The Trumpet of the Swan, Ch. 6

April 24th, 2015 — 8:00am

Off to Montana, banana, banana!

The Trumpet of the Swan: 06 Off to Montana

The Trumpet of the Swan

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sick again

April 22nd, 2015 — 9:22am

Sick again. Jeebus. So far I wouldn’t categorize it as anything worse than a cold: scratchy throat, bad cough, congestion, general crappiness. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse. SIGH.

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The Trumpet of the Swan, Ch. 5

April 22nd, 2015 — 8:00am

The Trumpet of the Swan: 05 Louis

The Trumpet of the Swan

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The Trumpet of the Swan, Ch. 4

April 20th, 2015 — 8:00am

The Trumpet of the Swan: 04 The Cygnets

The Trumpet of the Swan

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The Trumpet of the Swan, Ch. 3

April 17th, 2015 — 8:00am

The Trumpet of the Swan: 03 A Visitor

The Trumpet of the Swan

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The Trumpet of the Swan, Chapter 2

April 15th, 2015 — 8:00am

Forgot to say — I’ll be posting Trumpet of the Swan chapters here automatically on M/W/F, the same day that they show up in my podcast feed, just to keep things in sync.

The Trumpet of the Swan: 02 The Pond

The Trumpet of the Swan

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The Trumpet of the Swan, Chapter 1

April 13th, 2015 — 4:33pm

I recorded the first eleven chapters of E.B. White’s classic “The Trumpet of the Swan” a few years ago but never finished it for some reason. But now I will! I recorded another four chapters a few days ago — they’re short and make a nice change from 45 minutes of Mordor! E.B. White’s prose is simple, elegant, and extremely fun to read aloud. (He is the “White” of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style”, a book everyone should own.)

Anyhow — I hope you like this lovely story!

The Trumpet of the Swan: 01 Sam

The Trumpet of the Swan

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The Return of the King, Bk 2, Chapter 9

April 8th, 2015 — 11:38am

Chapter 9; the last chapter. I’ve been working on The Lord of the Rings for about 12 years; I started recording it for Henry, my little Tolkien junkie who is all grown up now, and finished it for my crowd of loyal listeners who so often send me the kindest emails and comments! It’s hard to believe that it’s over.

“It’s an ill wind as blows nobody no good, as I always say. And All’s well as ends Better!”

Return of the King Bk 2: 09 The Grey Havens

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 8 part 2

April 7th, 2015 — 11:38am

Second half of Chapter 8:

Return of the King Bk 2: 08-2 The Scouring of the Shire, Part 2

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 8, part 1

April 1st, 2015 — 3:09pm

Chapter 8 is a very long chapter, so here’s the first half:

Return of the King Bk 2: 08-1 The Scouring of the Shire, Part 1

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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The Origin of a Sudden Thought in Kara’s Mind

April 1st, 2015 — 10:18am

A few weeks ago, while reading David Eagleman’s excellent “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain,” I had a very odd experience.

I was reading this passage:

“In 1976, the American psychologist Julian Jaynes proposed that until late in the second millennium B.C.E., humans had no introspective consciousness, and that instead their minds were essentially divided into two, with their left hemispheres following the commands from their right hemispheres. These commands, in the form of auditory hallucinations, were interpreted as voices from the gods. About three thousand years ago, Jaynes suggests, this division of labor between the right and left hemispheres began to break down.”

And suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, I had huge red blinking text in my head (I won’t make it red and blinking here, just bold):

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

My brain was shouting that phrase at me, over and over:

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

So I sat there for a minute wondering what on earth that phrase was doing in my head… and then it hit me. That’s a title I remember seeing among my dad’s books when I was very small (I was 6 for most of 1976). I remember that I didn’t understand all of the words in the title, but it was such an interesting-sounding phrase. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. So rhythmic, so thumpy, so chewy.

So I googled it and, boom, that’s the title of a book by Julian Jaynes about his controversial bicameralism theory:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_(psychology)

So, since the text I was reading didn’t actually contain that phrase and I hadn’t read Jaynes’s book and didn’t have any real idea what it was about, my unconscious mind took the author’s name (which I don’t consciously remember but must have seen on the book jacket) and the terms “break down” and “consciousness”, added them up, and gave me the correct answer to a question I didn’t even ask.

And the passage which started that chain of events was in a book about neuroscience and the astonishing complexity and dexterity of the unconscious mind.

“Almost the entirety of what happens in your mental life is not under your conscious control, and the truth is that it’s better this way.”

The human brain. Man. I am so often struck by the AMAZING things our brains will do, things that we take completely for granted.

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 7

March 31st, 2015 — 10:45am

Barliman Butterbur and Bill the Pony :)

Return of the King Bk 2: 07 Homeward Bound

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 6

March 29th, 2015 — 12:36pm

Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising
he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.

Return of the King Bk 2: 06 Many Partings

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 5

March 27th, 2015 — 11:26am

Another new recording for you, yay!

Return of the King Bk 2: 05 The Steward and the King

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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The Bad Beginning

March 22nd, 2015 — 2:24pm

Something from the archives! I think I recorded it in 2003 or 2004 as a
Christmas present for Henry.

The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning: Chapter 01
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 02
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 03
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 04
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 05
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 06
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 07
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 08
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 09
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 10
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 11
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 12
The Bad Beginning: Chapter 13

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 4

March 20th, 2015 — 12:09pm

Long live the Halflings! Praise them with great praise!

Return of the King Bk 2: 04 The Field of Cormallen

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 3

March 17th, 2015 — 12:04pm

“Yes,” said Frodo. “But do you remember Gandalf’s words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do?

Return of the King Bk 2: 03 Mount Doom

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

p.s. I have finally added links to Book 1 at the top of
http://kayray.org/kayray-reads/.

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Return of the King, Bk 2, Ch 2

March 15th, 2015 — 1:04pm

In which Frodo and Sam have an almost unbelievable number of close shaves and near misses. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when we stop hearing about gray ashy dark grim horrible Mordor.

Return of the King Bk 2: 02 The Land of Shadow

The very next chapter is called “Mount Doom”, so I think Frodo’s quest is nearing its end! I’ll record it as soon as humanly possible :)

Lord-of-the-Rings-Return-of-the-King

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Not sick!

March 9th, 2015 — 9:38am

News flash: I am currently not sick. The sore throat got better about 2 days ago. So now it’s just my normal Pulmonary Hypertension-related exhaustion and other stuff. So I might be able to record another chapter for you pretty soon.

It’s been so long since I wrote a blog post about anything significant, and I don’t have time right now for much, because I need to breathe my meds and brush my teeth and get ready to go see my lovely therapist, Jeff. Hooray for Jeff! It’s always a good day when I have a Jeff appointment.

Reading: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, by David Eagleman

Listening: “Doctor Thorne”, by Anthony Trollope, from Librivox:
https://librivox.org/doctor-thorne-by-anthony-trollope/

Playing: Monkey City (one of the best tower defense games ever), Atomas, Alto’s Adventure

Knitting: a baby blanket for an upcoming brand-new great-nephew (except I’m having terrible hand pain so I can’t/shouldn’t knit much).

Watching: Better Call Saul (so good!!!), Last Week Tonight, Only Connect, The Americans, House of Cards, Fortitude, and a couple of new things which might end up being good — Battle Creek and The Last Man on Earth. And I’m doing a rewatch of Breaking Bad and 30 Rock.

Henry is living with my sister and her husband in the Bay Area. He’s the full-time nanny for their almost-2-year-old, which I think he finds fulfilling but exhausting. I can’t really live alone because of my health condition, so I’ll be moving in with them too, as soon as they find a big enough rental house. It was lucky that the very week that Henry moved out, a friend had a housing crisis and needed a place to stay for a while, so he’s living in Henry’s room and I have company and help.

Thank you for all the thoughtful comments and emails!

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Sick again (still)

March 3rd, 2015 — 12:14pm

Brutal sore throat. Started out of nowhere on Saturday night, wasn’t too bad though Sunday, and then Monday it got way worse all of a sudden. Like, it hurt so badly to swallow that it made me cry. Monday night was rough. Now, Tuesday morning, it’s slightly better. I can swallow, anyway.

Sigh. This has been a rough year so far.

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