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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 245

Day 1709 - 3/6 - Almost threw up

Today I am pretty sick. I thought I wasn't too bad at first, been congested and coughing for a few days now, but just a bit ago I almost threw up. Now my ears are ringing and I feel a bit dizzy. I guess I'm pretty bad. If I had a regular job I'd call in sick and stay out the rest of the week. The good news is the podcast is done and ready to go. So I could, if I wanted, try to get an extra couple of hours sleep tomorrow and Friday morning and not miss out on anything. I guess we'll see. I'm hiding for the night now to get extra rest and it's a few hours earlier than usual, so maybe I can get some extra sleep during the night if all goes well.

The rest of my day was pretty regular. I had class, did podcasting, then edited and tried to play for a bit. The coffee shop connection has turned to total crap lately. It dropped me consistently every 15 to 30 minutes. It is now completely incapable of getting through an online game without horrible lag or disconnecting entirely. It's sad because only a few months ago it was 100% stable. I don't understand it.

I really wished I was a regular person today. All day I wanted nothing more than to skip class, sleep in, drink my tea someone sent to me, and eat super healthy and try to get better. But without a home I could really do none of that.

Day 1710 - 3/7 - Throwing up

Today I threw up for the first time in years. It was one instance, but three throwing ups. I was in my car and the first was small and I kind of controlled it. I stayed calm and opened the window. Thank the gods it was at night or I'd have seen / smelled it and kept throwing up non-stop. It's raining pretty good, so really all the evidence should be gone from my car when I go back out to it in the morning. I feel a bit better though now than I did before. It felt sort of like someone was strangling me from all the congestion. I think congestion was the main cause; just too much of it in my system. Though I did sort of overdose on decongestant meds and cough drops. That may have had something to do with it. I'll for sure have to be extremely careful what I eat over the next few days. I'll probably go for healthy soup for dinner every night for a while.

Tonight is one of those nights I'm quickly reminded of how alone and helpless my position is. I have noone to shop for me, noone to get me any medicine I need, noone to do any chores for me, noone to take my cloths that may have been messed up when I got sick and immediately go wash them and get them out of my sight. I am alone. If I need something I have to make my way there. If I want to change, I can try, but I only have the one hoodie. What evidence there is will still be there if it does not get washed away.

Day 1711 - 3/8 - Sick day

Today was ok I guess. I'm still very sick. I tried to stay as still as I could through the day and relax. I was achy, shivery, and feverish feeling all day. The cough was really bad and hurt my muscles, throat, and gave me headaches. Hopefully I'll get better soon. Being sick is bad enough when you are in a home. Being sick while homeless and subjected to constant noise, lights, and temperatures you can't control is terrible.

Day 1712 - 3/9 - Peeing clear

Today was ok I guess. All I really remember clearly was coughing, feeling cold at times, feeling like I'm being chocked at times, and playing the Neverwinter beta. I wish I was well so I could be doing more analysis of it and work on my homework for the next lab, but that just isn't going to happen. I drank so much today I was peeing clear. I can't remember how many years it's been since I've seen clear pee. Unfortunately most it what I drank was soda. When I'm sick and coughing I need the sugars to coat my throat to try and help alleviate my cough. In a home where the air can be filtered and it doesn't affect my allergies so much I could have done more water, but I'd guess I probably drank 4 'cans' worth of water compared to 8-10 of soda. Maybe it's a good sign I drank so much. Normally I drink about 40% of that much.

Hopefully soon things will turn out ok and my terrible story will be over and I will be back in a home safe and sound. But sadly that seems even further off than normal when I'm sick and lack the ability to think clearly enough to really do anything.

Day 1713 - 3/10 - Recovering

Today I feel super sad. I am starting to recover from my cold though. My cough is mostly gone, my confusion is starting to clear, though I'm still extremely tired, congested, and sneezing. My coughing bouts can get really rough though. I'll cough so bad my muscles are all locked up, my ears ring, and my vision gets super blurry.

It makes me super scared to lose control like that. It's like, when death comes, it will more than likely be like that, a time where I lose control and wonder what is going on with my body. I think that is why I'm so sad today. There is noone to help me if that happened. Noone would come to pick me up if I fell. If I lose control, noone would be there to call an ambulance or take me to the hospital.

I am getting better slowly, so I will likely recover from this cold. But what if a day comes where I do not? Will I recover from being homeless even if I do recover from this and other colds? Will there be someone who loves me, or friends around me, if I should need help in the future? Or will it be like now, where the only ones who care about me may not even know I'm gone when I do go?

Day 1714 - 3/11 - Still recovering

Today I feel a bit better, though I couldn't hardly sleep last night for some reason. I still have a coughing fit now and then, and I'm sneezing now more than ever; but my congestion is lessening, I don't get headaches, and it feels like the fever and chills are finally leaving. My confusion is going too, so tomorrow may be mostly normal. Tomorrow is a rest day, so I should be able to recover quite a bit. Though being in the restaurant I'll be disadvantaged by all the noise and artificial lighting, and by anyone who gets close who has too much perfume or cologne.

I'm still very sad about my health and the recent scare. It looks like I'll pull out and be ok very soon, though my throat and voice sound terrible. I still wonder though; will I ever have a normal life in a home again? I suppose my life has never really been normal. I'm used to being alone, doing things by myself, not having people around to talk to or do stuff with. I'm ok with that most days. But if I could at least get back into a home, that would be something.

Day 1715 - 3/12 - Seems off

Today seems... off. It seems like one of those days I'm out of place, almost like I'm in a different town for a convention and today is a between day where I'm just waiting after one has ended and for the next to begin.

I'm still pretty sick; coughing and congested. I still sneeze now and then. Mostly I'm sleepy though. I don't feel so bad as I do out of place, at least when I'm not having a coughing fit. When I do, it feels like I'm coughing flaking ash, or a big glob of yuck.

I guess it's mostly that things are settling back into place. As my congestion clears and my health returns back to normal it's like a window that had the drapes drawn is being opened again. Outside I see all the things that had always been there, and all the things that are in the way of nicer things I once could see.

As time goes on my opportunities to get out of this terrible situation seem to get smaller and smaller. The other day I looked at the jobs for the past two weeks in one section and it was a single page. Back a few years ago when this started that would have been a single day's posting. What was a few hours of searching back then can be done in a matter of a few minutes now. I suppose I can cling to the hopes that the economy will get better and that I will find more work someday, that what I do enjoy doing will eventually find its way to someone who can help me get a job I enjoy. But until then I wonder if anything will ever change for me.

Week 246

Day 1716 - 3/13 - Sprained back

Today was pretty good I guess. I was still sick and pretty tired in the morning. Class was ok. I went to do podcasting and it was actually super warm out. It was almost like summer. I had just my t-shirt and house shirt on top, no sweater or trench was needed. And even then, about half way through I was starting to sweat.

I went to the restaurant to do some editing and tried to play. The game kept crashing, so that was super frustrating. I ignored it and went back to finish editing. After, I watched a show during dinner and played for a bit. They were good groups, so it was pretty fun.

One sad thing for today was I was working out in the bathroom, as I usually try to do every few days. I looked in the mirror and became sad as I saw the pregnant look belly. (Seriously. At the right angle that my parts don't show, my shadow looks like I'm a pregnant lady.) I started working out a bit more vigorously, as the 200-300 various reps I'm doing a few times a week doesn't seem to be enough. Something happened. I didn't hear a noise or anything, but when I went to straighten up and walk out I found I couldn't. I could only go about 90% of straight, and beyond about 85% straight there is a bit of pain. It's... tolerable, but something certainly seems to have been sprained in my lower and mid back.

My cold is quite a bit better, but I still have terrible coughing fits. I'm still coughing up and breathing yuck, and I'm still having to drink way more than usual. In fact, my lips are chapped and odd feeing/tasting from all the drinks and cough drop medicine. Hopefully in a few days I'll be like fine again though.

That's really it. Lately I've done a lot of podcast stuff for friends, as well as my own podcast stuff, so I've been feeling a bit less depressed lately I guess. Though all my sad things are unchanged, and always in the back of my mind.

Day 1717 - 3/14 - Slightly better

Today I'm feeling slightly better. I'm still super congested, sneezing quite a bit, and pretty tired, but the confusion is starting to lift and I'm starting to be in the mood to want to be productive.

A friend sent a message in the morning that I'm loved and cared for, so that was super nice. It made me feel a bit less sad. They are 'small words' to most, but they can have a very big impact. I had some good games during the day and watched some shows, so by the end of the day I was feeling pretty good.

In a home I may have done more. I may have started to do my lab, I may have started on the next system build set for posting in April. I might have even done laundry early. (I sometimes do that when I'm getting better from a cold as warm fresh laundry and sheets help me feel better.)

I guess today was pretty good, though I was mostly in my own space emotionally and not really affected by where I was. Though not being in a home is still ever-present in my mind.

Day 1718 - 3/15 - Messed up

Today can probably be best described as messed up. My throat is still messed up. There is still the ash / yuck in my lungs. There is still sneezing. I lost some sleep last night and was stressed and still sick, so my sleep was messed up. And though I knew it was a risk, the connection at the coffee shop was messed up. I don't think I got through even half the games I tried to play online. I think I'm going to have to declare it not a playable location and always leave for the restaurant when it's open. I may have 1/25th of the speed, but it is, sadly, a far more a reliable gaming connection these days.

I'm starting to feel better, though I'm still heavily congested, coughing, and sneezing. I'm still eating and drinking way more than usual though. I ate almost double my normal amount for dinner, and I'm at double or triple the normal liquid amount. I'm pretty tired too. Even when I can sleep ok my sleep is disturbed.

I'd like to start on the lab things I need to do and start studying for my finals in a few weeks, but motivation is tough. I'm still a bit hazy from my cold a lot of the time, and even when I'm not I'm always out in public. Things are never my environment that I can control and set to a peaceful studying-like atmosphere. But my life is what it is. It seems despite how much I want it to change I am unable to change it. And as much as I am trying to survive and adapt how I can, some things are extremely difficult even at the best of times.

Day 1719 - 3/16 - Tracking all the things

Today was ok I guess. I was supposed to study and do lab stuff, but I didn't. I'll get serious tomorrow and on, when I'm feeling a bit better. I don't feel as terrible as I have been feeling, but my throat is still scratchy, my nose and lungs still congested, still occasionally sneezing, but I've almost entirely stopped coughing, which is amazing. Hopefully in a few days I'll be totally better again.

Today I was again very sad and depressed about my weight. I had to undo my pants and these are even the bigger ones. I decided to try and help motivate myself a bit by getting a free app for my phone. It lets me track all the things. I put in my current weight, the weight I'd like to get to, told it a rough speed, and it shows me a page with a bar with total calories for the day to reach that goal. It's not much, but maybe seeing where I am will help discourage bad foods and allow my brain to do sort of negotiating tradeoffs with better food. Like I had three pieces of pizza which were a huge chunk of calories. If I were feeling better I probably would have seen that and traded one piece for a healthy snack like an apple or orange.

I won't go to crazy about the diet checking right away. There will, no doubt, be an adjustment period. Plus, with my still being sick I'll be way over on drinks and food for at least a few days. But who knows, nothing else seems to work. Maybe seeing the calories will help.

Day 1720 - 3/17 - More alone surrounded by people

Today was sad. I got to sleep in, which was super good, and still being pretty sick super helpful. I got to watch some shows and playing online was ok. But in the early afternoon I started to get sad. I had planned on doing my homework stuff, but the music was so loud I couldn't think at all. If my battery in my laptop didn't run out so fast I'd just go find somewhere to park where I wouldn't get too warm and just go study in my car. But that's not an option. I double checked dates and next week is really it for doing the lab assignments and studying for the final. It all basically ends next Monday.

I thought about my environment and surroundings, how I'm never in a private space, and don't know if I ever will be again. People certainly can study and do ok in non-private spaces, people with siblings or large families do it all the time I'm sure. But for me, it's really difficult to study outside of a private, calm, quiet space.

I started to feel very sad about my lack of control and possibly never regaining it. I also started to feel very helpless and alone. But the oddest thing is I felt that if I were alone, truly alone, and had that private space, not only could I study without issues, but I would feel less lonely. It seems odd to think I would feel more lonely when surrounded by people, but I guess due to the fact that they are all strangers who ignore me they are really nothing more than a distraction.

I guess the only really good thing about today was I was super good about my soda and what foods I ate and stayed under my calorie budget on my phone app. I likely won't see results for a few weeks, after all, I only told it to target 1.5 pounds lost per week. But at least I feel much better for being slightly under than how I ended yesterday at about 50% over.

Overall a sad day, but it seems there is so much out of control lately.

Day 1721 - 3/18 - Just do it

Today wasn't very memorable. I did sleep in for a bit, so that was good. I'm still fighting my cold, so I'm sure that helped. Class was ok, if a bit confusing. It's not stuff I'll use in this class, so it's ok I did laundry. And at work I had several hours alone, so I did my lab. It only took an hour, which I had been fearing it would be more complicated to achieve than it was, so I had kept putting it off. I guess I won't worry so much about the next if this one took much less time than I thought.

I did pretty good on my calorie diet thing. It was about 30% under, so that's good. Other days when I am not near a microwave will be tougher to manage, as I really have to be careful about the restaurant foods. They can be a ton of my daily percent. But it's helping. I am negotiating with myself about when to be over or under instead of just having whatever. I am also being more careful to consider if I'm really as hungry as I think or if I can manage on less. Hopefully it will help me to lose this weight that isn't going away. I was down about 1/2 pound from normal this week, so maybe that's something. It has a weight tracker in addition to the food tracker, so I can see if I'm losing the 1.5 pounds per week I'd hoped to or not.

That was really it for my day. I suppose not really sad, but certainly not spent how/where I'd have liked to. But until my life changes so much of what I once was simply can't be.

Day 1722 - 3/19 - Nearly better

Today I'm feeling mostly over my cold. I have a bit of sniffling and sneezing, but the cough is almost completely gone and congestion seems much more manageable.

I decided to re-download StarCraft 2. I've been thinking of getting the expansion and thought I'd peek at multiplayer. Though I'd probably get it mostly for the single player campaign, if I'm still terrible at multiplayer I should probably wait for the price to drop. I recall the first being a very quick play-through. Multiplayer is updated to the same version for everyone, so I'd always have the newest even if my core single player game isn't. I'll probably play that a bit later today. It's still got a bit to finish downloading.

I got into the Neverwinter foundry beta this morning, so that should be cool to check out making dungeons. However, I probably won't check that out until the weekend. I have another lab thing to do, and all the studying. With both finals Monday I should really try and focus on that.

I guess today may be ok. I'm going to take a bit of a rest from doing too much school stuff today though. I'm very tired and only got about 5 hours sleep, and my cold has still beaten me up pretty good. I still feel very sad that nothing seems to really be changing for me. While I love doing my podcasts and having the ability to play games, and do have a few friends that I do interact with (online), I still feel very sad all the time about the loss of my private space, the lack of opportunity for recovery, and what seems the possible permanent loss of so much of... well, me.

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

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