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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 369

Day 2577 - 7/22 - Drops a lot

Today was not what I planned. I suppose it didn't go terribly, but the network at school has gotten very terrible lately, and today it dropped quite a bit. Mostly it was reasonably functional except for about 2-3 hours, so mostly my day was normal. But due to it being broken up there was little I could do.

My boots are falling apart rapidly. I suppose that was to be expected. They were the old pair before the pair I just stopped using. But lately there have been bits falling off pretty rapidly. And today one of the gel bits in the heel fell out of one side of one of the boots. It's 'cage' that held it in no longer had the bars. They'd all rotted and fallen off, so it was no longer held in place.

I suppose that's what saddens me the most about seeing them. Not the squeak squeak as I walk. Not the flip flap sound on the stairs because the bottoms are completely flat, but the fact that they remind me so much of me - particularly my teeth. Falling apart, coming undone, with no way to repair them.

I got my new phone someone sent this morning. It seems like a smartish phone. It's recent, but by no means a mega powerful one like the ones you see being advertised today. Tomorrow or the next day I'll see about getting it a number and setting up the small monthly deal on it. Although I'm not sure I have enough to set it up with as my bank account has barely anything in it. But, in theory, I should be able to keep it active and have a potential plan for $5 a month. I'll look into the details over the next few days.

I was very cold today. I'm congested and coughing and my eyes are very itchy. I wonder if I have a cold.

Day 2578 - 7/23 - The bank scare and the redhead

Today was a mix of very scary things and very unexpected things. The morning started pretty normal. I did get a nicer lunch though, as I'll be forced to get cheap junk for the next few days. So that was good.

In the time after lunch though I got a huge scare which won't even fully resolve until possibly next week. I got a notice from the PlayStation network thanking me for a one year subscription. I thought, 'awww, how nice of one of my console friends. One of them must have got it for me as a gift.' But then I looked closer and saw the second email which said funds have been automatically added to my wallet from my bank account. And I was like, 'What?!' I did not approve this. I'm certain I didn't have any kind of auto renewal on. And, when I got the subscription I did it through a time card, NOT my debt card. So I checked my bank account, and sure enough it showed a pending purchase of $50 when I only have $6 in there, putting me negative a whole lot. So that set me into a panic of getting them to reverse the charge at Sony, and since they refused, getting the bank to decline the charge and all that before it's approved and sends me negative. Because not only do I not have that $50, but there would be more for overdrafts, and in a few days more for not paying that. And it would have gone on and on. Sony refused to reverse it. I'm sorry, you can't force people to auto renew, nor can you use a card used for game purchases when the subscription was done with a time card. That's B.S. I've never seen a subscription service which charged a card that was NOT used for buying monthly or yearly time. And apparently the rep said they will ban my account because I'm having the bank refuse the charge. While losing my account wouldn't be the end of the world since I've been getting no messages about playing from my console friends, and it was more than a month since we played before I stopped, that would mean the like $80 I'd spent on Destiny and $60 I spent on Dying Light would be forever lost, and if I wanted to play those again I'd have to re-buy them. I guess we'll see what happens over the next maybe week or so. I'm sure they won't ban someone who is homeless, unemployed, and was unaware I'd be charged, who has been a customer for nearly 10 years. But we'll see. It's out of my hands for now, so all I can do is wait.

My plans of looking at activating a new phone today were completely shot because of that. Now I have to wait for all that bank stuff to revert and settle before I'll have access to the remaining $6 I had in there. If that's even enough to get it set up, I don't know.

I did get to play a game and watch my shows, so that helped me settle my nerves quite a bit over the rest of the night.

Something very unexpected happened then. There is this super attractive redhead in a class that happens Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm not in the class, but I've seen her around a few times. Her class came in to the lab when I was there and she sat right in front of me. She made my heart get all fluttery and I had trouble focusing. She's much younger though, and really didn't even glance my way, let alone take note of me. But it was nice to be reminded there are still girls out there who still make me feel that way. I've only met maybe six or eight in my entire life who did that, but it was a nice reminder to hold on to hope of someday finding someone like that who is affected similarly when she sees me or knows I am near. It would be very nice to be happy in love with someone like that.

But now that my day is over and I am hiding for the night I feel sad. I was at school hours after everyone had gone because I had nowhere to go. I am not in a home. I did not have a good dinner. And although I showered, I did not just get into bed naked after my shower as I would have in a home. I had to re-dress in dirty cloths and did not get in bed. And when I do get in what counts for a bed for me I will worry about what repercussions the bouncing charge will have. And worry about the overdue phone bill I can't pay. And my boots, and the next school quarter, and all the things. I will worry about everything, feel very alone, and wonder how or if I will make it back to a new life. And as I hopefully eventually fall asleep, I will pray I don't yet again have nightmares about being homeless and wake up on the verge of tears, as I have so many times recently.

Day 2579 - 7/24 - Cheap chicken, grasshopper with no hop

It is sad that I had to consider today 'a good day' because nothing bad happened. Nothing good really happened either. My bank still shows the pending overdraw and I still haven't heard anything good or bad from Sony.

It is also sad that today was good because my lunches and dinner for today and tomorrow cost 75% of normal. (Down to $5 from $7.50.) It is sad to think that saving a couple of bucks is cause for celebration.

And I was giggling over a silly grasshopper who was crawling around under my legs near my stuff. But then I was sad because it seems he has was only doing so because it seemed he has no hop. It looked like one of his wings was broken, hurt, or missing.

I did get to play my game without issue today. It seems the school network has stopped being bad and is back to its previous super strong state. That is good news as I can start looking at doing dungeon groups, which means I may meet more people, eventually leading to finding a guild of nice people.

I got to watch my shows undisturbed as well. Though being that I still just have my in the ear low quality headphones I am kind of avoiding show watching in the hopes someone will send me headphones and I can watch them at least with proper headphones. Or who knows, maybe 'I'll get a 'spare' $18 to at least get the cheap ones on my list. Though it will be tough to justify with needing $50 to sign up for school (and $15 for parking around the end of August), $75 for boots, which are at a critical level, and then there is still the $100 I owe on phone, soon to be $150. I guess I will be really hurting on that for not shutting that down sooner. I thought I could get enough monthly help for gas and phone, but that certainly seems to not be the case. Which worries me greatly as we approach October and I'll need to get some for car insurance.

So yes, today was 'good' in that nothing bad happened. But with so much being bad already at fairly critical levels I am very thankful I have a happy game. It allows me to at least escape, and pleasantly pass some time, and at least for those moments many of my real life worries seem further away.

Day 2580 - 7/25 - Feels like a week

I am in the middle of my weeknd. Well, the evening almost done part of the second day. Once upon a time a three day weekend would be a blessing. But now, since it's not a weekend in the sense of being off from work, just away from passing students, it seems like forever. In many ways the weekends, particularly days campus is closed, feel almost longer than the weeks themselves - times when I can be on campus in a building.

I suppose today was good again in that nothing new which was bad happened. I got to play my game and watch shows uninterrupted. The network does seem completely stable and solid, at least for the moment. I again found someone to chat with briefly in game and they added me to their friends list. And I found the person who was starting a trade and role playing guild again. I'd actually forgotten their name. I am still hesitant to join anyone without an established community though. I need to be very sure what kinds of personalities there are in the guild before I join. I do not make friends quickly or easily and I need to be even more careful online.

I had bad dreams again last night. And I'm having a very hard time even getting to sleep lately. I'll guess that's from all of my stresses from all the financial issues lately, but I suppose part of it too could be my cold. My voice is still off sounding, I'm congested, and still sneezing on occasion.

Hopefully I can get to sleep at a more reasonable time tonight. And I look forward to another day of mostly playing in my new world and trying to escape the sadness of my real life. And, as always, I cling to the small spark of hope I still have that my life will someday turn around and have at least some of the happiness I dream of.

Day 2581 - 7/26 - Few comeforts

Today was one of the days it was just about as good as it gets for me. Nothing new which was bad happened, and the recent bad things are a few days behind me, so those worries, while ever-present, are fading. So today was a day of showering in the morning, a quick check on the forums I help on, a very quick check for jobs (weekends have effectively zero posts), and most of the rest of the day spent playing my game and watching a few shows.

Thinking about the core of my day, the amounts and way I did things were different, but the what of the things I did likely would have been the same in a home. The difference is the comfort of it. Instead of being in a large public shower at the start of my day I'd have been in a small private one. Instead of a few handfuls of the one cereal I have, I'd have maybe eaten a tiny bit of fruit and a couple of sausages and juice. I'd have played on a desktop, with speakers, and been able to sit in a chair able to put my feet up or cross my legs however I'd like, instead of hunched over on the floor in a corner. For lunch I'd have likely had a cooked soup, instead of a half of a small salami sandwich. And for dinner, instead of the other half of the sandwich I'd have probably had chicken strips with rice and som vegetables. And when I had dessert I'd have had maybe a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream or a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich, instead of nothing.

The what of my day probably would have been the same, but examining the how... the how is so very different. And it is that difference that brings me down so very much physically and emotionally.

Day 2582 - 7/27 - The blink of an eye

Today rapidly sped faster and faster until it passed in the blink of an eye. It started a bit slow, with editing Epic Fail and then spending over an hour in chat with someone from my phone company about my canceling the phone plan. Most of the time was because they believe my phone can be sort of demoted, down to no plan and just pay $0.10 per minute as I go. I'm not sure I believe them, as there is no website to support that. The only data I found seemed to point to a plan like that which was a minimum charge of $10 a month. Which is kind of upsetting because a few months ago when I first researched this I was told, and given a page, which showed the lowest plan was $30 a month. I could have completely avoided the $150 hole I'm in now if I'd have switched to that plan when I first talked to someone. Although I suppose technically I only have myself to blame. Had I carefully considered things I could have dropped the data portion of my plan and basically cut 1/3 of my bill a month at least a year ago, if not more. Honestly I use so little data I could have easily convinced myself to use even less. I guess I clung to it because the more and more 'normal' things I lose the tighter I cling to the few I have left. So, I'll know more in a few weeks when I maybe have some donations to consider activating such a phone 'plan'. But it seems the phone my supporter sent may not be necessary. It will depend if this is truly doable, and if so is it cheaper than the plan they pointed me towards. One device would be much better than two.

But after a quick check of jobs I settled in to play, and later in the day I had the class I TA for. I actually didn't help anyone in class, but after that my day flew by. Which I guess is not a bad thing with so much stress and sadness, but too it does just kind of make me feel the pain of what I'm missing out on that much more.

When class was over and I was 'moved out' of the lab again, and everyone was gone again I rapidly felt very sad. I missed day and evening things I would normally do in a home. I was saddened by the thought I'd only have 1-2 more hours before needing to pack up and leave, instead of what would have been 4-5 hours more fun in a home. And now being in my sad hiding spot with two hours left before I can try and sleep I feel sadder still. Not only at what I am losing as I can do so little during this time, but again because it feels I am paying out my life, burning time before I am gone, and it is being lost for nothing. So many paths lost, so many happy things it could be used for, possible paths and times I may never see before my end.

Day 2583 - 7/28 - Can't afford to eat diet

My legs are getting back to thin. The wobbliness around my calves is almost gone. My arms have almost no wobble at all. My waist is still a touch chubby, and ever since I hit 30 my cheeks and neck always seem one of the last places to lose weight.

I guess I should be thankful to be losing this weight after trying for years. I haven't checked lately, but I'd guess I'm probably under 200, maybe under 195. At this rate, should I keep getting a very slowly dwindling amount, I'll be back in the 175-185 range by probably September. Which I suppose is good, as that is close to 165-175, which is where I have the least wheezing and walking pain. But losing the weight because I'm eating about 60% of normal, and it's all microwave food, soups, or lunchmeat, can't be good for me.

At the end of the fail week I have far more to worry about than ever before. So many things are critical. So little help is coming. But I have my laptop still, and on it I have my fun world to escape to and my shows to watch. With as little as I have left, for the moment I continue to hold on to hope. And although I know there are a few out there watching out for me, each day that passes it seems less and less likely I will ever get back into a happy home, with friends, and a sweetie who loves me.

Week 370

Day 2584 - 7/29 - Two become one

Today was good, though there was some frustration. The network in the building I am usually in was again complete garbage. In the time I as in the building I spent hours trying to play maybe getting 30 minutes of progress. Mostly I watched my online shows at a ridiculously low setting. Some poo like 360p.

However, there is some good news to report. Last night I thought about how sad it is to have my in the ear headphones and not real headphones. I decided since I'd used neither pair in at least a month I would see if I could make the two one. I guess it was a good thing I decided to sacrifice the PC ones, as I discovered upon pulling them out that the other side had snapped in a very similar fashion as the first. (So in the future I will hopefully eventually get a hard case to prevent that.) I carefully removed the padded ear cuff part in such a way that nothing had to be cut, so they were completely intact. I removed the one ear padding off my console headset and tested placing the PC ones in their place. They fit ok during the testing. This morning when I got to school I glued them in place. No worries about the tape on the padding turning to black tar like my console ones did. They worked beautifully. Though they look odd, I now have a fully functional headset again. The top spine is still broken, so they are a bit fragile, but I also salvaged the PC headset spine. Should it be necessary it can now be used to reinforce the console ones. I'll avoid that for now though, as a quick test revealed they would likely be so tight as to pinch my head. Since it's not a single spine, but a spine on a spine, it's pinching it smaller and taking up a smaller space due to pushing the other, rather than a single spine.

So... while other issues in my life are still cooling down today can be considered at least a small triumph in that I have real headphones again. Though broken and crippled, at least that is something until they reach their true death.

Day 2585 - 7/30 - Hot day, cool inside

Today I guess was pretty hot. I had forgotten to bring in my soup in the morning and when I got it from my car in the late afternoon it was somewhat warm to the touch.

I guess today was ok. The morning and most of the afternoon was a bit frustrating, as from about 11-1 I was dropping quite a bit off the network. I probably was losing about 15% of my time to waiting for the server to respond. At around 3 I noticed the connection was up to the full five bars, and it seemed fine again. Hopefully it will stay this way this time. For the weekend it will be a moot point, as I'm over in the area which is usually unaffected by the trouble lately.

Nothing really bad happened today. My bank is still stable and there is still no notice about being banned. In fact, checking online I still show my account as being the same as it always has. I helped a few people in the class I TA for, and I got to play my games and watch my shows, which is truly rare these days. So I guess in very small measure compared to a normal life, today was actually pretty good.

Day 2586 - 7/31 - Farewell to no one

Today pretty quickly got a bit sad in the morning. While I checked my PlayStation acount last night and it was fine, upon checking this morning I got areply of 'this account has been suspended' when trying to log in. It's the weekend, so I'm not going to try and find out if that's true or if it's an automated response and I'm actually banned. Suspended wouldn't really matter much. It seems the console people I play with really haven't had much interest in playing with me in a while. Plus, without being able to afford the game expansion and an active membership I couldn't group with them anyways.

So, it seems I may be saying farewell to no one. Again, the loss of the two games worth almost $150 would be a pretty big loss. But, if I ever do get re-established in a home and were in a position to play again I likely could afford to re-purchase those. The real loss is the like 4-6 weeks of real world played time invested building up characters. Yes, I could be back to the base max level in about 20 hours, but that month and a half of time... well, that was a year of play at about 10-15 hours a week. I don't know that would be something I'd want to invest in if I were just playing alone.

And too while I am hurt because it seems my console friends don't seem to care I couldn't play with them, if I truly am banned and not just suspended then how will I feel about the company turning their back on a customer who's account was 10 years old for what was basically their mistake? Do I want to continue supporting such a company in the future if they are going to be that careless with their customers?

So today I feel extra sad. While I don't know if I am actually banned or just suspended, it feels like I've lost another part of me. Like my terrible journey has created yet another scar which may physically heal in time, but may never heal emotionally.

Day 2587 - 8/1 - Not cheese sandwich

Today I really kind of wanted a cheese sandwich instead of lunchmeat. But being near the end of the month I have to be very careful with my budget. And, as odd as it seems, a pack of cheese that would make 2-3 sandwiches is actually almost double the cost it would be for that much lunchmeat. Plus, being warm summer days, if I don't basically immediately eat the cheese it gets warm, and the longer it's warm the greater the risk to my delicate tummy.

Not considering all my troubles I have, not counting how sad overall it is to be homeless, today was really good. I didn't get too much back pain from sitting on the floor all day. The connection was solid almost the entire time I played (only a few times got questionable), and nothing bad happened. I did feel a bit lonely playing. I still haven't found a guild home, and although there were quite a few around in the world, really almost no one was talking.

For what little I have left, today was pretty good. And I continue to hold on to hope that someday I may have a truly normal life again.

Day 2588 - 8/2 - Almost zero

Today is extra sad because of how low I am on everything. My gas is again down to about 1/16th of a tank. I expect there is maybe 3-4 days left. By the time this is posted I may be in a complete panic about if I need to abandon it somewhere and walk a few days and pray donations come.

I am almost out of food money again. I really don't get how, after monitoring all month, spending 4-5 in food a day is not enough monitoring. I guess the occasional costs like breakfast food and the rare snacks will have to be even more ridiculously closely monitored.

So these sad details, having barely enough food and gas to eek by a few more days have been super stressful all day. I can still feel the pinching tension in my back. Sitting today was extra challenging and I could barely sit in a just mildly painful position all day.

In good news, even though the pool area was closed from the flea market yesterday and I couldn't get a shower, I was pretty ok today. I got to play my game mostly undisturbed. The connection was bad and questionable before lunch, but after it was solid enough to not really be a problem. So for another day I got to spend most of the day escaping to another fun world where I didn't have these worries, and while not there I watched a few shows.

I survive yet another weekend. But still, at my core, I can't help but feel sad about not just the basics of being in a home, but all the nicer things I miss; friends to laugh and play games with, a sweetie, maybe online friends in a guild to keep me company at times in my online game.

With so many people in the world I continue to hold on to hope there are enough out there who care about and worry about me to send donations to help me along until things get better. And that once they are, I can someday recover from my fear and pain and again find those friends and maybe even find love again.

Day 2589 - 8/3 - Feeling sad

Today I am feeling pretty sad. Nothing new bad happened, but all of the sad that is in my life weighed down on me more. All the things I can't o felt sad. And all the things I wished I could do that I may never get to do seemed sadder still.

I am starting to feel very sad about basic things, most often food. I'll see people getting food that I haven't been able to eat in 4-5 months, and it makes me sad these things are only a few dollars. And other things make me sad, like hearing people talking about things they are going to do or that they are going to get.

While I still cling to the hope of someday recovering to my life, today feels like I will remain a hollow shell, and I will forever be discarded and forgotten.

Day 2590 - 8/4 - Trying

Today I am trying to hang on. Gas is almost gone. Food will be extremely minimal today and tomorrow. It's not at one meal a day minimal yet, but it's not much more than that. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night with my tummy rumbling and no snack to feed it, but I did somehow manage to get to sleep earlier than usual.

With everything so critical my life seems hopeless. When I had part time income that was at least something. I had balance, as small as it was. Without there seems no return as I am dependant on help from others, and it seems few to none are helping or putting the word out on my behalf. But until an opportunity comes into my life, hoping others will help is all I can do.

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

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