Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Come on, Mr President

On Monday's NBC Today Show, President Obama said, "Money alone isn't the cure for America's ailing school system." He then went on to outline some ways he plans to improve education in America. All require money.

I've always been amused by this notion that money is not crucial in saving or even improving education in this country. Money isn't important? haha. Everything I hear from the Republican party about money tells me money is important and those who have it should keep it and not have to share it or make less. Money makes weak sports teams better and even winners and in some cases champions. Rich people have used their money to get elected to public office like the mayor of NYC. Money allows those with it to get better education for themselves and their children, to live in better homes and communities, to get better health care, to have things that those without money cant have. So please, don't tell me money can't improve things.

If money isn't a way to improve things why do CEO's demand such a high salary? Why are some athletes, actors, consultants paid so much? Of course money is important in improving anything and everything.

Schools can use more money to make schools safer; have better supplies, like computers, more and better books; pay for better teachers, like teams pay for better athletes; have better schools that have better classroom, more classrooms, and comfortable facilities; and have better food. Money, more money could begin to solve many problems with our schools, just as money has helped bail out the banks and corporations that caused our current economic woes. These very corporations responsible for the economic damage they did and caused, had lots of money, alone, thrown at them.

Why is it that only in education do we hear this expression, "Money alone isn't the cure for America's ailing school system," when we see it work in other areas of our life?

Come on Mr President.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Half Full or Half Empty?

Maybe the glass is twice as big as it ought to be.

Listening to Neil Young's new 'Le Noise' release online.

Friday, September 24, 2010

We're Number 11

America is number eleven as reported in a recent Newsweek article rating countries in the world for livability. When I looked at the list, I wasn't shocked to find eight of the top ten are homogeneous countries and the other two countries apologized to their indigenous people. Size was also an issue. The question of homogeneity is important and has been causing some new problems in some of these countries mentioned. A homogeneous society is a much easier society in which to teach than is a heterogeneous society, which is what America is. Many of the countries used to compare to America in educational matters are homogeneous. Consider if all the scholars in my class share one culture, one religion, and one set of mores; then teaching them is going to be much more effective and efficient since I don't have to stop and teach an individual student that idea or just move on and that scholar misses something. As a teacher in a very heterogeneous classroom in America, many points have to be taught before I can go into a larger lesson. Consider how the Bible is an important reference for many American writers. Some knowledge of the Bible is necessary to understand the literature. For some of my scholars knowledge of the Bible is nil and that is a problem.

I'm still confused why we continue to compare our educational system with other countries. The rules, the methodology, the population of our schools are so much different from other countries' schools. Schools in other countries do not have class populations like ours. Other countries don't demand and provide education for all students under 17. When I look at the list, Australia and Canada are two great choices, while the others are lovely countries, I like being there, but they can't be compared to America or Canada or Australia for so many reasons.

When we begin our classes each year, we have to provide our scholars a rubric that explains how they will be assessed. I'm never sure I have seen a rubric that provides proper assessment for the schools of the world. I think we are talking apples and oranges when it comes to education on a global scale.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motivation is

Motivation is the reason we succeed or fail.

Public education is America is just fine, despite what the media and pundits say. In fact it is far better than it has ever been. Nicholas Lehman's recent Comment in the New Yorker provides some context: "A hundred years ago, eight and a half per cent of American seventeen-year-olds had a high-school degree, and two per cent of twenty-three-year-olds had a college degree." We know who went to school then and who didn't. So since 1954, America is educating all of its pre 17 year olds, NOT just some of them. This is not so in other countries. We are graduating a larger percentage of those students then ever before. More than in other countries. He goes on to speak about how messy education may be. I agree it is messy, but when you do something and do it well, you make a mess. Ask any chef, painter, carpenter. He is right is showing how our presidents are merely repainting the old walls of the school. many of us have suggested we tear down those schools and rebuild them using technology. Technology as we have learned raises the bar for the haves and have nots. The technology provides access to information heretofore restricted only to the haves. Democracy around the world has been born and sustained because of our new technologies. If only our leaders could see how powerful and useful technology could be in our schools then we would have a better educational system. Bill Clinton got it. Technology enhances what we know about education and we have seen nothing but the elimination of this great tool in our schools. Walk into any computer lab and see how motivated the scholars are. Then walk into a classroom bereft of computers. Which class has a higher level of activity? Motivation? Production?

The age in Jacques' diatribe that begins, "All the world's a stage," about the "whining school-boy" has always been one of my favorite ones mentioned:
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.
Shakespeare is alluding to motivation in the scholar. Robert J Samuelson speaks about "motivation" in education today in his recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post just as schools were beginning on September 6, 2010. Certainly one of the motivating tools used by teachers in the past have been a switch or stick used to rap knuckles or other forms of corporal punishment not allowed today, not that I would argue for a return to corporal punishment. So let's not wax nostalgic about schools of yesterday or reminisce about those days of your childhood because you will forget the horrors we experienced, horrors we do not want to visit on our scholars today.

Samuelson speaks well about the poor motivation in today's schools. The bottom line is that students don't like school, concludes Samuelson. Even teachers are not motivated. How can anyone be motivated when the curriculum hasn't changed, hasn't been modified to reflect our current society, and we teach so our scholars take mindless multiple choice tests. We need to provide stimulating project based lessons that have the scholars produce something that they can show to others and to have conversations about. School is boring because of how it is done. the scholars still sit in rows. One person talks at a time. We are doing this to people who successfully multitask when not in school. School is boring, raising your hand to speak, not having time to say what you want, and never having time to delve into a topic. Technology has the tools, that are mostly blocked in schools, that could provide a beginning in motivating scholars. Teachers aren't motivated to use the technology because of the filters and poor maintenance.

What is said is that not much hasn't changed since Shakespeare's time. I'm reminded that Shakespeare never finished high school and never went to college. Some of our most successful and richest people never finished college or went to college. What that tells me is that schools still do not provide the important fodder for success so those who want to excel, drop out.

To motivate scholars in schools make school relevant. Right now schools are irrelevant in spite of what President Obama said in his Back to School Speech. Motivation comes from being inspired and technology is the most powerful tool we have to provide inspiration and we have neglected it badly in our schools. The point is that we can do better, but not if we continue with the same old same old methods. We must be motivated and inspired to reinvent education with the assistance of technology. Computer assisted instruction has proven its effectiveness over the years, so let's give computer assisted education a try, a better try than the feeble attempts we have seen so far.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Learning and Playing

Play has always and will always be an integral part of learning. Socrates played with his scholars minds with his incessant questions. Scientific knowledge has been acquired by "playing" around with some chemical, weight, glass, flame, or string. Discoveries made by each learner, those precious "ahha" moments, so often occur in a moment of play. We often hear someone say prior to some epiphany or revelation, "Let's just play around with this idea for a moment and see what happens."

If we stop and reflect on those important events in the history of man, we will discover many incidents where play was a crucial part of some altering discovery by man for man. Consider how "play" and many of its synonyms are used by us as we undertake something new. The importance of play is crucial in education and the recent elimination of recess in too many elementary schools bothered and concerned me. Who will ever forget the scene in The Shining when we see what Jack Nicholson has been typing: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." The consequences of that very notion were tragic and horrifying.

One must learn by doing the thing.
For though you think you know it,
you have no certainty until you try.
Sophocles (BC 495-406, Greek Tragic Poet)

Sophocles suggests the idea of play in this important quote. In order for us to know something we must do that thing and play is one of the ways in which we can realize that knowledge. Through play we unlock a truth, an inner essence of an idea, a practice, a theory. John Dewey uses this notion in the last century with his mantra of "learning by doing." O'Neill's Summerhill was a school based on play as was Montessori's experiment that has flourished around the world. Coaches provide a very useful playing field for the mind of our scholars as they use play to teach many important lessons for life.

I have an old and dear friend, Eric Crump, who in the 1990's spoke about and wrote about the importance of play in education for NCTE conferences and publications. Marc Prensky, a former teacher, is another writer who has devoted his time and efforts to research and document the positive effects of play in learning. In the early days in NYC, high schools like Murry Bergtraum; Martin Luther King, Jr; and Washington Irving formed an association that sponsored three ACT (Advancing Technology in Teaching) conferences at NYU. The first conference featured those schools in Manhattan using technology. The third conference included the high schools of the Alternative High School Superintendency. Other schools involved with technology in those days through Teachers College initiatives were Dalton, and Ralph Bunche Middle School. All of these schools not only used technology and play in the classes but also had digital clubhouses and tech squads to help maintain the technology. In some cases games were created in other webpages were created. Creating classes that combined disciplines like math and English were becoming very common as the technology was opening up more avenues with the world to become mentors. Theworld was becoming our playground as many schools engaged in international educational programs.

With a change in educational leadership in NYC, the initiatives begun were suddenly altered as we lost technology departments, lost the superintendencies and the technology wizards were scattered into the wind. Some retired, some left for more friendly technology environs, and some stayed and found a place to replant and to continue the work. Soon we saw schools created for the specific purpose of using technology in the learning process like Information Technology High School. Because of the emphasis on tests, technology was all but forgotten. Slowly almost at a glacial pace do we see technology emerging from its deep hiding place. It will be a while before we return to those halcyon days of the 90's when the NYC schools led the way in technology use in this country. Because of the constant changing of personnel and titles at the NYC Department of Education, technology keeps getting shortchanged as does any sustained educational policy. We still do not have a technology leadership person or committee. There are no technology offices that help teach the ways to use technology, to present at an annual best practices conference, or plan to incorporate technology in our schools. At best it is haphazard as someone comes up with an idea for a school that uses technology and sells the idea to Joel Klein.

During the 90's we were flying thanks to the leadership of President Clinton. But in 2000 we were suddenly thrust into a Dark Ages in education when W became president. Technology and play were closeted in favor of multiple choice tests and more time was used to prepare our suffering scholars for those mind numbing exams. We haven't recovered yet from those dark days. Obama hasn't quite got it yet about the importance of play and technology, though there do seem to be some glimmers of hope with the technology initiative. Race to the Top is countering real growth in education. What we need in our seats of leadership are people like Sophocles, Dewey, ONeill, Montessori not CEO's like Duncan, Klein, and many others who have assumed important educational leadership roles in this country. They just don't get education.

I know I was very excited when Obama had Linda Darling-Hammond as his spokesperson for education during his presidential campaign. I was relieved and hopeful because I thought he got it about education by having this brilliant woman lead the educational discussion for him. Wow was I shocked when I learned after his election he was debating between Arne Duncan and Joel Klein, choosing the former for the position of Secretary of Education. Duncan and the president may play basketball often, but they aren't quite there about the importance of play in education or about the importance of technology in our very competitive educational world.

More articles like the one in the Sunday Magazine section of the September 19, 2010 New York Times are needed. I only wish the author had spent a bit more time on the play in education and the history of technology in NYC schools. This one school in NYC is not new nor unique to NYC. Ten years ago this same publication reported on technology in our schools with more promise for the future than the September 19, 2010 article did. We have a long way to go to get to where we were ten years ago. The reason for this dismal situation has been poor educational leadership and it isn't much better today. In a world where technology is freeing people and liberating economies, I'm still stunned at how poorly technology is incorporated in the public schools when President Obama charges our scholars in his now annual beginning of school speech to do their best and to honor America, but technology is kept from them as a tool to excel. I've said it before and will say it again, technology is the panacea for our educational woes. Technology assists in differentiated instruction, in customizing education, in meeting the needs of our scholars in this brave new world. And what is the answer to this by our educational leaders? The use of filters, the banning of electronics in our schools. These are the very tools others use to excel. This is a tragic irony.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teaching Shakespeare

I have never questioned whether I should teach Shakespeare but which Shakespeare plays to teach.

I am not happy with the choices made in too many schools. They are Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar. I am not happy about these choices because of the message they send, the types of action they create, and the tragedy of each of them. Romeo and Juliet isn't for children, it is for the adults. It tells the adults, both parents and guidance or spiritual counselors to not impose their mores on the children. In addition, Romeo and Juliet are not two types of children I want my scholars to emulate or even feel sorry for. Hamlet is a loser who at the age of 30 is still a student and surely incapable of being king. If Romeo had lived, he would have grown up to be Hamlet. Again the parents are a main problem in this play and lead to the tragic deaths of their children. Macbeth is a man who is ambitious and allows witches to lead him astray and for him to listen to his ambitious wife. Macbeth is not the kind of man I want my scholars to become. Julius Caesar is also a play about blind ambition. The violence involved in these plays is not the correct message we should be sending to our scholars year after year.

I made the decision to select comedies, plays that involved young love, minor parent child conflict that ends well, education in some form, and great language. The plays I decided to teach were Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Comedy of Errors, Love's Labors Lost, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest. These plays deal beautifully with Honor, Time, and Life in a festival of glorious language as seen in classics passages, puns, and song. All them end well. They all provide a proper denouement to the problems that begin each play. Some of the most beautiful language in Shakespeare comes from these plays. The main characters in these plays are young people close to the age of those scholars in my class. Finally the type of character these plays depict are the examples of life I wish to expose to my scholars and not the characters of the classic tragedy choices too many schools select. They have time enough to learn the tragedies, it is the comedy of life we need to promote. One final point is that I have found these comedies played more than the tragedies so my scholars can see the play. I much prefer my scholars ruminating over "All the world's a stage" and not "To be or not to be." The former promotes life while the latter contemplates ending one's life.

Humor is an important habit of mind and a quality of genius. I am reminded of the classic scene in Singing in the Rain that always makes me laugh to the point of crying is Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh." The same holds true to how I view the comedies of Shakespeare. I know I am learning so much more when I laugh.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I almost lost my Camera

One can never get tired of this fabulous weather. Another crisp clear morning that will be a perfect walking day and being out of doors kind of day. Not a day for slug a beds.

I set off mid morning for the bank and financial area of Monument to enjoy those empty beautiful streets on a Saturday. Last Thursday evening it was a madhouse as Thursday has turned into the new Friday and Friday is get out of town day. I followed the path we did Thursday evening and was able to get the shots I wanted without the hindrance of people. In some cases I was able to stand in the middle of the road and take the picture. This could not have been done on Thursday. An addition to this morning's jaunt was the hearing of the bells of the churches that dot the area. This is a most curious combination of old and new most notably represented by the new Lloyd's Building that incorporate the facade of the original building. Another example of this juxtaposition is the London Stone and all the modern architecture and the number of Wren churches here. Old and new and everything in between.

When I'm done here I catch a bus to Oxford Circus and then a bus to Warwick Ave where our afternoon walk in little Venice will take place. Riding the bus along Oxford Street is more pleasant to my thinking than walking it.

At Oxford Circus I transfer to another bus that will take me to Warwick Street. On the way I pass through a Lebanese community. When the bus suddenly makes a turn and is on a main street of Maida Hill, I immediately recognize where I am. I was here a couple of weeks ago when I was taking the bus back from Hampstead Heath. The bus stops in front of a Tesco and I decide to get off to get my lunch which I will eat in a quite park nearby. When I am in the Tesco, I discover I don't have my camera. I empty the bag I am carrying, No camera. I check all my pockets again. No camera. I don't panic, or do I?

I go to see if the bus is in sight. No bus. I consider waiting for the next bus and going to the end and see if i can retrieve my camera. I will have to wait too long for the next bus, so I hail the next taxi that I see. I tell him my problem. I am reading to him the rout of the bus and we catch up to it. He does a Starsky and Hutch move by passing the bus when we finally caught it and stopped in front of it. I jump out and tell the bus driver I left my camera in the seat next to me. The driver lets me on and I go upstairs to find my camera where I left it. All this cost me was 10 pounds including a handsome tip.

I saw another Tesco at the stop so I went in to pick up from where I was before the loss of my camera. I bought lunch and took the bus back to Warwick Station and walked up to the canal and had my lunch on a bench by the canal.

Our Little Venice walk started at 2PM. We toured the streets of the rich and famous, learned the history of this enchanting area of London and walked some of the canals.

I'm exhausted and take a train back to Kennington, stop at the store to buy some stores, and stop at the Prince of Wales for a pint of Whistling Boy. I have a lovely conversation with a young editor of chapbooks. At the next table the conversation is about finding a flat to rent and before I leave I suggest they look in the Pimlico area since MI6 is abandoning their safe houses over there now.

I take some time to sit in the garden to record my day's event, before heading over to the Black Prince for dinner and my last night in UK and London. I had the lamb shank which is one of the best I have had.

For tomorrow I fly home. As I told Mrs Steele this morning, I am a rat abandoning the ship since Monday promises to be terrible with the transit strike and the bad weather is arriving.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Walking London

Today I will be doing two London walks, Soho and the Inns of Court and conclude the day with Comedy of Errors at the Globe. After breakfast and a shower I took the number 3 bus to Piccadilly and walked to Leicester Square station. Graham a robust Scott led the tour. He fancied pointing out the better eateries and punctuated these recommendations by patting his belly and telling us how many times a year he has gone to each. Another fond discussion was the prostitutes. We were in Soho after all and now they were models and here was where you will find the licensed sex shops. It is also the theater district, Chinatown, little Italy, Greek town, and the home of the music industry. Graham was a wealth of info as are all the guides.

I went back to the Shakespeare Head pub for a half before taking a bus to my next walk's starting place at Holborn. At Holborn, I found a large Sainsbury and bought a sandwich I planned on eating in Lincoln Inn Field. It is a beautiful day and lots of other people had the same idea and it is Friday.

After lunch I made my way back to the meeting place at the Holborn station. Richard III, a guide we have had before was leading this tour of the Inns of Court. We visited Lincoln Inn, Gray's Inn, Staple Inn, Inner Temple, and Middle Temple. This is a most unique kind of tour because the average visitor would never find these sites. In fact I had found the Middle Temple before and was walking all around the others on other occasions. These are great places to know about to get off the congested streets, to find sanctuary in a crazy hectic world.

I took the bus, an old heritage bus, back to London Bridge to catch a bus home. I picked up dinner at the shop and came home to relax in the garden and do some work. Tonight, there are people here. Two little girls are playing and three young ladies are drinking some wine as they wind down from the week.

I discovered that Charlie Chaplin was born in Kennington.

Tonight I went to the Globe to see a marvelous rendition of Comedy of Errors. I am reminded about the concept of Time and Honor in Shakespeare. Two words I must explore one day when I have the time. This was the travelling troupe and everyone plays two roles, except the wife and sister. Antipholus and Dromio begin the antics of the same person playing both with the simple distinction of glasses. This is the funniest play I have seen and still find it one of my favorites. This cast was superb. I have been lucky with the brilliant plays I have seen this trip.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Touring London

Last night, I looked at the London Walks and decided to do the Thursday Forbidden City walk lead by Helena. I decided to walk to the meeting place and took Black Prince Road to Lambeth Bridge and down Houndsberry to the meeting place. On the way I came upon the magistrates offices that was filled with photographers and film crews to record the entrance of Christopher Tapin for extradition hearings back to the USA. Across the street were protesters organized to protest the hurried and perhaps illegal extradition process in UK as prescribed by the US-UK Extradition Treaty. I didn't hang out to see the spectacle.

The walk would start at St Jame's Park Tube and this is the description:

This walk is what in another context would be called a game-changer. Sure, it's Landmark London – all the Big Ticket stuff. Palaces aplenty, the Changing of the Guard, No. 10 Downing Street, the "Royal Peculiar", the places where history – world history – has been made, etc. What makes it a game changer is the way we see it. In short, we nook and cranny it. Get around behind. Get up above*. Get inside. See things Londoners – let alone the tourist hordes – never get to see. It's that "specialilty" London Walks is famous for – "the degree of granularity that you get". Everything from the import of a black circle by the 2 on a certain clock to what the Horse Guards are actually guarding. Want to read a bit more? Here's a related "take" on this walk.

*Up above because we end with an optional visit to "the reviewing stand in the sky" - opened specially for us! – where we look down into Buckingham Palace Gardens. How wag-a-tail wonderful is that? We get to see exactly what's on the other side of that wall! Even the Corgis if they're out.

We ended at the war memorial park with Wellington Arch and many tributes to Australian, New Zealand, and British soldiers of various wars.

I walked to the bus stop and caught a bus to Hammersmith. I was sitting next to a gentleman who was taking two of his grandsons on a tour of London. He was giving them a guided tour and I benefitted from this. I spied a cycle shop and got off to go and find a Sky Cycle Club jersey. They had all the team jerseys and I got a long sleeved jersey. I learned that Contador had joined the Saxo Bank team, WOW!!

With my new jersey I got back on a bus to Hamersmith which is a major transportation hub with shopping, dining, bus, rail and city bus connections. I grabbed a bus that would take me through Chelsea and to Westminster where I would catch a bus back to the B&B. This bus wove its way to Westminster and passed the Chelsea Football Club grounds which were impressive. They are the current English Premier Champions and have started the season well. Soon after some hospitals we were in Chelsea proper. I know this as the Bentleys, the Porches, the other cars of the wealthy were all I saw. The well heeled were dining in fine restaurants, shopping in the best stores, and walking the street that looked like Fifth Avenue. Soon we were at Westminster cathedral and then Parliament Square.

Here I changed for a bus back across the Lambreth Bridge that delivered me to Kennington Lane. I stopped in a store to buy sandwiches and a cider to have in the garden. I spent time writing my journal and will rest a bit before the evening's pub walk.

The evening pub walk was spectacular through the Banks of England and along the byways of the financial district. We viewed the ancient stones and places of The City of London which included The London Stone from Roman times as well as some remarkable churches by Wren. The Monument was a prelude to the new modern buildings of Lloyd's and the bullet shaped building.

I took two buses home.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To London

Woke early, had breakfast, did last minute packing, took a shower and got to train station and boarded the train to Marleybone which was sitting in the station. The ride to London was about two hours and we passed some lovely landscape. By the time we arrived in Marleybone, at noon, every seat was filled and people were standing. I got my tube back to Kennington, picked up some lunch and proceeded back to the B&B and had lunch in the garden. While eating lunch I looked over the bus map and decided to explore the White Chapel area of London. I took a bus to Elephant and Castle, aught another bus to Bank, and then another one into the heart of the East End.

Riding these buses has given me a whole new look at London. Once we left Bank we were immediately in another world, a very diverse world mostly Muslim. The signage was in both Arabic and English. The markets were South Asian, the people were dressed in different forms from women fully covered to shorts. English was not the language of the people on the bus. At one point, the bus was boarded by policemen who checked everyone's bus pass and pulled a couple of people off who had not paid their fare. This was a bus that allows people to board at three spots and uses the honor system. These buses are controversial for this reason of cheating but also because they are just too long, they are double length.

After that excitement, I noticed one college after another. The College of Finance, The London College of Accounting, The Technical Institute of London and so on. The bus was slow going so I got off at Stratford and caught a bus back to the City Of London, but not before stopping in a pub for a half. I was definitely in the styx as Young's was a guest ale, but I did spy a bitter I hadn't tried, Toad Bitter, so I got a half. While there a man, quite obviously a street sleeper, came in to use the toilets. There was a sign clearly posted on the door stating, the toilets were for patrons only because of the abuse of the use of the toilets. The gentleman left, but returned after having a conversation with a lady outside who must have given him more courage because he and she stormed back in and headed straight for the toilets. The barkeep a young lad called his boss who came down in a few minutes and called the cops. I left.

I knew I was back in The City of London when people getting on the bus were in suits. Quite the line of demarkation. Since it was getting late, I decided to grab a Northern Line Train to Kennington and head over to the Black Prince for dinner. I met another young couple who had just come back from Scotland. They had been in Uig at the same time we had been. As we exchanged our adventures there, they accounted how they had rented bicycles and had taken a ride that they misjudged and left them on the Quatraing late on Saturday night in the rain. Suddenly I remember passing a couple of people on bikes on that very and only road over the Quatraing that Saturday evening as we were returning to Uig after that very disappointing dinner. Small world indeed, here in the Black Prince where the bartender knows the lads of Hibernia in NYC. As we were speaking of Oysters, another couple joined in since they had just come back from NYC and had spent a great afternoon at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Finally the conversation got us to the Wright Brothers Oyster house and all agreed it was the best in London. It was getting dark and chill and we all retired to the innards of the pub. I watched the beginning of the Open and then left for home. It was 10PM and I had been up since half six this morning and done more than I needed to do on vacation.