Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yollam & Sage: The Case of the Koala Enchilada, Part 3

When we last left off: The recipe for the Koala Enchilada was stolen from a thief. Ralph's ex-girlfriend Marlie hitched a ride with some pigs. Clues were had. (See also: Part 1.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Yollam & Sage: The Case of the Koala Enchilada, Part 2

When we last left off: A popular restaurant's secret recipe for vegetable enchiladas has gone missing, and somehow Ralph's less than charming ex-girlfriend is involved. Ralph and Sage set off to find clues...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yollam & Sage: The Case of the Koala Enchilada, Part 1

Ralph Yollam hadn't seen private eye L. Sage in weeks.

Whenever he was downtown, he would visit her building, but she never seemed to be in at the same times he visited.

She would leave him the occasional note taped to the door though, in envelopes labeled “Red,” her apparent nickname for him.

These messages were brief.

For instance: “I'm feeling boring today, Red. Go out and be exciting for me.”

He never did encounter her, though. He even staked out her building while covering a parade for his newspaper, and didn't see her once.

She had, for all intents and purposes, disappeared as if she'd been abducted by aliens, assuming that their previous mystery was any indication.

Or maybe it was her own mystery to begin with. He sort of felt like he'd been a guest star on that one.

In any event, after about two months, he gave up trying to find her, and went back to his daily life.

One morning, Ralph stopped off for a warm (and hopefully caffeinated) beverage at his usual breakfast bistro.

“Medium vanilla chai tea,” he croaked as he handed the barista his credit card. Coffee was gross enough; maybe the sugar in the tea would boost his mood.

“You know,” said a sultry voice from behind. “'Chai' actually means 'tea.' Saying 'chai tea' is redundant.”

Ralph's eyes grew wide; he was wide awake now. He spun around.
 It was Sage, sitting at a table, smiling her signature half-smile. Ralph very nearly ran over and hugged her, but restrained himself.

“You've stopped coming for my notes, Red,” she said. “I was starting to get worried.”

Ralph felt a flash of indignation, but he brushed it off. “I thought you had been abducted by aliens.”

Sage laughed. “I have not been cavorting with our friend Waldo Sweeney, but I have been busy.”

She beckoned for him to sit down. He got his credit card from the barista and pulled up a chair.

“We really need to better coordinate,” said Sage. “I've got a case for you that may tickle your fancy.”

Ralph leaned in. “I'm all ears.”

She grinned. “What do you know about koalas?”

He must have made a face, because she grinned wider at his expression.

“They're...furry? And Australian,” he said.

“Did you know that it's illegal to eat koala meat?” asked Sage.

“Who eats koalas?” asked Ralph.

“Dingoes and bad people,” said Sage. “Ever hear of the Melbourne Bay Grill?”

Ralph leaned back and thought. “Is it the new place that opened up on 19th Street?”

“The very same,” Sage beamed. “It was popular in a couple of cities throughout the state, before landing here in our lovely town.”

She took a breath.

“They have a unique blend of ingredients that they use in a particular Tex-Mex dish, one that the owner has won awards for. It's called the Koala Enchilada.”

Ralph cocked his head. “Surely they don't use--”

“I already checked,” Sage laughed. “I can say for a fact that they do NOT use koala meat.”

Ralph figured he must have looked relieved, because Sage giggled again.

“Who wants to butcher a cuddly koala?” she asked. “No, they don't use any cuddly creatures at all – just veggies and sauces and herbs – and attach a cuddly marketing nickname to the product to tie into that Australian theme.”

She paused.

“But that's not the interesting thing, Red. The interesting thing is that the recipe has gone missing, and I think I know who took it.”

Ralph leaned forward again. “Who?”

Sage grinned. “They just called your drink, Red. Better go get it, and come with me – we've got work to do.”

Ralph hoped she would say that.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stranded at Walmart: A Tale of Ice and Woe

Note: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 was a ridiculously icy day. The following is a contemporary account of my time stranded by the ice in a strange land.

6:15: Mom texts me ten times about icy roads. My morning alarm was set for 6:30, alas.

7:30: Walking out to my car to discover it covered in a thick layer of ice. Calling my supervisor to let her know I might be late.

7:40: Still de-icing the car. Using a plastic card since I live in Texas and we never have ice. The card is ineffective.

7:50: Backing out of the driveway. The driveway is uphill and icy, but I manage to make it out. I call my supervisor again and let her know I WILL be late.

8:05: I make it to Sherwood Way after sliding down the highway at 25 mph with my flashers on, while making unexpected lane changes. I see a truck swerve haphazardly through the intersection and into the Stripes gas station. I decide that I want to LIVE.

8:07: I somehow manage to slip into the Walmart parking lot. I call my supervisor a third time, tell her that the roads are suicide, and that I am stranded and won't be coming in.

8:10: I walk inside. People are wandering around, as if in a daze. This being Walmart, many are either oilfield workers, or folks dressed in sweatpants.

8:14: Ordering breakfast at the in-store McDonald's. There aren't many patrons, but the few I see seem to be refugees like I am. Still, I do see that some people are out grocery shopping in this weather (in sweatpants)!

8:30ish: They make an announcement over the loudspeakers calling all managers. Dunno if this is routine but it seems ominous.

8:50: Phone battery about to die. Purchasing car charger. Another Walmart worker tells my cashier that a lot of their personnel have called in.

9:10: I walk to the ice cube that is my car. I keep hearing ambulance sirens. There's a small dog yapping at me from inside a nearby SUV. I get a brief charge on my phone. Grabbing iPad.

9:15: Back to McD's for a large coffee, and I see that a crowd of ice refugees has gathered there. I genuinely hope they're also stranded, and not being dumb by ignoring the ice warnings. You know, like I did.

9:20: I'm reading Facebook (thanks, free wi-fi!) and seeing all the news stories about fatal accidents related to the ice. Ye gods.

10:05: I purchase a can of de-icing solution. Possibly not good for the environment, but hey, the environment did this to me and I'm fighting back. I mention to the cheery cashier that I am stuck and she may be seeing me again.

10:30: I de-ice my car. It's cold. Damn cold. Yappy dog's owners have returned; poor little guy must be cold.

11:00 or so: I meander through the DVD's and menswear, and call my sister for a weather update. Nothing has changed. And apparently they only sell cowboy hats here.

11:40 or thereabouts: I buy an ice scraper mitt and a cheap video game. I make small talk with the same cheery cashier as before, and she recognizes me. She recommends going to either the Subway or the Chick Fil A for lunch. "You could go to Wendy's, but ehhhh," she says.

12:00: I walk down to the Stripes station where the Subway is, and buy a sandwich and some thick gloves. The parking lot isn't bad, but the sidewalks are slippery. The bathroom almost makes me lose my appetite.

12:30: Back inside Walmart. They must think I'm some homeless guy.

12:45: I wander through the sports department. I call my parents, who were sensible and stayed home. So far, all signs point to icy roads. I'm starting to get really sick of Walmart.

12:55: I start to contemplate the meaning of life, and conclude it must be sweatpants.

1:00: I get a large Coke at McD's. The manager surely recognizes me by now. I check Facebook and leave a status update asking for news. Some old lady sitting nearby is griping at her husband and is using the twangiest accent imaginable.

1:15: I hear from Facebook that the roads are a little better. My co-workers must think I'm a weenie.

1:20: Leaving Walmart. Going to try to drive home before I lose my mind.

1:25:
On the highway. It seems less slick than before, although I do see several cars on the sides of the road. My teeth are chattering, and NOT because of the cold.

1:30: I make it safely back home. I collapse into a coma on my bed. I try not to dream about sweatpants.

The following Saturday: Today's high was 81 Fahrenheit. Ye gods.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dante Residential: 2010 through 2012

See also: 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

I slowed waaaaaay down with Dante Residential after 2010, because (ironically) I was getting back into college myself that fall, and taking over the production of the Ramdiculous Page. I had difficulty finding the time to fit in new comics.

As you will see, I only did one comic in 2011, and one in 2012. My cartooning interests were going elsewhere at the time. This unfortunately meant that I didn't complete the "iPhone from the Future" arc, which was a true shame, as I'd had high hopes for the arc, and my friend Amanda took a bunch of pictures of Kerrville for it.

Speaking of the future: will I ever bring Dante Residential back? Without a doubt. We haven't heard the last of these guys...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dante Residential: 2009

See also: 2006, 2007, and 2008.

I started slowing down my output of Dante Residential by 2009. I'd miss a week or two, then a month or two. I had a paying job at the time, but I started seriously considering getting back into college again.

Still, it was a new America, so I couldn't resist the occasional riff or two...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dante Residential: 2008

See also: 2006 and 2007.

2008 was a big election year, so Dante Residential took a page from Bloom County and got a bit more political.

In this year alone, I dropped all kinds of references to conservatives, liberals, and at least one Libertarian in a free-market laundromat.

As for me, I wasn't actually in college at any point in 2008, but I kept up the comic anyway (because, in my mind, it was a moral imperative that it continue to live and breathe in the Ramdiculous Page). In many ways I lived vicariously through my characters.

Have fun!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dante Residential: 2007

Continuing from yesterday's 2006 comics, here are all of my old Dante Residential comics from the year 2007.

You may notice that the March 23 comic takes a potshot at a certain college newspaper. That whole sordid kerfuffle is a story for another time, but it is worth noting that the comic in question is my first for the Ramdiculous Page, where DR remained for the remainder of its original run (the last Ram Page comic ran on March 9).

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dante Residential: 2006

So back in 2006, I began writing/drawing a comic strip called Dante Residential, which ran in Angelo State University's Ram Page and Ramdiculous Page.

The strip ran off and on until 2012, and was a labor of love to the end. It also introduced the world to Ralph Yollam, who is currently a character in Yollam & Sage here on BWaW.

I thought it'd be fun to include the comic here, and start from the very beginning, with all of 2006's installments. See if you can count the dated references!