What I Did on My October Vacation

Emptied closets, and boxes and shelves.  That’s “vacating”, right?

Sometimes all this ‘stuff’ is just a burden to have around.  Yes, if you suddenly need something it is nice to have it at hand, but much of this I haven’t looked at in years (except possibly when moving it to a different storage place).  Amazing how much lighter you feel when you unencumber yourself.  And, hopefully, Goodwill shoppers will be delighted with the bounty of free/less expensive stuff that they can use.

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I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV.

I also didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either.  So, to the point, I have no medical training and no super-intellect behind what I am about to tell you.  Take it for what it is – me relating my personal experience.

There are a great many people who suffer from warts, and there are quite a few “treatments” out there.  Some work for some people and some different ones work for others, but in my case none of them were working.  Judging by my internet searches on the topic, I’m not alone in that.  The most recent “home remedy” I was trying (the warts practically laughed at the freezing remedy), involved the use of apple cider vinegar.  Many people swear by it, but you usually have to take care not to have prolonged contact between the vinegar and the good skin around the wart.  I found it difficult to do as directed in applying, and I wasn’t seeing results (possibly because I was not doing it the way they described).

Prior to finding that solution, I was faced with the problem that both warts are on my right hand.  I am right-handed and warts are contagious.  While my doctor told me that they do not spread via things like a computer mouse, skin-to-skin contact would do it.  I was not thrilled at the prospect of shaking someone’s hand or scratching my own back and “sharing” them.  I tried bandaids to cover them.  That worked pretty well for the one on the inside of my thumb (about where scissors hit when you use them), but not so well for the one at the base of the nail on my index finger.  The bandaid on the finger was difficult to keep on, especially when it got wet – which was often.  Not only that, constant use of the bandaid for an extended period was chapping the skin horribly.  When I switched to a different solution, it took well over a week to get the skin healed from the chapping.

Casting around for another possible way to contain the warts if I couldn’t eliminate them, I settled on clear nail polish.  Yes, I literally painted over the warts.  I had to reapply it several times a day, but it worked pretty well and if nothing else gave me a false sense of security that I had created a barrier to prevent spreading the warts.

Occasionally, I have had a keratoma (not really a wart but similar) develop on my scalp line at the front.  By itself, it wasn’t a problem, but brushes or combs tended to hit them and then they got a little sore.  They would also get itchy, and scratching didn’t help matters.  On a whim, I used some Anbesol that I had on hand for cankersores and rubbed it on the keratoma, mostly in an attempt to ease the discomfort when it became irritated by a comb or scratching.  I just put a little on my finger, rubbed it well into the keratoma, wiped away excess around the area and that was it.  After a while (not sure how long), the thing went away.  It had done so before, but never that fast – usually it took months before something caused it to diminish (and I was never sure what caused it).

Figuring it couldn’t hurt, I began rubbing the Anbesol on the warts, wiping away the excess and letting it dry a good long while.  Then I would cover it over again with the clear nail polish.  I was putting on the Anbesol once a day in the evenings.  I began to realize that the warts were diminishing in size.  It didn’t happen quickly, but it happened.  As of this moment, there is absolutely no evidence there was ever one on my thumb (and it had been there about 2 years).  The one on my finger was larger, yet it is all but gone as well.

Would this remedy work for others suffering from warts?  I have no idea.  At least since Anbesol is a topical liquid or ointment that you put on sores in your mouth, I had little concern that it would hurt my skin, and there was no irritation at all from it.  (It is possible someone with very sensitive skin might react to it.)  I figured at the very least it was harmless.  I really did not expect it to get rid of these persistent pests.  I still am treating the one on the finger, and then painting over it with clear nail polish until it is goes completely away.  But there is every evidence that I will be totally free of both these warts in the near future.  Best guess would be by the end of October.

If nothing else has worked for you, this is a pretty inexpensive treatment to try and see if you get similar results.  Good luck.

Wow. I was wrong.

I didn’t think Donald Trump could get any sleazier or more despicable.  He proved me wrong.  His debauchery knows no bounds.

The truly sad part is all the Republicans who continue to blindly support him, simply beause of party loyalty.  Or they’re incredibly stupid to believe this man in any way is fit to be President.  Yes, I’m a Republican, but there is no way on this earth I would vote for that man.  Hillary is no great shakes, admittedly, but we haven’t been given any real choice of a valid, worthwhile candidate this time around.

Book Review: the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

First a disclaimer:  if you’ve seen either or both of the Percy Jackson movies PLEASE do not judge the books by that.  The first movie was marginally tolerable, but the second not even worth seeing.  Between the two of them, they veered so far from the books as to be virtually unrecognizable.  And, as usual, the books are infinitely better.  It’s a shame, too, since this could well have been the “new Harry Potter series” for movies, if they hadn’t trashed them from the outset.

The books, though – that is another matter.  First of all, understand that there are two series, though they do connect.  The original 5 books fall under the collective title of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  The second set of 5 is called Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus.  All together, they only span about six years of real time – from about age 12 to about age 17 (similar to the Harry Potter books, though that is pretty much where the similarity ends).

In Percy, Riordan has created quite the smart-mouthed, irreverent hero.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Overall, Percy is a good guy, and loyal to his friends.  He just isn’t overly impressed with authority figures who are full of themselves – but, then, who of us is, really?

The initial books are set solely in the United States, though they range from coast to coast.  Riordan brings in familiar landmarks, but presents them in unique ways.  Some of these places, you will never be able to look at them in the same way again.  There is lots of fighting, but done in new and interesting ways each time so that it doesn’t become stale.  And because these center around “mythical” characters, battling of monsters can be done in very creative ways.

It does not take long to know these characters well and to love (or hate) them.  You root for the good guys and boo the bad guys.  And you are confused by some of the questionable characters – which side are they really on?  The final book provides an excellent and satisfying conclusion to the initial series.

With a “sequel” series, one tends to be a little leery.  Too often it means going to the well one too many times.  I can’t say that I liked this second series so well as the first – I felt it had more problems – but still I enjoyed it very much and do reread it.  In these stories, Riordan tries a new writing style.  We got the first series all from Percy’s POV.  This series changes POV by chapter (though sometimes there are multiple chapters in a row from the same POV).  While it is interesting to get a new take on this world and familiar characters as seen by others, it also introduced more of a stiltedness.  Some of the dialogue was too forced and felt uncomfortable.

For all that, however, the stories are good (mostly, the final book was a somewhat weak conclusion, in my view).  The beauty of the new series is all the new characters we meet and fall in love with, and then get to see interacting with the familiar characters.  One big thing in Riordan’s favor, in both series though more evident here, is the diversity of the characters.  We don’t only meet white male heroes – there are females, Chinese, black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Canadian and so forth.  They aren’t all tall and good-looking – some are short, bad-tempered and unattractive to the eye.  Indeed, until the second series, one of Riordan’s weaknesses was in portraying the stereotypical “perfect” person.  That still lingers to some extent, but the second time out he lets them be more than just a pretty face with an empty head.

Just like Harry Potter, these books are aimed toward the middle-school crowd, but they can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Riordan also did a three book series surrounding the Egyptian gods and is currently writing books in a Norse gods series (the second book is now published).  Additionally, he has a series entitled The Trials of Apollo which ties to the Percy Jackson books.  Only the first book of that series is currently available.  I won’t try to review the unfinished series at this point.  The finished Egyptian series, The Kane Chronicles, has some good stuff, but I didn’t find myself as drawn into that world.  I couldn’t see anything specifically wrong with the stories, so perhaps that was more due to my lack of familiarity with those legends/myths.  Others may enjoy them more than I did.

Percy Jackson books:  Recommended!