Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just Get Released Already, You Stupid Movie

Gr, I missed this trailer coming out on Monday.

This movie. I want to watch it right now.

The last time I was this excited for a movie, well, it was last year because Pacific Rim*, but before that I think it was the Star Wars prequels, which were my first real moviegoing experience.**

*Mentioning that movie gives me the opportunity to bust out my increasingly inaccurately named "wait there is no tag for pacific rim what is wrong with me" tag.

**I know the prequels, especially Episode I, are on the receiving end of a lot of flak***, but watching The Phantom Menace in theaters was an incredibly surreal experience that I don't think I'll ever forget. There have been days now and again that I still couldn't believe there were more than three Star Wars movies.

***One criticism I heard recently is that the prequels make the Jedi Order "too perfect." Pardon my French, but what the hell movie trilogy were you watching?! The Jedi Order from the last days of the Old Republic is a corrupt, weak organization that subordinated itself to the government that it wasn't supposed to be the tool of and imploded on itself, and that was before Palpatine seized the reins of power.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Who Knows What's Up With The Dancing?

Yoshiyuki Tomino is mostly known for making series where lots of people die and there's lots of emotional wreckage (particularly the Gundam series).

And then there's Overman King Gainer, whose infectiously cheerful opening is at least somewhat representative of the show and also the only serious competition to the Dai-Guard opening in cheerfulness.

If I understand what I've read of King Gainer, it's a series where a video game nerd becomes a robot pilot to protect a train convoy, and it's generally very silly.

Tomino's odd sense of humor isn't nearly as well-known as his nickname "Kill 'em all* Tomino," but it's probably the second-most infamous thing about him.

*The nickname "Kill 'em all" is only found in English-speaking fandoms; in Japanese-speaking fandom he's affectionately known as "Tomino the Killer" because early in his career, series he directed tended to get prematurely cancelled. Then Gundam became the biggest thing in Japan, and he got little shy of a blank check to do what he wanted, making his nickname ironic.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#117)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1161. Tulgah. The Tulgah are a naturally magical/Force-sensitive race (depending on which source you ask) whose homeworld is unknown. They have enclaves on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld (which had a Tulgah NPC in a game), and Endor.

As this more or less implies, a member of the Tulgah was a major villain of the Ewoks cartoon, Morag the witch.

The presence of fairly powerful magic on Endor raises at least one question, of course-why were the Ewoks so freaked out when Luke pulled a Force trick if Logray the shaman could use actual magic to fight the actual magical foes they ran into?

Not that it matters, I'm just curious.

Rating: 2/5. Mostly because the presence of actual magic in Star Wars amuses me, even if various sources try to retcon it away.

1162. Tunroth. The Tunroth are a race of mostly human-shaped dudes with weird, cool heads.

Their most defining characteristics are as hunters; while they adopted advanced technology some time ago, they have strong religious associations with traditional hunting weapons and thus avoided modernizing their armaments. They also have an ability they call "quarry sense" which apparently is at least a teense mystical.

The affection for primitive weapons they displayed made them militarily vulnerable, and during one of the various brush-war crises that cropped up during the Empire's reign (y'know, just a little twelve-planet affair, no biggie), the perpetrators committed genocide against the Tunroth, leaving them with a decimated population of just four million (out of an unknown amount, though several generations later the population of their homeworld was at least a billion-no word on whether the whole population was Tunroth, though), and the Empire intervened, rescuing the remainder (though not out of the goodness of their hearts; they stopped the group for their own reasons. This left the majority of the Tunroth as apparently reluctant Imperial supporters-they didn't necessarily like the Empire politically, what with the racist policies against non-humans that the Empire represented, but they probably saw them as a necessary evil in the name of stability.

They also started stockpiling weapons and retained a long-term hatred of the group that committed genocide against them.

Said group, incidentally, is apparently a human ethnic group called the Lortans (after their home planet Lorta) who seem to have some kind of crazy religious beliefs about evil and a messianic figure called the "Man-Hutt."

...I do not want to know.

Rating: 4/5. I like how the Tunroth look, they have a cool name and modestly interesting culture, their sociopolitical thing is textured and interesting, and they're associated with a group that they despise who apparently await the coming of the Man-Hutt. Their only real flaw is that while their culture is modestly interesting, it's also a concept that's overdone as heck.

1163. Turan. Turan have orange skin and may possibly be known for ethnic music, although it may also just be that there was a specific recognizable band made up of Turan.

Rating: 1/5.

1164. Turazza. Turazza are "reptilian" beings who are actually shorter than Ewoks, but noted as being roughly as strong as humans and also capable of running faster than humans, even though their shortness was a significant impediment.

Despite being speedy little bricks, Turazza are commonly regarded as stupid and little better than pets, possibly because they usually only speak their own language and have little hands that don't work well with human tools; it may also be influenced by the fact that Turazza hatch from eggs and imprint on the first being they see, making them dangerously easy to enslave. They are still highly competent when given the opportunity, though, at least as far as I can tell, and seem capable in positions requiring smarts even though basically everyone seems shocked when they take up such positions.

They're also adorable.

Rating: 4/5. Y'know, I'd be danged terrified if I lived in the same galaxy as these guys. Less than three feet tall, can lift hundreds of pounds, can outrun me or apparently anyone I know... Sheesh. Why do people underestimate these little guys, anyway?

1165. Turian. Turian are ambiguously canonical "near-humans." The only one to appear in a story (which was cut content) was dead at the time.

Rating: 1/5.

1166. Tursha. Tursha apparently have head-tails (much like the Togruta and the Twi'leks, who I'm covering a bit further down), and also have eleven fingers per hand.

That's probably the least human-like feature associated with any of the head-tail species that I can think of, even considering bright skin colors and patterns, horns, and retractable fangs.

Rating: 2/5. Eleven-fingered hands. That's a lot of fingers.

1167. Tusken Raiders, or Sand People. The Tusken Raiders are generally believed to be descended from the Kumumgah, with an intermediate less nomadic culture in between the two called the Ghorfa by anthropologists.

Tusken Raiders are one of those cultures that has been written 1) inconsistently, and 2) by people with twisted ideas of what can be successful cultures. Thus, there are cultural features among the Tuskens like people being put to death for tiny single mistakes or walking out into the desert alone upon promotion of one's apprentice.

The main things to know about the Tuskens are that they aren't human (occasionally sources get mistaken on this point, although there are also accounts of Tuskens adopting humans in certain circumstances), they wear their funky masks to be scary, they're primitive technologically but have nothing against stealing technology whatsoever (also, they apparently can make firearms of their own, it's just that they're primitive projectile arms rather than energy weapons), and they really like banthas. Like, they have a kind of freakish pair-bond thing supposedly going on with banthas where they tend to have children at the same time as their own personal banthas (so that their kids partner with the banthas' babies-and a married couple's banthas are supposed to be mates, I guess), wander off into the desert to die if their banthas die (and their banthas do the same thing if their Tuskens die), and stuff like that. There's a little bit of inconsistency regarding femininity among the Tuskens.

Also, there's a less-well-known group called the Grave Tuskens who are blatant video game enemies; they apparently don't wear the scary masks, and so we can see that they have crummy mid-1990s computer graphics vaguely catlike heads. But then, Grave Tuskens also use modified Wookiee bowcasters for no apparent reason, so... dubious, I think.

Rating: 3/5. I think the image of the Tuskens as presented in the movies had no real problems with it (they come across as pretty much a normal society there), but the over-fondness that EU writers have for revisiting Tatooine and associating weird crap with them detracts from them quite a bit.

1168. Twi'leks. Okay, let's just get this out there: We can't have a discussion of Twi'leks without mentioning the fact that they're probably the biggest single sex symbol in Star Wars media other than the metal bikini (and the metal bikini's supremacy is a bit questionable; it's probably partly a function of the fact that it's an easier costume than a Twi'lek costume just to wear-at least according to a cosplayer I know [head-tail "wigs" are apparently murder to wear]-and easier to make, too).

The Twi'lek association with women as sex objects is pretty skeevy: In-universe, Twi'lek orphans are commonly sold as slaves on their homeworld, and make their way to other places where slavery is legal, such as Hutt-controlled worlds. This is made more understandable in an in-universe cultural sense by the fact that Ryloth, the Twi'lek homeworld, is in some form of tidal lock with its star, and thus has only a small strip of modestly habitable area on its surface; most of the planet is too hot or too cold, and all the habitats are built underground, which is difficult and laborious. (Just how life developed on a planet like this is questionable, but it's possible that Ryloth has a history somewhat like Tatooine's, mentioned in the Kumumgah entry linked earlier.) Selling children as slaves is pretty horrid, but the scarcity of space and food on a planet like that is a pretty severe crisis, and it's a pragmatic choice. (It'd probably be easy enough to move the whole populace to some nicer planet with no native population, but you know how dumb characters in science fiction can be, and Ryloth is also apparently the main/only place to find the spice/drug ryll, which is apparently largely recreational but has important medicinal uses.) It's also possible the use of slavery was influenced by the Hutts, who had conquered their planet at some point.

Anyway, even without the creepiness of the sex slave thing, we have male Twi'lek who are primarily presented as ugly or sinister (a third or fewer of the prominent male Twi'lek listed in the "Members" box on their page are sympathetic characters, and half or more of the negatively protrayed ones at least are fat, sometimes grotesquely so, or leanly creepy) while all but two out of ten to fifteen female Twi'lek are strongly sexualized (and the two that aren't include a little girl and a woman who is still quite attractive). I'd look through the full character list, but there are over 650 Twi'lek characters, and the time cost of that would obviously be prohibitive.

That's not to say it's all bad; there have been Twi'lek fighter pilots, Twi'lek Jedi (usually attractive women, though, it must be said), Twi'lek Sith (unfortunately usually creepy/ugly dudes or Darth Talon, whose character design speaks for itself), Twi'lek merchants (unfortunately often slavers), and just generally a decent amount of diversity character-wise. (There'd have to be, with the number of characters.)

Anyway, Twi'leks are omnivorous, and have multiple stomachs that allow them to eat nearly anything. They have a language that involves their head-tails; supposedly, many of the headdresses we see Twi'leks wear are actually designed by slavers to prevent them from using this language, though the truth is that they're part of the hat that holds them on the actors' heads, I'm pretty sure. The head-tails have sufficiently dense nerve clusters that injuries to them can potentially cause something that at least resembles brain damage; you'd think that they'd come up with a special protection of some sort for the things, but I've never seen any evidence of such; it should be noted, though, that they can be repaired with medical technology from the setting.

There apparently was a machine of some sort that at least claimed to have created the Twi'lek and other races; multiple of these races appeared before this machine would have, however, including the Twi'lek. (The machine was built by the Rakata when their Force powers started vanishing with orders to start doing genetic engineering to figure out how to stop the degeneration.) There are other genetic oddities with regards to the Twi'lek, most notable among them being the fact that it's not consistently established whether Twi'leks and humans can interbreed or not, and/or whether genetic therapy might be necessary for the process.

Rating: 3/5. ...Honestly, writing that makes me want to see a chubby Twi'lek lady.

1169. Tynnans. Tynnans are diminutive otter/seal/rodent people. They apparently have something of a hat of being bureaucratically efficient paperpushers. This likely roots from Odumin, an immensely efficient administrator from the Han Solo Adventures who was very powerful in the politics of the company-run Corporate Sector but wandered around pretending to be a minor but competent employee of a debt collection agency. (He was a bit annoying sometimes, but also pretty awesome.)

Rating: 4/5. ...I don't have that much more to say; Tynnans are great by weight of Odumin.

1170. Ubasameir. Ubasameir apparently are naturally good with kids, and thus are often found in daycare.

...Really? Their hat is daycare?

Rating: 2/5 for the amusement factor and uniqueness.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I don't think I've ever posted this.

My favorite thing about this random baddie of the week from Megas XLR is that he's apparently completely indestructible and close to unstoppable but he's also a near-mindless idiot who prattles to himself.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nature Being Disturbing: Snail Eat Snail (Again)

I've had this sitting in my favorites for ages waiting to be posted.

If you're wondering why "again," there was a video of a much larger snail eating another snail some while back. Despite the smaller size of the snails in this video, this one is arguably much more terrifying, because the other one had silly crab antics.

Also, the snail being eaten isn't actually a Hawaiian snail (at least, according to commenters); since most actual Hawaiian snails are species endangered or rendered extinct because of the very carnivorous species this video displays*, that'd be terrible.

*If my math is right, according information in this article approximately 23% of all known modern mollusk extinctions can be traced back to people moving wolf snails places they shouldn't be; in fact, apparently the wolf snails rendered one species extinct within a year of their arrival.

I wish I could come up with a second tag; there's nothing funny enough in this article to qualify it for "humor" and all my posts with one tag look... naked to me. Wait, is that funny enough to qualify it for humor? I don't know.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#116)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1151. Troigs. Troigs are a species that naturally has two heads and four arms, which is silly. (I've mentioned before: I think it's hilarious/cute how creature designers like to put features like extra eyes together with extra arms; extra heads and extra arms are not a bit less silly.)

As with certain real-world conjoined twins and many two-headed cartoon characters, the two heads represent two individuals who are highly coordinated with each other; the heads have separate names, such as "Jeff and Bob," represented further as "conjoined" names to refer to the unit, using the infix "-sin-," i.e. "Jeffsinbob." Unsurprisingly, while it's normal for them to get along, it's not remotely uncommon for them not to get along with... themselves?... and there's at least one instance of a Troig head seeking separation with its other half, which would always be fatal for the other half. (Although this is a galaxy with sophisticated cloning technology, and I'm not sure I buy that they couldn't just make a new body to transplant that person onto.)

Also, apparently Troigs occasionally have even more heads.

Rating: 3/5. Honestly, they're pretty one-note (heh), but it's a relatively entertaining note.

1152. Tromes. Tromes are basically gnomes with stupid-huge beards.

Naturally, they're from the Ewoks cartoon, and as such a small group of them had thematic variation along the lines of the Seven Dwarves.

Rating: 1/5.

1153. Troukree. The Troukree are apparently reptilian; a small group of them were close-combat experts and had a strong honor code, and thus were likely some form of relative primitives.

Rating: 1/5.

1154. Troxans. Troxans are amphibious creatures with individually distinctive external gills, such that they use their gill patterns for authentication the way we use fingerprints. These gills also are the primary source of Troxan emoting, apparently, shaking and changing color with their emotions.

Their most notable story presence involved them being part of the Separatist movement during the Clone Wars and being manipulated into fighting much more fiercely than they would have otherwise in order to waste Old Republic resources.

Rating: 3/5. Gill-emoting is a neat idea, although honestly not one that really works outside of prose.

1155. Truishii. They're supposedly known for their space-travelling caravans.

Rating: 1/5.

1156. Trunsks. First things first: It's really hard to type "Trunsk" rather than "Trunks."

Trunsks look rather like warthog/boar people, and are supposed to be fierce and pugnacious and all that. As the planet developed, it ended up with a large group of warlords fighting for territory; eventually, unification came at the hands of Tyl the Deplorable.

Because this horrible dictator united the planet, it was able to then rapidly advance without conflict, and went quickly through its information age and straight up to hyperdrive technology.

See that? That's a Star Wars source material writer telling us we should let a warlord take over the entire planet for the good of society.

Anyway, when the Empire showed up, it declared Trunsks were a permissible species to enslave, and set up a governor on their planet who made the Trunsks think he was on their side when he really was kidnapping them and sending them to be slaves all over the place.

However, Trunsks generally made poor slaves because they're aggressive and tough, and weren't very popular as slaves. Even after the fall of the Empire, however, their homeworld was within the span of an Imperial remnant and they were still legal to keep as slaves there.

A Trunsk with the awesome name of Sully Tigereye apparently once engaged a Defel (a member of a species who is essentially mostly invisible and also has claws and sharp teeth) in hand to hand combat and apparently ripped him to pieces, which means that Sully Tigereye at least is a pretty tough customer.

Rating: 4/5. They look sorta cool and one of them is named Sully Tigereye. That's enough reason for me.

1157. Tsils, spook-crystals, or smokies. The Tsils are a race native to the planet Nam Chorios, mentioned when I discussed the drochs. Do yourself a favor and go read about the drochs real quick. I'll wait.

Okay, back? Good. The Tsils are universally Force-sensitive crystalline entities that are the native life on Nam Chorios, though this wasn't known until the book that essentially starred them. Like the Shards, they're entirely immobile in their native state. Also like the Shards, they can control droid/robot bodies, but this ended less well for the Tsils, because some shady businesspeople basically started mindwiping them and using them as remote controllable brains in droids.

This was bad, because the Tsils are the only thing that keep the drochs under control; they used the drochs' natural mild weakness to light and made an immensely amplified, tailor-made version of that to inflict a vampire-burning-in-sunlight level aversion on the drochs. However, this radiation wouldn't work through the shielding or hull of a large spacecraft, so the Tsils and some allies they spoke to through the force organized a group of antiship artillery pieces over the whole planet to keep anything bigger than a fighter craft out.

Not knowing the nature of things, other inhabitants of Nam Chorios resented the restriction and worked to break down the guns, which would have lead to a resurgence of the Death Seed plague (you did read the other article, right?) that would have threatened the whole galaxy. When a ship holding an extra-intelligent, human-sized mutant droch and a whole cargo of drochs escaped, it looked like trouble, but fortunately, they were on a ship full of Tsil-brained droids, who the other Tsils spoke to through the force in order to force the ship to self destruct.

Rating: 5/5. They're basically a lot like Shards, who are great, but with other interesting ideas mixed in with them.

1158. Tsinimals. The Tsinimals have a religious objection to reengineering living creatures; this drove them to enslave the Langhesi, who had some pretty sophisticated biotechnology; this led many Langhesi to flee to the living planet Zonama Sekot.

Rating: 2/5. ...I like their name, even if they're grade A jerks.

1159. Tsyklen. The Tsyklen have excellent vision and nine digits (two thumbs and seven fingers) per hand. They're considered "wily" and are considered an important "client" species by the Hutts. Their homeworld was invaded by the Yuuzhan Vong at some point.

Rating: 3/5. Some interesting details are worth a point; a "homeworld got invaded by Yuuzhan Vong" pity point gives them another.

1160. Tuhgri. The Tuhgri are diminutive aliens native to the planet Ehjenla in the Kathol Outback. (I'm a little disappointed this is the first time I've seen the term "Kathol Outback," but there are only three species known to be native to it, and one of them doesn't have a proper name and the other's name starts with a "u." So whatever.)

As diminutive, primitive aliens, they have a tribe-oriented society and a nonexistent concept of personal property; specifically, their lack of concept of personal property is actually part of a religious belief in a being called the Great Creator.

Their tribes apparently are treated equally when their leaders get together to settle disputes regardless of how relatively powerful said tribes are.

Rating: 2/5. Some interesting details and some... kinda offensive ones.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

(Slightly) Belated (Brief) Book Review: Words of Radiance

I was thoroughly converted into a Brandon Sanderson fan by the book The Way of Kings, a huge epic high fantasy book that is the first of ten planned books.

Words of Radiance is the second.

It's really good.

That's not much of a review, of course.

In the first book, we get a great deal of backstory on the character Kaladin, who is pretty much the first book's main character. This book's backstory is on another major character, Shallan.

Now, I'm not going to talk too much about it, but Kaladin's backstory is relatively predictable; we know a pretty fair bit about it from early on, and it follows paths I often saw coming. (This is no doubt colored by the fact that I've read TWoK at least three times, maybe four; I can't quite keep it straight in my head at this point.) Without ruining things overmuch, I can say: Shallan's backstory has a few twists in it that really took me by surprise.

This book also has some much bigger status quo shakeups than I was entirely expecting coming into it; I'd rather thought that there might be another book or two in between where things were at the end of TWoK and where they are at the end of WoR. Not that I mind.

What to say that isn't just nerdy nerdiness? Nothing I can think of. I can say that the ending of Words of Radiance left me super-excited for what's next, more so than the ending of The Way of Kings did.

I'm also a bit worried, because apparently Words of Radiance is literally as physically large as the current binding technology used by the publisher will allow, and the idea of the books' structure being limited that way genuinely upsets me. As I mentioned in the review for TWoK, these books would suffer if broken up into smaller ones than they want to be.

Anyway, we learn quite a bit more about the nature of the world this time around, which is great. (I realize, looking back, that I made no mention in the TWoK review of Shardblades and Shardplate. The Shardblades are particularly important in this specific book, and we learn some interesting things about them.) There's even more relatively cryptic references to others of the cosmere books that Sanderson has written, including a teaser for the best possible crossover teamup in all of the cosmere in the next book. I'd explain, but that would be too much of a spoiler for anyone who hasn't read the book.

(Of course, according to the author, the character in question has been part of the series since the early version of The Way of Kings that didn't really get published, and didn't appear in what the readers see as the "native" book for said character until years later from Sanderson's own perspective. Can you tell I'm really into this stuff?)

Anyway, good (long) read, five million billion stars out of five, and all that.

-Signing off.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Would Comment On The Movie Itself More But I Wouldn't Be Able To Avoid Ice-Related Puns*

Having watched Frozen, I can say: Not amazing like Tangled, but nowhere near as bad as its detractors say, either. I liked the characters quite a lot even if I shook my head at quite a bit of the movie itself.

Having said that, this "How It Should Have Ended" was pretty entertaining.

It's not a patch on the Pacific Rim one, or the Star Wars ones (at least one of which seems to have been blocked) either, but everything before the music number at the academy was basically perfect.

(...I'm not a fan of musicals, which is ironic in context, I know.)

*Actual things I've thought about saying in relation to this movie completely unironically before recognizing the puns:
Ice powers are the coolest elemental powers.
That scene where their voices are clashing as they sing gives me chills.

I kid you not, those were both conjured entirely accidentally by my brain.

-Signing off.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#115)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

(This post excludes "Travelers of Gap Nine" because they're not a species that I can tell-they're actually two things, a Sith empire and a Jedi organization under different names.)

1141. Trandoshans, or T'Doshok. The Trandoshans are generally big, scary reptile people, comparable in size and strength to Wookiees. They also have clumsy claws that make tool use seem improbable, but they use them anyway.

Physically, their most notable trait other than being towering "lizard" people is their regeneration, which seems to take place at a mostly reasonable rate; one Trandoshan who had lost all of his limbs in battle still had minimal frail regrown appendages twenty years later. (Perhaps the heavy drinking he'd taken up to dull the pain was screwing with the healing process.)

The comparison with Wookiees is significant; during the time of the Empire, there was a species-wide contract between the Trandoshans and the Empire to hunt Wookiees, since a high proportion of the Wookiee populace was enslaved during that time period, and they stood a better chance against hulking Wookiees than human bounty hunters. Of course, the average Trandoshan, while very cunning, also tends towards a certain brand of stupidity, and Wookiees often outsmart them.

As with a disproportionate number of reptile folk, the Trandoshans are rather evil-ish, often eating their siblings when they hatch and having no room for the gentle emotions; even though they stop their cannibalism once they reach a certain age, they still regularly kill their own family members in adulthood and treat that as normal.

I'm heartened to see that there's at least one distinctive Trandoshan character model; each time that happens, the less likely all of them are to look exactly the same.

Anyway, the Trandoshans, like their cousins the Saurin, follow a religion involving a goddess called the Scorekeeper, who tracks their successful and unsuccessful hunts and favors the most successful or some such thing. If they are shamed, their score is zeroed unless they can kill the one who humiliated them.

It's supposedly rare for Trandoshans to be heretical; only one named character seems to fit the description, and he seems to actually be so nasty that he's been cast out by the others for being a jerk. You have to wonder what kind of ridiculous things a lizard guy would have to do to achieve that.

Also, there's apparently a Trandoshan tradition called the lizard dance.

Rating: 4/5. While the Trandoshans are largely irredeemable monsters, there's always a place in a story for such a character; it's just unfortunate that this is a species-wide trait. Also, lizard dance. That's right up there with poison pie.

1142. Tratlin. All we know is that a Rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic operative was one.

Rating: 1/5. Suddenly, it seems like every article is using "Alliance to Restore the Republic" rather than "Rebel" or "Rebellion." Way to pad your word count, guys.

1143. Tren. The Tren are virtually human blue-purple people. They voluntarily joined the Empire because they valued order over morality, with a few exceptions; even those opposed to the Empire ended their protests when the final vote approving membership was counted.

The Tren have several colonies off their homeworld, but the exact name of their homeworld or of individual colonies is uncertain.

Rating: 2/5. Eh... That was ultimately really generic, but at least there's something there.

1144. Trianii. The Trianii are a fairly advanced, very independent group of cat people with an independent space nation with at least seven worlds, noted to be commonly mistaken for Cathars, Catuman, and Togorians. Supposedly, female Trianii are superior in basically every way and thus dominate their society (that's not sexist at all! /sarcasm), forming the entirety of the ruling bodies.

Trianii also have prehensile tails, which rather sets them apart from most cat aliens.

Notably, the Trianii follow a large number of religions, but these religions all formed a sort of coalition a long time ago, and all agreed on a common code of conduct; while the religions are still mostly separate and have distinctions, they all get along and respect each other quite a lot. Refreshing.

Amusingly, that part of the Trianii is listed in the "biology" section of their article. I don't think that's how religion works, guys.

Rating: 4/5. The Trianii have plenty of stereotypical cat alien features, but they have enough distinct features as well that I like them.

1145. Triffians. Triffians are short, generally rotund beings with distinctive, flashy faces, shaped rather like crescents. They're basically birds-but-not-birds, having body shapes and legs rather reminiscent of chickens, but no feathers or beaks and arms instead of wings.

One of them finished fourth in the podrace in Episode I, meaning he came in ahead of Sebulba, who was apparently his long-time rival.

Rating: 3/5. This is based on appearance.

1146. Trinovates. Trinovates have three eyes, and come from a fertile, resource-rich planet-or so one presumes from the idea that this homeworld is covered in farms and mines.

Rating: 1/5. One was a gambler.

1147. Trintic. Many Trintic were among the non-Tai'ni workers involved in a labor dispute. Their gait is described as "lumbering."

Rating: 1/5.

1148. Tripods. Okay, just going to get this out of the way: I always think of the Tripods of the same-named series whenever I read "Tripod" with a capital "T," even slightly over the Martian tripods from The War of the Worlds, even though I only ever read the first book in the series and read a couple of comic strips that ran in the back of a handful of Boy's Life backissues I ended up with somehow.

On subject, the "tripods" are a race known among themselves as "the People" who live on a planet known among themselves as "the World." They are referred to as "tripods" because of their body shape. A number of them were abducted by an automated Imperial warship that mistook them for the men of a long-gone Imperial garrison that was apparently placed on their homeworld. (Said warship was not terribly bright.)

As an awkwardly constructed species from a primitive culture, they were in trouble on board the chaotic ship, heavily inhabited by random and often dangerous beings and droids, including a number of Gamorreans who had come to believe that they were soldiers from a long-gone Imperial garrison. (The ship might have been stupid, but it also had brainwashing powers, and they worked a little too well on the Gamorreans.) A friendly Talz (see the earlier link to the Tai'ni) who had somehow ended up on the ship protected them, and they presumably were eventually returned to their homeworld.

If I recall correctly, the "tripods" believed they had been pulled into a spirit world or hell or some such thing.

Rating: 2/5. You have to like the occasional instance of unidentifiable beings.

1149. Tritonites. Tritonites are insectoids who follow a religion centered around a mysterious, controversial figure known only as "Gactimus." Apparently, there are multiple clashing cults that follow this figure (maybe), and the Tritonites' version bans all forms of entertainment, making their home moons "dead" socially.

They apparently hang around the spaceports on these moons, which are frequent stops for public transit systems, and try to hand out some form of religious tracts to passersby.

Rating: 2/5. Entertaining.

1150. Trogodiles. Trogodiles are cave crocodile people.

Rating: 4/5. I've gone on record as saying there can never be too many crocodile people. I continue to stand by my statement.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Famous Last Words

Been a bit busy lately, so have this random screencap from the super sentai series Timeranger.

It's so cute when the first minor villain of the week thinks he's invincible, isn't it?

-Signing off.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Give That Guy A Job

I haven't seen this Gravity thing people have been talking about despite various recommendations, and frankly I'm not interested in hard science fiction very much. (I also get angry now and again at people claiming that, say, Star Trek is hard science fiction. Generally speaking, the harder SF is, the less interesting it is to me, because the people writing it get progressively more and more wrapped up in writing less and less interesting stories. THIS HAS BEEN A STATEMENT OF THE AUTHOR'S OPINION.) So when I saw this the other day, I didn't have much context for it from Gravity. I did, however, have context from the other thing.

Of course, this rather begs a question: If Superman existed, wouldn't the space program be simpler if he just did the whole thing? Safer, at a bare minimum. (And don't tell me that the particular version of Supes in question wouldn't be able to be a hero too. He might not be Silver Age Superman, but he'd be able to swing it.)

-Signing off.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#114)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1131. Tof. Okay, this is pretty hilarious.

The Tof are invaders from the Firefist/Companion Besh galaxy, the Star Wars galaxy's neighbor whose inhabitants have had the most interaction with the galaxy itself. (They're also the only Firefist inhabitants I haven't covered yet.) With me so far?

They're enemies to the Nagai, the Faruun, and the Maccabree, who are basically all the other Firefistians; they apparently rule an old empire known as the Tof Kingdom which has ruled over most of Firefist for a very long time, taking the other species as slaves and whatnot.

Now, you might be speculating that they must be pretty tough customers, and in one sense, at least, they sort of are.

On the other hand, they're actually medieval lifestyle fetishists, because they're huge hairy almost-human beings who refuse to bathe and use perfume to cover their stenches. (They're also sexist dudebros at best and an army of rapists at worst.)

I find myself wondering, especially since they apparently wield clubs as their weapon of choice (check out the page quote on them), just how they managed to contain a race whose entire known membership wears flying artillery-equipped exosuits? (The Maccabree, in case you didn't follow the links.)

Rating: 3/5 for amusement factor. Ah, Marvel Star Wars, why must you do such things?

1132. Togorians. Togorians are cat aliens.

Male Togorians can be about nine feet tall while female Togorians range to nearly seven feet. Their bone structures are denser and more durable than most species, meaning they can withstand a lot more punishment than one might expect. Considering they're giant cat aliens, that must be pretty considerable.

Anyway, the Togorians once universally lived in a nomadic lifestyle that involved a symbiotic relationship with awesome-looking giant flying reptiles called mosgoths where the mosgoths serve as mounts in exchange for the Togorians protecting the mosgoths' eggs, which were preyed on by another flying animal called a liphon that was also a threat to the Togorians. Apparently, having adult mosgoths to ride gave the Togorians the resources they needed to fight off this threat, and in more recent times the liphons' main relationship with the Togorians was that the Togorians would tie up trespassing outsiders on a second transgression to expose them to liphon attack as punishment.

The Togorian men still follow their nomadic traditions, but the women came to prefer a sedentary lifestyle with more advanced technology, forming settlements where they would raise their children; male Togorian children would remain there until adolescence, and then join the men's tribes. The divide between the male and female Togorians was quite wide during the time of the Galactic Empire; male Togorians wouldn't tolerate outsiders or especially stormtroopers or droids in their vicinity, while female Togorians were technologically sophisticated enough that they were on the cusp of independent starship production. Despite this deep-running separation, Togorians practice monogamy.

The Togorians are also apparently among the earliest species to associate strongly with the Mandalorians, possibly the first after the Taung and humans. This association came because the Togorians are not only monster-huge cat dudes but because they had effective enough tactics and strategy to stand against the Mandalorians; the Mandalorians essentially responded to this with "you guys are cool, wanna join our club?" Thus, Togorian mercenaries, bounty hunters, and pirates aren't terribly unusual because many former Mandalorians took up such professions.

Rating: 4/5. There's something distinctly lovable about the Togorians. I should mention that the main Togorian I'm familiar with, Muuurgh, is essentially a loose Chewbacca substitute that an author used for a story because it was too early for Han to have met Chewbacca just yet, and even though Muuurgh (what a cat alien name) was actually a minder that a sinister t'landa Til employer had put on Han, there was something rather adorable about him.

1133. Togruta. The Togruta are fairly human-looking beings who have big horns and also a set of head-tails (which is a common word for the tentacular growths that come from the heads of many hairless human-like Star Wars aliens). Their horns are actually hollow and used for passive echolocation. They also apparently have retractable fangs that they use to kill prey; the prey they kill this way spasms violently, and they allow people to incorrectly believe that they are venomous because of these spasms, apparently because they like intimidating people.

Supposedly, most Togruta are not very individualistic, and considering that nine out of ten Togruta characters look basically identical, I can sort of see why. They also don't like shoes.

There are a disproportionate number of Togruta Jedi (and it's noted further that most of them are women), as far as I can tell, and Anakin Skywalker's apprentice Ahsoka Tano from the recently ended Clone Wars TV series is one of them.

Rating: 3/5. I kind of like how the Togruta look, and aspects of their cultural personality amuse me, but... boy there's not a lot of visual variety, and there really should be.

1134. Tolanese. The only known Tolanese is an always robed and masked bounty hunter, who had some slaves that had outwitted him and cornered him in his own ship; they forced him into an escape pod. He crashed and burned, and was left hideously scarred; this is presumably why he covered up so thoroughly.

He would then go on to hunt down the escaped slaves with a gang of mercenaries and kill them. I presume he was so determined to do so because not only did he want revenge, he probably didn't want it getting out that he'd been outwitted by a pair of Gamorreans, who are stereotyped as among the very dumbest of the dumb.

Anyway, apparently the main other thing we know about these Tolanese guy is that before he got messed up, he was one of those guys who wandered around using his good looks to seduce rich old ladies and take their stuff. ...Nice.

Rating: 1/5.

1135. Tolos. The Tolos come from Toloran, the second planet of the Panto system, home to the Lomins of Pantolomin. As such, their planet was the winter resort portion of the system's tourist industry.

Rating: 3/5. Hum, I'd probably rate the Lomins higher now.

1136. Toma. The Toma look like people wearing low-rent wolfman costumes, except that their hair and skin are bright green.

Rating: 2/5. That's good for a chuckle.

1137. Toong. Hilariously, the Toong are noted as not to be confused with the Taung, the Mandalorian founders mentioned earlier in this article. Considering that the Toong are short guys with huge cartoonish faces, I don't think confusing the two would actually be a problem.

The Toong seem to be rather neurotic as a group, such that first contact threw their homeworld into a violent civil war even though they'd been notably peaceful beforehand.

Later, a poisonous comet (?!?!) would threaten to collide with their homeworld, and so they were relocated to Tund, the adopted homeworld of a sect of pureblooded Sith known as the Sorcerers of Tund. If this sounds like it couldn't have ended well, presumably it didn't: Rokur Gepta (main villain of the Lando Calrissian Adventures) leveled the planet with a weapon that would leave it uninhabitable for at least billions of years. In effect, it would be uninhabitable for possibly longer than the star it was orbiting was going to live.

We don't really know what this means for the Toong, however.

Rating: 3/5. I think more than one of those might be pity points.

1138. Torine. Near-humans determined to protect their homeworld's environment. D'aw, how cute.

Rating: 1/5.

1139. Toydarians. Toydarians are vaguely pig-faced hummingbird/fly-inspired people. They appear rather corpulent, but their guts are apparently actually buoyant, simplifying the fact that they fly constantly in order to survive the dangerous environment they evolved in, marshy areas inhabited by creatures called grabworms. Apparently Toydarians are fully capable of flight from birth, and their constant hovering means that they need a lot of food to sustain their metabolism; most Toydarian wars are fought over food.

Like the Hutts, Toydarians are, as their movie character representative Watto so elegantly demonstrated, immune to mental manipulation through the Force. In a peculiar coincidence, their homeworld was within the bounds of the old Hutt Empire, and they had long been subject to the Hutts. More recently, they were allied to the Old Republic at least briefly during the Clone Wars, oppressed by the Galactic Empire, and briefly (but harmlessly, amazingly enough) conquered by the Yuuzhan Vong.

Rating: 5/5. There's just something very charming about the Toydarians.

1140. Trailians. Not much is known about the Trailians proper, other than a claim that they are/were beautiful humanoids of some manner, and lived some form of primitive lifestyle in a jungle.

At some point, some Sith guy turned at least some of them into some kind of monster-zombie-something-or-other warriors.

Rating: 1/5. We don't know anything about them, and we don't even know that much about the monsters that they (at least partly) were transformed into.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Note: This Post Features Expression of An Opinion

How come ads where things that would actually be terrifying if they happened are funny, fun, cute, and/or cool, while commercials with cutesy nonsense are just kind of...


Also, what about this advertisement is supposed to make you want to drink water, exactly?

-Signing off.