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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 259

Day 1807 - 6/12 - Very sad, very congested

Today I am very sad. I'm also very congested and sneezy. I've been oddly hungry. Up through lunch though I wasn't hungry. I was good on calories until even dinner. But after, I got super hungry, and I still am, and I had a second dinner.

The first sad thing was that a bird got trapped in the coffee shop. It was so tiny and cute, not even really the size of your palm from beak to tail. It flew up high into a skylight area where I couldn't help in getting him/her out. After being there a few hours they bird started chirping and fluttering around. I saw others of their species on the other side of the skylight glass. It reminded me of my own situation; being trapped, noone really helping, unable to get back home. I became very sad at the thought of them being stuck and starving because none of the people seemed to care but me. Thankfully the bird eventually came down to a table. I grabbed my house shirt to try and capture them to take them out, but they made a hop towards the door, and there must have felt the breeze, as they flew out through the door that was open. (The doors and walls are all glass, so birds can't see how to get back outside.) I was very happy the bird finally made it out, but sad at all the fear and sadness they must have felt while trapped.

And I'm sad because I will, very likely, again miss out on a huge game thing that I'm looking forward to. The next new console and several games I want to play are set to launch at the end of this year. One of the games is something I would absolutely love to play, and it's a kind of game I've been looking for, well, forever. But I won't be able to play. And although the developers plan to support the game for 10 years, I may miss out on playing with my friends even if I do eventually play, as they all very likely will get it right at launch and then stop playing by the time I can play.

While very close to being able to look at renting a room, I still can't. I need another job to have the missing income and hours. But the reality is I've been looking for another job with more hours for more than 5 years, and haven't yet found one. Even though a second job at about 10-15 hours a week would be enough, I just haven't found it. And, on top of that, in order to even possibly have enough to move in I'd basically have to find something in the next two months to be able to get enough in savings to make it before the end of this year. If someone would ever let me move in with my credit being what it is.

It seems silly to think of games as milestones and launch dates as targets, but really they are one of the only things I have. And really they are the only thing I have in tracking the passage of time. I have no vacation to look forward to. I have noone to celebrate holidays or birthdays with. I have no children to watch grow up. I am basically alone with my games, with only a few friends here and there to play with. Yet it seems, at least so far, the few really big game targets I've tried to get re-established by I've missed. It seems yet again I'm going to miss out because there are several games I'd like to play yet can't because I'm homeless. It makes me feel like I will never recover. I will never have a truly stable Internet connection again. And the rest of my days will be filled with suffering and missing out on what I would love to do.

Day 1808 - 6/13 - Sad day

Today on the surface was ok. I got to watch shows, check news, and relax during the day. During work I watched a movie and did final editing for my podcast. But overall it was sad. I miss being in a home. Simple things like showering every day have reminded me how much I miss clean cloths every day after a shower, how the carpet felt on my bare feet, how I can relax and play and do different things without interruption. And with all of the news about E3 and talking about it and looking at laptops I'd like to upgrade too, today feels like one of those days where my future seems empty. Many of the games I saw are ones I can't play because they are console only. And thinking about upgrading my laptop feels like I have to again surrender to the reality that I won't be in a home anytime soon. The things I do or do not do in my day seem to totally revolve around being homeless, and I can't escape that sad reminder.

Day 1809 - 6/14 - End of a week...ish

Today is the end of the week. I guess. I work again Sunday, so I don't really have a weekend. It feels like so much time has passed. The weird thing is even with all the extra work and working 6 days this week, it will still only be around 30 hours. Though, if I could regularly get 30 hours I would be set. I think my math worked out to 25-30 hours would be enough to be back in a home depending on the exact pay per hour, bills, and how much rent was. (That was based on a room price, which a place on my own would be 3-4x as expensive.) But once we get to July in a few weeks I'll basically be back to my regular 15 hours a week.

I ate a lot today, though I'll still be about 7% under budget for the day. For the week I'm about 15% over, but hopefully that will even out over the weekend. Still, even if I was 15% over every week I don't think that would be enough to eliminate all 1.5 pounds I should lose. And over 12 weeks... well, I certainly should have seen some loss by now. I remain sad about it, as I'm easily 30% bigger than I'd like to be when looking at the mirror sideways, but, like everything else in my sad life, I seem unable to change it, despite having a plan and sticking as close to it as I can.

Day 1810 - 6/15 - Just a Saturday

Today was ok I guess. The people I play with are out on vacation, so I was alone all day, as usual. The coffee shop was really empty all day, which is good. I watched a few shows and played a game for a bit. Mostly I was alone and sad about how limited my homeless life is and how little is under my control to change.

Day 1811 - 6/16 - Not a dad's day

Today was dad's day. I've always imagined what it would be like to be a dad and have little ones and a wife who loved me, even more so curious what they would do on dad's day since I don't care about so many of the traditional things. But I'm not a dad. I am single. I am alone in life. And, like so many things in life, it seems this may be one thing I've waited for that may never happen.

Day 1812 - 6/17 - Feeling like there is no future

Today I am pretty sad. I was sad to begin with really, then checked my weight and saw no real loss for another week. And just now, after entering the week's fail, I feel more sad. There is so much I am missing out on in life. And, in so many ways, my life has not been able to progress since I was 20. But I am no longer 20. The odds of my finding things like a solid career, wife who wants to start a family, having kids, seeing them grow up, all seem extremely unlikely.

The reality of what has happened for me, or more accurately not happened, seems like even if I do happen to get re-established my life will continue as it had been. I would continue to be alone. I would not find love, and if I did, it is very likely any kids I could have helped raise would already be grown and moved out of the home. It is most likely my job would be no better than something people who are just out of college would get, or people with no experience. And even though I may make enough to get my own apartment I would struggle financially and miss out emotionally on so much for the rest of my days.

More and more I am feeling like for me there is no future, and I will never have the things I have wished for for so long.

Day 1813 - 6/18 - Movie and oil change

Today should be different. It kind of already is. I'm going to a movie (before it's gone from the nice theater in 3D) and then doing an oil change and smog check. I didn't think I'd get a chance to write and post before then, but I am up earlier than expected.

The week was extra sad. There were lots of reminders about what I'm missing out on in life. And too, we are nearly at the end of year 5. One more week and after that I'll be starting year 6 of being homeless. Once upon a time I thought it would be 60, maybe 90 days, and I'd recover. But now, after so long, it seems it will never end. And what I have is all I ever will have not only physically, but emotionally as well, and my life will never be more.

Week 260

Day 1814 - 6/19 - Displaced seat

Today was weird. When I got to the coffee shop there was an unplugged laptop with a coiled plug on my table. It was sad, but I sat next to it and waited. It seemed like the person had packed up to go and probably just stopped at the bathroom before leaving. I waited and waited. About 4.5 hours later I turned it in to the coffee shop people. The person never returned. At that point there was really no reason to change tables as I only had a few hours left to go and do podcasting and get to work. At the time I left the system would have been abandoned for more than 6 hours. I don't get how someone could just leave their system like that.

The rest of the day was regular. Work was ok and I played games and watched a movie. I was a bit extra hungry and I decided to ignore my calorie budget. If I'm over, if I'm under, it won't be likely to make a difference. And if I am over I can see if my weight shifts up. It's really been unchanged the whole time, so I'm really ready to just stop tracking it altogether.

Day 1815 - 6/20 - Missing out on life, maybe an alternative

Today I have been super sad. I've been thinking a lot about the games I've been missing. And thinking too about ones I may miss in the future. For me, these are my life. They are the worlds I live in. They are the lives I live. And while there haven't been many (console games) I've missed in the past I'm getting very sad at the prospect of the new consoles coming and missing out on what is to come after I've been missing so much already. (Particularly since it seems there really aren't more than two PC games I'd buy in the next 6 months or so. It seems PC gaming is drying up for the time being.)

After hours of searching online today I may have found a possible solution. There are a few smaller monitors, like 15" big. It wouldn't be much more space than my laptop takes up. While it would be an extra thing to carry around, not even counting the console, I could set that up at work and play the offline games I've been missing. I could, in theory, get the new console which has WiFi and play online console games at the coffee shop. The monitor would be the only true loss in money, as the console is something I'd like when I'm in a new home anyways, but the main one I'm looking at is only $100. And, at least short-term, that would work for a tiny HDTV in a new place while I saved up enough for a proper one. (Which the one I looked at the other day was only $800, considerably cheaper than the about $2500 something like it used to be only a few years ago.)

My hesitation is this though; by saying to myself 'this is the only way' it seems like I am also admitting I will not make it into a home. It's as if the 5 years my current console has been in storage is just the start, and that the new one would be in storage just as long, if not longer. By doing this I could at least get some play. I could stop missing out on console games and set it up at least a few days a week.

I don't know what I'll do. It's such a small investment for such a potentially big gain. Yet it feels so much like I'm giving up hope of being back in a home and that this is just one of many things that must change, must be, and I must accept, in order to keep that part of me alive.

Day 1816 - 6/21 - No better or worse

Today was no better or worse than any other Friday, but it seemed extra sad and lonely. Maybe it's because I'm still so far from being in a home after so many years. Maybe it's because I'm not losing weight regardless of if I make my calorie goal or not. Maybe it's because lately noone seems to care about anything I'm doing or how I'm feeling.

I guess it all just adds up to my feeling extra isolated and alone, and that makes me feel like I have no future, or at the very least like things around me may change over time, but they will essentially be no better or worse than now. I feel like I am all I have. And that makes me very sad.

Day 1817 - 6/22 - A party

Today was a bit different. I don't think I mentioned, but a friend who I haven't seen in like 15 years invited me to a party. We were never as close as I'd have liked. We had many common interests, but it seemed he was always too busy to really hang out. We'd see each other about once a year at a convention and then he was off back to where he was living his fancy life in L.A. (He worked network security for one of the bigger studios, so he was literally hanging out with the stars.) When I stopped going to that convention we kind of lost touch. A little while ago he added me on Facebook and now, after maybe just over a year after that, he invited me to a party.

Having never been to his place before, and his inviting like 115 people, I didn't know what to expect. I had gotten him a movie not off his wish list, grabbed some chips to share, and off I went in the early evening. I was the first one there, not really a surprise as I got there right when it started, but surprisingly noone really showed up. Mostly the party was him, his new wife, their roommate, me, and two other people his wife and their roomie worked with. Someone else showed up with two little ones, but they left after a few hours. It wasn't so much a party as really a gathering and BBQ. We talked a bit about game stuff, a bit about old times and old stories, but mostly his wife, roomie, and the two coworkers talked office politics / drama story type stuff. It was pretty cool though, and a fun time. Noone smoked or drank, so that was awesome. He actually loved the movie gift. I had it on his list of things to watch, so I guess he hasn't seen it yet even though it's around 2 years old. I had a super good time seeing him again and the people seemed nice. It was very different to be in a home. (It was a 2 bedroom apartment.) Very different remembering all the things I'm missing and seeing them all right there before me. I was reminded of all the very simple things in life; doing dishes, cooking, taking out the trash, how white-ish rugs get stained, the smells of different funiture in the room, how tedious it seems going back and forth from one room to the next for the littleist things. And while I could easily see myself settling right back into a room and what was my life, it all seemed so far away, such an alien concept and world to me now.

Will I be invited back to do things with them again? I don't know. In the past he always seemed less interested in being friends than I would have liked. When he did live near me I'd invite him to gatherings, or say we should hang out more often, but we never did. But after 15 years of not seeing him and him reaching out to me, something must be there. But I don't know. I don't seem to have good luck connecting with people, new friends or old, and it seems every meeting comes and goes and is seemingly forgotten afterwords, never to repeat again. I guess time will tell.

My online friends asked if I was around to play. I was sad I couldn't play with them. They asked if I could play the other day too, but I was working with no connectivity. I miss my online friends. It seems like forever since we played a something together.

Day 1818 - 6/23 - Smells like pee

My car smells terrible. I guess about three or four days ago I left a pee bottle in there. I guess it fell over and during the hot day it leaked out a bit. I think it's stuck in the carpet now. When I am in my car the smell at first is overwhelming. It smells like an unflushed toilet. If I blast the fan it's tolerable after a few minutes, but at first I usually feel pretty close to throwing up. I may have to cut that section of carpet out, which will lower the value a lot should I ever need to sell it. Of course the pee smell will too.

I guess today was ok other than that. With work in the morning and all my time at the party yesterday - not counting all my extra shifts - I've felt a bit off today. But I'm slowly balancing towards normal, but then again I don't really know what normal is for me anymore. It's been so long since I could truly be me.

Day 1819 - 6/24 - No more counting

Today I decided to delete my calorie counting app. It's been like 13 weeks and I've lost nothing. The week started low, but got high very quickly. I decided to not worry and let it be what it was. It ended at about 12% over budget. It seems 10% over or under doesn't make a difference. It is extremely difficult for me to get more than 10% under. I just get too hungry. And I'm supposed to be losing 1.5 pounds if I match, I shouldn't need to be under at all. At zero lost, or maybe 0.5 pounds a week if I make my goal (assuming I've re-gained that on weeks I'm over), it would be 2 years or more to reach my goal. That would just be too stressful. I will still try to get back to my regular weight. I will still try to eat healthy. But I will no longer track it, and I will likely only check my weight every 2-3 weeks instead of every week.

I guess it was an ok day other than that. It has been raining, which is super weird for this area. I also started using a pet odder cleaner on the car. It's a lot better, but it will probably be a week of applying and reapplying to fully clean out the pee smell. At least I don't feel like throwing up anymore.

My lack of a future seems very sad, and ultimately if I see online friends or not I still wind up being alone. I guess I should just focus on controlling what I can, and do what seems best so that I can be at least a little happy and feel like I am still holding on to as much as I can of me.

Day 1820 - 6/25 - Feel ok

Today I am a bit sleepy, but I guess I feel ok. There is a new download for a game I like, so I can play a new something. I also got a something yesterday for $3.50, so I have two new somethings to play. Some stuff I posted about had a few comments, so though it's not much I do feel somewhat acknowledged.

I do think, although it's a ton of money, I will get the new console I want. I don't want to miss out on the new games. Had I thought of the small monitor sooner I may have done it for my old console. Though my old console has no wireless, so it didn't seem a feasible option for that one. It doesn't come out for nearly 6 months, so plans to buy will be nothing more than that for a while. Even if I pre-ordered right now my money would stay in my account until it releases, so it could still be canceled if something bad came up and I needed the money.

I am tired. I am sleepy. I am so very sad to not be in a home. At least now though I do have ways to play my games, watch movies and shows, and while pretty terrible, things seem fairly safe and stable. I suppose that is something.

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

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