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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 4: on and on

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 163

Day 1135 - 8/10 - $2695 reduced to $50

Today was productive financially and pretty good socially. I finally got all the paperwork in to the hospital financial aid. There was a bill for the emergency room visit that was $2695 before the change, but reduced to $50 after the coverage. So that is super happy to know that past and future costs are covered. I still won't really be able to do surgery under my current conditions, so let's hope that's not necessary.

My ankle and leg is feeling better in places. It can roll sideways and go up and down now, as much as the cast lets it. I can put my toes up or down. I dare not put real pressure on it more than just to balance because doing that does feel... wrong. I haven't let it get so much pressure it hurts, but I think it will be a while before I can walk again without a cane. I'd be ok with that if it meant no cast and even more so if I could do it without increasing the risk of surgery. I guess we'll know more in a week.

I played with my guild a fair bit today. One person was teasing me, which made me very sad and upset. I didn't like that. I'm not that kind of person - even more so now that my life is so terribly sad all the time. Hopefully they got the hint when I mentioned it, but I really didn't think they can comprehend how deeply that was really hurting me.

Other guildie groups went pretty good, and I had a chat with someone about my broken parts and my homelessness. They seem surprised and proud of me for doing my writing and telling my sad story. Speaking of which, there were some little ones that asked me what was wrong and how I broke my parts. I think the mom was kind of surprised that I explained it at a little one's level of understanding. I told them about the crazy person that scared me, that I went to tell the police, and that I slipped on a hill because I didn't take the stairs. One was very interested to know what kind of bush tripped me. I had no clue, so I said it was a "mean one", hehe.

But now that the sun has set, now that I'm no longer in the noise of the coffee shop, now that it's night, I must hide. Again I must blend in with the shadows and be a non-person, hidden, unseen, and be the nothing to the world that I so often I feel I am even when surrounded by others.

Day 1136 - 8/11 - Falling asleep

Today was reasonably ok I guess. My ankle / leg feels better I think. I sort f feel a bit sick, and it feels more swollen than not most of the time, but it wants to be down more often. Putting it up like I did just a few days ago tends to put it to sleep. Putting it all the way down is better and I can do it more often for 5-10 minutes without much issue. But that to causes it to fall asleep in some ways. It's like it wants to be at about a 45 degree angle to be happy. Mostly it so very much wants to be out of the cast and free to stretch and not be re-bruised or smacked by the cast.

I didn't really spend today how I wanted. I would have liked to have gone to the small library room, but I decided it was too much effort with my broken parts. I would have liked to have been out in the warm day, and gone a few different places and whatnot, but it wasn't worth the risk of damaging my ankle from driving or taking a tumble.

I think today, most of all, I feel sad. Sad about my ankle. Sad about my life restrictions. Sad that I have no friends. Sad that I have no sweetie. And, above all else, sad that my life has turned into something so very far from what I had hoped it would be at this age.

Day 1137 - 8/12 - Lonely birthdays

Today was ok I suppose. I tried to sleep in on campus, but for some reason I couldn't sleep. I rested about 1.5 hours, then gave up trying to sleep. Unfortunately it looks like school doesn't start until late September, not late August like I remember. So I've got a month of things being completely closed to look forward to. I expect construction will continue and college employees may still be continuing to work, so it's possible there will still be enough cars to blend in with. Also, I checked what I needed for child development stuff and at quick glance all I need is a "practicum" and then I'd qualify for a "teaching certificate". I decided against it though. It would be over 10 hours a week from 8:30-12:30 twice a week, which to me sounds like taking on a second job that I wouldn't be paid for. Since the child development units have done no good in finding me a job I didn't see how this would be helpful. I'll check again in future quarters, but for the moment caring for little ones between 6 months and 4 years old really didn't sound like something I'd enjoy or want in life. Instead I signed up for two computer classes, both of which are at my own pace and online, so I can do them whenever I want and as fast or slow as I want. That will be... different. I'd like to not do a class like that, but I actually have extremely few classes to pick from. I've got maybe one year before I completely run out of classes at the junior college level.

I decided to get myself some birthday presents today. I got two older games and a TV series I want to collect. All three were about the cost of a new game added together, so they were super cheap.

These recent birthdays, even the ones before I was homeless, have seemed super sad. I've been alone, and each one has just been a reminder of how alone I am in the world of all the things I'm missing in life that I don't have. While this year will not be as sad as the last, I don't expect it will be particularly happy either. Oh sure, I'll have my stuff, I may get a fancy dinner, I may spend a few dollars on a single serving sized cake, a few may send me a surprise gift (which would be super happy ), but I will still be alone. I will still be homeless. The things I do will still be in a greatly diminished and restricted form. And above all I expect I will still be single, without (rl) friends, and certainly without children of my own.

Day 1138 - 8/13 - Eating oddly

I've been eating oddly lately. Most of the time I just don't have much of an appetite. I'm typically eating less or simply not interested. Sometimes too I feel kind of sick. I haven't been on my meds save for swelling/pain over the counter meds, so it's not a reaction to that. I think maybe it's depression more than anything.

I decided to hold back the podcast until after my appointment. I noticed it was Tuesday, not Friday, so that is a lot sooner than I thought. Most of the time my leg and ankle feel fine. It wants to move around and stretch most of the time and to be rid of the cast, so hopefully that's a good sign.

I suppose I had an ok time with guildies online, though I probably spent more time sitting and waiting and doing nothing than I did playing and grouping. Grinding is uninteresting to me, so I'm not going to grind faction or dailies.

Hopefully someday things will be ok for me again, maybe even normal. But as more time passes, as I help people with builds online, as I hear people chatting about things they will do or did, as I hear about people's lives changing, as I'm recognized more and more in the places I'm forced to frequent... I still wonder if things ever really will get better for me.

Day 1139 - 8/14 - Stretching on forever

Today was long. And although all I did was basically kill time playing my game and chatting with guildies, it seemed to stretch on forever. I think it's because I'm out in public. The constant noise of music, chatter from people, and bright lights are exhausting. And it's cold. It's always cold in the coffee shop. I think it must have been a warm day because when I got back to my car when the shops closed my drinks and other items were still warm from the day.

Once upon a time, at the start of my journey until about 1.5 years in, I really had nothing to do all day and I sat and watched mini golfers, shoppers, and people in parks. Now I have my laptop at last, and all the Internets and what games I have are at my disposal. But my days still seem infinitely long, and in some ways more tiring. If I weren't ankle / leg broke I could go more places. But what would I do? I could go and watch those things I watched before I had my laptop, and during lunch or a nap that's fine, but there is really nowhere I can be. I am an invader. I don't belong anywhere. I have no home. Everywhere I go, though some may greet and welcome me, I know people wonder why I am not elsewhere.

In the day I am in shops where I stay too long. In the night I hide away in the shadows hoping not to be discovered. I do these things because I have no choice. And it makes me sad that I have nowhere I belong.

Day 1140 - 8/15 - Hoping for the best

My left boot is all ready to go in the morning. It's got a sock set in it and it's in the passenger area waiting for me to take it with me to my appointment. I actually slept in this morning for the first time since I think Thursday. After I played my game for a short while, then went to work a bit early to do some podcasting and take a shower. I didn't feel like playing my game in the evening though. I doubt I could have if I tried. The voice chat monitor showed ping averaging 1,500 and a high of over 8,000, which are unplayable conditions. It did barely have enough bandwidth to watch a few shows though (as it can buffer), so I did that.

I'm hopeful for tomorrow that things will be good news and I can get my cast off. I miss my hop so much. I am worried though. There is room in the cast, and it is loose more often than not, but there are still times when I leave it down for a few hours, or if I put too much pressure on it, where it feels weak, shocked, or simply swells enough to fill the cast and be just a bit too tight. Seeing it bruised still would not surprise me.

Can't think of what else to say. As usual nothing happened of real interest or change. All I can do at this point is hope that the morning brings good news.

Day 1141 - 8/16 - Three more weeks

Good news sorta bad news from the appointment this morning. The super good news is that the ankle is almost all better. Apparently the doc said that you can't even tell anything is wrong, no need for surgery. The fibula, however, is healing kind of slowly and still a touch out of place. He's not really worried about it though, as I guess 90% of the stress is on the big bone (the femur). But, because of that, and because of not doing surgery, and because if the ankle did shift it would be super bad, they are keeping me in the cast for three more weeks.

That's all the news for today. It's not even noon yet, but likely nothing else will happen. I'll go ahead and close out the fail week here and get it ready for posting later. I won't be somewhere I can post for about 6 more hours though, so if anything does come up I can let people know.

Week 164

Day 1142 - 8/17 - Free hot chocolate

Late in the evening the manager person at the coffee shop gave me a free hot chocolate. He sent the cute blonde over to deliver it to me. (Though she's more of a sandy brown, and she's not at all interested in me. She's friendly and smiles, but she asks questions that imply she doesn't know anything about gaming and is just making conversation.) Though since she asked my name I think he did it to get my name. Earlier in the evening when I was in the bathroom I heard him say, "Oh, I think he's in there, the guy with the computer. I forget his name." That or he wanted to get rid of the milk. They are pretty friendly to me overall. I have been spending too much time there lately, but I think it's mostly ok. The place is rarely 100% full. It's only full about one or two hours total throughout the day. I was there for about 9 hours, and about 60% of the time the place had four or less people, including me. Of the remaining time I'd say there were six or less total. I'd say about 16 can fit in there sitting down before it gets full.

I started the day sleeping in. I slept really late, until about 12:30. I must have gotten 10 hours of sleep total. I think it was due to my injury as well as getting caught up from previous days that construction or being scared at night preventing me from getting sleep. I was pretty tired throughout the day.

Someone posted yesterday in an 'F5ing manner' asking where my podcast and fail week were. Nice guildies checked in today too. It was good to be reminded that people care about me, and think of me as unique, special, and look forward to my ramblings.

That was really it for today. I'm still somewhat out of whack mentally from my leg. It's thrown my routine off so much that I'm forgetting to do things, or undone because of my increased restriction. Things should be ok when all is said and done though, so hopefully I can re-balance enough to continue to keep myself on track.

They were a couple of dozen cars in my area in the morning at school and the administration area was packed. I don't know what is going on lately but it seems there has been a lot of activity lately. Tomorrow at least I should easily be able to be hidden, possibly Friday too. The weekend will be far more questionable, but last weekend it was busy enough I could have slept, though I didn't. Hopefully I'll continue to sleep in the mornings. I'm sooooo tired lately.

Day 1143 - 8/18 - A blur

Nothing really stood out today save for putting out something like four resumes. It's so rare to be able to apply to things these days. They were all pretty much part time or I wasn't qualified, but more hours is something, and if I don't try for things that I'm not quite qualified for I'll never get the job. Sometimes I really wish we had old school apprenticeships so people could say, 'you have promise, let me take you under my wing, get you into the industry, and off you go.' (I think some 'trades' still do, like construction.) I suppose that's what internships are for, but I never found any.

The rest of the day was basically a blur of regular activity. I got to sleep in. I had a sandwich lunch and a bag of chips from a mixed bag I got the other day. I did something slightly different for dinner. But that was really it.

I did get my ticket for Conan in 3d on Saturday. And I did get some birthday monies from dad, but that was it. There wasn't any new or different socializing. There was no movement in my life in terms of getting better. (Or thankfully worse.)

Day 1144 - 8/19 - So fast

It seems the summer is basically over and gone. Every year I say that, but it seems these past few years it's gone by quicker and quicker. That is probably due to the horrible downward spiral that has been my life.

Nothing really new or interesting in life re-establishing today. I played Force Unleashed II quite a bit. It... isn't really what I expected. It's pretty cool and all, but the main character is way way overpowered. The point of the series is for him to be, but this is just insane. I probably won't pick up future ones in the line, and I doubt I'll play this again once I've finished. Maybe too I'm just getting older and prefer more strategy to action. I much prefer the older d20 system based Star Wars games. I suppose though these were made by a different developer, so that likely explains part of it. I also tried to play Fallout New Vegas, but for some stupid reason it's bound to Steam, and seems to be refusing to run in "offline mode". I'll have to research if I can get around that and get it working. I don't understand why a single player offline game like this requires online connectivity. It's my birthday tomorrow. Though I'm sure I'll get well wishing and maybe a surprise or two. I can't remember the last time I had a birthday where I spent time with friends, pizza, and cupcakes. Though I expect I will have online friends with me this time, an improvement over previous years, I yet again wonder if I will ever have a "normal" birthday celebration ever again.

Day 1145 - 8/20 - Nice surprises

It turns out there were some nice surprises today. I didn't get to sleep in though. I was woken up early by a noise in my area, so just to be sure I left. It wound up being about an hour earlier than expected. While there were half a dozen or so cars at school they were in an unusual location, and the pool area was locked, so I passed on sleep.

The first surprise was a something from guildies/friends. They sent me a nice card, but in it were two cute tiny cards. One has birds and the other frogs. It's those kind of cut from paper and stuff made into 3d kind of things. Hopefully I can keep them safe until I have a nice place to put such cards out. There were monies too. I'll save the actual cash monies for new boots, use the food monies on, well, food, and I've used up the restaurant gift card on a fancy dinner. I think that had to be the biggest surprise of the night. There was a super cute super attractive waitress. While someone like that was not completely unexpected, I did kind of chat friendly and flirt very slightly with her and she kind of did back a little. Though we should not get our hopes up. She did have a Celtic/Irish ring with a heart with hands pointing towards her heart. I saw it and said, "Oh, so that means you are taken, eh?" And she replied, "meeehheee" and kinda wobbled her head. I laughed and said, "That doesn't sound too good, heh." She was super friendly and stuff and said to have a happy rest of my evening when I was going. I think she felt kind of "bad" because I was just me and I knew what I wanted and was "easy" to take care of. I left a rabb1t card with the tab thingy and wrote on it that I had to at least try and flirt with it being my birthday and all.

About half a dozen said happy birthday online, so that was different from previous years. I saw Conan in 3d and Cowboys & Aliens. Those were super fun. My friend/ex-roomie left me some brownies, so I nommed those during the movie instead of a single size cake. It may not have been the best idea though eating both bits. My tummy is grumbly and upset. I think I talked about it before, that I can only take so much chocolate these days before that happens. It still seems odd to me. I think, once my ankle is better, I'm going to make a super serious effort to try and get healthier overall. I know I keep saying that, but with this scare, with my odd quirks increasing as more birthdays pass by, with cute young waitresses that make me happy and smiley... well, I would like to be in better shape so I don' miss out on what life I may have left. Be that the 40+ years I should have remaining, or if it only turns out being 4 weeks, I'd like what's left to be... better. I don't want to feel tired, sick, heavy, and congested inside. I don't know if eating slightly better and a tiny bit of exercise will do it - all I can manage for both categories while homeless - but I'd like to give it a serious try. I do love me, and the thought of things being cut short, well, that always makes me sad. And such thoughts come easily as fond memories fade and the darkness and isolation of the places I hide close in around me.

Day 1146 - 8/21 - Strangers

I'm so exhausted today. I think I probably only got 5.5 hours of sleep. School's pool area was open, there were a few cars in the lot, but I just wasn't sleepy. How I wish I could have gotten a few more hours of sleep this morning. Hopefully tomorrow it will be back to normal and I can sleep in quite a bit then.

Nothing really new for today. I did find some videos for both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2. It confirmed SW:TOR isn't really much new mechanically, but for the diehard Star Wars fan it's a solid looking game. Guild Wars 2, as it always has been, remains my most anticipated title. Several things do look new and different for it, and I'm even more excited for it to come. Hopefully its beta will start soon and I can hop in.

That was really it. The majority of the day I just played my games and watched my shows. It's awesome I can do that now, but I'd still like to be back in a home and playing on a desktop and watching shows/movies on my home entertainment stuff all proper like.

Day 1147 - 8/22 - The ghost who said "Boo, damn it"

I got a very odd and unexpected (bulk) email invite to a birthday party (in two weeks.) I've mentioned 'the ghost who said boo, damn it' before, he's the ghost I've seen on the college campus in the little side cafeteria room for over a year now, but I don't know if I explained the story. Once upon a time, long, long, looong ago, my now ex-wife and our friends were moving stuff into the apartment, I forget what. I'm coming up the walkway towards the door and this friend leaps out from behind a bush, puts his arms out, and makes this face. It wasn't a totally scary face/pose, but it wasn't completely silly. So I stop and say, "Well, don't just stand there, say 'boo' or something, damn it." So he pauses for like 3-5 seconds staying in that pose, then says, "Boo! Damn, it." So, from then on, any time something was sort of scary, sort of silly, like most Halloween decorations, it was referred to as 'the boo damn it'. This evening when I could finally connect from work to the Internets I had a bulk email from him about his birthday party. I suppose I'll go and check it out. But it's odd. For a year or more I've seen him around campus, probably a dozen or more times. Once I even passed by him outside the library within about five feet. Never once did he approach me or call out my name to test if it was me (and not someone he thought looked like me, as I do look just about the exact same as he last saw me 10ish years ago.) We had been drifting apart and the last time I saw him was at a party at the friend/ex-roomies house. He said something like, "I don't like any of these people. I don't know why I'm here." So I stopped inviting him over, as I was at a phase in my life where I was trying to make new friends. (I was recovering from a brief homeless period after my divorce.) So, to get an email now, after like 10 years of not talking to me at all... seems a bit odd. I'll plan about a three hour visit window of the possible nine that his party is running for and see what happens. Part of why we drifted apart is we had little in common anymore and he was starting to hang out in pubs, smoke, and drink a fair amount. And I don't want to be around people who drink, and in the case of smoking I can't, since I'm allergic and it makes me cough and can trigger my asthma.

I guess the rest of the day was pretty regular. I slept in quite a bit. I went shopping for a bit of food and to see if there were winter shirts in stock. There weren't, but I found some cool cammo shorts. And in the evening I had a work shift, during which I played one of the games I got myself for my birthday. I figured out how to get it running in offline mode, so I spent the whole time getting into it.

Oh, I started podcast 24 with a bit that I expected to be kind of short, but it branched out and turned out that I'm about 16 minutes into the podcast already. So, getting a bit more so that I can release at the 1.5 week timeframe this Saturday shouldn't be too tough.

Well, it's hiding at night time now, so I should likely put out my phone and be fully hidden in the shadows. Maybe tomorrow we'll have some meaningful change.

Day 1148 - 8/23 - Shift it

It's about 1 and I have to shift around my evening. Someone asked if I could cover for them and I was like sure. So I have to hurry to finish the fail week input I've been doing, get the index page changes in, then go somewhere to post, grab dinner, and scoot off to work. I've got about three hours t finish up, so it should be plenty of time.

Nothing else different today. Oh, someone has been playing phone tag with me on a depression study. I told her if I wasn't expecting a call I'll probably miss it. She's called and I've missed it three times so far.

That's all for this week. Probably nothing of interest will happen though and I'll just play my single player games in the evening. Hopefully everyone out there reading, now and in the future, is doing ok and you are safe and sound wherever it is you call home.

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

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