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Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018 Part 6: Apparel and Household Items

T-shirts, Christmas Sweaters, Hoodies, Mugs, Vinyl Storage, and More

Dec 13, 2018 By Mark Redfern Web Exclusive
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Welcome to part 6 of our Holiday Gift Guide 2018, in which we highlight apparel (mainly T-shirts) and a smaller selection of household items. There are several companies that specialize in geek-friendly T-shirts and we’ve picked some of our favorites from them. Spread Shirt, for example, leans towards amusing designs that play off of classic sci-fi characters, whereas England’s Last Exit to Nowhere creates T-shirts that could actually pass for wardrobe in the film it’s inspired by. Below you can also find items from HBO and Fun.com, as well as some household technology from Eufy and a cool way to store and display vinyl from Flipbin.

We have previously posted part 1 of our 2018 gift guide (for video games), as well as part 2 (for board games), part 3 (for technology), and part 4 (for collectibles). Then there was part 5, for toys and other gifts for kids and parents, which was split into two parts: one on kid-friendly toys, books, and DVDs/Blu-rays and another one on kid-friendly board games and technology. And in the next week or so we will still also be posting more gift guides centering on DVDs/Blu-rays, music box sets and reissues, and books and comic books. And don’t forget that Under the Radar subscriptions also make a great gift. Plus donating to the charity of your choice in the name of the gift receiver is also a good way to go.

T-shirts and Apparel:

Affirmative (K9 from Doctor Who) T-shirt (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $25.49

K9 is The Doctor’s robot dog in Doctor Who. He was created in 1977, perhaps in an effort to appeal to younger viewers, and traveled with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). He has usually been voiced by John Leeson and almost got his own 1981 spinoff show, K-9 and Company, in which he was paired with former Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), but despite good ratings for the pilot, the show was not picked up to series due to leadership changes at the BBC. Both K9 and Sarah Jane Smith returned in the new Doctor Who episode “School Reunion,” in 2006, which led to the spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures, a more kid-friendly show featuring both characters. It ended after five seasons due to Sladen’s passing in 2011 due to cancer. There was also the 2010 children’s TV series K9, which was made in Australia and due to rights issues couldn’t really mention anything from Doctor Who at all. It thankfully only lasted one season, as it wasn’t very good.

K9 might be the most famous fictional robot dog of all, not that there is a lot of competition. His main catchphrase was “affirmative” in response to requests or orders from The Doctor. Spread Shirt’s bright yellow T-shirt simply features K9 and the phrase. Those Doctor Who fans in the know will get it, others will be bemused, unless K9 shows up to help Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor anytime cool. But it has a cool design either way. As with all of Spread Shirt’s T-shirts it’s very customizable and available in various sizes (all the way up to 5XL), colors (it doesn’t have to be yellow), and styles (including a tank top and a hoodie). (Buy it here.)

Face Doctor The Fourteen Doctor Who T-shirt (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $27.99

Speaking of Doctor Who, Spread Shirt also has this nifty T-shirt featuring the faces of all the main 13 Doctors thus far, including Jodie Whittaker’s new gender-flipped Thirteenth Doctor, plus John Hurt’s The War Doctor. For the uninitiated, when The Doctor is mortally wounded he/she doesn’t die, but instead regenerates into a new body and slightly tweaked personality, but with the same memories. It was envisioned as a creative way to cast a new actor in the role when, in 1966, William Hartnell was too old to play the part of the First Doctor after three years as the Time Lord. If you don’t already know all about The Doctor’s regeneration, then perhaps this shirt isn’t for you. But maybe you know a Doctor Who fan that this would be ideal for. As with all of Spread Shirt’s T-shirts it’s very customizable and available in various sizes, colors, and styles. (Buy it here.)

Batman Ugly Christmas Sweater Hoodie (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $46.49

Ugly Christmas sweaters have been all the rage the last few years, with ugly Christmas sweater parties and retailers selling purposefully ugly holiday sweaters. Spread Shirt’s Batman Ugly Christmas Sweater Hoodie is a bit subtler than some designs we’ve seen. Its pattern features the Cape Crusader’s mask, some Batarangs, and the Batmobile chasing three reindeer, plus some Christmas trees and snowflakes for good measure. We were sent it in hoodie form, but you can get it as a T-shirt or a tank top, although it’s not actually available as a sweater. (Buy it here.)

Devil’s Tower T-shirt (Last Exit to Nowhere)

RRP: $25.25

Devil’s Tower is a real place, a large butte of igneous rock in Wyoming. Despite it being declared an official National Monument in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it is best known as the official landing site for various UFOs in the climax to Steven Spielberg’s 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and that’s what this retro looking T-shirt from Last Exit to Nowhere is referencing. In the film, after a late night rail crossing encounter with a UFO, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is obsessed with Devil’s Tower, despite never having been there or knowing what it is he is picturing in his head, making representations of the rock formation out of mashed potatoes and then clay, much to the worried bemusement of his wife and kids. It eventually leads him to Devil’s Tower itself and his destiny as an ambassador to the aliens. Legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury once called Close Encounters of the Third Kind the greatest sci-fi film ever made and we agree that it should certainly make it high on any list ranking films from the genre. This 100% cotton screen printed navy T-shirt features Devil’s Tower at night and makes no mention of Close Encounter of the Third Kind, which is part of its charm. (Buy it here.)

Narwhal Rainbow Stormtrooper T-shirt (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $20.98

The title says it all. It’s a Stormtrooper riding a narwhal as he jumps through a circular rainbow. And it’s awesome! (Buy it here.)

Off World Colonies T-shirt (Last Exit to Nowhere)

RRP: $25.25

“A new life awaits you in the Off-World Colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.” Blade Runner fans will recognize those lines from a blimp that flies around rainy futuristic Los Angeles, enticing the people of Earth to leave their depressing, pollution- and crime-ridden planet for colonies on other worlds. Last Exit to Nowhere’s clever T-shirt features the Off-World Colonies logo and the line “A new life awaits you in the Off-World Colonies” at the top, with “Helping America into the New World” underneath the logo. Those in the know will be impressed. Non-Blade Runner fans will be confused, but if they don’t know Blade Runner then do you really want to be friends with them anyway? (Buy it here.)

Joi T-shirt (Last Exit to Nowhere)

RRP: $25.25

For fans of 2017’s long-awaited Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, there’s this T-shirt for Joi, which in the world of the film is a holographic companion you can purchase to have in your home. Officer K (Ryan Gosling) has his own Joi hologram (played by Cuban actress Ana de Armas, although all Joi’s look like her). Last Exit to Nowhere’s T-shirt has the Joi logo on the front with the tagline “Everything You Want to Hear.” On the back it’s the same, except that it reads “Everything You Want to See.” On the left sleeve is the logo for the Wallace Corporation, which manufactures the Joi holograms and in the film is founded and run by Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). Again, this shirt doesn’t scream Blade Runner 2049, but those who know the film will get a kick out of it. (Buy it here.)

Men’s Prince Paradise Signature Black T-shirt (Fun.com)

RRP: $16.99

It’s still hard to process that we lost Prince two-and-a-half years ago, at the relatively young age of 57. If you want to honor the legendary musician, then there’s this cool black T-shirt from Fun.com. On the front is the same photo that appeared on the cover of his 1986 album Parade (which featured “Kiss” and was also the soundtrack to Prince’s self-directed feature film Under the Cherry Moon). On the back is Prince’s signature. (Buy it here.)

Overlook Hotel T-shirt (Last Exit to Nowhere)

RRP: $25.25

Did you hear about what happened at the Overlook Hotel in Sidewinder, Colorado in 1980? The hotel was closed in the winter due to the snow and the caretaker, an aspiring writer, went crazy and tried to kill his wife and child with axe before freezing to death in the maze outside the hotel. They found his manuscript with the phrase “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” typed again and again and again. Still, we hear the hotel is very nice. Horror author Stephen King and the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick both liked staying there very much, as did actor Jack Nicholson. If you’d like a souvenir of the hotel or saw the famous documentary about the incident, The Shining, then Last Exit to Nowhere has you covered with this T-shirt. (Buy it here.)

Pied Piper Green T-shirt from Silicon Valley (HBO)

RRP: $24.95

In HBO’s comedy Silicon Valley, Mike Judge’s send-up of the tech world and everything that can go wrong with a start-up, the logo for the fledgling company in the show, Pied Piper, is constantly mocked, so it’s extra funny that HBO has recreated Pied Piper’s T-shirts. It almost looks like the logo of a 1970s prog-rock band. “Did you hear about Pied Piper? They toured with Jethro Tull, man, before self-imploding. Their early stuff is really good.” The only bummer is that Silicon Valley and HBO are written right under the logo, giving up the ghost, but it’s still a fun casual shirt for fans of the show. (Buy it here.)

Princess Leia Cute Star Wars Kids Comic T-shirt (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $27.97

This Princess Leia (R.I.P. Carrie Fisher) T-shirt is intended for kids and features everyone’s favorite Rebel Alliance general holding a Death Star styled balloon and next to an R2D2-like droid. Like all of Spread Shirt’s T-shirts it’s very customizable and available in various sizes, colors, and styles, which means it’s also available in adult sizes for men and women. (Buy it here.)

Women’s Hi-Lo Labyrinth Owl Ugly Christmas Sweater (Fun.com)

RRP: $33.99

Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy musical film Labyrinth was a box office disappointment upon its release, which dispirited Henson. But in the years since, Labyrinth has developed a sizable cult following, something the Muppets creator was thankfully aware of before his passing in 1990. The film was released on Blu-ray in 2016 in honor of its 30th anniversary and last year the soundtrack, featuring songs from David Bowie (who also starred in the film as Jareth, the Goblin King), was reissued on vinyl. Fun.com has an impressive line of ugly Christmas sweaters and one of this year’s latest is a Labyrinth one. The purple sweater features Jareth in owl form. Put it on and then “dance magic, dance” the night away. (Buy it here.)

Household Items:

Eufy Bluetooth Smart Scale (Eufy)

RRP: $39.99

If you’re old enough to have mainly dealt with analogue scales in your youth, then even a basic digital scale can seem impressive, but the Eufy Bluetooth Smart Scale might truly blow you away. It does much more than simply give you your weight. When connected to your phone via the free app it gives you 12 measurements of your health, including weight, body fat, BMI, bone mass, muscle mass, and more. The scale is FDA-listed, meaning it’s guaranteed to be as accurate as possible. And if you have a big family, no worries, the Eufy Bluetooth Smart Scale can save user data for up to 20 accounts. This is not your parents’ or grandparents’ scale. (Buy it here.)

Eufy Robo Vac 11S (Eufy)

RRP: $219.99

The AI revolution is coming whether we like it or not and some of the first robots we’ve let into our homes are robot vacuums. The earliest robot vacuums were produced in Sweden as far back as 1996, although they didn’t become popular in America until 2002. These days, 23% of vacuums are robot ones. Pretty soon robots and computers are going to be doing a lot of things for us, so you might as well get used to them now. Enter the Eufy Robo Vac 11S. I have tested the model at my house and as well as distracting my (sometimes annoying) cat, it has done wonders to clean our floors. If you’ve never had a robot vacuum before you will ponder what you did without one (and also realize that’s truly a first world problem). You simply turn the 11S on and let it roam around in its own time, picking up dirt and dust with minimal noise. At a full charge it will work for 100 minutes and with the slim design it can better clean hard-to-reach places, such as under couches. This model has increased suction at 1300Pa and via BoostIQTM Technology it automatically increases suction within 1.5 seconds when extra vacuuming power is needed. The Eufy Robo Vac 11S comes with a charging base, a remote control, and extra brushes. (Buy it here.)

Model 33 and Model 45 (Flipbin)

RRP: $75.00 (for Model 33) and $45.00 (for Model 45)

Flipbin have a stylish and practical solution for vinyl storage. Vinyl has been making a comeback for the last decade, so much so that it’s a tired statement to make. There are plenty of expensive vinyl shelves out there, but Flipbin offers a more affordable option. Also, when vinyl is wedged into a shelf it’s often hard to find the exact record you want, as you attempt to scan the thin spines, and then have to squeeze the record out of the shelf if it is packed tightly. Flipbin allows you to store and display your vinyl with the cover facing outwards, like how they are stored in a record store. You can place the Flipbins on the top of another shelf, on a side table, or even on the floor and you can alternate which record you want to display as the front one, depending on your mood. Model 33 is obviously suited for 33 LPs, whereas Model 45 is intended for 7-inch singles and actually also works well for comic books. Model 33 appropriately enough holds approximately 33 LPs and is made of aluminum. Model 45 appropriately enough, you guessed it, holds approximately 45 7-inches and is also made of aluminum. Both come in a variety of colors to match any home décor. (Buy Model 33 here. Buy Model 45 here.)

Notorious RBG Mug (Spread Shirt)

RRP: $17.99

Eighty-five-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a certified Supreme Court badass, one of the few Supreme Court Justices to truly become a celebrity. There are children’s books about her, action figures in her likeness, this year’s feature film documentary on her, RBG, and a biopic on her coming out this month starring Felicity Jones as a young Ginsburg and Armie Hammer as her husband, Martin. In 2013, then law student Shana Knizhnik started the Notorious RBG meme and Tumblr page, comparing Ginsburg’s swagger to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. That led to the New York Times best selling book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and various merchandising (Ginsburg herself admits to giving Notorious RBG T-shirts to friends as a gag gift). And now we have this mug from Spread Shirt. It’s an effective and amusing design. Show your friends that you have sense of humor and also support one of the four remaining Supreme Court Justice’s appointed by a Democratic. May she live long and prosper. (Buy it here.)

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