Christmas is right around the corner and you’re wondering just what kind of toy to buy for that special geek in your life. You DO have a special geek in your life, don’t you? If you don’t, SHAME on you! Find one, NOW! My dad always knew about the latest geek toys (even though we weren’t called “geeks” back then). He was an intellectual, a chemist, interested in everything; he fit the definition of geek perfectly. One of the best geek toys he ever got for me was the DigiComp-1, the world’s “first real operating digital computer in plastic.” You can see a picture of DigiComp-1 here and a closeup picture here. I learned about computers from that toy; to this day, I can do “computer” math with 1′s and 0′s. Unfortunately, DigiComp is no longer available, but there are plenty of other geek toys out there. I have two favorites in the “stocking stuffer” category: Sonic Sound Sizzlersâ„¢ noise-making magnets; and, a “forever” flashlight.
The Sonic Sound Sizzlersâ„¢ is a pack of two two-inch long, cigar shaped magnets that make a perfectly cool buzzing noise that sounds something like zzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZT! Well, it’s cool to geeks; it’s positively irritating to almost everyone else, especially female spouses. To make the sound, you put the pods in the palm of your hand and hold them apart with your thumb. Then, you toss them straight up. As they come together and spin, they vibrate, making the sound. I’ve had my set since yesterday evening and I’ve already discovered at least four different “throwing” techniques to make different sounds. My favorite isn’t a throw at all; rather, it’s more of a roll in the palm. It makes a short high-ptiched burst that sounds like “jeep” (yes, just like the character of the same name in the old Popeye cartoons). I got mine at Dollar General for two bucks. If you don’t have a Dollar General store where you are, you can find them online at ThinkGeek.com under the name Uber Orbs.
What self-respecting geek would be without a flashlight–or several–for looking into those dark corners of the gadgets he loves or navigating the treacherous twists, turns and tangles of video, audio, and computer cables? But flashlights use batteries and batteries eventually wear out. Not so with the “forever” flashlight: It never needs batteries, you just shake it up and down a few times and the built-in generator gives you enough juice to power the flashlight for a few minutes. There’s even a crank-up model. You can find them easily enough, along with a description of what makes them tick, at ForeverFlashlights.com. You don’t have to spend between $16.99 – $39.99, though; you can find a made-in-China knockoff at Walgreens for $5.99 or 2/$10. It’s not listed in the online catalog, so you’ll probably have to do some legwork.