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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 167

Day 1163 - 9/7 - Crashing laptop day

Today was kind of bad. I got to school campus and it was actually a bit quieter than usual. However, due to my congestion and wheezing in my lungs I couldn't sleep at all. I rested for a bit, but eventually I just gave up. I did my online work for my friend. I decided to play Deus Ex for a bit. After just a short while it locked. And locked again. And it became more and more frequent. I tried my online game and that crashed too. What followed was about three hours of frustration of installing and uninstalling drivers. At this point I'm back to the original 2009 drivers. My online game was stable again, though Deus Ex still crashed. Thankfully though it crashed, not locked the system.

I'm really sad and frustrated about it all. I don't understand why it can't just work ok. I don't understand why when I look for jobs there is nothing. I don't understand why I can't find real life friends again. It's like there is nothing regular and normal and ok about my life. It is all super bad or super lucky. I don't understand why it can't go back to just being ok.

Day 1164 - 9/8 - Searching

Today was pretty sad. Well, I suppose more melancholy than sad. I looked for work, but mostly these days my auto searches send me empty emails, and manual searches, like today, yield only one or two minimum pay part time things, if anything. I'm still far more sick than I should be. My throat and lungs are not recovering quickly at all. My leg is still stiff in the ankle, and it seems my system will likely keep crashing with the game. There were some threads I found that say the bios needs to be updated in a few places for it to work totally right. I never recommend that unless it's absolutely necessary. With a desktop though at least there are often resets you can do if something goes wrong or gets corrupt. With the laptop there really isn't. And there were a few references to people who had bricked their systems and had to RMA them. I'd rather just tolerate the crashes and not risk it. I guess next time I'll watch for a graphics chip launch and go shortly after. I knew this generation was coming in advance, but the new versions were about $400 more (and were not 40% more powerful), so I didn't really have that kind of money. When my homelessness started you had to drop about $1750 if you wanted any kind of gaming system. Prices have come down dramatically in these past few years. The good news is that the likelihood I can upgrade in a few years to get an awesome high-end system at $1500 is pretty good, and a solid mid-range would be about $850.

But I'm very sad. All these problems would not exist in a home. I wouldn’t need a laptop; I could have a desktop again. I wouldn't be limited in food; I could just eat soups and teas and recover from colds quickly. I could sleep in a bed and be properly rested. I could control the volume and brightness of my environment. I could watch shows and play games whenever I wanted, not according to a pre-set schedule of when I did or did not have access.

I looked at my site stats today. It was odd to see that the RSS from my podcast has about five times as many "requests" as my most popular page at the site, the PC page. I wonder how those are generated because the podcasts themselves haven't even hit 1,500 downloads yet (though are close), which is a figure only 10% of the number of requests. I guess it counts when someone checks to see if a new one is up or something. Also, I was very proud to see someone recommended my site and system builds and gave fairly high praise on a gaming site to someone looking for system build spec advice. So, even though my life is sad, even though these travels are terrible for me, it's awesome to see that people do appreciate me. People do find my site and podcast of value. And people do pass on information to others. I suppose, despite how sad my life is for me, that is something very rare and special and I'm happy that it helps.

Day 1165 - 9/9 - Feel beaten up

I feel beaten up. I guess I beat myself up in a way quite literally. I feel a bit sick, my ankle hurts, and it's all swollen. It isn't bruised, but it feels like it, and the muscles and stuff below the calf are still unusually deformed and big.

If I could have any (reasonable) wish it would be to have somewhere quite and private to be tomorrow. Everywhere I could go there will be varying degrees of people, along with varrying degrees of noise. The places that are not noisy are not private. Oh sure, there are semi-private places like parking lots and staying in my car, but still...

My life feels extra sad today.

My computer issues persist but are tolerable, yet they are bad enough that I think on Monday during my next work shift I'll move a full backup between my laptop and my netbook. There are things like over 7 gig of audio in my podcast area, and I think 5 or more gig in the Epic Fail backup areas, that I've not backed up since the first move. They are too big to fit on disk, and with all the twitching my system is doing lately I don't know if I fully trust it anymore.

I don't want much, just a life where I feel safe. A job where I feel safe in how much I earn. A home where I feel safe to leave my stuff when gone, and to live near others in peace when not. A system stable enough and strong enough to feel safe when gaming or doing my rabb1t things.

There really isn't anything in my life at the moment I feel 100% safe that it will be ok and I don't have to worry about it... and that makes me very sad.

Day 1166 - 9/10 - Not belonging

It's early afternoon, just before 3. My system is still being... weird. Video was paused not moving while audio still ran, then went all fast forward like. Steam was simply refusing to run. I wonder if the memory is corrupt. I'll have to check that later. It would explain program crashing.

I don't feel like I belong. I was at the coffee shop about to go to my cheaper restaurant, but I don't feel I belong at either place. I need to be there. I'm welcomed, people say hi and chat, and sometimes mention it's odd when I'm not there, but I don't feel like I belong there. Nowhere do I truly feel I'm welcomed and appreciated. Sure, sometimes on boards people appreciate my posts, occasionally I get an email thanking me for my site, a guildie will laugh and have a good time when I'm on, but lately I've been very sad. I think it's because now that I can walk and get around again it's reminded me just how much I have nowhere to go, nowhere I am expected or missed when I'm not around, nowhere people enjoy having me around (physically), or sometimes depend on me to do things they can't do themselves.

I suppose being homeless, without a sweetie, without friends or family, without a solid career, that is the most difficult, and what I miss the most.

Day 1167 - 9/11 - Guild robbery

Today was a strange and sad day. I could have slept in, but there was so much construction noise I couldn't get any rest. I went to the coffee shop and when I went in to my online game they noticed we'd been robbed! Apparently someone in the guild who isn't using an authenticator was hacked and these people took everything they could that was worth something out of the vault. It was very weird feeling. I'd never heard of that happening to anyone I directly knew, let alone seen it happen. The character was un-deleted pretty quick, but the stuff still has yet to be returned. I don't get why MMO companies don't make authenticators required. They are very easy to use and can be physical, on your phone, or even bound to a computer I think. It would save them so much in costs of salaries to GMs/moderators to restore things, as well as sparing so many people pain and loss.

My ankle is feeling better overall, but still very beaten up, gets tired quickly, and still wants to be out of the boot as much as possible.

I'm also still very sick. I'm still very congested, coughing, and my lungs are messed up. I'm not recovering quickly at all. I'm getting a bit worried honestly. It's a fairly minor thing at this point, but still.

Things still seem so sad for me. So little has changed. So little seems likely to. The small victories and celebrations seem great during the day, but at night I feel so small, alone, helpless, and wonder if the really important things really will ever be regained.

Day 1168 - 9/12 - Looking forward

Today I spent the few hours I had before work doing a quick job search application and watching videos for Guild Wars 2. I'm really super excited about it and it made me realize how important it is to have something to look forward to. It may not seem like much to look forward to getting a collector's stuffie, a game launch, a movie, or even a podcast to listen to, but I think it's important having something to always look forward to help keep you from going crazy. In my darkest times during these past 3+ years the worst were when I had so little money I couldn't look forward to anything. When I did get a little I could at least go to movies again, or collect them. In recent times things have freed up enough that if I'm very careful with my money I can pick up a game every few months, sometimes even one that's new.

I hope everyone out there has the opportunity and freedom to have things to look forward to. As sad as my life is at least now I do have small things I can look forward to. And having even a small something is a very big deal indeed.

Day 1169 - 9/13 - Little things

It's pretty early in the day, not even noon yet. I decided not to do the backup last night. It would be a pain to have to make three or more passes of copying, moving the USB, 'pasting', deleting, repeat. There must be a way to connect them directly via an Ethernet cable and have them talk to each other's hard drives. I decided to go over to my local Fry's and get a cable for that this morning. Someone was being arrested on my way out (presumably for shoplifting.) Strange to see after just talking about the guild robbery when I did part of podcast 26 last night. The podcast is mostly done I think. It's like 20 minutes unedited, so that's probably like 15 edited down. I'll do that now while I have lunch.

I don't know how the rest of my day will go. I expect I'll look for jobs, probably look at a few more videos for Guild Wars 2, likely play my online game in the evening, and probably nothing will change. I always hope for change, yet nothing seems to happen. Little things have changed over time though. A few cuties here, and over at the pizza place, say hi, but no offers of friendship or more. (And once school is open again in about a week and a half I'll rarely see them.) I do have gaming in my life again, so that changes at times. I suppose if this is to be the rest of my life it's not so bad. I do have some good things. I do have some freedoms. There are small happy things in my life. There are limitations and sad things, but I guess we all have those, even if mine are out of my control and seem insurmountable alone.

Week 168

Day 1170 - 9/14 - People care

I guess today was ok. It was very sad, very lonely, nothing found on job boards, but there were a few reminders that people care. A guildie sent an email saying how she and her husband worry about me. And I talked for a few minutes with someone about my being homeless (who I guess didn't know about it before.) People at the coffee shop chatted with me regular too, so I felt a bit more like I was kind of expected there than like an outsider.

I slept really great at school this morning. That's super important because I'm still sick and coughing up yuck. I grabbed a lunch that was bad for me, then went to do some stuff in the ex-house garage. I finally got to put stuff away proper that had been in a bad temporary spot for upwards to 10 weeks. I'd been waiting to climb up to the proper deeper storage because it's a touch dangerous, and the things I've bought since my ankle was broken really took over that area in a bad way. Today I was confident enough to go up and put things away proper. (Well, proper enough as their truly proper boxes are full and multiple things are going into a single overflow box.) I hugged and said bye to my charr stuffie. He's super soft and almost as big as my laptop. I took a picture so you can see how big he is. It's sad to put him and my movies into deeper storage, as I don't know when I'll see them again. Sure I can carry my movies and shows with me, and I do carry some, and I watch them on my laptop, but that's very different from being on their shelf holder where I can see them and take them down and watch them proper at any given time.

After that I went and did my online work for my friend, then watched a show, did a job search, played my online game in the evening.

I guess all in all it wasn't too bad, but it was just another normal day in the sad bunny life.

Day 1171 - 9/15 - Freedom at a cost

Today was ok I guess. It started scary. I got really great sleep at school, but I was plagued by nightmares about the start of an insect apocalypse. There were spiders as big as my hand (with fingers outstretched) and some kind of egg laying bug that had a huge egg sack/abdomen that was laying eggs 'in my house wall'. (The bug was maybe 5" long, but its abdomen was another 5" around; the size of my closed fist.) I spent quite a while watching half a dozen episodes of the Big Bang Theory season 4 to check my disks. I checked for jobs and put out a couple of resumes - things beyond my experience, but I won't ever get a decent job if I never try. I was yet again disappointed by my online game and lack of guildies on. There were five online when I came in at 7, and remained at five all the way until I left at 8:15. More often than not the guild is empty. A month ago, pre-drama, there would have been double or triple that number. I had way more fun chatting with someone in vent about various Guild Wars 2 videos we'd found or details we liked.

I chatted with someone about her podcast too. Recently I think she's strayed some from her original format/intent. Some of it is her choice, but I guess she is also doing changes to try and please sponsorship. While I haven't been offered any sponsorships I also have kind of purposely avoided seeking any out. With my site I never want anyone to get the impression  may be influenced or forced towards certain products by any manufacturer. My freedom to say what I want about who I want, and change my mind at will, comes at a bit of a cost though. I have never been given special treatment by those who would give such by a sponsorship of any kind. I can also, at no point, at least so far, ever say I've been given enough money to live off of for my work. Heck, I haven't been given any, or even gifts in lieu of money sponsorship.

It makes me wonder if I would. Would I, for example, say I would never say anything bad about a manufacturer's product if they gave me enough to live? (Roughly 2k a month post-taxes.) I don't honestly know. I suppose it depends on the manufacturer in question and if I could... dodge said point by pointing say to other products of theirs in the same line and mention 'better positives' and thus ignore 'bad qualities' about the other product.

I really don't know. Right now my life has so many freedoms in so many categories, yet they all come at the cost of lack of security in those areas. I suppose what is best in life is a mix of both. Right now all I have though is freedom... at the price of constant worry about my lack of security and certainty.

Day 1172 - 9/16 - Two dinners

Today was odd. I slept oddly last night. I had a chance to fall asleep a touch early, which I did. I haven't been able to sleep before 2 or 3 lately, so it was a great surprise. But, for some reason I woke up at 5:15 and couldn’t really get much more sleep before I moved to the school spot. In total though I suppose I got between 9 and 10 hours of sleep, which is very helpful to fight the cold and heal my recently broken ankle.

I ran a job search. I think I put out one resume. The day is kind of blurry in my memory. I tried to have a smaller lunch of an orange and chips, but I guess that didn't work as I wound up eating a second dinner while at work just three hours after I'd eaten the first.

My eating is so weird now. My tummy is getting better food this summer than previous ones, as I've had a bit more flexibility in my budget. But I've been eating the same stuff, the same junky category, for so long that my tummy is starting to be upset all the time at everything I eat. Hopefully when school opens back up in two Mondays I can go back to some stability since I'll have access to the micro on a regular basis.

It would be so nice to be in a home though. I miss healthy cooked foods. I miss picking fresh foods, different rices, and cooking healthy dinners.

Day 1173 - 9/17 - Another weird day

Today was another weird day. I couldn't sleep last night until pretty late, but I did get to sleep in at school. Well, sort of. For some reason I woke up at 10 instead of the typical 11. I went to upload my podcast, spent a bit of time at the coffee shop, then had lunch at the cheaper restaurant. (Not dinner, as I have been doing lately.) I had a work shift to cover for in the evening, so I planned to do a micro dinner there. I took an extra quick shower before my shift. The shift was good and it was one of the nicer girls I've worked with during the shift before. She has this weird shoe cast thing, so we talked about our broken parts and healing.

That was really my day. I didn't feel like doing my online game. More and more it's been empty and just felt like a waste of time. I put up an early goodbye post on the guild site, even though I may stick around and pop in from time to time through October.

The back of my throat has felt weird the past few days. I hope the lingering cold hasn't escalated. At least my blood pressure is still lowering. I finally got to go to a store that had a machine. Without the walker extra trips aren't too bad.

That's really it for today. I'm happy for things I can do, like gaming and my podcast, but still very sad about limitations in my life. It still feels sometimes like it's never going to get better.

Day 1174 - 9/18 - Not looking, but feeling

My ankle isn't looking a whole lot better and I as hobbling this morning, but this evening my steps were a bit more even. It's still swollen out of proportion. I still haven't tightened the left boot laces. It still very much prefers to e out and free, but it does seem to be improving. Hopefully the docs were right and it is healed up fine and just needs a bit of time to get better.

Today was a mix of watching game footage and playing. I watched some more footage of Guild Wars 2, which was basically what I've seen before in recent times. And I watched the PAX Star Wars: The Old Republic panel. I was... disappointed. They are still very focused on the "holy trinity" of needing a tank, healer, and dps, which made everything they said to follow seem very bland, boring, and tired. All the recent Guild Wars 2 footage has focused on group flexibility, how it's more like a pen and paper Dungeons & Dragon game where players have flexibility and choice in how they create their characters and play. I'm still on the fence about Star Wars: The Old Republic. Even though it looks like it will have an amazing story I'm just not sure if I want to play yet another game with the same old formula, particularly with a version of the game that costs +$100 over the standard version. I'm not too worried. I have at least three months to explore my options on both games. That's quite a long time, even with the time passing as quickly as it has in recent years.

My evening was a mix. I spent two hours doing nothing really when I first got in to my game. The four hours after though I had decent fun with good guildies. It is hard to ignore the wasted two hours though. How does that make a fun or interesting game?

Well, nothing new for today. Maybe something interesting will happen tomorrow.

Day 1175 - 9/19 - Super mega backup, part 1

Tonight was the first night of my super mega backup. I spent four hours of my shift moving files in the background while I watched some TV series I needed to check. Sadly the two systems didn't seem to want to talk to each other directly. I guess they need a router and file sharing settings turned on and stuff. I didn't want to mess with all that, so I've just been running the backup old-school USB style with multiple passes. I'm really going to need a Blu-ray burner with my next system so the media is big enough for complete backups. The CDs are fine for critical info, but with things like the podcast audio backup files nearing 8 gig already there's no way I can fit it on CD.

I slept in good at school. It was a super warm day. I checked the store for winter/night shirts, but they still seem to not be in yet. I'm so tired of wearing just the one all the time. I used to have four when the terrible journey started, but I've been down to one for like a year now. During work I just did the backup and show watching. I don't think I played a game all day. Between the shirt search and sleeping to a slightly later time, then having laundry, there were only a few hours before work that I had to be on the Internet. I did do some work on podcast 27, so that was cool. But that was really my day. Nothing special or... anything else... happened.

Day 1176 - 9/20 - Orders

Today has been ok I guess. It started oddly last night with trouble sleeping. I couldn't sleep until well after 3, after needing to make an unexpected trip out of my hiding spot to go to the bathroom. It's always the unexpected not controllable things that remind you the most that you are homeless. I got to sleep in at school, so that was good. It's still not officially open until next week, but almost all summer it's been busy with people visiting. I had lunch, checked for jobs, and did some messing around online. I made an appointment to check my blood pressure and ordered some contacts.

I'm going to finish Epic Fail for posting, and work a bit on the podcast stuff I have so far. I didn't do any editing last night because I wanted to be sure to leave work before it got too late and avoid some freeway construction closures.

I signed up for a LAN thing in October, more details as we get closer to that. I'm not going to compete in anything, at least I don't expect to. I'm just going to see what's going on with exhibitors and what games are being shown off. I expect it will be a pretty small show, so hopefully the monies will be worth it.

I guess it's really just another close to another week. My ankle is out of the cast now, so that saga is over. I'm still hobbling, but hopefully soon that will be back to normal. As to the rest of my life getting back to normal... I still wonder lately if that will ever fully happen.

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

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