Mark Richards


Saturday, July 31, 2004

Blogger's Spell Checker

Blogger's spell checker is funny. Not only does it not know the word "blog", but sometimes it returns funny suggestions for misspelled or unknown words. In my last post about Nomar Garciaparra, the spell checker suggested "mammary" for "Nomar" and "grasshopper" for "Garciaparra". Very funny.

I guess the headline should have read "Cubs Get Mammary Grasshopper!"

Cubs Get Nomar Garciaparra!

The Cubs acquired Nomar Garciaparra at today's trade deadline in a four team deal.

I first heard about the possibility of this trade a few weeks ago, but all reports had it involving one of the Cubs' starting pitchers, Matt Clement. I was vehemently against that deal since I have the utmost respect for Clement's pitching ability.

As part of the trade, the Cubs sent their current starting shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, and three prospects to the other clubs involved. Alex is a good defensive shortstop, but that is not necessarily what the Cubs needed at this point. A good contact hitter should help immensely. The prospects that the Cubs gave up were not the heart of the minor league clubs either. Pitcher Francis Beltran had a stint with the big league club this year, but his wildness and inability to pitch in difficult situations cost the Cubs a couple of games. Infielder Brendan Harris also had played in a few games this season. I believe he is a natural third baseman (that is where he played when he was called up), but Aramis Ramirez will be manning the Cubs' "hot corner" for many years to come. Although Harris played well, Ramirez made him expendable. This will also give him a chance to succeed in another clubs' farm system.

This trade indicates that the Cubs think they can win it all, since Nomar's contract expires at the end of the year, and I don't think the Cubs can pay him what he will want to re-sign.

Let's hope this is the year Cubs fans!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Falling Like Flies

My good friend James just got engaged.  That is another wedding I am going to have to attend next summer, but that is cool since this one will be in California.  James is an old Computer Science buddy of mine from Clemson who I have known for about seven years now.  He is marrying a girl named Lenka (not her) who he met in one of his final years at Clemson.

Congrats James!

Injured Wrist

Last Monday I injured my wrist while golfing.  I was at the driving range taking a swing with my 3-wood when heard and felt a pop in my wrist on the follow through.  It bothered me my entire trip to New Jersey, so when I got back home, I went to the doctor to have it checked out.  The x-rays came back negative which was a relief.  The doctor said I had a strained tendon and that I just had to wait it out until it healed.  Great!  That really does nothing for me.

Today, my wrist is really bothering me.  I went to the range yesterday to test it out and I came back feeling pretty crappy.  Unfortunately, I had a softball game last night and that just added to the aggravation.  This thing needs to heal so I can go back out to the course and break 100 like I know I can.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Getting Ready

As I prepare for my long awaited week vacation, some of the wedding plans are beginning to fall into place.   Now I will not have to worry about some of this stuff while I am at home trying to relax.  Here is what is arranged to date:

The Date: May 29, 2005
The Ceremony Location: The Temple
The Reception Location: Grand Hyatt
The Band: Moxie
The Photographer: Alan Selvaggi Photography

Eventually I will give reviews for all of the vendors that I use for the wedding.  The whole wedding planning process has been such a drain and any feedback that I can give future Atlanta-area wedding planners, I will graciously provide.
Boy, oh boy...spending a few days in New Jersey with family and friends is going to be a nice change of pace.

Nelly: The Owner

Nelly is now part owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. 


Thursday, July 15, 2004

New Softball Team, New Swing

Last night was my first game as a part of the Turner Sports softball team. The team and league has a distinctly different feeling than what I am used to. I am not exactly sure I love it, but it will keep my skills sharp until Team Bad Guy's next season. My biggest problems with the team consist of a roster of 17 players when only ten can really play and that I have to play out of position since the league is co-ed and the females end up getting placed in my position (I do not know what that says about me?) in an attempt to "hide" them. As a result, I am going to try and not take this whole thing too seriously.

On a positive note, we won our first game by one run. I have no idea what the score was, but I do know that we were trailing the entire game until the final inning. Maybe this team will be good enough to make the playoffs, but who knows since I am clueless as to the level of competition in the league. I did go 1 for 2 at the plate with a run scored, which was pleasant surprise since I ended my last season on such a bad note.

I had a great deal of trouble at the plate the last seven games of the Team Bad Guy season. My problems ranged from slapping at the ball to slouching too much to being way out in front of pitches. This has lead me to change my swing...entirely. If I were to ever play baseball again, I am not sure I would use this swing, but I think it is appropriate for my situation.

My new swing is modeled after the one baseball's best hitters in recent years: Moises Alou. The goals of the swing are to get full arm extension to help with power, keep the swing short and fast to adjust for different pitches and locations, and keep my body weight back to help with balance and timing. Unlike Alou, I am not keeping my bottom hand over the knob of the bat because my hands are too small and the grip feels just plain uncomfortable. The parts I am attempting to follow are the slightly inverted toes and knees and the high hands held way back from the body. The lower body changes will supply the excellent balance that I was lacking while the upper body changes allow my hands to be in more of a "ready position" for the swing which is needed for a quick even swing. The actually swing is quick and compact, which is aided by a short step toward the pitcher with the lead foot and a good strong midsection/trunk rotation. If you want to see Alou do it, check out any old Cubs game and he will show you how it is done.

All these changes put together should help me make better and more solid contact and improve my power numbers. If not, it will be back to the drawing board.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I Think I Had A Good Time

Obviously I had a good time on Saturday night at Clare's farewell party and the Clairmont Lounge.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

One Year Ago

One year ago today, Sarah and I moved in together. It has been a great year.

Friday, July 09, 2004

IQ Test

I was bored here at work and decided to take an online IQ test (please do not ask why because I do not have an answer). According to the site, their "test usually gets within 5 points of the professional tests." If that true? Who knows. See how well you do. Oh yeah, and do me a favor, do not buy the full set of results. Just go with the score they send you via email.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Nice Job A-Hole!

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted a blue iPod mini. Being that I am slightly obsessive, that meant I needed to properly label (song titles, artists, and genres) all of my mp3s prior to putting them on the iPod, and rip a bunch of other songs off of the CD's I own. While this process has been long and frustrating, it is not nearly as frustrating as my attempt to purchase the actual iPod mini device.

Let's get one thing straight...I understand that the colored iPod minis are in high demand and very difficult to find anywhere. Why are they out of stock everywhere? You can decide for yourself. But that is not the issue. I received some highly classified information that a certain camera/audio/video store in the Atlanta area carried the iPod mini. I gave them a call in the morning when they first opened and checked on the availability. To my surprise they had a couple of the blue ones still in stock, so I excitedly asked them to hold one for me until I had a chance to pick it up at lunch. The guy on the phone said "sure thing"...obviously I should have gone to pick it up right away.

A couple hours later, after leaving work on my lunch hour and driving twenty minutes, I arrived at the store. I go up to the counter and tell the guy that I am there to pick up my iPod. He reaches back, takes a box off the self, and shows it to me. I asked him if it was the blue one (because it looked silver to me) and he said no. I asked him what happened since I had called and reserved one and was told that I was all set. He said that someone called and wanted the only two blue iPod minis they had left and he gave them to that customer instead. He said that he "tried" to get the customer to take the silver one, but they wanted the two blues. And without much resistance, he gave them to the other person, thus screwing me out of what I was promised a mere few hours ago. What an a-hole! I could have made a scene and/or argued, but that was not going to get me anywhere since they had no more iPods to give me...and I was not about to take the silver one. I am not going to spend $250+ on something that is not exactly what I want. Once again, what an a-hole!

Now the search must continue.

I have decided to not reveal the name of the store in question, not to protect them but so I do not drive any more business to them. Although they may be jackasses, I am sure that will not stop desperate iPod mini searchers from giving them their business. Not on my watch though. Screw this place!

And just in case you did not get it the first time, what an a-hole!