Mark Richards


Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Happy Birthday to Sarah

Sarah turns 24 today! Happy Birthday.

We Finally Won Again

Last night Team Bad Guy finally broke its 4-game losing streak with a hard fought 12-10 victory. This was the first time in a long time where we were able to hit the ball...and by we I mean everybody but me. With a record of 3 wins and 4 losses, there is still a chance to salvage the season and make it a success. Man did it feel good to get out of hole.

I am still struggling and went 0 for 4 at the plate though as I mentioned before. My last two at-bats were more promising because I made solid contact and did not pop the ball up which is a very good sign. I think my struggles began when I started taking golf lessons which require an upward swing...extremely bad for baseball/softball. I also seem to have reverted to the impatient batter I was during our first season. I find that I am way out in front of the ball, thus resulting in even more popups. Breaking out of a slump is very difficult when you are only taking three to five swings every week. Once in a bad rhythm, you must force your way out of it instead of practicing your way out of it. Does that make sense? It does to me. Normally this slump would frustrate me to no end, but since we got murdered the past four games there is only so much personal blame I can place on myself. And since we won last night despite my poor showing, I can live with 0 for 4.

Let's get a new streak going fellas!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

J.P.'s Blog Is Alive

I saw my friend J.P. last night for the first time in a few months. While we were eating sushi, he told me that his blog is alive and well. Apparently, he was not lying.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Loss of a True Sports Hero

Pat Tillman has been killed while serving his country in Afghanistan.

Who is Pat Tillman? Pat Tillman is a former NFL player who turned down a multi-million dollar football contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after the events on September 11, 2001. This man sacrificed everything that he worked his entire life for in order to fight for something in which he believed. How many athletes do you think would give up their money, homes, cars, furs, and jewelry for anything at all, let alone to fight for their country with the possibility of losing their own life? Exactly...very few. The guys who can hit a ball real hard, make a jumpshot, or throw a ball a long distance should be recognized for their abilities, but that does NOT make them role models. Pat Tillman is a role model for his strong moral character. Pat Tillman is a someone to look up to. Pat Tillman is a true American sports hero.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Gmail Beta

I have been invited to join the Gmail beta through the means of being an active Blogger user. I know having a 1,000 megabyte email account might sound enticing, but do not end up like this guy and register for a Blogger account in hopes of getting in on the beta because apparently that is not going to work.

I do not know much about the new application except for what was mentioned in Google's press release, but I will check it out and report my findings.

Smacked Again

And with an emphatic thud, Team Bad Guy has hit rock bottom. For the fourth game in a row we were unable to hit the ball well, and for the fourth game in a row we got creamed. I feel so defeated at this point. At least when we were losing before, I felt like everybody was out there giving it their all, but now it seems as if people just show because they have to. Many people are not having fun and it is quite evident through the manner in which they give effort on the field...we are not playing as a team. This poor attitude is obviously hurting the team and, consequently, we have not stood a fighting chance in any of these games. Until people starting acting like they care and stop being selfish, these humiliating losses will continue.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Apprentice Finale

It is finally over: Bill Rancic is The Apprentice. Trump made the appropriate selection, in my opinion, and that was never more evident than the manner in which both final tasks played out in the season finale. My prediction was that I would pick Bill, but Trump would pick Kwame. Looks like I was only half correct.

Hopefully this is the first of two major wins for the city of Chicago in 2004...the second one being a Cubs World Series victory.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The New Workout

On the way back from Vegas, I picked up an issue of Men's Health Magazine. My hero, "the most electrifying man in sports and entertainment", The Rock, was on the cover. The article dealt with his new diet and workout regimen which has cut his body fat from 14% to 7%. While I did examine his diet, I was more interested in the manner in which he worked out. Over the past couple of years, The Rock's body shape has changed from bulky muscle to lean muscle and those are the results that I ultimately desire.

Using The Rock's workout, I have created a modified version better suited for the time I can, and would like to devote to working out. So here is the gist: four days a week, three body parts a day, reduce the cardio.

-- Day 1 --
Body parts: Chest, biceps, back
Sets/Reps: 5 sets of 15-20 reps
Rest between sets: 30 seconds
Cardio: 5 minute warm-up, 12 minute intense workout, 5 minute cool-down

-- Day 2 --
Body parts: Shoulders, triceps, stomach
Sets/Reps: 5 sets of 15-20 reps
Rest between sets: 30 seconds
Cardio: 5 minute warm-up, 12 minute intense workout, 5 minute cool-down

-- Day 3 --
Body parts: Chest, biceps, back
Sets/Reps: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
Rest between sets: 45 seconds
Cardio: 5 minute warm-up, 12 minute intense workout, 5 minute cool-down

-- Day 4 --
Body parts: Shoulders, triceps, stomach
Sets/Reps: 5 sets of 12-15 reps
Rest between sets: 45 seconds
Cardio: 5 minute warm-up, 12 minute intense workout, 5 minute cool-down

While this workout is successful for many reasons, what truly makes it click is the 5 up, 5 down repetition pattern. What this means is take 5 seconds to lift the weight up and 5 seconds to bring the weight back down. Frequently, I have walked into a gym and seen these buff "tough guys" lifting (jerking) extremely heavy weights as fast as they can. This can cause muscle and ligament damage. The 5 up, 5 down pattern with an increase in repetitions and decrease in weight causes you to control the weights and the stress you are putting on your body. The slower lifting pace is much more challenging than you would expect and I would throw it up against any other theory as far as difficulty goes.

How is this different from my previous workouts? Isolation. Prior to reading this article, my idea of isolation was arms, midsection, lower body. This workout calls for more precise isolation, e.g. arms = biceps/triceps, lower body = quads/hamstrings/calves. This will allow me to focus on the specific body parts where I am looking for results and not tire out the entire muscle group before giving it the desired workout.

Why reduce the cardio? Because it does not tone the muscles like weight training does. Yes, cardio will help burn calories and make you lose weight, but that will make you skinny as a stick, not give you muscle definition. A balanced workout of weights and cardio is always best.

Will this work? Who the heck knows...this is my first week using this program!

Monday, April 12, 2004

Las Vegas: Who Has Not Had A Vegas Trip Like This?

My friend Mike sent me this article. Having just returned from Las Vegas I can completely relate. And for those of you interested, I was the guy that kept losing while everybody else won. The "Gambling Gods" better get me back next time because I am now 0 for 2 in Vegas.

2004 Masters

In the one of the most amazing and well played final rounds possible, Phil Mickelson finally won the Masters and his first major title. Nobody is more deserving than this hard-working and good-natured veteran. Congrats Phil!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Fan Brands

Living in the south and being an avid college football fan, I can almost understand the desire to get a Fan Brand to use when I cook out at Clemson football games. But I had to draw the line between being a fanatic and being just plain weird somewhere. This is that line for me.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Cam's Blog

Cameron has a started nerdy blog. He is smart.

Back From Vegas

This week/weekend is The first major here at work. And what does that mean? Lots to do. Usually I would be pleased with my keeping busy at work because I get bored easily by down time, but I am having trouble recovering from my weekend trip to Las Vegas. The trip involved an exorbitant amount of gambling, drinking, eating, and golfing, and limited amounts of sleep and exercise. Unfortunately I came down with a bad cold yesterday and had to leave work and work from home so that I did not infect anybody during such an important week. Was the worth getting ill? Without a doubt.

What a great time! Putting all the great places we visited and activities we partook in aside, the best part of the trip was getting to see my high school friends. I think it is amazing that such a large number of us keep in contact and can get together at any point and pick up basically where we left off. They are all such good friends and I definitely value the relationships we share. That is why I am going to have to do a better job of keeping in contact with them. I do an okay job of that right now through my blog (which is the main reason I started it), but I think there are other things I can do such as calling, emailing, and visiting more often. This was actually a New Year's resolution of mine and I need to start working at it a little more.

Good trip though.

Here are the pictures taken by Sarah in Las Vegas.