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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 217

Day 1513 - 8/22 - Not by much

Today was lonely and sad. I'm having a harder and harder time dealing with my sads lately. The limitations are ever-present. Though I am basically able to do everything I normally would everything is restricted. Gaming is not on a desktop, suffers from disconnects or lag, and I'm forced to use headphones. Sleep is bad overall, even on days like today where I get nearly 3 extra hours at school. TV shows in many cases are behind, some by several seasons. Food is, well, bad for nearly al my choices. Exercize is difficult to impossible. And for all the things I do have, all the things I can try to do, I have to take advantage of resources which aren't mine, over and over and over again.

One of the roses from the restaurant, the most attractive one, who I haven't seen in I don't recall how long, probably about since Valentines day, was visiting today. I paused to say, 'OMG how are you. I haven't seen you in forever.' She asked how I was and I replied that since I was still here I am meh at best, that sad life is sad. She said, "Well, it could be worse." And I replied in all honesty, "Yeah, but not by much."

While it is true that several things could be worse; I could be dead, I could have no car, needed to have gotten rid of all my stuff, and be laying in a gutter somewhere; emotionally I couldn't be much worse off. I am holding it together for now, but just barely. Anyone else in my position would likely be breaking down crying all the time, or completely mentally unstable, or like one lady at the food store I saw not too long ago, wandering around in a bathrobe.

Yeah, here in America, in the Bay Area in Silicon Valley, just with most of my health, a car, and a laptop, I have far more than some could. But I often wonder if here in this place that I do. All it takes is the opportunity to pull myself back up again. But it feels like I am at the bottom of a sheer cliff, and try as I may to find handholds to start scaling the impossible cliff once more, I see nothing. With no opportunity I have no way out. And as such what I do have seems like very little.

Day 1514 - 8/23 - Feeling sad

Today I'm feeling pretty sad. Things were ok overall though I guess. In the morning I tried to think up a podcast topic but couldn't. I did get a lot of good nap time though. I got about 2 of the 3 total extra hours I could. I woke up from a bad dream, so it was unlikely I could settle back down for the third hour. I had a strange call from the refill line that my prescriptions were ready a few days ago, so since I had time I went off to see what that was about. It made no sense since my prescriptions had no refills and I was told I'd have to see a doctor before I was given more. It was indeed my blood pressure meds, so those have now been refilled when it should have otherwise been impossible without a doctor's visit.

When I was having lunch I got a call from my boss' boss, as my boss is out of town. She asked if I worked last Thursday and was working tonight. I was like, 'uhhh... I'm not scheduled for Thursdays and haven't seen a schedule since like January?' Apparently my boss put me on a schedule then gave that to her boss before she left, without telling me, the regular Thursday guy, or anyone else. I told her I thought so-n-so was on Thursdays and to see if he knew what was up. Not surprisingly he had no clue what was up. So it seems my dumb boss, who has not put the every other week time cards out in nearly a year, not done a schedule since about January, caused all this confusion. I'm just glad stuff got sorted out before I'd gotten a micro dinner and driven up there. Doing that then driving right back would have been a huge pain. (That happened before.)

But a few things are making me sad lately. First, a friend has an old system that can't be upgraded and he's now so far behind that he can't play his favorite game (it's getting an expansion), let alone any of the awesome new games that launched recently or which are coming soon. I posted a lengthy post on his podcast page as a call to arms to help him. I linked an example system at $850 which would easily play all current games and al future games for as long as possibly five years with no changes. I thought if even 25% of the 50 fans donated just $25 each that's $250, or roughly 30% of the system and monitor cost. I thought maybe that would be enough to get him enough that he could afford the rest. Hell, I'm ok enough I may have sent him $20 plus a pre-order of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (due out in early October.) And, I had hopes there would be two or three who said, 'I will help. In fact, I'll send $1 for every episode so far in thanks!' That would have been closer to 60% of the total. But no, there were really no replies. My bestest friends replied (as I expected), but that was it. Not one of any of the others said anything. That makes me very sad. I hope it's that they can't afford it. But to think that of the ~47 other people that noone was willing to help... that makes me very disappointed in people.

That has made me more sad for me lately. I too seem to get no donations these days and it really makes me wonder if people don't care enough to send a smile to others, or are they really so egocentric that they are simply unwilling to help. Am I really so rare a person that I am the only one to say, 'What you have done has made me smile and lifted my spirit. It's not much, but here is $5', or $10, or whatever. It again makes me worried that noone is likely to help others and that I will never be helped with finding an opportunity to get me into a position to recover. But it also makes me worry that I am simply too kind and empathic to be able to truly survive on my own (in America) .

Day 1515 - 8/24 - Taking too long

I suppose today was ok all things considered. I got a chance to do all my podcasting, so that was good. And it was a good length, so that was surprising for not having any ideas on what to talk about prior to today. Hopefully people will like the content ok. I felt like I was extra rambly about stuff that people may not care about.

I did have trouble with the system in the evening though. I turned it on to finish podcasting stuff, maybe 5 minutes worth of work, and it was doing the spin the hard drive forever thing. I took a chance and also decided to move some files to get some space, something that normally what would be about a five minutes. But to finish what I was trying to do took not five minutes of multi-tasking, not 10 minutes of single thread swapping, but 45 minutes. It was insane. And at the end it was still running the hard drive at full speed non-stop. I looked at the processes running and there were dozens of threads on the disk for a Microsoft Anti-Virus? I didn't ask it to do that. I'll try and verify that tomorrow, maybe just turn off all Microsoft security stuff since I have another type running, but it's either that which is the cause of all the craziness (which it wasn't before a few weeks ago), or something to do with the backup software. That or the hard drive is failing, which I ran nearly all the tests I could to check that. Things are ok with the system other than that. The only time it has issues are when the hard drive is doing its post-boot crazy hard drive stuff. So, if I can track it down and stop it that would be great. Still, I worry about my system.

Day 1516 - 8/25 - Friends return

Today was pretty good I guess, though a bit odd. It started with no nap, as I have no real opportunities on the weekend, particularly Saturday. I uploaded my podcast, then went to do my online messing around. When I got to the restaurant some 3 hours later I discovered that I had not actually gotten the file up. It went through its load and showed it working as normal, but I guess for some reason it never actually got uploaded. (Probably that dumb hard drive issue.) So, I had to do that again. I guess it wasn't too bad, as it only took about 10 minutes, but still.

I watched some shows and started a few Guild Wars 2 characters. To my surprise the person I didn't think I'd see showed up online. I guess my account still had him friended. We chatted briefly, but only super briefly. After a few lines he kinda stopped responding. I think he's the kinda guy who can't really follow multiple things.

Later, during a gaming break, right before I was going to play a different game after my show finished, my friends came back on. Well, one did. I heard the other in the background. I'm surprised they did, as they were exhausted from their vacation and only got something like 4 hours sleep. They worry 'cause of my sad life and they care about me. I said sad life was sad, but overall I was ok. It's tough to sum up the week's sad things quickly, and I'm not sure it is really important he knows every last detail of why I'm sad. My sad shifts often, and my life won't stop being sad until, well, until I'm out of this situation and it stops being sad. Plus, they listen to my podcast, and I talk a bit about my important recent sad things in there, so I know he'll hear it at some point. The weirdest part of the day was that, after we'd been playing and chatted (probably 2.5 hours together) I had completely forgotten what day it was and what I was doing. It was as if I'd just woken up from some crazy dream after an unusually timed mid-day nap.

In the evening I decided to do a second birthday movie, so that was fun. But again, being alone it was kind of sad.

All in all today was ok. Some parts seemed extremely slow and lonely, while others moved at a normal pace and seemed ok. Of course I'd have rather been in a home, slept in, gotten a shower, and eaten regular foods. I'm so very exhausted and so tired of not being able to go home.

Day 1517 - 8/26 - Kind of smiley

Today I was kind of smiley. I had an extra work shift in the morning, so that was good. I had enough bandwidth there I decided to watch some shows. I watched a few then decided to play a game. For some reason, maybe due to the buffering of the videos instead of needing a constant stable connection, it couldn't properly connect to the game. I decided instead to do some Epic Fail work that I would otherwise do tomorrow during work.

In the evening I played one of my games and had an ok time. One of my friends came in around 6 and we played together and chatted a bit about stuff. I was being silly with the game and we had a super good time for about 1.5 hours before she needed to go.

After, I just watched another show, then my time was up. I guess today was pretty ok all things considered.

Day 1518 - 8/27 - Something is definitely wrong

Today was a super sleepy day. I was going to nap in the morning, but at the time I wasn't sleepy. Later I regretted that decision, as I was almost nodding off while driving and kind of did at work.

Something is definitely wrong with my system hard drive though, but no scan detects bad sectors or faults. I tried to do a backup today and the software showed 3/4 of the files in a warning state, saying they weren't there, and the backup progress bar never goes past 30% complete. I ran a backup on DVD and I'll move the rest (about 20 gig) onto a USB in the morning.

I guess today was fair. I really just did my online work, watched a live stream of some XCOM: Enemy Unknown gameplay and watched some shows. I really wish I knew what was wrong with my hard drive / system. If I were on a landline I'd just swap the drive positions and do a full system wipe / reinstall. (I'd be tempted to replace them with a solid state drive, but that'd be $250+.) Maybe something is left over or installed that shouldn't be and that's messing things up. (Ever since I got in the Secret World beta there have been random crashes and lockups. And they never happen on days I don't load the client.) Whatever the problem is it has me very worried I'll lose important site or podcast data, or that the system as a whole will just mysteriously fail. There is a physical shop that could do repairs, but I'm afraid if my tests showed nothing wrong they too possibly wouldn't know what is wrong.

Well... I guess, as always, my life will continue as it does, and i will manage as best as I can until something breaks beyond repair.

Day 1519 - 8/28 - "I think I'm in a tragedy."

Today has just started. I was very much looking forward to a nap at school today, but there were signs up for a special event and I saw tents set up in a grassy area. I decided to be safe and pass.

Yesterday at the laundromat I noticed a pay to get your weigh machine. Assuming it is accurate I'm only 220 pounds. It worries me because I feel and I'm moving like I'm closer to 260. I think what may be going on is that some muscle has converted to fat at a ratio that has retained my same weight. I guess that's good news in that I'm only 40 pounds over my homeless average weight instead of the 75+ I thought I was. But with a bigger tummy, fat in other places it hasn't been before, a noticeably more chubby face and neck, tighter fitting shorts and pants... it worries me since I can do little to control things.

I looked at a nutrition thing for the restaurant a few days ago. Someone had one out. I'd forgotten places here are like required to have them accessible. I will probably try and have salad and soups more often than I have been. It seems the fries are almost as many calories and other stuff as a cheeseburger! Sausage and turkey aren't too terrible being about half from what I recall, so I can do them for times I'm hungrier. Chicken, which I do like and normally do quite often, but don't get there because it often turns out dry, is also not nearly as bad as a burger. I don't really get burgers all that often, once, maybe twice a week, but knowing that's the primary source of my bad food is good.

Things continue to be bad and I am very sad. I saw the super beautiful attractive young cutie at the by the slice place yesterday. She smiled at me a few times. If I were in a romance or comedy she'd have sat down and snuggled up next to me at some point and said, "What are we watching ?" But that isn't terribly likely to happen. And I wonder if I will ever have someone who does that ever again. I'm beginning to think I'm in a tragedy.

Week 218

Day 1520 - 8/29 - Still an event

Today was ok, but again there was an event and I didn't want to risk sleeping in at school. I'm not as bad as past days for lost sleep, but I'm still so very ready to sleep. It looks like it should not be happening tomorrow, but they may not have cleaned up, so I still may not get a chance to sleep in in the morning, we'll see.

I spent the rest of the day split between show watching and playing my new game. The game is ok, but I still wonder how interested I'll be with noone to play with.

My friend has been sick, so I didn't get to play with her yesterday or today. I watched her do a video though and she seemed a bit better, so that's good.

I looked for jobs and there were none, though there were two good ones I applied for yesterday.

I suppose during these homeless times this is really the best I can hope for; A job application now and then and access to enough entertainment and shows that I keep from going totally crazy.

Day 1521 - 8/30 - Universal pain chart

Today was ok with a very sad part. It started with sleeping in at school, which I very much needed. I didn't think I would get much extra sleep then as I snuck in to sleep early and had 8 hours by the time it was time to move to the school lot, but I did. It seemed safe and I slept 3 more hours. I feel not sleepy for the first time in I don't know how long.

I played my game a bit today. I'm still very casual about it. I think I played maybe 3 hours total all day. But it was pretty good and I had an ok time.

I saw my friend. We chatted for a bit, but she couldn't play as she had a meeting then some play time with her friends. Which is super good, as she was saying not too long ago how she was sad she never did anything with her real life friends anymore.

The sad part was when I was watching one of my shows. One of the characters was in the hospital and they showed this "universal pain chart", which I'd never heard of. I looked it up online and was sad because I'd rate myself during these homeless times as between 2 and 4 most days. And on a few occasions when I've been sick, as high as 9 or 10. It made me think about how bad my life has become, and as an outsider looking at someone else how terrible that would be. Only a few other times in my entire life have I been as bad as I am now. I had to pause the show because seeing that chart and thinking about it made me cry a bit. I had to sort of hug myself and then put the thoughts to the side. Little will change as long as things continue like they are, yet they have been going on so long it seems, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, they are unlikely to change without help. I just have to try and hang on to my days where I am 1-2 and wait for a significant change to get out, or for someone to come along who can truly help.

Day 1522 - 8/31 - Podcasts

Today was ok I suppose. I was going to nap in the morning, but I still feel weird with noone around even though I know I'd be safe. So, even though I only got about 6 hours of sleep I passed. The afternoon went ok. It was actually kind of funny when I left the restaurant because the manager person I've known the longest (and who is probably the nicest) said in a surprised tone, "You're leaving?" I was like, 'heh, I have to work.' She's one of the ones who knows I'm homeless and really don't have many places to be.

I did podcasting before work. My weirdness on my system is causing the fans that go to the main vents to go high, which creeps in to the background noise in a way that can't be cleared out, so that's annoying. It didn't used to do that. I guess it went ok, though there isn't much to it and it went kind of short. In the evening I watched my friends do their podcast. Before it really started two people in the chat said they started listening to my podcast and liked it. Yay for new listeners. Though I still wonder how many regular listeners there are since I hear from so few. I guess, along with everything else in my life I have to assume I'm mostly doing it for me and there are only a few out there it will really help or touch in some way. I suppose though as long as it touches one that is good enough for me.

Day 1523 - 9/1 - Another scare

Today started out good but pretty quickly went to poo. I did my podcast upload and that went fine (by avoiding the avoidable weirdness). My friend came on super early and we played for about an hour. At that point my screen went black, as if someone unplugged the monitor. I could still do everything, but since I couldn't see I had to force shut it down. (It's done this before within the past week.) The system did not react when I pushed the power button to turn back on. It didn't even show as being in a ready state. Zero reaction, seemingly zero power, flat dead. I unplugged everything and took out the battery and put it back in. When I plugged the power back in it showed the ready light. It turned back on and seemed to work fine. Though I went the rest of the day watching videos and playing my game for a few hours I was worried. I am still worried.

I still don't know if my system is slowly dying or if it's just having minor issues with different parts that look like it's dying. It still runs the hard drive 100% speed for 10-15 minutes post boot-up unless I force shut down Microsoft Security. It still, seemingly randomly, pauses for 1-2 minutes and only lets the mouse move for seemingly no reason, and it's dropped the monitor feed twice now. It seems to run hot and kick the fans to high for no reason at all when unplugged, and the graphics chip is running a fair bit hotter than a post by someone with the same system (+10c idle, +20-40c under load). So today was a bad day. And likely as long as issues persist it will likely continue to be bad days. While I could still do Internet stuff, record my podcast, update my site, and try to watch videos with my netbook, should my system die gaming would be completely out of the question. And there is no way I would be able to afford the $1500 for a new system.

Day 1524 - 9/2 - Hot day, cold me

Today was bleh. I had a work shift, which is more money at least. Since school is in it's basically sitting in an empty gym alone for nearly 3 hours, then a regular 2.5 hours. I had decent bandwidth most of the time, so I split the time between playing my game and watching some shows.

My friend was supposed to come on and play, but she wound up doing different things, so I didn't see her.

Today was, I would guess, 75F+ out. But in the restaurant I've been cold the past few days, on the verge of shivering cold. I don't know what is up with that.

I tried to do a backup on my system. After all day of running ok, when I turned it on to start the backup it did the crazy DOS 'something is wrong with my disk' check. That burnt up an extra half hour of time I wasn't expecting to spend. After it restarted when it had finished the hard disk wouldn't stop. And when I tried to run the backup it was showing the backup disk errors. I restarted and tried again and it finished the backup in 5-10 minutes as normal. I am still worried it will keel over dead at some point. If it's just the one boot drive I expect that would be manageable, as I have two in there, but still. I suppose though at this point there is no getting around the fact that chances are extremely high that it will not make it to my recovery. I just hope it doesn't die too soon. I have effectively no money to replace it if it does.

Mostly today I was sad. It was a long holiday weekend for everyone but me. I have too much time off. While days off are the rare exception for most, days working are the rare exception for me. All weekend in the back of my mind has been the thought of people making plans with loved ones, friends, families; going to movies, hanging out, doing BBQs, or other things. To me it is a day like any other. One spent alone. One where I do not wake up in a bed after sleeping in. One where I do not plan special meals for holidays. One where I do not expect friends over for games, movies, or BBQ. And most of all, one I do not feel extra restful flopping into bed at the end of the night's festivities.

Day 1525 - 9/3 - Cold start, hot end

Today was ok I suppose. It was certainly less sad than I expected. In the morning my car had genuine frost. Very very small ice, but it seems winter is most defiantly on its way. The rest of the day, and the evening, seemed to contradict that. It was pretty hot. I don't know how hot, but I think my app thing estimated it was supposed to get up to 80F+.

I didn't get to sleep in. Due to the holiday I knew school would be extremely empty. I didn't try. I considered going to the mall, but I decided against it. I figured it would be far too busy (as opposed to a moderate busy that would allow for cover.)

I stayed at the pizza place today. The beautiful cute blonde was there again. She had super cute / sexy jeans on with big ripped parts that made peek-a-boo spots to her thighs. I told her they were super cute.

Things were slow during the day due to the holiday, as was work. But I had good bandwidth, so I watched a show, a movie, and played my game for a bit. Added to a show and some playing I did at the pizza place, I guess today wasn't too terrible.

Day 1526 - 9/4 - Screech

Today is just starting, but it seems ok so far. I got to sleep in, and slept the whole time. So, for the first time since Thursday I've gotten more than 6 hours of sleep.

It was warmer this morning, and it's decently warm now at nearly 11. I guess it's supposed to be warm around 80F again.

Speaking of heat I've decided to check in on what it would cost to check my laptop. I think I mentioned it's been running seemingly way hotter than someone said it should, so I've got an email to the repair shop ready to go. I have a feeling they will say a number that is too high, meaning I'd have to risk doing it myself. I have no real fear of the process, but being a laptop it's way more complex to take apart, and if I did botch the job it's not a quick fix. (The post mentioned it would be a few hours.)

This week has been extra worrisome, but also a few good things happened. I still hope everything will turn out ok, but I've been homeless so long thinking of how my life will be, what my routines will be, once I do get re-established, is basically an impossibility. I know who I was. I know who I am forced to be now. But I have no idea who I will need to become.

Time passes

Well, the day has gone to poo. When I got to the restaurant and turned on the system it just hung on boot up. I force shut it down and tried to re-boot. It said I had no boot disk. I tried again, same, and again, same. I took the plug and battery out and tired again. It again did the DOS style disk check. It did boot up after, but it took FOREVER. And all the while, I heard a very faint electronic screech from under the keyboard. It seems to be running ok now, but there are most certainly indications of a hard disk failure or death. And now too it doesn't even see the second disk at all. It looks like I may have to give serious consideration to replacing the hard drives. Though, that could explain some of the heat issues. Being a physical disk, when it spins and runs it generates heat in a confined space. What with its tendency to keep running that may be why heat isn't dissipating very well. I'm going to have to give serious consideration to replacing it, and have already put one on my Amazon wish list. Once the restaurant quiets back down again I'll listen for the screeches. And if anything else happens, particularly today, I'll go ahead and make the purchase. It's a lot more than I'd like to spend, but it is the kind of hard drive I'd use in a desktop system, so it could be seen as an investment should it survive until I recover to a home. And I suppose, if it does wind up being just the hard drive, that's not too terrible. As with so many things in my life it isn't a cost I wanted to spend, but it seems necessary to try and hang on.

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

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