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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 6: Fading memories / Book 7: Dying embers

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 313

Day 2185 - 6/25 - Food truck round up

Today was a sad day. I was feeling pretty sad to begin with. For an hour I got to play one of my games I don't usually get to play due to connection issues, so that was fun. After that though the connection was so bad that one of my games that shows the ping couldn't even get a reading. It showed normal one minute, but then an error report the next. I've never seen it so bad that it couldn't even correctly see the connection to get a report. By 11 I gave up on the connection completely and went to play offline games at school. I'll likely not even go to the coffee shop Thursday or Friday this week if it's going to be this bad. Hopefully they will fix it because it's dropping most of the time now.

Last night I almost ate something different for dinner. At a food store across the street from school, for about the past couple of months, there have been like six food trucks that park there together. Last night I checked it out. Several places smelt really tasty, but all of the prices seemed bad. Everything basically was $10 at a minimum. For a restaurant meal that's pretty good, but for a food truck it seemed much too pricy. So I passed. Maybe with friends, or a sweetie, doing a food adventure night out, sure. But on my own... I'd rather just pay $5 or a touch more and get something wonderful at an actual restaurant.

So, today was pretty sad. Basically the same disappointing day.

Day 2186 - 6/26 - May be thinner

Today was kind of ok. I didn't even try the coffee shop because I knew it would be bad. I spent most of the day watching shows or helping on forums. I did play my new offline playable game for about 4 hours though. I was kind of funny because I noticed the lab room I was in was getting more and more crowded. Usually it's pretty empty. Then the lights went out and I was all, 'oh, there is a class here now.' hehe. And I saw my cute professor person at the front. So I packed up and left to do a shower before hiding for the night. I didn't have to leave, it was fine to stay, but it was only 15-30 minutes earlier than I was going to go do that anyways, so it was fine.

Lately my pants and shorts have been falling down more than they normally do. I have noticed around my knees and thighs it feels like I've lost weight. My tummy seems a bit smaller on the sides too. So, I wonder if trying to count calories and the new cholesterol medicine together have finally allowed me to lose some weight. Since I've been off work I haven't done laundry at my usual spot, which has a scale. So I can't verify if I've lost weight or not since I haven't been there. I'll know basically in two Mondays. Which, if I'm not mistaken, will be about 2.5 months in for both of those. So, if I've lost some, awesome, I'll keep going. If not, I'll probably stop counting calories for the last time until I'm in a home and can cook proper food and get rest. This will be my third attempt, so if I still can't lose any that pretty much proves it's not really food that's causing the extra weight. I guess time will tell.

Day 2187 - 6/27 - The sadest day

Today was the saddest day of all. For a week I've been looking forward to class to see all the missing projects people did. But, unsurprisingly, noone cared. Everyone just left after they finished their test. By the time the people were all done and we were set to watch stuff, only about six people were left. I guess it shouldn't surprise me. The few people who were there were super impressed with my test ghost video. I saw the cute professor perk up into her paying attention position when she saw it was going to be serious and well done. (Most of class videos tend to lean towards casual and not very well done.) I could tell by her body language after that she was super impressed and liked the pacing and all.

But it's over. And after it was over, walking around the empty halls I felt like crying. So much of my life is missing. So much lost. Being in the class and in the school year I have some hope of a normal life. But with yet another school year over, yet another summer approaching, and yet another year of fail ending, it feels like I am ending. It feels like with this end, this year, despite feeling like I may be losing weight, and despite feeling happy again with doing film stuff, that in spite of all that there will be nothing left after this Fail year ends. It feels like what little is left of me will be gone and I won't ever recover.

Day 2188 - 6/28 - So late it's tomorrow

Today was different. The bit before the early afternoon was about the same as usual. I did have a bit more connectivity to play, so I played my new MMO. Though I have to say, I'm kind of losing interest quickly. As I said before, I really think any MMO just won't be very appealing to me since I have so little stability and noone to play with. I may close it out after just a few months. Plus, I may hit max soon. I'm already in my late 30s of a max 50.

The later afternoon and early evening was different though. I went to another live event for my online card game. It was super fun and I saw a few people I'd met before. I even took some footage I'm hoping to turn into a real / practice video. It's really the only thing I could think of to practice with, so anything else would just be me alone. However, instead of the event ending by 9, it didn't end until nearly 11:30. Plus, I had to park like seven blocks away, which took somewhere between 15-20 minutes to walk. Which was super terrible, as I'm effectively handicapped due to my feet and poor ankles. I think next time I'll have to budget like $10+ it will cost for parking if it's not during free hours to park within one block.

I had a pretty good time, but it's super late now and I'm super tired. Tomorrow will be a bit similar in that in the afternoon I'll go spend a few hours at a party for a friend who lives across the country. I will probably only know a half dozen or so people, none of which I expect will come hoping to see me. So that will be... odd.

Day 2189 - 6/29 - The friend and the kitty

Today was pretty good. I barely remember the morning, though I do know I spent it working on the video of last night's event. It's actually pretty long at 12 minutes, even with half of that being the entire final match.

In the afternoon I went to the party for my friend I've mentioned a few times who lives far away who is one of the only friends who is rooting for me to get better in a supportive way. Not many showed up though. There were the two who lived there and their little one. There was the one friend, his wife, and their two little ones. And maybe eight or so others showed up besides them. So, not much of a party. A few were, as kind of expected, people I haven't seen or really spoken to in years. It wasn't really awkward in an I don't get along with them way, and a few were old and seriously broken now (though they are only a few years older than me for the most part.) One has a little one who looks about the age I was when I first met her, so it's sort of a weird reminder that the days of being in my early 20s and knowing these people is long gone and things have changed so much.

Just about when things were winded down and we were getting ready to go the kitty who lives there came in. She was super sweet. She immediately looked up at me and mewed for pets. I pet her and picked her up and she happily purred. She didn't like to be up for too long, but she kept coming back for pets and to brush against my feet and legs. By the time we left, maybe 15 minutes later, I was sneezing. Even now, hours later I still have slightly itchy eyes and a feeling like I will sneeze at any time. She was a sweetie though and I do miss having a furry friend to pet and hug.

Day 2190 - 6/30 - End of year six

Today is the end of year six. With so many years behind me now there is really nothing profound left to say. In fact, until just a minute ago I didn't even realize it was this close. I guess it's because so much has not changed. I've lost so much, regained so little, and now some (mostly physical things) are in a faster state of decline than ever before. It seems no end is in sight.

Yet the odd thing is I've managed a stable routine, at least for the moment. While things are terrible in that they don't ever seem like they will get better, it also seems they aren't really getting worse anymore. In the end now, today is just another day.

Year Seven

Day 2191 - 7/1/2014 - Another fail begins

Today is the start of another year of fail. It's, I guess, later morning at around 9:30 AM. Nothing is different today, unless we count that it's been in the high 80s lately and it's already 70F, or that it's now summer, so no students are here at the coffee shop studying.

I don't know if this year will be any different. I'm super happy doing videos. I've been wanting to for a while. I still won't be able to do the day-to-day or review type videos, since I'm not in a position to record game play, but at least I can properly cover events, though I lack proper equipment.

I'm very tired from lost sleep lately. And my calves and feet are still a bit sore and tired from Saturday.

Compared to previous fail years, I suppose in outward appearance I probably look more normal, possibly even extraordinary in some ways. But inside, while I remain hopeful, I am still as alone feeling and sad as ever. Things don't seem to really be changing. Things aren't really improving. And thinking back over my life, outside of a rare once upon a time moment here and there, things don't seem like they have ever truly been outstanding and beyond normal for me.

Week 314

Day 2192 - 7/2 - Sad day, good news

Today I feel very sad, and I'm having a lot of back pain. I've had a lot of extra stress lately due to various things, so my back has been really messed up. Hopefully in a few weeks once my schedule settles back to normal a great part of that will be gone. Though a lot is due to my connection at the coffee shop, which likely won't change.

I suppose there was some good news today. The doc went over my lab results from a few weeks ago I guess now, and it says all of my at risk things are now down in the normal range, which I guess is super good. She seemed happy about it, so I guess it's good news. Though I can't help but wonder how many will truly care.

We also checked my weight, which was bad news. Not bad in that it's worse, just bad in that I've again, for the third time, lost zero weight while tracking calories and being under by 10-15% each week. So I'm giving up on that for the last time until in a home. (Unless I go over 225 again.)

I guess that's it. Feeling very sad today at all the things not right with my life.

Day 2193 - 7/3 - Goodbye gym

Today was... incomprehensibly weird. Again I tried to contact my boss about my keys for going to work tonight. In the later morning she calls back and says, 'ummmm... so about your hours... we hired some new people recently, so your services are no longer required.' To which I replied, 'What? After working there six years and after a month of knowing I was going to return you are now saying I'm fired?' So that was totally insanely weird. No reason given, no reason to have cause, just *poof*, we don't want you anymore.

The strange thing is that I basically had a feeling this would happen. I think I mentioned before that when she told me the person covering my shift needed my keys that I felt like I wasn't getting them back.

The oddest thing is I feel mostly at peace. I mean, sure, it would do nothing to get upset. Nothing would change. But it's almost like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Or like I was in a cage and now I'm free. In a way I suppose it is. That job was going nowhere. Never has, and never could. The office and facility people were basically completely separate entities. Noone ever moved up into the office. But, as with many things placed before me by Fate and destiny, though I am worried, it feels right. It feels like the door is now open for the proper future thins to fall into place, and as long as I was at that work they couldn't.

Within an hour of her call I'd already applied for unemployment. I suppose that will take a few weeks to get going. Though this is a good time for it to happen. They asked my income for the past year, and during that window I've made more than I ever have at the job in past years. In the past I averaged about 10k with a high of 12k. The income for the past year is 16k. So that should greatly help my income for unemployment. If I recall it's about 25% of what you earned, so hopefully that means like $300 a month, which honestly would be close to 50% of my budget figure because most of that income was extra beyond my scheduled hours which is what my budget tracked. But I guess we'll see. With no unemployment I only have enough left to last something until some time in August before I'm literally completely out of all money.

This year is certainly turning out different so far. Unfortunately with food moving under high threat, and coming up rapidly on needing to cancel any and all video game pre-orders it is looking like it may be the saddest year of all.

Day 2194 - 7/4 - The rationing rationale

Today I started rationing. It may be early what with an estimated couple of months at my current amount of money, but I figure there are a couple of important things to consider.

First, and most importantly, I've tried to diet and eat less several times lately and failed. Getting down will be extremely tough to impossible at this point, so I figure if I try to ration and am too hungry and need more to eat, doing it while I still have a bit of money is ok. So, hopefully I can eat less and reduce over time. I ate the normal amount of times today, but only 2/3 of normal each time, so I think I'm off to a good start.

Second, I've been looking for work for more than six years. I've barely had any interviews or call backs in that time. Getting something within these few months before my money runs out is... unlikely.

Though I am prepared for the worst emotionally I still believe unemployment will come through. And, who knows, maybe some of you readers or podcast listeners will sign up if I set up a recurring donation thing and that might greatly help as well.

But again, even though today was a sad day, I feel free. I feel as if this was the first required step in my next journey in life and I will be just fine. I feel like, for whatever reason, this is what must be, and when it needed to be, and I must make a leap of faith that it is destiny and Fate's will, just as all my suffering so far has been, and that this is yet another step along the right path.

Day 2195 - 7/5 - Soup for sad bunny

Today was sad. I got myself a chicken soup to cheer myself up for dinner. I get that a few times a week, but I hadn't planned on it for tonight. It wasn't really any shorter or longer than any other Saturday, but I think the fact that one of the homeless came in and started talking to me like I was his friend made me sadder. I was watching my shows and playing my games and he'd talk to me and I'd have to pause and say, 'what?' I didn't get why he didn't get the hint. Sure, he seemed nice enough, but when someone has big headphones on covering their ears they probably don't want to chat.

Other than budget reasons I still don't understand why I was fired. I've had that job longer than any other. The boss was so lazy she hasn't even made a schedule or put time cards out in two, maybe three years, that's how regular the schedule has been. What makes even less sense was like a year ago they reclassified me and gave me a raise.

Echoes of my life have come and one today. Times playing on my desktop, times sleeping in, times having friends over for BBQ and playing board games, times I was alone on holidays watching marathons on TV. All echoes. But they are fading. More and more I am forgetting the details and remembering less and less of who I was.

Day 2196 - 7/6 - The unexpected shower

Today I got to shower. I think my last one was Wednesday, so it was quite a bit longer than normal due to school being closed Friday. Normally on the first weekend of the month the pool area is closed, and as such there is no access to the locker rooms. But for some reason they were open this morning. While it was only warmish water, it was private, quiet, and unexpected. I thought I'd have to wait until tomorrow when, pretty much at any given time during the times it's open, it would have little ones running around for swim class.

It was kind of sad today. Again there was the new homeless guy. Though I didn't mind talking to him for a bit, and h didn't bug me after I started to play stuff, so that was good.

But the day also got more sad when I checked my budget and discovered my money will run out at the end of July, or maybe during the first week in August if I really stretched it out. Without donations and money from unemployment I'm going to run out extremely quickly. I don't know how I'll manage. I do have my online work for my friend, but who knows how long that will last. And realistically that pays for the phone bill (which is really small compared to most) and maybe a week and a half of food if I'm very careful about what I get.

This will get very rough and very sad very quickly. I suppose the 'good news' is I may finally lose these 40-50 extra pounds I've been trying to lose.

Day 2197 - 7/7 - Preparations and not preparations

Today was weird. It started with laundry in the morning; perhaps the last laundry for quite a while. While not expensive, that $5 a week can add up pretty quickly. I went to hang out at school after. I did my online work for my friend - now my only income. After, I watched a show while I had lunch. Then I think I spent a couple hours doing something I was considering doing anyways. It's a donation site, but done regularly, so people can donate to me in a subscription like way. Though I don't know how many will help. It looks like only half a dozen or a dozen will see my posts, so that makes me sad so few will be reached.

No word on unemployment yet, though I expect that will take a few weeks to get to me. I'll probably check back with them early next week. I'm sure the holiday stopped things up.

I wonder now if I've been foolish. I'm sure many would think so. Getting a console and small monitor to play when I don't have a home, getting online games when I don't have friends to play with, buying games new instead of waiting a few months, eating regular meals instead of being cheap. Maybe in some ways I was. Maybe some things should have been done differently. But then again... if I don't do these things am I living? Is eating a hot dog and bag of chips for dinner or having a $0.50 bag of ramen noodles really eating? Is getting a game four months after launch when most have already played it good for my listeners, or is that just for my benefit? Is not seeing movies in the theaters and not having things new really living for today and now? And, as I said at I think the start of last year, without doing these, at least sometimes, I don't feel like I'm living. And if I am homeless and not living and doing things new, then why do them? But if I don't do them, if I don't talk about them, if noone really cares, then do I matter at all to anyone? It certainly doesn't seem like it. It seems noone cares, and that I am invisible. And to those who do see me, it seems I am not appreciated or remembered for what I do. Or the opposite; I am insulted and attacked.

Day 2198 - 7/8 - Live another day

Today, so far, is quiet and peaceful. I actually slept pretty well. It may have been the most peaceful sleep I've gotten in a while. The stress about getting my keys back in time to go to my shifts is finally starting to fade. At least so far that hasn't been replaced with stress of not having a job at all. That may change in time, though I'm more likely to be sad about it then stressed.

There is nothing to look forward to today. So few follow my site it seems unlikely to get supporters/subscribers on my new Patreon page. I still expect it to be a week or more before hearing back from unemployment. I'm at the coffee shop, though I was hoping to be at school. (My parking sticker hasn't come yet.) While I can game, I have very low expectations about the network stability. There are no friends I expect to hear from or play with. And I've sent out no resumes lately, so I don't expect to hear back from potential employers.

I woke up. I am out in the world. So far I have enough food. All I can say today is that it seems like I will live another day.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2014
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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