Just What I Wanted!

Daily gift ideas for the inspiration-challenged. Simplify your shopping!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oral Fixation Mints

Freud claimed that if an infant is not fed enough (or is fed too much), he or she can develop an oral fixation, or an obsession with stimulating his or her mouth. Then again, Freud himself was obsessed with... cigars, so maybe we shouldn't trust him completely. Nevertheless, if you know anyone who might fit Freud's description, or who just enjoys having fresh breath, this six-pack of Oral Fixation Mints would certainly be a welcome present. With excellent flavors such as Mojito Mint and Sugar Free Tibet, they're certain to effectively stimulate anyone's mouth. $20 USD.

The GoodFather CD-ROM

Let's face it: a lot of new dads or fathers-to-be really don't know as much about babies as they might like to. Reading parenting books would help with this, but man, books are all full of annoying words. The GoodFather CD-ROM, on the other hand, helps guys learn about being a great dad with interactive learning aids and handy tools such as a card maker and a baby glossary. Plus, it's all double-checked by licensed nurse-midwives, so you know what it's telling you is accurate. $34.95 USD.

Thanks to Dr. MOZ for our first reader-contributed gift idea! Remember, if you come across any unique, cute, or just plain neat gift items, send them my way!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blomus Muro Notepad Holder

I feel the urge to write "Brrot Salz Brithar" on a regular basis, and this Blomus Muro Notepad Holder will allow me to do it in style. When your paper is full of notes, simply pull some more off the roll and tear the excess away. What does "Blomus Muro" mean? Perhaps you should ask Brrot Salz Brithar. $20 USD.

Shocking Tanks

Nothing's more fun than pain, and these Shocking Tanks work entirely on that principle. For the price, you get two tanks and two remotes. You and a temporary friend can drive the tanks around and shoot at each other. When you score a hit, oh, what fun! The victim's controller actually delivers an electric shock! Ow! Ha, ha! I find myself strangely drawn to these. $69.95 USD.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I know this happens to you: you're out in public, shopping, eating, skulking around dark alleyways, whatever, right? And then you have this great idea, but you know you'll forget it by the time you get home. Unfortunately, you haven't got a pen or paper handy, and so you forget it, and you don't end up getting rich quick or writing the great American novel or finally solving that damn Daily Jumble. This is when the PicoPad would come in handy. It's a tiny pad of paper with a tiny pen, and it fits right inside your wallet so you can always have it with you. I want one of these, but I know I won't remember it unless I write it down...

$3.95 USD.

Magnetic Levitating Globe

For a long time, people thought the earth was flat. This made mapmaking easier, because, hey, paper's flat, too! Then, eventually, we figured out that the earth is round, and so people had to start making globes. (That's why you never see flat maps anymore.) Just recently, we figured out that the earth floats in space, so now we all need to replace our regular globes with these Magnetic Levitating Globes. No longer will kids think the earth is mounted on a giant metal arm! $39.95 USD.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Chilean Good Luck Pig

Chile, as we all know, is famous for its citizens' rampant good luck. With the highest number of millionaires per square mile south of Beverly Hills, it is a veritable paradise of first-world luxuries. No-one goes hungry or has to live on the streets, and a majority of the population spends every day relaxing amid sheer decadence. That's how I know this Chilean Good Luck Pig is the real deal. It's poignant lopsided smile and plaintive gaze, not to mention its lack of a fourth leg, just scream "good fortune." Get one now. As a bonus, all profits from your purchase go to help save rainforests. $4.95 USD (small) or $5.95 USD (medium).

BYO Neoprene Bags

Waterskiers and surfers wear neoprene wetsuits because it insulates them from the chilly water. And when waterskiers and surfers want to carry a six-pack with them while they ride the waves, their friends tell them not to be stupid, just leave the booze on the shore and we'll drink it when we're done. However, these BYO Neoprene Bags are designed to provide the same insulation to food and drinks as wetsuits do to gnarly dudes, and come in designs to hold two bottles of wine, a six-pack of soda or beer, or your entire lunch. Handy whether you're hanging ten or just hanging out. $19.95 USD or $17.95 USD for two or more.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Some people like to decorate their cellphones. Some people also like receiving gifts. Coincidence? I think not. For this type of person, OddzBallz are just right. They're handmade, limited edition clay monster things that dangle from your cellphone and look cute and ferocious, or something. $8 USD.

Sock Dreams

When I was a kid, getting socks as a gift always bummed me out. Socks were dull, like receiving toilet paper or a toothbrush. Now that I am older, I realize the importance of having happy feet, so I love getting new socks, especially interesting, comfortable ones. Sock Dreams is an online shop that sells a multitude of colorful, creative, and interesting socks of all shapes and sizes. These are socks that anyone would love.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Lego are great, but stinkin' expensive and, as any professional block-builder will tell you, somewhat limited. The somewhat inaccurately-named* PixelBlocks, though, are pretty darn cheap, colorful, and extremely versatile. Unlike Lego, these can be attached to each other in any direction, allowing you to build weird and wacky 3-D constructions limited only by your imagination. $8 USD and up.

* Warning: geekery ahead. Pixel stands for "picture element," and refers to a two-dimensional dot of color on a computer screen. These, however, are three-dimensional "volume elements," or voxels.

Flashlight Friends

Why use a regular flashlight when you can use one with tiny, bendable limbs? Flashlight Friends can be posed in many different positions, but unlike human friends, won't have a beer or play videogames with you when you're bored or lonely. Seriously, when you need to make your flashlight sit in a certain spot so you can use both hands, this'll definitely help. Plus: cute! $12.99 USD.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Anyone can tell you it's important to find a coin bank that fits your decor, so unless your house has an oh-so-kitschy barnyard theme, a piggy bank just won't cut it. The Volcoino, however, adds a sleek and shiny modern touch to any room and holds your change quite handily. It has a nice large rubber stopper in the bottom so you can retrieve your pennies when you order pizza without checking your wallet first. The delivery guy will thank you. $15 USD.

Computer Chip Earrings

Geek chic is a fashion movement that just isn't losing any steam, no sir. That's why these Computer Chip Earrings will be appreciated by any geek who likes dangling bits of circuit board from their ears. (This is a favorite pasttime of mine.) As a bonus, these are handmade and darn cheap. $6 USD.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pi Dish

When you're making a tasty pie for dessert, how can you calculate if it's big enough to feed everyone? Well, first write down C = πr2. Then use this Pi Dish and you'll be all set. A great gift for math geeks, or anyone who enjoyed 1998's feel-good hit Pi. $24.95 USD.

COBRA Iron-On Patch

When I was a kid, I'd come home from school in the afternoon just in time to catch the G.I. Joe cartoon on TV. I had dozens of dolls action figures and vehicles too. I was a huge fan. Kids today, though, think the bad guys are much cooler than the good guys, so they'd proudly display this COBRA Iron-On Patch, not realizing it basically puts them on the level of scum like Destro and Major Bludd. Whatever, get it for them anyway. I bet you didn't know this patch existed. Well, now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Who here hasn't wished for a ceramic egg that they can grow a plant in? Okay, put your hands down. These Egglings are exactly that, and for only a few bucks, they make cute little novelties for anyone. Get one as a science lesson for kids, or just a small decoration for anyone. They come with your choice of basil, thyme, lobelia. phlox, or mint seeds already planted, so all you need to do is crack the egg open and give 'em some water and sunlight, and soon you too will be supreme master over an alien egg-born plant. $8.95 USD.

L'il Animal Earrings

If there's one thing that would make this world a better place, it's more tiny cute animals. These L'il Animal Earrings have a cuteness factor of 12, higher than anything you can find at Hallmark (but still lower than real baby animals). Still, anyone who appreciates cuteness will undoubtedly like them. I'm partial to the Baby Chick design, but you won't see me wearing them — they don't go with anything I wear. $10 USD.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I try to keep my wallet from getting too crowded, and even so I still occasionally suffer from that pain-in-the-rear feeling that happens when you've been sitting on your wallet for too long. This All-Ett alleviates that problem. Billed (hah!) as the "world's thinnest wallet", the all-ett is designed to separate your credit cards into individual sections to that they don't pile up so thick. Plus, it's made of thin, strong spinnaker sailcloth, so no cows died to give you a place to carry your cash. $17.95 USD.

TV-B-Gone Remote Keychain

Surely someone you know is an anti-TV crusader. You know, he or she has a "Kill Your TV" bumper sticker, and is forced to feign interest when you start talking about oh my god what is up with that guy in the basement in Desperate Housewives that is so creepy like wow? Get that person — not the basement guy, the other one — this TV-B-Gone remote keychain. When you push its button, it quickly sends out hundreds of "turn off" signals to any TVs in the area, leaving you in blessed TVlessness and the rest of the people at the diner pissed off because, hey, they were watching that! $19.99 USD.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rare Earth Magnets

Comparing regular magnets to Rare Earth Magnets is like comparing a votive candle to a homecoming bonfire. These suckers are powerful. A single one exerts twenty pounds of force; put two of them together and you'll be hard pressed to get them apart again without the aid of some sort of prying tool. They're so strong, you shouldn't give them to children, because the little tykes might swallow one and get stuck to the refrigerator for the rest of their lives. Now that's cool. $6.99 USD.


OpenX is one of those handy tools you wish you'd had forever. You know those nasty, finicky plastic bubble and cardboard packages that so many small items come in? You know how they're so difficult to open, and you have to try and use scissors without accidentally slicing your finger off or leaving a gouge in the item in the package? OpenX solves that. It has a nice big grip and two specialty blades designed just for opening those bubble packs. I got one of these this summer and man, is it ever nice to have around.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Flashflight LED Flying Discs

One of the great things about the modern age is that with today's tiny electronics and high-tech manufacturing, we can make just about anything light up for no reason. These Flashflight LED Flying Discs probably look awesome when you are tossing them around at night. If I were a nocturnal frisbee-player, I'd definitely want one of these. Probably the blue one. $19.99 USD.

Carrom Board

If you have any boardgame enthusiasts on your list, a Carrom Board would make an excellent gift. This game has quite possibly been around for centuries in India, and began gaining popularity in Europe and the U.S. in the mid-1900s. With the single (nicely finished hardwood) board and its accessories, you can play dozens upon dozens of different games. It's fun, challenging, and addictive, and great to have around anytime friends visit.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Atari Paddle 13-in-1 2-player games

Kids these days don't know what real videogames are, with their X-cubes and their PlaySituation 2s or whatever. Snazzy graphics? Who needs 'em? When I was young, all I needed was a handful of colors, some blocky impressionistic sprites, and a friend to play against. These Atari paddles have 13 classic games built in, so all you need to do is plug them into your TV set and you and an opponent can experience the adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding thrills of Pong, Breakout, and 11 other games.

Worlds Easiest Nutcracker

Those old nutcrackers that are just a pair of toothed metal bars stuck together with a hinge are finicky and difficult to use. This World's Easiest Nutcracker solves their poor design issues while still giving you a nice loud "crack!" and that satisfying feeling of utterly destroying something with your bare hands. Give this with a nice big bag of mixed nuts (in the shells, of course) and you've got a real winner.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Small Ruler Ring

The petite potentate or miniature monarch on your gift list can hold diminutive dominion over his dwarfish demesne this holiday season with this Small Ruler Ring. Perfect for every minute majesty, tiny tycoon, Lilliputian lord, or pint-sized prince, its glorious silver gleam will definitely delight even a powerfully picky bitty baron. It also has centimeter gradations for measuring things. $45 USD.

Ugly Doll

Every little kid's got more than enough cute teddy bears, stuffed happy animals, and friendly toys. Why not spice up their life a bit with an Ugly Doll? These hideous plush creations are certain to frighten away even the sweetest pink hippo or bunny rabbit toy. Which is good, because bunnies are evil. $21 USD.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

CamelBak Jibber

If I was more of an outdoorsy type, I'd definitely own a CamelBak. And if I was a kid, it would be one of these CamelBak Jibbers, which holds 35 oz. of liquid in a non-stupid-looking pack on your back while you're doing your athletic thing. Get this for a kid or young teen on your list who loves bicycling, skateboarding, hiking, or sitting outdoors drinking from a tube. $29.99 USD.

Vino de Backyard Birdfeeder

After a while, most birdfeeders start to look uninspired. They're generally either minimalistic and purely functional (clear plastic tube with holes and pegs) or miniature houses, possibly rustic. When I came across the Vino de Backyard Birdfeeder I was surprised to find myself amused by its unusual design. It's certainly eye-catching! $18 USD.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kick It Stick It

When I was a kid, we had these inflated rubber or plastic spheres called "balls" that you could send across a surface to a friend using the advanced physics principle "rolling." Nowadays, though, kids are way beyond that. Rolling is so passé. This Kick It Stick It actually hovers above the ground so it can float to the other person. The future is now, man. $22.95 USD.


These UberOrbs from Edmund Scientific look like the neatest little baubles ever. They're magnetic ellipsoidal orbs that can be spun, tossed, and fiddled with for hours on end. No practical value whatsoever, but they seem sure to delight anyone who likes nifty gadgets. I know I want a set! $21.95 USD.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ball Whisk

Make someone the coolest chef on the block with this Ball Whisk. It does a better, more efficient job of whisking than a regular whisk because each of the ball-tipped fronds vibrates at high speed as you whip your egg whites or get rid of the lumps in your pudding. Plus, it's easier to clean and looks like an instrument of torture or some sort of alien mind-probe device, and how can you go wrong with that? $28 USD.

Ginny's Ear-Nest

For nearly two decades now, Ginny has been creating her unique "ear-nest" jewelry organizers. My mom got one of these when I was young, and a couple years ago I bought one for my wife as well. It looks beautiful mounted on the wall above the dresser, and helps keep earrings and necklaces neatly organized and easy to locate.

Ear-nests come in all shapes and sizes, and are priced from $20 up.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Baby Bandolier

I'm not a father, but coincidentally, I do have a father, so I know that this would be a great gift for a dad with a new baby. While normal diaper bags are huge, bulky, and less than stylish, this Baby Bandolier does the job of a diaper bag while remaining unobtrusive and looking much cooler. A nifty gift for a dad on the go. Heck, I want one of these just because it looks useful and cool! $39.95 USD.

Dave's Insanity Sauce

If you know anyone who loves spicy food, get 'em a gift they'll never forget. Dave's Gourmet, Inc. has created some of the hottest hot sauces in the world, and you can pick up this gift basket containing four bottles of the stuff for only $19.99. The basket has one bottle each of Dave's Ultimate Insanity Sauce, Insanity Sauce, Total Insanity Sauce, and Temporary Insanity Sauce. I've only tried the last of these, but wow. A single drop is enough to add a spicy kick to an entire pot of chili.

You may want to accompany this gift with a bottle of Maalox!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Kitchen Tape Timer

This slick-looking kitchen tape timer is a handy little tool that makes it simple to set a timer for any reason. Simply pull the tape out to the time you desire, and it'll slowly reel it in as seconds elapse, and let you know when it's time to do whatever needs to be done.

The Zombie Survival Guide

What with all the drug companies doing who-knows-what kinds of research in their super-secret laboratories, it won't be long before a terrible plague of zombies is accidentally unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Is everyone on your list prepared for when they attack? No? Then maybe they need a copy of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. This hilarious guidebook gives detailed plans and instructions for keeping oneself safe when the undead rise up. A definite must-have for any post-apocalyptic wasteland dweller.

Friday, November 11, 2005

LED Color Cubes

These are really neat, entirely weird, and totally impractical. But hey, sometimes that's just what you need for that someone unique. LED Color Cubes that glow in various shades of red, purple, blue, and green, powered by AA batteries, provide an interesting, atmospheric addition to any space. Simple and eye-catching. $18 USD for three.

Snow Wovel

Gizmodo points out this unique, smart invention: the Wovel is a snow shovel with a large wheel attached, so you can much more easily scoop and throw snow out of your driveway without throwing out your back. A real work-saver that will make your winter a lot nicer!

(I'm going to be out of town today, so this post is coming very early, and my next one won't show up until much later. Things will return to a more normal schedule tomorrow!)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Upside-Down Tomato Garden

If anyone on your list has a green thumb, they should probably go to a doctor and get it looked at. But if they're good with plants, enjoy cooking, and don't have room for a regular garden, this Hanging Tomato Garden would make an excellent gift. The tomato plants grow downward, removing the hassle of keeping your tomatoes upright and off the ground where they can rot. Plus, you can plant other things, like basil, parsley, or peppers on the top. If only you could also grow a mozzarella plant, you'd have an entire salad in one tiny garden. $69.95 USD.

Snake Trivet Set

SERRV International is a non-profit group that imports beautiful handcrafted items from small artisans all across the globe, pays them a good amount for their work, and provides them to consumers at a reasonable price. (I've ordered musical instruments and sculptures from them in the past and had a wonderful experience.) This Snake Trivet Set from India is charming and functional and would make a nice addition to anyone's table. $15 USD.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Want You" by Tony DeSare

I wouldn't normally recommend something so prosaic as a CD, but this one's special. Tony DeSare went to my high school, about five years before I did, and was an absolutely fantastic singer and pianist. While I haven't keep too careful track of him since he graduated, I do know he and his band have been playing gigs around New York City fairly often. Now he's released his first album, "Want You", and boy howdy is it excellent. Get this album for someone on your list who loves the music of Frank, Dean, Sammy, or Nat. They won't be disappointed. $14.99 USD.

Wee Ninja

Listen, I'm the first to admit that all babies can't realistically grow up to be pirates. While it would definitely help with global warming, it's just not feasible. Some of them have to grow up to become ninjas. Get your kids started young learning the secret, silent, deadly ways of these martial arts masters by getting them this Wee Ninja handmade plush toy from Sweatyfrog. It is so cool. I almost wish I had had one of these when I was two, but then I wouldn't be the pirate I am today. $28 USD.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hanging Fish Pod

For anyone who likes pet fish but lives somewhere that space is at a premium (small apartments, dorm rooms, etc.) this Hanging Fish Pod would make a great gift. It holds about a single gallon of water, so there's only enough room for a single small fish (a betta or goldfish would find it just the right size). Plus, it provides quite a conversation piece! $29 USD.

Vacu Vin Wine Saver

This ingenious little device, the Vacu Vin Wine Saver, provides a simple way to keep your open wine fresh longer. You just put one of the rubber plugs in the bouth of a wine bottle and pump out the air, leaving it vacuum sealed and halting the oxidation process that makes wine taste bad. A great little thing for any wine drinker to have in the kitchen. $13.95 USD.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sennheiser Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Anyone who rides a train to get to work, or who flies regularly, knows how difficult it can be to listen to your music with all that noise around you. These Sennheiser Noise-Cancelling Headphones compensate for it, reducing it to a low-level murmur and enhancing your music-listening experience. A great relaxation aid. As a bonus, they look like an evil insectoid creature and can frighten away small children and pets.

I May Be Small, But I'm Fierce! T-shirt

For a tiny person — not a baby, just someone petite — mushycat makes this cute "I May Be Small, But I'm Fierce!" t-shirt that you can order in a multitude of styles and colors. Mushycat's site offers loads of cute, funny, political and just plain neat designs and slogans on buttons, stickers, t-shirts, mugs, and more. Check them all out!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Take-Out Menu Organizer

Need a gift for someone who's new to your area? Get them one of these handy Take-Out Menu Organizers, which has sleeves for holding up to 60 menus, dividers to separate different cuisines, stickers to indicate favourites, and a 50-sheet ordering pad. Then go to some of your favourite local take-out places, grab a menu, and pre-fill some of the pages. Voilá! Unique and useful. ($25 USD)