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Audio book narration

July 24th, 2017 by jomo

I listen to a lot of audio books. They let me do things with my hands while listening to something besides music or news.

In a website review for an audio title which I had thoroughly enjoyed, the reviewer complained mightily about mispronounced words. I agree that mispronunciations are jarring, but they are not finally the fault of the narrator. Narrators shouldn’t be reading the text cold, and they have a producer reading along silently with them, controlling the recording machinery. At any mistake or unwanted sound the producer can stop the whole process, rewind the recording, and cue the narrator to record over the error. The next step in the process requires an editor to listen to the recording while following the text. Any errors are then corrected by insert editing, which can sometimes be heard in a published title because of a momentary shift in ambient, or background, sound and vocal quality/intonation.

So a narrator can mispronounce a word, but they are not alone in the fault: there are others also to blame.

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Hawk Migration

July 15th, 2017 by jomo

Vast numbers of large birds circle and soar in the sky, all drifting steadily north or south, depending on the season. They spiral in updrafts and thermals, gaining altitude: at some point they disengage from one upward conveyor and sail for another.

I have been privileged to see hawks migrating twice, both times in the Spring in Central Texas. It is truly awesome and thrilling.

I was in college the first time. Returning to my house just outside of town in the afternoon, I walked to the edge of a ravine and just stared mesmerized. Hawks filled the sky in all directions, both low and so high that they were only specks, all sliding north.

In a while, one of my housemates arrived and came to stand beside me. He too watched dumbfounded for a short time, and then said “I’ve gotta go get my gun!”

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Sowaddiyadoo

July 13th, 2017 by jomo

It’s been about 37 months since I last posted anything on this blog. Two things motivated me to write something now.

The first was writing a letter to a friend of almost sixty years on her birthday. I didn’t really have anything to say: I just maundered on about buying a leaf blower and the health of a pet, but I found that I enjoyed doing it – I enjoyed the writing.

The second thing was the visit from an old friend of about fifty years. He has saved letters and ephimera (a good librarian word) through the years and has recently been curating his collection. He had a letter from me written in 1971 or 72, and he brought me a copy of it. It was written in a brown ink italic script and was nice to look at. I used an Osmiroid calligraphic pen and liked to write stuff just as a graphic exercise, much like drawing a picture. The text was nothing special: a little group of us had moved to the Missouri Ozarks and were living rather primitively – I passed on news and random observations. I told him a bit about our neighbors and some local history. And I know, from looking at it and reading it today, that I enjoyed doing it.

And I have enjoyed doing this. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it.

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