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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 403

Day 2815 - 3/16 - Power outage

Today was actually pretty good despite some setbacks. The morning was pretty regular. I checked for jobs then had a bit of play time. I did a quick lunch to have a tiny bit more time to play before my afternoon editing. Since I was going to spend a few hours editing I decided to again try and update to Windows 10. But right when I finished my edit, the entire school mysteriously lost power. Two hours later we got word that a few city blocks are down and no one knows why. So, not only do I not know if my project is ok, I lost power and internet mid-upgrade. The system, however, seemed to get stuck at the exact same spot again. So I guess it didn't matter.

After getting news that school was closing and would not re-open until the morning, I went to the food store. I again recovered windows to where it was before (which took about 10 minutes, so that wasn't bad.) And then I spent a few more hours playing my game.

Today did not go as planned. I didn't do the studying I expected to because the rest of the day was thrown so out of whack when the power went out. But, despite not knowing if my project is ok and needing to throw away my $3 dinner, and spending another $1.50 getting another dinner, today was actually pretty good. I played and had fun, and I talked and laughed a bit with other students. So I guess things turned out ok.

Day 2816 - 3/17 - Nearly last regular school day

Today was nearly the last regular school day. It was both good and a bit frantic, as I had to finish things for my class I'm in, then the class I TA for had their final project stuff all class time. So things were very busy after my normal morning time stuff.

Overall I guess I feel ok today. I got to play a little and then I had fun class times. I barely slept last night due to stress. I got somewhere between five and six hours. And I'm still very stressed in my lower back much of the time. But as far as my sad life goes, today seemed pretty ok.

Day 2817 - 3/18 - No connection

Today was pretty good. I had fun in the morning, then had fun during class. People had fun watching all the things.

After class I stayed, had dinner, and played for a bit more. Since it was the last regular day of the quarter I decided to leave a bit earlier than usual. At the food store there was no connection. I lost several hours I could have done stuff and couldn't do stuff I planned to do, so things became very sad. I was quickly reminded how not in control of my environment I am. I was reminded how I'm not in a home.

I guess things turned out ok because I forgot the library closes early on Friday and mister stinky showed up after I'd given up trying to connect. Within about a minute of his showing up I was having to hold my breath from fear of throwing up. But since I had no connection, there wasn't much point in sticking around when there were other places that didn't have stinky people I could go.

All in all today was pretty ok. I laughed and had fun. But as it was the last day of the quarter (outside of finals week) I again felt that I'm missing out. People are moving on. Some, I'm sure, went out to celebrate. I know if I were in a home I'd be celebrating with unwinding with games, a nice cooked dinner, maybe a movie, and staying up late to play, while knowing I'd get up early and stay up late for a few weeks until next quarter.

I still miss my old life. I miss what it could be if it were not this and not my old life. I wonder how many ways it could be better. But, as sad as it is, I am still grateful it is not worse.

Day 2818 - 3/19 - Outside again

Today I was outside all day. It was unexpected, as I figured the Saturday classes would still be happening and I'd be able to go in for a few hours. It was ok though, as I'd already planned to be outside from now on. It was overcast and chilly most of the day. I really didn't get warm until 4:30 when the sun started being in my area. It went away by 6 and things rapidly started to get cold by 8 just after the sun had gone down.

I had fun playing my game and trying to relax. I felt kind of super sick though. I felt a bit sick back on Wednesday. And starting yesterday I've been sneezing. Today my ears are ringing. I feel a bit dizzy, and it feels icky between my heart and stomach. Hopefully I'll be ok quickly enough though. Hopefully some of my stress will go away and I can fight off whatever this is.

Day 2819 - 3/20 - Nice kitty

Today was quite different. The morning started fairly normally, though I only got about five hours of sleep. But at 11:30 I left to help a few people with a project, and one paid me to do it. So, I got quite a boost of monies. I'll pay for the car insurance stuff soon. Hopefully there is enough for all the things due. It may be a touch short for one of the things though. But that puts me a lot closer to not worrying about those and freeing up future donations to go towards paying for classes. Though even with a few weeks left until next quarter it may be too late for the important classes as those will fill quickly if they haven't already. I may have to choose a less desirable one, should I get the donations to sign up at all.

One thing I had forgotten to check though was if she had pets at her house. Immediately upon walking in I smelt the kitties and the rug that has probably been peed on 500 times. The kitty was a big sweetie and she kept coming over to me for petting and purring. It was nice to have a friendly kitty to pet and kiss, but even now four hours after leaving my eyes are still a bit itchy and feel like there is fur in them.

Another thing I'd forgotten is how kind of high standard I am. There was dust in places, piles of things here and there, and dirt and yuck in all the corners and in most edges. And the TV had the wrong aspect ratio. It bothered me so much I had to fix it after a while. Most live in similar environments, and I suppose it's not a bad thing. I had just forgotten how I prefer things clean, clutter free, and I suppose some would say sterile. I think some may think my place more a model or library than a home with everything neatly placed, lined up, and clean.

But today was pretty different. Things were shaken up. I still smell like kitty and her place, and I hope those smells fade soon. Though I did get to do laundry there, so it may be a while for those scents to fade and my regular ones to return.

Day 2820 - 3/21 - Accidental upgrade attempt

Today was peaceful. After checking for jobs and a very quick helping on the forums I played or watched shows most of the rest of the day. It was calm and nice. Mostly I tried to not let myself get out of my game mentally because that would mean I would have to acknowledge yet another quarter passing and I was unable to move on because my life is not yet better enough to do so.

In the early evening there was a strange turn of events. I had intended to make a USB to upgrade to Windows 10 from, as the previous two attempts ran into a sticking point when setting drivers, but I guess I selected the wrong option and it wound up attempting to install a third time right then. Since it looked different from the previous attempts I let it go ahead and finish trying. Basically I wound up losing three hours to a third failed attempt. For the third time it got stuck at 86% overall and 46% on the third of the three phases. Hopefully I can get set up with the USB correctly tomorrow and it will install fine when I try again. If it doesn't there is only one other thing I can try before needing to do a full clean install, which would mean I'd have to wipe the drive completely. It wouldn't be the end of the world, as everything important is on my SSD, not the boot drive that the laptop came with. But being a laptop and not having any installation disks, I'd rather avoid that. If anything went wrong I don't know how I'd recover. (I suppose if it were an option I could connect the laptop drive externally to a school system and use the USB again. Though with the permissions settings on the school systems I don't know if that would be an option.) Plus I'd like to avoid that, as you never know what you may have forgotten to put on a backup disk and lose in the transfer.

Despite the disappointment of the accidental upgrade not working, today was a pretty good day. I will try to hang onto my good mood in the coming days, as the rain is returning and I still have unpaid things I have no money for. That will get me very sad if I don't hang on.

Day 2821 - 3/22 - Hoping

Today is starting out gray and cold. It rained a lot last night. I recall at one point it was pouring so heavily I was worried. But the clouds are parting and it looks like the rain is going away now. And with that it will hopefully get warm and sunny again.

I again didn't get much sleep last night. Three nights ago I only got five hours of sleep, and the last two only between six and seven hours. Yesterday I got up early, so I showered then. And I was up early today too, so that extra has carried forward to today. All the stress and worry of the unpaid things are getting to me. The thing I did over the weekend paid for one bill, but the other due on the first I only have half the money for. And I have none at all for the $15 for parking next quarter, and $50 for signing up. Which is extra sad because they are such small bills.

I am hopeful things will go smoothly today. I am hopeful I can play and forget my troubles by losing myself in other worlds. And with bunny day coming up this weekend I am hopeful people think of me and the other bunnies in their lives and send some help and good tidings and I can continue to hang on until better days.

Week 404

Day 2822 - 3/23 - Failed attempt #5

Today I am exhausted. I didn't do much, so I'm not sure why I'm so out of it. It might be because of my cold. I'm sneezing once or twice an hour. It might be my continuous stress which makes me both have trouble sleeping and get up early. I again barely got seven hours sleep when I could have gotten around nine. It might be because I spent a bit more time than usual looking for jobs, a bit less helping on forums, and a bunch of time trying again to install Windows 10.

I tried installing in safe mode. It wouldn't let me install in safe mode. I tried setting it to boot from the USB. It said it needed to boot normally. So all I did different was make sure a few security files and other programs I wasn't using were deleted.

Still, it got stuck at the exact same place. At this point I have surrendered and contacted the laptop manufacturer to see if they have any suggestions. Again, I'd rather not do a clean install and wipe the drive. Most everything could just be re-loaded from backup, and all my games on the system and web stuff are all on a different disk and wouldn't be wiped either way, but I always worry with a reformat about what if I forget something important? And what if it doesn't work for some reason? How would I recover?

So, we'll see what they say. Maybe it will be something strange but simple, like boot while disabling this or that, or try removing the SSD and DVD drive while installing. (That was a suggestion I saw on a forum.)

But for now I'm giving up and putting it on hold again. I'd rather not try again until after Spring break. If I don't I'll have to sit with absolutely nothing to do for about three hours (or more) that it would take. But with school open I could go into a lab, and at least with that I could watch shows on a lab system while my system updates.

Despite yet another disappointing install failure (and safe recovery to where it was before, thank the Gods), today was a pretty good day. I found no jobs to apply for, but that's nothing new. I got no thanks on the forums, also not new. Sadly I got no donations, which I'm very much hoping for to sign up for classes as soon as I can before it's too late. But I was warm-ish. I got micro food. I got to play my games and watch my shows. And for my very sad life, that is something.

Day 2823 - 3/24 - Barely remember

Today I am exhausted. Basically just from my life. Again last night I couldn't sleep for a few hours after 'going to bed', and I woke up about 45 minutes before my alarm. So again I was happy to have the extra day time to do stuff, but sad about the cost.

Due to being so low on sleep lately my brain never really woke up or functioned correctly. I barely remember the day. It is mainly flashes and bits and pieces. All total I remember maybe half an hour clearly. There are pieces of job searching, glimpses of helping on forums, and a few bits and pieces of playing or shows I watched.

I am still so sad no donations have come yet. It would take very little from just a few to make a big difference. Even just as little as $5-10 a month from a few people would make a big difference. I am humbled by the generosity of those who are mostly strangers helping me. And puzzled by the lack of help from those I do know. I continue to hope help comes until I am back on my feet. And extra hopeful since bunny day is coming up on Sunday.

Today was the last day of one of the classes I am taking, and the class I TA for. There were no goodbyes in either. It kind of makes me sad and feel unappreciated in the class I TA for. But I do know I make a difference. And I do get thanks during class. So I guess it's ok.

I also got word back from the manufacturer. Their suggestion, as I feared, was to try a clean install. They did give me a link to download a tool that will set up a recovery 'disk' (though I'll use USB) just in case it doesn't work and I need to re-install the old OS. But still, I worry. Particularly in my current state. There is always the chance something will be forgotten in the transfer. Some piece of information less used, or not backed up, and when I need it that information will not be there. Well, all I can do is hope for the best.

I'll likely leave that until after the school break is over. That way I can at least set up in the lab and watch shows while it does that. If I did it during break I'd have nothing to do but stare at the updating window for three or more hours.

Well... whatever my future holds it holds. As always it seems I have little to talk about save for what is outside of my control, or how I feel like an outsider.

Day 2824 - 3/25 - Preparing

Today was kind of good. There were no donations, no job applications, and nothing changed, but it still felt ok.

Spring is coming back. Things were warming up, and other students are excited for break, and in a week to return for next quarter. I am still worried I will be there only in spirit. I still only have half the money I need for the bills at the end of the month, and then there is at least $50 beyond that to sign up for classes. (With $15 more for parking.) So far things seem very bleak.

Last night I again couldn't sleep until after midnight, and again got up about half an hour early. And there were some pretty terrible dreams when I was sleeping.

But again today still felt pretty good. Though everything seems bad in my life and is on a downward spiral, I am preparing. Preparing to be outside of school on the weekend to have a good connection. Preparing to hopefully be inside part of the day during next week since some things will be open. Preparing for help and support to come so I can sign up for at least one class and get my parking sticker. Preparing for not getting any help and not being able to sign up for classes. And hopefully preparing to sleep tonight at a reasonable time.

Day 2825 - 3/26 - My own world

Today was pretty good. Campus was super quiet. For some reason there didn't seem to be any of the regular joggers or bikers. All day I probably saw fewer than half a dozen. Well, save for what looked like an odd tour group of maybe 25, and a few going to the performance theater.

I was in my new main game most of the day. It's been my new main because my old main had some serious frame rate issues. I don't know why, but something changed in a patch about three weeks ago and now if I'm there for more than five minutes I feel like throwing up. The frame rate is all jerky and at a bad speed. At first I was worried my graphics chip was damaged, but others have the same issue as of that patch. And, none of my other games are affected.

I hope they fix the issue, but after three weeks of it being around it seems unlikely. So I'm hoping changing to Windows 10 will tweak a thing and it will be fine again. But then again, I was kind of not playing very often any more anyways. There were really only a couple of people I'd play with regularly, and since Xmas one is almost never on, and the other shifted times and I almost never see them.

So today I was in my new game. (Which is actually one that's three years old.) Which being a shooter, and groups being set to 'friends only', means I was basically in my own world all day.

So I was in a virtual world alone, and seemingly in the real world alone as well. In many ways it felt like my life is wasting away. The clock is ticking down and so many things I would like to do are not getting done. But then, the reality is most of the things can't be done. At least not in my current homeless life.

So I worry and wait. And I continue to hope. And hopefully I'll get help to continue hanging on until better days.

Day 2826 - 3/27 - Too late for candies

Today was good, but sad. In the morning I went to the store to be sure I had a soup to micro and to check for candies. I've been so very sad about things I didn't think it would probably be ok to spend $1-2 and get my favorite bunny day candy and celebrate small. But I was too late. There were very few candies left at the food store, most of which were $6 and up, and were things I didn't like.

As expected school was super busy with a few different groups. The regular church group which often maybe has a dozen people were packed with probably more than 100. I had plenty of room to be in my spot and not in the way, it's not even in the same section of the cafeteria, but I thought that would feel weird. So I stayed outside and just snuck in to micro lunch and use the bathroom.

In the later afternoon I got a big donation! Phew! So, soon I'll have money to cover a class, get a parking sticker, and cover my car insurance. There won't really be any left for gas money or fun stuff, but maybe I'll get more bunny day donations in the coming days and be able to do more.

Despite all the celebrations going on around me that I was not a part of, today was a pretty good day. I played quite a bit. It wasn't too cold, though it got quite chilly after sundown. And after the groups left by mid-afternoon I was basically alone in my spot. So campus was calm and quiet and I was in my own world again.

For being homeless on my favorite holiday yet again, things weren't too bad.

Day 2827 - 3/28 - Not forgotten

Today it seems there was a reminder from Fate that I am not forgotten. After showering I went to my usual weekend parking spot. In the spot was a single plastic Easter egg. The kind you put stuff in. It was popped open and empty, but the fact that it was the only one in the whole lot that I drove, and in my spot, felt like a reminder from Fate.

My day was pretty good. The showers were open. Campus in the cafeteria area I expected to be open was open. I played and had fun. And though it was much colder than expected during my outside time, the first portion of getting ready to wipe when upgrading to Windows 10 is done. And after I'm done writing I'll make sure everything on the drive that needs to be backed up is, as well as noting what will need to be re-installed, and what is on the SSD that just needs a new shortcut.

I'm actually thinking of doing the upgrade attempt tomorrow evening. From about 4:30-6:30 outside the sun shines pretty brightly on the outside spot and it can get very hard to see anything on the screen (despite it being at a 90 degree angle to the sun and shaded by my backpack). And I thought I should be able to watch stuff on my phone. It would be pretty bad, but if the upgrade goes as it should it shouldn't be much more than 1.5 hours. After that, since all my games would be intact, I could go right back to playing and set up non-game stuff slowly during that 'blind window' over the rest of the week.

I haven't decided yet for sure though. Waiting until school is open and being in the lab is the safer bet. But it should be fine. I'm already one of the infinitely small number with this issue. There were literally no posts about it at the manufacturer's forums. So what are the odds upgrading the other way will have issues?

Well, tomorrow holds what it holds. I'll decide then based on how the rest of my day goes. But so far today I feel pretty good for as many sad things as there are in my life.

Day 2828 - 3/29 - So many squirrels

Today there were a bunch of squirrels out and about when I got on campus. So much cute! It's chilly though, so I don't know why there are more than usual. When the sun was going down last night it started to look like it would rain. And the gray has lasted until today. You'd think there wouldn't be extra squirrels unless it was warmer.

I think I will hold off on the update until when school is fully open. It will still depend on how today goes, but last night I remembered there is this 'preparing to install' phase. Last attempt was about 4.5 hours in total, so that's an extra 1-1.5 hours beyond the normal 1.5 hours to install. (With extra last time waiting and hoping it'd get unstuck, or recovering to the old setup.) Who knows though. If it's super warm and nice outside when I go out I may go ahead and do it today. If it's cold that would make my evening outside terrible and be a bad time to do something time consuming. Particularly since I have to leave it until it's done.

I have a cold. I'm sneezing, have been for a few days, and I'm pretty congested. But I feel ok emotionally. I'm on campus now and have decent food to micro and today feels like it will be ok, despite all my sad things.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2016
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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