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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 359

Day 2507 - 5/13 - Diving Miss Aimee

Today was a bit different. My morning was basically the same, though I was visited and distracted by someone I know for a while before the class I TA for. The class came and went just about usual. After though I drove my nice professor somewhere to pick up her car that had been getting work done on it. It was pretty close, so it didn't take long. She gave me some monies for it, so now I have about a weeks gas and a bit of cash left. I'll keep that for various unavoidable minor cash costs, but some more will likely need to be put into gas.

After, while I could have had enough time to play my console game, since it's been about six weeks or longer since I've grouped with anyone I decided just to pass and not bother. It seems most of them have stopped playing and we'll see what's what if they come back when the expansion comes out next week. I figure I'll play very cautiously until then since it's a risk to carry that stuff around.

Still, almost all day I wanted to play ESO. It's sad none of my current ex-guildie friends have any interest in it, but I suppose that opens up the opportunity to find new guild friends. That is, if I can ever manage to get the game. With donations stopping after that recent burst two weeks ago, and no others before that until six weeks ago, it seems unlikely more donations will come. And with so few these days, if any more do come they will immediately need to go to gas, phone, or be saved for the car registration due in two months.

Though it was extremely difficult to resist getting some kind of real food at several locations that I passed on the return drive after dropping off the nice professor, it seems for the moment I am spared gas worries. Though with so many other worries and sad things right behind it, it is tough to still not be sad and constantly worry.

Day 2508 - 5/14 - Voulenteer spine

Today was extra sad. The morning was actually relatively fine. I tried to help someone as best as I could, so they appreciated that. In the early afternoon I helped a few students with understanding software for their class, so that was good too.

But in the later afternoon things got bad and sad. I went to put down my PC headphones and heard a snap. I seem that my PC headphones have broken to. I temporarily taped them back together, but it seems like without the most amazing gift in the world it wouldn't be something I can replace. It seems my console headset may have just gotten a volunteer spine replacement. I don't know if I can combine it to work over the console headphone spine, but it may be my only option for salvaging the two into one working headset. But still, even if I did, that's not a great solution. That won't stop the buttons on the console headset from further dying. And if it is getting worn out in general, going back to them as my main headset will put them back into a higher wear and tear position.

I really wish I didn't have to worry about these problems. I wish I had a normal life and could afford to replace things like this that broke or buy a nice game that unexpectedly comes up. But I can't, and because I can't, every time this happens I feel more and more like what little I have left is slowly going to be taken away and I'll be left with nothing but a broken heart.

Day 2509 - 5/15 - The super glue

Today was ok I guess. I didn't have anything to do all day. I would have loved to play ESO, but I still can't afford it, and noone has gifted it to me. I had almost nothing at all to do, and really did little more than kill the day. (All I really did was my usual job search and help on the forums.)

I brought some stuff in to further investigate the damage to the headphones. It seems it was less damage than I thought. It looks like there is a small swivel hinge that allows the ear cuff to rotate and that snapped in half. It is also the only thing connecting the ear cuff to the headband. However, there is this large flat flared area the headphone spine flares out to, which matches with a spot on the ear cuff. So, in theory, it looked like I could bind those together, not have a moveable ear cuff, but possibly have a fixed headset. I asked the equipment guy for glue, but he had a kind that wouldn't work. He said if I scratched up the surface so it wasn't smooth, then some super glue should work and it would be $1-2. When my night was over I went to get some. It was indeed $1.50. I've now sanded it rough, applied the glue, held it together like three times as long as it said to, and I'm giving it about an hour before putting it back in my backpack. I guess over the next week I'll know if it seems like it will hold and if any damage occurred to the internal wires while doing that. It would be awesome if the $1.50 purchase held the $75 headset together, but I suppose if it doesn't then I can use the spine from that headset for the other. Though, the mic will still be dead even if the ear cuff does stay on, so I couldn't use it to chat on PC either way.

Today was also a bit less sad in that before I shut down my system for the night I got a donation. And, my most recent post on Facebook has gotten more than triple the usual number of views. It wasn't anything special, so maybe an influx of new visitors has come up for some reason. That would be a nice change.

I guess for once in a very long while my day ends on a hopeful note.

Day 2510 - 5/16 - Not in either world

Today I was pretty sad. While I was briefly distracted with the fun of helping someone pick some parts, pretty much all day I wished I could play ESO. I again spent most of my day looking at videos of various builds and tips and such. I could have easily spent more than 8 hours playing and having fun. Instead, I probably spent half that time basically wasting time watching videos, and the other half, or more, watching a few shows and helping on forums.

Today was very sad because I am not living in two worlds now. I am stuck and not progressing in the real world, slowly slipping further and further away. Nor can I escape to live in ESO. Stuck outside, unable to enter until I am gifted the game or until I can somehow afford to get it.

Various people were out and about posting about things they were doing, doing various activities, living their lives. I had no such change. No celebration of the coming summer. I was cold, uncomfortable, eating the same forced food choice I have had countless times on the weekend for the past few months. I worried about if I will have money for gas after the recent donation runs out. I worried about getting ever closer to the next phone bill. I worried about my registration and contacts that are coming due. And I worried about how so much of what I have left is falling apart and may soon be gone. And with no way to recover it, I worry that I too may be gone.

Day 2511 - 5/17 - Clean cloths, clean body, unquiet mind

Today was pretty good I suppose. In the morning I had a little bit of donation money, so I decided to actually wash all my cloths. I put in a bit extra soap since I have plenty at the very slow rate I'm using it at. They turned out good. Again, I don't use scents for laundry really, so they don' have that perfumy fresh smell, but they don't smell bad. Really the only bad things were socks and sort of underwear, which I think I can get some deodorant stuff to help with stinky socks/shoes when/if I get more donation money.

Speaking of which, my best friend from when I was very little, the Gray Ghost from about 4(?) years ago sent a donation. It will take care of the next phone bill, which is due in a week, so that's pretty good. I still have enough gas for most of a week and a small bit of donation money that might get a touch more, so I'll be on the edge pretty quick again. But now with all clean cloths and phone soon to be taken care of I'll feel a lot better for a week or two.

Even though the pool area was closed after my laundry I decided to check in the evening. It was open. I got a good shower. I spent extra time very carefully shaving. With a razor that is probably two months old or more I have to be extremely careful or it can tear me up. Plus it barely works, so by being extra careful it can still do ok.

Again I really had nothing to do today. And my mind was unsettled, constantly fixating on ESO, or repeating both good and bad things over and over, like it sometimes does when I have a fever. The less I have to do in a peaceful and happy state, the more disquiet my mind becomes, and the more it obsessively focuses on nothing and fails to focus on positive or productive things. Though with nearly all of my pleasures in life now gone there is extremely little I can do to calm my mind or nerves.

Day 2512 - 5/18 - Projects

Today was a day of projects. In the morning I did some shooting for a film project. Then I decided (and was finally feeling emotionally well enough) to edit my system recommendations. When the lab opened in the early afternoon I edited my film class project, and finished in the late afternoon. I had just enough time to finish and post my system recommendations, and after watch a show before leaving for the night.

My right shoulder has been feeling more and more off. It's almost as if it's lift strength is impaired, like I've been holding a heavy weight at my side for a long time. The only thing I can figure is it's a side effect of so much time sitting on the floor and moving the mouse at floor level. I kind of have to twist my arm and wrist to an odd position. I'll try and do that less and pay attention to when I do.

I was pretty busy today, but still, even though I seemed fine on the surface, I was still very sad and very extremely hurt about how I have to live my life.

Day 2513 - 5/19 - Clinched jaw

Today is just getting started, but I'm pretty stressed again. I'm running on very little sleep. I've been clinching my jaw super tight at night. I don't know if that is preventing me from getting no sleep, or if it's that I'm too stressed and that is irrelevant. It's difficult to not be these days. Though I've been getting donations, because so few are donating the money is spent before it arrives. It is difficult to motivate to do things because there isn't much that makes me happy and in a good mood. Mostly I long to play a game I can't afford to get. And the others I have are single player really, so I often wind up feeling lonely.

Another week of fail has come and gone. I seem no closer to being less homeless than I was a week ago. Perhaps, with a few new eyes watching over me than there were a month ago I am slightly in a better position, but compared to when I was still working a year ago it seems like I am in almost an impossible position in comparison. It would take so little to keep my few bills away, but without change things will only continue to get worse. And that change seems to continue to be outside of my control.

Week 360

Day 2514 - 5/20 - Disgusting lunch

Today was disappointing, and fun. In the later morning I went to micro my food. But this time, instead of the nice small micro food looking tasty, it had an odd yellow hue instead of the bright orange it should have. I tasted a little and it tasted funny. So I tossed it instead of risking getting food poisoning. I guess that's a risk I take with canned food. It's super disappointing because that was $2 worth of food, and I got another one of that in the car. So if that is also bad, that's another wasted $2. I decided to have a burger and fries at the cafeteria, which was pretty good. I haven't had one in, I think, months. And I haven't eaten a cooked to order food like that in, I think, 2.5 weeks. Recent donations put me in a position where that was possible, but still, that was a pretty big hit with how low on cash I am.

The afternoon and evening were good. I had the class I TA for, and that's always fun. In the evening I played my console game, which has a new expansion out. While there were several on, everyone was doing their own thing. And since the voice chat was nearly full I didn't join. Noone sent me an invite, so I was basically alone. It seems sad it's such a big risk hooking that up these days (due to no money to replace it if anything broke in the moves), and I haven't grouped with anyone in quite a while. Well, my subscription that allows me to group runs out in August, so if noone invites me to do stuff over the next few months maybe I'll just not spend the $5 a month to renew and leave the system safe in storage. (I'd previously spent $50 on a full year's time.) I guess that is far enough off I shouldn't really bother thinking about it.

All in all tollerable, but a very sad day, as everything was done in the way it was done because I'm homeless.

Day 2515 - 5/21 - More than I expected

Today turned out pretty good. The morning was very slow and sad. I had little to do and was mostly sad about my life and thought about the game I would have liked to have had to play.

The evening turned out really good though. The class people had a good time. And, my project I thought would probably get a few chuckles was actually extremely well received. People laughed at all the things, and three of the students clapped extra loud and did a standing ovation. No other projects got that high of praise.

So today I felt pretty good about my class time. But now hiding and not being in a home, my mood will rapidly sink and I'll no doubt be back to worry and stress and I likely will again lose several hours of sleep tonight, as I have every night for the past few months.

Day 2516 - 5/22 - Multiple pains

Today I am suffering through multiple pains. For a few days now one of my teeth has been hurting. It's the same one that's been sensitive for a while. My pressure on it is bad, and since I've been crushing my jaw a lot due to stress, it's almost like I'm spending half of my time smashing it down and causing myself pain. I've taken a lot of pills, but I don't really have enough to overdose at the level I'd need to in order to settle it. Hopefully the mild / normal dosage, plus trying to focus on relaxing my jaws will allow the pain to subside soon.

And, as usual, I am suffering emotional pain; loneliness, sadness, depression, feelings of lost hope, feeing unloved, feeling unwanted; feeling things that can't change. I know it seems so odd and stupid to wish for a game, but I do think if I could get ESO it could help distract me from at least some of my emotional pains most days, at least for a while. And again, who knows, I may even find a new guild and new online friends. The ones I expected would return with the new content coming out this week for my console game have not really returned. In fact, player count continues to decline, seeing only two or three of them on when I'm on, and much of the time they aren't playing the game that I'm playing.

I was reminded a lot about food last night and today. People were hungry during the dinner break, so a few of them went across the street for Chinese food. I didn't know until after they came back, but I couldn't have afforded to go with them if I did. And today, someone from that same class chatted with me for a bit around lunch time wondering what he should eat. I have no real options. With my limited budget and my limited food preferences and allergy-like reactions, there are only about a half dozen items I can afford. While it's true cash wouldn't expand those choices much, it would expand it enough that it wouldn't feel sad. And my meals wouldn't feel like I was in a prison served the same meh food on rotation based on what day of the week it was.

My sad things seem very trivial to someone who has these options, but now that my choices are gone I know just how important choices are, even if you chose not to take advantage of them. It's having the choices that frees you.

Day 2517 - 5/23 - Trashed school

Today was very slow. I decided to go straight to school and pass at playing at the food store. It just didn't seem like a few hours alone would be fun or worth it. When I got to school I jumped in the shower. There were some people there, but it was a nice start. I went over to my old spot, as the new one near the theater always seems to be getting busy these weekends lately. The part around one of the buildings where there was an event last night was literally trashed. Several trash cans were overflowing and there were several bags of food trash overflowing out onto the lawn in front of the building. It was very sad and extremely disrespectful. I sent a letter to the college president and the school paper. This isn't the first time it's happened lately, and the school shouldn't have to clean up after these events.

The afternoon and early evening passed slowly. Mostly I killed time wishing I could play ESO. I did play another online game or a bit, and someone was on who I briefly chatted with. It made me feel not quite so lonely, so that was good. Though I'm pretty bad at that game, so I did eventually get a bit sad playing.

In the evening I spent my last free movie ticket seeing a movie that, in some ways, I've been waiting to see for about 30 years. It's basically the next movie in a series that's been dormant for a very very long time. They did a perfect job continuing it; way better than I ever would have imagined it. I was drawn in to that world for the 2.5 hours it ran, and for that brief time I did forget all my sad things. So that was a very nice change.

Day 2518 - 5/24 - Careful rationing

Today was slow and sad. I played my console game for a bit in the morning. It went ok, but there was some lag that caused issues. It's pretty much why I stopped playing at the food store. (That and times when the connection has been completely dead.) Mostly even though I was on campus like every other weekend, the day was slow and I wished I could be playing ESO instead of finding videos of it to watch or flat out killing time with things like a new show I found that's just meh.

I checked the shower area in the morning for a last shower before they are closed tomorrow, but things were locked. I guess I'll have to wait until Wednesday, and if I want a shave before then I'll have to do it in a sink.

I guess I've gotten too many breakfasts and juice in the mornings. This month I'm getting dangerously low on food money. There should be enough if I am careful. But instead of there being extra at the end I'll have to ration and be extra careful how much I spend.

I guess that is really what my life has come down to; having barely enough to eek by on the most basic costs, and having to count my pennies all the time to barely get by.

Day 2519 - 5/25 - Slow sad day

Today is almost over. I'm writing this in the earlier evening, so it's not completely over yet. Today started at the food store playing on my console. There were only a few on, which isn't surprising considering it's a holiday for most people. Noone invited me to chat or to group for anything. In the afternoon I went over to see if school had people there to hang out. There were some people, so I went ahead and settled in. There were actually almost a normal amount of people there for a weekend day. Obviously being a Monday there weren't the normal weekend people because they came and went on their normal day.

Things were extra sad though, as there really wasn't anything to do. There were also two homeless on bikes there who were there yesterday charging stuff where I normally sit. It made me sad. The guy had maybe two mostly rotted teeth left, the rest were gone. And while I didn't smell anything from their distance from me, they did look like neither had washed their cloths or showered in a month. (Though likely they do so on campus somewhere and I've just not seen them there before, or they are passing through.) It made me wonder if that was my future. A bike because I can't keep a car. Using batteries with very old tech because I don't have anything current. Will I be where they are now when I am their age in 5-10 years? I hope not. But it feels like it is inevitable.

Day 2520 - 5/26 - Long weekend is over

Today I am happy the long weekend is over. Though it was only one extra day - spent as if I would any other weekend day - it felt more like an extra week, or longer. While I have a few games I play briefly now and then, there is nothing that really pulls me in and distracts me from my sad things like my time in ESO did. If I could, I'd be playing that and be happily distracted most of my day today. But I'll have to wait for someone to gift it to me. Until then my days drag, and the smallest of things cause me stress. Needing $10 for gas for the next week, $3 for saline solution that is almost out, $3 for shaving cream that I've been out of for weeks, some for razors to replace the one more than two months old. And ever approaching bigger bills; $48 for phone in a month, $100 for registration in two months, $40 for an oil change, $200 to cover contacts for the year, $75 for new boots.

Everything causes me so much worry, and what seem like such small monthly costs seem an impossible task now.

I am back on campus, able to help students that need help with film things, and remain ready to help those online with getting game things running again. At least I have that. At least a few things remain from my core self to remind me who I am.

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

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