''Blogs are not frogs.''
May 21, 2007
A Short Story and Hot Flash #99!

Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #99 is more a humorous re-imagining of events than an actual occurrence — I did receive two calls (last night and tonight) from the same person looking for Bruce, but the caller was fairly polite and I didn’t do the Batman thing. Still, these wrong numbers to my cell are getting ridiculous. In the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten not only the aforementioned calls, but also several calls from folks speaking in Spanish and even one call from a local Michaels store (apparently another local Michaels has the same number, but a different area code)! If I really were Batman and this were the ’60s, Commissioner Gordon and Gotham City would be fucked because I would totally unplug the Batphone. The Bat-Signal is much better because it makes no noise.

And, as noted, we also have a short story for you — an allegorical tale entitled “Mold Country”. Like most of the stories on the site, it’s an older piece that I was unable to get published in a paying rag, but I still think that it’s a worthwhile (if rather brief) read. Enjoy!

In other news, this weekend saw the airing of the absolute worst Doctor Who episode of all time. It was truly abysmal.


Someone should have burned that script. 👿

-posted by Wes | 12:41 am | Comments (3)
May 10, 2007
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I & II DOS Reviews!

But first, Crayon Poetry Corner #14! I actually wrote this a really long time ago and completely forgot about it — I think I was planning to accompany it with a voice recording. Anyway, I was about to post another poem when I stumbled upon it instead, so I figured I’d get this thing up. Seeing as how the poem was partly inspired by Frogger, the image to the right of the poem is taken from the SNES version. Yep.

That said, the star of today’s update is this in-depth review of the MS-DOS versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I and II. Much like the PC port of Street Fighter II that we reviewed a year ago, these computer incarnations manage to be inexplicably different from the original versions in marked ways. I’m admittedly a bit fond of some of the graphical modifications to the first game (the Turtles look interesting and Shredder looks great, but I don’t like what they did to April at all), but the changes to the gameplay of both titles are pretty hard to overlook. You’ll read more about it in the actual article, but I will continue to argue that TMNT I is impossible to beat without cheating until someone out there proves me wrong. So get to it!

So in case you’re up for taking the challenge or simply giving these games a try, here is a helpful tutorial on Abandonia for configuring DOSBox and getting games up and running. I personally recommend using a frontend like D-Fend to simplify the process, though.

That said, in case you’ve got absolutely no desire to play these broken games, here are some YouTube recordings that I made of the final battles and ending sequences. I’ve been going crazy with YT as of late. 🙂

Aaaand while we’re at it, here are a few more videos that I posted to YouTube of the movie game. Two are boss battles with the Generals (one each); the other is an extended battle with the Shredder and his clones, which is what happens if you don’t target the genuine article. It’s too bad the Turtles don’t gain EXP or coins for every defeated enemy — that battle would be solid gold for leveling up and making money. :mrgreen:

All for now, then. Seeya next time, minna-san! 😛

-posted by Wes | 9:14 pm | Comments (19)
May 5, 2007
The Lost Lunches: Volume One!

Sorry about the lack of updates as of late (this is getting to be a pretty common way of beginning these entries, isn’t it?), but we’ve finally got something new for you: The Lost Lunches: Volume One! As noted in the article, the lack of official Random Lunch articles on the site doesn’t mean that I haven’t been making and photographing them — so today’s piece takes us back to 2004 for a look at five (well, four, but one is a two-in-one) of the culinary experiments that got “lost” as I got distracted and worked on other things for Scary-Crayon. But now — at long last — these forgotten dishes have been recovered for your viewing pleasure! :mrgreen:

After looking at some of these, though, you may wish they’d stayed lost.

-posted by Wes | 5:27 pm | Comments (2)
April 21, 2007
No, no, no, no, no.

I don’t even know what to say about the latest episode of Doctor Who’s Series 3. Wait, yes I do. FUCKING TERRIBLE. In addition to the incredibly superfluous pig people, we have the introduction of the incredible evolved Dalek… the Human Dalek. No, really. Almost everything that made the Dalek awesome had to do with that adorable casing — from the odd decorative spheres to the croaking robotic voice to the freaking plunger arm — and yet one of the writers had the brilliant idea of having the Daleks merge with humans and “evolve” into a humanoid form with none of these iconic features. Seriously. It’s just ridiculous.

A Human Dalek. Really.

Now, I’m hoping that this Human Dalek is killed off in the second episode of the two-parter and that the Daleks decide not to pursue this new evolutionary route — and realistically speaking, something like that has to happen, since I doubt that the writers would utterly fuck up the best villains that the series has to offer — but even flirting with this kind of ruin borders on blasphemy. It doesn’t even make sense. Why would a thing built like a tank suddenly want to take on a more humanoid form? (And it’s not as if these are the fragile Daleks of old that were unable to climb stairs and could easily be beaten into submission by mobs — these things have force fields and can fly!) Dalek Sec points out that whereas Daleks are nearly extinct, human beings have survived throughout the ages. It’s not because of the humanoid shape that the humans have endured, though — it’s because the Daleks keep fucking up and getting nearly destroyed by the Doctor! Yet every time they face him, they let him live. Daleks keep losing because of their own negligence and stupidity. Which they have only compounded by taking on humanoid form. Argh. 🙁

So I had to write an emergency haiku to express my disappointment.

-posted by Wes | 9:51 pm | Comments (6)
April 20, 2007
OMG NOEZ horrific writing excerpt

With all of the hubbub about Virginia Tech shooter Seung-hui Cho‘s violent writings, I figured I’d post a short piece of my own that garnered a similar reaction from someone who read it when I was a student. Now, this wasn’t for an assignment, but rather a short piece I wrote in my spare time and submitted to the Morse College writing tutor. Students were encouraged to submit up to three short pieces — whether for classes or our own outside writing — to her for further discussion during a scheduled meeting. Session times were chosen by signing our names in empty timeslots on the schedule on her door; students would leave the work to be critiqued in an adjacent folder. Afterwards, usually that evening or the next day, the writing tutor would e-mail us to confirm the meeting times.

But I never got an e-mail. When I e-mailed her to see if she’d gotten my writing and seen my amendment to the schedule, there was no response. Furthermore, from that point on, anytime I saw her on campus, she would literally hide behind objects, bend over to tie her shoe, immediately begin talking to anyone nearby — anything to avoid speaking to or even making eye contact with me. I suspect that she contributed to the multiple accusations and suspicions that were leveled against me as well.

And now, many years later, I bring you one of the short pieces from that writing packet! Granted, it’s not the most frightening of the two pieces I submitted to the writing tutor — the other excerpt, which was much more horrific and about two pages longer, involved vampires slashing open the leg of a mental patient and bleeding him dry, such that the corpse was left shriveled and greenish in color — but it’s the only one I’ve been able to locate. So here, for your reading pleasure, is The Sinister Pelican (Flight of the Dread Fowl). Around the time that I wrote this, I was having recurring nightmares (which I didn’t mind, as my nightmares tend to be far more interesting than my standard dreams) involving three or four rather spooky characters, so I’d planned to write up brief descriptions of the characters and their exploits in a numbered format. This was going to be the start of the section concerning the Sinister Pelican, but after the writing tutor never contacted me again I hesitated to finish it for fear that it would become among the “evidence” used against me if I were ever arrested or caught up in a formal investigation of the ridiculous claims. With the residential college dean condemning me for playing violent video games and actually telephoning the parents of students whom I’d known before arriving on the campus to inquire about my violent tendencies, I wouldn’t have put it past them.

I don’t even see what’s so horrifying about it, personally.

Anyway, I could go off on a rant about how this latest shooting will likely result in the persecution and/or censorship of a lot of creative folks who may not exactly be Joe Normal or produce material that Standards and Practices would approve, but I’ll stop for now. I’ve been sifting through some of my backlogged content, so I hope to have lengthier fare for you next time! Until then, try not to be too dickish to your fellow humans.

-posted by Wes | 3:37 am | Comments (8)
April 13, 2007
A Crayon Haiku on Friday the 13th!

I was hoping to post a new poem for you today, but I decided to postpone it for the time being because I couldn’t seem to come up with more than two verses. I still wanted to have something up to commemorate FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, though, so here is A Crayon Haiku #64!

Speaking of poems, I found some older ones that I wrote that will also be making appearances on the site in the near future. STAY TUNED.

I am going to use the mayo to make some egg salad tonight.

-posted by Wes | 4:11 pm | Comments (3)
April 8, 2007
The TMNT: Manhattan Missions Review!

Hey all — hope that your Easter or respective spring holiday is going (or went!) well. If you don’t celebrate anything (right there with ya!), I hope that everything is going well with you. Enjoying the weather? It freaking snowed here this weekend. Not much, but still.

OKAY! No Easter-themed pieces today (if that upsets you, you can always reread our scary Easter cards article and view the old Easter card Hot Flash), but we do have another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game review for you! Whereas last time we took a look at the most recent TMNT title (which, by the way, is on sale at Circuit City this week for $18) , this time we return to 1991 to check out the little known PC gem that was TMNT: Manhattan Missions. Like, cowabunga, dudes! 😆

I'd rather be eating a pizza right now.

Anyway, this is a review that, at least in some respects, has literally been in the making for over nine years — ever since I’ve been able to play it in an appropriate environment, I’ve been taking screencaps of the game, some of which appear here — so I hope that you enjoy it. But more than that, I hope that you decide to give the game a try! As a game that I’ve played since my elementary school days, I really do think it’s worth at least one runthrough. It’s so keen that I even made a couple of anigifs using sprites from it way back when. 🙂

Just like in the comics!

Hum, this one’s kinda gory. Also, speaking of Turtles games and moving pictures, I’ve posted a few videos of the new movie TMNT game in action on YouTube. For your viewing pleasure, I have embedded them below!

This one is a full runthrough of the first Nightwatcher level in the game. It’s sorta become my new Solitaire. And yep, Raph is fighting with spatulas.

A brief video featuring Leonardo jumping through an area and taking on some Purple Dragons. For the most part, the fighting really is this simple.

The “boss” fight against the Shredder. That sure was quick…!

And speaking of YouTube videos, TMNT fans and those of y’all who recall how bloody frustrating the first NES title was might want to check out this video. It’s flipping amazing… I watched in awe.

All for now, then. Until next time, minna-san! :mrgreen:

-posted by Wes | 8:33 pm | Comments (7)
April 4, 2007
Short Story: The Native and the Foreigner

So last week I picked up a $10 512MB flash drive for moving files from the old desktop to the laptop from time to time. The first trial of the new toy involved me moving a bunch of my old writing over to here, and upon perusing those old folders I figured I’d post another of my old short stories to Scary-Crayon. This one, “The Native and the Foreigner”, seems like it might have been part of a longer work if I hadn’t apparently gotten distracted, but it still makes for sort of interesting reading (I think). Enjoy!

In other news, you might have noticed that I’ve modified the little WordPress blurb at the bottom of the blog’s sidebar. I’ll likely end up removing it altogether in subsequent updates, since I’m planning to move all of the information about WordPress to the footer (where the copyright tag is located) and the “What is Scary-Crayon” page, but yeah. Kudos to Theron Parlin and the WordPress 1.5 Classic template for starting me off way back when, but since then the site has been altered so heavily — mostly as a result of my having read the necessary portions of the WordPress Codex and modifying the code to more accurately mimic the standing SC layout — that the standing credit doesn’t really seem appropriate. In fact, if I remember correctly (and it’s quite likely that I don’t), the code that I borrowed from Parlin’s Minima Plus theme is located on this page, which makes it a little less than original. Not to discredit Parlin or anything, as he’s responsible for some awesome themes. 🙂

At any rate, I intend to add a section to the about/site info page pretty soon that lists the WP plugins in use on Scary-Crayon, as the info might be helpful to people who wish to replicate some of the features on the site. The rollover effects and random images are my own doing via css hover declarations and the insertion of php’s random number function in specific places in the html code (it’s quite simple, really), but I needed a bit of help to keep the blog category from showing on the main page and to generate the page navigation links at the bottom of the article archive listings. Those features are achieved via the use of Rich Hamilton‘s Category Visibility plugin and Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan‘s WP-PageNavi 2.10 plugin, though in the latter case I did a good amount of tweaking to get it to behave in the slightly different way that I wanted. As such, I have dubbed the version active on this site 2.10w. 😉 I’m also using Matt Read’s Custom Query String plugin to make it so that different numbers of posts appear on different pages of the site (more on the category archive pages; fewer in the blog). We’ve also got a new addition today in Scott Reilly’s Hide or Cut Post Text plugin, which works kind of like the LJ-cut feature and which I’ve used to relegate this text to the post page itself (which you will have seen if you’re coming in from the blog index). And I was recently using the Search Hilite plugin to give the search terms that nifty purple highlight, but for the time being I’ve disabled it because I’m not sure that I like it all that much.

We’re also now using WordPress 2.1.3. And — from this point forward, I think, unless there are any significant objections — I think I’m going to start writing in 15px text instead of 14px text. It’s not terribly noticeable at all, but the change partly has to do with my decision to start using a more streamlined stylesheet for the articles from now on. See before, the entire site used the same stylesheet, which meant that the stylesheet called for the articles still contained all of the junk I needed to define the sidebar and article blurb rules on the main page. With all of that being controlled by my WordPress-specific stylesheet now, though, I figured I might as well excise a bunch of that stuff from the articles stylesheet… but seeing as how I can’t remember precisely what I did and didn’t use in the old ones, I figured I’d just make a new stylesheet and add/replace excisions as I need them.

And finally, a question: what other kinds of things would you be interested in knowing about Scary-Crayon for the updated site info page? I’m thinking that in addition to some info on the more technical aspects of the WP side, I’ll also have a bit more info about me, a section reiterating the story of how SC got its name, submission guidelines (!), and possibly some other stuff. As always, I am open to suggestions.

All for now, then. Ja ne, minna-san. :mrgreen:

-posted by Wes | 6:48 pm | Comments (4)
March 31, 2007
TMNT: The Movie Game Review!

So, following my haiku “review” of TMNT and extended comments here in the blog, here is a fairly lengthy review of the PC version of the game based on the movie. I don’t have a lot to add, as I’ve included just about everything that I wanted to say in the actual review — but yeah, read that. And if you’re interested in giving the game a try, you can download the PC demo from Ubisoft’s game site! The page is admittedly pretty confusing to navigate (I never did find that interactive comic book thing it mentioned, unless they meant to suggest that the entire site is the comic), but there should be a button towards the lower right-hand corner that will let you grab the demo. It’s got an eight-minute time-limit (which is kind of silly, seeing as how you can get fairly far into the level and would only need an additional minute or three to complete it altogether), but I guess Ubisoft did that to trick players into thinking that the level is longer and thereby conceal the overall brevity of the game. Shame on you, Ubisoft.

As always, comments are encouraged and appreciated. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 2:55 pm | Comments (13)
March 27, 2007
You have no idea…

…how difficult it was for me to get those columns on the front page to line up in both Firefox and IE7. Making matters worse, I have a strong feeling that they look completely broken in IE6. 🙁

At any rate, you can now summon the Foot Clan to search the text of the article blurbs for you! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

-posted by Wes | 1:11 am | Comments (5)
March 25, 2007
Two New Crayon Haiku!

Yeah, it’s not much, but here’s a bit of filler to tide you over until the next update: A Crayon Haiku #62 and A Crayon Haiku #63. The first of these is a reference to “Desertion of the Dinobots” from season 2 of the original Transformers cartoon, but the picture itself was taken while Grimlock was drying after I applied some clear nail polish to his hip joints. Good stuff.

As for the second, I’ll doubtless have a Hot Flash (or whatever I decide to call the comics following #100; do feel free to weigh in on that) or two about the new TMNT movie, but — for the moment — suffice it to say that I was kind of disappointed with it. I mean, I wasn’t expecting Welles’ The Trial, but given all of the OMGZ BEST TURTLES MOVIE EVER type fan reviews, I was expecting it to at least live up to that descriptor. It totally doesn’t. It comes nowhere near the level of the first movie. For all of its preachiness about family and brotherly love, it fails to actually illustrate these concepts in a manner even remotely on par with the many great moments of the first film. (For a look at some of those moments, see our 2004 Father’s Day tribute to Splinter.) And while after seeing the movie I’d determined that it was at least better than TMNT II, my re-watching of those earlier flicks yesterday has forced me to recant that statement.

Yes, this new movie looked better and had a slightly more serious tone than the early films, but those films are easily superior in terms of plot, direction, and characterization — particularly where the villains are concerned. TMNT II is definitely inferior to the first movie, but it still introduced Tokka and Rahzar and Super Shredder (who’s really just Shredder mutated, but still) and gave them enough characterization for them to be memorable characters. By comparison, Karai and the stone generals in the new film were barely even mentioned by name, such that if I didn’t already know who they were I’d be reduced to calling them “that Foot chick” and “those rock dudes”. And whereas the first two films had decent enough (if simple) storylines and direction that, at the very least, wasn’t distracting, TMNT 2007 felt rushed and made little sense at times. (Why the heck did Leo have such a problem with the Nightwatcher, seeing as how he was pretty much doing the same thing they did when they battled the Foot and defeated the Shredder? How did these giant monsters show up in NYC without anyone noticing? Since when was April a badass ninja skilled enough to go toe to toe with freaking Karai? Would a mask-wearing mutant turtle really criticize his brother for “dressing up like it’s Halloween?” I could go on.) I don’t think it was a terrible movie, and TMNT fans will want to check it out for the fantastic battle between Leo and Raph, but I found the flick on the whole to be highly unsatisfying. Animation aside, it was only slightly better than one of the ho-hum filler episodes from the 2K3 cartoon series. 🙁

And finally, regarding the site’s ongoing redesign, here’s a question concerning the search: how do you feel about the highlighted words? Like, if you enter a search query, the page outputs with your terms highlighted (I liked purple, though it’s possible for me to change the color). Search terms are also highlighted for visitors coming in from engines like Google and Yahoo. Admittedly, I’m not sure how I feel about it — on the one hand, it could be helpful to people, but on the other hand (at least in my case), I find highlighted words to be kind of annoying when I visit a page, since I’d typically just use the “Find” dialogue to locate them myself. And seeing as how readers would still have to do this if the search brought them to an article (because those lie outside of the WordPress database and therefore outside the scope of the Search Hilite plugin), the highlighting wouldn’t necessarily be all that helpful anyway.

Speaking of searches, I’m planning to add a search box to the category content pages as well. Owing to the point above, it wouldn’t let you search the fulltext of articles, but you would be able to search the blurbs. However, this could be even more useful for locating relevant articles. For example, if you search for “Donatello”, you won’t get all of the pieces in which I simply mention his name, but you’ll get the ones in which he features prominently enough to warrant a mention in the blurb. So yeah, that’s on the horizon too.

And eventually there will be new articles! :mrgreen:

-posted by Wes | 3:56 am | Comments (20)
March 20, 2007
Quick layout update!

I just made a few updates to the sidebar. They’ve thrown the alignment off on the main page, but as I’ll likely be adding more links and perhaps other stuff to the sidebar and the main and content pages in the near future, I’m not in a terrible hurry to get that taken care of. I mean, the columns are misaligned (and necessarily so) on all of the category archive pages.

And I guess my question at the end of the previous post kind of got overshadowed by the “insults” and death threats and whatnot, so feel free to post a response here regarding the nominal state of Dusty Plastic HELL comics in the near future. All for now — ja!

-posted by Wes | 6:04 am | Comments (1)
March 15, 2007
A Crayon Haiku #61!

Aaaand here’s another quickie — A Crayon Haiku #61! I probably should have done something related to THE IDES OF MARCH (hope nothing unfortunate befell you, btw), but I caught the tail end of this show on TLC last night and just had to post this. I mean, I know this is obviously a serious psychological problem for these people, but I find it hard to feel sorry for people who get so fucking fat that they are unable to walk or even get out of their beds and still continue to shovel in excess of 9,000 calories into their mouths on a daily basis. When this one 600-pound cow — whose daily diet includes something like four large meals and multiple snacks that include an entire one-pound bag of M&Ms — saw what she eats in a day laid out on a table and commented that seeing it all like this really makes her think twice, I got angry. As if barely being able to walk because one’s knees are unable to support your fatness isn’t enough to get one to think twice! Shit, I’d be thinking twice about my eating habits if my weight got to 150 pounds, let alone four times that amount. These people should simply be exterminated.

And then, JUST AS I MADE THAT VERY REMARK, they cut to this other fatass who had the nerve to be sitting there with a bowl of food on his naked chest — apparently he’d gotten too fat and sloppy to even wear clothes, so they just draped a bedsheet over his lower half — and I noticed something. At first I thought that perhaps I was developing my own serious psychological problem, because there was no way that this dude could’ve had a Dalek sitting behind his fat ass. I rewinded and watched the segment again to make sure. Then I paused and took a screencap. There was no mistaking it. A DALEK. And it’s from the new Doctor Who series, so it’s not as if he acquired it as a younger lad when he was thin enough to actually walk to the store. It’s possible that he was thin enough to purchase it in 2005/6, since apparently these people eat so much that they can legitimately gain 50+ pounds in a single month, but I’m guessing that he was immobile when that Dalek came into his possession. Somehow, a bastard so fat that he cannot even leave his bed acquired a Dalek. A remote-controlled Dalek, too — you can see the controller right next to it. The fucking toy is more mobile than he is. And yet he sits there, NAKED, talking about food and eating on camera. Disgusting.

Okey-doke, all for now. Seeya next time, when (hopefully) I will have an actual article for you! If not, maybe another Hot Flash. Actually, seeing as how there are tons of Hot Flashes and hardly any “legitimate” Dusty Plastic HELL episodes, I’m thinking of just merging them — which is to say maybe discontinuing the “Hot Flash” line after #100 and just calling them all Dusty Plastic HELL. Heck, I could even start up a new edition called Dusty Plastic HELL v2 or something. I’d probably come up with special names for the special, lengthier comics that actually tell a story (a la the Halloween and New Year’s editions), but yeah. So my question is this: would you a) welcome this change, b) actively oppose this change, or c) not care either way because the content would still be pretty much exactly the same? Lemme know, with reasons if applicable.

And do feel free to continue to share feedback concerning the revised layout! The IE6 display problem should be fixed now, so hopefully everything is working well with that. Ja! 🙂

EDIT: Apparently, according to some folks I know, wider shots revealed that fatty actually had MULTIPLE Daleks in his room. In fact, if you look really closely at the blue and red controller thing next to the Dalek’s gold remote, you can see a miniature Dalek in front of it! Fatty sure likes Daleks, but he should have them confiscated for being such a fucking pig. He doesn’t deserve them. 🙁

-posted by Wes | 7:27 pm | Comments (13)
March 14, 2007
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #98!

So, as promised, here’s that new (short) Hot Flash! For those of you who’ve never heard of zpizza — and don’t feel bad; I’d never heard of it until I went there — it’s a pizza chain restaurant that was rated as having something like the best pizza in the DC area. It kinda reminded me of the pizza one would find at a joint in a college town or at a trendy bistro (read: “authentic” pizza), which is to say that you’ll definitely enjoy it if you consider yourself to be a pizza connoisseur or balk at the idea of ordering delivery from Dominoes. But me? I’d personally rather have a slice of the good ol’ cheap Pizza Hut ‘za. I heart Pizza Hut.

Anyway, zpizza had these cards that I guess I should have filled out and left with them, but I thought the prompt was funny and would make for a good quickie comic so yep yep here we are. 🙂

Also, on the same day, we swung by another restaurant by the name of Cheeburger Cheeburger. You might not think too much of a place that misspells the name of its flagship menu item (twice), but the onion rings that I got there were absolutely fantastic. I hear that the burgers are pretty good too, but I couldn’t tell you about that since I do not eat beef. They put your picture on the wall if you eat an entire one-pound burger in one sitting (half-pounders for kids), which I guess would have seemed cool to me back in the day. Now, though, I’d just feel embarrassed.

This from the guy who photographed himself eating Pup Corn.

Anyway, that does it for this post — again, comments are encouraged, and (per my comments in the previous entry) do let me know what you think of the updated layout! Ja, minna-san.

-posted by Wes | 10:55 am | Comments (5)
March 13, 2007
Scary-Crayon REVISED! Sorta.

The updated layout — at least for the most part — should be running smoothly now. I’m still planning to make some changes to the sidebar (new links/link buttons, updated WP/plugin information, and maybe move the copyright info there as well, etc.) and of course change the main page footer. At present it says “Back to… Scary-Crayon” but technically, being on the main page (or anywhere on the site, really, but let’s not nitpick), you are already there! I also plan to add a lot more to the about page, with more info about ME (like you care, right?), slightly more informative blurbs about what you’ll find in each of the sections, and maybe submission guidelines or something like that. None of these changes will happen TOMORROW, mind you — I think I will take a week or so vacation from layout crap before returning to the fold — but they are on the horizon.

What will happen tomorrow, though (or later today, since it is after midnight), is the posting of a new (short) Hot Flash — so I will see you then! And let me know if you encounter any snags with the new layout, as it is entirely possible that in my hasty coding I left a colon out here or a question mark out there. Even if you don’t find any problems, though, I am quite interested in hearing your thoughts! 🙂

-posted by Wes | 11:55 pm | Comments (2)
March 8, 2007
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #97!

And, as promised, here is Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #97! Having gone off on a crazy Transformers kick as of late, I picked up a Titanium Soundwave figure this past weekend — and I’ve gotta say that if he’s the norm for the line, he’ll likely be the last Titanium I ever buy. I’m not sure whether the heaviness of the metal, bad design, or poor quality control are to blame (read: all of the above), but the guy could barely stand up on his own out of the box. See, his transformation involves the legs collapsing into themselves and folding up to his sides, but I guess his weight made them want to collapse into themselves at any given time — and coupled with the weirdness of the way that the legs attach to the body, that made poor Soundwave one incredibly unstable dude. Hence the title of today’s comic, as I had to disassemble his legs and pretty much slather the parts with clear nail polish in order to get him to stand upright for the comic, let alone hold any more involved poses. I’m fairly pleased with how he turned out, though — the fix was so effective that I was moved to remove my Classics Starscream’s slightly loose wings and give the hinges a coat of nail polish as well. Expect to see him in future comics. 🙂

Anyway, dig Soundwave’s newfound posability! I don’t think he’s worth the $16 I paid for him — whether even a fixed version is worth that much is debatable, but certainly no standard-sized figure that requires additional homemade tweaking should cost so much — but now that he’s been improved he will more than serve my purposes for future Transformers toy comics. Get down, Soundwave!

Ready to get served?

The splits!

Hangin' ten.

Soundwave walks the walk.

I thought the colored pics looked kinda neat (and Soundblaster-esque to boot)! That does it for this update, then — see you next time, minna-san. And remember, your input regarding the layout changes mentioned in the previous post will be appreciated in the meantime. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 2:11 pm | Comments (4)
March 7, 2007
A Crayon Haiku #60! and more layout stuff.

I should have a new Hot Flash up sometime tomorrow, but here’s A Crayon Haiku #60 in the meantime. I’m mainly posting it now to test out the new WordPress generated content pages, which are LIVE… except for the Miscellaneous category. See, in the updated (but mostly the same) layout, the contents of the standing Misc. category are actually going to be divided among three separate ones — the standard Misc. one with new groupings for game reviews and writing pieces (short stories, writing guides, commentaries not explicitly tied to any other medium, etc.). I’ve already got them organized appropriately in the WP database, but until the new navigation header is ready I’m keeping them hidden.

Speaking of the new navigation header — since you asked so nicely — here’s a preview image that may or may not reflect part of the finished version. At present I’m thinking I’ll have this navigation text as part of the header with the site’s name and more characters (including a new drawing of the Crayon Critter!) to the right, but who knows. I’m also toying with the idea of tossing in some random elements — likely a speech bubble with text that changes based on a random number, but possibly even changing characters. The latter one’s particularly unlikely (at least until alpha channel png files are more widely supported), but we’ll see. Anyway, assuming all goes well, see you tomorrow with a new Hot Flash!

P.S. What do you think is a good number of features to show on the content archive pages? I currently have it set at a maximum of 18 blurbs per page (Misc. section presently excluded, of course), but I’m thinking maybe slightly more (or less) could work. Thoughts?

-posted by Wes | 9:26 pm | Comments (3)
February 26, 2007
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)
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