Well, I am now done with linear voltage regulators like the 7805. For some reason, it could only hold the circuit at 4.7 V with some significant irregularity, even when fed with 12VDC. The IR sensors were not very stable at the slightly lower voltage, and the output digital levels were not solid.
So I swapped out the 7805 for a Cosel YS505U "Gorilla" AC-to-DC converter I had laying around. Now I have a nice solid 5V of up to 1A, and everything is happy. The IR sensors are now responding properly, and my Visual Basic program can read them through the parallel port input.
Tommorow night I am going to work on the software a bit, hopefully to include some sound along with the animated eyes. Scott may be coming over Wednesday to see the progress. He's been painting new eyes.
On another note, Jesse from ArtDC.Org sent me a link to Noboru Tsubaki's work that includes a large fiberglass insect that lures visitors into its "web". His UN Boy project includes a 16-foot tall Teddy Bear and a mine-clearing robot.