Eight legged arachnid. Fond of eating pesky insects like mosquitoes and houseflies. Small ones can be cute. Big ones tend to crawl up to you when you least expect it, causing you to leap into the air, scream like a schoolgirl, and whack them with whatever blunt object is nearby. All spiders use venom to subdue and kill their prey, but some spiders, like the brown recluse (or fiddleback), the black widow (or damn scary-looking big-butt spider), and the funnel-web (or Australian super-deadly spider from Hell) are poisonous to humans.

It's also that weird short song by They Might Be Giants, featuring such dandy lyrics as "He is our hero", "Must...stop...", "Step on Spider!", "We love you, Spider!", "I promise not to kill you", and "Oohhhh!", usually all in the same verse. It's fun to perform these lyrics in public, as long as you're drunk, with friends, and not worried about being invited back.

A character in the William Gibson written movie Johnny Mnemonic. Spider is played by Henry Rollins. He is a doctor who is a part of the NAS underground and is very knowledgeable of implants. He jacks up Jane's nervous system and attempts to fix Johnny's synaptic seepage but can only offer to dig the silicon out of his back-brain. He knows that Johnny holds the cure to NAS and convinces him that he should attempt to extract it cleanly. He is killed by the Street Preacher.

compiled overview of the 30ton Spider 'Mech, from various BattleTech novels and game sourcebooks:



The SDR-5V Spider is the crowning triumph of Newhart Interstellar Industries' long history of armament manufacture. The firm produced mostly aero-space fighters; the Spider was their first and only entry into the BattleMech market.

In 2650, the Star League requisitioned a special 'Mech for its elite commando forces. Newhart Interstellar Industries responded so quickly that most of the other 'Mech manufacturing firms were left sitting in the dust. Newhart had, in fact, already designed the SDR series, which easily exceeded the minimum standards for a lightweight recon/attack 'Mech. They were already geared up for immediate production, and so the Star League awarded Newhart the contract.

The Spider got its name from its front armor alignment, which resembles a Spiderweb. The seams between the armor plates are filled with a bright red fiberglass sealant, which emphasizes the pattern.

The SDR-5V was conceived as a fast-moving 'Mech with ample firepower and the ability to operate for an extended period of time without support. To fulfill the latter requirement, very reliable parts were used on the Spider, which keeps maintenance cycles to a minimum. The 'Mech's firepower consists of two center torso-mounted Aberdovey Mark III medium lasers. Though more expensive than the common Martell medium lasers, they are considered the top quality available.

Jump capacity set this 'Mech above and beyond modified versions of the Locust and other recon 'Mechs. The jump jet system was designed to make standard leaps and also to vary the leap trajectory by pivoting the jets in flight. The jump variables made possible by this design capability play havoc with even the most sophisticated targeting systems.

The Spider's only real design flaw is that its particular configuration of armor and sensors leave no room for a pilot escape system. In case of emergency, the Spider pilot is forced to manually reach the lower hatch to exit the 'Mech.

Very few SDR-5V Spiders were left in the Successor States after the fall of Star League. When House Marik discovered a supply bunker containing several functional Spiders on the planet Keystone in their sphere, they quickly absorbed the 'Mechs into their forces.

In the battle for Styk within House Liao space in 2934, units from Marik's Militia attacked attached units of House Fujita's Second Battalion. While defending the ruins of the city of Devonshire, the Second found itself under attack by the Militia forces' several Spiders. Using a series of close-combat attacks such as jumping, the Spiders cut through Liao's outer defenses, making it possible for Marik forces to control the city for several hours, looting it of supplies.

In 2970, House Steiner made use of several Spiders in a fast raid on the Kurita-held world of LaBlon. As part of the Twelfth Star Guards, the Spiders moved in on the rear area of a Kurita supply dump. As they hit one area, the other raiders struck in force from another location. This tactic allowed Steiner to cut down the spread-out Kurita troops, which could not rally in time to stop their attackers from taking the supplies to a waiting DropShip.

House Davion was desperate to gain control of several Spiders to supplement its own forces, as they were forced to scrap theirs for parts during the First Succession War. In 3000, House Davion's elite First Guards staged a commando-style raid on a 'Mech repair facility on the House Marik world Sirius. Far from their own territory, the attacking forces dropped just outside of the facility and took what they came for, five Spiders that had been brought in for research and preventive maintenance. Despite heavy damage given by Marik's support, the Guards took few losses and succeeded in getting the Spider 'Mechs they had come for.

Another military unit reported to have possession of Spiders is the elite Wolf's Dragoons. Reports from various battlefields state that the Dragoons make use of an entire lance of Spiders, though these reports are not easily confirmed.



Note: Information used here was the domain of FASA before they split the rights between Wizkids LLC and Microsoft (table-top gaming and video games respectively). Copyright of the fluff text is in limbo, but names of persons, places, & things are without any doubt the property of Wizkids LLC. Use of any terms here related to the BattleTech trademark are not meant as a challenge to Wizkids LLC's rights.
spelling flame = S = spider food

spider

The Web-walking part of a search engine that collects pages for indexing in the search engine's database. Also called a bot. The best-known spider is Scooter, the web-walker for the Alta Vista search engine.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

A kind of ice-cream soda, made with lemonade (the Sprite and 7-Up sort, not the kind with lemons), and ice-cream topping. Generally served in a big glass, about the height of a large milkshake from McDonald's (I call them spider glasses, but this might be a bit of a circular definition.)

Ice-cream sodas are often also called spiders, but these can contain any soft drink, and don't have the topping.

Also known as Spider!, it is a series of thirteen five-minute animated musical videos directed by Graham Ralph and sung by British entertainer Jeff Stevenson. The cartoons were created in 1991 and originally aired on the BBC.

The subjects of the cartoons are a boy and his pet spider. At the beginning of the series, the first song, "A Spider In The Bath" tells the tale of a boy who is afraid to go in the bath due to the presence of a very cute spider. The boy tries to put it down the drain, but the spider continues to come back and scare the little boy.

However, throughout the series, the boy and the spider become friends. Although the spider scares the boy from time to time, the two go on many adventures, such as joining a rock and roll band - with the 8-legged spider on the drums, of course - going on a hedgehog hunt, and going to school, where the feisty spider distracts the students from learning.

By the end of the series, the boy and the spider become true friends, which is also the name of the final song.

Even though this series was created for the preschool crowd, the pastel colors of the cartoons, the mellow sounds of Jeff Stevenson's voice and acoustic guitar, and the voices of children Casey and Holly Stevenson, the Spider! series appeals to children of all ages, taking us all back to a time where everything was innocent, and the only thing we had to worry about was a little spider in the bath, who means us no harm.

Episodes:

Also known as a mesh strainer or skimmer, a spider is a kitchen utensil used to easily douse and retrieve foods from hot liquid, especially oil. Available in good cookware shops and in Chinatown, a spider has a large shallow basket at one end made of open mesh and a long handle extending at an angle of perhaps 120° from the basket. The basket is made of stainless steel or brass webbing (hence the name?); the handle is generally made of bamboo or metal.

When do you use a spider? Let's say you're deep frying a batch of delicious fish cakes. They're a lovely golden brown, and you need to retrieve them from the hot oil. A slotted spoon makes this a labourious task, as you are forced to fish out one cake at a time, leaving the rest to get progressively browner. A spider scoops them all up at once. Or let's say you want to cook some fresh egg noodles in a boiling broth, or blanch a bunch of asparagus. Put said item in the spider, lower it into the boiling liquid, keep it there for about 30 seconds, and pull it out. Very handy.

It's been said nothing's as scary in daylight. Since fears come from the imagination, you only need to wrestle them up into the real world, and they'll turn into something you could invite home for tea. David Cronenberg's Spider (written by Patrick McGrath) skitters after that homily with a fangful of neurotoxin. The scariest things of all, it contends, our imaginations disguise by any means necessary. And when they do emerge into reality, we can look at them as long as we want. They'll only get worse.

Cronenberg makes mindfucking movies about damaged, bizarre people. That's just his thing. He's never content, though, to strip-mine a little patch of the bizarre -- he doesn't repeat himself, and so his movies are never just predictably unpredictable. The interior territory is mapless, but surely as wide as the world, and Cronenberg's been all across it.

Spider comes off as small and stale in comparison to much of this work, despite some subtly powerful performances, and an approach to visuals and narrative that's always queasily inventive. There's just not much under it all; it feels like the master idea-conjurer is dressing up a failure of imagination.

It's certainly gutsy to create a protagonist who does little but mutter incoherently, smoke, and stare at things as they go by – hardly just passive, he’s two steps away from comatose. Playing 'Spider' Clegg, a middle-aged Briton afflicted with severe schizophrenia, Ralph Fiennes mutters with nuance and stares with flair. Fascinating, inscrutable purpose winks up from his performance, but if all we saw was Clegg's external surroundings, we'd never understand a thing.

Instead, the story takes place within him. As he wanders London, its streets metamorphose into a labyrinth of childhood memories. Clegg is a literal spectator to his own derangement. Fiennes' wasted, fiftyish man lurks in corners and regards a family crisis unfolding around his ten-year-old self, trying to comprehend its shattering implications. The event may have been caused by the young Clegg’s madness – or else made schizophrenia necessary as a defense from reality’s terrors.

The young Clegg is deftly handled by Bradley Hall (who upstages his adult version with a haunted ambiguity uncommon in such a young actor), and taken individually, his scenes are consistently misleading and unsettling. They could have made a spectacular movie.

In comparison, the present doesn't pull its weight. There's a thin story about Clegg's difficulty in adapting to a halfway house for the mentally ill, and two or three interesting characters within (John Neville evokes a broken-down version of his title role in Baron Munchausen: dapper, obsequious, and utterly mad), but the situation comes to nothing at all. A failure as framework for the film's psychological delving, it feels irrelevant and incomplete, and – frustratingly - provides no insight into Clegg's past.

Insight is what we're constantly missing. The script clings to schizophrenia's realities at the expense of psychological complexity; Clegg is opaque, even robotic. Fiennes brings a breathless, eerie intensity to the character, making things compelling moment-by-moment, but he lacks the opportunity to make any moment distinct.

I’ll remember the visuals, though. Cronenberg knows how to startle (think of Crash or Naked Lunch), but Spider enthralls with subdued calm. The light’s phlegmy grey or green-toned, or else has a horrible sterile glint, like the sun’s a fluorescent bulb. Nothing’s ever solid or trustworthy – the world’s as schizophrenic as the protagonist. Negating the barrier between these two is one place Spider does excel.

Certainly the movie’s finest scene takes its power from visual innovation. It combines two recurrent images. First, spider-webs, like the freakishly intricate ones that the young Clegg’s always tying with string. Second, puzzles – in the halfway house, there’s a massive jigsaw that Clegg can no more complete than he can gather the pieces of his mind. When a huge glass door breaks in the halfway house, the attendants reassemble it to ensure there’s no more glass lying around. Clegg produces the last piece and lays it down with a click; mended, the broken glass resembles nothing but an immense spiderweb.

The movie believes it’s something like that scene: a sharp and intricate puzzle, dangerous to fit together. But it’s a more standard spiderweb. Striking in the right light, well-crafted, but insubstantial. A real complexity of ideas would justify Spider’s superficial narrative and flat characters, but there’s nothing to challenge the mind here. Your hand could go right through it.

(I did this review for a film-studies class. Recurrent Themes In Canadian Cinema. I say this as if it were relevant.)

Spi"der (?), n.[OE. spire, fr. AS. spinnan to spin; -- so named from spinning its web; cf. D. spin a spider, G. spinne, Sw. spindel. Seee Spin.]

1. Zool.

Any one of numerous species of arachnids comprising the order Araneina. Spiders have the mandibles converted into poison fangs, or falcers. The abdomen is large and not segmented, with two or three pairs of spinnerets near the end, by means of which they spin threads of silk to form cocoons, or nests, to protect their eggs and young. Many species spin also complex webs to entrap the insects upon which they prey. The eyes are usually eight in number (rarely six), and are situated on the back of the cephalothorax. See Illust. under Araneina.

⇒ Spiders are divided into two principal groups: the Dipneumona, having two lungs: and the Tetrapneumona, having four lungs. See Mygale. The former group includes several tribes; as, the jumping spiders (see Saltigradae), the wolf spiders, or Citigradae (see under Wolf), the crab spiders, or Laterigradae (see under Crab), the garden, or geometric, spiders, or Orbitellae (see under Geometrical, and Garden), and others. See Bird spider, under Bird, Grass spider, under Grass, House spider, under House, Silk spider, under Silk.

2. Zool.

Any one of various other arachnids resembling the true spiders, especially certain mites, as the red spider (see under Red).

3.

An iron pan with a long handle, used as a kitchen utensil in frying food. Originally, it had long legs, and was used over coals on the hearth.

4.

A trevet to support pans or pots over a fire.

<-- = trivet -->

5. Mach.

A skeleton, or frame, having radiating arms or members, often connected by crosspieces; as, a casting forming the hub and spokes to which the rim of a fly wheel or large gear is bolted; the body of a piston head; a frame for strengthening a core or mold for a casting, etc.

Spider ant. Zool. Same as Solitary ant, under Solitary. -- Spider crab Zool., any one of numerous species of maioid crabs having a more or less triangular body and ten long legs. Some of the species grow to great size, as the great Japanese spider crab (Macrocheira Kempferi), measuring sometimes more than fifteen feet across the legs when they are extended. -- Spider fly Zool., any one of numerous species of parasitic dipterous insects of the family Hippoboscidae. They are mostly destitute of wings, and live among the feathers of birds and the hair of bats. Called also bird tick, and bat tick. -- Spider hunter Zool., any one of several species of East Indian sunbirds of the genus Arachnothera. -- Spider lines, filaments of a spider's web crossing the field of vision in optical instruments; -- used for determining the exact position of objects and making delicate measurements. Fine wires, silk fibers, or lines on glass similarly placed, are called spider lines. -- Spider mite. Zool. (a) Any one of several species of parasitic mites of the genus Argas and allied genera. See Argas. (b) Any one of numerous small mites injurious to plants. -- Spider monkey Zool., any one of numerous species of South American monkeys of the genus Ateles, having very long legs and a long prehensile tail. -- Spider orchis Bot., a European orchidaceous plant (Ophrys aranifera), having flowers which resemble spiders. -- Spider shell Zool., any shell of the genus Pteroceras. See Pteroceras.

 

© Webster 1913.

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