brainwavez.org Gift Guide 2012

By: The brainwavez.org Team
Posted: 30 November 2012
Category: Shopping
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Happy festive season! Whatever you are celebrating (or not) you'll probably need gifts. After all, isn't celebrating commercialism what holidays are all about? Therefore, here's our 2012 selection of stuff you'll definitely want to buy for yourself (and might considering giving to other people too).

We are very happy to present our third gift guide, which we're now going to call an "annual" gift guide because we feel we've set a firm gift-guiding course for the future.

This year we tried to find gifts and collectables that were cool as well as inexpensive so you can buy more things for more people (and yourself). brainwavez.org has affiliate accounts with Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, kalahari.com, and Loot.co.za so most purchases made through those links (our suggestions or anything else you might fancy) will help to generate some income for the site. Please keep this in mind when you're shopping - now and in the future.

We hope you enjoy our 2012 selection, which includes ninjas, Star Wars, LEGO, zombies, horror, and a dragon (we missed pirates, unfortunately, and our robot met an untimely demise), but if you want more ideas don't forget to read our 2010 and 2011 gift guides as most of the items in those guides are still available. We have a knack for knowing awesome (and presenting it to you within fancy dotted green borders)!


Unstealthiest Ninja 3 By DoOomcat
Unstealthiest Ninja 3 By DoOomcat
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Review: Escape
Last year we introduced you to a new T-shirt star, the Unstealthiest Ninja. Although he'd somehow caught alight it wasn't the last of him and this year he managed to find himself not incognito on a mission. This time around (you'd think they would have kicked him out of ninja school by now but maybe his impermeability is an asset) he's traversing waterways in his inimitable style. The T-shirt is available in navy in various sizes for men, women, and kids. -- MJW South Africa


From Aardvark To Zuma: The South African Alphabet By Alex Latimer
From Aardvark To Zuma: The South African Alphabet By Alex Latimer
Grit your teeth and fight through the pain of seeing the two spelling mistakes on the back cover of this book (which I have been told will be vanquished when it is reprinted) as inside is a magical treasure trove of South African iconography and pop culture, all illustrated in Alex Latimer's adorably quirky style and accompanied with humorous text entries to elaborate on the significance of the choices for each letter of the alphabet. -- MJW South Africa


Searching African Skies By Sarah Wild
Searching African Skies By Sarah Wild
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Feature: The Sun In 3D
Journalist Sarah Wild's special knack of making science, potentially a dry topic that makes people's eyes glaze over, interesting and understandable is put to good use in this book, which chronicles the history of radio astronomy in South Africa. It delves into history, such as the story of the first astronomers in the country who had to lug heavy equipment inland and over the swamp in Observatory (there used to be a swamp in Observatory), and explains why the country has become a world leader in this scientific area of enquiry (semi spoiler: NASA was indirectly involved!). Where we've come from, and how we got here, is a fascinating story and, as you'll learn, we can be very proud of what we've achieved so far. -- MJW South Africa


Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking By Susan Cain
Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking By Susan Cain
By far one of the most insightful books I've read this year, Susan Cain unravels the intricacies of the extrovert and the introvert, and explains the unique skill sets introverts have in relationships, business, and family. She grounds this with research in biology, psychology, anthropology, and other -ologies, and encourages introverts to "come out" and make no apologies for their perceived social weakness, while standing up against the epithet "shy". Give this to that overbearing extrovert or the wallflower you'll undoubtedly meet at the perfunctory holiday parties and you will change how they see their interactions with everyone. -- JL United States of America


The DIY Twin Lens Camera Kit
The DIY Twin Lens Camera Kit
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PhotojojoPhotojojo (ships worldwide)
Build your own camera! Why would you want to? Because you can! This fancy DIY gadget has two lenses and a top-down viewfinder with old-school charm. You'll give photography geeks a great introduction into how cameras work (and, possibly - if they were born after 2000 - a lesson in what "film" is), as well as the satisfaction of having made something by hand that can be used over and over. That's much more memorable than snapping something with a cellular-phone camera and applying a filter with one press of a button. (We hope.) -- MJW South Africa


World War Z By Max Brooks
World War Z By Max Brooks
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Tag: #zombies (lots of them)
World War Z makes it into this year's Gift Guide primarily because a film adaptation is due for release in June 2013. While it remains to be seen whether or not the film will eclipse the book, lovers of the zombie-apocalypse genre will love World War Z: what appears to be a minor outbreak of an unknown disease in China soon spreads worldwide and mankind is brought to the brink of extinction before striking back in a decade-long campaign to rid the world of the undead. What distinguishes World War Z is author Max Brooks' use of the narrative to criticise government ineptitude, corporate corruption, and human shortsightedness. However, don't let that put you off - there is also action, gore and anarchy; enough, in fact, to be the perfect antidote to what passes for Christmas entertainment on TV nowadays. -- PP South Africa


Something Wicked Volume One, Edited By Joe Vaz And Vianne Venter
Something Wicked Volume One, Edited By Joe Vaz And Vianne Venter
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Tag: #horror (lots of it)
This anthology of speculative fiction and horror stories marks the rebirth of Something Wicked, for years South Africa's only horror magazine that paid its writers and illustrators. (You can read the full story of the magazine's unfortunate demise here in an article I wrote for BOOKS Live.) However co-editor Joe Vaz, and his partner and co-editor Vianne Venter who was right by his side all through the ups and downs, was never going to let this be permanent because he's too passionate about this project, into which he has sunk much of his own money over the years knowing full well he'd never recoup his investment. This year they announced and published this anthology, collecting works by authors from all over the world and expanding the scope to include speculative fiction. It's a labour of love in a limited print run but your support will see it happen again next year with a another new selection of works by both established and up-and-coming authors. -- MJW South Africa


Soul Is Heavy By Nneka
Soul Is Heavy By Nneka
A strong and young singer, Nneka blends roots, reggae, blues, and jazz into her culturally-conscious songwriting. Part spiritual and part political, her music touches on the African diaspora (she is a native of Nigeria but lived in Germany) and she challenges her listeners to seek their own truth and understanding while gently rocking to the beat. She sings in English and Igbo, so if you suspect one of your friends or family could be a lover of world music, Soul Is Heavy makes for a great introduction to a promising young artist. -- JL United States of America


Weekend
Weekend
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Tag: #lgbti
This is not a holiday movie. Nor are you going to watch this at any holiday parties. You may not want to give it to anyone experiencing SAD, or an individual who is sad about their perceived perpetual singlehood. However this is a great movie to watch and re-watch because of its simple beauty and characterisation. The introverted Russell meets Glen at a club, and the two spend the weekend together having sex, taking drugs, and figuring out if they are meant for each other (we told you it wasn't a holiday movie). When the movie ends you're left feeling bereft and emotionally exhausted but in that good, art-house kind of way. If you give The Dark Knight Rises DVD to someone, give this film to the opposite type of person, or keep it for yourself. -- JL United States of America


Charley's War By Pat Mills And Joe Colquhoun
Charley's War By Pat Mills And Joe Colquhoun
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Created by Pat Mills and illustrated by Joe Colquhoun, Charley's War tells the story of Charley Bourne, a naive 16-year old Cockney boy who lies about his age to enlist in the British Army during the First World War. He soon finds himself in combat and any thoughts of glory and patriotism are soon swept aside by the sheer horror and carnage amidst the trenches A firm favourite with readers of all ages, its initial run ended in October 1986 but Titan/Rebellion Publishers deciding to reprint Charley's War in its entirety as a series of annual 112-page hardcover anthologies. The first - Charley's War: 2 June - 1 August 1916 - was released in November 2004 and the ninth (penultimate) - Charley's War Volume Nine: Death From Above - was released last month. Meticulously researched and superbly illustrated, Charley's War avoids the standard heroics common in war comics, choosing instead to provide an extremely frank portrayal of the horrors of war. Justifiably described as "the greatest British comic strip ever created", it comes highly recommended and will appeal to comic book fans and historians alike. -- PP South Africa


Small Plates & Sweet Treats By Aran Goyoaga
Small Plates & Sweet Treats By Aran Goyoaga
After years of blogging at Cannelle et Vanille, food stylist and chef Aran Goyoaga released her gluten-free cookbook in October this year. The photos alone are enough to make you drool (we'd recommend buying a drop cloth with this book) but the recipes will inspire you and your friends for post-holiday parties, and may even help you to keep that New Year's resolution to eat healthier. -- JL United States of America


Candy Empire By kevlar51 And walmazan
Candy Empire By kevlar51 And walmazan
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Woot USWoot USWoot
(Woot ships to 46 countries.)
The leader of the newly founded Candy Empire has a distracting abdominal moustache and his typographers don't seem to know anything about leading. There's so much wrong with this I don't know why I'm recommending it but somehow it radiates a mesmerising communist charm that can't be ignored... even though your eyes are probably burning from the visual assault. If you can stomach it, this T-shirt can be yours for a reasonable price (sanity not included). -- MJW South Africa


Butterfly Boucher By Butterfly Boucher
Butterfly Boucher By Butterfly Boucher
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Review: Butterfly Boucher: "We Don't Have A Clue"
Playful and intricate are two words that describe Butterfly Boucher's third album, which she wrote, produced, and released without a major label. She's an accomplished musician who creates layered percussive pop-rock songs with whimsical lyrics and loops that wiggle their way into your ear and take up residence in your brain. Listening to this album will be a nice change for anyone feeling bombarded by the sickly sweet and annoying Christmas music that drives most to the brink of insanity. -- JL United States of America


Star Wars Origami By Chris Alexander
Star Wars Origami By Chris Alexander
Children may love Star Wars and origami but the creations in this book are a little too complicated, so this is best suited for an adult with a lot of patience, creativity, and time. The 36 models range from Youngling (easy) to Jedi Master (tricky), and include all of the essentials from the movies, such as Yoda, the Death Star, and lightsabers. The book includes basic origami definitions and folds, as well as two sets of custom-designed folding paper for each creation. (PS: Consider getting some extra origami paper to give as a stocking stuffer. Just don't actually stuff it in a stocking. -- JL United States of America


Icons By Alex Hamilton
Icons By Alex Hamilton
South African pop-art artist Alex Hamilton's collection of icons stencilled on 7.5x11cm wooden blocks, featuring noteworthy celebrities, landmarks, and symbols, has been growing steadily since 2008 and now numbers over 1800. They are economically priced and make for great stocking fillers (that will actually fit!). If you're somewhere else in the world besides Cape Town Alex will ship your icons to you (just contact him for pricing details) so you have no reason not to order. PS: Give us a real-world thumbs-up warm fuzzy and tell him brainwavez.org sent you. -- MJW South Africa


iPUP
iPUP
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KONstore KONstore
The iPup is a designer hard-shell case for the iPhone 4/4S with a snug sleeve on the back that can hold a card such as a credit card, ID card, or metro card (or even a couple of business cards). It has been created by KON (Knock Of Neverland), a design company in South Korea that puts a great amount of spirit and effort into its quirky products. The iPUP is available in yellow, white, dark grey, pink, and blue and the package has lots of free extras including a random character button and a random protective card featuring one of the company's Jambo Island characters. -- MJW South Africa


The Ol' Razzle Dazzle By Missy Higgins
The Ol' Razzle Dazzle By Missy Higgins
With a little help from rock climbing, a break from music, and her friend Butterfly Boucher (see above), Missy Higgins returned to music this year with a renewed spirit and a new sound, mixed with her insightful lyrics. The 12 songs on the album take on a new life each time you listen to them, and the multi-faceted lyrics blend well with the subtle and inventive musicianship. If you know people who like to listen to a song on repeat (anyone who likes that Gotye song, for instance), this album is the one for them; they'll continually find something new (and if you're stuck in a car with them, you won't go mad and pull the emergency break while going 100 'round the bends). -- JL United States of America


After The Party By Spiritgreen
After The Party By Spiritgreen
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Woot USWoot USWoot
(Woot ships to 46 countries.)
There's always that guy... that one guy who's left to clean up the mess after the party and separate the gunk from the recyclables. (There's also always that one guy who vomits into a prized flower pot but that kind of disaster is beyond the scope of this gift guide. Just don't be that guy this festive season.) If you've ever wondered what happens to your sword and shield after another failed LAN-party dragon-lair raid, well, here's your answer. This T-shirt is available in asphalt (that's a colour) in various sizes for men, women, and kids, although you shouldn't be sending off your armoured-up kids into dark caves to deal with monsters. That's probably bad parenting. (Unless you really don't like your kids, in which case carry on.) -- MJW South Africa


Philo's Wish By Falcon Comics/Luis Tolosana
Philo's Wish By Falcon Comics/Luis Tolosana
Philo's Wish, a silent comic (the story is told entirely through the detailed illustrations and occasional pictograms), was my favourite discovery at this year's Co/Mix mini-comics festival. The art is beautiful and the story, which is also suitable for kids, is magical. Philo's Wish is a bit hard to find but you can contact Luis directly or find it at these stockists in Cape Town (The Book Lounge should be able to ship internationally). -- MJW South Africa


LEGO Minifigures Series 8 (8833)
LEGO Minifigures Series 8 (8833)
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On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Tag: #lego (lots of cool stuff)
We've got more LEGO minifig stocking fillers to recommend this year and, bonus, the man himself is featured in this series. (I'm talking about Santa/Father Christmas, of course.) Once again these are limited edition and random, so we can't guarantee that you'll get the one you want, but the selection includes some cool characters such as Pirate Captain (that's his name... shame), a conquistador with an epée, a businessman who may or may not be a secret agent (if we knew for sure it wouldn't be very secret, would it?), and a well ruffled thespian, complete with skull (another one, we mean, besides his own) so you're sure to get something cool in your selection... um, the selection you're buying for your friends. Of course. -- MJW South Africa


(We apologise for searing the phrase "abdominal moustache" into your brain. It's never going to go away. Ho ho ho!)

Tags: #arts_and_culture, #books, #comics, #horror, #lego, #lgbti, #music, #ninjas, #screen, #speculative_fiction #star_wars, #technology, #zombies





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