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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 173

Day 1205 - 10/19 - Promising

Today has been... promising. I got good sleep for much of the "night". (It was only about 6 hours.) I haven't left the area I was in yet, so I haven't yet spent the $6 for the bus day pass, though I likely will soon.

I talked to the shop and the mechanic said his truck guy broke down. He called someone else and is checking, so maybe there will be good news after I have lunch.

I did my online work for my friend super fast since I was on a connection that was decent. And, due to what I saw at the LAN where people had cases and systems that were huge and heavy, I decided o make two LAN system recommendations in my system builds from now on. So, that may help out a few people. The day is pretty early, but I remain hopeful.

Day 1206 - 10/20 - Remaining hopeful

I'm so exhausted. I was fading in and out so bad I had to put my head down for a nap. I'm remaining hopeful that things will be ok though. Last night in the later evening someone I haven't talked to in elebentybillion years said they'd take me to get my car towed. So, after a super long drive we got to the USS Hornet. The gods must be smiling on me because my car was still there. I was right about the ticketing. They did ticket me. It was a 72 hour period. And that time had actually run out some 7 hours before we got to the car. So now, in the later afternoon, it's at the shop. I'm remaining hopeful it can be really and truly fixed. The mechanic seems to be very focused on taking care of me right and being sure he double checks what we'll get fixed before doing any work and charging me. It still makes me wonder if this means he didn't previously do proper diagnostics. The current theory is something timing belt related at a cost of $200-300. I got some extra shifts on last paycheck, so I could actually do ok at $200, and even still have enough left over to put Batman: Arkham City back into the budget. I guess we'll see what he says. No reply yet. He had some other jobs and wouldn't be able to do anything on my car until Saturday, so I'll not push for a diagnosis until then.

The USS Hornet was super spooky when we were there. It was foggy and extra quiet. I'm still sad about not being able to go on the haunted tour.

With no car I'm hurting pretty bad for sleep. I'm running on maybe half lately, and only about 3-4 hours of sleep today. So, fooooo so tired.

I'm hopeful though. Just getting my car I love so much back is a pretty big deal in and of itself, and a huge stroke of good luck. Maybe my luck will start to turn back around and the shop will actually fix what's wrong for cheap, or better still for free since they have done me wrong so many times so far.

Day 1207 - 10/21 - Wearing my bus pants

I'm so hungry. So hungry and so tired. All this walking is so exhausting. And being on roughly 40-60% of "normal" sleep is really whacking me out.

I've decided at this point that if the shop doesn't do the repair well enough that my car is not making bad low RPM noise/failure that when I do drive away I will immediately complain to the Better Business Bureau. All I have to say at this point is they better not say it's something expensive after giving them $385+. They still haven't looked at it this morning. If they don't tomorrow either I'll be very upset. I guess we'll see and I'll remain hopeful things will work out.

Nothing much really to say. I tried to do stuff for one of my online classes, but I'm so tired and hungry I was just completely unable to focus. I'll have to do the assignments tomorrow.

I was hoping to see a movie this weekend. Someone gave me a gift card so it would be free, but I have a feeling that chances are higher than not all this car worry and stuff is going to ruin any weekend plans I may otherwise have planned.

Day 1208 - 10/22 - Yet another day of waiting... and waiting...

Today was yet another day of waiting and waiting. I waited for the repair shop to open. I waited for the mechanic to show up. At 11:30 I heard the owner's wife talking to someone else saying that the mechanic was sick and she was waiting for him to call her back. I knew that meant he wouldn't be in. We talked about my car, how it's been waiting since Wednesday night, since this now fourth time back for the same issue that's been there for three weeks. She seemed understanding and compassionate. She said they did have a second mechanic there and that if the mechanic didn't come in they would have the second do what he was supposed to. The rest of the day passed. I waited and waited for a call that I never got.

Today seems yet another day in a long line of days I didn't get to spend how I wanted. I did finish homework for one class, so that was good. I did get to watch my Blizzcon footage online, which was good. (It's a good thing I paid for that months ago, or that's yet another thing I would not have otherwise had the money for.) But I still spent a few hours riding or waiting for busses. I yet again barely made it to a bathroom in time this morning. I was in places that constantly bombard me with light, sound, and smell. And now, spending a bit with my stuff in the ex-garage trying to relax a bit, there is a very noticeable (to me) slinkiness from my unwashed cloths; some more than a week dirty because I don't want to carry a like 20 pound bag of cloths for hours on the bus and all day wherever it is I travel. And my food supply is growing low, meaning I will need to buy larger, heavier, difficult to carry items to restock, or pay a rediculous amount daily for things I always eat.

While today isn't very different than any other for me, I'm so very tired, so very sad, and feel very helpless. As always, more than anything I just want to be at peace, and in a home.

Day 1209 - 10/23 - Another year, another dead car

It seems my car I love so much may be dead. They spent half the day looking at it and they say they want $400-500 on top of what I already paid to do the timing belt check, and that may not even solve all the issues. They say it "doesn't have compression" and looking at that issue may or may not fix the issue. Also, there is a belt digging into a cover, which may or may not also be an issue.

I don't know what to do. I love my car so much. Even if I pulled off a miracle and got close to $500 for selling it, that's nowhere near enough for a new one. I'd have to get all the money I paid so far back, and even then I still wouldn't have enough until February after I got my tax money. So, it's like even if it was like $500 more to fix the car that would get me my car back if that's all that needed fixing, which is something I wouldn't have if I had to look for something new.

I don't think I'll get enough help to try and save it though. I've put out calls for help before and while I did get some help those avenues of help have basically been tapped out. Without help, without as low of cost repairs as possible, I'll be on the streets. I can stay on school campus a lot, but for a bit more than those half dozen hours during the darkest night I'll be extremely vulnerable. I can call on sanctuary sometimes, but the more I do that the greater the risk.

I have a few days to figure something out, so if you are reading this right when the week is posted I may still be in limbo and trying to figure out what to do. But it's very likely that within a week I'd have no choice but to sell the car if I can't find enough help to try and save it.

It seems for a third year in a row I'll be spending $1k+ on car stuff. But unlike previous years I'm no currently on someone's couch. This year, if it's not saved, I will be on the street. Possibly for a very long time.

Day 1210 - 10/24 - Sineater

I really don't get what is going on in my life. I've lost more cars and had more car trouble in these last three years than all the other 23 I've been driving combined. Just now as I looked around the library in the morning, and in the afternoon, every single person was connected wirelessly and happily doing stuff online all day. But not me. I couldn't see the connection. I stayed connected maybe two minutes all day if you added the time up together. My phone seems to see it ok. Why not my laptop? Must everything I own and have not work correctly or fail? Why am I the only one who seems to be having anywhere near this much difficulty in life? Why now, when I'm at my worst?

I don't have the answers. I never did. Hopefully one day I will come out of it ok and I can play my games and watch my shows and movies just like I did once upon a time. But days like this, where my car is dead, my laptop doesn't want to talk to the Internet at all, where I've barely gotten any sleep, where I'm eating bad foods because healthy foods are too expensive or inaccessible... I wonder if anything I do matters. I wonder if any steps forward I try to make will matter. I can't even seem to get back to holding anything close to a zero point balance in life. I can't imagine how I'll ever have any positive movement.

Day 1211 - 10/25 - Hesitating

I find myself hesitating this morning. I've been at the food store eating my breakfast for about 15 minutes. I think I've been eating slowly in part because I don't have much to do before heading to work at 3, but I think more so because I don't want to say bye to my car I love so much. I was so overjoyed when I got it back, and now... now it's been declared dead. I suppose the gods made it happen this way so I had transport to the LAN and had a good time there. I got good footage and now my site will have LAN build recommendations. I may do such a build for myself with my next build since it's minimal like I prefer. (Though I suspect that the tiny case fans would make it louder than I'd like. I suppose I could get some bigger ones and just plug those in instead when it's in the home, heh.) Getting the car back renewed my hope that things may turn out ok for me. But now to lose it again... I guess I have to hope it is for a "higher purpose". Though I can't help but feel it is yet more of my life continuing to crumble around me.

I'm going to close out this week early, as I have a shift to cover tonight when I'd normally post. I doubt anything special will happen between now and then. The ghost said he'd give some help for the car. We are tentatively meeting tomorrow night. Someone in the guild I was in put out a cry for help on the forums. No replies in the thread, but the guild leader sent something, so that's helpful, and others may in the future, who knows. I find it very hard to remain hopeful these days though. Everything seems to be falling apart again.

The next week won't be posted until after Halloween, so happy Halloween time everyone.

Week 174

Day 1212 - 10/26 - Miracles

So it seems miracles may happen after all. Someone overbid on my car. I'm theoretically meeting him at 9 in the morning and he's theoretically giving me $800 for the car I posted at $600. I'm still very very sad to be selling my cute car, but $800 is a huge chunk of hat a new one would cost. And there was a ginormous donation, which added to some help from the gray ghost, and a few others, added to what I can squeeze out of my account, I should have right around $1500 by the weekend. Which, in theory, means I can start looking for a replacement car early next week.

I'm not getting my hopes up yet. Even though it should all add up to enough I will still need to find a new car. If I recall we pushed and pushed to get me that much last year when this happened and it still took, I think it was nearly two months to find something not broken.

I had a pretty good day, though again I had almost no connectivity at school. I was connected from about 8:30-9:30, but for the entire rest of the day I couldn't connect. I also got some tremendously bad news in that one of my classes effectively has a required $160 purchase. What the poop?! Why wasn't this in big huge bold letters when I signed up for the class?! That's going to be a huge drain in my car monies if I can't avoid it.

I saw the gray ghost today. He brought down monies to help, so we hung out for dinner. He also took me to the car to get stuff that I need to move to the ex-garage. That was a super huge help. That would have been such a pain in the butt to lug it around on foot.

It doesn't seem like very much when I write about it, but the day was a huge whirlwind of activity. My ears are ringing in the quiet of my hiding spot. I don't know if that's from the excitement of it all or the volume of everywhere I've been.

I'm hidden somewhere for the night. It's a bit chilly, but I'll survive. I think with all the good news (unless a passerby rouses me) I should sleep pretty well for once. Maybe soon I can go back to a regular homeless in a car routine. It certainly looks like it will be far sooner than I thought.

Day 1213 - 10/27 - Fewer miracles

Today was pretty bad and sad. It started as all my days do these days with getting up far too early. Since it was only a few hours until the guy was supposed to look at the car I decided to just rest at the car and say goodbye as it were. If he had given me the $800 he promised it probably would have been a good day. But no. He looked at the engine, he listened to it trying to start and dying, and then he low-balled me at $400. I said, "No thanks, bye." After he pleaded I went on to explain that others were offering the $600 and looking forward to seeing it and he was only allowed to see it first because he was one of the early replies and he offered more than they did. He raised a bit and I still said no. It wouldn't be fair to others to let him take it for less than they were offering when he pushed them out of the way as it were. I begrudgingly agreed to $550 only because of what a pain selling it is, and that it was nearly 10 and having to arrange a meeting with someone else in less than the 24 hours I had that I could keep the car there would be unlikely. I called for the tow truck to take my beloved car to his shop and waited just over an hour. Time I was not expecting to waste.

I had soup at school. These days most foods go straight through me. So that was not fun.

I went to try and do the assignments for that one class, but apparently that $160 fee is unavoidable. I was told a professor would be there at 5, so I left to go to the library until then.

I had Chinese food at the cafeteria, something I'd been looking forward to since Monday. But they didn't have dishes I liked. (They only have a few and rotate them.) I had to try different stuff that turned out to be meh. I should have just passed. So that was terribly disappointing as well.

After dinner I went to talk to the professor. She was very unfriendly and not understanding or seemingly uncaring. Apparently next quarter there will be a single class license option at $70, but now there is only the four pack at $160 option. I decided to take my chances and drop the class. With then only 10 hours available for "8 hours of class work" I didn't feel it was worth the risk of auto drop. Plus, with needing all my money for the car, that $160 could be the difference of soon vs. not. I think financial aid won't be affected long-term, but I'm kind of running out of time to avoid some kind of repayments either way.

Like I told the gray ghost yesterday I don't know what I'm doing anymore. It seems like regardless of the classes I take they don't help; regardless of what I try to do to move forward it's like I'm in a pitch black warehouse walking in circles. I know there are people out there who care what happens to me, who do worry about me, but due to my actual failure, seemingly no matter what I succeed at, I can't help but feel lost, alone, and like I will never recover.

Day 1214 - 10/28 - Little more than a blur

I didn't really remember what I did today. I know I spent the morning going to the food store to buy drinks and spend some time checking for cars. School bandwidth has been non-existent. It's a good thing I did too. There was hardly any bandwidth, as expected. I checked for jobs and checked for cars again. I think I found one job to apply to and it took about half an hour of trying before my system had the bandwidth to send my email application.

That was really it. The school connection was so slow that in the just under 5 hours I was there I accomplished extremely little. Of course the fact that I was fading in and out from lack of sleep didn't help. I would have tried to nap a bit, but it took so long to do the morning car search it was just about lunch time by the time I finished.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. I know my connectivity should be fine, but I expect with no car I'll be places that blast music constantly and have overly bright lights all day long.

Hopefully I can get back in a car soon. I'm so very tired.

Day 1215 - 10/29 - Unremarkable day

Outside of getting some donations, today was unremarkable. I started my day at the coffee shop I used to go to all the time. I haven't been there in about a month. They've redesigned the place. If you ask me it seems very unfriendly now. Instead of two sofa like chairs, five tables, and six bar seats, there are now two small tables, four small high tables that require high chairs to sit at, and really only room for four bar seats. And, none of the chairs at the high tables or bar have backs anymore, they are all stool types. This shop's majority of customers are college students (it's about a 2 minute drive away, just a few blocks) and now they effectively have nowhere to sit comfortably. Plus, there is no way you can fit books and a notebook to study, or more than a small laptop on the desk. They've crippled themselves if you ask me.

I got a pretty big donation from the two friendly guild mates that keep helping, and another from a different one. I looked for cars a few times, watched some shows, and that was really my day. It was really fairly unremarkable, doubly so if you count that probably just about everyone is at a Halloween party.

As always I wish I was in a home. I wish I could have slept in. I wish I could have watched my shows on a TV with surround sound. And I wish I had friends to be having a party with. My life feels extra lonely and sad lately. People are helping me to recover a car, which is great. But inside... where I should feel warm and loved... it is dark, hollow, cold, and only a faint spark is there because there are those few out there who help every great once in a while.

Day 1216 - 10/30 - Simple things are not simple

Today was a reminder that the "simple things" in life aren't simple for me. It started with laundry. I figured it was beter to carry it as a special trip on a weekend day than extra weight on a weekday. I went to the ex-garage to drop stuff off and get laundry. I walked nearly 10 minutes to the bus stop. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but there are two very large apartment type complexes along that route. There must be a laundry room in one of them. (One may be multi-plex homes, so they may have their own laundries.) But I was already at the bus stop. The bus didn't go as close to the Laundromat as I thought. (It wasn't my usual one I go to near work.) I had to walk an extra 5-10 minutes. When I got to the cloths back to the ex-garage I figured I'd spend a few hours at the coffee shop, then move across the street at the less expensive restaurant. The coffee shop's speed turned to poo, so I went across the street early. It seems the wireless was still broken from its disconnect at 6:15 last night. It was the same manager guy, and I think he just doesn't know how to reset it. So, I went to a different food place to kill time and use the Internets. While the speed was ok there were pop-ups that interfered with things, so I left there early to go to a different coffee shop. That one's connection speed turned to poo as well.

I decided to stop at the food store and get some (sea salt) chips. It reminded me of when I was in a home. I would often get a 'chips and (cheddar) cheese' snack when gaming or watching a show. But, I have no cheese now. I can't. It would go bad in a matter of days unless I only bought a few slices.

All day everything I did was overly complicated. I couldn't just walk down the hall to do laundry. I couldn't just hop in the shower and shave my parts. I couldn't watch shows without lagging. I couldn't download the games I got on a sale the other day at a reasonable speed. I couldn't have a simple snack. And now, while alone for the moment hidden away, I am still homeless, still without a bed, and completely and totally exhausted from all my walking. While I don't feel particularly bad today I do feel helpless, and like a failure. I still wonder if I will be able to make it on my own or will I just continue to spiral downward; both physically and emotionally.

Day 1217 - 10/31 - No Halloween for me

Not much to say about today. There was too much walking in the morning, no sleeping in after getting to school, and nearly no Internet connection to speak of. There was enough to check for cars a few times, but there really weren't any to speak of to be found. There was one I liked, but it had high miles, no front bumper, and a salvaged title. At $1400 it may be a bad investment. I sent an email with questions, so I guess I may have more info to go on if they reply.

The big thing for me today is that for the first time in I think ever I really don't have a Halloween. With no home there are no trick-or-treaters for me to give candy too. With only having online classes, there are no classmates to give candy too. All the lesser librarians all seem new, so I couldn't even pass any out to them. I did give some to the people at the less expensive restaurant and coffee shop when I was there over the weekend, but it's not the same. The not-sis and her family sent me a Halloween treat, so that was a nice surprise. But overall today seems extra sad - a reminder of so many things I don't have in my life, and may never again.

Day 1218 - 11/1 - A rare smile

Today I have something rare for me, a smile from things I did not do. Last night I found a Halloween treat waiting at the ex-house for me from the not-sis family. Also, I got a chance to watch a trick-or-treat video someone posted in response to my podcast ramblings about how around here people don't do that anymore. Today seems pretty good so far. I'm smiling and somewhat happy. These are rare things indeed for me these days.

It's just past noon, but I think I'll close this week now and post. School bandwidth has been good, which is very rare these days. I checked for cars, jobs, and did my online work for my friend. In a bit I'll head over to the less expensive restaurant and sit in a comfy booth and watch my shows and continue to downoad the game I got on sale. I got all of the first, but I expect I'll finish before the weekend and be ready to play the second. (Unless for some crazy reason their wireless is still broken.)

I don't expect anything special to happen with the second half of my day. The first half has been pretty good so far, and I am smiling a little, and that is something.

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

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