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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 213

Day 1485 - 7/25 - New mouse, old mouse

Today was pretty sad. I had a bit of a scare in the morning, so I didn't think I'd be able to nap after moving to school, despite not falling asleep until 2 or 3. I went to the coffee shop and played my game. I was experiencing more weird random scrolling issues and in my game the right button stopped working entirely. With a heavy sigh and heavy heart I went to the store and spent like $60 replacing the old mouse with a new one of the same type. While the new one fixed the problems (and I only have to press half as hard on the right button) it was yet another reminder that my stuff I'm getting while homeless won't last. I'm not really sad and depressed about the money; I'm ok there or the moment. And I'm not really upset it died. (Though it's apparently only been 1.1 years since I got it.) What upsets me about it is that I know life is about cycles. In fact, most often with computer stuff I welcome and celebrate cycling in new stuff. But with my homeless life what it is, it really feels like I'm cycling and I can't get out. I feel like I'm in a rotating door and I'm stuck going around and around. I can see others coming in and going out, but noone is offering to help me get out.

I'm worried about my laptop as well. Several times programs slowed to a crawl, or went non-responsive entirely. I know it too is only a matter of time before it dies, particularly being a hardcore gaming system. But I really hope it's not soon, as I barely have 1/4 what it would take to replace it if it did suddenly completely die. Now I have run a backup, and it is running a defrag now, so hopefully the data is safe and the defrag will repair slowness.

I was alone all day, and despite half a dozen drops from the network I had an ok time gaming. I'm still working on several helping specs and someone even complimented my tanking.

I didn't see my friends, so that was sad and extra lonely, but when one heard about my sad day she sent a message reminding me I am loved and that they worry about me, so that lifted my spirit. And, after all, so far it is just a mouse. While it may remind me of sad cycles it is just a reminder, and it is not something serious like another broken bone or yet another lost tooth.

I guess that is really it for today. As always, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 1486 - 7/26 - Morning nap at last

This morning I finally settled in for a morning nap at school and actually slept. I think it's been a week or more that I've been too stressed to get back to sleep. Although, the past few nights I've not slept until about 2 AM. I guess, all total, if that is about right for last night, I got about 7.5 hours total.

I woke up early from my nap and had a little over an hour before the restaurant opened, so I decided to do some podcasting. I talked for a bit about my sad thoughts and cycles and the loss of the mouse. It's in my car in its box. I am going to see if it is still under warrantee or something. I doubt it is. I'd guess it would have one year coverage, if that, and it is a month or so past that.

I had a reasonably ok day I guess. I played my game most of the day with pauses for show watching. I've changed my mind on my alt spec again. I guess it's fine, as I'm holding off on story quests to do with my friends. Running the ones we've done as dailies builds up ok points. I'm trying to peek into higher areas. It's tough, as I'm kind of self-restricting my travels to 1/6 of the map, no story quests, which only gives me a few quests to do so far. That's about half a month of dailies for one set piece in that zone at that rate. I'm hoping upgrade stuff drops too, but so far I've really not seen much of anything. I may need to peek further, but I really do want to save my 'story time' for when my friends are on. One showed up today for about 1.5 hours, so that was fun for a bit.

No jobs to apply to, so that's sad. I'm still in a really bad between spot, being overqualified or under qualified and without experience. Looking is pretty depressing since it's like looking into an abyss with no visible way out.

I guess that's it for today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Day 1487 - 7/27 - Waiting

Today seemed like a day of waiting. Being a Friday I didn't try to sleep in, so that started the day of kinda bad. Overall the day portion of today was fairly ok. I got to play my game quite a bit and watch shows, and my connection didn't waver.

I was waiting for friends to come in, but only one came in, and she could only play for half an hour. I was in a dungeon when she came on, so I didn't even get to see her.

I got to the work parking lot early to do some podcasting. It went mostly ok, but despite showing 70% battery left the recording got a little weird at the end and a few very small segments disappeared from the recordings. I don't understand why it gets cut down so bad when all my low power settings aren't supposed to kick in until like 10%.

And now is the worst wait of all. I normally get into sanctuary three hours ago. Something is going on and I am displaced. I should be able to get settled and to sleep soon, but unless I do something like nap at school, it seems most likely that I will only get about 5-6 hours of sleep. What with lost sleep on other nights I am completely exhausted. Though the rest of the day was pretty good, all I can o right now is try and remain calm and fight off tears of complete and utter exhaustion.

Day 1488 - 7/28 - Two meds

Today was ok. I'm so exhausted though. I posted my podcast in the morning, as well as an older one that had some off tags. Things went smooth, then I went to play for a bit at the coffee shop. The connection was mostly stable there, which was good, certainly better than most days there.

Oh, I picked up my blood pressure meds the other day. I guess they did get a hold of school and both were refilled. So, I'm back on both again. But, I have roughly a month to go see a regular doctor, as they won't refill them again. Won't that be a nice birthday time present?

The connection at the restaurant was pretty bad. A few dozen times my bandwidth kicked down, and it even completely disconnected me a few times. I wrote the guy and he actually responded. I guess after watching things they have authorized him o upgrade their total bandwidth. And, he'll be setting standards at all restaurants so these dips don't keep happening. I guess basically what is happening is it's like I'm on a train track and when a high priority thing happens it's basically telling me to slow down and switch tracks and slow so another train can pass, and that switching time is what the bad hiccups that I see are. He didn't give me any kind of time table, but I'm hoping it's within a week, as it's getting pretty bad. About half the groups I was in I had to bow out of due to bad bandwidth causing deaths or near deaths.

I saw my friends early in the morning when they tested something. And they said they would be on for play time, but they never showed up. I don't really mind playing alone, been doing it basically all my life, so I am used to it, but I hope they are ok and nothing 'bad' prevented them from showing up. I worry.

It's sort of mid-evening I guess, and there is some weirdness at the sanctuary, so I'm waiting until it's safe. Things have been really unstable lately and it's really messing me up in terms of sleep and putting me on emotional edge.

Oh, I confirmed the itchiness is an extreme white soap allergy. I got yuck on me yesterday and had to rince off pretty good. Within an hour the backs of my hands were itchy and red. Within three they were puffy in parts. Within five the right had bits of skin flakin off where I would scratch. Now, more than 24 hours after first use they are almost not itchy, and the redness is almost completely gone. So yeah, my itchy parts are due to that soap for sure.

I guess that's it for today and my sad life is still sad overall, and I'm trying my best to not be overwhelmed by sad.

Day 1489 - 7/29 - Doin' whatever

Today was pretty good, though sleepy. I had an extra Sunday morning work shift, so there was no opportunity to sleep in, though I doubt there would have been coverage at school to do so on a Sunday. During work I had super awesome bandwidth and I not only got to play my game, but I streamed something and listened while playing. It was like the best connection ever. I don't know if it's because it was Sunday and noone was on, or if that particular city node has been upgraded. I'll be back at that work location tomorrow, so I'll know more then.

I played a ton by myself, both at work and at the restaurant. But my friends did make it in for a bit, so we got to do some fun stuff for about 2.5 hours I'd guess. They say things are settling down and they expect to be on quite a bit once again, probably even tomorrow, so yay.

Nothing really different in my life outside of that. While I was distracted today there was always the sadness in the back of my mind. Why am I not showering in a home? Why am I playing wirelessly instead of on a desktop? Why do I need to eat bad food? Why is it my life still at the mercy of everyone around me and not under my own control? All these questions and sad feelings remain. All I can do is just try and hang in there.

Day 1490 - 7/30 - Things not done

Today was pretty good, but I was so exhausted, and so sad, there were things left undone I otherwise would have liked to do. We are coming up on August, and I've been meaning to work on my site and get updated systems ready. And I still have the book five cover to do. But with my sadness hurting my motivation, doing anything is difficult. Added on now is my total exhaustion from all the messed up sleep time, and fooooo.

I guess today was an otherwise busy day. It seems like a blur. I vaguely remember sleeping in at school, doing my online work for my friend, playing for a bit, working, and inputting this week's fail so far. Outside of these vague memories I don't really remember much.

Oh, I heard back from the makers of the mouse that they will send me a new one. I don't even have to send the old one back. I guess I'll keep it as extra for when this one breaks or to use as new when I get re-established in a home. That was a very nice surprise.

That was really it for today. I'm so exhausted still. And so very sad my life is not improving.

Day 1491 - 7/31 - Cloudy skies no more

Today seems promising so far. When I got up to move it was cloudy, cold, and my car even had frost on the windows. I settled in at school and got nearly two more/extra hours of sleep before waking up. (Making my total for last night about eight.) Now it's warm and there is a clear sky.

My game I play has a patch, so there's a bit of new stuff. The important things are for maxed or near maxed players, which is both good and bad. It's good as that is where the least amount of content is, but bad in that probably most of the players are already maxed or near maxed. The day hours are almost empty of players in the questing area. If I see someone once every half hour or so it's a pretty big deal. Now only the casual players, those who play in the evening and on weekends, are not maxed. While this is normal for a MMOG, a game that has players maxing within weeks of launch is more rare and not deserving of a subscription. I've said this since my first preview; it doesn't have enough content to justify it, and they are going to lose players interest by having one without enough content. Still, I'm having fun with my friends and the story in the game. Would I be there without my friends? Maybe a month, but not longer if the subscription stays as it is.

Today should be pretty good. I have nothing I need to do and hopefully the restaurant will remain stable so that I can play and distract myself from my sad things.

Week 214

Day 1492 - 8/1 - Overly sef critical

Today I've been overly self critical. I suppose it started after my morning nap when I couldn’t think of anything to podcast about. I've just got tomorrow and Friday and that's it.

A friend sent a mesage offering some help and words of support about jobs. He didn't have a job offer or anything like that, but you never know. Maybe he will reach out to the people he knows and find me some help. There continues to be nothing out there. While the postings aren't getting smaller, the few that are on the boards are a fraction of what they once were a few years ago. My prospects, if I were to ever find any, seem pretty slim. I can't even remember the last time there was something for me to put out a resume to. I thank the Gods my 10 hour a week job still seems solid, that I am getting a few extra shifts here and there, and that I have a few hundred saved for an emergency. Though I grow increasingly worried about my system. It continues to get stuck a few times a day, typically shortly after boot-up, where it kind of doesn't respond for 30-60 seconds seemingly for no reason, yet the mouse can still move. Also, I'm still fairly certain it runs hotter than it did before, and stays hot longer. I suppose that isn't extremely unexpected, as we are about 1/2 way through my projected / hoped for lifespan for it. Though if I were to lose it now there is no way I could replace it.

I suppose the high/low point of my day was another video chat my friend had. She doesn't consider herself successful, but I think she is. She has accomplished a huge amount in the past year. Sure, she's not known by tens of thousands, but she has 425+ followers/friends on one social site. I see her number and see people praising her in chat and can't help but feel like I'm failing. I barely have 20 who follow my page. And while it's not physically / technologically possible for me to make videos for people to watch live, I really have noone praising me. And then there is one of her guests, who is, I believe, working on a Masters dissertation about gender in gaming, the exact thing I thought about doing once upon a time. Here she is, young, beautiful, succeeding, and here I am, apparently too dumb for the ivory tower to let me do that kind of research. I don't mind not being invited as a guest in the chat, my friend probably doesn't remember I have a Bachelors in (social) psychology focusing on gender and sexuality. It's not something people are likely to remember about me. And I know she knows I can't accept chat offers due to my homeless limitations - and a lot of my thoughts are rusty and out of practice anyways - but still. There they are, succeeding and doing things that, once upon a time, I wanted to do, and still want to do in a way.

I watched the chat and I felt old. I felt like an outsider. I felt like a failure. I felt dumb, out of practice, and unimportant. Captain Dunsel. Though I know this is not how those in the chat perceive me. How could they? To all but three they have no idea of my age, my homelessness, my school history, or my gaming background. I am just another person in chat. But again, I couldn't help feel like a single parent chaperoning a party. I felt like they were connecting. They were getting along and making new friends. They are the future where change lies. Me? I will leave the party alone, just as I entered, and just as I spent it.

But I know these things are not true. People do value my thoughts. I've mentioned my podcast to a few in game recently who thought I sounded interesting and they are going to listen and check it out. I know there are regular listeners. Though as far as I can estimate the subscriber numbers are dwindling. I know people do find my site helpful even though I rarely hear anything. The roughly 60k visitors a year is still holding, and that is no small number.

But despite what I know logically, depite what seems a rational assessment of facts and reality, I can't help but feel like a failure at times. I do remain single. Noone from the chats ever want to be friends with me. Noone is interested romantically. And while all those in the chat have logged out and are safe in their homes, or soon will be, I am not. I know the logic of what is, and that perception is heavily filtered by my sad life and that it is not the reality of things. But I can't help but feel sad today. I can't help but feel a failure compared to, well, everyone.

Day 1493 - 8/2 - No class

Today I felt pretty sad. I guess though I can start with not so sad thoughts. I got to nap at school this morning again, but again in total for both parts of my sleep I've gotten maybe six hours total.

I found out today that I could have signed up for classes on Monday. I guess I'm not really late, and there is really only one good class to take in terms of content and when the class time is. But I'd almost totally forgotten about it. I remember signing up closer to mid-August.

I still haven't come up with anything to talk about on the podcast, so that means tomorrow is it. I must do a session in the morning, then another later, if I want to have one ready for Saturday.

I didn't see my friends this morning, so I spent the day alone. I had an ok time, but still, games designed to play with others played alone seems sad.

I did my new system recommendations this morning, so that was super happy, but with all things lately it is also a bit sad. I still feel like what I do on my site, or what I do my podcast about, basically anything in my life, I am 'just another guy', that I am not special and people don't really care.

Today I feel sad. I feel like a single voice among many, one which is drown out by all the shouting others. At the few events where I've gone to where they were giving away stuff people yell, jump up and down, and often push others with their body. That is not me. I don't do that.

Today I feel unspecial, not unique, not wanted, and like my life will never change. I feel like it is too late for me to start over because noone will give me a chance, and too late to turn back, because what I used to know is no longer how things are done. While I have not yet given up hope, today I feel my life expectancy is very short, and if I do return to a regular life it will never be free enough to have any kind of true happiness.

Day 1494 - 8/3 - Turn around

Today was ok, but I was exhausted. Because I had no podcast recorded yet I had to do some in the morning. I only got 4-5 hours of sleep again last night, as per the past few nights, so I tried to check into a nap after. My regular side of school was basically completely empty. The pool side, which I haven't been to in a while, was busy in what seemed a 'bad' way. Someone in their car would not have been a normal sight. So, I toughed it out and went on without.

At the restaurant I played my game. I was alone nearly all day. My friends came in about half an hour before I had to leave. I thought we were having an ok time but I heard one getting very upset and frustrated. I think she's now decided to quit. That's fine. If she's not having fun with it she absolutely shouldn't play. I know she was feeling kind of lost about what direction to take, as I warned may happen on my podcast, and I think just looking at the estimated time to get where she wanted to be was depressing her. I don't blame her if that's part of it. They only have, from what I can tell, 5-8 hours a week to play stuff. And building points in that game is very time consuming. I've seen enough that I'm ok with leaving. I probably will look at what story stuff I can before my subscription runs out. But without my friends I just wouldn't have much interest. There just isn't enough content for me to be thrilled with a subscription. Besides, I've put in over seven played days already, which is a ton of time.

I guess that's the only real news today. I didn't really do much, and motivation is pretty low. I've been extra sad lately with some recent reminders of how I'm not succeeding compared to others around me who are, and other reminders of my frail physical position, such as gaining a lot of weight and having zero endurance.

Sad life seems extra sad lately. But, as always, all I can do is try to endure until things get better.

Day 1495 - 8/4 - Full party

Today ended pretty good, but for most of the day I was tired and out of it and I don't really remember it. In the morning I uploaded my podcast, as usual lately. I know there would be no chance to try and nap after, which is sad because I'm so very tired.

My friends decided to stop playing the Secret World. I thought I would go ahead and see what of the content I could before canceling, but after today I'm just not sure how interested I'd be. I took a few quests and it was like I died, and I died, and I died, like 15-20 times an hour probably, doing pretty much all 1-1 fights of stuff that was my level. It made no sense and it was not fun at all. I did finish out that area though, so I will 'give it a second chance' in the newer area tomorrow and see how I feel. I was very interested to see the skill system, which I've done. Now with about seven played days I've played it more than most of the other MMOs I've played. So if I do continue being frustrated I'll just move on immediately instead of waiting out my time.

In the late afternoon / early evening my friends came on. And it wasn't just my regular two, there was also the friend from a different country. We had a 'full group.' Since the time change I haven't seen him during our game playing time. When we moved one way he moved the other. So what are my late evenings / early night time when we typically play, is early morning for him. I think he's not always up 'that early'. I had a super fun time with my friends. I think they did too.

I guess that's it for today. Overall I'm still pretty sad. There are many reminders my life is not what it should be, and I am in poor health with little I can do about it. So, there is much I would have done differently today, but I cannot. I hope someday I can be free again.

Day 1496 - 8/5 - Frail form

Today I am so totally out of it. I was pretty ok during my work shift in the morning, but shortly after I started fading fast. Most of the day, and quite a bit yesterday, I was fading in and out. At one point yesterday I could swear I fell asleep for a few minutes while sitting up.

It's possible not all of my exhaustion is due to lack of sleep. As of today I've been sneezing and sniffling a lot, exhausted, and a bit wheezy. For a few days now I've had breathing issues, but that isn't entirely unusual with my being constantly exposed to allergens. I've also had a lot of tiny scars, mostly on my arms, calve areas, and my tummy. Thy are like 1/8"-1/4" big. I don't even remember where I got them from or why. They have been there about a week. They probably are from a white soap allergy attack. Also, I've got tiny blisters on the bottom of my poor feets. They have to be in shoes almost all the time and I almost never get to be barefoot the way my flat feet like.

I was thinking about exercising and mood today. Well, have been off and on for a while, and there are tons of things I don't do anymore. I guess I'd consider those things micro exercises. I'm a bit silly, and so sometimes I'd hop about places, like to the bathroom or kitchen, or be like a five-year-old and put my arms out and go 'meeearrr' like a plane when walking somewhere, sometimes dance in my chair, or even just make silly noises while walking. While these don't seem like a big deal, since I do none of these things now, that's a very big workout routine gone from my life. Walking and talking now is extremely difficult, and while making silly noises while walking doesn't seem like a big deal, it is a workout I no longer do, one among many. Even though it's only a small one I don't even have the energy for that. Take all those little things, the more serious walks back and forth to the kitchen to cook or ready food, to the bathroom to shower and back, or even just here and there in my room for various reasons, and all of that 'micro exercise' is now lost to me.

I miss the old me. I miss the few freedoms I had. I miss what little health I once possessed.

Day 1497 - 8/6 - Pondering

Today was, I suppose, ok. I got to sleep in at school, and I slept really well. In total today I got maybe 9-10 hours of sleep. So that is a huge change from the 4-5 of the past few nights.

There really wasn't much different today in term of routine. The only thing really different was that school sent m a reminder that I only have a few days to pay for my class. I didn't Friday when I signed up for it because apparently I forgot to do my financial aid application. It should be fine, but school is currently showing I have no financial aid. So, I guess I have to talk to someone about that tomorrow. My financial aid is only a 'fee waiver' but as far as I know I only have to be low income to qualify. It drops all my fees for each quarter down to ~$55, making it affordable. With just this one class I'm currently showing nearly $200. I can't afford a $600 increase a year for one class, let alone $1200 for two if I could find two to take. So I don't know. If there really is some kind of cap on the fee waiver I'll have to seriously consider if it's worth it. The past four years of child development classes have yielded exactly zero. Not only do I not have a job, I can't even apply for one because noone will touch a male with zero experience. Maybe someday those can carry over to something in teaching, but I don't know. School was all dumb about me getting in at any advanced level, and getting certified to teach is apparently the same level as a Masters, so I don't even know how I'd apply since they kept running me in circles on how to get back in.

I don't know. Today I still feel very sad, like my life is a total disaster, because it is, and all my paths seem blocked or impossible without someone to help me. While I know there are some out there who would like to, without a real opportunity (such as hooking me up with an interview) I feel like I will never make it on my own, and in time I will be gone and forgotten.

Day 1498 - 8/7 - Phew

It's mid morning around 9. I got a short nap then got up early to do financial aid stuff. I guess I got about 8 hours total, which while not as much as I could have if I didn't need to get up, is still more than I have been getting lately. Phew. It is looking very likely that I was right. The stuff I qualify for should only be dependent on income level. But, it will take a few weeks to show up, which is why it hasn't already (since Friday). So, the school will get to hold ~$150 more than normal until it shows up and they pay me back. I guess it's ok. I had a few hundred in savings. Not enough to save me from a big car emergency, let alone a laptop emergency, but enough for something like this.

I guess I feel a bit less sad now that I'm getting a bit caught up on sleep. I'm still very sad though all the time. As I'm staring year five I really didn't expect to be out this long, and I had hoped my new classes would have helped me get some kind of job, if even just part time and low pay. Yet it's gained me nothing. While my gaming life has stabilized and recovered just about as much as it can while homeless, I am still on my own, alone much of the time, and seemingly no closer to recovery than when this journey started. All I can do is hope the connections I've made and things I do manage to do touch people's lives, and hopefully make them a little less sad in their own lives.

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

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