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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 337

Day 2353 - 12/10 - Invited back

Today was pretty nice. I decided to play a bit in the morning before school, so that was fun. I watched a few shows and helped on forums when I was at school. But the biggest surprise was in the class I TA for. I originally thought I wouldn't bother going to the final, since there wouldn't really be a reason to. But I decided to go, just for the sake of being there at the end. (Plus the most I'd lose is an hour or so to watch another show.) For a week or two now I've wondered if the professor thought I really mattered. I mean, yeah, a few times I've made comments in class, suggestions and stuff, but I never really know if those are truly helpful long-term. But after class, when everyone had left and we were just chatting about personalities and how people seemed interested in the class or not, she just kind of casually mentioned she had another class (at that level) next quarter and she'd be happy to have me back to TA if I had nothing else going. I had been wondering if I should mention that or not. I would be free, but feeling sad in general, and unsure if people felt like I really helped, I didn't know if I should offer. So it was a very nice change, and a bit surprising, that she asked me 'first' .

I still don't know what the future holds for me. The next few months will rapidly go from hard to impossible. But I have to think I'm on the path Destiny intends for me. And I have to hope and believe that even if very few ever actually say it, that my help and insight really do matter, and that it can change people to improve what they do for the rest of their life.

Day 2354 - 12/11 - No game

Today was very sad. The other day I discovered that my expansion content wasn't correctly registering on my account for my game I play with my friend online. It still isn't showing up. I don't know what to do. The things the network says to try don't work. It's like it is counting my version as a regular version instead of a pre-order with the expansion pass. That's not something I can fix. I suppose the good(?) news is I'm not alone. Tons of others have been posting theirs isn't working either. So hopefully that will get sorted out soon.

It's partly raining and so that's sad, because I'm cold and we almost all the time. Even with an umbrella my stuff still gets wet enough it basically stays wet and doesn't dry before I have to go back out into the rain.

I thought about this the other day. Once upon a time I used to think about what I could grab to wear that I could take off - adding a layer easily taken off when I get where I'm going. But for many years now it's been just about the opposite. I have to think about what I'll keep on. What I will wear that will be warm enough that I don't have to take other things off. It's such a big and sad change. And I don't know when I'll go back.

Day 2355 - 12/12 - Return of the friend

Today as ok I suppose. I started with editing and posting my podcast, then hung out at school for most of the day. Since it wasn't raining I grabbed my console for playing my game. I had found something that might make the content I'd not previously gotten work correctly, and thankfully it did. So that's now working as it should have been. And, my friend I play with is back from his vacation, so I got to play with him again, which is super fun.

That's really it for my day. It was sad thinking this was the last day of the quarter and I can't be at school for a while. I suppose though I have next quarter to look forward to. I have a couple of classes which will keep me busy all day Tuesday. Then I was asked to TA for the same class I did before this quarter. So that will keep me busy Thursday late afternoon and evening. So that should be ok. I will have to try and focus on those positives though, as my unemployment will run out very soon, and rapidly thereafter things will start to get very tough, if not impossible.

Day 2356 - 12/13 - Last shower

Today was probably my last shower for a while. I'm guessing school will be shut down completely for the next three weeks. I'll check next week. It's possible they will again be open for the swim team activities on Saturday like they were today. If not, showering will become an issue and I'll be forced to just towel wipe myself.

I guess today was ok. I mostly spent the day playing. In the morning I did my console game alone, then left the food store for a bit. I went to the coffee shop. I think the owner's kid saw me eating 'outside food'. He kind of stared my direction for 5-10 seconds. I just hid the food I had in my hand casually and pretended not to see him. Maybe he didn't notice, but as always, it seemed an intentional and unwelcoming stare. (Despite half of everyone else in the room not having food from the store, and I'd only arrived 15 minutes earlier.) In the evening I played with my friend I normally play with. And someone who hasn't played in like three months played with us, so that was fun.

Though very sad, and my homelessness was always on my mind, the day passed quickly and peacefully enough I suppose.

Day 2357 - 12/14 - Terrible nightmares

Today was ok, I suppose. I woke up before my alarm, mostly because of bad nightmares I think. I spent my morning playing my console game, and the afternoon and evening killing time at the coffee shop. The owner's kid was there, but he seemed to ignore me. Still, I'm uncomfortable when he's there. I'm really hoping he doesn't take extra shifts during the next three weeks. They will be tough enough without him around looking at me funny.

The nightmares last night were pretty bad though. Again they were about being back in an apartment and not having enough money and being under the threat of becoming homeless again. This one was a bit different though. I was sitting at the side of the bed on the floor. I was touching my bed. And I was crying at how it felt - how it's mattress was pretty firm, and the blankets on top were fluffy and soft. I was crying because while I was homeless I had forgotten what it felt like. I'd forgotten how nice it was to lay on top and relax. I'd forgotten what it was like to wear my house cloths and not need to worry about temperatures, or going out.

It's been all day and all evening and I still can't shake the sadness from that dream. I suppose in great part because I'm still homeless. I'm still living these days and not yet in a position where I could recover. But I suppose something good did come from it. Although I can't clearly remember those things, the fact that my subconscious can means I haven't completely forgotten.

Day 2358 - 12/15 - Fun with friends

Today was pretty ok. Last night I slept well, and I even had some sort of nice dreams. (One involved flirting/snuggling with a cute girl, though we were homeless, so it wasn't entirely "good", just sort of.) In the morning I decided to splurge when going to the coffee shop and got a hot chocolate. It felt kind of like the old days. One of the people in the group that has two meetings a week even said hi and that I was missed. (They are an older group of ex-navy people who meet.) The day passed ok enough. With school closed the coffee shop will be pretty empty and quiet. And in the evening I played with my friends in our console game.

Today was pretty good all things considered. And that's about all I can hope for these days.

Day 2359 - 12/16 - One of three

Today is the first Fail posting of three with school closed. I don't know what the day will bring. Since I don't have classes today, if it's not raining I'll take my system to the food store and get extra playtime with my friends. I could, in theory, play a ton more these three weeks. But carrying the console around is high risk I think. While there's almost zero chance it would be stolen, it's a higher chance at the food store than my stuff at the coffee shop. But more so because I don't think it's internals are built for a lot of travel like laptops are. I think each move carries with it a bit of risk, so less is better I think.

I am hopeful today will be ok, but more than likely with the holidays the most it can probably be is passable with nothing new which is bad happening.

Week 338

Day 2360 - 12/17 - Pretty good day

Today was a pretty good day. I checked school to see if it was open, and the locker rooms were open with hot water. (There were some old people there, so maybe there was an aquasize class or something.) After, I just hung out at the coffee shop most of the day. There weren't many people there due to the college being closed. In the later afternoon I went to play my console game with my friend. There was a new person on I'd met before who seems nice, so I added him as a friend on the network.

I guess today was pretty good, despite my sad life constantly being on my mind. I was cold most of the day, and was uncomfortable with being out in public all day.

Day 2361 - 12/18 - Almost cried in the shower

Today was both sad and happy. It started out ok. I went to the coffee shop and played a game, watched some shows, and helped on the forums. I think I checked for jobs too, but it is always empty in these holiday times.

The afternoon, however, was sad. I found school was open, some of the swim team stuff was going on or something, and the locker room showers were open. Having taken two showers in a row I felt almost like my old self. I thought of how I used to live and how I now live and wondered how I've fallen so far. I thought back to when I was young and all the criticizing my dad did and wondered how different I'd have been if my mom hadn't died when I was 13 and she would have still been around to stop him. Maybe with more self confidence when I was young so many of the bad things that happened in my life wouldn't have happened, or I'd have been able to pick myself up from them. But now, even though I am starting to learn to love myself for who I am and accept that I am a good, kind, and generous person - sometimes to a fault - it sometimes feels like it is too late. It is certainly too late for my health. And without a ton of money I won't ever be able to smile again. And though noone seems to mention it, I wonder how many must see it. And I still wonder about my weight. I likely am not much over 220, if over, but I still wonder about if I can recover from that as well.

I almost cried during my shower because everyone gave up on me. And because of that for so many years I gave up on myself. And now more than ever I want to live and be happy, but I fear as much as I fight emotionally to return I may never return physically, and the years which should remain for me will not be there.

Day 2362 - 12/19 - The drop scare

Today was ok I guess. It passed pretty quickly and uneventfully for the most part. I did have a big scare though. While I was playing my console, after someone left, I pushed their chair further away from me. They had basically been just a few inches from the area I normally am playing in. I guess my chair bumped my console and it fell over. I normally place it vertically for better hiding. I heard a crash when it landed and it immediately shut off. I thought it was broken and had been killed, but thankfully that seems to have been some kind of drive protection. I hope it's ok. It seemed to start up fine (outside of running a system check for not being shut down properly.) But I may never know if it was damaged. And, as always, I never know how long I can keep taking it out and setting it up and taking it down like this. If I were ever to lose it I wouldn't ever afford a repair or replacement with how things are. It would be gone for good. I almost started crying when it shut off and I thought it was broken. I have so little left, and it's one of the few things I have left to feel normal and forget my sad life. I don't know what I'd do if I lost my console or laptop.

Day 2363 - 12/20 - Unexpected friends

Today was full of unexpected friends. I played my console game at the food store in the morning time and to my surprise my friends showed up. I didn't expect them. After, I checked school and it was not only open, but the showers were hot. And, the owner's kid wasn't at the coffee shop, so I had a good time there. And someone from a previous class was there and we chatted for a bit.

Overall today was a pretty good day, even if nothing changed or got better.

Day 2364 - 12/21 - Unending day

Today it feels like the day would never end. The morning was quick and fun. I played my console game and one of my friends was on, so we played together for a bit. But after that I spent the rest of the day at the coffee shop. Nothing bad happened, which is good, but he day kind of dragged on forever. While I did play another game for a bit, and watched some of my shows, my heart just wasn't in it.

The holidays are times for being with loved ones, and good friends, and the few online friends I have are busy doing other things. Or I'm not online due to limitations. And since I have no family anymore, and I've been single forever, I have no loved ones.

Today my mind wandered to winters past when I was alone. In a home it wasn't so bad. I could shower, do laundry, play games, watch shows, all whenever I wanted. And when I didn't feel like it I had peace and quiet and could contemplate things - for better or worse. Now I feel like a tree, unable to alter my condition, vulnerable to the weather or who comes around. All I can do is hope those around me take care and don't mistreat me.

What was once a calm winter break, maybe a bit lonely, but spent in home cloths somewhere warm, quiet, and free, has become just another reminder of how alone I am. A reminder another year of life has been lost and I didn't experience the things I miss. And just how few truly seem to care.

Day 2365 - 12/22 - Fast

Today seemed to go by pretty quickly. I'm not really sure why. I got a shower in the morning then went to the coffee shop. Before I knew it, it was just about lunch time. I had lunch, did a couple of things, and it was just about time to go play my console game with my friends. I got there, played a bit, and my day was over just that quick.

I suppose the day was ok passing quickly. I guess that is far better during sad times than passing slowly. But still, I wished through all of the day I wasn't homeless so could have been my old self.

Day 2366 - 12/23 - The Eve's eve

Today is sort of ok so far. Things don't seem as bad as they have been. It's a bit warmer this year than in previous years. Some would probably find the day so far outside warm enough for them already. Times I've been in the coffee shop have been pretty calm, and the music quiet. It's not as warm as I'd like, but it's certainly warm enough for being inside. I have some games to play, and some shows to watch. I even have my console game I play with friends.

I am still very sad about where I am with my life. And with only $400 left coming from unemployment over the next few weeks and a few hundred in my account, I'm very worried about my immediate future. I'm also worried about my long-term health and future due to the changes that have happened that I may never recover from. My sad life is very sad and worrisome, but for the moment, times don't seem as sad as they have been in past homeless years.

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

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