Monday, February 01, 2016

Interview with Brian Kalt, Fairmont Brine Processing. Innovators and Entrepreneurs Series.

Protecting the environment is critical in oil and gas operations, and the fact that many oil wells produce significant amounts of saltwater that must then be disposed of safely can be both expensive and can lead to unintended consequences. As a result, there has been a great deal of work done to develop processes that can dispose of produced water in an economic way.  Fairmont Brine Processing has developed and implemented an evaporation and crystallization process that has been used in the Marcellus in the Appalachian Basin with great success.

Welcome to an interview with Brian Kalt, Fairmont Brine Processing.

1.    What is your name and your new process?
 Although evaporation has been going on since the dawn of time and crystallization since the 1800s, utilizing both processes to manage the wastewater produced in the natural resource extraction process is a novel concept and has allowed Fairmont Brine Processing to pioneer its patented evaporation and crystallization process for not only the natural gas and oil industry, but the environment and the community as well.

2.    What exactly does your process do?
 As an alternative to the sequestering of trillions of gallons of water beneath the earth’s surface via deep well injection, Fairmont Brine Processing is able to receive flowback and produced fluid from the drilling and hydraulic-fracturing process and recycle it into three reusable products.  Throughout the entire Appalachian Basin, our distilled water is reused in the drilling and fracturing process and drastically reduces costs at the wellhead by eliminating biocide, scale inhibitor and friction reducers.  The dry sodium chloride rock salt is used to keep highways open and safe during the winter.  Additionally, this sodium chloride is used in the chemical manufacturing process.  Throughout Appalachia, we also produce a liquid calcium chloride that is reused in the natural resource extraction process.  Fairmont Brine Processing is the lowest cost producer and supplier of this product in the entire country and because of this, TETRA Technologies, Inc. was smart enough to sign a 15 year sales and marketing agreement with us, which gives them the sole rights to market and distribute this product.


3.    What does the process accomplish? What are the main advantages?
 On average, a well can produce hydrocarbons for 30+ years.  In addition to natural gas and or oil, water is also produced throughout the life of a well.  Water that was used during completions (flowback) and salt water (produced fluid) that’s trapped in the earth’s formation will return to the earth’s surface and must be disposed of in one of two ways.  Historically, this wastewater is trucked hundreds of miles in and out of state only to be sequestered back beneath the earth’s surface via deep well injection.  Secondly, black-box water treatment technologies have popped up to “recycle” this water for reuse in future operations.  However, this is essentially a Ponzi scheme in a sense that if an exploration and production company is not completing any wells, this recycled water is useless and must then be pumped back beneath the earth’s surface, which has led to increased seismic activity in Oklahoma, Texas and now Ohio.

4.    Where are you currently using your process?
 The current operating facility in Fairmont, WV receives fluid from all around the Appalachian Basin.

5.    How much does it cost?  Is it an economic solution?
 This is an environmentally responsible and cost-effective alternative to deep well injection.  The cost varies by Basin and is dependent on an exploration and production company’s volumes and length of commitment to utilize the facility.

6.    Where can your process solve problems?
 First and foremost, Fairmont Brine Processing’s evaporation and crystallization process can immediately address what’s going on in Oklahoma.  I used to say that behind closed doors industry veterans would tell you that it’s not the drilling and fracturing process that’s causing the technically enhanced seismic activity, but rather through the uptick in the media’s coverage, O&G industry veterans and geophysicists are and have successfully correlated the earthquakes as a result of deep well injection.  In addition to replacing deep well injection, this process would be a waterfall all throughout Texas.  In places like the Eagleford and Permian where it’s a struggle to keep the frac going on a daily basis because fresh water is so limited, Fairmont Brine Processing’s evaporation and crystallization process would produce enough distilled water to offset the dwindling water supply and drastically reduce chemical consumption at the wellhead.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Hunt for GopherZilla

James, my quadriplegic neighbor, passed away.  Saturday morning, there were police cars and emergency vehicles parked outside his house, and now the house seems empty.

I don't think I ever told his family this, but he was one of the people I admired most in the world. Thanks to a terrible accident in a MotoCross competition, he was paralyzed from neck down, and had to have a machine breathe for him, and yet he fought to stay alive, and not just to exist, but also to be spunky and to express strong opinions.

On nice days, James would stretch out in the sun like a happy gecko.  He leaned back in his motorized wheelchair equipped with an oxygen tank. His three-car garage opened toward my small walled front garden.

His pristine and neatly organized garage could have been the subject of a minimalist painter assembling a collection for "Rage for Order."  It was a team effort.  His wife, Holley, made sure their manicured lawn was beautiful and the Christmas lights that festooned their bushes were arranged with geometrical precision.

On nice days, I'd stop by and chat with him. It did not take long before I completely forgot that he was paralyzed. His voice was strong, as were his opinions.  He also had a great sense of humor, and I often left smiling and feeling better all day.

James did not back down from a little bit of controversy. In fact, I sometimes thought he like to stir it up a bit, especially if it meant the neighborhood association would make changes for the better.

Using assistive technology that translated his speech to text, he'd express his thoughts in emails. He was quite eloquent, and expressed himself quite well, always advocating for the overall wellbeing of the small gated community where we lived.

James, Holley, and his three children lived in a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom red brick house with a library, two living areas, a patio, and a three-car garage.  The house had been completed mere months before the tragic accident which almost cost him his life.

I'm sure there is much more to the story, but what I heard was that James was a champion MotoCross athlete, and was competing in Denver when he had a terrible accident which causes severe trauma to his cervical spine, probably near that base of his skull, near C2 or C3. He almost died, but somehow lived, but completely paralyzed.

Many people would have given up, or simply chosen not to live under such conditions. In fact, when I mentioned James to my 89-year-old father, he said he'd never accept living like that. I could see it: he would, like many, refuse to eat and drink and would try to wriggle free from this mortal coil as quickly as possible. At the same time, I sympathize with my father. He has started to have mobility problems, and I know he feels trapped in a body that will not cooperate in the slightest.

It's easy to demand much of the gods, and to insist that if we can't have the best, we don't want anything at all.

But, that's not the way it works. We don't get to choose the "skin and bone bag" we're born into, or the one it becomes after years & unexpected occurrences.

That's one of the reasons I admire James so much. Even without mobility he was able to make a difference in the world. For one, he was there for his children; he could talk to them, listen to them, and share his mindset and his guidance.

You may be reading this and thinking, "Wow, what a great neighbor you were, Susan."

You would be wrong.  I was a terrible neighbor. The only good thing about me was the fact that I was not in town all the time.

Yes, it's true I was nice enough when I talked to James, but all it took to turn me into a whiny, impatient grumbler was for my access from my garage to be blocked. You see, my garage opened in the back to the alley, and to get to the street I had to go cross a part of James's driveway. Occasionally, visitors, workers, or helpers would block it, and I'd have to back up and try to go out the other side. It was complicated, and sometimes the other side was blocked as well.

I was not nice about it. I would jump out of my car and ask the drivers to please move their cars.

The Saturday morning of the annual neighborhood garage sale was particularly annoying.  One particular Saturday, bargain hunters had blocked the James's driveway. The other outlet was blocked by a clothes rack. I was late for a tennis lesson, which made me feel a bit panicky. As I was expressing my dismay at being "trapped like a rat" I looked at the faces of those who observed me and realized I was overdoing it a bit.

Later, after playing tennis (and de-stressing), I was overcome by a sense of shame. I was utterly wrong. What would James have done?  I doubt he would have thrown the hissy fit I did. He'd probably figure out a way to set Spuds and Axel, their two rat terriers on the problem.

It never occurred to me to backpedal a bit because it was the home of a quadriplegic.  Either I was a completely insensitive monster (well, yes, a possibility), or that James was living and interacting in such a way that his physical condition was not first. I responded to his personhood, to the force of the ideas and concepts that flowed out from him, and from his family members.

I'm not proud of that fact that I was a very irritating neighbor. But, my irritating behavior was a kind of respect.

I did come to my senses (finally) and apologized.  Later, I think perhaps we mended things a bit -- or, at least, they were gracious enough to smile at me.

It was embarrassing.

I was not a completely terrible neighbor. I did, at least, help keep the teenage son's secrets.

One glorious fall afternoon, I found a cache of beer cans behind a bush next to the fence behind my house. I thought of my own experiences as a mother, and I could have wagered a bag of dogbones it belonged to James and Holley's teenage son.

Another time, I found a ziploc bag of what appeared to be some sort of herb. I did not investigate. I wasn't sure what to do ... a friend who was with me said he'd take it off my hands. Problem solved.

But, back to James. I could always tell he loved encouraging his sons. For example, he told me about GopherZilla that they were able to capture in the backyard after he coached his sons. Together with Spuds and Axel, they captured the lawn terror, bagged it, and deposited it in their freezer for later taxidermy for posterity.

I first met James around eight years ago. I'm not sure how long he was paralyzed before that time. But, eight years is a long time to live under those conditions, even if you do have the support of people and technology.

Further, it must have been very difficult for his family. My sister and I often discuss how difficult it can be to care for an aging parent.  He's grumpy. We're grumpy. No one wants to face the fact that it's not possible to control everything. I can't even imagine how emotionally wrenching it must have been to care for one struck down in the prime of his life.

And yet, no one in James's family gave up. His son played basketball and James would sit in his wheelchair and watch him practice in the small basketball goal they set up next to the curb in the cul-de-sac next to their driveway and the shared alley drive on the side of my house.

Okay, it's true I complained to the neighborhood association about the fact they put the goal in the street, and that a child could be run over by a car while playing basketball in the cul-de-sac.  But, in general terms, I am always in favor of a dad encouraging his son in sports.

In James's family, no one said that a life that is not perfect is not a life worth living. No one muzzled himself. Instead, James and Holley stood up and said what they believed in, and they also worked together to make sure that the technologies were available for James so that he could write emails and encourage the neighborhood association members to work together for the overall good.

To me, James continues to be an inspiration and a true leader.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Interview with Shawn Alyea, LPC, on Mental Health and the Community

Times of rapid change and uncertainty are often stressful, and there can be challenges to individuals as well as the communities. Programs exist to help support individuals and provide mental health counseling to communities.  Part of what makes them successful is the presence of committed, compassionate individuals who work to identify issues and to create solutions and safety nets. 
Welcome to an interview with Shawn Alyea, Licensed Professional Counselor, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

1. What is your name and your background?
Shawn Alyea.  My professional background is in Counseling Psychology and Special Education. I have a master degree in both and am a Licensed Professional Counselor.

2. How did you become interested in mental health and the community?
I was a special education teacher for students grades 1-12 at various times in my career. I taught in inner city schools. I became frustrated by what I observed. Drive by shootings while students were on the playground, a man shooting up in the streets, and attempted burglary of cars. Young innocent students being sent home at night and on the weekends to broken homes that suffered in poverty and crime. Gangs grooming my students from grade 3 up. For me I needed to do more than teach reading or mathematics. While education is powerful it is a long term way out of what these children faced. I had hoped to become more involved with families in order to assist them immediately, and more directly.

3. Are you seeing any trends in adolescent mental health in the last few years?
Trends in adolescent mental health would be addressing trauma through Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy TF-CBT, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Autism and Transgender issues. Heroin use is on the rise, and many of the students I worked with reported Meth use from an early age. Marijuana has become as common as cigarettes, K2 or synthetic marijuana is of great concern inducing psychosis and damaging body organs such as the heart. Alcohol is easily obtainable and often times abused.

Interview on LifeEdge

4. What are some of the ways that adolescent mental health affects a community?
Untreated mental health issues often times express themselves through symptoms of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, self injurious behavior and promiscuous sex impacting families, peers, congregations, social organizations, employers and law enforcement; in fact all facets of the community. Untreated adolescent mental health issues serve to weaken the community in general, to damage their own generation by cutting its potential short. Mental illness often times isolates the person who is struggling from others or may be the cause of inflicting damage on others or self. If untreated it will impact proceeding generations by not being in a position to provide support and care for them as adolescents move into adult roles. And more importantly if unsuccessfully treated those struggling with mental illness will be more inclined to fail as they attempt to raise the next generation.

5. What are some community safety nets that are available for youth and their families?
Families, communities of faith, school counselors, teachers, mental health providers, the media, athletics and other organizations give adolescents a chance to belong to something bigger than themselves. They can find a sense of belonging, value and purpose through these resources. They can serve as a safety net for adolescents who are struggling if they are engaged or engaging.

6. What are some of the main issues with an aging population? 
Main issues with the aging population would be financial resources to care for self and loved ones in a comfortable manner, continued vitality cognitively, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Increased need for a broad range of gerontology services. And a need to be able to provide guidance to younger generations. I believe our seniors often times find themselves discounted, dismissed, and disrespected by a youth focused cultural. They often times work hard all of their lives only to have little choice but to spend their declining days in nursing homes that are staffed by people who are paid poorly and provide poor service (not all nursing homes are like this but in my experience the majority are). They are often times forced to liquidate their assets to be eligible for these services as a last resort. As we grow older the fallacy of a youth oriented culture begins to emerge in our consciousness but by then it is often times too late to share that realization with upcoming youth who do not have eyes to see or ears to hear what awaits them.

7. Are you seeing any emerging issues?
Transgender, trauma and Autism Spectrum issues are emerging at this time.

8. How do community health issues in Oklahoma differ from other parts of the country?
Oklahoma has a significantly high rate of Meth use and suicide in adolescents and young adults.

9. What would you wish for if you had a single wish for community health?
Increased respect for all life from the embryo to the oldest of seniors.

Thank you, Shawn, for an outstanding interview.

Note: The opinions expressed are the author's own. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

March of the Tiny Sea Turtles

The way the sun said goodbye every night, with a pale green explosion upon entering the liquid red of the Pacific west, made me aware that it ushered in the hour of magic.

It was the hour when there was still light in the horizon, and yet you could still feel the starshine start to sparkle.  A march of tiny turtles... and then there was the trembling of dreams just about to flood your head and your heart.

(March of the tiny turtles....)

I love walking along the beach in the "magic hour" - the hour when the skies assume pinks, grays, and then indigo tones.

Last night, I watched 30 or 40 newly hatched turtles scramble toward the wet part of the sand where they would quickly meet the tide coming in.

March of the tiny turtles...  endangered sea turtles scampering to sea...
Children cheered and urged them on in what had become a heartwarming tradition to combine nature's processes and visiting children's desire to become little guardian angels. The turtles bobbed in the surf, looking all the world like tiny corks, and I wondered how hard their little shells were, and which predators gathered in the darker waters just outside the buoys and the nets and waited for the shower of tiny swimmers.

The skies turned from indigo to a color I could never name, and the moon rose oddly pale and distant. As I continued to walk, I smelled smoke from fires, and the salty warm breeze of a tropical depression far offshore.

The turtles would swim. The waters would move in tides, currents, and waves. And I would return home, my face glowing, my eyes sad, my smile volunteering to be that probably mainly ornamental outer layer to tell the world I mean no harm; I mean to bring joy.

And, I would wonder about what it means to move into the darker waters with only a fragile shell to protect me.

How can we protect each ourselves and each other?  I would do it with memories and beautiful interpretations of the small things we experience every day in our lives. 

And every morning, after witnessing and wishing on the sun setting in the ocean, I awakened to dual, even triple perceptions:

First, I was in the moment, "I'm here and this is my routine; I love drinking cinnamon-infused coffee, eating thick lumpy oatmeal with nuts and raisins, and the tropical fruits that appear in the fruit basket every morning."

Second, I fast-forwarded to the future as I looked back on the moment I'm living now. I will remember always as a special time (although how it is "special" I have not yet determined -- that will be manufactured by the still-life collages and the selfies I'll snap today).

Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico
 Third, I took an "outside, looking in" approach, "How does this open patio, with its sheer curtains moving like deep inhalations and exhalations in the breeze, the leaves of the bananas and mango trees dipping as geckos and iguanas scamper across in search of fruit, trigger a primordial desire in those who see the scene to come to this garden in search of whatever in their lives they perceive as lost, or at least, riddled with duality?" I am, after all, looking at things from a tourist perspective, and as such, I'm desperate to create meaning (and in doing so, obliterate the interpretive possibilities that make me uncomfortable).

Toward the setting sun, Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico

Sometimes I wake up dogged by existential angst and doubt. Don't let it show, I think. But, by not sharing, I further cut myself off, and feel sad and disconnected. 

I dare not say anything. My friendships (precious and few), have been hard-won. Sometimes I think they are predicated upon my power to imbue a space with warmth and happiness. Even my best friend tells me he likes me when my voice is cheerful and sweet, and my eyes radiate joy.

Well, I like myself when I'm feeling that way, too. 


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Interview with Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian Author

It is very inspiring to read how and why writers began to write and how they developed and maintained their passion. Their circumstances may differ, and they may have had different experiences, but there are always a few things that seem to appear with some consistency. They include formative experiences in childhood, a fascination with nature, and a persistent need to observe and explain the world.

Welcome to an interview with Karolina Kolmanič, a Slovenian writer whose work spans several decades, and who has won many awards and inspired numerous writers to explore the human condition.

1.  What is your name and your relation to writing. What is your background? (where born? where did you go do school?  what were your favorite things to study?)
   My name is Karolina Hari, and my married surname is Kolmanič. I was born in an idyllic rural place, my birth house sits amid fields and meadows - a world of freedom without fences and boundaries.

Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian author
2.  When did you start to write and why?
I went to elementary, middle and high school in G. Radgona. I graduated from the Teachers’ College in Maribor and then from the Higher School of Education in Ljubljana. My favorite subjects were Slovene and Foreign Languages. In addition to German, I also learned Russian in school and Hungarian passively (from my mother).

My father, 25 years my mother’s senior, traveled a great deal and read a lot of newspapers, which helped me get into the habit of reading. In school, I already had the children’s paper Lučka in naš rod. We would all read. Thus, I was from an early age tempted by reading and writing. I was inspired and encouraged more seriously at the age of fifteen by my professor of Slovene, in my fourth year of high school. I am interested in the social sciences, less so in the natural sciences.

Karolina Kolmanič, Slovenian author
3.  What was your first book?  How did the first book impact you?  what made you want to continue to write?
My first book was selected [izbrana] at a 1968 Yugoslav festival and then immediately published and is called Sonce ne išče samotnih poti (The sun avoids dark roads). I translated it and it was published in the German magazine Europapublikation in 1978. Srečno, srebrna ptica (The silver bird, rejoicing) was also a success because I actually for the first time saw white parachutes gliding through the air like butterflies from beneath the plummeting, damaged plane (in Graz). In writing the book, I allowed myself some literary and artistic liberties.

5.  What were some of the formative experiences that shaped the subjects you write about? How did they tie to the plots of some of your work?
 My works enjoy a positive reception. Particularly well known is the novel Marta (circulation 5,000). The story centers on the problems of an expatriate working at a Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. I was allowed to be an honoured guest there, so I was able to observe this worker in her work.

6.  What are you writing these days? 
 I write short works of prose for various magazines at home, in Germany, Austria, the Hungarian Porabje and [the Italian] RAI.    My latest book came out on 12/5/2015 with the title Lahko noč, ljubezen moja (Good night, my love).

7.  How has history shaped your view of the world?  What do you predict for the future?  
The notion of a sunny future for humanity is an illusion. Human cruelty through conflict is         timeless and has encompasses religions and all of history as well. The world is happy        when it invents a something for killing - science is not a successful weapon for the destruction of people, animals and nature. Once a person’s feelings, soul and heart die, a demon awakens inside. And where are you, man, to enrich yourself with boldness? Hope remains optimistic; melancholy and reality might be overcome by reason, love and light.

Karolina Kolmanič at a party for her 85th birthday.   


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Interview with Buket Başören, Certified Translator. Innovative Thinkers Series.

The ability to translate a literary work can seem absolutely magical. It requires so much more than simply being a dictionary. It requires the translator to open his or her mind, heart, and ways of perceiving the world, and to search for the best ways to take the magic within an artistic / literary production to a reader who may be from a very different context.

Welcome to an interview with Buket Başören, a certified translator, who works in the Turkish and English languages.

1.  What is your name and your background -- how did you become interested in translating?
My name is Buket Başören. I graduated from Istanbul University, American Culture and Literature department. I started working as a certified translator as soon as I graduated, although I did some more work on project basis in my studentship years. My interest in languages and in literature goes back to as far as I can remember. I honestly never thought about becoming anything else. Many would say that translation is not a form of art simply because you do not create anything. You copy another person's work. I find some truth in this statement, especially when it comes to technical or more scientific translations since they mostly require word-to-word translation techniques. However, when you move into the world of literature, your role as a translator changes drastically. A literary work may enliven in another language through the words picked meticulously by its translator or die and be forgotten if it is done wrong. There is power in translation and it feels like magic to me. I think it might be the reason why I chose this.

Buket Başören, Istanbul, Turkey
2.  What are some of the works of literature that have influenced you most?
This is a very long list, As for my individual enlightenment, I have to name Sylvia Plath for bringing the darkness and loneliness out of me and teaching me not to fear it. She carried me through a troublesome time of my life. Anja Meulenbelt's The Shame is Over. I love science fiction because of Ursula Le Guin. I love Hemingway because he is able to make me really emotional and he is able to get on my nerves at the very same time. The fact that someone can make you feel so many emotions through written words is impressing. A friend of mine, who is a painter, once kindly took it upon himself to teach me how to read paintings. He made me look at a painting and asked me what it made me feel. I instantly told him that I didn't like the painting. As for why, I told him that it made me uncomfortable and that it is irritating and offensive. I remember not wanting to look at it at all. Enjoying my displeasure, he then assured me that it was precisely why this painting was a good one because it was meant to make me feel so. Art is not for our pleasure only. It is for us finding the truth. Whether you like it or not, if it leads you somewhere with more baggage than you had when you took off, if it contributed you somehow, then it is worth experiencing. As for me, there are so many works did that for me.

3.  Who are some of the thinkers / philosophers who have influenced you?
I would have to say Nietzsche. I relate to his frustrations about humanity and his unforgiving manner about the truth. I am perfectly aware that it is not a conventional way to back up this not so conventional thinker but he mostly keeps me humble, helping me understand true honesty - especially towards myself - and what may become of me in its absence. I think it is safe to say that I am nowhere near his confidence in such matters. Yet I'm learning.

4.  How does literature touch us now?
Literature is the diary of the history of man. Literature, regardless of genre, has the power to reflect humanity for what it truly is. Literature is the soul of mankind because it does not only show what is or what has been. It shows what we could have been, it reflects what we wanted to be, our ideals, our dreams and then again what we settle with. Literature all by itself shows the endless potential of man and all the possibilities. It takes us to the limits of both cruelty a man can demonstrate and then mercy of some more. It reveals our failings and celebrates our potential to be better. This is how literature touches us now, and how it always will. It is what we are both for good and ill. When I want to dig in a particular time of a particular land in history, I first visit the authors of that time and see what they had to say about what happened. I see what they thought was worth writing for. I know that they will not let me down and they will tell me what people were thinking when they did what they did along with all the possible outcomes of their actions. Literature, by its very nature, cannot be more or less than what man truly is. It is the perfect instrument to give you true references on our history.

5.  Are there concepts or ideas in the philosophy of translation that resonate most with you?
I believe what makes a translation most perfect is translator's ability to empathize, and I mean it linguistically. When you translate a piece of work, you don't bring your translating or linguistics to the table only. When you translate, you have to transcend the perception formed by the original language to reflect the same meaning, the same feeling in the target language. You have to keep in mind that man is only capable of understanding within the limits of his own language. We are restricted in questioning within the scope of our interrogative adjectives. This is an idea not easily understood by those speaking their native language only but I believe it is crucial for a translator to understand if you do not wish to have your intended meaning lost.

6.  What are the things that you try to do when you translate a work of literature? 
Ethically, what you do is to remember your responsibility both towards the author and towards the readers. Both parties rightfully detest the possibility that readers might be deprived from what the author intended for his or her audience due to translator's inability to convey the author's work. I remember my professor pointing out in a translation class that we simply do not have the right to slaughter Virginia Woolf. Obviously, it goes for all those trusted you to bring their works alive in another language. In technical terms, you do not abandon your linguistic skills, but I believe anyone should remember that while technique is crucial, in translation, it is more important to bring out the meaning and the feelings in the original work. You cannot indicate what it feels like or what the author meant in the original text. That's not how it works. You have to instill the same meaning, the same emotions into your translation.

Susan Nash and Buket Başören, Istanbul, Turkey, September 2014
7.  When would you advocate a "fluent" translation rather than a "faithful" one?
If you asked me which one I prefer in general, my official answer would be a "faithful" translation, although I use the word loosely. While my purpose and interest is to maintain the original text and its meaning in the target language, in cases where words alone cannot translate themselves into the meaning I strive for in translation language, I start to deviate to fluent translation. This is what I do when I want to stay true to the original text in literary terms instead of maintaining my faithfulness literally. If I cannot feel the anger, the despair, the madness or helplessness I read in between the lines of the original work within my "faithful translation", I prefer staying true to the meaning, for the sake of not depriving readers of all the feelings they would feel if they had read the original book. It is a translator's job not to steal from the readers, and eventually from the author by depriving readers from anything the book offers.

8.  Are there any specific words of advice that you might have for people who want to do literary translations?
I qualify myself as an "ever-so-enthusiastic student" when it comes to literary translation. I have the deepest respect for this job, and I will not presume to have become one. Translation is about practice, which includes both writing and reading. Although both technical and literary translations have their own challenges, I believe the former requires more research, while the latter requires your own interpretation. This is why there are so many translations of the same literary works and none of them gives you the same taste. Last but not least, do it if only you'll do it wholeheartedly. Otherwise, don't do it at all because it will show on the paper.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Interview with Pat Wagner, Facts about Owning Property, Doing Business in Mexico

Visiting, studying, living, and establishing partnerships and great working relationships in Mexico is both a dream and a reality for many people. But, how do you get started? What are some of the recent changes that have taken place?

Welcome to an interview with Pat Wagner, who moved to Sayulita, Mexico (a brand new "Pueblo Mágico) more than 20 years ago, and who has been working as a realtor there since 1991. She describes Sayulita, her experiences in Mexico, and some of the recent changes which make it easier for foreign nationals to buy real estate property and to do business in Mexico.

1.  When did you move to Sayulita, Mexico and how did you choose Sayulita over other places?
We first visited Puerto Vallarta in 1982.  We eventually decided to to purchase a house in Bucerías through the original owner of this office. We had traveled via motor home through Mexico and decided on this area due to the international airport.  We were between Puerto Escondido and Puerto Vallarta area. Sayulita really wasn't a destination at that time. Bucerías was considered out in the boonies. Sayulita started to become slowly popular in the early 90s.  I was offered a full time position in 1991.
Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico -- new Pueblo Mágico
Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico: New Pueblo Mágico

2. Where exactly is Sayulita?  What is it known for?
Sayulita is on Latitude 22 * (coincidentally, there is a local restaurant which was named for location). It is located approximately 40-45 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport.  It is 2 hrs by plane from Los Angeles, 2 hours from Dallas. With a layover, it takes about 5 hours to arrive here from the east coast of the U.S.  Sayulita was known for being a fishing and surfing town. Now it is a hippish town. I  sometimes say people are looking for Timothy Leary, but we don't tell them that he has died.

3. What makes Sayulita so desirable for foreigners as well as citizens of Mexico?
 When Cabo had the hurricane and earthquake recently guests, both Mexican nationals and foreigners had the option of going to Cancun or coming here. Once here, we spoke with several people who said they never realized Sayulita existed. The Mexican nationals said they would definitely return. Here are a few things they like:  The laidback attitude. The fact that friends and family are very important. Business can always be dealt with. Long drives are unnecessary here.

View of the Pacific Ocean - Sayulita, Nayarit

4.  What are some of the things that have changed to make it easier for foreigners to own property in Mexico?

susan smith nash, ph.d., dante ferrari, pat wagner - LifeEdge #24
Interview with Pat Wagner on YouTube (LifeEdge #24)
The Mexican government decided in 2000 to start to eliminate the ejidos and make all properties have a title. Once the title is issued the foreigner then may apply for a Bank Trust. Prior to that, the properties were held in name lenders (prestonombres or Mexican nationals for ejido which was illegal according the Mexican constitution. Yet many notaries would transfer possession saying it was an interpretation of the law.) So, things are much improved now.

5.  Please describe the way that people stay in Sayulita -- boutique hotels? their own home? renting a home or apartment? youth hostels? air BNB?

Accommodations have evolved from very rustic camping, parking on the beach, renting rooms in villagers' homes to what we currently have, which include hostels, BNB's, boutique hotels, renting either a private home or apartment, or staying in the luxurious rooms at the Four Seasons in nearby Punta Mita.
6.  What are a few tips that make living and doing business in Mexico successful?

Living in Mexico is a reality call. We were stepping into another time zone when we came in the early 90's. It honestly felt like the late 1800's. Children used their toys in the dirt and made bridges, race tracks whatever their mind designed. When we came there was just one phone in the entire town. You called the phone and young child would run to your house and tell you to come to the phone store for a call. Today everyone has cell phones. So we are stepping into the current world.

Most people maybe self business owners have to follow the following. The Mexican government has a rule that there must be only 1 foreigner to 10 Mexican employees.  That is for a foreign owner. To work you need to have working papers where the business sponsors you to work. 

The best advice is expect nothing and change nothing. Go with the flow and just relax and enjoy the beauty around you.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Interview with Dr. Janette Habashi, Child's Cup Full; Innovative Leadership Series

Welcome to an interview with Dr. Janette Habashi, who is working to build a sustainable business that employs women and benefits families in the West Bank.
Child's Cup Full: Women Hand-Embroidering Educational Toys
What is your name and the project you're involved in?
My name is Dr. Janette Habashi and I am the founder and executive director of Child's Cup Full (CCF). Child’s Cup Full is a non-profit social enterprise that creates sustainable economic opportunities for Palestinian refugee and impoverished women artisans in the West Bank. CCF’s projects enable some of the most vulnerable women in the region to make a career of their craft and design skills, producing high quality, handcrafted pieces, which CCF markets and sells abroad, focusing specifically on the US market.
Educational Alphabet Toys to promote literacy: In English and also Arabic

As stated in the Women’s Empowerment Principles published by UN Women, “Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities” [1]. CCF’s aim is to inspire lasting economic growth in the West Bank by building upon existing skills of low-income, welfare-seeking, refugee women artisans, and providing them access to the global marketplace through its artisanship advocacy initiative. Unemployment for both men and women is high across the West Bank, and the need to focus on economic opportunities for women in particular is clear.

Women’s participation in the labor force in the occupied Palestinian Territories was estimated at approximately 17% in 2010, and men’s participation was around four times that of women (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2013). Child’s Cup Full aims to break cycles poverty and dependency on aid by creating opportunities for women’s economic self-reliance, and opportunities for them to easily provide for their children and families. CCF’s strategy is to provide career-relevant artisanship training programs and sustainable employment to low-income women artisans who otherwise do not have sources of regular income.

2.     How did it get started?
Between 2011 and September, 2014, Child’s Cup Full ran its own artisan center as a small pilot project in Zababdeh, a village located in the northern West Bank. The program was managed under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. In October, 2014, Child’s Cup Full received its 501(c)3 non-profit status in the US and also applied for registration with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Last October, CCF embarked on a new journey as an autonomous non-profit social enterprise, focused on building its brand in the US to one day become entirely self-sufficient through product sales.

3.     What are the main products?  Who is employed?
For the past four years, our artisans have been handmaking educational children’s toys using mostly surplus materials from local bedding and furniture companies. All of our toys are designed to support cognitive development and language learning for children ages three to seven. We have toys in English, Arabic and Spanish, as well as other toys such as memory games and puzzle balls. We well all of our toys on our online store

Starting this Fall, we also launched our new line of hand-embroidered shoes and accessories, called Darzah.  All of our shoes and jewelry are available for preorder on our online store

CCF takes a unique approach to tackling job insecurity in the West Bank by implementing a nonprofit social enterprise model that focuses on access to the global marketplace. We specifically target refugee and low-income women artisans in our training and employment programs. Our aim is to provide long-term employment so that these women have opportunities to provide for themselves and their families without having to worry about their next job opportunity.
Our team also seeks out professional design consultation along with strategic marketing techniques to ensure the CCF brand has a competitive edge. The funds generated from each sale are used to sustain and grow our artisan center in Zababdeh. CCF plans to increase its impact in the West Bank by eventually building a consortium of artisan groups across the region.

4.     What do you hope will be the final outcome?
CCF’s approach is a unique combination of artisanship advocacy, international partnership development and strategic marketing in the US, all of which open doors to the global marketplace. Once we have achieved a sustainable business model, one of our long-term plans is to allocate a portion of our sales revenue to support grassroots education programs for refugee children in the West Bank.

Interview with Dr. Janette Habashi

5.     How do you publicize and sell the products?  (please include links)
We are very active on Instagram and Facebook, where we regularly post updates about our products, promotions, and stories about our talented artisans in the West Bank.

We also sell some of our products in retail shops in the US, including:

-Middle East Books & More, Washington, DC

-Mediterranean Deli, Chapel Hill, NC

-One World Market, Durham, NC

-Lolly Garden, Tulsa, OK

-Salam Shop, Toronto, Canada [starting December, 2015]

6.  Do you have any new products?
Yes! We are very excited to announce the launch of our new embroidered product line called Darzah. In addition to our handmade children’s toys, some of our artisans in Zababdeh are also designing embroidered pieces for handmade shoes, bracelets and necklaces. We have partnered with a shoe manufacturer in Nablus, so our shoes are 100% made in the West Bank. All of our Darzah products are available for preorder on our website at

7. What are your future plans?
In 2016, we plan to increase our impact by creating a consortium of artisan centers across the West Bank. There is a huge opportunity for artisan groups throughout the region to work together to create jobs for women artisans who have a wide range of skills to offer. Our current areas of focus include Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem regions.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Interview with Patti Shank, Innovators in E-Learning Series

Welcome to an interview with Patti Shank, a learning programs innovator whose ability to bring clarity to the design and implementation process is extremely useful in a time of rapid technological change, and a context of constantly shifting knowledge needs.

1. What is your name and your relation to e-learning?
    Patti Shank, PhD, CPT.  I got into e-learning before there was an "e." ;-) We just called it using technology to support learning or digitally enhanced learning or something like that. We simply had a need (in health care) to reach people who were busy (clinicians, patients) and started using technology (mostly video, at the time) to reach them. The Internet was just becoming available but it was complex to use and not ready for prime time.

    BTW, I think it's long past time to drop the "e." The technology piece is just part of the solution. It's never the entire solution. It never should have been split out in the first place.

2.  How did you get interested in e-learning?
    When the Internet became more widely available, I started  looking into it. But in some ways, we went backwards before going forward again. The Internet was mostly text at first.

    And we're finally getting to the point where we can move social interaction into place where it should be. Learning from and with each other is a natural part of learning. I'm hoping that purely asynchronous learning will start becoming more hybrid in the near future.
3.  What are the most overlooked issues in developing good learning programs?
    Using good instructional practice is the most overlooked issue! It's sad how much "instructional content" (text, video, audio, etc.) is not sound from a learning perspective. A recent research project I worked on showed that learning sciences may not be as available or easy to read as we think. Practice certainly shows that it doesn't get used as much as we'd hope. (I hope to change that, one person at a time.)

4.  What are key questions to ask when putting together an educational program?

    The key question for organizations is:

    1. What business and human performance outcomes are needed? 

    Here are some others:

    2. How do you know this is a problem? (What are the signs and symptoms?)

    3. What would you consider a "fix" for this problem?
    These are very high level. There are ton of others and I could go on for hours.

5.  What is your latest book? What is it about?
    My last book isn't on learning so might I talk about what's coming out soon? I'm working on how to easily apply learning sciences in everyday instructional content.

    We're taking the most common problems of learning content (text, video, audio, etc.) and showing how to apply learning sciences to those problems. And we're writing it so anyone who writes learning content (teacher, trainer, subject matter expert, etc) can do it.

6.  What are some of the things that you have found out about yourself and life in writing the book?
    We found it's hard to make difficult topics easy. (Duh. We know this!) So it took us a while to figure out a good process. But it's been super rewarding with many eureka moments!

7.  How can the ideas in the book help the individual reader?
    We want the materials to help the average instructional content builder build instructional content that makes it easier to learn. A lot of instructional content doesn't, which we know by the number of frustrated people.

8.  What are the key secondary messages in the book?
    There are some key ideas in the learning sciences that when applied well, make it FAR easier for people to learn.

9. What are your plans for the future?
    Expand on what I am talking about in 5-8. I'll be rebuilding my site ( in the very near future (next 3-4 months) to make this project available to all who need it. We want to make it easy for all people who teach others to make it easier to learn. Simple as that. I feel like it's the culmination of my life's work.

        Thank you!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Success During a Downturn: Interview with Steven Tedesco, Running Foxes Petroleum. Innovators & Entrepreneurs Series

Achieving success during downturns is a function of vision and leadership, and it requires a person to think creatively and independently. These are just a few of the insights provided by Dr. Steven Tedesco, Running Foxes Petroleum, in the two interviews presented here -- written, and also via YouTube. Welcome to an informative interview with a successful entrepreneur who has used science, technology, strategic thinking, and pro-active environmental responsibility to innovate and create a dynamic, thriving company.

1.    What is your company and its primary focus?
Running Foxes Petroleum Inc.  Our focus is shallow conventional oil and gas, waterflooding, coal bed methane and shale gas.  We focus in Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri, Southeast Colorado and in eastern central Utah.  Our goal is to target reservoirs that are simple in nature and do not require complex fracking and drilling.  Geologic risk is minimal.  The real risk is proper execution which is easier to control.

Dr. Steven Tedesco
2.    What is your background?
Geologist by training with three degrees.  BS from Northeastern University, Masters from Southern Illinois University and PhD from Colorado School of Mines.  33 years’ experience in the oil and gas business with over 2 years of experience in nuclear, mining and geotech.  I have also become very will versed doing petroleum engineering, land, marketing and contract negotiations.

3.    What are some of the lessons / insights from hard rock geology that apply to petroleum geology?
The use of technologies, such as surface geochemistry and aeromagnetics, that can be successfully applied to oil and gas.  The earth is a dynamic process and both metals and petroleum accumulations have very similar characteristics to each other.  Therefore all technologies work to some degree on an type of deposits.

4.  How would you characterize a successful entrepreneur?

 Interview with Dr. Tedesco on LifeEdge, October 15, 2015.

A successful entrepreneur has to have vision.  Seeing opportunities where others see nothing.  For example distressed gas assets can be acquired very inexpensively.  Most of the industry does not like gas.  But as history shows both oil and gas products go through cycle.  By buying gas assets now, improving them either with working over or drilling new wells at lower costs will only benefit the value of the assets when prices go higher and costs to rework and drill new wells will also rise.

5.    What are some of the opportunities that an entrepreneur would identify during a downturn?
Looking for distressed properties.  In a downturn multiple companies and individuals get over extended and this presents opportunities to acquire assets at minimal cost.  Many of these assets will be like diamonds in the rough.  With a little work their value can be greatly improved.  The difficulty is to finance these opportunities.  It requires companies to take a contrarian attitude despite the overall thought of low prices for a perceived extended period of time.  History shows those that identify the bottom of any cycle enter and exit the next boom very successfully.  Also the entrepreneur has to be committed to the vision.  People tend to follow in herds in industry.  The visionary needs to ignore to some extent the people around him or her who attempt to dissuade them from pursuing the vision.  The vision and opportunity does need to be well thought out from all angles such as geology, engineering, operations, land, regulations, costs, IRR, etc.  

6.    Do you have any books / key thinkers that you would recommend?
I believe we can learn a lot from past leaders.  I read books on George Washington, Robert E. Lee, George Mitchell, Lord Thomas Cochrane, Patton, Kennedy, General Rosecrans, Woodrow Wilson, Ho Chi Min, Churchill, Reagan, to name a few.  These are leaders despite some eventually being on the wrong side exude commitment, resolve and leadership in both good and bad times consistently.

Note:  Steve Tedesco will be presenting a paper at AAPG's Revitalizing Reservoirs Geosciences Technology Workshop in San Antonio, December 1-2. 

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