Brandon Starr's blog. Updated daily since March 2003. Welcome. Make yourself comfortable. Have a hot chocolate.

Brandon Starr's blog is not to be taken internally. All humor is intentional, unless indicated otherwise.
Do not read while operating heavy machinery. May cause intracranial short circuiting.
Not for children under four days of age.

If for some reason you wish to contact Brandon Starr, take a moment and reconsider.
No? Ah, well. His email is brandonstarr@yahoo.com.
It's your fault now, and don't blame me when it all goes terribly, terribly wrong.


New fiction story! Click here for "The Voice of Cassandra."

Click here for my ongoing novel: "The History of Magic in the 21st Century."

Click here for the lowdown on "The History of Magic"

Click here for my new investing blog, "Adroit Investor"

Click here for my anti-Bush shirts.

Click here for my favorite design: the 'tourist safety shirt.'

Brandon Starr is available in small, medium, and large. Contents may settle during shipping. Allow four to six weeks for delivery. Open carefully; contents under pressure. Do not incinerate. May be habit-forming--do not take if you are gassy or under the influence of mimosas. Improved; now non-staining. Ships in all colors, except puce. Prompt refund if not satisfied--simply return unused portion. All queries promptly ignored. Complaints resolved with deep, gut-blasting laughter, followed by posting complaints on nearest public wall. Not responsible for sunburns. All your base are belong to us. Act now. Beware cheap imitations. Insist on the original--Brandon Starr.

Update notification by email available below.

Some fun/useful/useless links:

The Internet Movie Database

My cousin back from Iraq, and how it changed me (my current favorite entry on this blog)

Zazzle.com

My Zazzle.com product page

Fun blogs:

infinitus opinio

Siren's Song

the mechanical jive

The Strange World

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

Librarianguish

Elven Sarah

Random Musings (Catcher)

Certifiable Princess (Sarah 2)
   

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Monday, July 30, 2007
Fandom

There are fans, and there are fans.

And then there are fans that take aROM version of an '80s video game and turns it into an homage to that greatest of TV shows, "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

Thank you, I-Mockery, for bringing this to the world's attention with your review.

 


Posted at 02:19 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Monday, July 16, 2007
"Potter" a winner

Harry Potter set a five-day non-holiday week total at over $140 million.

Yeah, so the marketing worked.  Was the movie any good?

We went to see it as a family.  Frankly, I loved it.

The acting was stronger in this one than perhaps any other one.  Umbridge and Luna Lovegood were especially strong newcomers to this chapter.  I somehow knew Helena Bonham Carter would eventually get a role in the "Potter" films, and sure enough, here she is, and well done.

Many of the returners are especially strong, too.  Alan Rickman is riveting as Snape--probably his finest in the series, and I love him every time out.  Emma Thompson plays her hippie/addleminded Divination teacher role and really pulls some good emotion out of the audience.

Slightly disappointing was Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, but then he doesn't have much to do except attack, attack, attack.  Plus, it's a little like "Jaws 2":  once you've seen the shark, it isn't as scary.  He didn't do anything wrong, but he really didn't find much special to do with the material either.  Hopefully he'll get a stronger chance with the final two movies.  (There's a reason Voldemort is backgrounded in this outing, but I'd rather not delve too deeply into it, lest I provide too big a spoiler.)

And the acting of the kids were particularly strong, as well.  The three main kids have really settled into their roles, and we get strong outings from Neville Longbottom among others as well.

If you have any interest in the history of the rise of Nazi Germany or other fascist regimes, you'll definitely enjoy the theme of how new, Ministry of Magic-approved teacher Dolores Umbridge worms her way through the school's corridors of power.

For whatever reason--the stronger-than-ever acting, solid direction, the themes of loss and frustration--I found myself emotionally involved with the characters more than in any other outing.

So far, this is my favorite "Harry Potter" movie.

 


Posted at 03:27 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Thursday, July 12, 2007
"Harry Potter" breaks one-day record

"Potter" breaks one-day box office record

My wife saw it last night, and added to those receipts.  Our family will be seeing it this weekend.

She said she liked it pretty well.  She was distracted by two things:  one, to see if the latest in the ever-darkening series would still be okay for our young son to see (she says yes, and the rating can go and whistle), and a woman next to her.  The woman was perfectly nice, but she was the type to be overly affected by everything on the screen, especially the scary things, which made her screech loudly.

Still, she said she wants us all to see it this weekend, and so we shall.

 


Posted at 03:53 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Bush coincidence

Homeland Security chief raises terrorist "threat level"--day after Bush's popularity sinks to new low

That's what you call a coincidence that stinks of non-coincidence.

Typical of the Bush presidency, if you ask me.

 


Posted at 08:14 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Monday, July 09, 2007
Heat

The next couple of days will be very warm here in the Portland, OR area.

These will be those days that test the theory that we don't really need air conditioning in our home--on the following:

1)  It's only for a few days a year.

2)  If we put it in, either it'll be a horribly inefficient wall unit or a very expensive central unit.

3)  After we put it in, we won't just use it those couple of super-hot days per year.  Likely we'll set the thermostat at, say, 75, and the thing will be running quite a few days during the year.

Hopefully we can just make it through the next few days, and acclimate to the heat.  It was a quite moderate spring and early summer.  Things are changing.

 


Posted at 02:25 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Monday, July 02, 2007
Libby commuted

Bush removes the 30 months of prison for "Scooter" Libby, short of full pardon

I'm really not surprised that Bush would take this step.  Frankly, any crime committed by Bush & Co. is likely to be commuted or pardoned.  I forsee a time at the end of his term when the pardon pen flies wildly.

Unlike most aspects of our Consitution, pardons and commutations are not reviewable by any court or by Congress.  It will stand.

Likely to deflect some criticism, Bush stopped short of a full pardon at this point, merely removing the 30 months of prison.  The $250k fine and criminal record will remain.

 


Posted at 03:22 pm by brandonstarr
Comments (1)  

Monday, June 25, 2007
"Ocean's Thirteen"

I recently saw "Ocean's Thirteen" and enjoyed it immensely.

Oddly, I never saw "Twelve."  We bought the DVD just before a vacation and then lost it during the trip.  I never heard great reviews of it, though, so I never bothered getting it again.

I loved "Eleven."  I'm a sucker for heist movies--especially good heist movies, which are rare.  "The Sting," of course, is undoubtedly the best.  There are others worth watching, though:  "Charade" and "Bank Shot" come to mind.

Similarly, I'm looking forward to the third installment of the "Bourne" movies later this summer.  While not exactly a heist movie, there are lots of double-crosses and counter-moves that emotionally resonate in the same way.  Same for the final "Die Hard" movie coming out soon, though a bit less of a heist/double-cross movie and a bit more on the action side.

I'm sure there are other interesting heist/double-cross movies out there, but it's hard to put any to mind.

 


Posted at 03:38 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Got a half hour?

There's worse ways to spend it than watching  Robot Chicken:  Star Wars

Claymation-style and voiced by some very famous people, including several guys who voice on "Family Guy," plus George Lucas himself.  They even got Mark Hamill to voice Luke.

It's like a mini-sketch show, with the sketches running anything from 5 seconds to about a minute.

Like any sketch show, some are funnier than others.  But overall, it's definitely worth checking out.

 


Posted at 02:17 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I knew about parrots and tortoises...

But I didn't know whales lived so long:  explosive bomb lance fragment puts bowhead whale at 115 to 130 years old

Fascinating.  The whale was hit squarely, and the explosive did go off.  But the whale survived another century--until killed by (legal) hunters last month.

I wonder how old whales can get?

 


Posted at 03:13 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

Thursday, June 07, 2007
I'm wounded, I'm being picked up by...a robot teddy bear?

Army to soon start using teddy-bear-influenced robot to pick up casualties and remove them from battlefield

Pretty remarkable.  It was just a few years ago they came up with those wheelchairs that could climb stairs.  Now they're coming out with a robot that can climb stairs and go most places humans can go, scoop up a wounded GI, and carefully remove said soldier from the battlefield.

The teddy-bear head?  It's to be a resassuring feature for a guy who's scared out of his wits.

Don't know why a teddy bear exactly, but it makes some sense.  Human faces are hard to duplicate--try to, and you may come up with something scarier than you intend.  Humans are very good at recognizing other human faces.  This is why it wasn't really until "Shrek" came out that a reasonably non-cartoonish human was made by an animation studio.  And even then those humans are somewhat, and purposely, distorted.  Remember how creepy the human kid was in "Toy Story?"

Science marches on, even while three of the Republican Presidential candidates raise their hands on live TV and declare they don't believe evolution.

 


Posted at 03:38 pm by brandonstarr
Your thoughts?  

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