Mark Richards


Saturday, September 27, 2003

Odd Sighting

I was going to the grocery store with Sarah and while we were driving, I saw one of the strangest things I have ever seen people do while driving. There was a guy driving a pickup truck while smoking, and playing a wooden recorder! I heard this really odd sound come from outside our car while there was a break in the music, so I looked around and saw this guy blowing into a recorder. I was not sure if what I was seeing was for real, but it was because I could hear sound coming out of the recorder.

How weird!?!?

Friday, September 26, 2003

Team Bad Guy Has Done It Again!

Team Bad Guy has done it again! Another big win for our team and this time it was 14-7! That makes our combined record over two and a third seasons 2-21. Man, we suck! Or maybe it is that David Guy is our version of the Boston Red Sox and the "Curse of the Bambino"? The Cubs and the goat? Our only two wins have come without one of our better players: David Guy. Luckily for us, he is not going to be at the next game either. Could this be the start of a win streak? Let's hope so.

Go Team Bad Guy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

New Job

Today was my first day at UPS. I must admit that it was very sad to leave BioLab and not see all the familiar faces early in the morning as I have over the past two years. But my first day was exciting...well at least as exciting as first days can be.

As always, it was a pain in the arse trying to get set up with all the necessary application logins, security, and software installed on my computer. Therefore, much of the day I sat around getting acclimated to the new environment and systems I will be working on. When I first arrived, I received the nickel tour of the entire facility. The building is extremely nice and has some cool amenities like a Wachovia ATM, cafeteria, and covered parking garage. Although some of the reasons that were supposed to make me want to stay at BioLab were missing (the free coffee, "virtual game room", and ample parking), I survived the day without much longing for any of them. During the tour of the building, I ran into some familiar faces: Jason Barker whom I worked with at BioLab for a while and Paul Bradbury with whom I have played paintball. While I do not know too many people at UPS, knowing anybody at all made me feel much more comfortable in my new environment.

Obviously there is a whole lot to be said about my new job, but way too much to write after a long and tiring first day. One final note about the day though: the whole suit thing is not that bad...just a slight pain. I think this will be an excellent career move for me and I cannot wait to dive head first into all these new experiences.

Time to get ready for softball.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Book Review: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

I finished the second Harry Potter book this past weekend and had to go out and purchase the third book in the series. I have now completed books 1, 2, and 5. I am not sure if I have been jaded by watching the movies prior to reading the book, but I feel that the movie was much better than the book. The book seemed to lack the detail and thoroughness that the movie had. If the writers and producers had followed the book to the letter, the scene in the Chamber of Secrets at the end of the movie would have been about two minutes long and very uninteresting. It is my opinion (since I have already read the fifth book in the series) that J.K. Rowling has become a much better writer over the course of the series. This may seem obviously, but as the adventure has progressed, each book has gotten longer thus providing more details and vivid images along with a more in-depth plot. I know that longer does not always mean better, but I believe it does in this case.

On to book 3: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Lot To Say

Man do I have a lot to say. Part one of who knows how many.

The past few weeks have been so hectic here at work amongst other things. I am working on a project here that I need to finish up as soon as possible. The reason? I have accepted a position over at UPS and begin working on Tuesday, September 23. That only give me a few days to tie up all loose ends here at BioLab.

I must say that I am very excited about almost everything that this position has to offer. The position is at UPS's Corporate Headquarters, which is about eight miles from where I currently live. I can take backroads or highways and the travel will only be between ten and fifteen minutes long. I will be making a considerable amount more money during the six month contract portion of my work and then good money when I become a full-time employee after that. The money is nice, but not my reason for leaving BioLab or going to UPS....but money is nice. Also, the internal structure at UPS allows for some positive upward advancement in the future, which is something that I am looking for in a long term situation (there is no room for advancement at BioLab). Combine all these factors with the fact that I want to move on and learn new skills in a new environment, I believe this will be an excellent career move for me.

I have been speaking with a UPS recruiter now for over a month and when I tell people about the opportunity, I must mention the fact that there is one thing that bothers me about UPS and working at their Corporate Headquarters: the dress code. As an employee of UPS, I am not allowed to wear an earring. Not a problem. I cannot have any facial hair....clean shaven. Not a problem, especially since I have never had facial hair because it is so splotchy. I am required to wear a suit and tie four out of five days a week....BIG PROBLEM!!! Everybody laughs when I say this. They tell me I am being ridiculous. Here's the deal: wearing suits to work is rarely done anymore. Now I could see if I was dealing with clients or had to be presentable, fine. But that is not the nature of what I do. I sit in front of the computer for the majority of the day and program. It is going to be so freakin' uncomfortable to program for nine hours a day in a stinkin' suit! I can almost guarantee that I will be less productive. Not to mention that I am going to have to go out and purchase a few more suits, since I only have one.

Anyways, although this suit wearing thing is going to aggravate me, I cannot express how excited I am that this job has gone through. It will be tough to leave my friends at BioLab, but I know they are true friends and am not really leaving them.

There is always softball, weekends, weekday nights, pool parties, cookouts, football game, etc., etc., etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

New Season, Same Crap

I really can't handle this anymore. New season, same result: another loss...8-7....we lost in the bottom of the 7th (the final inning). 'Nough said.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Brian's Winnings

This past Friday, a few of us went to lunch and played "Golden Tee 2004", a golf, arcade-style video game. Every once in a while, the players are given the option of putting in extra money and take a shot at winning more if you get a hole-in-one. Brian was the first person to get one of these challenges during our match and decided to give it a shot because there was already some extra money in the game. Needless to say, I was speechless when he actually hit a hole-in-one! Not only had I never seen a shot like that, I had never seen one made for money. He won $25 and then had to go through the arduous process of typing in his name, address, and phone number in order to receive his check in the mail. This was all really annoying, but pretty cool at the same time. Go Brian!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

More Friends Visit

Last week with the holiday weekend and the beginning of the college football season approaching, sitting down and making a post was the last thing I wanted to do. But now, after having to drive for four hours and get sunburn at the worst Clemson game during my tenure as a fan, I may have even less motivation to post than before, but I have to talk about this before everyone loses interest.

A couple of weekends ago, a few high schools friends came down from New Jersey to visit Sarah and I, and check out our lives down here in the ATL. I met Lee many years ago when we were both in Boy Scouts together. We were pretty close back then until he started dating my ex-girlfriend and then...not so much. Since then, Lee has become my "partner in crime". Sarah thinks that he is a bad influence on me at times (but not in a bad way...he makes me more obnoxious), but I think it is all in her head. I met Rachel through Sarah back when we started dating. She has been dating one of my best friends for a while now and I have grown close to her via my relationships with Sarah and Greg. Anyways, Lee and Rachel (who Adam thought was hot) drove down fourteen hours and got into town on Friday early in the evening. We had plans to take them to one of our favorite restaurants, Twist, for some good drinks and sushi. I did not want to make reservations because I did not know when they would get into town, so we had to wait for an hour to be seated, which sucked, but it was well worth the wait though (as always) because everything there is sooooo good! This place was perfect for Lee especially...drinking, hot women in scantily-clad clothing, and sushi. The perfect combination. After dinner we capped off the evening with a trip to club "1150" and the newly remodeled "Eden", which now resembles the cool Miami nightclubs according to Robert.

Earlier in the day on Friday, I received a surprise phone call from another friend from home, Eric. I had spoken to him a few months ago and he mentioned that he may be coming into town, but I never heard anything and just assumed that he would not be making the trip. But that was not the case. He said that there were some issues with his plans and was not sure if they would go through, but at the last minute they did. So since he was going to be in town, I invited him to the pool party I was having the next day. The pool party turned out to be the biggest one of the season thus far, which was even cooler. The majority of my friends from Atlanta were there, as were Rachel and Lee, and Eric and a few of his friends. I had a blast drinking, grilling, and getting to catch up with my friends that I do not get to see very often. I have some pics from the pool that I will put up later.

Sunday came around and Lee and Rachel were preparing to leave. Lee has been looking into attending a southern school for his doctorate in a few years so he wanted to check out Emory. We drove over to the campus and to our excitement it was freshman move-in day! It was so funny remembering what it was like our first day of college: meeting new people, moving into the dorms, walking around lost on campus. So we decided to live it up a little and follow the flow of people to the student center. When we got there, there were lines for orientation meetings, students buying books, and families getting food together. At the front of the bookstore were stacks of boxes color coded for guys and girls. Everybody decided that they wanted one and took a box for themselves. I obviously did not want one because I knew what would be in it. What the heck was I going to do with cheap stick deodorant, gum, and fliers for nothing useful? But everybody else seemed pleased with the boxes...I guess that's all that matters.

I would say that the weekend as a whole was a "smashing success" (to steal a phrase from Adam). It was very cool being able to give some old/close friends a glimpse of what our lives are like now and even better to get to spend some quality time with people I really care about. I hope more friends get to visit in the future because I had a blast!