June 30th, 2006

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Mr Glasses-Man

About 8 years ago was when I last went to my optometrist. I got a new prescription, but never had it filled, so I've been wearing the same glasses for probably 13 to 15 years. I've known for a long time that these are not doing the trick, and the frames are quite grungy indeed, with both the gold coating rubbed off as well as the gel part of the "tiger" pattern around the lenses (thus leaving ugly black splotches).

I've been able to afford to get new glasses for a while now, but just never got around to it.

It took breaking these frames to get me actually to make an appointment. Luckily we were able to super-glue these frames together again so I can see reasonably well in the mean time, though the right lens isn't quite aligned the same.

So I called my optometrist's office... and the number is no longer in service. I knew that Dr Jue had retired. Perhaps Dr Fong has as well, or has moved. Oh well! So I went to the Yellow Pages and picked two doctors in town who say in their ad that they've been practicing for quite some time, and by 15 minutes, it was a Dr Chung who was able to set an earlier appointment.

That appointment was this morning. Things have gone high-tech in the time that I've been away. After the air thing to test glaucoma, the first deal was to look in this thingy at an image that constantly changed focus, and the apparatus monitored how my eyes reacted. Then they took my glasses for a "reading". Then they sat me in the normal chair with the seemingly normal optometrist's rotate-o-lens thing, and Dr Chung said, "This is what your glasses do now," then he hit a button and shink! the lenses switched and my vision was better, "and this is what your new prescription might be." The rotate-o-lens thing downloaded the data from the focusy thing and figured out a jolly good base prescription just like that. Nifty. It was just fine-tuning, testing astigmatism and whatnot from there.

As for tests, all were negative. No glaucoma, cataracts, nerve damage or any sort of ocular disease. He also could not see any physical evidence of the black spot in my right vision which I see on reflections or when looking though water droplets on my lens. But as it hasn't changed since the day it first appeared about 8 or 9 years ago, it's not a concern. I already know that it causes a second blind spot, but it's much smaller than the natural blind spot (took us a long time to find it at that appointment 8 years ago).

Since I can afford it now, I'm getting two pairs of glasses, so finally I'll have a less-powerful pair to wear indoors at the computer (which is all day every day, considering work and then my free time is all with a montior within two or three feet of my face). The indoor lenses will give me 20/30 vision.

My base prescription (i.e. the outdoor glasses), for those other glasses-wearing types to compare myopic severity, is:
OD (right eye): -8.50 / -0.25 / 097
OS (left eye) : -8.50 / -0.75 / 072

I'll have two differently shaped and colored frames for the two pair. The indoor glasses will have a rounder lens but will not be as wide, though they'll be narrower than my current pair. They'll have Flexon 181 frames in "espresso" color. However, as they were $285 retail, I decided not to go with two pairs of those. For outdoor frames, I got a pair that are about the same width as I have now, but are much more horizontal. I figure, riding my motorcycle, I'm looking out the top of my lenses anyway, and don't need to see down; peripheral vision is more important. So these frames will be Flexon 605 in "light gunmetal" color. They retailed at $180. Yes, I know I spent a lot more on them than if I had ordered them online or something, but I'm paying for the convenience. I got a 15-percent discount on the more expensive set of glasses (frames, lenses and anti-glare coating all discounted), which totaled almost $100 off.

All in all, though, the visit cost me $1176.25, which I paid in cash to their surprise (I don't have credit cards or checks; I always do cash). Seeing as it's the first time I've gotten new glasses in such a long time, and I'm getting two pair, I guess it's not so bad.

These new frames are funky high-tech too. They can be bent and folded and mutilated (if you take a lens out, they could be spindled too of course!), but they always snap back to their original shape. Wild. So they can't be broken with an accidental knee to the face like these old ones were, nor be bent slightly out of shape by my helmet or whatever.

I can expect to have the new glasses in 7 to 9 days. So I must endure these old ones with the off-kilter right lens for another week or so.

But yeah, nearly all of you have known me only with the glasses I'm still wearing, so this will be the Two New Faces of Keeper!

Next on the spend-a-lot-of-money list is to get a full tune & service on Keepermobile Mk IV. The 1993 Yamaha XJ600 "Seca II" is going to roll over to 40,000 miles tomorrow, and I'd always told myself I'd bring it in for a good service at that time. I just hope I don't keep putting it off until it breaks down, like I kept putting off getting new glasses 'til these got broken.

Also, I'm thinking of going ahead and plonking down $150-$250 for a real digital camera finally. After spending so much on glasses, it makes one realize that this really isn't all that much money, so even as rarely as we would use it, it's probably worth it for us. You think so?

I was tempted just to buy one right there and then today as I stopped in at a CompUSA on the way back from my bank after replenishing my cash on hand. I have discovered that, in general, when I'm carrying large amounts of cash, I'm much more willing to buy things -- e.g., if I had $500 on hand, it would take serious consideration to make a $250 purchase, but having over $2000 on hand, I was quite close to saying "what the heck" and buying.

This particular CompUSA has a large number of my former coworkers in it (the store we worked in, which had been the fifth-largest in the chain but didn't do the amount of business to support that, finally closed probably late last year), and this was the first time I've had an opportunity to see any of them, since they all work weekdays. So that was cool.

Finally, I stopped at a non-chain Chinese fast-food place for breakfast/lunch. Upon whipping out the wad of cash I had, they asked me if I had change for a $100. I did, so we made the swap. That's the first time I've had a place of business ask me to break large bills. Usually, I'm the one stuck realizing that all I have left are $50 and $100 bills.
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PPG Z has begun

The first episode of Powerpuff Girls Z finished airing in Japan just two hours ago, and already there are screenshots from the episode posted to the powerpuffgirlsz community, so check them out.

A plan is in place to produce a weekly fansub of each episode. Those who are good at Japanese (or good at timing subtitles etc.) are encouraged to help; the guy doing the translation admits he's not fluent but usually can get the gist. I offered a couple weeks ago to help with English cleanup and characterization (for there's more to translation than individual words), and he said he'd take me up on that, but I haven't received any email about anything yet (of course, with the episode just finishing, no translation has been done to start with!).