Mark Richards


Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Back in Atlanta

I am back in Atlanta after being in New Jersey visiting family for a week. Come to think of it, I am not sure if I went up to visit family or to just eat tons of unhealthy food and gain five pounds. I had a good time seeing my family and friends though, which is cool considering I do not get to see them often. That is part of my New Year's resolution though: to see my New Jersey friends and family four to five times this year. This past year I only got home for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I do not feel that is enough of a commitment from me. I need to take the time to go back up at least one more time a year, and see if I can get friends or family to come visit me down here.

It feels good to be back at home though, but being back at home means that I have returned to work. Blah blah blah. Having to work stinks. Speaking of work, I was offered a full-time position a few weeks ago here, but decided to turn it down. Why would I turn down a management job, a well paying job, and job security in a down economy? Well, there are many reasons, but the prime one happens to be that I am not ready to tackle the responsibilities of management at this point in my career. If I take the management road at this point in time, I will end up completely out of the technical realm within five years. I do not wish to start down this path so early in my career. Someday, I will be ready to jump from the tech side of things over to the management side, but now is not the time. To be honest, there is another reason that I turned down the position, but I cannot say anything for another couple of weeks.

Sarah has been pestering me....and I mean really pestering me (did I say that out loud?) figure out what we are doing for New Year's because she has friends coming in to town from Chicago and wants them to have a good time. So I finally picked up the phone to call some of my friends and see what their plans were. The second person on my list was Handsome Brian. We were just about done discussing New Year's when he tells me that he got engaged! I was like "Damn! I was not expect that!" His fiance Rachel is very cool. I happen to like her a lot and wish them the best of luck. That being said, ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GETTING ENGAGED!!! As if the pressure from friends and family was not enough, now I have to deal with the added social pressure of having all these friends that are getting engaged. What is a handsome (possibly even dashing) young man like myself to do? The answer: wait until the time is right.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

All I Wanted To Do...

All I wanted to do last night was go see The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I did get to see the movie, but not before some jackass chick decided to hit my car.

I was driving around in the parking lot looking for an open space when the person in front of me stops short. We were not moving very fast so I was able to stop a good distance behind her. She had missed the turn for the row that she wanted to go down and after she stopped, she says that she looked in her rear-view mirror, did not see anything, threw the car into reverse, and hit me. She was driving a mid-size truck with a square steel extension on the back in the place where you would attach a hitch. The piece of steel punctured my front bumper, not that badly but definitely noticeable. And there was obviously no damage to her company-owned truck. I think I am rather lucky though that the steel was there because the truck was raised up pretty high and the piece hung low. Had it not been there, I think she would have gotten over my front bumper and damaged the hood and then possibly the engine. Either way I was not happy to say the least. I took her insurance information so that I could put in a claim when I got home and then proceeded on to the movie.

On a less important note, the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy lived up to the hype. I thought it was quite exciting and very well done. I will have to see it another time before I can make a final judgment due to the fact that I was so annoyed about being hit. It was very difficult to stay focused throughout the movie.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Bad Weekend

I wish my weekend was little a more productive, but the flu put a damper on any plans I might have had. My weekend events consisted of a lot of movie watching, book reading, and virtually no eating. The only time I went out the entire weekend was to go holiday shopping on Sunday for a few hours. I knew if I did not, I would be in trouble having purchased no gifts as of yet. At first, forcing myself to do this seemed like a good idea, but in retrospect, may not have been due to the fact that I had to stop shopping abruptly to come home because I felt so sick. What an unproductive weekend.

There was one benefit I received from my illness and that was being able to complete yet another Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This book may be my favorite thus far. All sorts of information, twists, and turns to the storyline are provided which adds so much excitement and speculation. I have now completed all five books in the series and know the entire story to date. My plan is to continue on though and re-read the fifth book to see how much more sense it makes. Then, I will probably read the third book again before the movie comes out in June 2004.

Ok...let me lay it down for you as honestly as possible....I think I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter. I am not a big reader. I never have been and do not foresee myself ever being one. But now that I have begun reading these books, I am having a difficult time stopping. I have read more pages of Harry Potter possibly than the sum of all the pages from all the rest of the books I have read in my life combined! Whenever the movie is on, I will watch it. If I find the movie on in the morning on a weekend, I will search through the menu and "remind" all the times that it can be found in that day. I was also almost Harry Potter for Halloween. Does any of this make me weird? If this continues, I may need to seek help.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Rather Uninteresting

Well this week has been rather uninteresting. The Dow closed over 10,000 for the first time in 18 months. Is that interesting? Not really, but it is good news for someone who is considering doing some major investing in the very near future such as myself. According to The Conference Board, 2004 will be the best year economically in the last 20 years. Obviously, that may not mean anything, but it is something to keep in mind.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Our First Christmas Tree

Sarah and I got our first Christmas tree together this past weekend. Since we live in an apartment we were not able to get a huge tree, but our six foot tree is more than sufficient. We also had to purchase all the "trimmings" know....the base, the lights, etc. Half of one of the strands of lights does not work, and sitting down and trying to figure out which one bulb does not work, is not very appealing. We will have to go out and get more lights. Knowing that I wanted a tree this year, I had asked my mom to gather up some of our ornaments and send them down here from New Jersey. Now that we have everything needed to decorate, we will have to set aside some time this weekend to get the tree finished so that Sarah and I can have a very Jewish Christmas.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Here is a random article about a fossilised penis.

Casino Night

Last night, my apartment complex had "Casino Night" for its holiday party. Sarah and I went over a few minutes after the party started and spent almost four hours there! Here's how it worked. To start off, all the residents are given $20,000 each in fake money. And because Sarah and I were together, and she does not care for gambling, I really had $40,000 myself. We then take the money to one of the four game tables (2 blackjack, 1 roulette, 1 craps) where the dealer gives out chips of different values for our money. At the end of the night, the money and winnings could be used to purchase raffle tickets for eight different prizes. I thought the whole idea was pretty neat. I have heard of casino parties, but never expected our apartment complex to have one.

A couple of interesting things happened throughout the course of the night. As I was playing Blackjack, Sarah was standing behind me helping me out and looking around at the other people. She sees this one guy who looks rather familiar to her and looks at him rather strangely. The guy looks back at her as if he knew her, but could not place the face. He then looks at me as I am playing cards, recognizes who I am, comes over and taps me on the shoulder. It was Adam Dansky! First off, Adam is a guy that I went to high school with and had not seen in almost ten years. Then, out of the blue, he shows up to play in our annual Thanksgiving break football game a week ago. I only had a few seconds to speak with him though. Then, even more out of left field than our last encounter, he ends up at my apartment complex in Georgia! What the hell is that about?! This time we had more of an opportunity to talk and learned that he is working for CBS in midtown here in Atlanta and that he ended up at my complex because he has a friend that lives only a couple of buildings away in the same complex! Talk about completely random. It is such a small world.

So after the initial shock and excitement from the first event had worn off, I returned to playing Blackjack. I did fairly well and ended up with $90,000 in fake money, which I traded in for nine raffle tickets. Sarah and I did not think that we had a chance of winning considering some people had upwards of forty tickets. But we stuck around anyways just to see what happened. They went through the first seven raffles which included $100 gift certificates to Target and Home Depot and $200 off January rent...all losers for us. And then came the eighth and final raffle...and low and behold...we won $200 off our January rent! That just topped of such a sweet night. First we beat the odds in seeing a random person from River Edge, then we beat the odds and actually won while gambling, and finally we beat them one more time by winning a raffle where we had only nine tickets! How cool is that? I do not know why I always win, but over the last two years, I have won six or seven different raffles. I think I need to start playing the lottery.

What an excellent start to the weekend.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Back To Work

Going back to work after a few days off stinks. I am tired and counting the days until my next time off which is about three weeks away.

I had a good time hanging out with my high school friends back in New Jersey. I do not get much of a chance to see them, but I always feel like I hit the ground running whenever I come around. Obviously, I am out of the loop on some stuff, but that does not really bother me.

Speaking of out of the loop, my friend Blake has been dating this girl, Katie, from work for a while now, but I have never had a chance to meet her. I had heard a lot of good things about her, but that just was not going to do. She needed my stamp of approval considering Blake's jaded dating history. So one night we decided to go bowling and Blake decided to bring her along. She and I had the chance to talk for a little while...nothing of much substance, but more of a "getting to know you" conversation. I was very impressed to be totally honest. I thought she was sweet, funny, attractive, and all-around cool....I do not know what she is doing with Blake?! Not like my opinion means much of anything, but I do approve. Hopefully he will not screw this up like he has in the past.

This Thanksgiving was a little different than what I am used to. Usually, my parents and I have our Thanksgiving at home with just the three of us. Mom spends all morning and all day cooking up a storm while Dad and I sit around and have a relatively uneventful day. But now that Sarah and I are living together, her family thought it would be appropriate to do the joint Thanksgiving thing. I did not have a problem with this because our gatherings are so small, and for Mom to have to spend hours and hours cooking for three people seemed like overkill. To be honest, I was not even slightly nervous about having Thanksgiving with Sarah's family. I have met many of them over the years and had the chance to get to get to know them as well. What did make me a little nervous was what this meant for Sarah and I. Having Thanksgiving together was a big step for our relationship, which is not a bad thing....just something to think about.

All in all, my trip back to New Jersey was rather good. I am happy things went so well and I cannot wait to get back again in a few weeks.