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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 229

Day 1597 - 11/14 - Feeling more homeless

Today I feel even more homeless than usual. I spent all day at school and I think I'd forgotten how that made me feel. There were groups of friends laughing and having fun. There were people coming and going. And there were people just starting careers or getting ready to start them. But not me. I am stuck. I am out of place. Without opportunity I seem unable to help myself. I am reminded that, in a big way, I have always been an outsider. I have never felt that I've really belonged save for a few brief times and places in my life.

I know friends are out there who like me. I know they would play games with me and have fun. Maybe there is even a sweetie somewhere out there. And I know there are a few jobs in industries that would welcome my experience, creativity, and different way of thinking.

But today seemed like a reminder to me - that there, wherever that may be, is not here. I can't find my way there. And what's worse is I don't know that I ever will, despite how hard I try to find the path.

Day 1598 - 11/15 - Sad realization

Today was a bit different than planned. I slept in at school, which was pretty good, and I was surprised to be woken up nearly 3 full hours later by my alarm. I usually can't stay asleep for more than an hour or so due to noise. I had a little bit of time to do podcasting before a move, so I did that. I had been waiting to see The Man with the Iron Fists, but apparently there was something wrong with the projector. Since it's only in one theater I had to see something else. I saw Skyfall which was better than I expected, though I'm not a huge Bond fan.

Later in the day I was finishing up my podcast and realized that next week is Thanksgiving, which means if the repairs on my laptop aren't started basically tomorrow then there is no way I'd have it back before Thanksgiving time. And, even if it was done in the next few days they would have to let me drive over to pick it up. If it were shipped it would be at least three more days instead of a like 30 minute drive.

I stayed on school grounds most of the day again. It's nice to get a landline system to watch stuff on. It's higher quality and has no pauses. I may not go to the restaurant so much once I get my laptop back. I don't know. I would rather watch stuff on my system, but the restaurant connection is such crap now. But at school I can't get good speeds wirelessly during most of the day due to how many people are on, so it may not be much better. I can't game at school, but there isn't blaring music. I guess there are pluses and minuses to each. I will have to weigh things in the future.

Again today nothing changed. While the world was alive around me, I felt very stuck, very isolated, and very alone. With being at school around so many I am again starting to feel like a ghost in a world where I am no longer alive.

Day 1599 - 11/16 - Return of the system

Today had a pretty huge surprise. While I was at work I got word from my ex-roomie that there was a 'big, heavy, signature required package from Asus' that arrived. Wiggeda whuuut? Apparently Asus did repairs on my system and sent it back without confirming anything with me, nor notifying me it was on the way. As I feared for such a quick turnaround time it looks like the Blu-ray, keyboard, and the 'top casing' (the top layer of the system which includes the keyboard) were the only things replaced. The hard drives are the original hard drives. There was no mention of a change to the motherboard, CPU, or controllers. There was notation of 'a lot of dust around the CPU and VGA', which they apparently cleaned out. So I suppose it's possible that my theory of some kind of short was what was going on. I guess recovering will be super quick. In theory I just have to swap back in the SSD and it's ready. But I will certainly keep my fingers crossed with so few things changed. And I guess I will get into the habit of blowing it out maybe once a month. I didn't know you could for laptops since they are so small and tightly packed, but it may seem so, and so I'll be super careful to treat my system super nice in the future.

Day 1600 - 11/17 - Restored

Today at work I restored the system. It indeed took just about no time at all. In fact, after I finished I let it run a backup. It backed up about 75 gig in maybe 10 minutes or so. Previously in broken form it was taking over an hour for not even 55 gig. So things seem as speedy as they should be again. It's weird that it is implied they are blaming evil dust bunnies on the problems, but as long as there aren't failures I'll accept it.

After, I went to the restaurant. I think a great part of my sad mood about gaming has to do with the crap connection there. It's stable most of the time, but slow as hell. It was the one spot I could be and play without disruption by people or online ads possibly cutting me off. At 1/4-1/2 the speed of what is really needed I'm worried it may not be enough bandwidth to really play on. I suppose since video is mostly ok it should be, but still. It makes me very sad I don't feel free anymore. Single player offline games are fine, of course, but lately they haven't felt as much fun.

It's pouring rain out. It's nice to hear and see, but being out in it instead of being in a home... it makes me sad. It makes me feel like those pictures of dogs sitting in the middle of the street drenched because they have nowhere to go.

Day 1601 - 11/18 - Kinda sad

Today started off kinda sad. I was going to try and play some Guild Wars 2 but it wanted to verify the client. Something glitched and it started downloading like 255,000 files. I looked at the folder and it was effectively empty. For some reason it didn't recognize the like 15 gig client it had and it had been deleted down to nothing. So, instead of a small patch to the client I guess I'll have to spend a week or two re-downloading the entire client because I no longer have access to a decent connection speed. I again contacted the supposed tech for the restaurant, as I was disconnected four times and it was even slower than the 40% speed of everywhere else around them. (It was down to about 4% of the connections true potential, which is about 15% of everyone around them.) If he replies with 'it's what they want, too bad for you', I am seriously considering messaging the company again. They seriously can't want a connection that is so much slower than everyone around them. And if they do, well, sad as it may seem it may be time to find another place to connect and give my business.

In the evening for a very brief bit I got to play with my friends. It's been like a month, so that was super happy. They are busier than expected with things, so I only got to see them for about an hour.

It's hiding time now and I am running a backup and the system is being weird. What should be like 10 minutes has been running for more than 30. I don't know why. Last time was super quick but this time it's taking forever for some reason. It was taking so long it actually nearly completely drained the battery. I'll let it go for a bit more but not much longer. This is crazy and it's not supposed to take this long. So, I'm worried. The system has been fine other than this though. No signs of the previous troubles. But this, this seems suspicious.

Day 1602 - 11/19 - A day

Today was a day. I don't really remember it. I slept pretty good, then slept for about an hour before class. Class was ok, but much more complicated than before. I did my online work after then only had about an hour before leaving for laundry and work, so I tried to download a test client. (I say try because all my wireless connections are so slow now.) At work I watched a movie I rented. That was really it. Nothing new or interesting. Today was a day.

As I took my shower I was so very tired. It reminded me of times I used to shower, get all clean and warm, then basically immediately go to sleep in clean bed sheets. It's got to be probably five or more years since I could do that.

Day 1603 - 11/20 - Maybe ok

Today should be ok. I couldn't sleep in at school, there was too much noise and I really wasn't tired. It was ok, in that I went and did a little bit of rambling for my podcast about my system being back. The system seems ok, so that's good. I've been really super tired lately, and last night I had more than double the normal amount of food. I wonder if I'm fighting off a little cold. I am occasionally sneezing, but that and being super extremely tired are my only real symptoms. I've been pretty stressed out by the system stuff lately, so I've been forgetting my mini-workouts, but I have been pretty good about having less soda. I think on average it's down by about half of what I was drinking. On some days it's almost down to 25%, which is really at the level it should be. (That's about 1-2 cans per 24 hour period.)

My friends asked me to do a special project, so that will take up a lot of time, but it's fun. Also I haven't really felt much like gaming lately due to how tired I am. I think maybe that's in part due to the stress of everything, worrying about what may explode if I do game and whatnot. As I use the system more and it seems fine I'll probably become more and more my old homeless self. I suppose that's the best I can hope for these days, a homeless normal, and that makes me sad.

Week 230

Day 1604 - 11/21 - Sad normal

Today seemed like a sad normal. I slept in a bit in the morning, but there was some unexpected stuff last night, so I didn't get all that much sleep total. Before class I went to drop off that something for the possible internship, but I currently don't qualify because I only have one class. Maybe next semester I'll have enough units to qualify. Class went ok, but it was really just reviewing the test. After, I went to the restaurant to give them sort of one last chance. The bandwidth was still total crap. I'm currently doing a lot of offline stuff, so it currently doesn't matter, but if this is how it's going to be I almost certainly want to scout some other spots for playing online from, as it really doesn't cut it anymore.

I feel pretty sad lately. I was hoping that internship thing could help me out and it seems it is unable to. Job postings were nonexistent, as expected. And, I don't even qualify for a few paid depression studies. It seems like lately nothing I do to try and help my situation helps. It seems the only things I'm still succeeding at is my rabb1t life, and that's not something that generates money. I feel very sad, as it seems my future... well, doesn't exist.

Tomorrow will be tough. Nearly everything will be closed, and those few places which aren't will close by early evening. I think at that point I'll hide in a movie. Then all I can do is hope my hiding spot for the night is safe. While others are feasting I'll be fasting. Not because I can't afford food, but because I am one of the few who will be alone. And, even more than usual, I will have to be extra careful with everything shut down and everyone in their homes. It is the holidays like this that someone out of place becomes very obvious.

Day 1605 - 11/22 - Not turkey today for me

Today is turkey day, but not for me. Because of limitations of what is open or closed when, because of my choices of what kind of turkey I could have, I am passing. It seems so sad that I am one of the only ones not celebrating, but this is how it is. In part this is how I choose it to be, as there are places I could go to get free turkey day food, but I choose not to go to them. Instead, while everyone else is in warm homes with loved ones and friends, I am alone in the cold. I do have a single serving pie to have to celebrate, but that is a far cry from what I would have cooked for myself if I were in a home. I can't recall when I last had a turkey day like I wanted, and I don't know when, or if, it will ever be again.

I got to sleep in for a bit in the morning. Not as much as if school were open, but enough I am not completely exhausted. The day passed much quicker than I thought it would. I looked at an alternative restaurant. A few menu items looked pretty good, so I checked their wireless today. They were closed. I guess it didn't matter though, as they have some lame limitation that you can only use the connection for 30 minutes. That would be ok in some kind of emergency, but I'll just do the coffee shop instead if I had to. The people there know I have nowhere to go, so being there a few hours is no big deal. Plus, they are so busy they wouldn't even really notice.

I spent most of the day at the coffee shop since nothing else was open. I worked on a special thing for my friends' podcast. Though I really need to get off my butt and do another class assignment. It's due Monday, so I only have a few days left.

Now it is early evening and everything is closed. I'm hiding extra early tonight. I'll probably continue to do podcasting stuff, but I may do some game stuff. At this point I really just hope to do a bit of podcasting, have my single serving pie, then go to "bed" early. Tomorrow things are open, so it will be a 'normal' Friday. Hopefully I'll feel normal again then.

Day 1606 - 11/23 - Ignoring homework

Today I was pretty sad. I got to sleep in a little, which is good, but because nearly everyone else was at home for the holiday I was sad that I was not. What's worse is the restaurant. The only thing close to a home-like environment and it still has crap connection speed. It seems like it's not going to change and that the promise that I specifically would be granted enough bandwidth is a total lie. I'm certainly going to have to consider going other places when I want to game, which is lame. I guess it's a good thing my time I play online with others is so rare these days.

My bestest friends sent me two games we may play together, so that's super happy. It has taken like two days to get one and an estimated five more for the other if I were to do it at the restaurant. I'll spend some time at the pizza place, which is about 3x as fast, so maybe that will help. I've also asked the Internet gaming place I used to go to if they would get me a copy of the client, so we'll see. Who knows, maybe they will burn me a copy so I don't have to download it.

I've been ignoring the lab that's due Monday. I should have started it. I had all Thursday and today, but I just haven't been in the mood. I've been sad about things and it's very difficult to motivate because of that. It needs to be done though, so I'll have to get very serious about it tomorrow. Who knows, maybe it will be easy and go quickly.

I guess that's it for today. Nothing really special or interesting other than that stuff.

Day 1607 - 11/24 - Sad tire news

Today was sad tire news day. I went to the tire place to see if they could swap my tire to the spare and I was told two bad things. First, apparently the spare is a small emergency size. It's apparently not full sized. Second, not only can you not have one bad one and one good one in front, but apparently both front tires are really bad. I asked how much it would be to replace them and even with the cheapest tires it would be nearly $200. Even with all my money after I got paid Thursday and everything in savings I would still be short by $50. And my winter budget only goes down from there. So, I have no idea how long they will last, nor how long it will be before I can replace them. I will have to hope dad sent money for turkey day or I get donations, otherwise there is just no way unless I did things like cut my food budget down to 1/3 of what it is for two weeks or something else crazy like that.

I suppose in opposite news I asked Euphnet if I could grab the game client I needed from them and they said yes. What's more is the nice Brian person remembered me. Woah. It's been apparently two years since I was last there and closer to three since I was a regular. I still remember those days. It doesn't seem anywhere near that long ago. So, now the new things my bestest friends got me is ready to go. No like 20 estimated hours of download for that one.

I guess that's it for today. Some bad news that will continually worry me until it's taken care of, which I can't afford , and a bit of nice news that I was remembered (and trusted to be hooked up to his network for direct client file copying.) Not sure what to make of today, but it seems a reminder that I am not in control.

Day 1608 - 11/25 - Tires eventually maybe

Today was ok, but seemed slow. I slept in a tiny bit, which was good. I had to finish my school lab homework thing, and that took up all of my morning. Most of the day I worked on the special podcast project for my friends. In the evening though I got to play a game with them for a bit. Yaaay. One fell asleep early though, and another was having issues with his system overheating and shutting down, so that was kind of sad.

I did get some money from dad for turkey day, but it was only half of normal. Also, someone asked me to cover a shift next Sunday. So, in about 2.5 weeks or so when I'm paid for that day, if I'm super careful, and drain everything I have including savings, I should be able to just barely cover the tires. But that will make things extremely to almost impossibly tight for winter. With no savings and my budget zeroing out I'll be in real trouble if anything else happens. But I guess, as it always seems, things are out of my control.

That was really my day though. Nothing really all that different. Mostly it was slow, and I missed all the simple things of being in a home; sleeping in, showering, cooking what I want, doing laundry, being able to do school work without distraction. But those things are not my life anymore.

Day 1609 - 11/26 - Bad bandwidth all around

Today was kinda bad, but more disappointing. I went to the pizza place to have more bandwidth than the regular restaurant (and to eat something different now and then) and the bandwidth was just as bad. I was limited to one thing and when I tried to also do a download, which usually works there, the video didn't get enough bandwidth. It seems I may have no choice but to just take what I can get and if the place I'm at isn't enough I just have to try somewhere else. There is a new restaurant opening soon close to school, which is just a few minutes drive from the other restaurant, so maybe they will have better bandwidth. When I played with friends yesterday it wasn't completely unbearable, but it was barely enough. There were times of lag where I was worried it would disconnect me.

Today was a pretty regular Monday. Though I did forget to do the final thing for the lab. I was waiting to get the answer on something, so it was held, so I had to finish this morning. I'll try and be good and start the next one due in two weeks this week so I have lots of time. I guess class is just about over.

That's really it. Still very sad about all my limitations. They seem extra crushing lately.

Day 1610 - 11/27 - Has a cold

Today the cold I've had has gotten pretty bad. It was really mild the past few days until now. Starting yesterday my sneezes are pretty common, there is always congestion and yuck in my throat and lungs, and my eyes are having trouble seeing. (They are blurry like they are sleepy, though it's more likely extra yuck on the contacts, which can happen when you are congested.) I'll have to try and remember to check my ex-storage for that tea some ex-guildies got me. Hopefully it hasn't expired yet. It seems so long ago they sent it to me.

I'm very tired, but wasn't sleepy this morning, and there was lots of noise at the school lot. Some stuff was going on that disturbed me last night, so I've only gotten about 7 hours of sleep, and it was interrupted a few times.

Today should be a pretty regular day. Though I expect there will be fewer jobs to look through, as places commonly shut down between Halloween and about February for winter. If anything happens I'll always update things, but I expect it will be a slow boring day.

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

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