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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
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 321

Day 2241 - 8/20 - Not birthday

Today was my birthday. In many ways it was not. I would have liked to have a special dinner, maybe some cupcakes, watched a movie, and spent time with friends. But I didn't do any of those. I got a free day pass at the Internet cafe and spent the majority of the day playing a game I hadn't played before. It was a fun enough day, but not how I'd have liked to have spent it. At least not the entire day.

It made me sad too. I was alone in the console room, which was actually a good thing. But being alone felt like I was in a home, which made me miss being in a home even more than usual. The sad messed up state of the controller made me miss having a nice one which was mine. Not being able to put the game away and save my game to come back to in the future made me sad. The controller running low on charge and needing to move nearly 10 feet away to plug in and continue playing made me sad. (Though I got an extension cord for $6 on the way, so I don't have to do that in the future.)

Everything about today was nice in some ways, but kind of just reminded me how not normal my life is at the moment.

Day 2242 - 8/21 - Lost

Today was another day I felt lost and out of place. Again, since I could, I avoided the coffee shop and instead started my day at the food store, then went over to school for the rest of the day. Only three people came down into the lower area, but I heard a higher number than usual upstairs.

I again considered how out of place I must look, sitting at the grocery store in the coffee shop area (which is only three tables), and later sitting on the floor at school on a mostly closed campus.

Middle school and high school have started back up in the area, though it was a warm day and people still walked around in summer cloths out and about after school or during their day if they were not.

Again today I felt classless, having fallen through the cracks of everything. I do not fit into a traditional job. And because I'm not wealthy enough I can't make my own path and have my own business, or make my gaming stuff a job-like pursuit.

At times I'm sad I don't fit neetly into a regular profession. It would make things so much easier. I'm sure there are some I could. But if noone ever gives me the chance to, trusts me, and appreciates my differences, I don't know that I will ever find my way back.

Day 2243 - 8/22 - Bouncing

Today was a day of bouncing. I started my day at the food store. But, the network was really freaking out. It was kicking me off every 2-3 minutes. After about an hour I'd had enough. I left and decided to do my shower early. But there was no power in the pool area, and most of the area was locked. I did get a shower though, and to my surprise half way through the water was warm and approaching the lower levels of hot. After, there was only a little bit of time before a package would be arriving at my ex-house, so I was going to hang out on campus outside for a bit. But there was this weird construction and generator work going on making hte loudest most distracting noise. I had to go elsewhere. So I sat outside of a fast food place where I was going to get lunch. I grabbed my cheap lunch after the short wait then waited at the ex-house. After, I spent the remainder of the day at the coffee shop. The connection wasn't intolerable, but I could tell it was too slow, and it did drop me briefly a few times an hour, so I didn't even try to play anything.

I suppose as much as I moved around and didn't eat the best of foods, it wasn't all that bad of a homeless day.

Day 2244 - 8/23 - A day

Today was a day. I suppose it wasn't really good or bad. Though the connection was terrible, so everything I tried to do was interrupted and I didn't even try and play.

Nothing was really remarkable about the day. As time goes on I still can't help but remember all the things I miss, think of all the things I may never have, and am sad about all the things coming that I won't get to experience as I'd like, or that I will miss out on entirely.

Day 2245 - 8/24 - Complaints

Today was sad. It seemed like there were nothing but complaints. It started in the morning with some racing type bicyclist swearing at me even though I left him plenty of room. And all day people were complaining on the forums I'm an MVP for about disconnects when it wasn't the company's fault because they were being DDoS attacked.

It seems like this is all I have now. People complaining. People not interested in my feelings or helping me. And all I am left with is worry about my future and dreams of a past that may never be again.

Day 2246 - 8/25 - Upstairs

Today was fairly sad. I was at the food store and again the connection was too slow to try gaming. I decided since I couldn't game I'd just go to school early. I got a private shower, which was really nice. But when I got settled in at my spot I couldn't connect. I connected to the modem, but the login screen never appeared. I tried two other locations and met the same result. One good thing did come of it. I checked upstairs from where I sit on the floor. Previously the area was basically just an empty entrance way. But today I discovered it's been redesigned. There are about four cushioned benches, and more than a dozen comfy larger padded chairs with sturdy wooden swivel desk things which not only hold my laptop in terms of strength, but fit in size. So, in the future when my back and butt are hurting too much in my usual spot I can go just above it up the stairs to a super comfy area.

I met the guy who is there walking in as I was walking out. He said they lost power Friday, so a server probably hasn't been restarted and that's why it wasn't working. So hopefully that will be back to normal tomorrow or very soon.

Other than that it was a typical sad day. Still no leads on jobs. Still no change in anything.

Day 2247 - 8/26 - Another day

Today seems like another day with nothing to look forward to. The connection at the food store isn't slow, but it doesn't seem to be responding quick enough to game. I may try, but I have no expectations that it will be quick enough. School may or may not be back up yet. I'll check in a few hours. But outside of looking for a job there really isn't anything I have planned for today.

I expect today, as many homeless days lately, will be just another day of feeling alone, sad about all the things I miss, and there will be no opportunity for change.

Week 322

Day 2248 - 8/27 - Cold season

Today I have a cold. I'm sneezing quite a bit, my nose has been runny for a few days, and I'm super hungry today. It seems like cold season is upon us again.

The owner's kid who doesn't seem to like me much seems to be back in school so I probably won't see him more than once a week. That's good news for this week, as I'm assuming it may be a bit for the network to get back up at school. If it's not up on Thursday though I'll certainly let them know. (Monday is a holiday, so they absolutely won't be around.)

Nothing new today. It was still a very slow, very empty day. I was sad there was really nothing I could do, and sad I am not in a home to at least relax and enjoy the forced time off by being unemployed. Yet another big milestone is coming with the launch of Destiny. And while I can play at the Internet cafe (provided noone beats me to the systems on those days) it is certainly not play in a home. I won't even have access during the in-home hours even if I could afford to play all the time since they are only open from noon to 2 AM. But, it still seems there really isn't anything I can do. The opportunities are what they are. And without a safe and reliable place to move where someone could afford to help me I will have no more opportunities than I have. As always, it seems I must continue to trust Fate in that I am on the right path for me.

Day 2249 - 8/28 - The cold

Today I'm feeling kind of icky. My throat is messed up, sneezing, eyes kind of hurt, headaches, congested, and my tummy is super sensitive. I thought about going to school and taking a nap in the afternoon, despite getting 8-9 hours of sleep last night.

Today was yet another day not really different from the others. I checked for jobs, but only really qualified for one.

This weekend is yet another convention I can't go to. Yet again a time of fun games being shown off I'd like to go see and cover for people. I considered seeing if I could get there, as it's only about 6 or so hours drive away I'd guess, but I don't even have the money in gas, nor the $110 to get a weekend pass (if they had not sold out). And the like $150 a night for a hotel would be out of the question. Originally when I started doing my gaming 'work' I kind of thought by this many years in I'd have some recognition, at least a little bit of fame, and be invited at least a few places. But so far, nothing. Noone seems to care. Noone seems to think my thoughts or view is important. Noone seems to be offering me even the smallest reward. It's almost like if I did win enough in a lottery to be safe and sound and do all the gaming 'work' I want I shouldn't even bother. If noone would care, why should I spend my time doing it. I'm fine just being me. I don't need to be special. I don't need to feel helpful. But it would be nice to know that I matter.

Day 2250 - 8/29 - Failing

Today was sad. It seemed to just confirm I'm stuck in the starting gate and not going anywhere. I got a reply to one of the Stanford jobs I'd applied to. I passed the first phase and the second phase was to take an online quiz to test my skills with a particular program. I couldn't answer for poop. I had no idea how to do what they asked. I guess it makes sense. The position was like 40-50k and the average for that kind of position is a fair bit lower. So yeah. I kind of expected I wouldn't really qualify. But you have to try to reach. If you never try you will never be more than you are.

But thinking back it seems like really every job I've had people kind of exploited me. My office job I had for 5 years I never got a noteworthy raise. At the end it had changed and for nearly a year I had been doing a low level accounting position. (Which after I left was re-classified to double what I was being paid for it.) At a copy shop position I was working at for nearly 5 years I discovered I was making half what the others did. Granted I didn't have a bachelors degree like they did, but still, half? While I did have a lot of freedom at my recent job that ended with a kick to my butt after 6 years, while never having sick or vacation time or any other benefits. And really while I'd gotten ok raises, it had zero growth opportunity.

Maybe I'm bad at life. I've never had a job where people respected me and thought I was special or important. Similarly in life, in the past I've never really felt the people I hung out with felt that way either.

Now things are a bit different. I do have half a dozen friends who I think do consider me special or worthwhile - a few of which I'll be playing Destiny with very soon. And hopefully this will continue to change in the future. But looking back, things seem to show a very sad path. And looking forward I fear that may never change.

Day 2251 - 8/30 - Not a holiday

Today is a holiday for some. Well, the start of a holiday weekend. It's a time where people invite friends over, have BBQ, and I think watch football stuff. I don't care about football, but the rest would be fun, and playing games.

It seems so rare to find friends though. I had a handful in grade school. I really only had a couple in high school due to changing half-way through. And after that I really didn't get any new ones until the ones I recently found through my ex-guild.

It always strikes me as odd that I've never really found new ones. Maybe it's because I pushed some away in some ways. And other times because they pushed me. When hearing people talk about friends though typically they have been friends a few years.

While lately I don't mind being on my own - particularly in a time of pain like now if those who would be my friend will not care for and support me in a way I feel comforted. But it would be nice to have more freedom, be safe in all my things, and not have all the worries I have. Things would be easier without all the worries.

To me that's when friends are really needed the most - to share that burden. But then, I suppose if I weren't homeless and didn't have any worries, or at least didn't have as many, I suppose there really wouldn't be much of a burden which needed to be shared.

Day 2252 - 8/31 - Looks like karate

Today was pretty sad. Nothing new was sad, just the same continuing sad or wishing for things I may not ever have, or things I don't have. It is much more difficult to focus on the positive things now that I don't have my job which was eking me by at a hair above breaking even (on critical things.)

The only thing really different was the new recently homeless guy was in the coffee shop briefly getting water. He had a sweatband on his forehead. He looked like he was on his way to, or from, karate. Even though he's new to being homeless he seems like he's given up more than I have. He doesn't hang out in the shop hardly at all anymore. He's always hanging out with the homeless who hang out outside. And while I don't know what he does, he never seemed to be looking for a job, nor interested in getting one.

There is a line people keep saying that I should cross in accepting being homeless. In being one of them. In sacrificing this or that item, or this and that goal or ideal. But I won't cross it. To me that seems like giving up. Like saying I am one of them would be the end. I know it doesn't make sense. I know it might be trapping me. But it feels like if I let go, if I accept that label and stop striving for the normal things I once had, that then I would be truly lost, without a chance to return.

Day 2253 - 9/1 - Hot day

Today was apparently a hot day. I didn't really notice. I was in the coffee shop. I didn't leave until night, when it had been calming down a bit. I did notice early afternoon my app said it was 85F though, which is pretty hot even for me.

When I left my ears were ringing a bit. I was exhausted by being out all day. Though I'd really done nothing. I guess it was just yet another time where my body is getting tired of being out and surrounded by people and noise. I may check if the school network is back up and hang out there, but I have a suspicion everywhere but the pool area will be locked until the end of the month when school starts again. But it's maybe an option. At least I could just go to a parking lot or park in my car and just sit in private for a bit if need be. We'll see. Maybe I'm just sick still.

Day 2254 - 9/2 - Sneezing

Today I'm pretty sneezy. It's early and I've probably sneezed a dozen times so far. I don't know that my cold is really worse, but my throat is still pretty scratchy, and again, I'm sneezing quite a bit.

I don't know what to expect for today. There are a couple of shows to watch, but that's really it. It's getting tougher to pass the time since I have very little money, and what I have is basically reserved for certain things.

I suppose, as per all days, I will watch and wait, and this one will pass no differently.

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

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