Friday, May 31, 2013

Jumping Spiders: Cuddly

That's not sarcasm. (EDIT: Whoops, left out "not." That's odd.) I know that for a while there, I'd happily post fairly creepy nature videos, but this isn't creepy in the least unless you're a severe arachnophobe.

The thing about jumping spiders is that, even by spider standards, they're incredibly harmless. (The vast majority of spiders are essentially harmless if you're not a bug.) There are fairly big, terrifying jumpers that regularly kill praying mantids and dragonflies, but won't even attack frogs that are smaller than they are. I've never heard of jumpers that are venomous, I've never heard of jumpers biting people even in self defense, and I've never heard of jumpers acknowledging any vertebrate as food.

They're more harmless than basically anything, and they're fuzzy to boot.

Heck, this particular general variety, which is common where I live, reminds me of my dad. (And they're easier to get along with than Dad is, to be frank. But then, it's easy to get along with a jumping spider: Don't squash it, and you're cool.)

For that matter, if you're an arachnophobe, Portia spiders, which are jumping spiders, are probably your best friend-they're spiders that eat only spiders.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Greatly Belated Book Reviews: Journey to the West

Journey to the West is a really old, pretty well-known book about a guy called Monkey and... some other stuff.

...I'm sure there was more to the story than Monkey.

Journey to the West is one of the single biggest influences on action/adventure genre anime and manga ever. The whole nature of magic and powers in Japanese fiction, the style of formula plots, the style of the protagonist... Not to say there aren't other influences, or that the Japanese (and generally East Asian) mindset isn't part of it generally, but the influence isn't to be underestimated.

Let's just say that if you've ever read or watched anime and manga (of a certain genre), there'll be something familiar about Journey to the West, even if it's not one of the ones that is either an adaptation or wears the influences on its sleeve.

The main character of Journey to the West is a guy called Monkey, as I noted before. That's not really his name, but most people call him that, so don't sweat calling him anything else. He's also known as Stone Monkey, Handsome Monkey King, Protector of the Horses (but don't call him that to his face), Great Sage Equaling Heaven (you can tell he's a modest fellow), and Sun Wukong (Monkey Awakened to Emptiness, or something like that) or Sun the Novice (because technically he's somebody's disciple in Buddhism). The first part of the book describes his bizarre origins (he was given birth to by a rock because it was a special rock in just the right place and oh gosh but that explanation is hilarious) and then describes how he became immortal, gathered strength and power, and ambitiously attempted to conquer the heavens.

For a while, it looked like nobody could stop him. Then the Buddha dropped a mountain on him.

Wait, wasn't the Buddha supposed to be a pacifistic sort of guy?

Anyway, because Monkey is basically completely indestructible, this was only a significant inconvenience instead of insanely lethal like it would be in any remotely normal circumstances, and he spent the next five hundred years with his head peeking out from under the mountain. Eventually, a dude would come along and let him out, and Monkey would have to agree to follow that guy and be his protector on a journey of either 36,000 or 60,000 miles (based on the translation I've read-both figures are cited by the same character at different times, so I find myself wondering which if either is more correct). If he did all that, he would get to be a Buddha.

Oh, yeah, didn't I mention that? There are apparently three thousand Buddhas or potential Buddhas exactly in Journey to the West. I don't know where the figure comes from (and frankly don't care), but I honestly find it pretty hilarious.

Anyway, the guy who frees him is the ostensible protagonist, known by the names Tang Sanzang, Tripitaka (which is a pun on some Buddhist... stuff... that I don't feel competent enough or involved enough to explain), or Xuanzang. He's been recruited by another deity to fetch Buddhist scriptures from India to bring back to China. Unlike Monkey, who is nearly a god incarnate, Sanzang has basically no powers or notable abilities except one: He's the reincarnation of a student of the Buddha, and since he's lived through ten lifetimes wherein he's never failed to follow the precepts of Buddhism, he's the most supernaturally enticing meal/sex object to demons and monsters in the universe.

Yes, I just wrote "meal/sex object." One of the things about him is that if anyone eats of his flesh, they'll live forever and ever and ever. (And they really mean it, too-they talk about the time scale being on the same order of magnitude as the death and rebirth of the world itself. Unless they're being metaphorical, which is perfectly possible.) On the other hand, if a female entity of any stripe successfully seduces him, she'll get the same benefits.

And for reasons presumably having to do with wacky Chinese mysticism, the characters talk about Sanzang losing his virginity in basically exactly the same tone as they talk about his being cooked and eaten. This is possibly the single funniest part of the book, and it happens at least three or four times. Sanzang himself says at some point that if he "loses his primal masculinity" to a woman that he'll basically go to hell forever.

I think that's a bit of an overreaction.

Anyway, obviously Monkey's job is to get Sanzang from China to India so that he can get these scriptures, and he can't let him get eaten or seduced by any of the approximately hundred thousand demons on the way, or let any purely incidental insane royalty, wild animals, bandits, or secretly-evil-demons Taoists hurt him either. (Because apparently the vast majority of Taoists are actually demons.* Who knew?)

Should be easy, right? Among Monkey's many prodigious powers is the ability to fly on clouds at enormous speeds, such that he can cross 30,000 miles in the time it takes him to complete a somersault. At that speed, Monkey could circumnavigate the globe a few hundred times a day or take a tour of the solar system in a reasonable length of time, assuming he didn't need to breathe or use air to move.

Nope. Even though demons can pick Sanzang up with wind or in spirit forms, Monkey can't transport Sanzang magically except to catch him when he's falling and in other need-to-explain-why-Sanzang-didn't-splat sorts of circumstances. Sanzang is apparently magically heavier than Monkey can carry, despite Monkey still being able to fly when he's hundreds of feet tall or when he's carrying and fighting with his magic weapon, a cudgel or staff that weighs nearly nine tons.

Anyway, not only must they walk (or in Sanzang's case ride a horse) the whole way, but they've got to make the journey over a distance considerably larger than the length of the equator, even though China and India are pretty close to each other from the whole "traveling the breadth of the globe" sense. (Apparently, in Journey to the West, India is much further away from China. Don't bother worrying about it.) And even though Monkey once took on armies of 100,000 gods without flinching, he now is regularly challenged by single foes.

...I think Monkey tends to forget that he can be larger than a mountain and can summon a horde of clones of himself, that his weapon can be increased in size and number (yes, increased in number) to match, and he can also take basically any shape, paralyze people or put them to sleep nearly at will, is invulnerable to nearly everything (including a furnace that was supposed to be able to incinerate any immortal being), is stronger than basically anyone, and can see through illusions, pick any lock, and control horses.

Yeah, obviously starting right there the plot tends to have a lot of points that feel like the author is just screwing around trying to make things more interesting.

I also lost count of the number of times that demons had excellent opportunities to immediately devour Sanzang, and said either "Oh, wait, no, if we do that we'll make Monkey really mad, so we'd better wait until we're sure he's given up/defeated first" or "No, wait, this guy is truly a special meal, let's prepare him all nice-like, invite all our relatives, and putz around for a few days first." (The attempted seductions always felt more farcical, especially since the characters treated it with precisely the same urgency.)

And Monkey also has to deal with the fact that some pesky goddess gave Sanzang a torture implement to use on him any time he misbehaves, and Sanzang is wimpy, weepy, easily traumatized, and easy to fool into using said torture implement for no good reason by their supposed allies.

Which brings me to the next point: Basically everyone in this story is a tremendous jerk at least once, regardless of whether they're supposed to be the goodest of the good or the baddest of the bad.

When Monkey is a jerk (or a sociopath), you expect it, because he's basically a sapient wild animal turned god-being. When Sanzang or a Buddha does something jerky, you go "okay, is this supposed to be a vicious parody? Because that felt like a vicious parody moment just now."

There's more characters, plot, and whatnot, but that's what I felt like talking about.

So: Journey to the West. A crazy book, with a lot of padding. (And odd poetry that doesn't translate well.)

And Monkey peeing in the Buddha's hand. There's that, too.

Of course, there's a link to a free (if iffy) translation on the Wikipedia page I linked earlier, so it's not like it'd take a lot of effort to obtain it.

I had a lot of "so that's where that concept came from" moments, which is what I was there for.**

*This is sarcasm. The author often seemed to have something against Taoists, despite frequently paying lip service to the idea of harmonies between China's two big, organized religions.

**Fun fact: If you believe Journey to the West, centipedes have a hundred/thousand eyes.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#87)

861. Priapulins. The Priapulins are worm-people named after a group of real-life worms that themselves named after a male body part because of a certain... resemblance.

Now that you have that wonderful image in your head, I must go on to remark that they're worm people that are bigger than humans and have tentacles. (I'm sure that's not helping the mental image issues any.) There was also a Jedi Master of this species who was known for his spectacular lightsaber prowess; his technique involved wielding six lightsabers at once.

Rating: 4/5. While I really do wish they hadn't been named after the particular sort of worm they were named after, there's not really anything else wrong with them.

862. Proliferans. Proliferans are basically ambiguously canonical giant ant people. They have an empire, stereotypically just called the Proliferan Empire, a queen, and are good at digging, a skill they use to befuddle their enemies.

Ding ding ding! We have the three basic stereotypes of ant people, right here!

Rating: 2/5. There are plenty of much more interesting insect people in Star Wars; for that matter, there are plenty of much more interesting eusocial/hive-minded insect people in Star Wars.

863. Prosslee. The Prosslee had once enslaved the Forshul. When the Forshul took sides against the Bothans during the Caamas document crisis, the Prosslee took sides with the Bothans, at least partly because that put them on the opposite side of the Forshul.

Rating: 2/5. They add interesting texture even if we know nothing else about them.

864. Proteans. Proteans are human-sized gelatinous blobs. They can change color and shape extensively, giving them excellent camouflage skills, and consume things by enveloping them. They're noted as not especially bright.

Apparently, they reproduce through two of them merging, then after a year spent in a stony cocoon, the parents and a child emerge from the cocoon.

Rating: 4/5. I find bizarre reproductive systems fascinating, to be frank, at least when they're mostly workable. A year of immobility and being wrapped in a probably water/airtight cocoon seems too long, but other than that, it works.

865. Psadan. Psadan are heavily armored beings that coexisted with the Myneyrshi on Wayland. They are often described as walking rocks, although this is metaphorical rather than literal.

Like the Myneyrshi, their population took a severe hit when the [string of expletives deleted] Yuuzhan Vong invaded Wayland, and their status is somewhat unknown (indeed, the impact on them has largely been ignored, while the Myneyrshi have had more stories since then). If the Psadan have a cultural trait, it may be intractable stubbornness, based on an anecdote from the mad Jedi clone Joruus C'baoth, who couldn't get a particular one to behave even with repeated application of Force lightning. Which sorta makes sense as a cultural trait for a bunch of armored guys.

They're rather charmingly ugly, too.

Rating: 4/5.

866. Pui-uies. Pui-uies are apparently weird little double-sphere people, one above, one below, attached by a short neck, with "cilia" on the lower affording movement.

On the one hand, I must give a nod of appreciation for designing something alien. On the other hand, I must frown, because this creature does not sound like it could survive in a real ecosystem, much less have the ability to climb to the top of a food chain, no matter how smart it was.

Rating: 3/5.

867. Pulras. The Pulras live on the same planet as the Aganof and a probably forgettable species I've somehow never talked about even though they ought to be under "H"-perhaps they're under "S." How do they compare to the awesome Aganof?

Well, like the Proteans, they're blob-things, with a number of similar traits, though they reproduce via automatic fission instead of sexually. In their case, they've got a different fascinating special feature-they can merge with each other as circumstances call for at will, forming larger combined organisms called "binds."

Wait, did I say "merge with each other?" Actually, they can potentially merge with any organic creature, and thus potentially serve such creatures as prosthetic limbs.

Rating: 4/5. Best friendly slime ever? Well, no, they'd have to compete with Sergeant Schlock, but they're ranked.

868. Pursians. Pursians come from Pursin. I cannot help but imagine them as being creatures with purses for heads and continually pursed lips. Because I'm a bit weird.

Rating: 1/5.

869. Pyrdyrians. The Pyrdyrians are a species who are not especially pleasant to look at. Many millions of them were killed by the Dark Jedi Kueller, leaving a population of only about a thousand.

Rating: 2/5. Mostly dead and ugly. What a thing to be stuck with.

870. Pykes. Pykes are fascinatingly ugly guys with these really strange large heads that have tiny faces on the very front bits. The only named individual of the species is called Lom Pyke and the known members are members of the criminal Pyke Syndicate, which really makes one wonder.

Rating: 3/5. This is based on their weird, rather intriguing appearance.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How Did He Know What Day It Was?

Got distracted by distracting things. So here's a random clip from the reviled-yet-still-loved video game movie Street Fighter.

Presumably, Bison there regularly raided villages on Tuesdays.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So I've Been Reading An Old Book...

...leaving me distracted.

The old book in question is Journey to the West.

It's been very odd and rather enlightening, as Journey to the West is one of the biggest influences on East Asian pop culture that I'm aware of.

Case in point:

One of these characters was probably largely inspired by Sun Wukong/Son Goku/Monkey, the main character of Journey to the West. The other is Monkey.

Other characters probably take a lot of inspiration from Journey to the West, such as the anime Gurren Lagann. (Key difference: The story of Gurren Lagann is like Journey to the West's prologue chapters, but one in which Monkey wins.

Another interesting thing is that if you take dialogue seriously, the world in the novel is larger than the real world-the minimum distance between China and India is around three quarters the length of the equator.

It also might possibly be older, because depending on interpretation (mine being both liberal and literal), a piece of dialogue describes the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven, as being at a minimum nearly 83 billion years old. (But then, a lot of Asian mythology talks about the world itself reincarnating, so who knows?)

Anyway, yeah. Crazy old book.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 20, 2013

POWER RANGERS COWBOY FORCE (is a thing that does not exist)

I've got a question:

Why does China get an apparently official completely original Super Sentai series, while those of us in the American market have a hackjob pseudo-dub?

Not that I don't appreciate Power Rangers in general, of course (although I've come over time to really think that Saban isn't the right company to make it, if only because they treat their employees like trash, and also because everything they've done since they've gotten it back has been... lackluster), but something original to the English-speaking world would be neat.

Of course, it would probably end up being about cowboys or an Abraham Lincoln robot or something silly like that... (The Chinese sentai series is apparently based on Journey to the West.)

Wait, no, those would be awesome. I want to see those. Both of those.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pacific Rim Gets Mentioned Here Yet Again

Because it's still awesome.

Also, those silly mockbuster guys with their amazing ripoff titles.

"Atlantic Rim" doesn't have anything like the same ring to it, even if it is infinitesimally more clever than it could have been.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#86)

851. Pitons. Pitons? Really? You named some aliens after rock-climbing tools?

Ahem. The Pitons apparently are cave-living people with nearly white eyes and translucent skin who must wear "eye shields" when on other planets. Might want to wear some extra sunblock, too.

They also often have no hair, supposedly because they live underground.

...Living underground makes your hair fall out?

I don't think it works that way.

Rating: 1/5.

852. Pitrillistians. Pitrillistians are seven feet tall, have long "horns" that hang down to their waists, and have left hands that are insect pinchers and right hands that are human-like. Their language is made up of buzzing created using their insect wings.

They were created for the "Design an Alien" contest, which explains a lot.

Rating: 3/5. While the pincher hand/"normal" hand dichotomy is silly (though not necessarily impossible), I like the design and I love that someone used the detail of a wing language. You don't see enough of that.

853. Pliith. Pliith are plant people. They have eyes that can emote and turn purple when angry, but their most notable and amusing trait is that they apparently live in flower pots and rely on others to move them around. (They do have some degree of movement beyond emoting, and can talk, but they aren't strong enough to move themselves.)

Rating: 3/5. If there was a Jedi member of the species, I'd feel obligated to bump them up a point.

854. Ploven. The Ploven are aquatic sapients called "little finbacks" by Imperial personnel. They were subjugated and ordered to make contributions to Imperial war efforts, and when they didn't meet their quota, the Star Destroyer Forger boiled their oceans, killing over two hundred thousand of them with the resulting clouds of steam.

...Wait, they're aquatic, but they got killed when the oceans boiled because the steam hit them? What?

They probably aren't extinct despite this loss, because two hundred thousand deaths is chump change in the grand scheme of things when your civilization has millions of inhabited planets.

Rating: 2/5, for a combination of inconsistency and amusing me just a little bit.

855. Poldts. Poldts look like battle droids, because they're based on concept art for the Neimoidians from which the battle droids were derived.

Rating: 2/5. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again-fictional universes which have lots of people work on them are weird places, you guys.

856. Polosich. Apparently, the Polosich have "velvety" yellow skin, which is a... interesting combination.

The known member of the species was a snobby traveller, snobby to the point where he questioned the idea of letting people on board a luxury line just because these people did in fact have tickets.

Uh, dude, that's how business works: Somebody offers a service, and somebody else buys it. And if the seller interferes with the buyer actually getting anything, that's generally how a scam works.

Rating: 1/5.

857. Polydroxol. ...A (fake) chemical name?

It's oddly appropriate in this case, because Polydroxol apparently resemble large sapient globs of mercury, and can take numerous shapes and heal nigh-instantaneously from most wounds. They only die when they run out of made up chemicals called "electroglobins" that make up their circulatory system, which take them time to replenish.

In other words, as long as they still have blood, they're alive.

Rating: 3/5. Some neat ideas in there with all the nonsense words.

858. Porporites. A (fake) mineral name?

Not appropriate at all in this case, as apparently Porporites were fast-breeding cetaceans who, nearly five thousand years before the movie era, somehow became universally addicted to the spice (drug) ryll, and then they declared war on the Old Republic or something. A combined force of war droids and the Jedi Order apparently couldn't stop them (goodness gracious), and so Gank mercenaries were hired to fight them.

Then the Ganks killed all of them and decided to pick a fight with the Old Republic.

Rating: 2/5. ...I was never under the impression from other sources that the Ganks were nearly that awesome.

859. Poss'Nomin. There are, as there have been in the past, two radically different pictures of this species that seem mutually incompatible. Hilariously, they are described as "easily recognized" by their three eyes and shovel-shaped jaws.

...Yeah, technically both pictures have both those things.

Apparently, they love exploring.

Rating: 2/5 for the amusement value of comparing their pictures.

860. Povanarians. Povanarians apparently resemble frogs, and some served on a New Republic fleet at some point.

Rating: 2/5, because as sparse as that is you can't go wrong with frogs that can pilot spaceships.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Car Died On Me

It was the nice one out of the four cars I've called "mine," too.

Anyway, for what I hope are obvious reasons, that was a little distracting, so have some music.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mantis Shrimp: Scary Smart

...It's probably not really solving the Rubik's cube.

But the fact stands that mantis shrimp are disturbingly intelligent, to the point where I found myself questioning its reality. I've always thought that the numerous videos one finds of mantis shrimp killing things, seeing the way they toy with their prey when they're in captivity, are indicative of the idea that they're smart enough to get bored.

Anyway, aside from being smart (for crustaceans, which usually have all the brain capacity necessary to find and eat immobile things), mantis shrimp can also strike with the force of a pistol bullet underwater and have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. They can see in more frequencies than most animals, and they are also among the only animals that can see polarization in light, one particular species being the only animal that can see all polarization types.

If you don't know what that means, it essentially means that they can see whether light is vibrating up and down or from side to side. They can see the shape of light.

They have senses we can't imagine.

(Well, okay, we sorta can, but only with SCIENCE!'s help.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Also Have Weird Browsing Habits*

For your viewing pleasure, a video about nudibranchs ("sea slugs") which eat pieces of coelenterates ("jellyfish") to become deadly and poisonous.

Recommended listening:

Because I'm a bit weird.

*I mention the weirdness of my browsing habits because said browsing habits naturally led me to the situation in which I saw the video while the music was playing.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#85)

841. Pau'ans. The Pau'ans are the tall, pale, line-faced guys who appear in a few scenes of Revenge of the Sith. They're part of a society on their homeworld of Utapau which they make up less than thirty percent of the population of, and tend to take administrative and governmental positions despite that, possibly because they live considerably longer than their fellow natives of Utapau (their own lifespan is seven hundred years, although I can't find clear reference to the lifespan of their fellows). Supposedly, they're closely related to this other species, but considering that the other guys are short snout-faced guys with eyes that are almost on stalks, that seems rather unlikely.

Anyway, despite being big, gaunt, and rather intimidating rulers of a planet whose population lives in giant sinkholes, apparently they treat their fellows kindly and are generally fairly friendly and benevolent.

Rating: 3/5 for bucking stereotypes of tall, gaunt, creepy guys who live in holes in the ground.

842. Pelgrin. The Pelgrin were an extinct race (they existed about two million years before the movie era) of some sort who were supposedly primitive, but still could easily replicate advanced technology. Or something.

Specifically, they created a device called the Oracle at Pelgrin. This device could apparently tell the future somehow (it would relay this knowledge in visions somehow or another, apparently mostly to Force-sensitive people) and did so periodically over a history of about 25,000 years. The earliest known instance, by the way, resulted in a war between the Jedi and another order of Force-sensitive types. Then, some guy called Palpatine arranged for it to be destroyed because he was worried it would warn the Jedi of his plans.

Probably for the best.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, I can't hate it too much, for some reason.

843. Peripleen. The sole known instance of a Peripleen in fiction was an inmate at a prison who had been there for at least one hundred and fifty years, and did not in fact remember what he was in for. He refused an offer to break him out because he had fun in prison life, presumably because he was large, relatively intimidating, and most assumed him to be deaf, which let him listen in on people.

He also answered to "Smootie."

Rating: 3/5, just on the weight of that character, who is... kind of awesome, from the sounds of things.

844. Peroenians. The Peroenians have long been known as explorers. When they learned that a rival species had discovered a star system (some thousands of years before the movie era), they started harassing settlers there. This led to a three-hundred-year-long war, which the Peroenians lost.

Then, in the movie era (thousands of years later, remember), apparently the whole thing happened again... in the same star system.

Rating: 1/5. It makes no sense. It really doesn't.

845. Phindians. The Phindians are, let's be honest, a bit ugly. Fortunately, it's the visually interesting sort of ugly.

Apparently, for a rather long period of time their planet, Phindar, was ruled by the criminal organization called the Syndicat. Their rule was largely enforced through regular mind wipes called "renewal." Sometimes, they would dump "renewed" Phindians on other planets and bet on how long they would survive. After Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi toppled the Syndicat, the Phindians outlawed renewal technology on their planet.

Good on ya, pals.

Apparently, offworlders found them annoying because they hesitated to risk their lives even for good causes and liked tall tales and exaggeration, avoiding the subject at hand, and babbling incessantly.

...I presume offworlders would find me rather annoying, too.

Anyway, they also had a custom of hugging three times when parting: Once in sorrow for parting, once in joy for continuing friendship, and once in hope of meeting again. That's kind of... sweet, actually.

Rating: 3/5.

846. Phlogs. Phlogs are among the fairly numerous giant inhabitants of Endor, although in this case they aren't natives of the planet (and there may have been no more than a handful of them, although it's unclear because hey, Ewoks cartoon). Instead, Phlogs are a common thug/slave race, and some were lost on Endor somehow, where the Ewoks had to be cautious of them. They're basically trollish people, and relatively normal specimens stand over sixty feet tall.

Despite this, once Han Solo punched one in the face.

Rating: 3/5, mainly because the thought of Han Solo punching a guy in the face when that guy's head is probably larger than Han Solo is a very amusing one.

847. Pho Ph'eahians. The Pho Ph'eahians have blue fur and four arms (which "had such obvious advantages as allowing them to arm-wrestle two opponents at once") and live on a world which is poorly lit or something and live on limited food supplies, causing them to be interested in increasing food production.

Rating: 3/5, because "had such obvious advantages as allowing them to arm-wrestle two opponents at once" is a hilarious phrase.

848. Phuii. The Fooey Phuii have a hilarious name. They also look somewhere between cool and amusing, with long skinny necks and beaks with toothy mouths. Sometimes they have tails.

Their homeworld is called Foo Phu.

Rating: 3/5, mostly based on their appearance.

849. Pineath. The Pineath apparently have feathers and believe in "eye for an eye" justice, with the exception that they usually demand two to three times the "price" out of outsiders than their own casualties.

Rating: 2/5. They sound like such nice guys.

850. Pinurquians. They have kind of apey faces and horns. Apparently there was a dead one somewhere that somehow turned into a zombie sort of thing. Or something.

Rating: 2/5, because it's an interesting, kind of Kirby-esque sort of look.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pacific Rim Still Looks Awesome

There's only so many times and ways I can say it.

Even if this movie is completely wrenchingly awful, it will still be awesome.

Just now, watching this trailer, my sister has said both "There's no way I'm not watching this" and (whilst violently shaking me) "WE ARE WATCHING THIS IN THEATERS" (which is something we very rarely do). She also said she's watch a movie based purely on a phrase like "two thousand, five hundred tons of awesome."

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#84)

(I'm probably going to stick with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday sort of schedule until I have a better computer. Not that I don't like my sister's laptop; I just don't feel like dealing with all the stupid stuff that happens when it connects to the internet. Also it likes fighting with me when I follow my normal browsing habits, which involves things such as discovering just how many tabs a particular browser will permit at once in a given window.

Yes, I have gotten to the point where browsers literally refuse to open new tabs for me based on sheer numerical weight. I have crazy browsing habits.

...No, I don't remember how many tabs it was. I should have written it down.

On an unrelated note, there were absurdly huge Star Trek video game advertisements all over the pages I was looking at for this today. Amusing.)

831. Paonnid. An alien species.

Rating: N/A. While presumably they're supposed to be sapient, the article doesn't even specify. Sheesh.

832. Pappfaks. "Pappfak" is perhaps the worst name it is possible for an alien species to have. It just sounds so darned wrong.

They apparently have blue tentacles; the color of the rest of them is unknown. They may also have three sexes, or just a different marital model, because one group of three was described as being in a "prenuptial embrace" by somebody or another.

Rating: 2/5, because of modest interest. That name's just terrible.

833. Paqwe. Aside from having a name that can almost be traced by one's left hand on a keyboard with no keys between each step, apparently the Paqwe tend to be anarchic, as they don't like "politics and any law that could limit their expressive freedom, basically any law."

They like bargains, tall tales, and big ambitions. They're apparently short and waddle.

Rating: 3/5. Moderately interesting.

834. Partold. From Partold.

Rating: 1/5. Blah.

835. Parwans. Parwans are kind of floaty half-humanoid tentacle mushroom things. Apparently they generate electrical fields that crackle audibly. The known member of the species is a bounty hunter.

The design is based on a piece of concept art for a being intended to be a cantina alien, but it was too complex to make into a costume; however, that species has apparently been canonized as well.

Rating: 2/5. Because it's a goofy halfway-alien design, and while it's charming, I'd prefer an all-the-way-alien design, such as the original. (Don't worry, I'll get to it sooner or later.)

836. Pascwa. ...

Rating: N/A. There sure are a lot of more or less blank entries this time.

837. Pashvi. The Pashvi are apparently humanoid, and have thicker torsos and/or longer arms than humans (or Chiss-and yes, the article specifically mentions this).

The Pashvi homeworld is covered in big ol' stone pillars for some reason, and so its surface gets less sunlight than it should. The tops of the pillars are thus lush places, but also prowled by dangerous predators, and so the Pashvi like and hate the pillars as a dangerous source of food.

There is apparently a small but stable offworld market for Pashvi artwork, and thus some such came into the hands of a certain Commander Thrawn, who reverse-extrapolated numerous details of the Pashvi (probably everything we know about them) from this work.

Because Thrawn is goshdarned awesome, that's why.

Rating: 3/5. Even if it doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense, their homeworld sounds interesting.

838. Passars. The Passars apparently have natural venom. There's nothing wrong with that, but I initially misread it as "supernatural" venom, and so I can't help but be disappointed.

Sadly, we know nothing else of them.

Rating: 2/5 for the misreading-based amusement factor.

839. Patitites. The Patitititititititites are tiny aliens. How tiny? Apparently, C-3PO accidentally caused R2-D2 to crush their hated dictator to death.

Then they demanded that their gigantic mechanical saviors become their new rulers, but C-3PO (and presumably R2-D2) declined and taught them about democracy.

All indications are it wasn't going to work out.

Apparently, they were loosely inspired by the Brownies of Willow.

Rating: I'm not sure how to feel about this at all, so 3/5.

840. Patrolians. Patrolians look like fishy people and apparently are at least mildly resistant to being electrocuted, but their true claim to fame is having the name "Patrolian."

It's apparently from their planet being named "Patrolia," which is disappointing. "Patrolian" ought to be the name of a species that's primarily known as part of a law enforcement organization so old, the original name of the species was lost, and so they're now known only as "Patrolians" because the organization is called the "whatever Patrol."

Rating: 2/5 for giving me that beautiful mental image of what they could have been.

-Signing off.