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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 8: Endless Void

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 367

Day 2563 - 7/8 - Sore feets

My feet and calves are pretty sore today from all the walking I did yesterday. It's odd that in many ways they hurt more than yesterday. The donation I got a few days ago cleared, and I got another today, so I should be ok on gas for 1-2 weeks. The much more pressing concern is registration. Not only was I a bit off on the date, but I also overlooked that it needs smog, which means in order to be spared I need $150 within two weeks.

I will continue to reach out for help, as that's all I can do, but I need quite a bit to put me in a safe place. I can drive less. I can even maybe work out some way to only drive every few days if I have to, just enough for keep the car moving enough to not be flagged, maybe reduce gas costs. I can shut off my phone or maybe the phone company will let me put it on hold in some way. But I need to keep my car. I need to be able to drive places.

My eyes are crusty from lack of sleep, and I think the tears of the day, which are subtle, but fairly constant. My feet are sore from all the walking. My legs and arms always have bites or tears from where things are wearing on my parts.

I will try to hold on to the hope that help will come and I will be ok long enough to get back on my feet. It's all I can do.

Day 2564 - 7/9 - No Internet

Today was a very quiet and sad day. The biggest issue was that the Internet was barely working. I only saw about half of one show because it kept disconnecting and barely had any bandwidth.

What made it so sad is that I am now at less than two weeks to get money for my registration and smog and there were no donations. I am very worried none will come and I will be left without a car. It seems few are helping these days, and those who helped before have sent no help recent times. I don't know if it's because they can't, they won't, or they simply don't care that the loss of my car could literally be my death.

My feet are hurting pretty badly today. My ankles are swollen and sore, as if they were sprained. They felt fine the other day during the walk, just very tired. I guess it was after that strain that they got hurt. I guess walking, as I expected, is not really feasible.

All I can do is continue to hope there are enough out there who care, and that I continue to be saved until I can get back on my feet. Or some other part of me which doesn't hurt so much.

Day 2565 - 7/10 - Friday becomes Saturday

Today started out very sad and depressing. When I went to the food store I decided to spend an amount at the higher side of my daily amount to sort of stock up my body on micro foods before the extremely cheap garbage I have on the weekends. When I got to school I didn't see more than a few cars. It seemed like school was closed. Checking the door at my regular building, things were indeed locked. Driving around to where the cafeteria is I discovered everything was closed. It seems Fridays have become Saturdays. Normally campus hasn't closed on Fridays during the summer until about mid-August. This is highly unusual and will make things tough for me. Not immensely tough, just a bit rougher due to my lack of food options.

So today's food was lost. I considered putting it in the sun to at least warm it, but that wasn't an option. Today was overcast, cold, and in the wee hours of the morning it had even rained. By 1 today it was still overcast and probably not even 70F. There was no way my food would even really defrost completely, let alone get warm. I had to throw it away to be safe. And, if I were to eat today, I not only had to spend another day's food money, but another day's gas money going back to the store, and then back again to school.

And on top of all that, to that point of the day I still had no donations. It seemed the day was starting off very badly and early next week I'd be forced to sell my car.

I waited a bit longer, then headed out to get at least some food and come back.

In the later afternoon I got some very good news. It seems I may be saved. My best friend when I was young, the Gray Ghost and his wife, sent me some help. In fact, it should be enough to help save me from needing to sell my car. I'll know for sure in a few days. Probably Tuesday morning I'll have the money and time to go and see about doing the test.

My feet are still hurting a ton from walking and the boots being bad. I really badly need new ones. And my eye under the left eye is actually crusty, swollen, and still pretty itchy. I don't know if that's from crying or some kind of infection.

At least for now the crisis is averted. I am saved for the moment and now I just need to have enough to get gas and keep my bank account open. I suppose I'll have to shut my phone off, which may be kind of bad. Honestly it's been over a year since anyone has called me for a job reason. And in October I'll go into mini-crisis again as I'll need $30 a month for insurance. (Or $300 at once to pay off the year.) But being saved has helped greatly. It will be a lot easier to hang on. And hopefully I can continue to get other help with other things until I can get back on my feet.

Day 2566 - 7/11 - Feeling melancholy

Today I am feeling sad and melancholy. I am questioning why I am doing anything. And if I ever should recover, would I continue doing it? What I mean is my site, my podcast, and YouTube page - noone seems to care. I haven't gotten barely any new followers in the like 10 years since these have been around (2-3 for some of those.) Am I not entertaining? Am I not entertaining enough? Am I too philosophical? Or not enough for those who want that? If/when I win the lottery and have plenty of money none of that would change. Yes, the quality might improve. I can go to shows and get coverage for things I couldn't before. But I would guess noone would suddenly care who didn't care before.

A lot of it is being done because I am looking in. I am examining what I like, what I am enjoying, what I am looking forward to. And noone seems to care. What I can't do is look out - see other people looking back in to me.

But they don't. I want close friends again. I want people who care about me, worry about me, who share my interests and tastes, who I can invite over to do stuff with, or who invite me over.

I guess my time being homeless has just shown me more than ever before that I don't have any people like that in my life. And no matter what I've done in the past years I really haven't gained any. I have a very small few who do care, and who are watching, but for the most part all those around me have just done nothing as my life crumbles to dust.

If I had money to do things, to have things again, would my life be full? Or would the emptiness I feel still exist? Would anyone else care who doesn't care now? Would I ever make new friends and be introduced to other new friends? I am beginning to think not. And I am beginning to wonder if I should bother to do it if noone cares. But if I do... if I no longer care either... what does that leave me with?

Day 2567 - 7/12 - The pain of feeling unwanted

Today I am feeling the pain of being unwanted. I woke up basically crying. I think I told the story from about 25 years ago and the kitty named Spices. She was an ex's kitty, but she loved me very much. Unfortunately I was very allergic to her. If she scratched me it would swell up. And if I put my face against hers to kiss her, which I did pretty often, if her fur got in my eyes they would often get itchy and swell for days. When the person broke up with me I wanted to keep Spices, but I just couldn't. I was too allergic and got more so as I got older. I told my ex to come get her, and put her outside in the meantime. In my memory she was out there a very long time. But I don't think it was more than a week or two. But I find it very hard to forgive myself for making the kitty who loved me homeless. She had her kitty house on a balcony area, but I remember it would rain for days, and she had dried tears all the time. But she always purred when I went out to visit her. She was never mad.

I guess it's because I am very much feeling a similar pain now. The pain of being unwanted. But every now and then something in a dream reminds me. And it makes me cry at how much she must have been hurting And now that she is since long gone I can never undo that. I can't take it back. I can't let her back inside.

Today was a very quiet day outside of crying a few times over Spices, and for my sad situation. There was really noone around on campus, and it was warm and just a little breezy, so the day itself was fairly still.

My foot is still recovering. It still feels like the spongy bit between the ankle and foot has been sprained or otherwise broken. I don't know if that means I've gotten too old and broken to walk as much as I did a week ago, or if it means I can only consider it with newer shoes/boots and only when I've been resting quite a bit around that time and not spraining my feet as I am now, when I have to walk so much every day.

I suppose there is good news. I've confirmed I should have enough to cover my smog and registration thanks to the Gray Ghost's help. I will probably do that Monday night. And, in a completely unexpected surprise, someone sent me a donation of ESO. So now I can escape to a different world on occasion and hopefully forget my troubles in this one for at least a few hours now and then. I'm sure that will become even more important than now in a few weeks when school is out for the summer and there will be no TAing to distract me.

I still try to hold on to hope I can make it back to a normal life. It seems I am not that far away. Yet, so many small things seem to be missing from such a life, and a year ago when I was working part-time I still seemed so far. Maybe it will be impossible to make it back on my own without something incredible happening. And maybe I will have to find friends to help me if I do start to make it back.

I still hold on to hope I can find such friends. And I still hold on to hope I can find a job and start to make my way back - better still if it's one I at least partly enjoy.

Until then I have to forgive myself. I may be suffering my pains I am now because I did not predict or plan well. But I have to forgive, and I have to accept that such things don't mean I deserve to continue suffering.

Day 2568 - 7/13 - Clean laundry

Today I have clean laundry. Since I was saved for registration and smog, and got donations from someone at school last week and today, I figured I have enough for a few weeks of gas and did laundry today. I was pretty torn on if I should do it or not, but it's been, I believe, a month. Everything had been dirty for several weeks, so I'm sure it was past when it should have been done.

It's sad to think things like the thought of being able to do laundry, or maybe have a single cooked meal, is exciting to me. These are not things that should. These are things that should be done all the time, without thought, and without fuss.

My parts are hurting though. My ankle still hurts, though it's slowly getting better. My right shoulder still hurts as if I pinched a nerve or something. It's been pretty quiet lately but started getting a bit worse when I was entering this week's Fail at the laundry. (I have to put my laptop on a high desk, and sit in a low chair, effectively putting my arms in front of me at shoulder level.)

Someday I hope to return to a normal life. But for now that seems to remain a distant dream, and everyday things that should be non-issues or things you can't ever consider special, are all seemingly impossible struggles for me.

Day 2569 - 7/14 - Ok to very worried

My day has rapidly turned from what should have been an ok day to a very worried one. I went to the smog place first thing in the morning. Apparently I had to go to a different place because it needs to be one of those star places. So they sent me somewhere that likely burnt up about 2-3 days of gas. When I got there the car was overheating during the test and failed. The guy said to come back later and we can retest it. I did notice for some reason the AC had been turned on, so maybe that was it. I don't think he would have turned it on on purpose, but there are fan settings that do automatically turn it on, and those had been changed. Revving with that turned off the temperature didn't seem to go past it's normal 55%, so hopefully it should be fine. He said it was 68 of a max 60, so he said he could make it clear. But I'm very worried. If I have to spend more, I don't have it. If I have to do repairs, now or later, I absolutely don't have it. It's never had heat related issues before, so I don't know why it suddenly started today during the test. But then I suppose it's been a month since I've driven more than 2 miles at a time, and several months before driving more.

I pray for good news at the end of the day when I go back. Hopefully it was just the AC being on. But I can't help but be very worried about my future. If I did have to sell it with an unknown overheating issue I doubt I'd barely get half what it's worth.

After first posting evening update

So what started as a promising day has rapidly turned to a disappointment. What was set to be a $40 smog turned into $60. And, while I passed the re-test, the guy seemed shifty, and asked for my number for 'services in exchange for his help', implying he did something of questionable legality, like putting the testing nozzle in only part way, and that I now owed him in some fashion. And although I'm not too worried if he does take my number as I can both just ignore his calls and likely will need to change my number when I cancel my plan and move to a monthly pre-paid thing, I still can't shake the feeling that he somehow skewed things that way on purpose. And the fact that there was a first receipt for $50 and then I came back and he said it would be $10 more for the certificate, making another receipt, also seems questionable.

I suppose what matters is I passed. Though due to those extra costs, now if I spent everything I have I'm short on registration money by $5. (Due in a week.) And, due to all the driving I did, twice, I've burnt through almost all the gas I had, leaving me with only a few days at most. The more worrisome question is; why was it overheating? It has never done so before, nor on the way back from the first test or the second, or either drive up, or anytime ever. It stayed it's normal 55% temp and only spiked up high on his testing rollers just today.

For the moment I guess I just have to try to calm my nerves and relax, and my new game and a new show I found will help with that. (Provided my laptop doesn't break. Although my headphones that recently broke on the one ear now seem to be producing no sound at all from that ear.) And I suppose too, once I get a little more and can pay the registration, my nerves about that will calm. But the feeling that there is something causing an overheat, even only under conditions I don't seem to meet is worrisome. And what about next year? Likely the same thing would happen then. I guess once I can get over the immediate hurdle of registration and getting enough for gas again those are worries I can worry about in the future, as a year is a long ways away. But for the moment I am shaking with fear. And I am on the verge of tears because things seem to keep going wrong.

Week 368

Day 2570 - 7/15 - Feeling happy, feeling sad

Today I feel both happy and sad. I feel happy because I got to play my fun game quite a bit today and live in a world that helped me to escape my sad life. Plus, there was the class I TA for, so I got to help people and feel useful and wanted. But, as the night began to come and people in class were leaving and wishing each other a happy weekend, I felt sad. I know everyone had a good evening still ahead. They would have dinner, probably ones they cooked, rest in their home watching shows or movies. But I would not. I have no home. I have nowhere to go. And while I could stick around and watch shows online for a bit after class was over, my evening would come to an end. I would have to be offline. I would have to stop my fun. I would have nowhere to go. And my weekend would not be a weekend. It would be the same as any other day.

At least, I expect and hope it will be. I hope more bad things do not happen. And I always wish for good things to happen. But it seems unlikely. It seems things will remain the same. And I begin to wonder if I will ever truly be better and be back to having things seemingly everyone else has.

Day 2571 - 7/16 - Headphones refuse repair

Today I decided to try and repair my PC headphones. Since my console ones are basically not useable I wanted to see if I could repair the PC ones. (The console ones lost its padding cover on the one side, so it's only about 50% as loud as sound escapes outside as well as inside sound coming in.) While my phone in the earbud headphones 'work' on the laptop, they are not designed for gaming. So they are very quiet in comparison, and don't shut out outside sounds.

Repair would be challenging, as getting to the inside required removing the ear cuff padding. Destroying it would result in the same damage as my console ones, rendering them useless even if I did repair them. So I very carefully felt for the screws, made a tiny 1/8 inch incision on the inner layer, popped out the screw, and repeated the process for all four screws. I was amazed at the precision and quality of the work, as I removed the padding and outer panel. The inside revealed the finest of wires. Oddly they all seemed to remain intact and attached to the smallest of circuit boards. (It was barely 1/2 inch long and not much more than 1/4 inch wide.) I wiggled things around. With fading in and out sounds the volume clarified and settled back o where it should be without too much fuss. I mock put it back together, listened for a minute, and the sound remained. I continued to listen to sound as I carefully put it back together for real. The sound remained while I did so.

I'd thought I succeeded. And in a way I did. t was the most minor of necessary damage, not even visible if you didn't know about it, and the sound was functioning as it should. ... For about a minute. Then the sound faded and was gone again. I wiggled the cord and it came back briefly, but then quickly faded again.

So it seems the headphones are certainly irreparable. If I were to take it apart again it likely would have the same result. Perhaps with the ability to re-solder the attached bits that would repair it. But without, and lacking proper other tools, my repairs would seemingly only work for the briefest of moments.

So it seems yet another piece of my life is lost. While new headphones are not out of reach, with a good pair at $40, and a high quality one at $60 (and a cheaper unfamiliar brand at around $18), even that low of an amount seems impossibly far. With asking for donations to cover critical costs and getting so few, it seems I may be stuck with my phone in the ear headphones until those too die.

It seems my life is now full of items of low cost which are very important to me, but seemingly completely out of reach on my own.

Day 2572 - 7/17 - Day of gaming

Today was finally a day of gaming. Something that took me away from my sad worries of my regular life. In the morning I played my new game online for a bit. I just got to the first big city, sort of. I need to go back to the starting area for a bit first. But soon, maybe in a week, I'll be in an area and doing things where there are more people.

During lunch I took a break to watch one of my online shows. After, I played a bit more until the sun started to shine in my face and on my screen. (Usually around 4:30-7 that happens, making playing stuff difficult.) So I had an early dinner and watched another show online until I left in the start of mid evening.

While I got to play quite a bit today, it felt odd that much of the rest of the day I was just watching people play games and have fun with their friends. It's something I've wished I could be doing for almost more years then I can remember.

I continue to hope I will someday return to a normal life and be able to play games on a desktop system, sitting properly with speakers instead of headphones, as well as having real life friends to do pen and paper or board games. My life has become so unusual and so off normal of what it once was that even imagining such a life is becoming more and more difficult as the memories fade and painful recent ones push the good ones further and further from my mind.

Day 2573 - 7/18 - Unusual silence

Today was unusually quiet. In the early morning no creatures were stirring. When I went places there was an eerie silence. Even when I'd gotten my food and arrived at school there were few creature sounds and the normally visiting people seemed to be nowhere. I think, not counting an event in the evening, I saw fewer than 6 people in the entire day. (Normally I see about three times that.)

I played most of the day. I talked to half a dozen in game, so that was nice. I may have found a guild too, we'll see. It was someone trying to set one up, so that may be nothing but a few friends they know. I told him to let me know if they get some kind of site set up. I'm not one to just join guilds without seeing something of the personalities within it. I do not form bonds easily, particularly with 'home' things being so sensitive these days.

The headphones, well ear buds, were tolerable. I hadn't put them up as loud as I normally would because the white noise background hiss gets really bad and gives me a headache. But I'd say I can play and do stuff at an acceptable moderate volume. So hopefully they can last until I get proper headphones again. Though it seems I can sign up for the quarter in September late next week, so that should be a priority. I need to keep doing that to try to keep the school loans at bay, as well as try to find a new place in life since I've never really had anywhere I belonged in terms of a job.

Today I stepped into a different world where I am not (usually) sad. And that is something.

Day 2574 - 7/19 - Bleeding ear

Today was another unusually quiet day. In the morning there were barely three birds making noise. And when I got to school basically none. It has been unusually overcast, particularly today with the sun only coming out from behind clouds for about an hour all day. Maybe the creatures sense rain or something.

I again got to play and have fun. I escaped my sad life for yet another day while time passes. Weekends are always difficult because all I can do is wait. Checking on jobs is practically pointless as there is nothing to be found. (Though I do find it odd some of the auto searches choose a weekend day to send stuff. But then I suppose those go off every few days regardless.)

I had an ok time though I worry with all the things breaking lately how long it will be before my laptop goes. It's showing no signs that it will, but at already 1.5 years old I worry a lot.

I had an odd feeling on my ear today and scratched at it. I pulled my fingers back and there was a lot of blood on them. I wonder if maybe it had been cut or torn and the feeling I felt was a lose scab. Not being in a home I really never see myself in a mirror.

Though I had fun today, and it was warm enough to take off my second shirt, and I got to play; I couldn't help but be sad about what I missed. I'd have liked a proper breakfast. I'd have liked a cooked dinner. It would have been nice to have an ice cream snack and to be able to cross my legs, or put one leg up on the chair as I gamed. But I was able to escape from missing these things today. And for now escaping from what I miss is almost all I can hope for.

Day 2575 - 7/20 - Slow fast slow and broken shoes

This was a very odd day. I woke up about 45 minutes later than normal. Since that was too close to my normal time I knew I wouldn't fall back to sleep and started my day early. It was actually very calm and slow in the morning. When it was time for the class I TA for the time flew by in almost a blink of an eye. *poof* Six hours gone just like that. The remaining few after seemed very slow and lonely. Everyone is gone. It was a warm evening, and a warm summer day. And now I am alone with nowhere to go.

I noticed a few days ago, maybe a week, my boots are much worse off than I originally thought. While they are better than the previous pair which was newer, these are coming unglued from the sole. And in the heel where there is still a gel bit the casing holding that in place is dried, crack, and bits of that and the soul are flaking off and I see a few bits just about every day. They are better than my other worn out pair because they have more of the soul, but they are worn out, not good for me to wear, and likely won't last long.

Today passed quickly. And in the times my mind was occupied I was ok. But in the times around it I seemed very alone. And I still miss all the regular things people would consider pedestrian or menial. I suppose because in so many ways those are the things I do for me, and in a very small way, celebrations of me. While I am proud and happy to have help that I can offer others and am happy to do so, I often feel little more than a fancy signpost in the road.

Worn other boots.
large size

Day 2576 - 7/21 - Bad dreams, 50 ants

Last night and this morning I had bad dreams. I was dreaming I was homeless and staying at someone's small apartment for a few days while they were out. I had to go out of the sliding glass doors and set explosive traps in one part of the dream because people were coming after me. And after that 'the devil' had come to hang out with me and suggest places to go. We had gone to a mall and I was figuring out where to kill time. When I left the mall I'd heard my car make a crazy noise and it died from the overheating issues. I lost the ability to control it (as you would with any power steering car) and crashed into the side of the road. When I woke up this morning, and even now about an hour later, I feel stressed and worried.

When I got out of the car to go to school under where my backpack was there were about 50 ants. It was crazy because they were only in that small 1'x1' space. I scooped out as many as I could to safety. Though being so small I probably killed 15-20% of them. I have no idea how long they'd been there. Yesterday I did see a few on the table when I set my backpack down, so my guess is they must have snuck on to the bottom on one of the weekend days. Now any little feeling on my body feels like an ant crawling on me.

I'm very tired, very worried, and sad about things I've lost in this terrible journey that I'll never get back. For the moment I have a new world to play in, and a few people have added me as a friend every few days, so you never know where that may lead. So despite getting closer and closer to school being closed entirely for the summer, I still hold on to hope I can feel ok long enough to make some kind of recovery.

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

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