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Ah, yes -- let's mess up my entire body at once
Let's enumerate, shall we?

I am getting annoyed with the progressive lenses. As I mentioned in comments to my last post, I'm used to using my peripheral vision, and looking at things just with my eyes. Having to turn my head side-to-side so much is disconcerting at best, and the fact that there are parts of my vision that are *never* in focus because of the nature of the lenses isn't thrilling me. (It's especially getting in the way of my using two monitors as effectively as I'm used to, glancing back and forth.) Should have expected this, but I am finding myself contemplating a switch to conventional bifocals. I'll give it a week or two, and see if I remain distressed by it.

Just got to work via the flu clinic. Apparently Burlington is running one of relatively few free clinics that are currently open, so it's *quite* crowded: I got there ten minutes before they opened, so the line was only 45 minutes long. (When I tried yesterday afternoon, it was two hours.) Ran into my cousin Mark Reid in line -- he was coming from Carlisle, which drove home the point that there aren't enough clinics open. But I got the seasonal in my nose and the H1N1 in my arm, so I can expect fun mild symptoms tomorrow, in exchange for better odds against the bad flu season.

On the *actually* fun side of pain, this morning was my first serious session with my main Christmas present, the Wii Fit. (The present included the Wii, of course, and we're going to get Rock Band when we find it in stock, but the Fit was the primary point.) It's quite different from what I'm used to: a less intense workout than my usual 45 minutes on the elliptical, but far better-balanced a regimen, with an impressive array of exercises. It starts off with a general physical evaluation, which came out embarassingly bad -- the thing is surprisingly willing to tell you that you suck. But it does provide a good motivational tool, and is designed to be used as a serious every-day program, with tracking of all stats.

Anyway, I tried a few of the balance exercises yesterday, and was *astonished* at how badly I did on several of them. I think of myself as good at balance, but that's via lots of little constant adjustments. The Fit wants you to really *balance* -- control your central of gravity more precisely -- and that's going to take work. But some of the exercises are fun, especially the one where you use your balance to control what amounts to a Labyrinth table, rocking the table to cause several balls to roll into holes.

Today I did the main aerobics, and they're an interesting set. The step and running exercises are pretty conventional, but the boxing hits some muscles I'm not used to, and the hula-hooping is *way* different. I can feel several mucles in my side going WTF?!? at me, but nothing feels actually *pulled*, so I think that's all good. I'll probably shoot to do this 2-3 times a week, interspersed with the elliptical...

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Interesting -- I haven't previously been paying attention to Wii software, so I hadn't even heard of this. Might try that once I get through the various modes in Fit -- thanks!

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Give the progressives 2 weeks. It took me that long to solidly change my habits.

Yeah, that's about what I had been figuring. Life is busy enough that I probably wouldn't get around to doing anything about it sooner than that anyway. We'll see how it plays out.

I got H1N1 vaccinein my arm the other day. No side effects at all, and no muscle soreness.

Good to hear. Historically, I've been a mixed bag -- sometimes soreness, sometimes not -- so I'm not sure what to expect this time. I was impressed at how painless the shot was, though: they've improved the needles...

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There is one thing I don't like about the bifocals *and* the progressives, although it is a minor thing: I don't read "down," I read straight across. I have to tip my head up to put my reading in the bifocal zone, and as most of my reading is done in bed (not in a chair) I would rather be able to read straight out from my face, not down.

I probably should just get some reading glasses, just like regular computer people should get computer-reading-glasses.

This isn't really being a serious problem for me yet, because the difference in the zones isn't *that* dramatic yet. I need to hold the page closer for "down" than for "across", but so far I'm able to read either way.

My problem is actually almost the reverse: I have a tendency to hold my chin a bit up, with the result that I'm often trying to look at the middle distance through the near zone, which really does *not* work. (For some reason, the difference in much more dramatic in that direction.) It's particularly bad if I'm slumped in my easy chair watching TV. Which, I suppose, at least provides me with incentive for better posture.

And yes, I'm contemplating the two-glasses approach. Frankly, I spend the vast majority of my time at the middle distance, and it generally works fine for me even with far-distance, so having middle-distance plus reading glasses might do me well...

I'd be interested to see how the hula-hooping exercise compares to actual hooping.

A pretty pale imitation, I suspect. More precisely, I think it hits the "exercise" component, but little of the precision. It's necessarily doing a rough approximation: it's paying attention to your weight changes to figure out what you are doing with your hips. (That is, the "hoop" is completely virtual.) So it's mostly just trying to make sure you are gyrating at speed, but not trying to be much more precise than that.

That said, I'm coming to the conclusion that it *is*, somewhat subtly, trying to teach isolations. As you hoop, people are tossing more hoops at you: to catch them, you have to keep your hips going, while leaning your body and arms one way or the other and keeping them relatively still in order to catch the hoop. (An impressive and subtle piece of programming, to figure that out from weight.) Once caught, the extra hoops just start going around with the existing ones, and you get extra points for it. I've found that I am much better at catching the damned things to the right than the left, which is interesting and a bit surprising.

Sometime when you're over, remind me and you can play with it, and see what it's like. Like I said, I suspect it's a weak imitation of real hooping, but it's probably exercising similar muscles, and it's a good workout...

We've started on the Fit recently, and I quite like it. I agree that it's surprisingly good at motivating -- it provides that sense that someone is taking note of whether you're doing that you don't get with just a stats tracker. And the games are mostly fun.

For the eyes, I have monovision contacts -- left eye mostly for reading, right eye mostly for distance -- which avoids the peripheral vision problem. Some people find them really annoying, but I've always had much better distance vision in my right eye, so it wasn't too hard to adjust. That said, my uncorrected vision is good enough that I only need glasses for stuff like driving and watching movies, not for walking around, so I still wear my (normal) glasses a lot of the time, and just take them off at work.

I'm finding the repetitive commentary in the wii fit seriously annoying, but otherwise like it. I thought I had good balance too - you should see my spiral - but I'm clearly in need of more core strength for stability and control. I'm going to rustle up my kids hula hoop from the garage now and see if the wii training helped any :o)

Yeah, I can see how the commentary will get tiring after a while. And I suspect that I will get *fabulously* tired of the step-aerobics music before long. But at that point, I'll probably just go back to using DDR for that particular sort of exercise: it provides vastly more variety (and quality) of music, and a far broader range of difficulty. (Doing the step-aerobics this morning mostly reminded me that I haven't DDR'ed in too long...)

It often takes 1-2 weeks for your eyes to adjust to a significant change in glasses, as others have said. It takes me a week to adjust to a new prescription (generally minor changes, as I do this every few years) and I change as little else as I can. The big reason I won't switch to progressives from regular bifocals is that the progressives go all the way across and I need that peripheral vision in the lower outside portion to be distance, as I think you do.

I've been wearing bifocals for more than 40 years now, so I've learned a few things. :-) The main one is that teeny, tiny adjustments make a huge difference. I once had a pair of glasses that was just wrong -- couldn't adjust to them, was getting headaches, etc. The placement of one bifocal was off of where it should have been by half a milimeter. This might not matter for people with vision that's closer to normal, but it matters a lot to me.

When you get the glasses made, one thing they should do is measure the distance between your pupils (more specifically, from center of each pupil to center of nose; usually it's the same on both sides, but not always). They should be placing the bifocal based on that measurement. Now as for bifocal size, that comes down to lens shape. Given that there's a limit to how high they can go without impeding distance vision, the amount of bifocal vision you get depends on how "full" the bottom part of the lens is. Those short, oval-oid lenses that some people like will kill you for bifocals.

If you go for larger lenses (not currently the fashion, but I personally find it essential to get correction in front of as much of my field of vision as possible), another thing that will affect your bifocal (placement and size) is the position of the bridge with respect to the lens height. Some frames put the bridge at the top and others a third of the way down or so. The bifocal is placed from the bottom up to a certain point with respect to your eye, so that can be more or less of the lens depending on how it sits on your face.

Because I've been doing this for a while and I'm finicky, I've developed a pattern that works well for me. When I go to get a pair of glasses I show them my current ones (and any other good or bad examples I've brought along), say I need the top and outer edge of the bifocal to be exactly here with respect to my eyes, and then I ask them to nominate frames. In exchange for correct-for-me bifocal placement I am willing to yield on all other frame parameters (though I reserve the right to reject truly fugly ones out of hand). My last three pairs of glasses have had nearly the same shape and size; I think we've found something that works. (But it still takes a week to adjust...) I go to an optician who takes the time to get this right and I am willing to pay for that service.

My situation is much milder, so I think the considerations are pretty different. In particular, the near/far difference is still fairly modest -- enough so that I can actually read comfortably with the normal prescription by simply holding the page an extra nine inches away. So the real consideration I'm finding myself needing to work on is whether the bifocal thing is actually worth it to me.

(The adjustment in prescription is expected, and not really bothering me. The issue is more the fact that, if I look sideways with just my eyes, the result is fundamentally blurry, due to the shape of progressives -- at least one eye hits the dead zone. That is *fabulously* annoying to me...)

Don't give up on the progressives quite yet. As I think I mentioned, it took me (well, specifically, the visual-coordinating centers of my brain) a bit to reprogram, but after the initial "training", it's mostly all good. And my eyesight is rather wonky: substantially farsighted in one, mildly nearsighted in the other (I'm inclined to believe that's rare), and significantly astigmatic in both.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit, though, that I still occasionally fail to move my head up (or the book/screen down) enough to get the proper "close" vision. But being able to get it is still a win.

It may not be as rare as you think. There's a significant difference in the prescription for my eyes too, although mine is of the "really, really nearsighted" and "only slightly nearsighted" variety, plus the astigmatism.

I don't love my bifocals. I've just become resigned to having blurry spots and moving my head until they go away. The bonus for me has been really improved distance vision. I hadn't realized until I got he bifocals how three dimensional things could look. I don't think my previous prescriptions ever really got my eyes working together quite properly. I also hadn't realized just how much I was only reading using one eye, especially when I had my glasses off.

I don't recall having so many adjustment issues as people are describing. I wonder if that's because I was so substantially overdue before I finally got the bifocals.

You're now the first person ever to make me interested in a video game.

Well, "video game" is a pretty broad topic. While I'm not surprised that you don't like most of them, the Fit is quite different.

(Have you tried DDR? I don't recall. I find it enormous fun, when I choose the right level...)

I have been thinking of purchasing this. I don't have a Wii, but my housemates do.

Ah, someone else who's waiting for the Rock Band 2 kit for the Wii. Tell you what -- you look in your neck of the woods and I'll look in mine ;)

Just found it at the Gamestop in the Burlington Mall. They had a few more sets -- you might want to give them a call...

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