Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nerdy Shit to Give Your Friends When You're Too Poor For ThinkGeek.com

So, it's wedding season, as well as our annual celebration of the consequences of the midwinter doldrums (aka, summer birthdays) which means that everyone is walking that fine social line between not looking like a cheap asshole, and abject poverty. While we can't say that we have a DIY nerd!gift for everyone, here are a couple of Meaghan and Amy's favorites!

1) Homemade Temporary Tattoos 
Cuz you can't buy gold like this in the stores.

Everyone likes temporary tattoos, and that's a fact. And if you know somebody who doesn't like temporary tattoos, they're probably somebody you shouldn't trust very much because they probably also kick puppies.

To make your own temporary tattoos takes three steps: designing the tattoo, ordering the paper, and printing the tattoo. Meaghan drew some ancient fish and scanned them into her computer; you could also easily print some silly google image if you're not feeling artsy. This is probably the hardest part... clearly, this is a gift worth giving if 30 seconds of googling is all it takes to make it awesome.

Next, order the tattoo paper. There are a couple of different brands out there, including Tattoo Decal Paper, Inkjet Temporary Tattoo Paper, and Papillo Tattoo Paper; make sure you buy the right type of paper for your printer (laser or inkjet-specific).

Each brand of paper comes with its own specific set of instructions. Meaghan used Decal paper for her last tattoo adventure, which has a sticky sheet and a printable sheet. Essentially she printed on the printable sheet, then made it and the sticky sheet make sweet sweet love together, then cut out her tattoos and instantly became the favorite amongst her circle of friends. You, too, can experience such successes! Buy a large amount of the paper, because you never know what you're going to need a tattoo of, and it's cheaper in bulk.

This message is approved by the wish-they-weren't-affiliated-with-us-in-any-way blogs of Fossilosophy and 4th Dimensional Biology.

2) Personalized Nerd Mugs
Even temp-tattoo-hating freaks love a hot drink now and again, so why not make your friends nerdy mugs? This one has about the same level of investment as the previous gift idea: draw or pick your preferred image, and then go to Target or Walmart or one of the many other stores that offer this service, and click order. Easy peasy.

Amy went apeshit over this. It was great.

3) A Calender of Pictures of Your Face
Ok, this isn't so much nerdy as it is... kinda assholey? Meaghan went through a phase in her life where she gave people horrible pictures of her own face for their birthday. This did include a particular moment where she decorated a friend's cabin in over 100 wallet-sized photos of her looking scandalized/rabid. A calender is a practical way to make the recipient keep your hideous mug on their wall for a while, which is especially fun for friends you want to punish. To order calenders, Vistaprint has some pretty good pricing, and a variety of options!

4) Sedimentary Layers Cocoa Mugs 

Hot Cocoa in a mug is one of those quintessential "I'm too poor to buy you a real gift" sort of gifts that every college student should know about. It's customizable, it's delicious, and unless you're sort of slapstick about it, it should look pretty too. But of course, you can always be better/nerdier. Make some conglomerates of cocoa-mix and chocolate chips, covered by a fine layer of ash (white chocolate cocoa mix) and a thick layer of poorly consolidated lahar (cocoa mix)... etc. Put labels on that shit, and BOOM you've upped this classic gift to 11.

5) Fossilized, polished TURDS

Here's the scoop on fossilized poop: it can be found in almost any rock shop or at any rock/gem show, and of course can be bought via the internet. Coprolite is the fancy paleontologist-name for this fossilized feces, but the beauty of preservation is that it replaces all that nasty shit with minerals. Coprolites can look almost identical to a freshly squeezed poo, but some coprolites look nothing like shit. In fact, they can be quite lovely.


Last Christmas Amy gave her father a polished slab of dinosaur poop from the Morrison Formation in Utah (that looked very similar to the above photo), which she purchased at the concessionaires at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting for the reasonable price of $15. There were more expensive options, as well as cheaper ones to ensure that everyone can find the right turd for them. This clever gift idea was inexpensive and also the reason Amy can say she gave her dad a piece of shit for Christmas and he loved it. 

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