Random thoughts

January 8, 2008

  • How can Coca-Cola justify and/or get away with asserting that they use the “original formula” for Coke, when the current formula has only been in use since 1984? That’s when they changed sweeteners from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup, which strikes me as a rather substantive, if straightforward, change. Funny, though, that Mexico still has “the real thing” while those of us in the land where Coke was born have to make do with a compromised version made necessary by the combination of ridiculous import tariffs on sugar and downright grotesque subsidies to corn growers.
  • When I first tried contact lenses, it was such an amazing and wonderful experience that I couldn’t believe it. For one thing, I could see clearly—that was quite nice, but I could achieve the same result with glasses, and had been doing so since I was 8 or 9 years old. The difference with contacts was that I could see without distortion.

    Glasses, especially ones as strong as mine, introduce a good deal of distortion. Objects appear smaller, for one thing, and straight lines become curved, especially if they’re far from the optical center of the lens. And, of course, your peripheral vision is shot to hell, since you have what amounts to a patch of clarity floating in a sea of blur. No matter how big your glasses, they simply can’t correct your vision in every possible direction you can look. Even lens materials introduce their own issues. Go with a fancy lightweight plastic, and you have to put up with frankly sickening amounts of chromatic aberration. (The first time I tried plastic lenses, I had to return them to the store an hour later because the fringing literally made me sick to my stomach.) Glass is much better in that regard, and is a good deal more scratch-proof to boot, but weighs a ton, especially when your prescription is as strong as mine.

    I’d internalized all of those flaws during my ten years of wearing ever-thicker glasses, to the point that I didn’t even notice them anymore. It was, I understood, the price to be paid for being able to see things more than a few inches from my face. So it was that, upon being fitted with contacts, I felt like I’d had my eyes opened for the first time. All that shit was gone, and I didn’t have to subconsciously compensate for any of it, or worry about them falling off or slipping down my nose, or anything. I vowed never to go back to glasses, because contacts, after all, gave me a more correct view of things.

    It was years before I even got a pair of glasses at an updated prescription, because I was so averse to the glasses paradigm. Now, though, I split my time pretty evenly between contacts and glasses. I still am grateful for contact lenses for the same reasons as before, but I now appreciate glasses for their own reasons. They’re more convenient, in that you don’t need to wash your hands before manipulating them, but that’s merely an ancillary benefit. No, I now appreciate glasses exactly because of their flaws and distortions. They serve as a reminder that everything I ‘see’, my vision of the world around me, is inherently a construct of my own mind, an inference pieced together from some sensory perceptions and tinted by my own biases, assumptions and preconceptions. Glasses reinforce the fact that experience is subjective.

  • Does nobody at the New York Times read Bob the Angry Flower? I mean, jeez:

    So it came as little surprise that Diebold, a company once known primarily for making safes and A.T.M.’s, [sic] …

  • Soon I will find out whether 94.85% is sufficiently close to 95%. Fingers crossed. I could have just taken an extra hour of leave to bump myself up slightly, and in fact my supervisor just told me, “That’s how the game is played,” but evidently I like cutting things close.
  • Speaking of cutting things close, there’s a lot of other shit I need to get done yesterday, that I’ve been putting off for months. We’ll see how that all goes.
  • In other news, pictures from Yosemite are coming, just as soon as I stop being extremely lazy.

Song of the Moment: «Soul Finger» — The Bar-Kays

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