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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 363

Day 2535 - 6/10 - East coast style

Today was a bit odd. I had an ok time in the morning with time before my class I TA for, and during that class. In the evening I played on my console, but the people who were on didn't say hi or invite me to stuff. They just did different stuff. I don't know if that is because it was above my level or what.

The weirdest thing today was the weather. It was east coast style in that it was almost hot, but heavily sprinkly, so it was super humid out. Which isn't weather we get here.

I guess today was ok. I was mostly too busy to be sad, but I always am at least a little. And as I write this my ears are ringing for some reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm starting to get a cold. Maybe it was because we watched a lot of stuff in the class I TA for. I am comforted by donations for the moment, though no new ones came today. But, as always, I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Day 2536 - 6/11 - Faster than expected

Today was somewhat sad. In the morning I got my parking sticker for next quarter, which was a lot more than I remember it being. I'm down pretty low on money again already. I have enough in my back account for three weeks of gas possibly, or 2/3 of my next phone bill. I'll be ok for the moment but in a few weeks I may be in trouble again.

Again today I was mostly alone. Noone hung out with me during the day and during the night class some people in a group I was in said they were going to walk somewhere which was much further than I could walk, so I told them to grab me when they get back, but they basically abandoned me. An hour and 15 minutes passed before I saw any of them, and by that time they'd eaten where they went and did all the shooting for the project. Again while I felt people acknowledge my skills and appreciate my help, I am not really among them. I am not one of them. I am an outsider in orbit nearby.

Day 2537 - 6/12 - To a bar

Today was genuinely different. My morning was fairly regular, but in the afternoon I worked on a class project. It was fun, but challenging since I was basically trying to create something from nothing.

In the evening there was the student film show. There were several student projects shown in the theater. It was pretty fun. After, two editing class students asked if I / we wanted to go somewhere. At first we were going somewhere kinda far, but then one said she heard of an after party type thing where everyone was going from the film show. So we went to a noisy bar place that several of them had gone to. As usual, the young students waved or nodded towards me, but noone invited me to join them. It was an ok time though and we had some laughs.

At least for one night I was fairly normal and on the fringe of being among people in a normal setting.

Day 2538 - 6/13 - The event around me

Today was sort of different. There was some music festival that sprung up at school shortly after I got there and closed down slightly before I left. It was weird to be there with an event so close that I could have packed up and walked over there.

But I didn't. I'm not a music fan, nor do I have spare money to buy festival food. So I sat in my spot, oddly out of place for the day.

It was pretty warm. Most of the day I just had my T-shirt and shorts on, no house shirt or hoodie. I played a bit in the day, and it was meh. I was pretty distracted from things due to the loud music. I got a fast food meal for the first time in I think about two months. It was ok, certainly much more flavorful than the chicken tenders I usually buy to eat over the weekend. Being fresh food my tummy isn't used to it disagreed with me and I had to run to the bathroom. I have my car still for the time being, so emergencies like that aren't a concern. But I wonder for how much longer. Things can still go either way for me; back to a normalish life, or lose what little is left. For the moment I'm ok, though short on cash, and burning through food money quickly due to the seemingly lowered award amount. But at least for the moment I still have some hope.

Day 2539 - 6/14 - Smashing some castle crashers

Today was a mix of sadness and fun. Most of the day I was sad. As always I am out somewhere specifically because I am homeless. I am sad and miss all the comforts of home and regular life things I could be doing. I was also sad because it was the weekend. And as such I had no access to stuff to do schoolwork and no students to tutor. But also that leaves me a day free to play without worry, yet the game I still want to be playing most is ESO, which I still don't have.

I did get some surprises today. A supporter got me a cute brawler game. I haven't played a game like this in probably 25 years. That style of game really went out of style by the early 90s. And, I found a new show to watch as well as an old one I thought was canceled which came back.

For a homeless day the surprises made it a nice one, but the limitations couldn't let me forget everything I miss about a normal life.

Day 2540 - 6/15 - Unusual visit

Today went pretty differently. In the morning there was footage and news from the big yearly gaming convention. So, I spent quite a lot of time watching that, though the interesting things were for systems I didn't own, or were things I already knew about.

The evening was quite different. I went to visit a supporter at his work. He has a super crazy work which has laundry and a cafeteria where the food is free, and everywhere are kitchens with microwaves and snack foods. And the whole office looks like an IKIA add for different styled chairs and couches. It was pretty surreal because that office had been featured in a movie so it surprised me it was basically how it was portrayed in the movie. There was hardly anyone there though because it was night, and the food selection wasn't quite as extreme as in the movie, but it was pretty close.

After, I had a bit of time before the school lab closed. So, I hurried back to get some time there. Someone was using the system my stuff is on though, so I couldn't do anything. It's ok though. I wouldn't have had much time to do what I needed. And, I wound up helping like four people with project stuff, so it actually worked out fine.

My spirit is quite boosted for the moment. This fail week has had some nice surprises. Hopefully I can hang on to the good feelings, as thoughts of a rapidly approaching phone bill, car registration, and other costs will quickly return to my worrisome mind.

An unexpected visit.
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Day 2541 - 6/16 - Sniffles

Today seems ok so far. I didn't sleep much last night. I've been not sleeping until about midnight to 2 for a few weeks. I think I didn't sleep until after 3 last night.

I've been sniffling and sneezing for a few days, possibly even longer because I sounded a bit off when I did my last recording. I hope my cold doesn't get worse. That last one was unbelievably terrible and scary.

I think today will be ok once I can get into the lab. When I'm working on stuff or helping people I'm pretty happy. Until then though things will likely be very sad. I want very much to play ESO to have the chance to find friends and have people to talk to, possibly even make a connection that can help me in some way, but I still can't afford it. Phone and registration are still not covered enough to allow even considering buying a game. And while the yearly gaming coverage will continue today, that just means I'll see even more games coming soon or coming along later that I won't be able to play.

For the moment my hope is boosted. I no longer feel uncared for or quite so alone. People have sent donations this week, which is a huge help. And I got to do lots of fun projects and stuff and help people with their projects, which always makes me happy. Hopefully these things will continue to warm my heart over the coming months when I won't have access to them during the summer break.

Week 364

Day 2542 - 6/17 - Feel like a zombie

Today I am extremely tired. My brain has kind of been on automatic all day. I'm running on too little sleep. But even when I have the opportunity to sleep (which I have most nights) I am too stressed to relax and sleep when I can.

You would think being able to go home, rest, cook dinner, relax, put your stuff away; wouldn't be a huge deal, that you can manage without. And in some ways it's fine. But in others it is the most stressful thing at a deep level. Because it's not like a mean boss, or a supposed friend you aren't getting along with. Those you can walk away from. You can ignore them. But being without basic comforts of a home, you can't. It doesn't matter how far you get away from your previous home, or how close you are, it's not like those things. Distance does not lessen the pain or sadness. You can't stop that from hurting by walking away like you can with the others.

Day 2543 - 6/18 - Feeling left out and sad

Today I again felt left out and sad in the evening. The morning was fairly regular, and in the afternoon I even helped some people out. But during the break in class a few different groups formed up to go to dinner and I wasn't asked to join any of them. And, since I wasn't a part of a big production group to show their final, I felt again left out of the fun.

I suppose in the long run it doesn't matter. Sharing what I can do with people who 'get it' will be unlikely and probably very rare if I ever do the film stuff professionally. So I will likely feel left out and unappreciated quite often.

I get it. Because I am older (though students would never guess by how much), that I'm apart, I'm different, I'm not a full time student, I'm someone who's always around, but in an odd way. So, I get being an outsider. But that doesn't change how I feel about being left out. Even knowing my help and skills are appreciated and people do see them doesn't change the fact that when I'm not included, I feel left out, and unappreciated.

Day 2544 - 6/19 - Re-record

Today was a bit frantic. It started with re-recording what I had recorded on Wednesday. When I went to start editing yesterday I discovered it recorded with the laptop mic instead of my podcasting mic, so I had to redo the entire podcast. It went ok, but then I immediately had to edit as quick as I could because it normally comes out right when I get to school in the morning. I did a super quick job and it was out by 12:30, about 4 hours later than normal, which isn't too bad.

But because of that, everything else I would have normally done today was thrown off. I barely had time to tweak a project I am working on, and just enough to do the basics and a touch of tuning on another.

My evening was about normal. I went to shower and play. Noone was on the game though. I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth bringing out anymore. Noone is ever there. Maybe there is some sport thing everyone is watching, I don't know. All I know is there are four or maybe five weeks left until my yearly membership expires. After that I'd be limited to single player stuff in the console game. Which honestly, wouldn't be worth doing. The only thing for me to gain is groups.

Honestly though if I'm going to be playing online I'd rather just play a single player game on my laptop. Or, gods willing, if I get a surprise donation, ESO. (Where there is no monthly cost, even if PSN works out to only be $5 a month if I get a year pass, that's much more than I can afford just to have access since things like there is an expansion coming in September and I hear it's going to be $40.)

My cold is getting worse. I'm sneezing, frequently congested, and my tongue is swollen. I wonder how much my body is not fighting due to lost sleep. I'm still averaging 5-6 hours most nights, even when there are times I could be sleeping 8-10. I am just too stressed out all the time to properly relax.

Day 2545 - 6/20 - Long sad day

Today was pretty long and sad. Nothing bad happened. In fact, I could probably say just the opposite. I discovered I had most of the information I needed to prepare a thing to help my professor I TA for, I helped on the forums, and I played a new (to me) game and had fun with it.

But the day felt very sad. It is most likely because I didn't interact with anyone. There was no online game to play, and since I'm homeless without friends, noone in real life to talk to or visit.

So time passed. I did some stuff online. Things I wanted to do; sleep in, cook food, do laundry, eat better, even stretch or work out.

I missed all of the things I could once do. I miss all the things I would like to do that I didn't have access to. And I miss all the people I have yet to meet. I miss them all because I may never get the chance to not.

Day 2546 - 6/21 - Miss my containers

Today I miss my containers. It's probably because I'm extremely low on food money. And looking at how many days are left until the cycle, and what I have remaining, I really have to heavily ration. Part of that is cutting out snacks. Back in the day I'd have two, or sometimes even three, snacks at once. I'd put them in containers. I had small ones I got on sale after Halloween which have super cute ghosts or bats. Or there are bigger ones that are plain tupperwear that fit a bag of cookies just right. These aren't expensive, like $5 each when new. But it makes me think of all the people who have told me to sell my stuff over the years. They don't realize that, outside of my laptop and car, there is nothing I have of value. The most valuable things are my special stuff, like my containers, and that's only because of what they mean to me.

With no money left in my bank account and barely any food money, everything worries me. I don't have $5 to do laundry every week. I don't have $12 for a new thing of socks. I don't have $10 for gas for the week, $50 for phone, $100 for registration, or even time sensitive things that are ticking away, like the last few pages of paper I write this on, or my feet always hurting from needing new boots (which are $75.)

My life seems impossible now, particularly adding up even just all the small things. But thinking about how my items which are worth nothing of value are waiting for me in storage... at least I have some comfort in that.

Day 2547 - 6/22 - The nerve of me

Today was ok, but I am getting very worried. I have a quarter tank of gas, nothing in my account, very little in my food stamp card, and don't even have the $3 to buy more paper as I begin to write this on the back of the second to last page I have.

I had an ok time with my games, though the school network really can't handle one of them, it lags pretty badly, and I would still prefer to play the one I don't have. Plus, yet another one that I'd like to play is out tomorrow that I can't afford.

In a way the evening was good. My professor I TA for came in to check on some stuff I'm helping her with and she got super happy and excited, so that made me happy. I suppose, more importantly, I discovered an important thing for editing that might be useful in the future because of the challenge of trying to help her with a special thing.

I went to stop in and talk to the nurse people about my shoulder pain I've had for like a month. They agree it's probably some kind of pinched or damaged nerve. Which they kind of winced at because apparently that can take four months or more to heal. I guess it's good though in that, as long as it doesn't get worse, it should eventually get better.

But I worry about me. Pains not getting better, sniffles sticking around for a week or more, congestion that hangs about, all make me worry about my physical health. And all around me are reminders everything is running out. I'm now half way down the front of the last paper, my socks all have holes in them, my phone bill and car registration are coming by the end of next month. And regardless of how big or small those costs are I can't afford any of them. While donators have saved me before, I always wonder if they will again. Just like the paper, everything seems to be running out for me, and each time I am saved I wonder if it will be the last.

Day 2548 - 6/23 - Nearly the end

Today I feel sad, but somewhat hopeful. A few are looking out for me lately and although I have not gotten any donations lately I am hopeful some will come and save me yet again.

In a week I'll be at the end of yet another year of fail. After seven years that's a longer period than anything else in my life. I hope someday it will all be behind me, as distant of a memory as my regular life is to me now.

But for the moment I am scared. I am again nearly out of everything. And things do not look like they will end well. But this week my hope is somewhat revived. And hopefully I can hang on to that feeling for a bit.

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

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