The Haunted House

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Walk Around Crich

We have both had the past few days off work so have been out and about doing some walks. Being as forgetful as I am, I keep forgetting to take the camera out with me, but today I remembered to pick it up.

We decided to do a walk up to Crich in Derbyshire. The walk is around 8 miles. We drove to Ambergate where the walk started. As per usual the instructions out of the AA book were a bit shit, and we messed up the beginning, but it was OK once we were going in the right direction.

We had to walk up quite a steep hill on the way to Crich, but the view was nice. Once we got to Crich we walked past the Tram museum.

From the Tram museum we walked up to the memorial tower and then on to were the quarry is.

Up by the tower it was quite windy, so Amanda borrowed the inside fleece part of my jacket. But the jacket was far to big for her and she looked like a midget wearing it.

As we walked past the quarry we saw the scale of the place. It is huge. There were lots of signs around pointing out the dangers of the fall. Must be quite cool when they set off the explosive charges to dislodge the rock.

To get to the next part of the walk we had to walk around the quarry, this seemed to go on for ages.

Once past the quarry we started our decent to Whatstandwell, and followed the canal back to Ambergate.

Once we got back to the car we were totally knackered, so we drove home via Morrison's to get stuff for dinner, including Beer. We will just sit in front of the tv tonight and watch the film Borat.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Major Morgan the DIY Theramin

A few weeks ago, Amanda did her Ebay thing, and got me an old Major Morgan electronic organ toy. I used to have one of these things as a kid, and they sound bloody awful. Naturally, now that I'm a lot older I want to attack the thing and rewire it.

The concept of the toy is quite simple. You insert cards with colored blobs. At the top of the card is a sequnce of squares. If you play the sequence of squares by hitting the correct blob, you should get a tune. It comes with old chart toppers like, 'This old man', 'Row row row your boat' and other crap like that.

A friend of Mats (called Mat) who is also a fellow toy torturer, recommended I fit a light dependent resister to the Majors head and turn it into a theramin. A theramin, for those who have never heard of one before, is a musical instrument that you wave your hands around like a spaz and the pitch changes. They were invented by Bob Moog. I fitted the LD resister and drilled a hole in the Majors head to mount it.

I stared fitting some switches and a jack output socket, but realised quite quickly that I couldn't fit the bloody things in the case due to the awkward layout of the circuit board. Plus the fact I bought fairly large switches. DOH!!!

Therefore I decided to create yet another breakout box. The cable I had was only 6 core alarm cable. And sods law dictated that I needed 8 core. Typical!!!

Anyway, I just added another cable to the otherside of the major as I'm impatient and don't want to go back to Maplins tomorrow. The dual cable configuration looks quite interesting though as he now looks like he has arms.

Once all this wiring had been done, I mounted all the controls in the box and screwed it all back together. This weekend I will make some recordings of it.

The bends I did were as follows:
1 - Theramin pitch bender with on/off switch
2 - Pitch halver switch
3 - Strangled cat portamento (no seriously, it sounds like a cat being strangled).


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Walk Around Cromford

Today we decided to go for a country walk. The weather recently has been quite poor, so we havn't really ventured out much at the weekends. In the morning we went into Belper, as the farmers market was on, so went there got a load of shopping and then went to the walking shop to get amanda some walking boots.

After we got home and had lunch we picked a walk out of our book. The walk starts at Cromford wich is between Belper and Matlock. The walk was 5 miles and should take around 3 hours. We parked near Arkwrights mill and headed off on the walk following the instructions out of the book.

Obligtory photo of Amanda reading the map.

After about half an hour of walking we reached a point with a very steep acent. This was knackering. Not so bad for me as I go to the gym twice a week, but I don't think Amanda's feet were too keen :-)

Once we got to the top of the ascent, we reached a place called the black rock. From here we carried on along the path. The view from the top of the hill was quite good. You could see the quarry were they blast lime stone.

We was using the AA book of peak districk walks, which was ok, but we found some of the instructions are not too clear. For example, it would say to walk along a path and when it forks take the right. Ok this is fine, but the path had about 4 different forks, and it didn't say how far along to go first. Oh well, we bluffed it around ok in the end ;-)

Towards the middle of the walk you end up at an old un-used railway station / visitor centre. The have an old style train carraige, which was quite interesting to look at. To finish the walk we walked along the canal for a couple of miles back to the car park.

It was nice to get out for a walk today and blow out a few of the cobwebs that appear sitting in an office all week. I reckon we burned off quite a few calories. Which is good as we will put them all back on as we are going out for a curry and Andy and Elaine tongiht :-)

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Unleashing Satan From The Machine

I had some spare time tonight so I decided to do another circuit bend. This was another one of the toys from the charity shop. Getting the case off was a pain as most of the screws were in deep holes and my normal screwdrivers would not fit, so I had to use a jewelery screwdriver and set of pliers. All the buttons on the front of the toy a all loose and not held down with anything. I could see this would be problem as they sit directly over the pcb, so space would be tight having them sit ontop of my soldered wires.

A found some pitched glitch bends and a cool portamento type swirl which I connected to a 100k pot. I also added a selector switch so I could turn the portamento on and off. That was about all the interesting bends I could find. But they sound pretty evil. I also added a 1/4 inch jack socket so I can connect the toy up to the mixing desk for recording.

As I anticipated getting the case back on with the buttons in place was a complete bastard. This took nearly an hour. Because I had already mounted the new controls, I had to balance the top of the toy whilst putting the buttons in place over the soldered leads to sit on their rubber switches. After lots of swearing and cursing I got the case back on successfully, luckly everything still worked :-)


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nine Inch Nails Concert In Nottingham

Last night Me and a friend, Steve Huckle, went to the Nottingham Ice Arena to see Nine Inch Nails in concert. I have been waiting since before Christmas for this gig to hurry up and arrive, and the band did not disappoint.

The first band on was called Ladytron, but unfortunately I don't think they were given a sound check and the whole thing sounded washed out and a bit shit. But the sound system sounded awesome when Trent and the boys took to the stage. They played a lot of older material this time, and only played 1 track of 'With Teeth' which was 'The hand that feeds'. It was also good to hear them play 'Deep', which was the song they wrote for the first Tomb Raider film, and it translated across live very well.

There are a few crap mobile phone clips on YouTube, the first being 'The Hand That Feeds' and the 2nd 'Head Like A Hole'.

All in all a great night. It's a pity that the gig had to be in Nottingham, which is a pretty unpleasent city all round, but apart from the location, everything else was great.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Creatures Mechanical Available On CD

The first full length Creature album, Mechanical, is now available to buy on CD from the Haunted House Records shop. Also all the other Creature releases, Daisy Cutter, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, and Twilight, aswell as Happy Welly's Irritable Vowel Syndrome album are also availble to buy on CD. Mechanical costs less than 9 pounds including handling and shipping. All CD's are dispatched from the United States.