March 2nd, 2005

Enterprise Bridge

Modern Technology

I finally set myself up for online bill payment today. It is a Good Thing™.

Previously, I'd stayed away from it. The payee-run version of it is something to stay the hell away from. I'm not giving a utility company my checking account number so they can debit what they like out of my account, when they want. If they fuck up, it's my headache, even if they do cover, or my bank forgives, any overdraw/overlimit fees. It's impossible to withhold payment of a contested portion of a bill that way. The utilities are also not allowed to auto-charge my credit cards. I let Speakeasy do that for my DSL line, but only because they have the (deserved) reputation of Having Their Shit Together, and unlike most utilities, they answer the phone quickly to solve problems.

The bank-end of it used to be costly and cumbersome. BofA has stopped charging to use their service, which is why I was willing to look into it. There is no way I will pay somebody extra in order to save them the cost of processing my paper checks. Now it's free, and it's a smart system that strives to do things electronically. All my utilities are paid electronically. My condo association will get a paper check this month. Friends tell me that once the bank has the relevant data from that transaction, they will switch that to electronic payment too.

What pushed me to do it is simply the headache of writing a bunch of checks every month. It's something that gets left until there's a stack of bills to be paid, and I'm forced to spend a half-hour writing so that I'm not late on a payment. Ugh. The interface is nice... BofA's web site presents me with a table of listed payees, each with a form field for amount and payment date. I fill in all the numbers for bills I want to pay, and click one "go" button, and it all goes. This is really cool... I hate having to repeat the procedure over and over for each transaction. It's one of the things that galls me about the sports scheduling services and sites I use (eteamz.com and LeagueSite/phpWebSite.) I don't like spending forever waiting for pages to load and submit, when I know it can be done once.

It may be a long while before I need to order checks again. Paying bills is all I ever use them for anymore. Outside of that, I maybe write half a dozen checks a year.
Enterprise Bridge

Okay, I can sleep now.

Most of the kids Nate and I coach in baseball are eigth graders, but two are high school freshmen. Last weekend we learned Ryan made the squad at Mt. Carmel. Due to weather and lack of fields, Poway canceled practice a lot of tryout days, and didn't make cuts until now. Much to our relief, Kevin made it at Poway.

There were a lot of good players trying out this year at that level. George, their coach, figured you could form two teams out of the 40 that came out, and they could compete with anyone. Cutting down to 18-20 would be a bitch. Kevin's a very good student, and he also played basketball, so there has not been time for baseball since November. Compounded by the shortened tryout schedule, we were all worried the frosh coaches might not notice him, or worse, when they were looking his way, it might be when he goofed something up, and they'd get the wrong idea. I knew he was good enough to make it.

I'll grant, it's a feather in our cap for our players to make the high school team. And I'll admit, we'll use that to encourage the rest of our team, to show them that yes, the effort we ask of them can really pay off. But that's a nice added bonus. It's a lesser thing, it's not the point of the exercise. The point is that two boys who I care a lot about, succeeded at something they worked hard at. If either or both of them had been cut, I wouldn't have cared about the failed ego boost for me or Nate. I would've felt awful for Ryan or Kevin. It sucks being cut from a team, and I know all too well what that's like.

Thankfully, that's water under the bridge. Now I get to see what they make of the opportunity they have, in colors, on the field.
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