Monthly Archives: November 2009


I’m a big fan of the auto-tune the news folks (and I like their latest video based on recent internet memes), and there are a few great teams using found footage combined with auto-tune to create something new — John Boswell’s Carl Sagan-themed Symphony of Science project for example (you may also know his Billy Mays auto-tune tribute). Below are his two science-themed videos, which I first saw a few days ago in a discussion of the movie “2001″ if I remember right, but have been viral for some time so you may have already seen them as well.

A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way

The Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths
Of exquisite interrelationships
Of the awesome machinery of nature

I believe our future depends powerfully
On how well we understand this cosmos
In which we float like a mote of dust
In the morning sky

How lucky we are to live in this time
The first moment in human history
When we are in fact visiting other worlds
The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean
Recently we’ve waded a little way out
And the water seems inviting

I’m this guy standing on a planet
Really I’m just a speck
Compared with a star, the planet is just another speck
To think about all of this
To think about the vast emptiness of space
There’s billions and billions of stars
Billions and billions of specks

The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it
But the way those atoms are put together
The cosmos is also within us
We’re made of star stuff
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself

Toronto Zoo Visit

Yesterday I asked Nefarious’s friend Cassie, who just turned eight, whether she’d ever been to the Toronto Zoo, and to my surprise she had not. We haven’t been in a while either, so last night a plan was made to do so today. We went last year when I had a littler beard, and the year before when I had a littler belly. I got up early — at about six in the morning — and watched a movie and made breakfast, and then napped on the couch until the girls roused me at noon to take them. We ended up staying at the zoo until closing, getting lots of exercise and visiting the far corners of the estate. Most of the zoo is still open, but a few things have been shut down for the winter — paradoxically this seemed to include the polar bears today. In addition to the normal fun of the zoo, I had the wonderful ego stroke of being recognized — “aren’t you Shannon Larratt?” — which to my surprise and great narcissistic pleasure still happens on a regular basis. So if you see me, say hello, because it really does give me a thrill. Thanks!

Things that make me miss childhood

When I was a baby, my parents went out of their way to be obsessively quiet when I was sleeping — I am told they put pillows on the floor in order to cut down on any creaking from the old house’s floors — and as a result I am (even as an adult) a very light sleeper and am awoken by the slightest sound and have great trouble getting to sleep as well. While they thought they were being kind to their fragile little first baby, in reality they did me a great disservice. With Nefarious, we were much louder, and she has been raised in environments with a wide variety of sounds — animals, traffic, TV, visiting friends, and everything else — so she is a much better sleeper than I. I hope she retains this ability, because I’m very jealous. However, part of the reason, and the funnest reason, that Nefarious slept through the fire alarm last night was that she has this wonderful fort that she’s been sleeping in. It’s “insulated” with couch pillow walls, so that dulls a lot of the sound. You may also notice a pair of Fiero seats forming one wall as well — part of the joy of fort building, as I’m sure everyone remembers from their own childhood, is dragging everything you can find to your creation and using it to construct the structure.

Her and a friend are playing in it right now (when we got home from school, we rebuilt it and made it much bigger so it would be a better playspace), and then because it’s Friday night we’ll have the treat of pizza and a movie. I have a great series of HD nature documentaries that I got today, so they can choose their favorite from a half dozen animals while we gorge ourselves with the least healthy meal of the week. They wanted to eat pizza in the fort, but the messiness of the request of what amounts to pizza in bed was turned down, so they will need to suffer through television.


Why am I awake at this hour?

Alright, 1:43AM is not that late, but I do have to get up at 7AM to get Nefarious to school, so on an ideal night I would be sleeping. However, the 150db industrial fire alarm in this building just spent the last half hour deafening me — although somehow Nefarious managed to sleep through it all. I don’t know if I should be worried for her safety should there be an actual fire, or if I should be jealous that she can literally sleep through anything. The reason the alarm woke everyone but her in the building is that some drunk shoeless dude climbed up onto the roof and thought that pulling the fire alarm would be a good way to get his estranged girlfriend to come outside and talk to him. Thanks a lot. I love drunk asshole logic. I’m guessing he’s in jail for the night now, but maybe he drunkenly fell off the roof and shares the fate of this squirrel that I saw on the way to my phlebotomist last morning. Rather than dwell on thoughts of violence perhaps I will include it all in some sort of imaginary Guy Fawkes night merriment.

On the bright side, I must admit that the fresh air of this well-lit night with an unusually large nearly full moon and sheet of stars behind a light dusting of illuminated clouds, with the crispness of a day filled with light rain, at just the perfect temperature and humidity to remind me of cool ocean mist was nice, and I hope will enchant my dreams with visions of the sea. If not, zombie squirrels I suppose.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


One step closer to an answer?

Long doctor’s appointment with many questions and much prodding and the occasional hitting with a small rubber hammer yesterday followed up by plenty of blood being drawn today (and a jar of urine for good measure) for both mundane and exotic testing. Currently the only proposed diagnosis is that I’m HIV+, which admittedly matches more symptoms than anything else that’s been suggested so far, but at the same time, I would be truly, truly shocked if that were the case, and I expect that it will be discarded when this bloodwork comes back. I am in complete denial that this is possible, and am not worried about it in the least. However, not that I want to be HIV+, but you do reach a point where you just want to be told something definitive, because it feels so pointlessly endless being stuck in a cycle of visiting experts and getting bloodwork and surgeries that never seem to give any answers. But I suppose that even an inconclusive or negative test helps close a door, reducing the possibilities remaining, and brings me one step closer to an answer.

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow?
See’st thou not how stiff and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath?
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

But anyway… I think I’m going to go obliterate some tin cans with my Desert Eagle. No… not 0.50cal… Just 0.177 — oh, the sacrilege — but still lots of fun. It’s pretty amusing having an airgun that’ll shoot through 5/8″ plywood. The target I was using had a chain on it so you can pull it back up after you knock it over, but I accidentally shot the chain and severed it. Ooops!