June 11th, 2006

Those Great Big Letters

As you'll have noticed already (it's pretty hard to miss), I increased the font size of my LJ about a week ago. This was part of a wholesale "time to give my aging eyes a break" program which included enlarging all the fonts on my computers and buying new eyeglasses (with an updated prescription). The larger fonts allow me to sit back farther from the screen, so I don't have to strain my eyes so much. (Plus I was getting tired of wiping nose prints off the monitor.)

I have mixed feelings about the new glasses, though, not because I mind wearing glasses (doesn't really bother me) but because I suspect that becoming dependent on eyeglasses only helps to weaken the eyes.

I'd been toying with the idea of starting a program of eye exercises, and the optometrist must have read my mind because he said, "After a certain age, your eyes will get weaker ... and nothing will help, not eye exercises, not diets, nothing." This made me suspicious, because, Why was it so important for him to tell me that? And how could he be so certain? Normally your doctor wants you to do what you can to help yourself, or at least they're supposed to. So, why did he find it necessary to go out of his way to discourage me from doing eye exercises to improve my vision?

I don't have strong feelings about eyeglasses one way or another - as I've said, they don't really bother me - but I do have strong feelings about people telling me what to do and what not to do, especially in the realm of taking care of my own body, and especially when I suspect they're representing a system that's designed to make me dependent. (To be clear, I'm sure this doesn't apply to all eye doctors.) I feel the same way about other aspects of the medical establishment that seem designed to create need rather than to promote health and wellness. Again, the disclaimer - I think modern medicine is wonderful, it's obviously allowed us to enjoy longer and more comfortable lives than we could otherwise. But I don't like institutions that try to take away people's autonomy. And I really, REALLY don't like pompous, credentialed "professionals" who tell me, "I know what's best for you, just do as I say and don't worry your little head about it."

Grrrrr.

Anyway, that's my rant for tonight. Time to get back to my tromboning.

More random navel-gazing.

(And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I can actually see my navel.)

I wish I had indigo_black's attitude about being single. Mostly I just sit around moping "poor me, nobody loves me" blah blah blah.

la_luna_llena reminds me that I still haven't bought Alison Bechdel's "Fun House" and I need to!

I bought a ball to play catch with The Next Generation when I go to visit, but it won't get used: TNG broke his wrist this afternoon, the poor kid. Apparently it was a tree-climbing accident. He's taking it like a trooper: "I'm not sane right now," he says, "they gave me drugs that made me crazy", and he was definitely, as they say, "feeling no pain". Hope he doesn't have too much pain when the drugs wear off. But even allowing for the drugs, he sounded like he was keeping a good attitude. He'll be in the cast for six weeks. So it's looking like a lot of movie trips, museum trips, and sedate walks in the park.

Damn, what a crappy way to start your summer vacation.

I spent most of last week at a horrible data-entry gig. Glad that's over! I think I'd enjoy numerical data entry, but this was alphanumeric combined with filing. Yuk. Tomorrow I have an interview with a new agency.

Got to hang out with Michael Wednesday evening, and again at a party at his house Saturday night.

Meanwhile, I am filling the idle hours learning Arabic and Persian. For Arabic I'm starting with the Living Language program - it's new, and looks like a good technique. Plus it's on CD so I can save it right to the iPod. I'll supplement that with a couple of other MSA courses after I've completed a few more lessons, then I'll move on to Alkalesi's Modern Iraqi Arabic. (Iraqi Arabic is somewhat different from MSA - for instance, they have a whole different set of interrogatives, like "shunu" instead of "maa" for "what".) For Persian I'm starting with the Pimsleur cassettes - it's really slow and my inner language geek says "this is too easy!" but the goal is to drill you over and over again on simple sentence structure so that you get really proficient. And I think that's a good way to start. I've got more Persian resources, too, for when I'm finished with Pimsleur. And maybe I can practice with Ghazal the next time she calls. (I used to have her phone number, but she had to change it after the latest round of death threats, now she doesn't give it out to anybody!)