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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 357

Day 2493 - 4/29 - Delivery

Today started out differently. Last night I picked up some stuff from my ex-roomie that she wanted taken to a special trash place. She offered me a little money, so that was super nice. This morning started with me taking it to the two locations. I started my day a touch early, so I wasn't all that much later getting to school. That got me back up to enough gas in the tank to last a week. It's barely any, but hopefully it will be enough.

My school day was fairly regular, but sad. Everything lately is affected by my super depression. Few things actually lift my mood even if it may seem so on the outside.

Noone was really in my console game. It seems most have either completely burnt out, or they are doing the weekly things Tuesday and noone shows up anymore on other days. A few days ago I started using my wireless console headset and I'm now saving them for just console use. I don't know why, I guess they just aren't constructed very well, but they have gotten way more beat up in the past 8 months than my old PC headphones had in what seems like two or maybe even three years. Hopefully they can hang on, but the top of the spine is floppy, the ear cuff padding is falling off on one side (which I now taped), and last time I did group chat with people it seemed my mic wasn't always broadcasting at the same volume level.

I miss my homeless days of being balanced and having enough. Yes, I miss the days of being in a home and having more even more than that. But for now I'd be happy going back to a homeless balanced. Where I could eat meals which were cooked, or microed, as I chose. Where I could just fill my car with gas when needed. Where if I really wanted a game I could move the budget around and get it, because there was a game in my budget every four months or so. Worrying about a $48 overdue phone bill, not having more than $7-10 in gas, and never being able to afford a freshly cooked meal, be it $5 or $10, is not a life I would wish on anyone. Not having a home, not having a place I belong, not having a place I am welcome, or being able to watch, play, cook what I want, or inviting guests over to have fun - these things test a soul enough. Missing these things put you on the edge of crying all the time.

It was too much pain already. I don't know how I can bear these new ones.

Day 2494 - 4/30 - The vision

Today was mostly ok, but the evening class was insane. The person doing the camera work didn't really understand or share my 'vision' of the project we shot today. We didn't fight really, but without his understanding it I couldn't like force him to go places and get the shots. He was shooting what he thought he should, which in many ways was counter to the stuff I explained, and even presented to the group in a demo video. Hopefully I can salvage enough from what there was. I guess I'll see maybe tomorrow or certainly Monday, when I'll have chances to go over the footage.

I guess other than that I was super sad. All day I've wanted a particular snack, which here at the college they have for $1.50. But I don't have the cash to afford it. Also, in the evening I really didn't want to micro yet another soup. (Which cost like $3.25.) I would have much rather had a freshly cooked burger and fries (which is $7.) But again, I couldn't afford it. And, of course, I checked mail all day, hoping I'd get donations or other help. But again, none came.

Day 2495 - 5/1 - Support

Today turned out super good. In the morning I did my regular morning things and watched a show. It was warm even when I'd just started being up and about, so I actually took off my hoodie and the long sleeve 'house shirt' that was over my T-shirt right when I settled in on campus.

I was surprised to see the person with keys here at 11:30, as he usually doesn't show up until 1 or after. I jumped in to the lab and did editing on the next project for like 4.25 hours. I think it turned out super good, though I don't know that I'll actually tweak it much.

I played on my console just a tiny bit after that. Noone was on, so I just played my game for about an hour then started watching shows.

But after that I got a big surprise. Apparently someone posted a request for help on my behalf and I got a few donations. Yay for donators wanting to help. S, as soon as my money shifts to my bank (probably on Monday) I can pay my overdue phone bill and shouldn't have to worry about gas for a while, probably a few weeks.

It's very surprising how much better and less worried I feel knowing those are covered and there are some out there who worry about me. (Though I know I have a few friends who do, mostly they remain silent. So as I get more sad, those concerns and cares can easily be forgotten. )

Day 2496 - 5/2 - Pictures

Today was a bit different. In the morning I just watched some shows. It didn't seem like anyone would be on my console game, so since there is little for me to gain solo I decided not to bring it to the store.

In the afternoon I was outside of campus. It was a super warm day, but I didn't feel much of it becuase I was in the shade of the big building. It as a different spot than normal, where I'd have likely felt more ofthe warm day, but there was stuff going on near that spot. I played for a brief while, then took some pictures for a class project I needed to do. Since I got some donations I spent $7 to get some actual cooked food for dinner (part of which would also be lunch tomorrow), so it was a nice change. I haven't had something that wasn't microwaved or pre-cooked for two weeks.

All in all I guess today was ok. Though I still very much miss the game I got to preview two weeks ago. Even though I knew noone online there, it seemed once per day I at least talked with someone briefly, and it was nice to have that interaction. Though none of the people I play my console game with are interested in playing, if I were to get the game, who knows, it's possible I could find another guild of fun people to play stuff with. Sadly though with much more pressing matters, and no money at all, getting that game is not an option.

Day 2497 - 5/3 - Too much dairy

Today I had too much dairy. My tummy has been craving a few things lately. One of these was nachos. So yesterday I got chips and a mixed cheese bag. I'm still sad they stopped selling my favorite mixed cheese. The ones I have to chose from are meh. But, I had nachos yesterday for lunch, then a bit more for a snack, then with lunch today. Plus, I've been craving white cake. They had a single serving on sale for $1 today. I ate half, but even that was too much. I feel bleh now from so much dairy. Being unable to eat whatever makes me feel like an old person.

I'm still feeling a bit up from my new support lately. I discovered there was a package for me at the ex-house. It seems someone sent an anonymous donation of a hat. I only have a few, so that was a nice surprise. I rarely wear them, but now I have one I can wear whenever (the other two are more situational). And when I do, or when I think of it, I can remember it was donated, and that there are people out there who worry about me and believe in me. Though there are few happy things in my life right now what with really wanting to play a game I can't afford to get and little else to turn to for comfort, this recent surge of concern and good will has helped boost my spirits and renewed my hope a bit.

There is also good-ish news. I got a car renewal form and it is not only a fair bit less than I thought at $100 instead of $150, but it is also not due until the end of July. (I'd previously thought it was due in like early to mid June.) And, now that I have that, as soon as I get enough to pay for it I can do so, and then my only big bill to worry about is contacts in late July and car insurance in October. So I'd be clear of one of those two big concerns for the next few months.

Though I am a long way from safe, and there is little for me to turn to for comfort and cheer, knowing there are new people (and old) out there concerned for me and hoping I recover is a pretty happy boost.

Day 2498 - 5/4 - Ringing ears

Today was fairly normal. I even started my day a bit early, so I was kind of bored through most of it. Though in the afternoon after the lab was open I did help about three people briefly using the software to make their projects.

In the early evening I took one of my free passes to see a movie. It was super good. I don't know when the last movie I saw in theaters was. It seems like forever ago. I think it was too loud though. I left about 45 minutes ago and my ears are still ringing pretty badly.

The person who sent me the hat also sent pants. So that was super nice. I only had like three that fit me, so four now is good. Speaking of that, I checked my weight today at school. It seems I'm down to 207.5 from my 220 range. While I'd say that's great, I've been trying to lose that weight forever. I can't help but wonder if this is losing it in a bad way. Micro waved and occasional ready to eat food just can't be all that good for me. Sure, most of the cooked food I previously got wasn't great, but all the stuff they put in the other foods to presreve them must be terrible for me.

I've got an owie on my nose too. For several days I've had a pimple under the surface at the tip. This morning it was out a bit, so I pinched it to clear it, and now it's got a torn up sensitive spot there. (It's also weird they still show up, being like triple the age when most start getting them.)

I guess there was a lot to talk about today. Though overall nothing really changed. I put the last bit I could in my gas tank, bought a small bottle of pain pills because one of my busted teeth has been killing me, and so now I'm down to zero money again. And while I am still bolstered by recent donations and well wishing, I am concerned I will wind up back to being past due on the phone bill and out of gas again very soon.

Day 2499 - 5/5 - Not in the world

Today, while my spirit and hope has been buffed by the recent donations, I am feeling both a bit good, and a bit sad. For a while now, maybe less than a week, I have felt out of place. Not out place in location, but o of place in me. The only way I can think to describe it would be like playing an MMO and forced into the wrong camera perspective or distance, or like I've logged in to the wrong character. I don't feel like me. I don't feel like I'm in the right place. I don't feel like I'm where I should be.

I guess part of it is that I feel like a ghost. I am not really in the world in the sense of being a part of it. I feel like I am haunting places, not living in them or being a part of them.

Maybe part of it is that I am now out of money again. My phone bill is clear for a few weeks. My car has enough gas for maybe a week and a bit more. Though I don't have any spare for laundry which I otherwise would be doing this weekend. So, I'm right back on that edge. And too, the one game I really want to play seems way out of reach. The shot weekend I got to play allowed me to feel like I did have a world I belonged in. As with many games, there were clear goals I could achieve, threats I could overcome, and mysteries to explore.

With no real place to escape to I am stuck with what I have in real life. Though I feel helpful helping on the forums and doing my TA work, and I am bolstered by recent well wishing and donations, I cannot escape the constant slipping away that I feel.

Week 358

Day 2500 - 5/6 - Missed cat sitting

Today was actually kind of fun. The morning was pretty regular. When I started my TAing things became more interesting and fun. We watched projects in class, so I got to see stuff, laugh, and make some suggestions for improvements. After, there were some people working in the lab for tomorrows class, so I helped a few and got a few opinions on my stuff, and was even asked for my opinion on something.

My professor actually asked me a pretty private and trust requiring thing. She is going out of town this weekend and needed someone to watch her cats. Normally she has a service but she thought she'd offer that job to me. It was super nice, but sadly it is best for me not to take it. Since I'm a bit allergic, and it's been years since I've been around cats for more than a passing few minutes every 4-6 months, the cat density of three cats in a small place would likely be overwhelming to me and cause me to start sneezing and possibly swell up in various parts. We decided for my health it would likely be safest to pass. It's sad because if it were fewer kitties I likely would have loved to do so. I do miss little furry critters I can hug and kiss.

My sad life is still pretty sad. It's always on the back of my mind even on otherwise happy days like this. I wished I could have played the game I got to play a few weeks ago. And tomorrow with a window of probably six hours (after checking for jobs and editing) I will likely miss playing it then too. And, of course, with each trip to microwave my food I am reminded I can't eat normally. And with only $12 in my account, soon to be zero after a monthly bank fee, I am constantly stressed about not having money, and if anyone will even care. It would take so few donators, just 25 at the $3 level these first two are donating at to cover basic costs. Yet it seems an impossible number since it has been so many years and I've only gotten those two.

Day 2501 - 5/7 - Not my jeep

Today was very sad. All day I wanted to play the game I got to preview, but I couldn't. Again I had to settle for watching some videos about it. I really didn't feel like playing anything else, in part because I knew I would be alone in the other games I could play.

There were no jobs to apply to (save for a low level position where I would have seen the person who fired me multiple times a day, which I didn't bother applying to.) And there were no donations.

Class was ok and there were a lot of laughs at the videos, though I really didn't think many appreciated the skill and precision of the editing work I did.

Someone I knew chatted with someone in the evening. I overheard part of the conversation. I heard her mention she got a brand new jeep, and it was her dream car ever since she was little. I mentioned it was mine too and I was jealous. I suppose it is because back when I was very small that's the kind of car the people were always in during shows in other countries out in the jungle or deserts looking at wild animals, and so I associated it with adventure. It makes me very sad that I'm quite a bit into my adult life and still have never been able to get one.

Overall I was very depressed today. Although I tried to sooth myself, since I could not get any of the things I want most, nor could I alleviate any of my most sad issues, and I was unable to distract myself with the game I want to play, I remained sad.

Day 2502 - 5/8 - Feel like alone time

Today I am feeling very sad again. It's like I kind of want to hide in a corner and be alone. I am not interested in doing school stuff. I don't want to play my games I have. It seems like there are never any posts for jobs that I can do. And after that initial burst of help a week ago, it again seems like no further help will be coming.

All I wanted to do today, a lot recently overall, is play Elder Scrolls Online again. (The game I previewed a few weeks ago.) Maybe part of it is because my Destiny friends seem to not be online and playing when I log in anymore. Maybe it is because I felt like I had achievable goals in ESO, as well as places to go and explore. Maybe it's because I know if I did play there would be a chance to find new online friends to do fun things with.

But without the game I can't play. And without money I can't buy cheaper fast food or cafeteria food. I can't buy gas. I can't pay bills. I can't wash my cloths. I can't sleep well because all of my cants cause me too much stress and I'm losing sleep. It seems lately all of my sads are again breaking my heart. Though I know there are new and old people out there who care, as long as I keep slipping further and further away it seems like there is less and less that can lift my spirits.

Day 2503 - 5/9 - More than I ever had

Today I am feeling very low and sad again. In the morning, though I had decided not to take my console, there was no signal at the food store. I suppose that was ok, as I spent I guess a few hours backing stuff up to my external backup disk, as well as clearing out a bit of room after.

After, I went over to hang out at school. Again there was something going on over at the nice theater side. I guess that's ok because I barely get a signal there, where the other spot I go to has an incredible signal. I helped on forums and watched some shows. I played something very briefly, but really all day I was feeling very heartbroken and really just wished I could play ESO and maybe interact with people.

When I was moving from the food store to the school spot I decided to turn in my recycle. Someone was extra nice and gave me her ticket. While it wasn't much, added to mine it was about double what I expected to get. It will get me a bit for gas maybe, but for the moment I'm hanging on to it.

Someone had left a receipt from the ATM there. They had withdrawn $200 and had more than $6,500 left. Though that is a fairly small amount for an adult to have in their account, I can't imagine having that much. Most of my life my record has only been about $2,500, with my average balance closer to $1,000-1,500. I can't imagine having more than 6k and being able to withdraw $200 without a special event that was going towards. That much has historically been 50% of my entire income for a year, and in recent years nearly 100%.

While I suppose in part that's why I felt extra low and sad, I think really it's just a continuation of things. I really just need a few hundred a month. But it seems few are interested in helping me, I find nothing to apply to, and not enough care to be regular supporters to consider a 'non-traditional' income lifestyle. And while it may sound like a bad choice, or I'm dumb, I am really saddened I don't have the money to get the game I'd like to play most, so at least I have somewhere to escape to. It seems my console friends have abandoned the game for the moment (not to mention taking the console places is far more tricky and risky than my laptop), and the games I do have to play are all basically single player, making me feel extra lonely if I do play.

Day 2504 - 5/10 - The blue stain

Today was both very sad and slightly interesting. Again there was no signal at the food store, which was not surprising. I played a game I hadn't played in a while offline to kill time for a bit.

After that I went to see if the shower was open at school and attempt to wash my socks and underwear there. It was a pretty bad failure and made me very sad. I'd forgotten washing like that doesn't really work. My stuff only got maybe 15% more clean. And, since they were so water logged I was afraid they wouldn't dry out properly in the car - or worse, that by being on a car part they'd get messed up. (I've put my towel on parts before and it's caused the plastic to flake and get oddly sticky.) So, I spent $1.50 drying them. It was a lot less than the full $5 to wash and dry, but at so little of an improvement I question if it was worth it.

I'd forgotten to put the cap back on after taking some soap in to the school shower area. It seems on the short drive before I remembered the laundry soap had fallen over. Thankfully I didn't lose much, maybe 10-15% of the bottle, probably less than one wash's worth. But the interesting part is that the gray carpet in the trunk that it spilled on turned a bright blue. I have no idea why. It must have been some kind of chemical reaction. It was kind of cool.

Today was very sad. The failure of the wash, and even just needing to attempt it, in addition to all of my regular sad homeless things really made me feel truly homeless. With no super fun game I enjoy to distract me these days it is getting harder and harder to not be depressed and obsess on just the bad and sad things. School will be back on tomorrow, so maybe there will be distractions there. But with wearing cloths I know not to be clean and needing to do things like micro food I'd rather not be forced to eat, and no fun game to distract me, it will be very difficult to not be super depressed and constantly focus on my worries.

The blue stain.
1600 x 900

Day 2505 - 5/11 - Waiting

Today was very sad. As predicted yesterday, even though I was at school nothing was really different. While I did search for jobs, and help people on the forum fix issues that were preventing them from playing a fun game, I really didn't do anything else. The single player games I have to play feel sad, lonely, and make me feel heartbroken. While I watched a few shows, I didn't really enjoy them so much as kill time with them. I watched a movie, which did briefly distract me, but as soon as it was over I was right back to my sad worries, and even during watching I paused a few times to check for any email notices. A lot of the time I spent searching for videos or information about ESO since I can't play. But since I've done that so often lately, multiple times a day really, there was nothing new.

Today I felt heartbroken. Again I felt like a ghost of someone already past that noone noticed or missed. By about 9:30 in the morning I'd finished all the important things and really the rest of the day was an emptiness filled with waiting. Waiting... for nothing.

Day 2506 - 5/12 - Trying to stay hopeful

Today I am trying to stay hopeful. I'm still losing several hours of sleep a night and I'm super stressed all the time. It was two weeks ago someone asked for help for me. And a few days later some help came. And nearly six weeks ago a friend and some ex-guildies sent help. I am trying to stay hopeful that more help will come. Even just $10 would be a huge help and cover gas for a week. (I'm down to only a few gallons, which is super stressful and worrisome.) If I could get $5 more I could do laundry and feel a lot better about how I may appear to others. Though I suppose for the moment my smell is neutral and people don't really get close enough to me to notice that.

No help has come since the last, nor has here been any word on jobs or other income. (There was a possibility for a paid three hour game test, but I haven't heard back on that yet.) So while I try to hold on to hope it seems unlikely to come. And each day that passes I seem to draw closer and closer to being forced to sell my car, as it's the only thing I have of value that would get me more than one or two months time. And that would be truly tragic, as I require so little to get by a month, and without a car it seems recovery would be next to impossible. So it seems that without more help I am on the edge of oblivion. And despite always helping as many as I could my whole life, it seems now that I really need it, not enough help is coming back to me.

I continue to hope, but each time help has come what follows is less. And without that pattern changing it seems I may be at the end. It is out of my control. All I can do is wait... and try to hang on.

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

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