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[drawing every day placeholder for 2024 day one three six]: zoom zoom

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Drawing for 2024 Day 136

In case I don't get internet access in time to post the cleaned version, here's a peek at Drawing Every Day 2024 number 136:

The picture plane

Yes, I am literally drawing every coherent illustration in the Goldman book, even if they are not intended as drawing exercises. This forces me to stretch with more complex compositions, and broadens the drawing eye.

Drawing every day, posting when I have Internet.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three six]: zoom zoom

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One Flew South sushi and cocktail

On my way to Silicon Valley Open Studios to help my wife with her art show this weekend - both paintings and mixed media, including furniture:

Geode-like furniture by Sandi Billingsley

Short layover, hit publish, please attend!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three five]: it’s late and i’m tired …

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... so here's a sunset dinner from a month or two ago that I thought was beautiful. Enjoy!

-the Centaur

Pictured: the patio of La Parrilla restaurant in Greenville at sunset, along with one of their excellent La Parrilla house margaritas - the best drink on the menu, actually, even though it is the house drink.

[twenty twenty-four day one three four]: victory condition

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Wow, the Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter not only got funded, we reached our first stretch goal - bookmarks!

We had hoped to reach postcards or even the audiobook, but this was a great achievement, and I'll take it. Not only did we take in almost $9K to help pay our authors and defray other costs in the book, but also a hundred and eighty people backed and another hundred bookmarked the campaign. Which means that over two hundred fifty people liked it ... and probably ten times as many looked at it. Mission accomplished!

Next up, finishing the ARC (the preliminary version of the book for industry and sensitivity reader review).


Pictured: Graphics from the Kickstarter, which were not only fun to do but taught me a lot, and an Old Fashioned from Select restaurant in Greer.

[drawing every day 2024 post one three three]: surface of the sole

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More Goldman studies. Starting to feel a little three-dimensionality to the shapes; I should start leaning into that, as I think that's a limitation of both my drawing and my viewing eye.

Drawing every day (on average).

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three three]: don’t do this

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Okay, I understand that many restaurants serve tomahawk chops like this because they're not really a meal for one, but actually a for-the-table sharing dish. But, for the love of Julia Child, please, don't do this.

You have here a steak cooled ON its long, frenched bone for its beautiful Fred Flintstone-cut appearance. But your kitchen has proceeded to cut if OFF the bone before the diner ever sees it.

And you have a THICK-CUT steak designed to retain both its juice and heat. Then your kitchen has proceeded to THIN-SLICE it before the diner can even take a bite.

In sum, don't slice your tomahawks.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a doubly ruined steak: first, because they cut it up, and second, because I ill-advisedly tried it blackened. Unfortunately, the already charred nature of a tomahawk doesn't go with blackening, so I cannot recommend this to you. Yes, I threw my body on that grenade for you. You're welcome.

P.S. This was supposed to be my celebration steak for funding our Kickstarter, which funded yesterday, but still has a day to go. I suppose I jumped the gun here and paid the price.

[twenty twenty-four day one three two]: what?!

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There's an ongoing debate over whether human emotions are universal: I, like many researchers, think that there was solid work done by Ekman back in the day that demonstrated this pretty conclusively with tribes with little Western contact, but some people seem determined to try to pretend that evidence can be made not to exist once it's been collected, if you just argue loudly enough about how you think it's wrong.

(The evidence is wrong?)

Yet my cat can look surprised, or scared, or angry, or alarmed, or content, or curious. It's fairly well established that some emotions, like the self-conscious ones of shame or pride, have highly variable, culturally-determined expressions (if they have consistent expressions at all). But when animals very different from us can still communicate emotions, it's hard to believe none of it is universal.

(The evidence is wrong? What's wrong with you people?)

-the Centaur

P.S. If you subscribe to the anthropic fallacy fallacy, please do not bother to tell me that I'm falling into the anthropic fallacy, because you're the one trapped in a fallacy - sometimes surprise is just surprise, just like a heart is still a heart when that heart is found an animal, and not a "deceptively heart-like blood pump."

Pictured: Loki, saying, "What, you expect me to do something? I'm a cat. I was busy, sleeping!"

[drawing every day post one three two]: twist and shout two

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More from Wizard How to Draw. These stick figure exercises are starting to prove very effective in helping me break down human figures so I can draw them more accurately, so I guess I'll keep doing them.

Drawing, on average, every day.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three one]: celebration!

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Yay! The Neurodiversiverse Kickstarter funded, with two and a half days to go! And it has been amazing, after a month of slow but steady growth, that the Kickstarter continues to now rapidly fund even as we're trying to publicize it! A shoutout to Cat Rambo, who graciously let us do that guest blogpost! Let me shout back, with the story card we came up with for Cat's story, "Scary Monsters, Super Creeps"!

Now that we've met our funding goal, we've announced our stretch goals, which include cool things like bookmarks and postcards and, if we really stretch, an audiobook of the anthology.

But we've also been posting about our process, talking about how we selected our stories for the anthology and how we organized them into our current table of contents - which required setting up a Kanban board in Airtable to help us organize it quickly, efficiently, and, most of all, understandably.

Airtable is a system that looks a lot like a spreadsheet, except it's actually a database under the hood, enabling you to build different views of the same data; a Kanban board is one such view, with rows turned into "cards" organized into "stacks" by a given field - and as you move cards about in the stacks, the field changes with it. This helps visualize the flow of, well, many things - including stories in the editing pipeline, or stories in the table of contents; I'm even using it for tracking the writing of new stories. But for now, the most important thing is that it enabled us to put together this:

We're proud of the table of contents - but also, pleased with the process that got us there, and hope other people find it as useful as we did.

So please, go check those posts out, and maybe even help spread the word so we reach our stretch goals!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one three zero]: and then he rested

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It's been a long day dealing with a whole sequence of guff, so here I present to you Loki, taking a nap after his hard work on reconciling large language models with classical symbolic artificial intelligence.

-the Centaur

P.S. The Kickstarter is almost there! ... 94%, with ~3 days to go! Like, back and share!

[drawing every day 2024 post one three zero]: palpable bony landmarks

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More Goldman studies. I don't know about you, but "palpable bony landmarks" sounds vaguely salacious or Lovecraftian, and I can't pin down which. It certainly is a phrase that writers would put in their folder of "neat sounding words and phrases that someday I hope I can do something with".

Drawing every day (on average), posting as regularly as I can.

-the Centaur

Guest Post on The Neurodiversiverse at Cat Rambo’s Blog

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Hey folks! I have a guest post on The Neurodiversiverse up at Cat Rambo's blog! Check it out:

In it, I talk about the aliens in science fiction, the origin of The Neurodiversiverse, about neurodiversity and representation, and about some of the cool stories that we are featuring in the anthology!

Cat is not just an author in The Neurodiversiverse, she's also the author of the space opera You Sexy Thing and lots of other cool stories and novels. Thanks to Cat for the opportunity!

The Kickstarter runs for just 3 more days, so please read, like, back and share!

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one two nine]: amaze me

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For some reason the shapes of this countertop remind me of a maze - strange little pathways leading towards a drink. I have a fairly strict one-drink-per-day limit (with the sole outstanding exception to that being that you can have a "nightcap" if you drank your one drink much earlier in the day and aren't driving anywhere, but in practice I have only exercised the "nightcap exception" one or two times in my life).

And I have this limit because, at one point in my life, my father started drinking too much. He never got violent or abusive - he actually just got, well, unpleasantly silly. But, for a period of time, my mother and I had to rush to get chores done and dinner ready because my dad loved Canadian Club, and if he had more than one after he got home, he would dissolve into silliness and be unable to talk to over dinner.

That doesn't sound so bad, but that was the worst period of my youth: several years where I essentially didn't have a dad in the evening. And, according to my late Uncle Boo, it sounds like we were lucky; he recounted a story of Dad, drunk, deciding to pick a fight with a man sitting at the third barstool of his favorite bar, just because. (Though I don't know how much to trust this story, as - God bless them - some of the older generation of the family seemed to love to lie to me for some reason, and I have later found out that many of the stories about the family were either exaggerations or straight-up false).

Alcohol seems to affect me differently than Dad. For one, I don't want so much of it: while I love one strong drink, I almost never want more. On the extraordinarily rare occasions (twice?) that I have more than one, or just if the drink is too strong, it gives me a headache, makes me feel nauseous, makes me feel like shit, or all three. And, two, it doesn't seem to make me silly: it makes me, for the lack of a better word, blurry. I have to pick and choose my words with care, and the headache is sitting there, waiting to drop.

But we're different in another way as well: a drink seems to reduce my anger against the world, rather than enhance it. I can't see myself deciding to attack the person who happens to be sitting at the third stool of a bar, just because they're there. In fact, after a good drink, I find myself critically reassessing my internal mental dialogues rattling around in my head about other people - stopping the tape loops, stepping back, and remembering that everyone around me is a person, not a character in my internal narrative.

This may seem odd to some, but one of the persistent elements of my (social) anxiety disorder is stressing out about real and imagined issues with people around me, near and far, past and present. It was an important part of the therapy I took up during the pandemic to deconstruct those narratives, to stop the catastrophizing about potential failure modes, and to learn to move on with my life.

Cognitive behavior therapy helped with this, up to a point. But, I recently noticed, sometimes the narratives tend to stop after a good drink, replaced by a warm, magnanimous feeling. And that can be useful, either when reviewing a situation you've just been in, or fortifying yourself to go into a new situation, so you can build new positive experiences with the people you interact with.

Now, all that being said, I can't recommend drinking. From a scientific perspective, my understanding is that many of the supposed health benefits of alcohol don't really exist, or are outweighed by the negatives of alcohol. The public health recommendation for it is that if you don't drink, don't start.

And my understanding is that alcoholism develops from a combination of predisposition and exposure to alcohol over time - so I really have to dis-recommend drinking alcohol unless you use a structuring tool like my one-drink-per-day limit.

I like to joke that, if you can get drunk on one drink, then, well, it's a really good drink. But, actually, it is possible to get drunk on one drink - and that's too strong. If you have a strict limit of one drink per day that isn't strong enough to get drunk on, I think it would probably be challenging to develop alcoholism.

And so, while I can't recommend alcohol, I can certainly appreciate it as a tool to help chill out about life.

-the Centaur

Pictured: An Ardbeg scotch, I think BizzareBQ, which, despite the gimmicky name, is peaty and rather nice.

[twenty twenty-four day one two eight]: i don’t believe in gravity, part ii

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Yeah, he's up there. Not sure how, but he is. Hope he's not stuck. Ah, just went out to check, and he's gone, so I assume he moved on. Come to think of it, I wonder if he's the same as this guy:

This little guy got in and disappeared into the fireplace - I assumed he fell from the chimney, but he's thin enough maybe to have wormed in a windowframe perhaps? Not sure, the other guy looks thicker about the middle, but it may be the case that he ate something.

Hypothesis is, the little guys are immature versions of this handsome fellow, a rat snake perhaps, who is also a climbing mofo ...


-the Centaur