Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2011

On the new episode of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ told you about all the things you should buy this Christmas season, and now here’s a comprehensive guide! (Including a few items that weren’t even mentioned on the show.)

Note: Most links and prices are from Amazon.


READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

Hands down one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. It’s like my admittedly overdeveloped nostalgia gland were milked and distilled onto the page. This book is my geeky, pop-culture DNA printed in ink. ~ Paul

ESSENTIAL AVENGERS: VOL. 1 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck

Before Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie hits screens next year, why not gift someone with this primer on the superteam’s beginnings with classic stories by Lee, Kirby, and Heck? ~ AJ


It’s like Walt Kelly or Carl Barks retold The Lord of the Rings…with cute little cartoon critters (and stupid, stupid rat creatures). Writer/artist Jeff Smith’s 1300-page magnum opus, published sporadically in single issue comic format from 1991-2004, starts off sort of light and frivolous, but builds into something truly sophisticated and surprisingly dark by the end. ~ Paul


Tina Fey’s hilarious thoughts on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, life, and her childhood, which included many gay friends and time at theater camp. ~ AJ

HABIBI by Craig Thompson

From the Publisher: Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable abour our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.


There is probably someone out there who wants this, as I’m sure it’ll look pretty, but only a handful of these new #1 issues are worth it: Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Batman and Robin, and a few others. ~ AJ

BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla

Potentially one of the new greatest Batman stories ever told, and it isn’t even Bruce Wayne. Writer Scott Snyder and artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla tell the definitive Dick Grayson-as-Batman stories, featuring a grisly murder mystery, the return of a major (but forgotten) character from the Bat-past…oh, and a killer whale. ~ Paul

DAYTRIPPER by Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon

One of the few times I can use the word “transcendent” and not seem like a pretentious tool, because this really is that. As you follow the life and multiple deaths of Bras de Olivias Dominguez, you gain an understanding of the importance of not only his existence, but yours as well. One of the finest comics of the last decade. ~ AJ

WE3 DELUXE EDITION by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

Finally available in the deluxe hardcover format it’s always deserved, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely’s moving, emotional story of three house pets mutilated by a secret military project and turned into walking weapons will shock you, challenge you, and, if you have even the smallest fragment of a soul, bring you to tears. ~ Paul


From the Publisher: A graphic novel featuring nine all-new stories based on the 1980s Henson television series, including an adaptation of an unproduced screenplay by series’ main writer Oscar winner Anthony Minghella. Contributors will include Jeff Parker, Ron Marz, Katie Cook, and more.

JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND by Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, and Ramon Perez

From the Publisher: Join us as we explore this missing piece of Jim Henson’s career in a celebration of his creative process. Discovered in the Archives of The Jim Henson Company, A Tale of Sand is an original graphic novel adaptation of an unproduced, feature-length screenplay written by Jim Henson and his frequent writing partner, Jerry Juhl. A Tale of Sand follows scruffy everyman, Mac, who wakes up in an unfamiliar town, and is chased across the desert of the American Southwest by all manner of man and beast of unimaginable proportions. Produced with the complete blessing of Henson co-CEO Lisa Henson, A Tale of Sand will allow Henson fans to recognize some of the inspirations and set pieces that appeared in later Henson Company productions.

GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP by Adam Mansbach

“A bedtime book for parents that live in the real world.” Greatest. Book. Ever. ~ Paul

BATMAN: MURDER AT WAYNE MANOR by Duane Swierczynski and David Lapham

An Interactive Mysteries book, this has apparently been around since 2008, but I’m just hearing about it now (of course). Appears to be a variation on the “choose your own adventure” idea, focusing on a corpse discovered on the grounds of Wayne Manor and the possibility that Bruce Wayne’s father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, is the murderer. The book includes removable clues such as a blood-stained party invitation, a map of Wayne Manor, an autopsy report, and so on for the reader to examine and conduct their own investigation with. ~ Paul



The movies became a mixed bag as they went along, but that doesn’t diminish the nostalgic value of the first two, the gloriousness of the third, or the riveting conclusion of the eighth and final film. Unless the Potterhead in your life is absolutely averse to the cinematic adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s novels, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want this. ~ AJ


Yes, yes, George Lucas has tinkered with these films so often that they don’t entirely resemble their original incarnations. Still, it’s Star Wars, one of the greatest series in the history of film (I even have a soft spot for the prequels). And it’s the first time any of these movies has ever been on Blu-ray, so. You know. Kind of a huge deal. ~ AJ

SUPER 8 (DVD/Blu-ray)

Giddy, loving, thrilling homage to Spielberg’s “good ol’ days,” combining elements from E.T. and Close Encounters, as well as things like Stand by Me and The Goonies. It’s the story of six friends who spend their summer vacation making a zombie movie, in the process witnessing one of the more spectacular train wrecks ever filmed, and get caught up in a slightly more menacing version of the “E.T. phone home” scenario. Newcomer Joel Courtney is fantastic, as are all the fresh young faces in the cast. Unsurprisingly, “veteran” actors Elle Fanning and Kyle “Coach Taylor” Chandler also bring the greatness. ~ Paul

THE TREE OF LIFE (Blu-ray & DVD Combo)

Terrence Malick’s overwhelmingly beautiful rumination on life, death, and everything in between has been polarizing among certain audiences: there are those who embrace its unconventional narrative and philosophical tangents, and those who wish it was a little more normal (including, oddly, star Sean Penn). However, for the true film buff, this is one of the best films of the year and an absolute must-own. ~ AJ

TERRI (DVD/Blu-ray)

Few people seem to have seen or even heard of Terri, which is a shame, because it’s such an honest, unassuming, genuinely funny and moving film about an overweight kid (Jacob Wysocki, in a winning performance). Unlike most films about teen outsiders, Terri and those he comes to consider friends actually are outsiders with real problems. John C. Reilly and Creed Bratton shine in supporting roles. ~ AJ

HANNA (DVD/Blu-ray)

Hanna is that rare action movie, one that not only engages you on the superficial level but which also offers you plenty to think about it. At its roots, the story is poetic and akin to a fairy tale, wrapped in Joe Wright’s kinetic visuals and studded by a wonderful star turn from Saoirse Ronan. You can eat your popcorn and have it, too. ~ AJ

ANOTHER EARTH (Blu-ray & DVD Combo)

Minimalist science fiction/philosophy piece examining life choices, forgiveness, redemption, and the question of what exactly would you say to yourself if you met your cosmic double. Co-writer/director Mike Cahill and co-writer/star Brit Marling take a larger-than-life sci-fi premise and use it as the backdrop for an incredibly small, intimate character study of one young woman and the consequences of a single mistake. ~ Paul

RANGO (DVD/Blu-ray)

One of the best animated films in recent memory, and it’s not Pixar, or even Dreamworks. It’s Paramount, of all studios, their first foray into the high-stakes world of CG-animated cute animal storytelling. Though there’s not a lot of cute on display here. Johnny Depp as the titular gonzo lizard Don Knotts his way through a zany, hallucinogenic landscape cobbled together brilliantly from film classics like the Man with No Name trilogy, Chinatown, and yes, director Gore Verbinski’s own Pirates films. Rango is a bizarre but enthralling pastiche which also happens to be one of the single most visually stunning films, animated or otherwise, that I have ever seen. ~ Paul


A short but sweet return to the world of How to Train Your Dragon. As a quick-off direct-to-video thing, this easily could have been cheaply produced and poorly written. Fortunately, the animation is nearly as great as in the original film. The story is fun and expands a bit further on the mythology of the dragons, but the real value here is the continuing relationship between Hiccup and Toothless. Running time is under 30 minutes, but just the few moments of genuine character progression between these two brought genuine tears to my eyes. Again. ~ Paul

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE (DVD/Blu-ray/Blu-ray & DVD)

I was shocked by how much I ended up loving this movie. It’s sweet, funny, touching, and yes, just a little sappy…everything you look for in a great Hollywood romantic comedy. This is probably the best straight rom-com in years, actually. Steve Carell proves that he’ll be just fine post-Office, Ryan Gosling proves that he can be funny instead of broody, and Julianne Moore and Emma Stone both prove that they remain eminently lovable. ~ AJ


A confession: being an utter heathen when it comes to most forms of classic literature, I was almost entirely ignorant of the story of Jane Eyre before watching Cary Fukanaga’s new film version. But that did not stop me from immediately falling in love with the film. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and perennial Gobbledygeek favorites Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender are both terrific. ~ AJ


It’s Citizen Kane. Come on. There are tons and tons of extras on this 70th anniversary set, including the films American Experience: The Battle Over Citizen Kane and RKO 281. ~ AJ


Community proved its zest for the wacky in its first season, but the insane ambition on display in the second is jaw-dropping. Watch as the cock-eyed students and faculty of Greendale Community College are turned into zombies, get animated for a Rankin/Bass-type Christmas special, engage in an epic paintball war, and much, much more. One of the best comedies on TV…and it might be gone soon, so, you know. Buy it for everyone you know. ~ AJ


It might not be as off-the-walls inventive as Community, but Parks and Recreation is of comparable quality, another gold standard for television comedy in the 21st century. Pawnee, Indiana’s parks department, led by the beautifully optimistic Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, in a career-defining performance), is weird and wonderful. Just like The Office used to be, Parks & Rec is awkward, hilarious, and deeply heartfelt. ~ AJ


Nirvana’s landmark 1991 album celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and such a Super Deluxe Edition was inevitable. The five-disc set is as follows: the remastered album with all the B-sides; a disc containing the Smart Studio sessions, boombox rehearsals, and radio sessions; the Devonshire mixes, rough mixes prepared by producer Butch Vig; a previously unreleased Halloween ’91 concert at the Paramount Theater in Seattle; and a DVD of the concert and the music videos Nevermind spawned. The various different mixes and demos are intriguing for hardcore fans, but none of the songs are radically different and listening value is historical, at best. However, the live material is invaluable for any fan. Speaking of… ~ AJ


2009’s Live at Reading was a great Nirvana set from 1992, and while Live at the Paramount isn’t quite as staggering–this is a band 30 seconds from taking the world by storm, not one that was already the reigning king of rock–it is absolutely essential for anyone interested in the group. Unlike Live at Reading, which was shot on video, Live at the Paramount was shot on film and as such, looks absolutely fantastic. The band’s energy and intensity don’t waver for a single moment during this hour-plus concert, and the impact of the monster opening riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or the punk fuck-you attitude of “Territorial Pissings” have not been dulled with age. By the way, if you’re an enthusiast with a deep wallet… ~ AJ


Fender has created a replica of the 1965 Jaguar with which Kurt kicked out the jams, reproducing everything from its beaten, worn finish to its “unique electronics.” If you’re rich and/or devoted enough to purchase this amazing piece of amazingness, you’ll also get an exclusive book with photos and commentary by Charles Peterson and an interview with Nirvana guitar tech Earnie Bailey. ~ AJ


Pink Floyd’s seminal best-selling 1973 album gets the glorious, over-the-top Immersion Box Set treatment. Features 6 discs of rare and unreleased audio and video material, including a digitally remastered version of the original album, a live performance of the album from Wembley 1974, concert footage, demos, interviews, a 40-page book, original photos, concert ticket reproductions, and a ton more. Wish You Were Here and The Wall have both also received the Immersion treatment. ~ Paul


Cameron Crowe’s immersive documentary celebrating 20 years of the Seattle grandfathers of grunge. I was a minor PJ fan before viewing this film. Now, I have a much better appreciation for the band and their music. ~ Paul


The King Is Dead by The Decemberists – CD ($11.22)/Vinyl ($19.99)/MP3 ($9.49)/CD & DVD ($19.52)/Super Deluxe Limited Edition ($52.04)

Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars – CD ($7.99)/Vinyl ($13.99)/MP3 ($5.00)

Middle Brother by Middle Brother – CD ($8.06)/Vinyl ($15.98)/MP3 ($9.99)

Nothing Is Wrong by Dawes – CD ($7.70)/Vinyl ($17.98)/MP3 ($7.99)

Past Life Martyred Saints by EMA – CD ($10.93)/Vinyl ($23.36)/MP3 ($6.49)

Father, Son, Holy Ghost by Girls – CD ($9.99)/Vinyl ($22.98)/MP3 ($9.99)

Ocean’s Kingdom by Paul McCartney – CD ($12.99)/Vinyl ($31.71)/MP3 ($7.99)/MP3 & digital booklet ($9.49)

The King of Limbs by Radiohead – CD ($9.52)/Vinyl ($15.69)/MP3 ($5.99)



Design your own Muppet Whatnot (the peculiar but talented Muppet “extras” that help the Muppets put on their shows) and have it delivered right to you. Or, better yet, give a Whatnot Gift Card to a loved one and let them build their own fuzzy or felty friend. ~ Paul

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)

The best Batman game ever? Yes. The best superhero game ever? Most likely. ~ Paul

ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)

I’ve only dipped my toes into this game so far, so I can neither confirm nor deny that it is, as so many fans claim, “the greatest video game of all time!” I can tell you that it’s pretty to look at, intuitive to play, and it’s got that whole sandbox world thing that I love so much going for it. But based on the very little I’ve played at this point, I’d say it’s not much more than a striking visual improvement on the earlier games in the series. Not so much earthshaking. ~ Paul

SONIC GENERATIONS (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)

As a long-time fan of the blue blur, I can confirm that this is easily his best outing since Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which–prepare to feel old–came out 17 years ago. The majority of Sonic games since then haven’t seemed to understand that the series’ appeal lies in blasting through complex, colorful stages at top speed with wild abandon. Happily, Sega has recaptured the magic just in time for Sonic’s 20th anniversary, ripping open the time-space continuum so that Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic exist side-by-side, each with different souped-up versions of classic stages from the series’ past. Everything from Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Green Hill Zone to Sonic Colors‘ Planet Wisp get brilliant makeovers. It’s not only thrilling to play old-school zones in the style of Modern Sonic, but also to play the newfangled zones in the tried-and-true Classic style. If it weren’t for the repetitive/annoying boss fights (which, on a positive note, aren’t as frequent as in other games), this would be a perfect game. ~ AJ

L.A. NOIRE (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)

If you love noir fiction, this game is for you. Brilliant adaptation of the tropes of the genre into video game form, allowing the player to actually investigate, examine clues, interrogate suspects, and navigate a painstakingly recreated Los Angeles circa 1947. And as fun as the gameplay mechanics are, when all is said and done, the story is pretty great as well. ~ Paul

PORTAL 2 (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC)

“Well done. Here come the test results: ‘You are a horrible person.’ That’s what it says. We weren’t even testing for that.” ~ Paul


KINDLE (Kindle/Touch/Touch 3G/Keyboard/Keyboard 3G/DX)

I’m an Apple fanboy of the highest order, and I adore (worship, even) my iPad. But on a whim, I took advantage of the Black Friday prices and got myself the keyboard Kindle, and I have to say that I’m impressed. Combined with the black leather case with reading light, it’s now my preferred e-book reader. (Still worship my iPad though…) ~ Paul


Amazon’s first foray into the tablet world is highly successful, so long as you know what you’re looking for. At less than half the price of an iPad, it understandably doesn’t offer all of that device’s capabilities. However, it does offer video streaming (either with Amazon’s own vast selection or Netflix and Hulu apps), music streaming (love the Pandora app), games (Angry BirdsFruit Ninja, most everything you’d find on an Android device), and a robust app store with plenty of other useful and entertaining apps. Each Fire comes with a free Amazon Prime trial, which includes free two-day shipping on eligible items from Amazon.com, unlimited access to Amazon’s streaming selection, and access to the Kindle Lending Library, which allows you to read thousands of books for free with no due date. The one major drawback: no 3G, only wi-fi. Take that how you will. ~ AJ


I’ve had every version of the iPhone that’s come out, and have tried dozens (hundreds?) of styles of case, cover, and sleeve for each of them. Hands down, without question, the best one I’ve ever come across is this attractive, stylish, pocket-sized leather “book” that serves as both protective case and convenient wallet. I literally get stopped on the street or at checkout counters at least once every day by people asking about it and wanting to know how to get one. I can’t recommend this highly enough. ~ Paul

Price varies

Gorgeous, customizable artwork cases, gels, screens, and appliqués for practically ever electronic device you can imagine. Phones, MP3 players, laptops and computers, gaming consoles, even Xbox and PlayStation controllers. The variety is staggering. ~ Paul


Indispensable. After various shapes, sizes, and configurations, Apple has finally returned to the version that I think is perfect. It’s small, sturdy, attractive, spacious enough to hold plenty of music for a day’s playlist, and most importantly, it loses the touchscreen and keeps the physical external buttons. I use mine every single day to survive work, and the Shuffle is easy to conceal in a pocket, while the physical controls allow me to pause, play, navigate, and adjust volume without looking at it. ~ Paul


If you’re ordering through Amazon.com in the United States, here’s their ordering deadlines for delivery on or before Christmas Eve (12/24) for items in-stock shipped to physical addresses within the United States and marked “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” or “Fulfilled by Amazon.com.”

– December 15th – FREE Super Saver Shipping* [Last full day to order]
– December 19th – Standard Shipping [Last full day to order]
– December 20th – Two-Day Shipping (FREE with Amazon Prime), Last full day to order
– December 21st – Two-Day Shipping (FREE with Amazon Prime) – Order as late as 8pm PST (varies by item); One-Day Shipping ($3.99 with Amazon Prime) Last full day to order
– December 22nd – One-Day Shipping ($3.99 per item with Amazon Prime). Order as late as 4:30pm PST [varies by item]
– December 23rd – Last-Minute Christmas Delivery ($9.99/item with Amazon Prime) While available (varies by item)
– December 24th – ($3.99/item with Amazon Prime) While available (select cities, varies by item)
– December 25th – Christmas Day: Email and printable gift cards can be sent immediately, at any time.

2 thoughts on “Gobbledygeek Gift Guide 2011

  1. Yes – ‘Another Earth’ is a great gift idea (I saw it in the theater and loved it!) but how about taking this thought further: remember the amazing musical saw scene in this movie (you can hear the sound from it on the composer’s website: http://www.scottmunsonmusic.com/news/music-in-film-another-earth-soundtrack ). How about a whole album of musical saw music? This is by the same lady who played the saw on the soundtrack of ‘Another Earth’: http://www.amazon.com/Natalia-Paruz/e/B001LHAO84/works/ref=ep_artist_tab_w?_encoding=UTF8&sn=d
    Also on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/natalia-paruz/id152405594
    She even has a musical saw Christmas album 🙂

  2. Really cool blog man! I found it by searching for iPhone cases, but now I just bookmarked it! its funny, I am having a baby in September and two people bought her that “Go the fuck Asleep”book… hilarious!

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