The Dork Shelf Guide to Holiday Shopping: Day 7

After a few days of detouring into some theme columns for movies, music, and gaming, we’re back with the next proper installment of our gift guide and more suggestions for how to make the geek, nerd, or dork in your life as happy as possible this holiday.

Miss a day? Go back and check out the directory to see what you missed!

New Movies

Pain and Gain

Pain & Gain – Special Collector’s Edition


It’s time to get pumped , and with the Pain & Gain: Special Collector’s Edition we go even more in-depth into this true to life story that has to be seen to be believed.  When an ambitious group of personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie) decide to chase the American Dream, things end up going horribly wrong.  From Director Michael Bay, this was easily one of the sharpest satires to hit the screen in quite some time while still maintaining Bay’s trademark action styling’s.  The special features on this new Blu-Ray contains 8 behind the scenes featurettes looking at the making of the film and at the story that inspired it.  Easily one of the more underrated films of 2013 (and with a much better package than the featureless Blu-Ray from earlier this year), it gives a film like Spring Breakers a run for its money as one of the more flat out gonzo yet wholly entertaining films of the year. (Available from most major retailers) (Dave Voigt)

Old Movies


Big – 25th Anniversary Edition

Although he was already a pretty well liked actor in and around Hollywood, the 1988 comedy Big was the first time actor Tom Hanks started to get noticed by critics. As Josh Baskin, a 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a man in his 30s after a wish on a fortune telling machine, Hanks showed emotional range that for once equalled his already heavily remarked upon comedic chops. Garnering Hanks his first nomination for a Best Actor Oscar, Big might be one of the most poignant coming of age films there is, and if you didn’t previously pick up the Blu-Ray when it first came out a couple of years back, it’s getting re-issued this Tuesday. Aside from a new packaging that can play “Heart & Souls” when you open it, the special features are the exact same as the previous release, but it’s still great to include a wealth of deleted scenes, behind the scenes looks at the making of the film, and the 130 minute extended cut of the film. (Available from most major retailers starting December 10th)


TV Box Set

True Blood

True Blood Seasons 1-5

With production on the final season starting soon and the 6th season coming in the spring, there is no time like the holiday break to curl up on the couch and catch up on the goings on in Bon Temps, Louisana where vampires, faeries and everything else between co-exist with one another.  From creator Alan Ball and based on the novels by Charlaine Harris, never has a show been so wild and off the wall and stayed this well written and consistent.  (Available from most major retailers) (Dave Voigt)

Movie Box Set


Anchorman Box Set

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – Rich Mahogany Edition

Perfectly timed to coincide with the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues in theaters, Paramount has issued a more ambitious Blu-ray edition of the 2004 original, aptly titled the ‘Rich Mahogany’ edition. The 2 disc set is loaded with way too many special features to list here, but among them is the more-or-less unofficial direct to video sequel that was made up of out alternate takes and deleted scenes from the first film: Wake Up Ron Burgundy. Available for the first time on Blu-ray, it features a whole new story and features cameos from the likes of Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Maya Rudolph. The set also includes over 30 additional deleted scenes, cast auditions, multiple commentaries from Will Ferrell and crew and even a pack of trading cards! And with a very reasonable price at most retailers it makes a great gift that won’t break your bank or scotch budget. (Available through most major retailers) (Kirk Haviland)

Video Game

Dont Starve

Don’t Starve


Like what would happen if Tim Burton decided he wanted to mount his own crazy version of the TV show Survivor, this PC sandbox-styled game is as cute and simple to play as it is gleefully difficult at times. Playing as Wilson, an adventurous scientist who has been trapped by a demon in a magical forest, the goal is basic survival for as long as possible. Exceptionally designed and boasting fluid gameplay, Don’t Starve might be the most addictive game of the year. (Available from the Don’t Starve website.)

Visual Book

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened – Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half

Few people have been able to turn the art of meming into lucrative careers, but probably next to The Oatmeal, there’s no one better at this than Allie “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS” Brosh. In the first collection of her often hilarious and sometime almost uncomfortably confessional doodles and stories, Brosh has amassed a hefty volume of work that can be read in a single sitting by a novice unfamiliar with her work, or as a reminder of just how talented she can be off the internet.


Board Game



The art of the one-on-one card game seems to blend into the background with today’s proliferation of party games, but for those nights when you’re just sitting around with a bestie and you have nothing better to go with your beers and friendship than a game, Piñata should round out your evening or Christmas Eve nicely. A fast paced game of strategy that involves swapping and swiping candies on cards for points, it can go by so quickly in a rout that an immediate rematch will probably often be called for. It will probably lead to several fast rematches and make you wonder where your entire night went. (Available from finer board game retailers)

Tech Gift

Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble Smartwatch

And who said that watches became passé once everyone got cell phones? What about a watch that has a lot of the capabilities of your smartphone? There’s a good reason why the Pebble Bluetooth enabled watch set a record for Kickstarter contributions and has received a great deal of acclaim this year as one of the best tech gadgets around. Now you can access various apps and music that you would normally have to run off your phone, only in a wrist sized device that can go for several days of use without needing a recharge.  Best of all, they work with both Apple and Android phones. (Available through Pebble, Future Shop, and Best Buy)

Specialty Gift

Digital Soap

Digital Soaps

It’s generally a gross misconception that most gamers don’t like to shower, but these delightfully nerdy soaps (often vanilla, citrus, or Mountain Dew scented) are designed to look like classic Genesis, NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 games or controllers. The attention to detail on these things are nearly flawless and will inspire numerous double takes when seen in someone’s washroom. They also do soda inspired shampoos and other sorts of bath products and it’s hard not to be taken by these awesomely crafted bastions of cleanliness and nostalgia. (Available from the Digital Soaps ETSY page.)

Food and Drink

Amsterdam Vicars Vice

Amsterdam Adventure Brews: Vicar’s Vice Olde Ale

The Adventure Brew series from Amsterdam brewery continues to produce experimental brews in very small batches, making them very unique gifts due to their limited nature. Brewed with different sensibilities than the bigger companies, the Adventure Brews are renowned for their elaborate flavor palate. The latest and currently most abundantly available of the series is the Vicar’s Vice Olde Ale. Based on a traditional English Ale with a deeper color and aroma, the ale features hints of caramel, chocolate and tobacco mixed with a signature blend of dates, apricots and roasted nuts. At a price tag of $8.95 per 650ml bottle, this ultra-limited brew could be a unique stocking stuffer and suitable holiday warmer for the beer lover in your family. (Available for a limited time from Amsterdam Brewery.) (Kirk Haviland)