The Geek's Holiday Gift Guide
Photos by Wynter Holden, with the exception of the lightsaber action shot courtesy of Brian Simonsen.
If you're like us, you've got at least one geeky loved one who seems impossible to buy for. Maybe it's your tech savvy mom, your nerdy BFF with the L33T-speak license plate or a boyfriend whose Halo 3 addiction has him peeing in soda cans to avoid bathroom breaks.
When we checked in with our geek squad this year, the most requested holiday geek gift isn't the Kindle or an iPad -- it's the Lightcycle from the upcoming flick Tron: Legacy. You can snag a street legal replica from Parker Brothers Choppers if you've got an extra $55K lying around in your mattress. Uh-huh.
Since that's not going to happen, here are five other fabulous gift ideas for your geek pals:
1. GIANT Microbes
Who wants Herpes for Christmas? YOU do!
These plush germs make great teaching tools for biology professors or fun desk toys for lab rats. Each cute little guy -- from Bed Bugs to Black Death to Gonorrhea -- comes with a microscope image of the actual germ and a description of all its gory symptoms. At an average cost of $7.99 each at Atomic Comics in Mesa, it's cheap and easy to catch 'em all!
2. Elvis Knievel's Ray Guns
You can't be an evil mastermind (or a steampunk cosplayer) without a kick-ass futuristic weapon. With prices starting from $225 to $275 at Red Hot Robot in Phoenix and Evermore Nevermore in Mesa, local artist Elvis Knievel's slick handmade ray guns aren't exactly a steal, but rest assured you'll be the only henchman on the block with a piece of art this cool. As an earth-friendly bonus, Knievel crafts his one-of-a-kind pieces from recycled parts -- you know, for those evil geniuses concerned about their carbon footprint.
3. POW! And BAM! Comic Book Tees
We love the adorable comic book inspired tees at Kiss the Girl in Scottsdale Fashion Square because they subtly proclaim your geekiness without screaming, "I'd rather have sex with Wolverine than an actual living, breathing man." They're affordably chic at $36 each, or $39 for the sexy semi-sheer burnout version. Best of all, they acknowledge that girls read X-Men and Batman too.
4. ForceFX Lightsaber
You may not be able to purchase a glowing laser that could hack your annoying co-workers in two yet, but for $130 to 160, you can put down the cheap painted broomstick you've been having pretend lightsaber battles with (don't deny it!) and move up to a battle-ready replica of the film props held by Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker or your favorite Jedi master. Available at Game Daze in the Paradise Valley Mall.
5. The Walking Dead comics
We couldn't let a geek list go by without mentioning our favorite moaning, shambling, brainless creature. No, not Snooki. The popular new Walking Dead TV series is based on a top-selling comic book that follows a small town sheriff from Kentucky as he struggles to survive a zombie outbreak. If the crazy bio-warfare bloggers turn out to be right, this book could be a lifesaver during the Great Zombie Apocalypse of 2012.
Cost: $9.99-14.99 per volume at Samurai Comics in Phoenix. (Tip: If you really love the gift recipient, spring the extra $25 per person for tickets to the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention in January and they'll get to meet Walking Dead and creator Robert Kirkman.)
One Geek Gift to Avoid: The 3D Television
Watching ocean creatures swim around you during Shark Week or seeing the creepy girl from The Ring actually crawl out of the television sounds pretty sweet, but you'll have to pay a premium. Because the technology is new, 3D sets cost about twice as much as their standard plasma HDTV counterparts. Plus, those shutter glasses are really unflattering. So hold off on this year's new techie toy and wait for 3DTVs to cheapen up, and hopefully ditch the nerd specs.
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