The winner of the free copy of Slay is Dan Hanneman.
On the games front, I've decided that I don't like writing to framebuffers without some kind of library to make things more efficient. Reminds me of when I was talking to a DirectDraw evangelist at a GDC a while back. I explained my sprite library's scheme (drawing only changed stuff, dirty rectangles, you know the drill) and asked what DirectDraw could do for me. He said that if I didn't re-implement my sprite library under DirectDraw, I probably wouldn't realize any real speed improvement over drawing the entire frame in DirectDraw.
Hence, I've re-implemented the classes Sprite and SpriteManager under SDL. So far, it seems to be working. I've got a ton of minutae still to do, but it looks like it'll work nicely and I'll be able to get some high-quality animation that doesn't bring everything but the most stoic PIII to its knees.
Modest machine resources are important when you're targeting the discount rack.
On the toy front, the local electronics clearinghouse was selling Voodoo 5 5500's at a good price, so I picked one up. I haven't put anything on it to really tax it yet, but so far it's proving to be a very solid card with excellent performance for everyday stuff.
Also, I now have a bewildering array of resolutions available on the "display" control panel. I guess that'll come in handy when I finally pick up that 2048x1536 monitor I've been eyeing :)