The Haunted House

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Spaghetti Bolognas

I have added my spaghetti bolognas recipe to the food page.


Creamy Curry Recipe

I've added a recipe for one of my favourite curries to the food section of this site. Hope you like it as much as we do.


I have set up a new web address that forwards to this blog page. You can now access my blog by entering into your browser instead of the longer address. Any excuse for typing less is good in my books.

You can also access these from the links section on the right hand side of this page.


Two new blogs

Today I have added two new blogs to my account. One of the blogs is about food were I will add any recipes that I think people would like to know about. The other blog is a photography blog which will serve as a gallery for my favorite photos.

The reason I have added these two new blogs is to stop my main blog from becoming cluttered.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fungus the bogey man

In mat's infinate wisdom, he has devised a silly game to see how good you are a touch typing. You have to try and type 'Fungus the bogey man' lots of times without looking at the keyboard. See some attempts here. Once you have had ago, email your results too It's harder than it sounds you know.

I tried this and got:

fungas the boheyt man
funghas the bohey man
fungas the bokey man
funas the bohey man
ginhas the bohey man
ginhas he nohey man
fungas the nohey man
fungas the kogey man
funga the bgey man
gunhas the bnogey an

Bloody aweful eh :-)


Creative commons license for this site

Hi, just a quick post. On the panel to the right of this page you will notice an icon that says "Some Rights Reserved" What this basically means is I have put the contents of this blog under the creative commons license. This is basically an extended form of copyright. If you click on that icon you will see the license for the content of this site including text and photos. Basically anyone can use the content from this site in their own publications for non commercial use only. If anything is to be used for commercial use you need to get my permission first.

Any content directed from links off this site are subject to their own license agreements so you should get permission from their owners first for any use. For example, the link to Neils photo stock library has it's own commercial license in place, so that doesn't mean you can use the pictures just because you linked to them from this site.


Rockstar games sued by crazy old lady

I just read this on a news site

July 27, 2005

Rockstar Sued Over Hidden GTA: San Andreas Content
After being roundly castigated by politicians and special interest groups, then having its game removed from store shelves following a rerating to Adults Only, Rockstar has now been sued over the "Hot Coffee" module normally inaccessible in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The plaintiff, 85-year-old Florence Cohen of New York, is alleging that Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games used false and deceptive practices in failing to disclose the sexual content of the game. Interestingly, Cohen apparently had no problem with the existing violence descriptors and M rating for 17 and up when purchasing the title for her 14-year-old grandson.

Despite this, attorney Lawrence D. Paskowitz, Cohen's attorney, insisted that parents would not buy adults-only software for their children. "They should really make sure this doesn't happen again," said Paskowitz. "The least this company can do is offer refunds." The amount of damages Cohen is seeking in the lawsuit has not been disclosed.

In addition to the lawsuit, Take-Two has released a statement confirming the previously announced Federal Trade Commission probe investigating its advertising practices for the title. Take-Two announced that it would comply fully with the investigation, saying: "Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive regret that consumers may have been exposed to content that was not intended to be accessible in the playable version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."

Is it just me that thinks this is totaly insane. I was reading a games industry forum earlier on and someone posted what I thought was a funny court room scenario. So thanks for this from fiendishmonotreme from the chaos engine forum.

Me: "Madam. You purchased GTA: San Andreas for your grandson, is that right?"

Old Lady: "Yes, for my Joey. He's such a good boy. The hidden game in it, it's so DREADFUL!"
Me: (using lower screen to check evidence) "HOLD IT!"
"Isn't it true that your grandson is only FOURTEEN?!"

Snippy Prosecution Guy: "Objection! What is the relevance of this?"

Me: (smoothly) "I will show the jury, sir!"

Judge: "I'll allow it. Madam, answer the question."

Old Lady: "Why, yes, yes he is."

Me: "Are you aware that previous to this, the game was rated M - for individuals 17 and up - and that the clerk at the store warned you about its violent and sexual content?"

Old Lady: "Well, yes, but -"

Me: "And have you SEEN the supposed 'dreadful' minigame that is unlocked by applying a mod you can get from the INTERNET... which, I may add, is the same place that has MANY things not appropriate for children... are you suggesting we legislate the Internet, madam?"

Snippy Prosecution Guy: (flustered) "Ob - OBJECTION!"

Me: (all cool-like) "Withdrawn. Madam, have you SEEN the game in question?"

Old Lady: (flustered) "Well I... I mean, I heard..."

Me: (slamming hands on table) "MADAM! Have you seen the minigame or not?"

Old Lady: "Well I, that is, I mean... no."

Me: (spinning around grandly) "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury! I ask you. Does this woman deserve a refund when she not only bought the game against the advice of the store that sold it to her for being TOO VIOLENT and TOO SEXUAL for her underage grandson, but is protesting against content she has NEVER SEEN?!" (whirls around grandly once more. The hot Head of my Law Firm is impressed, Snippy Prosecution Guy is huffing with frustration and rage, Old Lady is stammering, and Judge is smirking surreptitiously). "I have no more questions!"

Genius :-)


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This is a public service announcement

Now you've been told :-)


Hot Coffee in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Recently in the press it was reported that there is a game mod for GTA that unlocks a secret sex scene. This seems to have caused complete outrage to most straight laced people. Even the house of representatives have joined in and ordered a full inquiry into how these scenes got into the game. Now is it me, or do they have nothing better to do than berate this game.

For a start, the mini game in question was disabled in the original code, and it is because someone has reverse engineered the code that this has come to light. But I really don't see what the problem is. The game was age restricted anyway, so kids shouldn't have access to it. But the problem is as always that parents go out and buy them for their little jonny. Also stores should be controlling who the game is sold too. Now the game has been rated adult only, so who cares if there is a sex scene in the game. You can go onto the internet and download gigs of porn quicker than you can access the locked mini game in GTA.

I really don't think Rock Star games have done anything sinister. I personally reckon that they originally intended to have the mini game in there, but decided to cut it at the last minute. But to completely remove the code would result in the game requiring much more testing to make sure nothing got broken in the code, and with tight deadlines this is not acceptable. I work In the games industry so I know what the pressures are like.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Jet Packs

This video is ace. If the trains are ever so screwed that I can't get to work. I'll try and make one of these. Or maybe I'll just drive :-)


Monday, July 25, 2005

Ambulance Blog

I was reading through the BBC website this morning and found this article about a blog by a member of the London Ambulance Service. I thought I would include a link to the blog here as it is really interesting. It is about this guy called Tom Reynolds who works for the Ambulance service, and the blog covers his day to day life at work.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Royksopp - The Understanding

I got Royksopps new album 'The Understanding' during the week, but only got around to listening to it this evening. It's rather good, a little different sounding to their first album, Melody A.M, but it is still a very good electronic album. Buy it now!! The album is very mellow. Would be good to listen to after a night out in town. My personal favourite track at the moment is track 1 which is called Triumphant. But I need to listen to the album some more.


TheBreeding Returns

About 5 years ago, My self and a friend Mat Howlett worked on an industrial music project called theBreeding. The project was mainly studio based, so we was mainly creating the songs totally within the computer. Life being as it is, work ground to a halt for a bit. We were both made redundant from the company we was working at, and Mats wife Clare gave birth to their first child Max and as a result they decided to move back upto Hull from Buxton to be closer to family. Also Me and my wife was planning a wedding which consumed all immediate funds :-)

But now that we have nice broadband internet connections we have restarted work on a new EP of songs. Because of the speed of broad band I can work on sequenced backing track, send them to mat who can add guitars and vocals. We can bounce the tracks back to each other as many time as we like. This is a great way fo working, and I totally recommend other people to do internet music collaborations. We hope to have the first set of songs ready by the end of the year so keep an eye and ear out. Mat has created a small microsite for the band that will contain news and also has some snippets from out older songs.

But in the mean time, here are some screen shots of the first song in the set being created. This song is called Rise. Mat has also added a small work in progress mp3 snippet of this song to the website. The song is no where near finished, but you can get a picture of were we are headed.


Lunch at the Blue Bell

Just been for lunch with Amanda to a pub called the Blue Bell which is just outside Belper. This place is really nice and the food is consistently good, and good value too. You can get 3 courses for £16 for sunday lunch :-)

If you're ever in the Belper area of Derbyshire you should check the place out. You can book by phoneing 01773 826495


Cheryle's Birthday BBQ

Last night we went to Amanda's friend Cheryle's BBQ. They live out in Draycot in the clay which is just off the A50. There was about 30 people there and we spent a lot of time chatting. The BBQ food was really nice too, especially the apricot sausages :-)

We stayed there until about 10.30pm and then headed off home. When we got back Amanda wanted to watch a film and open a bottle of wine, so we ended up watching First Daughter with Katie Holmes. I though it was a pile of crap, but Amanda liked it.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Trip to Buxton

Had a nice lazy morning today. Got up about 10, went on the internet for a little while, and then we decided to take a drive up to Buxton. Not for any particular reason, but just to have a walk around. Buxton is in Derbyshire near Manchester, and we used to live there for a while when I worked for a company in Bollington.

Me and Amanda in the gardens near Buxton opera house

When we got to Buxton we went for lunch at the Weatherspoons pub, and then walked around the town center. That's when we saw this Cow statue outside a shop. Naturally I had to get a photo.

Amanda getting cozy next to a model cow.
After walking around town we went to the gardens in Buxton and sat down for a bit. We was in no rush to come home so just chilled out there for a bit. That's when I started chasing ducks around the lake, as I can't stay sitting still for too long.

He was totally Quackers.
After chilling out in the gardens we made our way back to the car via the opera house. There is a pub next to the opera house called the Club House. This used to be our local pub when we lived in Buxton. Although I wouldn't have food in there again as it was horrible the last time we went :-)

Buxton opera house


Friday, July 22, 2005


Every now and again you get introduced to a new album that you just think is totally amazing. Well that happened recently when someone recommended that I listen to "Nothing Lasts But Nothing Is Lost" by Shpongle. This is not normally the type of music I listen too, but I have to say the album is bloody excellent. It's kind of trancey and tribal with all sorts of musical instruments from trumpets to flamenco guitars. Very strange. But I definitely recommend you check it out. You can buy it from


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Weekday drinking is never good.

I went to the pub last night straight from work in coventry to a pub in beeston near nottingham. The reason for this mid week drink is because a friend who I used to work with is transfering to a company in San Francisco within the next week. There was a good turn out to the pub of people who I used to work with at my last job, so it was good to catch up with people again. The only downside is I have to get up at 6am to travel to work, so I was knackered for the entire day :-(

Have a good time in America Simon, We'll be out to visit you soon :-)


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Trip to Goyt Valley

Today the weather was absolutely boiling, so Me and Amanda decided to go for a small picnic and walk around Goyt Valley. Goyt Valley is just outside Buxton In Derbyshire. As you drive out of Buxton you drive down what is probably the steepest road I have ever seen. Although the pic below isn't of the hill, it was just me messing around with the camera whilst Amanda was driving.

Goyt Valley is basically a big reservoir with lots of hills around it. It is a very nice place to go and we usually like to go once a year for a walk. The only problem was that today, in the morning, I helped my friends Neil and Caroline to finish moving into their new house, so after that I was quite tired, and the intensity of the sun that day meant we didn't get very far around the walk. Not even a quarter of the way around :-) We just decided to sit down, admire the view and have our lunch.

The above picture shows Amanda trying to find out were we are supposed to be going before starting the walk .

Whilst walking back to the car, we stopped on a bridge, and noticed the shadow of us on the rocks below. Me being me, I had to get the camera out and takes lots of pictures. Hooray for digital cameras.

When we started driving home, we thought we saw what was a suicidal sheep. As Amanda was driving a sheep ran across the road and jumped over the wall. But on the other side of the wall you couldn't see any grass, only water, so it looked like the sheep had jumped the wall and gone straight into the water. Amanda stopped the car and I got out to have a look, but luckily the sheep was safely standing on the grass drinking out of the reservoir. I guess he thought it was too hot also :-)

When we got back home, we went to the video shop and rented out the new version of Flight of the phoenix and watched it whilst sharing a bottle of wine. In the evening we went out to the pub to see our friends Liz and Ian who also live in the same town as us, Belper.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Camra Beer Festival

This evening we went to the Camra (Campaign for real Ale) beeer festival in Derby. There we're hundreds of different types of beer on offer here and I don't think I had one that I didn't like. We went with Neil and Caroline, and Andy and Elaine. Before we got to the festival we went to Pizza Express first and then about 7.30 headed off to the festival.


Nine Inch Nails Concert

Yesterday me and a friend Neil went to the Carling Birmingham Academy to see the industrial band Nine Inch Nails perform. The concert was absolutely amazing, they are one of my favourite bands and they don't tour in the UK that often so it was a real treat to see them.

Originally I couldn't get tickets for this gig as they sold out very quickly, but my wife Amanda surprised me with a couple of tickets that she bid for on Ebay. I was over the moon, and so was Neil :-)

Neil took a few pictures with his camera phone at the gig, naturally they didn't come out that great due to our distance from the stage and the low light, but I've included them on here anyway.