2015 Holiday Gift Guide: #5 Geek Culture

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Geek Culture is a many faceted thing with the term meaning different things to most geeks. This category highlights some of the things we feel define us as geeks. Music, movies, books, and games are all a part of the culture and here we try to celebrate that diversity. No matter the type of geek you are shopping for, there should be some great suggestions here. When shopping I always look for things that they would never buy themselves and this category if flush with them.

Yogibo Max

As you’re enjoying all this great stuff we’ve included in our gift guides – books, movies, music – you need somewhere to hang out, right? Enter Yogibo, a “new generation of bean bag furniture.” You may have had a bean bag chair as a kid or in college, but I promise you it wasn’t like this. The near frictionless beads and crazy comfortable fabric conform to your body and create a “cocoon of coziness” around you. Sitting in one is an experience unlike any other “casual chair,” and you’ll quickly need one in your life. Especially if you spend any time in front of a TV, playing video games, reading, or just lounging around. There are a variety of colors and sizes (at different price points) available. At 6′ x 2′ x 2′, the Max is one of the largest sizes Yogibo makes. You’ll need to have the space for it, since even standing up in the corner it can be imposing, but it’s also the most popular size (for a reason). It’s phenomenal. Quick tip to pregnant or nursing mommies (or those buying for them): a Pod or Mini + Support = WAY better than a generic boppy pillow…and you’ll be able to use it for much longer. Buy online or – if you live in the mid-Atlantic or New England – visit one of their retail stores and try before you buy. Your butt, your back, and your whole body will thank you.

Made by: Yogibo
Price: $239.00
Available at: Yogibo Max
Submitted by: Jamie Greene

Marvel’s Ant-Man 3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack

Part Iron Man, part Ocean’s 11, the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe features Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, and an absolutely hilarious, scene stealing Michael Pena as Luis, Lang’s friend and former cellmate. Produced by Kevin Feige (The Avengers, Iron Man), Ant-Man is a perfect blend of buddy, superhero, and heist movie. This 3D Blu-Ray / Blu-Ray / Digital Copy combo is packed full of bonus content including “Making of an Ant-Sized Heist,” “Let’s Go to the Macroverse,” and deleted scenes and gag reels with commentary by Director Peyton Reed and Paul Rudd.

Made by: Disney
Price: $29.98
Available at: Marvel’s Ant-Man 3D Blu-Ray Combo Pack
Submitted by: Randy Slavey

Steven Universe Fleece Throw Blanket

With Gravity Falls calling it quits after this season, I guess that leaves Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe as the undisputed champion of all-ages animated series. Perhaps not surprisingly, there’s a wealth of Steven Universe-branded merch out there. My personal favorite is easily this giant 50″ X 60″ fleece throw blanket. Each perfectly cozy inch is machine washable and emblazoned on both sides with designs that represent the show’s principal cast: Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl–and Steven! (And also Rose Quartz and Cookie Cat.) Moreover, it’s the perfect treat for any fan. [Review materials provided by: Cartoon Network]

Made by: Cartoon Network
Price: $49.95
Available at: Steven Universe Fleece Throw Blanket
Submitted by: Z.

Rush: R40 Live

Time will tell if this was their last tour, but if it was, oh boy, was it ever a fantastic farewell! The R40 Live Blu-ray captures the best of two nights in their hometown of Toronto, capturing more than two dozen songs and about three hours of Rush rocking hard. This “fan’s setlist” includes a backwards travel trough time featuring seldom heard live songs like Jacob’s Ladder, Cygnus X-1, Lakeside Park and Anthem and the never-performed-live-before, Losing It. All the while, their physical set is experiencing a devolution, taking them from the elaborate Clockwork Angels stage presentation to a makeshift high school gym, making for an incredibly nostalgic experience for any Rush fan. I wish that I could live it all again!

Made by: Rush
Price: $19.99
Available at: Rush: R40 Live
Submitted by: Dave Banks

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy

Get an excellent Blu-ray set of the most famous time-travel movies of all time! There are so many extras there isn’t room to list them here, but included are – for each movie – deleted scenes, commentary from Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and features about how it was made. There are also the music videos, and hours of behind-the-scenes footage from the films that you have probably never seen before. There are even two episodes from the early-’90s animated series based on the films.

Made by: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Price: $49.98
Available at: Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy
Submitted by: Matt Blum

Caspar Babypants

Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States fame. Caspar Babypants is his line of children’s music, but it is a far cry from anything people expect from kid’s music. Caspar Babypants is fun, catchy, and enjoyable for the entire family. I quickly got sick of the standard baby music fare, and once I found Caspar Babypants, bought every album, and have purchased every album since. I recently reviewed his latest album, Beatles Baby!, and it is as great a starting place as any other. I often find myself listening to Caspar Babypants even when I’m alone. If you are sick of annoying kid’s music or know some new parents who could use something that doesn’t make their ears bleed, check out Caspar Babypants!

Made by: Caspar Babypants
Price: $8.99
Available at: Caspar Babypants
Submitted by: Will James

Marian Call Sings The Classics Volumes 1 and 2

As part of Marian’s most recent Kickstarter, she proposed an album of covers for the stretch goals. Those goals were met, royalties paid, and we now have two awesome albums with Marian covering some classic geek tunes like: Conjunction Junction, Reading Rainbow, and Particle Man. In total there are 20 songs across 2 volumes. Pick them up digitally at Marian’s BandCamp page. Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Made by: Marian Call
Price: $15 or $20
Available at: Marian Call’s Bandcamp Page
Submitted by:
Anton Olsen

The Martian Motion Picture Soundtrack

Featuring the songs and original score from The Martian, this soundtrack is a kick in the pants to listen to. Featuring (to Mark Watney’s dismay) a stellar collection of disco hits, the album is a wonderful homage to Mark’s unlikely survival, including Don’t Leave Me This Way and I Will Survive. Salute your loved one’s favorite new sci-fi hero, and toast his return to Earth with the original score. Of course, if you haven’t read the book, you don’t know what you’re missing…yet.

Made by: Columbia Records
Price: $7.99
Available at: The Martian Motion Picture Soundtrack
Submitted by: Rory Bristol

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki

Perhaps the only thing more perfectly beautiful than the films of Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki is the new box set celebrating his genius. Collecting iconic standouts like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away alongside additional, oft-overlooked fare (like his 1979 directorial debut Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, the Yuki no Taiyo animated pilot, and three episodes of the Akado Suzunosuke anime storyboarded by Miyazaki), it puts the span of an illustrious four-decade career in one flawless package. The discs themselves–a dozen in all–are presented in a hardbound picture book with illustrations representing each corresponding feature, and its supplementary materials, specifically the entirety of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement press conference and a collector’s edition booklet containing “The Great Dichotomy: Looking at the Works of Hayao Miyazaki” exploring recurring themes and telling production plans, add additional depth for the more discriminating viewer. This Amazon-exclusive Blu-ray collection is available now for $215–and worth every penny. [Review materials provided by: Walt Disney Studios]

Made by: Walt Disney Studios
Price: $215.00
Available at: The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki
Submitted by: Z.

Flood by They Might Be Giants

This year, 2015, marks the 25th anniversary of They Might Be Giants’ most fantastic of fantabulous albums, Flood. Share it with the next generation, or buy it for yourself, if you are among the uninitiated. If you like melodious and silly music, you can’t go wrong with They Might Be Giants.

Made by: Elektra / Wea
Price: $11.00
Available at: Flood by They Might Be Giants
Submitted by: Jenny Bristol

PA Vol. PA Vol. 9: Passion’s Howl9: Passion’s Howl

For the lover of Penny Arcade, comes a step back in the history of comics. Volume 9 includes all of the comics from 2008 with a humorous paragraph or two explaining the story behind the cartoon. This Spellbound Edition explores the humorous, and sometimes frustrating aspect of gaming. I thoroughly enjoys book 9 and plan to pick up some others soon. The content is a little on the PG-13 side with language and a few themes, but it is nothing most teens haven’t seen on the Internet already. Get PA Volume 9 here, or pick up the Penny Arcade 3 Book Bundle here.

Made by: Penny Arcade
Price: $15 to $35.99
Available at: PA Vol. PA Vol. 9: Passion’s Howl9: Passion’s Howl
Submitted by: Anton

Ex Machina Blu-ray and Digital HD

Ex Machina is not only my favorite movie so far this year, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s also the only movie I’ve purchased on disc in longer than I can remember. Haunting and gorgeously shot, with stellar performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaacs, and Alicia Vikander and one of the great soundtracks of the year, the movie is basically a modern retelling of Frankenstein. It begs for repeat viewings, but that’s all right because odds are good you’re going to want to watch it again and again.

Made by: Lionsgate
Price: $14.96
Available at: Ex Machina Blu-ray and Digital HD
Submitted by: Rob Huddleston

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1

“The Awesome Mix” featured on Star-Lord’s Walkman topped the charts for 16 weeks, and was the first soundtrack to reach number one with only previously released tracks to its name. From “Hooked on a Feeling” to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the 12-track playlist features solid gold tracks appropriate for any generation. “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1” is a great gift for your Jr. Star-Lord, bonus points if you give it on a cassette with Jr.’s first Walkman.

Made by: Hollywood Records
Price: $9.49
Available at: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Submitted by: Rory Bristol

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 2 Collection

Do you have a Marvel superfan on your gift list this year? Not just someone who saw Avengers: Age of Ultron a couple of times and said they liked it; but someone who sat through the entire Marvel Movie Marathon the day leading up to the release? Then this is the perfect gift. The Phase 2 box set not only collects all of the movies that make up the second round of Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man (all in 3-D, Blu-Ray, and Digital). It also gives you nearly three hours of bonus footage (blooper reels, interviews, making of videos, etc), art books, uniform patches, and an Infinity Stone. That’s right! The whole set is packaged in a 1:1 replica Morag orb that can be opened to reveal an Infinity Stone. Perfect for Star Lord cosplay or impressing the family dog with your control of the Power Cosmic.

Made by: Walt Disney Studios
Price: $199.00
Available at: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 2 Collection
Submitted by: Anthony Karcz

Maps and Flags

Because why not? Sheldon Cooper isn’t the only person interested in Fun with Flags. And some of us love to bury ourselves in a good map. Maps and flags make great wall hangings, atlases are great study guides, and books about flags help us learn about the history and culture of the world. Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame) even wrote a book all about maps, Maphead, and there are plenty of books of interest to kids as well. Give an open-ended educational gift this holiday.

Made by: Varies
Price: Varies
Available at: Maps and Flags
Submitted by: Jenny Bristol

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1 thought on “2015 Holiday Gift Guide: #5 Geek Culture

  1. I’d like to add any of the fine publications from Hasslein Books (www.hassleinbooks.com), including those on Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Red Dwarf and Planet of the Apes.

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