''Blogs are not frogs.''
November 26, 2006
Strange Little Novel…

…where are you going? If you’ve already read the sixth installment of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, you know that that is a very good question. Bonus points if you get the musical reference, but double them if you can make out the name of the author of the book in the second filler graphic! You can do it. :mrgreen:

I don’t have a whole lot more to say here — I’ve been up all night and I need to get a few hours of sleep, but once I wake up I will get right to work on writing the late Thanksgiving card analysis. I’m shooting to have it up either late tonight or early tomorrow. Don’t drive yourself crazy waiting for it, though! If it’s not up by then, I guarantee that it’ll go up before the end of November. Seriously. I PROMISE. Trust me on this. 😉

P.S. Extra bonus points if you get that last reference!

-posted by Wes | 2:34 pm | Comments (0)
November 23, 2006

Okay, so I obviously didn’t get the card piece up before today, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to find the time to write it today either. Assuming I don’t get murdered seeking early morning black Friday deals, though, I’ll have it for you as a post-Thanksgiving treat — if it’s not up tomorrow, then Saturday at the very latest. And there will be photos taken this weekend, so more segments of the novel are on the way!

In the meantime, I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving — whether you celebrate it or not. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 2:06 pm | Comments (0)
November 20, 2006
The Chicken Finger Sundae Sandwich!

Wow, has it really been nearly a month since the last update? Dreadfully sorry about that — things have been pretty busy over here. Okay, maybe not so busy, but I’ve been trying to spend more time doing other things (sleeping) and less time staring at the monitor. I’ve also been running all sorts of diagnostics and updates in the past couple of weeks, which has led to a lot of fun with drivers that has me tempted to record a profanity-laden audio rant in order to accurately convey my frustration to the masses. Excuses, excuses.

By the way, speaking of audio rants, I posted this on Wesoteric last week. I’ve noticed that I tend to repeat myself a lot in these audio posts — I hope I don’t use the same word that much in actual conversation! I can see how that could get tiresome. It’s ridiculous.

So, here’s today’s article, which has been quite a while in the making: The Chicken Finger Sundae Sandwich. You may balk and blanch at the photos, but I’m totally not kidding at the end — for some reason chocolate and chicken are amazing together. Chocochicken rules.

More articles to come — I bought scary Thanksgiving cards, so here’s hoping that I get that piece up before Thursday. And thanks for the reminder, Spoodles! I will indeed be posting more segments of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told shortly — I just need to take more pictures to go with the text. I am committed to having the entire thing up before the December 25th holiday, to the point where if push comes to shove I’m just going post every single remaining segment on Christmas Eve. No doubt Santa will adjust his plans and stay in to find out how he features in the story, so you may not receive any presents until the 28th or something. The delay will be disappointing, but at least you won’t get caught up in any insanity resembling the PS3 launch madness. Gamers across America should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

Okey-doke, seeya next time. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 8:33 pm | Comments (10)
October 31, 2006

Sorry I don’t have a more involved update, but here’s a blog entry to wish y’all a happy Halloween. 🙂 It’s about 6:30 PM as I begin writing this post, and the trick-or-treaters are out in full force! This is good, because I’ve got plenty of candy that I don’t want to have to eat come tomorrow.

See, every year, I make it a point to buy the nastiest candy I can find to give to trick-or-treaters. Okay, that’s not entirely true — I don’t try to give them nasty candy, but that’s generally how it works out. This tradition began one year when the local KING OF DOLLAR STORES (from which I get all of my review fodder) was fairly new. The Halloween season was upon us, and the store started carrying some festive Oreo cookie knockoffs with orange icing. I like Oreos, I like orange things, and I like HALLOWEEN, so it seemed like a good buy. Hurrah! Then I tried to eat one and it tasted like a block of chalk in between two dust bunnies. On top of that, they had the density of cement.

Naturally, I couldn’t bring myself to stomach the rest — but luckily for me, the cookies were sealed two to a pouch — perfect for giving to trick-or-treaters! And for some reason, giving those poor kids inedibly disgusting faux Oreos put a smile on my face and a song in my heart. What I would have given to see the looks on their faces as they bit into those tiny mausoleum-flavored bricks.


Ever since, I’ve set out to buy candy from the dollar store — not really intending to give the kiddies confectionary nastiness, but secretly hoping that I will indeed end up with treats that are somewhat less than delectable. AND BOY DID I SUCCEED THIS YEAR! You’d think it’d be hard to go wrong with Marvel superhero-themed “candy sticks” and Pixy Stix knockoffs, but oh how wrong you would be. I don’t even know what to call the Marvel offerings — they’re like hardened Pixy Stix cousins with a touch of peppermint flavor. And dust, because almost all dollar store candy has a dusty aftertaste. I don’t understand it.

As for the actual Pixy Stix knockoffs — NEON LASERS, as they are called — they’re even worse. See, unlike Pixy Stix and their convenient tear-off paper packaging, these things are encased inside plastic, such that if you want to get at the candy within you’re going to have to break out a pair of scissors. Only it’s not that easy, because if the sugary stuff inside ever contained the fluidity of Pixy Stix (how many times am I going to type that?), they certainly do not now. Instead, they’ve got the consistency of wet sand about fifteen minutes after the tide on a hot day, which means they’re not sodden, but they’re packed enough to stay put when you turn the straw upside down and shake for dear life. No, my chickadees, if you want this candy you’re going to have to take those scissors and cut the entire straw open — lengthwise. And then, after all of that work, you end up with a pile of pink crystals that tastes like dirt. Literally. There’s no dusty aftertaste, but is there really that much difference between dust and dirt? It’s a rhetorical question — ponder it at your leisure.

I did toss in some Smarties and lollipops, though, along with some Cry Baby sour gumballs that are pretty good if you like sour things and gum. See, I’m not a total asshole.


Besides, I get as good as I give — I saw these Nerds wannabe candies and couldn’t resist getting them for myself. Predictably, they taste like Nerds! Nerds covered with dust.

See like a bug!

And finally, this isn’t candy, but a pair of Goofy BUG EYEZ Wild & Wacky glasses — the glasses that claim to make you see like a bug! Admittedly, I’d kind of hoped to add these to my regular wardrobe (in addition to using them in conjunction with one of my dad’s old lab coats for a half-assed Baxter Stockman costume), but wearing them gives me a terrible headache for two reasons. One, I didn’t take into account the specs on the card. These things are for ages 4+ — and while I suppose I would fall into the plus category, they also boast a size of 6.5 x 7. Now, I’m not entirely sure what that means in terms of glasses, but I do know that it means these things squeezed the living fuck out of my skull when I put them on. Not a pleasant feeling, but now I know to stay on Zangief’s good side if we ever meet in person. Plus, when I took them off, they were so tight that the seams on the bottom of the plastic temples slashed my ears. Van Gogh wasn’t mad — he just happened to acquire a pair of Bug Eyez glasses by way of some temporal displacement fluke.

The second reason has to do with the glasses’ function — to make you see like a bug. And now I know why bugs’ flight appears to be aimless and haphazard and why they happen to rest on really bright lights that must be more blinding than a full-strength TAIYOKEN to them. You see, bugs can’t see shit, and what shit they can see makes them super dizzy. So I guess they don’t want to see anything.

And that’s all for this Halloween post — and for the candy giveaway, as I have successfully unloaded my inventory of nasty candy on the unsuspecting trick-or-treaters while saving handfuls of Smarties and lollipops for myself. Until next time, then! Goodnight out there… whatever you are. 😉

-posted by Wes | 9:15 pm | Comments (3)
October 25, 2006
The Spectacular Mary-Jane Rescue!!!

Some of you may remember our review of The Amazing Spider-Man way back in March. Given my less than satisfactory experience with the game, I hadn’t really ever planned on playing it again — but in browsing the site referral logs, I noticed that the article had been linked in this Wikipedia entry. Following the other links there eventually led me to the Spidey forum thread at, where I learned that there is a way of getting to the lower level of the final screen from the very beginning. So I fired up D-Fend and entered the game once more… thus setting the stage for today’s return to The Amazing Spider-Man. You may never be able to beat this game legitimately, but at least you can see the ending! Not that you need to actually play it to be able to do so, since I’ve pretty much included the final screen in the review. Fear the hearts of doom.

Speaking of Wikipedia stuff, this revisit to the game prompted me to read up about Mysterio on the site… and holy hell this dude is fucked up. Greg of Pop Arena and I sort of have a longstanding argument concerning the comparative greatness of Venom and Mysterio — and prior to reading this entry, I found it almost inconceivable that anyone would regard Mysterio as being anything more than a third-tier Spider-Man villain. That may still technically be the case, but I can’t think of any villains that would include convincing the hero’s love interest that she has HIV in their evil schemes. Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve been a regular reader of comics — things have gotten pretty crazy since then! Crazy stupid, that is.

All for now, then — until next time, minna-san.

-posted by Wes | 6:59 pm | Comments (10)
October 22, 2006
Absolute Holiday Strangeness Fiver

And here it is, just over a month after the last installment. Really, what’s up with that? It’s not like the entire thing hasn’t already been written! Honestly, it completely slipped my mind — make sure to bug me next time so that I post it sooner. Dig the second image on the page! Every site should have Little Dracula somewhere — I really shouldn’t have to scan ebay auctions to find images of him. 🙁

In other news, I’ve made some minor changes to the Links block on the content pages. I’m planning to make more significant ones when I get around to revising the content pages in more detail — there won’t be a ton of changes to these pages, mind you, because I like the general layout, but there will be new sections (games and fiction, so those will no longer be grouped in with the Misc. pieces). Anyway, regarding the links, I’ll probably end up removing a handful, as there are some that are basically dead and others that — as much as I like them — simply don’t need the traffic from Scary-Crayon (not that they get much from me, but still), so I’d rather use the space to plug some lesser-known sites. Frex, with the apparent death of Dyslexic Penguin (when did that happen?!), I’ve added a link to Crown Combo, which I found out about thanks to Spoodles at Robot Hand. Admittedly, I haven’t had the time to browse CC in depth at this point, but it looks like it has a good deal of interesting stuff despite the presence of evil Google ads. If anything, it (and the other links) should keep you entertained in between SC updates.

I’ve also changed the graphic for our link to Snipe Hunt Media, which until now displayed the image for Professor Hazard’s old site, Hazard Labs. Admittedly, I’ve fallen waaaaay out of touch with the HazLabs crew (:(), so I can’t really say too much about what’s going on over there, but feel free to swing by and check it out! Prof and his missus were two of the first people (maybe even the first; my memory is spotty) to donate to SC, so tell them I sent you with fondest wishes if you head over there. Yes.

All for now, then — as always, thanks for reading! Coming soon: culinary insanity, an update to an old piece, and THE RETURN OF KRANG.

-posted by Wes | 2:07 pm | Comments (2)
October 17, 2006
Awesome scenes from Shadow: Dead Riot!

Aaaand here’s another piece — apologies for any typos you find (and do please point them out to me), as this is one of those sporadic late night articles that I like to do sometimes. I’ve noticed that my writing seems a tad more enthusiastic when I do that… sometimes there are more colorful metaphors in there too. Anyway, the subject of today’s review and scene highlights is Shadow: Dead Riot, a women’s prison drama slash martial arts action flick slash zombie horror comedy. One of the reviewers on IMDb described it as Braindead (aka Dead Alive) meets Riki-Oh, and having seen all three I’d have to say that’s a fairly accurate comparison. You’ll be able to formulate a better opinion of the movie and determine whether you’re up for a viewing after reading the review, but I’d say go for it. Shadow is fantastic in that bad good Fangoria classic kinda way. 🙂

OH! I almost forgot — over at Alligator Juice, Molly has posted The World’s (Worst) News Network, a parody of bad local TV news programs and newspaper blurbs. All of the articles therein are fairly amusing, but make doubly sure you check out the sports newscast! 😉

EDIT: Just modified the link to the new article on the content pages to make sure y’all know that this spotlight on Shadow: Dead Riot is totally not work safe. You probably already got the memo if you’ve made it this far, but still. Don’t lose your job over pictures of zombies groping breasts!

Andwhile I’m amending the post, let me encourage you to visit Interrobang Studios as well. They posted my fanart comic for them last week, which was pretty cool! So yes, do check out the Interrobangers’ page. New comics every weekday! Mostly. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 4:40 am | Comments (4)
October 16, 2006
A Hot Flash Double Whammy!

Hey all! Sorry about the lack of content during the past couple of weeks. I’m hoping to have some genuine articles for you within the next couple of days — and maybe even another installment of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told — but in the meantime here are TWO NEW COMICS: Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #88 and Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #89. I obviously came up with the former one after watching The Ring, which I thought was ridiculously stupid. And the latter… well, I’m not entirely sure, but part of it stemmed from me remembering a lecture from one of my anthro classes about how cannibal tribes that hand long since given up cannibalism still retained prejudices and superiority complexes based upon whom their ancestors had eaten. Like, “My ancestor ate your ancestor — that makes me better than you!” And somehow this made me think of dinosaurs, and since I’ve been trying to work Halloweeny stuff into the mix I thought of dinosaur ghosts… and, well, here we are. Is this the first ever dinosaur ghost comic on the web? Somehow I doubt it, but one can only hope. We are, after all, the top Google hit for vampire chun-li. 😀

Oh, and speaking of Google — in case you missed the last blog entry, note that the Google AdSense ads are freaking GONE from the page, making SC once again like independent and stuff. Well, I suppose we were always independent seeing as how the site never saw a dime from Google, but still. It would’ve been nice to have seen some compensation before they went, but ah well… I suppose if you sell your soul to the Devil but the contract is invalidated, you get spared from the flames of Hell on a technicality. No need to worry about melting crayons here. 🙂

Thanks for sticking with us, and stay tuned to the good SC!

-posted by Wes | 6:42 am | Comments (2)
October 6, 2006
Google AdSense is bullshit.

Okay, so I just got this e-mail:

From: Google AdSense
Cc: Google AdSense
Date: Oct 6, 2006 2:55 PM
Subject: Google AdSense Account Disabled

It has come to our attention that invalid clicks and/or impressions have been generated on the Google ads on your site(s). We have therefore disabled your Google AdSense account. Please understand that this was a necessary step to protect the interest of the AdWords advertisers.

A publisher’s site may not have invalid clicks or impressions on any ad(s), including but not limited to clicks and/or impressions generated by:

– a publisher on his own web pages
– a publisher encouraging others to click on his ads
– automated clicking programs or any other deceptive software
– a publisher altering any portion of the ad code or changing the
layout, behavior, targeting, or delivery of ads for any reason

These or any other such activities that violate Google AdSense Terms and Conditions and program polices may have led us to disable your account.

Now, I’m not even going to bother to dispute this, seeing as how I’m almost certain that I changed the code to affect the text color of the ads (I can’t remember; it’s been so long) and I’ve probably said something along the lines of “click these ads to support the site!” at one time or another. In fact, even if I hadn’t, that clicking the ads supports the site arguably goes without saying — because why the hell else would I display shitty advertisements for things that mostly have nothing to do with the article content on the pages? (Way to go, target words.) Granted, every now and then they’ve been on-target — Who North America advertises through Google, so I’m pretty sure I’ve clicked those links in the Dalek articles — but alas! Doing so means that I’ve generated invalid clicks even though I was genuinely interested in the merchant. Argh.

Anyway, I was planning to get rid of the ads fairly soon — I hate them, but one needs to generate $100 in order to receive any payment and the site was like $4 away from finally reaching that target number ONE YEAR LATER — but I think it is very interesting that Google chose to disable the account now, seeing as how any “invalid activity” or whatever has been going on since I first signed up waaaay back when. Oh well. It’s also telling that despite my account supposedly being disabled, the ads continued to display (as opposed to, say, some blank or error message coming up) until I nixed the code from the pages. When I get around to doing more layout tweaks, I’ll maybe make a new donation image or put something else cool at the bottom of articles to fill up more space.

So Scary-Crayon is once again ad-free (except for our own ads, I guess), which I guess is how things should always have been given my obvious disdain for ads. Thanks for enduring those mostly irrelevant and useless ads for the past year — I am deeply sorry for menacing you with that shit, especially given that it has ultimately not helped to support the site in the least. Such a fucking waste, but I’m almost glad that it turned out this way. Keep your terrorist dollars, Google.

I’m tempted to boycott Gmail, but I like it too gosh darned much. 😐

-posted by Wes | 4:17 pm | Comments (2)
October 5, 2006
Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #87!

The other day I was walking through the local mall (ugh) and I saw an ad for a new cell phone plan that gives users FREE ANYTIME MINUTES… but only to their five favorite people. Of course, my immediate thought was, “But what if you’re not one of those people, but you know that the person has this plan?” I mean, insofar as you regarded this person as one of your five favorite people, wouldn’t you be hurt or offended? It’s different with the family plans, since they focus more on blood lineage, but I think the designation of “five favorite people” is fairly problematic! So I drew a Hot Flash about it. With GHOSTS, because I’m really going out of my way to make things festive for you. Hope you appreciate it. 😉

Speaking of “festive” things, my birthday was Wednesday. I feel old. 🙁

-posted by Wes | 11:23 pm | Comments (2)
October 2, 2006
ZOMBIE Film Review: City of Rott

Halloween is the time for ZOMBIE MOVIES, so today we’re taking a look at Frank Sudol’s City of Rott. I don’t really have a whole lot to add that isn’t in the review, but I was really disappointed with this one for all of the reasons mentioned therein. Utterly worthless movies like New York Minute and Flightplan may be infuriatingly painful to watch — especially when they come out of Hollywood — but bad, pointless films where talent was clearly involved add sadness and a longing for what might have been to the mix. Somehow that makes them a little easier to stomach, but they still suck. 🙁 Anyway, more Halloweenish Spectare reviews to come, along with more Foodstuffs pieces and (someday) the Baltimore Comicon review.

And yeah, we’d review a zombie movie in February because this is SCARY-CRAYON, but I figured I’d pretend to be festive and milk the Halloween connection. 😉

-posted by Wes | 3:38 pm | Comments (6)
September 24, 2006
Crayon Haiku #52 and #53! And holy hell…!

It’s thirty-four syllables in all with two new installments of A Crayon Haiku! I generally wouldn’t post them all at once like this without some more substantial fare too, but I felt I had to get A Crayon Haiku #52 out since it’s apparently been finished since May — guess I just forgot about it. I won the CD via the weekly drawing at a local goth club. 🙂

The real star of today’s show is A Crayon Haiku #53, though, which I just had to scribble and post immediately after watching New York Minute because holy hell that movie was horrible. I mean, Greg of Pop Arena told me it was bad, and I’ve seen lots of bad movies, but in no way was I prepared for the pure and unadulterated horrendousness of this film. You’d like me to do an audio review, wouldn’t you? But I honestly can’t think of what it would contain except a half-hour litany of curses and the odd blanket statement of fucked-up nonsensical details like “Andy Richter spoke with a stereotypical Chinese accent for most of the film” and “they visited a salon called the House of Bling.” Despite the positive attitude with which they appeared to regard their work on the movie in the making-of featurette, I refuse to believe that the cast and crew were aiming to create anything other than the worst film ever made. Everyone who had anything to do with it should be promptly and painfully exterminated with extreme prejudice. If I were standing in the front hall of a church and a smiling six-year-old girl with a frilly blue Sunday school dress and flowers in her hair told me she loved this movie, I would be strongly tempted to punch her hard in the face in front of the entire congregation and then burn the place to the ground with everyone in it faster than the Micro Machines guy can shout, “Hallelujah!” Holy fucking bloody hell.

In other news, I’ve been playing with the prototype layout for the new extended Dusty Plastic HELL toy comics (yes, after two years, Krang’s saga will finally be resolved), so have a look and tell me what you think of the various color schemes. I’m personally leaning towards the browns, though the greys don’t look too bad either. And of course, additional color suggestions are always welcome. 🙂

P.S. See if you can spot the minor changes to the content pages. 😀

-posted by Wes | 8:16 am | Comments (4)
September 19, 2006
It’s a Triple-Threat Tuesday!

Yes, today we’ve actually got three pieces for you. In addition to the freaky fourth installment of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, there are Dusty Plastic HELL: Hot Flash #86 and a “review” of the La Tasca Spanish Tapas Bar & Restaurant in Baltimore, MD. Now, as noted in the piece, I don’t particularly get off on restaurant critiques of the traditional sort that one finds in magazines and newspapers, to say nothing of the even less interesting kind that pepper weblog entries and the like. It pisses me off that people are so enthusiastic about restaurants and eating in general, especially when there’s no creativity on their part involved. (Personally, if it were possible, I would have my stomach replaced with a computer — but insofar as it is not, I do try to make something interesting out of this basic life necessity. Maybe not interesting to everyone, but those people should be eaten by hyenas.) So after the introductory remarks, this review focuses on my experience at the restaurant, much of which was determined by my semi-creepy infatuation with the utterly gorgeous waitress, because even that is far more interesting than noting that I ate food and it was good and telling you that you should do the same. I’d much rather you create your own dish from random ingredients and read Schleiermacher (or Scary-Crayon! ;)).

As noted on the content pages, there’s nothing particularly involved about the Hot Flash — I just happened to be sitting at La Tasca waiting to meet my server when the woman at the table next to me exclaimed that she liked her shirt, stood, and pulled it down such that it highlighted her breasts. They weren’t nearly as big as I drew them in the comic, though. Also, note the slight difference in the background color of the Hot Flash — that’s intentional. We were just off of the river and enjoying the breeze from that direction, so I made the background kind of a sea green. Yep.

Got a comment from someone that I thought had a cool website devoted to OROKU SAKI, but it was actually a spam comment that linked to a site that sells paper shredders. I dunno, I thought it was funny.

And speaking of spam, I keep getting these e-mails asking me if I’m worried about the loss of “erectoin”. Not really, seeing as how I don’t even know what that is! But considering that thinking about what “erectoin” might be (maybe a special grade of heroin that makes one horny and high?) made me think of Ghostbusters, I move that we add the term “erecto-plasm” to the list of slang terms for semen.

Until next time, minna-san. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 12:33 am | Comments (5)
September 11, 2006
A Random Lunch #11…! And plugs.

It feels odd to be posting A Random Lunch #11 on September 11. I was going to write a bit about the superficial similarities between the feature and the events that took place five years ago to the day, but after reading through the Wiki article on the subject I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Instead, let’s have a moment of silence, or better yet you can silently read parts of the article and see what comes to mind. Pretty heavy stuff.

Anyway, had I gone on to detail how both the features and the terrorist attacks feature various components that ostensibly do not belong together, I would’ve ended with, “And like the unfortunate machinations of that day and the ominous implications of the numbers 9-1-1, the unnatural combination of these ingredients is similarly suggestive of danger — gastrointestinal danger.” Which would have brought us to another point (and this is where the gloom ends; welcome back to Scary-Crayon):

Speaking of gastrointestinal processes and whatnot, I just had a thought (before I got all somber and serious, anyway) that made me laugh out loud. Okay, so this is nothing new to Latin scholars, and if you have a tendency to analyze odd vocabulary words you may already have considered this — but look at the word defecate. Now, note that the more proper term for shit is feces. Now, look again at defecate. De-fecate. So the word pretty much literally means to de-poopify! Fantastic.

In other news, I was at the Baltimore Comicon on Saturday, so I’m planning to do a full review (in the vein of the Shore Leave Report) at some point during the next week or two. But then again, knowing me it could be three months to never, so I figured I’d go ahead and plug some of the cool webcomic-related people and groups that I met there right now, in the random order that I remove their flyers and comics and business cards from my convention bag. I’ll save the other cool folks (and individual mentions, where the groups here are concerned) that I met there for the article itself, but in the meantime you can check out these sites and whatnot. Tell ’em Wes sent you! Which won’t mean much to them since nobody knows my name, but I do enjoy confusing people. So there. 😉

So. I’ve got a sticker from, a compilation comic from the Webcomic Hotness group (lots of cool folks in this group, so check them out), issue 38 of High Noon presents, a business card from Rob Balder of Partially Clips, a neon green card from UpDown Studio, a pink flyer thingy from, and an issue of a zombie comic called Dead of Summer. Again, I’ll have more to say about some of these folks (and others!) whenever I get around to the report.

Ja ne, minna-san!

-posted by Wes | 4:11 pm | Comments (14)
September 4, 2006
It just keeps getting stranger…

Happy Labor Day, crayon fans! As you (hopefully) relax on your day off, why not catch up on some reading? But given the nature of the holiday, comprehending what’s going on in part three of The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told might be too much work. After all, how does one make sense of nonsense? That is arguably an existential question.

I think my favorite passage in this part is the bit with the library spiders. 🙂

By the way, for those of you who’ve taken an interest in paper crafts following last time’s Dalek piece and have some skill with 3D modeling programs, this Pepakura Designer program might be of interest. You’d want your models to be fairly simple, though.

You might also want to try your hand at making a simple optical illusion dragon. The reality doesn’t fool me at all (though it is a cool model), but the interesting thing is that when I filmed it with my digicam, the illusion totally works in the video. But then, I can’t see magic eye puzzles either. Note that while this page attempts to provide an explanation — not for this particular problem, but for Spy Kids 3D and 3D-type stuff in general — that the illusion works when viewed by the camera’s monocular lense seems to debunk it. It’s also worth noting that the illusion failed for me even when I wore my glasses. Strange!

But not as strange as today’s fictional installment. 🙂

-posted by Wes | 5:30 am | Comments (5)
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)
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)
August 17, 2006
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)
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