If you like jigsaw puzzles and Baby Yoda - this is for you

What better way to use up the "brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness" you won in the cosmic lottery than by frittering it away on assembling a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of Baby Yoda, better known to Star Track purists as "The Child?" Read the rest

How to have a great weekend by engaging in "serious leisure"

Katrina Onstad, author of a new book called The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork says people usually feel better after a weekend of engaging in engaging social activities instead of binge-watching TV, loafing, and drinking.

From Quartz:

Serious leisure activities provide deeper fulfillment, and—to invoke a fuzzy ’70s word—“self-actualization.” Self-actualization is the pinnacle of human development, according to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, who describes it as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” In other words, getting self-actualized is the whole point of life, and passive, hedonistic leisure (fun and occasionally necessary as it might be) won’t get you there.

Instead, the weekend goal should be “eudaimonic” happiness, which is a sense of well-being that arises from meaningful, challenging activities that cause you to grow as a person. This means spending the weekend on serious leisure activities that require the regular refinement of skills: your barbershop-quartet singing, your stamp collecting, or slightly less dorky, but still equally in-depth, projects. You pursue serious leisure with the earnest tenor of a professional, even if the pursuit is amateur.

Thinking about my own weekends, I like ones that include loafing *and* social stuff. My ideal weekend would include reading for a few hours, learning Japanese for an hour, meeting with my amateur magic club for a couple of hours, having a fun date night with Carla (dinner and a movie), watching a couple of episodes of a show we like, taking a long hike with Carla (and one of my daughters if they are around) in the Hollywood Hills, making meals that require lots of chopping and prep, sketching with my daughters, and fixing something broken around the house (especially if it requires me to design a 3D model and make something on my 3D printer). Read the rest

Harry Israelson's delightful pics from a SoCal Ren Faire

Photographer Harry Israelson has a long-running series of photo essays called For Pleasure. For a recent set, he headed to beautiful Covina, California for a Renaissance Faire. Pictured: Ye Olde ATM. Read the rest

Walt Disney World tightens the rules on FastPasses

On The Disney Blog, John Frost describes the upcoming rule-tightening for FastPasses in Walt Disney World. FastPass is a ride reservation system: park visitors visit a ride, feed their entry ticket to a kiosk, and it spits out a coupon that can be redeemed later in the day for admission via a shorter queue. Until now, FastPass expiry times were not enforced (that is, the pass might say it was good for 3-4PM, but you could use it any time after 3), which led people like me to collect FastPasses all morning (you can get one every hour or so) when the lines were short, and then use them all in a bunch in the afternoon when the lines got longer.

Frost says the rule change is a precursor to a much more dramatic change, a FastPass replacement (?) called xPass, which allows visitors to reserve their ride-times far in advance, over the Web, simultaneous with their other bookings -- dining, hotel, etc. This feels like it would suck a lot of spontaneity out of Disney World visits, though for certain very slow-loading/long-queueing rides, it would be nice to guarantee a ride in advance.

Meanwhile, Frost has some excellent suggestions for ways to fine-tune the new FastPass system:

Here are a few tweaks I would like Disney to do to improve the FastPass system a bit.

* More surprise fastpasses. Standby queue dropping below 15 minutes? Send a digital fastpass to guests on their mobile phones. * Shorten the wait time required to get an additional fast pass later in the day. * Let guests pick their return window.

Read the rest