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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 343

Day 2395 - 1/21 - The big game

Today was pretty fun. The morning passed pretty normally, though I was preoccupied thinking of a project I want o do for a presentation. I was supposed to do some stuff with my professor I TA for, but she got too busy and didn't make it on campus. So, instead of doing that I got in to the lab and worked on the thing that was in my head. After, I got a shower, which was extra good because I didn't get one on Monday, and then played my console game. We had a lot of people on, so we did a fancy thing. It was pretty fun, but also pretty stressful. I stayed longer than I should have. It should be fine, but I still worry I'll wear out my welcome. I guess I'll only know in the long run if I can continue to be there a few hours every other day. I have a feeling though my console may not survive the travel if I keep doing it for very long though.

Day 2396 - 1/22 - Firewall down

Today was a rare good day. I had an ok time in the morning recording and editing my podcast. In the afternoon I went to play a game and noticed it did not say I had to play offline. It connected online. Figuring I'd test things I loaded my game I normally play just off campus. To my shock and amazement it looks like the gaming firewall, at least for the moment, is down. I played some games I've never been able to play at school before. I always thought it odd that they blocked games about 7 years ago, now it seems they may have unblocked them. I don't know if that's intentional or not, but at least for the moment my life seems to have gotten much happier overall.

And in the evening too I had a good time in the class I TA for. So today was a rare good day, even though all of my sad things loom over my head in greater number than ever before.

Day 2397 - 1/23 - Play in the afternoon

Today was ok I guess. I worked on a project for a bit in the morning. After, I watched a show and played a few games at school. It's still weird to play my games that are online at school. The game firewall blocked me for so many years it just feels weird. In the evening I played my console game with my friends. Though they mostly did stuff without me.

Today I felt sad and lonely. I had to do my project in a way that I would have preferred not to. I played games where I don't do so good, so I felt sad. And mostly I just felt alone and sad needing to be on campus all day because there was nowhere better to be.

Day 2398 - 1/24 - Another spring day

Today was another warm spring day. In the morning and early afternoon I actually felt pretty warm and happy. In the later afternoon and evening I felt sad. The warm day reminded me of times I'd open my window in my room, feel the warm air, and hear the birds and other critters outside. I would shower in the morning or around lunch time, and be plenty warm after in a single layer of house cloths. But these days I can't. I am not in a home. And most of my house cloths must be worn in layers under regular cloths. And in actuality most are becoming worn out, or already have been, and were thrown away.

Day 2399 - 1/25 - The longest weekend

Today felt like the end of a long weekend. And not in a good way. Even though no extra time has passed, just the normal Saturday and Sunday, for some reason it feels more like four or even five days have passed.

Though I've only done one of two projects I hoped to do for school, I wonder if it feels like much longer of a time because of everything I've been thinking about, or if the opposite is true and it feels like so much more time because now I'm not only unemployed, but I have no paycheck or time card to look forward to. All sense of days and times are lost outside of days I have class. Time has become one big blur.

Checking money I'm getting pretty worried. I've gotten no donations since basically near Xmas time, and my recent bills plan shows me running out in just about three weeks in mid-February. And that's only if nothing unexpected happens. I still haven't applied for food stamps, or making some kind of case to get more benefits, but my future doesn't look very hopeful.

Day 2400 - 1/26 - Assignments

Today was ok I suppose. I tweaked my one assignment I did yesterday which is due tomorrow, but I'm not really sure what to do for the presentation in a few weeks. It's a group thing though, so I'm sure others can think up stuff for it they would be passionate about and that would make it easy.

I only got to pay a very short while at school, but I played on my console for a few hours. It was pretty fun, but only a few friends were on, so we didn't do much.

Tomorrow should be nice since I have classes, but it still seems weird to do it all at once. I'm also still worried about my food money. No new news, but I applied for the food stamp thing. That could take a few weeks to process.

I feel sad I am so lost and alone. At times it seems like my life has been a series of people constantly abandoning me.

Day 2401 - 1/27 - Not downloading

Today is yet another frustrating block due to my being homeless. Instead of happily downloading my new, and final, game I am told that the store is under maintenance for the next 12 hours. Meaning no download or play time for me today at all because that leaves less than one hour to get it. Had I not been homeless it would have connected and downloaded last night before the maintenance, but I'm not.

I suppose it's a trivial change. I'll have to bring my system tomorrow, have to eat the lunch I got for today tomorrow (hopefully it won't go bad) (I got that because I could eat it without getting up and going to the cafeteria.) And in less than a week it won't matter. But today it makes me sad. It reminds me my life is not in my control. And it makes me feel like I'm the only one in the world with these problems.

Week 344

Day 2402 - 1/28 - The last game

Today I finally sorted out what was going on with my digital preorder and got my game downloaded. A few I have chatted with on previous days were like, 'ooooh. What are you playing?' when they saw the regular monitor and controller. It was fun to chat with a few people about my new game.

I also kind of helped a retiring professor. He's the one who retired that my favorite professor I'm a TA took over for. It's kind of hilarious, and sad, that he doesn't know how to use the basic editing software I love so much, or basic computer things. I get that he's pretty old and is probably pro with the old film machines, but it's weird he's considered the senior professor of the department, yet basically can't use the software used in the lowest level intro class.

In the evening I played my new game for a bit more before doing a fancy thing with the online console people. We died a lot. For hours. On the same boss. After the first hour of dying a lot I just lost interest and became disheartened. But I kept playing because we just didn't get a chance to do it that often. I probably continued nearly three hours past when I wanted to.

I guess today was good in that I had too much gaming, but I would have preferred more than one hour to work on an assignment. As usual the person who opens the lab came super late. And, as always, I am very sad I have no soft bed with nice comfy covers to get into at night.

Day 2403 - 1/29 - Helping

Today was pretty good, though the morning was a bit slow. I helped on forums and recorded and edited my podcast. I played for a very brief while, but that was really it.

Some students asked for help from the class I TA for just before it started, and a few more asked during the lab time. It doesn't have a lot of tangible rewards, I'm not getting paid at all, but it makes me happy to know I'm helping.

Day 2404 - 1/30 - Just a rince

Today was ok I guess. I decided to take my system to school to get some extra play time in the morning with my new game. About three people I sort of knew came to see what I was doing and chatted a bit. In the evening I played my other game with friends.

I didn't get a shower today. Not really. I rinsed my worst spots, but that was it. The water was cold for some reason. I hope the water being off doesn't become common for the rest of the quarter. That would limit me to two a week. While I'm not stinky, I'd still prefer one a day.

I guess all I can do, in all things, is remain hopeful.

Day 2405 - 1/31 - 1984

Today passed pretty quickly. I didn't do much but play, though I did finally get a chance to do my taxes, so that is done, ready, and it was for more than I was expecting. Now it will be a question of do I have enough to hold on until it gets here.

Today was the big shoot on campus. There is a movie being filmed, but I have no interest in it. I passed on the casting call. But being a big director and big stars, the campus has been all a buzz about it. The scene they are doing here is set in 1984, so lately I've been thinking back to my lonely high school days, as everyone talks about their 'costumes' they are considering. My clothing really hasn't changed. I basically dress the same. Though my body has changed quite a bit. I no longer fly and have spring in my step. I am slow. I am heavy. (Literally 100 pounds heavier just about exactly.) And I no longer can do the hair style I did then, even if I wanted to.

I suppose I was lonely then too. I recall being alone almost all the time, particularly just a few years later after we moved. But thinking about then and now, while I am happy at school now, some look to me for advice or opinion, some consider me friend when on campus, there are things I miss. I am still alone. I am still single. Of the friends I had then, I really no longer have save one. And on days like today, where I saw a ridiculously beautiful and attractive strawberry blonde in the coffee shop who was much too young for me, I wonder if I've missed out on everything. I wonder, if I even could lose these extra 50 pounds, if I could get enough money to fix my teeth, and had enough money to not worry about things all the time, would anything really change? Or is it simply too late to have the things I missed out on?

Day 2406 - 2/1 - A garbage scow

Today was pretty good. It started with playing at the food store. The homeless lady who lives there sometimes was there. I'm glad she was in the furthest spot from me because every time she's around she always smells like a broken sewer main. I was happily playing my game when a few hours later two twenty something guys came in who smelt just as horrid and sat less than three feet away from me. For about 30 minutes I managed to hold on, but feeling like I was going to throw up at any second I packed up and left an hour early. I can understand being too poor to afford money for laundry and soap, but I will never understand not going to school every day where you can walk into the showers, get some free hand soap, and at least rinse yourself off (and ideally also rinse out a second and third pair of cloths and hang them out to dry during the day or something.)

I went about my day doing laundry and going to hang out at school. I decided to just stay at school for the rest of the day and much of the evening until I got too cold. Most of the day I was playing my console in a shaded corner, but the weather around me was pretty warm. Most of the day I just had on my shorts, undershirt, T-shirt, and house shirt. Looking at the weather app it will remain in the mid to low 70s until Friday.

Today was a pretty good day for relaxing as best I could. Though I'd have not really done anything differently in a home, it was a very different way of doing it from before when my games were all set up all the time in my room and the laundry machines were just on the other side of the wall.

Day 2407 - 2/2 - Ticking away

Today went quickly, but was pretty sad. In the morning I didn't do much. I helped on the forums, had lunch while watching a short show, then went into the lab early and worked on a project. All day though I was trying to think up what to do for a project that's due tomorrow. It's not tough in execution, maybe 15 minutes to do, but getting a good concept can be elusive. In the evening I played some console games with my online friends, so that was good.

But I was sad because I got a low balance warning. While it was kind of planned to move my savings into my regular account, now more than ever my life ticks away. I only have a very small amount left until my tax return comes, and that will only last a few weeks until it runs out. If my food stamp program doesn't come through, or takes a while to have any progress, then I'm going to be out of money very fast.

I like where I am for the most part. I like having free time to help students. I like taking classes and doing film stuff. In a way, as terrible as it is in some ways, being on campus all day is peaceful, and for the most part quiet. It is uncomfortable, and I always worry about people tripping over me, or something bad happening to me or my stuff. And not having a bed in a home has multiple downsides. But in a way I think I'm actually much happier having this very simple life with some interaction with people compared to none. It is actually a much better life than when I had a job where I was mistreated and bill collectors were constantly harassing me.

I just want to have a little something to be happy. And though I've managed to mostly hang on so far, I may rapidly be coming to the part I don't know what to do, let alone how I'll have food to eat.

Day 2408 - 2/3 - Hopefully a good day

Today will hopefully be a good day. I have my writing class in the early afternoon. It has been pretty good so far. While format heavy, it's not as slow or boring as I expected it would be, so it pass pretty quickly. And in the evening I have my editing class with my favorite professor who I TA for, and although I hate the software (it's not my favorite one) hopefully I'll learn something about editing.

Until those I'm free to help on forums, play games, or watch shows. Though it's only a few hours of free time, hopefully today will be pretty good. It would be a nice change from the constant worry and fear of just how little I have left before I'm out of money and starving.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2015
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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