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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 243

Day 1695 - 2/20 - Tears at night

Today was... difficult. There was no book on hold in the library. Plus, it seems the professor posted his slides with descriptive text at some point. I learned more from those in 5 minutes of skimming than I did in the like 15 hours of video they came from. Also something I didn't know, the test wasn't online in the 'it's through a website and you have one hour to complete it' sense. It was a 'download it here and answer the questions and email it back' form. So I could have spent time with it at work Monday, had it all day Tuesday, and done a lot more with it. So that was pretty frustrating finding all that out. It's so lame the class has two tests and that's it. There's nothing to get used to the class with. I probably did pretty bad, so all I'm hoping for is a C.

My other class, the one with the professor that I like and had before, went pretty good I think. Only 2 out of 20 questions were ones I wasn't sure on, so I probably got an 85-90% I think.

After the test I tried to do some podcasting, but the place I've been going to was full. I tried somewhere else and it was too noisy. I tried a second other place and again it was too noisy. And I went back to my usual spot and it was still all full.

I decided to say forget it and go to maybe relax and play some stuff. But at the coffee shop I was dropped and stuck about once an hour for several minutes each time. And I wasn't even doing bandwidth intense stuff; I was just doing regular web stuff.

I said F that and went to the restaurant. I could barely watch the stream I wanted to watch there. It barely had any bandwidth.

In the evening I settled in to watch a friend's stream. I got a message that was similar to the one on Friday. I suddenly felt very sad and unwanted, so I left. I don't even think anyone noticed, nor did anyone ask if I was ok when I did not return.

I watched another person's stream for a bit and it was ok. The chat there was super quiet. It was like noone was talking.

My friend invited me to play online, and while I said yes I felt very sad. I didn't talk. I didn't act silly. I guess noone cared or thought anything of it.

When I went to say goodnight to my bunnies in the ex-storage I shed a few tears. I don't want people to treat me bad. I don't want to be where I'm not wanted. I don't want to be lonely, but if people continue to not want me in the chats then I guess I'll just have to stop going. With people treating me badly or being asshats towards me in online games, maybe I will just have to stop going to the places I have previously enjoyed. Maybe some places are becoming places that hurt me and I'll have to start considering if there will be more potential pain than potential happiness. And if so, I'll have to stop going, even if that means I wind up more alone. I'd rather be by myself and lonely than somewhere I'm unwanted to treated badly.

Day 1696 - 2/21 - Not so many

Today was kind of sad. I took the day off, so to speak, and didn't do any school or work/job hunting stuff. In the morning I researched some stuff for my podcast. After, I did all the recording. When I got to the restaurant I watched a show during lunch, then edited the podcast. It turned out to be much longer than I expected; basically regular length, so that was good. After, I discovered a pretty sad fact though. I decided to check my stats again and noticed it has been tracking since 2011, not 2012. So when I redid the math for the much longer time it worked out to be that I have, if averaged out, 125-135 subscribers, not 400-500 like I thought. I guess that explains why there was a sudden jump. I wasn't correctly noticing the reported time period. So that made me pretty sad. I'm still happy with its increase from the 40s that it basically started with, but that is still a super tiny number overall.

In the early afternoon I did get word that I got a 75% on the test I was worried about, so that is ok. It's not great but for how bad the videos were and not having a book I'm fine with it.

I also decided to contact one of the smaller gaming news people I'd found lately. It seemed like it was just two people, and they have 250 subscribers at the YouTube page and only about 25 at their Facebook page (about the same as me). So I asked how they managed to be given two $200 Neverwinter's founders packs and get early press entry. I guess they have several PR contacts at several companies and are asking for them to give them stuff for reviews. I feel a bit less sad since I got that answer. I haven't been trying to make contacts like that because I can't stream my videos, I don't even really have enough power or opportunity to make them, and I don't feel like a real news agent with that and other limitations. So it made me... I guess feel a bit better... to know that the limitations of my homeless life are what is holding me back. (Not something like I suck at what I do and noone likes it, and thus that is why I get no rewards.) In theory once I can stream and put out more stuff and don't have to worry about system power or recording conditions I could start making connections and reaching out. Though, I would still like to be reached out to in recognition of what I've done, or because people think I'm awesome and would be honored to have me look at x, rather than feeling like I'm asking people for favors / hand-outs.

I've been feeling very sad lately though about my limitations as well as not feeling appreciated or like people care about me. Due to the recent sad things with people not wanting me in chat, and seeing several succeeding at things that I'm trying to do, where I seem to be not getting any recognition or appreciation... well, that on top of all my regular homeless stuff has made me feel very sad lately.

Day 1697 - 2/22 - Nothing to write home about

Today really doesn't have much of interest. I uploaded my podcast in the morning. I purposely only updated the new .xml page. It showed up on iTunes almost immediately in a general search (not through my subscription), so that proved iTunes is looking at the new feed. So that was happy. I haven't gotten a reply through customer support about that, so I'm glad I came up with a way to test and verify it for myself. I got dropped at the coffee shop several times, and had trouble staying connected at the restaurant too. So both of my main connection points are becoming pretty unstable again. So, I didn't play or watch my shows much. In the evening I watched a movie. After I tried to watch my friend's stream, but I had no bandwidth. I'm still not sure how I feel about that though. Still feel a bit unwelcome and I wasn't even sure I actually wanted to watch even if I could have. I tried to do the next lab, but it looked like stuff I don't know yet. It's not due for like three weeks, so I'm not worried. Besides, I have extra shifts on both Saturday and Sunday to try and to it if I want.

That was really my day. A whole lot of not much due to not being able to get a connection that I could count on. I was pretty sad, but I guess not quite as bad as I have been, so that was good I suppose.

Day 1698 - 2/23 - You cannot play at this time

Today was mostly sad. In the morning I picked up the $60 founders pack for Neverwinter. I want to support them and get peeks at stuff as quick as I can. The game will actually load to the loading screen, but it displays the message "you cannot play at this time". Oddly though the client is tiny at just around 3 gig. Most MMOGs are closer to 10-15. At 3 it's closer to a single player game size, so that seems worrisome. I decided I just don't have the $200 for the more expensive one, and I'm ok with 'earning it' by people donating for my adventures and stuff.

My bestest friend checked in with me today. I guess she did notice I disappeared Wednesday and couldn't stay on last night, so they were worried about me. I have an ex-guildie who checks in weekly too most weeks, so it's always good to be worried about.

I still feel very sad though. I still feel sort of unwanted, I certainly haven't been feeling appreciated for work on my site and podcast lately. And I still feel that I will never be paid for doing something I at least somewhat enjoy as a job. And it seems unlikely I'll ever be back to earning 'enough'. Everywhere I look there are people younger, in better shape, and more successful than me. Even though I know I have a unique perspective, experience, and understanding, I really don't feel like it is acknowledged or desired.

Day 1699 - 2/24 - Writing the script

Today was ok I guess. I had another shift to cover, so I've been pretty busy with work lately. During most of the shift I didn't have any bandwidth, so I worked on what is effectively most of the 'script' for one of my adventures in Neverwinter. Hopefully I'll have the chance to put it in and hopefully the game will be fun enough that it was worth my time. With my now having spent $60 on it I figure I have to play a minimum of 10 hours for it to be worth the cost, as most single player games last about that long. I guess I'll find out in two Fridays from now, as that is the next beta weekend.

Later in the day bandwidth cleared a bit and I was able to watch a show and play for a bit. After work I went to the restaurant and the connection wasn't too bad. I watched another show and again played for a little bit.

I wasn't too sad today. I felt productive and happy working on the adventure, something I haven't been able to do in a very long time. It's not the same as a pen and paper game, but I haven't had any pen and paper friends in forever. I was pretty lonely, but the time passed quickly enough so it didn't seem too bad.

I'm hiding for the night now, and as things quiet down, and my ears eventually stop ringing from being constantly bombarded by noise all day, the sadness is beginning to return. I still feel trapped, helpless, and like nothing will ever really improve for me. And with each activity I decide to do alone, I wonder how many more things I will have to continue to do alone.

Day 1700 - 2/25 - Tired, hungry, blurry

Today was ok I think. I'm feeling a bit less sad from all my things. I still have the sad, it's always there, but my happy things seem to make me a bit happier lately.

Today I'm suuuppper tired. I'm extra hungry lately for some reason. And my eyes have been really blurry at times and unable to focus.

I guess overall the week is ending better than it started. While nothing has really changed I don't feel quite as sad and depressed as I did at the start of the week. My outlook is about the same, as that is influenced far more by external factors than not.

Not much to say for today really. Still alone, still lonely, still feel like I'm unwanted or unwelcome more than not lately, still feel like the things I am doing are not how I should be doing them, my connection points are still more unstable than not, and my prospects for change still seem slim to none.

Day 1701 - 2/26 - Homesick

Today I don't feel quite so depressed emotionally, but the day is just starting. I have been feeling very sick lately. I miss all the things people take for granted all the time.

I miss being able to not wear shoes. I miss not being able to cook. I miss not being able to take a shower and just get into house cloths. I miss being able to do laundry and have warm clothes or bed sheets. I miss being able to control the temperature at least a little. I miss being able to control the volume of sounds around me, or how many lights are on.

I miss so many things. Some might be considered luxuries, but so many more are just everyday things I may never have again.

Week 244

Day 1702 - 2/27 - Sadness returns

Today seemed like it would start ok, but it took a sad turn. Usually now on Monday and Wednesday I'll be in the side room from the cafeteria. It often has decent connection speeds and, unlike the library, I can eat there. But today, even though I'd found a new show I wanted to watch, I thought about those around me and became sad.

There are people laughing and having fun. Noone there is struggling without a place to stay. They are all focusing on their classes and opportunities for the future. They are finding friends and playing games. (There are always card games and video games running in that room.) And some are finding love. I think of their futures, being with their friends, finding good jobs, starting families.

I think of me. I am stuck. The few friends I've made have not led to other new friends, nor love. They aren't even offline where I can do stuff with them in person. My classes, going well or not, don't seem to be leading me to a bright future. I am older. Most my age are hoping to retire in about 20 years, and wishing it to be sooner.

I still feel very sad lately. I feel very depressed and my future looks bleak. When I do have something to enjoy, I have noone to share it with. I am alone. And the longer it continues, the more it feels like this is the way it will always be.

Day 1703 - 2/28 - More fruit

Today I had an orange for a snack. I was super proud of myself for doing it until I got so hungry I had a chip/pretzel snack not long after. I even had a second snack like that not long after that. I don't know why, but lately I've been really really tired and really hungry. Maybe they are linked. Maybe I should try and sleep in more at school. I used to pretty frequently, but this quarter it's been too noisy, so I started spending Monday and Wednesday before class doing stuff. And on other days I started doing other things too; Tuesday I do last minute Epic Fail entry and posting, Thursday recording and editing of my podcast, Friday finishing and posting the podcast. Many weekends lately I've worked extra shifts, so I stopped weekend naps too. I'm not really short on sleep though. Since it's winter things get very quiet and still just after nightfall, so I can usually get about 8-9 hours of sleep most nights, which is plenty.

Today my friends sent me a message saying they were sad that I felt unwanted and unappreciated. They said they miss me and my things I do. So that was nice. I think really it was the fact that people didn't seem to care about my problems that got me the most sad and that they would rather see me gone. It's like, sure, people helping is super rare, and if anyone were in a position to truly help me it would be a miracle, but wanting me gone and not wanting to hear about my problems... I get it, but when I hear someone is having trouble or sad I always feel a little bad for them. Even just a sad face emote or seeing if I can help is usually the least I do. It seems lately though noone save for a very small number of my friends are willing to make any kind of gesture. Like with donations, people don't realize that while even just $5 may not seem like much, that is basically a whole meal, and it really is a huge gesture of appreciation. Or even just saying they are sorry and feel sad for me is a huge gesture.

I guess I just really feel like noone cares at all, and that makes me feel truly alone, isolated, unwelcome, and that since it seems change must come from outside for me to recover, that change will never come.

Day 1704 - 3/1 - The forever edit

Today was ok I guess. I stayed at the coffee shop until work. I had the hardest time editing the podcast. It took over an hour to decide on opening music, then several to edit. It was almost triple the normal time I spend on it for some reason. Maybe because I'm so depressed and sad lately I wanted something exact and couldn't find it.

The coffee shop connection was kind of crappy and it dropped me several times. It's getting really bad. I didn't want to go to the restaurant though. I'm trying to cut down on its bad foods, as well as being different places for a change of pace. But with such a terrible connection as my main alternative, it's tough.

I'm so extremely tired today. It's weird. I started off feeling extremely well rested and up until about 2 PM I stayed that way. Not long after I started to crash, and by the time it was about 6 I could barely keep my eyes open.

Not much else to say today. No real change for today.

Day 1705 - 3/2 - Displaced

Today was pretty terrible. The day wasn't too bad. I was alone and lonely, but I played games and had some fun. Night was bad though. Where I usually go at night to sleep things were out of place. So I had to be careful and not sleep. I waited. And waited. And waited. At 3 AM I decided to sneak up for a closer inspection. It turns out I was waiting for no reason. Because of the perception of it being unsafe I'd lost half of my night's sleep.

Routine is important to stay balanced in life. Even people who claim it's untrue and who thrive in chaos don't realize it. Even in chaos there is order. At some point things settle down, and even with things being variable, if you enjoy that, having that variance and unpredictability or change is a predictable state. It would be like flipping a coin in the air and it spins. It may seem chaotic in its spinning, but that is a predictable outcome. If it didn't spin, if it stayed flat along one plane, that would be against the routine of the flip.

But tonight was a reminder that I am still homeless. I may have settled in to a routine lately, but with that disruption I was quickly reminded. I had to spend time in a 24 hour food store. The days displays were put away, the lights lower, the music quieter, echoes could be heard from the lack of people, only a few were walking around the store. It felt wrong. It felt as out of place as I did. The night was warm, so it wasn't so bad to be in my car. I waited and waited. The more time that passed the more I felt like the car; unchanging, some parts wearing out, unable to move or progress without someone helping to give direction, and my color progressively becoming fading as the night went on.

I'd almost forgotten how I feel almost normal during the day, and how you can feel truly outcast and alone when you have nowhere to go at night.

Day 1706 - 3/3 - Half asleep

Today I was half asleep basically all day. I only got about 5 hours of sleep, and since I felt mostly ok in the morning I didn't try to sleep in. I may tomorrow though. I played my games and watched a few shows. I tried to study twice, but was so tired I stopped before I'd started.

Everything about today would have gone differently in a home. I could do so much better. I'd have been able to sleep in, showered, eaten better, studied, and had much more fun with my play time. Everything I'd have done would have been so much more successful and I'd have been able to do so much more. There are so many missed opportunities to be what I am capable of, and what makes me most sad is I seem unable to change it to try and become the better me.

Day 1707 - 3/4 - Alone

Lately I feel very alone. When I was growing up, and even still now in my classes, there is this huge focus to do things on your own. You should be capable of x and y. You should 'not ask for handouts'. You should not need others. But as more and more time passes, as I see and hear more stories from 'successful people', it seems they all had help. They all turned to others and made their way with that help. They all got help to become what they were, and if they were standing alone, it was only after prolonged periods of being with others.

I can do things on my own. I have many strengths, and over the years people have said they were amazed by it. And in some cases I have inspired them to find their own strength.

When I started this terrible journey I thought I would be able to make it alone. I thought I'd find my way back without help. I thought I'd be ok and grow and change and be viewed as more desirable. But it hasn't happened. Who I was, what I was and held within the core of myself, has not changed. It hasn't needed to change. All the stuff around that, the seemingly trivial stuff that some perceive as 'good skills' or 'proof of' whatever, that seems unaffected no matter what I do. It seems the undesirable stuff seems unable to be changed. I haven't gotten a new job. My classes haven't helped me one bit in getting a new job or progressing towards a career. And all the stuff that makes me stronger through these terrible times doesn't seem to help. It seems to only be that trivial superficial stuff people want to see, and it seems I am unable to change that.

What I thought would be a few months has become what seems a never-ending saga. Now nearing the end of the 5th year, I wonder if anything will ever change for me.

Day 1708 - 3/5 - Forgiving yourself, or not

Lately I've been very sad about something that happened 20 years ago. I think I told this story before; the story of Spices the kitty. She was an older kitty, like 7 when I got together with her owner. When we were first together she was in a decent sized three bedroom home. Although I was pretty allergic to Spices it was ok. She loved me so much. She would sit on my lap all the time, go up to my face and push on me, or be close by. As all cat owners know, the cat picks you. If they don't like you, they never will. But if they love you they always will. After, I think a year, we moved out to our own place. It was a tiny one bedroom apartment. My eyes were getting red and swollen often and I was sneezing a lot. Maybe a year later that person broke up with me. She moved somewhere else but we agreed since Spices loved me so much she would stay. But I got worse. I was so bad I was constantly on about triple the max dose for allergy meds and out of it all the time. She said she would take Spices back. A few more weeks went by and she hadn't. I was forced to put Spices out on the balcony all the time so I could try and recover. I remember going to visit her out there and crying. I remember seeing her eyes goopy with yuck from when she was crying. After maybe a week she was picked up. The person didn't keep Spices though; I guess she had to give Spices to a shelter.

Lately, since I've been homeless, I've missed Spices terribly. I think of her out there at night, and even though she had food, her box, and her favorite scratching house to sleep in, I knew she cried. I knew she missed me and was patient and didn't cry at the window. She just stayed in her box house. But even until the last day when I put her up on my lap and cried, she purred so much.

I don't know if I can ever forgive myself.

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

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