brainwavez.org 2011 Gift Guide
A brainwavez.org Shopping Feature

South Africa By: The brainwavez.org Team on 12 December 2011
Category: Shopping
Tags: #horror, #lego, #lgbti, #ninjas, #speculative_fiction, #star_wars, #team_scripticon, #wondermark, #zombies
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It's December already? That means it must be time for our 2011 roundup of stuff we have or stuff we want or (occasionally) stuff we might give to other people if they've been nice (or very, very naughty).

Last year we finally debuted our gift guide after years of not debuting our gift guide. This year we've got a whole new collection of wonderful things to amaze and astound. Most you'll probably want to get for yourself but if you're feeling generous there are options to consider for friends, too.

As an aside, we have affiliate accounts with Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, kalahari.com, and Loot.co.za. Most purchases that you make via those links will generate a little bit of income for brainwavez.org, which helps to offset the running costs of this site, and for that we'll be extremely grateful. You can also click through and buy other items in the stores - we will still receive commission, which is amazing and, possibly, magic. (If you would like more information about our privacy policy related to affiliate programs, please click here.)

PS: if you want more ideas, most of our picks in last year's gift guide are still available. Why? Because we know timeless quality when we see it!


Unstealthiest Ninja By doomcat
Unstealthiest Ninja By doomcat
Shop online Shop Online
Woot USWoot USWoot
(Woot ships to 46 countries.)
There's a ninja, he's on fire. That's pretty much the end of the story, although there's a longer version on the Woot product page. This T-shirt is available in black (with a hint of flaming panic) in a range of sizes for men, women, and kids. -- MJW South Africa


Skullcandy 2011 Ink'd Gold
Skullcandy 2011 Ink'd Gold
Skullcandy's 2011 Ink'd series of earbuds includes this stylish gold option. The earbuds provide excellent overall sound (bass and treble), especially considering the price, and there are two bud sizes in the package. -- MJW South Africa

(Shopper Alternative: If you don't like gold go for silver (not something you'll ever overhear at The Olympics) - Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, kalahari.com, and Loot.co.za.)


Artwork By Shawn Theron
Artwork By Shawn Theron
Shop online Shop Online
Shawn TheronShawn Theron's Web Site
Shawn Theron, an artist from Baltimore, Maryland, in the US, has captivated me for years, since I first saw his works on display at the American Visionary Art Museum. His paintings come in all shapes and sizes, and are usually works created on scrap lumber, doors, window frames, steps, rafters, and other repruposed materials. They are bright and use contrasting colour schemes, and evoke the eerie beauty of crop circles or are modern-reinterpretations of various types of trees. They are generally very affordable, ship well, and make for a perfect gift for a burgeoning art lover. -- JL United States of America


Star Wars Blu-Ray Collection
Star Wars Blu-Ray Collection
The full Star Wars oeuvre is now available in one complete collection, as this nine-disc collection brings the entire saga - from 1977's Star Wars to 2005's Revenge Of The Sith - direct into your living room in high definition Blu-ray and 6.1 DTS Surround Sound. It also features 40 hours of special features sourced from the Lucasfilm archives such as vintage documentaries; audio commentaries; behind-the-scenes moments; interviews; and retrospectives, as well as numerous deleted, extended, and alternate scenes; new documentaries; and a cross section of the countless Star Wars spoofs that have appeared in pop culture over the past three decades. The Force is definitely strong in this one..! -- PP South Africa


Machine Of Death, Edited By Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, And David Malki !
Machine Of Death, Edited By Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, And David Malki !
Ok. There's a machine. It's a machine... of death! (Or, more accurately, it's a machine that spits out a little piece of paper with a cryptic phrase describing how you will die.) This book was an experiment in Internet crowd-sourced short-story gathering and the results were such a success that the efforts spawned a sequel (this isn't it - this is the first one because you should read it first). So, inside you'll find 34 stories by professionals and amateurs alike, paired with 34 illustrators just because everyone likes pictures too, and some cryptic prophecies - HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE, anyone? -- MJW South Africa


The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D
The Zelda games are almost guaranteed to be great gaming investments and worthy of your time. This one's a Nintendo 3DS remastering of the classic Nintendo 64 game from 1998 and the results are fantastic, with beautiful 3D graphics and touchscreen action (you can play the ocarina!). This doesn't feel like a game that first debuted 13 years ago - the storyline is still immersive and the game is just fun. And yes, we're aware that if you know what an ocarina is you probably already own the game - so buy it for a friend with a 3DS. -- MJW South Africa

(Shopper Bonus: There's also a limited-edition boxed set featuring a customised 3DS - get it at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and kalahari.com.)


Torches By Foster The People
Torches By Foster The People
Though the album is now an international success and you have undoubtedly heard the song "Pumped Up Kicks" repeatedly for the last six months, you would be wise not to dismiss the album. It made our gift guide not because of its popularity but because it really is an excellent piece of work from some very gifted musicians. Mark Foster and his bandmates are experts at creating a hook in each song on Torches, and you'll be impressed when you realise the lyrics you're singing are about an imagined homicidal killing spree, or prostitution, showing that the band has a level of depth, social awareness, and maturity. -- JL United States of America


Information Is Beautiful By David McCandless
Information Is Beautiful By David McCandless
Infographics have been big on the Web since, like, a year ago. (I jest - it's been at least two years.) Right now, the world is just amassing data that's either waiting to be mined (scary) or visualised (beautiful). Get this book for the designer or obsessively compulsive stat nut in your family - it's both inspirational and informative - or treat yourself. After all, a coffee table can always do with more intellectual adornments. -- MJW South Africa


Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
The latest release in the phenomenally successful Call Of Duty series, this is the game to purchase this year. Once again, you are in the thick of things as a member of the British SAS, US Delta Force, and Russian Spetsnaz and it has enough mayhem and intrigue - international terrorism, rogue ultra-nationalists, shady arms deals, and a full-scale invasion of the USA by Russia - to pique the interest of even the most hard-core gamers. Cooperative and multiplayer features have been extensively upgraded compared to its 2009 predecessor and an improved graphics engine produces stunning graphics. It's available for Windows, the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii, and it provides a fitting conclusion to the story arc started with the original 2007 title. -- PP South Africa


Deadlands By Lily Herne
Deadlands By Lily Herne
Shop online Shop Online
kalahari.com ZAkalahari.com ZAkalahari.com
Loot.co.zaLoot.co.zaLoot.co.za

On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Feature: 5 Zombie Questions: Sarah Lotz
Set in a post-apocalyptic Cape Town 10 years after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Deadlands, by South African "author" Lily Herne (mother-and-daughter writing duo Sarah and Savannah Lotz), is the first book in a series being written especially for cynical young adults (or adults young at heart (but still cynical)). It's filled with zombies and amusing political references that are the perfect antidotes to sparkly vampires. -- MJW South Africa


Light Boxes By Shane Jones
Light Boxes By Shane Jones
Great for reimagining the depression of winter, Light Boxes is a quick read about a town that is cursed by a villain named February, who puts an unnamed town under the depression of a perpetual February, and bans flight of any kind. Birds and hot air balloons fall from the sky, and the residents slowly go insane trying to defeat their foe by melting snow, pretending the winter doesn’t exist, and dreaming of the sun. Poetically written and endearing, the novella's creative storyline is matched with an intriguing use of typography and layout, and is the perfect length for that dreaded plane ride to visit the relatives. -- JL United States of America


Decade, Edited By Eamonn McCabe
Decade, Edited By Eamonn McCabe
A comprehensive visual overview of the last 10 years in world history, this book offers a stunning collection of 500 images - iconic and idiosyncratic alike - that were selected by acclaimed photo editor Eamonn McCabe and arranged in chronological order to tell the story of the first decade of the 21st century. Global in scope, the photographs tackle subjects as diverse as the September 2001 World Trade Center attacks, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games, the November 2008 election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States, and the death of the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, in June 2009. Each image is accompanied by both a short descriptive and an extended, historical caption to provide a wider context within which to understand the photographs. Fifteen historical and thematic essays - exploring the events, trends, and social phenomena that have characterised the decade - are also included. Dramatic, nostalgic, and educational alike, Decade will appeal to readers of all ages and interests. -- PP South Africa


The Dark Knight By Nathan W Pyle
The Dark Knight By Nathan W Pyle
Shop online Shop Online
Woot USWoot USWoot
(Woot ships to 46 countries.)
Here's one for all sorts of geeks. We've got chess, we've got The Batman (incognito), and we've got glow-in-the-dark awesome subtleness. What's not to love? (If you're a criminal there are all sorts of answers to that question but they're beyond the scope of this gift guide.) Grab this T-shirt quickly because Woot apparel eventually (or sometimes unexpectedly speedily) shuffles off this mortal coil... not unlike many of The Batman's foes, actually. -- MJW South Africa


Mad Catz Cyborg RAT 9 Wireless Mouse
Mad Catz Cyborg RAT 9 Wireless Mouse
Shop online Shop Online
Amazon USAmazon US Amazon.com
Amazon UKAmazon UKAmazon.co.uk
Looking like something that just came off the same assembly line as a T-800 Terminator, Mad Catz' Cyborg RAT 9 Wireless Mouse is probably the most configurable mouse we in the brainwavez.org collective have ever seen - you can change the length of its body, add or remove weights, reposition the side buttons, and even swap out body parts to produce a uniquely customised mouse that fits your hand perfectly. Available with Windows and Mac OS X drivers, it is perfect for casual users and creative professionals alike, but it will especially come into its own among the gaming fraternity. -- PP South Africa


The Racist's Guide To The People Of South Africa By Simon Kilpatrick
The Racist's Guide To The People Of South Africa By Simon Kilpatrick
Wow. Are you easily offended? Probably, if you're a South African, but likely only in public in order to be politically correct. Here's your official permission to laugh publicly at over-exaggerated South African stereotypes... until you reach the profile of your own racial classification. Who's laughing now, hey? Well, probably everyone else.... (I should also note that I've seen a number of people reading this book in airports and on planes so if you're travelling this festive season this is presumably the politically incorrect book to have with you.) -- MJW South Africa


Viktoria By Maria Mena
Viktoria By Maria Mena
Shop online Shop Online
Amazon USAmazon US Amazon.com
Amazon UKAmazon UKAmazon.co.uk
Maria Mena has long been one of my favorite artists for her honesty and matter-of-fact lyrics, as well as her vocal abilities, which range from soft and gentle to soaring. Her newest album, Viktoria, is full of songs related to forgiveness and is deeply personal, discussing relationships, infidelity, betrayal, and a questioning disclosure about her family - all par for the course for an artist known for singing about eating disorders, abuse, and deceit. One would expect the music to be angry and filled with sadness but it is the opposite: upbeat and beautiful arrangements of guitar, piano, synthesizers, and strings make for an artistic album that is easy to listen to but will also make you think critically about your own relationships. -- JL United States of America


The Girl With Glass Feet By Ali Shaw
The Girl With Glass By Ali Shaw
This is a beautiful tale of love, wonder, and resentment set in the fictional North Atlantic archipelago of St. Hauda's Land that follows Midas Crook and how his life changes after meeting Ida Maclaird, a visitor seeking a cure for a seemingly impossible ailment: she is slowly turning to glass from the feet up. The writing is fluid and descriptive, and the unexpected conclusion will leave you breathlessly satisfied. I hope to see this as a film someday. -- JL United States of America


Steve Jobs By William Isaacson
Steve Jobs By William Isaacson
Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs was the driving force behind the creation and evolution of Apple into the most valuable tech company in the world. Fans of Apple products will love this book, as the back stories behind some of the company's most iconic products - such as the Apple IIe, the Macintosh, the iMac, the iPhone, and the iTunes Music Store - are told for the first time from Jobs' perspective. The book also goes into considerable detail about Jobs' life before Apple - such as his dropping out of Reed College and trekking through India - but where it really shines is its delving into Jobs sense of abandonment after discovering that he had been put up for adoption as a toddler, his (at times) abrasive and (alternatively) charming personality, his favourite music, and (most poignantly) his battle with pancreatic cancer. Not so much a biography as a riveting story of the extraordinary life and intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose drive for perfection revolutionised the computer, animation, music, phones, tablets, and digital-publishing empires, it comes highly recommended. -- PP South Africa


SS Mirror
SS Mirror
Shop online Shop Online
GreenBulbGreenBulb
Let's say you're one of those tools who likes to pose for the camera... or, perhaps, let's rather say you're out having high* adventures with friends during the holidays and you need to take the perfect group shot without 12 attempts ruining the moment. The SS Mirror is an ingenious little mirror (the "SS" stands for "self shot") that was devised by a very cool inventor and entrepreneur in Hong Kong named Elton Leung. You stick it on your photo-taking device (I can't really say "camera" because you can use it on anything with a lens, including camera phones and tablets) and it's slightly convex shape helps you to get the angle right. I promise you - it just works! -- MJW South Africa

*(I didn't mean that literally, except perhaps in the sense of physically being at an altitude that's not sea level.)


LEGO Minifigures Series 4
LEGO Minifigures Series 4
Shop online Shop Online
Amazon USAmazon US Amazon.com
Amazon UKAmazon UKAmazon.co.uk
kalahari.com ZAkalahari.com ZAkalahari.com

On brainwavez.org On brainwavez.org
Review: CSI: Legoland
Feature: LEGO Club Music Season 1 Videos
Review: Smile
A gift guide wouldn't be complete without a stocking filler. How about a LEGO Minifigure from Series 4? The series comprises 16 minifigs, including a werewolf, musketeer, orange-suited hazmat guy, kimono girl, and a fishing garden gnome, plus some very cool accessories. That's the good news. The bad news is that these things are all limited edition (buy now or prepare to pay a fortune later to get one from a collector) and getting the ones you want is much more complicated (note: I speak from experience when I say it's not impossible). However, if you like random excitement and surprises, then none of that's an issue. And if you're giving these to friends (because we all know you were actually thinking about getting some for yourself), then you don't have to deal with disappointment that you didn't get "the right one" because "you don't know me at all!". But I digress. It's LEGO. Each bag is not too expensive. They fit in a stocking (Christmas or otherwise - no judgement here). Your shopping is now complete. -- MJW South Africa







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