- minute forty four -

Movies, Craft Beer and Geek Stuff

Geek Stuff, Musings, Top 5s

Five objects that help me de-stress.

Stress. Weather it’s from work, home or other it can be a real pain in the arse. It can kill your productivity and make you lose sleep. Companies have made millions… no, billions out of treating stress. From hypnotherapy to stress toys, to self help techniques there are a huge number of things available to help with your stress. Personally I manage mine with some fairly simple objects. Here are my top 5 stress busting…. erm… toys, I guess?

5. NES with Super Mario Brothers 3

This is the single greatest console-game combination in the history of video games. The simple controls make it easy for anyone to pick up and raccoon-tail their stress away. The sound effects, graphics and game play make it pretty much perfect. To this day I think SMB3 is the best iteration of everyone’s favourite Italian American stereotype.

Super Mario 3

For me, SMB3 takes away stress and worries because it takes me back to my youth. Growing up in Canada I had a NES and would spend hours playing SMB 1, 2 and 3. But 3 was always my favourite. I never owned it though. We had a VHS and game rental place around the corner from us and whenever I had a Saturday with nothing to do I’d rent SMB3. This was when NES cartridges were ferociously expensive so 20 rentals still wouldn’t be as much as buying the game.

4. Breast Implant

Yeah, you read that right. Years ago a friend of mine worked at a place that handled medical supplies. This included cosmetic surgery implants. Every so often they’d find a package that was damaged and/or torn, rendering the product inside useless in the medical field. One of these found it’s way to me. Let me tell you, there are few things better at relieving stress than rolling a silicone breast implant around in your hand. Seriously it’s better than any stress ball.


These days the boob, looking a little worse for wear resides on my desk at work. If I have a particularly rough day or a support client that just doesn’t get it I find myself picking old faithful and everything just seems more pleasant. Funny that way.

3. X-Zylo

Not many people have heard about these things. I’ve had two up to now and I’m totally hooked. The X-Zylo is a Frisbee for the new age. It’s basically a flying gyroscope that you can throw immense distances (if you get the technique right) with not much physical effort. Check out the uber-cheesy video:

See, pretty cool right? If you’re having a stressful week, take a few hours outside in a nice open space and have yourself a little distance trial. You can play catch too but be careful; because of how it flies it is very hard to see if it’s coming straight at you. Also, it flies fast so it can hurt if you catch it wrong. Catching a flying X-Zylo in the forehead will induce more stress than it relieves.

2. Powerball

This is a pretty new one. I only got one on my birthday last month but it’s one hell of a stress reliever. The second application of a gyroscope in this list, the Powerball by NSD is more of an exercise and physical therapy device designed to strengthen the arms. You get the internal ball spinning and use a fluid motion in the wrist to make it spin faster. Anything over 10,000 rpm gets tough. My record is about 11,500 but the world record is something silly like 16,000.


What’s great about the power ball is that you can really go for it and if something really pisses you off you can have an all out record attempt on Powerball and it’s just as satisfying as yelling really loud or hitting something.

1. Skateboard

I was a late-comer to skateboarding and I’ve never been any good at it really but boy do I find it therapeutic. Not only does it give you a great workout, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of freedom you get from coasting around effortlessly on a thin plank of wood. I can forget about everything else and just focus on my feet and the board.

Old Skateboards

As well as de-stressing, skateboarding can give you a fantastic sense of achievement when you nail a new trick. The real pitty is that I’ve not skated in months. This is something I really want to change before we are landed with shite weather once again. Recently @minutedesigns had me watching videos of the great Rodney Mullen and it got me well and truly fired up. It was like drooling with anticipation at seeing a picture of a juicy steak… except for my feet. Granted, it’s not for everyone but I love it.


  1. Adam - September 9, 2009 1:36 pm

    Powerball, the fastest, most innocent way to get wankers cramp known to mankind.

    Breast Implant, Brahn never got me one! Bastaldo! haahhaa

  2. Amber Schonhaar Nickerson - September 10, 2009 6:02 pm

    Remember finding that “secret” area in SMB and getting a gazillion extra lives? When Dad used to play it (not often!) he would nearly go through the window using the controls and you were like that too. Hilarious! I’d love to play it again someday…

    I laughed my head off at #4!

  3. Dan Schonhaar - September 11, 2009 8:53 am

    Holy crap! I do remember that.

    You might get to. I bought a NES a few years ago and it’s in perfect working order.

  4. Magua - September 11, 2009 12:15 pm

    I never got into SMBs or any of the other games surrounding them through the ages. I played them, they were enjoyable but for me it was just something to do for 30 minutes while i thought of something better; I always thought of something better!

    I wish i was still skating around. There was so much pleasure and freedom, like you said, that just let you spend whole days messing around and having fun. Before you realised it you were late getting home, had skipped 2 meals for the sake of the enjoyment and most probably and at very least scraped your knuckles, palm, or elbow. More often than not, i went home with an injury from something not related to skating. Ie. Jumping over the large spikey fence to get onto the school playground with its limitless amount of steps and rails and smooth surfaces!

    I want to play Tony Hawks again, just to get that feeling of being on a Southern US school roof 🙁

  5. Ashley Baxter - September 16, 2009 7:18 pm

    Cool list. Naturally the boob bit jumped out at me – I wonder what cup size the implant is for? I think no.1 on my list has to be drumming, but I can definitely see how some of these help you de-stress. Powerball sounds fuuun!

  6. Dan Schonhaar - September 23, 2009 9:21 pm

    @Ash – Drumming has gotta be a pretty good way to de-stress. Anything where you hit something tends to do the trick.

    I have no musical talent. None at all.

  7. kym - September 24, 2009 2:36 pm

    I tried putting the implant that we have at our house down my top… it made me look structurally unsound.

    Nice list… It made me realise that I don’t actually have anything that helps me de-stress, I just change my music according to my mood, that usually does the trick.

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