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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Mark A. Richey's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, October 21st, 2004
8:55 pm
I got to see bureaucracy inaction today when I tried to rent a post office box. Since my apartment disappears in just over a week, and I'm tired of just getting my mail on weekends, anyway, I decided to get a p.o. box in Woodville. So, I walked to the post office during lunch (it's only a block away from the courthouse), fill out the application, and am ready to write a check. However, because I'm not a resident of Woodville, I can't rent one until they confirm I live where I say I live in Plano. Grumble grumble. It's the freakin' post office! Surely, they have access to some sort of national database of addresses. Oh well. I hope they figure out I am who I say I am in enough time for me to redirect my mail from the apartment.

As of this writing, the Astros are up on the Cardinals 2-1. As a current resident of Texas and a former resident of Missouri, I'm kind of torn. Obviously, the vast majority of people around here are Astro fans, but I'm cheering for St. Louis. However, I'm not going to be heartbroken if Houston wins. Either way, I hope the NL champ beats Boston in the World Series. I think that the Sox will beat Houston, but lose to St. Louis. I'm still in shock they managed to come back and beat the Yankees. Couldn't happen to a nicer team. :)

This was just a quick update. Not much is really going on right now. I'll be back in Dallas tomorrow night.
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Friday, October 15th, 2004
8:42 pm
$250!!!! That's how much Jake owes on the cable bill. So, they've cut the cable off at the apartment. And since I'm not willing to pay Jake's bill for him (not to mention the $40 reconnection fee), I guess I'm not going to have cable for the next two weeks.

It sucks, but that's life. I'm glad I'm Tivoing the Missouri game tomorrow. Otherwise, I definitely wouldn't be seeing it.

I'm feeling better about my conversation with Bob earlier today. While I don't think me being upset at the Coke machine is exactly a Federal offense, I certainly understand where he's coming from. It's a bad idea for me to look anything less than professional at all times. And overreacting to the machine eating my dollar (especially since it didn't eat my dollar after all) definitely made me look less than professional, even if it was only for a few seconds.

I'm hungry and am planning to go someplace and get a salad. I've packed on 4 pounds over the last two weeks, so I really have to get back in going the right direction. This weekend, I don't really have an excuse for gaining weight if I do. I don't have Michael's birthday party or a football game to go to. I still want to go to the State Fair, but since John and Brandon don't want to go, and I don't want to go by myself. It's the last weekend, so if I don't go this weekend, I don't go until 2005. Oh well.

Tonight, I want to get a good night's sleep. I haven't gotten much sleep the last couple of nights (as you can tell by the times I've posted). Tomorrow, if I don't go to the fair, I might go see a play.

OK, time to go find food. Later.
My secret...
8:48 am
Well, this royally sucks. I just got a call from Bob, chewing me out for yelling at the Coke machine a couple days ago. I thought the machine was eating my dollar, and I hit it and expressed frustration for a few moments. Then it refunded my money and I went across the street to get my water. I have no clue why someone who observed that would think to call Bob and tell him that I was getting into a fight with the Coke machine, but it happened. So, Bob thinks I was having a major temper tantrum in the middle of the courthouse, when I and I'm sure the rest of the planet had already forgotten about it.

That's the problem with this business...you're constantly surrounded by competitors, who would probably love to get their hands on your business. Yesterday, I actually said out loud the name of one of the people I was running. I'm sure that's going to get back to Bob too, now. Of course, he didn't hear everything accurately. He also said I was yelling at the copier, which didn't happen. I haven't even made any copies at the courthouse in a couple of weeks. But I don't really need him being predisposed to think I have a bad temper, when I don't. I do get frustrated at mechanical things that don't work properly, but even then, it's rare that I lose it. I never lose it with people unless I'm really, really provoked. He told me that some guy had done something to get banned from the Denton courthouse (he wasn't that specific). You know, if Tyler County wants to ban me for angrily hitting the Change Return button a few times...well, they really don't have enough to do.

Sigh...I'm too trusting. I forget that there will be people who will make a mountain out of a molehill in order to make you look bad. Not everyone in the courthouse is your friend. I don't know if someone was deliberately exaggerating my actions or was simply confused, but I have to make sure to keep my head down. I'm not sure if I should go out of my way to make friends with people there or be somewhat aloof with everyone. If I make friends, I'm going to be too trusting. If I'm aloof, then people who are more prone to be honest will think I'm not a likable guy, and be more prone to believe the worst about me. I think I should probably take the middle ground...be friendly to everyone, but don't go out of my way to make friends.

I even think I know who probably did it...that woman who thought my frustration was hysterical. She was sitting there giggling, which I thought was incredibly rude. I mean, I know that most people find my anger funny. It sucks, but that's something I have to live it. But if people know me, and they laugh at my frustration, it's OK (well, it's not OK, but I can tolerate it). If it's a complete stranger laughing at me...well, that's just plain rude. I mean, she doesn't know anything about me, and for all she knows, there could have been something more serous than just me overreacting. I mean, how did she know I didn't just get chewed out by my boss? How did she know I didn't just lose hours worth of work from a computer crash? I hope she never displays emotion in public, only to be mocked by others.

Actually, now that I think about it, there were only three people who witnessed it. So it was either her or the seemingly nice couple are always working by the Coke machine. Sigh...I wish I could trust people.

You know, what I'm now worried about is if this gets back to Mammaw. Talk about molehills to mountains! I mean, she managed to take praise for me and twist it into me getting fired. What would happen if she hears that Bob actually was upset with me. She'll probably tell people that not only am I about to get fired, but Bob's going to arrange it that my degree gets revoked and that the best job I can find is burger flipper.

OK, there is other stuff I need to do other than complain about my non-co-workers (like, you know, work), so I better stand up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll get out of here early today so I can actually get to Dallas at a decent hour.
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12:48 am
Another update! I know, it's incredible.

My plan last week was to go to the State Fair on Monday, after I got home from Waco. That ended up getting wiped out, both because it rained all day and because I found myself at KDCP for most of the day. With one PSAT already over and the other one for 2004 coming up tomorrow, I suspect I won't be getting called for a while, since attendance is going to drop off like a cliff. That's fine. I'm rapidly growing tired of driving back and forth between Jasper/Woodville and Plano.

I really need to get cracking on looking for a place down here. I checked out a pretty nice apartment in Woodville. Aside from not being gated, it reminded me a lot of the apartment I'm currently living in. The major drawback is that there's a washer/dryer hookup, but no washer/dryer. I refuse to go to a laundromat, so I guess I'll have to get a washer and dryer if I get a place there. On the up side, it does have a pool and a weight room. Neither one is all that fancy, but at least I won't have to join Woodville's one health club, which closes at 7 pm. And I thought closing at 10 was way too early!

The potential major drawback in living in Woodville is that I've heard that there is no high-speed Internet in the entire town. I find it hard to believe that any place, especially a county seat, not have high-speed access in 2004. But Woodville only has 2500, so there may not be that much of a demand on it. SBC does have a listing for DSL service in the Woodville phone book, so I'm hoping that the person who told me that is wrong. I know there's no cable Internet, though.

You know, I just realized I was talking about the State Fair. Oops. It is after midnight. Anyway, I ended up not going last weekend, so I'm hoping to go on Saturday. It might be more fun than the Missouri-Texas game, which I'm not going to since Mizzou sold it's allotment, of tickets (and I don't want to sit in a sea of orange and/or buy a ticket from a scalper). Oh well. I predict we're going to lose 24-17. That might be wishful thinking on my part.

Yawn...I'm barely keeping my eyes open now. I better go lie down. Maybe I'll have another update this weekend. Have a good night!
About me
Thursday, October 14th, 2004
1:46 am
Yes, I'm updating. I'm actually updating. I know, I know...it doesn't happen very often.

Since it is fairly late at night, I'm going to try to keep this short. I'm still in Jasper, looking for a place in Woodville. I haven't gone stir-crazy yet, though I am getting really sick of driving back and forth. It's also putting a lot of miles on my car. Hence, my decision to actually live down here rather than go home every single weekend. That's pretty much my life right now.

During the weekends, I'm hanging out with John and Brandon, who are housesitting for me. Jake has pretty much completely moved out, taking most of the dishes and glasses with him. He also took his DVD collection, much to my chagrin, since there were some movies I was planning on watching. Oh well.

This week, I left my DVD player (actually Charlie's DVD player) back in Plano, and bought a new one down here. I bought my first DVD player about 5 1/2 years ago. I don't remember how much it cost, but it took a good chunk of the Christmas and birthday money I had saved up. Now, they're on sale at grocery stores for under $40.

Last weekend, I went to what will probably be my only regular season college game of the year when I went to Waco to watch Missouri at Baylor. My original plan was to come in Friday night, go to the game Saturday, then head back to Dallas after the game. That was until the game was moved to 9 pm for TV. So, instead, I was there from Friday till Sunday. Friday night, I hung out with Cody Schultz, and we went to see Taxi. Not one of the better movies out there. Saturday, I ended up spending most of the day sitting in a Barnes & Noble. Yeah, that sounds lame, but there isn't a B&N anywhere near Jasper/Woodville, and this was the first Saturday in weeks I wasn't at Karen's, so I just relaxed (it wasn't for lack of trying on KDCP's part. They called me two or three times last week wanting me to come in on Saturday. I seriously thought about doing it, since I would be done 2 1/2 hours before kickoff. But, I decided I'd rather have the day off. I did work on Monday, though--probably my last day there for the next several weeks). Then, I went to the MU Alumni tailgate and the game. Of course, within 15 minutes of getting to the stadium for the tailgate, it started pouring. Luckily, it pretty much cleared up by game time. It was a good game, with Mizzou winning 30-10. Afterward, I hung out with Brian and his friends in his dorm room for a couple of hours. Yeah, I'm a party animal. I hung out with Brian again Sunday before heading back to Dallas.

Yawn...OK, I need to get some rest, so I'm going to wrap this up for the night. There's more I want to talk about, so I'll try to get another post in before the weekend. Don't hold your breath, though.
My diary
Thursday, September 30th, 2004
12:30 am
OK...so everything is resolved...for now. What happened (to make a long story short) is that Mammaw (who, as you may know, isn't exactly the most positive person on the planet) somehow interpreted Bob telling her "Mark is doing a good job" as "Mark is doing a horrible job and I'm going to fire him." Then, she called Mom and convinced her that I was about to be fired. So, when I casually called Mom on Saturday afternoon, she told me she thought I was in "big trouble" with Bob. I exploded, threw a temper tantrum about how I was sick of the family gossiping about me and how I resented being the last person in the family who seemed to know what was going on with my job, and ended up hanging up on her when she started crying. Yeah, I'm a bastard...belive me, I'm sorry about doing that. So, after I had calmed down, I called Bob, got his reassurance that he was fine with my job performance and would tell me directly if he had some problem with me, instead of letting me hear it through the family grapevine. I then called Mom, apologized profusely for hanging up on her, and convinced her that Bob had told me approximately 10 minutes earlier that I was doing a fine job and he wans't going to fire me. I still have no clue why or how Mammaw got it into her head that I was about to be fired...but if she's going to think that all the time, and tell other people that all the time, I might need to find a new job.

Not much else is happening. I'm still, to my shock, liking Jasper. It's a bit lonely, though. The other people here tend to head off into their rooms around 8 at the latest, though there's not much to do around here even if we did want to go out. Maybe once I get a place, I can make some local friends. Of course, I do enjoy the fact I'm able to hang out and just watch TV and surf the net at night. I also like the maid service every day. That's definitely a perk.

Jake hasn't been around much, since he had to go to Wisconsin. Sadly, his father passed away last week after a long bout with cancer. It was not unexpected, but still... In the meantime, the apartment stood empty last week. So, I got my friends John and Brandon to housesit for me. Actually, they'll probably move in permanently (or at least as permanently as one month can be) next week, since Jake and his fiancee are moving into their own place (for some reason, they don't seem to want a roommate after they get married). It's a win-win situation for both of us. I'll have the peace of mind of knowing that someone is around, getting the mail and newspapers and keeping an eye on the place. They get out of thier apartment in Stephenville (which is not exactly a good place to be right now) and, if they get the jobs in Farmer's Branch they're hoping to get, will be much closer to work than they are right now. It'll also allow them time to find a new apartment, since the lease on mine ends at the end of October, and I'm not renewing it.

This will probably be my final weekend for a while at KDCP. The SAT is next week, and the PSAT is the week after that. I also want to go to Missouri-Baylor next weekend (I need to start hitting up my friends in Waco for a couch on Friday night). After those tests, the number of kids will drop significantly. Most classes are geared to be over by the October tests, and there won't be many new ones starting till at least after Christmas. Attendance for workshops and test reviews will plummet, with seniors disappearing entirely and juniors and sophomores probably taking a break until after the holidays. They won't need near the number of teachers they do now. I was pretty expendable beforehand, but now that I'm 250 miles away most of the time, it's pretty easy to not schedule me. Even though I'll miss the extra income, I have to admit the 7-day workweeks is pretty tiring. It'll be nice to get my Saturday and Sunday afternoons back. Of course, there's the rumor that the oil company we're all working for pressured Bob into requiring all of us to work on Saturdays twice a month. If it's true, that'll be easier to do once I get a place down here and don't feel obligated to drive back to Dallas every weekend. But still...that would suck. At least we'd get our standard daily fee.

I received an incredible offer last week to join BATTLEPLANET!!!. For those of you not in the college bowl world (which I think is pretty much all of you), that's the rough equivalent of being asked to join the New York Yankees. At the 7 Trashionals, BP!!! has been in six finals and won three times. It's pretty freakin' incredible. I couldn't believe my eyes when I actually got the e-mail. It helps that I'm strong in movies and TV, and am geographically in the right place (the others hail from Texas and Oklahoma, and they're competing at the Trash Regional in Austin), but still...wow.

OK, it's late and I'm tired (yes, midnight is now considered late for me. I'm getting old). Have a good night, everyone.
Lets do it
Saturday, September 25th, 2004
7:04 pm
I swear...if I lose my job, or am forced to quit my job, wholly or partly because of the family gossip mill and the rumors and innuendo that seem to constantly be flying around about my job performance and Bob's satisfaction with me...I might just move permanently to Jasper anyway and refuse to have anything to do with anyone I'm related to again. I am so livid right now, I could just about spit nails.
Go to my site
Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
8:10 am
It's been a while since I've updated, what with the moving and all.

I'm now sitting in my hotel room in Jasper, waiting to go to work. So far, it hasn't been bad at all. Jasper is a pretty nice town. It's slow, and aside from the Wal-Mart and the Whataburger, everything seems to close down between 9 and 10. For obvious reasons, I haven't seen anything commemorating or memorializing what happened here a few years back. I haven't asked about it, and it's not like the locals have been in a hurry to tell me about it.

The hotel is a nice Holiday Inn. It has local cable instead of the limited channel options some hotels offer, free hi-speed Internet in each room (hence this message), a big breakfast bar, a couple of treadmills, and a nice pool. I also have an in-room fridge and microwave. I still want to get my own place, but this will do for the time being. What I'm not looking forward to is the strong possibility that the copier might be placed in my room, since I'm the "new guy". I really want to give every one of my co-workers copies of my room keycard, and have them come in all hours of the day and night and stick around whether I want them to or not. Bleck.

Anyway, I have a lot more to talk about (including how we're about to get hit by the zombie storm, Ivan, which apparently won't rest until it hits every freakin' state in the country), and how I've been asked to join the New York Yankees of the TRASHworld, but I have to head to Woodville (where I'm actually working) in a few minutes. I'll try to update again later today. Or not. We'll see.
More information
Tuesday, September 14th, 2004
8:42 am
I'm heading down to Jasper next Monday. When I talked to Bob last night, he wanted me to go today, but there is no way that could happen. I'm teaching at KDCP tonight and Thursday night, but even if I wasn't, there is no way I could just pack up my entire life in 12 hours.

I guess, for a while, I'll be doing the back-and-forth thing, driving down on Monday mornings, and coming back to Dallas Friday afternoons. With the SAT and PSAT coming up, I can't leave Karen in the lurch, I have Sunday School and starting in two weeks, the 6th grade discipleship program. Plus, with me paying $400 bucks a months for this apartment, I want to get my money's worth (though being here for at most, 60 hours a week won't exactly be getting my money's worth).

My lease ends at the end of October, so I think that would be a good time to completely move down there (though I still have no idea how long I'm going to be down there). The PSAT will be over, so all the freshmen and sophomores will disappear. Most seniors will be done taking the test after October, so many of them will disappear. Since juniors are having to take the new test, many of them will probably disappear for a few months after the PSAT. So, my hours will be going down, and it'll be easier for me to take a leave of absence. That will also give me time to tell Sweet that I won't be able to do Sunday School for a while. As for the discipleship group, I might try to drive in for that Sunday afternoon and head back Monday morning once I move down permanently. They only meet for six weeks at a time, and then take a couple months off, so that won't be nearly as strenuous.

As for my electronics, I think I'll take my Tivo down there and leave it permanently. It's just too inconvenient to have to have it reprogram itself twice a week. I'll take my DVD player (actually, Charlie's DVD player until I get my own--I'm giving my old one to my parents, since it's already installed and all) back and forth with me, along with my CPU. I don't think I can survive without the Internet, even for a couple of days. I can take and leave my own monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and use Charlie's monitor, keyboard, and mouse while I'm here (since Charlie doesn't have speakers, I'll probably take those back and forth as well, though since they're small, it's not exactly going to be a burden). This is assuming, of course, that I'll be able to keep the hotel room on weekends when I'm not there. They better...It would be ridiculous if I have to totally move back and forth each and every week.

I'll be staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Jasper. That means I won't get a kitchenette. I'll be lucky to get a coffee maker (which doesn't matter since I don't like coffee). I'll see what I have available in the room, and I can bring down my old dorm fridge and my microwave (which is just sitting in the storage unit). That way, I can still eat breakfast in my room and maybe cook the occasional (frozen) dinner. Other times--lots of salads.

The hotel has an exercise room and high speed Internet, so that will be good. When I go to Weight Watchers tomorrow, I'll see what I need to do to transfer my membership to the Jasper meeting (which meets just once a week, on Tuesdays at 6:00. Since that's only a day off from my current meeting, that won't be too bad).

So...that's what's going on. I'm still not thrilled about it, but I don't think it's going to be as awful as I feared last week. The back-and-forths are going to be a drag, as will having to live in a hotel, but I'll try to rectify both as quickly as possible. Hopefully, I'll be able to find a nice, small apartment with a washer/dryer and dishwasher that allows me to have a month-to-month lease.

Heh...Good Morning America is giving away cars to the studio audience, just like Oprah did. Of course, GMA's cars are Hot Wheels--reminds me of when Mammaw Pat, knowing how much I loved Porches when I was 12, gave me two of them for Christmas. If I got them going, I could get them from one end of the kitchen to the other.
Help author
Saturday, September 11th, 2004
11:10 pm
Three years. How time flies.

You can go back and read my posts from a year and two years ago if you really want to know what I was doing on this day in 2001. The world is a lot scarier then it seemed when I woke up that Tuesday morning. I just have to hope and pray that we all remain safe.
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Friday, September 10th, 2004
11:55 pm
OK, my last post was a bit over the top, especially the last line...that's why I should never post when I'm really depressed. I just look silly.

So thinking rationally...do I really want to move to Jasper? Not really. But here's the deal...yeah, Jasper is podunk, but it's not as if I'm moving to a desert island in the middle of the Pacific. I'll only be an hour away from Beaumont. And, considering that I drive 45 minutes now to get to Denton, that's really not all that far. I'll only be 2 1/2 hours away from Houston, which means I'll be able to hang with Aaron every so often (assuming he doesn't move back here). And, this is only temporary. How temporary, I don't know. But I won't be there forever (though one of the joys of being a land man is that you usually have to go long distances away for weeks and months at a time).

It'll be tough, but I'll get through it. Who knows, maybe I'll find I like living in a small town. And, since I'll be six hours away from my parents, I can't exactly squawk about not being independent anymore.
My secret...
6:20 pm
It looks like it's happening. When I got hired by Bob, I knew that there was a chance he might need me to go to another city for an extended period of time. It now seems that period of time is upon us, and the city is Jasper.

Where is Jasper, you ask? It's about an hour north of Beaumont, in far southeast Texas. It has about 7000 people, and is the largest city around. Quite a change from Plano.

According to Mapquest, it's about 5 3/4 hours from Plano. They usually tend to overestimate the amount of time it takes to drive someplace, but that's still going to be 4-5 hours on the road one way. So I guess I'll be out there all the time. That means I'm going to have to quit my job at Karen's and quit teaching Sunday School. Sigh. That's the most fun part of my life, and I'm throwing them away to spend my days going through deeds in a courthouse in Podunk. The things we do for money.

I'll probably be living out of a hotel, at least for a while. Unless it's a supernice hotel, I'm going to want to get an apartment. I'm going to have to have some control over what I eat. I have to be able to cook for myself. If I have to eat at restaurants all the time, I'll never lose weight--unless I stick to chicken and salad all the time, which would drive me bonkers.

I hate this. I really really hate this. But...I'm stuck. It's either that or be unemployed again. Sigh. Just when I think things are finally going good...at least I won't have to deal with the headache of trying to find an apartment and/or roommates. I'm sure that the number of apartments available in Jasper is extremely limited. I can probably find a one-bedroom down there someplace...I just hope it has a washer/dryer.
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