Thursday, November 12, 2015

My glasses are held together via the twisty ties from bread bags (image post)

Ok, so you know those things that twist around the open end of a bread bag to keep it closed?  Don't throw those out.  Don't ever throw those out.  They're massively useful.

So, it's like this:

I haven't had my eyes checked in, probably, seven years or more.  There's a slim chance that I got them checked four years ago but it's really slim and lacking memories or evidence to the contrary I'm going with, "I haven't had my eyes checked since before I lost my insurance the first time."  Thus seven years or more.  I think.  Possibly significantly more since we actually thought I lost my insurance before I actually lost my insurance and the fact that I was still being paid for as part of the insurance was because the Byzantine nature of insurance company renewal policies (it does happen and indeed did happen after I lost it for real.)

The Affordable Care Act got me insurance back for less than a year and maybe I had my eyes checked then, but I honestly don't remember, so, like I said, presumably seven years or more.  Quite possibly more like a decade.

With me so far?  Does this mean that I'm wearing glasses that are seven years to a decade-ish out of date?  No.

I lost my most recent glasses.  Best guess is that there was an accident involving a not-really-solid shelf and a toilet.  (There's a reason I set my glasses on the windowsill now when I take them off to take a shower in that place; there is no counter in the bathroom.)

These are my second most recent glasses from fucked if I know when.  This brings us to thing two never to throw out: out of date glasses.  When I occasionally misplace these and am in too much of a hurry to find them I can quickly grab third-most-recent glasses.  Like I said, don't throw out old glasses.  If all else fails maybe when apocalypse comes you can use them for beam scattering on your laser weapon which will decrease the punch packed but increase the area.  Don't believe me?  (Why would you not believe me?  It's self evident.)  Get a laser pointer and prescription eyeglasses, shine one through the other, note that the dot has increased to a blob.

So: old glasses.

The thing about glasses is that that they have to put up with the strains of life.  They'd not as bad off as shoes, but wherever you go and whatever you do they go with you and if you haven't invested in a hard and generally bulky glasses case (which in spite of their bulk tend to be easily fucked at the hinge) there's a good chance that in the course of human events they will be bent  You'll have to bend them back (unless you have a professional to do that for you.)  Accidental bend, corrective bend, slow bend over time, corrective bend, bend, bend back, and so forth.

This can lead to problems.  And I'm not just talking about the fact that the slow bend over time can lead to them falling off of your face onto the ground where the hazards are multiplied severely.

Glasses are held together by screws, screws do not like bends.  Screws, especially machine screws, want things to be straight because they're designed to go into a straight hole and have the threading alone prevent things from falling apart.

Now, take stress over however long it's been and things start going wrong.  The first time a screw comes lose you can tighten it.  Screwdrivers are nice but in a pinch a fingernail can work provided it can fit into the right place.  Pinky finger recommended for tight spaces.

As time goes on though, and things continue to warp and bend, and you never get around to making adjustments and alignments with needle nose pliers (which, honestly, who ever heard of such a thing.  Alignments use bog standard hammers, for adjustments you pull out the sledge; but in glasses everything is in miniature; they are strange beasts) eventually the screws don't catch anymore.

Left screw failed at the Great Northeastern War.  It took a while to find someone with a screwdriver small enough, just for me to try, and repeatedly fail, to get the screw to work.  So I raided the bread supply.

Which brings us to twisty ties.

If you don't know what they are --um, seriously?  I said they're the things on bread bags that twist, since we've ruled out the things that don't twist that seems pretty specific-- here's a public domain picture:
The blue one is a single tie, twisted.  The yellow is three ties flat.  The red is two ties flat.

How do I know the number of the unseparated ones?  Note those ridges?  There's one in the center of every twisty tie.  It is the heart and soul of the tie.  Also the spine.  It cannot be said to be the only important thing because the paper or plastic (usually plastic in my experience, I think) provides for ease of use and prevents rust.  Also, it probably reduces poking, but poking has never been a problem for me.

What these innocuous seeming things are, then, is a piece of metal pliable enough to twist into whatever shape you want and strong enough to not break under the strain of repeated twisting.

This is a very useful thing, though, generally, it's not something you plan to use so much as something you want to have on hand in case anything goes wrong.

Paperclips can serve a similar function with more strength (they'll hold a shape if need be) at the cost of more bulk and more difficulty in twisting (paperclips can be especially difficult to wrap, for example, if you don't have the best grip on them.)

So, here are my glasses in all their present glory:

And on the subject of new new new computer, that second picture is fucking awesome full size but there's no way in Hell I'm putting a 3819 x 2436 picture up here.  Not everyone reading has the best bandwidth and even they did, you can't see the full picture at full resolution ... ever.  Um, that's not the point.  You can't see the whole of the glasses at full resolution without a 4k monitor which most people don't have.   (Also, Blogger wouldn't let me do full resolution.  It wouldn't even allow me to come close.)  But the 4x monitor I now have was definitely worth it (even though getting it at a price my warranty could afford means having no on-board disk drive) as I am reminded every time I see something like that picture.  It's not the glasses in the picture that make it worth it though, it's the wood grain and cracked paint.

The first picture was taken inside and demonstrated beyond all doubt that even the light of a sun facing window is no substitute for just taking a damned picture outside.  At 4k you just notice the blur of needing a longer exposure to get adequate light (greatly intensified by the fact that I have no tripod so my unsteady hands, even at their most steady, will screw up any shot unless the exposure is so short that my hands don't have time to really move the camera.)

Back to The Great Northeastern War:

The screws are tiny, which makes the torque of any twist or bend comparatively huge, and as you can see, the screw never stood a chance:

At this point it has given up entirely and I forgot it was even in there.

The gap where you can see the screw isn't supposed to exist.  The two pieces are supposed to sit flush.  The trouble is that of all the corrections you can make to glasses, that is by far the hardest one to deal with.  Basically what you need is to pop out the lens, hold onto the frame as close to where the screw goes as possible, do it with something that has a really good grip but is small enough to not get in the way of part two, and then grab onto that little screw spot (hard) and twist.  (Two pair of needle nose pliers would do it.)

If you can't do that, or merely don't do that, the the screw isn't just trying to hold the frame tightly enough to stop the lens from popping out, it's also trying to hold a piece of metal in a place that is no longer its rest-state and constantly fighting against the metal's desire to twist into a different position.

(Yes, I am personifying, or at least assigning motivation to, the screw and the glasses' frame.)

So at The Great Northeastern War the screw decided it couldn't do that anymore.

After a quest to find someone with a screwdriver was successful, I tried to convince it to do it, but it kept on saying, "No."  This was bad as it meant the lens wouldn't stay in unless a solution was found.

I raided the bread.

Thus twisty tie.  You just strip off the protective coating --which is why a) it doesn't look horrifically stupid, and b) it has oxidized-- and then wrap.  Tightly.

Here are some pictures from other angles (the reason some aren't that close up is that the pictures I took inside weren't sharp enough for it to be worth it {all that's lost in scaling is blurring around the edges, not detail}; also one of the exterior ones had the wrong focus but I liked it) click for full size:

Ok, so that was done four months ago, hence the oxidation, and it only accounts for one twisty tie.  I said "twisty ties" plural.

Three days ago, possibly at around this time of day, the other side failed.

Wait, actually, important thing.  Well, "important" is an overstatement.  Notice that round thing that's just sort of sticking out there between the not-working frame-screw and the working hinge-screw?  Want to know what it is?

Well, as it turns out, corrective eyeglasses and sunglasses have a somewhat oppositional relationship to one another and as a result there are all sorts of "sunglasses for corrective eyeglasses" specialty-shit things but the kind of glasses I prefer (small lens close to the eye rather than larger lens at a greater distance) makes it so the specialty shit that works best at maintaining uniform polarization across both eyes doesn't fit on me because my forehead happens to be where it expects empty space to be.

Alternate things, or at least the ones that can fit on my glasses without making my glasses not fit on my face, tend to be bendy.  This is ... sub-optimal.  Polarized lenses filter out specific light and which light they filter out depends on the angle at which you're holding them.  (So if you watch a 3d movie and the 3d technology they use makes use of polarized glasses, don't tilt your head too much.)  Bendy things, by being bendy, do not hold the two lenses at fixed rotation relative to themselves.  This means that they filter out different light.  This in turn means that something as simple as looking at a blue sky can result in your eyes getting into an argument over what color it is.

For some reason, I don't really know what, my eyes don't like that particular kind of argument.  This is somewhat odd, to me at least, because my eyes have never agreed on what color things are.  They've had my whole life to come to a detente and, honestly, if I'm not outside (full sunlight) in a colorful place repeatedly closing one eye and then the other, I have trouble remembering what the difference is or which one goes which way.

I think that there's a yellow tint in one, and in one the colors are brighter and more vibrant.  The yellow tint is not a cataract, not even a nascent one (thank all gods of vision), but I don't remember what eye-care professional said it was.  Meaning that it's probably mundane.  Probably something like, "Some lenses are just tinted a bit."  Best guess would be that colors are more vibrant in the non-yellow-tinted eye, but it's fucking cold here, and I'm staying inside where the light is dimmer so eye testing will not occur at this juncture.

Anyway, my eyes don't like inconsistent polarization, in spite of being perfectly fine with having different color information coming from each to the point that I don't even notice it unless I'm outside on a bright day and closing eyes one at a time for some reason (trying to determine dominant eye is always a good reason.  Also, the nearsightedness in my right eye can make foliage look impressionistic given the right conditions.)

So, what does one do?  Well, back when I was still a person who got my eyes tested and bought glasses, one solution was to get glasses with sunglasses made for them.

What's the round thing?  A magnet.  There's another one on the other side.  Together they make it very easy to put on or take off the accompanying sunglasses at a moment's notice since the sunglasses are just polarized lenses, their frames, and the matching magnets that attach them to the glasses.

Of course, since these glasses are ancient I have long since lost the sunglasses that go with them.

* * *

Now then, three days ago was Monday, and I was in three states on Monday.  Though New Hampshire hardly counts since the bus went along the coast and thus was hardly in it (though it did stop in Portsmouth so it counted to the people who got on or off there.)

It might have been at this time of day, as I said.  That means that it was in the first state of Monday which was not this state which means that I was not home.

So there I was, in someone else's home, when the other screw failed.  What to do?

Well I didn't initially know it had actually failed forever so first there was a lot of trying to get the screw to work again.  Then there was a look for anything that might help.  Then there was a question of whether or not it's moral to take the twisty tie off of someone else's bread thus reducing protection and increasing the possibility of mold, and finally there was finding one that was not in use and thus avoiding moral conundrums all together.

I stripped the plastic, and got to repairs (click for bigger pictures)

And some more angles:

I took pictures in three places, the black background was a chair that really, truly, I'm not making this up, ought to be getting direct light from the window.  The second was on an air conditioner slightly closer to the window that I need to find a place to store for winter such that moving it to said place will not mess up my back (only one picture taken there was worth showing), and finally on my porch.

The move from the black chair to the white air conditioner produced this lovely shot:

There's a reason I generally don't use manual settings.  the two things are a few feet away from each other, they're being lit by the same source, and . . . yeah.  I get that a white background means more light but . . . a manual photographer I am not.

And, in closing, I was taking pictures in various places.  I have a cat.  This happened:

That's not my best anyway since the wrist strap, which I hardly ever use, is in the shot.  But that's not the point.  The point is more that when I finally thought I'd gotten free of the cat I took this shot and didn't notice until I was looking at pictures on the computer that she managed to sneak a paw in:


  1. Does this mean that I'm wearing glasses that are seven years to a decade-ish out of date?

    Well, glasses being seven years old doesn't mean they're seven years out of date. Last time I had my eyes checked (eleven months ago), my glasses were over seven years old and the prescription was still accurate. (Or close enough that they told me not to bother replacing them, anyway.)

    wherever you go and whatever you do they go with you and if you haven't invested in a hard and generally bulky glasses case


    ...people who wear glasses part-time are weird.

    (Mine are an every-waking-moment thing, and I had no idea until just now how lucky I was.)


    Nice job on the DIY.

    Hi, photobombing cat!

    1. Mine are an every-waking-moment thing

      If I'm not in bed my glasses are on unless it's raining or they're fogged. In addition to environmental conditions, something like climbing a mountain can get your glasses fogged. Obviously the rain thing is a problem when water falls from the sky.

      In the third book of Harry Potter Hermoine makes Harry's glasses repel rain. I want that spell.

      The word used for the spell makes no sense. It's "impervius" which means, "can't be passed through" which then extends to "impenetrable" and from there to "immune from damage" but never means something that would make glasses function better in the rain. The fact that water can't pass through them is the problem. It just sits there, on the glasses, not passing through them, getting in the way of your vision.

      (I'm not in favor of getting water in your eye, but the fact is that only a small portion of the rain that gets in your glasses was headed to your eye anyway.)

      "Apluvia" might make sense (against rain) but impervious makes no sense.

      Anyway, whatever the reason for taking them off, that's when they're most likely to get screwed over because at least when they're on you they have the general shape of your skull to conform to no matter what happens. (Unless they come off, but then they're not on you, and thus the previous sentence is not invalidated.)

    2. If I'm not in bed my glasses are on unless it's raining or they're fogged.

      Hmm. I'm not sure where the glasses case would come in, then. That's what bedside tables are for.

      (Although, I gather you sleep in places not your own bed significantly more often than I do, so maybe your struggle to keep your glasses from getting bent has something to do with that?)

    3. Mostly it's inclement weather, and (once upon a time) hikes. Have to take my glasses off because I can't see with them on, then hours of walking before I get to a dry place/place that, while not dry, I can safely set them down.

  2. Nice photo essay.

    I have sooo much trouble getting my glasses to go back together when those screws come loose. It takes at least 3 hands - 1 to hold the lens in place in the frame, 1 to hold the frame closed around the lens and one to turn the tiny screwdriver. I can never seem to do the trick where you almost close the frame with the screw first and then pop the lens in.

    I tried to buy frames with the matching-magnet sunglasses last time I was shopping for frames, but they seem to be out of fashion. I was sad about that - they seem like a perfect idea. I can't do the matching-clip-on sunglasses thing because my lenses are too thick.

    You are right, that spell makes no sense. Like most of the spells...

    I am another one who wears glasses about 100% of my waking time. If I was living in the wild, I would totally be predator food; my eyesight is really awful. I had a brief fling with contacts in my 20s, but I stopped wearing them temporarily because they got something in them, and then I never went back. Glasses are just so much more convenient. (Pro-tip: don't wear your contacts when visiting a volcano caldera - there is a lot of freaky stuff in the air that adsorbs to the lenses and won't come off. Sulfuric acid and eyeballs are not a comfortable combination.)