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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 187

Day 1303 - 1/25 - Not having fun

Today was very strange. It started with laundry, which didn't drain right, so I needed to spend an extra $1 being sure my cloths all dried properly. I'm so looking forward to going back to my laundry near work where they have better machines. I'm tired of this place with worse machines that cost more just because it's on the way for my bus route. I was in my usual spot for the day and I was visited by the friend that I do online work for. We chatted very briefly about the online work but mostly I think she was checking in with me. She seemed to have sad pauses when asking about where I was spending my time. I think, if she didn't have a youngling (he's like 2 or 3) she would probably convince her husband to let me have some crash space. That's nice to know she worries about me. I played my beta for a bit and checked for cars.

I tried to play my game for a bit, but I just didn't enjoy my time. I am really losing interest in how it plays now that I'm higher level. So many MMOGs turn to this style, but it's sad that it has since it started out so differently. I don't know how much longer I can continue to play since the enjoyment is becoming lower and lower the higher level I get.

I guess that was really my day. Oh, I did most of my taxes, but it seems I'm probably getting $150 less than I have the past few years, despite my earning less. (I got around 9.5k vs. the 10.25k of last year.) So that was pretty sad to see since it means I'll have, at most, a few hundred to add to my car search and just about zero for other things that might come up.

As always, it seems all I can do is hope that tomorrow is a better day.

Day 1304 - 1/26 - Sad trap

Today I feel kind of sad. I think it's because I'm feeling more trapped than usual. Class was pretty good, but when I tried to do my online class studying I was told they did not have the book in the library, nor any book close to it. So the lab for Saturday is going to be about a week late since it deals with code that I don't know. With a car I could get to the library tomorrow or Saturday morning, or even could have gone today, but without... I don't know that it's worth the walk to check. Yeah, I could look online to see what they have first, but if it's going to be late I may as well just buy one and wait a few days for it to get to me. I don't like this class. It's not fun. Even though the other one is pretty fun I'm only taking them because I have to try something. I have to keep going towards a new career. There were no jobs to apply to or cars to reply to either. So again, I'm trapped in that sense.

I got a chance to stretch out a bit and lay flat. Sheesh that was painful. My back is so constantly messed up that being flat hurts. How messed up is that? I can't remember the last time I could regularly lay flat and stretch. It had to be back during summer. I'll try to remember to do it more often, but I don't get many chances these days.

Someone did say thanks for linking their site, that they were a long time follower, and thanked me for everything I've done for the communities over the years. So that was nice and made me smile. I really need to update my system builds. I've been forgetting to keep an eye on my site lately. Nothing has really changed lately, but the builds are all old. There are new graphic cards coming, so I may wind up needing to change them pretty quick, but I try to do them every 2-3 months these days. I still wish more than anything I had enough money and freedom to live my rabb1t life; to check parts more frequently, to match to global prices/availability, to have boards at my house with projected launch calendars to remind me, to be able to cover conventions and events, to be able to test hardware both for checking my build recommendations and for answering questions other reviewers don't ask, but most of all to play games and have more exposure to talk about things and to verify and get a real feel for that fine line of exactly how various hardware does at various settings in different games and really maximize my recommendations.

But, it seems at least for now, I remain trapped. And my options and choices are not really mine to make.

Day 1305 - 1/27 - Tired

I'm so very tired today. I think it's mostly because I'm still having bad dreams and not sleeping well, but I'm also so very sad that a normal life seems so far off, and a happy rabb1t life (full time) seems so impossible.

I'm so tired of my online class teacher being stupid. Several email questions spammed me today. (For some reason we have to sign up for this thing that emails everyone instead of using an online forum like all the other online classes do.) She told me I can look things up online and don't need the book. Seriously? You have an assignment where you link example stuff and don't link a page that explains things? If I could drop it I would in a heartbeat. But I can't. I need to struggle through it to keep financial aid loans happy.

I'm so tired of taking busses everywhere. I lose hours of time every day. This morning I missed one and that lost even more time than usual. The other night one smelt like a fowled toilet. I had to keep my mouth and nose covered so that I couldn't smell whatever or whoever was making the smell.

I'm so tired of not being free to record my podcast when, where, and how I want. I had a big topic read to go, history, side points, and everything, and again I was completely blocked from recording today. Which effectively means the podcast will have to wait a full week longer, or I really can only record at school. With a car I could get to alternate locations on alternate days, but without, my options are just about zero.

I'm so tired of all the limitations of my sad life. *sniff* It makes me feel like crying because each day I feel more and more like I will never recover and I will meet a sad end.

Day 1306 - 1/28 - One wolf dead

Today I got an odd item for taxes. One of the wolves (ex-creditors) has suffered permadeath (canceled my debt) and I guess I need to report that as extra income, which is nearly $3k. It shouldn't change anything, as it isn't taxable income, and there is a form to subtract stuff that I owe from stuff I have and if it's below a certain amount I don't owe anything on it. Considering just student loans I owe are nearly $70k I think I'll be fine.

There is a super cute good car up on the boards lately, but he's asking nearly $2k. I'd be pushing things if I offered even just $1500. Things keep draining me down (basically school, having not car expenses, and other life stuff), so I'm down a few hundred from where I was originally. After my taxes (if they do remain unchanged) I will still only be up to about $1700. I sent him two messages now, but only being 75% what he's asking for the car it's unlikely he'll reply. I don't know though, he has posted it twice now in three days. Maybe a miracle will happen.

That's really all for my day. I sat and watched shows and played some games. The people at the restaurant were super nice, and I think it's actually as weird for them to not see me there as it is for me to not be there. I don't like being there so much, it's not what normal people do, but I really don't have much choice. They have the best internet connection, food that's reasonably affordable, and they are easy to get to by bus.

An online friend just bought a pretty redonculous system. It is in many ways over my highest rank system (triple monitor, and he spent double the money on CPU and motherboard.) He said that in one test he did it rated at over 100 FPS at high settings. He's got a pretty awesome life. He's happily married, has some little ones, and has a job that seems to pay him pretty well (he goes to football stuff in addition to gaming). I'm glad to know he's doing well and succeeded in life. But it makes me wonder. How far off am I from such a life? I'm pretty sure I'm a few years older, certainly older than most start a family and have kids, some my age even have newborn grandchildren. Will I ever see such a life? Will I ever be able to build any new desktop systems for myself ever again? Will I recover at all? Lately it seems unlikely and that I'll never recover at the rate I'm going.

Day 1307 - 1/29 - rabb1t life for a day

Today I kind of lived a rabb1t life or most of the day. In the morning I was talking with people about a build I helped someone do and I was reminded that I wanted to do the system recommendations for February. I spent about 4 hours going over those, checking links, updating links, and adjusting the builds in a few parts (hard drive prices have really spiked on the low end due to some shortage.) It made me feel pretty good and pretty happy knowing I'm doing research and recommendations that hopefully people find useful.

Before that I did something I hadn't done in I guess 1.25 years. I kind of forgot about my "game watch", where I go in depth on a game that may not be getting as much hype or press. I kind of have been talking about games that interest me on my podcast and Facebook, but the game watch was designed to go deeper, be more objective, and talk about why it would succeed or fail based on the developer and the industry. I've been more opinionated or talk about how it relates to just my interests, so I think it's important to bring it back. I also will put it on my podcast, though at both my site and my podcast it will likely still be a rare feature as most games do get tons of coverage.

So, for most of the day I was as happy as a rabb1t can be. But now, now I am sad. My heart hurts again. I am cold. I am hiding in the dark. It's very very quiet, which is nice, but sad because it must be quiet, not because I'd like it to be. And all that there is of my life is sadness, worry, feeling very out of place, and the fear that I may never recover again.

Day 1308 - 1/30 - Seven

Today I feel a touch better about my bad health. I discovered that I can not only do full sit-ups, but I can also do seven instead of five. So that's something. It's still not great. Back before I was homeless I was doing sets of 15 about twice every few days, plus push-ups, plus sideways sit-ups on each side, plus thrusting things, plus general stretching of my parts.

A regular life in all aspects seems such a distant memory now. I still do many of the things as before, but I have to do them so differently. Remembering things I used to do every few days or weekly, like shop for food, is such a distant memory I would likely forget half the stuff I need. I'm so very tired today. And my throat is all scratchy. I don't know if it's because I did so much podcasting all at once this morning or if I'm catching a cold. Since I'm so tired, and have a headache lately, it's more likely to be a cold.

Nothing super special happened today. An ex-guildie/friend checked in to see if I was ok, but that was really it besides trying to do my podcasting in the morning (because my one chance I had at the regular location wasn't able to happen.)

Day 1309 - 1/31 - Just a guy

Today, at least for now, the early afternoon, I feel like just a guy. Mostly. I did start the day doing some rabb1t things with finishing podcast 41, but during class time I was just a guy. My class friend and I chatted about the cute girls. We chatted with another guy about game stuff. I knew some answers. I blew some answers. I helped a few people on their labs during the break. I gave some people some cough drops and shared some lols because they are nice berry flavors instead of the normal kind I find too harsh. And after class my class friend followed me to the bus stop and we chatted for a bit more about gaming stuff.

But now I am back to the homeless me time. I'll try to stay happy and be just a guy, but as the night goes on I will be more and more the homeless sad me.

But, at least for a brief while I was sort of social, just like normal people, and just a guy.

Week 188

Day 1310 - 2/1 - Worried, but hopeful

Today I am worried, but hopeful. This morning I was sort of caught in one of my sanctuaries. It should be fine. It appeared like I was looking for something where it was ok for me to be, it was just at an unusual time. Nothing odd happened because of it at the time, and it should pass by quickly forgotten, but it was another reminder that my life is not safe. My life is not in control. And that it is only a matter of time before things must change.

I am hopeful things will get better though. I've been watching the Penny Arcade shows, and while they are about special events are really stories about the two founders and their hard and troubled past. They did what they enjoyed and through all their sad past they endured, and they are ok now. They are really the kind of guys who a success story like that only happens once in a generation, but hearing that their past is sad like mine, that they are doing ok now... it gives me hope that maybe someday I can be ok too. Just like their show, I hope my story can someday show others that one may feel alone in our troubles, but we really aren't alone. Our pain and our troubles are similar to others, even though there are times we feel very alone and isolated when they are happening.

Day 1311 - 2/2 - Go eat something

Today was an average school day for the most part I guess. I got to school and did some homework stuff in the morning. I played for a bit before class. I talked gaming stuff with the class friend. He hadn't eaten at all when he found me before class at like 12:30. I guess he didn't want to eat alone and none of his friends wanted to eat. I'm like 'psh, don't be silly. Come on, let's go get you some food. It takes like 2 minutes to walk to the cafeteria.' I guess he'd never been there. It's the building right next to the one we have class in. I was like, 'here's pizza, and here's Chinese food, and Mexican food...' And when we sad down he was eating super fast and burning himself from it because it had just come out of the oven. I'm like, 'Calm down spaz. We have like 20 minutes before class. Let it cool off for a minute or two, sheesh.' After class he was asking what I did and where I went after class. I told him about the restaurant and he asked, "Don't you ever go home?" And I was like, 'uhhhh... no.' I pointed him to more podcast listening, as he'd only listened to the most recent one. I didn't want to flat out tell him about my sad life because I don't want things to be weird. Those times around class where people are chatting is really the only time I feel fully normal. The rest of my days something is almost always reminding me that I'm homeless and my life is not what it should be.

There was a car to reply to and it was awesome. But, it's currently out of my price range. With my tax money it wouldn't be, but it isn't here yet. I sent a reply saying I was very interested, but the odds were not good that they would be willing to hold it, and it more than likely will sell in a day or less. So sad because it would have made me a very happy bunny again to have a super cute/fun car that wasn't broken or ugly.

I do have a special voice work project for Jenesee. So hopefully I'll have my window to do that tomorrow. If not I'm guaranteed one Sunday before an extra shift I'm working. But my window on Sunday will be small, I won't have much time.

As always life seems to be out of reach and I am unable to change it for the better. All I can do is make the best of what little of my life I can hang on to.

Day 1312 - 2/3 - Imagination

Today I feel pretty good I guess. I had an ok time in the morning and during lunch, and in the evening before work I had time to do podcasting and get a shower.

I think I did a pretty good job for Jenesee's podcast. She asked me to do some announcer guy type voice stuff for a new co-host she has. I came up with 38 sayings for it. I also did it in a way that most of those can be mixed and matched. I guess we'll see if she likes them probably tomorrow. I think I did what she was thinking of. Asking someone to do something creative is always tricky because you have this image in your head and the artist's vision may or may not match your vision. So hopefully I got close enough to her idea that some of them at least will be useable.

This was really my day. Not a lot to it, but I suppose it wasn't bad and nothing got worse.

Day 1313 - 2/4 - A sad surrender

Today started out good, but wound up being very very sad. I got word from Jenesse that she and her hubbie totally loved the voice work stuff I did for her. She said for like 5 minutes they were laughing and laughing listening to some of them. So, that makes me super happy it was both what she was hoping for and that she liked them and laughed.

I decided to check in if my tax monies have come yet, and it was a nice surprise that it has. I called a car person from the Thursday ad. It was a super cute little tracker just like my previous three I had that died. As I expected though, between my asking if they would hold it on Thursday and today it sold. I was very sad. I was cleaning out some files and decided to delete my pictures of my last one. No need to keep the pitures since I've never heard back from the guy that bought it months ago. I shed a tear for my cars that I loved being lost, and for losing a chance at a new one. They are so very rare it could be a long time since I see another with low miles and isn't broken like that one, if I do at all. If I had another $800 or so to look up to the $2500 range I'd be much more likely to find something in good condition like that, but in the range I'm looking I'm restricted to broken or super high mileage stuff.

After that sadness I got more sadness because this stupid online class I have an assignment for, where I followed the directions exactly, was returned and the teacher said this and this were wrong. I got frustrated by going in circles for an hour before giving up and sending her a message back saying I'd followed her directions exactly and didn't know what was wrong and why it wasn't working. She replied again with a line or two saying to try removing x, when x was exactly what her directions said to put in. I'm so sick of that class. I hate it. There are basically no directions. It's like if I wanted to get a book and learn something on my own I wouldn't need a stupid three unit class to do it. Seriously, I'm learning nothing in it and it's just stressing me out and eating up time.

And after that one of the followers of my site sent an email basically telling me what to do and how to live my life. It's like, I appreciate the thoughts, as I know they are trying to help, but I'm not going to abandon who I am and go live like a gypsy. That's not who I am, not what I want, and while that may have worked for him with his connections that helped him get out of being fully homeless, if I wanted to do that I'd have done it already. I really can't say enough how much people telling me what to do bugs me. My ex-roomie used to do that and bug me about job searching, but she went all of 2010 and half of 2011 without a job before deciding to work for herself. It's like, if her method of job searching is so much better, why is it she was out of work for over a year when she has 10+ years of experience in her field? Maybe my search methods back in those final days weren't so wrong after all. And visitors to my work site who are friendly with me sometimes ask how the search is going, then proceed to tell me how to look for a car and what to buy.

It really irks me when people try to help, but what they are really doing is just telling people what they are doing is wrong and they should do it this other way that worked for them without seemingly considering that the person they are talking to is not them. I don't know, maybe this is why I fail so much. But I am me. I know what I like. I know what I want. There is only so much less I will settle for. To settle for less than that would make me not me. I would not be happy, and more than anything I would be miserable because then I would be someone else, living someone else's life.

I want to be me. I want to be proud and happy to be me, with my choices. I may never get to be 100% me ever again, but I'm not going to wipe it all away and not at least try to get some of me back while holding on to what little of me is left.

Day 1314 - 2/5 - Not giving up

Today I'm still very sad about the person telling me I should sell all my stuff and give up. I knew he meant it in a way that was designed to maximize money savings so I could, in theory, recover faster. But I think if I didn't have my job, didn't have my stuff waiting for me in storage where I can visit it and swap things out, if I only had one bag of cloths and nothing else... I don't think that would be a hole I could ever get out of. I think too much of me would be gone. I think there would not be enough left to hang on physically, or emotionally. I may, someday, have no choice in the matter, but as long as I have a choice I choose to cling to the ashes and crumbs that remain of what was once my life.

Day 1315 - 2/6 - The test drive

Today was a bit unusual. This morning I decided I would get candies for this year's roses. In recent times I'd been feeling like I wouldn't, like it doesn't matter since noone has shown any interest in me in, well, now more than 10 years. I decided to be minimal and only spent $10. The cuties I will be giving the candies too basically ignore me. One is the one who said she liked my bunny, and two are from the restaurant (I know one likely has a boyfriend and I've flirted with the other with no response.) During work I put those packets together.

My day got pretty crazy in the afternoon. I saw a cute tracker up and contacted the guy. He said someone was coming up to look at it from Santa Cruz (about 30-45 min through the windiest most dangerous hill drive around here), but I would be 'next' (my words) and maybe we could meet later in the day. He called a bit later and said he would drive over. Woot. That was like a 30-45 minute drive for him. And, he had it posted at $1,800, which was 20% over perfect condition value, but he agreed that $1700 would be ok. He answered my other questions, and it seemed like an ok deal (though still considerably over the high blue book value.) We agreed to meet. A few hours later I went and took the money out from the bank. We met up, but then things got questionable. The front license was off, which was not a huge deal, but odd. The back soft top wasn't sitting right. One strong rain and enough water would get in to possibly ruin the entire interior of the car. Replacing the soft top would be a $150-300 item depending. (Closer to $500-800 for a hard top, which are rare to find.) The seats were old and faded, and one was ripped with a like 8" long rip. There was no stereo at all. The car was far from perfect blue book value. At most something in its condition is worth about $1,200. But, because I miss my cute tracker so much I said, "Let's go for a test drive." It's been so long since I've driven, and every stick is different, that I was over revving. Normally this isn't an issue, but when we stopped I could hear the reflection of the engine off of other cars and it was like, 'puh ptth puh pop puh pop.' Normally the speed and state of the engine stopped, having the engine rev a bit and the clutch barely out, it would go, 'ptta ptta ptta ptta', and it would just cycle faster or slower smoothly depending. This one was erratic, which had very soft popping mixed in. It was not smooth, nor solid. However, it was barely audible, and I have excellent ears, so I trusted his statement that he had never noticed before. I questioned its history. Apparently he got this for his daughter, but she didn't like the stick, so he was selling it after only having it a few months, and he didn't know the history of the previous owner. So he had no idea if the engine was having compression issues, when the last oil change or tune-up was, or anything. That was it... questionable performance (very early signs of something that might have been what killed my last car), a top that would be $150-300 to replace, moderate tires (another $200 to replace), no stereo (where did it go?), bad seats (I'd guess $150 minimum to replace), plus it was over even perfect condition rating for blue book. So I said, 'Sorry you guys drove so far, but I can't trust this without a mechanic certificate saying the engine is ok.' We'll see if he gets a certificate (likely $75-150 for an inspection), but since they made no mention of the length of ownership in the ad, since the top was not in the pictures, I have a feeling he was really aware of these issues and just trying to dump it before it dies on someone who is... less knowledgeable about the details of these cars. If I hadn't previously owned several I'm sure I wouldn't have known any of those (well, accept maybe the seats, which is pretty obviously not in good condition.)

I guess overall though I feel ok about it. I would rather save my and donators money during fair weather times than put it at risk by buying something that is questionable.

It's the eve before Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning comes out. I've had hours to kill here at work, but no desire to play other games. I'm super excited that it should be here in the morning. (I think around 10.)

Guess that's it for today. I'm so exhaustedly tired. I haven't been sleeping well lately, bad dreams, and it's taking me longer to get to sleep than it should.

Day 1316 - 2/7 - Smiling girls

Today was actually pretty good, though technically I suppose there is a decent amount of hours left before it's really over. I waited for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in the morning at the ex-house. It took forever to get there. Normally packages get there at 10, but it didn't show up until nearly 11:30. The time before class was lost waiting. I'm now installing it after class. (The school firewall blocked doing it during class.)

I gave out my candies to the two cuties in class. One was like, 'ooooh candy ', and later I heard her from my spot allll the way across the room talking to someone saying it was 'candy for Valentine's Day. '. She smiled and waved and said thanks again when I peeked over. The other cutie showed up pretty late, so I had to wait until class was nearly over to give her hers, but after she was like, 'are these all for me ?' And I said, 'Yeah, well, unless you are allergic to chocolate or peanuts.' She said, "I looooovvvveee chocolate ," and we talked for a minute about how she's allergic to flowers, but nothing else.

The game is only 28% done loading, so I have a bit before it's ready, but today I have a fun new game, I made cuties smile, and I am a bit smiley, so today is pretty good.

Oh, PS, it poured rain pretty heavily last night. Had I gotten that car it more than likely would have gotten pretty wet in back, so it seems Fate approves of my decision.

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

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