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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 169

Day 1177 - 9/21 - Super mega backup complete

Last night I finished the super mega backup. It took somewhere around 30 minutes to do the last move and delete the files off the USB. I wound up getting called in to cover a work shift just about immediately after I'd put up Epic Fail, so indeed nothing happened of interest the rest of the evening.

Today was pretty ok I guess. I spent most of the day doing my online work for my friend or getting caught up on Warehouse 13 and Eureka. I was right in that both series have not been getting released online. These shows for each I now have access too are from late July and August. I'm so behind.

In the evening I did some weekly stuff with guildies. It was fun, but really the same stuff I've done every week now for at least the last six week. I'm still heavily questioning how interested I would be in any game with the same tired formula in the future.

I got a call to cover two extra Sunday shifts in October, so that's good. It was super hot today, about 90F, some of the hottest weather we've seen in half a dozen years I think.

Like all days for me lately, today was just a day. I tried to do my best to get by and not go too crazy or be too sad. And I tried to look for jobs, and really found nothing. A while ago someone who tried to help said that if what I'm doing isn't working I need to think outside of the box as it were. The thing is I only know what I know, it's really impossible for me to think up things I don't already think of, ya know? I try my best, but I still wonder if I will ever get out of this on my own. I seem unable to find more work, and less and less work can be found as time goes on. More and more I hear about those falling on hard times. I really think I will need help to get back on my feet; someone offering a place to stay, or offering me a job in a solid career. The only problem is that requires connections to people who can offer such things, and it seems I have none.

Day 1178 - 9/22 - Not my party, again

The big hub-bub at the coffee shop most of this week has been someone's birthday party after work tonight. I didn't expect an invite, even though many have been super friendly in a not just a nice customer way lately. It has made me think though, and remember. Not so much about times when I had invited coworkers to parties, I never really did that, but times with people I got along with. They all seem nice and they all seem to get along well, and talk of the party has made me remember back to the days when I had friends that came over for parties, when we would play games (video or other), eat pizza or other group shared dinners, and have cupcakes. I remembered the before and after times too - cleaning and vacuuming a bit before, tidying up, and throwing stuff away after.

In my sad times now I wonder if I will ever have such people in my life again. Will I ever be in a home or apartment again to even have somewhere to invite people over to? Such a common thing for people to do and look forward to, yet with my life how it is... the thought seems as unreal and alien to me as the game worlds. It's a life I once knew, but one I've been apart from for so long I wonder if I dreamed it.

Day 1179 - 9/23 - Boots and background

I like my boots I got for my birthday. The zipper has been super helpful in accommodating my previously broken parts. But I don't know if I'm thrilled about the change. It was somewhat necessary, as the old boot heels had the tread completely worn down to flat in some parts, but I'm finding on an almost daily basis my ankles are both differently sized, particularly if we add on width of no pants (shorts) or pant legs being tucked in. I think once my ankle is better I'll run some more comparisons, but at quick comparison the older ones seem lighter, easier to move in, and more flexible. (Though I'll grant some of that as due to the occasional use over the past like 6 years compared to only having the new ones a few weeks now.) I don't remember if I got the new ones just for the zipper and newer hybrid nature of the design or if I got it because my old boot manufacturer couldn't be found. Either way, like with my laptop, I'd forgotten how big changes can really impact your life and be uncomfortable and unfamiliar feeling.

I noticed background noise in both of my locations recordings for this podcast. I don't know if it's because I was listening to the playback on headphones more loudly than usual, or if the devices making noise in question were louder due to all the heat lately. I don't recall hearing those noises in previous podcasts, but I'll run some checks tomorrow before work. It could be the noise is only audible in the original, being at -40db while my voice averages at -6, and the compression cuts out the quieter background noise. It may actually be there in all of them and I can only hear it on my laptop with the headphones on, and it is inaudible with the headphones on the phone.

I guess it was an ok day other than that. I slept in good at school, though I was woken up by what seemed like a lot of teachers returning from a big convention like meeting around 10:30. The few hours I had before work I watched some shows, messed around on some forums, and did some food shopping.

That was it. Nothing life changing for today. Maybe a minor improvement in my podcasting will result from this discovery, maybe a life lesson in shoe buying, but no change to my sad life.

Day 1180 - 9/24 - Leaving already?

Today was kind of funny. Because of my work shift my coffee shop time was reduced, as was my lesser fancy restaurant time. In both places someone said something like, 'leaving already?' as I was leaving. It was funny because in both places I'd been there like four hours each. I guess they are super used to me not leaving until close when I'm there, heh.

The extra (short) work shift went ok. Nothing fabulous there or with the rest of the day.

I did get a chance to finish the podcast though. A bit early even. It's been quite some time since I had one ready before the due date. I researched some of the audio noise and I tink I managed to clear it up. (I used a noise remover thingy that the software can do.) So again, with podcast 27, we should see an audio improvement. I think from a technical standpoint this will be the best/cleanest yet. I still hope people are enjoying them. Sometimes it feels like I'm repeating ideas more often than I'm coming up with new ones.

That was really it for today. Despite seeming normal and interacting with quite a few people I end the night as I always do - hidden, lonely, and unsure if my sad life will ever go back to normal.

Day 1181 - 9/25 - Not bricked

Today was really just another regular homeless day. It was super cold, maybe 70F, which is very odd since just a couple of days ago it was like 90F. Rain clouds have been in the sky all day.

I decided to be brave and risk the GPU bios update. With half a dozen games coming by/around the end of the year I don't want to take the risk of them going crash crazy. That just ruins the experience of the game. Though I'm not sure how many of them I'll be able to get right at launch. Spreading my budget out until March, counting an estimated tax return of $500 in February, I'm going to peak out at somewhere around negative $200 if I get them all, more if I have to do things like the car's tune-up. With donations between now and then, X-mas monies from dad... it may be possible t get them all, but if so it will be very very tight. I'll more likely wind up just picking a top three or so and wait on the rest.

It's still so awesome to be able to game again, to be able to look forward to launches again, to be able to consider add on content like expansions and/or downloadable content. Things I was once too sad to follow can now be followed again. Of course I still have my limitations. If I want to play online I still can't unless I leave school and go somewhere else. I will still be limited by my hardware (which is enough that I should be able to play any game at decent levels for several years.) And I still have that constant worry of 'what if' something were to happen to the system (or my car.)

I'm still, of course, terribly sad all the time about being homeless. There are constant reminders. Putting away my contacts and seeing a dirty case, opening this book to write and seeing papers that would otherwise be in different binders or filed away, almost never feeling quite right due to what I have to eat or lack of sleep, waking up alone in my car instead of in a bed. I am very proud of myself for lasting so long and not going completely crazy, more so that my sad story has truly helped at least a few people. But, as I often wonder lately, I am beginning to think things will never get better.

Day 1182 - 9/26 - First day, again

It's the first day of the quarter again at college. I'd forgotten how crazy loud the cafeteria gets. I was in the library or the past 3+ hours and it was so much quieter than the coffee shop.

I noticed a field in the tag thingies on my podcasts have been blank since #8, so I updated all of those. I tried to upload one today to start updating the online versions, but the school wireless cut me off half way through and messed up the online version. I had to ninja a landline to fix it. I guess I'll have to wait to use the more stable connection point I have been using tomorrow.

I'm glad school is open again and I can go back to my regular homeless routine in terms of eating and such. (hehe, a cute girl was trying to play World of Warcraft just now as I'm writing. She was hitting the firewall. I had to tell her the firewall won't let her through and that's why she was getting an error. ) Though, it is a sad reminder of how much I don't belong. People here, for the most part, are just starting their education, not even at the start of the journey of their "adult life". When noone is around it's easy to think of as just a library I can access teh Internets from, or a place to go to the bathroom or shower. But full of life, of people who "belong here"... I can't help but feel like I've failed and therefore unworthy of being here.

Day 1183 - 9/27 - Shadow of death

It's super early lunch time. I got up at 10 and I'm starving. I got up at 9:30 yesterday, so it seems I'm getting up closer to my in a home wake up times.

I had an odd dream before I got up. I was a stock car race car driver. I was so fast that I could almost outrun death, so I named the car "Shadow of Death" because I was always still within reach. The odd thing was I wasn't driving anywhere. I was just walking through crowds. I could turn into a shadow / gas like form and go through people when they would have otherwise slowed me down. They also couldn't percieve me when I did. An odd dream, and I think nothing more than worry about my homelessness and mortality.

I've seen a couple of cuties on campus so far, and the day is just starting, so that's nice. Sad that I won't be interacting with anyone this quarter though, so I'll likely find that more depressing than not as the quarter continues. As people chat I hear bits and pieces of lives I'm not a part of. Yesterday, the first day of the quarter, I heard people talking about an online game, and I saw that girl try to play. Here in the little side room off the cafeteria there are no less than three (of about 25) playing games. So while I have noone to play with at least I know there are plenty of other gamers around me.

I may not wind up getting the extra Sunday shifts. The message the guy left for me said to call my boss and let her know if I could take them, which I did like a week ago right after I got the message. Yesterday she sent me an email saying someone else talked to that guy about it and she asked me if I had talked to him. Well, no, because his message said to call her, not reply to his message, so I followed those directions. So it's all confused now. I'm worried a touch though. She asked if I was free for a "review" this week (which is right before the start of the next rental period in October.) In the entire like 3.25 years I've been there so far I've never been called in for a review. It's the city though, a government position, so there are several levels of trouble before they fire you. More than likely it's just a formality or maybe something good since I've been covering for several people lately.

It's still early, so I'll leave the day open for writing more, but that's likely it. I expect I'll check in with my online classes (an error prevented me from doing it yesterday). I'll probably do that stuff Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. I need to post my Epic Fail and podcast, but that's really it. I suppose I rarely expect yet always hope for change, but it is likely that this week will end no differently than all the rest have lately.

Week 170

Day 1184 - 9/28 - Suddenly very worried

It's warming up again. The cold rain clouds are gone and it's in the low 80Fs. Despite getting about 8 hours sleep total I'm so very tired. I think it's a combination of my sad life and being depressed about classes. Though they don't seem like they will be difficult, they seem extremely boring.

I'm still so very sad I can't do my rabb1t life full time. Today I tried to help someone on the forums but was delayed about 1.5 hours due to poo connectivity. I'd forgotten how there are times the school wireless just goes completely unresponsive.

Speaking of unresponsive, my boss still hasn't replied with a possible day/time for that "evaluation" since I sent the email on Monday. Three of the possible five days that were open have now passed. I guess I'll have to call her if there isn't a reply tomorrow morning. I don't like calling for that stuff, "paper trails" are better.

Didn't accomplish much today. The network was down more than it was up, so I've really barely done anything besides play single player games. At least I had that, but it wasn't what I planned to start my day with, nor what I wanted to focus on. Hopefully the load will be light enough after my dinner to finish my online work for my friend, look for jobs, and do more site updating. Tech has been settled so long I haven't changed my site in a month, let alone done a complete link check. I started to the other day but I only got through CPU and graphics.

Speaking of starting... I've started podcast 30. Yes, those with good memories will remember I should be on 28. But, 30 has a special theme. You can get a hint if you figure out its release date. I have no clue what I'll do for 28 and 29, but I guess I haven't had a solid theme or idea in quite a while and I've been ok.

Not sure what else to say for today but I'm sad. I'm sad I'm not where I want to be in life and sad I have to do so much to keep even more bad things from happening. I'm sad that I feel so very lost most of the time, and I don't know how to make things better again.

Time passes

I'm suddenly very worried about my car. It's been accelerating slowly a few times lately (a symptom another car had from a misfiring cylinder that eventually killed it) and just now on the way to my night hiding spot the check engine light came on while it had some fuel popping. It seems ok if I push the gas more, and it's only at very low RPMs it seems super slow. I'm praying it's just in bad need of a tune-up, which is like $250 I don't have. If it's another issue or not fixable I don't know what I'll do. I love my car, and most importantly my car is my home right now. It's all I have for sleeping and holding my stuff I use on a daily basis. I don't know what I'd do if the issue got worse before I could fix it.

I'm getting suddenly very worried that I'm not going to be ok. I'm barely holding it together as it is. I don't know how I'd manage without my car long-term. In previous years when my cars broke I had shelter, now I don't. It's still very warm, so I'd be ok for a short while if necessary before it starts to get very cold again, but there is no way I could afford much for repairs. I don't even have the $250 for a tune-up.

Day 1185 - 9/29 - Sad day is saaaddd

I'm super sad today. I looked over my budget and even draining savings I don't have enough to fix the car. I have to wait until I'm paid next week, and even then I have to cancel my plans to buy just about all the games I had in the budget for the next six months. I'll still be getting Rage at the end of next month, but it's very likely I'll have to cancel the Star Wars: The Old Republic collector's edition I have on pre-order, and not get Skyrim, or Batman: Arkham City. Also, Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III are pushed past that time period too. My budget only goes six months out right now, so who knows how long it will be beore I can go back to regular game buying again. In addition to that my food budget will be super tight. I'll have to go back to mostly cheap soups and my lesser fancy meals will have to go back to one a week, or less often. Besides Rage I now have nothing to look forward to but canceling and trying to keep from going too negative from regular life things.

I'm still not sure what is going on with the Sunday coverage. Apparently the guy called three different people. So now because of that things are all confused. My boss finally contacted me about the "evaluation". It's set for tomorrow before my shift.

It's an early dinner time now. The wireless was nonexistent for most of the day. I hope I can look for jobs after my dinner. Maybe I can find something. I so rarely get to put out applications these days.

I've been trying to distract myself with my games and not be so sad about things, but right now I'm super worried and super sad. Someone said they would send some monies to help, so that's good, but right now I'm very sad with little to nothing to look forward to but sad times.

Day 1186 - 9/30 - Hopefully tomorrow

I got help from my guildie friends. With their money if I just about completely tap out I should hopefully have enough to get the tune-up and have my car all better tomorrow. That is if the shop has time, if they have the parts, and if I'm remembering the price correctly. The website says they replace spark plugs and do fuel line stuff, both of those are possible issues with my very limited knowledge of cars, so hopefully that will fix the issues I'm having. I don't know what I would do if it doesn't. I just don't have any other money. Even if I canceled every possible game purchase left in my budget and all future ones it would take me a full year to save up even just $500 or so since we are now past the summer when I have good income. During the winter I get the lowest pay during the year, so even having "enough" for just food and phone and stuff is difficult. I did get another evening shift in a few weeks, so I suppose that's something.

That's really it for today. I slept in at school ok, since the car seemed to hold out ok by overreving. There hasn't been a warning light since that very low dip in RPM and fuel popping. A few days ago, basically the day after that incident, I did put in a higher grade of gas and one of those fuel cleaning additive things. While it still accelerates super slowly it seems like it will hold out ok. I'm still very very worried , and it is affecting my sleep pretty bad, but I'm not so worried I'm in a panic state or on the verge of crying all the time anymore.

After I slept in I tried to do some web stuff in the library in the few hours I had before work. Again there was no signal. I guess I wasn't the only one having trouble though, as I saw several with the 'cannot connect' screens. They really need to fix their bandwidth issues. A few years ago I could stream video without too much issue even on busy days. My netbook struggled from lack of power more than lack of bandwidth. But for the past year or year and a half or so it seems I can't get a signal hardly at all. It's like if noone is in sight maybe I can get to some sites.

I had an ok time at work. I watched a couple of romantic comedies. I was super nervous on the drive back though with the low acceleration and possibility something really bad could happen. I guess all I can do for now is try and sleep, hope the car does fine on the drive to school for morning sleep after first light, then hope it does ok to the bank and place to do the tune-up, then hope that I have enough cash and that it will fix the issues. As always, it seems my life is in Fate's hands.

Day 1187 - 10/1 - Might still be broken

Phew. With the help of guildie friends I had barely enough to do the car stuff today before it got worse. At first the guy thought it might be something a tune-up couldn't fix, so he said he would do a $90 inspection, and if it was a tune-up he'd change that to free. So, about 1.5 hours later that was done and they were like 'see this here' showing me the spark plug, and even with my almost no car knowledge I was like 'even I know that's not supposed to look like that'. So they replaced those and cleaned the fuel lines, replaced some wires, and 1.5 hours later it seems to be running ok again. The bad news is though there is oil in places it shouldn't be, so they need to take something apart to fix that. That would be another $175. Thankfully that won't stop the car from going. It's just... bad. He kind of winced when I said even in 6+ months it's unlikely I could save up enough for that. I guess we'll see. Maybe some nice peoples will send more help, or holiday gift money will come in and cover it.

It's now just about 2. All I did so far was spend the last four hours at the repair shop. I did have internets through most of that time, so I watched some Guild Wars 2 footage and worked on podcast 28 and 30 a bit. I'm at the less fancy dinner place now having a cheap burger. They are on sale for half off between 11 and 4 on Saturdays, so that's effectively the same price as a fast food place for way better food, so it's what I usually do for my sort of fancy meal every week.

As always, I don't expect anything interesting to happen the rest of the day, but you never know. I guess the fact that this most recent crisis has been averted is enough good news for one day with how sad my life is lately.

Time passes

While the car did seem fine after leaving the shop, later, after I'd been at the restaurant for about 6 hours when I went to leave it was just as bad before the repairs. It choked on acceleration and there was more popping. It was, in fact, worse during that event than it had been. I guess I will keep my eye on it. Maybe the car needs to warm up for a few minutes before driving, maybe it will only happen after it's sat for a long while, maybe it is a symptom of the gas from the different gas station and it will be fine in a bit, maybe there was more lose stuff because of the repairs.

I don't know what may be wrong. All I know right now is the place did an inspection, this is what they found, they took almost every penny I had for the repairs, and then the issue still seems to be happening. I feel like one of those days where you just want to go to bed early and cry, and when you wake up in the morning someone who cares about you has fixed the problem. But I can't. I have no bed. I have noone that cares about me that will fix the problem. And with how my life is going I may never.

Day 1188 - 10/2 - Another sad day

This morning was more confirmation about the issue being worse than before. There were rare slowness and stutter popping. Additionally, while the acceleration issue was much less bad at high speeds, I could feel minor popping. I'm so very sad and don't know what to do. A guy at work said I should try this stuff called Sea Foam. I'd seen that name mentioned on a few posts when I researched fuel popping and acceleration issues last night. I may try it. I have a feeling that if/when I go back to the shop they will just say, 'sorry, don't know what to tell ya, we didn't find anything and we won't do anything else unless you pay us.' If it came down to needing another inspection I'd just find a specialty repair place for my type of car before I'd go back to that same place. I think though I may try that stuff though. There is a place on the way to work Monday that should sell it and I and ask them what they think of it.

The Sunday shift stuff was cleared up and I'm working both weeks. I just finished for today and it's early evening. It was a decent enough shift as far as shifts go. I watched some shows and got to micro lunch and an early dinner. I even got to do some web stuff. But despite all the good things today I couldn't help but think 'why me?' Two cars dead, and a third with an issue that after $250 is the same as it was, or worse. Why? That's more trouble in the last three years than in my entire rest of my life so far. I just don't get it. And while I'm homeless even.

I don't understand why my life seems so hard right now. Why all the car troubles? Why all the difficulty finding work? Why is there so much difficulty getting a solid path for school to refocus my life? Why is the school network and work sometimes so bad that I can't even connect? Why have I not found new friends or a sweetie that I can hang out with offline? Why does it seem that I'm the only one I know who is this socially isolated and alone in life?

I don't know if  I will make it anymore (due to greater and greater physical difficulty), but there are a few things that I thank the gods for. Thankfully my laptop seems fine now that I've updated it - no more issues with game crashes. I can keep my website current and podcast alive. I can be active on forums and at least get some games and do some gaming again. And I'm thankful that my ankle is still healing. I still have a bit of a limp and it still seems a bit stiff at times, but it certainly seems like it should be ok eventually.

As always, hopefully everyone out there has laughter and love in their lives, you don't have the troubles I do, and maybe my words and thoughts have helped you live a better and fuller life.

Day 1189 - 10/3 - Waiting

I'm having a bit early lunch on campus. I was expecting to go argue at the guys about the car this morning but it seems it was actually pretty ok. There was the reduced power and acceleration, but there wasn't any popping or stuttering, and there was enough power to drive and shift without much issue. Since the place likely will not have the skill to find out what's wrong, since they didn't the first time, I'll just wait and see what happens. I figure on my way to work I'll get that stuff then after work drive around on the freeways a bit extra and use a gallon or two of gas since it will be late and noone will be around. (It's not really risky at high speeds anyways, it just doesn't accelerate as fast and has like no uphill power.) Maybe I can burn through what's left in the tank in a half of a week instead of the week or so it would normally take and the stuff will do the miracle that people have said it does. The $10 it supposedly costs s doable, whereas the $100 for another inspection, plus who knows how much after, isn't even remotely possible until I'm paid Thursday, so I have half a week to wait anyways if I'm going to do a different shop.

That's all for today so far. As always it seems my life is more wait and see than not. I've got about three hours here for whatever, then it's off to laundry and work in the evening.

Day 1190 - 10/4 - Springer time

Yesterday on my way off campus to work I saw a very Jerry Springer moment. This girl had hit this guy so hard that everyone in about a 25' radius turned to look. He was trying to walk away from her, but she was yelling at him (in some foreign language) and had such a tight grip on his shirt that she yanked it and it ripped in half. She was going completely nutso on this guy. (I watched for like a minute to make sure he didn't start hitting back. He appeared to not be responding at all.)

I may have to go nutso like that on the shop I took the car to. It's now worse, far worse. Every shifting point it's just about stalling out from all the fuel pops, even when I over rev it at times. Last night when I left work, at 15, 25, and 35 MPH where I normally shift it paused for a good five seconds at each having zero acceleration while I had the pedal all the way to the floor. When I confronted who I'm guessing is the owner guy today he said a tune-up would not fix the issues I described. Um, what? His mechanic, and another mechanic I talked to at a store, said it should have. Then he basically brushed it off when I told him the guy supposedly did a diagnostic first, saying that I have to talk to him, and that he's off today and won't be in until tomorrow. So I guess there will be no conclusion for you guys on the car saga for this week. It's now so bad I'm lucky to have 40% of the power and acceleration rate that I should. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow, but if this guy doesn't fix this for free, if they change what they said previously and say a tune-up wouldn't fix it, I'll have no choice but to go to a different shop and get a diagnostic and see what they say. If they can show incompetence about the repairs (like they say they can fix what should have been done the first time) I'll be going all nutso on that first shop and be demanding my money back.

I suppose the only good news I can offer for this week is my blood pressure seems to be continuing to get better. My follow-up with the not-doc was good and she was super happy with the numbers. I have to get poked again to check that my kidney functions are getting better though. Do not want.

The school wireless is still just about a complete failure. It just keeps going in circles to the login screen, or has so little bandwidth that I get dropped within minutes of connecting. I don't know how I'm going to do my online work or online class stuff under these conditions. I'll probably have to get a physical system for both, or go to the less fancy restaurant and hang out there.

Everything seems such a complex disaster right now. Everything seemed so much simpler before.

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

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