Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 1st, 2022

Disney’s FastPass: A Complicated History

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I have not been to almost no theme parks — in the mid-1950’s, I did go with my family to Knott’s Berry Farm and the first Disneyland. But even then I did not much like the walking and waiting. I’ve been to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk a few times, but that is a pale imitation (and requires less walking and less waiting and has other benefits (fewer people, quicker to enter and to leave, and in a town interesting in itself).

That being said, I found this full-length documentary fascinating, in part because it shows me an alien world — one that I have negative desire to visit, but still find interesting in terms of its operation and the kinds of problems it must solve. 

I imagine that this documentary might be even more interesting to someone who has been subjected to the systems described.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2022 at 6:00 pm

Magnus Carlsen Queen Sacrifice in Blitz Championship Game

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This is quite a game — and it’s also interesting to see how blitz tournaments are now played.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2022 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Chess, Games, Video

The Opposite of Toxic Positivity

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Scot Barry Kaufman wrote in the Atlantic back in August 2021:

Countless books have been written on the “power of gratitude” and the importance of counting your blessings, but that sentiment may feel like cold comfort during the coronavirus pandemic, when blessings have often seemed scant. Refusing to look at life’s darkness and avoiding uncomfortable experiences can be detrimental to mental health. This “toxic positivity” is ultimately a denial of reality. Telling someone to “stay positive” in the middle of a global crisis is missing out on an opportunity for growth, not to mention likely to backfire and only make them feel worse. As the gratitude researcher Robert Emmons of UC Davis writes, “To deny that life has its share of disappointments, frustrations, losses, hurts, setbacks, and sadness would be unrealistic and untenable. Life is suffering. No amount of positive thinking exercises will change this truth.”

The antidote to toxic positivity is “tragic optimism,” a phrase coined by the existential-humanistic psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. Tragic optimism involves the search for meaning amid the inevitable tragedies of human existence, something far more practical and realistic during these trying times. Researchers who study “post-traumatic growth” have found that people can grow in many ways from difficult times—including having a greater appreciation of one’s life and relationships, as well as increased compassion, altruism, purpose, utilization of personal strengths, spiritual development, and creativity. Importantly, it’s not the traumatic event itself that leads to growth (no one is thankful for COVID-19), but rather how the event is processed, the changes in worldview that result from the event, and the active search for meaning that people undertake during and after it.

In recent years, scientists have begun to recognize that the practice of gratitude can be a key driver of post-traumatic growth after an adverse event, and that gratitude can be a healing force. Indeed, a number of positive mental-health outcomes are linked to a regular gratitude practice, such as reduced lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders.

The human capacity for resiliency is quite remarkable and underrated. A recent study surveyed more than 500 people from March to May 2020. It found that even during those terrifying early months of the pandemic, more than 56 percent of people reported feeling grateful, which was 17 percent higher than any other positive emotion. Those who reported feeling more grateful also reported being happier. What’s more, even more people—69 percent of respondents—reported expecting to feel grateful two to three months in the future.

I believe that an overlooked route to gratitude is exposure to difficult circumstances. There are many basic advantages of life itself that we too often take for granted. After all, humans have a natural tendency to adapt and become used to situations that are relatively stable. When individuals become aware that their advantages are not guaranteed, many then come to appreciate them more. As the writer G. K. Chesterton put it, “Until we realize that things might not be, we cannot realize that things are.”

Indeed, several studies have found that people who have confronted difficult circumstances report that their appreciation for life itself has increased, and some of the most grateful people have gone through some of the hardest experiences. Kristi Nelson, the executive director of A Network for Grateful Living, faced her own mortality at the age of 33, when she received a cancer diagnosis and had to undergo multiple surgeries, chemo, and radiation. Nevertheless, she writes that she was constantly on the lookout for opportunities to cultivate gratefulness:

I was in the hospital, separated from all my friends and family and tethered to all kinds of IVs and dealing with pain. And yet,  . . .

Continue reading.

Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the books I find myself repeatedly recommending.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2022 at 11:23 am

Happy New Year shave

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Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. 

I’ve noticed that most of my badger brushes have a rather modest loft, so I’m going through those with the longest lofts, and this ebony-handled Sabini is one of them. It’s quite a nice little brush and had no problem is working up a super later from Phoenix Artisan’s CK-6 soap —  soap I used again today because I enjoyed so much its effect on my skin yesterday (and — spoiler — it again left my skin feeling wonderfully soft). 

My Fatip Testina Gentile is a fine razor, and with three easy passes, I removed every trace of stubble. A splash of the aftershave with a squirt of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel mixed in, and I’m set for a relaxing and reflective day.

Written by Leisureguy

1 January 2022 at 10:53 am

Posted in Shaving

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