Mark Richards


Wednesday, April 30, 2003

My new toy

I have finally done it! I bought the big screen TV that I've been talking about getting for years! Here's "our" story.

Over the past few days, I had been researching the Toshiba 50H82 on the internet. The set is a 50 inch widescreen TV with high definition compatibility at a reasonable price. It was everything I could ever desire in a TV. I had faith in Toshiba because both my uncle and cousin recently bought big screen televisions from Toshiba and had good experiences with them. It was my dream to some day have a great experience with a TV and maybe I would be lucky enough to have it with a TV the caliber of the Toshiba 50H82.

So I walked into Best Buy on Sunday to purchase a DVD and begin looking at the various big screen televisions they had on display. As I scanned the TV's, this one particular TV caught my eye. It was not too big, the picture was incredible, and it happened to be made by Toshiba. Coincidence? Or fate? I asked the salesperson how much it cost and he told me that it just went back up to $1799 after being at $1599 last week. Bad lack. Then he told me that he would sell me the television for last week's price of $1599. Oh no! Would I be able to pass on an opportunity like this? I re-examined the TV and saw that the model I was looking at was the same model that I had been researching. This was it! This was my chance to be united with "my love" for the experience of a lifetime! But I was ready to jump into this. What was I going to do?

I needed support from my family. My nerves were getting to me. I called my mom and uncle for advice and support and they told me that if I truly wanted this, then I should not let anything get in the way. I had to discuss this with my girlfriend as well, whom would have to live with the both of us. She told me to follow my heart, so I did. I decided to take the chance and make the purchase.

Now, when my girlfriend and I move into our new apartment, we will be joined by another: my 50 inch widescreen Toshiba television. I love the way my home theater is shaping up.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I've never found an article supporting my opinion of Ivy League schools. This one will do though.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Sadly enough, our best game

Sadly enough, Team Bad Guy had its best game last night in a losing effort 23-12. We started off strong putting up five runs in our half of the first inning, but decided that we didn't want the lead, so we dropped a few easy fly balls in the outfield and gave up five unearned runs making the score 5-5 after one. But for once, the bats were alive and Team Bad Guy recaptured the lead with three more runs. Our opponents were strong though and tied the game up at eight at the end of two. With a new found confidence at the plate (by actually being in a game), we regained the lead with three more runs 11-8. A couple errors in the bottom of the third allowed the other team to tie the game up at eleven. An excited Team Bad Guy put up only one run in the top of the fourth. And that's when things went wrong. Fly ball after fly ball was dropped by each and every outfielder allowing our opponents to take a substantial lead on a whole bunch of unearned runs. Final score: 25-12. That's pretty bad considering we were in the game until of the bottom of the fourth inning.

Positives from the game:
  • We hit the ball fairly well and consistently

  • We actually got to play five innings (nice change from 3)

  • We have the potential to beat every team we've played thus far

  • Negatives from the game (the short version):
  • We field like crap and cannot catch a fly ball

  • We field like crap and cannot catch a fly ball

  • We field like crap and cannot catch a fly ball

  • I almost had fun last night though. I was 3-4 at the plate and should have been 4-4 except for some poor base running from teammates (another negative from the game). Unfortunately, my good night doesn't translate to a win for us. I don't ask for much, but I would like to win one game. Only one. That's not too hard is it?

    I swear I'll have fun one of these games.

    Monday, April 21, 2003

    Miss Personality

    A few months ago, I wrote about a charity event called Kate's Club. Something very interesting has occurred since then with one of the girls I met there.

    My friends and I were invited to attend by a girl whom we will call "Peek-A-Boo". We met up with her and her friends a few hours into the event. "Peek-A-Boo" walked up to us, said hello, and introduced us to the rest of her friends. The first friend that we were introduced to was named Hayley. I took one look at her, glanced at "Handsome Brian", and we both mouthed the word "Wow". This girl was absolutely gorgeous, and hot as anything. She sat down next to me and I got a chance to talk to her for the next couple of hours.

    I liked this girl's personality right off the bat. I asked her what she did for a living and she told me that she was a conductor for the orchestra for the travelling musical, "The Lion King", which just happened to be in town. Of course, I thought that was a little weird, but cool nonetheless, because I've always enjoyed musicals. So I proceeded to ask her questions about her job and she kept giving these interesting responses until finally she said that she couldn't do it anymore. She was just playin' with all of us. The whole story was a lie that kept getting bigger and bigger with each question. What a crock! All of us laughed about it for a while and then I proceeded to tell her a lie of my own, which she believed. When I told her that my story was a lie as well, she felt like a fool, much like I did. We laughed it off and the night went on. So that was my introduction to Hayley. What a pisser!

    I saw Hayley around the city a couple of times over the coming weeks, but we spoke for only a few minutes. So then, I see a commercial on TV for another cheesy reality show called "Mr. Personality". I almost blew it off, but noticed a striking resemblance between the woman on the show and Hayley. I also thought I heard the name Hayley mentioned in the commercial. After a moment of confusion, I just shrugged it off as mere coincidence...until this past weekend.

    I was hanging out with my friends on Saturday night when someone mentioned that "Peek-A-Boo" was upset that Hayley was staying out in Los Angeles. I thought about it for a second and my curiosity was sparked. Could "Peek-A-Boo's" friend Hayley be the same Hayley on "Mr. Personality"? When I went home that night, I went to the website for the show and began looking at the pictures. It sure did look like Hayley. I went onto the message boards for more information and saw conversations about Hayley attending Florida State University and that she was in a sorority, both of which Hayley told me in our conversation the night we met. It was her! The girl I randomly met and spoke to for a few hours was the same one as on the show. In some weird sort of way, I felt famous myself.

    Anyways, Hayley is a very cool person. She's very personable, funny, sarcastic, and of course very attractive. I would just like to wish her good luck with the show and all the opportunities that come from being on "Mr. Personality". She is very deserving of all the good fortune that comes to her. I would also like to wish the guys on the show good luck. From my brief conversations with Hayley, I know that she is a handful (in a good way). I think there's a good chance that they won't be able to handle her. But I don't really care about those guys. But Hayley, "You go girl!"

    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    Team Crap Guy

    "Team Crap Guy" improved its record to 0-3 with a stunning 20-4 loss. It's official...WE SUCK! I'd give more details, but I can't bring myself to talk about it.

    Monday, April 14, 2003

    Atlanta Dogwood Festival

    This weekend, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, an annual springtime celebration of arts and entertainment (supposedly), was held in Piedmont Park. From what I could see, most people weren't there for the event's cultural value, but for the chance to drink, sit out in the sun, and listen to live music...basically the same reasons for which I went out. Tens of thousands of people came out for the three day event. I would even venture to say that tens of thousands of dogs were out. You could not walk anywhere by the main stage without stepping on someone or their dog. It was absolutely packed!

    I didn't get much of a chance to check out what else was going on, but from what I heard and saw, there were tents lined up all around the park selling all sorts of "fair-type" items, overly expensive food and drinks, parades, and activities for kids provided by the Discovery Channel. It was similar to any fair for festival that is held anywhere in the country, but still a good time nonetheless.

    This was the second similar event that I attended at Piedmont Park over the last year, the first being the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and both have been a ton of fun. It was a welcome change to be able to sit in the sun and just hang out with a bunch of friends in a relaxing environment. It's good to change the pace occasionally. I am going to have to attend more of these large events in Piedmont Park when I finally move closer to the city in July.

    Friday, April 11, 2003

    Iraqi Information Minister

    The ware in Iraq should be taken very seriously. That being said, check out this hilarious site about the Iraqi Information Minister.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    Dawgs in Iraq

    As if I didn't dislike UGA enough already, I have to see them getting all this good press after the photo below was taken in Iraq. Putting my personal issues aside though, I would like to thank them and our entire military for defending our country. What I am about to do is going to hurt a great deal, but I think they deserve it....GO DAWGS!!!

    Monday, April 07, 2003

    TiVo Series2

    For the relatively low price of $249, the TiVo Series2 is one cool and exciting device. With new features like the ability to listen to digital music stored on a computer, remotely schedule the recordings of shows, view digital photos, and share recordings between systems, the TiVo Series2 is an excellent solution for networked home entertainment.

    Orange and White Game Review

    I had the pleasure of going up to Clemson this weekend for the annual "Orange and White" game, a scrimmage between the Clemson offense and the Clemson defense. The game is always fun to watch because it is the this first chance to see some of the younger athletes that may have redshirted or not received a great deal of playing time the previous season. In past years, we have seen an offense dominated game, where the defense was able to stop the onslaught only a rare occasions, but this year proved to be different.

    The biggest problem for the Clemson defense last year was their inability to stop the run. After a strong start, the solid rush defense waned, and the culmination of the collapse came against Wake Forest after allowing 365 yards on 64 carries. During this weekend's game, the defense appeared to have corrected many of the problems it was plagued by the previous season. Although the offense gained over 150 yards on the ground, it was held to an average of 2.2 yards per carry which is below average by any standard. If the defense can limit the number of yards gained on the ground, it will prevent our opponents from controlling the clock and pounding away at a defense that sees a lot of minutes on the field already due to our "high-powered, quick-strike" offense.

    The phrase "high-powered, quick-strike" offense, should be used to reference the Clemson offense very conservatively. Last year's team was not able to control the clock due to a poor rushing game, thus leaving the defense on the field for incredible stretches during a game. Coach Bowden emphasized the short yardage running game during the spring practices, which was quite evident from the scrimmage. From what was shown on the field, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Redshirt freshmen Duane Coleman and Reggie Merriweather combined for almost 100 yards rushing, which at first glance appears to be poor production, but the majority of the yardage came on plays designed for short yardage situations and is a rather impressive feat. The young and injured offensive line from a year ago appears to have some help coming with the emergence of Dustin Fry, Roman Fry, and Nathan Bennett. Their play is extremely important to the success of the Tigers in the upcoming season. A strong offensive line will open up the running game and give the quarterback more protection and time to pass in the pocket.

    The quarterback situation was a little suspect at times on Saturday. None of the 5 QB's were able to move the ball with any sort of consistency and turned the ball over four times (3 interceptions/1 fumble). It is very easy to criticize Coach Bowden, his system, and our offense for their apparent lack of production, but one must remember that when a QB only gets a few plays or one drive every twenty minutes or so due to the rotation, how is any sort of rhythm to be established? This is not something caused by any one person or scheme. It is just a fact of playing a scrimmage setup like the "Orange and White" game. Also, the game is not for the offense to prove that it can put points on the board by "airing the ball out" every play, it is to see how much improvement has been made over the past few months by the team on the key issues focused on by the coaching staff. I believe our team accomplished what it set out to do.

    Team grade: B

    Thursday, April 03, 2003

    Today's Inspiration

    I heard about this article on the radio and found a link to it. The article is named The Day That Michael Jordan Cried by Bob Green of the Chicago Tribune. I believe it to be excellent inspiration for anybody who has been told that they cannot achieve something they desire.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2003

    We suck again!

    Last night our softball team fell to 0-2 by losing to team "Foul Balls" 22-12. We definately have some issues that we need to correct or we are never going to win a game. There were many positives that could be taken away from last night's game though. We did score more runs than the first game, lost by fewer runs, and had more hits. Definately a much needed improvement from the first game. But in the end, we were our own worst enemy. Our fielding and throwing errors extended would-be easy innings and gave them the runs necessary to pull out the victory.

    On a positive note for myself, I was 2 for 3 with two singles, two RBI's, and one run scored. I am relatively pleased with my production thus far, but it can still be better. For those who don't understand baseball as well as I do, "production" is the name of the game at the plate. It doesn't matter how you do it, but on base percentage, RBI's, and scoring runs are what matter. A walk is as good as a hit. Sacrifices advance runners making it easier for others to drive them in. It's important for people to realize that personal stats don't win games, which is why my good first two games at the plate don't mean much.

    Check out the game stats at the Team Bad Guy website.