Gift ideas for a dude who likes weird things
December 9, 2016 11:56 AM   Subscribe

It's come to this, MeFi. My husband is literally impossible to shop for. I need help!

The best present I ever gave him was setting up a D&D game for him and his friends, so experiences are a bigger hit than actual items. He does art in his spare time, but a gift certificate to the art store is useful but not inspired. Any random things he might want he just... buys for himself, so there's nothing that he's been eyeing but won't buy for himself. He isn't that big on stuff for the sake of stuff. He loves books but is a librarian and basically has a free steady supply of books, so they aren't exciting gifts anymore. He likes the usual Star Wars-y stuff that dudes of the Metafilter persuasion are typically into, but Think Geek type stuff isn't up his alley. If there was a really unique weird UFO/Bigfoot/Lovecraftian type of item that might work.

Current likes: podcasts (comedy/nerdy/weird ones), weird alien and HP Lovecrafty stuff, beer, making art, comics, and British Premier League soccer. My budget is around $100, so something like giving him a weekend away for a podcast fest would be amazing but I am too broke for that. He did MegaGame's Watch the Skies a couple of times and really enjoyed that, so I'm wondering if there's something similar to that in the New Englandy area.

Does anyone have any suggestions for interesting experiences or things that might fit this really particular bill?
posted by banjo_and_the_pork to Shopping (38 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
How about a year's membership to the local art museum or planetarium?
posted by BostonTerrier at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

2nding a museum membership, I get one every year and even though it's not a surprise, it's one of my favorite gifts.

Also, have you seen this shop run by a fellow mefite?
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Perhaps a surprise day trip to the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland and/or something interesting from the gift shop?
posted by usonian at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

You can get him a year's worth of Fortean Times for that amount of $$

have you seen this shop run by a fellow mefite?

That is, alas, her husband.
posted by jessamyn at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2016 [120 favorites]

Maybe a book like "S."? I doubt the library has it since all the little things tucked into it would get lost.
posted by tracer at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about getting his friends together and doing an Escape Room? In Salem there is Escape Room Salem, but I am sure there are ones in Boston as well.

I've never done an escape room (although I am keen), but a few of my intellectual, nerdy, D&D loving friends have and they had a great time.
posted by muddgirl at 12:12 PM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

...weird alien and HP Lovecrafty stuff, beer, making art...

This fine gentleman is a friend of mine who, among other things, designs the cans for popular Chicago microbrewery Half Acre. His various online stores, including that one at Threadless, and this one feature weird cephalopods, mutants, demons, and fanciful monsters. You can get prints and shirts, sure, but also things like fleeces or sheets and a bunch of other things with his "Octophant" or other similarly beautiful but odd designs. Given how much that artist's work dovetails with your hubby's interests, it may be worth a peek.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2016

How about a trip to Boda Borg?
posted by peacheater at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

One of my most prized possessions is a framed mosaic piece that my partner commissioned from a local artist I liked (sadly, she died last year). He gave her a few thematic guidelines (e.g. things I like), and she did her signature thing with those in mind, so it's totally her work, but personalized for me. It's a wonderful memory of her and a fine piece its own right.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just gonna throw this out there, ikn my opinion every person who likes weird things should own a klein bottle.
posted by bq at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Morbid Anatomy Museum Gift Shop
posted by griphus at 12:16 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

This artist buys terrible hotel landscape paintings and adds giant monsters into them. I have bought some of his stuff myself.

(Not for nothing, but in terms of synced-up tastes, your hubby's artwork is on my Christmas list both for me and for me to buy for the first artist I mentioned as his Xmas gift.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:21 PM on December 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Escape rooms with whatever story/scenario you'd think he'd enjoy.
posted by teamnap at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

This might be the perfect thing. I'm not going to say what it is in case he's reading this. They have cups, too. Feels very elegant in the hand, and the colors will last forever.
posted by amtho at 12:29 PM on December 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

also this
posted by bq at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh! Oh! Go here and sign up for a membership (it's free). They sell narrative item-puzzle-mystery- experiences (yes, all at once) that I'm pretty sure is going to give you what you need.
posted by Poppa Bear at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

If travel is in your budget, Fort Worth TX has an escape room with a Cthulhu theme.
posted by CathyG at 1:07 PM on December 9, 2016

Something from Paxton Gate
posted by egeanin at 1:25 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

It may be a little to everyday, but $100 worth of seasonal or medium hard to find beers would be a solid gift for this beer lover.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:29 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Lovecraft-themed store in downtown Providence, RI, called Lovecraft Arts & Sciences has cool shirts, posters, and other stuff that he might enjoy:

(I wear one of their little enamel pins, which was only six bucks. The shirts are $20 but a nice one with HPL's head is on sale for just $10!)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2016

He likes books and really unique weird UFO/Bigfoot/Lovecraftian type of items?

A copy of the Codex Seraphinianus (if he doesn't already have one). It's an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, written in an imaginary language, with the most bizarre illustrations I've ever seen. From the Wikipedia article:

The illustrations are often surreal parodies of things in the real world: bleeding fruit; a plant that grows into roughly the shape of a chair and is subsequently made into one; a lovemaking couple that metamorphoses into an alligator; etc.

The language of the book has defied complete analysis by linguists for decades. The number system used for numbering the pages, however, has been cracked.

Serafini stated that [...] what he wanted his alphabet to convey to the reader is the sensation that children feel in front of books they cannot yet understand, although they see that the writing does make sense for adults.

posted by danceswithlight at 1:40 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Alternate histories might have something that fits the bill (along with an "expirence gift" which I think is wonderful, but I know it's also nice to have at least one "thing gift" to open)
posted by nuclear_soup at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

A copy of the Codex Seraphinianus

Great idea! You can get a print copy of Voynich now too.
posted by jessamyn at 2:17 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was just coming in to recommend the Codex Seraphinanus, but I see I was beaten to it. I received one as a gift and it's one of the highlights of my book collection.

Perhaps he would enjoy something from Bathsheba Sculpture? Or a tiny papercraft model to put together? Maybe something slightly spooky from the Bone Room?
posted by Diagonalize at 2:17 PM on December 9, 2016

I know you said no books, but Dali's long-out-of-print cookbook, Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala, is now back in print.... I don't really buy books anymore, but I bought one for myself and gave it to my mom to give to me, I'm super excited about it.
posted by Huck500 at 2:39 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Does he like t-shirts? Northern Sun has a few I've been eyeing, such as this one, this one, and this one (which is on closeout!).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:47 PM on December 9, 2016

bq's klein bottle suggestion was my idea too. Got one for my dad years ago who enjoys drawing weird Lovecraftian stuff and books. It was one of the (relatively) few things that made the purge when Mater and Pater Gotanda downsized to a smaller home.
posted by Gotanda at 2:47 PM on December 9, 2016

Do you have space for home brewing? If he likes beer and is sort of a maker that might be up his alley.
posted by willnot at 4:03 PM on December 9, 2016

You mention "podcasts (comedy/nerdy/weird ones)" - does he by chance listen to The Greatest Generation? If so, the bestest present I got this year (possibly ever) was a Priority One message on their show. It was amazing and awesome to be listening to my favorite pod and then get a personalized message read by the hosts. I literally jumped up and down in the middle of doing housework when I heard it. It was awesome.

Or, if that's not one of the shows he listens to, see if one that he loves will do a similar message/shoutout if you pay them?
posted by bananacabana at 4:08 PM on December 9, 2016

Does he play boardgames? Because pandemic cthulhu and kingsport festival are awesome boardgames along the lovecraft theme.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 4:27 PM on December 9, 2016

Might find something here.
posted by Puddle Jumper at 7:29 PM on December 9, 2016

On the boardgame tip, Eldritch Horror is a lot of fun. Bgg link:
posted by booooooze at 10:06 AM on December 10, 2016

For podcasts: 1) do any of his favorites have swag shops? 2) Everytime I remember how much I love one I remind myself to donate to support it, so if he doesn't donate yet maybe combine a donation in his name with swag from his favorite?

For experiences: Any themed beer tastings in the area? I found one focused on pairings in a local cheese cave that my gentleman caller enjoyed last year- he is hard to shop for in a similar manner.

For weird stuff: the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA has a shop:
posted by slanket wizard at 4:33 PM on December 10, 2016

This Etsy shop has some bookends that sound right up your husband's alley. They make a UFO set and three different tentacle-themed sets, and most of the designs are witty, charming, and comfortably in your price range.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 5:25 PM on December 10, 2016

What about session(s) in an immersion therapy tank?
posted by liquado at 9:03 PM on December 10, 2016

One of my friends does a podcast called Werewolf Ambulance about horror movies (which is a lot of fun) and one of their sponsors is their artist friend in Philly who makes a monthly Parcel of Terror box that features handmade art and prints and cool things with a distinctly horror/weird tales theme.

I was also going to suggest Alternate Histories! He has enamel pins now, as well as super cool calendars.

If you're okay with a slightly longer road trip, Point Pleasant, WV has a Mothman Festival every year in September that is supposed to be a lot of fun, although that'd be pretty far off for a Christmas present.

If you wanted something a little closer to home, how about planning a short weekend trip themed around Lovecraftian New England sites? If you road trip and stick to AirBnbs, it could be done relatively cheaply (although may still end up being a little over $100.)
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:03 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

If he doesn't already attend the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, that's a solid week of weird stuff (including a bunch of short film programs) at the Somerville Theater in Davis, some of which is good and some of which is a bit too amateur. A full festival pass is $130, and it includes the 24 hour marathon at the end of it.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:08 AM on December 13, 2016

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