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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 361

Day 2521 - 5/27 - Did not play, did play

Today was kind of ok, kind of sad. In the morning I didn't play anything, despite having a few hours that I could have. Ever since I found a happy life for that weekend in ESO it's all I've really wanted to play lately. And sadly, it seems my only chance of getting it will be if someone gifts it to me directly, as cash donations are too infrequent to cover much more than gas and phone.

In the afternoon I had my class I TA for. We watched stuff, so I had a good time with that. It's always fun to see stuff people do and give them thoughts to make them better.

In the evening I played my console game. At first noone was really on. But then my friend came on after a bit and I did group with him and another person and we did some stuff together. I guess that was pretty fun, though there is so little content in my console game we are just doing the same stuff over and over.

I guess today wasn't too bad, but with it being nearly June, and this fail year coming to a close, I can't help but feel more and more of me is being lost all the time. And while I have very little left to lose, and some may say I can only go up from here, I can't help but feel like next year, maybe even before then, that the opposite will happen, and what little I have will be lost and there will be nothing left of me.

Day 2522 - 5/28 - Mysterious foot aches

Today my feet were extremely tired. I don't know why. It was like I'd done a bunch of extra walking even though I hadn't. Maybe it's because my boots are getting worn out, and as they do their springiness is getting more and more diminished.

I guess today was ok, though for most of the day I was lonely, extremely sleepy due to lack of sleep from stresses, and sad about not being able to play the game I really want to play. I played a bit for one I do like a lot though because it just got a big update, but my heart just wasn't really in it.

In the evening I had the advanced film class. Again it was pretty fun. People were silly but sort of serious and had a good time, as usual. I am still unsure of my status with having a group for the final project. People are shooting stuff and moving on and yet one group I was supposed to work with is flaking, and the new person I was put with said he'd get me the footage tonight, but when I saw him briefly he didn't even mention it. (He didn't seem to actually be there for class, as I only briefly saw him during the break.) So again, I kind of feel like an outsider. Everyone had their groups and their fun, yet noone wanted me to hang out with them, noone wanted me to hang out with them, noone wanted my company. It really doesn't surprise me though. I am obviously older (though some who are much younger look older than I do.) So I get that chemistry of like age and interests aren't there.

But it still makes me sad. It still makes me wonder if I truly missed my window and I won't ever find friends of like mind to hang out with, and that I won't find a sweetie. As I am on break alone, even more so when groups part after class, but they are still clumped and I walk to my car alone, I feel like this is it. This is how my life is. I am alone. I am not wanted in groups. Be that for work, for friendship, or in classes. And that, in many ways, this is how it's always been, and as such, how it may always be.

Day 2523 - 5/29 - Like tar

Today was pretty slow and sad. Nothing interesting happened in the morning. I do remember I forgot to help on the forums, but I didn't really know why. I think I was occupied by thoughts of a school project. In the afternoon I spent a few hours doing some stuff for that project. Oddly, by the end I really didn't like what I'd done. I probably won't even wind up using it.

In the evening I played my console game. A few were on, but they were grouped doing other things. I tried to use my headphones, but more and more they are falling apart, and goop is coming off the tape which is like tar. I don't know if that is just the tape sliding out of place and that is it's glue, or if it has such an incredibly low melting point that room temperature causes it to deteriorate. I'm going to have to see if I can clean it off after I finish writing. Tonight I had to fold up the affected tar area and basically put a paper towel between that and my ear. It's a real shame too. The outer shell is starting to fall apart pretty badly, but the electronics inside are perfectly fine. What is more sad is that I tested my PC headphones on the console and they are terrible in comparison. The special console ones are tweaking sounds several different ways to make them sound better on the headphones in ways the others won't. Hopefully I can safe them. It would be sad if I couldn't, particularly since my PC ones don't have a working mic.

It's so very sad I have so many small issues. It's like I can't escape them no matter which way I turn.

Day 2524 - 5/30 - Razors

Today was mostly sad and slow. I was at school all day, though I really had nothing to do. I tried playing my card game, but immediately after starting I lost twice in a row and then immediately quit. Now I again don't feel like playing for several days.

My gas is 1/8th of a tank or less. I posted a sad panicked post in the afternoon. I had planned on doing my recycle to at least get a little more, but the place closed early. So, not only did I lose probably a day's gas getting there, but I also won't be able to recycle for a few days. Thankfully someone sent a donation after my panic post. So hopefully that will get into my account in time to help.

In the evening I went by the ex-house. Someone had sent me some razors and it looks like they were there. So those should be nice to try out and have super smooth parts again.

Though the day had a good ending I can't help but feel sad. Sad about spending all day outside of school barely having anything to eat. Sad about not being able to sleep in. Sad about the games I can't play. But most of all sad that I am still homeless, and have been for so long. Because if I weren't none of today would have happened as it did.

Day 2525 - 5/31 - Dreams of yesterday

Today was very slow and sad. There wasn't much to do. Though one of my favorite early access games got a big patch Thursday and is still a ton of fun, two of the five total areas still aren't accessible, meaning the game gets terribly imbalanced quickly and there isn't much point in playing, as I can't progress as I would post release. There were really only a couple of shows to watch, so I basically had nothing to do all day save for longing for the games I can't play or consider homework things I can't work on because I can't afford the software license.

Last night I had pretty good dreams. I suppose it may have to do with when I fell asleep. I fell asleep before midnight, something I haven't been able to do in weeks. (Lately stress has kept me up until 2 or sometimes 3 in the morning.) I dreamt of people at school, or people at school 'played the part' of people in the dream. It was nice to not dream of yesterday past. For the longest time I've dreamt of a boss who was kind of mean to me who I haven't seen in over 20 years. Or I dream of my friends I no longer associate with, the last one I saw maybe four or five years ago, and before that it had probably been 10 years since I'd seen any of them. It's nice to not be tormented by things half a lifetime ago, or dream of finally not being homeless only to remember in the dream the times I was homeless and get scared and sad again.

I am beginning to wonder which was the dream and which was real. Is the dream my life when I had friends? Is the dream now when I don't and I'm homeless? Are they both a dream and my real life is yet to come? Or are none the dream and this sad lonely life of nothing is the only reality I can ever know?

Day 2526 - 6/1 - Long day

Today was an incredibly long day. Although I did decide to bring my console to play in the evening so I would at least have some gaming fun to look forward to, it only lifted my spirits a little. And when the night was over, it felt like two days had passed instead of one.

I helped a bit on the forums. I helped quite a bit with TA things while I was in the lab. But noone helped me. No donations were received. No jobs were found. Though two sat by me for a few minutes before their classes, noone hung out with me and asked how I was or if I needed help with anything. I suppose that's always the way it's been - that I've been the helper, not the one being helped. But I wonder if that will ever change. It's been this way so long, and so few have even worried about me, even fewer have taken care of me, I am afraid of it when it does start to happen. And since I have been without it so long, I don't know if I would feel right or that I deserved it if it did happen.

Day 2527 - 6/2 - One day at a time

Today seems to be starting out very sad. I'm almost down to 1/8th of a tank of gas again. My food money is down to $4.50 (for some reason that doesn't flip until the 3rd or 4th.) And I have no money for the next phone bill which is probably due in a few weeks, or the $100 car registration in just under 8 weeks, let alone anything for games.

I am living one day at a time. Hoping change or opportunity come along or hoping that help comes so I can hang on until those do. But with barely enough I am literally living one day at a time. And most times that doesn't feel like "living" at all.

Week 362

Day 2528 - 6/3 - No time for shower

Today felt extremely slow, which is odd because I didn't have much time before my class I TA for. And after that I was busy busy with either that or playing my console game. Maybe it was because I was super stressed out last night and only got about 5 hours of sleep. I'm not sure. I was actually doing stuff in my console game later than expected and missed my shower window. I guess it was ok. It' still the same stuff over and over, which seems sad.

I guess today was pretty good emotionally. I helped people in the class I TA for. One of the cute girl students talked to me for a bit before class. I got to work on a project for a bit and I played my console for a bit. I guess the draining bit is the lack of sleep, running out of monies for food, overall stress I have all the time, and the fact that when it was all over I had no quiet home and bed to go back to.

Day 2529 - 6/4 - Bleh salami

Today was extra sad. It began in the morning. I checked for my food money and it still wasn't there. Which meant I had to get some bread and eat what was left of the salami I'd gotten Thursday. I suppose it was still ok, as it was the 'dry' kind, but still. I fear any meats I've had more than 24 hours. But with no money I had no choice. And if my money doesn't come by the time it's morning I'll be in a worse position, as I'm completely out of food. I'll be forced to spend half of my gas money just to get even a single small meal for the entire day.

The afternoon was really the only good part of my day, as I got to work on a project I like. I finished it and I think it's super awesome. I'm still trying to work out what settings to export it at though because with the settings I normally used the colors were washed out and the blacks were not true black. With the form it is currently saved in though it's nearly 5 gig for a 3 minute video, which is about 10x bigger than it probably should be. It seems to play in the player fine though, and other exports don't have the true blacks so I may not have a choice.

The evening was sad though. People had fun in class. But again there was an exercise to pick people, and again I was basically not picked by groups. One eventually asked if I needed a group, but it probably took like 10 minutes of me sitting without one before I was asked.

I am very worried about everything. With barely enough gas to last a few days, being out of food and out of money to buy any, and noone sending help or asking for help on my behalf, I again wonder if anyone truly cares. And I again wonder if I will fade away to nothing without anyone noticing.

It terrifies me to think I could starve to death, or run out of money for gas and lose my car and get too cold at night and die, all because a dozen people wouldn't help with even just $5-10 a month to help me out until I could get back on my feet. Maybe I'm the odd one, but when I knew people needed help (when I had money) I would always help with at least a little something. It saddens me so few are helping me in my time of need. Not just for me, but considering humanity as a whole.

Day 2530 - 6/5 - No food money

Today as pretty sad. Again there was no food money in the morning. I had to find some bleh food on sale and spend about 25% of the gas money I would have otherwise had so that I at least had something to eat. If it doesn't come through tomorrow morning I don't know what I'll do. The gas money is in the car now, so all I have is $1 in my bank account. While I could certainly get some lunchmeat with that if I had to, a small snip of one meal for the day will leave me very hungry. I still think they must have shorted me or something, because I've never run out before. I've always had extra left over.

I suppose the day wasn't completely terrible. The cute girl in class I TA for came in the lab and we chatted a bit. And in the evening when I was playing on my console someone from the intermediate class came over and we chatted about gaming stuff for a bit.

But the rest of the entire day I was alone. No donations came. No opportunities for change came. So I was left to my sad thoughts and worries and wondering if I can get more to have enough for gas this week, and enough to cover the coming phone bill, and what of the registration due in about six weeks? Or is this it? Is it that no help will come and in the next few weeks all I have left that isn't kept in storage will be lost?

Day 2531 - 6/6 - Can't

Today was very sad. I wanted to do different things than I did. I wanted to work on my project some more as there are a few final details I would like to tweak. I wanted to play ESO, but I can't afford it, and have not been gifted it. I wanted to invite friends over for BBQ and watch movies or play games, but I neither have a place to do that, nor friends to invite.

I cried some last night. I was thinking of all the things I miss, all the things I can't have, and all the things I may never have. I felt sorry for myself that I have had a terrible childhood which led to low or no self esteem that I am still battling with. Sad and sorry that has put me in a position of some bad self-soothing habits that have wrecked other things - like soda because it tastes nice and the bubbles are silly, which is the most likely reason my teeth are all bad now, or eating junk food, which has put my health and weight in a bad place.

Maybe I can overcome my physical issues in time if I ever get into a better place emotionally. But that will require money, and security, both physically and emotionally, and no longer living in constant fear of everything.

But those days may never come for me. I am not finding new jobs to apply to, and even if there were ones I am qualified for they would be too low pay to ever put me in such a position in life. And while what I'm doing in school may offer me such an opportunity in the future, getting there seems impossible since I have no way in. I look at my bank account with only $1 in it, my wallet which is empty, my food allowance (which finally came) being so low that I have to ration and monitor my spending. I consider in addition to all that I don't have the $50 for the phone bill coming up in less than 3 weeks, nor the $100 for car registration in less than 7; or even much smaller costs, like $10 for next quarter's parking sticker, $5 to do laundry again, or even $3 for saline solution or shaving cream... and my life seems impossible. It would take so little to maintain, yet I get very little help. I slowly slip away. And with noone helping who already sort of knows me or do know me, I wonder what the odds are someone who doesn't know me will give me an opportunity. With seemingly so few to noone on my side anymore, winning this battle seems an impossible task.

Day 2532 - 6/7 - Nothing left

Today I was going to talk about how I think the reason I miss and want to play ESO so much has to do with the potential for 'cooperative play', where all my other games are really just 'parallel play', but as I was in the ex-garage running through my dirty clothes to find what is the seemingly least stinky, I got too sad.

There was really nothing new to talk about. I could say I found a dime, or in the evening I got to take a shower, but the more I thought on it the more that just made my life sound very sad. These are the best I have to share from my day? That I was grateful to have enough bland food, access to a bathroom, and shower in the evening?

I look at the 'views' on my posts, and they seem fewer and fewer each week. Barely anyone is looking anymore, barely more than half a dozen, sometimes less than half a dozen.

There was no big donation to talk about today, not even a small one. There was no nice new game thing that made me happy, and the little I played just made me sad. And the fact that I had to pick from the least stinky of cloths just reminded me I couldn't even remember when I last had the available $5 to do a wash.

Maybe it is true that noone cares anymore about me fading away, or ever did. Maybe at the end of this year of fail I should just stop writing. Maybe I should just accept that noone cares, stop writing, let what little of my life is left fade away to nothing. Maybe if there were not enough to help me hang on to what is left of me I should not care either and let what little hope and love for myself I have go.

Day 2533 - 6/8 - Renewed hope

Today I have renewed hope. Last night after I was so sad I put a post on my social site page. This morning and early afternoon I ot a few donations. I'm safe for probably another month of gas, phone, and a few small cost items. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get more and pay for car registration. But we'll see. I may need to use phone money for that and postpone the phone, since the car stuff has priority.

I guess today was ok. I had a meh time playing a few old games, and someone sent a new one. It's a smaller indie game, but it's pretty interesting. I'll probably talk about that on the next podcast.

I wonder though still if I'll be ok. While I'm spared from the most worrisome of troubles for the moment, there are more just around the corner. And while I eek by for another month, that is what happened the last two. And if the pattern continues I don't expect to get enough for the registration or bigger costs later in the year like insurance or contacts.

But, for the moment my hope is renewed. And maybe with that I can sleep ok and be less sad. At least for a short while.

Day 2534 - 6/9 - Settling

Today things are settling. Donation money has landed in my account, so I can pick up some small things. And, after school is over tonight, gas. Last night I slept well, but still had trouble getting to sleep and didn't fall asleep until about midnight.

I don't expect anything to happen today. There are no new donations, nor does anything seem different. It is colder than yesterday, but still warm. Yesterday by this time it was actually nearing hot.

I am still unable to have games I would like to be playing, and I am sad. But I have enough for food, though I'll have to be careful about spending. With enough money donated I should be safe from worry about gas or phone for another month's cycle. And, still having my car and my gaming laptop, and everything else in storage, I am always ready to return to my life at any moment. As long as that remains I have at least some hope in my heart, and that is something.

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

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