August 30, 2006
Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2!!!

Invasion of the paper Daleks!

It's true: Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2 (!!!) is finally online. No excuses, but part of the reason I took so long with this is that the Dalek-making process continued to evolve even as I began writing the piece, including the addition of the LED lights right up through my attempt to replace the paper dome in the latest model with a rounder plastic hemisphere just this past weekend. Anyway, given that the directions are detailed in full at The Ultimate Dalek Factory, the majority of this article contains my musings about the creation process, the improvements upon the original design, my comments regarding the new colored templates themselves (along with the downloads!), and various other issues that came up during the creation of the revised paper Dalek. One thing I didn't mention, however, is that the dollar store Fix-All Adhesive that I used in place of the craptastic glue stick at certain points (which I also used last time) is apparently known to cause cancer in the state of California. I'm not sure why it would cause cancer in California and not elsewhere, but if I happen to become violently ill and die within the next six months, you can truthfully say that I was exterminated by Daleks. Long live Skaro-Crayon.

I also wanted to add some general comments about the Dalek toys and toys in general. During my various Dalek-related web searches, I came across this article on the BBC site regarding the creation of the Doctor Who toys. It's an interesting piece, but I think that the viewpoint expressed by Alasdair Dewar in the content -- at least when taken to the extreme, which it arguably has been when one can't find a decent Dalek toy under $30 -- is exactly the reason that the toy industry is hurting. I quote:

There has to be a drive against producing cheap - but essentially poor value - goods with a logo slapped on them. ... Whenever a feature film comes out there are a lot of cheap giveaway toys that appear via fast food outlets etc. Very rarely do these have any real function, play value or integrity relating to the actual film. It's most often an existing mechanism or idea redressed. I hate that, as that really is just 'label slapping' and offers no long-term play or fun to the kids. ... You may not get the remote control Dalek without Mum and Dad's help, but I bet you're still playing with it long after you get it.

And while I guess I share Dewar's apparent disdain for cheap licensed toys -- and by "cheap" I mean things that fall apart at a ginger touch, not cheap in that they aren't remote controlled talking things with various lights and whatnot -- I recall being extremely excited about getting those cheap McDonald's Happy Meal and Burger King Kids' Club offerings as a kid. (Hell, even now, if Dairy Queen offered cheap Dalek figurines with every Blizzard, I'd have brain freeze for days.) So maybe I'm taking Dewar's comments too far, but I think the larger problem with toys these days is that the folks designing and marketing them aren't thinking like kids. Simply put, today's toys -- or at least today's "boy" toys -- aren't really for kids. I mean, just look at them. Remember the Spider-Man 2 figures, with their 39 and 46 points of articulation? I don't know who that was for, but I don't even think I knew what articulation meant when I was in elementary school. Many of those Spidey figures are still hanging from pegs at Toys 'R' Us stores across America -- the ones that didn't close for lack of business, anyway -- at this very moment.

When I was a kid, sure, I got a kick out of RC gadgets and motorized toys, but contrary to Dewar's remarks, these expensive offerings were rarely toys that I played with for very long. The one larger toy that actually had staying power in my toy collection was the Dino Riders T-Rex -- and not because it advanced and roared with the flip of a button, but because the T-Rex could fairly easily be integrated into my adventures with other toys. I removed and misplaced the armor for it ages ago and the D battery that powered it calcified in place, but it's still within eyeshot of me even as I type this article. The Shredder rode on its back as the Foot battled the TMNT in prehistoric times; it once worked for the Penguin and gnawed away at the top of the Batmobile; the McDonald's Happy Meal Super Mario Bros. toys bounced on its back and called it Papa Yoshi as they pursued Tokka (who, for the purposes of that adventure, became King Koopa) through farthest regions of the Mushroom Kingdom.

But you can't do that with a RC toy, which is essentially a solitary beast. You've got to use both hands to control the damned thing! They don't work terribly well in situations where one would want to play with multiple toys, so they command a kid's exclusive attention during playtime -- and after I drove my cars around the cul de sac for about a week and showed them off to my three friends, they were promptly relegated to the bottom of that yellow crate in my closet. I was never keen on talking figures either -- they were cool when they first appeared on the scene, but soon after getting them I stopped using their talking functions altogether. Again, it had to do with integrating them into toy adventures, and for that to happen figures have to be able to speak more than three scripted lines ad infinitum with the same freaking inflection every time. I preferred to do their lines myself.

Maybe today's kids have changed -- or maybe they're different in the UK -- and are clamoring for uber-expensive talking RC Daleks. Maybe I was (and remain, I guess!) an unusual kid. I dunno. Were I a kid today, I would've been happy with a silent, stationary figure that opened up to reveal the freaking Dalek mutant inside. I can move a toy with my own hands and bellow, "EXTERMINATE!" as loudly as I please (it's kinda fun, really), but little creative touches like that go a long way towards really bringing toys to life. Toys with kung fu chopping action got old quick, but I still fondly remember Storage Shell Michaelangelo. A secret compartment to house all of the accessories -- not to mention that jewel Shredder needs to complete his doomsday device -- built into the figure? Pure genius, and I'm shocked that the new line hasn't seen fit to implement this feature. The Mutations figures paled in comparison.

Seriously, out of all of the new Doctor Who merchandise, I've got to say that the thing I want most is the Dalek shower and bath gel. It's cheap, it looks the part, and I imagine that the head screws off and it's got a hollow interior, which means it could easily support a tiny Kaled mutant with a few modifications on my part. And it's not even really a toy!

Anyway, thanks for reading -- and remember to show me your Daleks! That voice you hear is your inner Davros shouting, "EXTERMINATE!!!" 🙂

-posted by Wes | 11:03 pm | Comments (20)
Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2!

Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2!


And after a long month of waiting, Skaro-Crayon returns with Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2! If you've ever wanted a nifty Dalek figure that opened up to reveal the fearsome Kaled mutant within, read on.  (8/30/06)

-posted by Wes | 7:37 pm | Comments Off on Genesis of the Homemade Daleks: Part 2!
August 19, 2006
The absolute strangeness continues…

Aaand I have returned, as promised, with the second installment of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told! I've also added some navigational code to the pages so that y'all will be able to pop back and forth and up and down between segments when more get posted, 'cause you'll need all the help you can get trekking through the insanity. 🙂

Also, short toy comics make their return with Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #85! With me going through my collection to see what I can keep and what I must sell, there should be a lot more to come in the near future. I'll probably be hanging onto these, though. This is probably my favorite of the old line yellow-clad April figures (though she may lose her favored spot if Playmates makes a similarly-dressed April figure in the future), and I haven't been particularly impressed with the new Teen Titans 'toon figs (admittedly, some do look great, but they're so tiny). And we can't do Titans comics without Titans toys, can we?

Anyway, hopefully the Dalek madness will resume at some point this coming week! I'm also thinking about breaking from the 50K-word novel posts to share another short story, but I may do that after the third part. We'll see. Until then, ja!

-posted by Wes | 9:00 pm | Comments (2)
The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 2)

The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 2)


Yessiree, it's time for the second engaging installment of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told. If you like reading odd and oddly insightful rambling nonsense, friends, you've come to the right place!  (8/19/06)

-posted by Wes | 7:36 pm | Comments Off on The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 2)
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #85!

''A Special News Report!''

Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #85!

Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #85! is terrible, but don't you dare pretend that you've never wondered if it would be possible! Especially if you're familiar with the Teen Titans comics. The Changeling is a freaky freak.  (8/19/06)

-posted by Wes | 1:32 pm | Comments Off on Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #85!
August 17, 2006
Crayon Poetry Corner #13!

''tonight I feel like dying''

Crayon Poetry Corner #13!

It's been a while since we've had an installment of Crayon Poetry Corner, eh? From the less ostensibly cheerful side of SC, here's a new piece from Wes entitled "tonight I feel like dying". Four stanzas of misery.  (8/17/06)

-posted by Wes | 7:45 pm | Comments Off on Crayon Poetry Corner #13!
The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 1)

The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 1)


Remember that zany 50K-word novel I wrote in '04? Well, I've decided to post the whole thing -- in 14 or so chunks -- for your reading pleasure! Here's the first part of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told.  (8/17/06)

-posted by Wes | 6:27 pm | Comments Off on The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told (Part 1)
A poem, a story, and a word

Sorry I haven't posted the second part of the Daleks piece yet. My situation has grown increasingly unpleasant and worrisome in the last week and I honestly haven't been feeling up to making Daleks -- as is suggested by the latest installment of Crayon Poetry Corner (which you might already have seen on Wesoteric, but the graphic is new). Also, remember that National Novel Writing Month project of mine from 2004? Well, given that I may be homeless within a month or two (which would kind of preclude my ability to update SC), I've decided to post the novel here in 3500-word segments (give or take) so that interested folks will have the opportunity to read it. I'm also planning to post more of my fiction in the coming weeks, hence the new folder.

You know, I was planning to say a lot more in this post -- much of which admittedly wouldn't be terribly glad or optimistic -- but instead I'd just like to take another moment to thank everyone for reading. I'm not sure what's going to happen in the near future, but I've enjoyed running Scary-Crayon these past two and a half years. Thanks for spending them (or however long you've been reading!) with me. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 1:18 am | Comments (6)
August 7, 2006
Hip Hop Locos. Ugh.

Before we proceed to part two of our Dalek-making feature, here's a Spectare review of a reprehensible film I had the displeasure of watching recently: Hip Hop Locos. You don't have to take my word for it, as I've included several definitive clips of the movie in action, but it's pretty terrible stuff. As noted towards the end of the review, however, the rest of the set may not be so bad. I rather enjoyed I Hate You, a strange little flick about an aging New York City comic whose obsession with being remembered and acknowledged for his work drives him to become a serial killer. The movie also features his actual comedy routines, which are so focused on murder that I can't imagine anyone finding them genuinely funny... which kind of makes them unintentionally hilarious. (Heck, while I'm at it, check out this clip from the movie: 2:04 mins, 1.05 MB.) So don't let my review of Hip Hop Locos deter you from purchasing Serial Psychos if you happen to come across it -- considering that you get six films for the price of admission, it's still entirely possible that the others will overwhelmingly redeem the set. I'll keep you posted.

By the way -- assuming that you're brave enough to watch them -- I'd be particularly interested in hearing what you think of the clips (and the general idea of including clips in Spectare reviews, for that matter), so do feel free to share here. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 8:54 pm | Comments (9)

Hip Hop Locos...


If you've ever wanted to experience a night on the town with two pot-smoking thugs who say "ey" and "esse" and "holmes" about eight billion times per sentence, Hip Hop Locos is the film for you! I despised this movie.  (8/7/06)

-posted by Wes | 5:03 pm | Comments Off on HIP HOP LOCOS
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