The company we keep at Brain Technologies is highly creative. We never know what imaginative acts or outcomes to expect from our colleagues, clients and friends (or, as you are about to see, their children) next. Several of those folks have been operating outside the box or at least close to the edge again. We thought you’d enjoying knowing and seeing what they’ve been up to lately. So, in no particularly order, let’s talk about . . .

Ann Farris
We can’t remember where the vivacious, loquacious Ann Farris was living at the time she entered our lives by attending one of our “BrainLab” seminar sessions in Fort Collins. After we moved to Plano, Texas, in the mid-90s, she turned up in Fort Worth, only 30 miles to the west. After that, we lost track of her until we learned that she was in San Francisco, having written a book called The Other Side of Dyslexia and founded a website called Dyslexia Discovery. You can read a brief account of her personal tussles with this condition and order a copy of her book here.

But she has since added a new interest. Or more correctly, reactivated an old interest. From 1969 to 1972, Ann, having made her way from her native born Canada to California, took a job as assistant to Kurt Herbert Adler, general opera of the San Francisco Opera. A new career in opera followed, ending up with her being executive director of OPERA America, the national service organization for American opera companies.
Six years ago, an acquaintance from those years, David Gockley, a OPERA American board member, approached her about heading up a group of volunteers tasked with bringing order to the undocumented history of the San Francisco Opera. Their goal is to create a public archive for the Company, to be housed on the fourth floor of the new Wilsey Center for Opera in the Veterans Building next door to the opera house.

Ann is now in charge of 13 volunteers. She says they have found photos, slides, documents, reel-to-reel tapes, LP recordings, VHS videos from most all the many live performances at the War Memorial Opera House, filing cabinets jammed with production photos and “a jumble of boxes” of largely unknown content at the time in a room behind the top balcony that Ann nick-named “Valhalla.” She and her volunteers are working in was actually intended to be the shaft for a theater organ that was never installed (and named “The Lobster Room” after a lobster key-chain the room key was on). If you look closely, you can see Ann in this photo of her volunteers and other team members;



she’s fifth from the right.)

Ann and her helpers have thus far donated 4,600 hours to the project, with no end in sight. They work in three shifts to make optimal use of the three computers and two scanners available to them. A lot of their time is also spent seeking to close gaps in the opera house’s historical record. For example, iI you know of any production photographs of the opera prior to 1931 or for the years 1955 and 1956, Ann would greatly appreciate knowing about it. Her email address is ann@dyslexiadiscovery.com.

Michèle Carrier and Charles Boulos
It’s entirely possible that I’m behind the times and this has been happening regularly for some time now. I have certainly been aware of the existence of drones, the small, pilotless vehicles now often being used for aerial photography. But I’d not seen drone-produced videos being used to promote residential real estate offerings until our valued French language BTC distributors, Michèle Carrier and Charles Boulos, founders of Metafor International, sent me one of a lakefront property they have for sale in historic Shawnigian, Quebec, a hundred miles northeast of their headquarters on Nun’s Island, in the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal.

You can see the video here. Michèle and Charles are seated at the glass-topped patio table seen in the dazzling opening shot of the video (he’s in the blue shirt on the left). The house was left to Michèle by her late mother and sits in spectacular fashion (as you’ll see) at the river’s edge in a city whose huge chemical plants and big hydroelectric plant would, or so wartime planners feared, have made it Hitler’s No. 1 target in World War II had his military decided to bomb Canada.

Today, the industrial plants are all gone, and beautiful Shawnigian’s economic vitality is produced by tourism and recreation and by its role as “an ultra-modern digihub and incubator for budding startups.” Michèle and Charles have thoroughly modernized and innovated the former family home. As you can see here in this series of still shots, the property is as gorgeous as its location. And our hat is off to them and their two imaginative “very young realtors” with whom they’ve listed the property.

Julie Upshaw
We had the privilege of watching Julie grow to womanhood as a result of our befriending her mother and father in the early years of Brain Technologies’ existence in the northern suburbs of Dallas, Tex. Her father, Dr. Gary John, has spent decades as both a counselor and a theorizing wizard and developmental specialist at one of the country’s best two-year institutions, Richland College in Richardson, Tex. And he’s long been one of our supporters in educational circles and a much valued one.

Gary emailed us the other day and introduced us to Julie’s latest brainchild—what she calls her “mobile speech bubble.” Holder of a graduate degree in speech disorders and their treatment, Julie founded a company a few years ago called “Word Count” (she is now its sole owner).

As Gary has explained “the speech bubble” concept to us, Julie had two important realizations about the same time. First, she noticed that renting office space was a drag on her finances that seemed to have little continuing collateral benefit. Also, she realized that many parents and their children who might benefit from her services were reluctance to come to her office or come to her in her usual locations. So she bought herself a pickup and a trailer, outfitted it with her testing and assessment technologies and will now travel to a child’s home or anywhere else they want to meet and provide them with very discreet speech and learning assessments and treatment.

Congratulations to all these stalwart denizens of BTC’s ever-fascinating community of intellectually inclined activists and achievers. We’re proud to know you all!

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