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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 185

Day 1289 - 1/11 - Wrecked laundry

Today one of my shirts had something weird happen in the laundry. It's even weirder that it only happened to that one shirt. What happened is that when I was taking stuff out of the washer to put it in the drier I noticed the shirt had all this stuff stuck to it. It looked like it had been dropped onto a super dusty surface. But it was only this one shirt, no other laundry was affected. I saw that kind of thing back in the day when I used to use powder soap, but I've used liquid soap for I don't know how many years. And, at this place I've been walking to I've filled it half with water before even putting the liquid soap in. So, very weird day for laundry.

Other than that the day was pretty basic. I played my game, looked for cars and jobs, and that was really it. Overall it was a pretty uneventful day.

I should have looked into my online class, but I'll hopefully have a chance to do that in the morning. Hopefully I won't forget or need to do something dumb like last time where they wanted $125 in what was effectively book fees. The physical class seems like it won't be too bad. The professor seemed to go super slow and the grade is 70% based on homework. So, I have plenty of time to do it, I can do it on my system wherever whenever I want, and there is a tutor and other helpers for the class in case I do need help. So, it should be easy as long as I keep up with the busy work.

Still... I'd rather have had the day free to live as I like. I'd rather be free to do whatever rabb1t work I like and live without worry in a home. But I guess, at least for now, that is not to be.

Day 1290 - 1/12 - Not free

Today was reasonably good. It was super warm. The temperature showed 65F, but it felt almost like spring. Basically all day I had both my sweater and trench off. If I had a car I might have even left them in there. It wasn't until it got dark that it turned back to winter weather.

Class was pretty good too. The professor is going slow, but the time in class doesn't feel like a chore. It is learning a different language, even though it's a computer language, so I expect once we start talking about code that may change. There are, as expected, gamers in class, so before class I was talking to others about gaming stuff. One followed me to the bus booth Tuesday and today to keep chatting about the game. He seems like an ok guy. He's very energetic though, a bit more than I prefer in someone I'd consider being friends with, but that's to be expected from someone in their early 20s. And, I'm guessing he doesn't have friends to talk gaming stuff with, so that is likely causing extra excitement for him.

There were no car postings to reply to, and jobs are still extremely rare.

An (online) friend has been very sad lately, so that made me sad too. She lost sponsorship for her podcast, which I guess was paying her to buy her stuff (her salary as it were). But the loss also seemed to hurt her ego too. I tried to cheer her up by saying her creativity and success with them is her doing, not due to someone backing her financially. Hopefully it will help her to be happy again and help her to get to the point of renewing her interest in continuing, if that's what she wants. Previously having a sponsor she has lived in a very different world from me. I do my podcasts for me, online and offline friends, and the rabb1t followers, so it's really about having fun and being informative where I can. There is no business gain in it, no agenda, no trying to please corporate entities, and no restriction on what I can or can't say. Though it did make me a bit sad. Because even with those freedoms I am not free. I'm down to 1-2 recording sessions per podcast now because I have no car and no home. I am trapped in when, where, and how I can create content unless I want to put it 'at risk' of background noise. I know people probably wouldn't mind, and that's how the early podcasts were done, but still. Similarly I was talking with someone about a build and there were a few questions I couldn't really answer. It' like, yeah, this is why I wish I could live free to do rabb1t things full time, so I can run tests and answer these questions since review sites aren't doing these kinds of tests and comparisons.

So... today was warm and seemed happy, but it seemed everything I did I did because I am not free. I did not sleep in a bed. I did not shower when I got up. I went to class because I need to find a new/better career. I told someone in class, "Yes, I carry my laptop and this stuff everywhere. I have no choice." I couldn't answer my online friend's hardware questions, since the research isn't there and I can't buy the stuff to do myself. And my podcasting friend and I are both sad due to limitations in how and when we do podcasting. Even now I am writing this sad tale because of my traps. While I may have some freedoms in my life, I am very much not free.

Day 1291 - 1/13 - A sad reminder

Today was one of those days I got a sad reminder that I am not in control of my environment. I am not in a home. My work locations are where I've been podcasting. The Friday location has machine noise that creeps in to the background when the volume is loud enough. Effectively I can't use that location while it's running. Monday I'm at the better location. Students have started being in the gym right until my shift starts, so I have no time before. And in the last few months the janitor has started showing up immediately after, so that location is out. It seems I either have to hope the machine noise stops at the Friday location, or go back to podcasting outside or in empty rooms at school. I am really disappointed and saddened by this podcast, as my podcast being of nice quality was one of the few things I had left that I could control. Now that is taken away from me and I'm back to losing control.

This morning too when I picked up my blood pressure meds that I needed to see my doctor before the next refill. They refuse to refill it again. I told the person I don't have a doctor. I can't afford insurance, so I don't have a regular doctor, nor a regular hospital. She just kept saying 'sorry' and shrugging.

Today I am sad. I am reminded of all of my limitations. And, at least for the time being, one of the few resources I had left is so heavily limited I either have to stop using it, or do it at a quality and way far below what I'd prefer.

Day 1292 - 1/14 - Terribad

Today I finished podcast 39 and it sounds really bad since I did it on the street. I had a choice. I could wait until Friday to finish, where there was a high chance there would still be the machine noise in the background, or I could wait until Tuesday or Wednesday and try to find some space at school. It was going to be bad and "late" with either of those options, so I decided on an option that turned out probably worse than either. I did it on the street as it were. I did it in a parking lot with a fair amount of background noise going on. With a car there would have been options - places to try, areas to park and do it in the car - but without, my options are terribly limited. And the sad part is, they may remain so for quite some time.

I suppose the day was fair. It was a bit warmer still. I got to play my game. I got enough food. But there were no cars to reply to, and none that responded back to my previous replies. I looked over class stuff and I've got a lot of unfun reading and projects ahead of me. But I have no choice. I have to keep trying. I have to keep going under these conditions and going these places if I want to game and use the Internet. I have to keep looking for a car.

I can't give up. It's not an option. And yet, that's all I want back in my life... options.

Day 1293 - 1/15 - Gamepad

Today I picked up my gamepad from the ex-house and got it set up on my system. It's the first time I've had a gamepad in like 7 years? I was very hesitant to get one, but a few games would likely be perfect for it, a few games I've recently played would have been better with one, and I used Xmas money to get it. My friend/ex-roomie sent me monies, and for weeks I couldn't figure out what to get. Since my life is so bad and sad I didn't want to use it on something that would just go away quickly, like food. These days, particularly as more time goes on, when I do get gift money I try to spend it on something that is more likely to last. It may wind up going into storage pretty quickly after I finish the games, but hopefully it will be one of a few things I can look forward to unpacking. And, in the meantime, maybe it can help improve my enjoyment a bit.

There was a creepy guy who was probably drunk here today. While he did buy a small soup, I'm pretty sure he was homeless, as his shirts and socks were pretty ragged. He swayed a bit as he sat. His head seemed to randomly bob around now and then. And I wondered if he was talking to the football players on the screen. He left and came back once, and when he did I saw an overly large silver can hidden in a paper bag. He stole food people had left a few times. But he was being creepy about it, staring their direction when they were nearing being done, or were done but not yet leaving, kind of like a crow may stare at people at a park. I don't really blame him for taking food. If he needs it he needs it, and there is tons of food wasted daily.

And again I wonder... is that how I'm going to wind up? Will I be that guy in a few years? I try to keep up hope. I try to think about the people I do talk to and see online. A few have helped me in my hard times in the past, and with getting a laptop, and recently car money. But I always wonder... do they really genuinely care? Or do they just feel sad and when I am gone will I be quickly forgotten?

If you have loved ones and close friends hold on to them and let them know they matter. There are people in the world who feel so alone and don't have those kinds of friends or loved ones. And I am one of them.

Day 1294 - 1/16 - Eve of a car?

Today was odd. I had no work in the evening due to the holiday. I actually kind of forgot it was Monday. It pretty much played out like a Sunday. In the morning I put the finishing touches on podcast 39 and decided to post it early. For some reason iTunes isn't seeing it. It may be because it was dated for release two days from now. In the past it's always shown right up, even though it was posted sometimes almost 24 hours before its date. If it's not up by tomorrow something may be up and I may have to give a call to my ISP. The podcast itself links correctly, but if there is weirdness with the rss then anyone who subscribes wouldn't see it.

In the early afternoon I decided to call on a car that was posted that I left a reply for yesterday. It actually hasn't sold yet. (Probably mostly due to the fact that it's a stick with manual steering and >240k miles on it more than anything.) I have a meeting to see it tomorrow sometime after class, and the guy knows I can only offer $1500-1600 of his $1800 asking price. We'll see. It's a totally cute type with a small soft top section in back. It's similar to my previous trackers, but with more hard top area. I remain hopeful, but curious why it hasn't sold yet. It is right at a fair blue book value even for that mileage at $1800. Several cute cars of that type have been rapidly snatched up in the past months that I've been looking. If I do give him $1600 food is going to be very tight. I'll have to spend most of what I have left on registration (I'm guessing ~$75-100) and a parking permit ($15), and need at least a bit for gas. I'll be left with just about the bare minimal amount for food until my next paycheck, with less than zero wiggle room for the next 3 or so weeks.

So, that was really my day. Different. Odd. Unusual in some ways. But most things are left until tomorrow to reveal if they will or will not turn out for the best.

Day 1295 - 1/17 - Fail car sale

As I kind of expected, the car purchase didn't happen. As we got closer and closer things got weirder. First, the car is at >240k miles, which is a ton of miles. Most don't get much past 150k. So already it's in questionable condition, as he'd have to take perfect care of it to be fine with that many miles. Also, the pictures are all of the outside of the car, and taken at a repair/smog shop, so that's doubly questionable. And it's not smogged yet. He said he would smog it yesterday when I called, so I'm like ok the bank is closed anyways. But when I call today he's like, "Do you have the money? Cash? We have to do all this paperwork." I get the feeling he seems very over-eager. I ask 'what paperwork?', as there should only be two papers involved that takes about five minutes. And he gives the impression it's more than a title and receipt, saying we need to make copies and all this other stuff. Apparently it's in his mom's name, and I'm fine with that. I'm fine with him selling it for her. But now he said that it's not really. That the title is in his name, but he never filed it, and it's due in a month. So, not in his name at all, not in his name legally but supposedly it's transferred to him (here in CA you must file within 5 days of a change), parked at a shop instead of a home, this all seemed way too suspicious as I got deeper into investigation.

So, it seems I'm back to zero on a car. In this case I'm sad because it was one of the cute types that would make me very happy, but at >240k miles, and the other suspicious activity, it was probably the safest bet to pass.

I guess the rest of my day is ok. I got a new game demo that's awesome. It's perfect for using a gamepad. Class was ok, but it does seem like the difficulty will ramp up pretty quickly. I was looking ahead in the reading a bit and got so very lost. I'll just take it slow with lecture and do the extra homeworks and see how it goes.

I guess I feel ok. Things are... chaotic... but tolerably balanced. Well, most things are. I guess at least, as terrible as it is, I have a survivable routine.

Week 186

Day 1296 - 1/18 - Return to sad

Today was pretty sad. I didn't do the school practice work I was expecting to do. I was too sad. I guess I got my hopes up pretty high with the car being one of the types that are my favorite and the guy coming down to my price range. Now that he was weird and it fell through and I'm back to where I was I'm sad again. I can't go back on things though. If it were to be undone he would have to come to me and answer why it was not kept at his house, why did he not offer to meet after his work hours in the evening when he wouldn't be pressed for time, and why did his mom transfer the title to him but he never legally filed the transfer. Even answering those questions, with registration due in only one month that means I'd have about $100 less to offer.

I got a chance to play the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo, which I thought was awesome. It is very much a console game. I would likely have found it frustrating without a gamepad to play with. Combat is just too quick paced. Playing the demo was really the highlight of my day. There was maybe one car ad I replied to. I don't even clearly remember if that was today or yesterday. But I was too sad and depressed about no car, the increasing cold, and my very poor health to do the school practice lab stuff. Hopefully I'll feel a bit better and do it tomorrow. In a home I could have done it. It wouldn't have been that bad in a controlled and not time restricted environment. But with all my restrictions, all my limitations on where and when I can be, how late I can be up and access stuff, how late I can be out before I get too cold and must hide in a sanctuary... my life again feels very restricted, without options, and like I will never recover.

Day 1297 - 1/19 - Nice comments

Today was... better. I had some nice comments and interactions from/with people, so I was in a bit better spirits. I decided that my Tuesday and Thursday mornings will likely be in the computer building lab. Their wireless is more reliable than the library, and if I need to I can use the computers that have access to my assignment stuff. I struggled a bit on some of the lab stuff, but once I had the comment syntax for what I needed the rest flowed pretty easily. After class I spent some time and got caught up on my other class stuff too. So, not counting reading for the html class yet, I'm all caught up. If my mood holds I'll probably do some or all of next week's stuff over the weekend.

There are still no cars. Being back to square zero I've no leads on anything. At this point I'm fine with it. That car would have drained me to very dangerously low levels, and in a few weeks I'll have a lot more flexibility after getting my tax return. Hopefully I'll get my thing so I can do that soon. I don't have it yet. It normally goes out around the 15th, so it should be in my hands any day now, and after that I can bang it out online in about an hour.

I guess that's it for my day. Nothing really special happened, but I suppose I feel a touch less sad, and that is something these days.

Day 1298 - 1/20 - Digital phoenix

Today was pretty good I think. The time before work seemed to pass by quickly. I watched a show, checked news, had to do a stupid thing for school (stupid because the class is not being run like every other online class), and checked for cars and jobs.

I didn't play my games at all today, come to think of it, which is extremely rare for me. At work I watched a movie and edited podcast 40. There were no kids before my shift, so I actually had plenty of time to do podcasting. To my surprise not only did I talk about what I had notes on, but I thought up a few extra things to talk about. It's not quite done being edited, but I expect in the time during the morning that I am firewall blocked I should be able to finish the editing and put the tags on. Hopefully it will rise from the digital ashes of the last a beautiful phoenix.

Today seems like just another reminder that for whatever reason the things I am good at and really passionate about are not the things I am paid to do, nor the things I have the most freedom to do. Maybe someday that will change.

Day 1299 - 1/21 - Pee and sit-ups

Not much to today. I spent a bit of it finishng podcast 40 and posting it. I had to keep re-checking because iTunes didn't show it immediately again. As of my last check, some 9 hours after my original posting of it, it still didn't show up on the network. The only thing I suppose of real interest today is I've started a 'pee and sit-up' policy to try and do some exercise. I'm going to try and remember to do 5 situps when I go pee. Of course I can't do this in most of the locations I travel, but I can at the restaurant and work, as they have carpeted areas that wouldn't be too dirty or icky to do sit-ups on. I'm so terribly out of shape that I can't even do full sit-ups. They are half sit-ups. Well, without being able to do my 'light saber training' that I wanted to do after work, this is about the next best thing in terms of linking something to something that I will hopefully remember to do.

Overall today though I was pretty sad. It was pouring rain al last night. I got rained on a bit (last night). I was somewhat chilly most of the day. Of course I was out in loud public areas. My tummy was... upset ... with lunch. And I just wasn't really in the mood to play my online game. I did for a bit, but I just wasn't into it, so I left early. I hope my days ahead will be happier, but as always, the longer this continues the less likely it seems that it will ever get better.

Day 1300 - 1/22 - Terrible dreams

Today was odd. Last night I had terrible dreams about being homeless all night. And I mean that literally. There were at least three different dreams that I remember. I was groggy and out of it all day because of it. It was one of those days you just can't shake the feeling that you didn't really sleep. Although, I do have to admit that a night of sleep with terribly sad dreams is much better than being so afraid or so cold that I couldn't sleep at all. Both of those are not so far in my past that I do still very clearly remember them. Though I fear I will likely have these kinds of dreams for years after I'm back in a home.

Most of my day I don't clearly remember. I do remember doing half of the lab work for next week. I had to stop due to not knowing the syntax to continue. I watched several shows. And I played my game for a few hours. Again I just wasn't really feeling all that into it. Now that it's turned to whack-a-mole I'm losing interest pretty quickly. I really dislike playing the hotkeys instead of the game.

I feel kind of bad today too. There is a weakness in my chest, near my heart. I feel exhausted, but I'm not sleepy. It's probably just bad blood pressure and continually bad health. I think too it's sadness. Sadness about not having a real life, possibly not having one ever again, and being so very alone physically (and to a great degree mentally).

Day 1301 - 1/23 - Dimes

Today was odd. Not really in any bad way, just in that I still feel really out of it from the bad dreams and odd sleep lately. I don't clearly remember the day. I watched shows, checked for cars, did online work, checked the next assignment for the dumb class, and had a work shift.

A few people have checked in with me lately as it were, so that's nice. I feel a bit more cared about. I have been very worried about me lately. I'm so sad and things seem so unchanging lately. To look at me though you'd never know. I'm a bit more listless, a bit quieter, playing games a bit less, but otherwise seem the same. I've never really had anyone in my life that checked in with me when I seemed off. I was always the empathic one of... well, everyone I knew. Noone else seemed to 'play that part'.

I've found dimes lately. I found one about two days ago, yesterday, and today I found a dime and a quarter. It is likely just coincidence, but it seems very weird that it has always been a dime, and that it happened several times in a row when I can't remember the last time I found money on the ground.

I guess that's it. I feel strange now though. As if something's changed, but I don't know what. I don't feel bad or sick, or like my world will end. I guess all I can say is it feels like the world has shifted around me. Like I'm slightly different and this version of me has three shows that are different and three blue shirts instead of only one, maybe that the busses have an orange stripe instead of the blue. Most of the time these feelings pass uneventfully and nothing has really changed around me that will reveal itself later. I expect this time will be no different. I suppose overall it doesn't matter. I'm still very sad. I still have a sad life. Nothing in it has changed from yesterday, and likely tomorrow will be no different. I suppose though it has thrown me off just enough that I am distracted. And I suppose that is something, as I am not quite so sad as I have been lately.

Day 1302 - 1/24 - Feeling a bit normal

Today I guess I'm feeling a bit more normal. I got better sleep, so that helps, but I'm still in a haze. I did some school stuff and had class. In class others were confused about what I was confused about, so that made me feel normal. There is a lab due Friday, which I think I was the first to do it, which seems odd. A cutie was out last time, so I had printed a copy of my notes for that day and gave them to her. It was hardly anything but she seemed really surprised and super grateful and was all smiley . I chatted with my in class friend a bit, and there are other gamers in the class, so we kind of chatted. We were all pretty tired and out of it, so mostly we were more quiet than not.

It's late afternoon / early evening and I am settled in at the less expensive restaurant. The manager was like, "Where were you? You gotta call when you are going to be late. We worry about you." I know he was probably more kidding than not, but still.

I guess nothing remarkable changed this week. It was basically the same as the last. If anything I was more sad than not. The weather is warming up and people do seem to worry about me, so I guess I feel a little better about things turning out ok someday. And I guess that is something.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2012
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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