Gifts for Brain Enthusiasts: Part 3

My last post was quite heavy-going and I’m in the midst of writing something more political so I thought it might need breaking up with something more whimsical! In case you’ve forgotten, here’s part 1 and part 2

Find 1:Think Geek is a treasure trove for brain and other anatomy-themed items. These coasters are made up of slices through the brain and look incredible, I’ll certainly be ordering some when they re-stock! Postage and customs (it’s a US site) can be high so worth saving for a bulk order with others.


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Holding your hand (and other found delights)

I end up spending a lot of time trawling the internet, stumbling upon various oddities.

I thought I’d share these wonderful rings made by design studio Patrick Laing. Aimed as wedding or eternity pieces, the rings are made from moulds of the couple’s fingers, so the inside of the ring has the fingerprint impression wrapped around it. You can buy a casting set or go in to the studio, then the rings are crafted from a range of precious metals. I love that these rings really will be as unique as a fingerprint, and the idea that you’d be holding your partner’s hand in wearing it. It has an unusual sort or romance to it.

You and Me rings


More below the cut…


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Gift ideas: Pop and low-brow art prints

The problem I find with Xmas shopping is that I’m continually finding things that would be just great for me, but less so for other people…

Given I’m not a fan of crowds and I’m pretty lazy, I’m trying to do all of my shopping online. Mostly from bed. You probably already know from my blog that I’m a fan of illustration, graphic novels and surreal-pop/low-brow art. I think a print is a great gift for someone, it’s a piece of art they can use to decorate their home and it has a lot of personality to it.

I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite finds so far:

Sellers of wonderful dystopian literature-print tees, The Affair now do one of my favourite designs as a poster! (Just emailed my brother asking if he’d get me this for Xmas). £19.90

Tim Doyle ‘Tears in the Rain’ Blade Runner print. On sale at Greenwich’s Flood Gallery, £80.

Brave New World – Kevin Tong £60

To be continued…

Gifts for Brain Enthusiasts #2 (Birthday Edition)

Time for more neurologically-relevant items, given people seemed to like the first set so much. Recently it was my birthday. I’m struggled to come to terms with my transition to ‘adulthood’ and the realisation that I may have peaked, cognitively (indeed, I think I may actually have peaked around the time I sat my AS Levels aged 17, and been on a decline ever since).

Anyway, the occasion was made all the sweeter for some fantastic presents some lovely people got me. They seem to know what I like.

Asylum – The photographs of Christopher Payne

I’m something of an amateur urbex-er and I’ve always loved the old hospitals and asylums the best. This beautiful book is full of photos of america’s old mental hospitals. Beautiful and haunting, the buildings are often derelict, left to be recalimed by nature. These images seem at once strange and startling, they serve as a reminder of the dark places psychiatry has come from. Also includes a moving introduction from the wonderful Oliver Sacks.

Usborne’s See Inside Your Head

This book may technically be aimed at a younger audience, but I’m pretty thrilled with it. So many flaps to lift! Hours of entertainment here. If I ever get a job in paediatric neuro, I may take it into work.

Old anatomical print 

Isn’t this just exquisite? This wonderful print of the inferior view of the brain is about to gain a proud place on my wall. I’d say an old print makes a really good gift for any fans of the biological sciences, there are some really beautiful and intricate ones out there. One of my best friends found this for me at an antiques market, apparently it’s over 170 years old! It’s been cut from a book and is a bit crumbly on the edges. You can find similar items on ebay too.

Yes, I’m a massive nerd and I have a rather limited set of interests. Stay tuned for part three…

Camera Wonderfulness

I only just discovered this website and it’s already got my heart on rapid-fire. Photojojo sells all kinds of wonderful camera-related things (except for the actual camera, lenses or studio equipment). It’s not cheap, a few items are currently sold out and they seem to stock a lot of gadgets for phone photography (which I grumpily don’t 100% approve of) but look at these lovely things:

Camera cookie-cutters

Creative Bokeh-kit (I tried and failed to make one of these once)

Lomokino 35mm Movie Camera

I have recently acquired a ring-flash adaptor, which is like a round periscope which attached to a normal flash gun, for more even portrait lighting. Will post some results when I’ve tried it out properly. Also, they send out a little toy dinosaur with all orders. What’s not to like?

My Nerdy Valentine

As a child reared on Disney films and fairy tales I developed some rather unrealistic romantic notions. I desperately wanted a card on Valentines’ day, and despite being painfully shy and looking rather like a cabbage patch kid I fancied my chances. Primary school is a cruel time for a vampire-toothed ginger so this notion was soon out-grown. After spending many of my teenage years complaining about this invented, commercialised holiday that makes single people feel lonely and miserable (not to mention heaping pressure on those who actually are in relationships), I find now I actually have someone in my life, I rather want to join in! I don’t want to go out to a restaurant, why should I have to book  to eat in a crowded restaurant where I’ll have to pay twice as much and wait twice as long for my food? Nah, I’m happy to stay in. Extravegant gestures are unnecessary, but I do like the cards. So my search is on to find an appropriate, possible nerdy or science-related card, for my beau. I found this one last year:

from Button Empire

I could post a bunch of zombie cards of the ‘I want your brains’ ilk here, but that feels a bit lazy. And I resent brains becoming a popular motif just because zombies are so ‘cool’ now. If anyone can locate a anatomically-accurate brain valentines card, perhaps one that makes reference to activation of the amygdala and dopamine levels, I will be most impressed. In the meantime, these cards from Nerdy Dirty could be in the running:

Boy previously got me one that said ‘I love you more than computer games’. But that was before Portal 2 was released.

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Gifts for Brain Enthusiasts #1

Scientists can be hard to shop for. It’s a profession that seems to attract rather obsessive characters with very little delineation between work and home-life. What do you get them for birthdays and Xmas, a subscription to Scientific American Mind? Is that too ‘pop science’? Here are a couple of thoughts and suggestions for a little something for the neurologist, psychologist, neuroscientist or otherwise all-round brain-prodder in your life.

‘Brain is for lovers’ t-shirt

As worn by Pharrell Williams, Kele from Bloc Party, and me. I found this top on ebay, I assumed it was a parody of those cheesy slogan-ed American state t-shirts, perhaps aimed at zombie fans. A quick google now suggests that this was a t-shirt put out by the band N*E*R*D. And that ‘brain’ is slang for oral sex. Who knew?

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