. The book comes with all the parts needed to make 3 Blinky Bugs, all you need are some basic tools. Little ones will need help but older kids will be able to build the bugs with a little assistance. The book finishes up with ideas for further experimentation with the Blinky Bugs and ideas for using the elctronics for other projects. If your looking for a hands on gift for that special geekling on your list check out this book. Buy it from Amazon.
The latest version of the world’s most affordable 3D printer. Standard kit for hackerspaces and technical types, these printers let you output three dimensional shapes in plastic, layer after layer. Make no mistake, a Thing-O-Matic isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s bleeding edge tech that expects you to learn its quirks and foibles. The revolution is coming, baby, and I have a feeling that these awesome hackers from New York City will be at the forefront for a long time to come. Buy it on Makerbot.com.
MAKE: Bomb Defuser Multitool
Also known as the Leatherman Squirt ES4, this elite tool is useful for a lot more coolness than merely cutting the red wire — NO WAIT, BLUE! Small enough to fit on your key chain, and featuring a robust wire cutter/stripper where a Leatherman’s pliers usually are, plus actual scissors, file, knife, and so on. Standard Squirt ES4 components, but as a bonus, the grip has been laser-etched with the logo of everyone’s fave DIY magazine. Buy it from the Maker shed.
E for Everyone
The greatest geek rock album of this or any other year, Kirby Krackle’s E for Everyone is an 11-track masterpiece lovingly crafted by Seattle’s own Kyle Stevens and Jim Demonakos. Though comic book rockers at their core, the duo also manage to crank out classic tunes about video gaming (“Vault 101”), the real life implications of the super hero lifestyle (“Secret Identity,” “Henchman”) and the joys of con life (“Going Home.”) The album is available in both physical and digital formats from Amazon, as is their stellar self-titled 2009 debut. Both make perfect stocking stuffers for the music nerds on your holiday gift list.