Monday, December 30, 2013

And A Happy New Year And Whatever

At the moment, I'm contemplating creating an index post for the first chunk of my Star Wars guide series, as it's just hit a full hundred posts and it'd be helpful to be able to just link the index at the beginning and say "find it yourself!" for each post, rather than individually linking things. That's going to take a while, though, so in the meantime, enjoy this belated embed of David Kaye's annual Beast Wars Megatron Christmas thing.



-Signing off.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#100)

Whoa, this is some kind of landmark. I feel like there ought to be a fanfare or something.

Oh, here we are.



Carry on.

991. Sikan. The Sikan (singular Sika) had their planet invaded during a crisis by someone else that I haven't covered because they didn't have an article when I originally went through the "C"s.

Rating: 1/5. Yeah, I don't know, there's no real incentive to be interested here.

992. Sikurdians. Sikurdians are rather hilarious-looking entities, with earthworm-shaped tentacle-arms and tentacle-legs. They like axes, and one infamous one is known as Alabar Double Ax.

They seem to be fairly small, in the three foot range.

Rating: 3/5. I kind of like their appearance.

993. Silentium. The Silentium are "descended" from droids created by a starfish-shaped species. That species died untold ages ago from a supernova's radiation storm, but the droids would go on to transform thousands of their members into massive fifty kilometer diameter spheres.

Okay, just for reference, the first Death Star is 160 kilometers in diameter, and the next largest Imperial warcraft I know of is less than twenty kilometers long. The majority of such craft the Empire commanded were rare, and the ships the Empire had in large numbers were far less massive.

The Galactic Empire is among the most powerful civilizations in all of fiction, and the Silentium probably outgun them. (They also likely outgun the next dozen most powerful civilizations after the Empire put together.)

Apparently, though, the Silentium are relatively pacifistic, outsiders to the wider galactic civilization (in fact, they're from another galaxy originally), and didn't want to get involved in galactic politics directly.

In the past, the Silentium were at war with the Abominor, another extragalactic race of droids that could rival planets in size, and the massive war between them inspired a deep cultural hatred of droids and other traditional technology in the Yuuzhan Vong.

The Silentium are very much beings of order, and were worried about their own stagnation, being super-orderly and essentially immortal. In order to shake up their own society, they took one of their smaller-model units based on their masters and programmed it to observe society and obey the rules of regular droids. Their intention was for this droid to experience society for a few hundred years this way, eventually bringing it back to themselves and then experiencing galactic society vicariously through its memories.

However, upon application of logic to what they had done, they realized that the droid they'd created was essentially a child of their own kind, and so they rushed in immediately and, in the only demonstration of their might before galactic civilization at large, stopped an Imperial task force and rescued the droid, the companion of Lando Calrissian known as Vuffi Raa. In the process, they somewhat unintentionally also rescued the Oswaft from extinction.

They haven't had any real roles in fiction beyond that, but are also responsible for things akin to alien sightings throughout much of the Star Wars galaxy.

The Silentium are beautiful.

Rating: 5/5. If I had to pick a single Star Wars race as my very favorite, the Silentium would be serious contenders, and they're almost definitely in any top five I'd create.

994. Silika. The Silika are "multiple-armed" (...guys, two arms are multiple arms; please be more specific) rock creatures (as their name suggests, silicon-based). They apparently are intoxicated by mineral water and have a very strict honor code.

Rating: 4/5. ...I like rock people, especially whimsical ones. (Discworld trolls have to be one of my top ten or twenty fantasy races.)

995. Siniteen. Siniteen (which is an anagram of "Einstein") are large-brained beings who look like their brains are visible on the outside. As a result, Siniteen often are known by names such as Brainee and Pons Limbic.

They are known for being able to perform complex calculations, including hyperspatial jump calculations, in their heads.

Rating: 3/5, mostly for humor value.

996. Sinkars. The Sinkars are apparently a slow-moving, slow-thinking species that rumors variously claim to be mindless beasts or extremely wise, long-lived sapients with telepathy. Rumor also claims that they feed only on the local sludge and solar energy, or that they can drain starships and even living creatures of their energy if they get too close.

They are also described as "helium-based slugs," yet also described as resembling gigantic amoebas. They live on a world where oxygen snows out of the sky.

Rating: 3/5. I like the mysteriousness of it.

997. Siolans. A Siolan can recognize close relatives by scent.

Rating: 1/5. That's interesting, but common enough that I'm not sure it qualifies as special in any way.

998. Sipsk'ud. Sipsk'ud are duck-billed, probably penguin-shaped sapients with seven eyes arranged in a circular pattern (one in the center and six surrounding it). They apparently don't live in the same kind of atmosphere as humans, for they apparently wear spacesuits when coexisting with humans. The known member of the species was a pilot.

Rating: 3/5. I like the combination of conventional animal features with a weird eye configuration.

999. Sith. The Sith, also sometimes known as Red Sith or Sith Purebloods, are the race whose name became all but synonymous with the dark side of the Force. They invented multiple dark side traditions (Sith alchemy, Sith magic) and ruled an empire during the early history of the galaxy. They have/had at least three castes/races/subspecies, the Kissai, Massassi, and Zuguruk. (One of these names is not like the others...) The majority of the Sith possess(ed) Force sensitivity, and even exist(ed) in a more strongly symbiotic relationship with the dark side, supposedly being at least partially sustained by it and being unusually strong in it. (Presumably, this is somehow connected to their encounter with the Rakata.)

The reason I talk about them in an inconsistent tense is because as far as anyone knows, because of a human Sith organization instituting an interbreeding program with the Sith Purebloods, the original Sith are probably extinct or have gone into hiding (nobody's sure which). For instance, one group of Sith refugees would eventually become known as the Sorcerers of Tund (they're probably extinct, since their last, non-true Sith member, the Croke Rokur Gepta, took credit for exterminating the rest of them-note the Lando Calrissian Adventures link in the Silentium entry).

They were responsible for a lot of old, mysterious things that modern (movie-era) inhabitants of the Star Wars galaxy aren't necessarily aware of as their handiwork; for example, the massive temple buildings on Yavin IV in A New Hope are actually special Force-amplifying buildings left behind by the Massassi and the human Sith Lord Exar Kun. There's also a region of 120 or so planets that are or were known as the Sith Worlds; the region also contains three worlds that have been credited as the Sith homeworld, all of which are strong in the dark side. (Korriban is apparently the real homeworld, which they abandoned and turned into a sort of tomb world; the world of Ziost was adopted later on, while Dromund Kaas's status as an apparent homeworld is "possible propaganda".)

While the Rakata taught the Sith about the dark side, the Sith king, Adas (who was over three hundred years old at the time and was the first king to rule the entirety of their original homeworld) was able to anticipate the inevitable Rakatan treachery and was able to drive them off at the cost of his own life. From the fact that there were multiple Sith Empires, several of which were ruled by the Red Sith themselves and most of which were very influential in galactic politics if not the dominant powers of their times, it's fairly obvious that they were at one time very influential.

When all is said and done, the Sith are basically Evil Ancient Egypt IN SPACE. That's honestly pretty fun.

Rating: 5/5.

1000. Sivorians. Native to Sivoria.

Rating: 1/5. Get outta here, ya bums! (It's very true to form that one of those would be where I hit four digits.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Precious...

NOTE: The following has a fair bit of swearing, and while a lot of it is bleeped, the censoring is pretty lazy.



Frankly, while I don't particularly care for large volumes of swearing, I do rather think that, discounting the literary era he was created in, Gollum's nastier side would definitely swear the nastiest swears he could come up with, so this strikes me as relatively in character.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 23, 2013

At Least His Name Hasn't Ruined His Self Esteem*

My sister declared this the weirdest thing she's seen "in a while." Take that how you will.



I love how apparently Coach Crime knows when crooks are near random phones. (I wasn't watching quite closely enough to know if there's an actual explanation, but it seems dubious.)

Fun facts:

The main characters are voiced by Peter Cullen (many versions of Optimus Prime) and Frank Welker (has voiced characters in almost every cartoon ever, but in context the most relevant are the Megatron voices he did). (Additional fun fact: The spellcheck knows "Cullen" but not "Welker.")

This originally aired as part of a block called The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.

The dog's name is Yukk!, in the words of Wikipedia's article "formally stylized with an exclamation point."

I stumbled across this, by the way, because I was looking at an entry on the Ben 10 wiki about an alien with a loosely similar gag to Yukk!'s.

*I mention this because he compares himself to Robert Redford. Dude's pretty comfortable with himself.

-Signing off.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#99)

981. Shimholts. Shimholts are 1) an interesting sort of ugly, and 2) long-lived.

Their culture apparently found something dishonorable in being captured by outsiders, and one of their member was ostracized after being captured (and apparently then released) in an Imperial raid; for some reason, this made him want to join the Empire, and they gave him a high-ranking position for some reason.

...You can always tell the Star Wars Marvel Comics stories...

Rating: 3/5 on the basis of their appearance, mostly.

982. Shistavanens. Shistavanens are supposedly rarely seen in the galaxy at large, but I count eighteen named characters, so I find this dubious. (Consider that the Shistavanens are one of an estimated twenty million sapient species, which is a really small group in a really large population, even if there are billions of them.) They're supposedly isolationist, and are largely found in loner-type occupations off their homeworld, such as scouts, bounty hunters, and so on.

They find work in such occupations, of course, because of their fairly stereotypical predatory species skills, such as fierce claws and teeth, good sense of smell, etc. Kinda boring.

It doesn't help that they exist because somebody grabbed a wolfman mask to use in the cantina scene.

On the other hand, the original Shistavanen character fell in love with a (Florn) Lamproid at first sight, and that's kind of wonderful.

Rating: 3/5, because their existence contributes to one of the odder canonical romances in the entire Star Wars canon.

983. Shorak. Near-humansscreeeechno, I'm sorry, dying hair, getting arm tattoos, and being more muscular than the human baseline don't qualify as an alien species description. That basically describes, what, pro wrestlers? I don't know.

Rating: 1/5. Not even worth mentioning the illogic of their relationship to the Peroenians so I'll just link that article (they're the rival group mentioned there).

984. Shownarri. Near-humansyoink.

Rating: 1/5.

985. Shrieks. There may be only one Shriek (which may not be the name of whatever it is), because Ewoks cartoon.

Anyway, the known Shriek is a purple-furred cartoon alien with a third eye on an eyestalk sticking out of its head that drove off intruders by, as the name suggests, shrieking.

Also, his name is Larry.

Rating: 2/5. Because Larry is a hilariously incongruous name.

986. Shrobs. Shrobs are ambiguously canonical "saurian humanoids." They apparently are native to a planet that was colonized and forcibly made to work in its environment-wrecking industries, and while they were traditionally pacifistic, their pariah status on their own homeworld drove them to violence.

Rating: 3/5. ...I dunno, I'm feeling unusually favorable towards them.

987. Shusugaunt. The Shusugaunt are supposedly known as fierce warriors, but they invaded a high-gravity planet (homeworld of the Anx), and got tired so they ran away.

Rating: 2/5. Amusing.

988. Sibilaari. The Sibilaari homeworld exploded at some point, and since their civilization apparently was entirely within the bounds of their planet, that should have been the end of that.

However, they were advanced enough to make well-shielded stasis devices that they used to preserve some proportion of their population, and at least some of these found their way into an asteroid belt. This asteroid belt would later be the site of a mining rush, and the miners would uncover the Sibilaari's existence.

Considering that the Sibilaari apparently possess vast physical strength, are capable of surviving indefinitely in vacuum, Force sensitive, can withstand hand weapon fire, navigate asteroid belts without mechanical aid, and completely silent when in atmosphere (due to somehow absorbing noise to nourish themselves), this probably didn't end well (not surprising, considering they're from a role-playing game adventure).

Rating: 4/5. I'm having a bit of trouble grokking their description, but they also sound suitably alien.

989. Sic-Six. Sic-Six are quite large spider creatures with highly sensitive hearing who apparently don't like each other terribly well. While they apparently could be a nuisance (like Lamproids-see earlier link) in the style of an invasive species that happens to be sapient, they also are popular in certain circles because most beings not native to their world find their venom inebriating rather than toxic.

...In other words, they're paid to bite people for those people's pleasure.

This is strange and fascinating to me.

Rating: 4/5.

990. Sif'krie. At least twenty percent of the Sif'krie homeworld's economy is centered around exporting products of the hilariously named pommwomm plant, which is the source of eight useful medicinal substances and sixteen natural flavoring agents. However, pommwomm export is time-sensitive, and when their unfriendly neighbors, the Frezhlix, blockaded them in an effort to get them to support measures in the galactic government to punish the Bothans during the Caamas Document crisis, it threatened their economic stability severely.

Fortunately, even though they couldn't get a message out properly, they were rescued by a New Republic task force, and would then contribute to the peacekeeping fleet that protected the Bothan homeworld.

Rating: 3/5.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seasonal Dalek

Inevitably, a very high proportion of the comments upon this video are along the lines of "DECORATE! DECORATE!"



Because apparently shouting three-to-four-syllable words is something Daleks are contractually obligated to do. (I should think, even though it's slightly off in context, that it's clear it really ought to be "REDECORATE!")

-Signing off.

Monday, December 16, 2013

He Will Appear In Your Nightmares

On the one hand, the character design feature of this wrestling game that I don't care about at all is clearly amazing.



On the other hand... shiver. That Scrooge McDuck...

-Signing off.

Friday, December 13, 2013

It Figures...

...that the very day after I finally catch and blog about the previous Godzilla trailer, they'd release the new one. (I'd have blogged about this Wednesday, but I'd already prepared my post for that day. It can be a little frustrating only blogging three days a week, though I still don't have the energy for five days a week at this point.)



And the awesome one.

Granted, we see very little Godzilla in this trailer, but the imagery of the HALO jump was great.

They're basically parachuting straight into Hell, and that is fantastic.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#98)

971. Shaliz'Na. The Shaliz'Na are ambiguously canonical winged space Native Americans.

Where have I heard that before?

Rating: 1/5. Yeah, I'm not feeling especially charitable to that. Somewhat offensive and unoriginal? No.

972. Shards. Shards are living, sapient crystals that are usually a foot or so long. Their electromagnetic senses made it easy to essentially connect them to droids as brains, and while they're normally borderline hive-minded because their electromagnetic senses work a lot like telepathy, being put into bodies makes them into extremely curious and independent explorer types.

Also, they can be Force sensitive, and some droid-wearing individuals became Jedi.

Rating: 5/5. They can be Jedi who look like droids.

973. Sharu. The Sharu existed a really, really long time ago. Around 1,000,000 years before the movies, they disappeared. Left behind were a group of seemingly broken people called the Toka, a huge bunch of impervious gigantic pyramids dotting the various planets of their worlds (so huge that later arrivals in their home system would often build their buildings in the crevices between them), and bizarre "orchards" of strange trees that grow "life crystals."

These last became the system's primary export in relatively recent times; the orchards suck the life out of people-intelligence, vitality, everything that makes someone who they are-and essentially charge their "fruit," life crystals, with it. Life crystals significantly increase the lifespan and health of those who keep them as jewelry or otherwise in regular contact with themselves. Obviously, we're talking some pretty valuable merchandise.

Eventually, Lando Calrissian discovered that the Toka actually were the Sharu, and their disappearance was because they had gone into hiding disguised as something innocuous, and the "life orchards/life crystals" were tools that enacted the transformation and stored their intellects for their descendants to access.

And the pyramids hid all their real buildings, which probably wasn't very good for all the other people living on their planets when they decided it was safe to come back.

The Empire put a garrison in their system, but it never came to conflict; the New Republic would later put a large research team into place there.

I should mention that this is part of my favorite of the older Star Wars novels.

Rating: 5/5. Of course, we're left to wonder what the Sharu were hiding from, but that's part of what makes them wonderful.

974. Shashay. The Shashay, known as Space Singers because of their skills in space navigation and singing (heh), are/were very distrustful of outsiders, and so their homeworld Crystal Nest's location is a closely guarded secret, only to be found in the memories of Shashay navigators. (Not that this makes very much sense, since the Star Wars galaxy is very well explored compared to a lot of space settings.) They made tentative friendly gestures towards the Alliance, and then stuff happened that was designed to make them stop by the Empire.

They're kind of puny bird people.

Rating: 2/5. Mainly because I'm not terribly fond of secret, uncharted worlds in Star Wars when there's no indication that they're in an area where it would make sense.

975. Shatras. Shatras are reptile people who are hard to sneak up on.

They have five major ethnic groups, one who makes up 87% of the population and is the spacegoing portion of the civilization, one who makes up 10% of the population and has rejected technology because they fought a really big war, and three other groups that make up the remaining 3%.

Also, supposedly each Shatra is very loyal to every other Shatra.

Rating: 3/5. I particularly like the cultural makeup information.

976. Shaull. We don't know that much about the Shaull, except that they apparently aren't spacefarers, and also those that are seen in the wider galaxy have usually become indentured servants to have a chance to explore, such individuals generally being very adventurous and curious.

We also have a picture of one. She's kinda cute, in a mutanty sort of way.

Rating: 3/5. Simple, but I like them.

977. Shawda Ubb. Shawda Ubb are really short (from one to three feet tall) fat reptile things. Their limbs are so spindly I'm not sure they would be able to actually walk.

Fortunately for them, even though they're small and probably not very mobile, they can spit poison that can immobilize human-sized creatures for fifteen minutes.

One of them was a musician in the Special Edition version of Jabba's palace.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, fifteen minutes of paralysis is much too short for anything but a video game or whatnot, but I'm still entertained.

978. Shi'ido. At some point, I mentioned that ambiguously canonical size-changing shapeshifters were unnecessary. That is because the Shi'ido exist.

The Shi'ido are a fairly mysterious race of shapeshifters. We don't know precise limits on their shapeshifting, but presumably it's why they're so mysterious.

We do know that several Shi'ido characters had a remarkable lack of limitations on their shapeshifting prowess-Mammon Hoole, the best-known Shi'ido, could turn into a mouse-sized animal or a hundred-foot-long whale (excuse me, "Whaladon")-but that's not a reliable gauge.

You see, Mammon Hoole and another Shi'ido, Borborygmus Gog, were coworkers on a bioengineering project that involved first trying to create life from scratch. After the first stage of their experiments was declared a failure, they used Clawdite genetic material to experiment on themselves. Now, how you add something that isn't even capable of becoming something other than very humanoid and exactly the same size to something capable of much more and get something capable of even more powerful shapeshifting isn't clear, but I'm not going to argue with the sciencey powers of people who live in a civilization that can generate orders of magnitude more energy than the momentary output of a star in a space station too small to contain the amount of matter one would convert to get that energy.

At younger ages, supposedly Shi'ido can only change about as much as Clawdites, but one older than 150 is believed to be able to achieve size changes. Again, this involves Hoole and Gog, so we should probably be mildly suspicious. It's also established that Shi'ido are much more capable of sustaining their shapechanging and aren't pained by the process, and can also store objects inside their bodies without apparent difficulty. They also can use some form of telepathy to make their disguises more complete.

A Shi'ido is considered an adult at 61 and can live for 500 years.

Anyway, we don't know that much about the Shi'ido culturally, but we do know that 1) Mammon Hoole was a scientist who worked on mad science (and later quit with regret when an experiment wiped out a civilization, though it wasn't his fault) and would move on to become an anthropologist dedicated to the preservation of cultures, 2) Borborygmus Gog was another scientist who worked on mad science (said experiment wiping out a civilization was his fault) gleefully continued his evil research and even challenged Darth Vader to his face once. (Amazingly, Gog was killed not by a long-distance Force choke but by an eldritch abomination he'd created and then inadvertently taunted.)

My conclusion is that Shi'ido have a full array of alignments, and thus I approve.

Rating: 5/5. (The height of the rating is partly due to the fact that I quite like Hoole as a character, even if the books he mostly was in could be pretty darned silly [see the S'krrr].) I don't think the Star Wars galaxy really needs any other high-end shapeshifters.

Also, it is quite possible this particular article has the most 5/5 scores in the series.

979. Shi'kar. All we know about the Shi'kar is that their planet blew up and became an asteroidal cluster known as the Shi'kar Straits. We don't even know if they still exist or not.

Rating: 2/5. The odd ambiguity intrigues me a bit.

980. Shifalas. Sapient simians from Carreras Major...

Rating: 1/5. ...are failing to incite any interest.

-Signing off.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Phantom Trailer Finally Caught

You know, this trailer has been appearing and then vanishing before I could see it for months now. A bit weird to use a Chinese video site to post it, but...


Anyway, I'm still relatively cautiously optimistic about this movie. A little less caution and a little more optimism than before, I think.

Also, that's a pretty beefy Godzilla (though I'd seen pics of that already).

-Signing off.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#97)

(I've done a little bit that hopefully will mean it won't be another month or so before the next of these. I really like doing these articles, and they're probably my favorite kind to do anymore, but it's been hard ever since my sister joined Tumblr.)

961. Senali. The Senali and the Rutanians are closely related species; the Senali live on the moon of Rutan, their mutual original homeworld.

The Yuuzhan Vong incited war between them using disguised agents to make it easier to conquer them. This actually highlights a thing about the Yuuzhan Vong that was a particular failing of theirs: They were really darned good at infiltration, and this was one of their most interesting features, but after some early uses of these abilities, they almost forgot they could do it or something.

Rating: 2/5. I'm pretty sure there's a pity point there.

962. Sentient mynocks. Sapient mynocks were a race of mynocks (those things that chewed on the Millennium Falcon inside the asteroid) that developed sapience, apparently due to the unique Force properties of their home system, and then developed unusually powerful dark side Force powers, which they used to conquer their home region.

Fortunately for the rest of the galaxy, they were incapable of becoming a plague on the rest of the galaxy because they could only breed in their home system, and a disaster of some kind wiped them out. Incidentally, "sentient" mynock is a placeholder name, and we don't necessarily know what they called themselves.

Rating: 4/5. Because little pest things turning into terrifying conquerors of worlds is great.

963. Sephi. Sephi are basically more or less humans with pointed ears. A Lucasfilm staff member has gone on record as saying that "most" pointed-eared individuals are probably either Sephi or closely related, which is a thing that has many problems with that I'm not going to touch.

Unsurprisingly, there is a mention that one can distinguish female Sephi by their breasts (as I've noted in the past, Wookieepedia is, basically, a pervert); notably, this particular instance describes female Sephi as having "more prominent" breasts than male Sephi, which is the only time I've seen this variation on the description.

Rating: 1/5. Sorry, no. I like pointed ears on human-looking beings, but there's not really anything of note about these guys.

964. Sernpidalians. Sernpidalians resemble albino humans. There's probably not a lot of them left, because the Yuuzhan Vong dropped a moon on their planet.

Rating: 2/5. Okay, interesting thing about their planet: The capital city's mayor was a certified grade A batman dude, such that there were actually people wondering if he was Boba Fett. If he'd been an actual Sernpidalian, it'd have raised their score another point. (If you're wondering what he did, when he learned what the Yuuzhan Vong creature that was pulling the moon down was, he yanked out a thermal detonator and got ready to jump on it. Somebody there pointed out that it was too late to stop the moon from crashing into the planet, and he responded that he wanted to make sure the so'n'so didn't escape and jumped on it anyway.)

965. Serps. Serps are, predictably, reptile people. The women are distinguished by, you guessed it, their breasts. (And coloration.)

Oddly enough, the Serps once had their name misspelled as "sepr" in official material. I think I'd have preferred that spelling.

Anyway, apparently they'd once been advanced, then outlawed advanced technology because of what it did to the environment/bad things from a war/whatever, and adopted primitive technology and a distinctly medieval outlook, including jousting as a regular hobby and a single king for the whole planet.

The king of a certain era allied with the Empire, started refurbishing the old technology, and instituted a law that all jousts be to the death or something. Then he was stopped.

Rating: 2/5. If we're talking medieval reptile people, the Anointed People are vastly preferable. In fact, the only reason the Serps get even the 2/5 is because "Sepr" is a more interesting name, even though it's not their name at all.

966. Sessehshellah. The Sessehshellah, also known as the Sesseh', apparently are basically giant river otters. The Empire plundered their planet of much of their fossil fuels, which is described with the remarkably awkward phrasing "stole most of the planet's hydrocarbons."

Unless the Empire stripped the planet of most of its life as well (which isn't stated), that's quite unlikely, because hydrocarbons are essential building blocks of life as we know it.

Rating: 2/5. Because I was inadvertently made to think of silicon-based otter people, and that was worth a chuckle.

967. Seuvhat(s). One was seen on a planet, apparently driving something.

Rating: N/A.

968. Seylott. They kind of make me think of walrus people, although they don't have tusks.

Apparently, their culture is a decayed remnant of a greater culture that had developed in isolation from the Old Republic. They follow a religion that involves an idol that is some sort of powerful Force relic that, if damaged, would apparently release an enormous burst of energy that could devastate a planet. A terrorist stole this idol and was going to use it to bomb Coruscant, but was stopped by Jango Fett and a Jedi.

That's... kind of amazing.

Rating: 3/5.

969. Shadda-Bi-Boran. The Shadda-Bi-Boran lived on a planet with a unique atmosphere and orbiting a special snowflake star. When that star died, the race quickly went extinct because every world refugees were moved to was inadequate and they refused to accept being put into stasis.

We know about them because Padmé Amidala was part of a youth corp when she was younger who worked with the refugees.

Rating: 2/5. Sad.

970. Shadowmen. The Shadowmen (no relation) exist on a perpetually dark planet and are adapted to it. They fought with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker once.

Rating: 2/5. If there were an image of them in a different art style that I liked better, they might have a higher rating; as it is, they look kinda silly. (Also, it's hilarious that they have a known appearance when the story they were in took place in pitch darkness.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Faith And Begorrah And Top of the Marnin' And All That

I don't really know anything at all about this game, except that Jaunty there is apparently sorta also a leprechaun or something.



All I have to say is that Jaunty there sure is a friendly vaguely demonic Irish snake thing. (Also, it's funny how his movements are mostly random right up until he silently emotes at the end.)

-Signing off.

Monday, December 2, 2013

That Narrator Is Still Obnoxious

Y'know, I don't care if the animal is called a two-headed snake, labeling a video about an animal with a false head designed to distract its enemies "Two Headed Snake Attack" is misleading.



Especially since there is technically a such thing as a literal two-headed snake.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 29, 2013

...Meh

I don't have much to say about this, because it's emergency blog filler.



Well, beyond the fact that Donald Duck is pretty awesome.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Because The Wasp Generally Wins

I was hunting around for a nature video, and found one.

And for some reason there's a jet/lawnmower engine in the background.



Seriously, what.

Did you know that spiders are one of the most desirable prey creatures in the insect world?

And spiders all hate wasps.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Machinegun Punch Brofist

Master Asia's secret handshake:



Still the best.

(Also: Sheesh, Rain, do you need to sound quite so ditzy? Not that Domon's ever any better. "Gee, could that guy who is wearing Master Asia's clothes and using Master Asia's martial arts skills to fight giant robots maybe be Master Asia?")

Friendly reminder: In G Gundam, the characters were martial artists who piloted giant robots and fought zombies piloting giant robots while also being involved in a martial arts tournament that used giant robots. And fought a giant robot that was the devil.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mighty Morphin' Power Jaegers

So people inevitably put Pacific Rim footage to the Power Rangers theme. I can't decide which one of these I like better, although I'll note that my favorite version of the Power Rangers theme is the Masaki Endoh cover.




If they weren't intentionally invoking Power Rangers with the fact that Jaeger pilots are called "Rangers," it's a heck of a coincidence. (Guillermo del Toro has stated that he was trying to evoke the Wild West, because as a pacifist he didn't want to give them military ranks, hence Stacker Pentecost being a Marshall. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but identify the term "ranger" as used in the film with the US Army Rangers. Whoops.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

YouTube Needs Better "Related Videos" Algorithms (or possibly better users)

I was watching a video (well, looking back at a video) of a praying mantis of a new/previously only documented once species, because mantids are beautiful animals.*



And I noticed some of the odd "related" videos.



Now, the camera howto videos were posted by the person who took the video, so that's not so weird. I personally think it's odd that there's such a preponderance of spider-related results, but that's just people being silly. The alien one, though, that's odd.

Not nearly as odd as the result "The Best of Sting (1984-1994) International Version Full Album" result (yes, really) for the same video, but still odd.

*Pet peeve: People who talk about insects as if they're not animals. Frikkin' sponges are frikkin' animals. I think insects qualify.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 18, 2013

SUPER HAPPY FUNTIME MODE

Okay, I know basically nothing about Serious Sam, but this has to be one of the best "gore level adjustment settings" ever made for a game.



...Honestly, it makes me want to see a game where this is the default/normal for specific enemies.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jean Bonbon

I know juuuuust enough about Les Miserables* to roughly double how funny I find this.



I'd still find it funny anyway; not getting the references in things never kept me from laughing as a kid. (Seriously, try watching some of the old Looney Tunes shorts or something. Full of references that are obscure for modern audiences. Not to mention the adult references in Animaniacs.)

*I do know it's supposed to be pronounced "Lay Miz-er-ob" instead of "Les Miserables" phonetically. Even though I always pronounce "Miserables" phonetically in my head.

Then I correct myself in my head.


-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

But Why Is It Called Star Fleet?

I ask because that's not a fleet, that's a giant red robot. (In a show that's basically the same style of show as Thunderbirds, although the puppets are so very anime.)



You have to wonder about idiosyncratic dub names from back in the day. (Also, Princess Kyle.)

Also, yes, this video has performances by Brian May of Queen and Eddie van Halen of whatever he's famous for (not much of a music buff, sorry). Amazing things like this are the only regret I have about the increasing likelihood that a series will retain its original music tracks when it gets dubbed.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Game Review: Spectromancer: Has Several Versions

Spectromancer is an online "card" game. (The version I've been playing is subtitled "Gathering of Power.")



I enjoy this sort of thing, and Spectromancer is a pretty fun one.

Basically, each turn you either cast a spell or play a creature, and then each of your creatures that you played on previous turns attacks. Creatures that don't have an opposing creature to deal with in their own column attack directly, while others attack their opposing creatures. Simple enough.

Each creature tends to have a special ability or two. Each player also has four different powers to choose from plus an extra one determined by "class."

This makes for a pretty fair amount of variety for a flash game of this sort, and my only complaint is that you can't mix and match the "class" powers-though admittedly, many of those would be way too breakable if you could.

I don't know that I feel the game is tremendously balanced, but it's balanced pretty well, and the game's story was apparently contributed to by Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering, the granddaddy of all card games of this general sort. (Though I haven't looked at the story thing, and it should be noted that Richard Garfield is actually a college professor with a Ph.D. in mathematics. Yes, really.)

Anyway, it's fun, and if you enjoy this sort of thing, you should check it out.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Everyone Will Use A Variant Of My Response

(...What's up with Google lately, anyway? It seems like every half hour or so, all its services slow to a crawl. For a while today, I was doing Google searches and would type something in, then wander off to another tab for ten minutes [note: I am prone to hyperbole; it was probably more like two minutes, but it was still stupidly long] because that's how long it took the search tab to acknowledge I'd done anything.)

Oh, look, a crazy video featuring Internet Explorer as a magical girl.



Sorry, Internet Explorer, I'm sticking with Firefox.

Incidentally, according to some people, the campaign actually presents "Explorer-tan" as admitting to having been clumsy and slow. That's kind of priceless.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Once Again Remarking On My Own Weird Browsing Habits

I was trying to decide which of two things I'd rather blog about tonight, and realized, "Hey, this is a pretty odd pair of choices, and probably marginally more interesting than what I'd have to say on either alone."

1. One of these things is not bad if you were the one setting up for it. One of these things is not a bad thing that could happen because I seriously doubt it could happen.



2. Isn't it funny that a character known for not being especially bright and for his brute strength has what amounts to the thinking man's skillset?



I think it's interesting, anyway.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Why Is Right Default, Anyway?*

This is a bit silly, but I have to admit I still really like it.



I do have to nitpick a bit at the use of Samus's death animation facing to the left, though.

*Probably because more modern languages read left to right, I guess.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#96)

951. Schizodes. Schizodes are ambiguously canonical four-armed, pincher-handed insectoid/humanoid beings. They're apparently known for being quite capable in skilled physical tasks such as combat and craftsmanship.

They apparently also have minimal senses of self, and rather than having clear personal goals, every new day they start mimicking a different person that they see as admirable (never mind that admiration is one of those things that's probably tied to self identity).

That's pretty great.

Rating: 4/5. I waffled between a 3 and a 4, and settled on a 4 despite having reservations about the fact that you could interpret them as a bit (or potentially very) racist. I think they're a great concept, but I also think they should be handled carefully.

952. Sea people. The sea people are the third of three tribes of a world called Gala. They're not really a species, and they're all basically just humans with varying skin color and uninteresting cultures.

Rating: 1/5.

953. Sea-dragons, or waterworms. Sea-dragons start their lives as small, lizard-like beings. Despite being small enough to fit in a human hand, they apparently are quite intelligent even at this age, able to serve as incognito spies (like the Covallons or the frog-dogs, only as cute little gator-lizard things instead of good-sized awesome dog/lizard/lions or ugly good-sized frog/dog things). Their adult forms are much more plesiosauroid, as one might expect of creatures called sea-dragons (though not of creatures called waterworms).

As near as I can tell, they communicate via underwater sonic emissions, and so they seem to need translation devices to communicate with other species (though presumably they can understand the languages of other species quite well). Despite this, they apparently formed an alliance with a human group of criminals/pirates.

Rating: 5/5. The Covallons are pretty awesome. These guys are Covallons as babies and have the potential to be similar to the Swimming People of Dellalt (plesiosauroid people from the Han Solo Adventures that I'll get to sooner or later, who will probably get a good rating when that happens) as adults.

954. Sebiri. The Sebiri of Sebiris (that's never fun for trying to keep pluralization usage straight) are relatively typical local noble savage type aliens-expert hunters, warriors, and trackers; can be friendly if you bring gifts but will kill your backside for trodding on sacred ground; have sign language and a spoken language made of "staccato phrases and phrases" (an actual quote from the wiki); all that stereotypical junk.

There are two things of actual note about them: First, they're reptilian people with shaggy manes of hair who have wonky proportions that make them all look like they're made to wear Urkel pants; and second, their home planet is in the Kathol Sector and they claim that their home region was created by "those who came before," who may actually have existed.

Rating: 3/5. This is primarily for their appearance and presence in the Kathol sector, as that other stuff is either standard fare or offensive, depending on how it gets portrayed.

955. Sedrians. They're basically merfolk-shaped seal people. That is, they're human-shaped above the waist (except for seal heads) and seal-shaped below the waist. Despite being mammalian in general appearance, they have gills in addition to lungs.

They're the civilization that used the Golden Sun, a sapient, Force-using coral reef, as a power source for their industry, but were killing it in their efforts to protect it, despite the fact that they also straight-up worshiped the thing. (It had been the center of their civilization since well before industrialization, for the Golden Sun nurtured and protected them with its Force healing powers.) There's still no indication on Wookieepedia what happened to the Golden Sun at this point.

Anyway, there's also the fact that the Sedrians were attacked by the Empire, helped by the Rebel Alliance, and then later provided weapons, specifically hoverboats, to the New Republic.

Rating: 4/5. They're fairly interesting in their interactions with the Golden Sun.

956. Segmi. The Segmi are more inhabitants of the Kathol sector, in fact the planet Kathol itself. Specifically, they were created by the DarkStryder (see the Kathol entry) as a replacement for the Charr Ontee after it banished them for rebelling against it. The Segmi would build a fortress for the DarkStryder, and when the fortress was finished, they wandered off and formed a civilization. Later, the DarkStryder would recapture a number of them to force them to do more construction work for it. Like many Kathol Rift inhabitants, they were masters of the Ta-Ree life energy, a form of Force powers exclusive to the region.

What I haven't mentioned is that the Segmi are apparently giant worms that excrete slime that turns into a sort of hard resin, and that's why they're so good at building.

Rating: 5/5. I love the Kathol Rift so darned much.

957. Seikoshans. The Seikoshans are modestly interesting in appearance, with green skin, red eyes, and funky T. rex-hand toes. They are also described as "very tall." Other than that (heck, even with that), they're basically just vanilla almost-humans.

Not mentioned on their page is the fact that their homeworld apparently was neutral during the time of the Galactic Empire's war against the Rebel Alliance.

Rating: 2/5, mostly because of their homeworld thing.

958. Sekct. The Sekct (that reversed k/c arrangement is deceptively hard to type) are basically lizard people.

Now, usually, I don't care for that phrase being used casually, for various reasons having to do with the fact that a "lizard" is actually a very specific type of animal but people use the word as a generic label for all reptiles. Many modern "reptiles" are no more closely related to each other than they are to us; crocodiles are more closely related to birds than other living reptiles, lizards and snakes are actually closely related to each other and little else (it would not be inappropriate to label them "true reptiles"), and turtles and tuataras are each part of only distantly related families. (It has to do with their skulls and such, which is more fundamental and more easily tracked in fossils than silly measures like whether something has scales. But that's far beyond the scope of this post.)

But the Sekct are basically drawn as lizards with incongruously almost human hands and legs. You don't get much more "lizard people" than that.

They're all primitive and tribal and junk, and rely on oral tradition; their bands are led by individuals called "She-Who-Speaks" who supposedly is the physically strongest and also responsible for remembering their oral traditions.

Incidentally, they're also a race of female lizard people, like a few real-world lizards able to reproduce parthenogenically.

Rating: 4/5. Their unusual features make me like them.

959. Selkath. The Selkath were once, about four thousand years before the era of the movies, quite important politically, as their homeworld was and apparently still is the source of a substance called kolto, which is valuable in medical procedures. Remember the tank that Luke was floating in for a bit in Empire Strikes Back? Kolto was/is used much the same way as bacta, the substance in that tank. Kolto apparently was used this way for a long time, while bacta wasn't really widely seen in the market yet. In the years between then and the movie era, apparently due to bacta being cheaper and possibly more effective, kolto virtually disappeared from the market, putting the Selkath into a sorry economic position. It is unclear, but possible that kolto's effectiveness might have changed over time, going from comparable to bacta to much less effective. (Note that differing sources probably portray kolto rather inconsistently.)

At any rate, the Selkath are an amphibious species with large, rather fisheating-oriented mouths and large barbel-like flaps on their faces. They look very interesting, and would probably do well enough as interesting just based on their appearance and their geopolitics. But it goes a little further:

The Selkath were apparently somehow related to a species of sharklike creature called firaxan sharks. One of these animals, known as the Progenitor, was a female of prodigious size, and could somehow actually control Selkath and other firaxan sharks, driving them into mad frenzies with its cries. The Selkath worshiped the Progenitor and believed it to be their ancestor and the source of the kolto. Incidentally, the Progenitor was a video game boss that was killed by the protagonist of that particular game in order to disrupt kolto production.

Rating: 5/5. That's a lower five than some fives, but not by a lot.

960. Selonians. Out of a given hundred Selonians, only one is male and five will be fertile females. The remaining 94 would be sterile females. That alone says a lot about what Selonians should probably be like; they sequester the males and fertile females to protect them.

Selonians are basically supposed to be huge, mildly anthropomorphic weasel-like people with long tails. That is, their bodies are long, their limbs are a bit stumpy, and they on average stand taller than humans. (The males are notably smaller than the females of either type; while sterile females are slender, fertile females, I am led to believe, are rather more heavyset.) This description is lost on a lot of people, and so they're more likely to be depicted with the wrong proportions and often with human-like breasts (actually, now that I'm thinking about it, they're also often depicted as looking like human/kangaroo hybrids, which isn't really much better). Guys, that doesn't make sense, even if one was good-looking enough to a human to get his attention. (Yes, this happened. They broke up because they turned out to be allergic to each other.) That's not even going into problems with the presence of male Selonians in the wider galaxy, at least one of whom was drawn as a bear/wolf/wolverine person.

Anyway, all that aside, the Selonians are pretty interesting for another reason: Their homeworld is one of five heavily inhabited planets in the Corellia system, along with the Drall's homeworld, Corellia itself, and two other planets that orbit a big space station (wacky as that sounds).

Rating: 3/5. They lose a point for the inconsistency with which they get portrayed visually.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stronger Than Superman

Have a Popeye cartoon, because the thing I would probably have posted otherwise got vaporized off YouTube. (What's funny is that my sister instantly knew what was playing from the other room from the music. We've watched quite a few Popeye cartoons over the years.)



The way Popeye warps the laws of physics always makes me smile. (Also, his laugh is generally funnier than what he's laughing at.)

Also, he's a bigger industrial power than the country he lives in.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wolverine Can Sing

What makes me laugh about the (...creatively pronounced) "Adamantium" segment is that I just heard some other parody of the same song while my sister was going through things.



...I don't like musicals either, Hulk. I actually watched this because it's Wolverine as a muppet.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#95)

941. Sarkhai. The Sarkhai are basically pale-skinned, pale-haired humans (to the point where I can see implications that they interbreed with humans, meaning they aren't actually what I'd call a species, more like an ethnic group). They apparently have traditional facepaint they wear that they originally used to scare off predators. ...Right, a few vaguely jagged black lines will certainly boost my scariness ratio 150%.

Anyway, apparently Force sensitive Sarkhai are really rare, like "one or two at a time in the whole population" rare.

Also, during an era about 3500 years before the movies, the Sarkhai homeworld was a hotly contested planet in conflicts between the three powers of the day, the Galactic (AKA Old) Republic, the Sith Empire (no relation to most of the other empires of Star Wars, despite those also usually being ruled by Sith), and a group called the Rift Alliance (imagine if the Confederacy of the US Civil War formed during one of the world wars or something because they didn't approve of how the war was being handled and you have an idea of what these guys are), all wanted its defense technologies.

Rating: 2/5. The whole being fought over for technology bit is interesting, but it's the only actually interesting thing.

942. Sarrish. The Sarrish are ugly rubber-forehead aliens from a planet named Sarrish. Their homeworld had its own defense force before and during the Clone Wars, but despite this was occupied by the Separatists and became the site of one of their greatest victories during the war.

More notably, the Sarrish article is the site of this horrendous sentence:

At the end of the Clone Wars, in 19 BBY, Senator Padmé Amidala was died from childbirth and was sent to her homeworld of Naboo to be buried.

That's right, she was died from childbirth. (If you're wondering what a sentence like this was doing here, the Sarrish senator was at the funeral.)

Rating: 3/5. I like the details of them having their own military and being loyal to the Republic (things from this era that don't often go together), and yet they get stomped on by the Separatists even with help from the Republic. (In fact, multiple important named characters fought on their side in the conflict, and they still lost.)

943. Saurians. Okay, before I get into these guys, let's start a little running count. How many aliens with the combination of letters "s-a-u-r" at the beginning of their names are reptilian?

Saurians are lisping snake-headed reptilians (1 out of 1). Apparently they are widely known to wear drab colors, but at least one wore bright colors.

...That's about exactly it.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, they might have gotten better if they weren't universal lispers because I (slightly disproportionately) like snake people.

944. Saurin. The Saurin are a somewhat distant offshoot of the Trandoshans, reptilian people (2 out of 2-DING!) who are known as hunters. The Saurin apparently follow the same religion as the Trandoshans despite having somehow managed to evolve completely different hand structures from their cousins. (Saurin women also somehow have breasts-thanks, creepy ol' Wookieepedia-despite there being no evidence that Trandoshan women do.) They are apparently humorless, but despite being known for being in toughs-type occupations (i.e. thugs, bodyguards, etc.), their homeworld also was a major participant in the Old Republic's refugee program during the Clone Wars.

Now, that has slightly disturbing potential implications when the Saurin follow a religion that involves hunting, but as far as I can tell there's no evidence of untoward motives at all. The Saurin government of the time was just a bunch of nice guys, apparently (and there's no evidence that the population was upset about it, either).

Rating: 3/5. I've mentioned before that I like good guy reptiles. These guys have made it into my good books, even if there are some weird bits about them that I don't like so much.

945. Saurtons. Saurtons are reptilian beings (3 out of 3! DING DING DING!) with crocodilian features. These crocodilian features include straight up crocodile heads (classic) and the less well known but quite accurate feature of powerful immune systems combined with being hideously filthy (well, I tend to think they borrowed that second bit from monitor lizards, but the immune system thing is definitely true of actual crocodiles) to the point where they can get other beings sick by mere contact, and their cities apparently were not especially sanitary-they don't feel the need to clean it, so why bother? (On the one hand, this is essentially a "what dirty beasts" vaguely racist sentiment; on the other hand, why would they feel the need to clean up germy filth?)

They may have gold skin and apparently usually stand in the roughly-six-feet-tall range, and suffer from inconsistent description/artwork disparity-they're "slender and quick" yet are drawn like cartoon pro wrestlers. While I can see the appeal of slender reptile people in general, the huge crocodilian head suits a beefy guy better, I think (though there really ought to be variety in any species).

Anyway, they apparently had reasonably advanced tech before coming into contact with the galactic civilization, and several members of the species also were involved in the Kathol Rift stuff.

Rating: 4/5. Aside from being proof that alien species namers are often spectacularly uncreative (consider that, using Earth-language etymology, "Saurton" could be seen to mean "lizard town"), the Saurtons are pretty nice, if admittedly fairly basic. Also, I will go on record as saying there can never be too many crocodile people in a fictional universe.

946. Sauvax. The Sauvax are very cool looking crustacean people. By appearances, they only have huge pinchers, but apparently tucked inside these are small hands with opposable thumbs, which explains how they can make spears and such (which gives them a point in plausibility, anyway). They're supposedly strong swimmers, which seems unlikely, but they definitely look fairly amphibious.

Anyway, whilst primitive and isolated from galactic society (despite there apparently being fairly sparse human settlements on their homeworld), the Sauvax apparently are peaceful and have a complex society that is heavily dependent on diplomatic gestures and such. Central to this is the sharing of food. Rather than take offense at those who have trouble stomaching food that the Sauvax offer (which is very common), the Sauvax will instead mock the victims of their cuisine. ...Wow, what a bunch of trolls.

Their favorite letter is clearly "u," as their personal names have an average of three apiece. Most of these names are five to seven letters long.

Anyway, during the New Sith Empire's time of activity (it comes after the Sith Empire mentioned in the Sarkhai entry above, hence the "new"), some artifacts were stored on the Sauvax homeworld, and then, many years later, a Sith adept showed up (shortly before or around the prequel movies era) and searched for the artifacts in question, enslaving the amphibious Sauvax to do the searching (apparently with help from the human colonists). However, they were stopped, stuff was happy afterwards, blah blah yadda yadda.

Rating: 5/5. Mostly because they look cool, admittedly. Also because they're kind of amusing trolls.

947. Sawal. Sawal apparently are green, scaly humanoids. They are suspected of "cannibalism" (i.e. eating sapients) by settlers on their planet, but it's possible that the disappearances that cause this suspicion were caused by hostile wildlife.

Incidentally, Wookieepedia both infuriated and amused me with this article's use of the word "disparition." Just say "disappearances," guys, the whole five dollar word thing is unnecessary and confusing (even to a word nerd like me sometimes).

Rating: 2/5, mostly for the oddity of the article.

948. Sayormi. The Sayormi appear to essentially be a generic dark elf type fantasy race (albeit with rubber forehead alien features instead of the usually inevitable perfectly smooth skin) that happen to live in a creepy forest on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld, for some unfathomable reason.

And when I say "generic dark elf type fantasy race," I mean they supposedly use magic (including "voodoo"), all the women are called "witches," all the men are either warriors or "monks," and their most-feared warrior is the hilariously named "Cyrans the Unfeeling." (He's called "the Unfeeling" because he cannot feel. Amazing.)

While all that amuses me to some degree, no. Just no.

Rating: 1/5. Check, please.

949. Schenor. Schenor are apparently universally Force-sensitive felinoids. (Hey, I'd have never guessed "cat alien" from "Schenor!" Extra point!) Apparently, they also may lay eggs (!) and grow to be eight feet tall. They love martial arts and honor (typical cat aliens) and apparently were offhandedly described in RPG material as "eight-foot samurai cat men." (...Okay, another point.)

Rating: 4/5. They got one more point for the sheer weirdness of maybe possibly laying eggs.

950. Schiav. Big ugly cartoon alien humanoids (from the Droids cartoon).

Rating: 1/5. Meh, whatever.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He Also Is The Only Person In The Game With A Gun

I've been playing the Mardek games again, partly because I've left my old saves far behind (and they likely vanished from the old computer's memory by now anyway), partly because I'd never actually gotten especially far before, and partly because I felt like it. (Legion is still the best.)

And I have to say, Muriance here may be one of my favorite video game villains.



The best part? There are strong implications that this guy is a legitimate threat to the whole of reality.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Favorite Part's The Robots From the Fleischer Cartoon

This is pretty great.



It's just an incredible tribute, it really is. (And even though I'm not a big comic reader, I recognized basically everything they put in without help from the annotations they put up for it. Pretty sure I recognized a thing or two they left out, for that matter.)

It's kind of funny how the Mechanical Monsters, the robots from the same-titled Fleischer Studios Superman short, have become a symbol of those cartoons. I mean, there's a good reason-they're visually distinctive and easily packaged because they're entities rather than locations (they're also from one of the less offensive of the old cartoons overall, although check out this one-admittedly, it has some offensive elements, but it's also progressive because its mad scientist is a Native American [of course there's a mad scientist, it's a Fleischer short]).

And yes, I'm disproportionately concerned with the Fleischer shorts. I watched them a lot when I was a kid.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Giant Robot Car Thing

(Okay, can I just say that Google's new login page is the worst decision Google's ever made? And it's made a few pretty bad ones in recent years.

It defeats the purpose of logging out, you frikkin' dummies.)

If I didn't live on the wrong side of an ocean, in a country where it was street legal, and had a lot more money to throw away, I'd totally buy this thing.



As it is, I'll just comment that it's pretty cool, even if it's also totally ridiculous.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

You're Welcome For The Mental Image

From a chapter of Children of the Lens, the last of E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman novels (context is that it's an excerpt of a story one of the protagonists is writing):

"Qadgop the Mercotan slithered flatly around the afterbulge of the tranship. One claw dug into the meters-thick armor of pure neutronium, then another. Its terrible xmex-like nout locked on. Its zymolosely polydactile tongue crunched out, crashed down, rasped across. Slurp! Slurp! At each abrasive stroke the groove in the tranship's plating deepened and Qadgop leered more fiercely. Fools! Did they think that the airlessness of absolute space, the heatlessness of absolute zero, the yieldlessness of absolute neutronium, could stop QADGOP THE MERCOTAN? And the stowaway, that human wench Cynthia, cowering in helpless terror just beyond this thin and fragile wall..."

...Is it just me, or does this feel like it's basically building towards tentacle fic?

-Signing off.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Suplexing A Train

Is context even necessary after a certain point?



I don't think it really is.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Those Are Some Stupid Big Munitions

Wait for it...



What really staggers me is how little boom there is for the bombs' size. They're bigger than some cities, yet the explosions they make are barely big enough to destroy their own mass, if that.

I mean, obviously, they're weapons of intimidation rather than anything else. "Look how much we can waste throwing at you, you guys, you're so [insert crass adjectival verb]."

(This is from the apparently ongoing Space Battleship Yamato remake. Space Battleship Yamato is known in the US as "Star Blazers.")

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#94)

931. Saheelindeeli. Saheelindeeli are supposedly, by description, green-furred and "ape-like." The picture on the page for them illustrates two individuals, neither of whom display any green fur or look any more "ape-like" than a human being. More reliable information is that they aren't especially advanced technologically.

And that's about it.

Rating: 2/5. Also, Han Solo visited their planet once, and dumped manure on somebody's stunt plane to tender his resignation from his employment. (It makes sense in context.)

932. Sakiyans. Sakiyans have huge brains that let them process massive amounts of sensory data from their very acute senses (they can see into the infrared spectrum and have senses of smell and hearing that appear almost supernatural to other species) and have musculature that make them half again as strong as humans of equivalent size (and presumably build). They may or may not have claws or fingernails (continuity hiccups, no doubt) and four or five fingers per hand (more hiccups). They have a wide variety of skin colors; apparently, lighter-skinned Sakiyans are on the receiving end of prejudice from darker-skinned Sakiyans. (Each of those terms, it should be noted, covers most of the rainbow, just in different shades.)

The Sakiyan homeworld is in Hutt space, but unlike most inhabitants of Hutt space, the Sakiyans resisted all attempts at military conquest by the Hutts. Instead, the Hutts eventually forced them into fiscal dependence through tricky business practices.

Rating: 4/5. Sakiyans are fairly interesting.

933. Sakuubians. Sakuubians have "blue" (the picture indicates purple) skin, cat-slit eyes, four small horns on their heads, and supposedly have facial ridges. And... there are two named Sakuubians.

And... that's it.

Rating: 2/5. Because one of the pictures is rather fetching, even if she's apparently the wrong color.

934. Samarians. They wanted to make a trade agreement with their neighbors, the Roshans, but the Empire didn't let them. The end.

Rating: 1/5.

935. Samhari. The Samhari apparently considered themselves aloof from galactic affairs at least at one time. That time, it should be noted, was known as the "Dark Age of the Republic," wherein the Old Republic had nearly ceased to exist and was brought to its knees by the Sith. (This was the same group of Sith who would, at the end of this time period, be destroyed by the machinations of Darth Bane.) That's all we know.

Rating: 1/5.

936. Samuac. Samuac apparently are nearly human in appearance, only distinguished by red eyes similar to a Chiss' eyes. They "managed to avoid" being subjugated by the Galactic Empire.

Rating: 1/5. ...A lot of "blehs" tonight.

937. Sanyassans. Oh. Heh. The Sanyassans are the species known for years only as "Marauders."

The Marauders were most famous for being the murderous villains of the second Ewok TV movie, killing all but one of the human characters from the first Ewok TV movie in the first ten minutes.

Apparently, all those individuals were well over a century old, having been part of the original crew that had been shipwrecked a full hundred years before the events of that movie. It's not unlikely that many of them later died of old age, as they apparently tend to retain their combat abilities and considerable durability even into their last years.

They supposedly were poorly known throughout much of the galaxy, and the name "Marauder" was used even by seasoned anthropologists to describe them because of their very strong tendency to practice piracy. Their civilization stretches back at least five thousand years, and apparently it had a fallback of some sort or something fairly recently.

Rating: 3/5. They're reasonably amusing.

938. Sarafurians. They apparently existed long enough ago to be called "ancient," and went extinct when their planet stopped rotating for some reason.

Rating: 1/5. It'd sure be nice to know why their planet stopped rotating, but I guess we can't have everything.

939. Sareeta. Sareeta are kinda weird and ugly-looking. (Not a value judgment, just a statement of fact. It's not helped by the fact that the one image of one appears to be a blurry black and white photograph.)

Apparently, the Sareeta in charge send out Sareeta to the wider galaxy in hopes that they'll learn awesome things which they will then bring back to enrich their homeworld with, but the individuals they send out at least occasionally decide they've got other plans.

Rating: 2/5.

940. Sarkans. Sarkans are reptilian aliens that have rather iguanodont-like faces.

There are a number of other things about them, but the main thing to take away is this: They are dinosaur people who aren't based on carnivorous dinosaurs, long-necked dinosaurs, armored dinosaurs, or dinosaurs with large, ornate heads.

Cool beans, I like 'em just for that.

Rating: 4/5. There's more to them than that and some of it is pretty interesting, but I saw the iguanodont faces and I was sold.

-Signing off.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Poor Choice In Robeasts

So recently, I was looking at episodes of Voltron on the official posting on YouTube. Most specifically, I was looking at an episode titled The Sand People.

The funny thing about this episode is that they adapted its story for one of those radio play/storybook combinations. Having been more familiar with the Transformers iterations of these, I hadn't been aware that the odd little storybook was an adaptation; the Transformers audio storybooks always were original unique stories.

Anyway, the adaptation is notable because there was a certain amount of adaptation decay in the Voltron dub of Golion: If you watch the episode, it's pretty clear from context that the little mole person Sandy dies at the end, despite the Voltron dub's narrator vehemently insisting that Sandy recovered later.

In the audiobook version, Sandy unequivocally wakes up at the end. I almost wonder if they picked this episode to adapt this way so they could comfort the traumatized children.

Anyway, that's not really what I'm blogging about. What I really want to talk about are the sand people/mole people that are the subject of the episode.

Why? Because they're adorable. (I do have my weaknesses.)

In the art for the storybook, they were these weird, generic little football player guys with pointy fingers indicating their claws. This lost a lot of detail from the animation's character model:





Clearly, they're some sort of insectoid creatures with a relatively superficial resemblance to football players and moles.

What I really find interesting is that they actually have four distinct forms of locomotion: They burrow; they drag themselves on their bellies (presumably, this is related to their burrowing); they do a hilarious little waddle gait with their arms sort of akimbo; and when they're scared by the villain's tanks showing up to abduct them, they throw their arms up and do full-on cartoon wheel-leg runs (and some of them actually outsprint the tanks).

The reason the villain was after them, incidentally, was because he wanted to turn them into an army of robeasts (if you're unfamiliar with Voltron, that's simply the word for giant monsters used to fight Voltron). And the poor little dead sand person I mentioned earlier, Sandy, died got hurt because he actually got turned into one and they had to fight him.



What makes it really sad, of course, is that the reason the villains picked Sandy to transform is because he was wearing a bracelet that the princess had given him, so he was more identifiable than the others. The princess ultimately got this specific sand person killed. (Not that it was her fault, of course. But don't tell me she wouldn't be waking up from nightmares about it months later.)

Even sadder: There was a creature on this very planet that was a far more suitable subject for transformation into a robeast.



Seriously, don't tell me these big ugly horse substitutes wouldn't have made more powerful robeasts than knee-high mole people.

They're frikking terrifying.



...Perhaps it isn't fair to use this particular frame of animation as an example, but my point stands.

-Signing off.

Friday, October 4, 2013

YO-YO ROBOT IS AWESOME

So the other day I was poking around on YouTube and came across a video which included the phrase "Combattler V 2012" in its name, and it had obviously new footage of the robot Combattler V, the yo-yo robot.



(That's not the footage in question [it's from a Super Robot Wars game instead], I'm just establishing that this is the yo-yo robot.)

My interest was piqued, and so I did some quick research. The results of said search blew my mind: The footage in question is largely from three promotional videos made by a pachinko company to promote their Combattler-themed pachinko machine. One of these videos, posted on the company's official YouTube channel, is below.



The videos seem to have created persistent rumors of a full remake.

This made me realize: As long as they toned down the gainaxing (I happened to choose the video that had the least, incidentally), I'd totally watch the heck out of a modern Combattler V series that didn't take itself too seriously.

But no, this is for promoting pachinko machines.

...Japan is a weird place, you guys.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So Much For That Secret Identity

(This post is more severely backdated than a lot of the ones I've been putting up lately. Sorry about that.)

This is a tokusatsu homage film titled "Secondary Education."



It's not bad, considering it's a no-budget little thing. I've seen people call it fantastic, and it's certainly pretty well-acted and decently written.

-Signing off.

Monday, September 30, 2013

ROCKETTO PAUNCHI

Pretty sure I've posted at least one of this videos before (probably with some variant of this exact title), but it's been a while so I don't care.

If one is a fan of Japanese mecha, Dai-Guard is a series that one is obligated to watch because of moments like this:



If you don't understand why someone would shout "rocket punch" while throwing his own robot's severed arm as an impromptu attack, it's because Mazinger Z, one of the super robots that inspired everything that came after him, has rockets built into his detachable arms so that he can throw punches over any distance. Silly, but fun.

And in the most recent Mazinger Z series, someone got the same idea as the guy from Dai-Guard did.



That's coming full circle.

(Incidentally, the titanic gold/yellow robot is actually supposed to be Zeus from Greek mythology. Yes, really. ...I honestly can't imagine mythological Zeus having that reaction to a rocket punch. One of the Viking gods, on the other hand, would have that exact reaction. Those guys had parties where they had the indestructible guy sit against a wall and chucked things at him. That happens to be how and where Ragnarok got started, as it happens. Vikings were metal.)

-Signing off.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Giant Monsters And Lousy Cameras

The other day, I finally sorta watched the movie Cloverfield.

Unfortunately, the shaky-cam effect made it difficult for me to watch and nearly impossible for my sister to watch, and frankly I found the people story mostly kinda boring, meaning there was really only maybe twenty minutes of stuff I really liked in the movie, despite the premise sounding pretty neat.

Also, it has never not been stupid when ridiculously large monsters express interest in eating people when the monsters are actually animals. (If giant monsters are like Pacific Rim's kaiju or Attack on Titan's titans, it makes more sense, because those kaiju were weapons, not animals, and the titans are actually just zombies that range from car-sized to Godzilla-sized. Also, giant monsters that are sadistic sapient creatures eating people is something I'll give a pass, because they're not generally after nutrition either.)

Yes, I'm calling you out, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.



No, actually, I'm not.

(It's kind of amazing how well the Rhedosaurus interacts with its environment; this is a black and white film and the visual effects are still nearly on par with the creature effects from the original trilogy Star Wars movies. Although the black and white probably actually helps with the visual quality.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Can't Believe I Don't Seem To Have A Post Titled "EXTERMINATE"

I can't really say I'm a Doctor Who fan, but I'm definitely a Dalek fan.



The best part of this clip is that, while the Daleks technically did bring in reinforcements later, it wasn't because they needed them against the Cybermen, it was just part of some sort of other master plan they had; they easily could have killed five million Cybermen with four Daleks, and possibly just with one (as the boasting Dalek leader suggests).

And, of course, there's the fact that Daleks are the same goofy salt-and-pepper shakers as they've always been in appearance, while the Cybermen felt the need to update their looks over and over and over again. (Though I can't say I care for older Cybermen designs; the new "Iron Man-esque" designs are probably my favorite.)

-Signing off.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Super Spaceship Wars

Funnily enough, it could be argued that the visual format used by Super Robot Wars games is better suited to ship battles; although the following video isn't especially graphically sophisticated, it still amuses me a fair bit.



Why? Because one of the "attacks" in the video (which is not from an actual game but a mockup of one, using designs and characters from the anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which I hear is very good but not licensed for English distribution) is based on a one-time event where a character destroyed an orbital defense network by ordering engines attached to a bunch of comets and bombarding them from a distance, and presenting one-time special events as a regular attack is something that is extremely common in Super Robot Wars games. Whoever did this video knows their stuff.

-Signing off.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#93)

(It's been way too long since I've done one of these; for some reason, the nice new computer I got a while back actually threw me off my blogging rhythm, and then my sister got a Tumblr account, which didn't help. I'm amazed I actually got this done tonight, because the weather's supposed to be quite bad, but I've not actually heard any thunder in hours, so I'm pretty happy with things at this point.)

921. Rutanians. Rutanians look like some other aliens called Riorians, because they're based on them. The Rutanians are essentially humanoid creatures with Riorian heads.

Incidentally, I recently saw a post by a blogger complaining that the Riorians were changed from worm creatures to humanoids by the artist who drew cover art featuring a Rutanian. Rest easy, guy, that's not actually what happened.

As for the Rutanians themselves, they didn't like some of their neighbors, and the Yuuzhan Vong duped them and these neighbors into war, letting the Yuuzhan Vong easily conquer them.

Rating: 2/5. The Yuuzhan Vong victim pity-point rules apply.

922. Ruurians. Ruurians are caterpillar/butterfly-like beings. Their larval caterpillar/centipede-like stage is the primary active member of society; the butterfly-like adult stage is obsessed with mating and then dies. The total lifespan of a Ruurian is fairly short. This is an accurate reflection of how most insects live their lives, so kudos to the author who created them.

Ruurians are small compared to humans, and are generally cautious and timid, but also very observant (though there apparently has been at least one Ruurian bounty hunter). The most notable Ruurian is probably the historian Skynx, who along with several others hired Han Solo and Chewbacca to help them find the lost treasure of Xim the Despot, long-dead awesome evil dictator. (Spoiler: It turned out the treasure was mostly pretty worthless. Also, despite being tiny and nonviolent, Skynx saved Han from his archnemesis through sheer awesomeness.)

Rating: 5/5. I like the Ruurians rather a lot. They've seen a decent amount of use otherwise.

923. Ruusanians. Ruusanians are/were a tiny population (20,000 individuals or so) of "inbred" humans from the planet Ruusan.

Ruusan is notable, incidentally, as the site where the Sith were seemingly wiped out a thousand years before the movie by a devastating Force technique (it was a thing involving Darth Bane tricking the other Sith into destroying themselves). Later on, it would turn out to be an important site of Jedi/Force/something something MacGuffin blah blah fishcakes.

Rating: N/A. Not really an alien species, guys.

924. Ry'coz. The Ry'coz are inhabitants of the Novor system, relatively recently "liberated" from Hutt Space by the Galactic Empire, and they basically turned the system into a high-end tourist trap.

Rating: 2/5. Good for you, guys.

925. Rybets. Rybets are, as the name horribly suggests, basically froggish people, although they're really more amphibian dinosauroids by appearance.

Apparently, male and female Rybets despise each other to the point where they only come together to mate and tend to murder each other if they hang out for too long. (Usually, apparently, the females murder the males; also, there is a known but highly abnormal instance of a wealthy male keeping a sequestered harem of females.) They apparently are essentially adults at just five years of age, and their mothers kick them out around then, giving them property of their dead father if it's available (heh). (The male Rybet who kept a harem did so, incidentally, so that he could use the large number of children so-produced as a slave labor force. Yes, really.)

Significantly less squickily and more amusingly,the Rybets claim to be natives of the planet Varl, the original homeworld of the Hutts, and that Varl's destruction was the result of a war they'd waged with the Hutts, but nobody else in the galaxy finds this plausible (the Hutts reportedly find it "mildly amusing"). They also claim that they'll eventually reclaim Varl.

Yeah, no, Varl was destroyed either by a cataclysmic solar event (what the Hutts say happened) or by the Hutts' own excesses (what everybody else believes), and while the Hutts now see themselves as their own gods, they still hold the dead planet sacred, and they're still a major power even after the Yuuzhan Vong invasion (which may or may not have done yet more harm to Varl somehow). You're outta luck, guys.

Rating: 3/5. I really like their probably delusional history.

926. Ryn. The Ryn are basically space Romani (what less informed people would call by the slur "gypsies").

Entirely sympathetic and quite positively portrayed space Romani. (In fact, after Chewbacca died [blipping Yuuzhan Vong], a Ryn traveled with Han Solo for a little while and actually helped him heal a little.)

They are said to have invented sabacc, which is basically as I understand it like blackjack if you played with the major Arcana as well as the "traditional" suit cards, and use the game's cards the same way the Tarot is often used, for divination.

Rating: 4/5. I rather like the Ryn, and the fact that they were essentially actually deliberately created to bring attention to the Romani people's historical plights is a positive.

927. S'krrr. The S'krrr are insect people, although there's only two illustrations of them and neither of them really look much like insects. (The one I'm more familiar with actually makes the individual look like a reptile creature with a bug face, in fact.) They're apparently relatively well known for a warrior tradition involving vibroweapons (basically just technologically augmented bladed weapons), but in the present are mostly pacifistic; present day practitioners of their martial arts also are usually poets.

I myself know them best from the Galaxy of Fear kiddie horror series, wherein there was a mad scientist of their species who wanted to turn a type of local beetle into an ecology-destroying swarm because of crazy reasons. This story had one of them restrain the swarm via wing song, the mad scientist being devoured at some point, and also was the most ignominious incident in the entire career of then-Captain Thrawn, as he had a Star Destroyer nearby that could have handled the incident, but due to plot contrivance dropped his only communicator.

I kind of both love and despise that book.

Rating: 3/5. There's a solid core of interesting ideas there.

928. S'kytri. S'kytri apparently means "windborn" and you would be correct if you guessed that means they fly. Of course they fly. There's no chance that it's just a poetic thing.

Anyway, apparently all their men are blue-skinned and all their women are green-skinned; if a baby is born that contradicts this "natural order," it's killed as an abomination (though somewhere there's reportedly a red-skinned woman).

Despite being essentially hollow-boned humans with bat wings, though, they lay eggs.

Apparently, a S'kytri woman met Anakin Skywalker, who figured out she was Force-sensitive, and he promised to train her; surprisingly enough, after he became Darth Vader he kept that promise.

That makes me think of this:



Because it's the best version of Darth Vader ever, that's why.

Anyway, said woman then, because she'd been taught by Darth Vader, ruled her planet with an iron fist and enslaved her people for the Empire. ...Whoops. (Presumably that was pretty much on purpose, but still. Whoops.)

Rating: 2/5, mostly because the story of that one individual amuses me somehow.

929. Saadul. The Saadul are known only for their role in the Yuuzhan Vong crisis, wherein a number of refugees displaced by an attack on some world or another found themselves lumped in with Rybets and Ryn (huh) as "other" rather than being categorized by their own species. As both Rybets and Ryn are nomadic species with low galaxy-wide populations, this suggests it's possible that Saadul themselves aren't terribly populous, but that's only speculation.

Now, this will sound bad, but... in a galaxy with twenty million known sapient species, "other" is probably going to be a necessary part of any database's categorization system.

Rating: 2/5, because that level of cross-reference in a single post is worth a point by itself.

930. Saffa. Saffa apparently created an art form, Saffa paintings, after coming into contact with another species. Who knows why? Who knows what the paintings are actually like?

Nobody, that's who. Ah well.

Rating: 1/5.

-Signing off.