February 26, 2007
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96!

Hooray for Daleks!

Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96!

In Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96, a young Donatello asks Sec about his views regarding a particular February observance! But why should a Dalek care about Black History Month? As if you don't already know!  (2/26/07)

-posted by Wes | 4:15 am | Comments Off on Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96!
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96!

Hey all! In our obligatory annual dig at the February observance, here is Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #96. The sentiments expressed in the comic should be pretty clear, at least concerning panels 1-4, but given the ridiculous number of idiotic comments on last year's "That's So Raven" article (hell, a new one was just added yesterday!) I feel like I have to supply extra clarifying remarks.

First, and let me type this in boldface so that we're clear on this point, I do not mean to suggest that the contributions of the individuals honored during Black History Month should not be recognized. On the contrary, these persons should be recognized alongside others who have achieved similar things, regardless of the color of their skin. For example, Bessie Coleman -- at least insofar as her crowning achievements are concerned -- would more appropriately be mentioned in the company of Amelia Earhart or the Wright brothers than, say, George Washington Carver.

Therefore, with my criticisms of the observance, I do not mean to devalue these individuals' positive contributions to America and the world at large. I do, however, mean to suggest that the very institution of Black History Month itself devalues them by lumping their individual accomplishments together according to the skin color of the honorees, such that more emphasis is in fact placed on the color of their skin than their unique achievements. This effectively amounts to a kind of historical segregation on the basis of the agents' skin color -- or race, if you prefer (I do not; the concept is ultimately meaningless) -- which effectively makes it racist.

I do not think that this is difficult to grasp, and I apologize if my previous comments have been unclear on the matter. Mind you, I do not think that this is the case, but the nature of the comments that people continue to post on the Raven article seems to suggest that at least in some significant way I have failed to effectively articulate and drive my point home. On the other hand, perhaps my contrition regarding this matter is tantamount to apologizing for the stupidity of others. The comment that was posted yesterday is so ridiculous that I have to spotlight it here, with my own analysis to follow:

umm... 2 b honest i dnt think raven or her show iz racist ... i think the thingz in that black history episode waz pretty true... cuz i sure did go out 4 a job and a white man didnt hire me because of my skin color... i think ur just a hater and sum dumb ass that has nutin else 2 do but be a computer geek... r u even black home boi ... if ur not black and ur white or sumthin, u should my figure out UR racist not raven.... if u are black u should b ashamed 2 be puttin down other blacks they way black ppl have it hard in a socity build by white ppl......

bye cracker or if ur black wana b cracker
the portugese / jamaica ghurl NIKKI

Before I write more about that, however, here is another comment that I feel the need to boldface just so that I am not misunderstood on this point: I am not saying -- nor have I ever said -- that racism does not exist or that it does not remain a significant problem in modern day America. That seems to go without saying, given my singling out of certain observances and/or celebrities for criticism specifically because of their racist elements or comments, but I recognize full well that there is a lot of racism perpetuated by the American "majority", spanning all elements of society from the criminal justice system to schools to employment to politics (George Allen, anyone?) and the government. After all, these institutions are run by people, and -- as they apparently say in Avenue Q, which I have absolutely no desire to see -- everyone's a little bit racist. Except they're even more racist when they are unapologetically so and think that their racism is cute and funny when they should find it repugnant and revolting and do their best to rise above it. Honestly, I saw this video today and was appalled, yet the majority of people seem to be reacting to it with a "omfg how cute lol she is saying 'sparkling wiggles' but it sounds like something else!@#$!!" sort of response. I want to shake these people and say, "No, you fucking morons, these parents are clearly -- clearly -- coaching their little girl and using her to air their own racist attitudes in a cutesy disguised manner." How stupid do you have to be to not get that? Believe me, if this were not the case, they would not have recorded it at all, and they certainly would not have posted it on the Internet. Nor would they be telling the girl to say things like, "Get a job, sparkling wiggles!" Honestly, people. Honestly. And how about those MLK Day celebrations at Clemson University in South Carolina, Tarleton State University in Texas, and the University of Connecticut School of Law? This is just a very small selection of recent events that have kind of made me sad concerning the social direction of this country -- and the life that I will be forced to endure should I choose to remain -- but suffice it to say that racism is alive and kicking in the good ol' US of A.

So when "Nikki" writes that she wasn't hired because of the color of her skin, I am not at all saying that this is ludicrous. It's entirely possible. Granted, it's also possible that she wasn't hired because she is clearly none too bright (or is only 12; many establishments require employees to be at least 16 or even 18), but I don't know the particulars of the situation so I cannot say what really happened either way. I can, however, say that her comment is ridiculous. Grammar and poor writing skills aside -- and I had to clear an enormous space to dispense with them, because they are bloody atrocious -- the most salient feature of this comment is that "Nikki" thinks herself equipped to say what is and is not racist when the bulk of her criticisms of me are explicitly dependent upon the color of my skin! Note the form that they essentially take: "If you are A, then B; if you are C, then D," where A and C are "racial" designations and B and D are different opinions regarding my personal flaws. She also claims that -- though again, this directive is dependent upon the color of my skin -- I should be ashamed of criticizing certain people on the basis of the color of their skin (nor is she the only commenter to do so). All of this is pretty much the definition of racism, and her comment is dripping with it.

Hell, even though another commenter, "Barbie", appears to support me here and here, these remarks are also pretty disgustingly racist and clearly miss the point of my articles. So here as well, to clarify, I do not mean to suggest that Black History Month is to be criticized because it constitutes an attempt on the part of so-called "African-Americans" to gain some sort of recompense from the government that enslaved them and denied them equal rights (and often, in practice, continues to do so). I do, however, think that everyone owes it to everyone to not be a moron and to stop judging, grouping, and defining individuals with respect to the color of their skin.

Have I been thorough enough for this entry? I hope so -- but if not, please tell me where I have been unclear so that I can spell my views out for you in even more detail. My e-mail address is linked in every article and at the bottom of every Scary-Crayon blog entry (and, if you miss it in any of these places, click here), and the comments threads are always open. You will note that even when comments thoroughly upset and depress me, I do not remove them.

And finally, should you find yourself confused by the fifth and sixth panels of the comic, I certainly do not mean to say that the history of a fictional alien race is more important than the accomplishments of actual individuals of any background, though I admit that I would rather talk about Daleks than almost anything that one would find in a World History curriculum. Sec's comments here are rooted in a particularly memorable scene from the 36th Doctor Who serial, The Evil of the Daleks, in which a human who is working for the Daleks takes issue with a Dalek for killing another human being. "You've destroyed a human life!" the man shouts. "Don't you understand that?" "That is of no consequence," rasps the Dalek. When the man protests, the Dalek delivers the classic line: "There is only one form of life that matters... DALEK LIFE!" So yeah, that's the explanation for the latter panels.

All for now, then. As always, comments are appreciated -- even more so when they are thought-out and mostly resemble proper English. Ja.

-posted by Wes | 3:08 am | Comments (7)
February 19, 2007
A Crayon Haiku #59!

A Crayon Haiku #59!

A Crayon Haiku #59!

If you're like Wes, you can sometimes forget about foods that you've purchased and stored in the freezer... for years. A Crayon Haiku #59 sees the return of a frozen edible that has been on ice since the bookstore days!  (2/19/07)

-posted by Wes | 7:38 pm | Comments Off on A Crayon Haiku #59!
A Crayon Haiku #59!

Nothing terribly substantial today -- again, terribly sorry about that! -- but here's a new installment of A Crayon Haiku to entertain you for about all of three seconds. Hopefully I will have a lengthier and more interesting piece for you soon, to say nothing of the finished WordPress-powered content archives! And in case you're wondering, the pizza really wasn't that bad -- there was a hint of freezer burn, but it was certainly edible.

-posted by Wes | 12:08 am | Comments (2)
February 18, 2007
And another thing

I've also just found that apparently, due to the way that I'm hiding the new index (which is now the WP content page) in order to keep the current layout displayed, the search bar to the right is temporarily not working because the redirect in effect replaces the search results with the main page. I don't have a workaround for that at the moment -- sorry! -- but it should end up being fixed when the more efficient content pages go live. Thanks for bearing with us!

-posted by Wes | 10:21 am | Comments (0)
February 16, 2007
Meanwhile, at the Scary-Crayon HQ…

And here is yet another blog entry to keep you in the loop regarding some of the changes to the site. I noticed a problem with sites being unable to access the site without typing a "www" in front of the URL, which has (hopefully) been fixed now. Progress continues to be made regarding the adding of the content blurbs to the WordPress database -- all of the brief comments about the pieces in the miscellaneous, games, poetry (sans haikus), print media, and writing/fiction categories have been added. The pages presently have different limits for the number of posts that will appear on them, but that's part of my layout testing, as I haven't decided precisely how many articles I want to have linked per page. 25 (or something thereabout) seems like a good number, but then that would mean that folks would have to scroll through multiple pages to see all of the Dusty Plastic HELL pieces, to say nothing of the entire site's archives. I wonder if folks would be willing to go through that.

Oh well, I'll figure something out. As always, your input is encouraged. 🙂

In other news, I've modified the Links section a bit. Since Huffin' and Puffin' apparently died a sad and lonely death unbeknownst to me, I've removed it from the sidebar -- but in its place, I've included a link to Tresob Yr's Star Wars Action Figure Theater! Lots of cool stuff there, so check it out. I know next to nothing about Star Wars, but I'm particularly fond of the bootleg toy reviews. I've also updated the link button to Pop Arena. Good times, yes.

Speaking of link buttons, I haven't added these to the sidebar yet -- I'm waiting until I finish a couple more before I do that -- but here's a look at some of the new images I've created for Scary-Crayon:

Suuuupa Mutation!

Suuuupa Mutation!

Suuuupa Mutation!

Suuuupa Mutation!

SAINT Mutation!

Naturally, they'll display smaller on the page -- and on your page, should you choose to download them to your site and use them -- but I've enlarged them here so you can get a better look at them. And yes, that is a modified Wolverine sprite. 😉

All for now, then -- new content soon!

-posted by Wes | 9:12 pm | Comments (0)
February 15, 2007
Behind-the-scenes progress (!)

As I noted yesterday, we're going through some behind-the-scenes changes regarding the Scary-Crayon content pages -- and during the last few hours, you might have noticed some serious wonkiness with the blog. For one, the URL has changed (!!!), so you should update your bookmarks and links and whatnot (assuming that you're linking to the blog instead of the main page) to http://www.scary-crayon.com/features/blog/. Even if you don't, though, I should have a redirect in effect such that going to the old blog url (sans the 'features' directory) brings you to the new page. If you notice problems with that, you know what to do.

That's about the only change that should be entirely noticeable, and the reason for it is that whereas before you were viewing the blog index -- which was located in the 'blog' directory -- now you're viewing the category page for the blog, as the index is located in the site's root directory and now displays the front page content. I've still got the site's base URL set up to default to the current main page for the time being, which has always been located at main.html/php. But if you want a look at the index as it will be, here you go. Like I said, it'll be pretty much the same as the current layout with a few minor differences (I plan on having separate categories for both the games and writing-related articles), but it should make things slightly more organized and streamlined (or not) from an administrative standpoint. We will see...

At any rate, I should have some actual content for you before all of this is said and done. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 4:38 pm | Comments (0)
February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine’s Day! And layout stuff…

Happy Valentine's Day, minna-san! Alas, I don't have a new article or anything for you today, but I did want to let you know that I have been fooling around with the site a whole bunch today, even if my work ultimately comes to naught. See, for ages (ages!) I've been doing the content pages manually, which is to say that I wrote the blurbs, pasted them onto the content pages in the appropriate spaces, and trimmed the remaining post in order to maintain a set number of article links on the main page -- or not, in the case of the category pages. While I do like this because it lets me browse the site in full on my hard drive and isn't dependent upon a database or other program outside of Notepad (++), it does prevent me from easily limiting the number of article links to a page. For instance, the Dusty Plastic HELL page is reaaaally long now -- and while I could chop it up into a few pages, maintaining a set post limit on each page would basically require me to shift entries on each page each update (as opposed to just removing them). So I'm thinking that I'm going to start using the WordPress blog to handle all of this as well.

Of course, none of this will be happening in the immediate future, as it'll take me quite a while to manually add every single article blurb I've ever written to the database, but if you notice anything wonky about the blog in the meantime it likely has something to do with that. (Still, please let me know if you find anything wonky! I need to know about 'em so I can try to fix 'em. :)) Frex, when adding some older articles to the WP database here, I noted that the monthly archives list to the right was including the months that I posted those articles in the list, even though I've got it set up so these posts will not display on any of the blog's pages. As a result, there were several empty months in the list, as quite a few of the features and articles that I've written predate the creation of the SC blog and even the Side Talk block that the older layouts featured. To fix that, I've restricted the list to showing only the past 18 months, but that prevents you from easily selecting a month before that period and reading the posts there. However, if there's a particular older post that you kinda think you remember, you should be able to access it via the search bar, although it'll be way, way back at the end. I know, you're probably not all that miffed -- I don't imagine many people would be interested in reading the Side Talk blurbs from 2004 and early 2005 anyway! -- but it bears mentioning, I guess.

Anyway, here are previews of how the Main and Print Reviews pages are more/less going to look. Natch, there are very few aesthetic differences between them and the current pages, as I'm not really changing the layout so much as trying to replicate it using WordPress. Each of the individual blurbs was entered as a post, much like the one that you are reading right now, albeit much shorter and posted to a different category that is ruled by a modified template. So far, so good, yes? I've only added the Print Reviews articles and several more recent pieces from other categories for test purposes, but eventually it should all be set up so that the page looks... well, exactly the same, except with a limit of 25 or 36 or however many feature blurbs I decide should appear on the category pages. Then there will be a link to the next page or something somewhere. I'm not sure how it'll work out -- or if it'll work out, but fingers crossed. 🙂

And hang in there -- I'll have new content ready for you soon enough! It's been too long since we've seen Kain and Wild Boar Alien, yes? 😉

-posted by Wes | 5:23 pm | Comments (0)
February 5, 2007
The Street Fighter II Crossovers That Time Forgot!

The Street Fighter II Crossovers That Time Forgot!


Shampoo versus M. Bison? You bet! Here, we review two pre-MUGEN titles that pit Ryu and the gang against some rather unlikely opponents. Maximoff, the creator of these retro relics, is here to share his insights as well!  (2/5/07)

-posted by Wes | 7:45 pm | Comments Off on The Street Fighter II Crossovers That Time Forgot!
The SF2 Crossovers That Time Forgot!

It's time for another trip to that wacky world of old school homebrew Street Fighter II titles! In this latest piece, we take a look at SFNinja: Champion Edition and SFRanma, two SFIBM mods that respectively pit the World Warriors against a multitude of palette-swapped ninjas and the cast of Ranma ½. The author of those games, Maximoff, is even on hand to share his insights into the creative process -- as well as tell us about the exciting new fighting games that he's been working on as of late! Due to the apparent incompatibilities with my system and the beta versions, I can't vouch for them just yet, but the YouTube previews look pretty neat. "Maneater" is such an appropriate song for Mileena, too. :mrgreen:

Sound test, where have you been?

Also, when I was recording Ryoga's "hot steak" sound effect, I noticed that Ranma ½ Hard Battle for the SNES had a sound test in its options menu. This in and of itself isn't particularly surprising -- a lot of games had these back in the day -- but seeing as how I can't recall having seen one in ages, I'm curious to know if games still have these. Am I just overlooking them, or have programmers decided that players are no longer interested in listening to isolated sound effects? I suppose this feature could've been replaced by hidden jukeboxes and FMV galleries.

Also, while working on this article, I had occasion to test out some of the additional features of WinSCP -- and I've gotta say, this FTP program is bloody awesome. Considering that it's got the ability to synchronize local and remote browsing and compare directories to locate file changes (which is great because I have SC mirrored on my HD, but of course my local copy is always the most recent version), I'm thoroughly impressed. The added security is great too, of course.

All for now, then -- thanks for reading, minna-san! And thanks again to Maximoff for his contributions to today's retro gaming excursion. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 7:05 pm | Comments (7)
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