Month: August 2015

Sugar and Salt webcomic is up!

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 11.19.23 AM

My webcomic started updates last week!

Sugar & Salt is a web comic written and illustrated by yours truly. It is in part a slice-of-life part fiction embedded with bits of wisdom and conflicts we humans struggle with – but mostly it’s about laughter and finding your own way to navigate the tough, silly, and sometimes absurd moments in life. All you need is a bit of imagination. Tiny voices in your head (Aspects) are not required~

What are the Aspects? I can’t tell you that right now – spoilers! However, I will share that they’re the side main cast to Amara (the main character who you saw in this past week’s strip) and will have a prominent presence to her thoughts and actions in the comic.

Not only will you see what the every-day Amara gets up to but I’ll also be throwing in her antics and gaming shenanigans – some of which I’m sure you’ve already seen in previous strips I tested out styles and shading in.

You can read the comic via Tumblr or deviantArt. Updates will be released on Facebook and Twitter.

Glaucus atlanticus: The Blue Dragon


Glaucus atlanticus is known as the blue dragon and the blue sea slug. Pause a moment and say that name to yourself again, Glaucus atlanticus, oh the sounds of those syllables together gives me shivers! What beautiful coloring on this rare sea creature too!

So what is this blue dragon exactly? It’s a shell-less gastropod mollusk. How does it get around? It’s pelagic, meaning it floats upside down (because of the location of the gas filled sac in its stomach) at the surface tension of the water and is carried along by wind and ocean currents. It can also use its cerata (those finger like apendages) to swim around. You can find them in temperate and tropical waters such as off the coasts of Australia, South Africa, India, Peru, and Mozambique. The blue dragon is varying shades of blue on its ventral side (first image pictured) which acts as camouflage to predators from above yet is a silvery grey dorsally to hid it from predators below. It’s a 1.2in cutie that started garnering a lot of attention in April 2012 as a result of the image that appeared on Imigur (also pictured below).

be careful!
be careful –  don’t handle them like this!

Now, despite it’s cute appearance and small size the blue dragon is actually an aggressive predator that you should avoid skin contact with, unlike in the picture above. You see, a primary prey of Glaucus atlanticus is the Portuguese man o’ war (which is a collective colony of individual organisms, not a stinging jellyfish). This tiny sea slug absorbs the man o’ war venom and stores it in the tips of the dark cerata around its body. Keep in mind that the man o’ war is much larger than our cute sea monster (poison tentacles can range anywhere from 3.5in to 160ft depending on polyp type) and the absorbed poison is much more lethal at a higher concentration. If you simply must get a closer look or help a stranded blue dragon please follow the example of the following video.

Once the poison is stored, Glaucus atlanticus uses it as both an additional protection against predation and to prey on by-the-wind sailor (aka Velella velella), the blue button (aka Porpita porpita), and the violet snail (Janthina janthina). True to form this little sea slug has a radula full of serrated teeth which can be protruded to help devour it’s prey probably by rasping the particles of flesh from the surface.

blue dragon and a blue button

Well? What do you think of our cute yet deadly sea monster? Personally, I hope one day I’ll get to see you in person cutie patootie!

blue dragon and a by-the-wind sailor
blue dragon and a by-the-wind sailor

Sources; for more information:

More “Ratified Research” articles:

  1. Ponders on Colorful Breeding 
  2. Purple Heart
  3. Beneficial Stress
  4. Headless Horseman

On What’s Coming

Hey guys and gals, this week’s post is to highlight my upcoming webcomic Sugar & Salt! Most of you have heard whispers about this and may have seen hints here and there but I promise you it is a reality!

Posts will start August 18 and the comic will update weekly on Tuesdays. Follow the linked title to find out more about the comic, ask questions, or bookmark to check up on at a later time. In the mean time, here is some more teaser art:

Sugar & Salt teaser images

Questions on the Personal Level of Stress

I think I’ve found a new level of stress during this apartment move, something I did not think possible. It makes me wonder why we have so much noise in our lives, why we let so much of it in, why we make so much of it, and which kinds are good vs bad for us.

I know there are plenty of people who learn to deal with the buzz of drunkards late at night and the growls of traffic early in the morning. I also know there are those who can never get used to that noise or city people who can’t sleep with country noise and vice versa. What makes some of us have that capability while others do not? Maybe it’s because of the difference in types of sound, maybe it has something to do with dislike of being disturbed from one’s natural cycle, I’m not sure.

“Silence” by Kiri Ramdeo


Rest is a part of healthy recharging and revitalization and I wonder sometimes if we pay enough or too much attention to designing it into our lives? I admire old buildings for their sturdiness and the history tied to their construction and location. However, I am impressed with the technology of new buildings and some of their technological innovations with insulation – especially for noise. At what point do we start paying attention to how close to roads we build our homes? Apartments? Office buildings? Home should be a place of rest and recharge – how much attention do we pay to decoration (how it looks to impress visitors) vs comfort (prioritizing our relaxation and healthy rhythms) when setting up anywhere? How long is right is it to stand the noise and vibrations that stress us out? Is it really worth as much stress as it can be if we make it out in the end?

“Insanity” by Kiri Ramdeo

I am the type of person who functions and performs best on restful sleep about 7 or 8 hours, but I know some of my friends can go on 6 hours of restless sleep and still wrangle difficult tasks (such as training horses or keeping up a busy teaching schedule) the next day. Of course they need sleep after that or naps towards bedtime but I don’t know how they do it. Some people work 2-3 jobs on only a few hours of sleep all to keep food on the table or to put ourselves through school or to move on to something better. The lack of sleep is sometimes held up as a badge of honor. What about those in the same situations (who are struggling to move forward with their lives) who cannot do this? Those who the lack of rest takes such a toll that they reach the end of their rope – yet to stand up and say they need the time to rest to keep going means they’ll be fired, their weekly hours reduced – that they loose their livelihood? Is it such a wonder then why people loose their minds at the end of their rope? How then can we throw “you should have taken better care of yourself” in their faces? At what point are we rated weak or strong?

“Speak no Truth” by Kiri Ramdeo

There are wonderful quotes about finding out what we are made of and how strong we are when we are alone or are pushed to breaking point and have to deal with it on our own. If one person can handle a situation that another person cannot, does that mean the later person is really weak or less equipped? I believe it is a mark of strength to both pull a heavy load when working towards a goal you believe is worth it but it is also a strength to speak up and stand up for yourself to take care of this vessel for your soul. If there is no you there is no goal to work towards in the first place. The drive and purpose comes entirely from you.

“A Starry Night” by Kiri Ramdeo

Well, how equipped are you mentally and physically? What do you think actually makes a breaking point in a person?