Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mickey's Halloween Party

The Headless Horseman arrives AHEAD of the parade
   Last week, the wife and I had the pleasure of attending Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland- an "after hours/special event" type of deal. When six o'clock rolls around, everybody gets kicked out of the park except those holding (limited) tickets for the night's festivities.

   We were actually allowed in at three o'clock, and all the rides were pretty busy with last-minute fastpass folks. We took the opportunity to eat some tasty Mexican food in Downtown Disney and then cash in a Build-a-Bear giftcard my spouse gave me earlier this year.

   I chose Spock Bear. It was fun picking out the body, the outfit, watching them fill it with stuffing, putting a "heart" inside it. I even opted to put a little player in it that plays the Star Trek theme when you squeeze the hand. It's mostly for kids, but since I'm a big kid, I loved it.

  Finally, six o'clock rolled around, so we headed into TomorrowLand and went through the Star Wars stuff. They had costumes, props, models- all kinds of stuff from the films. And I got to meet and have my picture taken with a certain someone...

Wookiees give good hugs
  After that, we did the requisite Disney thing, starting with Space Mountain. At Halloween-time, the ride is changed slightly to become "Ghost Galaxy." It seemed a little rougher/faster than we remembered, and our equilibrium was a little whacked out when we got off. I also had cottonmouth from yelling and laughing so much.

  The queues for the rides were VERY short, even though the park seemed to have a lot of people in it. The event had sold out, so whatever the ticket capacity was, it was met. 

  They also gave everybody trick-or-treat bags, and had dozens upon dozens of treat stands around the park. Even though we couldn't eat most of it (dairy allergies), we hit as many stands as possible. I thought it would be cheap-o candy, since it was free, but it was legit! Snickers, M&M, Sour Patch, all that stuff. I gave all our candy to my very happy coworkers later in the week.

  Another VERY cool thing was the parade. All the classic Disney villains came through the park, starting with the Headless Horseman! He was pretty creepy. Here's some phone video the wife took:

Following him was and endless array of floats, vehicles, ghouls, goblins, dancers, grave diggers, and the like. A visual feast!

  And last, but certainly not least, the only ride we really had to wait for all night: The Haunted Mansion. What Halloween would be complete without it?

   It was a great night. Nearly everybody in the park was dressed in costume. Some of them were RIDICULOUSLY good. People really put a lot of effort in. All except us. Next year, for sure!

Til then...


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Natural Painkillers

   "Yeah," you're saying to yourself right now, "sure, booze is a painkiller." It's not about the booze! Well, it IS, and it isn't.

   As a sufferer of chronic pain due to an injury from about eight years ago, I have seen every kind of specialist and doctor there is. I've tried typical western medicine, acupuncture, chiropracty, therapeutic massages. I've taken a million salt baths, worn pain patches, used a TENS device. Nothing has stopped the constant flow of pain, which becomes unbearable on some days.

   The wonderful osteopath I'm seeing currently told me about a "recipe" that might help. She told me it would sound crazy, but was an OLD remedy, and has helped a lot of people. Gin and golden raisins. Not just any gin, mind you, but specifically Gordon's Gin. The key ingredient here is the juniper berries. Not juniper flavoring, but actual berries used in the distilling process. Something in the juniper reacts with something in the golden raisins, and nobody really knows how it all works. 

   She told me it was based on some eastern medicine- an old Chinese herbal remedy for pain. People who have had great success with it are folks who suffer from arthritis and joint pain.

   Basically, all you do is put the raisins out in a thin layer in a pan, and pour just enough gin to cover them. 

I can really smell the juniper in this!

Pouring. Keep pouring until they are all *just* covered.

   You let them sit for a week or so, until all the gin has been soaked up by the raisins. Don't cover them with plastic wrap or anything. They need to breathe and evaporate. You can drape a towel over the dish if you like, to keep out dust. Then, you eat NINE per day. No more, no less. You won't notice the effects for probably about six weeks, according to what I've read. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. And no, they won't make you drunk, so don't worry about that.

   I've started mine soaking today. I'll let you know down the road how it works out.