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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 365

Day 2549 - 6/24 - Nearing many ends

Today feels like I am approaching many ends. Finals are happening, so there are many goodbyes for the quarter, even though it is likely I will see some next week, or in three months.

But my phone bill is due tomorrow, so I can't pay for that. Gas is down to 1/4 tank, which is less than a week. My food money is running short. And my bank account is nearly empty with car registration due in less than a month.

I put out a small cry for help on the social page, but no help has come. With the end of this week being the end of the fail week, and fail year, it feels like more will end than just that. Help is becoming more and more scarce, and it seems there are fewer and fewer who worry about me.

Day 2550 - 6/25 - Unappreciated

Today I am extra sad. At first I was excited for the day. In the evening we were to show our projects. But as the night went on I felt more and more sad. My works were not appreciated. People just really don't know what it takes to do editing like I do. They see cinematography. They see action. But transitions, timing of cuts, balance of sound, these are all invisible. Plus, so many had so much more work to show than I did. (From outside of school experience.) It makes me again feel like I am behind, like I am left out. And that there will never be a way for me to find a happy life because even what I enjoy doing is behind others who are so much younger.

Day 2551 - 6/26 - The paws and the paper

Today is very sad, but contains a ray of hope. It's sad because I was pretty much alone. People are saying goodbye and moving on, but I am still in my place. I am still stuck helping others. I'm actually super happy helping others, though it is very sad to not be truly appreciated for things I do. Some do though, and I hope they will move on and have better lives because of it.

I am heavily rationed on food. I have no snacks, barely enough food, and I'm down to 1/16th of a tank of gas. I am so hungry actually that, even though I had a small sandwich for dinner, my tummy would still like a small fries and small cheezburger.

My paws are killing me lately. My boots are pretty worn out on the bottom and no longer springy. In fact, when walking on water they squish where water gets in. They are hard. Walking in them is often painful. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to wear them. I still had those shoe pads I got a while ago. I put them in and they help a little, but they make the boots pinch in different ways. I guess that is something at least.

I suppose Fate still wants me to hold on. A few I have helped did say they appreciate me and think I should be paid for my help (by the school). And a random person asked me to watch her stuff while she went to the book store and asked if I needed anything. I said I needed paper and she got me some. How odd is that. I guess it is a small reminder from Fate to not give up. To keep on writing and keep suffering through my journey.

Day 2552 - 6/27 - Crying day

Today was a sad day. I cried a little twice. Once was right after I'd gotten to school and was ready to settle in for the day. The morning time before that I'd spent about 1.5 hours at the food store, and I went to recycle my cans to barely have $6 to put in my tank for gas. So when I settled, my day had already been filled with many sad things due to both being homeless and not getting support in (cash) donations for gas in quite a while.

The second time was later in the day. I was watching footage of a video game and they showed a nuclear war start. It made me very sad. I know it's just a game, but the thought of so many lives lost is sad.

Today seemed extra sad. It was a warm day and would have otherwise been one of those days I invited friends over for BBQ and to play games. But those days are lost to me. And with noone helping me stay balanced I may never be able to return to those days.

Day 2553 - 6/28 - Another very sad day

Today was another very sad day. I again spent it outside sitting my butt on the hard cold concrete. Back when I could go to the coffee shop days like this weren't too bad. But since I don't have the money for a drink I can't do that, which leaves me the food store or school.

About the only thing I can really say which was good about today was I found a couple of food items on sale, helping me to not spend too much. But still, I'm almost out of money, and even finding items on sale it will be difficult to stay on track and not run out.

Again today was a sad day of emotional and physical pain from my lack of options and worries about everything. Still no donations have come, and I grow more and more worried there will be no help for my overdue phone bill, nor my upcoming car registration.

Day 2554 - 6/29 - Encroaching end

Today, though deep inside I feel extremely sad and worried, I'm kinda happy. After what seems a very long weekend, things are back to 'normal' today. As normal as being homeless with no income can be.

But I'm happy because I got to see my nice professor, and she is happy to have me around to help. She forgot a cable today, which she also needed Thursday. She asked if I had it and smiled and laughed when I said yeah and said, 'I'm so happy I have you around to help me.' And when I gave it to her from my hard drive I said, 'I thought you might need it, so I again brought my drive I don't normally keep with me'. There are little things like that where I do feel really appreciated, not just for being awesome at the software and ideas for my projects, but for my personality and predicting other's actions.

But with today being the day before the end of this Fail week, and indeed this year, it feels like doom is just around the corner. I still have no donations to put towards my overdue phone bill, nor my car registration due in three weeks. It seems like few are around to help these days, and it seems like the recent boost in donations has stopped, and with the coming Fail year I may lose what little I have left.

Day 2555 - 6/30 - The last

Today is the last day of the Fail week and year. It is peaceful and quiet in my spot on campus. Noone is here yet, and being summer few will be.

I remain hopeful but very sad. It would only take a few donations a month to balance me, probably somewhere around six at $25. It is a very small number, and seems very achievable, and so I hope it can happen and help me along until I get stabilized. But the reality has been only one or two around that level, and more often none at all. While a few come in around $100, and such a donation would save me from my registration due in a few weeks, they are extremely rare indeed, happening only a few times a year.

So while it wouldn't take much to save me, I feel sad that this coming year may not be one of help and hope, but one of dread and despair, and that it will be the year I lose what little is left.

For the moment I hold on to hope. Hope that help will come. Hope that people will come and save me. And hope that next (Fail) year is just the opposite, and that I do get the opportunity to turn things around and return to a normal life.

Year 8

Week 366

Day 2556 - 7/1 - Torn flesh

Today I noticed my feets have torn flesh on both of them. I'd noticed one on my right one a few days ago. It's a gash two inches long and a quarter inch wide. My left foot was hurting today and I noticed a similar one on my left foot, inside on the ankle. It's only half as long, but it's nearly twice as wide. I checked the bottom of my boots too. There is maybe half an inch between the bottom of my foot on the left. The right one is much better at closer to one inch, but both are a far cry from the about 1.5 inches they started with. I have some older boots in the car. I may have to see if they are in better shape. I don't think they are, or not by much if so.

While tragic, my body will heal, and of course my bigger concern remains my car registration. I shouldn't be walking, as noted by the blister tears on my feet, but if I had to sell my car that would force the issue.

I don't know what to do but hang on and hope I get help. I try to hold on to hope, but each day I am not helped it gets harder and harder to believe help will come.

Day 2557 - 7/2 - Holes in everything

I have holes in everything. My holes in my boots are so bad I had to change to my older boots, which are only slightly better. I have holes in my socks, some small, some large. There are holes in some of my underwear and on a few shirts. But most of all, because of all of my emotional pain and suffering there are holes in my soul. And worse than that, with the added lack of regular support, there are holes in my heart where love and safety should be.

I have become that guy. I am starting to look for cans in trashes to recycle. I am seeing food in the trash, or on the floor, and I sometimes think how many years it's been since I had that food. And I am tempted to take it out of the trash or pick it up off the floor.

I have been suffering for so long and have been losing so much hope lately I am beginning to lose what little of me is left.

Holed boots.
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Day 2558 - 7/3 - Holed boots, old boots

Today was extra sad. I spent the morning at the food store, for fear that if I went to school it would be suspicious. But I guess those fears were unfounded as there were some people on campus. Tomorrow should be fine too. Though it will be the 4th there is a flea market, so I expect it will be very busy until that calms down in the early afternoon.

Today I changed out my boots. My old ones I've been wearing have just gotten way too worn out. Thankfully when I got these I kept the previous ones. While they are bad and shouldn't be worn, they aren't anywhere near as bad off as my ones I'd been wearing. While better, I'll be surprised if they last more than a few months.

Things are looking very bad for me. Noone is sending help anymore. It seems my supporters on Patreon are it. The last boost I got was visiting the nice donator at his work, which has to be two weeks ago now, if not three. With it nearly a month since any donation I'm hurting terribly badly. I've got 1/16th of a tank of gas left, which I'll be lucky if it lasts through the weekend. And still I have nothing for the $100 registration due in just about three weeks. And with one phone bill overdue, that can't go much longer without needing to shut it down.

It looks more and more every day like I'll get no help at all and be forced to sell my car. If that happens, I don't see how I'd ever be able to recover.

I continue to pray to Fate for help and opportunities, and try to hang on to hope, but my times are getting more and more desperate.

Day 2559 - 7/4 - Putting away the monitor

Today is extra sad. My gas is nearly gone, so I'm constantly in a panic about that. Any food money glitch still seems to have not unglitched, so I will have $4 for food tomorrow and that's it.

I sent out a message to the couple of people I play console games with last night. They both saw the message and haven't sent any new help. I don't know what that means. They've helped in the past before, so it seems sad and confusing they wouldn't send even $10 in my time of desperation. The last time I put out a big call for help about three months ago one of them sent $100, which was a huge help. But so far, after my recent post, no help has come. And with no reply about it I can only assume since none has come, none will. So there is no point in keeping my monitor in the car anymore. It was there so I could grab my console at a moment's notice to go play. But my subscription is running out, and I haven't been invited to a group with them in a month or more.

I always thought it was a bad idea to keep it in the car, but I get it now. It was one of those parts of me I am trying to hold onto. Having it ready meant I could go play with the others at any moment, almost like having it set up in a home. Needing to put it away in storage, being unable to play online with others if I did bring it out, or finding noone online to play with when I do, seems sad. But sadder still is the fact that it feels like those I played online with no longer care. There was no return goodbye message. No message of hope and to hang in there. No message I would be missed. No message they were sending help.

Today I put away a part of me. And I feel as if it is lost forever, or if I do recover, it will be alone without those friends. Some would say I should sell it. And maybe they are right. With it being in storage that is almost the same thing. But I'd like to not sell it. Mostly because from a logical standpoint noone will want an older generation used unit with a bad controller. I'd be lucky to get 1/3 of what I paid for it. And even if I did get enough to pay for the car registration and get some gas, maybe even also get current on the phone bill, what then? I'd have sold a big part of me for effectively one month's time. If I continue to not get any donations I'd still not have money for gas after that, the car would still wind up immobile, and still wind up towed very quickly after that.

I don't think selling my items and giving up who I am is the answer. (Not counting that they really don't have any value outside of my car.) I wouldn't take much to save. On a regular basis about $150 a month would cover normal costs plus a little bit to save towards bigger items. That's just $10 a month from 15 people. (Reduced to just 10 people if I drop my phone plan.) A very small amount from a small number of people. I would think, and hope, there are enough out there who care and worry about me to accomplish that. But so far, particularly in these recent very hard times, it seems there isn't.

My struggle and pain continue. And all I can do is try to hang on to the hopes that there are enough out there who care that enough help will come, and that I can continue to hang on until I'm back on my feet.

Day 2560 - 7/5 - Broken heart, healing feet

My heart feels very broken today. I'm almost completely out of gas and there is nothing I can do but ask for help. My money for food is also just about gone. I had two small sandwiches today for food. It was... enough. I still have half a loaf of bread I can eat if I get hungry later. If my money doesn't show up in the morning that half loaf of bread would be all I have to eat all day. I'm losing a lot of weight lately, somewhat rapidly. I should probably check how much I weigh, but I keep forgetting. With only eating 60-70% of what I normally would it doesn't surprise me that I'm losing weight. I've been wanting to lose weight for years, but losing it because I'm not eating right and my body is destroying itself isn't the way to do it.

Last night after putting away my monitor I decided I may as well put away my console too. It too was in a ready status for use. It had been put into an easy to carry bag with the cables and controller. Even though it isn't a whole lot 'more' put away in its box, putting these things away felt like I was being made homeless all over again. I suppose it mostly had to do with the fact that if I don't get help quick I'll lose my car, and I will take as big a hit down from where I was in a home to now again and lose just as much now to when I don't have a car.

I don't know how I'd recover without a car. Not counting the fact that taking the bus is double the cost of gas, or the fact that walking 100 feet causes me pain, let alone walking miles. How would I get to a job? Being in an urban area there are many busses (which again costs twice what gas does), but they are constantly stopping, don't run that frequently, and have limited run times. I recall taking a bus to my last job took 1 or two hours, depending on which location it was. Yet going by car that same trip was 12 or 18 minutes depending on the location. And then there is the question of where will I sleep? How will I be able to stay warm at night in winter when it gets extremely cold and near freezing? What about even smaller tasks like getting food or doing laundry?

Again, I hope and pray there are enough out there who care to help. I could survive without my phone for a while. And it wouldn't take much to save my car; just $100 for registration and then $30-40 in gas a month beyond that. Saving me for a month wouldn't take much at all. But I can't do it without help.

They say asking for help is the toughest thing. I need help to get back on my feet, and I've been asking. The question remains unanswered so far; will more help come in time?

Day 2561 - 7/6 - Feeling alone and that all will be lost

Today I am feeling very alone and like all will be lost. I've been asking for help for donations on the social sites for days. So far I've received none. While my car has not given me a warning light for gas yet, it is close enough to doing so I shouldn't drive it anymore. Tuesday I'll leave it where it is. Which means if I don't get help by Friday I will likely need to seriously consider selling it. Without even just $5 a week in donations for gas the car would have to stay immobile. And once it is it will rapidly be flagged for being towed. And if it is, I'd not only lose it but lose any value it still has. (Which, if I'm lucky, appears I could maybe get $1k for it. Which would rapidly be lost because my life would basically get a lot more difficult and costly without.)

I feel losing my car would be the end of me. Yes, sure, I could wind up like many long-term homeless who yet still live. But with nowhere to sleep, no way to get to a job quickly, no way to even consider a job that's more than a few miles away, no way to store or stock even canned items for eating and drinking, not to mention my showering stuff or making trips to do laundry.

Without a way to get around and have a safe place for me and my stuff I carry on a daily basis, it feels like things would rapidly end. It feels like I would never be able to recover. With needing just $100 for registration and even as little as $5 a week in gas (if I heavily conserve) I still seem very saveable. (Though other costs will eventually add on other small amounts.)

It is night, but the night is not over yet. I still hold on to hope word will some that someone has sent help. And over the next few days I will likely still hold on to hope. But it seems things are in Fate's hands, and those who are still out there looking out for me. It would take just $5 now and then to save me from the worst of it. But I fear most just don't care, and that very soon it will be too late to save me.

Day 2562 - 7/7 - A terrible and sad preview

Today is starting out to be a terrible sad preview of what my life may become. I thought that I may have enough gas to make the trip to school, but when I started the car the 'check gauges' light came on. I shut off the car and made my way to school on foot. I have no choice since I need at least some gas to get to the closest gas station. A regular supporter did send some monies late last night, so a bit is coming my way and that will save me for a week. But it's not here yet, so I have to walk.

I suppose walking wasn't as terrible as expected. At least not just for today. It 'only' took 45 minutes to get to school - what otherwise would be less than a 5 minute drive. But now if there is anything I need that I didn't bring, I'm screwed. If there is anything unusual I may need that I keep stored in the car, I'm screwed. And, while I am now cooling back to normal fairly quickly I was pretty sweaty when I got here, so my shirt has been icked far more than normal. While a shower could fix my ick smell on my body, without being able to do laundry I probably added 3-4 days of slinkiness to my cloths in a single one way trip. It will get at least one more ick going back.

While I could survive without a car it would be very difficult to truly live. Getting to a job would take hours each way, or simply be impossible for many jobs, and I've even had more than one job interview stopped because I was currently without a car.

Living without a phone is far more feasible and possible. I don't know how many years it's been since someone talked to me on the phone. And while it's nice to be able to check social sites or email when I'm hiding at night, it's certainly not necessary.

I continue to hold on to hope. I know some that will hold me for a bit is already on its way to the bank. But the question remains; with only needing $5-10 a week (and occasionally some more for bigger yearly costs), which is only $1-2 a day, are there enough out there who care about me to help me hang on until I recover? Or are the few supporters all I have, and today is just a small preview of the larger disaster and loss of what remains to come?

As I feared, the end of the first week of this year doesn't seem very hopeful. But, as always, I do what I must, and I try to hang on.

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

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