Gift Guides

Jackalope Ranch's Gift Guide for the Culture Geek

Still holiday shopping? So are we -- and we've been taking notes. Introducing our series of gift guides for your "easy to figure out, but hard to shop for" friends. Today, Jackalope Ranch's Gift Guide for the Culture Geek.

Gift giving for the nerd in your life is a near impossibility. Due to our obsessiveness over any given topic, we've likely headed you off at the pass for any retail item that remotely smacks of sci-fi, fantasy, history or any subject area that requires a background in higher math.

A mint-on-card variant Catwoman action figure? Check. The latest piece of consumer electronics? Yawn. We probably worked on one of the components. The special edition, 4 disc, 30th Anniversary Blade Runner Box Set on BluRay? No, thanks. Everybody knows this one isn't Sir Ridley's complete vision. We're holding out for the multi-version neural implant with director's commentary in 2017. See what I mean?

See also: - Jackalope Ranch's "Fanboy" archives - Bob Beard's Merry ChristNES - Jackalope Ranch's Gift Guide for the End of the World Prepper

To surprise us this season, you've got to avoid the box stores entirely and dive deep into niche fandom, e-commerce and mail order goods.

Here are five items from across the Web that make our geeky hearts go all aflutter. 5. For the Brainiac If you're inclined to go the homemade gift route, get thee to a yarn store, pick up some 4 ply and download this pattern for $5. It's the perfect piece of headgear for your beloved braniac - until, of course, someone finds away to make an accurate Bobak Ferdowsi wig.

4. For the Grammar Geek Wearing a t-shirt to support your favorite band or team of lunkhead jocks is enthusiastic.Purchasing a shirt from your favorite, award-winning grammar advice blog that mashes up lessons on modal auxiliary verbs with the most epic sci-fi show of all time? Oh my gods! Nerd approved.

3. For the Gamer Chalk it up to the weekly sessions of D&D that carried us through our awkward phases (35 years and counting, folks), but nerds love games. Moreover, in a very college radio sort of way, we'll abandon our favorites once they get too popular (everybody is playing Settlers of Cataan nowadays), so we're constantly in need of new product to refresh our game shelves. A must for would-be game masters this year is the Design Fiction Product Design Kit. The eggheads at the Near Future Laboratory have developed a specialized deck of attribute cards that allow you and your gaming buddies to design and refine the tech of the near future. You'll be debating the merits of cloud-enabled, art deco refrigerators and austere, anti-surveillance table lamps long into the night. Trust us. It's a blast. Best of all, the kit is not in mass production, so your exclusivity is maintained. Get your hands on one by emailing the game's creator here.

2. The Geeky Gardner The Carolina Reaper. The Trinidad Scorpion. The Ghost. While it's true that you may have had your virtual ass kicked by someone with these gamertags, that experience is no match for what Mother Nature can do when she's good and pissed off. The crew at PuckerButt Pepper Company (go ahead it's SFW) are ready to sell you a packet of flaming pepper seeds to populate your geek's garden. Even for a newbie, it's really the perfect nerd plant - rife with superlatives (the hottest pepper in the world) backed by quantifiable data (in terms of Scoville units) and a great excuse to don industrial fire retardant gloves.

1. The Unkempt Nerd Now that Movember is over, it's time to rid upper lips everywhere of their patchy, unkempt soup strainers for at least another year. Since the mustache was a throwback anyway, you might as well lop it off with an old-school device like Uncle Harold used to use. Discussion boards all over the Web abound with wet shaving enthusiasts, wielding hardened steel grooming implements and crowing about the pleasures of smooth faced nostalgia. It you have a nerd for mid-century aesthetics in your midst, shop for and buy a double edged, Don Draper-era razor/bacon slicer from various merchants across the Web.

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Bob Beard