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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Harry Potter & The Terrible Finale

This is a blog I wrote in 2007 just after 'Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows' had come out.
It was probably the first actual blog I wrote and I have made a few very small changes. Opinion remains the same.
I am posting it here for posterity and someone asked me about it on FormSpring

I finished it in 7 hours and to be honest...this was immensely disappointing.
Even from the moment I bought it and said 'wow...is that it?', I knew that this wasn't going to please the majority of people.


There were no real revelations in this book, as there have been in its predecessors. They were either predicatable or you'd worked it out already, and I missed the shock value.

The majority of the deaths were waay too rushed, especially Lupin and Tonks which just made me pretty pissed off.

They are two major characters who had just had a kid of their own, and there wasn't even a single moment to dwell on their deaths, what had happened to them or anything!
Fred's wasn't much better either, but at least you knew how he had died and how the family reacted.

The previous 3 books have had major deaths in them, and I'll admit it, they brought a tear to my eye, and that just wasn't the case in this one. It was a bit like, "oh, they're dead. Shit. Anyway..."
I suppose you can argue that JK wrote it in this way to 'get the reader involved in the pace of the story and the fact that none of the characters had time to dwell on the deaths' but in my opinion, that's just pretentious bullshit!

In regards to Voldemort at the end, okay sure, all of his horcruxes are gone and its bound to affect him somehow, but fucking hell he was still a bitchin wizard, so why the hell is he having so much trouble finishing off 3 wizards! He didn't even kill one!

The whole sequence seemed so pantomime and rushed. It seemed as if JK was trying to round everything up in Harry's speech. I was expecting at least one vaguely epic battle between Harry and Voldemort like we got in books 4&5, but no apparently not.
Even the epic castle siege battle wasn't that epic.

Now I move onto Snape and Lily...well who the fuck DIDN'T see that coming?!

I had cracked that little chestnut from book 1!
If you go back and read the previous books, you will pick up more and more on these little moments.
It was good to see all the stuff with Dumbledore and the planning though...

For me, most of the book is just Harry, Ron and Hermione wandering aimlessly around the UK trying to work out how to pull their wands out of their arses.
Again, it is a matter of complete luck that they manage to find any horcruxes or any major revelations to their quest, which was disappointing as it reminded me of the first books.
With every sequel, the books grow up and so had the characters and you would think our three heroes are meant to be pretty badass now so you think they'd be able to work out a little of what the fuck they are meant to be doing.

Ron and Hermiones kiss.


After reading about this chase relationship for years and years you are just going to sum it up in one quick little kiss which is disrupted by Harry shouting "oi, we're in the middle of a battle here"...FUCK YOU JK ROWLING! Not happy with that at all!

Now let's get down to what really grinds my gears about this book.

The 19 years later part.

Congratulations! We know what happened to four of the characters!

Hell I wanna know what happened to George, how everyone got through all their losses, how Ron/Hermione & Harry/Ginnys relationship developed and why the hell the Death Eaters didn't just carry on kicking arse, regardless of the fact that Voldemort was dead!

You've just written this massive battle, the fall of the dark lord and all this other shit and you're just gonna skip 19 years so we can watch their kids get on a train!


Also, how come Harry can suddenly use Unforgivable Curses?

"You have to mean it" Bellatrix says when he tries one on her.
Frankly, I think he'd mean it more after she just killed his only family rather than on some random goblins in Gringotts...

In summary, for me this book reads like the movie script.
It's too rushed and nothing is really dwelled on. I refuse to believe that this is how JK Rowling intended to end Harry Potter. Personally I think she would have killed him off.

Hopefully, once all of the hum drum of the films has blow over she will release another version of the book, her version, because this isn't it. Not by a long shot.

(This edit was about a week after my first readthrough)

I have just re-read the book and needless to say, my opinions haven't changed on it at all.

It still reads like the movie script and there is too much waffling. I still also don't appreciate the vast amount of major characters that were killed off and that it skips an entire 19 years!

However, it has been revealed that a Harry Potter Encyclopedia is being released with answers to all the questions that any devoted Harry Potter fan has regarding what happens next.
It is rumoured RRP is £25.


This woman will be living off this book for the rest of her days, and good on her!

It was a damn good story only tainted by the fact that Warner got involved. I think it would have been a much better idea to produce the films after the 7th book, that way JK still has her free reign over the story. I refuse to believe that Warner didn't have a hand in what direction the story took.

Unfortunately everyone feels the need to make as much money as they can so the films were produced.

As the books got further on, coinciding with the release of the films, you can see a literary change in the way that the books read more and more like a film, which is crap, for lack of a better argument.

It is a shame that a fantastic story that developed for a good while was affected so brutally by the films. When you read the books you can feel the heart of a fantastic story but as the books progress you just wish that there was more literary feel to it, rather than reading a film.

To this day I still feel the same way.

I will say however, thank the stars for David Yates who saved the films!
Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince are my favourite books and David Yates did a fantastic job of representing them on film.

I am very excited to see how the 'Deathly Hallows' films.

Yes, plural.

Of course this is the final chance to properly cash in on the Harry Potter franchise so splitting the film in two makes perfect sense from a business perspective.
The fact that it is one of the shorter books doesn't irritate me at all...

Regardless, bring on the finale!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Ask me anything!...please...

So like the social networking butterfly I am, I joined FormSpring.

I was one of the first amongst my friends and it appears to be catching on a little more now.

I prefer it to something like Twitter, which is essentially a series of very dull status updates such as 'I am eating a grape. It had a seed. Yuck' and 'I am on the bus. God, it's boring.' and it's a nice break from the constant status updates and pictures of 'the night of 1000 shots' that Facebook has to offer.

The idea of anybody from your nearest and dearest to complete strangers (pending on where you post your FormSpring URL) being able to pose questions, anonymously or not, to myself appealed to me for several reasons.

Firstly, give people anonymity and they will think they are invincible.

This is why the internet is as successful as it is.

People think they are amazing and enjoy tearing other people down, especially when there is no or very little chance at a backlash.
Check any YouTube videos comments for examples.

Giving these people the chance to ask me questions anonymously gave them opportunities to:
- Confess their feelings, amorous or spiteful
-Ask questions they want to know the answer to without revealing their personal interest
-Be honest!

Anonymous questions make you curious.

You're almost positive it's someone who is on your Facebook (or wherever you post the link) and it must be someone who gave a damn enough to bother clicking on the link and typing, but who?

One of my friends actually requested that I post all my questions anonymously for this exact reason.

Secondly, I like the idea of people taking an interest in my life.

As I said, people think they are amazing and like to be told so.
FormSpring is a very egotistical website and it can swing both ways.

High number in Inbox, wicked. Low or none in Inbox, bummer, no-one gives a fuck.
It's usually the latter. I blame apathy and the fact the site is still growing.

Shut up. It's probably true!

Lastly, it makes you think.

Someone, who is taking things seriously, could pose a question to you that maybe you hadn't even thought of.
A question that allows you to assess where you are in life. What are my goals? Where am I now? Am I happy?
It could make you step back, take a look at that aspect of your life and go 'hmmmmm'.

Typically though, you'll just be asked something along the lines of 'If you had the chance to punch a whale, would you?'

It will be interesting to see how this site grows, especially how media, celebrities and businesses use it.
We've seen it happen to the best of them.


Each have had their moment in the sun and have grown into something else.

You want to check out the latest bands, signed or unsigned, you hit up MySpace.
Want to know what your friends are up to and what events are coming up, Facebook is your friend.
Feel the need to update people about your life constantly? Get Twitter (blogs are like so 2008!)

I am going to keep using FormSpring.

I want to see where this one goes.

If you feel like asking me a question, you can find my FormSpring link in the sidebar on the right.

UPDATE: The day after posting this, 5 of my friends joined FormSpring and another 3 posted questions anonysmously without signing up!

99 lives but I just need one

"Does anybody rent video games anymore?"

I found myself asking this question after a discussion with my partner about our LoveFilm membership and the possibility of upgrading.

LoveFilm for those that don't know, is a great service where you get to rent DVD's and games, keep them as long as you like with no late fees, and then send them back for another. Free postage!
All for a monthly fee based on a variety of packages they on offer that fluctuate how many discs you can have at a time, whether you want access to DVD's, games or both etc etc

This all works very well, as long as you remember to actually watch the films and send them back.

For a p2p filesharer and an avid purchaser of DVD's, this can prove to be quite the challenge at times.
(Ironically enough, we decided to get LoveFilm to reduce the amount we were spending on our HMV binge sessions)

But I digress.

Steph (my partner) suggested that we upgrade our membership to include game rentals as she is forever moaning that she only has about 5 games herself out of the extensive catalogue we possess.

And so here we are.

Do people rent video games anymore?

Gaming has changed dramatically in the past decade.
We've had several new consoles, a change from catridge to disc, wireless and motion capture gaming, online gaming and even the games themselves have changed to reflect this.

Only a few years ago we only had a few genres of games and each of these were very linear and close ended.
You start, you battle the bad guys, you beat the boss, get the girl, game over.
This could be done in an afternoon.

Nowadays you have side missions, online multiplayer, open endings that allow you to continue gaming after you have completed the main storyline and one of the biggies, downloadable content.

Downloadable content can keep a game alive for years as long as new, fresh and enticing content is released such as new missions and new multiplayer maps.
For £30 with an occassional investment, you can keep your favourite game going for a lot longer than games you used to get pre X360/PS3 providing the developer keeps releasing content.

Every next gen gamer has a favourite online FPS that they will pop in to 'pwn a few noobs' once in a while to take a break from the strict storylines.
Whether it's Halo or COD, majority of the people who buy those games on release day are there for the online multiplayer, not the story itself.

Halo ODST is a prime example.

Get the game, finish the story, LETS FIREFIGHT!!!

Where Bungie fecked up on Firefight though is they didn't have an open lobby. You could only team up and fight off the Covenant with peeps from your buddy list.
This is most likely why they decided to include a separate Halo 3 multiplayer disc with all the DLC maps included in order not to exclude an already successful product that gamers love to play.

Entire games have been developed purely for online multiplayer, such as the recent 'Section 8'.
Section 8 matches consist of teams on a map fulfilling a series of typical multiplayer scenarios such as CTF, Protect the VIP etc.
Oddly enough though, the game didn't seem to take off as well as people thought it might and the majority of people went back to the warm embrace of Halo and COD.

So even with the ability to rent a game and play it with no late fees, developers seem to be trying to find ways to keep us gamers buying their games and staying hooked to them.

Bioware reward Mass Effect 2 buyers of the new game with access to the 'Cerberus Network', entitling them to an array of future free DLC after a project developed by EA to specifically combat gamers purchasing 2nd hand.

I for one occassionally pine for the days when you could just beat up the bad guys and save the day game over, which is probably why I still have and use my old consoles, such as the Megadrive, NES and N64.


Xbox Live Arcade provides you with old games from platformers to arcade classics for a small fee!
For as little as 400MS, you can be MegaMan or Sonic and relive those glorious 16/32bit days, and all from one console!

In conclusion, I don't think any serious gamer rents titles anymore.

There used to be an excitement tied to going to the video store, picking up the latest Crash Bandicoot and grinding it for 2 days straight because that's the time limit you had until it had to go back to the store.

The same way you used to play your heart out in the cartridge days because there was no save points or password.

Maybe we're getting those kicks from somewhere else these days.
Maybe gamers have evolved with the consoles and the market.

Either way, I'm going to stick to renting DVD's and buying my games.

Who knows what DLC they'll release next...

Monday, 22 February 2010

It's sickening

Being sick that is.

I have been sick most of weekend after feeling spectacularly crappy all week so I haven't been able to think coherently enough to write a blog.

However, I gathered a lot of inspiration from my 80's movie revival fest on Sunday and a discussion into video game rental so will have something with a little more substance soon.

Stay tuned

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Today, I made a word.

Taken by mixing the word 'festival' and 'testicle' to define a rubbish or 'bollocks' festival/public event.
'You going to the 'Generic Festival/Event' this year?'
'Nah man, it's a goddamn festical...'

UPDATE: 'Festical' has been approved by urbandictionary.com :)

Queing in the name of...

So this morning has been exciting!

First time I have come to work early in forever and what is it for?
RATM tickets.

After getting massively over excited when I received my code yesterday (I thought I had actually got tickets) I was slightly confused as to why they chose a Wednesday morning at 9am to hold the 'ticket lottery'.

Majority of the UK starts work at 9am and not everyone has the 'pleasure' of a job where they sit on their arse at a computer with internet access.

I arrive at 8.45am (a new record for me) and collect my details, write them on a piece of paper and open up the ticket link ready to go...

The mood is intense.

The link goes up 5mins early (not at all surprising as this has happened to me many times before and this time, I'm prepared) and I get lobbed into a queue.

This queue lasts a very long time.

I am encouraged by the page to refresh it and after a few refreshes I decide to leave it as it automatically refreshes every 20 seconds.

20 seconds pass.

The page jams.


Blank page.

The mood turns to panic.

I frantically try every link I can think of but am denied access every time!
I try other websites. All load fine. Probably due to the heavy traffic.

I get onto Facebook and frequently post my frustration and dismay in a variety of statuses until a glimmer of magic appears.

Mr Stuart O'Connor is online.

I enquire into the status of his quest for tickets and he is indeed 'Queing in the name of'.'

I return to my efforts of repeatedly copying and pasting both of the ticket links into IE and Firefox. Still nothing.

My phone vibrates.

Alana has text me letting me know Stu has scored tickets for them both and do I want to send her my codes. FUCK YES I DO!

I tippity tap mine and Steph's codes and postcode and hit the send button.
I make a quick stop to tell Stu what a lucky 'bastaf' he is and go back to wearing out my F5 button.

Stu shoots me a message back to say not only has he booked his and Lana's tickets, but a pair for his mate and is now on the booking page for me!
This man ate his 'Lucky Charms' this morning!

The next few minutes are a blur.
I frantically throw him my card details (tickets are being sent recorded delivery and cost £9 but what do I give a crap, 15mins ago I couldn't get on the fucking page!)

A minute that seems like a day passes and a message appears in the FB chat box.

'hellllllllll yaaaaa
ur going boy!!!'


I'm not sure what to do so I post a status raising Stu to a legendary godlike status and announce the extreme length and girth of his gentials.

I am going to see RATM.

Stuart O'Connor. Luckiest, well hung legend alive.

It's good to have friends.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Trains. And banks.



Can someone explain to why train companies feel like they can justify hiking up ticket prices (this is the third time this year prices have been raised, on 2 occasions, no public notice was given) yet they can't run an effective service.

I paid £18.70 for a return from Portslade to Crawley...the journey takes about 50mins.
Today it took me 1:15hrs to get to work and 2:30 to get home.

Every time I plan to get on a train (which is now about twice a week) there is some spectacular fuck up that delays it, always during rush hours as well it seems.
WHere the fuck is this extra money going if not on making our service more efficient? I want to see some results. Some bang for my buck.

Anyone else had any spectacular train debacles (yes, DEBACLES) recently, or am I alone here?

Next up, banks.

Now today I got my card eaten by an ATM, the second time in 6 months.

This one let me view my balance as well before it decided to crash when I decided I wanted to take some money out.

Did my balance offend it?

Was it some sort of secret series of numbers that look particularly delicious?

Should I stop buying take out with my bank card so the machine doesn't think it's food?

So yes, I had to call the helpline.
And where do the banks place the 'Lost or Stolen' helpline number.
Of course.
The back of you bank card.
Which is in an ATM.
A system designed to make the withdrawals of cash quicker and more efficient. Yeah.

WHY do NONE of these banks put the helpline number on their ATM's?!
I had to ask several strangers if they had Barclays bank cards to get a helpline number. Pretty sure most were convinced I was the most amateur con artist ever, but eventually some old dude (cheers old dude) let me use his.

10 WORKING DAYS I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A NEW BANK CARD! My account has also been locked. Wicked.
I will now have to reset my eBay and PayPal as well, which as any of its users now, is a complete motherfecken.

For an added insult to injury, the machine actually rebooted itself this time! And yet no, even after a few clicks, no bank card.

Banks, stop using Windows to run your ATM's or at least put a helpline number on there (with someone who speaks english clearly as well would be nice)

Next time I go to town I'm going to take the bus and ask go to the counter in the bank and ask politely that the cashier doesn't gobble down my card.

The BT saga continues

I decided to do some digging into their fair use policy.

I'm glad I'm on the 'Unlimited' useage plan otherwise I would be paying an extra £1 for every GB. This month would have = £146

Taken from BT's site regarding their 'Fair Useage' policy:
'Customers who are classified as very heavy users will experience significantly reduced speed at peak times (typically 5pm-midnight every day but these times may change depending on the demand on the network) for a period of 30 days, or for as long as very heavy use continues. This applies to customers on all Options.'

Then why the fuck am I getting throttled from 9am - midnight?!
And why the hell is my Xbox Live NAT still strict?!

Basically, if you are a heavy uploader, a heavy downloader, a p2p filesharer or a gamer...don't use BT...

I wonder if Virgin has an 'Unlimited Unlimited' package....?

Aren't BT great?!

I have a BT Homehub.
I am a p2p filesharer.
I am a gamer.

BT's 'Option 3' package offers 'Unlimited*' downloading. This is very important for someone of my capacity.
Since I joined BT, 7 months ago, I have had the worst connection speeds, connection drops and Strict NAT on Xbox Live.

Yesterday I decided enough was enough.

Here are some of the highlights.

Firstly, don't bother with finding your BT account number or telephone number (if you're like me and don't use it so can never remember), just rummage around for 2mins and they'll just ask your name!

Here are some of the highlights of the first conversation...

BT: 'What operating system are you using?'
Me: 'A Mac using OSX 10.4 Leopard'
BT: 'So thats wireless yeah?'
Me: '....yes'

BT: *long pause*
Me: What does it say on your troubleshoot sheet?
BT: 'It says...*long pause*'
BT: 'Ok, we are going to test you line'
Me: 'Ooookay'
BT: 'Are you off the phone?'
Me: 'No I'm talking to you...'
BT: 'Ok are you off the Broadband?'
Me: 'The browsers open'
BT: 'OK close that, it will stop the internet from coming through'

Me: 'Why are you testing my line when we know it's because you are throttling it?'
BT: 'Because...*rustle of paper and mumbling*....'

Me: 'How long until you call me back'
BT: *reads out my phone number*
Me: 'Yes I know that's my number. How long until you call me back?'
BT: 'We are going to test the line'
Me: 'Yes but how long....until you call me back?'
BT: 'About 15-20mins then immediately...'

She did call me back in 15-20mins...then immediately!
Also on my landline which she said she wasn't going to call....

Here are some highlights from our second conversation...

Me: 'Ben Cordell speaking'
BT: 'Hello is this Ben?'
Me: 'Mmmmyes'

BT: 'The line test is complete and you have exceeded your download useage'
Me: 'But I'm paying for unlimited download...because I know I use it a lot'
BT: 'Yes but it is exceeded'
Me: 'How can you exceed unlimited?'
BT: *Rustle of paper*

BT: 'I am going to transfer you through to a specialist team'
Me: 'Ok...'
BT: 'Please hold...'
English BT Man: 'Hello Mr Cudell?' (yes...Cudell...)
Me: 'Speaking'
English BT Man: 'I believe you are having some trouble with your internet speeds'
Me: 'I am'
English BT Man: 'Ok what we're....*CLICK*


After 5 minutes, I decide to call them back.

After speaking to a much more well spoken (and apologetic) Middle Eastern man who asked me the SAME BLOODY QUESTIONS, I eventually got transferred back to the 'Fair Useage' team (the English BT Man)


*Middle Eastern BT man tries to explain that I've exceeded my download useage. Again, I lay down the philosophical line 'How can you exceed unlimited?'*


*More debate over how offering a restricted speed when I have gone over my 'unlimited download useage' occurs with me stating that I am not paying for a restricted 'unlimited' service*

Me: '...how can I exceed the unlimited? Restriction of any sort is not unlimited'
BT Man: 'Sorry I'm just a man with a sheet. I will transfer you to *mumblemumble*"



*Transferred through to nice British man who reads me lots about the 'Fair Use' policy (they get complainst about this so much they dedicated a frigging department to it!) and basicaly says that although it says unlimited, policy permits that they restrict the speed of anyone who exceeeds their fair useage.

Also explains that the restriction is why I get strict NAT on Live.

Says that they have lifted the 30 day restriction so I should get decent speeds.

I ask where I can cancel my account...*

1hr20mins....4 operators....5 phone calls....BT....you fucking suck!

Hello and welcome.

Hello and welcome to 'My Ordinary Life'.

This is my blog. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my blog is useless. Without my blog, I am useless. I must write my blog true. I must write better than my fellow bloggers, who are trying to pwn me. I must blog them before they blog me. I will. Before God I blog this creed: my blog and myself are defenders of the internet, we are the masters of our fellow bloggers, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.