August 16, 2009

  • Witch House Level Two


    Witch House-2 The second-floor plan.

  • Witch House Level One

     Witch House-1

     This is a workable floorplan you may submit to a real architect that Brett and I came up with after watching the movie 50 times. From what we understand, it utilized mostly studio sets and parts from at least three different houses, so it’s actually a shape-shifting, mix-and-match fantasy place that allows for some degree of flexibility, especially when half the house is not shown or only fleetingly viewable. You could put in a corner fireplace in the living room, for instance, if you prefer the opening into the dining room in the middle. Actually, if you try to fit in every detail from the film, such as the central attic stairs going up to the widow’s walk on a flat Mansard Roof with no cupola, it’s impossible! We also had to add or eliminate some elements for safety code concerns, such as the downstairs front bedroom fireplace, not a good thing by modern standards.

April 4, 2005

  • Getting into some private times, so not much writing.   Here’s a decent ice cream recipe, though:

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    Formulated for economy and the lactose-intolerant, this somewhat light ice cream is not as icy as most home-made attempts.

    1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    3/8 cup Dutch-processed baking cocoa
    1/4 cup cake flour, sifted if necessary
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 quart regular or lactase-treated whole milk, divided (lowfat okay)
    1/4 cup light Karo corn syrup
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
    1 ounce unsweetened cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon rum extract

    In large, dry saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt until thoroughly blended and no lumps remain.  Stir in corn syrup and 2 cups of the milk; whisk until smooth.  Place over medium-high heat and whisk frequently until mixture comes to a boil.  Add butter and cooking chocolate; whisk until completely melted.  As soon as mixture boils again, reduce heat to low and simmer gently another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mixture should be slightly thickened, like heavy cream.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining milk, vanilla, and rum extracts, scraping bottom and sides of pan with heat-resistant rubber spatula.  Cool at room temperature, stirring occassionally to keep butter homogenized.  Cover and chill at least several hours before churning; stir well again right before freezing.  Makes about 1/2 gallon.

    Note:   For a firmer, denser result more like premium ice cream, resist the urge to churn to maximum (fluffy) volume, which incorporates too much air.  Process only the minimum time, when mixture is the consistency of soft whipped cream.

December 2, 2004

  • Taking a study break with the Chellester soon for fish and chips and a rousing game of pool at the local pub. It’s the first time I’ve been out of the house (except for SCHOOL) since Turkey Day and the grand holiday buffet for 30 at the Olson’s. June served two birds, one corn-fed, one smoked, and Marcia, Ginger, and the kids were invited. They brought along some women singers, a folk group called Mujer–a la the Roches–who provided some nice if amateur entertainment. (I myself probably could’ve sang better, if not for my nerves. I always get that choked-up sound in front of a lot of people, you know?) Everyone joined in for the standard ditties. The food was great. Everything went smoothly. It was neat.

    After the guests started motoring, about 8:00, Brett and I rendezvoused back in his brother and sister’s playhouse, a white clapboard shack balanced precariously over the creek, huddled in our ski jackets, and made up for lost time on a pile of leaf-littered sleeping bags.  Just like regular Pilgrims. But it got so cold with all the cracks in the walls (Brett covered them with plastic sheeting, but the dogs tore it all down), the mist was blowing out our faces. After an hour we went back inside, microwaved some leftovers (having helped serve, we hardly had a bite to eat), and sat out in the truck, where we munched out and talked. He finally said the words I was waiting for, that he “wished I’d transfer,” but I didn’t answer. Of course I want to keep the relationship going, but I’m heading into senior year, now.

    Oh, I did manage to hit Sharrie’s party. I waited until I thought it would be over, than stopped by to drop off the presents and wish her well. In addition to the CD, I found a nice little ceramic chai tea set I thought she’d like. I got one for Mom last Spring and she adored it.

    “Cute,” Birthday Girl murmured, setting it aside on the bookshelf in the den. She insisted I stick around. Though half her friends and relatives had cleared out, the band was still there puttering around, joking, guffawing.

    “Don’t you want to meet Scott??”

    “Sure.” So I did and it was okay. The guys were super nice, chivalrous, not as intimidating as I expected for an ingenue act, even though Sharrie was in and out of the room and I was pretty much on my own with a bunch of strangers. Scott was quite pleased with the picks I bought, an economy box of a hundred plain metal ones the salesperson recommended. He made sure I was included in the conversation, all shop talk that went way over my little head that Brucie would’ve really dug. I wish I’d come with him.   Later on Sharrie and I had a stiff drink alone and she told me the story of her life.   Anyway, I don’t regret it.  Donna and the gang were all ears when I got home.

    Other than that, I miss my boyfriend and wanna cry.   Maybe I’ll meet some hottie at the pool hall   It’s such a pick-up parlor; last time we went, some ne’er do well who looked just like Blaine hit on me.   What a trip!

November 20, 2004

  • UP early to get ready for another afternoon party, but don’t really wanna go.   Gotta do some shopping.   It’s Sharrie’s b-day shabang.   She told me about it short notice yesterday after Sociology lecture (crowd behavior).   The skinny mini must’ve climbed down over six rows of seats to reach me.    She was wearing a light-duty white cashmere cardigan and baby blue stirrup pants with that humongous rock on her finger.   Com’on, I was her “best friend,” she whined; she had to have me there.    

    “Gaw, there’s no time to get a decent present,” I protested.   

    No problemo, she sang, just “mix” her a CD.   She suggested 2 songs she knew I had.    I remembered them from her fiance, Scott; they were his favs.   He will be there, of course, with all his fancy musician friends.   Oh, and she could use a few music supplies, too, she added.   Some guitar picks or amp fuses (“AMP fuses?!?”).    Anything “geete.”    That would also be for him.    That’s all?

    She whipped out her cell phone and brought up her voice mail menu.   “I’m putting you back into my system so you can call me any time you want.”

    She wanted me to do a real cheapo.   How embarrassing.

    “Why?” said Thea.  “That what she deserve.”   

    Thea helped me make the CD late last night–she has all that MP3 stuff–but I still don’t like it.   As for the music supplies, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.    Brucie’s out of town, so we can’t ask him.

    Chelle’s down with a cold–it’s HER turn to be sick–and doesn’t want anybody in the room.   Her family doctor’s got her all pumped up with meds and she hasn’t gotten out of bed for 10 days except for midterms.   I suspect she’s really over it by now and just grooving on an antihistamine high, the little escape artist.   I’ve half a mind to tease her about beating off and smell her fingers for evidence like she always does me.    “Hands out of your pants, gurlie girl!”    But I’ll be nice, just in case.  

    Donna’s holed up in her room cramming and doesn’t appreciate being distracted either.   She thinks the party would do me good; I can “connect” with different peeps.   Why do I get the feeling my roommies are trying to get rid of me for the weekend?

    As for Steve’s party, it was good fun.   They ordered his fav Mississippi mud ice cream pie, plus Macadamia brittle over chocolate cake.   One of Olson’s clients gave him a pet serval that’s totally unhouse-trainable.   They’ve been passing her from friend to friend to see who can rise to the challenge.   They’ve tried aroma therapy, zapping her with the plant pistol, screaming and hollering and making loud noises, but she continues to spray the walls and furniture–even your trousers–with piss.   She must mark her territory, inside and out.   Unlike domestic cats, she doesn’t mind water at all.   Someone thought of filling the plant mister with human piss, give her a taste of her own medicine (How would you like your home and belongings reeking of animal musk?), but that made her fly into a temper and lunge at them with her sharp fangs, the only weapons she still has since being completely declawed.  

    “She gets a funny ‘tongue in cheek’ expression when she’s in a temper,” said June.   ”She stares at you open mouthed, tongue curled like a parrot’s, as if she’d like to cuss you out.”

    Normally she pants like a dog, especially when she’s hungry.   You can’t pet her unless she knows you really well, if ever.   I was tempted to comment, “So what good is she except for a centerpiece?” but restrained myself.   I suggested swatting her with a riding quert; at least one’s arms and hands are out of the way.

    The serval sorta reminds me of Sharrie–as a matter of fact, Chelle, too.   But I should talk, cuz I could’ve rolled in Brett’s aftershave.   I’m beginning to really dig his new spruced-up look; whata he-male.   He had a mustache but shaved it off after a week.   Alas, he was there only for the occassion, and it was not the time or the place to make love.   He’ll be back 3 days next week for Turkey Day, he reassured me, squeezing my shoulder, but I’m not easily placated.   He’s 150 miles away, and has yet to drive here for ME.    I’m starting to feel a bit IGNORED, if ya know what I mean.

November 10, 2004

  • Now click your heels and repeat after me:
    OMG you’re the best,
    OMG you’re the best……

    ALL HALLOWS was especially fine.    Bruce got us passes to this big happening on a ferry off the Montecito coast.    The whole ship was strung with orange, gold, and white Chinese lanterns, and all the crew dressed like pirates.   We did do the American Indian get up, but Chelle decided to go as a bumble bee.    I met this genuine Mexicali guy with one of those impossible-to-pronounce last names spelt with an “X.”  It was jolly good fun.  Some guys drunk with beer fell overboard dancing.  The weather dried up just in time, as if it remembered the occasion.

    Other haps:   A spiritual teacher at the reservation named Shawny started us on sweat baths.    The real thing, in a pit underground.   They’re supposed to have great cleansing and healing powers, but each time I go (twice so far), I get horrific dreams that night.    Last night was such an experience.   I was in an old, tree-lined neighborhood that appeared to be a relative’s in Redwood City.   I was standing before a detached two-car garage, which had a single-car garage perpendicular with it so that they shared the same driveway, barricaded by a low cyclone fence.   The large double door was inlaid center bottom with an intricately carved panel, about 3 feet square, featuring a free-form checkerboard design of bright red and gold horizontal oblongs, with a burnt umber background that outlined each check.   It was rather pebbly, and the diverging pattern, though regular, was subtle, almost whorled, as in a subliminal ad.    As I began to wander down the middle of the road, trudging through several inches of multicolored autumn leaves, the door loomed behind me.   I turned around and saw that it now had a strange oak tree that reminded me of the holiday trees in Timothy Burton’s The Nightmare Before Xmas superimposed on it.   But instead of a little door at the heart, there was a large, fleshy malevolent eye, entirely black with no white or iris, watching me, following me about.   When it blinked, it seemed to gulp, like a big, black gullet.    Then the tree disappeared, melting into the wood, and the decorative panel, composed perhaps of thickly painted white oak bark, suddenly became a huge backdrop which blocked the whole street, obscuring the houses on each side.   The mandalalike pattern was mesmerizing, with an extremely evil aspect, and filled me with terror.  I stared at it, transfixed.   

    I awoke and had to pee.    It was raining, and fresh pine smoke and freeway exhaust hung in the the air.    I thought:   Tree spirits, sacrificial victims.    In the distance was this eerie intermittent howling sound, probably a stubborn car engine whining as its driver urged it to start.   I wondered if I’d heard in in my sleep, for it sounded like wolves.   When I returned to bed, I had more dreams, each short and vivid, each about murder and mayhem.    Sometimes they concerned me, sometimes friends and acquaintances, sometimes strangers.    They could’ve been 50 years ago, or five hundred, or Today.   In one I was lying in bed with an electric blanket over me.   I went to adjust the temperature, and as soon as I turned the dial, the covering melted and gathered around me like shrink wrap.   I felt like the Mafia princess in The Godfather.

    Shawny’s of the opinion I’m getting too dehydrated and will feel fine once I get in the proper fluids.   I dunno.   I’ve had fugues like this before.    One was about some rich important guy I was crushing on.  Every time I dwelled on him, I had a nightmare that he would somehow totally ruin me if I didn’t respond to him.    I had to pass the test; if I didn’t lube and tune, right then, right now, I was done for.    He was just no good for me.

    On a lighter note, Brett’s coming down this Saturday for his brother Steve’s b-day.    There’s to be a party at Farrells.   It will be the first time I’ve seen him since September.    Miss the man so much!!!

    And now for some lunch, before this aspiring young writer passes out from low blood sugar……oh, SHIT!   Chelle forgot to drop off the rent again!

October 28, 2004

  • Supposed to be writing my Journalism term paper, but already spent half the day fooling around.   It’s really no prob, since I’m pretty smart, work better under pressure, and usually finish everything during an all-nighter.   Still, I always get a bad case of the “should’s.”    Must be Mom’s influence; she’s so careful.   So I was hiding out in the toasty library reading room, flipping through mags and fantasizing (my fav scene is innocently reading with a butterfly buzzing away, nonchalently getting off right in front of everybody, and peeps looking around the circle of easy chairs for that pesky mosquito!), when there’s this hard peck on my shoulder.

    “Hey, Twat,” a familiar voice whispers affectionately, making me practically jump out of my seat.   

    It’s Chelle!    And eerily psychic, too.   I hardly ever run into her on campus.   We took advantage of the moment to take a nice walk downtown, just to talk, window shop, check out the Halloween displays, kick through the Fall leaves.    On the way back to the house, we hit the fraternity.   Chelles just had to liven the fire with Bruce, just in case of a cold front.    Feeling strange without my man, getting that three’s-a-crowd feeling, and deserving of the gong at piano (gotta baby grand there), I wandered next door to see if Cowboy Jake were in.   I don’t know what the fuck got into me.   I actually wandered up to his room, off-limits to the ladies,  where his total geek of a roommate was busy doing spreadsheets on his deluxe hand-built comp.   He politely ignored me, thank god, so I could memorize every pic on Jake’s bulletin board.   There was his truck.   There was his horse.   His brother or something.   And there was some plump blonde, girl from home, Suzie-Q type (Brucie:   “You’re the Suze, Tina.”    Me:  “Not!”) he must be going out with now.    After ten minutes, the housekeeper came up and flushed me out.   Oh, well, sour grapes.    Jakes is only another “should”; why pursue him when Brett’s the best?

  • The weekend was interesting.   Seeing that I wasn’t exactly going to “fill in” for her, Thea finally decided to put in an appearance Friday, after which she and Al retreated into the den for the night.   (Chelle:  “I thought he wasn’t your type!”   Thea:   “Alfred’s not a bad boy, really.  He gives the best HEAD I ever had.”)    Saturday we thought we’d give him a good scare at the mummy ride, but this being too expensive to treat all his unexpected extra dates, he had other plans.    He wanted to go skating.  So we hung around the rink for a while with all the high school dudettes and families on quality time.   Then he wanted to lunch at this Chinese buffet called Luau Gardens that he liked in Sacramento.    All you can eat for only $5.00 per.   (Thea:   “Oh, I remember that.   Everything taste like flowers.”)    Al was sure it was a chain, but we couldn’t find it.   Chelle suggested Beni Hanna, but this made the Alster frown.   We ended up at MacD’s instead.    For both lunch and dinner.   “You two seem to hit it off well,” Thea kept teasing me.   Al wanted to see the sites, drop off a few job portfolios on the way, but kept getting lost.   After being stuck in traffic all day, the loving couple was starting to fight, so we headed back home.   

    Sunday we all wanted to work on our costumes.  Al finally got the hint and left.


October 20, 2004

  • Got a bad “code” (to use Ashley-speak), which is not as fucked as it seems, considering it’s rainy and I have to stay in to catch up on some major reading.   I haven’t touched a single book since the quarter started, what with being excited or worried about one thing or another.   Also, Alfred, one of Thea’s old flames, happened by for a surprise visit and has no one to entertain him while everybud’s in class or wherever.   So I built us a nice fire and am sitting in my fleece blanket throw by the front window.   Thea calls every hour and asks, “What’s he doing now?” and I say, “Puttering in the john,” or “Fixing himself a snack,” or “Watching the game,” or “Calling peeps” (one after the other).   I feel like his babysitter.   Actually, Alli’s in training to be a stand-up comedian and can be quite funny when he’s unperturbed, which is becoming rarer and rarer with each passing day.   He’s definitely passed the jolly not-bad-looking nice-dude could-be-your-bro stage, and carries a big paternal frown.   He never wants anything.   No, everything’s just fine.   Wonder why he waits for Thea……Stupid question.   Forget I said it.  

    I’m writing my honey a love letter.   A real one, not electronic.   Hope he gets it.