Geeky gifts 101

By GEORGIANA COHEN  |  December 11, 2008

Inscrutable snacks
More than one staple of the geek diet comes from the Far East. Only a true geek could appreciate something like RAMUNE, the tasty Japanese soda that requires you to dislodge a marble from the neck of the bottle before you can drink it. Then, there’s the colorful cornucopia of ASIAN CANDIES. Whether you gift-wrap wasabi-coated peas, kiwi gummy candies, or chocolate-filled koala biscuits, the kooky flavor-blends offered by Japanese candies are likely to entice a geeky tongue. The best bet on the import shelf could be POCKY, cracker sticks coated in delicious flavors, such as almond, chocolate, strawberry, and orange — and don’t forget the mysterious allure of dark-chocolate-dipped “Men’s Pocky.” PRETZ, a close cousin of Pocky, offers cracker sticks in tomato, bacon, and other savory tastes.

Of course, there’s always BUBBLE TEA, the tapioca-infused drink of choice for many geeks. You could buy a gift card to some local purveyor of bubble, or “boba,” tea, but why not get a bubble- tea kit so your nerd can enjoy lychee-flavored tea and tapioca pearls with his or her very own wide straw in the comfort of home?

Do the jitterbug
Caffeine is a mainstay of many people’s lives nowadays, but geeks take its rush to a whole new level, and may appreciate taking a more diligent, hands-on, rule-driven, ritualistic approach to their coffee-making with a FRENCH PRESS. The two-cup size is both a convenient workplace appliance and conversation piece. On THINKGEEK.COM, you can combine the love of a good caffeine buzz with an affection for covalent bonding with a T-shirt, sweatshirt, ceramic mug, travel mug, or keychain depicting the structure of the caffeine molecule. That way, everyone will understand the depth of your geek’s appreciation for that most delightfully productive meld of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen atoms. ThinkGeek also offers caffeinated root beer, candy, gum, lip balm(!), and soap. Trying to wean yourself off the bean? They sell metered caffeine inhalers.

Word nerds
A key subgenre of nerd-dom that can’t be avoided is librarian chic. On BUYOLYMPIA.COM, a small online retailer focusing on handmade goods, you can buy a host of items with the READING IS SEXY mantra, including bumper stickers, mugs, magnets, hoodies, messenger bags, and, of course, T-shirts. There are also FUTURE LIBRARIAN shirts and buttons, featuring the emblematic librarian glasses. Looking for gender equality in your bookish endeavors? Check out the bespectacled, turtlenecked male icon of the GUYBRARIAN tees. The Web-comic QUESTIONABLE CONTENT also offers a great T-shirt in this mold, evoking Thomas Dolby’s classic with the phrase SHE BLINDED ME WITH LIBRARY SCIENCE alongside a picture of the bun-wearing, knee-sock-hiking, Mary Jane–shod stereotype we all so adore.

(While we’re on the topic, here’s a hint. Web-comics, in general, tend to have a lot of great merch that, while usually spawned from inside jokes in the strips, is pretty hilarious and has a relatively general appeal. At least as general and appealing as something like the FUTURE CORPSES OF AMERICA T-shirt — inspired by the comic CAT AND GIRL — can be considered.)

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