Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Security question

For a few of my friends I do web pages and some computer support. My friend Laura in Florida is an event planner, and I helped a little with her website ( Last week she started having issues with her e-mails not reaching their destination, and after she was unable to get a resolution with the domain provider support she called in her IT Manager. The Big Gun. Awesome Don.

When I was finally able to get through on the phone, I was connected with someone with a very strong Indian accent whose name was "Tracy." In order to prove it was OK for me to access the account, Tracy asked me the security question: Laura's mother's maiden name. My response: Uh, her mother has been married 12 times, so I have no idea what her maiden name is.

I'm betting that's the first time they've ever had that response.

So, after validating my credentials with another method, we finally escalated the issue to the group who should have been fixing it in the first place. I called Laura and updated her on the issue. And I asked her the answer to the security question in case I have to call back any time soon. :)

Epilogue: Here's a story I wrote back in 2003 about her mom back when she'd only been married 11 times: There's always hope.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I certainly admired his honesty

A couple of years ago, I "retired" after 16 seasons of coaching a boys soccer team. However, this winter I returned to the coaching ranks. I am currently coaching a 1st and 2nd grade boys basketball team in my church's Upward basketball league. Unlike soccer, basketball is a sport I actually played growing up.

There's a player or two on each team with some basketball experience, but for most of the kids it's their first time playing basketball. The first few practices have been spent going over the basics: dribbling, defense, rebounding and the general rules of the game. In the future I hope to teach them offensive spacing, setting picks and switching on defense. Who knows, by the end of the season we might even learn an offensive play or two.

The games themselves are very structured. Each 18 minute half is divided into 6 minute segments. At the start of each segment, the players in the game are lined up based on skill level, and each one guards the player on the other team with the similar skill level. They play a basic man-on-man defense with no double-teaming or pressing. The substitutions are set up so that no player ever sits out more than one 6 minute segment in a row.

We just had our second game, and the boys are improving. There's still a lot of traveling and double-dribbling, and they sometimes forget who they're guarding on defense, but they're having fun. During halftime we were going over some things to work on in the second half. One player had missed the first game, so this was his very first game ever. He interrupted my pep talk to tell me, "Coach. This is my first game, and I have NO idea what I'm doing!"

I certainly admired his honesty.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Make a joyful noise!

Singing is much too enjoyable to only be done by those who are good at it. - Molly Ivins

I sing in my church choir. I sing not because I'm good at it, but because I enjoy it. I have a kind voice: the kind that should be singing quieter. The Bible tells us many times to make a joyful noise or to sing His praises; nowhere does it say we have to be in tune.

I never sang in my school choir, and I've never had any formal training. I can read music because of my years in the school band (playing the tuba, because I was just so cool), but I can't look at a note and sing the pitch I should be singing. I don't have perfect pitch, or even reasonably-close pitch. I don't harmonize, and I have no training in music theory. In fact, I didn't know what part I would sing until my first rehearsal. My range is limited, my voice is shaky, and my pitch is questionable.

But I like to sing. Put me next to someone who is singing the correct pitch, and I do my best to match it. I try not to sing too loud except when the song really moves me, and then I make no guarantees. I keep rehearsals lively with my sarcastic and slightly disruptive comments. I perform to the best of my abilities with all the talent that I have.

I make a joyful noise.