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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 3: oh noes

This is my journal I wrote during the time I was homeless. It is broken up by week for easier reading. Feel free to read it on the web or download the complete .pdf version and print it for reading offline.

Week 135

Day 939 - 1/26 - Dunking

I'm sad, but things seem not quite so sad. It was a bit warmer today, though it's cooling quickly. There was even a mini fair on campus. I had stuff to do, so I didn't check it out, but they even had one of those dunking booths, hehe.

It's past 4:30. I'm waiting to see if a place I want to eat is going to open or not. I think it will.

I got called for a few extra hours Saturday night. That will help get a bit more to put towards a gaming laptop. Some of the new ones are starting to show up. They are a touch high in the $900-1,150 range with higher end CPUs and only mainstream graphics. They'd work, but I'd prefer a touch less powerful CPU and a touch more powerful GPU, or a Blu-ray. With only about four on the market I'm sure more will follow. With more donations or more increased hours it's possible I could get one as soon as March. It will really depend. I think I'll only have about $700-800, so I'll be a bit short. I may just hold out until I get a bit more in the summer and get both higher resolution and Blu-ray. With my bulk in hours during the summer that's another like $1,500 I'd get total. I could easily spend a few hundred on a laptop early on and still have lots to put into savings after.

That's all today so far. I feel a bit better if still sick, not sleeping at nights, and still sad overall.

Day 940 - 1/27 - Soloing

It seems like an extra sad day today. I was still in a haze all day. Normally I can take a shower if that happens, eat some foods, and sort of rev myself up. But I can't do that while homeless. Well, I suppose I could try, but with all the walking that would require I'd rapidly tire myself out again. I don't know if I'm extra sad today because of not being happy about school, because there still remain no jobs prospects, because I'm sick, or if it's because there are so many happy things I would like to do, but can't.

Checking the numbers, without more donations it looks like closer to April for getting a laptop than not. Soon enough I suppose, but Rift launches in early March, as does Dragon Age 2. While Dragon Age 2 is 'just yet another single player game I'll have missed launch for', Rift is a whole other story. I'll have missed out on nearly 5 months of early access testing time. It's not so important that I missed a chance to preview the game, which is kind of important, but I'll have missed all that interaction in-game with other testers, all those bonds lost that I could have formed, all the ideas I could have added to the testers voices for the devs. It's as if each test that passes that I get into and I can't test become a hole in my heart that does not heal quickly.

I was wondering about my roses today. I saw the beautiful librarian again. She said hi to me the other day, and does most times I see her. But tonight I saw her with the two guys she eats with. The one who has a ring on his wedding ring finger had her leg on his, and he was touching her inner thigh. It's not really something casual friends do. While I never expected her to show an interest in me it seemed to serve as a reminder that girls don't seem to be. It seemed to be a reminder that it's been years since I've had chemistry with a girl and maybe I should ignore passing out candies this Valentine's Day as well. I don't know though. That seems like giving up on love. I will ponder it more over the next few weeks, but it just made me think. I seem to be soloing through life, much like in-game I seem forced to solo far more than I'd like. It's lonely and sad and I don't know what to do about it. But then, I suppose I'd rather be alone than surrounded by people who I don't get along with, or who hurt me.

Day 941 - 1/28 - Doin' the cast

I've been pretty sad today, though I suppose it was an ok day. I got up early because I needed to do some extra stuff today. By early I mean at 10:30. I still haven't been able to sleep much before about 3 or 4 AM, so most of my sleeping has been when I get to campus in the morning after I move my car from where I hid during the night.

I'm having a good time doing my podcasting and did about 1/3 of podcast 4 so far. I'll do a little more in a bit. I've had a tough time coming up with topics this time, so hopefully it will be enjoyable to a non-zero number of people. I still don't know how many are actually listening and having a good time with it. I've gotten zero comments from people about it being good or bad. I can only assume that means people feel neutral about it, as feeling overly one way or the other would probably get a reaction.

I expanded out my bills the other day to go all the way out until my hours go up for the spring. It's going to take almost that long before I will really have enough for a laptop without donation help. Probably sometime around April or May would be when I could do it on my own. Hopefully people will enjoy the podcast and maybe send some donations. Even just a few more like the last one could greatly move up the timetable. I'd be able to game again, and have lots more going on that would come to mind that I could talk about. I could even just ramble about whatever it is I was playing at the time.

I've been feeling more and more out of touch lately. I guess maybe it's just the weather getting cold again, but more and more my mind wanders to how I'm forgetting what it's like to sleep in a bed, forgetting how it feels to be warm in a home and not have cold bones all the time, forgetting what it's like to shower every day and relax and get into a happyish mood to do whatever it is I want to do at that moment, forgetting what it's like to be able to game when I want in the way I want, forgetting... everything.

I guess that's it for today. I'm glad I decided to take the rabb1t friend/fan people's advice and do the podcasting. (I forget now which two suggested it, or when.) It seems to have brought back a bit of focus and hope into my life.

Day 942 - 1/29 - Podcast 4

Podcast 4 is basically done already. I can't believe we are already on 4. It seems like just a few days ago that I started. I suppose in a way it was. I've rambled for just about two total hours now. Hopefully at least a few people have enjoyed it, or their spirits were lifted. It's odd I didn't take it up much sooner in life. When I was a child, I think around 8, I made tapes of myself being silly for my cousin. It was kind of similar. I'd record some radio, do a funny bit, make something up, etc.

It's pouring rain now. The warm spring weather has left and we are back to winter. Again I felt like it would have been a nice day to watch the rain and have a fire, but I can't do either.

I don't know what else to say really. I guess I just feel out of place, melancholy, longing for what I don't have. But, I feel glad of the things that I do. Hopefully I'm entertaining some with the podcasts, as well as helping people with my posts on the forums. Today has been another day where my life is what it is. In some odd way I feel like I'm in the future, somewhere warm, happy, and I have friends that I game with, and a sweetie; but at the moment I'm somewhere alone, perhaps where I do my podcasts, and I'm thinking back to sad times. Maybe a happy end to this chapter is indeed close, and I feel its nearness and my mind confuses the present, future, and past. At least for today, for the moment, I feel hope.

Day 943 - 1/30 - Could be enough

Not much goin' on today. It's rained on and off. Mostly it's been super cold; the kind of cold that penetrates straight to your bones. I have no homes to visit, so that cold has lingered. Normally you can go to someone's home that's super warm and warm up. But not me, and not now.

Good news this morning. Someone at work dropped about 9 hours on me, so that can be put towards a gaming laptop. I may be close enough to get one very soon. We'll have to see. A few solid donations would do it, but I'm very close. I've got one that I'm looking at with a new generation high-end CPU, 1920x1080 screen, and solid mainstream new generation graphics. The only thing it's "missing" is Blu-ray, which I can add on later. (Already got the drive on my wish list as well, heh. ) So, hopefully if I'm very careful and save my butt off, I may be able to get one by the end of February.

That's really it for today, save for putting the finishing touches on podcast 4 so that's ready to go in the morning. I'm having a lot of fun with those. I still don't know if anyone is listening and enjoying them or not.

Day 944 - 1/31 - Too sleepy

I'm too sleepy today. I have been in a haze all day. I slept maybe 6 hours total, broken in two parts. I couldn't sleep until 3 AM last night, then got up and moved near dawn, but stayed up to upload the podcast as soon as the school library opened at 8. After, I took a nap for a few hours. I was supposed to do homework that's due tomorrow, but I was way too mentally and physically exhausted to think even remotely straight today.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 945 - 2/1 - The board's ass

Not much new today. I've been far too sleepy to do anything much that's, well, required thought. I still haven't been sleeping well. Today I let myself sleep in, so I did get about 8 or so total hours, but again I couldn't get to sleep until about 3 AM.

The one new thing is this ass on the Rift forums. This has been building ever since he showed up a few weeks ago. He seems like a reasonably knowledgeable guy. He'd disagree with me when he first showed up, and in some instances I agreed with his disagreement, so I'd post that. But over time he's more and more just flat out disagreed with me, and in recent times attacked me. Today he's gone so far as to call me "idiot" and that I should "stop recommending anything" and that I "don't know what I'm talking about" in multiple threads. I really don't get what his deal is. I welcome disagreements and challenge, as long as there is proof or logic behind it. His arguments haven't been backed up by fact. Like, for example, one of our early disagreements was that I said laptops can't be upgraded (in terms of the GPU.) He said that this one company could, and provided links. Ok, that's fine. For that one single company out of the who knows how many that makes laptops you can upgrade the GPU, sort of. The cost was enormous, roughly 50-75% of the cost of a brand new laptop, required a high degree of skill, as you have to break the laptop down to the motherboard level, and the upgrades would barely get you about a 20% gain. Why would anyone in their right mind spend that much effort for such small a gain when they can pay just a little bit more and get a 100% GPU gain, plus all the other gains (CPU speed, Ram speed, HD tech, etc. etc.) So, sure, maybe my blanket statement of 'laptops aren't upgradable (in graphics)' may be not entirely accurate, but I'd bet that 99 people out of 100 would have no desire to put that much effort into it, and 999 out of 1000 would likely not put that much money into such a small gain. I can see that he likely has a desire to be a welcomed and respected member of the forums in regards to tech, but simply attacking the person who's effectively the senior member, with nearly 2k posts, and recognized by the majority of the boards that he's "wrong" and "an idiot" without backing up your claims with any links or references... sorry but that's not the way to establish yourself in a community. Sure, once upon a time on all boards I was a noob, even now with the Firefall boards I'm a tech noob, but you establish yourself slowly over time by posting insightful and helpful comments, and backing them up with external links and references. Attacking isn't the way to do it. It's more like he's looking for some forum PvP or something.

Anyways... I guess we are at the end of another week of Fail. I'm hopeful about getting my laptop soon, though a bug came up that may delay the new tech. Hopefully it won't affect my hopes for the end of the month, but I still don't know if I'll be all the way there in terms of money. So there's still that unknown. And I'm feeling pretty good about my podcasts. There are still no posts or comments or emails about if people like them or not, but I'm having a good time with them so far. I've actually got 1/3 of podcast 5 done already, and may finish it on Sunday if I can come up with a bit more to talk about (making it yet again done in a week as opposed to my two week estimate.)

Um... I guess that's really it for this week though.

Week 136

Day 946 - 2/2 - No sleep

I'm running on almost no sleep today. I couldn't sleep at all last night. It wasn't until I got to campus and took a shower that I settled in to sleep. I couldn't let myself sleep as much as I wanted or this cycle will never end, so I got up at 11 after only 3 hours of sleep. The odd thing is that I'm not that bad off. My haze of late seems no better or worse. In fact, I'd say I seem more able to focus than less.

I looked at new laptops today. All the ones I'd been watching were pulled from the market due to a bug in the core chipset. It will be fixed soon, but they may be delayed by several months. I still may not have enough money super soon anyways, we'll see.

Nothing terribly new or different lately. It's dinner time though, so there is still some time left in the evening for change, so we never know. I remain hopeful, but sad.

Day 947 - 2/3 - With me in mind

Sleepy day, been pretty sick lately. My throat feels scratched up today, though I sound ok. If I had a home I'd probably not go to class tonight. I don't feel super terrible, but I don't feel all that good either. The best I can do is try and get as much sleep as I can. Had a bit of trouble getting to sleep last night, but I slept until after noon on campus. I probably got about 8 hours total.

I got a note of encouragement from a friend (who now lives across the country from me) saying not to worry about the rude guy from the forum and that he (my friend) is still wishing me well and hoping for the best for me. Later in the afternoon I got a message from someone in my guild with an odd picture that made me laugh. It's a bunny holding an umbrella, presumably floating down, with a potted cactus under him. No doubt the bunny's butt is about to be poked. He said when he saw that he thought of me. So, even though I know it's true all the time, it seems that there are people out there watching my site and wishing well for me.

It's early dinner before class. Nothing really happened today save for rushing to do my homework that's due and sleeping in.

I tried to flirt at the beautiful/attractive librarian. She was seemingly happy to see me, but of course didn't flirt back. Likely part of that is I was extremely subtly flirting. I doubt anything will come of our meeting, but she's super pretty. I always wonder what happened to Christine. I think it's been nearly two years since I saw her last. Hopefully she graduated and her life is going ok and all.

I feel super chubby and of bad health lately. I am still a fair bit over my normal weight at 200 pounds (+15 over my normal 185 these days). But that is down a bit from where I was when I checked a week or two ago. I've gone back to trying to drink lightly flavored water instead of soda. I'm also trying to do a light workout of reaching/stretching, and when I'm at work pushups and sit-ups. It's not much but if I could at least get down to 185 I'd be a lot happier. I wonder if my bad blood pressure is a cause or symptom of the extra weight. I keep thinking to make an appointment somewhere but I keep forgetting.

I am still stopped at 1/3 of the way done with podcast 5. I have lots of chances to do recording for it, so I could easily finish by Sunday later afternoon in order to have it ready to drop on Monday, if I can come up with the last bits. I'm trying my best to keep to a single unifying topic now even if I do a reading for one bit. I may try and go through some of my old Everquest writing and see if there is a related topic.

I think I had a dream about having a gaming laptop. I have this vague memory about it. With being, at most, barring any disasters, only a few months away from having one I'm thinking about it more and more. It's so strange to think I'll be able to reasonably keep up with games once again very soon. So many things seem so strange to me now, things I'd forgotten: Gaming without lag, gaming in any game I have, sleeping in a bed, cooking dinner, watching shows or movies. I remember all of these things. Sometimes it feels like I can get up and go back to my room and be back in my old life. But knowing I can't, knowing my life is, in so many ways not my life, with so many everyday things a distant memory, my life seems so strange. I'll have to re-adjust to everything. I'll have to relearn basic things like cooking food, shopping at the store for food that isn't ready to eat, setting my cloths into their proper places in the drawers, and so many other things.

My life seems so strange now. It's good to know though that people have me in mind, including myself. Maybe someday I can truly be me again.

Time passes

In an odd coincidence I got an uplifting email. It was a person who told me he saw my site on the forums, and that he'd found his way to my podcasts. He said he is enjoying them, which is great to hear. But probably more importantly my words about my being homeless has made him extra aware of his own life, and those around him. That is great to hear because, as was always the case with my Epic Fail writing, I always worry my sad aspects will overshadow the reason why I'm writing, and now it's the hope for the podcasts as well. It's not just about telling a story, or entertaining, it's my hopes that in both cases I can help people enrich their own lives. Be it just by entertaining them for a bit, or something deeper and longer lasting, like because of my words they are reminded of how fragile and precious life really can be.

So that was a nice uplifting surprise. I always know it's true, but it's always good to be reminded and hear how I've touched a person's life and how they feel that they are better for it.

Day 948 - 2/4 - Adjustment Friday

Today was really just a regular Friday. The only thing special that's happened so far was that I spent about an hour or so tweaking my site to adjust for the changes to the system builds due to temporarily recalled parts. Nothing really spectacular happened while I was at school, though even after waking up early I didn't have more than a few hours there. I feel ok in terms of sadness, as my podcast helps to keep me positive. But my throat is still scratchy, and I'm sneezing on occasion. Now one ear is half plugged and won't unplug. I'm definitely sick with a minor cold. One of those times I wish I could just sleep in, take some meds, and have soup and take it easy all day; quiet TV, quiet games, lots of rest. I can't though. I have to plod along with my daily life, being in public places where things are too bright, too loud, and have too many smells.

I may actually finish podcast 5 tonight and be able to start on podcast 6 during the rest of the weekend, we'll see. I have a sort of idea as to what to do for the next. Maybe I should hold it from you guys to give me more lead time to start the next and get ahead a bit in ideas at least, if not in doing recording for them. I don't know though. I keep hoping I have enough content to do one every other week, or sooner, but I still fear that without being able to actually game that I'll rapidly run out of topics that I can think of. I've got now a possible two topics, so that puts me upwards to two ahead, so I think I'm doing ok. I'm still loving it, and I know at least a few enjoy it, so those two combined makes it worth doing for me. Will I keep doing it in the future? How many will I do? I don't know. Maybe I'll never stop, but just slow down. Hopefully someday I'll be gaming again and able to afford what I want, possibly even back in a home with not only PC gaming but also console gaming, able to discuss gaming on different platforms as well as the ideas of being a gamer in general.

Well, I still remain hopeful about my future, recently bolstered by a few kind words from people, as well as a boost in self-confidence that I'm not the only one enjoying the podcasts. I guess that's all for tonight. Maybe life will yet surprise me.

Day 949 - 2/5 - A podcast of evil

I feel pretty good today emotionally, but pretty sick physically. I think I'm running a temperature and I've been sneezing, coughing, and my throat is getting pretty bad.

I got my taxes and planned out my laptop. It's looking like June/July for a high-end one, but those are likely to have everything. One I'm looking at would be a touch longer, but it would have no sacrifices and even has a bit extra. The next down isn't really worth the cost by comparison, as it sacrifices about 30% of the graphical power while only saving about 20% of the cost. I am considering doing it though, as it would be enough to game, and it would still have high-res for non-gaming. But it would likely drive me nuts after a short while. I'm hoping one of the new ones comes back that I was looking at. It was also about 30% less expensive, but the only thing it was missing was Blu-ray. I'd be ok without Blu-ray a while longer, as I can add it in later, and I don't need it like I need higher resolution for non-gaming or graphical power for gaming. Of the three features it's the one most easily sacrificed, particularly since I could add it in later. Anyways... I'm still a bit short on laptop money, so I'll be waiting a bit regardless.

The sad thing is I may have had enough to give an entry level one serious consideration if a few donations hadn't fallen through. In the past few weeks I've had two say they would donate but then that didn't happen. That happens sometimes.

Podcast 6, a podcast of evil, is well on its way. I did 2/3 of it tonight and I will probably finish it tomorrow. Podcast 5 is set for Monday, so I'll hold 6 until Friday even if it's ready before hand. That way I get a bit of lead time for 7 but don't feel too much like I'm being mean and holding it back.

I guess that's it for today. Hoping for my laptop and doing my podcasts are really the only interesting thing going on in my life right now. Hopefully some of you out there are enjoying them. If so let me know. I think 6 may be the most 'fun' of all that I've done.

Day 950 - 2/6 - Sooooo sick

Today I'm sooooo sick. My tummy is full of yuck. My lungs are congested. I have a pretty bad headache. I'm coughing. I probably have a fever. And I feel yucky overall.

In good news I got all those extra hours at work this morning. That will help with the laptop.

I finished podcast 6 as well, so I'm nearly a week ahead, giving me nearly three weeks until I feel late on the next. I only have part of an idea for the next, so I may need that lead time.

Not much to say today what with feeling bad and it being Sunday. Hopefully I can get some sleep during the night and get good sleep once at school and fight off this cold. Sick bunnah is a saaaaad bunnah.

Day 951 - 2/7 - Still pretty sick

I'm still pretty sick. Last night and this morning until early afternoon was the worst. I think I'm starting to get a bit better. I'm no longer coughing and feeling like I'm going to throw up. Now I'm just feeling like I'm a bit warm, exhausted, sleepy, and my lungs are feeling like they are coated in dry mud.

I got some monies from the friend I'm doing work for, so that was helpful. Still a few months away from a 'better' laptop, but it is what it is. Change seems to be coming very slowly in my life.

I still feel oddly alone. Though I know I'm helping a lot on the boards and I do occasionally get thanks, and although I'm very much enjoying the podcasts, I feel like I'm talking to myself most of the time. So little of my work seems to be getting genuine replies. If I'm to understand my site stats correctly I'm down a bit from before. It says it's showing ~3,500 pages a month, which if that is the same as the unique visitor stat I had before that's only about 42k visitors per year, down from 55k. (Though it's showing like 125k requests for last month, which confuses me.) I suppose an exact count matters very little. I still only get an email, posting, or PM thanking me every once in a while, I'd say every few weeks at most. And donations, well I think so far for this year, these past 1.5 months just about, I've gotten like three donations. Which is kind of a lot historically speaking. I suppose that too is fairly irrelevant a statistic, as I enjoy doing it and I'm doing it to help, not for being paid. I'd have starved to death long long ago if I was trying to live off the donations at my site, heh. It would be nice to someday be able to do that, but I don't know if that would ever happen before I had enough money to not need it.

Well, enough rambling for today I think. Bye for now.

Day 952 - 2/8 - Ginormous donation is win

I'm feeling a bit better today. There is only a bit of the sneezing and fever feelings left. My throat and lungs aren't too bad either, though my voice is still fairly well destroyed.

I decided to do the Valentine’s Day candies this year after all. There were no chocolate roses to get, so technically the girls aren't "roses" I guess, heh. I saw the beautiful librarian cutie this morning. I was all "bam!" after sneaking up on her station. She was like, "Whuuutttt? These are all for me? " and I was all, "Yes. " as I walked away. I'm still not sure if she has a guy or not, and doubt she'd be interested in me, but as the 'card' says, it's about appreciation and reminding the girls they are special. It's not about 'getting them' as it were.

The huge news for today is that there was a super ginormous donation. (I'm still somewhat in shock as to the figure.) Not only does it get me enough to get a gaming laptop, but I'm $175 short of a very high-end one that would leave me wanting for nothing. If I pinch pennies and I'm very careful until I get paid on the 24th I would be able to purge my account and have just enough. It's fine being tight for a few weeks, as my hours bulk up around June, so I'd be able to build a bit of savings back up after. That, plus all the other guild money (he was a guildie as well) will mean they will have donated roughly 50% of the high-end system. So helpful a guild! It seems so strange a thought of being able to play any game (I can afford to buy) is so close to a reality. I've been an on-hold gamer for so long it seems such a foreign thought to have that gaming freedom so close to a reality. It will be such an odd life being a mobile gamer. I only briefly tried that once before about 12 years ago for a period of maybe a year. But it seems at least that sad part of my life is nearly over. Very soon I'll be able to play my games and once again able to watch my Blu-ray movies.

That's it for this week of fail. I don't think I've ended on this positive of a note since August when I was also just a few weeks from a gaming laptop purchase. Gods willing this time there will be no disaster between now and then.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2011
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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