Friday, February 25, 2011

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Avoid wintery conflict with this handy list we've compiled of perfect stocking stuffers and last-gasp gift ideas.

Doctor Who TARDIS Talking Cookie Jar

Owning a replica of the Doctor's time-tripping police box is pretty cool in and of itself, but when said replica is filled with delicious cookies...well, then all bets are off, kids. The down side is that this 11 x 6 x 6 receptacle doesn't really "talk," per se - it just makes the TARDIS time travel sound effect. But that's pretty cool in its own right, and when the chocolate chips are down, a cookie jar based on a vessel that's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside isn't a bad thing. Just be sure not to eat all the cookies before you gift it.

DeskPets Skitterbots

Remember those spidery robots that chased Tom Selleck around in the 1984 film Runaway? No? Well, whether you do or not, just know we're one step closer to arachnid robotic sentries with these remote-controlled critters. Traveling at a kind-of-mind-bending one foot per second, they make for a fun toy and, with just the right amount of modification, the perfect killing machine. WE'RE KIDDING. Skitterbots should only be used for exploring, racing, and maybe fetching you a frosty beverage of choice from the fridge. They come in multiple colors and, at a relatively miniscule size, make for a perfect stocking stuffer. Just remember: No killing.

MC Frontalot - Zero Day CD

Let's face it: Conventional hip-hop is more or less in the toilet these days. The beats are stale, the rhymes are wack, and the themes are pretty foreign to anyone not rolling in gold-plated toilet seats. For true creativity in both form and subject matter, you've got to turn to nerdcore, and who better to represent the genre around the holidays than MC Frontalot, the guy who more or less coined the term? Zero Day is the San Francisco-based MC's latest effort, and it's a worthy addition to the record collection of any fanboy or -girl. Featuring cameos from musician Mike Doughty and The Daily Show's John Hodgman, as well as songs about MMORPGs and Wil Wheaton, it's a unique slant on both rap and the world of geekism.

Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card

This is an invention so ingenious, we're kind of pissed we didn't think of it. The Eye-Fi Pro is the perfect data transmission solution for the photo enthusiast in your life, or anyone who uses Flash memory cards, really. It's a standard memory card, but also has wireless functionality, meaning you'll no longer have to spend scads of time transferring and sorting through photos on your laptop. In fact, you can even set it up to do so automatically, so you don't even have to initiate the process. Just snap away with an active laptop in the vicinity, et voila, that photo collection of cosplay girls you took at the Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con is there on your computer, whatever you want to get up to.

Gunnar Optiks Digital Performance Eyewear

We've all been there - you're locked in on a massive raid with your guild, you've spent hours killing Foozle and collecting the best lootz0rz you can possibly find...and when the victory has been sealed, you step back from your computer and rub your eyes, the after-image of your adventure seemingly permanently burned into your retinas. Eye strain should be a concern for any hardcore gamer, and Gunnar Optiks has your back, with eye glasses designed to reduce the eye strain brought about by long-term computer use. They're not the most stylish-looking thing in the world, but any dedicated gamer or tech person to whom you gift these will find you some time in January, grasp you in a warm embrace, and thank you with great enthusiasm. Trust us on that one.

Star Wars Plush with sound

Sometimes, even the hardest-core and most-cynical among us needs to hug something, but teddy bears are also loved by the mainstream, making them decidedly uncool. Enter the Star Wars plush, the discriminating fan's squeezie toy of choice. Available in multiple sizes (from the keychain-convenient 4-inch model to the baby-sized 15-incher) and multiple character shapes (Yoda, Chewie, R2-D2 or, for those more darkly emotional days, Darth Vader), these figures make a great gift for both adult Star Wars fans and those kids you might be hoping to guide down the righteous path of sci-fi fandom (and, perhaps best of all, NO Jar-Jar model is available). Each plush also its its own sound effect when squeezed, from Yoda's sage Jedi advice to Darth Vader's heavy breathing. We're not sure whether that last one is creepy or cute, but we'd be happy to find one of these under the tree, either way.

Etch-a-Sketch iPad Case

What if sepia-tinged nostalgia and ultra-sleek modernism met and had a baby? The result would surely be something along the lines of the Etch-a-Sketch iPad Case, which covers your sexy, new-fangled tablet computer with a frame that recalls the draw-and-shake toy of yesteryear. It's actually manufactured by the same folks who made the original Etch-a-Sketch, meaning its authenticity is beyond reproach, and it also serves a serious function in addition to looking cool, wrapping your expensive Apple product in the warm, protective embrace of impact-resistant ABS plastic. Gift this to a tech-savvy friend who grew up in the '70s or '80s and watch their eyes light up with the warm, glowing, warming glow of an inner child set free.

DC Universe Online Pre-Order

The release of DC Universe Online, Sony Online Entertainment's cross-platform MMORPG, is sure to be a titanic event, bringing together both lovers of online gaming and comics fans who have been waiting to adventure in a virtual world populated by Batman, Superman, the Joker and other legends of the form. Unfortunately, the game wasn't completed in time for the holidays, but SOE is currently taking pre-orders, and offering exclusive in-game content (Exclusive weapon! Play AS Batman!) to those who put their money down now. The game will only be available on PS3 and PC, so be sure to check in on what systems the person you're hoping to launch into the DC Universe is playing before you pre-order...and then prepare to never see them again once the release date arrives.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited Subscription

Being a comic book fan used to mean storing boxes and boxes of plastic-sleeved issues in your mom's attic, and digging through the crates any time you wanted to re-read something. Thank Odin for the digital revolution, which has brought with it this service provided by Marvel Comics. For a relatively paltry sixty bucks, you can give the hardcore comic fan in your life access to over 8,000 new and classic titles. Whether their tastes run to the old (the first 100 issues of Amazing Spider-Man) or the recent (Runaways), it'll all be right at their fingertips, easily searchable by character, creator, and other parameters. New issues are being added every week, and there are also digital exclusives...and it's all electronic, leaving plenty of room in the recipient's stocking for other loot. Bonus.

Microsoft Points

Sure, you could drop sixty bucks and buy your friend/loved one a boxed game that's going to take up space on their shelf and likely will be another sequel or re-tread...or, you could open up their world to the cutting edge of downloadable content and independently-developed titles that exists in the Xbox Live Marketplace. Some of the most interesting and compelling work in game development is being made available in the Xbox Live Arcade, and companies like Rockstar are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with downloadable content...but you can't get at it with Microsoft Points, making a glut of them the perfect stocking stuffer for the Xbox 360 owner in your life. It may seem odd to give a gift of currency that, you know, doesn't really exist (available in increments of both 1,600 and 4,000, no less), but rest assured that you'll be offering up a cornucopia of gaming delights to brighten someone's holiday.

The Walking Dead - Compendium One

Now that The Walking Dead is a hit series on AMC, even your mom might be getting into the whole zombie apocalypse thing. But with only 7 episodes in its first season, the show is moving mighty slowly in advancing the plot, which makes this massive volume a perfect gift for the impatient. Compiling the first 48 issues of Robert Kirkman's epic tale of the survivors of a zombie plague, this compendium takes us all the way through the (SPOILER ALERT) discovery of the prison and TWO encounters with the bats***t crazy Governor, who is pretty much the series' most fear-inspiring villain (no small feat in a series populated with flesh-eating zombies...oh, and SPOILER ALERT OVER), and provides compelling reading for anyone who's interested in a visceral story of survival in a harsh, unforgiving world. Sounds like the perfect remedy for an overdose of holiday cheer, no?
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