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The Graduate Assistant
Name: Mark
Back July 2014
The Portal
There can be no second chance when kung-fu is used for evil.
WashuOtaku's LiveJournal
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Thursday night I got in a fight online with another user on Wikipedia regarding edits being done on a few articles. There is a policy of three reverts and get a block, and sadly I did just that, on four different articles with the other editor. As an ass, the other editor reported me for vandalism. But then a funny thing happened after that, it took the administers a day to decide my fate, while other cases were flowing onto their board and quickly getting turn-around. In the end, I got a 48 hour edit block for warring edits. I could appeal it, but it's 48 hours and I can survive not updating Wikipedia for the weekend. The snitch, NE2, also got a 48 hour edit block; he tried to appeal it, but it got quickly denied and was told to resolve differences in the future. So I feel better that we both got blocked than just me, I can live with that.

I have been updating pictures from my trip to East Tennessee. As usual, I put everything in separate county sets, though I probably should put them in one big set or maybe just build another map like last time and plant them all over it.

Got my parking pass Thursday, so I have a place to park when I start work again on Monday. It's a walk sadly, at least four blocks from where I will be working, in a gravel lot no less. But the parking more closer to the work area is three to four times what I am paying now for this spot. Parking is the biggest negative for me working uptown, right after the traffic. Should do a test drive today or tomorrow to the parking lot.

Should also get ready for Monday.

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Current Mood: awake awake

Finally processed and uploaded the pictures from HeroesCon 2014 onto flickr:

Last Thursday, I went to my first baseball game at the new BB&T Ballpark to watch Team USA vs. Chinese Taipei; unfortunately, it was rained out, so I got a make-up baseball game at a later date.

On Friday (July 4), I randomly decided to visit family located in Tennessee... family I haven't seen in many years. I decided to make the trip interesting by taking the scenic route through the North Carolina mountains. On the way over, I visited Toxaway Falls, Whitewater Falls, Gorges State Park and Fields in the Wood; not to mention I took the unique route of going mostly on rugged US 64. Reached late that evening after underestimating the drive time by a good three additional hours. Saturday (July 5), didn't do a whole lot... just drove to Lenoir City and took a few pictures then watched the World Cup on TV. Sunday (July 6), drove back by going through the Tail of the Dragon (US 129), Fontana Dam, Lake View Drive (Road to Nowhere) and Mount Mitchell. The drives were long, but I had fun driving different places and visiting sites never been too.

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Current Mood: dorky dorky

So it has been a while since my last post. It is not because I was busy or anything, far from it. This long stretch of unemployment has been generally unpleasant. Though I do keep myself busy doing some photography, update articles on Wikipedia and yes, going to job interviews, I have basically felt paralyzed to do much of anything else. Generally I am at home all day, I don't travel much anywhere and I live off those posting of Facebook mostly. And though my unemployment benefits ran out after last week, the good news is that I was able to land a job finally, though it is only temporary.

Starting in Mid-July, it is a two month gig, which will get me functioning again in the real world and help pay the bills. After Mid-September, who knows... will likely have to find something else yet again.

In other news, last month I attended Animazement and took pictures. They can be found here:

I was also at HeroesCon last week, but I have been lazy and not posted the pictures from that convention up yet. That will likely be soon though. Next convention will most likely be Anime Weekend Atlanta.

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Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

Recently posted pictures from NashiCon, the flickr posting doesn't seem to work, so here's the link: Enjoy!

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

“Every villain is a hero in his own mind.” - Tom Hiddleston

Current Mood: calm calm

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Katsucon 20, a set on Flickr.

Finally completed editing and uploading pictures from Katsucon 20. Took a while because of various things, but they up now. Enjoy!

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Last week was a bit rough for me. Immediately after my trip to Katsucon, I came down with a cold. For the first half of the week, I was literately shutdown with coughing, mild fever, fatigue and other common ailments. I went on Tuesday to the Target Clinic and verified it was a cold and not the flu; which is good. But since it was the cold, I had to simply ride it out for the rest of the week, slowing getting better. This morning, I had some sweating around the head, but for the most part I feel the night sweats have decreased significantly. Hopefully in the next few days I will be back to my normal self again.

Katsucon was okay... I was disappointed mostly of how little I accomplished the first day at the con and it gave me a somewhat negative attitude for the rest of the weekend. The drive went faster than anticipated, but after arriving at the convention, I foolishly went to get my pre-reg badge, which took over two and half hours to get. Already nighttime when I made it out, I missed out on taking pictures and being productive. Other than that, I was also disappointed on how the con treats photographers in general and I was amused that the gazebo area, that's suppose to be taped-off as con members only, was pretty much unforced. Looking back, the reason buying a badge for the convention feels pointless to me, I barely used it at all. I made an effort to capture as much as I could on camera on Saturday, but oh well. The weather didn't help at all, being rainy at times and generally windy cold; so nearly all my shots were indoors. Also, what is up with certain cosplayers only doing pictures with certain photographers only? Anyway, I don't see myself returning to Katsucon again for the foreseeable future, it's a pain with the weather is against you.

I got an email from Sherpa, while at the con, of a possible job opportunity with the city. But, I haven't heard back after replying, so I am assuming it didn't pan it. The pay wasn't great to begin with, but it would have been better than the unemployment checks I am now receiving from the state. My job search last week has been anemic overall, thanks to the cold; this week I hope to make some ground on my search.

Got a lunch today with former bank colleagues, so that's good. Gets me out of the house at least.

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Current Mood: hungry hungry

Had what one may call a moment of anxiety late last night that kept me up for a good while. It was a result of three things: My computer, the weather and unemployment. The computer because it creates a new problem with cost and repair times, which hinder other things I do on that computer. The weather, because I'm driving on Thursday and it's expected to be bad. And unemployment, because my benefits don't cover all my expenses, thus also using my savings to make ends meet; also it will only lasts 19 weeks, so I have to have a job by Mid-June or I'll really be in a financial crunch.

So yea, a lot on my mind, which made me very uncomfortable last night. Hopefully the drive to Katsucon will not be as stressful as I fear; last great drive through bad weather from Katsucon gave me the flu, so I don't want that. 2014 is shaping up to be interesting indeed.

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Current Mood: anxious anxious

My main computer, the Alienware Aurora, is currently out-of-commission. It appears that the main or boot hard drive is failing and some of the Window files are corrupted now. The results is Windows unable to boot-up. Because I never got a boot-disc at that time of purchase, I called customer support to see if I can order a new one. The computer, being that its already four years old, was at a service level where they didn't even sell a disc for it anymore; but instead of saying SOL, they said they would locate an old disc for my computer and not charge for it. This is great, of course, the other solution might have been as extreme as buying a new computer.

So while I wait for the disc to be shipped, I will need to buy a new hard drive that will house the operating system. Then after installing Windows 7, plus the drivers and all the updates, I will have to reinstall the programs and games I currently use. Then after all that, try to salvage my old hard drive. Things like pictures and videos are on other hard drives in the computer, so they should not have any issues.

After all that, then I can begin editing pictures I anticipate to capture at Katsucon 20. The only other concern for me is the weather; I may have to drive through some winter weather both coming and going, which sucks. Anyway, I guess I have more time now to be focus for the trip than killing time playing games.

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Current Mood: depressed depressed

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Uncle's 65th Birthday Party, a set on Flickr.

Took pictures during my Uncle's birthday party, while in Toronto, Canada. Was a bit lazy processing them, but I eventually did. Enjoy!

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

This seems to be a trend now: I work, then go through a gap before the next job. In those gaps, I need to still pay the bills, so I apply for unemployment. Stability in work is what I should start focusing on; sadly, that doesn't seem to exist nowadays.

Current Mood: apathetic apathetic

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Ichibancon 5, a set on Flickr.

On January 11th, I went up to Concord, NC for Ichibancon 5. I didn't bother with a badge because it was over price for one day, so I hung out at the main hotel area. It rained hard outside, so nearly all the shots are inside. But overall the pics look okay... not the best, but okay. Enjoy!

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Received a few Christmas cards this year; three of them included gift cards, which is nice. My television wouldn't turn-on this morning, kept clicking for over two hours, so it's likely dead now. Starting tomorrow I'll have to start shopping for a new television. Driving to Columbia and back for today, gotta keep up with appearances with family so they don't complain I don't visit them. My Christmas cards from one relative keeps insisting I visit them every year, just have no desire yet to drive to Tennessee; thus I need to visit the closer family members when I can. Biggest accomplishment today was rotating the bed, w00t!

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Current Mood: indifferent indifferent

Saw the Urologist today and it appears that the second lipotripsy did work in crushing the kidney stone. I asked why I saw nothing the second time around and he said they did a much through job after administrating more anesthesia to keep me calm during the procedure. So it appears I am stone free for now and my next appointment is a year from now.

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Current Mood: content content

I would hope people would celebrate my life than to cry at my funeral. Funerals are too depressing and I wouldn't want people to cry for me of what I could have done or whatever. Also I expect someone to play "Dust in the Wind," that's apparently required listening at funerals.

However, as of this time, I don't expect to expire anytime soon. But if something was to happen, I expect the three people that see this journal, and the Russians, to throw a shindig. Here's hoping for many more years of making other lives more difficult.

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

Today I spent $1,178.19 on the car fixing various things. Cheaper items include oil change and car alignment. More expensive items included new brake pads for both front and rear ($504.59), hood pistons ($113.38) and fix/replaced steering system ($394.44). Things needed to be done, after all the car is now eight years old. So yea, Merry Christmas Acura TL.

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Current Mood: blah blah

I have survived for another birthday. Did nothing exciting today, went to work and back. Maybe this weekend I'll buy a cake or a slice of one at the grocery store... maybe.

Current Mood: blank blank

Went to the Urologist today and got bad news that the Lithotripsy I did on October 4th was not successful, that a 12mm stone is still in the left kidney. Odd, considering how much came out since that event, but apparently there is more to the stone and the Urologist did say that x-rays don't do a good job in capturing depth in pictures. So I am going to do a second Lithotripsy on November 15th. I was like might as well since I already hit my deductible for this year and $1.2k short from hitting my coinsurance max. If I get this all out of the way now, hopefully I will have less health related issues in 2014. Just sucks I have to take another day off and get my kidney pummeled again in hopes that it breaks up and passes in the urine.

In other news, I renewed four of my domains for another year and I got my cable bill after renegotiating on a lower bill... which I did get, but its funny now they charge me a modem rental on top of standard internet and digital cable. Oh well, still cheaper than what I was paying before... for now at least.

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Current Mood: depressed depressed

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Anime Weekend Atlanta 19, a set on Flickr.

Well, the pictures have been up for a while, I'm just slow in updating LiveJournal since few people know this still exists. Regardless, pictures are up from my last con trip of the year.

In other news, ObamaCare blows as I will be one of the many unlucky people that get no subsidy for health insurance because he's too successful being a contractor with no benefits that is forced to buy healthcare. My current plan of $166/month ($1,992/year) with Blue Cross/Blue Shield will go up to $347.48/month ($4,170/year). I have finally decided I will ditch my current provider to CoventryOne, which offers a cheaper plan (with higher deductibles and co-pay) for $233.57/month ($2,802.84/year). Sadly, can't enroll at this time because the Federal Marketplace is down for everyone in America. People have no idea how depressing the "Affordable Care Act" has been for me.

Anyway, need to stay positive... Halloween is Thursday and I got the candy for the kids on the street. Then its my birthday the following Thursday, where I'll sit at home and watch TV like every other birthday. I live a simple life.

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Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

Woke-up early this morning from more pain caused by the now shattered kidney stone. Released two more one millimeter size stones among more grains, also vomited. This hasn't been a pleasant experience at the least since. Mom is still here visiting, so later today we will go visit the new Sam's Club in Rock Hill and other possible shopping stuff. Because of all this, I have been unable to focus any of my attention on working on the pictures from Anime Weekend Atlanta.

On healthcare news, I discovered this week that if I want to continue my current plan from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, then I will have to pay more than double what it currently cost me this year. The sharp increase is blamed on ObamaCare because of the plans have to be the same for everyone and cannot turn anyone down; it also doesn't help that there are only two insurance choices in the state for healthcare. So I have been trying to log-on and checkout the Marketplace to view other packages that are available for possibly cheaper; sadly the site has been overwhelmed, thus it continually times out. I was successful in setting-up an account, but that is as far as I got. If it wasn't for the obvious reasons that I need health insurance, I wouldn't bother with this crap. And for those keeping score at home, ObamaCare isn't cheaper nor do I even qualify for subsidies; that's what happens when you are single and have a contracting job that doesn't offer health benefits.

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Current Mood: depressed depressed