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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 379

Day 2647 - 9/30 - Feling hopeful

Today I am feeling pretty hopeful. Yesterday afternoon I got a donation from someone, and it was pretty big so I have a bit of a cushion. They also told me to hang on to hope, so it was nice to get a note of well wishing.

Today at school there were a lot of people saying hi to me, both people I sort of know and former students that were in classes I TAed for. So I feel pretty good about that.

I checked forums and jobs, but there weren't any jobs close to me. I'm not sure why ones from across the bay or down in the LA area show up in my searches.

I did what I thought some final stuff on the friend's editing project, but she said to try and tweak some things, so there are a few more hours work I can get for that.

Though a homework I already finished was in the back of my mind I played a bit and watched a few shows and had a bit of time to relax. So overall today seemed pretty balanced. I'm still worried about my future and wonder if I will ever find a job I am happy with and friends (in real life), but I guess only time will tell.

Day 2648 - 10/1 - Talkie

Today was pretty good. It went by incredibly fast since I only had a very small amount of time before my class and then the class I TA for after that. I got to play a tiny bit and watch one show, but the rest of the day I was busy busy. I was somewhat chatty with other students for various reasons, so that was good.

Today was pretty good, but very busy. I'm so very tired, and so very not used to this much going on.

Day 2649 - 10/2 - Sleppy

Today I've been very sleepy. I got ok sleep, but I had some weird and kind of disturbed dreams. I checked for jobs and forums a bit in the morning, then tried to hurry to get a few hours playing time before class.

Class was cool and fun. There is a super cute and really attractive girl in class. She sits all the way on the other side of the room, and it's likely she would never even notice me. But it's good to know I can still feel hope for love.

I played a little bit more after class, and I was in my old summer spot. When I left I guess my mind was in that mindset because I was half way to the wrong parking lot when I remembered I was in the regular spot. I guess it was good that I felt comfortable enough to forget something like that, but at the same time it felt weird to have forgotten.

Day 2650 - 10/3 - Kinda bad day

Today I learned something odd. There were campus maintenance people doing some painting and they told me the downstairs area was open. I never really thought about it or investigated it before, but I did always wonder how people were walking around with coffees or coming out of the ATM area on flea market Saturdays. Apparently the coffee shop and downstairs areas will always be opened for a bit on those days. I didn't move in, as I was already settled and someone was going to meet me in a bit, but that's good to know.

The person who met me is the one for the editing I'm doing. I figured she might invite me to lunch but since she hadn't mentioned it I ate a bit before the meeting. She did, but she also said what she wanted to say would just be 5 minutes. I convinced her to just do it at that spot since I'd already eaten and it would be easier than a crowded restaurant. But then I felt guilty we didn't go, as everything she said took an hour anyways.

The rest of my evening was progressively sad. I had a fun group with the people I play with, but then one left and the other wanted to go to the PvP area. I should have just passed. It started ok but then she went into deeper areas, and there was PvP stuff, then we went to an area that is just way too hard without a group and I really didn't have a good time.

So, overall I just felt progressively sad as the day went on. I suppose tomorrow is a new day, and with every new day I try to hold on to hope that it will be better than the last.

Day 2651 - 10/4 - Ray of hope

Today was quite different. It started with laundry. Which wasn't super different, I had last done it a few weeks ago, and a few weeks before that, but before that for a few times it had gotten down to a month.

When I got to school I helped on forums a bit and very briefly played. It was nearly lunch time so I didn't play long.

During lunch, on an odd whim I decided to check the PlayStation Network. To my surprise it logged me in. Not just that, but my trophies appeared intact. I tried to click on a thing to see if games and such were there as well, but the site just lagged. I decided to check in an indirect fashion and logged in to the Destiny site. Not only did it access my login, but it showed my account and my characters, still intact. So there was quite the surprise.

I will likely return to my PS4 and Destiny when I'm re-established in a home now that I can. But in a way the damage is done. I no longer trust PlayStation Network. I will go back to getting physical copies of things and avoiding games that bind to the account if I can. I will no longer ever again keep a credit card on file. And while Bungie technically did nothing wrong during our separation, the immense time required for little gain - which is not achievable solo - and my friends not even saying goodbye and they would miss me when I said my time was running out, has left me wondering just how quickly I would even want to return when I can. I would have to get a monthly subscription to PSN to play group content, and with no one to really play with I feel no real desire to return anytime soon. Particularly with my current sad life and the difficulties in getting on to play.

There were other good surprises. Since I found some money I decided to finally look into getting new boots. There was a warning flag when I tried saying someone has already bought them for me. When the night was over I checked at the ex-house. There were no boots to be found, but there was a package. Opening it up there was a new hoodie. I tried it on and it feels pretty good. It smells a bit funny, but new cloths often do. That will fade in time. As I had it on I cried a bit. To normal life living people it may not seem like much. But the old hoddie with ratted cuffs, always in view when I had it on, fragments of cloth on the floor reminding me when it wasn't, always reminded me how sad and terrible my life was every time I saw it. Now it is gone. No more will I be reminded every minute of every day what my life has fallen to. Though none of that has changed, not being constantly reminded will be a huge burden lifted. The old hoodie will remain though, for a while, just in case, but out of view.

I don't know who sent the hoodie. No 'card' nor description was included. In fact, had I not gotten the warning from the site when trying to buy the boots for myself (with some of the editing money) it may have been days before the ex-roomie even mentioned that something was at the ex-house for me. I don't know when, or if, the boots are really on the way, but it seems unlikely my entire wish list would be flagged. That would kind of make it too easily accidently discovered I think. Plus, the item likely would have been flagged as delivered already when I tried. I guess time will tell.

For now though, for today at least, it seems there are people watching out for me who do care. And it seems too that sometimes bad things may not be as bad or as permanent as they seem. And because of these things, maybe in the near future things will be less stressful and I can continue to focus on healing.

Day 2652 - 10/5 - Anxious paws

Today seemed pretty happy, but overall fairly normal. The day started with checking forums and looking for jobs. As expected, things were still very slow from the weekend. I played a tiny bit before lunch and again a bit after. In the back of my mind I was working on an assignment for the writing class, but I am no closer to being ready. I knew these assignments were coming for the past couple of months too, but being creative things if creativity doesn't strike you will have problems until it does.

In the evening I checked the ex-house again. And again there was another package. It was indeed new boots. I have anxious paws for tomorrow. I tested them very briefly with a little pacing back and forth in the ex-garage. They felt super good and super comfortable. The bottoms seem appropriately grippy too. Once or twice when I've gotten boots before the rubber has been hard, not soft like it should be. But this time it seems proper. However, I am a touch concerned that I may need to be careful and retrain my brain to walk, as the old pair was very worn out on the heel (all the way to the shoe bottom in places), so the way my weight goes and the boot goes are ... different. Also, being flat footed, the arch seems to not support anything, which is as it should be. So I hope that is a non-issue, as on bare feet my full foot hits flat, not heel-to-toe like a normal person. I'm sure it will be fine though and my paws are anxious to have comfy supportive boots once more.

Again there was no notice on who it was, but I'll assume with arrival on back to back days it was a singular person, and very likely the one who sent the donation, as an order date likely would have been that day or the next, so that timeline follows. If not, it is a pretty big coincidence for different people to send a donation of monies and cloths on the near same not Tuesday day. (Which is the day I normally get donations due to that being the posting day.)

I feel like I will sleep better, feeling much more like my old self. I will keep the old boots, just in case. I will keep the old hoodie, just in case, but only to sleep in. And maybe reminding my current self about my old self, and separate from the failing self, will help me heal and move forward.

Day 2653 - 10/6 - Feel normal-ish

Today I feel normal-ish. With the new boots and new hoodie I feel like the early homeless days me, when I was close to being in a home. Nothing besides those have changed, but not being reminded every minute of things I've lost and can't fix is a huge change.

The day has just started. It's pretty early in the morning and nothing will begin to really get going for me for another 3.5 hours. And even then I'll just be set up in the lab ready to help people and don't expect I'll actually see anyone until the class I TA for starts 4 hours after that. But today should be good. I feel like things have settled a bit. And in recent days with the sad things turning around I feel like I may finally be in a place to heal. I even had a craving for a certain type of cookie this morning that I haven't had in probably a year. I couldn't find it in the store, they'd recently re-arranged that isle, but to be emotionally balanced enough to feel a craving for something, even just a food, is something.

Week 380

Day 2654 - 10/7 - Pretty good

Today was a pretty good day. I sort of took the day off. Though I technically have every day off it is rare I don't have a class I am taking or TAing for on weekdays. Monday and Wednesday are it, and that's if someone doesn't ask for help with something. So I basically took the day off to play. I did wind up thinking about one writing assignment, and spent about an hour on it, and another hour testing a system in the lab, but overall I tried to have a fun stress free day before my very busy day tomorrow.

The boots fit almost perfectly. The only issue is my second toe on my right foot is a touch longer than the big toe, so it presses against the boot just a little bit. I could exchange them or a half size larger, but since all other parts fit perfectly I'd rather not and see if my foot adjusts. I'll give it a week before I decide.

Today went by pretty quickly. I was pretty sleepy through a lot of it. Likely because of my cold. My eyes are a bit itchy, I'm sneezing, congested, my lymph nodes on my neck seem swollen, and my tongue feels a bit swollen too, so talking is weird. But overall it was a pretty good day.

Day 2655 - 10/8 - Busy busy

Today felt like a pretty good day. It started kind of slow in the morning. I had a bit of time to do some daily stuff in my game before lunch, so I did that.

When I had lunch the dean came through and I said hey to her. I had just settled back in with my food and she was like, 'you know you aren't supposed to have food in here?' And I was like, 'In the rooms, yeah.' And she was like, 'Not in the building at all. There are signs everywhere.' And then she went in to the bathroom. That is complete crazy talk. The signs are on the rooms, yes, but nowhere else. Thousands of students go in and out of the building unchecked for food. There are no guards at all in the building. It's perfectly reasonable to say no food or drink in classrooms because many have computers, and a few are theater-like and the seats are fixed in place and a lot more difficult to clean, but not in a school building at all? Where no one has ever enforced that rule in the halls before? Complete crazy talk. I went outside to eat, at least until she had left (she rarely comes in the building, and when she does she basically just walks through once or to a specific place, and it could be weeks between times I see her), and I'll be mindful to be careful to watch for her in the future, but that's just crazy.

My classes were busy busy, so most of my day whizzed by. I talked with people in the writing class. And in the class I TA for I talked to some people and they asked my opinions on stuff, so that was cool.

Today I was distracted from my sad things and that was a very nice change.

Day 2656 - 10/9 - Split day

Today felt odd. It was split. In the morning and evening I played just for a short while and watched a show. In the middle of the day I had class. Which again was good and pretty fun, but I nodded off just a tiny bit during one of the slow times. A few people talked with me and I had an ok time when I was doing stuff alone.

In many ways today was similar to being in a home. But, as always, everything I did was not done in the way I would have in a home. I'm getting used to it, and in a way thinking of doing things how I used to, and the 'luxuries' of being in a home (controlling temperature, showering when I want, eating better and when I want, or dressing how and when I want) all seem like strange and foreign ideas to me now.

I hope this too is just a cycle. I've been homeless for brief periods before, and each time recovered and almost forgot what those days were like. While this time has been so long I've started to forget what being in a home is like, hopefully someday this will end, and in time these days pain and trouble will be long forgotten.

Day 2657 - 10/10 - No phone change

Today was kind of scary. I made a few trips in the evening, and again on the third start in a short period there was a small pause before starting. It still seems heat related, as it doesn't seem to happen if the car is not at normal temperatures yet. Though the overheating seems almost completely gone. It does still get a bit warmer, going from about 55% to 60%, rarely peaking at probably 65% (down from what probably was 75%+ peak), but I can't quite figure out when or why. It doesn't seem entirely stop or speed related, as it only goes above the base rarely. So I'm still a bit worried about the issues, and that the car is getting on in age in general, as it's over 111k miles now.

I tried to set up my phone plan on a $0.10 a minute plan, but as the website implied it is a $25 for 3 month minimum or $10 a month, which is much more than the $3 a month plan someone sent me info about a while ago. Now that I finally have a teeny bit of flexibility I can look into that. But the thought of keeping my old phone seems unlikely. (At least to use as a phone.) I'll look at the info on the site either tomorrow or the next day. But today there was no phone change.

The day was ok other than that, but with the car issue and the phone plan deal my sad homeless life seems very sad and I am strongly reminded of the bad things today.

Day 2658 - 10/11 - Struggling with sadness

Today I am feeling pretty sad. I guess the day started well enough. Being the weekend I got to sleep in just a little bit longer. Things on campus around me were quiet. Today seemed especially quiet. But things seemed too quiet. I was too isolated. I am too alone.

I wanted to research setting up the phone, but I couldn't. Each time I thought about it I was reminded of how I have failed over the years. How I can't afford a normal phone connection like I used to - like everyone else seemingly can. The more I was reminded of how much of an outsider I am the more sad I became.

While falling there are several lines you'll cross. Who you are as defined by what you do, when you do it, and how you do it. While in the middle of such a zone there is a kind of balance. You become accustomed to what changed and why. But every time you get near a line, be it up or down, you are tested. The who of who you were is challenged by the who you will become. And with each passing there are more and more ghosts that haunt you. Lines and transitions may seem trivial - I have to carry salt and pepper packets in my wallet, I have to watch rented movies on my laptop. But the trials may become much greater - one salt packet broke, now everything in the coin area has been coated in salt for weeks, the movie I rented to watch as a Saturday night movie as I always used to do in a home wouldn't play because it wanted a software update and I was offline.

When tested you may break. And if you don't and you are forced into change, are you still you? Are the things you do just as important as the how and the when? Is the person who eats a meal they cooked at 8 and watches a show on their TV the same person as the one who eats out of a can at 5 because they have to watch the time of day they eat?

I hope the answer is yes, but over time I feel more and more that I am losing me. I am forgetting the how of who I am. I may still appear to be me on the surface, outside to others. But inside, where I am me, I worry that things may not change, and the true me may be nothing more than a fading memory.

Day 2659 - 10/12 - Feling small

Today I played my game quite a bit, but in the early afternoon I felt more and more like not playing and actually left earlier than planned. After, I paid for my next year of web hosting (which would have come due at the end of December) and researched the phone change a bit. As I charged the phone and resigned myself to reading the manual before continuing on, I accepted the coming change, but also realized why I've been feeling so sad lately. I feel small. My steps forward, while huge steps in my current life, are teeny baby steps in regular life. And while I helped half a dozen people in the lab which may create long-term unknown change in their lives, in the other things I do very very few seem to care. To basically everyone I am 'just another gamer'. It doesn't seem that my thoughts on playing games or any game related things really matter to anyone, certainly not more than a few. And if that is true, if I am the same as millions of other gamers out there and not different... then I am not different. And I am truly just talking out loud to myself into a microphone.

For a while now I have questioned if my gaming stuff matters. Only a few ever have mentioned they thought my podcast was interesting or my builds or PC discussion was helpful. After so many years of having my regular site and now Facebook page and so few seeming to care I question if anyone does see it as different from their other gaming friends. And if it's not, and not enough really care, is my heart in it anymore?

In many ways I guess I feel like my heart is broken. And I've mentioned it before. If people truly don't care, I get it. I don't have the emotional peace to use my time to research things. With the other things I do I don't have the time to research even if I did. And my opinion, well, it seems no different from others. And if it isn't, why would people listen to me instead of a twenty something girl saying the exact same thing? Or someone who is already an established authority?

I feel heartbroken and lost. I may take things in a different direction. I may just fade back some and let my hobby life be, well, just a private hobby life if so few do care to share it with me.

But which way is forward? How I do mend a broken heart? Which path will make me feel whole and happy again? That I don't know. And that is what I fear most. I fear even if I do recover to be back in a home that my heart will remain broken.

Day 2660 - 10/13 - Another cold

Today I am feeling very tired. I've been tired for a few days now. But my throat is also getting rough, there is a lot of congestion, and my eyes are itchy. There is definitely another cold coming. I hope it gets better very soon. I told someone I'd help with some voice work on a project and we are supposed to be doing the recording tomorrow.

It is very early in the morning. I'm on campus in my spot, but I'm earlier than normal, and no one is here. I hope today will be good, filled with helping people with all the things and playing games a bit. That's really all I can hope for these days. The rest is too uncertain.

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

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