Boost Your Beverage Experience!

April 24, 2013 15:18 by rob

Chances are (about one in sixty-two hundred if my sub-par math skills are at all accurate) you haven’t heard of, let alone tasted, the delicious citrus cola, Boost! It's loved and well known in a particular, small area of South Jersey. The same small area that loves panzarottis and part of that slightly larger area that loved Tastycakes long before Hostess got caught with their hand in the Twinkie jar.

 

Chances are (1 in 1, these calculations are definitely correct) that you are missing out! Take it from a born and raised, moved away and returned, South Jersey native: the Pepsi challenge is like quite a few big face-offs; only two options are offered and neither are all that great or all that different.



Enter Boost! A drink with a 100 year legacy, originally crafted by a pharmacist from Riverside, NJ. This citrus cola, yes made from citrus with a cola taste, has a taste reminiscent of flat cola but in the tastiest of ways, and has all the caffeine you could want in an icy pick-up!


 

I’ve been drinking Boost! since I upgraded from a bottle to a sippy-cup (caffeine free of course, my parents aren’t crazy), when it was only available in giant glass jugs of concentrated syrup (something that me, my siblings, and our cousins definitely didn’t dare each other to take straight shots of) and now you can get it as a slushie!

Around here, I can pop into just about any deli or convenience store and pick one up whenever I want. Now you can have one too, no matter how far you are from Riverside! Make your own slushie or just a glass of iced Boost! cola, whenever you want with a 64oz jug that comes with a pump top for easy dispensing!

 

What are you waiting for? Take a Boost!

 

Sorry, we don’t ship panzarottis.

 

… There really aren’t any to spare *chomp* anyway.



How to Make Chai Like MacGyver

March 11, 2013 11:39 by rob

If only I was an expert craftsman in woodworking. I've got a solid mustache, if I do say so myself, and an even more handsome beard to go along with it, and I definitely do say so myself. I've even got a cynical eye for wasteful bureaucracy, a strong sense of personal independence, and would probably marry Lucy Lawless in a heartbeat.

What I'm trying to say, is I'm almost but not completely imbued with a Ron Swanson-esque vibe, and I'd really like the whole kit & kaboodle to really give this the sturdy DIY toughness I want… but I don't have a quick enough montage to become a carpenter, so close will have to be good enough for horseshoes, hand grenades, and homemade chai blogs.

 

Having worked at a company, quite serious about its chai, for a year and a half without trying more than a glimpsing taste, it's odd that it was an audiobook called Shantaram that incited my personal chai investigation.

I mentioned my favorite [at the time] recipe in my last entry, but things have progressed quite a bit since then. Of all Shantaram's descriptions and portrayals of Chai that pushed me to reexamine the spiced sweet tea, the biggest impact was from the focus on how it was made from scratch, by hand for each cup.

 

Stirred steadily in a copper pot over a low flame so that savory aroma seasons every inhale, made by your own hand and served into an earthen mug straight from the steaming pot.

 

It calls to mind the feeling of cooking your own dinner over a campfire; it's that rustic, hearty, and independent sense of making something amazing for yourself.

If ol' Duke Silver drank Chai, that's how he'd make it.

 

If you love Chai but have never made it for yourself from scratch, I encourage you to try it once and see if it isn't extra satisfying.

 

I've been making mine with Coconut Milk lately, mostly for the health benefits. Coconut oil was long vilified for its high content of saturated fats but, as we've come to understand this tropical drupe a bit more, we're learning that virgin coconut oil (like what is in coconut milk) has a high lauric acid content which contributes to an overall better cholesterol profile and has medium-chain triglycerides which may not carry the same risks as other saturated fats.

           

           Pour coconut milk into a pot (same amount as you would use for water in preparing the same amount of tea)

           Heat over medium flame until lightly simmering

           Lower flame a bit and pour in loose Chai Tea (like these whole leaf options! In a re-sealable pouch or the Novus Tea Sachets which become loose leaf tea with a simple pair of scissors)

           Stir slowly for 1-2 minutes, reduce flame to low and stir another 2-3 minutes.

           Add sweetener (I often use a Vanilla Coconut Milk so I add only the tiniest bit of raw honey. No matter what, keep in mind Coconut Milk's natural sweetness when adding sugar/honey/agave)

           Turn off flame (additional stirring if your sweetener hasn't mixed yet)

 

I don't have any of the professional… or even any of the adeptly prepared amateur… tea drinker's tools, so getting the loose tea and spices out of my cup of awesome called forth a bit of my inner MacGyver. If you also find yourself with a pot of awesome mixed with tea flotsam and no fancy tea making equipment… or even a basic strainer… then try this simple trick:

 

            Works best with a big mug, I actually use a beer stein (teacups and coffee mugs are too small)

           Place a piece of tin foil over cup and crimp down around the lip to form a slight bowl shape inside the cup

           Poke about a dozen or so small holes in the lowest part of the tin foil bowl

           Pour contents of pot slowly through your homemade strainer

           Remove tin foil

 

Don't forget to take a moment to admire the result of your efforts; a handcrafted cup of sweet spiced tea. Also take a moment because it is probably super super hot!

 

If you prefer the dairy route, the process is relatively the same. I prefer whole milk, 2 parts milk 1 part water, heat on medium flame till simmering (stir frequently) and proceed as listed above.

 

Can you mix whole milk and vanilla coconut milk to have all the creamy consistency of whole milk with the sweet flavor and health benefits of the coconut for the cup of Chai of destiny?

I don't know. I only thought of that idea while I was writing this, but I'm going to try it!

Has anyone else tried this, any thoughts on how it might turn out, do you want to know the results? Reach us by comment, email, smoke signal*, or carrier pigeon**.

 

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*Smoke signal reception depends on wind speed and direction, weather, and if our lookout brought his binoculars.

 

**Carrier Pigeons should be able to out-maneuver this seriously stoic fella


Long Winter or Early Spring I Need Only Know One Thing

February 11, 2013 23:55 by rob

Until only months ago, I [thought I] did not like chai.

 

Which seems quite ridiculous as my current cuppa chai sits not 6 inches from me; steam curling and twisting as my tea cools from liquid magma to a more drinkable temperature, and the smell of cinnamon, spices and a hint of vanilla drifts around my cubicle.


 

My current favorite 'recipe' is as follows;

2 Novus Spiced Chai teabags steeped, in a big mug, until almost dark as coffee

Stir with an Amber Sugar Cane stick until dissolved

Top off with Vanilla soymilk.

 

It's not just the drink's heat that is so welcome on a snow-frosted (but, of course, not enough for us all to be snowed in our cozy houses) Monday morning, but the flavor itself that warms you up from the belly out. The spice, the sweet, the rich bold flavor of the full leaf black tea… Really all that's missing is another 34" of snow.

 


Punky Phil says Spring's coming soon

Though, with an accuracy percent of 39

I trust him like I trust snow in June.

So to a long winter, we must all resign.

 

But my chai isn't all that's warm and sweet,

Winter also means a day called Valentine,

And I've got one request, don't make me repeat,

How 'bout it Chai, will you be mine?

 


…Just don't tell the Cocomels; the creamiest of artisan, small batch vegan caramels made with the smooth and healthful wonders of Coconut Milk. I may or may not already have a Valentine.

Honestly who could resist? Whether it's the perfectly executed contrast of salty and sweet with just a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel Sea Salt, or the dark and rich flavor of organic espresso beans carried perfectly on the subtly sweet undercurrent of creamy caramel and coconut milk, there is also Vanilla and the classic Original and nothing artificial or saccharine about 'em.

 

On second thought, maybe I'll be my own Valentine.

And I'll give my Valentine – the handsome, rakish, rogue that he is – enough Chai Tea to make it till Spring, whenever it arrives, and a whole barrel of Cocomels.

 

My, my, how thoughtful my Valentine is; that's exactly what I wanted.


Serious Brain Heath Part 3: Developing Brains, Active Minds

February 8, 2013 10:37 by rob

Early childhood is a pretty important time for a person [first understatement of 2013]. It's a time when much more than strengthening or sharpening skills is needed, children are currently in the process of developing all those skills! The more stimulation and interaction provided for these skills, the stronger their potential becomes.

 

SeriousPuzzles.com carries a wide selection of puzzles, games, and activities designed to engage the mind and strengthen these developing skills. Created by some of the most innovative and experienced minds in the market; they're full of fun from beginning to end, the fun just happens to be good for developing brains. The puzzles feature bright colors and visually exciting images to keep their attention, while larger and thicker pieces meet their motor skills on their level.

 

Assembling puzzles and playing with these interactive games helps to foster abilities like spatial recognition, attention and focus, as wells as encouraging positive feelings of achievement. It's entertainment with a benefit, both to growing minds and budding self-esteem!

 

Farm Sounds – Start puzzling early with this block puzzle filled with farm fun! The two pieces are cube pieces covered in half pictures of cheerful farm animals. When they are placed correctly in the included tray, the two pictures match up to show a Cow, a Pig, a Sheep, and more, but you'll also be rewarded with the sound that animal makes! (2 blocks, recommended for ages 2+)



 

Transport Trio – Chunky wooden pieces painted in bold colors interlock on top of each other within a sturdy wooden frame to form a playful and layered image of a jumbo jet, a car, and a sailboat. Not only does this help with spatial recognition as the child learns how the shapes fit, it also introduces sequencing. (8 pieces, recommended for ages 3+)



 

Spanish Alphabet (Alfabeto Español) – With bright colors and interactive sound, little puzzlers can learn the 27 letters of the Spanish Alphabet as well as a bit of simple vocabulary; engaging all the usual motor and visual recognition skills, this puzzle can play an effective role in early language development. (27 pieces, recommended for ages 3+)



 

Happy School Bus, Make 'Em Move – Just like in the song, the wheels on the bus go round and round! The fun here is just beginning when the puzzle is completed; you can turn the bus wheel like it's really rolling along, spin the soccer ball, and even make the skateboarder flip! (24 pieces, recommended for ages 4+)



 

I Learn: To Add & Subtract – This puzzle set includes several basic jigsaws that incorporate the flash card method for teaching basic arithmetic. Their clever design also shows concrete examples for the math with visual representations that are laid out as the puzzles are pieced together.

 

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Read Rob's other Brain Health Blogs:

 

Serious Brain Health Part 1: Is a Healthier Brain Just a Checkmate Away?

Serious Brain Health Part 2: Puzzling Makes Brain Health Not So Puzzling


These Gifts Aren't Late, Just on a Different Schedule

January 4, 2013 11:16 by rob

 

Sometimes we don’t get our Holiday gifts to people before the Holidays have passed. But where the Calendar is strict, the spirit of gift giving is not! And in The Uglyverse and Squishtownworld, they know that! There, the holidays are all celebrated on flexibly expanding schedule...


Uglyverse. Decrepitember, 29th, 2012.

 

Trunko – GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

                       

Dave D. – Why are you screaming?

 

Trunko – I FORGOT 2 PRESENTS!... I never gave Groody his

Uglysaurus rawhide bone, and a homemade blue apron for Wage is

still sitting on the floor of my treehouse.

                       

Dave D. – Trunky, ol’ pal, you’re the most forgetful creature ever.

If you forgot two Winter Wonder Holiday presents, then Winter Wonder Holidays aren’t over yet! Go get those gifts! Celebrate! Go… Oh… he’s gone.

 

[Rising Dust Cloud]

 

 

That’s just one example from the Uglyverse, but it’s very commonplace! The Holidays end when everyone is done celebrating them. Why set deadlines on widespread fun, Why tell a day when it has to stop being awesome, they ask? And I can’t help but agree with them. 

 

In Squishabletownworld, the tradition is the same but they just refer to the Calendar as being ‘Squishy’. You can never be very sure about a date or when it is ending, or sometimes even when it’s starting, when everything is so Squishy. So they figure, why be strict? Celebrate all around it so that you never miss!

 

So if you’re stressed because you might not have time to get all your presents to their recipients, relax. Think about it this way, maybe the Holidays can be celebrated a little longer this year, maybe they’re over when we’re done celebrating them, maybe there is never a bad time to give a funny, cuddly, and ugly in the most adorable of ways plush toy to someone.

A new fuzzy friend like Yeti The Abominable Squishable Snowball, who’s got a fluffy white and blue, Wintertime special hug for anyone, anytime and he’s not scared of Blizzards, Ice, or even Days When The Sky Is Super Gray And It’s Cold.

Or a Purple Pirate Eyed Pal like Handsome Panther! When you’re as charming as this vibrantly furred, valiantly fanged, veritable fellow you celebrate when you arrive, and who isn’t going to celebrate with you! Think of all the shoes that will be cobbled and the hugs that will be had!

And if all else fails, there is always Cthulhu. Elder Gods of Chaos and Doom do not heed the small boxy calendars of man! Dost thou not seeist Mighty Cthulhu, in his furry green and squishy plush beastliness? Yea, and dost not the holidays merely begin when he arrives? Cthulhu is never late, so says Cthulhu.

In the end, the holidays are about a whole lot more than presents and dates. And one day is never enough to spend all the time with all of our loved ones. So don’t worry about any of the deadlines, celebrate with friends and family whenever you can! And seriously, who can get mad if you're 'late' when faced with one of these cuddlemonsters?

 


Serious Brain Health Part 2: Puzzling Makes Brain Health Not So Puzzling!

December 12, 2012 22:55 by rob

Who doesn’t want improved neurological health, better cognitive performance, higher mental aptitude… You know, get a better brain box and stuff! 

There are a wide range of products and activities that make an even wider range of claims on how they’ll whip your noggin into shape. However, there is some dispute over whether their efficacy is exaggerated and the accuracy of results from testing and scoring these various fields of cognitive ability.

What is known, and this knowledge is reinforced by this contested field with experts and scientists arguing from all sides, is that that human brain is a complex muscle, an intricate organ, a practically magical spongy ball of smarts that we are still coming to understand. Keeping this still mysterious tool active and engaged is not a bad thing; definitely not detrimental to health or ability, on that we can all agree. Even if certain products won’t raise your IQ to Einstein levels, even if some tests are only narrowly applicable, keeping your brain engaged is definitely a positive!


While software and interactive programs have become increasingly popular – and hotly contested over their claims – in recent years, there have always been activities that keep the mind sharp. Last time we discussed the merits of Chess, and this week we come to jigsaw puzzles. [If you missed Part 1, click here to catch up!]

Jigsaw puzzles have been the gym equipment of the brain for decades, and there is substantial evidence that they help maintain, if not in fact improve, mental well-being. Jigsaws are more than just shaped pieces that interlock to form a completed picture, they are PUZZLES that challenge our brains! They challenge our shape recognition and our spatial intelligence, they stimulate fine motor skills and encourage creative thinking, they require focus and a developing ability to problem solve while exercising both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Through exercising these skills, the brain is strengthened via its natural process of attempting to increase efficiency in a repeated activity.

At Serious Puzzles we offer a huge variety of products under the Jigsaw Puzzle umbrella, and below are just some of the ones that fit the more standard definition. Jigsaws can incorporate a lot of additional aspects and factors, but that shouldn’t undercut the effectiveness of what is commonly understood as a jigsaw puzzle.


Heavenly Peace – Featuring art by James Meger, this puzzle depicts a charming winter scene with beautiful fallen snow, curious wildlife, a cozy cottage, and a traditional Christmas theme. Its 1500 piece count offers a significant step up from the challenge level of the average jigsaw, and like all Sunsout puzzles it was made in the USA.


Cookie Cutouts – This cheerfully colorful collection of Christmas cookies boasts a 2000 piece count and repeating patterns of designs and colors for a serious challenge with a seasonal flair. A reissue of a classic puzzle image, this puzzle is perfect for sharpening the mind on a cold winter’s night or in a warm, cookie-smell filled kitchen! As with all Springbok puzzles it was made in the USA.


Coral City – Piece yourself away to a magical underwater kingdom through this beautifully blue jigsaw puzzle featuring artwork by the beloved Fantasy artist, Ciro Marchetti. The heavy use of blue shades strengthens the challenge of this jigsaw, while the 1000 piece count offers accessibility to most puzzlers. Spiel Spass puzzles are made in Germany


Double Retrospect – Keith Harings recognizable artistic style pairs with a monstrous piece count to form the Guiness World Record holder for largest jigsaw puzzle, though it’s more like a jigsaw wall or a puzzle mural! If you don’t think you’re up for breaking the World Record of 1000+ completed jigsaws, you can at least get a feel for record breaking puzzling by completing this epic project. Get ready for a brain workout! This is like the marathon of jigsaw puzzling!
 

Whether they feature an epic size or complex imagery or feel more along the lines of the standard fare, jigsaw puzzles will always exercise the most important muscle we’ve got. Take your pick, the choices are numerous, and introduce some brain-strengthening fun to your life or even into this Holiday Season’s gift giving!

 


Only a Thousand? Sounds Like a Beatable Record

December 4, 2012 12:03 by rob

Do you jigsaw daily? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hold a world record? Do you crave the fame and fortune that only a Guinness World Record celebrity can attain? Well, have we got an opportunity for you!

Just recently, Gina Gil Lacuna of the Philippines was declared the new world record holder for largest collection of completed jigsaw puzzles. She trounced the previous record (238… how was that even a record?!) with her total clocking in at 1,028.

Now 1000+ jigsaw puzzles is nothing to shake a stick at – no really, you don’t want to clean up several hundred jigsaw puzzles because of reckless stick shaking – but we’re finding it hard to believe that one of our serious puzzlers couldn’t topple that record.

The record requires each puzzle to be different and all the pieces complete for them to count, otherwise you may be closer than you ever thought to worldwide acclaim.


Easter Island - 1000pc Jigsaw Puzzle by Heye

Did you know that right now, SeriousPuzzles has over 3,900 jigsaw puzzles in stock? That’s a couple thousand more than you need for the record, and that’s if you’re starting from scratch! Take a moment and consider; how many jigsaws have you pieced together over the years? A few dozen, several hundred, more? All you have to do is keep them completely assembled (we have puzzle glue and frames to help with that as well) and beat 1,028 – soon to be 1,048 as Ms. Lacuna attempts to hold her record – and you could be the next recipient of a World Record!


Jigsaw Puzzle Fram Kit (20x27)

Find some new favorites, or check out some of our newest brands, and see if you can’t piece your way to a spot in Jigsaw Puzzle history; we’re rooting for you!


Serious Brain Health Part 1: Is a Healthier Brain Just a Checkmate Away?

November 27, 2012 16:15 by rob


(image source: 1)

Chess is a game of strategy and skill; unique in a world of games that incorporate chance or luck in some facet, Chess challenges each player to better their mind if they want to see victory. The intricacies of strategy run so vast and deep that it has gripped some of the more brilliant and prodigious thinkers of humankind, and to achieve mastery of the game is to enter an elite group.

Competition and victory are attractive parts of the game, but there are significant benefits to be acquired simply from the study and practice of Chess. Evidence indicates that learning Chess, especially from a young age, develops strong character and improved social skills.


(image source: 2)

Playing Chess can raise the IQ, foster resilient brain health to stave off Alzheimer’s, increase creativity and a host of cognitive skills, as well as develop a stronger ability to use foresight and plan efficiently.

 

If you’re new to the world of Chess, take a look at No Stress Chess. This super interactive set enables a newcomer to learn the game as they play, which is a much easier and more efficient way to learn than reading pages of instructions, tips, tricks and advice. There are action cards that prompt you through different aspects of the game, a double-sided board that features hints and help on one side as well as a blank side for standard play, and an extensive set of rules and instructions.

Or maybe you’re a long time Chess player looking for a bigger challenge? Consider escalating the intensity of your Chess game to a full on Chess War with the unique Chess 4. Without altering the core nature of the game or the fundamental rules, Chess 4 manages to offer an innovative style of gameplay to this historic standard; now you can play with 3 or 4 players, play in teams or a free-for all!

Whether you are a long time Chess enthusiast looking for new flair for your board or new styles of play to keep your skills sharp, or if you are just getting your feet wet in this ocean of mental strength and development, there is a set for you here at Serious Shops.

 

David Bronstein, a Chess Grandmaster, once said, “the most powerful weapon in Chess is to have the next move.”

I think that notion has a wider application to life in general. Having a ‘next move’ – appreciating each new moment and every new day as opportunities to expand your mind and experience – is an invaluable asset. Your future is always ahead of you, the rest of your life is always yet to come, and what it looks like is up to you and each choice and you make along the way.

My next move is to the open road; to pursue the infinite and unpredictable range of possibilities and potential that life offers; to take each new day as the opportunity to learn something new, see somewhere new, or meet someone new and remain open to a life that is ever-changing.

What will you do with your next move?

 


1. www.fsclchess.org/Chess.jpg

2. 4.bp.blogspot.com/_Q0lTtPVTG40/TTiPx14SXdI/AAAAAAABlxo/HrGGZwUoIyI/s400/Brain.jpg


Hot Drinks are Delicious - It is Known

October 24, 2012 12:34 by rob

Winter is coming.


Short and often gray days, long and cold nights, and the way-too-dark-to-be-awake-yet frigid mornings, it’s all just around the corner and getting closer with every day. If there is one thing that can dull the bitter edge of a Winter’s morning – other than simply staying cocooned in my sufficiently warm bed, of course – it’s a steaming hot drink. Whether it be coffee, tea, cider, hot chocolate or maté, it’s all good to me as long as it’s hot!

 


(image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grggrssmr/)

 

 

I love hot drinks, and I drink them year round despite what the current weather may be, but the colder months make a hot drink much more than just a tasty beverage! Picture this:

The sky is heavy with dreary clouds, so little sunlight cracking through that the dew on the grass will still be frosted by mid-afternoon, and the morning wind must be blowing out of the North because there is a chill on the breeze – a notable feat considering the already freezing temperatures. You sit inside, peering out at the beginnings of the frigid day, and try to guesstimate how many layers of hoodies and thermals and jackets it will take to keep you warm just on the walk across your yard to your car.

Then the teapot whistles, the coffee machine emits a final bubbling sputter, the iron kettle over your traditional fire pit begins to boil over as you rush to scoop the water into a hollowed gourd filled with dry yerba maté. With a toasty ceramic mug, or a hollowed gourd bellowing steam, cradled in your hands, spreading its warmth to your skin, the world outside looks a bit less cold, take a sip and the heat spreads through your core.

Let frosty winds blow, let the snow fall, let the Sun get away with lazy hour days for the next few months, as long as you’ve got a steaming mug of delicious beverage... Let Winter Come!

 

 

Whatever your taste, whatever your preference, chances are we’ve got the tasty beverage to fill that steaming mug every icy morning of the Winter months. We carry a whole range of Lavazza brand Coffee and Espresso, featuring whole beans or ground, 100% Arabica specifically selected for each roast from key climates around the world, or even bold blends of primarily Robusta coffee for that extra dark and extra strong kick.

Maybe coffee isn’t your speed, but with Autumn in full swing – treetops aflame with the vibrant colors of leaves dying for the season – who can turn down a piping hot and easy to make cup of Apple Cider? If you could take a roaring campfire, an apple orchard, and a crisp fall breeze, and concentrate them into a beverage, I’m fairly positive the result would be Apple Cider.

 


(image source: applecreekorchards.com)

 

Or, perhaps you still want the caffeine but in something less brash than coffee; what about high-quality, finely cut, fair trade, and organic whole leaf tea? Whatever your flavor preference, however bold or light you like your leaves, no matter what your caffeine requirement, loose leaf or in their easy to use and 100% biodegradable tea sachets, there is a tea here for you! Add a bit of Old World elegance to your morning proceedings with a spot ‘o Earl Grey.

If all of these delicious, but arguably mainstream, beverages sound too cliché to you than perhaps a bit of maté is up your alley. Derived from the traditional South American drink that is, in fact, served in a hollowed gourd from which one drinks through a silver filtered straw; Pixie Maté concentrates pack the punch and bring the flavor. Take the original route – a flavor laced with cardamom, vanilla & cloves – or find bliss in the Chai infusion, either way you’re on the quick route to the “gentle hum of an awakened mind and a vibrant body.” Unlike a caffeine buzz, jittery and peaked with highs and lows, Maté provides a balanced current of energy supplied by the potent and unique blend of xanthines as well as a ‘llama-load’ of antioxidants!

 


(image source: voxxi.com)

 

Whatever your preference, we’ve got the liquid heat to fill your mug this Winter…

What’s that? A drink that tastes like coffee, but it can’t be coffee it has to be made from tea, and it can’t have caffeine?

Okay, we don’t have Coffee-Flavored Decaffeinated Oolong tea. Yet. (You got us there.) But have you seen our Chai selection?


Wrecking Ball [of Whacks] to Insipid Thinking

October 18, 2012 10:21 by rob


Roger von Oech, the creator of Ball of Whacks (and many more creativity tools and books), is a vehement proponent of creative and innovative thinking. His products and books challenge the perspectives that keep us locked in standard modes of thought and push a willing mind to see the world differently and approach problems, challenges, and life with active creativity.

When we recognize that the world around us, the universe we exist within, and even ourselves, changes on a second by second basis by the sheer nature of existence, it becomes clear that relying on static modes of thinking may indeed limit our perspectives and reduce the ability to approach each moment with innovation. However, just recognizing that isn’t the same as breaking free as these perspectives tend to be rooted so deep they feel almost inherent. That’s where things like the Ball of Whacks comes in!

30 pyramid pieces, containing rare earth magnets, form a Rhombic Triacontahedron. In one sturdy and simplistically beautiful tool you get elements of brainteasers and problem solving as well as creativity-boosting and meditative focus. The challenges and mental stimulation yield benefits in a more free-form approach that encourages creativity and reduces the frustration that comes from narrowed thinking.  While playing with the Ball of Whacks your mind works creatively and your fine motor skills sharpen. On the other end of the spectrum, Ball of Whacks can serve as a meditative aid; the free-form play provides calm focus so that your mind can find relief from concerns and problems that run on loop.

It has been found that active motor-skill use actually sharpens mental acuity. In the included handbook (an easy to read and handy guide to quickly making the most of your Ball of Whacks experience, included with every ball!) there is reference to a particular study where a control group sat in a room silently while a target group sat in a separate room for the same amount of time and skinned apples with sharp knives. Afterwards, both groups took the same mental acuity test and the group who’d been activating their motor skills performed significantly better.
Even if you aren’t straining your brain on a conscious level, there is a lot of neurological activity taking place and there’s no healthy brain like an active one!

Challenge yourself to build complex geometric shapes, engage in one of 15 provided “creativity exercises" in the included book, admire the geometric intricacy of an object fundamentally founded on the golden ratio, or just play with the Ball of Whacks and explore the possibilities!

My favorite way to just play is to move the pyramid pieces around one at a time, watching new shapes evolve and transition and allowing my imagination to spot faces and ‘characters’ in these shapes. This is an imagination game I’ve played since I was little; I loved looking at a pattern of shapes and designs and allowing my imagination to isolate an outline and form it into a face or figure in my mind. The Ball of Whacks provides a tangible, maneuverable, and infinitely variable source for this activity! This is my most recent find,


I call it the Mechangry Bird because, obviously, I find that it resembles what I imagine a robotic version of those wildly popular pig-hating birds would look like!

Just imagine what you’ll find!