I don’t know how I made it through Thursday’s run and still couldn’t figure out if it was just an overstressed hip flexor or something worse. So I’m on a week of enforced rest, meaning no running, no lifting, and no ab work. Of course, that didn’t stop me from sprinting after my niece after she tried to get into anything and everything at the house on Sunday. Some days I wish she was a little less inquisitive.

The only good thing to come out of it is that I have more time to catch up on my reading. At present I’m re-reading C. W. Ceram’s Gods, Graves, and Scholars, still one of the best basic surveys of the history of archaeology. Written in 1949, it highlights the role of figures such as Howard Carter, Heinrich Schliemann, etc., in tracing the history of the discipline. It’s one of my all-time favorites and someday I hope to read it in the original German.

While I’m hoping to get back on the road before I finish it, I don’t see much improvement yet and that might force me into selecting another title to re-read. It’ll probably be Philip Gaskell’s A New Introduction to Bibliography, again tracing the history of the subject albeit as part of a more technical narrative. Gaskell’s work, along with Ceram’s, both make up the canon of their respective subjects and are two books with which I’ll never part. No way.


Two weeks plus after finishing the Cape Relay I had zero intentions of doing anything but laundry and another 5K. And why not? I turned in two sub-22 minute performances in the last week and I figured I could pick up some hardware and chop a few more seconds off. That was, until I heard from Steve that he had an opening on Team Zooch and was I interested?

Need he have even asked?

By noon on Thursday I had my bag packed and only needed to study my legs before the next day’s event. This was my fourth relay and I had the routine down pretty well – 3 sets of everything, lighted vest, enough extra lights to supply another van – and just enough food for three days of living off the road.

We hooked up with the rest of the team at Mt. Wachusett, a bit north of Worcester. It’s a ski area in the winter and, yes there were still patches of snow on the slopes. Originally I expected to be runner 5, with a shade over 10 miles – good for more 5K training – but Steve shifted me into the 3 spot at the last minute.

That meant I’d have basically two 10ks and a final leg a bit shorter than a 5. My first leg took me through the towns of Princeton and Hubbardston, two places I’d only driven through before. Like most of the area it had some elevation but the real threat to me wasn’t the hills, it was the humidity. I went out as the fog was burning off and the sun was coming out and for the next 43 minutes plus, I cooked.

I needed the full 10 hours between that run and the next to recover and spent most of the time chilling, stretching and checking the lights I had for everyone. Visibility on the next leg – through Holliston and Medway, was atrocious – in fact, I went off the road and into a very long driveway before realizing my mistake – but I managed to pick off seven or eight others before finishing.

I’ll say this about our team…from the beginning I could tell how well they worked together. Very well-practiced and organized, everyone seemed to understand everyone’s relative strengths and worked to support them. This was a very tight group, yet nobody seemed to have a problem fitting new people in or lending supplies, or making adjustments on the fly – no surprise as Steve and a couple of the others are engineers. Either that, or Steve papered over everything very well.

My splits on Leg 2 were 7:52 and that was slightly disappointing. So, despite only about 40 minutes of sleep the night before I was anxious for my third leg. I’ve had better times over longer courses but my 20:25 went smoothly, if not swiftly, and made it a satisfying conclusion.

What did I learn from my fifth relay? A couple of things. Although I had a great time with a well-organized team I missed the people with whom I had done the Cape Relay and the New Hampshire Reach the Beach. That’s why I was so glad to run into Lauren B., at several points along the route. She’s extremely talented and just an amazing person and seeing her always inspires me to work harder and do better.

I didn’t mind playing the role of last minute replacement/mercenary, but I prefer running with largely the same people all the time. Had it not been for the professionalism of this group, however, it would have been a miserable time.

If a team has a professional attitude it won’t have trouble fitting spare parts. Although most of its members had done a number of races before Team Zooch worked extremely well together. A full 1/3 of the team came on in the last week or less and, after the initial awkwardness wore off, nobody seemed to know that we hadn’t worked together before. To make this work, everyone had to focus and give while respecting everyone around them.

The first recovery run takes place this afternoon and I’ll see how all the parts are functioning. I know there are a couple of other relays coming up soon but…it’s probably best if I stick to 5 and 10Ks for a while. I’ll find out later this week if I’ll be in New England in mid-September…and if I am, maybe I’ll do another Reach the Beach.

Everything went right

November 26, 2010

I hadn’t decided to do the 5K in Milford yesterday until the morning of the race. My preference was to do the 5 miler in Salem, since I had done the course before and had turned in a good time. But when I got up late I figured Milford was as good a race as any…

Was I ever right! Everything about the conditions and the course seemed to go right. First, I missed running on Wednesday, so there was an extra day of rest. I knew it would be cold (around 24 degrees with a chilly breeze), so I grabbed an old sweatshirt and the first compression t-shirt and pants I could find. Fumbling around in the dark I pulled a pair of shoes that turned out to be my racing flats. What I wore was much lighter than what the cold air warranted but the ensemble was perfectly functional for a short race.

Next, the course offered few turns…aside from one tight one at the end it felt like one long point-to-point race…and the uphills were short and gradual, while the downhills gave me a chance to pick up speed. Even better, I had a great tailwind on the long incline at the beginning and that got me off to a good start. I had a couple of excellent pacers in front through the race. First, I followed a kid from the local high school track team and when he got too far out to mark I was passed by a triathlete who finished about 4 seconds ahead of me. Everything was very well marked out, so through the whole thing all I had to do was keep my head down and keep moving.

End result? PR for the year in a 5K – 21:36. Overall I finished in 8th place and first in the 40+ men’s division. Not a bad result from a snap decision. Now it’s back to relay training.

The title of this post comes from our Reach the Beach team name. Kevin (a New Jersey native) wanted to honor his native state’s favorite vocalist, and since I’ve always considered the Garden State my second home I agreed. That was about the easiest logistical issue during the relay…

We took off on a rainy Thursday night from Boston in our home for the next two days, a white Ford F-350 van I procured from Rhode Island. Inside were: Kevin, a consultant from Boston, two of his Boston College classmates, James, a teacher, and Chen, a medical student, along with Kevin’s co-worker Marina, originally from Russia by way of Columbia University. Barely knowing each other we started our trip more as five individuals with some talent, as opposed to a team. But life in the van has a funny way of bonding people together, especially when they have to all produce according to a schedule and within a structure.

After spending a largely sleepless night in a Best Western about five miles from the start we drove through the clouds and drizzle to the madness that was the Reach the Beach starting line. Funniest thing I saw at the Best Western…Marina carefully applying cosmetics before heading out on our journey.  Rather civilized, in the midst of the madness, I thought. Our starting time was late (1:20 p.m.) largely due to the fact that our missing runner listed himself with a 7:30 half-marathon pace. Without a 12th, everyone knew they’d have to make adjustments, especially on Van 2’s part, as we needed to shift the rotation to somehow pick up 15 additional miles. In retrospect, it was easier for us to do this, as we cumulatively had fewer miles than Van 1 and only three legs listed as ‘hard.’

Ann-Marie was our #1 runner and she took off in the middle of some nasty drizzle up a brutal set of hills – this was one of the ‘hard,’ legs. We saw her off, stopped to cheer her on halfway through, and then headed off through the mountains to our first Vehicle Transition Area (VTA) where we hung out, stretched and waited for Van 1 to come in. We needed to rest…our legs would mostly take place at night and we wanted to be somewhat fresh.

Marina started us off with 7.23 miles that she pounded out in a bit less than an hour. I was Runner 11, which meant the second-last runner in our rotation and it was nearly 11 when I got the slap bracelet from James for my 4.8 miles. I enjoy running at night and had a blast taking down about six other runners along my route. Chen got the bracelet from me for a final 3.8 miles before we handed off to Van 1 for the night.

Most of us had sleeping bags but the temperature was about 40 degrees and nobody felt like sleeping outside. That meant everyone stayed in the van and around 12:15 everyone had dropped off to sleep. I can’t fully express how good the next 3 and a half hours of sleep felt after all of the day’s driving and running. As soon as I popped up at the sound of Kevin’s cell phone telling us that Van 1 was approaching I was ready to go for my next leg.

Except that my next leg didn’t start until close to 8 a.m., so I drove, and cheered my teammates on as we wended our way up and down country roads, through the early morning fog and past cows, sheep and farm fields. Although we were operating on minimal sleep, our times were actually better than our first legs. My 6.24 leg didn’t go as well as I would have liked because my right foot never adjusted to the uneven pitch of the road. I completed it in roughly 46 minutes but I also wound up with four blisters along the way.

The blisters were foremost in my mind after we handed off to Van 1 to begin their third rotation. Chen didn’t seem too worried but had me bandage my toes to provide some cushioning and prevent any more blisters. I felt pretty good going into the next VTA where we rested some more, read, studied (that was Chen) or walked around (me). I figured that if my feet were going to be sore I needed to at least know how bad they’d feel. So…I walked a mile, jogged a bit, stretched and generally hoped to keep the damage to a minimum.

All along the relay Van 1 had the longer miles and tougher stretches and their third legs seemed the most difficult of all. When we had started I reminded the team that Van 1’s role was to eat up miles while ours was to go fast. What I never expected was the speed that came out of Van 1 – Lauren, our #3 runner averaged sub-7:30 miles for each of her legs while her friend Becky, our #2 person, beat her averages by about a minute each mile. Similarly, in our van, Kevin averaged around 7:15 for his third (6.69 miles) leg. It was pretty apparent that we’d do well…the question was, how well?

I tried to help, hitting my 3.41 mile leg hard at the beginning and cruising along the home stretch till the finish line was in sight. Using whatever I had left I sprinted till I could hand off the bracelet to Chen. Those had to be the most frustrating 24 minutes of my life, because I wanted my speed to match the effort I’d put in to make the relay happen for my team – and, try as I might, I couldn’t give any more.  I finished sprinting but I didn’t feel good about it. I wanted to go out fast, hard, in the proverbial blaze of glory…but I just kind of finished, and that was it. Sort of hollow.

We gathered at the finish line for Chen, waiting, watching till we saw her tearing through the sand as the sun began setting over the Seabrook nuclear plant. If she wasn’t tired, she didn’t show it. She pretty much left us in the sand, sprinting home with the rest of us in tow. I still can’t believe she had anything left, but she did.

What can I take from this, aside from a slightly sore knee and three good-sized blisters on my toes? We had a great finish.  Overall we were 45th in a division of 141 with a time of 28:53:50. That was good for 171th overall, with average splits of 8:17 all the way…rather noteworthy because we were only a team of 11 and had lost one of our allegedly fast runners.

What made up the time for us were some absolutely stellar performances from those whom we knew would come through, and a few others who came through on sheer guts, will, and determination. For effort alone I’d put these 10 up with any team I’ve ever run with. Want proof of how hard we worked? Remember Chen sprinting as fast as she could through the sand at the end? Turned out that we bested the next finisher in our division by 1 second…that’s after nearly 29 hours and over 200 miles. One second. That’s what happens when nobody gives up, nobody gives in, and nobody complains.

Management grades were mixed when it came to the team. We had several major successes, such as how we structured the roster (combining essentially three teams into two) and making tactical adjustments on short notice. Our planning was better than average, but only because we followed Ann-Marie’s blueprint. Any personnel management difficulties were kept to a minimum by isolating problems quickly and not letting them spread to the other van. Where we fell down was in the area of communication. I needed to be a lot more direct with people much earlier in the process; however any possible difficulties were mitigated by the presence of Ann-Marie whose organizational ability and communications skills worked where mine didn’t.

As for the team…it would be unfair to assign letter grades, but I’ll say a few things about them all. Everyone came as advertised, as far as their athletic abilities were concerned. If my approximately 7:40 times were the weakest in the van, we weren’t doing badly. While the other van essentially included two very professional teams that melded easily into one high-performance unit, we weren’t as cohesive.

My observation…early on, James understood how something like this would work and bought into the team concept. I watched him take hits and make sacrifices for the team, not just on the road, but in the van in our organization. I’d be happy to have him on any team with me. Chen has tons of ability and while I’m not sure that her constant studying had a positive or negative effect on things, she produced flawlessly. Somewhere between the end of her first leg and the beginning of the third, Marina went from being a competent individual athlete to a real team leader. I know she must have been exhausted but she started taking over details, motivating everyone before and after their legs, and taking care of the van. I’m not sure where it happened, but it was truly something special to behold. Kevin was valuable in making suggestions and offering alternatives but I’m not sure whether these were more his ideas or things that would work for the team. More than anyone else he was a stronger individual performer than a team member.

Reach the Beach was an athletic and a management challenge, and while the athletic part was fun, being captain, with all that went with it, wasn’t. I’d like to do it again, and I’d be willing to do some of the organizing…but next time I’ll be content to let someone else serve as captain. I think I’d have a better time if I was just a runner, not so much a manager.

First, the prelims…

Asked a year ago about my running goals I would have mentioned a few 5K’s, maybe a 10K…but if you’d suggested driving all over New Hampshire with 10 other people, running day and night…I’d have said you were nuts.

That was before trolling the message boards one day in midwinter after returning from a long run. Casually asking my running partner – a veteran of many relays –  about his latest race, I immediately thought ‘this is madness,’ until he mentioned the camraderie, the way everyone on his team inspired everyone else…and the lessons he learned along the way. My response was to switch to another message board and look for a team that still needed people.

Turns out that there were a few others who were thinking the same thing and that’s when my first relay team – my team, since I was the captain – started.  I had no idea what I was doing, and Kevin, my co-pilot in the beginning, only knew we’d need other people. Kevin wanted to do a long (200+ mile) race in New Hampshire called “Reach the Beach.” It sounded like fun and pretty soon he got five of his friends to sign up but that’s as far as it got…

…until March, when we hadn’t gotten any further with anything else. Not that the calendar dictated anything…but we needed help and had no idea what to do. My answer…do another relay to see what I could learn from it. That led to joining up with a team to do the Cape Relay, a 197 mile trip from Quincy to Provincetown. Great memories, some excellent times (sub 7:30 splits)…but my biggest break was being on the same team with Ann-Marie (our captain) and Rob, her husband, two of the most organized athletes I’ve ever met. What I got from them was a blueprint I took and used when Kevin and I got back to putting things together around late May for the fall.

On the road, a relay is simple. Stay in rotation, try to go fast, sleep when you can…easy. The advance preparation was, for me, the tough part. I’m a runner, not a logistics guy, and there is a certain amount of management needed to get a team organized and to the starting line. You want to rely on management and athletic ability as much as possible, and not have to count on luck to have a successful race. By late May, we had a blueprint (Ann-Marie’s document), but still only half of a team, and it seemed like we’d need to get lucky to make Reach the Beach a reality.

Luck entered into the equation when, again I was on the message boards – this time looking for team members – when I noticed Ann-Marie’s posting on a board saying she’d like to do Reach the Beach. As soon as she and Rob were aboard I knew everything would be fine…it was a case of following the blueprint, getting a few more members, communicating,  and sequencing everything correctly.

Members? Ann-Marie took care of that in the beginning by bringing along her friend Christy, who was training for some longer races. The message boards again proved invaluable, as I spied a post from a couple in Rhode Island who had done RTB before and wanted to do it again. And…they also had a friend who wanted to do Reach the Beach.

That’s 12 slots and 12 runners, plus a plan for getting us organized and to the starting line. Seemed like everything was going smoothly…yet, from the beginnings Kevin and I had been more lucky than organized. The message boards had been very good to us, I had been on a well-organized Cape Relay team, I had managed to get Ann-Marie and Rob to sign onto our team, and the people I recruited brought along others who were as dedicated as they were. Problem was, when our luck ran out, it set us back – badly.

Our first major snag – vans – set us back a week in planning. T-shirts took a couple of days to secure. In the three weeks before the event we vacillated between staying in a motel and camping until the Rhode Island crew decided to link up with Ann-Marie, Rob, and Christy while the rest of us went to a motel close to the starting line. Not good for team cohesiveness. And when one of our original runners got a new job a few weeks before the race it set us scrambling. Back to the message boards, and again I thought we had gotten lucky by securing a Cape Relay veteran who did lots of long distances and seemed enthusiastic about RTB…right up until two weeks beforehand when he…disappeared. Most of the arranging that took place came in the context of trying to find him or otherwise make allowances. In all, his disappearance cost us another week or more of planning.

In hindsight, what got us through those last few weeks before RTB was a combination of luck, the structure of our team, and the presence of Ann-Marie. I had assigned the first six legs to the the New Hampshire and Rhode Island groups while the original five went into Van 2. Van 1 had two teams that could meld into one without any problems and I knew that Ann-Marie’s experience and organizing ability would solve any problems quickly. Van 2 had some talented individuals who still needed to be turned into a team. I needed to monitor where they were to make sure thinks kept moving the way they needed to. That, and finding a 12th runner were what we faced in the last few days before the relay.

Next…the race itself!

No ab workouts, no lifting and worst of all, no running since I strained my back last Wednesday. Lifting boxes I felt the left side give way and pretty much the whole week I couldn’t do much of anything. The first night was the worst…I could barely sleep and had to jury-rig a contraption made from a knife and two pencils to put my socks on. Getting into the car was an adventure…I had to literally pick up my left leg and pivot it into the vehicle.  Only by Saturday did it start feeling better.

Looking at the forecast earlier in the day I figured I’d give it a shot and try a few miles. I took a route heading east that featured a moderate rise at the beginning, a steep drop and then mostly flat roads. I took that route purposely…because there was a stiff wind out of the west I figured I’d need some help getting going in the first few hundred yards.

Sure, I fought the headwinds on the way back. But, considering the winds and the fact that I was being super careful all the way around my time of 40 minutes was acceptable. In a race, certainly not. But today wasn’t a race and my time wasn’t a waste. Next run will probably be Friday, presuming my back is OK and I’ll shoot for 5 or 6 miles at that time.

So, more than a few people know my middle initial is C, standing for Charles. Seems to me it’s turning into ‘consistency,’ based on my recent race results, and at this point I’m not at all complaining. I’d prefer a consistent pace or placement while building up my mileage as opposed to fast one day and slow the next. It shows I’m building my base and maintaining it at an acceptable level. Right now I’m very happy with gradually raising my miles at a reasonable pace until I can start working in some more intensive speed work. The goal is to have a base of 8-9 miles with splits in the 7:30-7:50 range that I can fire off at any time.

Two weeks don’t tell the whole story but here are the results. Last week at the Claddagh Pub 4 miler…64th place, splits 7:11. Wednesday, at the Mystic Runners Lake Q 5K…time 22:13 – splits of 7:11.

Today, wet, cold, nasty conditions at the Hynes Tavern 5 miler in Lowell. Finished with an (unofficial) time of 37:14. Splits were around 7:21, but my place was…still unofficial, but listed at…64th. Much of the field did the 3-race series and I found that many of the people who today finished just ahead of, or around me, were in similar places last week.

Conditions were unpleasant, with 22 mph sustained winds and moderate to heavy rain. Had some mild hypothermia…didn’t get the feeling back into my fingers till 90 minutes after the race had ended…but I’ll be OK later.

Right now I am examining a rather thick document that I have been awaiting for at least a couple of years. It’s the major revision to the state’s records retention schedules for municipalities – essentially the Bible, or cookbook, for managing records in a city or town. Altogether it’s 167 pages – not the most exciting reading in the world but welcome, nonetheless.

What I like about this from the outset is that the Secretary of State’s Records Management Unit has included everything that a municipal records manager needs in one convenient package. No looking in multiple volumes, jumping around to several different web sites or dividing schedules from forms that are in turn separated by the basic guidelines expected to be followed by all records personnel. It’s all there and that should make things easier for myself and my colleagues.

The good? Aside from organizing everything in one package, the schedules for municipal departments have been updated and refined. Previously we were working with schedules that were 30+ years old and, notwithstanding the fact that technological changes were not addressed in them, the laws and regulations addressing their content were badly outdated. They’ve been updated, with relevant citations to sections of the General Laws of Massachusetts and Codes of Massachusetts Regulations to provide additional references.

Records schedules in Massachusetts are media-neutral and this volume continues to treat them in that fashion. I am fully in agreement that this should be the case for offices with legal, regulatory and compliance responsibilities. Since that would address nearly every office in town we really don’t need a completely separate schedule for electronic records. However…with the increasingly pervasive role of technology in business processes, there are references, in the schedules themselves and outside of advisory bulletins, to electronic data in a records context.

As I go through the volume my main concern will be whether the state has decided to take on the issue of the role of electronic financial management suites and their place in the modern office. At present, many of our most pressing storage and records creation issues in transaction-related departments (assessor, accountant, collector/treasurer) center on software as a driver for altering the content of records. For my part, I have been raising this issue for years, at meetings of town clerks and at gatherings of archivists. Although we are supposed to consider content, as opposed to format or media, in evaluating and appraising records, technology is now driving changes in content.

I’ll have more to say about this later.

Join the Club

January 20, 2010

It started as a little spot on the edge of my nose…innocuous, and not unlike anything else I’ve had on my face since I was around 12. I ignored it, it went away and I forgot about it. Then it came back. And went away. And came back. And went away, leaving just a little brown spot.

Barely perceptible. I probably didn’t need to mention it to my older brother, the bulletproof one in the family, the one who got into trouble and never got caught, the one who could do anything and make it work. That was, until his doctor found a little brown spot that turned out to be something a whole lot worse.

Skin cancer is the family curse. We used to giggle when Dad would tell us that Granny “had a few things popped off of her,” and didn’t think much of it when the doctor did the same to him. That changed, first when my youngest brother had a nasty growth removed that left a huge scar, and worse about ten years later when my cousin was diagnosed with melanoma, fought it for about four years and died of complications from it. That’s history on both sides that became a bit more serious with each generation.

Not me. I always had the bad skin in the family and of course the laws of karma meant I’d never have anything worse than a few moles. Except for that barely perceptible spot.

“Grudgingly,” is the best way to describe how I pointed out spot after spot after spot to my doctor…concerned, but not alarmed, making notes…right until I pointed to the spot on my nose. Eyes lit up, notes were made and he told me I needed to book an appointment to have it, and the others looked at. Really, it just looked like a piece of discolored skin. The mound on the side of my face or the gray-looking thing on my leg was going to be a problem…especially the leg one, whose removal would no doubt keep me off the road for a week or more.

A couple of weeks later in the dermatologist’s office, he’s running through the list from my PCP, ‘no problem with this one,’ ‘no,’ ‘you’ll just have to watch this,’ ‘let me take a closer look at this one. It could be a little basal cell…,” while his assistant prepared the knife and made a slight incision. Fast forward two more weeks. My nose is still numb from the anesthesia I have about four stitches, the side of my face is slightly swollen and I’m getting the lecture on proper sunscreen use, the need to wear a hat on sunny days. long sleeves and SPF’s. So long as nobody mentioned the word “melanoma,” I felt pretty good.

The good news is that the surgeon got all of it. The better news is that there’s only a 2 percent chance that that particular area will be so troublesome again. The bad news…if there is any…I’ll always have to watch myself. Yeah, it’s one the lower grades and most common types of cancer. They got it early and I was treated by some real top-notch people. And, it isn’t one of those aggressive nonmelanoma cancers that can seriously disfigure a person – although in my case it might not make a difference. The surgery was minor, quick and only mildly uncomfortable. I got lucky, and hopefully the only lasting effect will be a little scar where the stitches were. So, it means running early in the morning (before 7) or late at night (after sunset), investing in SPF 7000 by the barrel and slathering it all over me year round, and wearing long sleeves during the summer. Minor adjustments and annoyances.

Common, curable, and probably never to come back. That’s it and that’s how I hope it stays. Too bad I’ve joined the club too.

A truism

January 12, 2010

Nobody ever asks for what they’re really looking for.

Nobody. We have a general rule that whenever a patron, whether from the organization or from outside, asks for something, it only serves as supporting documentation. The patron is generally asking around the real purpose of their inquiry. And, in most cases, he or she has in idea of what they’ll do with the information – even before they’ve received or seen it. Almost never does someone call and ask for something purely for informational purposes. Outside of a purely factual statement (how much did something cost, is someone dead or alive, on what date did a particular event occur) the patron making the request has something in mind. Even then, the information is being used for another purpose.

Getting the right information to the patron thus becomes the product of precise followup questioning. The more nebulous or circuitous the question, the greater the need for aggressive questioning from the archivist’s/librarian. That’s not to say that patrons should be bullied into revealing everything about their queries…however it makes sense that a more precise, better worded request will result in better information getting to the patron much faster.

That’s also why whenever I’m doing a records management training session or interviewing a particularly tough patron I try to explain the concepts of informational and evidential values in archival materials. It might sound like too much “archives speak,” to being out in a reference interview. Once patrons understand a few basic archival concepts, however, they start thinking a bit more like us. It doesn’t work all the time…but if patrons and archivists/librarians understand each other they can work better together.

Information isn’t there to simply exist in a pure form. It’s there to serve a purpose and once patrons understand this they can provide better information about the information they seek… and use that information to get what they really want.