Why Goblet of Fire is My Favourite

Originally posted on Potter’s Place

As I mentioned in my review, Goblet of Fire is my favourite of the Harry Potter books (thus far at least). For many fans Prisoner of Azkaban was the high point of the series, so I decided to try and explain just what it is I like so much and why I prefer it over the other books.

Goblet of Fire has been criticised for being overly long, it’s been suggested that Rowling’s huge success with the first three books meant the editors were told to stand aside, advised to only change what was absolutely necessary and let the obvious literary magic she possesses shine through. Rowling has confessed that she was under a lot of pressure to finish the novel because she had committed to an unrealistic deadline and was even fantasising about breaking her arm so she physically couldn’t write and would get more time. Perhaps this lack of time and added pressure is another reason why the story is longer, more convoluted and less focused than her previous works. Perhaps the tight deadlines meant the editors simply didn’t get time to do their job to the fullest. I will hold my hand up and say that the book does meander a bit, even I can see that, but you know what, I don’t care. It’s a book, I have lots of time to wallow in it, to dive right in and lose myself, to let it wash over me, to read and re-read parts over and over and spend time enjoying not only the story but also the setting.
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The Cinema Indoors

Originally posted on Filmography

There have been a number of articles about the movie industry reducing the time between a film appearing in the cinema and being available on DVD of late. The reasons given tend to be cost (you spend less on advertising), piracy (it gives pirates less chance to get illegal copies distributed) and potential earnings (the DVD market is worth more than the box office). It was only a matter of time before someone announced that they would be releasing a film in the cinema and on DVD at the same time (hat tip: Kottke). That time has come. In fact, in the deal proposed, the movie would also be released on TV as well (I assume on pay-per-view).
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Made for the Screen

This article was originally posted on Filmography

With the current furore over The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxyfilm I am beginning to wonder if it’s actually possible to adapt a beloved and bestselling book to the screen successfully. I suppose the other question is what makes an adaptation successful?

Due to the relatively short runtime of a movie it will never be possible to make it identical to a book. The Lord of the Rings extended trilogy comes in at about 12 hours and it still misses things out. There’s so much, both implied and written, in any book that you cannot possibly capture it all onscreen.
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Here’s to Your Health

I was thinking about how many days off I’ve had sick since I started work in my present job the other day. Zero, none, zip, nada, zilch. Sure, I’ve had the odd cold, but nothing strong enough to keep me from turning up. Thinking back over the preceding years, I don’t remember having any sick days with the exception of a period when I had an operation. So, I thought I would be a perfect candidate to share my tips on staying fit and healthy.

Now, before I start, perhaps I should explain that I don’t diet, nor do I exercise a vast amount. I’m slightly overweight and I couldn’t run a significant distance unless my life depended on it. So you don’t have to be a super-fit freak, eating only fruit and veg, with a fitness regime that would put an Olympic athlete to shame and a belief that your body is a temple in order to be pretty healthy, on the surface at least. Also remember that these are my tips, from personal experience, using no more scientific a method than guesswork. So I’m not sure how much these will stand up to scrutiny and, to adopt a fantastic phrase, your mileage may vary.
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Legalisation of Drugs

BBC 1 and 2 are available via cable in the Netherlands, so I was able to watch the If… drugs were legalised program on BBC 2 last Wednesday. There seemed, to me at least, a strong bias towards legalising drugs and I generally got the feeling it came down on the pro-drugs side (documentaries rarely represent both sides equally). They had clips of experts and activists on both sides, along with a narrative set in 2015 where all drugs bar cocaine and heroin are completely legal and heroin is given out freely on the NHS.
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Is Disney Finished?

I finally got round to seeing The Incredibles over the Christmas period (and it was by far the busiest of the three films I went to see at the Cinema) and it got me thinking. I remember reading news that Pixar will be discontinuing their relationship with Disney after their current contract runs out. The reason was money, Disney wanted too much for doing too little. I don’t know who it was at Disney that decided they wouldn’t give in to Pixar’s wishes, but if they aren’t fired already, they should be. Why? Well, Pixar hasn’t yet made a bad movie, in fact, I don’t think they’ve made one that hasn’t hit blockbuster status. IMDB, the film nerd bible, estimates Finding Nemo cost $94 million to make and put the worldwide box office takings at $702 million on 29th December 2003. Monsters, Inc., it says, had an estimated budget of $115 million, with the US box office alone finishing at about $255 million. These movies aren’t cheap, but they’re no more expensive than the average blockbuster and they’re out hitting most of them. Most unusual of all is that only one of their movies has been a sequel or spin-off – Toy Story 2 – which means they still have plenty of material to exploit should the going get tough. Continue reading

Get Connected

They’re one of the reasons for the web to exist, they’re part of the net at a fundamental level and without them it would be a much harder place to visit. I’m talking, of course, about links. They’re everywhere and are what makes the web work. Without them it’s just a collection of pages that are hard to find and impossible to ‘surf’. Links are one of the most powerful and useful features in the online environment, and one of the simplest. We all include them on our websites, but do we think about the usability of links? You, the page author, may know something is a link, but how do you convey that others?

Most site builders are well aware of the need to make links standout. This need is obvious when you look at the paragraph below. There’s no way to tell if there is a link in it, let alone where it is.
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