PC talk system recommendations blog Facebook YouTube articles and guides links bio
game screensots rabb1t's ramblings podcast email
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 193

Day 1345 - 3/7 - Dashed hopes

Today was very sad. It was my mid-week break, one of the few days I reserve towards mostly resting and doing a bit of studying (but only when I'm in the mood.) But it seems it was not to be. As what seems usual for my life my new game is broken. I played multiplayer for hours last night without issue. I played the demo of multiplayer for several days without issue. But when I tried today the system locked up. And locked up on a second attempt. And a third. I tried single player and it works 100% fine. I tried updating my graphic card drivers (again) and they locked up the system just like the last time I tried to update them. (Though the drivers now show a February 2012 date instead of 2009, so that's good. I'm ok with the overall software being unchanged as long as the actual driver is recent.) But there was no change. I tried dropping firewalls and it still locked up. I tried doing a system clean to wipe out temporary files and it still locked up.

It makes no sense at all. It worked fine last night and before. Single player works fine. The only thing that changed on the system was an auto-update. While I could roll the system back to before the update, then what? I can't not ever let it update, which it just about immediately would try to do unless I disabled it.

My only chance at happy online play with my friends is to do a complete file check. Which, if it has to download everything all over again means I'm looking at several days of it running the download. Even then from its symptoms I am doubtful it will be fixed. Unless single player and multiplayer .exe files are separate, and somehow only the multiplayer one got current since I played last night I don't see how it would be fixed.

I don't understand why I am the only one with these problems. (There are like six other posts about it total which are close to my issue.) I don't understand why I can't have at least a somewhat normal life. I don't understand why every time things start to even slightly get better for me it gets pooped on.

Day 1346 - 3/8 - Phew, fixed

Today I feel a lot happier. This morning I tried to do some podcasting, but the program locked up. While upsetting and stressful, it indicated that the issue was possibly with the sound chip. I disabled the sound chip and tried again. The podcasting program worked. It only let me record one track, as it complained it didn't see a sound device after that. While I didn't get as much podcasting done as I would have liked it confirmed the issue was somehow related to sound. The sound chip drivers are from before 2010, so that was pretty ridiculous (particularly since I bought the system in early 2011.) Once I was in class I could check for newer drivers. They were still pretty old, showing a date of early 2011, but they seem to have done the trick. I got to play for a few hours with my online friends in my new game.

I had a decent time with my class friend too. He was hesitant about following me to the restaurant. I guess he had guilt about last week. I was like, 'Yeah, you promised to shoosh and you talked the whole time.' He was pretty good this time. He wasn't shoohed the whole time, but shooshed enough.

I guess that was really it. The rest of my day was basic. No cars to reply to, nor any responses on jobs. I feel a lot better now that my system is working again, but it is just a reminder it could go at any time. I could lose all my rabb1t data and access to my games. I'm going to run an important backup tomorrow. It's been a while. As to getting out of being homeless to not be in such a high risk category... well, as always, that I seemingly have no ability to change and no control over.

Day 1347 - 3/9 - Weekly now

Today was mostly a blur. I had a pretty good time in the morning playing my games, watching some shows, and checking on what classes I can/need to take next semester. Before work I got a chance to do some podcasting, and podcast 46 hit a new record in that it is the longest yet before editing (at around 46 minutes oddly enough.) There was a lot more dead air than usual, but it's still something around 35 minutes edited, which is still longer than my usual ones. So, this is about the third time in a row it's been weekly. I'm still not sure how long I can keep this up since I've so little going on, but I actually had stuff jotted down I didn't talk about yet, so things are looking good for next week being in a week. I guess we'll see.

Day 1348 - 3/10 - Different game sweetie

Today was pretty fun. I decided to blow of the class that has dumb assignments and I'll do them later. I suppose I should be careful not to forget to do the assignment for the class I like. There's one due for that too.

I played my game all day. Mostly I did single player. I have an in-game sweetie now so that's fun, yeaaa for love. It's odd though because in previous games I had different sweeties, but since I didn't carry over the save game it's like it never happened. Also, they treat you pretty much like nothing happened in most situations, which is always odd. It's like a few key points have any different conversations. It's nice to be able to do that though. It is strange though that the conversation choices don't show a detailed outcome. In the second game you could easily pursue choices that turned out differently than expected. It seems so strange that possibility still exists instead of using more detailed systems as they have in other games they've made.

I did some multiplayer and it was a mixed bag. Some experiences were just not worth my time. Some were good, and one was not too my liking, but more puzzling than anything. These guys were selecting a specific map and specific group to fight against and doing the hardest setting, and had apparently been repeatedly doing that for the past 2+ hours. It's basically like they were cheating. Two of the players were a class that could make the enemy fight themselves, so they were basically making the bad guys kill like 90% of their own guys. It seems like they were sort of exploiting and not really playing the game the way it was meant to be played. It would be like if you challenged someone to chess, then said, 'oh, by the way, you only get 20% of your guys and this grand master is going to be playing in my place, and the only work I'm going to do is tell them when it's their turn.' I really hope the developers find out that is going on and they patch something to prevent that. Maybe something as simple as 'all gold level difficulty games must be on random maps with random enemies.' Though that's still a 1 in 6 chance for the map and 1 in 3 for enemy type. Ah well.

Overall today was pretty fun. Would it have been what I did if I were in a home? Absolutely not. I'd have showered, had breakfast, probably done some school work, maybe done some stretching or a small workout, and probably watched some kind of movie during a dinner that I cooked. I suppose, as different as it was, it may have been one of the better days I could have had in this sad homeless life. I guess that's something.

Day 1349 - 3/11 - Waiting

Today was pretty good despite being so lonely. I basically spent the day playing my game, both online and off. I waited for the online friends to show up to play, but we never got together. I had an ok time with random games with strangers, but I'll likely stop doing that pretty soon. It's just a lot more fun with friends than with strangers.

That was really it for my day. There were no cars, and being the weekend there were no job postings.

More than anything today was like my others where I played and did stuff in a different order or under different conditions than I would have in a home. And more than anything I wished for the soft quiet comforts of having, at least, my own private room in a home. It seems such a simple thing, but it makes a world of difference and shapes your entire being. All the stress, physically and mentally, may someday be the end of me. My games and online friends help, but most days I feel like I'm barely hanging on.

Day 1350 - 3/12 - Surprise podcasting

Today was pretty sad, but turned out ok I suppose. The morning was decent enough. I felt pretty alone though, but that is really kind of expected as pretty much everyone works in the morning and is not online. The bus to work was delayed due to some traffic, and while sitting in traffic it made me sad about my life; about needing to take the bus, about working different hours than others, about not being able after work to just drive back to a warm home, soft bed, and waiting system to play on.

Work started out with a nice surprise. It looks like there are some groups not showing up anymore. So I had a 3 hour chunk of noise free time. Some school people left late, and people for the later slot showed up early, but it left me with a surprise window of about 1.5 hours to do podcasting. It made me super happy, and I even made some surprise silly voice work for a friend. But it also made me sad. Again it reminded me this is how I have to podcast. I can't do it anytime I want. If I could, these bits would have been done already.

As it seems so often lately, today seemed a reminder of what is missing in my life, and that control and ability to change remains out of my hands.

Day 1351 - 3/13 - Unmoving

Today I am pretty sad. I had a good time with my class friend, but it seems everything else I've done has served as a reminder that my life is unmoving and unchanging, and that everything I do is because I have to do it, not because I want to. And the few things I can do that I genuinely want to do are limited. I see people talking about things that are changing or improving in their lives, yet mine stands still. I see people gaining new friends and making new connections, and while I've made a few it's at a far slower speed, barely moving forward, and the connections don't seem solid or like they are only a connection because another connection was made (a 'this person is only interacting with me because someone else that I know is and they know them' kind of thing.)

It's only later afternoon / early evening now. I still have time to play and for stuff to happen, but I doubt it will. Lately it seems that, even though I am sort of re-connecting with people, that those connections are really just serving as a reminder of what I don't have. Things I see or hear them talk about remind me of the things I wonder if I will ever have again. Things that are basic and commonplace for them are not part of my world, and limitations of my world are, in ways, inconceivable.

I try to hang on and be ok, but it is becoming more and more difficult as the days continue. Where once my days ended with a heavy sigh and simple hope that tomorrow will be a better day, my days now often end with worry and fear that, for me, tomorrow something may happen and it may be my last.

Week 194

Day 1352 - 3/14 - Hello old friend

Today was different. Probably not in a way where anything truly lasting will be affected, but different none the less.

Last night someone I haven't seen in about 15 years said he wanted to chat when I got the chance. It was good to chat and catch up a bit in an old school way, though we only talked for about 10 minutes. I was in the noisy restaurant and my phone connection is just poop overall. I guess he just wanted to mention that he missed me and has thought about me and has fond memories of when we were together. Though my memories of those days are pretty blurry, of the few months (?) he stayed at my place I do have half a dozen memories that have lasted all these years. In fact, some of those memories are among the strongest I have. One was a conversation while he was doing dishes. I forget what we were talking about, but I remember I reassured him that he was way more handsome and charismatic than he gave himself credit for. I remember he was so choked up he got a little misty, thanked me, and laughed. I guess his self confidence was pretty low at the time. But now things seem crazy. He has over 850 friends on Facebook and when we talked he said that's not even everyone he knows. So I guess things have changed.

Not too long ago I sent a series of messages to Jenesee. She was feeling pretty sad and unappreciated and generally off due to losing her sponsorship on her podcast. The messages were to convince her to make a wish list on Amazon. She finally did. She felt weird about mentioning it, so I made a public service type announcement to play on her podcasts. I didn't say anything, but I was certain the list would get a response, and that very likely a big something would be bought within a week. She made a post today thanking people for gifts. I was right. On her doorstep this morning was a big something.

So today it seemed that I got two indirect reminders that I can help people see that they do have an impact on people, and that may cause them to see something for years after. I know there are many more who's lives I've touched, and I always hope it's for the better.

Day 1353 - 3/15 - Maybe not as bad

Today turned out ok. The morning was a bit frustrating, as I had a lab thing due for my programming class and it wasn't working. It got partly sorted out before class with my in class friend, and then I stayed after to get help and it was quickly sorted out.

My weight may not be as bad as I thought. I checked when I made an appointment on Tuesday and after subtracting cloths weight I'm probably only about 215 lbs. I feel closer to 230 lbs, so that's good that I'm not as bad as I thought. Still, that's about 30 over average, and at least 20 over what I was before I lost the car this most recent time. My weight and blood pressure has shifted so much lately.

I also looked up the thing for my headphones and it was only $30, so I went ahead and ordered it. It's a USB thing, so my laptop should sound better overall, and it should be able to greatly reduce the background noise from voice chat, so my online friends shouldn't have to suffer through the incessant noise quite so much.

I think I have a cold. My throat is scratchy and my lungs feel congested and I'm sneezing now and then.

There were still no cars to reply to. They are still all broken in terms of the engine or have serious body damage. One odd one made me laugh pretty hard. The text read something like, "nothing wrong at all." Yet in the picture its front right corner was smashed up, and the hood and bumper were crinkled. Yeah, that "nothing" would have probably been $500-1000 in repairs by my guess.

I guess overall it was a good day, but again I wish I were in a home and could have done more school stuff that I needed to do, done more gaming with online friends instead of needing to leave, not tortured them with incessant background noise, and most of all, been able to eat healthier.

I guess, as usual, all I can do is hope tomorrow is a better day.

Day 1354 - 3/16 - Waiting for nothing

Today was ok, though it started out sad. I made my way to the ex-house to pick up the X-Fi Go and a movie, but after waiting 1.5 hours they hadn't shown up. I decided it wasting too much time and I gave up waiting.

I went to the restaurant and got a soup. I'm so sniffly and congested today. I only had a few hours since I lost so much time waiting, so I just grabbed my dumb assignment from online, had lunch, watched a show, played very briefly, then headed to work.

Evening work was uneventful, as usual. I got enough time before work to finish podcast 47. I spent most of the evening editing, making the page post, and checking it. I only had 45 minutes of my shift left over, so I've decided to postpone my dumb class assignments until Monday. I figure I can power through the two I'll be late on Monday and Tuesday, and hopefully basically complete what I need to do. With all the lost time from not having a car being motivated to do school work that I don't want to do has been very difficult.

It started pouring rain while I was at work. It was nice to see and hear. I wish I could have enjoyed it from the warmth of inside a home looking out at it. It's eased off now and the late night is quieting down.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 1355 - 3/17 - Forgetful lonely day

Today was pretty sad for me. It was raining last night, so I decided not to do laundry, which is very overdue. When I got to the restaurant I was so busy testing my new X-Fi Go that I completely forgot to post my podcast. I feel so terribly sad about it. I stayed a little longer than usual to try to get it posted and I did manage to get it posted in time to make the bus.

I still don't feel like doing the web class stuff, so I just played my game and watched shows. Even though we'd said that we would play together noone that I normally group with showed up. So I was sad and lonely. Playing online with strangers is fun enough, but since noone ever talks (since you'll likely never see that person again) it feels pretty lonely.

The saddest thing today is that my X-Fi Go made things sound worse. There was horrible distortion over the mic for some reason. So, after all that I'm going to wind up just returning it. And to make matters worse, for some reason my microphone, in general, seems to sound like a bad digital recording that's breaking up. I guess I never thought to test it because I have the podcasting microphone, but now that I did I feel bad because it not only sounds bad in general, but that means if anything did ever happen to my microphone this headset can't be used as a backup mic. It's sound is just terrible. I still have to get a car first, but now I have a very high need for a new headset because unless I do live happily ever after very soon, I will undoubtedly be using a headset for much of my gaming, possibly many years to come.

I suppose though, all things considered in my life, these troubles are really very small. And, as I wished for years, I am very happy to have these troubles and not still out in a parking lot staring at shoppers for 14 hours a day. At least now some of my troubles are normal gamer troubles.

Day 1356 - 3/18 - Overly aggressive noise filter

Today was ok, but again sad and lonely, and a day that reminded me I have limitations I would not otherwise have if not homeless.

I took an extra shift from someone, which is good in that it got me extra money, but sad because on a Sunday that means I lost about 2.5 hours extra going places on the bus (compared to what would otherwise be about 30 minutes by car.) People are still posting broken stuff that isn't worth the risk to buy.

I did some research on what I thought was my headphones being bad, but it seems that I've tracked down the real culprit - a poor quality noise reduction filter. It seems the recording conditions with the headset mic plug has to be almost perfect to sound good, or I have to turn off what a reviewer refers to as "an overly aggressive noise reduction filter". With the software filter turned off I do sound normal, not like poor digital quality. However, all of the background noise is much louder and there is an audible hiss from somewhere. So I assume that this means that no matter what I can't use that port for emergency podcasting if my USB podcasting mic were to die. I guess I could use my old netbook if I absolutely were in such a position, or try it with the filter off, but it's really lame that a gaming laptop has such a horrendous limitation. I guess the ok thing is was my online friends that I play with said that the background music is more bothersome than the digital quality and that overall it's "ok".

Speaking of my online friends that I play with... again they weren't around for some reason. I played online, but I was sad because I would have rather played with friends. Sadder too is that next school quarter I have no choice but to take the lamest time slot class ever. It's Tuesday and Thursday nights from like 6 to 8, so it effectively blocks out the time I could play with them, as that doesn't leave enough time to leave school and get somewhere to play even if I had a car. My only nights to play would be Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

*sigh* Again today seems another reminder of everything that is normal that I don't have. Although I prey I can someday return to a normal life it seems further and further off as time goes on, and that it will never again be more than a distant memory.

Day 1357 - 3/19 - Unexpected play

Today turned out pretty good. This morning started out disappointing, as I couldn't get my package returned. I needed to make an unexpected trip to print stuff, then I had no tape. I guess tomorrow I'll look for tape at the bookstore.

I was good and almost finished my homework that's overdue. I was happily wrong though. I'm not three assignments overdue, I'm only really one. I do need to do this one, one other, and the final though, so it's still three total. I shouldn't have much issue finishing by this weekend. The code for this one is all ready. I just need to grab text and stuff, which I still think should not be part of the class.

The evening turned out fun. I got a chance to do some podcasting. I had nothing prepared, but did about 10 minutes worth. Also, I got invited to play with my online friends. I said I had to work, but sometimes have ok bandwidth, so we'll see. To my surprise I had like the best bandwidth ever at work and I played almost totally trouble free. So, I got to spend fun time with my online friends. Yeeeaaa.

I guess that was really it for my day. It wasn't too bad, though I'm still pretty sick.

Day 1358 - 3/20 - Not so bad

Today was ok. The morning started slow. I was trying to do my overdue homeworks, but I was too sleepy and easily distracted. I did do some rabb1t site updates, so that was good. I wish I could have spent more time researching and updating, but I have too much to do these days. Class went ok, and I hung out with my in class friend a bit before class. As usual he was his usual 'train goes faster and faster until he crashes and wrecks, then starts over on a new track', but I'm putting in the seeds of beating him into shape into his brain. Hopefully as time goes on he settles and becomes a good person.

My blood pressure appointment was ok. It's not great, in the 140s / 90s range, but the doc isn't super worried considering all the extra bad and sad things I have going on in my life. She seems to think all the extra walking is good for me though, which my body seems to disagree with. I'd agree I need exercise, but I'd disagree walking on flat feet with an ankle that's still healing up from being broken is the way to go about it. Certainly not my choice to do so. We have an appointment set again in a week and we'll peek at how my blood pressure is going at that time. I don't expect it to change, but I think she's just worried that it may be getting progressively worse overall. She did say she was somewhat confident that if my life wasn't a total wreck, with proper sleep and decent diet I just may not need any meds to stay ok. So that was good to hear.

It's later afternoon and I'm at the restaurant. I may get a chance to play with online friends. One will be free sooner than expected, but I don't know about the others. I guess we'll see.

Still... for the end of the Fail week nothing seems changed. I do have online friends now that I play with. I still keep tabs now and then on the ones I played the MMOGs with, but I don't really interact with them regularly anymore since we aren't in a game together. Things are still better now than before since I do have a gaming system and I'm having fun with that and my podcasting, but nothing else seems changed. What seemed like it should have been an easy recovery back to a normal life seemingly continues to elude me, and I wonder if I will ever be back in a home ever again.

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

flash required for the logo
best viewed at 1280 wide resolution or higher