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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 5: Life online / Book 6: Fading memories

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 261

Day 1821 - 6/26 - Pee smell lessening

Today was ok I guess. I didn't have to cover an extra shift tonight, and this week was the last Tuesday coverage, so things settle back down to 3 regular days, sometimes Sundays.

I played games much of the day and watched some shows. In the evening I went to see a movie. I guess it was ok to have sort of a regular day off. But, as always, I was alone, I was sad, and what I did for my day was dictated by my being homeless.

Day 1822 - 6/27 - So hot

Today was so hot. I was very lightly sweating and worried that my laptop was going to overheat. My phone app said it was 81F when I checked, and it had been too warm for hours by that point. It wasn't until about an hour after that the air conditioning finally came on in the coffee shop.

I did a lot of stuff with my podcast today, so that made me happy. I didn't finish yet, so I'm probably going to have to spend my morning up until lunch to finish. I think from now on if I do it Thursday at work I should not watch a movie so I can have plenty of time.

I've gotten a few resumes out so far. Lesser positions really, but, as usual, I haven't even seen a 'thank you for applying' auto-reply email back.

A few friends are sending encouraging words, so that's good. And I did get to have an ok time with all my hobby stuff today, so that's good. The pee smell is almost all gone too. I don't feel terrible anymore from the smell. In fact, unless it's a super hot time I don't even really smell anything off.

I guess today was not a terrible day, but as good as my mood was I still couldn't help but think of at least a dozen sad things that were there because I am homeless.

Day 1823 - 6/28 - Wierdness

Today I am super tired. It's been in the 80s lately, and supposed to hit the 90s next week. I think it's tweaked my sleep.

This morning I did the smog thing for my car. I kind of had to wait a long while for it. For some reason, with no cars in front of me at the shop, I had to wait like 45 minutes before they started. And I got there just about right after they'd opened for the morning. It was weird.

Another weird thing I discovered is that I couldn't post on one of my super close friends Facebook wall. I sent messages to see what was up because it says we aren't friends anymore. Nothing has been said since Saturday nearly a week ago, and we only ever talk every few weeks lately, so I have no clue what is up. It seems like he's blocked me. I don't yet know if that was on purpose or if something has glitched. It would seem odd if he just unfriended me without saying anything since we have mutual friends. I hope it wasn't on purpose, but if it was it would be very confusing.

Today seems extra sad what with the weirdness with my friend, being thrown off by having to wait for my car, the heat, and being so sleepy. Hopefully I'll go back to homeless normal soon.

Day 1824 - 6/29 - Sad and confused

Today I am very sad and confused. I got confirmation that my friend unfriended / blocked me on purpose. It makes no sense to me. A few months ago we were grouping pretty often to play. We would joke with each other and laugh and have a good time. Just a week ago was the most recent time the friends asked if I wanted to play. I was out at the party, said I couldn't play, and that I missed playing with them. It's probably been a few months since we played together. But, for some unknown reason, between then and now he blocked me and doesn't want to be friends anymore. It seems odd that someone I thought was such a close friend would abandon me, not want to be friends, and apparently doesn't want to discuss why or say that he thought there was a problem.

I guess why ultimately doesn't matter. If he doesn't want to talk about things and feels so strongly about it as to just block me and become basically invisible to me, then he obviously wouldn't want to sort things out and continue being friends.

Online friends come and go, that really isn't a surprise. But being someone who I seemed to get along with so well, and knew quite a bit about, and nothing really seemed off a week ago, seems very odd. Something deeper must have been lurking for quite a while. But again, why was nothing said?

I guess I may never know. Those who choose to stay around me will. And those who don't... well... I suppose people will always come and go, but someone who seemed so close just disappearing like that... has left me sad and confused.

Day 1825 - 6/30 - Last calendar day of year 5

Today is the last calendar day of year 5. I reflect back on the year and it feels like there is more sad than there is to be happy about. Though I have a small bit of savings to get back into a home, I am still only earning about 50% of what I'd need monthly to consider even the cheapest single rooms in a home. Since I had no interviews I feel no closer to being in a home now than when the year started, even though my income is 50% more at the time of this writing.

In terms of friends, I did get a bit closer with a few online friends, but with the recent loss of one of the two people I considered my best / closest friends has left me feeling pretty heartbroken, and abandoned. And, since he is one of the couple I would usually play online stuff with, it seems the potential for offline play with friends is gone along with that friendship, as it is unlikely I would be invited to play if they were grouped together. And if I were invited, and he were in the group, I would feel weird and uncomfortable.

A new console was announced, and with it (along with a small investment in a monitor) I could get back into console gaming. I've missed out on several with my console being in storage. But with my recent discovery of the monitor, and the new console's built-in wireless, it is worth considering. (My old one was limited to land-line only, meaning games would have had to be single player, and able to run on an operating system that hasn't been updated in years.) But again, it seems unlikely I would have anyone to play with online due to having so few friends.

My health has gotten worse too over the year. Though I suppose that's always been in decline and not really any different. Trying a few things to lose the 50 pounds I've gained in the past 2-3 years has been futile, making me feel that without extreme change my health is only going to get worse and worse.

There is still a lot of me in storage. I still have access to my storage when I like, but I fear as time continues to move on more and more of what is in storage becomes less and less viable for use, it seems my future does not exist. And as the time goes on it is harder and harder to cling to what little of me is left, and I am fading away more and more with each year.

Year 6

Day 1826 - 7/1 - Feels like a poor start

Today kind of feels like a poor start to year six. Some positive things did happen though. A friend contacted me and said encouraging things, which led me to sending out an application for a 4k a month job that I'm mostly qualified for. A few others on forums appreciated my help. A few people during work made friendly chit chat.

But despite those positive things my boss came in during my work shift (basically because she didn't do her job in getting something ready before today that's due once every 3 months) and she nit-picked / micro-managed me for basically no reason other than to assert her power over me. I'd forgotten how much I dislike how she likes to manipulate things, and how she gets this really fake looking smile when she expects you to bow down and kiss her butt. Plus, she implied that now and then my shift may get shaved by 1.5 hour chunks. Really? Sure, this time it's only 1.5 hours a week, but what about next quarter, or the quarter after? Maybe if the time slots aren't selling don't charge double what the other cities are charging. It's not a huge impact on my budget, at least not yet. It's more that it introduces instability and chaos to the schedule for really no reason. It can't possibly save the city more than about $30 per segment. It makes even less sense since we are open Fourth of July weekend. Not just Thursday and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday as well. In previous years we were closed on these days because noone shows up. It makes no sense to skimp and then not stay closed holidays noone shows up. (Mother's and Father's day people barely show up as well.)

While I am always hopeful that tomorrow is a better day, it seems more likely nothing will change for me. I will likely be alone, homeless, sad, and no opportunity will come up for things to change.

Day 1827 - 7/2 - A future?

Today seems uncomfortably warm already, yet looking at my temperature app it's only 65F. Just a few years ago when this terrible journey started I'd have felt cold in such weather. So much seems to have forced me to change in ways I didn't expect or didn't need to change.

Recently during a movie I heard that one of the clinical definitions of depression is that you could not see a future for yourself. While there are things to be excited about in my life, and a few people that I'm getting closer to, I really don't know if I could say I see myself being there in the future. Thinking back, it's probably been a very long time since I could say that. Games have release dates, and I suppose that is one way I see myself having a future. As long as I can afford x I can see myself playing it. I have a time to be somewhere, and I have a new world to live in. But is that really thinking that I have a future? I don't know. I suppose it's the only future I could ever see. My jobs have never been a career, or leading to one. Though I've been single for many years, I have had sweeties in the past. We never had enough to plan vacations, but sometimes we would have parties and events. So, I suppose then I could see a future. But being single there are no such parties or events to plan, no holidays that come and go to celebrate. And school, well, I may plan to take a class or get a degree, but I could never really say with certainty that x will lead to y, so it always left me wondering after I achieved it... what then? Will what I hoped or expected really happen? It certainly hasn't so far.

I guess this is what I've been bad at in life. While I can plan and organize events (if I have the opportunity to do so), while I can look forward to having a future in a game world, most of my life I haven't really 'seen a future for myself.' It feels more like I am. And since that is expected to persist, where I will be and what I will do will be no different from now. And, I guess, missing all the things that come with 'a future' makes me the most sad.

Week 262

Day 1828 - 7/3 - Put out

Today I was put out from getting in to sanctuary at the usual time. I'm so exhaustedly tired. Earlier there were sounds of people getting ready to celebrate, a few people going here or there, an occasional firework going off. But now it's late. Well past when most fall asleep, and a few hours later than I was hoping to be asleep. Most of the time when I'm put out the normal sounds make me miss home. But tonight... tonight I feel on the verge of tears from being so exhausted. I just want to be in my safe place and asleep. But I can't.

Day 1829 - 7/4 - Dazed

Today I feel like I'm in a daze. I guess the day passed fine. It seemed slow. I am still sad, so I mostly just played games. I left the coffee shop a bit before work, as I needed to do my podcast. Even though my temperature thingy showed that it was 80F it was bearable enough to get through with only minor sweat. People actually showed up for basketball during work. Not everyone, not every group, but I was surprised anyone showed up tonight.

I am still dazed and confused about my friend leaving me. It's like, with some (people) I get it. I can tell that they don't agree with, or like, this or that. But with this friend there was no indication of anything. I have a suspicion it might be about changes I've made, or will make, or about my being homeless in general, and maybe he feels backing away will either allow himself to be happier / less sad, or that it will indirectly make me move towards choices he feels I should make. I may never know. My choices are made from my available options. I know many are not ones others agree with. And I know I also abstain from some suggestions people make for various reasons. But I think the thing people can't see from outside is that I feel like a glass that's half off of a shaking table. At any second I could fall off and shatter. I can prepare for normalcy, but as long as I'm at that edge I feel like I really need to only look at right now. Until I'm moved out of danger there are some choices that could be made that just aren't as logical as ones compared to the 'what if' of that half that's already lost.

Day 1830 - 7/5 - Feeling strange

Today was mostly super slow, but I'm feeling strange for a number of reasons. Possibly most important, with losing sleep over the past few nights, I'm running on so little sleep I'm starting to feel funny and doze off for a few seconds here or there. Hopefully things will be normal enough to get a decent amount tonight.

I heard from my friend this morning. I guess the one who doesn't want to be friends anymore would be ok with grouping. I don't know. That sounds... weird. If it's just because he doesn't want to hear about / know about my sad life, I get that, lot's can't handle it or know what to do about it and it makes them uncomfortable. But if/when I 'get better', when I do have enough money again, or even if I reverse the situation and I'm 'well off', would he then want to be friendly again? If so, wouldn't that make him a 'fair weather friend'? I don't know. It's very weird. I don't know how I feel about grouping with him. I still feel hurt, abandoned, and heartbroken.

And I feel weird about buying the monitor for my console play. When I put in the order I felt mixed emotions. On the one hand, I immediately worried and feared I had done something very wrong. On the other hand, for the first time in this entire time I've been homeless I felt at peace, grounded, like I had something to look forward to again, like I was not only connected to others at times yet to come in the future, but like for once I felt that I actually had a future. For the next five months the monitor will likely get very little actual use. I have one game I got, and there are two others I may try to find to rent, but that's it really. Then it won't be used until I hook it up to the new console at the end of the year.

Overall today I feel so tired I want to cry. Exhaustion is taking over, and with the odd schedules people are keeping for the holiday I have few options for sleep or going somewhere during the mornings to catch up. Hopefully things will settle and I'll re-balance to homeless normal quickly enough.

Day 1831 - 7/6 - On the way

Today was mostly sad and slow. I was indeed again displaced last night. I'll be lucky if I got 6 hours sleep total. Hopefully tonight I can get more because this has been four or five nights this week I've gotten 6 hours sleep or fewer.

Mostly I tried to play games and watched my shows, but I was so completely exhausted I was fading out a lot. Things seemed extra sad, as it was basically just me and the other regular homeless at the coffee shop until about 3 PM or so. So not only was it sad that I had all my homeless feelings and thoughts, but there were most of the homeless that hang out there all at once, some of which were sleeping on the couch. (Which I always think is kind of creepy in restaurant type places.)

I got a confirmation that my monitor and game are on the way and will be here Monday. After I'm done writing I'll try to dig around in my ex-storage to prep the console. I figure I'll pull it out so I have the cables I need, one controller, and keep its soft cover on it. I got kind of worried thinking about how to go about carrying it around. They sell carrying bags, but the one I liked was about $65, which seemed a bit much. I may get a something for the next console; it looks to be about 20% smaller and lighter. But with the new console being a different size, and only expecting to use my current console a dozen times, it didn't seem worth the cost to get this bag since most of the time the console would just be placed back in easy to get to ex-garage storage space. I also got very wroried about the what-ifs of carrying it. The reality is, even with a bag, that's pretty much a trip on its own for the console and monitor. I find myself worrying now. What if I drop the console? What if I drop the monitor? What if, even covered or in the box, the monitor screen gets all scratched or dinged up while in the trunk? I'm sure it will be fine short-term, but what if that becomes my primary gaming system? What about long-term? Will it, like so many things these days get really worn out and destroyed by this terrible journey? I sure hope not.

Day 1832 - 7/7 - The perfect sized bag

Today has been ok so far. I got enough sleep. I would have slept in a bit more if I could, but I had a work shift. There was noone until noon, so most of the shift I was alone and it was quiet and I put the lights low. It's only just now nearing 1, so there is still much of the day left.

I got my console pretty quickly last night. Though I suppose it was about 2 hours from start to finish. I found one of my spare bags. I have like two backpacks and a bag I got at a LAN thing. It turns out the LAN bag is the exact right size for the console and cables. How cool is that? It's not amazing quality though, nor is it padded, but it should have no problem holding together for the dozen or so times I will carry the console. While I may have a bit of worry over the strap giving way under the weight, I will certainly worry far less about something like I slightly stumble and it slips out of my hands and crashes to the ground. No chance of that happening in the bag.

While I got more sleep than usual I am still extremely tired. I can maybe see if school is in summer session and get caught up next week, but I don't know. I still feel weird now being in the car since I have been getting 'enough' sleep in sanctuary. Hopefully peoples schedules will settle back to normal and special events stop and I can get back to homeless normal soon enough.

Day 1833 - 7/8 - Feeling more

Today was certainly different. In the late morning to early afternoon I spent 1.5 hours waiting for my monitor and game to arrive. It took quite a while past the normal delivery time. After, I had a few hours to watch shows and play games before work. At work I hooked everything up. (Though the monitor looked like it had a terrible hang over, as it was drooping over. The stand needs a screwdriver for some screws, which I was not expecting and didn't have.)

Having the stuff in my trunk gave me some sad feelings. The trunk was full as I have some extra stuff in there today and it reminded me of the early days when I was homeless and had to carry everything with me. It made me feel as if I'd made a poor choice, that people would just kick me out of places if they saw me setting up a console and monitor. (People have done it a few times at the coffee shop in the time I've been there and it's been fine.) I may spend less time with it at the coffee shop than originally planned. We'll see. The online game I want to play still has no date other than 2014. Setting things up in the office during work is a non-issue for single player offline stuff, so that may be where I do the majority of my console playing.

Upon start-up I panicked a bit, as I only had sound, no video. I found out how to reset my system in terms of finding the HDMI connection. When it got to the main screen I had a mix of emotions. There were things I did that I remembered immediately, like deleting stuff, changing settings, etc. But some things, in particular several games that I'd downloaded, I had completely forgotten about. How sad it was to think that. A few of these were ones I'd play every few weeks or once a month and I loved very much. It was good to see something I loved back within my reach once more, but sad that life is so faded in my memory I'd forgotten something that was a part of what was almost basic routine.

Today I feel more connected to the old gamer me than ever before. Spending a short time with my old games other memories resurfaced; feelings I had while playing those games, memories of how they sounded, memories of touch such as the feel of my bed where I sometimes played from, my chair I would sit in, or the feel of the hard wood floor on my bare feet. But there was sadness too. At the end of the night I know I have to put it all away. It has to go back into its box. It has to go back to the ex-garage storage for safe keeping. Every time I move the boxes in and out I will again very strongly be reminded of my feelings of being forced to move out. It's like I am moving out all over again. Every time I put it in or take it out of my car I will be reminded of the feelings that this is my life now. If I want to game on consoles this is how it must be, as I have no home to set things up permanently.

It is a very sad day to be reminded so strongly of what was, what is, and what may never be again.

Day 1834 - 7/9 - Feeling more normal

Today I'm feeling a bit more normal. I had really strange dreams, but I slept really well for the first time in probably months. Though I never had much to play on my consoles, I guess I never realized just how much they were a part of my life. With one it was a couple of games that were light arcade games. With the other it was a few casual games, or maybe a few rounds of bowling. They weren't very fancy. They weren't 'serious AAA titles', but I guess those few games every few weeks were a pretty important part of my regular life. In a way I have part of that back now. Though with the monitor and console being bigger than I recall I may get set it up at the coffee shop less than I'd planned. It's ok. I only need to do it there if I wanted to connect online. Most console games I play will be offline. Of all of the ones I'm looking at, only one requires a constant connection. It's sad too though. Sad because such a big part of my core of who I am is so limited. And if I do want to take part, I have to carry it around with me, a strong reminder of the limitations of my sad homeless life.

Besides being a bit more sad, but also happy, I guess I am ok today so far. It's only mid-morning so I never really know how the rest of the day will go. My right eye has been freaking out a lot lately. I tried changing the contact, but it's still happening. Something may have scratched it and it may take a few days to heal up. I need to get my yearly eye exam anyways, so when I do that the doc might see the problem if there is one.

I guess that's it for today. Things seem promising with the monitor and console play, but along with the joy has come some sadness about my limitations.

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

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