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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 181

Day 1261 - 12/14 - The terrible day

Today was pretty terrible. While not as terrible as when I broke my ankle, I could be looking at needing to do a full system wipe. Around 2 today I was trying to get some more room on the system by deleting some stuff. One item I tried to delete caused the system to lock up. I tried to start Steam to verify if the game had been deleted, but it too had locked up. I tried again. It locked again. One system lock is bad enough, but multiple risks things getting lost or messed up. I tried deleting Steam and reinstalling and it still locked up. By the time I'd locked like 6 or more times I discovered deep in the system area is a Steam service file that seems to be a ghost file. Nowhere on my system does that file exist, but it shows as available in the system area and I can't get rid of it. I have a very bad feeling it's become corrupt and I'll have to reinstall my entire operating system. And, when I uninstalled Steam it took all the games with it. While that isn't a huge loss I suppose, as the ones I would really want to play I have on physical disk and restoring them would just be a bit for patching, some items I don't have a physical disk. And with my download speed it could be a very long time to restore those. I don't even want to think about what restoring the online games will take, which are pretty much like 20+ gig each. Granted I probably don't need to restore them, as I'm not playing any, but it is nice to have them there 'just in case'.

I don't understand why this keeps happening to me. One little improvement in my life, getting nice headphones to replace the ones that died, then, the very next day, I'm having issues which at the very least will require a complete reinstall of my operating system I already tried a system restore) and at the worst may be a hardware issue and I'll have to send my system in to be RMAed.

I don't understand why I can't have a normal life. Today people spent time starting new characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic, seeing friends or family, buying or exchanging gifts for/with loved ones, getting ready for exciting weekends. But not me. What did I do? I spent half the day nearly in tears because my system is now randomly locking up and nothing I did seemed to fix it and all my data may be at risk. I don't understand why I couldn't have had a peaceful day. I don't understand why I can't just have a normal life like everyone else. I can't understand why my life seems to be full of never ending suffering and punishment now.

Day 1262 - 12/15 - In recovery

So, I spent most of today in recovery, as I expected. The super good news is that the system restore and a free registry cleaner I found seem to have cleared up the issue. There were no lockups at all today, Steam is running normally again, and basically I just spent most of today backing up my system. There are still half a dozen things Windows thinks is installed and I get an error from the uninstall utility, but at least it's not a system freeze anymore.

The Steam games are still wiped, so I have to recover them. One that is download only was 30% recovered yesterday, so I'll get that by the end of t weekend. I grabbed the two I'm fairly likely to play on disk, so they should just be an hour or so each to install and patch.

I'm still kind of between games though until February. What I have I've completed, save for one that refuses to run. (Likely due to program incompatibilities since it's a few years old) and one that just keeps being dumb. (I get bad faction with a group every time I play, then I'm constantly attacked by groups of five of them.) So, not really sure what to play. There are still half a dozen older games I've yet to buy and play that I'm behind on, but still needing a car they are very very tough to consider getting.

I guess today didn't turn out so bad. A few hours (maybe 6 so far?) of backing up and checking, then more installing while I can do other things, is very good news compared to the possibility of my system being broken, or at the very least requiring a full format.

Still... my day was not what I would have wanted really, or at least not how I would have wanted it. More than anything I want to be a normal person in a home, doing things and eating types of foods that I did once upon a time.

Day 1263 - 12/16 - Is this all?

I suppose today worked out ok all things considered. The game I have to download is still going at a decent speed, and the two I recovered by physical disk were recovered without issue. I even still have the save games for the one I was likely to play. So, all I really lost was time, and I got the big scare.

I put out more replies to car ads than usual, but as of early evening I'd only gotten one reply. And the person had only owned the car a few months, so I'm not feeling very good about trusting their knowledge about possible issues.

With all of my trouble and sadness in everything I'm left wondering yet again if this is it for me? Am I to be homeless and alone forever now? If I do ever finally recover is the rest of my life going to continue being meaningless dead-end jobs that barely cover bills and I continue living paycheck to paycheck because I can't find a decent career? Once upon a time I thought graphic arts would be good. I did that for five years and it got me nowhere. I got a degree in Psychology, but again that's done nothing to help me find a career that I'm happy with and pays at least decently. Am I cursed in some imperceptible way? Am I in the wrong area of the country to find such a job that would make me happy? Or is it that all I need is help from the right person, yet they refuse to help, are unwilling, or don't yet know me?

Despite things working out ok with my system I still feel like I live in a different world than everyone else and that my world has no way out and I will remain alone and isolated the rest of my life. And with how I feel physically lately I fear that will end up being a lot shorter than it otherwise would be.

Day 1264 - 12/17 - Uncanceled / So sad a bunny

Today I was incredibly sad and lonely all day. As time goes on it's become more and more difficult to cope since change seems to not be coming and my future seems more and more bleak. Although it seemed just meh to me, I decided to pick up a regular version of Star Wars: The Old Republic. (That is only $60 vs. the $150+ of the collector's edition.) I may wind up playing on my own, as I rarely saw my old guild outside of events, but I suppose at least it should help me feel a little less lonely. At the very least there are good stories to be a part of and companion characters to talk to. At the very least it will be a bit of a distraction from my sad and lonely life. Even though that $60 is still pretty expensive for me, not to mention the $15 monthly, if I even get a dozen or so hours of distraction it will be a decent purchase. If I can get a few dozen then it will have been just as good as any other single player purchase I've made recently. I don't know how long it will keep my interest, but I need some kind of distraction, some kind of stimulation, some kind of interaction, to help keep me bound to a social place. Without one I feel far too sad, isolated, alone, and lost.

These past few days and weeks have been some of the loneliest and saddest in my whole life.

Day 1265 - 12/18 - Sad day of busses

Today was a lot of extra bus time. I covered for someone for 3 hours at work. I probably should have just passed, but I really could use the money. It did mean an extra hour or so total of walking and nearly two hours of bus riding. It's ridiculous that with a car that all would have been reduced to about two minutes of walking and 30 minutes of driving. Speaking of cars, there still has been nothing. I didn't put out any replies today that I recall, and one person who was talking to me did sell to someone else. I'm not real upset about that loss though. It would have been an estimated two hours (each way) by public transport, so I really wasn't looking forward to the possibility of doing that. Plus, while not ugly, I was not at all interested or liked its model and year. It would have rated as 'meh' at best in terms of car looks to me.

Again I was super depressed and sad today. Mostly because of all this lameness with the car. I not only lost 3 hours from the extra busing today, but probably 1-1.5 hours for the regular riding (which likely would have been 45 total minutes of driving for the entire day by car), not counting lost time I could be at shops doing things instead of going to hide early (because I need to get places before the buses stop running.)

But my life is what it is. I do not have a good high paying job that allows me to have a home. Since I don't have a home I can't cook good / healthy foods, nor can I participate in special holiday treats. Without a car hours upon hours are lost each day. Without a home or a car regular activities, such as showering and doing laundry, become difficult to impossible to keep on a regular schedule. What could have been a day playing in my new game was not, because getting the early entry client would take an estimated four or more days to have gotten it, nearly the same time as it would be to just wait and get the physical disks. What I have deteriorates and breaks. What does not is limited and restricted to less than it could otherwise be. And as far as me... I wonder if I can ever be whole again, or if I am doomed to fade away in the near future since all that is special and unique about me generally remains unfound by others. And if, when I'm gone, more than just a few will feel my absence.

Day 1266 - 12/19 - Star Wars eve

Not much to say about today. I guess it went ok. I got my headphone bag. It's sadly a bit too small. Hopefully it will stretch out a bit to fit well over time. I'm still very mad about myself about that. Yet again an example of something remedied by a 2-3 minute car trip (I thought I should go back to get it within an hour), but since I didn't have the car I didn't want to spend the like 30 minutes walking each way or wait until the once every 45 minute bus went past. My work shift went ok. It was pretty quiet as most aren't coming these days what with the holidays. No cars replied to my replies, and, of course, there were no jobs to apply to.

The only real thing of interest is that tomorrow I get Star Wars: The Old Republic in the mail and hopefully can get it installed and patched before an extra work shift in the evening.

That's really it. I was fairly distracted today, so there hasn't been much time to be overly depressed about things. Of course I am, but at least today didn't seem to overwhelm me. Though I'm sure in the coming days as more festivities happen and the weather grows colder it undoubtedly will be harder and harder to keep at bay.

Day 1267 - 12/20 - The lightsaber goes meeeaaarrr

Today should be pretty good. It's only just now late morning, but today should e pretty busy. I'm installing Star Wars: The Old Republic now, so that should be ready in I'd guess an hour or two. I may or may not have time to play after, as I'm covering a shift tonight. With no car I have to leave hours sooner than I otherwise would.

Hopefully my new game will help distract me from all my sads I have in my life. Not much else to say. Hopefully today will be pretty good and I have some better days ahead in the future.

Week 182

Day 1268 - 12/21 - Fun day

Today was fun for a change. It's rare for me to get a new game these days to have fun with. I actually had more fun than I expected. I played probably 8 hours today and had a bit of a tough time convincing myself to take a 1/2 hour break during lunch and a 1 hour break during dinner, so that's a good sign.

There were effectively no car posts today. I mean, yeah there were some, but none I replied to, and far fewer than before. As expected, as we get closer to between Xmas and New Years there are fewer and fewer posts.

For the moment I am distracted. But all day, particularly as a few were talking about gifts in guild chat, I could feel all of my sadness in the back of my mind. It is always there. Sadness I can't play on a desktop system. Sadness I don't have my home theater stuff to watch shows on. Sadness I can't cook healthy foods in just the right sized proportions. Sadness I can't get up, take a warm/hot shower, and put on clean cloths (or at least ones I haven't worn more than as house cloths for a few days.) And above all, sadness I don't have a warm bed and home to sleep in at night. As always lately I still wonder if I will ever recover, and if things stay the same, what will become of me?

Day 1269 - 12/22 - Warm paws

Today was pretty good again. I hardly slept all last night, so I was up pretty early. I was at the coffee shop for a bit and one of the workers and I chatted about the game for a bit while I played. His friends picked the opposite faction of what he wanted too. It's an odd journey. Much like with the Mass Effect games, even when I'm in a position of evil I'm still half good or mostly good, heh. I think I am about 55%/45% on good/evil points right now, so it's interesting seeing how that character's story is turning out. (Though since most quests are isolated to just that quest, and there seems to be no faction for groups, it seems to have little real impact on the story.)

Playing my games was really my day. There were no cars to reply to, nor did any old ones reply back to me.

Oh, there were a couple of unusual things. My gloves that I ordered about a week ago came, so I have those to hopefully keep my paws warm now. These are for climbing, so they are extra sturdy fingerless types, so I can wear/use these year 'round. They have padding on the finger middles and back of the hand. So I'm covered if I ever need to do some superheroing. And in super happy news I was invited to the Diablo III beta. I'd actually almost forgotten I got that invite, as it took effectively the entire day running in the background to download the 5 gig client. So, I've got that to check out. I should have time before work, but we'll see. I'm still bussing, so instead of leaving to be at work at around 4:30 I have to start heading to the bus at something like just before 3, cutting out a huge piece of my time.

Lots of happy gaming news, but I was still very sad I couldn't be in a home. Though the people at the less expensive restaurant don't mind my being there all day it's still weird. And the food, while better than junk food, are larger portions, and causing me to be heavier, which makes me feel slow and unhealthy. I suppose once school is open again I'll go back to doing more microwave foods and maybe lose some weight. Part is likely due to car stress, so hopefully that will be gone soon too.

Day 1270 - 12/23 - A year of podcasts

Today as I was doing the intro for podcast 37, the last step to finishing it, I realized this was the last podcast for 2011, after an entire year of podcasting. Had I realized that sooner I may have done something special. I suppose I can next podcast if I want. But it struck me as odd. No longer do I have a life that celebrates milestones. No longer do I recognize my accomplishments. I have no real way, and no one, to celebrate with. As I realized this I thought it sounded very sad. But then, that's exactly what my life is right now.

Day 1271 - 12/24 - Sad Xmas eve alone

Here we are, Xmas eve. Today was pretty good in the morning and afternoon. I go to play without issue and I had a lot of fun. The story for the game is really good, but I don't really know how much of an impact my light side choices will have. Most missions seem to be self contained, and there appears to be no sign of faction anywhere. It's like it was developed to be the most easy to get into MMOG yet. That isn't going to win over the hardcore crowd. I'd guess within 4 months they will be capped and bored with the simplicity.

Now it is evening, and I am hiding in the dark. I have a few hours I can work on my podcast or play offline games, but then it will be too cold to continue. Hopefully the night will pass quickly enough without issue.

It still seems so strange to be in such a position. This is now my fourth homeless Xmas, and the worst by far. I have no car, so going places and blending in is impossible. With one I could still be out, probably catching a movie somewhere, or playing at the Internet café I used to play at. But while I have basically been alone on Xmas and New Years ever since about 2000, this one is different. This time there is no way for me to get anywhere, nowhere for me to get to, no room to warm with tea light candles and play my games or watch my shows. There is only the dark, the cold, and solitude. But too I know in a way that I am less alone than I have been. I know there are at least a few out there who do care, who are hoping for the best for me, and if I were to be gone from the world it would impact them if just a little. At least that is something.

Day 1272 - 12/25 - Just a day

For almost everyone in the world today was Christmas. A day of joy, of love, of family and friends, children getting up extra early and bounding about the house excited to find out what's waiting for them. But not for me. Today was just a day. A day with even more limitations. There was really only one place I could be, though I was grateful that I could be there. With a car I'd have had options. But as is usual for my life, I don't.

Most of the day I played Star Wars, though now that my highest character is 20 experience seems to have slowed to a crawl. I'm gaining levels at half the speed as before. In fact, in the 7 hours I played I don't even think I got 2/3 of a level compared to the previous 9 hours where I got something like 2.5 levels. I tried to play the Diablo III beta, but the coffee shop connection was really terrible, and I was too lagged to play. It seems my play may be restricted to only two possible locations due to the sensitivity of the bandwidth requirements. However, part of that may be due to the beta server state, I don't know.

Today was a decent enough day I suppose what with my life being what it is. But, it certainly was not filled with the excitement of little ones, a day filled with greetings of joy by friends, nor one of mixed joy and discomfort of relatives. There were my online friends and people who care about me. And as sad as my day was, as cold as I was shivering at the bus stop with a few tears at my loneliness and the cold, I suppose knowing there are those out there who wish me well is something.

Day 1273 - 12/26 - Twas the night before laundry

I guess I should do laundry tomorrow. It's again very overdue. I did look for local places to my ex-garage that would not require a bus ride, but I only saw one room and it only had one old washer and dryer. They looked small and untrustworthy. I guess all the local spots are places with their own washers inside each unit.

Today I started a Jedi on a server with a friend. It's nice to be good without having to struggle for it. Plus, the dark side is very evil in some cases. It was starting to bug me. I don't know how often I'll be good compared to evil. It's pretty much just a body to hang out with that friend and group with when we both have time. So I don't know. I really wish I was in a home and had regular reliable gaming again. I mean, sure, times I have now are pretty reliable, but they aren't in a home, it's not in an environment that's controlled by me, they aren't times I can extend at will if needed, and above all they aren't done on a reliable land-line connection. As always, my life is limited by what I have available and it seems there is nothing I can do to change or correct for that.

I put out a resume today, which was pretty unexpected. I also replied to a car post and the person replied back, which was equally surprising. Though he turned out to be kind of an ass. He answered all of my questions and seemed honest enough, so I asked when he would be available to meet tomorrow and what his address was to look up the route. To my shock it said it would be nearly 2 hours, yet it rated it as 15 minutes by car. I replied and asked if he would be willing to drive up to me, then we drive back to his place as the test drive. He replied 'if (I) didn't want to spend the time to come to see the car then I'm not serious about buying it.' Really? You say you understand my position and my caution then say you are unwilling to sacrifice 15 minutes extra of your time to spare me some 2+ hours? Well, he's not getting my money that's for sure. I mean if it were longer, sure, I'd understand, but unwilling to sacrifice just 15 minutes? That's just really selfish sounding to me.

Well, that was really my day. Like all my days lately there isn't too much to it, and if I think upon it too much the sadness and depression return.

Day 1274 - 12/27 - Unknown

Today is just starting. It's just past 9:15 in the morning and I'm doing laundry. I don't know what the day will bring, but I'll close out today now. I'm expecting to spend the day playing with my friend in the game, so really I don't expect anything to happen other than that since I'll be in the same place all day. Also, I want to close out the week now while I have no wireless signal, so it and the podcast are all ready to just be uploaded when I do get to a place I can upload them. That way that's out of the way before my game time and I can get in a bit quicker.

I expect there will still be effectively no car posts, and job postings these days are non-existent. Every year job posts basically stop appearing between Thanksgiving and about mid to late January. I will, of course, continue to look for both, but I expect to find nothing.

My life lately is super extra sad. Though I know there are people who care about me, and friends online, I am becoming more and more sad at my (physical) solitude. It never really bothered me before when I was in a home. I guess because I had my private space and knew that if there ever were to be any friends or love interest to invite over I could. But now, without, I seem extra alone and even more isolated. My games help to distract me as I visit other worlds, and knowing people enjoy my podcasts are something too that helps me feel connected in some way.

I try to continue to keep up hope of recovering and having a life back someday, but more and more lately I think that no matter what happens I will always live an unusual life. But in a way, I suppose I always have.

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

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