ThinkGeek has been the best source for “Impact Gifts” for many years. (Those interested in reading about my theories about “Impact Gifts” should read through the Christmas Gift Guide archives) This year might be the first year where they weren’t my #1 source. The reasons are many but the economy is the top reason, caffeine soap is a luxury for dotcom bubbles. Also, another company has stolen a lot of ThinkGeek’s thunder. But, in honor of ThinkGeek the first volume of this year’s guide is dedicated to the most consistent source of Impact Gifts over the years.
My favorite character archetype is the Mad Scientist (or Evil Genius) as I believe everyone should develop a little madness in themselves. Thus gifts which either help someone become a Mad Scientist or adds to someone’s evilgeniusness makes a great Impact Gift.
One skill every Mad Scientist needs is the ability to train animals to do their biddings. Thanks to the “R2 Fish Training School” your goldfish could become a soccer playing international phenom:
The R2 Fish Training School Kit is a complete training system that includes everything you need to teach your fish over 10 amazing tricks (including soccer, football, basketball, limbo, fetch, tunnels, and more!)
R2 Fish School training platform
Over 20 compatible training accessories
Instruction manual with over 100 photos
Compact, weighted base for bowls or small tanks – measures 10.25″ x 6.25″
Simple, fast, and easy to understand
For almost all fish 1″ to 6″ in length
Used to train the fish trick world record holder – developed by a real Ph.D!
Made by a Ph.D so you know it’s good.
Another important skill all men (er….persons?) should have is to be able to conjure fire in any situation:
Originally developed for the Swedish Department of Defense, Swedish FireSteel is a flash of genius. Its nearly 3,000°C spark makes fire building easy in any weather, at any altitude. Used by a number of armies around the world, Swedish FireSteel’s dependability has already made it a favorite of survival experts, hunters, fishermen and campers. It has also found its way into cabins and backyards as a fool-proof way to light stoves and gas-barbecues. Amazingly enough it also works equally well when wet. We think geeks will appreciate the power of being able to start a fire with such a simple tool.
Don’t rely on anthropogenic global warming to keep you warm in winter. Burn stuff.
Science museums are really cool places with tons of wonderful learning experiences available to the public. You can walk through giant heart models, see dazzling laser displays, even gawp at actual moon landers. But let’s face it, the best part of every science museum is normally in a bin near the cash register: freeze dried ice cream. Four of the tastiest words in the English language. But thanks to us, you can now get the ice cream astronauts eat without the risk of accidentally learning anything. Yay!
Each package of Astronaut Ice Cream is made with state-of-the-art yummy food technology. First made by the Whirlpool Corporation (yup, the washer/dryer people) for the Apollo missions, freeze dried ice cream has been a favorite of geeks ever since. We have three flavors to offer you. The “original” flavor most often found in museums is neapolitan (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla) – and we also have mint chocolate chip (cool and delicious) and chocolate chocolate chip (very, very chocolaty) to tease your taste buds. Try one or try them all, we know you’ll love ‘em. And if you really want the full astronaut experience, just get some tall strong folks at your office to hold you upside down when you eat. Peristalsis is amazing, and so is Astronaut Ice Cream.
Each package is 0.7 oz of joy and can be stored (unopened) for up to 3 years.
The best part is the fact you might get your astronaut ice cream re-gifted to you in a few years.
Engines run the world and there’s been a lot of new interest in old engine designs which were deemed “inefficient” in comparison to cheap gasoline powered internal combustion engines. Now that terrorists and corporations are in charge of gasoline, it has suddenly created enough cognitive dissonance in liberal do-gooders everywhere to waste money on cool looking paleo-neo-engines:
The intriguing design of this engine, invented and patented in 1816 by Dr. Robert Stirling, is still relevant today. Initially sought as a safer alternative to steam engines (whose boilers could explode), this engine never saw wide spread use because it was generally very heavy and required high temperatures. The principle of the engine is simple: an external heat source and heat sink create a temperature difference in a cylinder and the air inside expands and contracts, moving a piston and a crank shaft in a rotary motion. The energy source can be any source of heat or cold, including solar or even an open flame. The Stirling engine can be more efficient and quieter in comparison to the more familiar internal combustion engine.
This Stirling Engine Kit is a truly unique gift for the person who thought they had everything – an engine that seemingly runs on air! But this engine can run on the heat coming from your hand. Please note that it is a kit and some assembly is required. Not suitable for children under 3 due to small parts.
Finally, and this is something all of could use, a staple-free stapler:
Staples have become a scourge to the office environment. Those shiny metal wires have jammed in thumbs, caught on sweaters, and torn papers. The horrors are just too numerous to mention. Recently, at ThinkGeek World Domination Headquarters, an entire afternoon was spent watching a government mandated corporate safety video that showed, in excruciating slo-motion Tarantinoesque detail, just how terrible accidents with staples can be.
ThinkGeek employees, however, rolled their eyes… for they had converted to an entirely staple free environment. We found in our travels a device that staples papers together – without staples! Oh, we’re not crazy, this thing is real. This handy (and might we add – environmentally friendly) device cuts a tiny flap in the corner of your paper, and folds it in on itself, tucked in a tiny paper pocket.
Sleek, small, and coming in chaotic-evil black, deep blue, and smokey “clear”, the Staple Free Stapler can clip together up to five sheets with ease.
Thanks ThinkGeek for making it possible to buy for other people the things I actually want.