Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Deadbeat

TigerBlog's credit card expired recently, and that always leads to a series of minor annoyances that have to be addressed.

First of all, credit cards are mailed to people in envelopes that don't give away what's inside of it, to prevent, TB assumes, their theft in the mail. After all, the two biggest prizes for identity thieves are credit card numbers and social security numbers, which people guard with their lives except for all those times they read them over the phone while ordering a pizza or something.

Anyway, unless you're looking for your new card to arrive, then you completely miss the envelope it comes in, and it sits there with catalogs and flyers and other mass mailings that numb the senses. It's only after the first time that you go to use the card after it's passed the expiration date that you have to scramble around to find the new one.

Then there are all of things that automatically bill TB's credit card that stop automatically paying the bills once the credit card reaches its expiration date. In TB's case, that meant, among others, TigerBlog Jr.'s cafeteria account at school, which is pretty fascinating in that TB can monitor what is being eaten each day. And of course EZPass, which flashed a "low balance" warning at TB the last time he drove through a toll booth, which was followed by a scolding email that might as well have said "dear deadbeat" on it.

TB finally tracked down his new card, complete with a new three-digit code on the back for security purposes.

He went to update his EZPass account online, only to realize that he did not have his account number or device number and couldn't remember his username. In fact, the only thing he could remember was his password, which wasn't helping him, since he needed one of the other three to log in.

And so he had to go back out to the parking lot to get the EZPass device, to get the number. Only he figured that if he brought the thing back into his office, he'd forget to bring it back to his car, and next time he pulled up to a toll booth, he wouldn't have his EZPass, and therefore would have to use something he hates using - cash.

To solve that problem, he came up with the brilliant idea of taking a picture of his EZPass on his phone, so he could get the number off of that. Then he thought about the bad guy in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" who didn't get the hieroglyphics off the back of that medallion and therefore dug for the Well of Souls in the wrong place, so he looked on the back of the device too.

As he walked back into the building, he met up with ticket manager Stephanie Sutton, and TB and Stephanie had this basic exchange:
Stephanie: "Does it seem early to be playing basketball?"
TB: "Yes."

TB remembers not that long ago when college basketball didn't start until Dec. 1. Now it just gets earlier and earlier.

Today was the 24 hour ESPN marathon, with games all night and such. TB used to be against those sort of gimmicky things, but now he's come around, realizing that Stony Brook and Rider will long remember that they played a 6 am game than they would have ever remembered the game had it been a random November game.

On top of that, the game drew a full house of 1,650 to Rider's Alumni Gym.

How about the two games on Naval ships that couldn't be completed because of wetness on the court? Even though they didn't get played, the two teams did get the great experience of visiting the ship and meeting all of the people involved.

College basketball is running a big risk of over-saturation, especially starting this early and with so many games on television, not to mention a largely meaningless regular season in much of the sport, with make-or-break conference tournaments for one-bid leagues and a get-to-the-tournament-and-see-what-we-can-do mentality for the bigger leagues.

Princeton plays its home opener tonight against Northeastern, with both teams at 1-0 after winning their openers, Princeton against Buffalo and Northeastern against Boston University.

The goal for Princeton - thankfully the Ivy League still does not have a tournament - is to be ready to play when the league season rolls around, which is still two months away.

The Tigers have a veteran team and unbelievable size, and they had a head start on this season with the trip to Spain. Princeton is the preseason favorite in the Ivy League, and it should be a fun winter.

Still, unlike TB's credit card, the fall sports season still hasn't reached its expiration date, and it seems a bit early to be playing basketball already.

On the other hand, if basketball is to be played already, it might have been fun for Princeton-Northeastern to go super early, maybe at 6 am.

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