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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 5: Life online

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 211

Day 1471 - 7/11 - No tune-up

Today turned out pretty good for monies. I went to take my nap in the morning, but after an hour of not sleeping I got up and decided to see about the tune-up for the car. It turns out it did not need one at 90k miles like my last. It will need new spark plugs in 10k miles, which will be about $150, but that will be like a year from now. So, instead of the like $250 I had in the budget, it only cost $40 for the oil change.

The rest of the day was pretty regular I guess. I went to the restaurant. I watched a few shows. I found no jobs to apply for. I played my game a lot, possibly too much. Sadly my friends didn't come on, nor did I hear anything from them, so that was kinda sad. If I keep playing like I have been by the end of the weekend I will have just about maxed everything I currently want in the game. You know, there will be tons of skills and stuff left to get, but I'll be so far ahead of my friends in skills I'll have to stop completely or I'll get bored. I'm still not exploring past where we have been, but again, soon I'll have enough skills I could be doing near high-level content. I don't mind waiting for them. Playing with them is what is really fun. Without them I probably wouldn't continue past a month or two. As I've said on my podcast I just don't think I'd be interested in really any MMOG solo with my life as it is.

So that's really it. A super hot day where I didn't feel any of it, but other than that just another sad day in my homeless life where nothing changed.

Day 1472 - 7/12 - Reduced sleep

Today was pretty good I guess. I tried to sleep at school, but couldn't. I just rested for about half my nap time, then gave up and went to the coffee shop. I had a pretty regular day at the restaurant once it opened. No jobs or anything unusual happened. My friends were on for about two hours, so we got to play together for a bit.

I guess it was pretty hot today. My weather thing on the phone shows 81F, but it seemed hotter. I missed it really, what with being in the restaurant all day. It is very similar to my life really. Always the same. No telling if it's hot or cold out really, as I'm inside in a static unchanging environment. But, as weird as it is, it is one of the few (reasonably) stable things in my life. It seems pretty terrible from an outside perspective, and in many ways it is; but in other ways it is one of the few things I have in my sad life.

Day 1473 - 7/13 - Big tummy

Today I'm kind of sad. I've started trying to remember to work out again, but due to several factors I'm big again. While not huge, I'm big enough on my tummy that I have to hold part of me and pull the chubby bit back to get a good shave. It wouldn't surprise me if I were near 220 or possibly even 225+. I am currently down to one blood pressure medicine as well. One ran out and had no refills and so far I have not heard back from the pharmacy that they contacted the doctor for refills. I have a feeling when the other runs out the same will happen. I may have to make an appointment at the regular non-school hospital and start the process all over again.

I'm settled in for the night, but my day is not over. Due to things being thrown out of whack at work tonight I have a few hours left of editing for the podcast. I could do it tomorrow, but I think people may be getting used to seeing it Saturday around 8 AM PST, so I didn't want to deviate from that.

During the day I played alone. The friends never showed up, but then I didn't really expect they would.

Today I feel fat. I am sad I am not free to alter and control my diet. I am sad I am not free to sleep in a bed, and undoubtedly rest better. I am sad I do not have the freedom to record or edit my podcast when I want. When I hugged my bunnies for the night Magic Bunny (the newest in the family, given to me by my online friends) reminded me that magic does happen, it is found, and I just need to wait for it to happen to me.

Day 1474 - 7/14 - A brief moment

Today was kind of depressing I guess you could say. While I put up my podcast in the morning and was very happy about that, the day kind of rapidly went downhill after that. I settled in for my usual hot chocolate and play time at the coffee shop, but the Internet was non-functional, and while it's best speeds are barely game capable, today it was running at about 5-10% of normal, which wasn't even really enough to do simple web browsing

While I found good things to do with my time before the restaurant opened I couldn't help but think of that 1.5 hour chunk of time of doing stuff I didn't plan. I thought how different my day would have been in a home. I could have played without issue. I could have slept in. I could have showered. I could have made a serious effort to eat better and try to get my weight back under control.

At the restaurant things weren't a whole lot better. While I did have a few good games in Mass Effect 3, my play time in The Secret World was plagued with lag lockups, slow frame rate times, and people near by making constant noise.

Most of my day was spent alone, depressed, thinking consciously and subconsciously about how sad my homeless life is due to the restrictions I have. But, I did have some happy moments; my podcast, my Mass Effect 3 time, and a few hours playing with my friends.

I always hope tomorrow will be a better day, but more often of late I just hope it is not as sad, and that my few and rare happy things can distract me from the sad.

Day 1475 - 7/15 - Not a window

Today was ok, but there was some sad news. I have basically lost my previous podcast times, and I thought I'd have upwards to 2.5 hours on Sundays through the end of the month, but it turns out that is not an option. So, I have about a 30 minute window Friday and that's really it. I don't know what I'll do. I guess I have to make windows in alternate spots from my car or something, which is no good.

I suppose, besides a bit of an upset tummy, likely due to only sleeping four hours last night, today was pretty decent. Shortly after my work shift one of my friends came on and we got to play for a bit. After, I relaxed with some shows and played a bit solo. I m peeking ahead of where my friends are just a bit. That way the quests I do alone won't set off a timer for the ones we tend to do together. That way we will always hopefully have ones to do together. I will probably slow down a bit too. I've got all the real critical skills I wanted. It's just fine tuning the two builds from here.

Things are pretty ok overall today, but I am still very sad all the time. My life, for the most part, is not what I want. I want to be in a home. I want to be playing on a desktop system with a landline connection. I want to be able to watch TV or movies without headphones on my 5.1 surround system. I want to have a job that pays me 'enough', and be somewhere that I don't feel unappreciated or at least don't feel like it's a dead end. And I want enough freedom to do podcasting or other hobbies as I wish as I see fit, free from time or noise restriction. Such small and basic things, yet I don't know if I will ever have them again.

Day 1476 - 7/16 - Tanking differently

Today was fair, though very sad overall. With the theoretical watchful eye of my dumb boss on me, feeling extra fat, thinking back to 12 years ago when I did own my own home... my life seems extra sad. With everything I don't have it is difficult to think of what I do and appreciate it.

Those I would say are friends now I did get because of things I've done while homeless. I won't say it is impossible to think I would have started podcasting if someone had not suggested it, because it is possible someone would have even if I weren't homeless, or I may have just decided on my own to do it. So I am grateful and glad my paths crossed with new friends because of that and my writing in general. I am glad it has helped at least some so far. (I'm hopeful it has helped more than the half dozen who have told me about how it has touched their lives or helped them.) And I do hope it helps others to avoid my pitfalls though it seems I am likely more the victim of bad circumstances and lack of opportunity than anything else.

Perspective is really key. Like tonight when I was playing I was talking to someone about tanking. He was saying he was a "mediocre tank" and I asked him why. He said that he doesn't use a tanking spec, he does high dps, and has low hit points. I explained "tanking" is more of a philosophy than any particular spec or style. He may be a dps tank, which is very different from a mitigation tank, or an evasion tank, but the style is irrelevant as they are all tanks. I don't think he really understood. I don't know if I can even really explain it. But it struck me as odd that he would kind of insult himself in open chat by saying he was mediocre. Mediocre to me means you aren't fulfilling your role. If he was keeping threat and surviving it doesn't matter how he does it, he is not failing or bad at it.

I guess that really just resonated with my current life. I often feel I am failing at life in many ways, yet I know there are things I am very good at, some even in spite of my limitations. And although I say to people here in Epic Fail, or to my friends, that I feel like I am failing at life, I never feel like a failure as a person. I may feel sad, unworthy of certain things right now, incapable of certain things due to limitations, but I do know at other things I am good, sometimes great, or inspiring. But I do know a person has to be willing to look at those things, and it seems most, in general, are not.

Day 1477 - 7/17 - Patching

Today hasn't gone as expected yet. I tried to settle in to get my nap at school, but couldn't sleep. All the stress of losing my podcasting windows and all the constant sad things in my life are getting to me and I just can't settle in to get good sleep.

It seems I have two patches today for different games. I'm sure they will go ok, but now being at the coffee shop and slowly downloading just one was not what I expected after leaving the school spot. I figured since I couldn't sleep that I'd do some podcasting in my car, then get a little play time in while here. It's not bad to be patching and not playing. In fact one patch is new content with new stuff, so I should have cool new things after that's done. But I'm so very tired, yet not sleeping. It seems any disruption from plans these days, however small, messes with my balance.

Hopefully the rest of my day will turn out ok. Soon the restaurant will be open and I'll have all day free to play and relax.

Week 212

Day 1478 - 7/18 - Itchy day

Today I've been itchy. I don't know why. It was on my wrists, back of my left hand, and right forearm. Now I'm itchy on my legs, back of my knees, and back of my head and neck. It's almost like a minor case of poison oak or ivy, but I've done nothing at all unusual lately outside. There must have been someone close by with perfume on or cologne I am allergic too. Oh, I did go to Panda in the morning. I haven't been there in like a month. But I didn't eat the food that I got until dinner, hours after I'd been itchy.

I couldn't nap this morning. Not really. I slept really good at first, but after only 45 minutes some dumb loud truck scared me awake and I couldn't get back to sleep. I'm still not sleeping great. I couldn't get to sleep until nearly 1 hour after. And the other night I only got four hours sleep total.

Today was decent I suppose. I was alone but I played the games I wanted when I wanted. I didn't really overplay save for a dungeon I expected to take half an hour taking about three times as long.

It seems strange how many know of my troubles, and how few offer to help. Lately the back of my mind is always thinking back to my days in a home and thinking 'what would I be doing now if I were in a home.' Much of it is what I'm doing, just differently, but a lot of things I simply can't do now. And that makes me sad.

Day 1479 - 7/19 - Day of searching

Today was ok I guess. Things were... not bad, which is always good in my life. I couldn't sleep in the morning, which was sad, but I slept very decently at night, so I guess I didn't really need it.

I'm still unusually itchy and my cough still lingers, though at this point I think my wheeze and cough is just a symptom of my allergies being constantly assaulted by various smeels and such since I can't be in a controlled scent-free environment.

I played my online game all day today, well not counting three shows I watched during breaks. I had an ok time, though I'd have rather played only a few hours with my friends. They have been busy though, so I continue to do stuff we've done as daily quests and figure out alternative builds I like or may want to pursue further. It's still pretty fun, and pretty lonely, though I do chat with people a few times during the day.

I've only got one part of my podcast so far. I think some of the passion has been replaced by sadness due to basically my total loss of good recording windows. Though I really can't think up new stuff to talk about. I'm hoping to think up something tonight as I really need to finish it tomorrow, and a great portion of that, if not all, must be done in bad places.

I guess that's really it for today. Another relatively ok, yet alone feeling day, where I drive by homes and think how nice it would be to be in a home having a regular life.

Day 1480 - 7/20 - Perhaps on my side

Today turned out pretty good. When I was at the restaurant a guy came up and introduced himself. He was the tech I'd messaged to a few times. I recently said their new connection that had been super stable was becoming unstable and completely dropping me lately. He said he'd been running tests today and found that there are no caps or limits, so what was happening was that any time something that was high priority would run it would completely tap out all the low priority stuff bandwidth. So, people like me would be dropped to zero during high restaurant traffic times. Which, as I expected, mean I have not been the cause of instability. It has, in fact, been the complete opposite. He said he flagged my address (as a standard / target goal / guideline) and he will be setting minimums and maximums so I shouldn't ever be dropped or badly affected anymore. So, I don't know if that is totally true or if he's just saying that to calm me, but if so it's super cool to know that he's working on the connection kinks and hopefully soon I won't have all the drops and connection issue I've been having the past few weeks.

So, in an otherwise sad time it seems one thing is coming back and they are genuinely trying to watch out for me (and others) and help me have a stable happy time while there.

Day 1481 - 7/21 - A day with my friends

Today was pretty good. I did my usual Saturday morning stuff, which meant no nap time for me. I'm super tired. I've lost a lot of sleep lately.

I had a chance to do the Guild Wars 2 beta today but I only played about an hour. It didn't seem all that interesting knowing that I knew my class to the teens and all of my progress would be lost at midnight on Sunday. I'm still really on the fence about getting it. On the one hand I've already paid for it, so keeping it costs nothing. On the other hand, I have several games I play with my friends, and this is not one of them. Playing an online game is pretty sad. But with it already paid for forever, if they did come in later... I don't know.

I played The Secret World quite a bit today. At around 4 my friends came on. We played and had fun a super long time, nearly four hours. It made me super smiley to see them and I had a super good time. We are still working on 'catching one up' as it were. She got some bad experience times and so she got behind a bit, but she is catching up. Hopefully they don't feel bad about me waiting for them. I keep telling them not to, that I have builds to mess with and stuff to collect while I wait as it were, so it's fine. And, if it ever weren't so I'd either just continue on, or more likely, just stop and play other things in the meantime.

Today is a rare day where, despite my getting reestablished in a home did not move forward at all, I feel pretty good and pretty happy.

Day 1482 - 7/22 - Swollen tongue

Today was ok I guess. I had no opportunity to sleep in as I have the extra work shifts for a few weeks. There was actually bandwidth at work through most of my shift, so I got to play my game.

I may have figured out a possible reason why I've been itchy. It could be due to the soap at the restaurant. It is white and I am allergic to white soap. I guessed since it was the light foamy kind, not bar or a solid liquid, that I would be ok. I guess either that is not t case or something else is causing it. I am still a bit itchy in places. More oddly though, in the past few days my lymph nodes in my neck have become seriously swollen. My tongue is all fat and sore on the sides from where it is being mashed into my teeth. I'm not sure what's up, but it seems like some pretty serious allergies.

My friends weren't on today. One came on about an hour before I had to go, and she was doing catch up things, so we didn't group. It's ok though I guess. I had some time to get more points for my main build, as well as mess around with some alternate builds. And, probably more importantly, I talked to some people about tactics and got a few pointers on some abilities I did not have that should prove to be very helpful.

I guess that's it for today. It was ok for a homeless day, but I really wish I were in a home with all the freedoms that come with it. I had a dream about it last night. I was at a school dorm somewhere, but the room was like a condo all to myself. (There were normally supposed to be two living there, but somehow I qualified for it solo.) I had a small living room where my TV stuff, stereo, and movies had been set up. There was a small couch and a chair. There were a few classmates hanging out with one of their girlfriends. We were possibly going to be friends, and they were talking about inviting others over later and we could all have a quiet party. The middle kitchen room wasn't set up yet, it was bare, and there was a spare room with a table that some people were asking me if they could borrow to play their poker game on. (I originally agreed to rent it to them, but then later in the dream changed my mind and told them they could just have the party there, but they had to be quiet and leave by midnight.) What really struck me about the dream was that I was not quite newly arrived. I had been there a few days to a week, yet I was not sleeping in the bed. I was so used to being homeless that I had a homeless bed across the bed in the reverse direction on top of its bed covers. In the dream while all that was going on I was thinking to myself I should get in to the bed proper to sleep at night, and moved my bunnies onto their proper bed pillow from the homeless bag. I had asked the people in the living room to excuse me while I went off to get this Epic Fail book that I write in, because I had to change the sad homeless day's entry to reflect the good news of an at least temporary good home and possible friends.

I suppose I am glad the dream turned out like it did. So many of my homeless dreams turn to fear, rejection, sadness, being hunted, or focusing on the loss of being kicked out. This time I was celebrating and happy and felt a genuine feeling of hope for the future. I suppose I still hold on to some of those feelings now, but it is fading as quickly as the memory of the dream, and the weight and sadness of real life return.

Day 1483 - 7/23 - Feeling bad

Today I feel of poor health. I'm having trouble breathing (tired and panting), my tongue is still super swollen, I haven't slept well, I have almost no energy, I feel really fat, and I still have an odd itchiness in places. Emotionally the good of the dream has faded and it is replaced with a renewed sadness about how trapped, helpless, and alone in my struggle I feel.

I didn't try to sleep in this morning. I barely slept five hours last night and I figured with all my restlessness there was no way I'd settle in to get those extra two hours sleep.

I planned all day to do some car podcasting, but my plans were foiled by some stupid truck making constant pump noises during my planned window. I guess I'll have to find another window, as I have so short of a battery life I ned to plan carefully.

Today my life feels like constant failure and nothing but a slide downhill to a place I will never recover my normal weight and health, my normal emotions, or my normal life, ever again.

Day 1484 - 7/24 - Feeling good

Today has been different, but good so far. I got some pretty amazing sleep last night, so I was well rested enough that I passed on my nap. I decided to do the podcasting I didn't get a chance to do yesterday. It went pretty well I think. My friend posted he thought it sounded better than at work and I do have to say that it sounded a bit better in that there wasn't the subtle light tone echo that work has. Hopefully it will continue to turn out ok.

After, I had a good dungeon group. People were friendly and polite, so that was super good after the bad experience the other day (which became the subject of my podcast so far.)

Today has been a pretty good day so far and I'm in a pretty good mood, though still tired and a bit itchy. Things seem ok today, and that is a rare something for me these days.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2013
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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